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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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March 19 2015 By dvirtue He Was Crucified, Dead, and Buried: Hebrews 9:14-28

The letter to the Hebrews sees the death of Jesus as the perfect offering to "cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death, so that we may serve the living God." He is the High Priest who is the mediator who "died as a ransom to set us free from sins committed." His blood shed enabled us to receive forgiveness.

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March 14 2015 By dvirtue TREASURE IN JARS OF CLAY: 2 Corinthians 4:7-15

But "this-world orientation" and all that it implies in hanging on to our mortal life at all costs is threatened by the reality of daily life. We are "jars of clay". The jars of clay are the human body -- our temporal existence -- which is subject to decay and vulnerable to disease and injury -- fragile. Our earthly life is short, easily shattered and destroyed in a moment of time. Clay cracks and breaks when exposed to the elements or dropped on a hard surface.

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March 12 2015 By dvirtue The Serpent's Wisdom

"Be wise as serpents, innocent as doves," Jesus told the Twelve as He sent them out to heal the sick. Jesus' use of these metaphors is puzzling. The serpent of course was the craftiest of God's creatures in the garden, but Jesus doesn't say "crafty as serpents"-- he says "wise." And the dove as symbol of the Holy Spirit and airborne messenger that the flood had passed was scarcely innocent as we might use the word.

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March 05 2015 By dvirtue Dealing with Discouragement and Despair: 2 Corinthians 4:1-6

"Since God has so generously let us in on what he is doing, we're not about to throw up our hands and walk off the job just because we run into occasional hard times." (2 Cor.4:1. The Message)

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February 27 2015 By dvirtue The Ministry of the Spirit: 2 Corinthians 3:7-18

While there is an element of truth and goodness in each aspect of the moral law, it cannot save you and you cannot save yourself on your own. It becomes a heavy burden to bear. Failure to fulfill its demands results in guilt. No amount of exhortation to do what we ought to do will change people's behavior. Appeals to our better nature fall on deaf ears. We have hard hearts and blind eyes. Self-interest trumps any altruism we might have.

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February 19 2015 By dvirtue Ash Wednesday message from Archbishop Foley Beach

The list could go on and on. You get the point: What are my sins of neglect of which I need to repent?

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February 12 2015 By dvirtue DELIVERANCE FROM DEPRESSION: 2 Corinthians 1:8-11

So how did St. Paul deal with his depression? He writes "But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God who raises the dead." (v.9) Was Paul's depression affected by self-reliance? Had he gotten too self-confident? Was he relying too much on his gifts, his contacts, his abilities, his contacts, his physical strength, his knowledge, his past successes, his reputation, and his track record? Spurgeon talks about the disease of self-trust -- the tendency to trust in ourselves.

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February 06 2015 By dvirtue THE GOD OF ALL COMFORT: 2 Corinthians 1:3-7

God is to be praised because the Father, Son and Holy Spirit comforts us in all our troubles. Paul praised God despite his troubles. He never let his troubles make him bitter. He anticipated blessing which took his thoughts off his trials.

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