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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 8

Just For Today
March 8
Learning To Love Ourselves

“What we want most is to feel good about ourselves.”
Basic Text, p. 97

“We’ll love you until you can learn to love yourself!” These words, heard so often in our meetings, promise a day we look forward to eagerly – the day when we’ll know how to love ourselves.

Self-esteem, we all want this elusive quality as soon as we hear about it. Some of us seem to stumble upon it accidentally, while others embark on a course of action complete with affirmations made to our reflections in the mirror. But fix-it-yourself techniques and trendy psychological cures can only take us so far.

There are some definite, practical steps we can take to show love for ourselves, whether we “feel” that love or not. We can take care of our personal responsibilities. We can do nice things for ourselves, as we would for a lover or a friend. We can start paying attention to our own needs. We can even pay attention to the qualities that we cherish in our friends – qualities like intelligence and humor – and look for those same qualities in ourselves. We’re sure to find that we really are lovable people, and once we do that, we’re well on our way.

Just for today: I will do something today that helps me recognize and feel love for myself.

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Daily Reflections
March 8
TURNING IT OVER

Every man and woman who has joined A.A. and intends to stick has, without realizing it, made a beginning on Step Three. Isn’t it true that in all matters touching upon alcohol, each of them has decided to turn his or her life over to the care, protection, and guidance of Alcoholics Anonymous? . . . Any willing newcomer feels sure A.A. is the only safe harbor for the foundering vessel he has become. Now if this is not turning one’s will and life over to a newfound Providence, then what is it?
TWELVE STEPS AND TWELVE TRADITIONS, p. 35

Submission to God was the first step to my recovery. I believe our Fellowship seeks a spirituality open to a new kinship with God. As I exert myself to follow the path of the Steps, I sense a freedom that gives me the ability to think for myself. My addiction confined me without any release and hindered my ability to be released from my self-confinement, but A.A. assures me of a way to go forward.  Mutual sharing, concern and caring for others is our natural gift to each other and mine is strengthened as my attitude toward God changes. I learn to submit to God’s will in my life, to have self-respect, and to keep both of these attitudes by giving away what I receive.

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Twenty-Four Hours A Day
March 8
A.A. Thought For The Day

We must go to A.A. meetings regularly. We must learn to think differently. We must change from alcoholic thinking to sober thinking. We must reeducate our minds. We must try to help other alcoholics. We must cooperate with God by spending at least as much time and energy on the A.A. program as we did on drinking. We must follow the A.A. program to the best of our ability. Have I turned my alcoholic problem over to God and am I cooperating with Him?

Meditation For The Day

The joy of true fellowship shall be mine in full measure. I will revel in the joy of real fellowship. There will come back a wonderful joy, if I share in fellowship now. Fellowship among spiritually minded people is the embodiment of God’s purpose for this world. To realize this will bring me a new life-joy. If I share in humanity’s joy and travail, a great blessing will be mine. I can truly live a life not of earth, but a heaven-life here and now.

Prayer For The Day

I pray that I may be helped and healed by true spiritual fellowship. I pray that I may sense His presence in spiritual fellowship with His children.

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As Bill Sees It
March 8
Thousands of “Founders”, p. 67

“While I thank God that I was privileged to be an early member of A.A., I honestly wish that the word ‘founder’ could be eliminated from the A.A. vocabulary.

“When you get right down to it, everyone who has done any amount of successful Twelfth Step work is bound to be the founder of a new life for other alcoholics.”

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

“A.A. was not invented! Its basis were brought to us through the experience and wisdom of many great friends. We simply borrowed and adapted their ideas.”

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

“Thankfully, we have accepted the devoted services of many nonalcoholics. We owe our very lives to the men and women of medicine and religion. And, speaking for Dr. Bob and myself, I gratefully declare that had it not been for our wives, Anne and Lois, neither of us could have lived to see A.A.’s beginning.”

1. Letter, 1945
2. Letter, 1966
3. Letter, 1966

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Walk in Dry Places
March 8
What Do I project?
Personal Relations.

Were we ever told that our problems with other people really started within ourselves? If we have trouble getting along with another person, for example, is it because we are projecting mixed signals of fear and suspicion toward that person? We tend to reap what we sow—– we get back the attitudes we project.

At the same time, however, we can’t take total responsibility for the way others treat us or behave toward us. We cannot reform or control impossible people. When dealing with impossible people, we have control over our own feelings and responses. This helps us avoid potential trouble and enables us to deal with difficult situations.

But the principle of sowing what we reap….. that is, getting back what we project… can really be proved by the person whose resentments and bitterness have driven away most of his or her friends. A simple change of attitude on our part can bring startling change for the better in there responses of others. With practice, the principle also applies to the broad area of human relations in many ways. For purposes of inventory, therefore, we should always look first at ourselves and our own thoughts and feelings when we find ourselves in a bad situation with others.

…….I will take care today to see that my thoughts and feeling toward others reflect what I want in my own life.

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Keep It Simple
March 8

We lose the fear of making decisions, great and small, as we realize that should our choice prove wrong we can, if we will, learn from experience.
—Bill W.

As our disease grew, we often felt like any decision we made was wrong. We felt like wrong people. We lost self-respect, because deep inside we knew that, for us alcohol and other drugs was wrong. We went against our spirit. Now we go with our spirit. We follow what we think our Higher Power want for us. Now we learn from our mistakes. Another wonderful gift has been given back to us: the gift of learning. From that gift, we stop playing God. How free it feels!

Prayer for the Day: Higher Power, You have taken away my illness and replaced it with many wonderful gifts. I thank You for everything, even my mistakes.

Action for the Day: Today, I’ll share with a friend my mistakes of the past week.

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Each Day a New Beginning
March 8

To create is to boggle the mind and alter the mood. Once the urge has surged, it maintains its own momentum. We may go along for the ride, but when we attempt to steer the course, the momentum dies.
–Sue Atchley Ebaugh

A sense of spiritual well-being warms us when we are selfless, when we step away from our obsessing egos, when we let our pure, unfettered desires direct our thoughts and our steps. Our egos may be keeping us caged in old behavior, old fears. Egos struggle for self-preservation; unfortunately, it’s our old, unhealthy self the ego is preserving.

The Steps make it possible for us to unload our baggage from earlier days, baggage that intrudes on our perceptions of today’s events. The Steps clear the path so we can move responsibly forward.

Living creatively is living in the thick of the flow, trusting the flow, spontaneously moving with the flow, not controlling the flow. We are Spirit-full when we let ourselves roll forward, resisting not, doubting not. And our greatest contributions will be discovered when our ego takes a rest.

My creativity awaits my discovery. It’s there. I will release it from the clutches of my ego.

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Alcoholics Anonymous
March 8
HE LIVED ONLY TO DRINK

– “I had been preached to, analyzed, cursed, and counseled, but no one had ever said, ‘I identify with what’s going on with you. It happened to me and this is what I did about it.'” I drank so much that night that nobody believed I hadn’t been drinking all the time, and I didn’t get drunk, although there were parts of the evening that I didn’t remember the next day. But more important than anything else that night, I belonged. I was at home in the universe; I was comfortable with people. Despite my active church and school life as a child, I had never really felt comfortable; I was actually very nervous and insecure around people and most of the time forced myself to be ongoing like my parents because I thought it was my duty. But this night in the bar was like no other time in my life. Not only was I completely at ease, but I actually loved all the strangers around me and they loved me in return, I thought, all because of this magic potion, alcohol. What a discovery. What a revelation!

p. 447

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Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions
March 8

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

Consider next the plight of those who once had faith, but have lost it. There will be those who have drifted into indifference, those filled with self-sufficiency who have cut themselves off, those who have become prejudiced against religion, and those who are downright defiant because God has failed to fulfill their demands. Can A.A. experience tell all these they may still find a faith that works?

p. 28

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Xtra Thoughts
March 8

There is no exercise better for the heart than reaching down and lifting people up.
–John Andrew Holme

Keeping hearts happy is a lot like keeping bodies happy. We need to feed our hearts well through reading, prayer, and meditation, and to exercise them by loving.
–Jane Nakken

The Twelve Steps have powerfully guided me from just surviving to living.
–Elizabeth Farrell

God’s gifts are slowly revealed.
–Michele Fedderly

God is with us in every problem we face.
–Naoko Ezaki

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Father Leo’s Daily Meditation
March 8
DOUBT

“Sixty years ago I knew everything; now I know nothing; education is a progressive discovery of our own ignorance.”
— Will Durant

Spirituality is the art of knowing that we do not know. It is waking up in the morning with our eyes fully opened and awaiting the adventure of the new day. New things, new theories, new facts are being discovered every day and it makes for a glorious, confusing and exciting world.

There was a time when I could not say this; a time when knowledge and facts were collected and regurgitated. I used knowledge to protect myself from the challenge and inconsistencies of life. God had to be not only a proven fact but evidenced in theories and dogmas —the mystery was lost.

Today I believe that God cannot be contained by dogma and rules.  The doubts have become part of my faith. The state of “not knowing” becomes creative and stimulating. My relationship with God today is real. To “not know” is the beginning of wisdom.

You, who have spoken through the wind and the fire, speak through my doubts.

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Bible Scriptures
March 8

God is light, and in Him there is no darkness at all.
1 John 1:5

The peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 4:7

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Daily Inspiration
March 8

Often times the happiness you seek is already near at hand. Lord, help me to appreciate what I already have because You never stop blessing me even when I don’t notice.

When you can’t seem to be a shining example, at least twinkle a little. Lord, when I am weary, You are there. When I am weak, You are there. When I stumble, You are always ready to pick me up.

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A Day At A Time
March 8

Reflection For The Day

Merely to change my behavior, and what I say and do, doesn’t prove there’s been a change in my actual inner attitude.  I’m deceiving myself if I believe I can somehow completely disguise my true feelings.  They’ll somehow come through, prolonging the difficulties in my relationships with others.  I have to avoid half-measures in getting rid of the trouble-some emotions I’ve been trying to hide.  Have I taken an honest inventory of myself?

Today I Pray

May I know that feelings will come out somehow — sometimes barely disguised as behavior that I cannot always understand.  But that perhaps in more acceptable to me than the root emotion that caused it.  May I be completely and vigilantly honest with myself.  May I be given the insight that comes through depending upon a Higher Power.

Today I Will Remember

Feelings can come out “sideways.”

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One More Day
March 8

We cannot learn without pain.
—  Aristotle

It is said that pain and experience are life’s two greatest teachers.  What good would it be if we felt pain each day but never learned from it?  And what good would it be if we coasted through life without experiencing joy along with sorrow?

There can be no depth of personality or depth of character if our lives have been perfect.  Experience etches our hearts and souls, gives us depth, and deepens the horizon of our days.  No individual has lived a life completely without pain,  without sorrow.  We can move beyond our pain and sorrow to grow in new directions.

I can accept the lessons I am learning of tolerance to living a less-than-perfect life.  These lessons help me grow.

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One Day At A Time
March 8
~ FEELINGS ~

We honor ourselves and our friends when we can tell them how we feel.
–Theodore Isaac Rubin

I always felt that if I didn’t rob a bank or tell a lie that I was being honest. But when I began working the Twelve Steps, I learned what honesty really meant. Expressing my negative thoughts and feelings in the fast-moving world I found myself caused problems … or I imagined it would. Therefore, I tried to pretend everything was wonderful and right and perfect.

One of the great blessings of my life is to know that I can now “feel” my emotions, express them to others who understand and somehow always feel better for having done so. Of course, I am still selective in choosing to whom I express my deepest feelings, but I do not pretend anymore that things are right when they’re wrong. I do not gloss over bad things and make them good.

One day at a time…
I feel my feelings and express them honestly, knowing that they’re neither right nor wrong … and I rejoice at the feeling of freedom I experience when I allow my emotions to flow from me.

~ Mari ~

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Elder’s Meditation of the Day March 8

“Balance is implicit in the Red Road. When you’re on the Red Road, you are in the center. Yet, you do not go to either extreme, and you allow both sides to exist. This is accomplished by continually postponing surrendering to temptation, whatever it may be. It is saying `later’ instead of `no.'”
–Dr. A.C. Ross (Ehanamani), LAKOTA

The Sacred Path of life has a middle, a left side, and a right side. As human beings, we are designed to walk this middle path as much as we can. As we walk, we will stray to the left and to the right and come back to the middle. Straying to the left or right side is as sacred as being in the middle. Sometimes we call this straying our mistakes. We are designed by the Creator to walk the Sacred Path of life, and realize that our mistakes are the source of lessons. These lessons give us our wisdom. It is not wrong that we are tempted. What matters is what we do with the temptation.

Great Spirit, today, let me enjoy the Sacred Path of Life.

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Journey to the Heart
March 8
Your Dreams Are Important

A woman told me about a dream she had, one that was bothering her deeply. “What do you think it means?” she asked.

“I don’t know,” I replied. “Besides, it doesn’t matter what I think. The important thing is what you think. What’s it telling you?”

We dream two kinds of dreams– waking dreams and sleeping dreams. Both are powerful forms of consciousness. Our sleeping dreams, the images that dance in our minds while we sleep, hold many clues to life, growth, the future, the past, healing, and our connections with others. They may reveal suppressed emotions. They may be bits and pieces of prophecy. They may be symbols of truths we’re about to learn.

Our waking dreams are important,too. We go about daily with our expectations, wants, desires, hopes– our heart’s plan for the future. We may not express these dreams. We may not even realize we are superimposing them on our lives, much the same way we can forget what we dream when we sleep.

There’s power in allowing ourselves to become conscious of our dreams. What are our dreams telling us about what we want, fear, hope for, desire? Expressing our dreams will connect us to our consciousness and a higher consciousness. Expressing them will connect us to the creative force. Tapping into our dreams helps us tap into creativity– creativity for our lives, creativity for projects, the powerful creative force of the universe.

There’s power in dreaming, whether we’re asleep or awake. Take time to honor and express your dreams.

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Today’s Gift
March 8

Laughter by definition is healthy.
—Doris Lessing

A hearty laugh can warm a cold room and make our spirits soar. But many of us are afraid to laugh, especially when we make mistakes. We think we’re supposed to be perfect, and we don’t allow ourselves to make mistakes. However, we’re not a mold punched out by a machine. We’re human beings, with all our wonderful flaws. It is those flaws that make our lives interesting and surprising. Who knows when we might accidentally bump into a chair or catch our sweater on a doorknob? We needn’t feel self-conscious, it happens to many of us.

The ability to laugh at ourselves is a gift from God. All we need to do is grab it and use it. Then we will see how healthy and powerful laughter can be.

Can I find the humor in my mistakes today?

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The Language of Letting Go
March 8
Surrender

Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God, as we understood Him.
–Step Three of Al-Anon

Surrendering to a Power greater than ourselves is how we become empowered.

We become empowered in a new, better, more effective way than we believed possible.

Doors open. Windows open. Possibilities occur. Our energy becomes channeled, at last, in areas and ways that work for us. We become in tune with the Plan for our life and our place in the Universe.

And there is a Plan and Place for us. We shall see that. We shall know that. The Universe will open up and make a special place for us, with all that we need provided.

It will be good. Understand that it is good, now.

Learning to own our power will come, if we are open to it. We do not need to stop at powerlessness and helplessness. That is a temporary place where we re-evaluate where we have been trying to have power when we have none.

Once we surrender, it is time to become empowered.

Let the power come, naturally. It is there. It is ours.

Today, I will be open to understanding what it means to own my power. I will accept powerlessness where I have no power; I will also accept the power that is mine to receive.

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More Language Of Letting Go
March 8
Learn to deal with manipulations

Even if you understand and follow all of the rules for more effectively engaging manipulators, life with them is not likely to be easy.
–George K. Simon Jr.

Sometimes they want something. Sometimes they want someone. Sometimes they want someone to give them something or to feel a particular way. They want power, in some way, shape, or form. Manipulators prey on our weak spots.

Obsession and guilt are weapons.

Manipulators get us to use these weapons on ourselves.

Sometimes we can disengage from manipulators– walk away, set a clear limit, be done with them. Other times, it’s not that easy. We may be at least temporarily stuck with a boss or authority figure who indulges in heavy manipulation. One of our children may be going through a relentlessly manipulative period. We may have a parent whom we care about deeply who has adapted manipulation as a way of life.

Learn how to effectively deal with manipulators. Not everyone means what they say. People fling words about to hit our guilty, vain, or frightened spots. Recognize that tinge of guilt or coercion you feel when other people are trying to force you to do it their way. Learn to recognize when others are telling you what they believe you want to hear. Learn to not react, stay clear, practice nonresistence, and stay true to yourself.

Be gentle with yourself, if you have a manipulator in your life. You’re not responsible for the other person’s attempts at manipulation. You’re responsible for staying clear.

God, help me let go of the weak spots in myself that allow me to fall prey to manipulations. Help me stay clear of guilt and obsession so I can decide what’s best for me.

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Touchstones Meditation For Men
March 8

Before the rain stops we hear a bird. Even under the heavy snow we see snowdrops and some new growth.
—Shunryu Suzuki

The signals that new growth is underway are often very small at first. It’s sometimes discouraging when we are trying to remake our lives and all we can see for our efforts is minor growth. That is how the natural world works, and we are part of this world. When the little sprouts of growth first develop under the snow in spring we don’t even see them unless we search. Yet, they signal the beginnings of a total transformation. Time will bring vast changes, but only little signs are showing first.

Today, we may search for signs of progress in our lives. The little things we see may signal bigger transformations yet to come. To be true to them in the long run we must accept them – even welcome them – as they are today.

I will notice the subtle movements toward health and renewal in my life. Welcoming them will encourage them.

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DailyTAO
March 8
RETURNING

Angles against lavender sky
Flung far across heaven’s vault.
Unfettered, swallows
Circle back to the nest.

Swallows are famous for their daring speed and the unpredictable paths that they take in flight. Yet no matter how far they fly, they circle back to their nests.

The idea of returning is significant for all of us. We must work, explore, travel, and make our achievements in life. No matter how much we strain and how wide we wander, we all need some lodestone, some center from which to operate. For some of us, this is a place, a home. For others, it is merely withdrawal into our own hearts.

Followers of Tao believe that there is a core spirit to which each of us should return. This core spirit is increasingly obscured by our own thoughts and the complexity of civilization. All education, while a necessary evil, is a stain upon the primal soul. Therefore, returning is a process of simplification that throws off the unnecessary problems of socialization. One gradually peels back the layers and makes one’s way back to the unsullied, pure inner person. The time to do this is long, and one needs a great deal of guidance and self-cultivation to achieve it, but until one returns to the natural state, one cannot truly hope to be one with Tao.

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DailyZen
March 8

The real way circulates everywhere;
How could it require practice or enlightenment?
The essential teaching is fully available;
How could effort by necessary?
Furthermore, the entire mirror is free of dust;
Why take steps to polish it?
Nothing is separate from this very place;
Why journey away?

– Dogen (~1227)

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Food For Thought
March 8
“Normal” Eating

The idea that we will one day be able to eat spontaneously, like normal people, is a delusion. We compulsive overeaters tend to think that once we lose our excess pounds, we can go back to “normal” eating. Not so.

It is our experience that once a compulsive overeater, always a compulsive overeater. There is no way we will ever be able to eat spontaneously without eventually getting into trouble. When we reach our desired weight, we continue to eat three measured meals a day with nothing in between, and we continue to avoid entirely our personal binge foods.

When we accept our permanent need to abstain, when we accept the fact that we can never return to what we thought was normal eating, then we can stop making irrational attempts at experimentation which always fail. By accepting our disease and learning to live with it, we become sane and free. We see that our new eating plan is really very normal. It was the old compulsive overeating habit which was abnormal in the extreme.

Thank you, Lord, for sanity.

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In God’s Care
March 8

It is a mistake to look too far ahead. Only one link in the chain of destiny can be handled at a time.
~~Sir Winston Churchill

How many times today will we think or say, “I wish I knew what was going to happen”? We can find contentment in the knowledge that God will take care of us, regardless of the outcome of any situation. And even more importantly, God already knows the outcome, and we’ll know it too when the time is right. We never need to worry all is well. We’re given the knowledge and direction we need when we’re ready for it.

If we had known two or three or ten or twenty years ago that we’d be sharing our current journey with non-using, non-drinking men and women, we’d likely have expressed horror and disbelief. And yet we’re here, gratefully so, living more peace-filled moments than we would have ever imagined possible. We got here, little by little, with God’s care. We’ll get where we’re supposed to be in the same loving manner.

I will trust each moment of my life to God’s loving care

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Faith’s Check Book
March 8
Our Substance Blessed

Blessed shall be thy basket and thy store. (Deuteronomy 28:5)

Obedience brings a blessing on all the provisions which our industry earns for us. That which comes in and goes out at once, like fruit in the basket which is for immediate use, shall be blest; and that which is laid by with us for a longer season shall equally receive a blessing. Perhaps ours is a hand-basket portion. We have a little for breakfast and a scanty bite for dinner in a basket when we go out to do our work in the morning. This is well, for the blessing of God is promised to the basket. If we live born hand to mouth, getting each day’s supply in the day, we are as well off as Israel; for when the Lord entertained His favored people He only gave them a day’s manna at a time. What more did they need? What more do we need?

But if we have a store, how much we need the Lord to bless it! For there is the care of getting, the care of keeping, the care of managing, the care of using; and, unless the Lord bless it, these cares will eat into our hearts till our goods become our gods and our cares prove cankers.

O Lord, bless our substance. Enable us to use it for Thy glory, Help us to keep worldly things in their proper places, and never may our savings endanger the saving of our souls.

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This Morning’s Meditation
March 8

“We must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God.”
—Acts 14:22.

GOD’S people have their trials. It was never designed by God, when He chose His people, that they should be an untried people. They were chosen in the furnace of affliction; they were never chosen to worldly peace and earthly joy. Freedom from sickness and the pains of mortality was never promised them; but when their Lord drew up the charter of privileges, He included chastisements amongst the things to which they should inevitably be heirs. Trials are a part of our lot; they were predestinated for us in Christ’s last legacy. So surely as the stars are fashioned by his hands, and their orbits fixed by Him, so surely are our trials allotted to us: He has ordained their season and their place, their intensity and the effect they shall have upon us. Good men must never expect to escape troubles; if they do, they will be disappointed, for none of their predecessors have been without them. Mark the patience of Job; remember Abraham, for he had his trials, and by his faith under them, he became the “Father of the faithful.” Note well the biographies of all the patriarchs, prophets, apostles, and martyrs, and you shall discover none of those whom God made vessels of mercy, who were not made to pass through the fire of affliction. It is ordained of old that the cross of trouble should be engraved on every vessel of mercy, as the royal mark whereby the King’s vessels of honour are distinguished. But although tribulation is thus the path of God’s children, they have the comfort of knowing that their Master has traversed it before them; they have His presence and sympathy to cheer them, His grace to support them, and His example to teach them how to endure; and when they reach “the kingdom,” it will more than make amends for the “much tribulation” through which they passed to enter it.

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