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In Loving Memory of Vic

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Need to get to a meeting and speak to someone right away? Below is a list of online meetings and resources to help you find a meeting and fellowship.

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Daily Recovery Readings – March 3

Just For Today
March 3
Relapse

“There will be times, however, when we really feel like using. We want to run, and we feel lousy We need to be reminded of where we came from and that it will be worse this time. This is when we need the program the most.”
Basic Text, p. 78

If we’re contemplating a relapse, we should think our using through to the bitter ends. For many of us, those ends would include severe medical problems, imprisonment, or even death. How many of us have known people who relapsed after many years clean, only to die from their disease?

But there is a death that accompanies a return to active addiction that may be worse than physical death. That is the spiritual death we experience when we are separated from our Higher Power. If we use, the spiritual relationship we have nurtured over the years will weaken and perhaps disappear. We will feel truly alone.

There is no doubt that we have periods of darkness in our recovery. There is only one way we can make it through those troubling times: with faith. If we believe that our Higher Power is with us, then we know that all will be well.

No matter how badly we may feel in our recovery, a relapse is never the answer. Together, we find recovery. If we stay clean, the darkness will lift and we will find a deeper connection to our Higher Power.

Just for today: I thank my Higher Power for the gift of NA. I know that relapse is not the way out. Whatever challenges I face, I will face them with the God of my understanding.

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Daily Reflections
March 3
OVERCOMING SELF-WILL

So our troubles, we think, are basically of our own making. They arise out of ourselves, and the alcoholic is an extreme example of self-will run riot, though he usually doesn’t think so. Above everything, we alcoholics must be rid of this selfishness. We must, or it kills us!
ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS, p. 62

For so many years my life revolved solely around myself. I was consumed with self in all forms– self-centeredness, self-pity, self-seeking, all of which stemmed from pride. Today I have been given the gift, through the Fellowship of Alcoholics Anonymous, of practicing the Steps and Traditions, in my daily life, of my group and sponsor, and the capacity–if I so choose–to put my pride aside in all situations which arise in my life. Until I could honestly look at myself and see that I was the problem in many situations and react appropriately inside and out; until I could discard my expectations and understand that my serenity was directly proportional to them, I could not experience serenity and sound sobriety.

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Twenty-Four Hours A Day
March 3
A.A. Thought For The Day

After we’ve made a surrender, the drink problem is out of our hands and in the hands of God. The thing we have to do is to be sure that we never reach out and take the problem back into our own hands. Leave it in God’s hands.  Whenever I’m tempted to take a drink, I must say to myself: “I can’t do that. I’ve made a bargain with God not to drink. I know God doesn’t want me to drink and so I won’t do it.” At the same time I say a little prayer to God for the strength needed to keep the bargain with Him.  Am I going to keep my bargain with God?

Meditation For The Day

I will try to grow in this new life. I will think of spiritual things often and unconsciously I will grow. The nearer I get to the new life, the more I will see my unfitness. My sense of failure is a sure sign that I am growing in the new life. It is only struggle that hurts.  In sloth–physical, mental or spiritual–there is no sense of failure or discomfort. But with struggle and effort, I am conscious not of strength but of weakness, until I am really living the new life. But in the struggle, I can always rely on the power of God to help me.

Prayer For The Day

I pray that I may see signs of my growth in the new life.  I pray that I may always keep trying to grow.

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As Bill Sees It
March 3
A Different Swinging Door, p. 62

When a drunk shows up among us and says that he doesn’t like the A.A. principles, people, or service management, when he declares that he can do better somewhere else–we are not worried. We simply say, “Maybe your case really is different. Why don’t you try something else?”

If an A.A. member says he doesn’t like his own group, we are not disturbed. We simply say, “Why don’t you try another one? Or start one of your own.”

To those who wish to secede from A.A. altogether, we extend a cheerful invitation to do just that. If they can do better by other means, we are glad. If after trial they cannot do better, we know they face a choice:  They can go mad or die or they can return to A.A. The decision is wholly theirs. (As a matter of fact, most of them do come back.)

Twelve Conceptions, p. 72

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Walk in Dry Places
March 3
What will this change bring?
Change

When facing change, it’s not unusual to feel both apprehension and expectancy. We are apprehensive because we know that change includes risk. We feel expectancy, however, because we know that improvement can come only through some kind of change.

The way to handle change is to see it as part of the higher plan working in our lives. If we believe that our lives are in the care and keeping of our Higher Power, we have to know that everything is in good hands. As change occurs, it is simply part of a plan that is unfolding in order to bring more good into our lives.

We should not expect change without temporary disruptions or even surprises that appear to be setbacks. All that’s necessary is to know that change is good if we maintain the right attitude toward it.

It’s also helpful to review the past changes that have been so important in our lives. Once change has occurred, we come to accept it as normal, forgetting that it involved a lot of anxiety at one time. So it is with any change that is unfolding now. It’s part of a wonderful plan that cannot fail.

I accept change without fear or superstition. Change is built into the nature of things, and will always be part of our lives. I accept it as readily as I accept change of the seasons.

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Keep It Simple
March 3

But the alcoholic . . . will be absolutely unable to stop drinking on the basis of self-knowledge.
–Alcoholics Anonymous

Our program says three things are more important than knowing ourselves: (1) admitting we have no control over our addiction, (2) believing in a Higher Power, and (3) turning our lives over to the care of that Higher Power. knowing ourselves makes our lives better in recovery. But it does not give us sobriety. Sobriety starts with surrender to our Higher Power. We now know we need faith and strength we get from a Higher Power. We also need the support of others in our program.

Prayer for the Day: Higher Power, thanks you for my sobriety today. Teach me what I need to know about myself to do Your will today.

Action for the Day: Today, I’ll talk with my sponsor about the change in my spirit that keeps me sober.

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Each Day A New Beginning
March 3

Most kids hear what you say; some kids do what you say; but all kids do what you do.
–Kathleen Casey Theisen

We are role models for many people: our children, our co-workers, other women in the program. Step Twelve encourages us to set good examples for anyone who might be looking on. Living a principled life takes practice, and progress, not perfection, is hoped for.

Abstinence has offered is a new set of tools for shaping our behavior. No longer must we regret what we did yesterday or last week. We are learning to monitor our actions, but even more importantly, we are defining our values. They, in turn, influence what we say and do.

Thoughtful responses to the situations we encounter require conscious attention to those events. We need reminding, perhaps, that our behavior is continuously telling others who we are, what we value, and how we view people close to us. All of us, consciously or otherwise, imitate behavior patterns of persons we admire. Unfortunately, we sometimes mimic unfavorable behavior, too.

There are those casting their attentions our way. The opportunity to model favorable behavior awaits us.

People will follow my lead. I shall walk softly, humbly and lovingly.

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Alcoholics Anonymous
March 3
MY BOTTLE, MY RESENTMENTS, AND ME

– From childhood trauma to skid row drunk, this hobo finally found a Higher Power, bringing sobriety and a long-lost family.

The article gave the name of the town I live in, so after my brother and sister-in-law finished reading the story, they called the directory assistance and phoned me–the first time we had spoken in more than thirty years. I burst into tears, and so did they. They told me that after my disappearance following the divorce, my family had tried repeatedly to locate me. They were concerned because someone had told them I was either dead or had left the country. I felt bad that i had worried them like that, but in my self-centeredness it had simply never occurred to me that they cared that much. One by one I talked to all my brothers and sisters in the next twenty-four hours. My brother gave me the phone number of my own daughter, whom I hadn’t seen for twenty-seven years, and I called her. Next I talked to both my sons. Oh, God, what an experience! I was so overwhelmed by all the memories and the lost years that it was difficult for me to even speak. I spent several weeks crying as all the old hurts rose to the surface and were healed.

p. 445

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Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions
March 3

Step Two – “Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.”

At this juncture, his A.A. sponsor usually laughs. This, the newcomer thinks, is just about the last straw. This is the beginning of the end. And so it is: the beginning of the end of his old life, and the beginning of his emergence into a new one. His sponsor probably says, “Take it easy. The hoop you have to jump through is a lot wider than you think. At least I’ve found it so. So did a friend of mine who was a one-time vice-president of the American Atheist Society, but he got through with room to spare.”

p. 26

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Xtra Thoughts
March 3

Let us always love the best in others – and never fear their worst.
–Unknown

“In the attitude of silence the soul finds the path in a clearer light, and what is elusive and deceptive resolves itself into crystal clearness. Our life is a long and arduous quest after Truth.”
–Mahatma Gandhi

Whenever you fail or miss out on something you always have tomorrow.  Every dawn is a symbol of renewal, telling you to get up, go out and try again.
–unknown

The night of fear has passed, the light of God defines my pathway.
–unknown

God, help me let go of my unreasonable fears, the ones that are preventing me from living my life.
–Melody Beattie

Resentment is like taking poison and waiting for the other person to die.
–unknown

We surrender to win.
–unknown

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Father Leo’s Daily Meditation
March 3
GENIUS

“The principal mark of genius is not perfection but originality, the opening of new frontiers.”
— Arthur Koestler

I need to remember that genius is often simplicity itself. The original thought need not be abstract, intellectual or technical; the thought exists to transmit the message.

In the slogans “Keep it Simple”, “One Day at a Time”, and “Don’t Pick up the First Drink”, wisdom combines with simplicity to produce sobriety. God is at work outside of His church and the spiritual message always brings healing. A.A. is more than a “fellowship of genius”, it is divinity set to a program. What began with a group of alcoholics will cross new frontiers into the healing of the world.

Lord of Truth, let us always be open and receptive to Your voice.

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Bible Scriptures
March 3

The righteous perish, and no one ponders it in his heart; devout men are taken away, and no one understands that the righteous are taken away to be spared from evil.
Isaiah 57:1

“Show me Your ways, O Lord; teach me Your paths.”
Psalms 25:4

Physical birth only gains us physical life. Spiritual life, the eternal life Christ promises to those who come to Him, is only gained through spiritual birth.
John 3:36

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Daily Inspiration
March 3

Know that you make a difference, so choose to make your contribution one of goodness. Lord, help me to touch my world in a positive manner.

Each day has a new door. It is up to you to open it. Lord, help me to remember that my life is my choice. Bless me with wisdom and give me guidance as I make my choices.

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A Day At A Time
March 3

Reflection For The Day

I’ve begun to better understand myself since I’ve come to The Program. One of the most important things I’ve learned is that opinions aren’t facts. Just because I feel that a thing is so doesn’t necessarily make it so. “Men are not worried by things,” wrote the Greek philosopher Epictetus, “but by their ideas about things. When we meet with difficulties, become anxious or troubled, let us not blame others, but rather ourselves. That is: our ideas about things.” Do I believe that I can never entirely lose what I have learned during my recovery?

Today I Pray

May I learn to sort out realities from my ideas about those realities. May I understand that situations, things, — even people — take on the colors and dimensions of my attitudes about them.

Today I Will Remember

To sort the real from the unreal.

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One More Day
March 3

People, by and large, will relate to the image you project …. If you project the image of a sick, dependent person, that’s how you’ll be treated.
–  Chyatte

Accepting chronic illness is not easy.  Our whole lives are different.  We can’t do all the things we used to do.  We may feel changed and be afraid of the changes our illnesses will bring.  But as we learn to project a strong, positive image, we feel better about ourselves.

For the benefit of ourselves, we must act as if we are doing all right.  When we act as if we are strong, our new behavior can become a new habit, and that habit can actually develop greater emotional strength within us.  We can put illness into perspective as being just one of the changes that occur during a lifetime.

Today, I will allow myself the right to change.  I can survive my health change and live a worthwhile life.

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One Day At A Time
March 3
A DISEASE?

“Doc! What do you mean-nothing! What? An incurable disease?  Doc, you’re kidding me! You’re trying to scare me into stopping!  What’s that you say? You wish you were?  What are those tears in your eyes Doc?”
–The Big Book, The Believer

For a very long time I scoffed at those who said my overweight was because I had a disease. Yes, my body had doubled in size … but it was because I ate more calories than my body burned. My doctor said so … he didn’t say I had a disease. His “treatment” was to tell me to go on a diet and join a gym. The diet lasted for a few months and I believe I used the gym about six or seven times. I know now without a single doubt that I have a disease … a serious one. I know that it is incurable and that I will have to live with this disease for the rest of my life. Dieting made me fat. Somewhere along the way I didn’t “get it.”

One day at a time…
I will resist thinking that being a compulsive eater is not a disease. I will aggressively and tenaciously do the footwork necessarily to combat it.

~ Mari ~

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Elder’s Meditation of the Day March 3

“For me writing has become prayers that say, `Great Spirit, return to us our freedom, our land, and our lives. We are thankful for the present from which we learn how to be thankful for the past, and how to be hopeful for the future.”
–Barney Bush, SHAWNEE

We Native people have really been tested. This testing is having our land taken from us, our culture challenged, and our way of living altered. Gratefully, we have not lost our spirituality. Our spirituality has been the key for our people making it through all of these tests. Our prayers are strong. Indian people have also been able to adjust to change and still keep their culture and spirituality. Today, we should be grateful to the Creator for the present and for the lessons of the past. May our future be guided by the Great Spirit.

Great Spirit, thank You for Mother Earth and Father Sky. Thank You for my life.

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Journey to the Heart
March 3
Treasure Your Experiences

Gather experiences. Treat them as precious jewels.

The purpose of the journey is not to guard and restrain yourself. The purpose is to learn. You do not teach and lead your soul. Your soul leads and teaches you. It takes you wading across streams, strolling through meadows, deep into valleys, and high onto mountaintops. It takes you down winding, narrow roads and long fast-moving four-lane highways. It takes you into tiny cafes, bustling cities, and out-of-the-way hostels where people break bread and tell what they have learned.

Let yourself have all your experiences. Don’t limit or judge yourself or the adventure you have had. All were necessary, all were important, all have helped shape and form you. Your heart will lead you, guide you where you are to go. Don’t worry about getting lost or off track. Don’t worry about being wrong, or in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Gather experiences. Go through them. Select the gems from each. Listen while others tell their stories, their adventures, and show you their jewels, the triths that they have learned. Then, when your friends break and sip soup with others, open your heart and joyfully share what has happened to you along the way.

Having experiences is called living. Sharing experiences is called loving. Let yourself enjoy both.

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Today’s Gift
March 3

Nothing is troublesome that we do willingly.
—Thomas Jefferson

Some of the necessary things we do are tiring and annoying. Many of these things we must do regardless of how we feel about them. Doing dishes day after day can be a tiresome job, but no matter how much we hate it, it must be done sooner or later. We might discover, if we look hard enough, how chores like this can actually be enjoyable, if we do them right. Perhaps dish washing is a time for listening to music and singing along, or an opportunity for conversation between family members as we help one another.

Our willingness to look for the hidden treasure and opportunities in tasks we might otherwise consider dreary will never fail to reward us.

What opportunity can I see in my next chore?

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The Language of Letting Go
March 3
Accepting Ourselves

While driving one day, a woman’s attention focused on the license plate of the car ahead. The license read: B WHO UR. How can I? she thought. I don’t know who I am!

Some of us may have felt confused when people encouraged us to be ourselves. How could we know ourselves, or be who we are, when, for years, many of us submerged ourselves in the needs of others?

We do have a self. We’re discovering more about ourselves daily. We’re learning we’re deserving of love.

We’re learning to accept ourselves, as we are for the present moment – to accept our feelings, thoughts, flaws, wants, needs, and desires. If our thoughts or feelings are confused, we accept that too.

To be who we are means we accept our past – our history – exactly as is.

To be ourselves means we are entitled to our opinions and beliefs – for the present moment and subject to change. We accept our limitations and our strengths.

To be who we are means we accept our physical selves, as well as our mental, emotional, and spiritual selves, for now. Being who we are in recovery means we take that acceptance one step further. We can appreciate our history and ourselves.

Being whom we are, loving and accepting ourselves, is not a limiting attitude. Accepting and loving ourselves is how we enable growth and change.

Today, I will be who I am. If I’m not yet certain who I am, I will affirm that I have a right to that exciting discovery.

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More Language Of Letting Go
March 3
Don’t take storms personally

Somewhere out in the Pacific, a storm brewed and swirled and thrashed and died without ever touching the land. Three days later, under a clear blue sky, the storm surge reached the California coast near Los Angeles. The sea threw rocks at my house, and the waves stacked up and crashed down against the pilings of the foundation. Farther up the street, the ocean ate the back porch of two houses. All night the shoreline trembled and shook from the power of the sea.

The next morning the tide pulled back, the swells calmed, and the sky stayed blue. I walked down the beach, impressed at the way the ocean had littered it with huge chunks of driftwood and rocks. Then I walked back upstairs and drank my morning coffee.

Sometimes, storms aren’t about us.

Sometimes, friends or loved ones will attack us for no apparent reason. They’ll fuss, fume, and snap at us. When we ask them why, they’ll say, “Oh, I’m sorry. I had a bad day at work.”

But we still feel hurt and upset.

Hold people accountable for their behavior. Don’t let people treat you badly. But don’t take the storms in their lives personally. These storms may have nothing to do with you.

Seek shelter if necessary. Get away from curt friends until they have time to calm down; then approach when it’s safe. If the storm isn’t about you, there’s nothing you need to do. Would you stop the ocean waves by standing in the surf with your arms outstetched?

Say whatever. Let the storms blow through.

God, help me not to take the storms in the lives of my friends and loved ones too personally.

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Touchstones Meditation For Men
March 3

“Why are you rushing so much?” asked the rabbi. ” “I’m rushing after my livelihood,” the man answered.”And how do you know,” said the rabbi, “that your livelihood is running on before you, so that you have to rush after it? Perhaps it’s behind you, and all you need to do is stand still.”
—Tale about Rabbi Ben Meir of Berdichev

Most of us accept the standard ideas we were taught. “Men should be good providers.” “We will get self-esteem from hard work.” “It is a virtue to be productive.” “It’s better not to have too much time to think.”

A major crisis can quickly change our perspective. Perhaps someone close to us dies, and we are faced with how temporary life is. Or we have a health crisis, or a relationship crisis, or an addiction crisis. The standard ideas come crashing down. We look closely at the rush of our lives and ask deeper questions: Are we hurrying to a worthwhile goal? Or are we losing out in our great rush? These doubts can teach us personal things that society can never teach us. Wisdom comes out of pain and the willingness to learn from it.

Today, I will allow some time to stand still and reflect.

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DailyTAO
March 3
INTERPRETATION

All that we experience is subjective.
There is no sensation without interpretation.
We create the world and ourselves;
Only when we stop do we see the truth.

The world exists, but we cannot truly be one with it in our normal modes of consciousness. Our minds know the world by constructing conclusions from the data of our senses. All that we know is filtered and interpreted.

Therefore, there is no such thing as objectivity or direct knowledge of the world. Everything is relative because we are each condemned to our particular vantage points. As long as we all have different perspectives, as long as perception relies on our senses, then there cannot be an absolute truth. All knowledge from experience, valuable as it may be, is imperfect and merely provisional.

Inner truth is only glimpsed by disconnecting the mechanism of interpretation. If we can withdraw the activities of the senses and isolate that part of the mind responsible for filtering sensory input, then we can temporarily shut off the ongoing process of interaction with the outside world. We will then be in a neutral place that is wholly turned inward. We are left with an absolute state, entirely without distinction or relativity. This is called nothingness, and it is the truth underlying all things.

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DailyZen
March 3

If you gather your mind in samadhi
You will understand the process
By which phenomena rise and fall.
– Sutra of Bequeathed Teachings

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Food for Thought
March 3
Precision

For the success of our program, many of us have found that it is important to be precise when we weigh and measure our food. It has been our experience that carelessness and sloppiness lead to cheating and bingeing.

An extra spoonful or ounce here and there may not seem important, but it can soon become an extra portion. Then it is easy to think that since we have not followed our plan exactly, we might as well go ahead and really indulge.

There are circumstances when weighing and measuring is impossible; then we estimate as best we can. However, for most of us, most of the time, precise measurements are possible and are a valuable aid in maintaining abstinence. Each time we put back the extra spoonful of carrots and cut away the extra ounce of meat, we are stronger. It is always the first extra bite that is the downfall of the compulsive overeater. If we are careful and precise in our measurements, we will not take it.

Accuracy is honesty.

Make me honest with myself, Lord.

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In God’s Care
March 3

Scream at God if that’s the only thing that will get results.
~~Brendan Francis

People who say they know the way to talk to God are speaking only for themselves. How can anyone say with certainty that this is the way, or that is the way? Or what attitude we are to take, or what words to use, or what to ask for, or whether to ask for anything at all? Our relationship with God is a personal, highly individual thing. We have our own assignment on this journey, and each of us comes to God from a different perspective. There is no right way or wrong way to pray.

A simple act of prayer is enough for some of us; just approaching God is restorative. Others are propelled by intense emotion; our need is so great we must shout. How we do it, though, is not as important as that we do it. The ultimate purpose of prayer is reunion with our Maker. We have gone a long way alone; now we are coming home.

Whether I approach God with a scream or a whisper, I am welcomed.

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Faith’s Check Book
March 3
Not Left to Perish

For thou wilt not leave my soul in hell; neither will thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption.
(Psalm 16:10)

This word has it proper fulfillment in the Lord Jesus; but it applies also, with a variation, to all who are in Him. Our soul shall not be left in the separate state, and our body, though it see corruption, shall rise again. The general meaning, rather than the specific application, is that to which we would call our readers’ thoughts at this particular time.

We may descend in spirit very low till we seem to be plunged in the abyss of hell; but we shall not be left there. We may appear to be at death’s door in heart, and soul, and consciousness; but we cannot remain there. Our inward death as to joy and hope may proceed very far; but it cannot run on to its full consequences, so as to reach the utter corruption of black despair, We may go very low, but not lower than the Lord permits; we may stay in the lowest dungeon of doubt for a while, but we shall not perish there. The star of hope is still in the sky when the night is blackest. The Lord will not forget us and hand us over to the enemy. Let us rest in hope, We have to deal with One whose mercy endureth forever. Surely, out of death, and darkness, and despair we shall yet arise to life, light, and liberty.

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This Morning’s Meditation
March 03

“I have chosen thee in the furnace of affliction.”
—Isaiah 48:10.

COMFORT thyself, tried believer, with this thought: God saith, “I have chosen thee in the furnace of affliction.” Does not the word come like a soft shower, assuaging the fury of the flame? Yea, is it not an asbestos armour, against which the heat hath no power? Let affliction come—God has chosen me. Poverty, thou mayst stride in at my door, but God is in the house already, and He has chosen me. Sickness, thou mayst intrude, but I have a balsam ready—God has chosen me. Whatever befalls me in this vale of tears, I know that He has “chosen” me. If, believer, thou requirest still greater comfort, remember that you have the Son of Man with you in the furnace. In that silent chamber of yours, there sitteth by your side One whom thou hast not seen, but whom thou lovest; and ofttimes when thou knowest it not, He makes all thy bed in thy affliction, and smooths thy pillow for thee. Thou art in poverty; but in that lovely house of thine the Lord of life and glory is a frequent visitor. He loves to come into these desolate places, that He may visit thee. Thy friend sticks closely to thee. Thou canst not see Him, but thou mayst feel the pressure of His hands. Dost thou not hear His voice? Even in the valley of the shadow of death He says, “Fear not, I am with thee; be not dismayed, for I am thy God.” Remember that noble speech of Caesar: “Fear not, thou carriest Caesar and all his fortune.” Fear not, Christian; Jesus is with thee. In all thy fiery trials, His presence is both thy comfort and safety. He will never leave one whom He has chosen for His own. “Fear not, for I am with thee,” is His sure word of promise to His chosen ones in the “furnace of affliction.” Wilt thou not, then, take fast hold of Christ, and say—

“Through floods and flames, if Jesus lead, I’ll follow where He goes.”

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