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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.

+ Alcoholics Anonymous Online Meeting Finder
+ Overeaters Anonymous Meeting Finder
+ Narcotics Anonymous Meeting Finder
+ Al-Anon Online Meeting Finder

Daily Recovery Readings – March 30

Just For Today
March 30
God – Centeredness

“Gradually as we become more God-centered than self-centered, our despair turns to hope.”
Basic Text p. 92

What a glorious thing to have hope! Before coming to Narcotics Anonymous, many of us lived lives of utter hopelessness. We believed we were destined to die from our disease.

Many members speak of being on a “pink cloud” their first months in the program. We’ve stopped using, made some friends, and life looks promising. Things are going great. Then reality sets in. Life is still life—we still lose jobs, our partners still leave us, friends still die, we still get sick. Abstinence is no guarantee that life will always go our way.

When the reality of life on its own terms sets in, we turn to our Higher Power and remember that life happens the way life happens. But no matter what occurs in our recovery we need not despair, for there is always hope. That hope lies in our relationship with our Higher Power.

This relationship, as expressed by the thought in our text, develops over time: “Gradually we become more God-centered.” As we rely more and more on the strength of our Higher Power, life’s struggles don’t have to drag us into the sea of despair. As we focus more on God, we focus less on ourselves.

Just for today: I will rely on my Higher Power. I will accept that, regardless of what happens, my Higher Power will provide me with the resources to live with it.

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Daily Reflections
March 30
OUR GROUP CONSCIENCE

“. . . sometimes the good is the enemy of the best.”
–ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS COMES OF AGE, p. 101

I think these words apply to every area of A.A.’s Three Legacies:  Recovery, Unity and Service! I want them etched in my mind and life as I “trudge the Road of Happy Destiny” (Alcoholics Anonymous, p. 164).  These words, often spoken by co-founder Bill W., were appropriately said to him as the result of the group’s conscience. It brought home to Bill W. the essence of our Second Tradition: “Our leaders are but trusted servants; they do not govern.”

Just as Bill W. was originally urged to remember, I think that in our group discussions we should never settle for the “good,” but always strive to attain the “best.” These common strivings are yet another example of a loving God, as we understand Him, expressing Himself through the group conscience. Experiences such as these help me to stay on the proper path of recovery. I learn to combine initiative with humility, responsibility with thankfulness, and thus relish the joys of living my twenty-four hour program.

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Twenty-Four Hours A Day
March 30
A.A. Thought For The Day

Before I met A.A., I was very unloving. From the time I went away to school, I paid very little attention to my mother and father, I was on my own and didn’t even bother to keep in touch with them. After I got married, I was very unappreciative of my spouse. Many a time I would go out all by myself to have a good time. I paid too little attention to our children and didn’t try to understand them or show them affection. My few friends were only drinking companions, not real friends. Have I gotten over loving nobody but my self?

Meditation For The Day

Be calm, be true, and be quiet. Do not get emotionally upset by anything that happens around you. Feel a deep, inner security in the goodness and purpose in the universe. Be true to your highest ideals. Do not let yourself slip back into the old ways of reacting. Stick to your spiritual guns. Be calm always. Do not talk back or defend yourself too much against accusation, whether false or true. Accept criticism as well as you accept praise. Only God can judge the real you.

Prayer For The Day

I pray that I may not be upset by the judgment of others. I pray that I may let God be the judge of the real me.

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As Bill Sees It
March 30
Review The Day, p. 89

When we retire at night, we constructively review our day. Were we resentful, selfish, dishonest, or afraid? Do we owe an apology? Have we kept something to ourselves which should be discussed with another person at once? Were we kind and loving toward all? What could we have done better? Were we thinking of ourselves most of the time? Or were we thinking of what we could do for others, of what we could pack into the stream of life?

We must be careful not to drift into worry, remorse, or morbid reflection, for that would diminish our usefulness to ourselves and to others. After we making our review, we ask God’s forgiveness and inquire what corrective measures should be taken.

Alcoholics Anonymous, p. 86

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Walk in Dry Places
March 30
Identify, don’t compare
Good Judgment.

There’s always danger in comparing ourselves with others. If we use behavior and drinking as yardsticks, such comparisons can lead us to believe that we might not really be alcoholics. This mistaken conclusion has been the undoing of some alcoholics.

The better course is to identify with the problems others have in common with us. Thought drinking patterns and habits may vary between two people, individuals may at least share the fears and delusions that drinking brought.

Other common factors that bind alcoholics together are emotional immaturity, a misplaced faith that alcohol solves problems, loneliness, and a tendency toward resentments. These also make good discussion topics for meetings.

At the very beginning of AA, the founders had trouble coming up with a real definition of alcoholism. Since then, we’ve done very well be letting members “Diagnose” themselves. It’s best to leave it this way: “If your drinking is a problem in your life, AA has an answer for you.

Today I will not waste time comparing myself with others. Having accepted my alcoholism, I’ll devote my attention to the things that enhance sobriety.

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Keep It Simple
March 30

Spirituality is…the awareness that survival is a savage fight between you and yourself.
–Lisa S.

As recovering people, we’re getting stronger each day. We go to meetings to learn how to be better people. But we also go to remind ourselves of the beast inside us—our addiction. This beast is waiting for us to slip—to go back to our addiction—so it can regain control.

Thus ,it’s wise to learn all we can about our disease. That’s why it’s important to do a good job on our Fourth Step. When we work Step Four, we learn how our addiction acts, thinks, and feels. With the help of our program, we can quiet the beast. One Day at a Time.,

Prayer for the Day: Higher Power, I’m fighting for my life. Thanks to You, I’m winning today and my life is free.

Action for the Day: I’ll talk to a friend about my addiction, the beast inside me. I’ll do this so it will have less power over me.

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Each Day a New Beginning
March 30

The pure relationship, how beautiful it is! How easily it is damaged, or weighted down with irrelevancies–not even irrelevancies, just life itself, the accumulations of life and of time.
–Anne Morrow Lindbergh

Many of us are presently rebuilding old relationships and searching for new ones, ones that we hope we can protect. We can’t survive without relationships, some intimate, some close, some casual. And we discover ourselves through our relationships with others.

The purity of a relationship is directly proportional to the undivided attention we both give to those shared moments, hours, experiences, to being there with one another. This communion with another is the celebration of life and God that quickens hearts and ushers in serenity.

Each day I can look for those chances to give myself wholly. And gifts will abound.

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Alcoholics Anonymous
March 30
SAFE HAVEN

– This A.A. found that the process of discovering who he really was began with knowing who he didn’t want to be.

I did all the things that were suggested for me not to do. Within my first year around A.A., I made some major decisions, like getting married, renting the most expensive apartment I could find, not using my sponsor, avoiding the steps, hanging around old haunts with my old drinking pals, and talking more than listening during meetings. In short, I wasn’t responding to the miracle of A.A. My disease progressed and I became a regular patient in detox hospitals, intensive care units, and treatment centers. Permanent insanity was drawing near, and the gates of death were in view.

p. 455

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Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions
March 30

Step Three – “Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.”

Therefore, we who are alcoholics can consider ourselves fortunate indeed. Each of us has had his own near-fatal encounter with the juggernaut of self-will, and has suffered enough under its weight to be willing to look for something better. So it is by circumstance rather than by any virtue that we have been driven to A.A., have admitted defeat, have acquired the rudiments of faith, and now want to make a decision to turn our will and our lives over to a Higher Power.

pp. 37-38

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Xtra Thoughts
March 30

For happiness brings happiness
And loving ways bring love;
And Giving is the treasure
That contentment is made of.
–Amanda Bradley

Life is like a taxi. The meter just keeps a-ticking whether you are getting somewhere or just standing still.
–Lou Erickson

No matter what we have done, God always offers us the chance to begin anew. Knowing that God grants us a new beginning, we, too, can look at our parents, our children, our partner or our friends, anyone with whom we’ve had some distance, and say, “Let’s have a new beginning.” Love is greater than any of our mistakes.
–Mary Manin Morrissey

God, help me be open to all the ways you speak to me to help guide me along my path.
-Melody Beattie

Words are potent weapons for all causes, good or bad.
–Manly Hall

A blow with a word strikes deeper than a blow with a sword.
–Robert Burton

In our lowest moments God is with us to say, “Do not fear.”
–Bob Frankenburg

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Father Leo’s Daily Meditation
March 30
REASON

“For here we are not afraid to follow wherever it may lead, nor to tolerate error so long as reason is free to combat it.”
— Thomas Jefferson

As an alcoholic I was so often afraid to challenge the thinking and ideas of other people. My “people pleasing” demanded peace at any price.  And yet so much of what I heard, read and practiced I did not agree with. Now I see that my behavior, my attitude — along with the alcohol consumption — kept me sick.

In my spiritual program today I am free to reject, consider and have my own opinions in life. I do not simply have to agree with everything that is said, in this way I am discovering my value and self-esteem.

Lord, I am grateful for the freedom to cooperate.

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Bible Scriptures
March 30

“Love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another.”
John 13:34

‘In thee, O Lord, do I put my trust.’
Psalm 71

“Cast all your anxiety on him, because he cares for you.”
1 Peter 5:7

‘I will restore health unto thee, and I will heal thee of thy wounds, saith the Lord.’
Jeremiah, 30:17

“The apostles said to the Lord, ‘Increase our faith!’ The Lord replied, ‘If you had faith the size of a mustard seed, you could say to this mulberry tree, “Be uprooted and planted in the seas,” and it would obey you.'”
Luke 17:5-6

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Daily Inspiration
March 30

Some can find fault in everything, but it takes a good and loving heart to find goodness, especially when it is less than obvious. Lord, bless me with gentleness and patience and the determination not to complain.

There is much wisdom in knowing what to overlook. Lord, may I take every opportunity to praise and choose carefully when I feel the need to criticize.

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A Day At A Time
March 30

Reflection For The Day

“When I meditate upon such a vision,” Bill W. continued, “I need not be dismayed because I shall never attain it, nor need I swell with presumption that one of these days its virtues shall all be mine.  I only need to dwell on the vision itself, letting it grow and even more fill my heart…  Then I get a sane and healthy idea of where I stand on the highway to humility.  I see that my journey towards God has scarcely begun.  As I thus get down to my right size and stature, my self-concern and importance become amusing.”  Do I take myself too seriously?

Today I Pray

May the grandiosity which is a symptom of my chemical addiction be brought back into proportion by the simple comparison of my powerlessness with the power of God.  May I think of the meaning of Higher Power as it relates to my human frailty.   May it bring my ego back down to scale and help me shed my defenses of pomp or bluster or secret ideas of self-importance.

Today I Will Remember

He is great.  I am small.

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One More Day
March 30

If you don’t learn to laugh at trouble, you won’t have anything to laugh at when you grow old.
–  Ed Howe

Laughing with others is important.  Learning to laugh at our own problems, however, is even more important.  Since we will continue to live with situations that cause us all types of problems, we may as well learn to laugh at ourselves.

Often with chronic illness, coordination changes.  Reaction time may be slower.  Sensitivity to cold, heat, or pain may be altered.  It’s only logical that we will find ourselves in potentially embarrassing situations because of our bodies.

Often, a hearty laugh at all the strange situations flung our way is just the thing to help us work through what is painful and difficult.  Laughter is a gift we give to ourselves.  We can carry it with us whenever we go, it will always be ours.

I am headed in the right direction when I can laugh.

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One Day At A Time
March 30
DISLOYALTY

““Health is the greatest gift, contentment the greatest wealth, faithfulness the best relationship.”
–Buddah

I have a history of chaotic relationships filled with destructive drama and a lack of loyalty. For many years, however, I believed that I was in fact a very loyal friend – and that it was my friends who were disloyal to me.

I was an avid — even rabid — people-pleaser. I drove myself crazy trying to figure out what people wanted and how I could best provide that for them. Because I thought I knew what was best for everybody, I failed to truly listen to the people in my life. Instead, I tried to impose my will upon them…then I wondered why they didn’t appreciate all of my efforts on “their” behalf. When they inevitably became frustrated with me, I was wounded by what I perceived to be their lack of loyalty to me.

Only recently in my recovery program have I come to learn that my efforts at people-pleasing were actually symptoms of my own disloyalty. I was failing to relate with people as they are – rather I was relating to them as I thought they “should be”. That is perhaps the most egregious form of disloyalty…insisting that others be loyal to my concept of them and myself.

Now I am taking steps to honestly listen to people and to relate with them as they are – and as I truly am. I am no longer hiding behind food. In order to be loyal in my relationships, I must be loyal to the ‘Truth of Reality.’ Only then can we share the joy of faithful relationships.

One day at a time …

I will practice listening to the people in my life and I will honor them as they are. Each day I can choose to be loyal, rather than critical or people-pleasing.

~ Lisa

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Elder’s Meditation of the Day
March 30

“If anyone has children, they better teach their children to follow the traditions that we’re leaving behind because it is later than we think with all that’s going on.”
–Juanita Centeno, CHUMASH

The habits, attitudes, and beliefs that carry the human through the trials of life are developed at a very young age. If we are taught respect at a very young age, the odds are we’ll be respectful throughout our whole lives. If we are taught to dance at a young age, we’ll dance our whole lives. If we are taught to sing the traditional songs while we are young, we’ll sing those songs throughout our whole lives. And who do we drum and sing songs to? Our children. This is how we keep it going.

Great Spirit, today, teach me to teach the children.

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Journey to the Heart
March 30
Who or What Is Pulling on You?

Learn to become sensitive to the quiet as well as the clamorous pulls on your energy, your time, your emotions. You are becoming connected– to yourself, the universe, God, others– in a way you have never been before. To deny these pulls is to deny the connections.

A quiet tug on our consciousness may be telling us what we need to do. We think about an old friend and contemplate calling her, but we don’t. Don’t be silly, we tell ourselves. Why would I do that now? But maybe that friend is calling out to us. Or we have a problem we haven’t known how to solve. That situation begins to work on us, bothering us, interrupting our day. Maybe our instincts are telling us it’s time to do something about it.

We are living differently now, more magically, more at ease, more at one with our actions. One way we know it is time to do something not on the calendar or the clock is to pay attention to the quiet pulls on our energy. Being conscious of these impulses, then trusting ourselves to naturally know what to do and when to do it puts us in harmony with the universe and our soul.

Who or what is pulling on you? What do you think you should do? Now, take it to the next step, the next level. What does your heart lead you to do?

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Today’s Gift
March 30

Come stand by my side where I’m going, Take my hand if I stumble and fall, It’s the strength that you share when you’re growing, That gives me what I need most of all.
—Hoyt Axton

The bear cub was miserable. Her father, the leader of the pack, had left a month ago to find them winter shelter and had not yet returned. Everyone went on as if nothing had changed.

One evening the cub had a dream in which her father appeared and said, “Daughter, I know you grieve for me, but your burden is too heavy to carry alone. Share it with the others and let them comfort you. Sharing will only lighten your load, and if you can accept help now you will find it easier to give when others are in need.”

The next morning the little cub woke with a much lighter heart. As it turns out, everyone in the pack shared the same dream. There was much hugging and crying and reaching out and healing.

We can easily lighten our loads by asking support from those who love us, knowing our turn to help will come.

What help can I ask for today?

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The Language of Letting Go
March 30
Experiment

Experiment. Try something new. Try stepping out.

We have been held back too long. We have held ourselves back too long.

As children, many of us were deprived of the right to experiment. Many of us are depriving ourselves of the right to experiment and learn as adults.

Now is the time to experiment. It is an important part of recovery. Let yourself try things. Let yourself try something new. Yes, you will make mistakes. But from those mistakes, you can learn what your values are.

Some things we just won’t like. That’s good. Then we’ll know a little more about who we are and what we don’t like.

Some things we will like, they will work with our values. They will work with who we are, and we will discover something important and life enriching.

There is a quiet time in recovery, a time to stand still and heal, a time to give ourselves a cooling off time. This is a time of introspection and healing. It is an important time. We deal with our issues.

There also comes a time when it is equally important to experiment, to begin to test the water.

Recovery does not equal abstention from life. Recovery means learning to live and learning to live fully. Recovery means exploration, investigation, and experimentation.

Recovery means being done with the rigid, shame-based rules from the past, and formulating healthy values based on self-love, love for others, and living in harmony with this world.

Experiment. Try something new. Maybe you won’t like it. Maybe you’ll make a mistake. But maybe you will like it, and maybe you’ll discover something you love.

Today, I will give myself permission to experiment in life. I will stop rigidly holding myself back, and I will jump in when jumping in feels right. God, help me let go of my need to deprive myself of being alive.

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More Language Of Letting Go
March 30
Go with the flow

I was standing in my kitchen, many years ago, cooking Thanksgiving dinner. The children were racing around the house. I was expecting company. Dinner wasn’t coming out the way I’d planned. And then I noticed, to my dismay, that one of my acrylic nails was mssing. I looked around frantically, then realized it was most likely where I feared: inside the turkey, in the stuffing.

I called my best friend and explained things to her.

“Just relax,” she said, in a cheery voice I liked so much– sometimes. “Go with the flow.”

“How?” I said, quietly.

I don’t remember the details of how that day worked out, but it did– I think Nichole found the nail. And so did the next. And so did the next. In time the lesson became clear– learn to relax, and go with the flow. From that relaxed place, you will learn to naturally manifest your power.

Some people call it ki, some chi, some the Holy Spirit, some the Way, the Tao, God’s will, or the force. Whatever we choose to call it, there’s an energy flow, a path, that will lead us through any situation we encounter in life.

I spent many years resisting this flow, this universal life force. I expended a great deal of energy creating dramas around each incident that took place. I spent as much time resisting a feeling or an event as I spent dealing with it. I lived in a state of fear.

The answer will appear. A solution will come to you. You’ll be led to the next place, person, or event. You’ll get the opening you need, along with the inspiration, courage, and wisdom. Feelings will come and go.

The lesson isn’t that things will be okay. It’s that things are okay, right now.

God, teach me how to give up resistance and go with the flow.

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Touchstones Meditation For Men
March 30

We all carry it within us: supreme strength, the fullness of wisdom, unquenchable joy. It is never thwarted and cannot be destroyed. But it is hidden deep, which is what makes life a problem.
—Huston Smith

How does a man lose touch with his strength, his wisdom, his joy? Perhaps it is in the nature of humanity. Our most profound qualities are hidden deep. They never go away, but we cannot always find them. There may be nothing wrong with ourselves as men when we lose touch. It doesn’t have to mean that we are “bad guys” for getting depressed or for feeling inadequate. Who doesn’t have that problem? It is the nature of life that we sometimes feel this way. This program helps us unearth the resources hidden within us.

When we cannot find those reassuring feelings of strength and wisdom and joy, we may think they are gone forever. We even doubt we ever had them or could have them again. But they are still there. They cannot be destroyed. And when we regain contact we know they have been with us all along.

I will have faith that the innermost places in me can never be destroyed.

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DailyTAO
March 30
DISENGAGEMENT

Wearily I open my prayer book,
Sepia photograph of sage on amber page,
Flaming raven Sanskrit, strange syllables,
Intone, chant, repeat.
Number vows with beads:
Every resolution is inspiration petrified.

There are some days when one is disengaged from Tao, not interested in devotion, and everything just becomes an empty form. Gone are spiritual bliss, deep insight, and integration with the rhythm of the universe. Instead, there is duty, form, and stiff discipline. One can try to remember the reasons for one’s quest, think of the achievements of the past, reaffirm one’s goals, and still not be inspired to do one’s practice. What do you do?

Every once in a while, it is permissible to skip things for a day.  If you are angry, under great stress, or ill, then it is best simply to rest. But if one has made vows, if it is only a matter of laziness or indifference, then you must exert your discipline and practice even if it means that you are just going through the motions. In at least half the cases, something significant will happen. The rest of the time, going through your forms is in itself a good practice. It builds a tremendous momentum that will manifest itself in later times.

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DailyZen
March 30

The east wind, knowing I plan to walk
Through the hills,
Hushed the sound of endless rain
Between the eaves.
On peaks, fair-weather clouds,
Cloth caps pulled down;
Early sun in treetops
A copper gong suspended.
Wild peach smiles over low bamboo hedges;
By clear sandy streams,
Valley willows sway.
These west hill families must be happiest of all,
Boiling cress and roasting shoots to feed
Spring planters.

– Su Tung-p’o (1073)

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Food for Thought
March 30
Simple Joys

When we came into OA, we may have thought that we needed many material possessions, power, security, and great admiration from other people in order to be happy. We may have spent a tremendous amount of effort trying to acquire these things. Perhaps we were apparently successful, and yet were miserable because of our inability to control our eating. No amount of material possessions, fame, or prestige can alleviate the pain of compulsive overeating.

Abstinence is simple. It does not require great wealth, talent, or intellectual ability. It is immediately available to all of us. When we abstain, we know the simple joy of waking up in the morning feeling good. We can live without fear of our next eating binge. We find that we enjoy our three simple meals a day much more than our former overindulgences.

Through OA, we can accept ourselves and others for what we are. We do not have to impress each other. Friendship and sharing increase our joy.

Thank You for the simple joys of abstinence.

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In God’s Care
March 30

Love the moment and the energy of the moment will spread beyond all boundaries
~~Corita Kent

When we quiet our mind, bypassing our thoughts about the hour or day before, or our fear over what may come tomorrow, we can more easily relish each moment–this moment. We too often succumb to the seduction of worrying about the past and future, which are beyond our control. Our unwillingness to give up this obsessive thinking keeps the joy and serenity we long for out of reach. We forget that the power lies within us to clear our mind and to fully experience the peace of the moment.

Quieting our mind requires commitment and practice. We can circumvent any thought and experience moments of peace–a peace that will become as seductive as our old obsession to worry.

I will choose to give up worry today and enjoy many peace-fillled moments instead.

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Faith’s Check Book
March 30
Prayer, Thanksgiving, Praise

Be careful for nothing; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
–(Philippians 4:6-7)

No care but all prayer. No anxiety but much joyful communion with God. Carry your desires to the Lord of your life, the guardian of your soul. Go to Him with two portions of prayer and one of fragrant praise. Do not pray doubtfully but thankfully. Consider that you have your petitions, and therefore thank God for His grace. He is giving you grace; give Him thanks, Hide nothing. Allow no want to lie rankling in your bosom; “make known your requests.” Run not to man. Go only to your God, the Father of Jesus, who loves you in Him.

This shall bring you God’s own peace. You shall not be able to understand the peace which you shall enjoy. It will enfold you in its infinite embrace. Heart and mind through Christ Jesus shall be steeped in a sea of rest. Come life or death, poverty, pain, slander, you shall dwell in Jesus above every rolling wind or darkening cloud. Will you not obey this dear command?

Yes, Lord, I do believe thee; but, I beseech thee, help mine unbelief.

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This Morning’s Meditation
March 30

“He was numbered with the transgressors.”
-—Isaiah 53:12.

WHY did Jesus suffer Himself to be enrolled amongst sinners? This wonderful condescension was justified by many powerful reasons. In such a character He could the better become their advocate. In some trials there is an identification of the counselor with the client, nor can they be looked upon in the eye of the law as apart from one another. Now, when the sinner is brought to the bar, Jesus appears there Himself. He stands to answer the accusation. He points to His side, His hands, His feet, and challenges Justice to bring anything against the sinners whom He represents; He pleads His blood, and pleads so triumphantly, being numbered with them and having a part with them, that the Judge proclaims, “Let them go their way; deliver them from going down into the pit, for He hath found a ransom.” Our Lord Jesus was numbered with the transgressors in order that they might feel their hearts drawn towards Him. Who can be afraid of one who is written in the same list with us? Surely we may come boldly to Him, and confess our guilt. He who is numbered with us cannot condemn us. Was He not put down in the transgressor’s list that we might be written in the red roll of the saints? He was holy, and written among the holy; we were guilty, and numbered among the guilty; He transfers His name from yonder list to this black indictment, and our names are taken from the indictment and written in the roll of acceptance, for there is a complete transfer made between Jesus and His people. All our estate of misery and sin Jesus has taken; and all that Jesus has comes to us. His righteousness, His blood, and everything that He hath He gives us as our dowry. Rejoice, believer, in your union to Him who was numbered among the transgressors; and prove that you are truly saved by being manifestly numbered with those who are new creatures in Him.

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