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Devotional
December 21 2016 By dvirtue The Christmas Message: What is Essential to Being a Christian? - 1 John 1:1-4

Christmas celebrates the fact of God's entry into history. Christianity is not the message of some abstract doctrine about Jesus, or the importance of preaching about Jesus, it is the story of the creative self-expression of God, by whom the cosmos was made. The Word of life gives the universe coherence and purpose. He who existed from limitless eternity entered time and space and took up residence here on earth. This appearing in history was not imagined.

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December 13 2016 By dvirtue THE CHRISTMAS MIRACLE

The uniqueness of Mary's pregnancy contributes to the uniqueness of the baby born. He is presented as both truly God and truly Man. Such a thing is naturally impossible and cannot be proven. Therefore it requires faith in God who can do impossible things, like creating the world out of nothing. Siegfried Sassoon has a poem entitled, The Unproven.

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December 08 2016 By dvirtue THE MOTHERS OF JESUS: Matthew 1:1-17

Keller remarks that their inclusion recalls "some of the most sordid, nasty and immoral incidents in the Bible." Tamar initiated an immoral relationship with Judah her father-in-law and bore him two sons: Perez and Zerah. Jesus was descended from Perez. The Messiah came out of that dysfunctional family.

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December 01 2016 By dvirtue THE CHANGE-AGENT: Matthew 3:1-12

But how much can a person change? When you pray for people to change, you believe that God can do what seems to be impossible. Nevertheless, patterns of attitude and behavior are so ingrained that change seems to be unlikely. The tree that does not produce good fruit is more likely to be cut down and thrown into the fire than produce fruit in keeping with repentance. Jeremiah prophesied of the people in his day, "Can the Ethiopian change his skin or the leopard its spots?

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November 23 2016 By dvirtue The Coming of The Son of Man: Matthew 24:36-44

His coming affects all of us. "The flood came and took them all away." Death is universal. We must learn to talk about death and dying in the church and not outsource end of life issues to healthcare systems. In medicine, death is the ultimate enemy, and we expend much effort to stave it off. This is why we put everyone on life support the moment any organ begins to fail, and why we offer chemotherapy to patients dying of widely metastatic cancer.

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November 18 2016 By dvirtue THE SEARCH FOR SATISFACTION: Mark 10:17-21

The book of Ecclesiastes describes the search for satisfaction. You can have money, possessions, lovers, success in life and still be dissatisfied. Happiness does not come through acquisition. Wealth does not equal satisfaction or contentment.

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November 10 2016 By dvirtue LIES AND TRUTH: John 8:31-47

Others may question it by asking "why"? We live in a schizophrenic society where in theory the secular citizen is a moral relativist (I decide what is right or wrong for me and you can decide what is right or wrong for you), but in practice and interaction with those we disagree with we are moral absolutists. We believe that our moral values are right and yours are wrong if they disagree with mine. This is why we have increasing polarization in our culture.

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November 02 2016 By dvirtue YOU SHALL NOT STEAL: Luke 19:1-10

At least that is the theory. But what happens if we, as voters, want to use the company credit to enrich ourselves with stock options, and increased dividends, and we reward our representatives for voting us these benefits? We re-elect those representatives who will give us what we want even if the company isn't turning a profit, or can pay for the benefits we are receiving. In other words, we are depreciating our capital and assets, at the expense of the future.

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October 26 2016 By dvirtue THE SANCTITY OF MARRIAGE: Matthew 5: 27-30

That is what a marriage is meant to be, but because of the depth of our sin, we fall far short of that ideal. True marriage requires faithfulness and unselfishness. Where there is mutual joy in the marriage relationship the temptation to adultery has no power.

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October 20 2016 By dvirtue WHY ARE YOU ANGRY? Genesis 4:1-16, Matthew 5:21, 22

Because of our belief in eternal life, Christians understand that all human beings, no matter what their state of development, their mental capacity, their health, or the length of their mortal life, will be raised from the dead. The eternal destiny of every human being, according to Holy Scripture is beyond this life. Termination of mortal life is not the last word. Life is a gift of God, and not ours to dispose of as we will.

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