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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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February 04 2016 By dvirtue It Is Not What You Know but Who You Know: Acts 15:1-12

It is not just what you know that is most important, but who you know. This is the essence of Christianity. At the beginning of the Christian missionary enterprise the Church had to decide what was most important for converts to be accepted as Christians. Some believers belonged to the party of the Pharisees. They felt that all new believers should be circumcised and required to follow the law of Moses.

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January 27 2016 By dvirtue WHO TO FOLLOW: THE CROWD OR JESUS?: Acts 14:8-20

This is the situation Barnabas and Paul found themselves in at Lystra (Acts 14:8-20). They had just preached about Jesus to the crowds and healed a man lame from birth. "When the "crowd" saw what Paul had done, they shouted in their local language, 'The gods have come down to us in human form!' Barnabas they called Zeus, and Paul they called Hermes because he was the chief speaker. The priest of Zeus... and the "crowd" wanted to offer sacrifices to them."

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January 20 2016 By dvirtue YOU ARE INDISPENSABLE: 1 Corinthians 12:12-27

We also live in a society where we have accepted a social contract to share responsibility for those who are disabled, or disadvantaged by factors beyond their control. We voluntarily join together to promote and support programs, charities, sports teams, political parties, and events that interest us and in which we can participate. The higher degree of commitment we feel translates into the greater support we give.

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December 31 2015 By dvirtue VALUING EACH STAGE OF LIFE: Ecclesiastes 3:1-14

"There is a time to be born & a time to die": we cannot hasten or determine either one.
"A time to plant & a time to uproot": the seasons of planting and harvesting are set.
"A time to kill & a time to heal": we defend & protect as well as bind up wounds.
"A time to tear down & a time to build": we demolish and we redevelop.
"A time to weep & a time to laugh": we lament our failures and we rejoice in our successes.

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December 25 2015 By dvirtue Christmas in Solitary Confinement: 2015

But something happened to him. He began to think about himself in relation to the universe, eternity, and his fellow men and women in ways that he never had before. He pondered his way to a respect for faith, and belief in God. Not only that but he began to think about Jesus. He had always scorned his ideas, especially forgiveness. He thought of Jesus as a wimp in a callused world that knew better to take care of itself than he did.

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December 21 2015 By dvirtue Regret and Hope at Christmastime

Twilight carries a certain, passing beauty. Birds sing the last songs of the hour. The city begins to settle down and sparkle. Home is appreciated as refuge. We eat and rest. Twilight also signifies a truth about mortality we avoid. We are, indeed, passing through this world and at the end of the day, and life, only love endures...yes, only love endures. (This is one reason why acts of terrorism are so confounding, devoid of meaning, damnable.

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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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