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In Loving Memory of Vic

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Need to get to a meeting and speak to someone right away? Below is a list of online meetings and resources to help you find a meeting and fellowship.

+ Alcoholics Anonymous Online Meeting Finder
+ Overeaters Anonymous Meeting Finder
+ Narcotics Anonymous Meeting Finder
+ Al-Anon Online Meeting Finder

Daily Recovery Readings – September 2, 2014

NA Just For Today
September 2, 2014
Higher Powered

“Daily practice of our Twelve Step program enables us to change from what we were to people guided by a Higher Power”
Basic Text p.83

Who have we been, and who have we become? There are a couple of ways to answer this question. One is very simple:

We came to Narcotics Anonymous as addicts, our addiction killing us. In NA, we’ve been freed from our obsession with drugs and our compulsion to use. And our lives have changed.

But that’s only the tip of the iceberg. Who have we really been? In the past, we were people without power or direction. We felt like we had no purpose, no reason for living. Our lives didn’t make any more sense to us than they did to our families, our friends, or our neighbors.

Who are we really becoming? Today, we are not merely clean addicts, but people with a sense of direction, a purpose, and a Power greater than ourselves. Through daily practice of the Twelve Steps, we’ve begun to understand how our addiction warped our feelings, motivations, and behavior. Gradually, the destructive force of our disease has been replaced by the life-giving force of our Higher Power.

Recovery means more than cleaning up-it means powering up. We have done more than shed some bad habits; we are becoming new people, guided by a Higher Power.

Just for today: The guidance I need to become a new person is ready at hand. Today, I will draw further away from my old and closer to my Higher Power.

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Daily Reflections
September 02, 2012
FINDING “A REASON TO BELIEVE”

The willingness to grow is the essence of all spiritual development.
As Bill Sees It, p.171

A line from a song goes, “. . . and I look to find a reason to believe . . .” It reminds me that at one time I was not able to find a reason to believe that my life was all right. Even though my life had been saved by coming to A.A., three months later I went out and drank again. Someone told me: “You don’t have to believe. Aren’t you willing to believe that there is a reason for your life, even though you may not know yourself what that reason is, or that you may not sometimes know the right way to behave?” When I saw how willing I was to believe there was a reason for my life, then I could start to work on the Steps. Now when I begin with, “I am willing. . . ,” I am using the key that leads to action, honesty, and openness to a Higher Power moving through my life.

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Twenty-Four Hours A Day
September 02, 2014
A.A. Thought For The Day

“Outline the program of action to new prospects, explaining how you made a self appraisal, how you straightened out your past, and why you are now endeavoring to help them. It is important for them to realize that your attempt to pass this on to them plays a vital part in your recovery. The more hopeless they feel, the better.  They will be more likely to follow your suggestions. Tell them about the fellowship of A.A. and if they show interest, lend them a copy of the Big Book.” Can I tell the A.A. story to another alcoholic?

Meditation For The Day

You should try to stand aside and let God work through you. You should try not to block Him off by your own efforts, or prevent His spirit working through you. God desires your obedient service and your loyalty to the ideals of the new life you are seeking. If you are loyal to God, He will give you protection against mistakes. His spirit will plan for you and secure for you a sufficiency of all spiritual help. You will have true victory and real success, if you will put yourself in the background and let God work through you.

Prayer For The Day

I pray that I may not interfere with the working of God’s spirit in me and through me. I pray that I may give it full rein.

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As Bill Sees It
September 02, 2014
Toward Maturity, p.244

Many oldsters who have put our A.A. “booze cure” to severe but successful tests still find they often lack emotional sobriety. To attain this, we must develop real maturity and balance (which is to say, humility) in our relations with ourselves, with our fellows, and with God.

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Let A.A. never be a closed corporation; let us never deny our experience, for whatever it may be worth, to the world around us.  Let our individual members heed the call to every field of human endeavor. Let them carry the experience and spirit of A.A. into all these affairs, for whatever good they may accomplish. For not only has God saved us from alcoholism; the world has received us back into its citizenship.

1. Grapevine, January 1958
2. A.A. Comes Of Age, pp. 232-233

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Walk In Dry Places
September 02, 2014
Going with the Flow
Problem solving.

It’s surprising how many problems solve themselves when we’re willing to turn them over to our Higher

Power. This isn’t a self-fulfilling prophecy brought about by suspicious beliefs we can actually find proof of this seemingly providential activity in our lives.

We don’t have to convince anybody except ourselves that this process works. What we can prove is that some of our best opportunities come about by what we would call chance or coincidence. Indeed, the first meeting of two AA founders could be called such a chance event.

We need to believe that our Higher Power is working ceaselessly for the upward development of the human race, and Twelve Step programs can be essential forces in this upward development. In our own lives, we can go with this flow of ever-increasing good, as we continue to feel ourselves a part of it.

I will not wrestle with every problem today. Some problems will be dealt with later and some will seem to solve themselves. I will know that I am part of an upward development that is continuing.

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Keep It Simple
September 02, 2014

… except when to do so would injure them or others.
—Second half of Step Nine

We have to be careful when we make amends. We must think about people’s well being. Can we help heal by being direct with them? Or would it hurt them again? At times, this means not making direct amends. Sometimes, it’s better to make some other kind of amend. If you’re not sure how to make amends to someone, ask for advice from your sponsor and your group. And pray. Over time, you’ll know if making direct amends is the right thing to do. Remember, Step Nine means we’re responsible for our actions. In recovery, our actions can be healing. Healing takes place when we love ourselves and others. And love is what heals us.

Prayer for the Day: Higher Power, I’ve hurt people in the past. Please use me now to help those people heal. Give me good judgment, courage, and good timing.

Action for the Day: I will never be able to make direct amends to some people. I will think of amends I can make to them. I can pray daily for their healing.

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Each Day a New Beginning
September 02, 2014

If I had to describe something as divine it would be what happens between people when they really get it together. There is a kind of spark that makes it all worthwhile. When you feel that spark, you get a good feeling deep in your gut.
—June L. Tapp

How lucky we are, that we can experience that divine spark with one another, and with all recovering women. The program offers us the chance, every moment of our lives from this day forward, to experience divinity. All we are asked to do is be there, for one another, to share fully who we are. Vulnerability gets easier as we learn that we can trust each other, that we can share pain, that it’s okay to pull and prod and follow, first you and then me and then her.

What a thrill it is to leave our competition behind! The program bonds us together, and the bond will strengthen each of us, but it can elude us, too. It often does when we forget to be there, in one another’s presence, when the opportunity comes.

I need these sparks to nurture my growth, singly and collectively. I will be part of a divine experience today.

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Alcoholics Anonymous
September 02, 2014
GUTTER BRAVADO –

Alone and unemployable, he was given two options by the court, get help or go to jail, and his journey toward teachability began.

So today I’m much more comfortable with life, as Alcoholics Anonymous has promised, and I know they’re right when they say it keeps getting better. My circumstances have steadily improved as my spiritual life grows and matures. Words cannot begin to describe the feelings in my heart as I sometimes ponder how much my life has changed, how far I’ve come, and how much there is yet to discover. And though I’m not sure where my journey may take me next, I know I’ll owe it to the grace of God and to three words of the Twelve Steps: continue, improve, and practice.
Oh, and one more thing they told me: Humility is the key.

p. 511

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Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions
September 02, 2014

Step Eleven – “Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.”

Of course, it is reasonable and understandable that the question is often asked: “Why can’t we take a specific and troubling dilemma straight to God, and in prayer secure from Him sure and definite answers to our requests?”
This can be done, but it has hazards. We have seen A.A.’s ask with much earnestness and faith for God’s explicit guidance on matters ranging all the way from a shattering domestic or financial crisis to correcting a minor personal fault, like tardiness. Quite often, however, the thoughts that seem to come from God are not answers at all. They prove to be well-intentioned unconscious rationalizations. The A.A., or indeed any man, who tries to run his life rigidly by this kind of prayer, by this self-serving demand of God for replies, is a particularly disconcerting individual. To any questioning or criticism of his actions he instantly proffers his reliance upon prayer for guidance in all matters great or small. He may have forgotten the possibility that his own wishful thinking and the human tendency to rationalize have distorted his so-called guidance. With the best of intentions, he tends to force his own will into all sorts of situations and problems with the comfortable assurance that he is acting under God’s specific direction. Under such an illusion, he can of course create great havoc without in the least intending it.

pp. 103-104

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Xtra Thoughts
September 02, 2014

Most folks are about as happy as they make up their minds to be.
–Abraham Lincoln

“The truth of the matter is that you always know the right thing to do.  The hard part is doing it.”
–General H. Norman Schwarzkopf

“I didn’t learn humility with my head. I learned humility with my heart.”
–Unknown

For all my good intentions, there are days when things go wrong or I fall into old habits. When things are not going well, when I’m grumpy or mad, I’ll realize that I’ve not been paying attention to my soul and I’ve not been following my best routine.
–Robert Fulghum

When you recover or discover something that nourishes your soul and brings joy, care enough about yourself to make room for it in your life.
–Jean Shinoda Bolen

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Father Leo’s Daily Meditation
September 02, 2014
MEMORY

“Every man’s memory is his private literature.”
– Aldous Huxley

What it was like. What happened. What it is like today. Memory. If I am to stay sober, I need to remember. I need to remember on a daily basis. I must never forget.

My life is reflected in my memory. The “writing on the wall” is really in my head, but am I prepared to see it and acknowledge it?  For years I chose not to remember. I lived in a world of make-believe. People were exaggerating the facts! With denial at the center of my life I was able to forget the pain and drink again, only to awake to yesterday’s pain again.

My memory is the key to my recovery. Spirituality is about “seeing” — seeing my life as it is, rather than how I imagined or hoped it would be. My pain belongs in my life because it is mine! Alcohol always works; but does it work for me or against me? My remembering helps me answer that question today and hopefully tomorrow.

Thank You, God, for allowing my yesterdays to forge my tomorrows.

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Bible Scriptures
September 02, 2014

The Lord also will be a refuge for the oppressed, a refuge in times of trouble.
Psalm 9:9

A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.
Proverbs 15:1

I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Romans 8:38-39

My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand. I and the Father are one.”
John 10:27-30

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Daily Inspiration
September 02, 2014

Don’t miss a single chance to enrich your life or the lives of others. Lord, Your blessings are countless. May I always be aware of Your presence in my life, share my blessings, and use my blessings to be a blessing to others.

Never judge. The heart of each one of us is so different, so complex, with so many different circumstances and sufferings that only God is truly able to know it. Lord, may I reach out to others with compassion when they need my support.

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A Day At A Time
September 2, 2014

Reflection For The Day

When I wake up, I’ll think quietly about the twenty-four hours ahead.  I’ll ask God to direct my thinking, especially asking that it be free from self-pity and from dishonest or self seeking motives.  If I have to determine which of several courses to take, I’ll ask God for inspiration, for an intuitive thought, or a decision.  Then I’ll relax and take it easy, confident that all will be well.  Can I believe that when I give up my “rights” of expectations, I’ll know freedom?

Today I Pray

I praise God for being able to praise God, to choose the times when I will seek Him, to find my own words when I talk to Him, to address Him in the way that seems most right to me.  May I expect that He in turn must be free of my expectations, to affect my life as He sees fit.

Today i Will Remember

Who am I to try to tell God what to do?

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One More Day
September 2, 2014

My coat and I live comfortably together.  It has assumed all my wrinkles, does not hurt me anywhere, has molded itself on my deformities, and is complacent to all my movements.  I only feel its presence because it keeps me warm.
–  Victor Hugo

The anticipation of school beginning each fall is fueled by youngsters’ love of newness –  new clothes, new shoes, new books, new teachers.  We still enjoy newness, but we also find comfort in what is old and reliable.  No afghan comforts quite as well as the one that was knitted with loving hands many years ago.  We may have a favorite mug or chair.  Over years we have developed trusting and dependable relationships.  While we remain open to change, we also feel comfortable with what is old and familiar.

I’m glad I can find comfort in the old and familiar, and excitement in the new and unfamiliar.

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Elder’s Meditation of the Day – September 2

“I remember Dawson (No Horse) said, “Once you say your prayers, don’t worry about them. If you worry about them, they’ll just fade away.”
–Chuck Ross, LAKOTA

Today I need to remember You are everywhere.  I need to remember how much You love me.  I need to know, Grandfathers, that You are always listening.  Today I need to know how much You care.  Today I will remember the advice of the Elders.  “Say your prayers and then don’t worry – know that the Great One has heard you.”  It’s so much easier to do this, Grandfather, when I feel connected to You.

My Creator, allow me this day to feel your presence. Let me walk the path of life today and talk to You many times. Give me faith, my Grandfather.

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Journey To The Heart
September 2, 2014
Listen to the Voice of the Soul

Listen to your soul. It speaks quietly, yet clearly, about what it wants, what it needs, what it’s learning, what it yearns for. It speaks of its fears and dreams, its hopes and needs.

Learn to listen to the souls of others,too. Listen not only to the way people chatter and exchange ideas. Learn to listen to what they’re really saying.

“My son is nineteen. He’s moved away from home. He talks all the time about wanting to be grown up, wanting his independence. So my husband and I have really tried to give him his freedom,” one woman said. “Yet recently, when he had a crisis, I heard for the first time what he was really saying. Don’t go too far. Call me often. Be there for me. Let me know you’re there.Let me know you still care. Now I try to call him every day, just to tell him I love him and to let him know I’m close by. The crisis he had wasn’t the issue. Not really. What he was really saying was he needed us.”

Go beyond what you hear with your ears. Learn to hear what you’re really saying, and what others are really saying to you.

Souls do talk. Listen quietly. Listen to your own. Learn to hear the voice of others. A little soul talk goes a long way.

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Today’s Gift
September 2, 2014

The answer, my friend, is blowin’ in the wind, the answer is blowin’ in the wind.
—Bob Dylan

A family is like a wind chime; each member hangs in delicate balance with the others. When a problem develops for one family member, the rest of us often take on roles to try and deal with the situation. But what happens to our wind chime when we’re all pulling and pushing in different directions? Our balance is lost and we either all clash together or none of our chimes connect at all and there is only painful silence.

If we let go and trust in that spiritual force beyond ourselves, we discover that it is like the wind. It moves our wind chime gently with a soothing breeze that allows us to relax in our places or move together as the force directs us. It brings out the beautiful harmonious notes we weren’t able to produce ourselves.

How can I help us make better music together today?

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The Language of Letting Go
September 2, 2014
Patience

Sometimes we get what we want right away. At other times, we wonder if our desires will ever be fulfilled in the best way possible and as quickly as possible. But some things take time. Sometimes, we have lessons to learn first, lessons that prepare us so we can accept the good we deserve. Things are being worked out in us, and in others. Blocks in us are being removed. A solid foundation is being laid.

Be patient. Relax and trust. Let go. Then, let go some more. Good things are planned for us. We will receive them at the first available moment. WE will have all our heart longs for. Relax and trust.

Today, I will identify what I want and need; then, I’ll devote my energy to living my life today, so I may master my lessons as quickly as possible. I will trust that what I want and need is coming to me. I will let go of my need to control the details.

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More Language Of Letting Go
September 2, 2014
Coping devices

We may do less-than-logical things to cope with tragic events. We don’t do these things because we’re silly. We do them because it’s the only way we know to survive.

One of the silliest things we do to cope with life is devaluing ourselves when bad things happen to us.

We might have experienced a lot of pain while we were growing up. So as a child we looked around and said, “Yup. This must be my fault. There’s something wrong with me.” Or, “I know if I would have kept my room cleaner, my daddy wouldn’t have gone away.”

Low self-esteem– and all the ways it manifests– becomes a way of coping with painful events. We look around and see all the people who don’t appear to have our level of problems, so we may conclude, “There’s something wrong with me.” Although adapting a posture of low self-esteem might have been a way of surviving pain, that time has passed. It’s time to replace low self-esteem with new perspectives.

Stop coping with events by devaluing yourself. Instead, respond to life by loving and taking care of yourself.

Love yourself just as you are.

God, help me love myself for who I am now.

Activity: Do a review of your self-esteem. Go back over past events from your childhood, teenage, and adult years. What painful events occurred? Did you give away your self-esteem to certain people? Now is a time to claim your self-esteem and take it back. Write down positive areas of your life. Write down what your friends and family members appreciate about you.

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 Touchstones Meditations For Men
September 2, 2014

It is clear the future holds opportunities – it also holds pitfalls. The trick will be to seize the opportunities, avoid the pitfalls, and get back home by 6:00.
—Woody Allen

Sometimes we take ourselves far too seriously. We draw our lives in the absolutes of black and white, with no shadings of gray. We believe our whole lives depend on every decision we make. When a problem comes along, we see it as a crisis rather than another of the ongoing issues that confront all people. If we are displeased with someone, or if a person is upset with us, we amplify the feelings until we rupture the whole relationship.

It would be helpful to look at today’s tasks and problems as a game. Yes, we would like to play the game well, but we could have a good time while doing it. If we don’t take our problems or ourselves too seriously, maybe we’ll have some fun.

Help me learn that daily living needs the light of humor.

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Daily TAO
September 2, 2014
GARDEN

Blinding heat divides day from night,
Brands short shadows into fecund soil.
Green tendrils, heavy with beans,
Coil around rustic bamboo racks.
Violet flowers gape erotically among velvet leaves :
A single gourd contains the entire world’s dream.

There is a great comfort in growing your own food. You are close to the
soil. You use the basic elements — water, sunlight, earth, air, and
plants — for your work, your sustenance, and your pleasure. You nurture
your garden from seedlings to mature plants, tending, pruning, weeding. Year
after year, you see cycles come and go, from sprouting to harvest to
withering, to seeding again. You eat your plants to live. You don’t mind and
they don’t mind. Some day, you will fall back to this earth, back into the
sun-baked dirt, and you will become food for the plants. It’s the way of all
life, and it’s all very agreeable.

Those who follow Tao say that all reality is like a series of nesting
circles : microcosms within macrocosms. What is close at hand is a microcosm
of what is far away. Why search all over for Tao? It is all contained in the
seeds of the gourd growing in your garden.

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Daily Zen
September 2, 2014

The days and months go by like lightning: we should value the time. We pass from life to death in the time it takes to breathe in and breathe out: it’s hard to guarantee even a morning and an evening. Whether walking, standing, sitting, or lying down, do not waste even a moment of time. Become ever braver and bolder. Be like our original teacher Shakyamuni, who kept on progressing energetically.

– T’aego

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Food For Thought
September 2, 2014
Stop Overeating, Start Living

Physical abstinence is just the beginning of the new life OA offers to us. When our Higher Power controls our life, we become free of the mental obsession with food. Then we are able to get down to the business of living, which we avoided with our illness.

Rather than reaching out with both hands to grab and hold on to all we can get, we begin to think in terms of giving and serving. We may start by sharing what OA has done for us with newcomers to the program. It is the newcomer who is our reminder of who we were and where we came from.

We find that though we can never eat spontaneously, we can live much more spontaneously than before. Because we feel less guilt and fear, we can experience the joy of acting from the center of our being. Knowing that our Higher Power is in control, we have trust and faith that the results of our actions will be okay. Each day becomes less of a trial and more of an opportunity.

Today, may I experience the spontaneity that comes with Your control.

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Faiths Checkbook
September 2, 2014
Follow to Know

Then shall we know, if we follow on to know the Lord.
(Hosea 6:3)

Not all at once, but by degrees shall we attain to holy knowledge, and our business is to persevere and learn by little and little. We need not despair, though our progress may be slow, for we shall yet know. The Lord, who has become our Teacher, will not give us up, however slow of understanding we may be; for it is not for His honor that any degree of human folly should baffle His skill. The Lord delights to make the simple wise.

Our duty is to keep to our main topic and follow on to know, not this peculiar doctrine nor that, but Jehovah Himself. To know Father, Son, and Spirit, the Triune God, this is life eternal. let us keep to this, for in this way we shall gain complete instruction. By following on to know the Lord, we learn healing after being torn, binding up after smiting, and life after death. Experience has its perfect work when the heart follows the trackway of the almighty Lord.

My soul, keep thou close to Jesus, follow on to know God in Jesus, and so shalt thou come to the knowledge of Christ, which is the most excellent of all the sciences. The Holy Ghost will lead thee into all truth. Is not this His gracious oR’ice? Rely upon Him to fulfill it.

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This Mornings Reading
September 2, 2014

“But Simon’s wife’s mother lay sick of a fever, and anon they tell Him of her.”
—Mark 1:30.

VERY interesting is this little peep into the house of the Apostolic Fisherman. We see at once that household joys and cares are no hindrance to the full exercise of ministry, nay, that since they furnish an opportunity for personally witnessing the Lord’s gracious work upon one’s own flesh and blood, they may even instruct the teacher better than any other earthly discipline. Papists and other sectaries may decry marriage, but true Christianity and household life agree well together. Peter’s house was probably a poor fisherman’s hut, but the Lord of Glory entered it, lodged in it, and wrought a miracle in it. Should our little book be read this morning in some very humble cottage, let this fact encourage the inmates to seek the company of King Jesus. God is oftener in little huts than in rich palaces. Jesus is looking round your room now, and is waiting to be gracious to you. Into Simon’s house sickness had entered, fever in a deadly form had prostrated his mother-in-law, and as soon as Jesus came they told Him of the sad affliction, and He hastened to the patient’s bed. Have you any sickness in the house this morning? You will find Jesus by far the best physician, go to Him at once and tell Him all about the matter. Immediately lay the case before Him. It concerns one of His people, and therefore will not be trivial to Him. Observe, that at once the Saviour restored the sick woman; none can heal as He does. We may not make sure that the Lord will at once remove all disease from those we love, but we may know that believing prayer for the sick is far more likely to be followed by restoration than anything else in the world; and where this avails not, we must meekly bow to His will by whom life and death are determined. The tender heart of Jesus waits to hear our griefs, let us pour them into His patient ear.

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This Evenings Reading
September 2, 2014

“Except ye see signs and wonders, ye will not believe.”
—John 4:48.

Acraving after marvels was a symptom of the sickly state of men’s minds in our Lord’s day; they refused solid nourishment, and pined after mere wonder. The gospel which they so greatly needed they would not have; the miracles which Jesus did not always choose to give they eagerly demanded. Many nowadays must see signs and wonders, or they will not believe. Some have said in their heart, “I must feel deep horror of soul, or I never will believe in Jesus.” But what if you never should feel it, as probably you never may? Will you go to hell out of spite against God, because He will not treat you like another? One has said to himself, “If I had a dream, or if I could feel a sudden shock of I know not what, then I would believe.” Thus you undeserving mortals dream that my Lord is to be dictated to by you! You are beggars at His gate, asking for mercy, and you must needs draw up rules and regulations as to how He shall give that mercy. Think you that He will submit to this? My Master is of a generous spirit, but He has a right royal heart, He spurns all dictation, and maintains His sovereignty of action. Why, dear reader, if such be your case, do you crave for signs and wonders? Is not the gospel its own sign and wonder? Is not this a miracle of miracles, that “God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him might not perish”? Surely that precious word, “Whosoever will, let him come and take the water of life freely” and that solemn promise, “Him that cometh unto Me, I will in no wise cast out,” are better than signs and wonders! A truthful Saviour ought to be believed. He is truth itself. Why will you ask proof of the veracity of One who cannot lie? The devils themselves declared Him to be the Son of God; will you mistrust Him?

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