Monthly Archives: May 2016

Bible – God’s true Covenants

A 400 year old painting called Judith Beheading Holofernes, found in a Southern France attic, may be the product of Italian artist Caravaggio.  The French art expert involved claims its value at $135 million American.  Previous to its discovery it had been in the property for 150 years.  San Diego U-T, 4/13/16

Is it or is it not a verified Caravaggio?  Time will tell, but it looks likely now.  The art world has convulsions of delight at such discoveries.

While America is presently in a “The Gospels aren’t true records of Jesus” phase—the Jesus Seminar has been Satan’s handiworkers—God’s word stands firm.  The Covenants of Moses and Jesus—Jesus succeeding Moses—are God’s true, only, full and final word to humanity.  Every other religious covenant, by whomever offered, with whomever established, is flawed, incomplete or false to one degree or another.

Human opinion differs as time passes.  God’s fact remains the same.  He never took a vote among the angels to see what he should say to humanity.  Jesus never weighed his claims by what supporters accepted or critics denied.  The apostles never began the bad habit of asking their generation what they wanted to hear.  Only our church-growth generation decided to poll the public before determining our preaching.

God has given freedom of choice to all mortals.  But don’t mistake freedom of choice with the delusion of authority.  Our opinions will never impress God.  If not surrendered, they will damn us to Hell.

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Truth – the hard

You may have read that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has added a hard-line politician to his Cabinet.  While it strengthened his position in Israel, the news story said it antagonized “the international community” and the Israeli military.  San Diego U-T, 5/26/16

I’ll comment on the “international community” and let the Prime Minister and his Generals haggle over their relationship.  When, since God in 1948 brought international agreement to grant the Jews a homeland, has Israel had “international support”?

Since that “happy time”, when even Soviet Russia agreed, Israel has stood alone in the Middle East against a congeries of Moslem states seeking her destruction.  Until the Obama administration’s de facto withdrawal from supporting Israel, every American Administration has been her staunch ally.

To this day and time, European opposition to Israel remains fixed.  Shamefully, American churches, most every liberal group, and not a few conservative groups, are hostile to Israel.

The point is, Israel knows it stands alone against world opinion.  In its search for safet, the Israelis have given up seeking recognition and the right to exist from anyone.  It knows it faces a Moslem world dedicated to eliminating it and can’t count on even America in a crisis.  Israel doesn’t know God is in control and will protect his ancient people till they have fulfilled his ultimate purpose for them Romans 11:11-32.

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Fortunate – being . better than being lucky

A New York man won a million dollars in 2012 scratching off numbers.  In 2016 he defied the odds and again won a million dollar jackpot.  However, he didn’t consider himself lucky.  Rather, the money won in 2012 largely went to pay bills accrued when his wife contracted cancer.  (Did he have no insurance?)  Since she died in 2014, he felt the new jackpot could be her way of “sending help” for the family.  San Diego U-T, 5/12/16

Talk about someone reaching back from the grave!  Let’s see:  his wife couldn’t defy death’s arrival, but she could overcome death’s finality by granting financial help to survivors.  That is hope in desperation!

Others have won at Lottery more than once, and to some degree of wealth.  And it’s Luck any time.  Heck, it’s Luck to win once.

It’s better to be fortunate than lucky.  Any Christian is fortunate:  sins forgiven, God’s Grace alive in him, the Holy Spirit guiding him, the Bible open for investigation, Bible values the basis of life’s decisions, et al.  Every one of which relates to God’s planned, directed, completed work in history through Jesus Christ.  Nothing of which relates to Luck.

You have to play the Lottery to be lucky enough to win.  If you play, no matter how faithfully, you likely won’t win.  The basis of the Lottery is that a very few win, and even fewer big, but nearly everyone else playing doesn’t at all.  You have to accept Jesus to be fortunate enough to have your sins forgiven and his Grace filling your life.  However, and thank God for his largesse, everyone who accepts Jesus is equally fortunate.  Each is loved as if he’s the only one and all are loved equally.

Check out my E-books and website at:  www.smashwords.com/profile/view/virgh; www.uglydogpro.com

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Danger – need to know the real

General Alfred Pleasanton, chief of General Meade’s cavalry, talked with him about Stuart’s depredations before Gettysburg.  Meade thought the safety of Pennsylvania communities and the government in Washington demanded that he run Stuart to ground.  Both of which were true.  Various levels of panic stressed northern cities, especially Washington, D.C.

Pleasanton, however, better understood military strategy and priorities.   General Lee’s army, not Stuart’s cavalry, posed the lethal Confederate danger.  Indeed, Stuart’s decision to ride around the Union Army had removed him from his essential role as Lee’s “eyes,” the role he had so brilliantly filled prior to Gettysburg.  In fact, Stuart had unwittingly become Meade’s ally.  And, as a maxim of war taught, you never interfered with an enemy when he made a “false move.”  Witness to Gettysburg, 111-112.

Pleasanton’s insight offers a solid spiritual insight.  What is America’s real enemy and danger?  Is it an unstable economy; the very real threat of Moslem terrorism within the country from the fifth column already here, due to stupid immigration policies; or the flood of illegal immigrants from south of the border, with the willing complicity of Federal foolishness?

No.  They are dangers, to be sure, but they’re really stalking horses, the apparent dangers masking the real dangerFor America’s fatal danger remains our rejection of God in Christ.  With the assistance of weak, harmless, relational preaching over the past 40 years, atheistic humanism and materialism have gutted our soul, leaving an empty shell.  And…this uglywriter believes that no revival will come until the Great Trouble falls.  In that humiliation America may have a spiritual renewal of repentance and restoration to God’s favor.

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Endeavor – every human . soiled

Maybe you read the account in another paper; I read it in the San Diego U-T, May 23, 2016.  It seems that the Flower Industry, which specializes in beautiful plants, pleasant fragrances and colorful blossoms has in its unseemly underside greed, ambition, intrigue, theft, competition.

The particular litigation involved a German grower who developed a gorgeous flower and bargained with Home Depot to market it.  Then, Jacob-like, a rival grower by stealth, imitation, treachery and deceit undertook to supplant it.

The nature of all beauty in a fallen world!  We can’t miss the grace nor can we eliminate the human gracelessness often accompanying it.  Of course big money from selling in big stores—Home Depot, Lowe’s and Wal-Mart—lurks in the litigation over flowers.  But how often even God’s work is blighted by human stubbornness, nearsightedness, tradition or innovation.  And it’s the most unsordid of all activities in humanity.  How often does the human ego intrude on God’s selfless love and Christ’s selfless sacrifice?

May God soon bring his Son’s Return from Heaven.  Then the perfect world of perfect grandeur will have only perfected people as citizens.

Check out my E-books and website at:  www.smashwords.com/profile/view/virgh; www.uglydogpro.com

New paperback books at:  www.createspace.com/5554486; www.createspace.com/5802530; and www.createspace.com/5700328.

 

Treasure – last but re-found

Van Gogh painted Sunset at Montmajour in 1888, dating it July 4.  He wrote a letter to his brother Theo describing the geography that inspired the work.

French art dealer Maurice Fabre purchased it in 1901.  While no record exists of its re-sale, family members of industrialist Christian Mustad said he bought it in 1908.  The French ambassador to Sweden told him it was a fake.  Mustad stored it in his attic.  There it remained for 60 plus years.  On Mustad’s death, the painting, still thought a fake or the work of another artist, was sold to a collector.  In 1991 the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam labeled it a true Van Gogh original.  The same museum which called it a fake has now concluded it was authentic.

A lot of people say that the portrait of Jesus Christ in the Gospels is fake…the result of over-ambitious disciples intent on creating a favorable impression of a failed teacher.  However, as my book Their Own Best Defense repeatedly proves, the Jesus of the Four Gospels is vigorously, accurately and blazingly authentic.  Buy a copy and see for yourself.  Your money back if not satisfied.

Check out my E-books and website at:  www.smashwords.com/profile/view/virgh; www.uglydogpro.com

New paperback books at:  www.createspace.com/5554486; www.createspace.com/5802530; and www.createspace.com/5700328.

 

Treasure – always seek . you don’t want to ever lose, sell, discard, etc.

Few Olympic fans will forget Al Michaels shouting, “Do you believe in miracles?  Yes!” at the end of the United States defeat of the Soviet Union hockey team in the Winter Games, 1980.  Gold Medals graced the neck of those amateurs.  Now we read that Jim Craig, goaltender of the U.S. team has put his medal up for auction.  To be held June 17, it should bring between $1-2 million.  San Diego U-T, 5/18/16.

It’s a lot easier to believe that items from the Titanic were auctioned in 2012.  Artifacts as small as a hairpin to as large as a chunk of the ship’s hull went to the highest bidder.  But, after all, no one aboard the ill-fated ship is now alive.  If they were, they would be shocked to see recovered artifacts sold.  North County Times, 1/6/12.

Speaking of personal experience with VALUE:  how could anyone having his sins forgiven by Jesus Christ ever seek another religious leader or religious body?  It happens, to be sure, as Hebrews 6:4-6 teaches.  But how to explain that those once enlightened by Christ’s brilliance could ever turn to a lesser light just because it offers an apparent easier way to God?  God made the way to him as inexpensive as possible—and THAT cost Jesus his life.  That being true, no way other than his forgiveness of our sins will ever qualify us to enter God’s August, Fearsome Presence.  The shine of the Gold Medal to Jim Craig faded since 1980.  Never let your faith in Jesus Christ fade.  Never.  Let it grow, expand and monopolize your whole life.  But never give it away or diminish its value!  He’s the only hope for our Gospel-starved world.

Check out my E-books and website at:  www.smashwords.com/profile/view/virgh; www.uglydogpro.com

New paperback books at:  www.createspace.com/5554486; www.createspace.com/5802530; and www.createspace.com/5700328.

 

 

Fear – everyone knows….except

A very humorous Marmaduke cartoon appeared in our San Diego U-T, May 11, 2016.  The unbrave Great Dane quivered behind the open front door as his mistress saw a stern-looking German police dog standing at the threshold.  Not the police officer at the door, but the “in-your-face” German dog.  The mistress could only turn to her pet with a plaintive, “Now what?” had he done?  Something finally drove the fun-loving, crisis-creating hound to fear.

It isn’t hard for most of us to reach that point.  Jenny Lind reached it when standing on the stage of the Vienna opera house.  She suddenly felt that not even her voice could fill that empty space.  Only the intercession of a singer-friend calmed her.  Enchanting Jenny Lind, 228-229

Marie Antoinette reached it when the peasants in charge of her trip to execution led her outside to…a garbage cart, not a coach.  She squatted in horror, then continued her ignominious trip.

In his story The Denunciation, Hemingway wrote about John the Greek talking with Mr. Edmunds.  John had dived into Magallanes harbor only to find a monstrous octopus.  The creature stood on its tentacles and looked the diver in the eye.  He jerked the cord to be hauled up.

He explained to those aboard the boat what he had seen and that he would never go down there again.  When someone assured John that the octopus was more afraid of him than John of it, he replied, “Impossible.”  Short Stories, p. 424.

However, a remarkable disconnect exists in human fear of God.  However much people fear Islam or its terrorists, the unstable economy and its portents, the loss of jobs or Chinese economic hegemony, or the approach of death, few fear God Almighty.  Most stand behind HOPE when God approaches, as in “Hope he’s merciful.”  Few stand behind Grace, assuring his compassion.

What will be our FEAR?  Of God in Christ, which gives  us confidence against whatever; or whatever we seek as our refuge, which invariably turns into broken, leveled walls, exposing us to a growing fear of life?

Check out my E-books and website at:  www.smashwords.com/profile/view/virgh; www.uglydogpro.com

New paperback books at:  www.createspace.com/5554486; www.createspace.com/5802530www.createspace.com/5700328.

 

Discipleship – requirements of always the same

Curses on computers!  VH

Tattoos exist everywhere in our culture as a mark of individuality; despite a Biblical injunction against tattoos, Leviticus 19:28, based on their ancient use as marks of heathen deities.  They exist more conspicuously than any group in pro athletes.  Which is disgusting since so many young people consider those people worthy of emulation.

What’s more disgusting is its acceptance as inevitable in society.  Even the U.S. Navy has eased its tattoo rule as a recruiting tool.  NO limits will exist to the “size or number” of the disfiguring ink “below the elbow and knee.”  San Diego U-T, 4/30/16.

That stupidity aside, the good news is that God has never, does not now or ever shall in the future reduce, lessen, change or negotiate the price of discipleship.  Preachers can for church membership.  They can, and do, even allow immorality in their congregations to keep numbers up.  But God won’t permit it in discipleship.

As Jesus made clear in Matthew 16:24, self-denial remained the price of discipleship.  Self-denial means, “if I want it, and Jesus doesn’t, I don’t get it.”  “If I don’t want it, and Jesus says I must have it, I acquire it.”  But neither case allows us to make the decision.  Will we be like the disciple who owned the mare and colt but let them go when learning Jesus needed them?  Just because he said so!

Check out my E-books and website at:  www.smashwords.com/profile/view/virgh; www.uglydogpro.com.

New paperback books at:  www.createspace.com/5554486; www.createspace.com/5802530; and www.createspace.com/5700328.

 

 

 

Sin – every unforgiven will be surfaced at Judgment

He had been convicted of robbery by force.  He had been sentenced to a 17 year prison term.  On August 22, 1968, he walked away from a work camp and vanished.  In May 2016 Marshals arrested him in a small Connecticut community.  San Diego U-T, 5/11/16

Cold-case crimes can be, and are regularly, revived and pursued.  Which should give pause to anyone convicted and sentenced to prison, but not showing up for jail (which happens) or escaping detention by walking away or breaking out.

But that’s nothing compared to the dread unforgiven sinners face at Judgment.  Any unforgiven sin is surfaced.  ALL unforgiven sins are recorded in permanent ink in unchanged books for unforgiven sinners.

The good news is that no sin, or multiples, will ever be recorded in the books if Jesus Christ has forgiven us.  Micah 7:19 promises, “You will again have compassion on us; you will tread our sins underfoot and hurl our iniquities into the depths of the sea.”

David in Psalm 103:11-12 promises, “For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.”

Jesus stands the difference between what we naturally are before God—sinners subject to wrath; and what we become under his blood—sinners cleansed and declared free from guilt because Jesus forgives.  Obviously unforgiven sinner:  accept Jesus Christ as your Savior!

Check out my E-books and website at:  www.smashwords.com/profile/view/virgh; www.uglydogpro.com

New paperback books at:  www.createspace.com/5554486; www.createspace.com/5802530; and www.createspace.com/5700328.