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Alcoholics Anonymous exists to assist people who are addicted to alcohol and drugs. The heart of the program is that a person must admit weakness and call upon God—or one’s higher power—to help them resist. That same principle underlies the way God helps us. When ancient Israel returned from Exile, one of their leaders, Ezra, led the people to renew their relationship with God. We read in Nehemiah, Chapter 9, that the people assembled, and for three hours, they stood and listened to Ezra read from the Book of God’s Law. As they listened, they realized they had fallen short of God’s will. So for the next three hours, they confessed their sins and worshiped the LORD. Ezra also led them in rehearsing their history—from the time of Abraham, to the time of their Egyptian slavery, to their entry into the Promised Land. He reminded them that their disobedience led to their exile. Yet God in mercy had permitted them to return home. By honestly recalling their blessings along with their failures, they positioned themselves to receive God’s mercy. Like them, we cannot expect God’s blessings until and unless we are honest with God. If God has already blessed us, and we fail to give Him credit for our blessings, we’ve already taken the first step in backsliding.

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