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November 02 2006 By virtueonline IT'S THAT TIME AGAIN! - STEWARDSHIP SEASON

Scripture is pretty clear about the tithe being 10%. Naturally, that is where our sophistry begins. We recall that back in Moses' day there was no government, no taxes, no welfare to fund. So, 10% before or after taxes? Of course, if all churchgoers actually gave 10% to churches, then local church communities could actually fund many government services, including welfare for the needy.

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October 25 2006 By virtueonline ON THE SILENCE OR HIDDENNESS OF GOD

Basically, the idea that God does hide himself speaks of the freedom of God. He is free to make himself fully present if his people truly seek him: "Seek ye the Lord, while he may be found." Yet he retains the freedom to hide himself, if it means he would have to come to his people in vengeance and with judgement.

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October 18 2006 By virtueonline THE LOSS OF FRIENDS - GOD'S LESSON OF DETACHMENT

Perhaps we need to see here the discipline of God's providence. I refer to God's lesson of detachment. One of the great feasts of the Jews was the Feast of Tabernacles. It marked the completion of the harvest of fruit, oil, and wine. Historically, it commemorated the wanderings in the wilderness. For one week, Jews were required to leave their houses and to dwell in booths made from the boughs of trees. What it taught was detachment from possessions and their earthly homes.

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October 10 2006 By virtueonline SOME THOUGHTS ON PRAYER - by Peter Cook

What more perfect prayer of repentance is there than that. "Almighty God, unto whom all hearts are open, all desires known, and from whom no secrets are hid: cleanse the thoughts of our hearts by the inspiration of thy Holy Spirit, that we may perfectly love thee, and worthily magnify thy holy Name; through Jesus Christ our Lord." We can learn two things from this prayer.

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October 04 2006 By virtueonline ON NOT FORGETTING THE ANGELS - by Peter Cook

But, back to the angels. What did their availability signify in the garden that night? Just as Jesus battled in prayer and prepared himself for the ordeal of Good Friday, so the availability of angels signifies the cosmic battle to come. They were God's support troops preparing to surround Jesus on the cross, where the battle was not against flesh and blood, but against the principalities, against the powers, against the spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.

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As we get older I can understand how many of us get to the point where we just don't want to have to go through certain health things again. Allow such thoughts to linger and our zest for life would soon evaporate. The other year my wife's mother had some life threatening health issues. And she's only 86! She finally resolved the dread of going though all that health stuff again with the simple realization that she needed to just live each day as a God's gift.

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September 19 2006 By virtueonline EXPRESSING GRATITUDE FOR GOD'S HELP

If we don't then there is a danger we just forget that God did something good and start taking it for granted. Of course, God may continue to help "fix" things, but if we never make a conscious effort to thank him for each thing, we start to "expect" some sort of (God?) escape and start becoming fearful lest our good "fortune" should cease.

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August 28 2006 By virtueonline LOVE IS PATIENT

Since love is the nature of God, love comes from God. We know what love is from who God is and what he does. Therefore our understanding of patience is to be derived from our understanding of the patience of God.

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August 19 2006 By virtueonline LOVELESS SACRIFICE

"Died he for me, who caused his pain?

For me, who him to death pursued?

Amazing love! how can it be

That Thou, my God shouldst die for me." (Charles Wesley)

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To "fathom all mysteries and all knowledge" is to have a perfect understanding of what is going to happen to the church in the last days. It is to claim being privy to information not generally known, and the ability to make that knowledge available.

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