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April 21 2016 By dvirtue At the Heart of Worship

What makes the Spirit glad is a people of calm joy and humble wisdom with contrite hearts and compassion for all, gathered because of a spring of gratitude that wells up within them, a community of servants ready to get to work on the beautiful tomorrow Christ calls the kingdom of heaven, ready to offer the sacrifice of praise to the Father who forgives them before they knew they even needed forgiveness.

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April 06 2016 By dvirtue I Shall Not Want - Psalm 23:1

Australian missionary bishop, Alfred Stanway has written, "Where God guides, he provides. God will pay all the bills for the things he ordered." This attitude flies in the face of our postmodern culture in the new millenium. We live in a consumer culture that constantly seeks to stimulate our wants. Colin Campbell in The Romantic Ethic and the Spirit of Modern Consumerism, calls consumerism "self-illusory hedonism".

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March 31 2016 By dvirtue THE LORD IS MY SHEPHERD

A sense of belonging, acceptance, being loved is something that every human being needs. God put us in families to be loved and to learn to love. I grew up in a family and culture in which love was not physically or verbally expressed. Emotions were kept under control. Worship in our churches was reverently restrained. God was majestic, like the Southern Alps seen through my bedroom window, glorious in their frigid, winter coating of snow, but far away.

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March 25 2016 By dvirtue The Answer to Fear

Jesus introduces himself to us as the First and the Last, the One who was at the beginning of creation, through whom all things came into being; and the One who is the culmination of all history, to whom, one day, we will all give account of our lives. "He has given proof of this to all men by raising him from the dead" (Acts 17:31). He has gone before us through the gate of death and resurrection to bring us to God and his heaven.

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March 15 2016 By dvirtue BREAKING THE CYCLE OF BLAME

In his novel Love in the Time of Cholera, Gabriel Garcia Marquez portrays a marriage that disintegrates over a bar of soap. It was the wife's job to keep the house in order, including the towels, toilet paper, and soap in the bathroom. One day she forgot to replace the soap, an oversight her husband mentioned in an exaggerated way ("I've been bathing for almost a week without any soap!") She resented his sarcasm, and her pride was hurt.

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March 09 2016 By dvirtue Developing a Healthy Prayer Life

Read a portion of Scripture. Reflect upon God's Word and ask what he is saying to you in it. What lesson does he have for you? What promise can you claim? What encouragement does it contain? St. Paul writes, "There's nothing like the written Word of God for showing you the way to salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. Every part of Scripture is God-breathed and useful one way or another -- showing us truth, exposing our rebellion, correcting our mistakes, training us to live God's way.

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March 03 2016 By dvirtue How Do We Understand Unanswered Prayer?

Some prayer requests are wrong, they are inappropriate. Prayers can be totally self-serving, purely materialistic, and an excuse for taking personal responsibility. We can pray for what will make life easier for us, for a divine short-cut, to avoid effort or pain. We can pray that other people will motives to make sure that our prayer requests are appropriate and not self-serving. Hybels suggests asking whether, if God granted the request whether it:
Would bring God glory?

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February 24 2016 By dvirtue INCENTIVES TO PRAY

"We all come to prayer with a tangled mass of motives -- altruistic and selfish, merciful and hateful, loving and bitter. Frankly, this side of eternity we will never unravel the good from the bad, the loving and the bitter. But what I have come to see is that God is big enough to receive us with all our mixture. We do not have to be bright, or pure, or filled with faith, or anything. That is what grace means, and not only are we saved by grace, we live by it as well.

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February 16 2016 By dvirtue How to Get the Most out of Reading the Bible

We cannot approach the Bible in a cavalier manner without faith if we want to experience spiritual truth. Satan will do all that is in his power to prevent anyone from a personal understanding of the message of the Bible. "The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God" (2 Cor.4:4).

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February 11 2016 By dvirtue Self-Examination by the Ten Commandments

III. YOU SHALL NOT MISUSE THE NAME OF THE LORD YOUR GOD. Do not usurp the name of God, play God in the lives of others, enlist the name of God in your cause, or use God for your own purposes. Show God respect in thought, word and deed. Be sincere in your faith, be reverent about what you do in his name, speak his truth with humility, seek to be conformed to his character.

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