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In Loving Memory of Vic

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Daily Recovery Readings – October 3

Just For Today
October 3
Losing Self-Will

“Our egos, once so large and dominant, now take a back seat because we are in harmony with a loving God. We find that we lead richer, happier, and much fuller lives when we lose self-will.”
Basic Text p.101

Addiction and self-will go hand in hand. The unmanageability that we admitted to in Step One was as much a product of our self-will as it was of our chronic drug abuse. And today, living on self-will can make our lives just as unmanageable as they were when we were using. When our ideas, our desires, our demands take first place in our lives, we find ourselves in constant conflict with everyone and everything around us.

Self-will reflects our reliance on ego. The only thing that will free us from self-will and the conflict it generates in our lives is to break our reliance on ego, coming to rely instead on the guidance and power offered us by a loving God.

We are taught to consult spiritual principles, not our selfish desires, in making our decisions. We are taught to seek guidance from a Higher Power, one with a larger vision of things than our own. In doing this, we find our lives meshing more and more easily with the order of things around us. No longer do we exclude ourselves from the flow of life; we become a part of it, and discover the fullness of what recovery has to offer.

Just for today: I seek freedom from ego and the conflicts generated by self-will. I will try to improve my conscious contact with the God of my understanding, seeking the guidance and power I need to live in harmony with my world.

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Daily Reflections
October 3
SERENITY AFTER THE STORM

Someone who knew what he was talking about once remarked that pain was the touchstone of all spiritual progress. How heartily we A.A.’s can agree with him. . . .
TWELVE STEPS AND TWELVE TRADITIONS, p p. 93-94

When on the roller coaster of emotional turmoil, I remember that growth is often painful. My evolution in the A.A. program has taught me that I must experience the inner change, however painful, that eventually guides me from selfishness to selflessness. If I am to have serenity, I must STEP my way past emotional turmoil and its subsequent hangover, and be grateful for continuing spiritual progress.

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

How do I talk with new prospects? Am I always trying to dominate the conversation? Do I lay down the law and tell prospects what they will have to do? Do I judge them privately and feel that they have small chance of making the program? Do I belittle them to myself? Or am I willing to bare my soul so as to get them talking about themselves? And, then, am I willing to be a good listener, not interrupting, but hearing them out to the end? Do I feel deeply that they are my brothers or my sisters? Will I do all I can to help them along the path to sobriety?

Meditation For The Day

“The work of righteousness shall be peace and the effect of righteousness shall be quietness and assurance forever.” Only when the soul attains this calm, can there be true spiritual work done, and mind and soul and body be strong to conquer and bear all things. Peace is the result of righteousness. There is no peace in wrong doing, but if we live the way God wants us to live, quietness and assurance follow. Assurance is that calmness born of a deep certainty of God’s strength available to us and in His power to love and guard us from all harm and wrong doing.

Prayer For The Day

I pray that I may attain a state of true calmness. I pray that I may live in quietness and peace.

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As Bill Sees It
October 3
Going It Alone, p. 274

Going it alone in spiritual matters is dangerous. How many times have we heard well-intentioned people claim the guidance of God when it was plain that they were mistaken? Lacking both practice and humility, they deluded themselves and were so able to justify the most arrant nonsense on the ground that this was what God had told them.

People of very high spiritual development almost always insist on checking with friends or spiritual advisers the guidance they feel they have received from God. Surely, then, a novice ought not lay himself open to the chance of making foolish, perhaps tragic, blunders. While the comment or advice of others may not be infallible, it is likely to be far more specific than any direct guidance we may receive while we are still inexperienced in establishing contact with a Power greater than ourselves.

12 & 12, p. 60

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Walk In Dry Places
October 3
Proving Ourselves
Self-esteem

Long after a bitter failure, some of us still cling to the hope that we can erase the defeat in some spectacular way. One dream is to “prove ourselves” to those who scorned us or put us down.

This never really works, even when we do become winners at some later time. For one thing, we may be proving ourselves to people who never will like us. If we are striving to show others that we can succeed, we are still dancing to their tune. We are accepting their idea of what success should be.

Many of us failed simply because we were alcoholics and could do no better. We might have destroyed opportunities that will never rise again. But by finding sobriety, we may already have proved ourselves to those who really count in our lives…… Including ourselves.

I can prove today that the Twelve Step program works and that a loving Higher Power is present in my life.

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Keep It Simple
October 3

That which is called firmness I a king is called stubbornness in a donkey.
—Lord Erskine

“Rigid” is a fancy word for “stubborn.” We act this way because of our fear. When we’re afraid, we hang on to what we’re used to doing. Our illness had us so scared, we were afraid of the new ideas and new people. The only thing that didn’t scare us was using alcohol or other drugs.

We also were stubborn when anyone tried to help us. We thought we knew what was best. How silly our stubborn actions made us look!  How lonely they kept us.

But our stubborn behavior can teach us about our fears. We need to be aware our stubbornness. Then we’ll be able to find out what we’re afraid of—and do something about it.

Prayer for the Day: Higher Power, help me know when I’m stubborn.

Action for the Day: Today, I’ll work at accepting my stubbornness. I will use it to learn what I am afraid of today.

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Each Day a New Beginning
October 3

Ambiguity means admitting more than one response to a situation and allowing yourself to be aware of those contradictory responses. You may want something and fear it at the same time. You may find it both beautiful and ugly. –Tristine Rainer

Flexibility is a goal worth the striving. It eases our relations with others, and it stretches our realm of awareness. Letting go of rigid adherence to what our perceptions were yesterday assures us of heightened understanding of life’s variables and lessons.

Being torn between two decisions, feeling ambivalent about them, need not create consternation, though it often does. Hopefully, it will encourage us to pray for direction, and then to be responsive to the guidance. And we must keep in mind that no decision is ever wrong. It may lead us astray for a time, but it will also introduce us to uncharted territories, which offer many opportunities for flexibility.

Contradictory responses, our own and also ours in relations with others, keep us on our toes, lend an element of excitement to our lives, and push us to think creatively about our perceptions. Growth and change are guaranteed. I will be in tune with myself today. I will let my perceptions guide me.

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Alcoholics Anonymous
October 3
ME AN ALCOHOLIC?

– Alcohol’s wringer squeezed this author–  but he escaped quite whole.

I had to admit that he was right. Only through being beaten down by my own misery would I ever have accepted the term “alcoholic” as applied to myself. Now, however, I accepted it fully. I knew from my general reading that alcoholism was irreversible and fatal. And I knew that somewhere along the line I’d lost the power to stop drinking.  “Well, Doc,” I said, “what are we going to do?”

pp. 385-386

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Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions
October 3

Tradition One – “Our common welfare should come first; personal recovery depends upon A.A. Unity.”

So at the outset, how best to live and work together as groups became the prime question. In the world about us we saw personalities destroying whole peoples. The struggle for wealth, power, and prestige was tearing humanity apart as never before. If strong people were stalemated in the search for peace and harmony, what was to become of our erratic band of alcoholics? As we had once struggled and prayed for individual recovery, just so earnestly did we commence to quest for the principles through which A.A. itself might survive. on anvils of experience, the structure of our Society was hammered out.

pp. 130-131

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Xtra Thoughts
October 3

One of the most time-consuming things is to have an enemy.
–E. B. White

Love your enemies. It will drive them nuts.
–Eleanor Doan

“A keen sense of humor helps us to overlook the unbecoming, understand the unconventional, tolerate the unpleasant, overcome the unexpected, and outlast the unbearable.”
–Billy Graham

“We’re still not where we’re going, but we’re not where we were.”
–Natasha Jasefowitz

“Behavioral researcher Shad Helmstetter, in his book “Choice,” says, ‘When we meet someone who seems to have a good attitude about everything, that really isn’t the case. The person simply has made a lot of independent choices to have a good attitude about many individual things.” Remember, a positive outlook is a choice – and the decision is yours.”
–Neil Eskelin

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Father Leo’s Daily Meditation
October 3
FREEDOM

“Freedom is not enough. ”
– Lyndon B. Johnson

The gift of freedom requires the acknowledgment of the benefactor, God. To experience freedom without realizing its source is to miss the point; freedom requires responsibility.

When I was drinking, I demanded freedom without responsibility and I suffered. I created in freedom my own horror stories. I hurt others because I did not respect in them what I demanded for myself and slowly, ever so slowly, freedom slipped away.

Today I believe that my spiritual program reinforces my responsibility for my life. God has created me with free will and I need to respect this gift in others. If I do not respect others, I will never receive it. Dignity is a two way street.

Thank You for the freedom to experience myself in my treatment of my neighbor.

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Bible Scriptures
October 3

Look to the Lord and his strength; seek His face always.
Psalm 105:4

Those who sow in tears will reap with songs of joy. He who goes out weeping, carrying seed to sow, will return with songs of joy, carrying sheaves with him.
Psalm 126:5-6

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Daily Inspiration
October 3

Be like a star and make your best even better. Lord, source of my joy, if I am shining I will brighten the day for both myself and those around me.

There is a time for everything. Take time to pray, to sing, to laugh, to work and to touch the hearts of others. Lord, help me be aware that today will never return so that I will not misuse my time or waste it unwisely.

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A Day At A Time
October 3

Reflection For The Day

I’ve learned in The Program that I’m wholly powerless over my addiction.  At long last, I’ve conceded my powerlessness; as a result, my life has taken a 180-degree turn for the better.  However, I do have a power, derived from God, to change my own life.  I’ve learned that acceptance does not mean submission to an unpleasant or degrading situation.  It means accepting the reality of the situation and then deciding what, if anything, I can and will do about it.  Have I stopped trying to control the uncontrollable?  Am I gaining the courage to change the things I can?

Today I Pray

I ask my Higher Power for direction as I learn to sort out the things I can change from the things I can’t, for that sorting process does, indeed, require God-given wisdom.  May “the things I cannot change” not give me and excuse for inaction.  May “the things I can” not include managing other people’s lives.  May I start to understand my own reality.

Today I Will Remember

Acceptance is not inaction.  Change is not domination.

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One More Day
October 3

Most of all, we seek to help them rise to what for most is the supreme challenge of their lives, by developing and enjoying their unique personalities to the fullest.
– Bernie S. Siegel

Just living life, not enjoying it, is a tread-water posture some of us adopt in our lives. Afraid to get “too involved” in living, we wait for the sorts to occur. We look for a guide, a leader, to direct our path to physical and spiritual survival.

At first, we may be devastated when we realize that no one else can direct us, guide us, or lead us out of the maze of emotions that accompanies a chronic illness. Others can help, but only if we lead. Gradually we’re finding a unique strength within us, one we’d not known before, that enables us to direct our physical and spiritual programs with greater confidence.

I am on a continuing journey to accept the challenges of my life. Allowing my unique personality to surface is the beginning.

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One Day At A Time
October 3
TRUTH

“The truth will set you free, but first it will make you miserable.”
James A. Garfield

After years of therapy, I thought I knew myself fairly well. I prided myself on my integrity, honesty and responsible nature; however, my morbid obesity and compulsive overeating reflected the exact opposite of these values. After breaking many resolutions to myself, starting and stopping countless diets, and continuing to have no control over my eating, I began to doubt my integrity. How could I keep a commitment to everyone I knew and yet break my promises to myself over and over again? It wasn’t until in a moment of frustrated clarity I blurted out, “I’m acting like an addict!” Finally I experienced my own truth.

I am an addict. I am addicted to food. I use food to fill the gaping black hole within me. I use food to anesthetize my pain. As a compulsive overeater, I stuff my face rather than face my stuff.

Working the Steps allowed me to see that even though I thought I valued honesty, I was constantly lying to myself about my compulsive eating. Becoming abstinent from compulsive eating removed the veils of delusion and dishonesty that I had over my eyes. Living this program, one day at a time, freed me from compulsive lying to myself as well as compulsive eating. Telling the truth, while sometimes very difficult, has let me live happy, joyously, and free.

One day at a time…
I will work the Steps honestly, tell the truth about my life, and be the person of integrity my Higher Power always intended for me to be.

~ Bernadette B.

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Elder’s Meditation of the Day – October 3

“Spiritual Values are an Attitude.”
–Leonard George, Chief Councilor

Attitude is a direction which we follow. If you have a positive attitude, it means you will lean towards a positive direction. If you have a negative attitude, it means you will lean away from the Spirit. Therefore, if we lean toward spiritual values, then our actions will become significant and important. If we lean away from spiritual values, our actions will become insignificant or unimportant. For example, if we value love, we will lean towards it; we will prefer to express and embrace it.

Great Spirit, teach me the significance of spiritual values.

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Journey To The Heart
October 3
Finish Unfinished Business

Finish your business with people. Unfinished business with others is the highest block to an open heart, the biggest block to peace and joy.

The tangled cords that bind us to the past are easy to find. All we need do is become quiet and listen to the voice of our heart. Who do we resent? Who are we angry with? Hurt by? Who are the people we aren’t at peace with? That’s our unfinished business, the unfinished business of the heart.

Look deep inside. Find your secrets. Find your not-quite-finished pieces. Then discover what you need to finish. Often, the answer is only a breath away– a breath of fresh air, a breath of forgiveness, a breath of love. Take that breath. Let the past go. Let it go in peace, thankful for all you’ve learned along the way.

Tie up your loose ends. Heal your connection to others and your heart by finishing unfinished business. Then you’ll be free to move on. And you can go forward in peace.

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Today’s Gift
October 3

How easy the breath that kills a flame,
How hard to kindle that light again.
Cold words kill and kind words kindle,
By words withheld a dream may dwindle.
—Joan Walsh Anglund

How we treat the people we live with affects the happiness of our family. Just as a breath can blow out a flame, a mean remark can cast a shadow across a brother or sister’s heart. People of all ages have left dreams behind because no one encouraged them. They are like candles snuffed out.

On the other hand, if we see a friend or family member feeling good about something they have done, we can learn to be happy for them. If we notice their excitement and encourage them with kind and sincere words, it will help their candle burn brighter. Sharing the happiness of others will make our own candles burn brighter, and it always feels good when we receive kind words ourselves.

In what ways can I bring light and warmth with my words today?

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The Language Of Letting Go
October 3
Getting Through the Discomfort

Surrender to the pain. Then learn to surrender to the good. It’s there and more is on the way.
–Beyond Codependency

Our goal in recovery is to make us feel comfortable, peaceful, and content. Happy. We want to be at peace with our environment and ourselves. Sometimes, to do that, we need to be willing to face, feel, and get through discomfort.

I am not talking here about being addicted to misery and pain. I am not talking about creating unnecessary pain. I’m talking about the legitimate discomfort we sometimes need to feel as we heal.

When we have surgery, the pain hurts most the day after the operation. When we do the kind of work we are facing in recovery, we are doing an emotional, mental, and spiritual surgery on ourselves. We’re removing parts of us that are infected and inflamed.

Sometimes the process hurts. We are strong enough to survive discomfort and temporary feelings of emotional pain. Once we are willing to face and feel our discomfort and pain, we are almost to the point of release.

Today, I am willing to face my discomfort, trusting that healing and release are on the other side. Help me, God; be open to feeling whatever I need to feel to be healed and healthy. While I am doing this, I will trust I am cared for and protected by my friends, my Higher Power, the Universe, and myself.

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More Language Of Letting Go
October 3
Be aware of your intentions

Your inner self is literal and does not understand ambiguity so whenever you direct it to manifest your desires, give it absolutely literal instructions. … Your natural self is quite fond of accomplshing the tasks you give it. It loves to display its skills and perform for you and others, and can do nearly anything (within the realm of possibility) that you can conceive.
–Enid Hoffman

Be clear on your intentions.

Intentions are more than mere wishes. An intention is will mixed with emotions and desire. For instance, I can sit here and wish the house were cleaner. When I put all else aside, take my frustration about the mess and channel it into energy and my desire for tidiness, I can say, “I will spend one hour straightening up.”

Sometimes we make our intentions known to other people. For instance, we might start dating someone, and it’s our intention to eventually marry. Intentions can turn into manipulation when we don’t make them clear. They can also involve control, in the worse sense, when they involve changing the free will of someone else.

The best place to start is by making our intentions clear to ourselves. What do you want? In regards to your life situations, like work or finances, what are your intentions?

Sometimes our good intentions can run totally amok. For instance, we might intend to get a person sober, but they may have no desire to sober up. We can avoid a lot of painful manipulations, if we’re clear about our intentions.

Watch yourself as you go through life encountering different situations. Do you have an agenda? Do you even know what it is? Sometimes our intentions are less than conscious, hidden right below the surface. For instance, we may have an intention to get married and have someone support us so we don’t have to support ourselves. Are someone else’s intentions influencing your own?

When you start any project, a new relationship, or just a new day, spend a moment and get quiet. Be clear with yourself and others on what your intentions are. Then surrender those intentions to God.

God, please help me align my intentions and desires with your highest good will for my life.

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Touchstones Meditation For Men
October 3

You should not have your own idea when you listen to someone…. To have nothing in your mind is naturalness. Then you will understand what he says.
—Shunryu Suzuki

A man who is mistrustful and self-centered has difficulty listening to someone else. Perhaps a woman we are close to wants to be understood by us. But we do not hear her on her own terms because we are so intensely involved with our own shame. So we react to our feelings of guilt rather than really hearing what she wants to say about her experience. Or we may be so worried about who has control that we fail to receive the information we are being given. Then we respond with “Yes, but…”

True learning comes – like true intimacy – when we have an open mind. As we detach ourselves, separate from our own ego, we hear the other person better and grow more intimate.

May I learn to set aside my own self-centeredness. Today, I will grow more if I set my ego aside when others are talking to me.

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Daily TAO
October 3
MOON

Silver disk: Let me call you goddess –
You, with your mirrored face.
Tonight, of all nights, your shape is perfect,
Your presence sublime.
You know it too. You appear before the sun has even set,
Glorious without your cloak of night,
Gazing down in supreme splendor,
To make this dusty world pastoral.

Tonight is the harvest moon. The queen of night is at her most perfect roundness, closer to us than at any other time of the year. She glows silver in an indigo sky.

People celebrate this night for many reasons. For some, it is the time to enjoy the view of the moon, and they toast it with sweets, wine, and tea. For others, it is a time of relaxation and thanksgiving for the harvest.

The Moon Festival is a woman’s festival, their time to worship. The harvest moon symbolizes the ascendancy of cool darkness over the bright heat of summer. This reminds us of equality in the cosmos : light and dark, male and female, heat and frost, hard and soft — all these things are part of an overall equilibrium.

If you are a woman, then tonight is your night for worship and celebration. If you are a man, then it is a night to step aside and give your wives, mothers, and sisters their privacy. But for all, we can be thankful for the riches of autumn and begin our preparations for the coming frost.

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Daily Zen
October 3

Evening meditation, enfolded in mountains,
All thoughts of the world of people dissolve.
Quietly sitting on my cattail cushion
Alone, I face the empty window.
Incense burns away, as the dark night deepens,
And my robe is a single fold, as white dew thickens
Rising from deep meditation, I stroll in the garden,
And the moon is already above the highest peak.

– Ryokan

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Food For Thought
October 3
Being Committed

Success comes with commitment. We cannot maintain abstinence, or a marriage, or a profession, or anything else without being committed to it. Genuine commitment is the attitude required of us if we are to benefit from OA. The program is not something we pick up and put down when we feel like it. If abstinence is not the most important thing in our lives, we will not be able to maintain it.

Sharing our commitment out loud, with another person, reinforces it. We need to stay in contact with our OA friends. It is during the busy times that we especially need to remember our priorities. A phone call plugs us in to the group strength, which sustains our individual efforts.

The physical, emotional, and spiritual benefits, which come to us every day as we abstain and work the Twelve Steps, are what nourish us. Being committed to the OA program is our strength and our recovery.

Make firm my commitment to Your way.

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Faiths Checkbook
October 3
Reflections of the Lord’s Beauty

As for me, I will behold thy face in righteousness; I shall be satisfied, when I awake, with thy likeness.
(Psalm 17:15)

The portion of other men fills their bodies and enriches their children, but the portion of the believer is of another sort. Men of the world have their treasure in this world, but men of the world to come look higher and further.

Our possession is twofold. We have God’s presence here and His like-ness hereaften Here we behold the face of the Lord in righteousness, for we are justified in Christ Jesus. Oh, the joy of beholding the face of a reconciled God! The glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ yields us heaven below, and it will be to us the heaven of heaven above.

But seeing does not end it: we are to be changed into that which we gaze upon. We shall sleep a while and then wake up to find ourselves as mirrors which reflect the beauties of our Lord. Faith sees God with a transforming look. The heart receives the image of Jesus into its own depths, till the character of Jesus is imprinted on the soul. This is satisfaction. To see God and to be like Him-what more can I desire? David’s assured confidence is here by the Holy Ghost made to be the Lord’s promise. I believe it. I expect it. Lord, vouchsafe it. Amen.

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This Mornings Reading
October 3

“Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation?”
—Hebrews 1:14.

ANGELS are the unseen attendants of the saints of God; they bear us up in their hands, lest we dash our foot against a stone. Loyalty to their Lord leads them to take a deep interest in the children of His love; they rejoice over the return of the prodigal to his father’s house below, and they welcome the advent of the believer to the King’s palace above. In olden times the sons of God were favoured with their visible appearance, and at this day, although unseen by us, heaven is still opened, and the angels of God ascend and descend upon the Son of man, that they may visit the heirs of salvation. Seraphim still fly with live coals from off the altar to touch the lips of men greatly beloved. If our eyes could be opened, we should see horses of fire and chariots of fire about the servants of the Lord; for we have come to an innumerable company of angels, who are all watchers and protectors of the seed-royal. Spenser’s line is no poetic fiction, where he sings—

“How oft do they with golden pinions cleave
The flitting skies, like flying pursuivant
Against foul fiends to aid us militant!”

To what dignity are the chosen elevated when the brilliant courtiers of heaven become their willing servitors! Into what communion are we raised since we have intercourse with spotless celestials! How well are we defended since all the twenty-thousand chariots of God are armed for our deliverance! To whom do we owe all this? Let the Lord Jesus Christ be for ever endeared to us, for through Him we are made to sit in heavenly places far above principalities and powers. He it is whose camp is round about them that fear Him; He is the true Michael whose foot is upon the dragon. All hail, Jesus! thou Angel of Jehovah’s presence, to Thee this family offers its morning vows.

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This Evenings Reading
October 3

“He Himself hath suffered being tempted.”
—Hebrews 2:18.

IT is a common-place thought, and yet it tastes like nectar to the weary heart—Jesus I was tempted as I am. You have heard that truth many times: have you grasped it? He was tempted to the very same sins into which we fall. Do not dissociate Jesus from our common manhood. It is a dark room which you are going through, but Jesus went through it before. It is a sharp fight which you are waging, but Jesus has stood foot to foot with the same enemy. Let us be of good cheer, Christ has borne the load before us, and the blood-stained footsteps of the King of glory may be seen along the road which we traverse at this hour. There is something sweeter yet—Jesus was tempted, but Jesus never sinned. Then, my soul, it is not needful for thee to sin, for Jesus was a man, and if one man endured these temptations and sinned not, then in His power His members may also cease from sin. Some beginners in the divine life think that they cannot be tempted without sinning, but they mistake; there is no sin in being tempted, but there is sin in yielding to temptation. Herein is comfort for the sorely tempted ones. There is still more to encourage them if they reflect that the Lord Jesus, though tempted, gloriously triumphed, and as He overcame, so surely shall His followers also, for Jesus is the representative man for His people; the Head has triumphed, and the members share in the victory. Fears are needless, for Christ is with us, armed for our defence. Our place of safety is the bosom of the Saviour. Perhaps we are tempted just now, in order to drive us nearer to Him. Blessed be any wind that blows us into the port of our Saviour’s love! Happy wounds, which make us seek the beloved Physician. Ye tempted ones, come to your tempted Saviour, for He can be touched with a feeling of your infirmities, and will succour every tried and tempted one.

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