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May 27 2015 By dvirtue CHRIST AND HIS CHURCH: 2 Corinthians 8:1-7

This is a far cry from the easy believism of being a Christian in our culture. It does not require much for us to profess faith in Christ in our neighborhoods. Nobody cares what we do with our Sunday mornings as long as it does not infringe upon their freedom to do what they want to do. Christian faith is met with indifference rather than hostility. We are more likely to be mocked or patronized than persecuted.

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May 22 2015 By dvirtue Sow Selflessness and Reap Eternal Life

James 4:1 says, "What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don't they come from your desires that battle within you?" (NIV) Every trouble starts because of our self-centeredness.

It's very easy for selfishness to creep into relationships. When you start a relationship, you work really hard at being unselfish. But as time goes on, selfishness begins to creep in. We put more energy into building relationships than into maintaining them.

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May 14 2015 By dvirtue THE AUTHENTIC CHRISTIAN: 2 Corinthians 6:3-10

He spent the rest of his life teaching and writing about the missionary task of proclaiming the Gospel in the secular West. His personal life and writings commend the Gospel, as did that of St. Paul in his day. When Paul was called upon to prove the authenticity of his Christian faith he provided a remarkable check-list of three characteristics.

First, the authentic Christian is a person who endures hardship and opposition with grace.

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May 07 2015 By dvirtue RECONCILIATION: 2 Corinthians 5:18-21

This is the message St. Paul is expounding in 2 Corinthians 5:18-21. He described the Gospel in terms of God's work of reconciliation. Reconciliation is a diplomatic and political term referring to harmony established between enemies by peace treaties. It is also a personal relational term referring to harmony between people alienated from one another by an offense. It results in the restoration of a friendly relationship.

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April 30 2015 By dvirtue THE OLD AND THE NEW: 2 Corinthians 5:11-17

St Paul tells us that in Christ we have these two kinds of life: the flesh and the spirit, the outward and the inward, the earthly and the heavenly, the old self and the new self, the animal-life and the Christ-life, the life of the first Adam and the life of the second Adam, the self-centered and the Christ-centered, the old and the new. The old life is what we derived from our parents, our childhood, the culture in which we were raised. None of us is self-invented.

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April 22 2015 By virtueonline TRUE REPENTANCE: 2 Corinthians 7:9-11

The movie, Woman in Gold, starring Helen Mirren as Maria Altman and Ryan Reynolds as her lawyer, tells the story of how the Austrian Nazis stole the art work and wealth of their Jewish neighbors and refused to return them after World War II. It is estimated that 100,000 works of art still have not been returned to their original owners.

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April 09 2015 By dvirtue THE DIFFICULTY OF DOUBT: John 20:24-29, James 1:2-8

Years later, at age 51, he wrote of his teenage experience: 'All of a sudden I experience the sensation people talk about who have been through an earthquake, when the ground shakes under their feet, as do the walls around them, the ceilings over their heads, the furniture beneath their hands, all of nature before their eyes. I was seized by the blackest melancholy, then by an extreme disgust with life.'

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April 01 2015 By dvirtue The Confident Assurance of Resurrection: 2 Corinthians 4:14-5:5

We are reminded today that God who created us, gave us mortal life, and who graciously gives life from the dead, as he did Jesus, will give us eternal life with Jesus and bring us into his presence. We are not talking about human immortality, of survival for all beyond the grave. But that, for those who have Christ's life in them, who are animated, led and sanctified by the Holy Spirit, when the earthly body dies, they will be given a new resurrection body in heaven.

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March 27 2015 By dvirtue THE CROWN OF THORNS: Palm/Passion Sunday

John Donne, celebrated English poet ("No Man is an island") and Dean of St. Paul's Cathedral, London (1573-1631), preached at the death of King James I in 1625.
His text was from Song of Songs 3:11 --
"Come out, you daughters of Zion, and look at King Solomon wearing the crown, the crown with which his mother crowned him on the day of his wedding, the day his heart rejoiced."

In his homily John Donne used the image of the crown of thorns.

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March 21 2015 By dvirtue Late Lines at Lent

I scarcely know my heart's disease
And how I live, my will to please.
I breach your will with complacent ease.

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