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In Loving Memory of Vic

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Daily Recovery Readings – September 26

Just For Today
September 26
Seeing Ourselves In Others

“It will not make us better people to judge the faults of another.”
Basic Text, p.37

How easy it is to point out the faults of others! There’s a reason for this: The defects we identify most easily in others are often the defects we are most familiar with in our own characters. We may notice our best friend’s tendency to spend too much money, but if we examine our own spending habits we’ll probably find the same compulsiveness. We may decide our sponsor is much too involved in service, but find that we haven’t spent a single weekend with our families in the past three months because of one service commitment or another.

What we dislike in our fellows are often those things we dislike most in ourselves. We can turn this observation to our spiritual advantage. When we are stricken with the impulse to judge someone else, we can redirect the impulse in such a way as to recognize our own defects more clearly. What we see will guide our actions toward recovery and help us become emotionally healthy and happy individuals.

Just for today: I will look beyond the character defects of others and recognize my own.

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Daily Reflections
September 26
OUR CHILDREN

The alcoholic may find it hard to re-establish friendly relations with his children. . . . In time they will see that he is a new man and in their own way they will let him know it. . . . From that point on, progress will be rapid. Marvelous results often follow such a reunion.
ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS, p. 134

While on the road to recovery I received a gift that could not be purchased. It was a card from my son in college, saying, “Dad, you can’t imagine how glad I am that everything is okay. Happy Birthday, I love you.”  My son had told me that he loved me before. It had been during the previous Christmas holidays, when he had said to me, while crying, “Dad, I love you! Can’t you see what you’re doing to yourself?” I couldn’t. Choked with emotion, I had cried, but this time, when I received my son’s card, my tears were tears of joy, not desperation.

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Twenty-Four Hours A Day
September 26
A.A. Thought For The Day

Continuing the consideration of the term “spiritual experience”:  “The acquiring of an immediate and overwhelming God-consciousness, resulting in a dramatic transformation, though frequent, is by no means the rule. Most of our spiritual experiences are of the educational variety, and they develop slowly over a period of time. Quite often friends of newcomers are aware of the difference long before they are themselves. They finally realize that they have undergone a profound alteration in their reaction to life and that such a change could hardly have been brought about by themselves alone.” Is my outlook on life changing for the better?

Meditation For The Day

Look at the world as your Father’s house. Think of all people you meet as guests in you Father’s house, to be treated with love and consideration. Look at yourself as a servant in your father’s house, as a servant of all. Think of no work as beneath you. Be ever ready to do all you can for others who need your help. There is gladness in God’s service. There is much satisfaction in serving the highest that you know. Express your love for God in service to all who are living with you in your Father’s house.

Prayer For The Day

I pray that I may serve others out of gratitude to God.  I pray that my work may be a small repayment for His grace so freely given me.

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As Bill Sees It
September 26
Those Other People, p.268

“Just like you, I have often thought myself the victim of what other people say and do. Yet every time I confessed the sins of such people, especially those whose sins did not correspond exactly with my own, I found that I only increased the total damage. My own resentment, my self-pity would often render me well-nigh useless to anybody.

“So, nowadays, if anyone talks of me so as to hurt, I first ask myself if there is any truth at all in what they say. If there is none, I try to remember that I too have had my periods of speaking bitterly of others; that hurtful gossip is but a symptom of our remaining emotional illness; and consequently that I must never be angry at the unreasonableness of sick people.

“Under very trying conditions I have had, again and again, to forgive others–also myself. Have you recently tried this?”

Letter, 1946

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Walk In Dry Places
September 26
The Limited and Unlimited
Spiritual growth.

In our human experience, we face one imitation after another. We are always up against limited time energy, limited knowledge.

Yet everything we’re learning tells us that all of these are without limit in the universal. In terms of energy, for example, we know that we would be rich beyond belief if we could really tap the sun’s energy that rushes to the earth.

What we call human progress may really refer to the gaining of knowledge that enables us to shake off limitations. We actually did that by becoming sober in our 12 Step program. Now we’re learning to extend our limits in many other ways; and though we are human and limited, we surely have not begun to each any limits as far as God is concerned. Limited though we seem to be, we’re part of a Universe that is without limits.

I’ll focus today on the possibility of extending my limits, knowing that this is what God has planned for me.

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Keep It Simple
September 26

The distance doesn’t matter; only the first step is difficult.
—Mme. Marquise du Deffand

During our addiction, we were on a path leading to death—death of our spirit, mind, and body.

On that path, we tired not to think about where it would lead. We didn’t want to get there. We just followed the path toward death, with one drink, pill, snort or toke at a time.

Now we’ve chosen a new path for our lives. Making that choice was hard. We knew only the old path. We were afraid to change. But we did it. That was the hardest part.

We are excited to follow our new path. We know it leads to good things. We can follow the map—the Twelve Steps—and enjoy the trip. It will last as long as we live, and the map will guide us.

Prayer for the Day: Higher Power, thanks for helping me choose the path of life.

Action for the Day: Today, I’ll study the map for my life by reading the Twelve Steps

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Each Day a New Beginning
September 26

Why is life so tragic, so like a little strip of pavement over an abyss? I look down; I feel giddy; I wonder how I am ever to walk to the end.
—Virginia Woolf

As we look toward the hours ahead, we can be thankful that we need be concerned with only a single day’s worth of hours. No more. What may come tomorrow, a decision that might be necessary next week, a big change in our lives coming next year, all will be handled with ease, when the time is right.

How fortunate we are, those of us who share this program for living! Our worries about the future are over, if we want them to be. We need to take only one step at a time. One day at a time. And always in the care of God. Relief from our lives of worry is immediate when we live the axiom, “Let go and let God.”

Life does present us with tragedies, and we learn from them. They need not detour us, however. In fact, they strengthen us and encourage personal growth. And no experience will ever be more than we and our higher power can handle.

I will turn to the program and everything it offers today. Just today, and no more, is my concern.

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Alcoholics Anonymous
September 26
He Sold Himself Short

This picture is still vivid. If I live to be a hundred, it will always stand out in my mind. It was very impressive, and I wish that every A.A. could have the benefit of this type of sponsorship today. Dr. Bob always emphasized the religious angle very strongly, and I think it helped. I know it helped me. Dr. Bob then led me through the restitution step, in which I made a list of all the persons I had harmed and worked out the ways and the means of slowly making restitution.

p. 263

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Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions
September 26

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

How could we then guess that all those fears were to prove groundless? How could we know that thousands of these sometimes frightening people were to make astonishing recoveries and become our greatest workers and intimate friends? Was it credible that A.A. was to have a divorce rate far lower than average? Could we then foresee that troublesome people were to become our principle teachers of patience and tolerance? Could any then imagine a society which would include every conceivable kind of character, and cut across every barrier of race, creed, politics, and language with ease?

pp. 140-141

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Xtra Thoughts
September 26

“Love is the ability and willingness to allow those that you care for to be what they choose for themselves without any insistence that they satisfy you.”
–Wayne Dyer

Every second of every moment is a new beginning.  I can start my day over any time I choose.  I can also begin my life anew at any time.  This very moment can be a new beginning!

“Nothing we learn in this world is ever wasted.”
–Eleanor Roosevelt

“Our worth is determined by the good deeds we do, rather than by the fine emotions we feel.”
–Elias L, Magoon

“It is only possible to live happily-ever-after on a day-to-day basis.”
–Margaret Bonano

“Each day provides its own gifts.”
–Martial

“The best way to secure future happiness is to be as happy as is rightfully possible today.”
–Charles W. Eliot

Pick yourself up, dust yourself off, start all over again.
–Dorothy Fields

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Father Leo’s Daily Meditation
September 26
PAIN

“You can’t hold a man down without staying down with him.”
– Booker T. Washington

I know who was holding me down in my life. I was. I know who was bringing pain and sadness in my life. I was. I know who was making me the victim of addiction. I was. I would beat myself up and then complain about the bruises!

I did this because I could not “see”. I had not accepted or understood the implications of my alcoholism. Today I am beginning to take care of myself because I have accepted my disease. I do not choose today to be the enemy in my life — I have surrendered to live. I do not want to hurt anymore. I do not want to hide in guilt and fear anymore. I do not choose to be my victim today.

God, I thank You for the freedom to determine my life and my victories.

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Bible Scriptures
September 26

“The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life.”
Galatians 6:8

Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 3:13-14

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Daily Inspiration
September 26

An ordinary day can become profound by realizing your importance to others and acting on it. Lord, may I be dependable to those who depend on me without complaints or resentments.

Rejoice. This is the day the Lord has made. Lord, my days pass so quickly. May I have a generous heart and the time to see the needs of those around me.

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Elder’s Meditation of the Day – September 26

“No one likes to be criticized, but criticism can be something like the desert wind that, in whipping the tender stalks, forces them to strike their roots down deeper for security.”
–Polingaysi Qoyawayma, HOPI

You move toward and become that which you think about. Creating a vision is what guides our lives. If we get off track with our vision, then we experience conflict. Conflict is nature’s way of telling us we are not in harmony. Criticism can be a way for one human being to help another. Often our Elders will give us criticism. This feedback is intended to be helpful. Criticism from our Elders helps us grow strong.

Great Spirit, today, if I need it, please provide me positive criticism.

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Journey To The Heart
September 26
Trust Even the Dark Moments

While on our journey, life can sometimes get bleak. Dark passages may envelop us.

Expect these moments. Often they come at the deepest period of working things out. It can be a time of despair, frustration, dead ends, anguish, and angst. Sometimes these moments are brief; sometimes they last a long time. But usually they are necessary.

Plan on these moments. They are not the end of the journey. They are the passageway through the tunnel and into the light. In just a little while, you will feel, see, and know the purpose of what you’re going through. Soon it will become clear. You will move out of the darkness and into the light.

Trust even the bleak times. When you reach the end of the tunnel, then you will know why this all had to be.

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A Day At A Time
September 26

Reflection For The Day

Is freedom from addiction all that we’re to expect from a spiritual awakening?  Not at all.  Freedom from addiction is only the bare beginning; it’s only the first gift of our first awakening.  Obviously, if more gifts are to come our way, our awakening has to continue.  As it does continue we find that slowly but surely we can scrap the old life — the one that didn’t work — for a new life that can and does work under any and all conditions.   Am I willing to continue my awakening thorough the practice of the Twelve Steps?

Today I Pray

May I remember how it was when my only goal in life was to be free of my addiction.  All the words and phrases I used were stoppers –  “giving it up,”    “quitting,”  cutting myself off.”   Once I  was free, I began to realize that my freedom had more to do with “beginning” than “stopping.”  May I now continue to think in terms of starters — “expanding,”  “awakening,”  “growing,”  “learning,”  “becoming.”

Today I Will Remember

My stopping was a starting point.

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One More Day
September 26

The modern sympathy with invalids is morbid.  Illness of any kind is hardly a thing to be encouraged in others.
–  Oscar Wilde

When chronic illness strikes, there are no rules of social behavior we can fall back on.  Nothing prepares us for the harsh reality of illness.  There is a very delicate balance here.  We want those who love us to understand, and we want them to help, but not to pity us.

We need to face squarely the changes that chronic illness brings, both for our loved ones and for us.  By openly talking to each other abo0ut our problems of adjusted and loss, we can become less preoccupied with our losses and think more about the future.  We will be less concerned with being “in-valid>’  We can move forth to a meaningful and valid life.

Facing the changes caused by chronic illness can, in the long fun, serve to make me stronger.

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One Day At A Time
September 26
LETTING GO

“We must be willing to get rid of the life we’ve planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us.”
–Joseph Campbell

It’s hard to give up old habits. Although my former solutions to dealing with stress, anger, and emotional and physical pain had never worked and only made the problems worse, they were familiar. I had high hopes the results would be different each time. I wasn’t too surprised when it didn’t happen because this was familiar ground.

Then I heard about this program, half-heartedly joined and began working the Twelve Steps. It was scary! Things began happening to me that I’d never dreamed possible. I was given abstinence! I had not planned for that to happen. How could I, when I had no idea what abstinence would really be like?

At first I felt very anxious, sure the abstinence would be snatched from me just as I was beginning to feel comfortable with it. While I enjoyed abstinence and not having to focus on my eating disorder’s requirements, I often felt like I was in foreign territory without a map. I couldn’t plan my life like I had before because my life was busy evolving in ways I couldn’t imagine.

But the longer I worked the program, the happier my life became. To my utter shock I’ve recently discovered that I, a control freak and ultimate planner of everything, have begun to enjoy the unpredictability that my Higher Power has so graciously put in my life.

Before the program I never appreciated spontaneity; I couldn’t. Now, a day without plans is an opportunity.

One day at a time…
I will pray to let go of my will and instead to be open to my Higher Power’s will for me.

~ Rhonda

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Today’s Gift
September 26

There is no hope of joy except in human relations.
—Antoine de Saint Exupery

It is hard to imagine being really joyful and excited without our family and friends. We can imagine a birthday party with no one but us attending. Even if we got many gifts, we would feel empty if there were no one around with whom to share our excitement.

Our joy comes from each other. Even the hard times furnish us with wonderful memories for later in life. We share the good and the bad, and the rewards of both. When our lives together seem too difficult, when it’s too hard to share, too crowded to think, when there are too many disagreements, we can find comfort by looking at one another once again and seeing all the ways we are truly alike, and what we share every moment that we sometimes take for granted–our food, our thoughts, the very air we breathe.

What are the things we share right now?

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The Language of Letting Go
September 26
Feeling Protected

Our task is not a naive one of feeling safe, of living and loving in a utopian world. One woman commented that our task is making ourselves feel safe while learning to live and love in a world that is unsafe.

We do not want to dwell on the danger for that gives power to the negative. Neither do we want to ignore them or pretend they don’t exist.

If we were going to sunbathe, we would not be naive about the dangers from the sun. We know that harmful rays can burn. We would take steps to protect ourselves, so that we could enjoy the benefits of the sun.

That is our task in recovery.

This is what a woman, a helping professional, told me:

Picture a sunscreen surrounding you. Place it around yourself – not too heavy and thick so no light can penetrate, and not so thin that you are exposed to danger.

See yourself protected by a sunscreen that is effective. Make certain that the screen is open to the good. For a while, your screen was too heavy. It held back what you wanted. Now change it to let the good come through.

This is your screen for life and the world. See it. Imagine it surrounding you always. It wraps you in love, in comfort, in protection. No harm can enter. No negative energy can penetrate the screen.

Go in peace; go in safety. Go now, knowing you are protected. Go anywhere you need to go. The evil has been blocked; the goodwill comes pouring forth. You do not have to work so hard at protecting yourself. You can relax and enjoy life trusting that you are safe. Go without fear, for you are wrapped in love and protection. And you shall always be.

Today, I will envision myself wrapped in a shield that blocks the negative and harmful rays of the world, but it is constructed so that the good can enter.

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More Language Of Letting Go
September 26
Connect yourself

What did the Buddhist monk say to the hot-dog vendor? Can you make me one with everything?

I was buckling my seat belt in the little Cessna one day, getting ready for flight training, when my instructor Rob turned to me.

“I just take a second when I strap myself in and tell myself I’m becoming one with the plane as I do,” Rob said. “It really helped me in the beginning when I was nervous and felt so separate from the airplane.”

What a great idea, I thought. That day turned into one of my most comfortable flying lessons. It reminded me of a lesson I had learned a while back.

For most of my life, I felt disconnected from things: from myself, from other people, from life. That feeling of separateness haunted me. It explains why I tried so desperately to attach myself codependently to people, places, and things.

Over the years, I began to see that my separateness was an illusion. The same energy, the same life force, that runs through all the universe runs through you and me,too.

We’re connected, whether we know it or not.

Nobody has to make you one with everything. You already are.

Let go of your illusion of separateness.

Connect yourself.

God, help me know my oneness with the world. Help me know how connected I really am so I don’t have to connect in ways that don’t work.

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Touchstones Meditations For Men
September 26

To try to extinguish the drive for riches with money is like trying to quench a fire by pouring butterfat over it.
—Hindu proverb

In recovery, we learn what we truly want and what is only a symbol of our desires. Do we truly want to use our energies pursuing success, or are we seeking approval from others? Do we truly want money so much, or are we attempting to escape the basically insecure nature of life? Do we truly enjoy the pleasure of food so much, or are we in search of comfort for our emotions?

Our desires, our wants, and our anxieties are spiritual issues. What at first we think we want may only hide deeper, more vulnerable, and painful feelings. When we admit the deeper fears and desires, we move closer to the spiritual truths of our lives. We can search for acceptance within ourselves and from God. We can learn to have spiritual peace in an insecure world. We can learn to accept the love of others even though we know we’re not perfect.

Today, I will ask myself what I want and listen with courage to my answer. It will lead me in my spiritual progress.

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Daily TAO
September 26
MODESTY

Have you ever had a knot in your shoelace?
You have to bend down to untie it.

Difficulties in life confront us all; people respond in their own ways to adversity. Some succumb, some grow boisterous. Some marshall their determination, some respond with trickery. All too often, hardship will mow a person down.

When confronted with difficulty, those who follow Tao respond with modesty : they conform to the situation. They bow before it, and they concentrate upon it until they find a solution. They do not apply undue force; neither do they acquiesce meekly to fate. They examine the situation and carefully undo it. In the same way you bend down to untie a knot in your shoelace, they bend down to find guidance.

Even modesty can become an error if we become meek and insecure.  Some people become so humble that they become self-defeating. They are talented but their personalities are so split that they cannot achieve their potential. Therefore, there must be limits even on modesty. It works. Like anything else, it must be applied in the right manner.

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Daily Zen
September 26

And when That is seen in its
Immanence and transcendence
Then the ties that have bound the
Heart are loosened, the doubts
Of the mind vanish, and the law
Of karma works no more.

– Mundaka Upanishad

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Food For Thought
September 26
Character Defects

Beginning the OA program, we are inclined to feel that our problems and difficulties are largely due to circumstances and other people. The enemy seems to be outside. The more we work the Steps, the more we realize that our troubles are within, rather than without. Furthermore, we learn that the only person we can change is our self.

We see that the root of our difficulty lies in being centered on self instead of centered in our Higher Power. Our egos can take us only so far before we reach a point where continued growth demands that we begin to abandon them. What a relief to get rid of the anxiety, frustration, and fear that goes with an ego-centered life!

Our Higher Power removes our character defects as we become willing to let go of them. Honest awareness is our first task, and this is facilitated by maintaining abstinence from compulsive overeating. Abstinence gives us the honesty and the energy to change. As we change, circumstances and relationships improve.

I ask that You remove my character defects according to Your will.

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Faiths Checkbook
September 26
Among the Redeemed

Lo, the people shall dwell alone, and shall not be redeemed among the nations.
(Numbers 23:9)

Who would wish to dwell among the nations and to be numbered with them? Why, even the professing church is such that to follow the Lord fully within its bounds is very difficult. There is such a mingling and mixing that one often sighs for “a lodge in some vast wilderness.”

Certain it is that the Lord would have His people follow a separated path as to the world and come out decidedly and distinctly from it. We are set apart by the divine decree, purchase, and calling, and our inward experience has made us greatly to differ from men of the world; and therefore our place is not in their Vanity Fair, nor in their City of Destruction, but in the narrow way where all true pilgrims must follow their Lord.

This may not only reconcile us to the world’s cold shoulder and sneers but even cause us to accept them with pleasure as being a part of our covenant portion. Our names are not in the same book, we are not of the same seed, we are not bound for the same place, neither are we trusting to the same guide; therefore it is well that we are not of their number. Only let us be found in the number of the redeemed, and we are content to be off and solitary to the end of the chapter.

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This Mornings Reading
September 26

“The myrtle trees that were in the bottom.”
—Zechariah 1:8.

THE vision in this chapter describes the condition of Israel in Zechariah’s day; but being interpreted in its aspect towards us, it describes the Church of God as we find it now in the world. The Church is compared to a myrtle grove flourishing in a valley. It is hidden, unobserved, secreted; courting no honour and attracting no observation from the careless gazer. The Church, like her head, has a glory, but it is concealed from carnal eyes, for the time of her breaking forth in all her splendour is not yet come. The idea of tranquil security is also suggested to us: for the myrtle grove in the valley is still and calm, while the storm sweeps over the mountain summits. Tempests spend their force upon the craggy peaks of the Alps, but down yonder where flows the stream which maketh glad the city of our God, the myrtles flourish by the still waters, all unshaken by the impetuous wind. How great is the inward tranquility of God’s Church! Even when opposed and persecuted, she has a peace which the world gives not, and which, therefore, it cannot take away: the peace of God which passeth all understanding keeps the hearts and minds of God’s people. Does not the metaphor forcibly picture the peaceful, perpetual growth of the saints? The myrtle sheds not her leaves, she is always green; and the Church in her worst time still hath a blessed verdure of grace about her; nay, she has sometimes exhibited most verdure when her winter has been sharpest. She has prospered most when her adversities have been most severe. Hence the text hints at victory. The myrtle is the emblem of peace, and a significant token of triumph. The brows of conquerors were bound with myrtle and with laurel; and is not the Church ever victorious? Is not every Christian more than a conqueror through Him that loved him? Living in peace, do not the saints fall asleep in the arms of victory?

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This Evenings Reading
September 26

“Howl, fir tree, for the cedar is fallen.”
—Zechariah 11:2.

WHEN in the forest there is heard the crash of a falling oak, it is a sign that the woodman is abroad, and every tree in the whole company may tremble lest to-morrow the sharp edge of the axe should find it out. We are all like trees marked for the axe, and the fall of one should remind us that for every one, whether great as the cedar, or humble as the fir, the appointed hour is stealing on apace. I trust we do not, by often hearing of death, become callous to it. May we never be like the birds in the steeple, which build their nests when the bells are tolling, and sleep quietly when the solemn funeral peals are startling the air. May we regard death as the most weighty of all events, and be sobered by its approach. It ill behoves us to sport while our eternal destiny hangs on a thread. The sword is out of its scabbard—let us not trifle; it is furbished, and the edge is sharp—let us not play with it. He who does not prepare for death is more than an ordinary fool, he is a madman. When the voice of God is heard among the trees of the garden, let fig tree and sycamore, and elm and cedar, alike hear the sound thereof.

Be ready, servant of Christ, for thy Master comes on a sudden, when an ungodly world least expects Him. See to it that thou be faithful in His work, for the grave shall soon be digged for thee. Be ready, parents, see that your children are brought up in the fear of God, for they must soon be orphans; be ready, men of business, take care that your affairs are correct, and that you serve God with all your hearts, for the days of your terrestrial service will soon be ended, and you will be called to give account for the deeds done in the body, whether they be good or whether they be evil. May we all prepare for the tribunal of the great King with a care which shall be rewarded with the gracious commendation, “Well done, good and faithful servant”

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