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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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August 11 2005 By virtueonline WHY IS PRAYER NECESSARY? - by Ted Schroder

By praying we tap into the power and willingness of God. Why is prayer necessary, because God will not act until we ask. He chooses to wait, until we are willing to seek his help. Therefore we will not receive what we are meant to have until we learn to ask for it. Failure to pray specifically for our needs results in missed opportunities. It condemns us to live below God's expectations for us.

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July 15 2005 By virtueonline RENEWING YOUR LOVE - by Ted Schroder

In the eyes of their contemporaries they must have seemed a strange, little sect, that was out of step with their popular, pagan culture. I wonder how discouraged at times, they felt, when others regarded them as odd. The message of Jesus to them was meant to be encouraging. His message is also timeless. It applies to every generation, including us. Jesus still gives us vision of encouragement for our day if we seek it.

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July 10 2005 By virtueonline "FEAR NOT; I AM WITH YOU" - by Johann Christoph Arnold

As on 9/11, President Bush went on television within hours to reassure citizens of the "free world" that "we shall not be intimidated by the terrorists, and we will spread an ideology of freedom and compassion."

British Prime Minister Tony Blair did the same this morning, vowing to defend "our values and our way of life" and promising that terrorists shall "never succeed in destroying what we hold dear in this country and in other civilized nations."

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It's not just a birthright, it's something that others struggled for, strived for, often suffered for, often were defeated for and died for, for us, for the next generation.... We've got to teach history and nurture history and encourage history because it's an antidote to the hubris of the present - the idea that everything we have and everything we do and everything we think is the ultimate, the best. ...

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June 27 2005 By virtueonline INVISIBLE CONFLICT REVEALED - by Ted Schroder

So you're always at odds with yourself. I do care about the state of my soul. But there this great movie playing down the street or there's a football game I want to watch. And we are constantly bombarded with this seduction of the senses. (p.128) Madonna has taken up a study of Kabbalah in order to develop a spiritual life. She sees the need to change her life from being a rebel and an exhibitionist. She recognizes that she wasn't thinking responsibly when she became a mother.

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