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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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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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