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December 16 2015 By dvirtue THE SONG OF MARY: MAGNIFICAT: Luke 1:46-55

The Bible is full of praise and thanksgiving. Biblical religion is a religion of rejoicing, of music and son. "Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!" (Philippians 4:4) It is noteworthy that Christianity has produced so much music. Christmas, in particular, is the season for so much beautiful music as we celebrate the coming of the Messiah and the hope he brings. The message of Jesus is called Gospel: good news. That is what Mary sings about.

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December 03 2015 By dvirtue The Importance of Prayer

He went to a hospital in Hong Kong where he learned the cancer had spread to the base of his skull, and that he would need 195 hours of chemotherapy. He called Richard, a friend who was visiting from Malaysia. Though he was about to leave the next day, Richard felt God was telling him to remain with Walter and his wife, Shirley.

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November 25 2015 By dvirtue THE 33: Luke 21:25-36

New cave-ins complicated attempts for a direct rescue through a ventilation duct. Mining Minister Laurence Golborne said that the chances of finding the miners alive were slim. 12,000 people die of mining accidents each year. After 17 days a drill probe reached the miners and a message was sent from them that they were all well. They begged to be rescued soon and received first supplies via a pipeline. They were told that it could be months before they were rescued.

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November 18 2015 By dvirtue THANKSGIVING

Thanksgiving is the result of an awareness of our gifts from God for ,"from him and through and to him are all things" (Romans 11:36). We are totally dependent on God who "gives to all men life and breath and everything else" (Acts 17:25). We are a privileged people. The median income in the USA is $53,894, i.e. $147 a day. Compare that with nearly 3 billion people -- half the world's population -- live on less than $2.00 a day.

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November 11 2015 By dvirtue THE PURPOSE OF GOD: Acts 13:13-52

Atheists do not believe that there is any purpose in the universe, that life happened by chance and that events occur randomly. It is difficult to believe that Earth could develop life and that humanity could seek reasons for being, or ask the question “Why?” without there being some purpose to existence. We live purposeful lives. Without purpose we would have no goals to achieve, no aim in life, no sense of destiny. We get frustrated when we cannot fulfill our dreams.

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November 05 2015 By dvirtue What Playing Rugby Taught Me about Being a Christian and a Pastor

I played from childhood on. Since I was fast my position was wing three-quarter (the equivalent of wide receiver). When I was a student at Canterbury University I played for a team in Christchurch. At Durham University in England I played for my college (St. John's). At Gordon College in Massachusetts I coached, and in Jacksonville, Florida I closed out my career as a referee in the 1970's when I could no longer keep up with the players.

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October 27 2015 By dvirtue THE GREAT MULTITUDE: Revelation 7:9-17

Where have they gone? When our loved ones depart on a journey we are curious as to their destination. Our minds imagine what it must be like to travel to exotic places. St. John is given a vision of the faithful departed.

"After this I looked and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne, and in front of the Lamb."

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October 20 2015 By dvirtue WHEN IS IT LOVING TO CONFRONT EVIL? Acts 13:1-12

What is not noticed is that this tale implies either a stupendous claim on the part of the narrator or a confession of total agnosticism. Either it implies that the narrator is in the position of the king among the blind men: he knows the reality after which the religions of the world blindly grope. In that case we must ask him to share this knowledge with us, and allow us to test its claims. Or else it implies total agnosticism: the reality after which religions grope is unknowable.

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October 13 2015 By dvirtue RESCUE FROM PRISON: Acts 12

When we have moved to a new home we grieve the loss of our friends and favorite places. A former member of the Chapel, while rejoicing in her move, lamented that she had tried six or seven churches and has not been able to replace the Chapel. She misses her friends here. A Bible study group comes to an end and there is nothing comparable to succeed it. We are imprisoned sometimes by our past memories and cannot seem to move on to new opportunities.

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October 07 2015 By dvirtue Cornelius the Roman Centurion: The Military Christian: Acts 10

In the meantime Peter is experiencing another vision in which all the dietary rules he had been taught all his life as distinctive of his identity as an Israelite were swept away. This signified that the barrier between Jew and Gentile was abolished through the Cross of Christ. The people of God were to be multi-racial and international. Then the Spirit commanded him to go with the three men who had come for him.

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