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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 31

Just For Today
March 31
“Insides Outsides”

“Our real value is in being ourselves.”
Basic Text p. 101

As we work the steps, we’re bound to discover some basic truths about ourselves. The process of uncovering our secrets, exposing them, and searching our characters reveals our true nature. As we become acquainted with ourselves, we’ll need to make a decision to be just who we are.

We may want to take a look at what we present to our fellow addicts and the world and see if it matches up with what we’ve discovered inside. Do we pretend that nothing bothers us when, in truth, we’re very sensitive? Do we cover our insecurities with obnoxious jokes, or do we share our fears with someone? Do we dress like a teenager when we’re approaching forty and are basically conservative?

We may want to take another look at those things which we thought “weren’t us:” Maybe we’ve avoided NA activities because we “don’t like crowds!” Or maybe we have a secret dream of changing careers but have put off taking action because our dream “wasn’t really right” for us. As we attain a new understanding of ourselves, we’ll want to adjust our behavior accordingly. We want to be genuine examples of who we are.

Just for today: I will check my outsides to make sure they match my insides. I will try to act on the growth I have experienced in recovery.

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Daily Reflections
March 31
NO ONE DENIED ME LOVE

On the A.A. calendar it was Year Two … A newcomer appeared at one of these groups … He soon proved that his was a desperate case, and that above all he wanted to get well.  [He said], “Since I am the victim of another addiction even worse stigmatized than alcoholism, you may not want me among you.”
–TWELVE STEPS AND TWELVE TRADITIONS, pp. 141-42

I came to you — a wife, mother, woman who had walked out on her husband, children, family. I was a drunk, a pill-head, a nothing. Yet no one denied me love, caring, a sense of belonging. Today, by God’s grace and the love of a good sponsor and a home group, I can say that — through you in Alcoholics Anonymous — I am a wife, a mother, a grandmother and a woman. Sober. Free of pills. Responsible.  Without a Higher Power I found in the Fellowship, my life would be meaningless. I am full of gratitude to be a member of good standing in Alcoholics Anonymous.

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Twenty-Four Hours A Day
March 31
A.A. Thought For The Day

Since I’ve been in A.A., have I made a start toward being more unselfish? Do I no longer want my own way in everything? When things go wrong and I can’t have what I want, do I no longer sulk? Am I trying not to waste money on myself? And does it make me happy to see my family and my home have enough attention from me? Am I trying not to be all “get” and no “give?”

Meditation For The Day

Each day is a day of progress, steady progress forward, if you make it so. You may not see it, but God does. God does not judge by outward appearance. He judges by the heart. Let Him see in your heart a simple desire always to do His will. Though you may feel that your work has been spoiled or tarnished, God sees it as an offering for Him. When climbing a steep hill, people are often more conscious of the weakness of their stumbling feet than of the view, the grandeur, or even of the upward progress.

Prayer For The Day

I pray that I may persevere in all good things. I pray that I may advance each day in spite of my stumbling feet.

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As Bill Sees It
March 31
To Watch Loneliness Vanish, p. 90

Almost without exception, alcoholics are tortured by loneliness. Even before our drinking got bad and people began to cut us off, nearly all of us suffered the feeling that we didn’t quite belong. Either we were shy, and dared not draw near others, or we were noisy good fellows constantly craving attention and companionship, but rarely getting it.  There was always that mysterious barrier we could neither surmount nor understand.

That’s one reason we loved alcohol too well. But even Bacchus betrayed us, we were finally struck down and left in terrified isolation.

<< << << >> >> >>

Life takes on new meaning in A.A. To watch people recover, to see them help others, to watch loneliness vanish, to see a fellowship grow up about you, to have a host of friends–this is an experience not to be missed.

1. 12 & 12, p. 57
2. Alcoholics Anonymous, p. 89

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Walk in Dry Places
March 31
A Journey, Not a Destination.
How it Works

“Now that you’re sober, why do you stay in AA?” AA members frequently hear this from others not familiar with the fellowship, but it’s understandable. They see AA as a place where one goes to be ” cured,” whereas we learn to see it as an ongoing recovery process that is never really completed.

Sobriety is not an object that one can acquire and then put on a shelf somewhere or on the wall like a diploma. It is more of a JOURNEY IN LIVING, with each day’s march being a goal in itself.

You could also say that sobriety is like the “MANNA FROM HEAVEN” described in the Old Testament. Fresh manna arrived each day, but could not be saved for the future. It is the same with us. Today’s experience in sobriety is what sustains us, and we’re in trouble if we’re trying to depend on what was accomplished in the past.

Though we do use the term “permanent sobriety”, we never truly possess it. Our quest for sobriety is a lifetime journey.

I’ll be on guard against any feeling of “having it made.” Sure, past success should be helpful in maintaining today’s sobriety. But the quality of today’s sobriety will depend only on today’s thinking and behavior.

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Keep It Simple
March 31

You grow up the day you have your first real laugh at yourself.
–Ethel Barrymore

There was a time when we wouldn’t let anyone laugh at us—even ourselves. We had to much shame. We had to much pain. We took the world too seriously. If we laughed it was at others—not at ourselves. Over time , real honest laughter returns to us. Laughter is a way of accepting ourselves as human. To be human means we can make mistakes. It means we can lighten up. It also means growing up. And growing up means being happy with all of who we are—even parts of us that may seem odd or funny. If we can’t laugh at ourselves, we shut ourselves off from the world. We shut ourselves off from the parts of us we need to accept. Am I willing to accept the fact that I’m human.

Prayer for the Day: Higher Power, You made laughter. Help me us it to make my life easier. Help me accept all of me a funny mistake I’ve made.

Action for the Day: Today, I’ll share with someone close to me a funny mistake I’ve made.

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Each Day a New Beginning
March 31

Anger repressed can poison a relationship as surely as the cruelest words.
–Joyce Brothers

Anger is familiar to us all. We feel it toward others and from others. The expression and acceptance of anger is where we often falter. Most of us were told when we were small girls that we shouldn’t be angry, but we were. And we are, even yet. However, we often still feel like a little girl when it comes to angry feelings.

We need to accept our anger and learn to express it, honestly, openly and assertively, not aggressively. We can’t afford to hang onto anger. It grows and then festers and then boils. Soon it is interfering in all our relationships, and it provides a ready excuse for an old, self-destructive pattern we don’t want to entertain for even a moment.

Nothing we set out to do today will have the right outcome, if we carry anger within us. How we interpret life, how we treat our friends, what we do with our opportunities and our challenges–all these are determined by our attitudes. Repressed anger always blocks the way to a positive attitude.

Every experience can uplift me if anger doesn’t weigh me down.

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Alcoholics Anonymous
March 31
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.

There is a saying that alcoholics either get sobered up, locked up, or covered up. Since I was not genuinely willing to do what it took to get sobered up, I had the other options to face. I never dreamed it would happen so quickly.

pp. 455-456

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Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions
March 31

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

When World War II broke out, this spiritual principle had its first major test. A.A.’s entered the services and were scattered all over the world. Would they be able to take discipline, stand up under fire, and endure the monotony and misery of war? Would the kind of dependence they had learned in A.A. carry them through? Well, it did. They had even fewer alcoholic lapses or emotional binges than A.A.’s safe at home did. They were just as capable of endurance and valor as any other soldiers. Whether in Alaska or on the Salerno beachhead, their dependence upon a Higher Power worked. And far from being a weakness, this dependence was their chief source of strength.

pp. 38-39

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Xtra Thoughts
March 31

“Don’t hurry, don’t worry. You’re only here for a short visit. So be sure to stop and smell the flowers.”
–Walter Hagen

Always put yourself in others’ shoes. If you feel that it hurts you, it probably hurts the other person, too.

Getting sober is like learning to ride a horse, if you fall off, get back on, you can’t learn to ride on the ground….
–Patricia D.

“It is no disgrace to start all over. It is usually an opportunity.”
–George Matthew Adams, author

Here is a test to find whether your mission on earth is finished: if you’re alive, it isn’t.
–Richard Bach

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Father Leo’s Daily Meditation
March 31
WORLD

“All wars are civil wars, because all men are brothers … Each one owes infinitely more to the human race than to the particular country in which he was born.”
— Francois Fenelon

My disease of addiction kept me separate, isolated and alone. I was so busy seeing how I was different from other people that I missed the similarities. I missed the “oneness” of this creation by always placing myself above it, below it, outside it: and I was the loser.

Even my religion kept me separate. I was a Christian and not a Jew, Muslim or Hindu — but I failed to see the similarities of these major philosophies; I failed to see what all religious people have in common; I failed to see the inclusiveness of Love, Truth and Forgiveness.

God is to be found in the “difference” and “sameness” of His people.

O Lord, I am discovering that even the differences, when understood, become the same.

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Bible Scriptures
March 31

“But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him”
–Hebrews 11:6

“Find rest, O my soul, in God alone; my hope comes from Him.”
–Psalm 62:5

“Thus says the Lord: ‘Keep justice, and do righteousness, for soon my salvation will come, and my deliverance be revealed. Blessed is the man who does this.”
–Isaiah 56:1-2a

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Daily Inspiration
March 31

We have never before had today and we will never have it again. Lord, as I have the opportunity, let me use this day to do good.

Worse than being a quitter is the one who is afraid to begin. Lord, grant me the courage to believe in myself and the ability to focus on what I can do, not what I can’t do.

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A Day At A Time
March 31

Reflection For The Day

My illness is unlike most other illnesses in that denial that I am sick is a primary symptom that I am sick.  Like such other incurable illnesses as diabetes and arhritis, howeever, my illness is characteriezed by relapses.  In The Program, we call such relapses “slips.”  The one thing I know for certain is that I alone can cause myself to slip.  Will I remember at all times that the thought precedes the action?  Will I try to avoid “stiinking thinking?”

Today I Pray

May God give me the power to resist temptations.  May the responsibility for giving in, for having a “slip,” be on my shoulders and mine only.  May I see beforehand if I am setting myself up for a slip by blame-shifing, shirking my responsibility to myself, becoming the world’s poor puppet once again.  My return to those old attitudes ccan be as much of a slip as the act of losing my sobriety.

Today I Will Remember

Nobody’s slip-proof.

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One More Day
March 31

Why, why, why?
–  James Joyce

“It doesn’t seem fair,” we privately lament.  “How could I have this rotten medical condition just when I’ve hit my stride — the prime time of my life?”

That’s a question we all wonder about.  Many of us may get down on our knees and pray to our Higher Power for understanding.  We might as, “Why Me?”  We might implore, “Why now, when I’m nearly on my feet again?”

We might ask these questions, yet often there are no answers.  Our ways are not His ways.  Sometimes life just isn’t fair;  there are no easy answers.

I have adjusted to other changes in my life, and I can adjust to this one too.  It may take some time, and I may go through the gamut of emotions first, but I am willing.

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One Day At A Time
March 31
WORDS

“Handle them carefully … for words have more power than atom bombs.”
–Pearl Strachan Hurd

A friend wrote to me tonight about the “healing power of words” I began to think about that and she was right. Words can truly heal. I thought back to times in my life when the right word at the right time by the right person made an enormous difference in my life. I also thought of the times when words devastated me.

Many times I get busy and don’t think about what I’m going to say and words come out and in my “busyness” of the moment, I don’t realize they could have a double meaning. It is afterwards … many times days afterwards …. that I realize my choice of words were inappropriate. We speak and listen to tens of millions of words in our lifetime and, perhaps, we need to weigh the words we use more carefully. I hope, however, that I don’t ever find myself saying words to others I don’t mean or out of fear restrict words that need to be said.

Although this British politician of the 1930s, Pearl Strachan Hurd, said that words have more power than atom bombs, there is something that I find even more powerful. Silence. Silence when there should be words can hurt. Silence when someone should have the courage to speak harms. I tend to think of silence as the ultimate insult. And yet some of the most beautiful words ever spoken to me were the silent ones.

One day at a time …
let me choose my words carefully but not so carefully that I become calous. Let me use words to heal and not hurt; to make things better and not worse; to express feelings, even negative feelings to and about others, kindly … courageously … carefully.

~ Mari

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Elder’s Meditation of the Day
March 31

“The old Lakota was wise. He knew that man’s heart away from nature becomes hard; he knew the lack of respect for growing, living things soon led to a lack of respect for humans, too. So he kept his youth close to its softening influence.”
–Luther Standing Bear, OGLALA SIOUX

When we live in nature it’s like constantly being in school. We are in an environment that is always teaching. We are constantly being reminded hat there are laws, Natural Laws, which are running the universe. Once we know these laws and we drift from them, we start to live our lives in a different way. Soon we become discontent, selfish, and disrespectful. Then, we get in trouble. If our lives have become this way, it can be reversed by going back to nature to be among our teachers.

Great Spirit, teach men, again, the Natural Laws.

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Journey to the Heart
March 31
Take the Pressure Off

Sometimes we need a little pressure to get moving, but sometimes we put too much pressure on ourselves. I must do this, we think, and I must do it better and faster. We begin to believe that only by worry and fear and pressuring ourselves can we got the job done– whether the job is spiritual growth, making a particular decision, or accomplishing a task.

That kind of pressure doesn’t get the job done any better or faster. It simply makes you tense and fearful, and stops the creative juices. Too much pressure can take you out of the present moment. It can inhibit the life force, the flow of life within you. That kind of pressure can make so much noise in your mind that you can’t hear your heart.

We have responsibilites. We have time frames and commitments to others. And there are times when we need to get the job done. But the most pressing job can be done best when we’re relaxed. The most urgent decision can be made most clearly when we’re at peace. It doesn’t help to force ourselves to go faster, be somewhere else, or be someone we’re not. There are few things we need to do that can be enhanced by becoming tense, fearful, and worried. The more pressing the situation, the more pressing the need to be present for ourselves, and be present for each moment.

Let off some steam. Release your emotions. Clear the pathway to the heart. The answer will come. The job will get done.

Give yourself some relief. Take the pressure off.

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Today’s Gift
March 31

Withdrawal is a preparation for emergence.
—Nor Hall

A man lost his family in a car accident and wanted to be alone for a while, but he worried whether he was doing the right thing. Then one day a friend told him that when pine cones fall off the lodge pole pine trees, they are sealed shut so the seeds inside can’t get out. The pine cones lie on the forest floor-sometimes for decades-until a forest fire sweeps through. Heat from the fire melts the seal and the seeds fall out and finally grow, and that’s why the lodge pole pine is called a “fire-origin species.”

The man felt good about himself when he heard the story. “Fire-origin species” is a good name for people who’ve been burned by life and find new growth as a result.

How have I grown because of pain and difficulty?

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The Language of Letting Go
March 31
Finances

Taking financial responsibility for ourselves is part of recovery. Some of us may find ourselves in hard financial times for a variety of reasons.

Our recovery concepts, including the Steps, work on money issues and restoring manageability to that area of our life. Make appropriate amends — even if that means tackling a $5,000 debt by sending in $5 a month.

Start where you are, with what you’ve got. As with other issues, acceptance and gratitude turn what we have into more.

Money issues are not a good place to “act as if.” Don’t write checks until the money is in the bank. Don’t spend money until you’ve got it in your hand.

If there is too little money to survive, use the appropriate resources available without shame.

Set goals.

Believe you deserve the best, financially.

Believe God cares about your finances.

Let go of your fear, and trust.

Today, I will focus on taking responsibility for my present financial circumstances, no matter how overwhelming that area of my life may feel and be.

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More Language Of Letting Go
March 31
Change what you can

There are times when it’s best to say whatever and times when it’s best to say enough. Be aware of the difference in these times, and be ready to say both.

Are you being abused or merely annoyed? Is your anger based on a legitimate hurt, or has someone just not lived up to your expectations? Be aware that there’s a difference. Then learn to apply the strategies, as needed, for that particular situation.

Are there any rules for knowing? No, there aren’t. You need to decide and choose what’s best for you at any given time. Trust yourself and your Higher Power. You’re wiser than you think.

Seek balance in your life. Learn when it’s time to let go, and learn when it’s time to act.

God, help me let go of situations that are out of my control and help me take action, when it’s time.

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Touchstones Meditation For Men
March 31

Shared joy is double joy, and shared sorrow is half sorrow.
—Swedish proverb

As recovering men, we know relief and peace when we express our pain and share the burden of a sorrow with each other. Life is too difficult, a day is too long, to carry grief alone and keep our joys to ourselves. We have spent long periods of time in loneliness. Like anyone who has been alone and finally gets a chance to speak, we have much to say to one another.

In this program we tell our stories, and the telling heals us. We tell about our pain and unmanageable past lives. We tell each other about our spiritual experiences. We share our honest doubts and worries about ourselves and events in our daily lives. Full communication at a truly spiritual meeting includes our questions and the incomplete thoughts in our stories as well as the thoughts that are fully concluded. As we talk, we unburden ourselves and learn from each other about closeness and manhood.

Today, I will let the people around me know about my joys and my sorrows. It will enrich my whole experience.

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DailyTAO
March 31
LONGEVITY

Contemplate in the morning.
Pull weeds in the afternoon.
The joys and labor of a single day
Are part of a whole journey.

If all you want is spiritual realization, it isn’t that difficult.  For the average person, a dozen years under the guidance of a good teacher will probably give it to you. That’s shorter than what it takes to be a good musician, athlete, or artist. It’s even shorter that the time it will take you to collect your pension. If you have the good fortune to study with the right person, you can succeed in a relatively short amount of time.

But after you get it, then what? Many of us place such an emphasis on attaining realization that we may forget to put it in context. What actually matters is to walk Tao, maintaining vitality until we meet our end in a timely way. Spiritual realization is essential, but it is not everything.

A starving person dwells inordinately on the thought of food.  Likewise, a spiritually hungry person can only think of realization. One who has food can place it in the right context, just as one who has understanding can place it in the correct perspective. Followers of Tao therefore do not emphasize enlightenment as an ultimate goal. For them, realization is a means, not an end. Their emphasis is on the act of living. They use the word longevity, not because they want to live forever, but because it symbolizes their determination to live the entire course of their lives well.

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DailyZen
March 31

When water is pure and sparkling clear
You see straight to the bottom
When your mind holds no concern
No circumstance can turn you
And once your mind doesn’t stray
A kalpa has no changes
From such awareness nothing hides.

– Han shan

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Food for Thought
March 31
Sanity

Once, a long time ago, I was able to eat a small amount of extra food between meals and then stop. I enjoyed it very much. Over the years, that small amount became more and more. Somewhere along the line, I crossed the boundary of rational eating and moved into an area of insane bingeing.

Now, when the old urge comes for a small amount of extra food, I need to remember that I am incapable of stopping after a reasonable amount. For me, the first compulsive bite is now the point of no return. Once I take it, I cross immediately into insanity.

How do I remember? I need protection against the arrogant, willful delusion that “This time I will be able to handle it; this time I will get away with cheating just a little bit.” How can I protect myself?

Step One says that we are powerless over food. From sad experience, I know this to be a fact. Step Two says that we “came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.” My protection comes from this Higher Power.

Keep me sane, Lord.

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In God’s Care
March 31

I came to this program to save my ass and found out it was attached to my soul.
~~Anonymous

God gets our attention in a lot of different ways. To a great many of us, it was through accdident or illness, coming close to death. All of us come to this program frightened for our life or our sanity or both. God has our attention.

And now we are learning about the spiritual aspect of our life, the one we had so long neglected. Now we are partaking of God’s love–Soul food–and discovering that the spiritual life is fuller and more rewarding than anything we thought possible. Nothing we do to please our body can compare to the joy of unconditional love. When we lend a loving hand to anyone, we realize once again that the pain we suffered was worth it to bring us to this awareness.

Today I will look for ways to help others–and bless my soul!

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Faith’s Check Book
March 31
Presence of Mind

Be not afraid of sudden fear, neither of the desolation of the wicked, when it cometh. For the Lord shall be thy confidence, and shall keep thy foot from being taken. (Proverbs 3:25-26)

When God is abroad in judgments, He would not have His people alarmed. He has not come forth to harm but to defend the righteous.

He would have them manifest courage. We who enjoy the presence of God ought to display presence of mind. Since the Lord Himself may suddenly come, we ought not to be surprised at anything sudden. Serenity under the rush and roar of unexpected evils is a precious gift of divine love.

The Lord would have His chosen display discrimination so that they may see that the desolation of the wicked is not a real calamity to the universe. Sin alone is evil; the punishment which follows thereupon is as a preserving salt to keep society from putrefying. We should be far more shocked at the sin which deserves hell than at the hell which comes out of sin.

So, too, should the Lord’s people exhibit great quietness of spirit. Satan and his serpent seed are full of all subtlety; but those who walk with God shall not be taken in their deceitful snares. Go on, believer in Jesus, and let the Lord be thy confidence.

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This Morning’s Meditation
March 31

“With His stripes we are healed.”—Isaiah 53:5.

PILATE delivered our Lord to the lictors to be scourged. The Roman scourge was a most dreadful instrument of torture. It was made of the sinews of oxen, and sharp bones were inter-twisted every here and there among the sinews; so that every time the lash came down these pieces of bone inflicted fearful laceration, and tore off the flesh from the bone. The Saviour was, no doubt, bound to the column, and thus beaten. He had been beaten before; but this of the Roman lictors was probably the most severe of His flagellations. My soul, stand here and weep over His poor stricken body.
Believer in Jesus, can you gaze upon Him without tears, as He stands before you the mirror of agonizing love? He is at once fair as the lily for innocence, and red as the rose with the crimson of His own blood. As we feel the sure and blessed healing which His stripes have wrought in us, does not our heart melt at once with love and grief? If ever we have loved our Lord Jesus, surely we must feel that affection glowing now within our bosoms.

“See how the patient Jesus stands,
Insulted in His lowest case!
Sinners have bound the Almighty’s hands,
And spit in their Creator’s face.
With thorns His temples gor’d and gash’d
Send streams of blood from every part;
His back’s with knotted scourges lash’d.
But sharper scourges tear His heart.”

We would fain go to our chambers and weep; but since our business calls us away, we will first pray our Beloved to print the image of His bleeding self upon the tablets of our hearts all the day, and at nightfall we will return to commune with Him, and sorrow that our sin should have cost Him so dear.

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