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January 16 2015 By dvirtue The Parable of the Neighbor: Luke 10:25-37

The second set of people are represented by the priest and the Levite who see the victim and pass by on the other side of the road. They are religious people. They are church people. They are leaders in their congregations. They are teachers and academics and journalists, people of influence in society. Can we say that they are like us? They do not want to stop and help this victim for fear of getting involved. They would rather avert their eyes from the sight of this wreck of humanity.

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January 08 2015 By dvirtue Maximizing Your Future Benefits

My task is to recommend other ways of maximizing your future benefits. I want you to be able to claim your eternal benefits in all their great fullness. I want you to be able to "take hold of the life that is truly life" -- "eternal life". I want you to "lay up treasure for yourself as a firm foundation for the coming age." I want you to invest in that which will last no matter what happens in this life.

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December 31 2014 By dvirtue The Unchangeable Jesus Christ: Hebrews 13:8

We need something permanent and stable to rely upon. We need something or someone dependable as a rock on which to build our lives if we are to endure with hope. The word of the Lord gives us that unchangeable foundation. "Jesus Christ is the same, yesterday, today and forever" (Hebrews 13:8)

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December 24 2014 By dvirtue THE VULNERABILITY OF GOD

A newborn baby is helpless, completely dependent on others for the maintenance of life: food, drink, warmth, safety, love. It is that helplessness, that perfection in miniature, the tiny body, the fingers, toes, nose, ears and mouth that tugs at our heartstrings so that we are arrested, we admire, we touch and we want to protect. The baby enters our hearts, captures our attention through his littleness, like the small key that opens the great door to the mystery of human existence.

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December 17 2014 By dvirtue THE ANNUNCIATION: Luke 1:26-45

These are astounding claims that are unique to Christianity. What is the truth of them for us? No other religion makes these claims. These claims are not made about Muhammed, or about Buddha, or about Confucius, or about any of the Atavars of the Hindu pantheon of gods. One thing you cannot say about the message of Gabriel is that all religions are alike. Tim Keller makes the point that people who claim that all religions are alike are motivated by an underlying fear.

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December 11 2014 By dvirtue How to be Encouraged and have Hope: Romans 15:4

The Bible is pre-eminently God's book and must be approached spiritually if we are gain any benefit from it. We need to seek the enlightenment of the Holy Spirit who inspired the authors in order to understand its meaning. "No one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. We have not received the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we may understand what God has freely given us" (1 Cor.2:11,12).

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December 10 2014 By dvirtue Lines at Advent

Reveal your choicest secrets
That in Jesus are disclosed,
Your promises and precepts
Through which we are disposed

To earnestly yearn for you,
To seek and to discover
That you alone - alone - are True,
And of this quest the Mover.

For in all our soul's much doing
To find this sweet attachment
'Tis due to your strong wooing
That we succumb to you enchantment.

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December 04 2014 By dvirtue WAITING TO CROSS OVER: Hebrews 9:26-28

Here, too, is the place for us to build a grand suspension bridge, by which, through faith, we ourselves may cross from this side to the other of the stormy river of time....At his first advent, we adore him with gratitude, rejoicing in 'God with us', as making himself to be our near kinsman. We gather with grateful boldness around the infant in the manger, and behold our God. But in the second advent we are struck with a solemn reverence, a trembling awe.

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November 26 2014 By dvirtue KEEP WATCH -- BE READY: Matthew 24:36-44

The people to whom Jesus was talking (Matthew 24) could not have believed his warnings about the destruction of Jerusalem. He told them that it would be so sudden that, of two men working in a field, one would die and the other would be saved, of two women grinding flour, one would die and the other be saved. Many Christians who remembered these words of Jesus fled Jerusalem when the Roman armies appeared in 69 A.D. and thus saved their lives. Those who did not heed him, perished.

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November 23 2014 By dvirtue The Hardest Sermon to Prepare and Preach

In one of those classes where they try to teach seminary students how to preach, our professor said, "The hardest sermon to preach year in and year out is the Thanksgiving sermon." That stuck with me. You might imagine then how I felt when I got my senior preaching assignment. I was to preach a Thanksgiving sermon before the whole student body and faculty with the sermon followed by public faculty criticism.

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