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October 15 2005 By virtueonline THE HOUSE OF GOD, THE GATE OF HEAVEN

"Jacob left Beersheba and set out for Haran. When he reached a certain place, he stopped for the night because the sun had set." (Genesis 28:10,11) Jacob was on a journey, seeking a wife, and the blessing that God had given Abraham. He reached a 'certain place.' We have reached a certain place in our lives. We have stopped here because the day is ending. Most of us have reached a certain time in our lives, when we are of a certain age.

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October 07 2005 By virtueonline THE PROBLEM OF SUFFERING

"Not for me - not yet. Not much," I said. "But my small happiness and small unhappiness - that's all irrelevant,' I continued.

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October 01 2005 By virtueonline THE JESUS WAY - by Ted Schroder

He maintains that it is 'only when we do the Jesus truth in the Jesus way do we get the Jesus life.' We can know all about the truth of the Gospel, and we can try all we like to live as a Christian, but unless we let Jesus live through us, we are off base. This, he says, he hasn't found to be easy.

The reason it isn't easy is because there are two things absolutely basic to the Christian life that are counter to most things North American.

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September 24 2005 By virtueonline THE BASIC CONDITION FOR ANSWERED PRAYER

“I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father. You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.” (John 14:13,14)

The basic condition of answered prayer is to ask in the name of Jesus. That surely does not mean merely adding the phrase, “in Jesus’ name” to the end of our prayers. He is not encouraging the use of a magic phrase to unlock the gates of heaven. What then does that mean? Listen again:

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September 22 2005 By virtueonline DELIVER US FROM EVIL - by Ted Schroder

Some translate this phrase as "Deliver us from the Evil One," in the sense of the Devil, the personal power of evil. St. Paul reminds us that "our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms." (Ephesians 6:12) This is a recognition that behind all evil stands spiritual forces that opposed the loving purposes of God.

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September 13 2005 By virtueonline LEAD US NOT INTO TEMPTATION

Testing, trials, and temptations are therefore an integral part of the universe and the history of humanity from the time of the Garden of Eden. Life does not progress smoothly and serenely. Character is formed by the circumstances that challenge us to develop. Tests, trials and temptations are not pleasant. They involve pain, or the threat of pain. Yet they must be faced as part of life. We cannot hide from or avoid our share of suffering.

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September 05 2005 By virtueonline THE OTHER JOHN 3:16 - by Ted Schroder

How does this work? It means that, like Jesus, who made himself nothing by coming from heaven to earth, who humbled himself and became obedient to death on a cross, we in humility should consider others better than ourselves, and we should "look not only to our own interests, but also to the interests of others." (Philippians 2:4) This goes against our unredeemed nature. There exists in us the desire to feel better than others, and to pursue our own goals.

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August 28 2005 By virtueonline AS WE FORGIVE OTHERS - by Ted Schroder

Jesus tells the story of a palace servant who was forgiven a large debt. His king forgave him a huge debt, a sum that would take fifteen years to pay off in labor. After he was forgiven this enormous debt, the servant met a man who owed him a small debt that could be worked off in a day. The king's servant demanded immediate payment. When the king heard, he summoned the servant, took back his forgiveness, and slapped him into prison to work off his original debt.

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August 20 2005 By virtueonline FORGIVE US OUR SINS - by Ted Schroder

One of the major preoccupations with TV shows like Law and Order, is to establish the psychological state of the accused, and to determine whether he or she is mentally competent to stand trial, or whether there are mitigating circumstances which would diminish her responsibility. In a sense we conduct such a proceeding in our own minds when we feel accused by others, or ourselves, of breaches in our behavior or attitude.

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August 13 2005 By virtueonline GIVE US THIS DAY OUR DAILY BREAD

Jesus teaches us to ask for the simple basic things of life - food, forgiveness, guidance, deliverance from evil. It expresses our dependence. We depend upon God our creator for each breath and for each day's food. But such a request offends our pride, our longing for self-sufficiency, our hubris. Swinburne expressed this attitude when he wrote: "Glory to Man in the highest, for Man is the Master of things."

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