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February 17 2010 By virtueonline LENTEN REFLECTION - Ian Hunter

In fact, reminders that we are dust, that life is fleeting and death inevitable, are as common to poets as to priests; the sentiment is not especially a religious one. So the Persian astronomer-poet, Omar Khayyam - (or, perhaps, his English "translator" Edward Fitzgerald) - wrote:

"Ah, make the most of what we yet may spend,
Before we too into dust descend;
Dust into dust, and under dust, to lie,
Sans wine, sans song, sans singer, and - sans End."

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February 13 2010 By virtueonline THE SECRET OF LEADERSHIP

Why do we need such leadership? When we have no direction in our lives, when our lives lack meaning and purpose, when they are aimless, when we don't know what we are here for, we become harassed and helpless, at the mercy of circumstances, and the latest news cycle. Christ came to provide direction, to rescue those straying from the path, and to seek out the lost.

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February 05 2010 By virtueonline THE SECRET OF ACCESS - Ted Schroder

To add to his assertions, he characterized those who offered another entry to God as criminals. "I tell you the truth, the man who does not enter the sheep pen by the gate, but climbs in by some other way, is a thief and a robber." (John 10:1) The inference is that those who seek to influence the children of God toward another faith, or way of thinking, are like sheep-stealers who kill and destroy the fullness of life that he guarantees.

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January 16 2010 By virtueonline THE WAY OF THE SEVENFOLD SECRET

What the Sufis long for is what all seekers after grace and truth long for. Over the next eight weeks I will look at each of these sayings of Jesus, and Lilias Trotter's commentary on the secrets of divine truth and spiritual power.

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January 02 2010 By virtueonline MORE THAN CONQUERORS

It matters not how strait the gate,

How charged with punishments the scroll,

I am the master of my fate:

I am the captain of my soul."

St. Paul also maintained an unconquerable soul in prison. How could he survive and flourish when he faced suffering and execution? What could sustain his spirits, and affirm his value? At moments of loneliness in the cell, what could he look forward to?

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December 28 2009 By virtueonline COURAGE, CONFIDENCE AND COMMITMENT

The older we get, the more advice we hear on how we ought to conduct our lives. Friends and family often tell us things which we never read in Scripture. Three common ones are:

1. Take it easy - don't exert yourself.
2. Be very careful - don't risk.
3. Hold on to what you've got - things are going to get worse. That's the pessimism that dogs our steps as we get older. It causes us to be greedy and tight with what we have."

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December 22 2009 By virtueonline THE SHOWING OF GOD'S LOVE

On the jacket he writes that he appreciates the beauty of the Christmas stories and "how they have inspired musicians and poets for many centuries. It was my desire to treat these themes with reverence and respect, and despite my personal agnosticism, the sacred symbolism of the Church's art still exerts a powerful influence over me....For me it was important to draw parallels between the Christmas story and the older traditions of the winter solstice.

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December 05 2009 By virtueonline WAITING FOR THE DAY OF THE LORD

'We always need a boogey-man, we always need the end of the world,' said Terry Gilliam, whose films include 1995's 'Twelve Monkeys,' about a world where plague has wiped out most of humanity. 'I think it's the problem of being in a Christian society. It's based on it. If you don't have the end of the world, you don't get heaven and eternity.'"

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November 25 2009 By virtueonline WAITING

To speak; the air a staircase

For silence; the sun's light

Ringing me, as though I acted

A great role, And the audiences

Still; all that close throng

Of spirits waiting, as I,

For the message.

Prompt me, God;

But not yet. When I speak,

Though it be you who speak

Through me, something is lost.

The meaning is in the waiting.

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November 11 2009 By virtueonline ACCOUNTABILITY

Crime is explained, not in terms of individual responsibility, but genetic or environmental causes. So sin is not my fault. Nobody can ever be said to be guilty, because nobody has a free choice to do anything. Ultimately I am the victim of my own genetic make-up.

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