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In Loving Memory of Vic

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Daily Recovery Readings – September 27, 2014

Just For Today
September 27, 2014
Right Back Up

“There is something in our self-destructive personalities that cries for failure.”
Basic Text, p.77

“Poor me; woe is me; look at me, my life is such a mess! I’ve fallen, and no matter how hard I try, I continue to fail!” Many of us came to NA singing this sad refrain.

Life isn’t like that anymore. True, sometimes we still stumble; at times we even fall. Sometimes we feel like we can’t move forward in our lives, no matter how hard we try. But the truth of the matter is that, with the help of other recovering addicts in NA, we find a hand to pull us up, dust us off, and help us start all over again. That’s the new refrain in our lives today. No longer do we say, “I’m a failure and I’m going nowhere!” Usually, it’s more like, “Rats! I hit that same bump in the road of life again. Pretty soon I’ll learn to slow down or avoid it entirely!” Until then, we may continue to fall down occasionally, but we’ve learned that there’s always a helping hand to set us on our feet again.

Just for today: If I begin to cry failure, I’ll remember there is a way to move forward. I will accept the encouragement and support of NA.

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Daily Reflections
September 27, 2014
WITHOUT RESERVATION

When brimming with gratitude, one’s heartbeat must surely result in outgoing love, . . . .
AS BILL SEES IT, p.37

While practicing service to others, if my successes give rise to grandiosity, I must reflect on what brought me to this point. What has been given joyfully, with love, must be passed on without reservation and without expectation.  For as I grow, I find that no matter how much I give with love, I receive much more in spirit.

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Twenty-Four Hours A Day
September 27, 2014
A.A. Thought For The Day

Continuing the consideration of the term “spiritual experience”:  “What often takes place in a few months could seldom have been accomplished by years of self-discipline. With few exceptions, our members find that they have tapped an unsuspected inner resource which they presently identify with their own conception of a Power greater than themselves. Most of us think this awareness of a Power greater than ourselves the essence of spiritual experience. Some of us call it God-consciousness.  In any case, willingness, honesty, and open-mindedness are the essentials of recovery.” Have I tapped that inner resource which can change my life?

Meditation For The Day

God’s power in your life increases as your ability to understand His grace increases. The power of God’s grace is only limited by the understanding and will of each individual. God’s miracle-working power is only limited in each individual soul by the lack of spiritual vision of the soul. God respects free will, the right of each person to accept or reject His miracle-working power.  Only the sincere desire of the soul gives Him the opportunity to bestow it.

Prayer For The Day

I pray that I may not limit God’s power by my lack of vision.  I pray that I may keep my mind open today to His influence.

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As Bill Sees It
September 27, 2014
When Infancy Is Over, p.269

“You must remember that every A.A. group starts, as it should, through the efforts of a single man and his friends–a founder and his hierarchy. There is no other way.

“But when infancy is over, the original leaders always have to make way for that democracy which springs up through the grass roots and will eventually sweep aside the self-chosen leadership of the past.”

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

Letter to Dr. Bob:

“Everywhere the A.A. groups have taken their service affairs into their own hands. Local founders and their friends are now on the side lines. Why so many people forget that, when thinking of the future of our world services, I shall never understand.

“The groups will eventually take over, and maybe they will squander their inheritance when they get it. It is probable, however, that they won’t. Anyhow, they really have grown up; A.A. is theirs; let’s give it to them.

Letters
1. 1950
2. 1949

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Keep It Simple
September 27, 2014

Honesty is the backbone of our recovery program. Honesty opens us up. It breaks down the walls we had built around our secret world. Those walls made a prison for us. But all of that is now changed. We are free.

Honesty has made us wise. We aren’t sneaking drinks anymore. We don’t have a stash to protect.

People who didn’t trust us now depend on our honesty. People who worked hard to avoid us, now seek us out. Self-honesty is the greatest gift we can give ourselves.

Prayer for the Day: Higher Power, You are truth. I pray that I may not turn away from truth. I will not lie. My life depends on honesty.

Action For the Day: For twenty or thirty minutes, I will think about how learning to be honest has changed my life.

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Walk In Dry Places
September 27, 2014
The Test Of My Ideas
Change

Early in its existence, the AA fellowship tended to resist new ideas, yet did accept many good purpose, because it screened out practices that could have destroyed the fellowship.

But other, new ideas have been accepted and have benefited the fellowship. How can we test a new idea before we decide to accept it?

Whatever the idea, it should be beneficial in promoting personal recovery. If it is somehow harmful to those seeking recovery, it should not be accepted.

If this simple test is applied honestly and with fairness, new ideas can be considered on their own merits and can usually be discussed in an atmosphere of reason and understanding. The AA traditions will support most sound ideas.

Knowing that God is the source of new ideas, we can be open to additional guides that can help us along the way. I’ll be on the lookout today for any helpful ideas.

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Each Day a New Beginning
September 26, 2014

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 27, 2014
He Sold Himself Short

I made several decisions at that time. One of them was that I would try to get a group started in Chicago; the second was that I would have to return to Akron to attend meetings at least every two months until I did get a group started in Chicago: third, I decided I must place this program above everything else, even my family, because if I did not maintain my sobriety, I would lose my family anyway. If I did not maintain my sobriety, I would not have a job. If I did not maintain my sobriety, I would have no friends left. I had few enough at that time.

pp. 263-264

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Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions
September 27, 2014

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

Why did A.A. finally drop all its membership regulations? Why did we leave it to each newcomer to decide himself whether he was an alcoholic and whether he should join us? Why did we dare say, contrary to the experience of society and government everywhere, that we would neither punish nor deprive any A.A. of membership, believe anything, or conform to anything?

The answer, now seen in Tradition Three, was simplicity itself. At last experience taught us that to take away any alcoholic’s full chance was sometimes to pronounce his death sentence, and often to condemn him to endless misery. Who dared to be judge, jury, and executioner of his own sick brother?

p. 141

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Xtra Thoughts
September 27, 2014

Come, let us give a little time to folly… and even in a melancholy day let us find time for an hour of pleasure.
–Saint Bonaventura

“Good habits are as addictive as bad habits, and a lot more rewarding.”
–Harvey Mackay

It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.
–Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

Real success requires respect for and faithfulness to the highest human values – honesty, integrity, self-discipline, dignity, compassion, humility, courage, personal responsibility, courtesy, and human service.
–Michael DeBakey, M.D.

Hope never abandons you, you abandon it.
–George Weinberg

Each day, and the living of it, has to be a conscious creation in which discipline and order are relieved with some play and pure foolishness.
–May Sarton

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Father Leo’s Daily Meditation
September 27, 2014
ACHIEVEMENT

“Do not mistake activity for achievement.”
– Mabel Newcomber

Often I am running in circles and not getting anywhere. I spend forever “doing” things and yet I know I am not achieving anything. I am going nowhere in my life!

“Be still and know that I am God.” I need to stop. I need to listen to the pain that is within. I need to relax in my gratitude. I need to rest in myself. Tomorrow has not yet come — today I take time for me.

Lord, I hear Your still small voice. Today I rest in me and discover Thee.

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Bible Scriptures
September 27, 2014

“We ought to obey God rather than men.”
Acts 5:29

He that walketh with wise men shall be wise: but a companion of fools shall be destroyed.
Proverbs, 13:20

“I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has given me strength, that he considered me faithful, appointing me to his service.”
I Timothy 1:12

“To the man who pleases him, God gives wisdom, knowledge and happiness, but to the sinner he gives the task of gathering and storing up wealth to hand it over to the one who pleases God. This too is meaningless, a chasing after the wind.”
Ecclesiastes 2:26

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Daily Inspiration
September 27, 2014

Get rid of the excuses for not doing those things that make you happy. Lord, Your peace within me calms my spirit and opens my heart to recognize the joy of this day.

Forget the useless and unhealthy things of your past that clutter your mind so that you can live a life that is alive and vibrant. Lord, help me to discard all that clouds my day so that I am able to live the life that You intend me to live.

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A Day At A Time
September 27, 2014

Reflection For The Day

In times past, even as adults, many of us childishly insisted that people protect, defend and care for us.  We acted as if the world owed us a living.  And then, when the people we most loved became fed up, pushing us aside or perhaps abandoning us completely,m we were bewildered.  We couldn’t see that our over-dependence on people was unsuccessful because all human beings are fallible;  even the best of them will sometimes let us down, especially when our demands are unreasonable.  Today, in contrast, we rely upon God, counting on Him rather than on ourselves or other people.  Am I trying to do as I think God would have me do, trusting the outcome of His will for me?

Today I Pray

May I know, from the dependencies of my past, that I am a dependent person.  I depended on alcohol, mood-altering chemicals, food or other addictive pursuits.  I was inclined to “hang” on other people, depending on them for more than they could give.  May I, at last, switch from these adolescent dependencies to a mature healthy dependency on my Higher Power.

Today I Pray

I have more than one dependency.

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One More Day
September 27, 2014

…We love persons . . . by reason of their defects as well as of their qualities.
–  Jacques Maritain

There is a freedom in loving and being loved.  The love we have for other special people frees us to concentrate on them, and we forget ourselves and our problems.  Often, these people — our friends and family members — are loved by us not because we find perfection in them but because we magically seem to blend together, and their faults become unimportant.

In being loved, we discover the same freedom.  We don’t have to conceal our defects.  We can be open.  Certainly, we continue to work to free ourselves of defects, but we do it for ourselves;   we don’t have to be perfect to deserve love.  Nonjudgmental love is one of the things that frees us to make choices without fear.

I treasure all the living friendships I have.  They allow me to choose new directions by accepting me where I am.

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One Day At A Time
September 27, 2014
Patience

“Patience and perseverance have a magical effect before which difficulties and obstacles vanish.”
–John Quincy Adams

When I first walked through the meeting doors, I wanted recovery and I wanted it now! Give me the magic wand, I’ll waive it, then get on with my life. At least that’s what I thought.

One of the most difficult things I’ve had to learn is the art of patience and allowing God to work within his own time while I do the footwork to the best of my ability. It is my belief that the universe and my Higher Power will order the next level of my physical recovery. Physical recovery does not grow without spiritual progress. This Program is a journey, not a crash-course in fad dieting.

When I struggled with bouts of pride connected to my levels of patience and God’s timing, I knew I was uncovering yet another character flaw that could delay my spiritual recovery. Spiritual recovery, as “Old-timers” have told us again and again, is the actual foundation of the program. The inner-person will eventually make its way to the outer-person.

One day at a time…
Today I will slow down, take a deep breath, and just remind myself that my Higher Power is in control and that my natural pattern will develop under His nurture, care, and control.

~ January

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Elder’s Meditation of the Day – September 27

“I got my education from my culture. My teachers were my grandmothers, and I am really thankful for that.”
–Mary One Spot, SARCEE

Our often unrecognized, but most powerful teachers are our women. In order for men to learn a balanced way, we need to learn from our men Elders and our women Elders. Learning from the women Elders will teach us a whole different set of values and insights to life. When we have life problems, we need to go to the grandmothers to get their advice.

Grandmothers, teach me the values of the Great Mystery.

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Journey To The Heart
September 27, 2014
Freeze Negative Energy

Police officers often say “Freeze!” when they want someone to stop, when they want to protect themselves. We can do the same thing. We can learn to freeze unwanted energy that comes to us from others.

Health professionals agree there are many causes of stress in our lives, from toxins in the air to problems related to love, money, self-esteem, or work. One subtle problem that can cause undesirable stress– an area we often overlook– is when people direct negative energy at us. We can learn to become aware of, and protect ourselves from, undesirable negative energy that others may unconsciously, or even consciously, be directing toward us– whether they’re feeling angry, resentful, jealous, or downright hateful. We don’t have to absorb the impact of that energy, and let it harm us.

We can freeze negative energy. We can mentally tell it to stop and refuse to take it in and make it ours. If something is really bothering us, try this trick one healer taught me. Draw a picture of the person or write a description of the problem, then stick it in the freezer underneath the bottom tray.

People are energy. Thoughts are energy. Part of loving ourselves is not ingesting toxins. Negative energy is toxic. Don’t stress others.

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Today’s Gift
September 27, 2014

Let me fly, says little birdie,
Mother, let me fly away.
—Alfred, Lord Tennyson

Don’t we all want to fly away? Isn’t there a better place out there away from home? The boy can’t fly, but he can climb a tree and ride the wind. The girl, high on imaginary wings, flies to her own land of dreams. Even mothers and fathers, together and alone, need to fly – away from work, house, and the everyday same old things. But we all need to return as well. We need to know that home is the one safe place to land, that there we can rest, recover our strength, tell our tales to family and friends.

Our home is safe and comfortable, but if we never leave, even for a short while, we will never take the action necessary to bring our dreams to life.

What small comfort might I give up for today in order to make a dream come true?

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The Language of Letting Go
September 27, 2014
Temporary Setbacks

Sometimes, after we begin recovery, things in our life seem to get worse for a time. Our finances, our relationships, or our health may seem to deteriorate.

This is temporary; this is a normal part of recovery and healing. It may be the way things will be for a time, but not for long.

Keep working at recovery, and the trend will reverse. Before too long, things, and us, will be better than they were before. This time, the foundation will be solid.

God, help me trust You and recovery, even when I have setbacks. Help me remember that the problems are temporary, and when they are solved, I will be on more solid ground.

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More Language Of Letting Go
September 27, 2014
Own your life

Are you willing to take responsibility for this mat, to own it? That doesn’t mean it isn’t everybody else’s mat, too. If you’re big enough to own the mat as yours, you’re big enough to let it be theirs,too.
–George Leonard

In his book The Way of Aikido, George Leonard wrote about the concept of owning the mat. He was talking about aikido. He was referring to an air of ownership, a certain presence he learned to demonstrate both on the mats while practicing martial arts and in his life.

Many subtle attitudes and past conditioning can affect our sense of ownership of our lives and of the world we live in– guilt, a haunting sense of victimization, laziness, living with repressive, angry, or abusive people may have tamed our sense of ownership of our lives.

One day, I was at my daughter’s house. She had recently acquired a new dog, Stanley. Stanley huddled in the corner timidly instead of scampering over to greet me like her other dog did.

“We got Stanley from the pound,” Nichole explained. “His previous owners abused him real badly. He’s afraid to move around too much. He’s afraid he’ll get hit. So he sits real quietly, hoping not to make anyone mad.”

I thought. That dog reminds me of me.

Let go of negative conditioning. No matter what happened, today is a new day. And it’s your lucky day. You’ve just received an inheritance. You now own your world– your life, your emotions, your finances, your relationships, your decisions. Walk onto the mat of your life with an air of confidence. Welcome others graciously because it’s their world,too. Whether you’re walking into your cubicle at work or pushing a shopping cart down the aisle at the grocery store, stand tall, move from your center, and walk with an open heart.

Welcome to your world.

God, teach me what it means to live and let live.

Activity: Review each of these areas of your life: work, relationships, finances, leisure time, emotions, your body, and your spiritual growth. Have you forfeited or given up ownership in any of these areas? If you have, today’s a good day to take it back.

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Touchstones Meditations For Men
September 27, 2014

What I have wanted is consistency, ever since the day back in Wyncote when my mom and dad split. I have wanted to be liked. I have wanted to be loved. I have wanted to be in a family-type atmosphere.
—Reggie Jackson

How many of us gave ourselves away trying to fix painful childhood longings? We thought if we were good boys, good men, caretakers, we would have the love we wanted. Sadly, our remedies for childhood pain have often been childish solutions. Our need for security may have become a self-centered obsession and blocked our ability to hear our loved ones. We may have become so fervent about accepting others that we failed to stand up for ourselves and lost their respect.

Most of us reach adulthood with leftover pain no person could ever fix. We learn grown up responses by accepting our load of pain and by asking others for help. Intimacy and companionship reduce the weight. We tell our friends about our burdens, and we learn what they are carrying. In the process we grow in wisdom and maturity.

Today. I will remember I do not have to be alone with my pain.

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Daily TAO
September 27, 2014
SWEEPING

Gold dawn disk edges purple cliffs.
Old woman bends to sweep temple steps.
She bathes each stone with loving care.
How many worshipers think of her work.

I went at dawn to a magnificent temple. Its architecture was such a supreme expression of the human spirit that it was a treasure.  Generations of worshipers had left offerings at the shrines, hundreds of monks had reached their enlightenment on the consecrated grounds, and thousands had been blessed in life and in death in the venerable halls.

Yet my most moving observation was an old woman silently sweeping the steps. Her concentration was perfect. Her devotion was palpable. Her thoroughness was complete. Her uncelebrated act showed a true holy spirit.

Later in the day, wealthy people came to worship. Children with brightly colored toys ran over the gray stones. The abbot walked to his ceremonies. Monks passed in silent prayer. Of all who passed, how many were aware of the saintly service that had made their own devotion possible?

When the way is all we have to walk, those who prepare the way should be truly honored.

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Daily Zen
September 27, 2014

When the mind is properly adjusted
And quietly applied
The Way is attainable;
But when you are too fervently bent
On it, your body grows tired;
When your body is tired, your spirit
Becomes weary.
When you spirit is weary, your discipline
Will relax, and with relaxation of
Discipline, there follows many distractions

– Sutra of Forty Two Chapters

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Food For Thought
September 27, 2014
We Admit

Three of the Twelve Steps have to do with admitting. We admit that we are powerless over food and cannot manage our own lives; we admit our wrongs to God, ourselves, and another person; we continue to take inventory and admit when we are wrong.

Out of honest admission of our weakness comes strength. We are able to see ourselves realistically and with clarity. When we are humble enough to admit our wrongs, we get rid of the false front we had tried to maintain. This frees us to be who we are, without pretense.

When we admit our faults, we are cleansed. We no longer have to try to hide and cover up our weaknesses and mistakes. Instead of pretending to be perfect, we can be human and satisfied with progress.

We admit that we have a progressive disease, and we learn how to control it. We do not pretend to ourselves or others that we can eat like everyone else, because we are compulsive overeaters. We cannot manage our own lives, but there is One who can.

I admit that I am powerless, and I am grateful for Your Power in my life.

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Faiths Checkbook
September 27, 2014
The Divine Light in Darkness

For thou wilt light my candle.
(Psalm 18:28)

It may be that my soul sits in darkness; and if this be of a spiritual kind, no human power can bring me light. Blessed be God! He can enlighten my darkness and at once light my candle. Even though I may be surrounded by a “darkness which might be felt,” yet He can break the gloom and immediately make it bright around me.

The mercy is that if He lights the candle none can blow it out, neither will it go out for lack of substance, nor burn out of itself through the lapse of hours. The lights which the Lord kindled in the beginning are shining still. The Lord’s lamps may need trimming, but He does not put them out.

Let me, then, lite the nightingale sing in the dark. Expectation shall furnish me with music, and hope shall pitch the tune. Soon I shall rejoice in a candle of God’s lighting. I am dull and dreary just now. Perhaps it is the weather, or bodily weakness, or the surprise of a sudden trouble; but whatever has made the darkness, it is God alone who will bring the light. My eyes are unto Him alone. I shall soon have the candles of the Lord shining about me; and, further on in His own good time, I shall be where they need no candle, neither light of the sun. Hallelujah!

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This Mornings Reading
September 27, 2014

“Happy art thou, O Israel; who is like unto thee, O people saved by the Lord!”
—Deuteronomy 33:29.

HE who affirms that Christianity makes men miserable, is himself an utter stranger to it. It were strange indeed, if it made us wretched, for see to what a position it exalts us! It makes us sons of God. Suppose you that God will give all the happiness to His enemies, and reserve all the mourning for His own family? Shall His foes have mirth and joy, and shall His home-born children inherit sorrow and wretchedness? Shall the sinner, who has no part in Christ, call himself rich in happiness, and shall we go mourning as if we were penniless beggars? No, we will rejoice in the Lord always, and glory in our inheritance, for we “have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but we have received the spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.” The rod of chastisement must rest upon us in our measure, but it worketh for us the comfortable fruits of righteousness; and therefore by the aid of the divine Comforter, we, the “people saved of the Lord,” will joy in the God of our salvation. We are married unto Christ; and shall our great Bridegroom permit His spouse to linger in constant grief? Our hearts are knit unto Him: we are His members, and though for awhile we may suffer as our Head once suffered, yet we are even now blessed with heavenly blessings in Him. We have the earnest of our inheritance in the comforts of the Spirit, which are neither few nor small. Heritors of joy for ever, we have foretastes of our portion. There are streaks of the light of joy to herald our eternal sunrising. Our riches are beyond the sea; our city with firm foundations lies on the other side the river; gleams of glory from the spirit-world cheer our hearts, and urge us onward. Truly is it said of us, “Happy art thou, O Israel; who is like unto thee, O people saved by the Lord?”

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This Evenings Reading
September 27, 2014

“My Beloved put in His hand by the hole of the door, and my bowels were moved for Him.”
—Song of Solomon 5:4.

KNOCKING was not enough, for my heart was too full of sleep, too cold and ungrateful to arise and open the door, but the touch of His effectual grace has made my soul bestir itself. Oh, the longsuffering of my Beloved, to tarry when He found Himself shut out, and me asleep upon the bed of sloth! Oh, the greatness of His patience, to knock and knock again, and to add His voice to His knockings, beseeching me to open to Him! How could I have refused Him! Base heart, blush and be confounded! But what greatest kindness of all is this, that He becomes His own porter and unbars the door Himself. Thrice blessed is the hand which condescends to lift the latch and turn the key. Now I see that nothing but my Lord’s own power can save such a naughty mass of wickedness as I am; ordinances fail, even the gospel has no effect upon me, till His hand is stretched out. Now, also, I perceive that His hand is good where all else is unsuccessful, He can open when nothing else will. Blessed be His name, I feel His gracious presence even now. Well may my bowels move for Him, when I think of all that He has suffered for me, and of my ungenerous return. I have allowed my affections to wander. I have set up rivals. I have grieved Him. Sweetest and dearest of all beloveds, I have treated Thee as an unfaithful wife treats her husband. Oh, my cruel sins, my cruel self. What can I do? Tears are a poor show of my repentance, my whole heart boils with indignation at myself. Wretch that I am, to treat my Lord, my All in All, my exceeding great joy, as though He were a stranger. Jesus, thou forgivest freely, but this is not enough, prevent my unfaithfulness in the future. Kiss away these tears, and then purge my heart and bind it with sevenfold cords to Thyself, never to wander more.

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