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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 23

Just For Today
September 23
Dealing With Gossip

“In accordance with the principles of recovery, we try not to judge, stereotype, or moralize with each other.”
Basic Text, p.11

Let’s face it: In Narcotics Anonymous, we live in a glass house of sorts. Our fellow members know more about our personal lives than anyone has ever known before. They know who we spend our time with, where we work, what step we’re on, how many children we have, and so forth. And what our fellow members don’t know, they will probably imagine.

We may be unhappy when others gossip about us. But if we withdraw from the fellowship and isolate ourselves to avoid gossip, we also rob ourselves of the love, friendship, and unparalleled experience with recovery that our fellow members have to offer. A better way to deal with gossip is to simply accept the way things are and the way we are, and live our lives according to principles. The more secure we become with our personal program, the decisions we make, and the guidance we receive from a loving God, the less the opinions of others will concern us.

Just for today: I am committed to being involved in the NA Fellowship. The opinions of others will not affect my commitment to recovery.

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Daily Reflections
September 23
“I WAS AN EXCEPTION”

He [Bill W.] said to me, gently and simply, “Do you think that you are one of us?”
ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS, p. 413

During my drinking life I was convinced I was an exception.  I thought I was beyond petty requirements and had the right to be excused. I never realized that the dark counterbalance of my attitude was the constant feeling that I did not “belong.” At first, in A.A., I identified with others only as an alcoholic. What a wonderful awakening for me it has been to realize that, if human beings were doing the best they could, then so was I! All of the pains, confusions and joys they feel are not exceptional, but part of my life, just as much as anybody’s.

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Twenty-Four Hours A Day
September 23
A.A. Thought For The Day

Step Twelve is, “Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.” Note that the basis of our effectiveness in carrying the message to others is the reality of our own spiritual awakening. If we have not changed, we cannot be used to change others. To keep this program, we must pass it on to others. We cannot keep it for ourselves. We may lose it unless we give it away. It cannot flow into us and stop; it must continue to flow into us as it flows out to others.

Meditation For The Day

“Draw nigh unto God and He will draw nigh unto you.”  When you are faced with a problem beyond your strength, you must turn to God by an act of faith. It is that turning to God in each trying situation that you must cultivate.  The turning may be one of glad thankfulness for God’s grace in you life. Or your appeal to God may be a prayerful claiming of His strength to face a situation and finding that you have it when the time comes. Not only the power to face trials, but also the comfort and joy of God’s nearness and companionship are yours for the asking.

Prayer For The Day

I pray that I may try to draw near to God each day in prayer.  I pray that I may feel His nearness and His strength in my life.

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As Bill Sees It
September 23
Neither Dependence nor Self-Sufficiency, p.265

When we insisted, like infants, that people protect and take care of us or that the world owed us a living, then the result was unfortunate. The people we most loved often pushed us aside or perhaps deserted us entirely. Our disillusionment was hard to bear.

We failed to see that, though adult in years, we were still behaving childishly, trying to turn everybody–friends, wives, husbands, even the world itself–into protective parents. We refused to learn that overdependence upon people is unsuccessful because all people are fallible, and even the best of them will sometimes let us down, especially when our demands for attention become unreasonable.

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

We are now on a different basis: the basis of trusting and relying upon God. We trust infinite God rather than our finite selves. Just to the extent that we do as we think He would have us do, and humbly rely on Him, does He enable us to match calamity with serenity.

1. 12 & 12, p.115
2. Alcoholics Anonymous, p.68

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Walk In Dry Places
September 23
When resentment Returns
Inventory

It’s surprising and even humiliating to find an old resentment flaring up, sometimes years after we thought it had been put to rest. When that happens, we wonder how thorough we really were in releasing the resentment in the first place.

The secret of handling this problem is to turn the old resentment over to our Higher Power without wasting time wondering why it came up again. We need to deal with it as if it were a brand-new problem; and in a sense, it is.

As for questioning our past sincerity, that too is a waste of time. We are always trying to do our best with the understanding we have for each day. Being too hard on us does not make it easier to practice our program. Resentments can and do return, but they don’t have to destroy us.

I’ll realize today that I’m always susceptible to any of my ongoing problems, including resentment. Fortunately, I have my program for dealing with them when they occur.

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Keep It Simple
September 23

. . . he who finds himself loses his misery.
Matthew Arnold

We have lost a lot of misery. In it’s place inside us, a spirit grows. . .as love is added.

Especially self-love. In our illness, we came to hate ourselves. It was really our illness we hated. We couldn’t find ourselves. All we saw was what others saw—our illness.

In recovery, we’ve found ourselves again. We’ve found we’re good people. We’ve also come to love the world around us. We see we have something to offer this world—ourselves.

Why? Because we have found ourselves.

Prayer for the Day: I’m so glad to be alive. At times life hurts, but, in living, I found You. Thank-you Higher Power. I pray that we may always be close.

Action for the Day: I will list ten great things I’ve discovered about myself in recovery.

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Each Day a New Beginning
September 23

Who will I be today? The “Cosmopolitan” woman, the little girl, the scholar, the mother? Who will I be to answer the needs of others, and yet answer the needs of me?
—Deidra Sarault

We wear many hats. One aspect of our maturity is our ability to balance our roles. It’s often quite difficult to do so; however, the program offers us many tools for balancing our lives.

Fulfilling some of the needs of significant others in our lives brings us joy. Our own needs must be given priority, though. We cannot give away what we don’t have, and we have nothing unless we give sincere attention and love to ourselves.

In years gone by, we may have taken too little care of others, or we overdid it. In either case, we probably neglected ourselves. Most of us starved ourselves spiritually, many of us emotionally, a few physically. We were all too often “all-or-nothing” women.

Today we’re aware of our choices. We’ve been making a number of good ones lately: We’re abstinent. We’re living the Steps. And we’re choosing how to spend our time, and what to do with our lives. But no choice will turn out very well if we haven’t taken care of ourselves.

I will center on myself. I will nurture the maturing woman within and then reach out.

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Alcoholics Anonymous
September 23
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.

I stayed in Akron two or three weeks on my initial trip trying to absorb as much of the program and philosophy as possible. I spent a great deal of time with Dr. Bob, whenever he had the time to spare, and in the homes of two or three other people, trying to see how the family lived the program. Every evening we would meet at the home of one of the members and have coffee and doughnuts and spend a social evening.

p. 262

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Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions
September 23

Tradition Three – “The only requirement for A.A. membership is a desire to stop drinking.”

To establish this principle of membership took years of harrowing experience. In our early time, nothing seemed so fragile, so easily breakable as an A.A. group. Hardly an alcoholic we approached paid any attention; most of those who did join us were like flickering candles in a windstorm. Time after time, their uncertain flames blew out and couldn’t be relighted. Our unspoken, constant thought was “Which of us may be the next?”

p. 139

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Xtra Thoughts
September 23

Worrying doesn’t empty tomorrow of its troubles, it empties today of its strength.
–Soberbyker

“He who would have fruit must climb the tree.”
–Thomas Fuller

“Time is the most valuable thing a man can spend.”
–Theophrastus

“The ultimate lesson all of us have to learn is unconditional love, which includes not only others but ourselves as well.”
–Elisabeth Kübler-Ross

“If one could only learn to appreciate the little things…
A song that takes you away, for there are those who cannot hear.
The beauty of a sunset, for there are those who cannot see.
The warmth and safety of your home, for there are those who are homeless.
Time spent with good friends for there are those who are lonely.
A walk along the beach for there are those who cannot walk.
The little things are what life is all about.
Search your soul and learn to appreciate.”
–Shadi Souferian

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Father Leo’s Daily Meditation
September 23
LOVE

“Take away love and our earth is a tomb.”
– Robert Browning

Spirituality is essentially love. It is the love that suffers and grows in the acceptance of my compulsive and obsessive behavior. It is the love that requires a knowledge of “self” in order to give understanding and respect to others. Spirituality is that loving vulnerability that creates healing in recovery. It provides meaning to life and relationships.

The world is a creative place, and we will only find happiness when we begin to create. God has created us to take and make — give and receive. With the suffering, loneliness, struggle and acceptance comes a love that is real and alive.

Teach me to live in life and not merely exist.

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Bible Scriptures
September 23

Let us go to His dwelling place; let us worship at His footstool.
Psalm 132:7

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.”
Galatians 5:22-23

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Daily Inspiration
September 23

Your happiness is happening right now unless you chose not to see it. Lord, I trust in Your presence and therefore I am always able to see You work in my life.

Everything we need to deal with life’s problems lies within us. Our trials are tests to see if we can discover the solution. Lord, I call out Your name when I face my difficulties and together we will overcome them.

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A Day At A Time
September 23

Reflection For The Day

On studying the Twelve Steps, many of the first members of The Program exclaimed, “What an order!  I can’t go through with it.”  “Do not be discouraged,” we’re told at the meeting after meeting.  “No one among us has been able to maintain anything like perfect adherence to these principles.  We are not saints.  The point is that we are willing to grow along spiritual lines.  The principles we have set down are guides to progress.  We claim spiritual progress rather than spiritual perfection.”  Can I believe, in the words of Browning, that my business is not to remake myself, but to make the absolute best of what God made…?

Today I Pray

Even if I am an old hand at The Program, may I not forget that the Twelve Steps do not represent an achievement that can be checked off my “things to do” list.  Instead, they are a striving for an ideal, a guide to getting there.  May I keep my mind open to deepening interpretations of these principles.

Today I Will Remember

Progress rather than perfection.

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One More Day
September 23

Physical courage, which despises all danger, will make brave in one way; and moral courage, which despises all opinion, will make a man brave in another.  The former would seem most necessary for the camp; the latter for the council; but to constitute a great man, both are necessary.
–  C. C. Colton

We are blessed to have many kinds of courage.  We just never expected to have them all tested during a course of several years!  Our physical courage increases every time we face a new situation or a different medical problem.   Although we’re not grateful for the illness itself, it has provided the challenges which have prompted greater courage in us./  We’ve also had to look more closely at our values and had to become stronger in protecting them.  We’re more conscious of the choices we make and how we make them, and we’re grateful for that awareness.

I will continue to make healthy, moral choices.

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One Day At A Time
September 23
EMOTIONS

“A life lacking the emotional upheavals of depression and despair, fear and anxiety, grief and sadness, anger and the agony of forgiving, confusion and doubt, criticism and rejection, will not only be useless to ourselves, it will be useless to others.”
–Scott Peck

Because I have always thought of myself as such an ordinary person, as life moved along I was surprised to find so many emotional events happening in it. I have had severe periods of depression and despair; I have known fear, anxiety, anger and doubt. I have wrestled with grief and known the agony of rejection. I have been subjected to criticism and experienced firsthand the difficulty of forgiving those whom I once thought I would never be able to forgive.

What I have learned about life and recovery is that no one is ordinary, that everyone experiences emotions of all kinds, and what is important is that each of these upheavals are instructive and not wasted.

Whereas once I would block my feelings, I now allow myself to feel them. Instead of sweeping my emotions under a rug, I express them. Rather than blocking grief from my soul, I experience it … then heal from it. When I am rejected, I try to move on by exploring the reasons why.

One day at a time…
I will turn my negative emotions into positive ones by transforming them into useful learning experiences both for myself and for others.

~ Mari ~

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Elder’s Meditation of the Day – September 23

“When that spirit comes, we don’t ever ask questions. If I don’t understand, I just hold onto it. Then later down the road, maybe in a couple of years, I understand what that spirit meant.”
–Wallace Black Elk, LAKOTA

At certain spiritual events or happenings, it is possible for the spirits to come. Sometimes these spirits look like sparklers of light, sometimes you can feel them, sometimes they will look like live human beings. The spirits always come for a reason. When we deal with the spirit world, we need to be patient. The Great Spirit will tell us the meaning of these happenings when He is ready.

Great Spirit, let me be aware of Your presence.

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Journey To The Heart
September 23
Listen to Your Body

The , health clubs, physical education directors, or diet books. The call to exercise comes from call to exercise doesn’t come from gyms our bodies, from our souls.

I fought exercise for a long, long time. During the 1980s, when it became popular, I managed to resist. It’s boring, hard, and unpleasant, I thought. It won’t work for me.

When my daughter finally dragged me to the local health club, I felt like I was in a foreign country. I rode a bike for a few minutes, then wobbled to the water fountain looking like a penguin, legs numb, heart pounding, muscles aching, sweat pouring down my back. My daughter looked at me and firmly said, “You let yourself get in this shape. Now it’s time to get out.”

It took a while to understand that when I did some simple workouts, I felt better, not worse. The cycle happened naturally, over many months. But my body had said loudly, It’s time.

The world is full of ways to move around, work our bodies, and exercise. Park the car in the space farthest from the store and walk. Carry groceries one bag at a time from the car to the house. Carry your own luggage. Go for a walk. Go for a run. Do sit-ups. Learn yoga. Take up line dancing.

Find some way to move your body that feels good for you. Start doing it, even if it doesn’t feel good at first. Do it until you can hear your body, hear what it wants, hear what it needs, hear what feels good to it. Do it until you can hear your body tell you how and when it wants to move.

The better you can hear your body, the more clearly you will hear your soul.

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Today’s Gift
September 23

When we do the best we can, we never know what miracle is wrought in our life, or the life of another.
—Helen Keller

It is a great loss when we underestimate the importance of our efforts in the life of another. One man, who had to spend some time in a hospital, waited day after day to receive a card or a telephone call from those who cared. Some people, who he expected to call or write, did not. Others, who the man had not felt close to, and whom he did not expect to hear from, surprised him with their concern. He came to place greater value on those who had cared enough to call or send a card.

A little act, the best we have at that moment, makes a big difference to the person on the other end. Knowing this helps us make sure that all our acts, even the smallest, are as good as we can make them, because they all make a difference.

What small acts of those around me have made a difference to me?

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The Language of Letting Go
September 23
Tolerance

Practice tolerance.

Tolerate our quirks, our feelings, our reactions, our peculiarities, and our humanness. Tolerate our ups and downs, our resistance to change, and our struggling and sometimes awkward nature.

Tolerate our fears, our mistakes, our natural tendency to duck from problems, and pain. Tolerate our hesitancy to get close, expose ourselves, and be vulnerable.

Tolerate our need to occasionally feel superior, to sometimes feel ashamed, and to occasionally share love as an equal. Tolerate the way we progress – a few steps forward, and a couple back.

Tolerate our instinctive desire to control and how we reluctantly learn to practice detachment. Tolerate the way we say we want love, and then sometimes push others away. Tolerate our tendency to get obsessive, forget to trust God, and occasionally get stuck.

Some things we do not tolerate. Do not tolerate abusive or destructive behaviors toward others or ourselves.

Practice healthy, loving tolerance of ourselves, said one man. When we do, we’ll learn tolerance for others. Then, take it one step further; learn that all the humanness we’re tolerating is what makes ourselves and others beautiful.

Today, I will be tolerant of myself. From that, I will learn appropriate tolerance of others.

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More Language Of Letting Go
September 23
You have the power

If you see Buddha, kill him.
–Zen koan

For the first several hundred years after the Buddha died, there were no images of him. Only his dharma, or teachings, were passed on from generation to generation. Eventually, however, the people wanted an image to remind them of their ideal, and that’s when and how Buddha statues came to be.

The good thing about having statues of Buddha is they remind followers of the ideals they’re striving for in their lives. The difficult thing about Buddha statues is that people may be tempted to idolize the statue, and forget to seek the state of consciousness the Buddha represented.

It’s easy for us to idolize our mentors and teachers, the people who encourage and help us to grow. It can be easy to look around us and think others have the key to enlightenment, success, joy.

Stop idolizing other people.

Look in the mirror.

You have everything you need to learn your lessons, grow, achieve success. You have all the courage you need to fail, then try again. You have evrything you need, within you, to live and follow your own path with heart.

Not only are you right where you need to be, but you can get wherever you want to go from here. And you and I have all the power we need to learn the lessons we came here to learn.

God, teach me that all I need is within me.

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Touchstones Meditations For Men
September 23

Granted that I must die, how shall I live?
—Michael Novak

On our recovery path we sometimes fall into a hole. As we get more in touch with ourselves and with reality, we might be overwhelmed, frightened, or depressed. Many men have asked, “How can it be that I live life with such struggle and hard work only to die in the end?” In recovery we no longer have our anesthetic, our drug of choice, our excesses and controlling behaviors to dull this painful awareness.

Growing as a human being means becoming more aware of these dark truths and not being paralyzed by them. We accept death and choose life. That means we live fully in the present. We choose relationships with others. We appreciate the beauty of creation and seek to know the will of God. In recovery, we choose to live this day fully, in contact with friends and loved ones, appreciating the beauty around us, and helping those we can.

God, help me to tune in to your truth, and to be a living part of your constant creative process.

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Daily TAO
September 23
APPRECIATION

The sun rose and set today in twelve hours.
We plucked golden pears from arching branches.
Climbing a thousand steps to a rustic temple,
We made our offerings to the gods.
At nightfall, we sat in warm companionship.
A crescent moon joined our circle.
Dipping water from the silver-braided stream,
We set it bubbling in an earthenware pot.
It’s not easy to brew good tea,
But this teapot has a venerable history:
A scholar once pawned all his books for it.
Now it imparts the flavor of antiquity.

Autumn equinox is the time to reflect upon life. If we have enjoyed a bountiful harvest, we express our thanks. If the year has been difficult so far, then we are happy for what we do have and resolve to do better once the chance comes. The appreciation of life does not require wealth or plenty. It requires only gratitude for the beauty of the world.

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Daily Zen
September 23

By a green jade lake,
What a wonderful sight:
An old hermit fathoming Tao.
Aren’t they the lucky ones,
Humble and still,
Quietly humming the
Melodies of heaven?

– Loy Ching-Yuen

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Food For Thought
September 23
Positive Leads

As our serenity grows, the clamor and confusion inside our heads die down. Instead of being pulled in many different directions and uncertain of which way to turn, we gradually discern the positive voice that leads us forward. Rather than trying to analyze all possible alternatives intellectually, we gain the confidence to choose the positive way without agonizing indecision.

To worry and speculate about the roads not taken is counter productive and wasteful of our energies. We pray that we may know the will of our Higher Power for us, and then we act according to the best of our knowledge. The more we practice listening to the still, small voice within, the more positive direction we will receive.

The mental calmness which we experience as we abstain from compulsive overeating clears away our former confusion. We may make mistakes, but as long as we can admit them and stay in contact with our Higher Power, we will continue to follow His positive leads.

Keep me on Your positive path.

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Faiths Checkbook
September 23
Deliverance from Dust and Chaff

For, lo, I will command, and I will sift the house of Israel among all sections, like as corn is sifted in a sieve, yet shall not the least grain fall upon the earth.
(Amos 9:9)

The sifting process is going on still. Wherever we go, we are still being winnowed and sifted. In all countries God’s people are being tried “like as corn is sifted in a sieve.” Sometimes the devil holds the sieve and tosses us up and down at a great rate, with the earnest desire to get rid of us forever. Unbelief is not slow to agitate our heart and mind with its restless fears. The world lends a willing hand at the same process and shakes us to the right and to the left with great vigor. Worst of all, the church, so largely apostate as it is, comes in to give a more furious force to the sifting process.

Well, well! Let it go on. Thus is the chaff severed from the wheat. Thus is the wheat delivered from dust and chaff. And how great is the mercy which comes to us in the text, “Yet shall not the least grain fall upon the earth”! All shall be preserved that is good, true, gracious. Not one of the least of believers lose anything worth calling a loss. We shall be so kept in the sifting that it shall be a real gain to us through Christ Jesus.

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This Mornings Reading
September 23

“Accepted in the beloved.”
—Ephesians 1:6.

THAT a state of privilege! It includes our justification before God, but the term acceptance” in the Greek means more than that. It signifies that we are the objects of divine complacence, nay, even of divine delight. How marvellous that we, worms, mortals, sinners, should be the objects of divine love! But it is only “in the beloved.” Some Christians seem to be accepted in their own experience, at least, that is their apprehension. When their spirit is lively, and their hopes bright, they think God accepts them, for they feel so high, so heavenly-minded, so drawn above the earth! But when their souls cleave to the dust, they are the victims of the fear that they are no longer accepted. If they could but see that all their high joys do not exalt them, and all their low despondencies do not really depress them in their Father’s sight, but that they stand accepted in One who never alters, in One who is always the beloved of God, always perfect, always without spot or wrinkle, or any such thing, how much happier they would be, and how much more they would honour the Saviour! Rejoice then, believer, in this: thou art accepted “in the beloved.” Thou lookest within, and thou sayest, “There is nothing acceptable here!” But look at Christ, and see if there is not everything acceptable there. Thy sins trouble thee; but God has cast thy sins behind His back, and thou art accepted in the Righteous One. Thou hast to fight with corruption, and to wrestle with temptation, but thou art already accepted in Him who has overcome the powers of evil. The devil tempts thee; be of good cheer, he cannot destroy thee, for thou art accepted in Him who has broken Satan’s head. Know by full assurance thy glorious standing. Even glorified souls are not more accepted than thou art. They are only accepted in heaven “in the beloved,” and thou art even now accepted in Christ after the same manner.

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This Evenings Reading
September 23

“Jesus said unto him, If thou canst believe.”
—Mark 9:23.

A certain man had a demoniac son, who was afflicted with a dumb spirit. The father, having seen the futility of the endeavours of the disciples to heal his child, had little or no faith in Christ, and therefore, when he was bidden to bring his son to Him, he said to Jesus, “If Thou cast do anything, have compassion on us, and help us.” Now there was an “if” in the question, but the poor trembling father had put the “if” in the wrong place: Jesus Christ, therefore, without commanding him to retract the “if,” kindly puts it in its legitimate position. “Nay, verily,” He seemed to say, “there should be no ‘if’ about My power, nor concerning My willingness, the ‘if’ lies somewhere else.” “If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth.” The man’s trust was strengthened, he offered a humble prayer for an increase of faith, and instantly Jesus spoke the word, and the devil was cast out, with an injunction never to return. There is a lesson here which we need to learn. We, like this man, often see that there is an “if” somewhere, but we are perpetually blundering by putting it in the wrong place. “If” Jesus can help me—”if” He can give me grace to overcome temptation—”if” He can give me pardon—”if” He can make me successful? Nay, “if” you can believe, He both can and will. You have misplaced your “if.” If you can confidently trust, even as all things are possible to Christ, so shall all things be possible to you. Faith standeth in God’s power, and is robed in God’s majesty; it weareth the royal apparel, and rideth on the King’s horse, for it is the grace which the King delighteth to honour. Girding itself with the glorious might of the all-working Spirit, it becomes, in the omnipotence of God, mighty to do, to dare, and to suffer. All things, without limit, are possible to him that believeth. My soul, canst thou believe thy Lord to-night?

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