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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 20

Just For Today
September 20
Courage To Change

“God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”
Serenity Prayer

Recovery involves change, and change means doing things differently. The problem is, many of us resist doing things differently; what we’re doing may not be working, but at least we’re familiar with it. It takes courage to step out into the unknown. How do we find that courage?

We can look around ourselves at NA meetings. There, we see others who’ve found they needed to change what they were doing and who’ve done so successfully. Not only does that help quiet our fear that change – any change – spells disaster, it also gives us the benefit of their experience with what does work, experience we can use in changing what doesn’t.

We can also look at our own recovery experience. Even if that experience, so far, has been limited to stopping the use of drugs, still we have made many changes in our lives – changes for the good. Whatever aspects of our lives we have applied the steps to, we have always found surrender better than denial, recovery superior to addiction. Our own experience and the experience of others in NA tells us that “changing the things I can” is a big part of what recovery is all about. The steps and the power to practice them give us the direction and courage we need to change. We have nothing to fear.

Just for today: I welcome change. With the help of my Higher Power, I will find the courage to change the things I can.

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Daily Reflections
September 20
H.P. AS GUIDE

See to it that your relationship with Him is right, and great events will come to pass for you and countless others. This is the Great Fact for us.
ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS, p. 164

Having a right relationship with God seemed to be an impossible order. My chaotic past had left me filled with guilt and remorse and I wondered how this “God business” could work. A.A. told me that I must turn my will and my life life over to the care of God, as I understand Him. With nowhere else to turn, I went down on my knees and cried, “God, I can’t do this. Please help me!” It was when I admitted my powerlessness that a glimmer of light began to touch my soul, and then a willingness emerged to let God control my life. With Him as my guide, great events began to happen, and I found the beginning of sobriety.

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Twenty-Four Hours A Day
September 20
A.A. Thought For The Day

Step Four is, “Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.” Step Five is, ” Admitted to God to ourselves and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.” Step Six is, “Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.” Step Seven is, “Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.” Step Ten is, “Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong, promptly admitted it.” In taking a personal inventory, we have to be absolutely honest with ourselves and with other people. Have I taken an honest inventory of myself?

Meditation For The Day

God is good. You can often tell whether or not a thing is of God. If it is of God, it must be good. Honesty, purity, unselfishness, and love are all good, unselfish helpfulness is good, and these things all lead to the abundant life. Leave in God’s hands the present and the future, knowing only that He is good. The hand that veils the future is the hand of God. He can bring order out of chaos, good out of evil, and peace out of turmoil. We can believe that everything really good comes from God and that He shares His goodness with us.

Prayer For The Day

I pray that I may reach out for the good.  I pray that I may try to choose the best in life.

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As Bill Sees It
September 20
Individual Responsibilities, p.262

Let us emphasize that our reluctance to fight one another, or anybody else, is not counted as some special virtue which entitles us A.A.’s to feel superior to other people. Nor does this reluctance mean that the members of A.A. are going to back away from their individual responsibilities as citizens. Here they should feel free to act as they see the right upon the public issues of our times.

But when it comes to A.A. as a whole, that’s quite a different matter.  As a group we do not enter into public controversy, because we are sure that our Society will perish if we do.

12 & 12, p.177

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Walk In Dry Places
September 20
All we need to know.
Maintaining

Seen from today’s perspective, the early AA members had rather narrow attitudes toward the study of alcoholism. They became restless and fidgety if member started discussing psychological aspects of the problem or gave other indications that they were trying to learn more about the disease.

While we don’t need to hold such narrow attitudes today, we should at least concede that we don’t need complex information to stay sober. All we have to know is that we have a very compulsive problem that can be arrested by eliminating the first drink.

Even today, nobody fully knows why the first drink is so deadly for people like us. Our experience and the experience of others tells us that it is. That knowledge alone can be an important building block in finding and maintaining sobriety.

While being open-minded to new information, I’ll remember today that a fairly simple idea…. that I’m an alcoholic and can’t live with alcohol…. Is the main thing I need to know.

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Keep It Simple
September 20

The best way to cheer yourself up is to try to cheer somebody else up.
—Mark Twain

Sometimes it does no good to try to “deal” with your feelings. For the moment, we’re stuck. We can only see things one way. No matter what anyone says, we’re closed up. For the moment. But this puts our sobriety at risk.

How do we stop self-pity? Focus on someone else. When we really want to help someone else be happy, we’ll ask our Higher Power’s help. Then things start to change, because our good deeds come back to us. Remember, service will always keep us sober.

Prayer for the Day: Higher Power, sometimes I get stuck in my old ways. Help me change my focus at those times. Help me stay sober.

Action for the Day: I will think of a time when I was stuck in bad feelings. How did I get out of that spot.

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Each Day a New Beginning
September 20

What difference does it make how I am treated by life? My real life is within.
—Angela L. Wozniak

It is said that we teach people how to treat us. How we treat others invites similar treatment. Our response to the external conditions of our lives can be greatly altered by our perceptions of those conditions. And we have control of that perception. No experience has to demoralize us. Each situation can be appreciated for its long-term contribution to our growth as happy, secure women.

No outside circumstances will offer us full time and forever the security we all long for. And in like manner, none will adversely interfere with our well being, except briefly and on occasion.

The program offers us the awareness that our security, happiness, and well being reside within. The uplifting moments of our lives may enhance our security, but they can’t guarantee that it will last. Only the relationship we have with ourselves and God within can promise the gift of security.

The ripples in my day are reminders to me to go within.

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Alcoholics Anonymous
September 20
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 meeting consisted perhaps eight or nine alcoholics and seven or eight wives. It was different from the meetings now held. The big A.A. book had not been written, and there was no literature except various religious pamphlets. The program was carried on entirely by word of mouth.

p. 262

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Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions
September 20

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

“Almost timidly, one of my friends began to speak. `We know how hard up you are, Bill. It bothers us a lot. We’ve often wondered what we might do about it. But I think I speak for everyone here when I say that what you now propose bothers us an awful lot more.’ The speaker’s voice grew more confident. `Don’t you realize,’ he went on, `that you can never become a professional? As generous as Charlie has been to us, don’t you see that we can’t tie this thing up with his hospital or any other? You tell us that Charlie’s proposal is ethical. Sure, it’s ethical, but what we’ve got won’t run on ethics only; it has to be better. Sure, Charlie’s idea is good, but it isn’t good enough. This is a matter of life and death, Bill, and nothing but the very best will do!’ Challengingly, my friends looked at me as their spokesman continued. `Bill, haven’t you often said right here in this meeting that sometimes the good is the enemy of the best? Well, this is a plain case of it. You can’t do this thing to us!’

pp. 137-138

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Xtra Thoughts
September 20

Those who created yesterday’s pain do not control tomorrow’s potential.
–unknown

The devil brings devastation; God offers restoration.
–unknown

“I do service in Alcoholics Anonymous because it reminds me of where I came from . . . it keeps me green. And green things grow!”
–unknown

Most people’s confusion comes in the area of their desires, not their needs. Giving can be one of the greatest ways to receiving. If you want more love, give love. If you want more joy, be joyful. Look for the good in all things and situations, and you may be surprised at what you see.
–`John Roger

All we need to do is allow more joy and love into our experience. We need to really choose it, to allow ourselves to feel it, paying attention, choosing to be alive and to be kind; allowing ourselves to feel and to be nurtured by the natural order of the Spirit of God. When we choose and allow it, the dramas fall away and dissolve.
–Patricia Sun

Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen.
–Winston Churchill

“Fear less, hope more; Whine less, breathe more; Talk less, say more; Hate less, love more; And all good things are yours.”
–Swedish Proverb

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Father Leo’s Daily Meditation
September 20
SHARING

“The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation.”
– Henry David Thoreau

I thought that I was the only one who felt like I did. Nobody could possibly understand. I was different from everybody and needed to keep my life — my true life — a secret. I was living a life of quiet desperation! Then I went to a meeting for recovering alcoholics and heard somebody share my pain, my loneliness, my confusion, my addiction — my life.

I was lonely because I kept myself separate from people. I saw them as being different from myself, and so I remained the lonely and isolated victim. Strange how similar we are when we begin to share. When we get beneath culture, class and creed, we discover sensitive human beings trying to make sense of their lives. We need each other.

May I risk rejection in my spiritual need to share and be known.

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Bible Scriptures
September 20

The wicked draw the sword and bend the bow to bring down the poor and needy, to slay those whose ways are upright. But their swords will pierce their own hearts, and their bows will be broken. Better the little that the righteous have than the wealth of many wicked; for the power of the wicked will be broken, but the LORD upholds the righteous.  The days of the blameless are known to the LORD, and their inheritance will endure forever. In times of disaster they will not wither; in days of famine they will enjoy plenty. But the wicked will perish: The LORD’s enemies will be like the beauty of the fields, they will vanish–vanish like smoke.
Psalm 37:14-20

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”
John 14:27

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Daily Inspiration
September 20

You make a difference every time you smile, speak kindly or give of yourself. Lord, You ask for nothing but goodness of me. What peace it brings to my soul.

Listen carefully to the things you say. The advice we give to others is often the best advice for us to follow. Lord, help me to follow that which I know is right even when it is difficult.

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A Day At A Time
September 20

Reflection For The Day

“When a man has reached a condition in which he believed that a thing must happen when he does not wish it, and that which he wishes to happen can never be, this is really the state called desperation.” Schopenhauer.

The very real pain of emotional difficulties is sometimes very hard to take while we’re trying to maintain sobriety. Yet we learn, in time, that overcoming such problems is the real test of The Program’s way of living. Do I believe that adversity gives me more opportunity to grow than does comfort or success?

Today I Pray

May I believe firmly that God, in His infinite wisdom, does not send me those occasional moments of emotional stress in order to tease my sobriety, but to challenge me to grow in my control and my conviction. May I learn not to be afraid of emotional summits and canyons for The Program has outfitted me for all kinds of terrain.

Today I Will Remember

Strength through adversity.

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One More Day
September 20

The natural wish of every human being, the weakest as well as the wisest, seems to be, to leave some memorial of themselves to posterity.
–  Susan Edmonstone Ferrier

Each of us wants to leave evidence of our having lived.  To perpetuate our names, we may work and play hard all our lives, or we may attempt to fine-tune sports skills or handcrafts.

We become gradually aware that material records of our lives will merely note our names and dates;  they will not record who we are and what we value.  The essence of each of us is found in each day, each moment.  It is in living each day fully that we proclaim our worth and reflect it to our loved ones.  What really matters, we realize, is how we spend our present, not how we try to manipulate the future.  Living richly today is our memorial.

I will use today as a complete gift unto itself, not as a small brick for a future monument.

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One Day At A Time
September 20
FILLING THE VOID

“You can’t have everything.  Where would you put it?”
–Steven Wright

I’d thought marriage alone would heal all the hurts I’d gathered up in my life. My husband, also the product of a dysfunctional family, felt the same way. We quickly learned that our love for each other was not enough to our emptiness.

I was used to using food to temporarily fill my inner-holes; he was used to abusing another substance to fill his. Neither worked well, and we soon discovered that buying things we didn’t need would help to temporarily fill some of our hurts. Pretty soon we had a house that was full of things we’d bought that had given only a few moments of pleasure at best.

One of the benefits of program life is that I’ve learned to fill the holes within me in ways that really work. I want to make my life more simple and less cluttered. Three years later, I’m still getting rid of things we bought and never used again. But the best part is we can go to the mall when we really do need something and not feel the compulsion to buy something we don’t need.

One day at a time…
I will use the lessons I’ve learned working the program to finally heal the hurts within me instead of looking for material things to repair these inner-holes.

~ Rhonda H.

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Elder’s Meditation of the Day – September 20

“You will only get back what you give out.”
–Joe Coyhis, STOCKBRIDGE-MUNSEE

The Great Spirit created a system of balance and justice.

This law says, if you treat others with respect, you will be treated with respect. If you gossip about no one, no one will gossip about you.  If you are fair in all of your dealings, you can expect the same. If you share with others, others, will share with you. If you judge others, others will judge you.

You will always get back what you give out.  The original teaching talks about being a giving person. A giving person will constantly be on the receiving end.

My Creator, help me to be a giving person today.

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Journey To The Heart
September 20
Discover What Interests You

There are many magical things to learn in our world and many people happy to teach us how to do them.

Are there things or activities you’ve been interested in, but you’ve talked yourself out of? Is there something new you’d like to learn how to do or at least explore? What sounds like fun to you?

What interests you? You have a right to be creative. You deserve to learn and grow. Find activities that stimulate you, teach you, help you learn more about yourself and life. Do the things your heart leads you to do.

How easy it is to talk ourselves out of trying something new. Let yourself enjoy life. Let yourself do the things you want to do.

Begin a journey of discovery. Find out what interests you. Listen to yourself for a few days, for a few weeks. Discover what stimulates your creative juices. Then follow that idea through.

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Today’s Gift
September 20

Education should be the process of helping everyone to discover his uniqueness.
—Leo Buscaglia

We are each special, which means there is not another person just like ourselves. Nobody looks just like us. Nobody’s voice sounds quite like our own. And nobody thinks through a story just like we do.

Each of us has been created for a special purpose. Maybe it’s for what we’ll teach a friend, or the way we’ll help a sister or a brother. Every day will give us chances to offer our special talents to others. Our being alive is God’s way of proving that we’re important to the family, the neighborhood, and the world.

What important task lies before me today?

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The Language of Letting Go
September 20
Spontaneity

In recovery, we’re learning to let ourselves go! We’re learning to be spontaneous.

Spontaneity may frighten some of us. We may be afraid of the loss of control involved with spontaneity. We may still be operating under the codependent rules that prohibit spontaneity: be good; be right; be perfect; be strong; don’t have fun; and always be in control.

We may associate spontaneity with acting out in an addictive, compulsive, self destructive, or irresponsible manner.

That’s not what we’re talking about in recovery. Positive spontaneity involves freely expressing who we are – in a way that is fun, healthy, doesn’t hurt us, and doesn’t infringe on the right of others.

We learn to be spontaneous and free as we grow in self-awareness and self esteem. Spontaneity emerges as our confidence and trust in ourselves increase, and we become more secure in our ability to maintain healthy boundaries.

Being spontaneous is connected to our ability to play and achieve intimacy. For all those desirable acts, we need to be able to let go of our need to control others and ourselves and fully and freely enter into the present moment.

Let go of your tight rein on yourself. So what if you make a mistake? So what if you’re wrong? Relish your imperfections. Let yourself be a little needy, a little vulnerable. Take a risk!

We can be spontaneous without hurting ourselves, or others. In fact, everyone will benefit by our spontaneity.

Today, I will throw out the rulebook and enjoy being who I am. I will have some fun with the gift of life, others, and myself.

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More Language Of Letting Go
September 20
Experience your life

As soon as you say, “I want to change”– make a program– a counter-force is created that prevents you from change. Changes are taking place by themselves. If you go deeper into what you are, if you accept what is there, then a change automatically occurs by itself. This is the paradox of change.
–Frederick S. Perls

Dr. Frederick S. Perls, founder of Gestalt therapy, profoundly influenced my life. When I worked in therapeutic communities, to “Gestalt” a feeling meant to go fully into that being, to become one with that feeling, to totally and completely accept the feeling and the experience as a means of transcending, healing, or dealing with it.

How do we change? Don’t force yourself. Let yourself change. Let yourself be. Go as fully into the experience of your life, your feelings, and being you that you can.

When you come out, you’ll be different.

Accept who you are then,too.

Don’t intellectualize your life. Experience it.

God, help me accept who and where I am, and how I feel today. Then tomorrow, help me do the same.

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Touchstones Meditations For Men
September 20

Sexuality expresses God’s intention that people find authentic humanness not in isolation but in relationship.
—James B. Nelson

We men have regarded our sex lives and our spiritual lives as two different worlds. This attitude has caused many crises – anger and frustration with our partners, power struggles, accusations and hurt feelings, shame and guilt about our own behavior.

We can join our spirituality with our sexual selves by taking responsibility for being sexual. Being responsible means we take the risk of being vulnerable, of giving and receiving affection and sexual expression in our relationships. We cannot expect satisfaction of our desires simply because we feel them. In sexuality, as in all parts of our lives, our Higher Power is our guide. We can also say no to sexual expression if we wish.

God guide my sexual awareness today. Open me to experience sexuality as a creative gift for relationships.

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Daily TAO
September 20
COUNTERPOINT

It is blazing hot today.
Valley heat is drawn to meet the coast.
The cool days of autumn dance with false summer.
White within black, black within white.

Autumn was coming on, and yet today there is a sudden shift. It is hotter than summer. Even in the midst of a cooling trend there is its opposite.

In the minds of those who follow Tao, duality in life is not clearly demarcated. There is a fuzziness at the line. Day does not have a sharp border with night. So it is with the alternations of the seasons. It is not a simple, smooth continuum from summer into autumn. There is complexity and counterpoint.

If nature is full of subtlety and even false appearances, how wise must we be in order to follow life’s rhythms unerringly?

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Daily Zen
September 20

Those who are following the Way should behave like a piece of timber which is drifting along a stream. If the log is neither held by the banks, nor seized by people, nor obstructed by gods, nor kept in the whirlpool, nor itself goes to decay, I assure you that this log will finally reach the ocean. If monks walking on the Way are neither tempted by the passions, nor led astray by some evil influences, but steadily pursue their course for Nirvana, I assure you that these monks will finally attain enlightenment.

– Sutra of Forty Two Chapters

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Food For Thought
September 20
A New Self-Image

As we lose weight, our self-image needs to change along with our body. We may have had a mental image of our self as a thin person, but this image probably did not go beyond the physical. If we continue to think of our self as the same confused, compulsive, childish person we once were, we are not facilitating our emotional and spiritual growth.

The OA program gives us the power to become a new person. If we see ourselves as daily growing saner, more serene, more confident, reality will reflect our inner vision.

Perhaps the most important change in our self-image involves our relationship to our Higher Power. Before, we probably saw ourselves as the center of our world and devoted our energies to protecting and building up our fragile ego. We were all alone in an unfriendly world. Now, we see ourselves as God’s creation, subject to His purpose and plan. As we yield to His authority and accept His love, we find strength, security, and peace. By losing ourselves, we find ourselves.

Create in me a new self-image.

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Faiths Checkbook
September 20
Perfect Willingness

Thy people shall be willing in the day of thy power.
(Psalm 110:3)

Blessed be the God of grace that it is so! He has a people whom He has chosen from of old to be His peculiar portion. These by nature have wills as stubborn as the rest of the froward sons of Adam; but when the day of His power comes and grace displays its omnipotence, they become willing to repent and to believe in Jesus. None are saved unwillingly, but the will is made sweetly to yield itself. What a wondrous power is this, which never violates the will and yet rules it! God does not break the lock, but He opens it by a master key which He alone can handle.

Now are we willing to be, to do, or to suffer as the Lord wills. If at any time we grow rebellious, He has but to come to us with power, and straightway we run in the way of His commands with all our hearts. May this be a day of power with me as to some noble effort for the glory of God and the good of my fellowmen! Lord, I am willing; may I not hope that this is a day of Thy power? I am wholly at Thy disposal; willing, yea, eager, to be used of Thee for Thy holy purposes. O Lord, let me not have to cry, “To will is present with me, but how to perform that which I would, I find not”; but give me power as Thou givest me will.

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This Mornings Reading
September 20

“The sword of the Lord, and of Gideon.”
—Judges 7:20.

GIDEON ordered his men to do two things: covering up a torch in an earthen pitcher, he bade them, at an appointed signal, break the pitcher and let the light shine, and then sound with the trumpet, crying, “The sword of the Lord, and of Gideon! the sword of the Lord, and of Gideon!” This is precisely what all Christians must do. First, you must shine; break the pitcher which conceals your light; throw aside the bushel which has been hiding your candle, and shine. Let your light shine before men; let your good works be such, that when men look upon you, they shall know that you have been with Jesus. Then there must be the sound, the blowing of the trumpet. There must be active exertions for the ingathering of sinners by proclaiming Christ crucified. Take the gospel to them; carry it to their door; put it in their way; do not suffer them to escape it; blow the trumpet right against their ears. Remember that the true war-cry of the Church is Gideon’s watchword, “The sword of the Lord, and of Gideon!” God must do it, it is His own work. But we are not to be idle; instrumentality is to be used—”The sword of the Lord, and of Gideon!” If we only cry, “The sword of the Lord!” we shall be guilty of an idle presumption; and if we shout, “The sword of Gideon!” alone, we shall manifest idolatrous reliance on an arm of flesh: we must blend the two in practical harmony, “The sword of the Lord, and of Gideon!” We can do nothing of ourselves, but we can do everything by the help of our God; let us, therefore, in His name determine to go out personally and serve with our flaming torch of holy example, and with our trumpet tones of earnest declaration and testimony, and God shall be with us, and Midian shall be put to confusion, and the Lord of hosts shall reign for ever and ever.

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This Evenings Reading
September 20

“In the evening withhold not thy hand.”—Ecclesiastes 11:6.

IN the evening of the day opportunities are plentiful: men return from their labour, and the zealous soul-winner finds time to tell abroad the love of Jesus. Have I no evening work for Jesus? If I have not, let me no longer withhold my hand from a service which requires abundant labour. Sinners are perishing for lack of knowledge; he who loiters may find his skirts crimson with the blood of souls. Jesus gave both His hands to the nails, how can I keep back one of mine from His blessed work? Night and day He toiled and prayed for me, how can I give a single hour to the pampering of my flesh with luxurious ease? Up, idle heart; stretch out thy hand to work, or uplift it to pray; heaven and hell are in earnest, let me be so, and this evening sow good seed for the Lord my God.

The evening of life has also its calls. Life is so short that a morning of manhood’s vigour, and an evening of decay, make the whole of it. To some it seems long, but a four-pence is a great sum of money to a poor man. Life is so brief that no man can afford to lose a day. It has been well said that if a great king should bring us a great heap of gold, and bid us take as much as we could count in a day, we should make a long day of it; we should begin early in the morning, and in the evening we should not withhold our hand; but to win souls is far nobler work, how is it that we so soon withdraw from it? Some are spared to a long evening of green old age; if such be my case, let me use such talents as I still retain, and to the last hour serve my blessed and faithful Lord. By His grace I will die in harness, and lay down my charge only when I lay down my body. Age may instruct the young, cheer the faint, and encourage the desponding; if eventide has less of vigorous heat, it should have more of calm wisdom, therefore in the evening I will not withhold my hand.

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