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June 22 2016 By dvirtue Surely goodness and love shall follow me all the days of my life: Ps. 23:6

We may think that we have been overlooked by the goodness and love of God. He is not going to follow us around. He is going to pursue us. Francis Thompson (1859-1907) studied for the priesthood and then for medicine. He never completed his courses because he became an opium addict, and started living on the streets of London. He was rescued by a friend and became a famous poet.

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June 16 2016 By dvirtue You Anoint My Head with Oil; My Cup Overflows: Psalm 23:5

So what does this mean for us? How are we anointed? How does our cup overflow with joy? We are not kings, queens or priests are we? Yes, we are! Jesus Christ is the Anointed One -- that's what 'Christ' means. When we are baptized in Christ, we are christened, i.e. made into little Christs, followers of Christ, part of the body of Christ. Some churches even use anointing by oil (chrism) in Baptism to make that point.

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June 08 2016 By dvirtue You Prepare a Table Before me in the Presence of my Enemies: Psalm 23:5

Who are your enemies and how does the Lord defend you against them? I married John and Nancy many years ago. Nancy gave birth to a beautiful daughter, and then shortly afterwards found that she had breast cancer. She fought the disease valiantly but it was of a pernicious variety. On the night she died, as I was driving over to the house, these words came into my mind, "An enemy has done this." They are the words of Jesus in his parable of the wheat and the weeds.

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June 06 2016 By dvirtue Persecution and Resurrection

"Witness" is a curious word in the Bible. The Greek verb is "martureo" (μaρτυρέ), from which our word "martyr" is derived. It originally meant bearing legal witness in court. In the New Testament it is a declaration of fact -- mostly to report good news. Jesus said, "You shall be my witnesses (μάρτυρες) in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria and to the ends of the earth" (Acts 1:8).

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May 26 2016 By dvirtue I will Fear No Evil

"At this the fiends fell back, allowing Christian to pass by, though not unscathed, for one evil and malicious spirit crept up behind and whispered blasphemies in the traveler's ear... In this tortured frame of mind, he continued along the way for some time, but his spirits rose a little when he heard a voice quoting, 'Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me.'"

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May 18 2016 By dvirtue He Guides Me in Paths of Righteousness for His Name's Sake: Psalm 23:3

First, he directs us to seek the right path, the paths of righteousness, i.e. the way that reflects the character of the Good Shepherd. Pilgrim's Progress is full of different ways people can choose to travel. But there is only one that leads to the Celestial City. Jesus talked about two roads: the broad road that leads to destruction and the narrow road that leads to life. (Matthew 7:13,14) The broad road leads to self-destructive behavior through wrong choices.

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May 13 2016 By dvirtue THE FIRE OF THE SPIRIT: Acts 2:3

Fire is a frequent symbol of God. Abraham saw a burning lamp and Moses beheld a burning bush. When Solomon had built his holy and beautiful house, its consecration lay in the fire of God descending upon the sacrifice to mark that the Lord was there, for when the Lord had dwelt before in the Tabernacle, which was superseded by the Temple, He revealed Himself in a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night.

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May 04 2016 By dvirtue He Leads Me beside Still Waters, He Restores My Soul: Psalm 23:2,3

The 23rd Psalm promises us restoration: "He leads me beside still waters, he restores my soul."Jesus is in the life restoration business. He comes to restore us to the full image of God. He says to a woman who searched for love in her life, who had five husbands and was then living with another man: "Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water that I give him will never thirst.

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April 28 2016 By dvirtue HE MAKES ME LIE DOWN -- Ps. 23:2

"He makes me lie down in green pastures," is a prescription for stress relief. Sheep only lie down when they are free of fear, worry or anxiety, and when they have their stomachs full. They then rest, and digest their food. Lying down is profitable when we can rest. Rest is an essential part of life. We should rest one third of each day. The fourth commandment tells us that we should rest from our work at least one day in seven.

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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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