Monthly Archives: November 2016

Fame – even a piano has by association

It’s thought to have been in the Parlor of Ninian Edwards’s, Springfield, Illinois home.  It’s thought to have been played when young Abraham Lincoln paid courtship calls on young Mary Todd, Elizabeth Edwards’s sister.  He liked to listen as family and visitors sang to its accompaniment.  Since Lincoln and Todd married in the home, it was likely played at the ceremony.  The piano remained in the family home until 1895.  The state of Illinois purchased it in the 1920’s.  The National Park Service later acquired and housed it.  In 2011 it donated it to the Springfield Art Association.

Though no unmistakable provenance can be assigned to the piano, the Association considered the evidence strong enough to raise $17,000 to restore the 180 year old instrument.  It made its public debut in the Association’s “Edwards Place, the city’s oldest home.”  San Diego U-T, 2/7/16

What a charming thought:  the very piano Abraham Lincoln heard play is now being played again in the very parlor where he heard it.  His fame elevated the instrument.  As a student of Lincoln; as a former long-time resident of Lincoln, Illinois, named for Abraham before he became famous, the idea of seeing the instrument and hearing it played resonates with nostalgia.  But then, I also like reading Reminisce Magazine, especially stories of childhood and young adult years spent in the Prairie town, attending all its schools, including then-Lincoln Bible Institute and Seminary.

Then I wondered:  how much more blessed and invigorating to know that our association with Jesus Christ raises us above our humanity, our mortality, our limitations, our sins, our death.  Above all that to his excellence and perfection and to the very presence of his God and Father.  Though centuries separate us from the young preacher in Galilee, from the scenes so many of his contemporaries identified with him, he’s as close to us as to his time.  As the Eternal Son of God, he reigns now through the Eternal Spirit of God, who keeps alive, current and relevant the Master’s historic life on earth:  constantly, despite the centuries between; new every morning, despite the millennia of mornings since he walked the earth.  And…amazing promise of God…the best is YET to be, when he will renew us in a body fit for the new earth in which we’ll live forever, aware of all the passing years and, after 10,000 pass, knowing we have Just Begun To Live Eternally.

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New books at:  www.createspace.com.  (Go to search, dropdown to store, Virg Hurley.) 

New Apologetics book:  Their Own Best Defense, Volume 2, Part 1

Books also at www.amazon.com  (Virgil Hurley)

 

 

 

Death – inevitable for all

In Psalm 90:3 Moses wrote that God turns “men back to dust.”  In 90:5 “You sweep men away in the sleep of death.”  In 90:9b, “we finish our years with a moan.”  Bleached bones and full graveyards previous to Moses verified his words.  Since we don’t leave corpses to rot, we fill cemeteries world-wide with dead bodies.  But no one ever defies God’s threat in Genesis 2:17, “but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die.”

How comforting to know that researchers in the Albert Einstein College of Medicine have agreed with God and Moses.  Unwittingly, of course; and conditionally, of course.  They admit that a limit exists to our life span, unless a “breakthrough” occurs to conquer the aging process.  Their studies in a “global database” prove that no such breakthrough is at hand or in prospect.  While women during childbirth live longer, and children with better pre-natal care and dietary improvements live longer, nothing keeps the aged from passing.  San Diego U-T, 10/6/16

True, a few people world-wide live beyond 100, some to the 120’s.  A few.  A miniscule number compared to the pre-Flood characteristic age of 800-900 YEARS.  And equally small compared to the Post-Flood characteristic age 200-400 YEARS.

We didn’t need a study to prove we can’t live without dying, but scientists and researchers love to create studies to prove they CAN DO research.  Meaningless, yes.  Unprofitable, yes.  But it satisfies them and think it somehow impresses us.

Right now, on this very day, cemeteries world-wide will find hearses carrying in bodies.  None will carry out living, resurrected people.  Hearts will break from those leaving the dead behind.  (In reality, they leave only the body behind. The spirit in the body has departed, leaving the living behind.)  Nevertheless, ongoing death proves the truth of God’s word and mocks the pretensions that humanity COULD, SOMEHOW, reverse it.

Better for us to read God’s Word, to believe in God’s Son, so we can defy eternal death by rising from the dust in new bodies when Jesus Christ calls everything alive in his Return.

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

New books at:  www.createspace.com.  (Go to search, dropdown to store, Virg Hurley.) 

New Apologetics book:  Their Own Best Defense, Volume 2, Part 1

Books also at www.amazon.com  (Virgil Hurley)

Thanksgiving – first giving of – in Bible, Part III

We know that Paul wrote Ephesians 3:20-21 and Philippians 4:4 while a prisoner of Rome.  That in neither book did he waste ink and scroll space to regret his circumstances and thus reduce his praise of God.

We know that the Puritans in Massachusetts Bay lost nearly half of their 102 immigrants that first winter, 1620-21.  By the time the Mayflower returned to England April, 1621, not a single one of the 50 survivors chose to sail on her.  They chose not to blame God that half of them had died over the winter, but to thank God that half of them survived to continue their holy experiment.

Something of their spirit animated English preacher Matthew Henry, whose very fruitful life straddled the 17th and 18th centuries.  After being mugged and robbed, he told why he felt grateful to God.  First, because he had never had the experience previously.  Second, while they robbed him, they didn’t kill him.  Third, though they took everything in his purse, it wasn’t much.  Fourth, he praised God that he had been the victim, not the perpetrator, of the robbery.  Adapted from Jews for Jesus Newsletter, Fall, 2016

Those weren’t the words of a hopeless idealist speaking in wishful Pollyanna tones of “everything is beautiful.”  They did express the conviction of a Christian servant who discovered positives even in a negative experience.  It’s for sure it’s easy to count our complaints and discount our consolations; but only the latter accents whatever positives exist and minimizes any negatives in a situation.

From the 222 people in Virginia and Plymouth America has grown into a world power.  All because they chose to risk everything by starting over!  Let us, for a moment, regret that when we were few, we drew near to God; but now that we’re many, we’ve drawn from God to ourselves.  For what would America be today if in 1520 and 1607 our founders had begun with the atheism, humanism, egotism and immorality so pervasive everywhere in our country?  Would we even have a country?    Fini

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New books at:  www.createspace.com.  (Go to search, dropdown to store, Virg Hurley.) 

New Apologetics book:  Their Own Best Defense, Volume 2, Part 1 (under Virgil Hurley)

Books also at www.amazon.com 

Thanksgiving – brings peace of mind

Nothing hassles the mind like bad news; or shackles the emotions inside strait-jacketed frustration like obstacles; burdens one’s relationship with God like unanswered or rejected direct, specific, persevering prayer.

And nothing, absolutely nothing keeps the mind clear, the emotions subdued and peace of mind intact like praising, thanking, lauding and glorifying God the Father, God the Son and God the Spirit, Three in One.

Praying in the spirit of thanksgiving to God automatically activates the peace of God in both mind and emotion, as Philippians 4:6-7 declares.  That peace garrisons—a military word proving the militance of the Peace God gives.  It silences the fear, the anger, the criticism unwanted circumstances provoke.  And in silencing, keeps them inert, muzzled and quiescent.

“Trust in the Lord…Delight yourself in the Lord…Commit your way to the Lord…Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him…Wait for the Lord and keep his way” Psalm 37.  “Cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous fall” Psalm 55:22.

Happy Thanksgiving!

 

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New books at:  www.createspace.com.  (Go to search, dropdown to store, Virg Hurley.) 

New Apologetics book:  Their Own Best Defense, Volume 2, Part 1

Books also at www.amazon.com 

 

 

 

 

Thanksgiving – first giving of – in Bible, Part II

Before ascending Mt. Nebo from the plains of Moab to die at God’s hand, and be buried at God’s behest in an unknown grave, Moses taught the Israelites a Song.  In it he Proclaimed God’s name; Praised God’s greatness; Declared God’s faithfulness; Extolled God’s provisions; Delighted in God’s Justice.

And in a moment of magnificent inspiration, sang the deathless words, “The eternal God is your refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms.”

II Samuel 6:1-8, 12-15.  This praise came from a mistake King David made when he brought the Ark of God to Jerusalem from the house of Abinadab, where it had resided over 40 years.

They put the Ark on a cart pulled by oxen.  The Ark began slipping off when the oxen stumbled.  In good faith, Uzzah hurriedly reached out to steady it.  God struck him dead.

That obliterated the celebration that had swept the crowd:  the songs, the shouts, the harps, the cymbals, the tambourines.  It also eliminated David’s interest in conveying the Ark into Jerusalem.  He had it carried aside to a man called Obed-Edom, a foreigner.

Three months later David heard how Obed-Edom had prospered spiritually and financially by hosting the Ark.  In those three months David had searched his mind for the reason God had executed Uzzah for doing his duty.

He found the reason in Numbers 4:15.  He, and the ordained religious leadership, had failed to follow God’s instructions for the transport of the tabernacle’s holy treasures, including the Ark.  They were to run poles through the rings built into it and carry it on their shoulders.  That symbolized the intimacy mortals are to feel for everything holy.  And the respect everything about God is to receive, including his Name.

When they followed God’s instruction the procession began again.  In a whimsical note, after taking six steps they stopped and praised God with a sacrifice.  It was in essence a shout of praise that God had accepted their repentance and renewed effort.

Leading to the following truth.  One, we must consult God’s word to escape problems in life, be assured of benefits, not penalties from God.  The problem so many people have is the conviction that they can determine how God will accept them—and expect him to abide by their opinions.  What they find is that they break themselves on God’s unbreakable word.  Like a mountain stone, torn from its place, God’s word rolls down and over all it meets, crushing it, without being diminished.  God’s word doesn’t ever flex, let alone break.  God’s word doesn’t ever crack, let alone shatter.  End Part II

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New books at:  www.createspace.com.  (Go to search, dropdown to store, Virg Hurley.) 

New Apologetics book:  Their Own Best Defense, Volume 2, Part 1

Books also at www.amazon.com 

Thanksgiving – first giving of – in Bible, Part 1

Genesis 2:18, 20c-23 – Adam on receiving Eve from God; Eve, the someone like Adam, since nothing else in creation was; Eve because, like Adam, was a human, not a creature.  Adam thanked God that he now had someone like him, seeing that God had made all the creatures male and female.  Adam had his Eve, the non-pariel male and female in all creation, the model of all sexual identify and marriage relationships.

Genesis 9:36-27 – Noah praising Jehovah, the God of Shem—because through Shem—the Semites, namely Israel, the specific Semites—God brought Jesus Christ to save the world from sin.  Because through Shem the descendants of Japeth—the white race—would rise to dominance in world affairs.

Genesis 14:18-20 – Melchizedek, the priest of God without any priestly lineage, with father or mother in his priestly line—heralding Jesus Christ’s own high priesthood from the tribe of Judah, not Levi.

God appointed Jesus Christ to a distinct, original priesthood none held before him, none but he holds now and only he will continue to hold as God’s Great Eternal High Priest endlessly representing God’s People before the Father—which the book of Hebrews recounts in numerous ways over its 13 chapters.

Exodus 14:29-15:18 – As Egyptian corpses washed the Eastern shore of the Sea of Reeds, formidable Hebrew women in leather-lunged adoration praised Jehovah as the highly exalted God Almighty who hurled Egyptian horse and rider into the Sea.  Repeating the refrain, they danced and rattled their tambourines, gloating…”Sing to the Lord, for he is highly exalted.  The horse and its rider he has hurled into the sea.”

Exodus 23:14-17 –Because Israel gathered all its men in central locations—when David conquered Jerusalem—there three times a year to:  celebrate; praise God; dance, eat and drink in remembrance of Israel’s delivery from Egypt and entrance into Canaan.     End Part 1

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 New books at:  www.createspace.com.  (Go to search, dropdown to store, Virg Hurley.) 

New Apologetics book:  Their Own Best Defense, Volume 2, Part 1

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Salvation – builds a life conquering all challenges

In 2009, a home-built kit plane crashed near Ramona, California, killing both occupants.  Some witnesses said it had been doing stunts—which the manufacturer warned the plane couldn’t do.  Others who saw the plane before, and as, it crashed said they didn’t see any “extraordinary stunts”—whatever that meant.  If the plane didn’t have the capacity for stunts, NO stunts should have been attempted.  San Diego U-T, 5/10 & 5/11/2009

Several spiritual lessons emerge from this story.  One, it’s possible to build and not crash your own plane from kits manufactured by qualified companies.  But a crash is virtually inevitable if a pilot puts a plane through maneuvers the Company said it wasn’t built to withstand.

Two, it’s impossible to live by our own morality and survive Judgment intact!  We can build any kind of life with which we’re comfortable—however moral or wicked, however wisely or foolishly constructed—the sand and rock being distinct models Christ instituted in Matthew 7:24-27.  However, building acceptability to God as we please is like building our own plane, then flying it as we desire, not as the manufacturer determined.  If we live without God in this life, get ready to crash when facing Judgment—when the books are opened and our life’s thoughts and deeds are made known.

Three, the forgiven life Jesus builds in his people can and shall withstand any challenge we presently face, whatever maneuver life puts us through, however close to failure or disaster we come.  It also withstands the tremendous stress of Judgment.  The Lord who overcame the world designed a life for us that also overcomes, even overcoming Judgment when all thoughts and behavior are revealed John 16:33, Revelation 3:21.

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New Apologetics book:  Their Own Best Defense, Volume 2, Part 1

 Books also at www.amazon.com 

Sin – baleful effects last

Early 19th century Californians raised multiple herds of cattle and made great profits selling the hides.  Richard Henry Dana’s book Two Years Before the Mast records his experiences aboard a ship gathering cattle hides for shipment to Boston.

The business produced a malodorous stench.  Coyotes, eagles, vultures and assorted other scavengers couldn’t eat enough carrion to reduce the smell produced in the killing grounds.  It could be “sensed” miles before “seen.”  After the warehouses that stored the skins had been empty for years, no one could doubt what had been stored there.  Spanish West, True-Life, 176

Sin often has that effect on life, even after the Master’s cleansing blood purifies the sinner.  More than a few rescued from Satan’s darkness by the merciful Jesus still stare from ghost-like, hardened faces.  Yes, those worn and ruined by drug abuse, alcoholism or sexual immorality reveal a past forgiven but with still-evident results.  And yes, those in designer clothes and shoes, surfeited with their possessions and success, whose egotism protrude like spears from haughty eyes.

We can sometimes tell where a person has been by the condition of their body or spirit.  Christians have this hope, however.  We can thank God that, whatever we were, and still reveal in our body, WE aren’t that person now.  And, thank God, what we ARE gives no hint of what we’re YET to be when Jesus returns and clothes US in his likeness.

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New Apologetics book:  Their Own Best Defense, Volume 2, Part 1

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Occupation – wildly inaccurate view of

In 1826 Jedidiah Smith and his trappers survived the “Starvation country” of southern Utah and the Mojave Desert of Southern California.  On November 27, they presented themselves at the San Gabriel Mission.  In surprised unbelief, the Mexicans welcomed them, fearful at what the North Americanos had achieved.  The mission personnel had no idea of fur trapping.  When making a report to his superiors in Monterey, the alcalde called Smith a “fisherman.”  Little could they know that the “fish” they trawled the streams to catch would bring unwanted thousands to live in the fertile valley of endless summer, while snow mantled high mountains.  Spanish West, Time-Life, 176

When Jesus preached in Israel for 3 ½ years, he appeared everywhere as Smith’s trappers in California.  No one knew what to make of him, given his superiority in teaching and non-pariel miraculous powers.  No one knew his exact identity for the same reasons.  Their definitions of him were as inappropriate as the Mexicans calling Smith a fisherman. “John the Baptist, Elijah, and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets,” Matthew 16:14, offered the highest marks uninformed people could ascribe.  But none adequate and all infinitely short of his reality.  Which is why Jesus followed that question to the disciples with the deeper, probing question, “But what about you?…Who do you say I am?” Matthew 16:15.  Simon and the others amazingly got it right.  They declared him “…the Christ, the Son of the living God” Matthew 16:16.

Make no mistake, and never stop short of that, Christians, when we talk with the unsaved.  Whatever they may say about Jesus—count on it being incorrect, hopelessly false, or at least inadequate—gently insist he’s nothing less than Israel’s Messiah and God’s One and Only Son.  Only by affirming that truth can we be Christ’s disciples

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New books at:  www.createspace.com.  (Go to search, dropdown to store, Virg Hurley.) 

New Apologetics book:  Their Own Best Defense, Volume 2, Part 1 

Books also at www.amazon.com 

Victory – not worth the price paid to win

After the battle at Bunker-Breeds Hill in Boston, June 17, 1775, when Patriots thought they lost, the British knew their victory cost more than the advantage gained.  Another victory like that would ruin Great Britain, they said.  The British historian George Trevelyan wrote that England had never invested so much to gain so little in return.

When subordinates brought General Lee news of the roaring Confederate success of Chancellorsville, May, 1863, they also brought news of General Jackson’s wounds that removed him from leadership.  Lee responded it was a victory too expensively achieved.  With My Face to the Enemy, 215.

To gain Antwerp, and divide Allied armies, Hitler invested 200,000 troops, and tanks and fuel he couldn’t afford to win the Battle of the Bulge, December, 1944.  While terribly expensive in American lives, the attack failed.  The Germans never reached the Meuse River, let alone Antwerp.  The effort cost Germany so much in men and materiel—100,000 men, 800 tanks and 1,000 planes—it guaranteed Russian success in the Spring offense, 1945, at little cost to them.  Encyclopedia of WWII, 91

After WWII, the Allies sold to Thailand the Bridge over the River Kwai.  Each surviving POW received $280 per man.  But its construction had taken 26,000 POW lives—and 50,000, maybe 100,000 Asian lives—who received nothing.  A & E, Kwai Railroad, 3/5/93.

Some victories cost more than they’re worth.  Some defeats are victories in disguise.  Speaking of which—the death of Jesus plunged his believers into bottomless despair while the Jewish leadership soared to ecstasy.  But that was on Friday.  When Sunday came, the story changed, for that day, for every day in history, and for forever after.  Let’s God’s people always look to Resurrection Sunday when we face circumstances seemingly destined to destroy us.

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

 New books at:  www.createspace.com.  (Go to search, dropdown to store, Virg Hurley.)   New Apologetics book:  Their Own Best Defense, Volume 2, Part 1

 Books also at www.amazon.com