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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.

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Daily Recovery Readings – September 18, 2014

Just For Today
September 18, 2014
Honest Relationships

“One of the most profound changes in our lives is in the realm of personal relationships.”
Basic Text pg. 55

Recovery gives many of us relationships that are closer and more intimate than any we’ve had before. As time passes, we find ourselves gravitating toward those who eventually become our friends, our sponsor and our partners in life. Shared laughter, tears, and struggles bring shared respect and lasting empathy.

What, then, do we do when we find we don’t agree with our friends on everything? We may discover that we don’t share the same taste in music as our dearest friend, or that we don’t agree with our spouse about how the furniture should be arranged, or even find ourselves voting differently than our sponsor at a service committee meeting. Does conflict mean that the friendship, the marriage, or the sponsorship is over? No!

These types of conflict are not only to be expected in any long-lasting relationship but are actually an indication that both people are emotionally healthy and honest individuals. In any lasting relationship where both people agree on absolutely everything, chances are that only one person is doing the thinking. If we sacrifice our honesty and integrity to avoid conflicts or disagreements, we give away the best of what we bring to our relationships. We experience the measure of partnership with another human being when we are fully honest.

Just for today: I will welcome the differences that make each one of us special. Today, I will work on being myself.

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Daily Reflections
September 18, 2014
LOVED BACK TO RECOVERY

Our whole treasured philosophy of self-sufficiency had to be cast aside. This had not been done with old-fashioned willpower; it was instead a matter of developing the willingness to accept these new facts of living. We neither ran nor fought. But accept we did. And then we were free.
BEST OF THE GRAPEVINE, Vol. I, p. 198

I can be free of my old enslaving self. After a while I recognize, and believe in, the good within myself. I see that I have been loved back to recovery by my Higher Power, who envelops me. My Higher Power becomes that source of love and strength that is performing a continuing miracle in me. I am sober . . . . and I am grateful.

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Twenty-Four Hours A Day
September 18, 2014
A.A. Thought For The Day

Step Two is: “Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.” Step Three is: “Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.” Step Eleven is: “Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God, as we understood Him, praying only for the knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.” The fundamental basis of A.A. is the belief in a Power greater than ourselves.  Let us not water this down. We cannot get the program without this venture of belief. Have I made the venture of belief in a Power greater than my own?

Meditation For The Day

“He that dwelleth in the secret place of the Most High, shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.” Dwell for a moment each day in a secret place, the place of communion with God, apart from the world, and thence receive strength to face the world. Material things cannot intrude upon this secret place, they cannot ever find it, because it is outside the realm of material things. When you abide in this secret place, you are under the shadow of the Almighty. God is close to you in this quiet place of communion. Each day, dwell for a while in this secret place.

Prayer For The Day

I pray that I may renew my strength in quietness.  I pray that I may find rest in quiet communion with God.

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As Bill Sees It
September 18, 2014
Inward Reality, p.260

It is being constantly revealed, as mankind studies the material world, that its outward appearance is not inward reality at all. The prosaic steel girder is a mass of electrons whirling around each other at incredible speed, and these tiny bodies are governed by precise laws. Science tells us so. We have no reason to doubt it.

When, however, the perfectly logic assumption is suggested that, infinitely beyond the material world as we see it, there is an all powerful, guiding, creative Intelligence, our perverse streak comes to the surface and we set out to convince ourselves that this isn’t so. Were our contention true, it would follow that life originated out of nothing, means nothing, and proceeds nowhere.

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Walk In Dry Places
September 18, 2014
The role of humor
Attitudes

There’s a lot of humor among recovery groups, which probably came out of the bizarre drinking stories told by speakers. It’s also a reflection of our real personalities.

The right kind of humor helps us achieve balance and not take ourselves too seriously. Meetings can be terribly suffocating when they have neither lightness or gaiety.

There is also a wrong kind of humor that should be avoided. It’s very easy to let joking and good-natured ribbing take the place of the honest discussions all of us need. It’s too easy in AA for a member to become known and liked as a charming jokester, even though he or she may be quietly feeling lots of inner pain. People are often surprised when such a person runs into trouble, because they had accepted the humorous surface personality without knowing the real person. In such a case, humor can send the wrong message.

Most of the time, however, humor helps keep us on the right track. Let’s keep it in our picture, but also in the proper focus.

I’ll not be afraid to laugh at myself or about myself today. Perhaps my right-spirited laughter also reflects the laughter of God.

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Keep It Simple
September 18, 2014

We feel that the elimination of our drinking is but a beginning.
—Alcoholics Anonymous

Giving up alcohol or other drugs is just the start. Even if we give up chemicals, can we be happy if we have our old life back in every other way?

We have to do more. We have to see how our illness has changed us. To do this, we turn to the Steps. Our program teaches us to become new persons. We will change. And the changes will make us happy. That’s the best part of recovery—change.

Prayer for the Day: Higher Power, make me open to changes that will heal me. Help see I’m not cured just because I stopped drinking or using drugs.

Action for the Day: Today, I’ll chose one thing about myself I want to change.

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Each Day a New Beginning
September 18, 2014

The future is made of the same stuff as the present.
………………Simone Weil

The moment is eternal. It is unending. When we move with the moment, we experience all that life can offer. Being fully awake to right now guarantees rapture even when there’s pain, because we know we are evolving, and we thrill with the knowledge. We are one with all that’s going on around us. Our existence is purposeful and part of the whole of creation, and we can sense our purpose.

Nothing is-but now. And when we dwell on what was, or what may be, we are cut off from life- essentially dead. The only reality is the present, and it’s only in the present that we are invited to make our special contribution to life; perhaps at this moment our special contribution is to reach out to another person, an act that will change two lives, ours and hers.

We must cling to the present, or we’ll miss its invitation to grow, to help a friend perhaps, to be part of the only reality there is. The present holds all we need and all we’ll ever need to fulfill our lives. It provides every opportunity for our happiness-the only happiness there is.

Abstinence offers me the gift of the present. I will cherish it, be grateful, relish it.

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Alcoholics Anonymous
September 18, 2014
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.

The next afternoon and evening, two other men visited me, and each told me his tory and the things that they were doing to try to recovery from this tragic illness. They had that certain something that seemed to glow, a peace, a serenity combined with happiness. In the next two or three days the balance of this handful of men contacted me, encouraged me, and told me how they were trying to live this program of recovery and the fun they were having doing it.

pp. 261-262

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Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions
September 18, 2014

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

“I was bowled over. There were a few twinges of conscience until I saw how really ethical Charlie’s proposal was. There was nothing wrong whatever with becoming a lay therapist. I thought of Lois coming home exhausted from the department store each day, only to cook supper for a houseful of drunks who weren’t paying board. I thought of the large sum of money still owing my Wall Street creditors. I thought of a few of my alcoholic friends, who were making as much money as ever. Why shouldn’t I do as well as they?

pp. 136-137

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Xtra Thoughts
September 18, 2014

If you don’t like what you’re getting, change what you’re doing.
–Cited in BITS & PIECES

Love grows best when watered daily with kind words.
–Cited in BITS & PIECES

If you tell the truth you don’t have to remember anything.
–Mark Twain

“Peace is not something you wish for; it’s something you make, something you do, something you are, something you give away.”
–Robert Fulghum

“At the moment we are trying to put our lives in order. But this is not an end in itself. Our real purpose is to fit ourselves to be of maximum service to God and the people about us.”
–c. 1976, Alcoholics Anonymous, page 77

“My life’s purpose is much clearer when I just work to help, not to possess.”
–c. 1990, Daily Reflections, page 89

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Father Leo’s Daily Meditation
September 18, 2014
OPEN-MINDEDNESS

“A fanatic is one who can’t change his mind and won’t change the subject.”
— Winston Churchill

In my addiction I had a closed mind because I was afraid to be seen to be wrong. I had to be right, I had to be in control, and I had to be perfect. To say “I don’t know the answer” would make me weak, vulnerable and human! So I developed a closed mind: my way, my thoughts, my ideas, my life, my God. And I was in pain.

Then I had a moment of clarity. I heard that I was sick. I heard that if I really wanted help, I could receive it. I put away the alcohol and I became vulnerable. Slowly I faced the confusion of life and I discovered the human race. I was no longer alone.

Today the spiritual life is more about living with the questions than providing the answers.

I pray that I may continue to find Truth in variety.

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Bible Scriptures
September 18, 2014

“Love does no harm to its neighbor.”
Romans 13:10

Do not fret because of evil men or be envious of those who do wrong; for like the grass they will soon wither, like green plants they will soon die away. Trust in the LORD and do good; dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture. Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the LORD; trust in him and he will do this: He will make your righteousness shine like the dawn, the justice of your cause like the noonday sun. Be still before the LORD and wait patiently for him; do not fret when men succeed in their ways, when they carry out their wicked schemes. Refrain from anger and turn from wrath; do not fret–it leads only to evil. For evil men will be cut off, but those who hope in the LORD will inherit the land.
Psalm 37:1-9

Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God. Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Matthew 5:9-10

And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving each other, even as God also in Christ forgave you.
Ephesians 4:32

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Daily Inspiration
September 18, 2014

Great power comes from being able to appreciate your own goodness and anticipate goodness in others. Lord, help me to focus on that which will bring me peace and lift my spirit.

Worry about nothing, pray for everything, and thank God for His answers. Lord, I ask You to handle my problems with me and care for my needs.

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A Day At A Time
September 18, 2014
Reflection For The Day

In every story we hear from others in The Program, pain has been the price of admission into a new life.  But our admission price purchased far more than we expected.  It led us to a degree of humility, which we soon discovered to be a healer of pain.  And, in time, we began to fear pain less — and desire humility more than ever.  Am I learning to “sit loosely in the saddle” — making the most of what comes and the least of what goes?

Today I Pray

If God’s plan for us is spiritual growth, a closer alliance with His principles of what is good and what is true, then may I believe that all my experiences have added up to a new and improved me.  May I not fear the lessons of pain.  May I know, that I must continue to grow through pain, as well as joy.

Today I Will Remember

I hurt; therefore, I am.

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One More Day
September 18, 2014

Our souls are hungry for meaning, for the sense that we have figured out how to live so that our lives matter, so that the world [will] be at least a little bit different for our having passed through.
–  Harold Kushner

Even when we are no longer well, many of us continue to hunger for learning.  We reach out to connect with other people and with book learning.

We continue to search on a deeper level as well.  Not surprisingly,  spirituality often takes a back seat, for a while, to the rigors of getting used to a changed medical condition.  Ultimately, our souls cry out for growth as our minds do, and we turn to our Higher Power for comfort and understanding.

My diminished health does not affect my drive for meaning and for learning.  I want and need to learn.

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One Day At A Time
September 18, 2014
OVERWHELMED

“Fear is a sign – usually a sign that I’m doing something right.”
–Erica Jong

When I first came into the Twelve Step program, I felt overwhelmed. Life overwhelmed me. My eating disorders overwhelmed me. My inner-pain overwhelmed me. Before I walked into my first meeting, I felt very alone.

My Higher Power has been good to me. When I entered my first meeting, I learned I was not alone. As I began to work the Twelve Steps, I learned that, while I had a lot of healing and learning to do, I would not be doing it alone. I have many friends who help me, but most of all, I have a relationship with my Higher Power that assures me constantly that I am loved.

Today, I don’t often feel overwhelmed. When I do, I turn to my Higher Power and my friends, all of whom help me to focus on doing the best thing for my mental, emotional and physical health.

One day at a time…
I will remember that even when I feel alone, I have the love and help of my Higher Power.

~ Rhonda H.

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Elder’s Meditation of the Day – September 18

“I walk in and out of many worlds.”
–Joy Harjo, CREEK/CHEROKEE

In my mind are many dwellings. Each of the dwellings we create ourselves – the house of anger, the house of despair, the house of self pity, the house of indifference, the house of negative, the house of positive, the house of hope, the house of joy, the house of peace, the house of enthusiasm, the house of cooperation, the house of giving. Each of these houses we visit each day. We can stay in any house for as long as we want. We can leave these mental houses any time we wish. We create the dwelling, we stay in the dwelling, we leave the dwelling whenever we wish. We can create new rooms, new houses. Whenever we enter these dwellings, this becomes our world until we leave for another. What world will we live in today?

Creator, no one can determine which dwelling I choose to enter. No one has the power to do so, only me. Let me choose wisely today.

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Today’s Gift
September 18, 2014

It’s better to know some of the questions than all of the answers.

– James Thurber

Recovery is an inner journey, but it often means going outside ourselves. In the past, we often were deaf to the words of others. Now we are discovering that God gave us ears for a reason.

Listening to others may be new to us, but we have so much to gain. Others may have learned ways to solve problems we can’t figure out. We may think our lives are unique, only to discover others have had the same experiences. There is so much insight, wisdom, and love to share. Now that we’re stronger, we can admit we need help, and accept that help with a joyful heart.

Today let me have the courage to listen to those people whom I respect.

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Journey To The Heart
September 18, 2014
Open Up to New Energy

As you change, what works for you may change.

The purpose of the journey is to open up. But with it comes the responsibility of watching how we feel, how our bodies feel in certain circumstances. With it comes the responsibility of knowing that certain things that used to work for us, certain things we used to be able to handle, may not work as well any longer.

As we change, we will want and need the energy around us to change,too. We’ll want it to feel better, energize us, be good for us. At first we may say, This never bothered me before. I don’t know why I’m so sensitive now. Then we may wait for our bodies and lives to return to normal, to return to how they used to be.

You are becoming more sensitive, more open than you’ve ever been. When you were closed, you didn’t feel as much, didn’t respond as much. Sometimes you weren’t aware of what you were feeling or how your body reacted. Now that you are more open, your body, mind, spirit, and soul will be far more effected by what you take in– whether it is food, drink, or the energy of a person or situation. You will feel more intensely. You may want different foods, different people, different places, different clothing, different activities. As your energy changes, you will likely want different energy around you.

Listen to your body and emotions when they tell you something no longer works for you. Let the old fall away. Listen to your inner guidance as your heart leads you to someplace new.

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The Language of Letting Go
September 18, 2014
Letting the Good Stuff Happen

Before recovery, my relationships were lousy. I didn’t do very well on my job. I was enmeshed in my dysfunctional family. But at least I knew what to expect!
—Anonymous

I want the second half of my life to be as good as the first half was miserable. Sometimes, I’m afraid it won’t be. Sometimes, I’m frightened it might be.

The good stuff can scare us. Change, even good change, can be frightening. In some ways, good changes can be more frightening than the hard times.

The past, particularly before recovery, may have become comfortably familiar. We knew what to expect in our relationships. They were predictable. They were repeats of the same pattern – the same behaviors, the same pain, over and over again. They may not have been what we wanted, but we knew what was going to happen.

This is not so when we change patterns and begins recovering.

We may have been fairly good at predicting events in most areas of our life. Relationships would be painful. We’d be deprived.

Each year would be almost a repeat of the last. Sometimes it got a little worse, sometimes a little better, but the change wasn’t drastic. Not until the moment when we began recovery.

Then things changed. And the further we progress in this miraculous program, the more we and or circumstances change. We begin to explore uncharted territory.

Things get good. They do get better all the time. We begin to become successful in love, in work, in life. One day at a time, the good stuff begins to happen and the misery dissipates.

We no longer want to be a victim of life. We’ve learned to avoid unnecessary crisis and trauma.

Life gets good.

“How do I handle the good stuff?” asked one woman. It’s harder and more foreign than the pain and tragedy.”

“The same way we handled the difficult and the painful experiences,” I replied. “One day at a time.”

Today, God, help me let go of my need to be in pain and crisis. Help me move as swiftly as possible through sad feelings and problems. Help me find my base and balance in peace, joy, and gratitude. Help me work as hard at accepting what’s good, as I have worked in the past at accepting the painful and the difficult.

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Touchstones Meditations For Men
September 18, 2014

Grace strikes us when we are in great pain and restlessness. It strikes us when we walk through the dark valley of a meaningless and empty life.
—Paul Tillich

We are men who know the consequences of alcoholism, codependency, and addiction. We have walked dark valleys. We have felt meaningless and empty in our lives. Each of us has a story. The harder we worked to overcome those feelings by our individual efforts, the worse the feelings got. This program suggested we try something radically new – something we couldn’t think up on our own.

Grace is the love and generosity of God, which comes through no effort of our own. Not until we felt defeated would we open ourselves to this gift of help from our Higher Power. Grace comes in many forms. It is in the hope we feel in the morning after a night of rest, and it’s in the good feeling we get attending our meetings. Before this program, most of us were trying so hard to control our lives we couldn’t notice any gifts that came from outside our efforts. These Twelve Steps train us for becoming receptive to the healing grace of God.

The grace of God surrounds me – even in difficult times. Returning to that message renews my strength.

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Daily TAO
September 18, 2014
SILENCE

Seek silence.
Gladden in silence.
Adore silence.

As one progresses on the path, one seeks silence more and more. It will be a great comfort, a tremendous source of solace and peace.

Once you find deep solitude and calm, there will be a great gladness in your heart. Here finally is the place where you need neither defense nor offense — the place where you can truly be open. There will be bliss, wonder, the awe of attaining something pure and sacred.

After that, you will feel adoration of silence. This is the peace that seems to elude so many. This is the beauty of Tao.

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Daily Zen
September 18, 2014

Heaven and heart
Remain peacefully unmoved,
Yet their life breath is
Unceasing, and is seldom
Known to rest.
The sun and moon continue on
Their courses day and night,
Yet their light has not changed
Through the ages.
Late at night when others rest,
Sitting alone I look deep into my heart.
Distractions cease, truth alone becomes
Manifest as dew appears at dawn.
The mind is then free and responsive.

– Hung Ying-ming (~1596)

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Food For Thought
September 18, 2014
Bad Days

There are some days when we wake up in the morning knowing with a sixth sense that the day is going to be a hard one. These are the days when it is difficult to get out of bed, when we would prefer not to face whatever awaits us. There is no way around these days; we must get through them the best way we can.

Our most useful tool for coping with a bad day is abstinence. Nothing is impossible when we are abstaining from compulsive overeating. Often our problem lies not in the external events of the day but in recognizing a part of ourselves that has been hidden and repressed. We resist facing honestly what our Higher Power is revealing to us about our inner life.

When we are determined not to escape into food, we will come out of a bad day stronger than we were before. We reinforce our new way of living, which is to turn difficult situations over to our Higher Power and then act as He guides us, step by step.

May I be closer to You during the bad days.

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Faiths Checkbook
September 18, 2014
Complete Safety

And of Benjamin he said, The beloved of the Lord shall dwell in safety by him; and the Lord shall cover him all the day long, and he shall dwell between his shoulders.
(Deuteronomy 33:12)

Yes, there is no safety like that which comes of dwelling near to God. For His best beloved the Lord can find no surer or safer place. O Lord, let me always abide under Thy shadow, close to Thy wounded side. Nearer and nearer would I come to Thee, my Lord; and when once specially near Thee, I would abide there forever.

What a covering is that which the Lord gives to His chosen! Not a fair roof shall cover him, nor a bomb-proof casement, nor even an angel’s wing, but Jehovah Himself. Nothing can come at us when we are thus covered. This covering the Lord will grant us all the day long, however long the day. Lord, let me abide this day consciously beneath this canopy of love, this pavilion of sovereign power.

Does the third clause mean that the Lord in His temple would dwell among the mountains of Benjamin or that the Lord would be where Benjamin’s burden should be placed, or does it mean that we are borne upon the shoulders of the Eternal? In any case, the Lord is the support and strength of His saints. Lord, let me ever enjoy Thy help, and then my arms will be sufficient for me.

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This Mornings Reading
September 18, 2014

“If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.”
—Galatians 5:25.

THE two most important things in our holy religion are the life of faith and the walk of faith. He who shall rightly understand these is not far from being a master in experimental theology, for they are vital points to a Christian. You will never find true faith unattended by true godliness; on the other hand, you will never discover a truly holy life which has not for its root a living faith upon the righteousness of Christ. Woe unto those who seek after the one without the other! There are some who cultivate faith and forget holiness; these may be very high in orthodoxy, but they shall be very deep in condemnation, for they hold the truth in unrighteousness; and there are others who have strained after holiness of life, but have denied the faith, like the Pharisees of old, of whom the Master said, they were “whitewashed sepulchres.” We must have faith, for this is the foundation; we must have holiness of life, for this is the superstructure. Of what service is the mere foundation of a building to a man in the day of tempest? Can he hide himself therein? He wants a house to cover him, as well as a foundation for that house. Even so we need the superstructure of spiritual life if we would have comfort in the day of doubt. But seek not a holy life without faith, for that would be to erect a house which can afford no permanent shelter, because it has no foundation on a rock. Let faith and life be put together, and, like the two abutments of an arch, they will make our piety enduring. Like light and heat streaming from the same sun, they are alike full of blessing. Like the two pillars of the temple, they are for glory and for beauty. They are two streams from the fountain of grace; two lamps lit with holy fire; two olive trees watered by heavenly care. O Lord, give us this day life within, and it will reveal itself without to Thy glory.

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This Evenings Reading
September 18, 2014

“And they follow me.”
—John 10:27.

WE should follow our Lord as unhesitatingly as sheep follow their shepherd, for He has a right to lead us wherever He pleases. We are not our own, we are bought with a price—let us recognize the rights of the redeeming blood. The soldier follows his captain, the servant obeys his master, much more must we follow our Redeemer, to whom we are a purchased possession. We are not true to our profession of being Christians, if we question the bidding of our Leader and Commander. Submission is our duty, cavilling is our folly. Often might our Lord say to us as to Peter, “What is that to thee? Follow thou Me.” Wherever Jesus may lead us, He goes before us. If we know not where we go, we know with whom we go. With such a companion, who will dread the perils of the road? The journey may be long, but His everlasting arms will carry us to the end. The presence of Jesus is the assurance of eternal salvation, because He lives, we shall live also. We should follow Christ in simplicity and faith, because the paths in which He leads us all end in glory and immortality. It is true they may not be smooth paths—they may be covered with sharp flinty trials, but they lead to the “city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God.” “All the paths of the Lord are mercy and truth unto such as keep His covenant.” Let us put full trust in our Leader, since we know that, come prosperity or adversity, sickness or health, popularity or contempt, His purpose shall be worked out, and that purpose shall be pure, unmingled good to every heir of mercy. We shall find it sweet to go up the bleak side of the hill with Christ; and when rain and snow blow into our faces, His dear love will make us far more blest than those who sit at home and warm their hands at the world’s fire. To the top of Amana, to the dens of lions, or to the hills of leopards, we will follow our Beloved. Precious Jesus, draw us, and we will run after Thee.

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