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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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September 30 2015 By dvirtue A Case Study in Death and Resurrection: Acts 9:32-43

Jesus said, "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me, will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die." (John 11:25) How is that possible? Jesus died and was raised from the dead so that we might share in his victory over death. "We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead, through the glory of the Father, we too may have new life.

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September 27 2015 By dvirtue A SPIRITUAL JOURNEY: Acts 9

The first stage we may call the stage of defense. Saul was educated in the best Jewish and Greek schools of his day. He was a Pharisee and a Roman citizen. His family must have been of some wealth and position. He demonstrated a cruel zeal to eliminate the followers of Jesus. His revered teacher, Gamaliel, counseled leaving the Christians alone but Saul had Stephen stoned to death, and pursued a vendetta beyond Jerusalem. What caused this fanaticism?

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September 23 2015 By dvirtue What is Your View on Aging?

Youth is not a period of time. It is a state of mind, a result of the will, a quality of the imagination, a victory of courage over timidity, of the taste of adventure over the love of comfort. A man doesn't grow old because he has lived a certain number of years. A man grows old when he deserts his ideal. The years may wrinkle his skin, but deserting his ideal wrinkles his soul.

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