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In Loving Memory of Vic

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Daily Recovery Readings – September 16

Just For Today
September 16
Emotional Balance

“Emotional balance is one of the first results of meditation, and our experience bears this out.”
Basic Text p.45

Though each of us defines “emotional balance” a little differently, all of us must find it. Emotional balance can mean finding and maintaining a positive outlook on life, regardless of what may be happening around us. To some, it might mean an understanding of our emotions that allows us to respond, not react, to our feelings. It can mean that we experience our feelings as intensely as we can while also moderating their excessive expression.

Emotional balance comes with practice in prayer and meditation. We get quiet and share our thoughts and hopes and concerns with the God of our understanding. Then we listen for guidance, awaiting the power to act on that direction.

Eventually, our skills in maintaining near-balance get better, and the wild up-and-down emotional swings we used to experience begin to settle. We develop an ability to let others feel their feelings; we have no need to judge them. And we fully embrace our own personal range of emotions.

Just for today: Through regular prayer and meditation, I will discover what emotional balance means to me.

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Daily Reflections
September 16
WE STAND–OR FALL–TOGETHER

. . . no society of men and women ever had a more urgent need for continuous effectiveness and permanent unity. We alcoholics see that we must work together and hang together, else most of us will finally die alone.
Alcoholics Anonymous, p.563

Just as the Twelve Steps of A.A. are written in a specific sequence for a reason, so it is with the Twelve Traditions. The First Step and the First Tradition attempt to instill in me enough humility to allow me a chance at survival. Together they are the basic foundation upon which the Steps and Traditions that follow are built. It is a process of ego deflation which allows me to grow as an individual through the Steps, and as a contributing member of a group through the Traditions. Full acceptance of the First Tradition allows me to set aside personal ambitions, fears and anger when they are in conflict with the common good, thus permitting me to work with others for our mutual survival.  Without Tradition One I stand little chance of maintaining the unity required to work with others effectively, and I also stand to lose the remaining Traditions, the Fellowship, and my life.

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Twenty-Four Hours A Day
September 16
A.A. Thought For The Day

Today, let us begin a short study of The Twelve Suggested Steps of A.A. These Twelve Suggested Steps seem to embody five principles.  The first step is the membership requirement step. The second, third, and eleventh steps are the spiritual steps of the program. The fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh and tenth steps are the personal inventory steps.  The eighth and ninth steps are the restitution steps. The twelfth step is the passing on of the program, or helping others, step. So the five principles are membership requirement, spiritual basis, personal inventory, restitution, and helping others. Have I made all these steps a part of me?

Meditation For The Day

We seem to live not only in time but also in eternity. If we abide with God and He abides with us, we may bring forth spiritual fruit which will last for eternity. If we live with God, our lives can flow as some calm river through the dry land of earth. It can cause the trees and flowers of the spiritual life–love and service–to spring forth and yield abundantly. Spiritual work may be done for eternity, not just for now.  Even here on earth we can live as though our real lives were eternal.

Prayer For The Day

I pray that I may try to make my life like a cool river in a thirsty land.  I pray that I may give freely to all who ask my help.

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As Bill Sees It
September 16
Beneath the Surface, p.258

Some will object to many of the questions that should be answered in a moral inventory, because they think their own character defects have not been so glaring. To these, it can be suggested that a conscientious examination is likely to reveal the very defects the objectionable questions are concerned with.

Because our surface record hasn’t looked too bad, we have frequently been abashed to find that this is so simply because we have buried these selfsame defects deep down in us under thick layers of self-justification. Those were the defects that finally ambushed us into alcoholism and misery.

12 & 12, pp. 53-54

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Walk In Dry Places
September 16
The world will recover
Belief

If our recovery program is working properly, an amazing thing can happen. Instead of being the bad actors of society, we become people who can be considered solid citizens in every way.. So square that we might even have sharp corners.

We might then start becoming critical of the world in general. “I’ve recovered, so why does the rest of the world have to be the way it is?” A person might say. “Why don’t other people do something about their resentments and fears, just as I have?”

In asking such a question, we’re already in danger of becoming self-righteous. We can remember, however, that our Higher Power has the same concern for others that was shown to us. By the grace of God, and in God’s own good time, the world can and will recover.

I’ll remember today that God is in charge of the world and will set all things straight, just as I was brought to recovery.

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Keep It Simple
September 16

Here’s my Golden Rule: Be fair with others but then keep after them until they’re fair with you.
—Alan Alda

Often in our illness we were ashamed, so we let people take advantage of us. We acted as if we had no rights. In recovery, we work hard to be fair with others. And we deserve to be treated with fairness too. If people are mean to us, we talk with them about it. If people cheat us, we ask them to set it right. In recovery, we live by our human rights.

Prayer for the Day: Higher Power, help me to stand for fairness. Help me respect myself and others.

Action for the Day: Today, I’ll list people who have wronged me. I will make plans to talk to those with whom I feel will listen. I will let love, not shame or fear, control my actions.

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Each Day a New Beginning
September 15

When our myths, dreams, and ideals are shattered, our world topples.
……………Kathleen Casey Thiesen

The act of “becoming” topples our world, and rightly so.  We outgrow yesterday’s ideals, and we have begun realizing, in our unfolding, the dreams of last year. Now new dreams call us. Recovery has toppled our world. Hallelujah!

In our abstinence, each day offers us fresh opportunities to “create” new realities to replace the outworn, outgrown myths of the using days. But letting go of the old takes patience, persistence, and strength. The old comforted us, when there was little else.

Perhaps we need reminding that were it not for the shattered myths of last year or last week, we’d not be progressing, unfolding, as the bigger picture calls us. We have a part to play in this life, as do our sisters, our friends, our children. Old dreams served us yesterday, and the past is gone. They can’t direct our present.

I will look with excitement at my toppling world. It signifies growth-intellectual, emotional and spiritual.  Old ideals will bind me-I will dare to dream new dreams and go where they lead with confidence.

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Alcoholics Anonymous
September 16
He Sold Himself Short

But he found there was a Higher Power that had more faith in him than he had to himself. Thus, A.A. was born in Chicago.

He laid great stress on the progression of his attitude toward life and people, and most of his attitudes had been very similar to mine. I thought at times that he was telling my story! I had thought that I was completely different from other people, that I was beginning to become a little balmy, even to the point of withdrawing more and more from society and wanting to be alone with my bottle.

p. 261

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Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions
September 16

Tradition Two – “For our group purpose, there is but one ultimate authority – a loving God as He may express Himself in our group conscience.”

This brings us straight to the question “Does A.A. have a real leadership?” Most emphatically the answer is “Yes, notwithstanding the apparent lack of it.” Let’s turn again to the deposed founder and his friends. What becomes of them? As their grief and anxiety wear away, a subtle change begins. Ultimately, they divide into two classes known in A.A. slang as “elder statesmen” and “bleeding deacons.” The elder statesman is the one who sees the wisdom of the group’s decision, who holds no resentment over his reduced status, whose judgment, fortified by considerable experience, is sound, and who is willing to sit quietly on the sidelines patiently awaiting developments. The bleeding deacon is one who is just as surely convinced that the group cannot get along without him, who constantly connives for reelection to office, and who continues to be consumed with self-pity. A few hemorrhage so badly that – drained of all A.A. spirit and principal – they get drunk. At times the A.A. landscape seems to be littered with bleeding forms. Nearly every oldtimer in our Society has gone through this process in some degree. Happily, most of them survive and live to become elder statesmen. They become the real and permanent leadership of A.A. Theirs is the quiet opinion, the sure knowledge and humble example that resolve a crisis. When sorely perplexed, the group inevitably turns to them for advice. They become the voice of the group conscience; in fact, these are the true voice of Alcoholics Anonymous. They do not drive by mandate; they lead by example. This is the experience which has led us to the conclusion that our group conscience, well-advised by its elders, will be in the long run wiser than any single leader.

pp. 134-135

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Xtra Thoughts
September 16

Any fact facing us is not as important as our attitude toward it, for that determines our success or failure.
–Norman Vincent Peale (1898 – 1993)

“Happiness is not the absence of conflict, but the ability to cope with it.”

“If you spend more time asking appropriate questions rather than giving answers or opinions, your listening skills will increase.”
–Brian Koslow

“Remember not only to say the right thing in the right place, but far more difficult still, to leave unsaid the wrong thing at the tempting moment.”
–Benjamin Franklin

“You can’t cross the sea merely by standing and staring at the water.”
–Rabindranath Tagore

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Father Leo’s Daily Meditation
September 16
DENIAL

“The worst vice of the fanatic is his sincerity.”
– Oscar Wilde

The disease of alcoholism is “cunning, baffling and powerful”, and it manipulates us to believe “the lie”. There is a point that we reach in our disease where we believe that crazy behavior is acceptable.  Insanity becomes the order of the day. And when friends or therapists try to give us a message, we discount them.

How can we break down this wall of denial? Well, there is strength in numbers. If everybody we respect is disagreeing with us, then it is time that we change. If our isolation has become a source of martyrdom, then we need to reorganize our attitude for living. Insanity and isolation are often companions; they feed off each other.

We need always to stay close to our recovering community. Strength and sobriety is in numbers.

God, You gave me the message to become the message. Help me to live it in the recovering community.

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Bible Scriptures
September 16

O lord hear my voice. Let your ears be attentive to my cry for mercy.
Psalm 130:2

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.
Proverbs 3:5-6

God…comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God.
2 Corinthians 1:3-4

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Daily Inspiration
September 16

Never lose your laughter even in the face of trouble and your troubles will not be as heavy. Lord, I will remain cheerful and peaceful as proof of my faith in You.

To love and be loved is the greatest of joys. Lord, inspire me with ways to show my love.

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A Day At A Time
September 16

Reflection For The Day

We learn from others in The Program that the best way to deal with painful situations is to meet them head-on, to deal with them honestly and realistically, and to try to learn from them and use them as springboards for growth.  Through The Program and our contact with a Higher Power, we can find the courage to use pain for triumphant growth.  Will I believe that whatever pain I experience is a small price to pay for the joy of becoming the person I was always meant to be?

Today I Pray

May my Higher Power give me the courage I need to stop running away from painful situations.  The chemical was my escape hatch, the trap door I counted on to swallow me when life became too monstrous or villainous to bear.  Now that I have locked that door, may I face pain and learn from it.

Today I Will Remember

My compulsion:  a trap-door and a trap.

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One More Day
September 16

Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will to strive, to seek, to find and not to yield.
–  Alfred, Lord Tennyson

Some privacy is given up when we develop a chronic illness, for doctors and nurses need to know details of our medical histories.  We can develop new strengths to offset this loss–pride that we are taking care of ourselves, and knowledge about our medical condition.

Many of the private battles we fight concern our feelings about having a chronic health problem.  We may have to yield on some points — privacy, dependence, time, and energy — but we can continue to make personal gains in spite of our health.

Just because my health has changed does not mean I need to yield on points which matter to my well-being.

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One Day At A Time
September 16
REDISCOVERY

“When you come right down to it, the secret of having it all is loving it all.”
–Dr. Joyce Brothers

In dealing with compulsive eating issues, we tend to lose ourselves to the darkness of low self-esteem and self-criticism. We are our own worst enemies and we don’t know how to nurture ourselves. We don’t like who we have become. We feel like failures to ourselves and to all of those around us.

In working through the program, we learn to surrender and to accept the things we cannot change. We gain wisdom and strength. As we learn to take care of ourselves, we begin to feel good. We become self-aware. We recognize our needs and work aggressively to make sure they are being fulfilled.

We realize that we can choose how to react to the things around us. We accept our true selves, we voice our opinions, and we make changes. We realize that people do accept us the way we are and we don’t have to hide anymore. For the first time, we are able to re-discover our true identity.

One day at a time…
I learn something new about myself. I accept myself for who I am as I surrender myself to my Higher Power. I prioritize my needs and all of the responsibilities in my life. I find the courage to change the things I can, and I accept the things I cannot. I look in the mirror and, with each passing day in recovery, I like who I see.

~ Lori

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Elder’s Meditation of the Day – September 16

“To me, the wisdom the Elders have to manifest is in teaching people how to live in harmony and balance with each other and the Earth.”
–Sun Bear, CHIPPEWA

You cannot give away what you don’t have.  You need to give away what you have in order to keep it.  Our Elders have lived their lives with a lot of trial and error.  They have experienced how to do things well and they have experienced what didn’t work for them as they grew old.  They know things about living that we don’t know.

So, through the years the Elders have gained wisdom.  They usually have a whole different point of view because of all their experiences.  There are two ways to learn.  Someone tells us what they did and we do the same thing or someone tells us what they did and we choose not to do it.  Both of these paths will help us to live.

My Creator, teach me about choices and decisions and consequences.  Put an Elder in my life to guide me.

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Journey To The Heart
September 16
The Real Magic Is About to Begin

At some point in the journey, we may become tired, weary, and confused. Homesick. All the mountains, the scenery, the food, the people, the experiences just don’t do it for us anymore. We want to go home. What am I doing here? we wonder. Nothing worthwhile is happening. Yet another part of us knows the truth and whispers, Yes, something is happening, something worthwhile.

Feeling homesick is part of the journey. It can mean we’ve reached a turning point. “When we get to that place,” a friend said, “it means the journey has really begun.”

Stay present for yourself and all your emotions. You’ve worked through so much. Don’t stop now. Getting through this place, this point, will turn your life around. You’ve learned and grown, you’ve worked so hard healing your heart and cleansing your soul. Your spiritual growth has been profound. But until now, all the work you’ve done has been to prepare you for where you’re going.

You’ve seen only a little of what life has to offer. You’re about to walk through a door. Now that your heart is open, you’ll see, touch, and know even more of life’s wonders. It’s the reward for where you’ve been. Keep feeling your feelings and trusting your guidance.

Let the magic begin.

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Today’s Gift
September 16

The sign must come like dawn. You cannot see its arrival, but know when it is there.
Diane Wakoski

Let us take a break, sit by the river, and watch the current quietly flow. Let’s just think, for a moment, about where the current is going, the shores it will brush on its way, the clouds reflected on its surface, the animals that come to drink from it, the bobbers it gently nudges downstream.

Our lives sometimes seem like the river, wandering to the west, the south, back toward the east, seemingly without direction at all. Yet we can take comfort in this thought for, like the river, we are always headed in the direction we are meant to go. Without trying, without knowing, we are part of the larger pattern of things, and we nourish many others just by passing through their lives.

What shores will my life touch today?

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The Language of Letting Go
September 16
Revenge

No matter how long we’ve been recovering, no matter how solid our spiritual ground, we may still feel an overwhelming desire at times to punish, or get even, with another person.

We want revenge.

We want to see the other person hurt the way he or she has hurt us. We want to see life deal that person just rewards. In fact, we would like to help life out.

Those are normal feelings, but we do not have to act on them. These feelings are part of our anger but it’s not our job to deal justice.

We can allow ourselves to feel the anger. It is helpful to go one step deeper and let ourselves feel the other feelings – the hurt, the pain, the anguish. But our goal is to release the feelings, and be finished with them.

We can hold the other person accountable. We can hold the other person responsible. But it is not our responsibility to be judge and jury. Actively seeking revenge will not help us. It will block us and hold us back.

Walk away. Stop playing the game. Unhook. Learn your lesson. Thank the other person for having taught you something valuable. And be finished with it. Put it behind, with the lesson intact.

Acceptance helps. So does forgiveness – not the kind that invites that person to use us again, but a forgiveness that releases the other person and sets him or her free to walk a separate path, while releasing our anger and resentments. That sets us free to walk our own path.

Today, I will be as angry as I need to be, with a goal of finishing my business with others. Once I have released my hurt and anger, I will strive for healthy forgiveness – forgiveness with boundaries. I understand that boundaries, coupled with forgiveness and compassion, will move me forward.

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More Language Of Letting Go
September 16
Let your creative self flow

To live a creative life, we must lose our fear of being wrong.
–Joseph Chilton Pearce

Creativity isn’t just something we do.

Being creative doesn’t mean just drawing pictures, writing books, or sculpting statues out of clay. There’s not a limited pot of creativity available only to the artists.

Creativity is a vital living force in the universe that is available to each of us, to assist us in living our lives. All we need to do to align ourselves with that force is let go of our fears.

Need a new idea on how to fix that room, that thesis, that relationship? Need an idea about how to fix your life? Let yourself be creative. Encourage your ideas to flow. Listen to your intuition, to your spirit.

Listen to that small idea you have, the one you have so much passion for. Let go of your rational thought process just for a moment. Let creativity help you live your life. Ask the Creator for help.

God, show me how creative I am and can be. Give me the courage to be willing to make mistakes as I create my path with heart.

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Touchstones Meditations For Men
September 16

Sit loosely in the saddle of life.
—Robert Louis Stevenson

Sitting loosely in the saddle is an image of detachment for us. Detachment doesn’t mean we stop caring. It means we have an inner wisdom telling us what we can control and what we cannot. When we go to meetings and hear fellow members struggling with temptations to return to old behaviors, we need to detach. When family members or friends are engaged in an addiction, we need to sit loosely in the saddle by caring, but not protecting them from the results of their behavior. Sometimes close friends will be “off base” in the way they talk to us. We practice detachment by not being reactive to the person but being responsive to the inner message of what kind of men we wish to be.

We can’t control another person’s behavior toward us. Our inner security will never come from how someone else behaves. The most helpful thing we can do for someone is to listen and care; then we need to be ready to let go of the outcome.

I will accept the limits of my control over others. I will care and let go.

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Daily TAO
September 16
BRIDGE

Dream arch shimmers in storm clouds:
Bridge between heaven and earth.
Its entrance is hard to find.

In legends, they say that the rainbow is the bridge between heaven and earth.

Think how difficult it is to walk this bridge. Not only does it appear very seldom, but we cannot easily find it. It seems to be just at the horizon, but the more we go toward it, the more it eludes us. To find its end, to even stand at its base and contemplate the dizzying heights that must hover over its high arch is even more impossible. If we were to stumble upon that sacred path, could we be light enough and pure enough to walk its raindrop surface to the embraces of gods?

My companion says that he once saw a triple rainbow. What a rare sight indeed! Truly, the land where he saw it must have been blessed, and he was lucky to have such beauty revealed to him.

But then again how high must heaven be to need three insurmountable bridges?

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Daily Zen
September 16

I have just three things to teach:
Simplicity, patience, compassion.
These three are your greatest treasures.
Simple in actions and in thoughts,
You return to the source of being.
Patient with both friends and enemies,
You accord with the way things are.
Compassionate toward yourself,
You reconcile all beings in the world.

– Lao Tzu

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Food For Thought
September 16
Understanding

The understanding, which we gain through the OA program, is a source of constant amazement and gratitude. First, we begin to understand our illness. Then, we grow in understanding of others and ourselves. Finally, our eyes are opened more and more to the spiritual aspects of our existence.

Hearing someone else’s story gives us insight into our own behavior. We act as mirrors, reflecting each other’s problems and solutions. As we act, we are given greater understanding of why we do what we do and how we may function better. In order to gain more understanding, we must first act on the knowledge we have. Intellectual awareness alone will not enable us to control our disease.

The empathy and understanding, which we receive from fellow OA members, give us the strength and hope to recover. We begin to see where our attitudes were wrong and how to go about correcting them. As we acknowledge the Power greater than ourselves and give our lives over to Him, we open a new channel of spiritual insight and understanding.

May I understand.

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Faiths Checkbook
September 16
Reward Is Certain

And whosoever shall give to drink unto one of these little ones a cup of cold water only in the name of a disciple, verily I say unto you, he shall in no wise lose his reward.
(Matthew 10:42)

Well, I can do as much as that. I can do a kind act toward the Lord’s servant. The Lord knows I love them all and would count it an honor to wash their feet. For the sake of their Master, I love the disciples.

How gracious of the Lord to mention so insignificant an action—”to give to drink a cup of cold water only”! This I can do, however poor: this I may do, however lowly: this I will do right cheerfully. This, which seems so little, the Lord notices—notices when done to the least of His followers. Evidently it is not the cost, nor the skill, nor the quantity, that He looks at, but the motive: that which we do to a disciple, because he is a disciple, his Lord observes and recompenses. He does not reward us for the merit of what we do but according to His riches of His grace.

I give a cup of cold water, and He makes me to drink of living water. I give to one of His little ones, and He treats me as one of them. Jesus finds an apology for His liberality in that which His grace has led me to do, and He says, “He shall in no wise lose his reward.”

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This Mornings Reading
September 16

“Partakers of the divine nature.”
—2 Peter 1:4.

TO be a partaker of the divine nature is not, of course, to become God. That cannot be. The essence of Deity is not to be participated in by the creature. Between the creature and the Creator there must ever be a gulf fixed in respect of essence; but as the first man Adam was made in the image of God, so we, by the renewal of the Holy Spirit, are in a yet diviner sense made in the image of the Most High, and are partakers of the divine nature. We are, by grace, made like God. “God is love”; we become love—”He that loveth is born of God.” God is truth; we become true, and we love that which is true: God is good, and He makes us good by His grace, so that we become the pure in heart who shall see God. Moreover, we become partakers of the divine nature in even a higher sense than this—in fact, in as lofty a sense as can be conceived, short of our being absolutely divine. Do we not become members of the body of the divine person of Christ? Yes, the same blood which flows in the head flows in the hand: and the same life which quickens Christ quickens His people, for “Ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.” Nay, as if this were not enough, we are married unto Christ. He hath betrothed us unto Himself in righteousness and in faithfulness, and he who is joined unto the Lord is one spirit. Oh! marvellous mystery! we look into it, but who shall understand it? One with Jesus—so one with Him that the branch is not more one with the vine than we are a part of the Lord, our Saviour, and our Redeemer! While we rejoice in this, let us remember that those who are made partakers of the divine nature will manifest their high and holy relationship in their intercourse with others, and make it evident by their daily walk and conversation that they have escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. O for more divine holiness of life!

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This Evenings Reading
September 16

“Am I a sea, or a whale, that Thou settest a watch over me?”
—Job 7:12.

THIS was a strange question for Job to ask of the Lord. He felt himself to be too insignificant to be so strictly watched and chastened, and he hoped that he was not so unruly as to need to be so restrained. The enquiry was natural from one surrounded with such insupportable miseries, but after all, it is capable of a very humbling answer. It is true man is not the sea, but he is even more troublesome and unruly. The sea obediently respects its boundary, and though it be but a belt of sand, it does not overleap the limit. Mighty as it is, it hears the divine hitherto, and when most raging with tempest it respects the word; but self-willed man defies heaven and oppresses earth, neither is there any end to this rebellious rage. The sea, obedient to the moon, ebbs and flows with ceaseless regularity, and thus renders an active as well as a passive obedience; but man, restless beyond his sphere, sleeps within the lines of duty, indolent where he should be active. He will neither come nor go at the divine command, but sullenly prefers to do what he should not, and to leave undone that which is required of him. Every drop in the ocean, every beaded bubble, and every yeasty foam-flake, every shell and pebble, feel the power of law, and yield or move at once. O that our nature were but one thousandth part as much conformed to the will of God! We call the sea fickle and false, but how constant it is! Since our fathers’ days, and the old time before them, the sea is where it was, beating on the same cliffs to the same tune; we know where to find it, it forsakes not its bed, and changes not in its ceaseless boom; but where is man-vain, fickle man? Can the wise man guess by what folly he will next be seduced from his obedience? We need more watching than the billowy sea, and are far more rebellious. Lord, rule us for Thine own glory. Amen.

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