Monthly Archives: February 2017

Christ – faith in perseveres

A.J. Liebling wrote The Road Back To Paris, an account of the war in North Africa.  He noted that an American pilot in a P-38 flew too low while strafing a line of German trucks.  His right wing glanced off a telephone pole.  A one-engine plane would have crashed, killing him.  The blow instead turned the P-38 upside down, the pilot gripping the stick so hard it turned his hand black and blue.  Up and over he steadied the plane and flew back to base.  P. 244

The Faith Jesus established on Pentecost, and the faith Jesus inspires in his disciples, is sturdy like that P-38.  It can be blown over and blown down; beaten flat by circumstances and entirely deflated.  Only to bellows itself into swelling resurgence.  Satan can knock on the Faith, but never topple it.  He can knock on the faithful and knock us down…but never out.  The Christian Faith has never been leveled in conflict.  Christians in faith never hear the ref count 10.

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

 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)

 

Christ – always better as time passes

King Saul proved best in his first crisis, and never again II Samuel 11:1-15.  General Ben Butler proved best in his first leadership role in the Civil War, and never again.  Riots in Baltimore isolated Washington, D.C. from the north until the last of April 1861.  Butler led two regiments from the depot down Pennsylvania Avenue to the White House.  He never again equaled that high level of leadership.  In fact, whatever he did afterward he proved all politician and no General.  Battles of the Civil War, p. 33

Christians may be like Saul and Butler in their discipleship, but only because they don’t gradually mature in faith.  For Jesus is ALWAYS at his best, whenever he appears, wherever he leads, whatever the task or crisis.  What he did at the wedding in Cana offered the best wine people had ever sipped to that time, but Jesus had barely begun to reap his vineyard.  Wherever we see him in ministry he amazes, first to last, always better, stronger and more daring.  Until, while he seemed only a Lamb of God at the Cross, he proved the Lion of Judah by devouring in his resurrection the death that seemed to devour him.  And that’s but an introduction to his Return in Majesty.  After that…well…eye hasn’t seen or ear heard….

The Master’s All-Sufficient resources assure our increasing success as Christians.  However we develop our discipleship, we can thank Jesus he has empowered us to do more, be more, succeed more, achieve more.  Wherever we stop our Christian growth is our decision, but it’s never determined by Christ’s limitations.  He always has more of everything we need to be his conquering disciples.

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

 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)

 

 

 

Preaching – the innate irresistible influence of Gospel.

With the new generation of Hebrews across the Jordan casting fearful eyes at the walled cities and armed populations beyond, God reassured them.  He offered two promises when they asked how they could ever drive those enemies out.  First, remembrance of his miracles in Egypt.  Thus, his previous action guaranteed his help in the present crisis.  (A fact, by the way, that ancient Israel NEVER learned.)  Second, he would send a HORNET/WASP ahead of Israel’s armies to drive them into submission Deuteronomy 7:17-21.

While scholars haven’t agreed on a clear definition of the figure, it may refer to a powerful and irresistible force.  It could refer to God’s ANGEL, Jesus in pre-Incarnate form.  In fact, the appearance of God’s Commander-in-Chief of the Army in Joshua 5:14—A.K.A. Jesus in pre-Incarnate state—may be the best explanation of Deuteronomy 7:20.

This blog, however, draws a contrast between Israel’s experience entering Canaan and Christianity’s when invading the Jewish and Roman world.  God sent his people into every moral cesspool of the ancient world—they would feel right at home in depraved America—without removing any Satanic stronghold.  He left all of his structures intact to prove the much more powerful Jesus Christ encountering his Enemy.  That’s why Christians today need courage, not fear; confidence, not terror; and hope, not despair as we face an increasingly strident, vocal, intimidating humanism.  We need never fear IF we depend on the Holy Spirit leading, protecting, defending us as we preach Christ’s life in the Gospels and his didache through the apostles.  Our very faithfulness to him eliminates fear of Satan and his hellions in the media, the entertainment industry and politicians who run scared before any interest group demanding its rights but refusing its responsibilities.

Christians, preach the Gospel.  The Holy Spirit will never fail to conquer sinners if we do.  We will never have more influence in society than by preaching the Gospel as written, however unpopular the message.  Why would we seek any other means of influencing individuals in a corporately-depraved culture?

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

 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)

 

 

Preaching – to be clearly Christ-inspired

Lyndon Johnson mastered the politician’s art of speaking from both sides of his mouth when talking with people of polar-opposite agendas.  He developed that duplicity at least from his earliest legislative days.  He proved his skill as Senate Majority Leader during Civil Rights discussions in the late 1950’s and early 1960’s.

He assured northern liberals that significant success would be made for black rights.  He then reverted to his southern drawl when assuring southern conservatives that any bill passed would have a minimum impact on “life back home.”  Smithsonian Magazine, June 2002, p. 100-101

LBJ could never be a Bible preacher, to whom absolutes are as bedrock as compromise to a politician.  We repeat what Jesus said as absolute truth, however listeners respond; we don’t twist into pretzel-shapes facts that leave everyone agreeing with something said.  We head in a straight line between the Bible and the listener, so they clearly understand what Jesus clearly said; we don’t evade and temporize, overlook or mis-direct statements so no one knows what is really being said.

Thank God he sent Jesus as a preacher, not a politician.  Thank God he warned all his preachers to remain true to HIS word, not to the latest issue to be ridden or dismounted.  And thank God he warned preachers to “tell it like it is”, not how listeners would “like it to be.”  No preacher ever wants to give an account to God why he failed to be true to Jesus.  For no explanation or justification will ever exempt him from denunciation.

 

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

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)

Expectations – Christians, raise your, Part II

Our thinking versus Christ’s didache proves we need to raise our expectations.

Consider.  Jesus wants to acquaint us with himself through his word; and to encourage our discipleship by exposing us to the great men and women of the Bible, Hebrews 11 a summary; to teach us the great songs of Zion, ancient hymns or substantial contemporary songs.  Yet, we content ourselves with periodic worship and study experiences, shunning deeper-life discipleship for church membership.  We’re too interested listening to secular comedians rouse laughter with vulgar language, graphic sexual descriptions or equally offensive innuendoes.  Instead of a Gospel message, we prefer listening to hucksters of products for skin care, bust enlargement and slender bodies.  Christians, raise your expectations.

Consider.  Jesus wants to reveal his Living Word so the Holy Spirit inside our Dying Bodies can prepare them to be changed into eternal glory.  While we satisfy ourselves with eating right, exercising and ingesting every possible cream and vitamin to keep our body fit for a few years.  Christians, raise your expectations.

Consider.  Jesus wants to put us into the fire to prove he clothes us with asbestos, and through the flood to prove he covers us with a life preserver.  While we want fire only to warm us and water only to take a refreshing plunge.  Christians, raise your expectations.

Consider.  Jesus considered us blessed when we’re persecuted falsely as his disciples.  While we want our faith and the Christian Faith to be accepted, appreciated and fêted.  Christians, raise your expectations.

Consider.  Jesus wants us to live in Self-Denial, so we can be full of him.  We instead opt for self-fulfillment, so we can be full of EGO.  Christians, raise your expectations.     – Fini –

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

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)

Expectations – Christians, raise your, Part I

Our behavior versus Christ’s demands proves we need to raise our expectations.

Consider.  We want answers to specific requests, and base our obedience on how clearly we understand God’s will.  While Jesus demands we live by faith, trusting him, accepting without complaint unanswered prayer and without explanation unresolved questions.  Christians, raise your expectations.

Consider.  We declare we can’t pray for someone we don’t like.  While Jesus demands we pray for them as the means to like them more and dislike them less.  Christians, raise your expectations.

Consider.  We lurk in ambush to take revenge when offended.  While Jesus dictates forgiveness that not only won’t seek revenge but takes steps to benefit the offender.  Christians, raise your expectations.

Consider.  Jesus wants to liberate us from all our sin by generously forgiving everyone.  While we have grown so comfortable with our old nature we consider Christ’s forgiveness too harsh a remedy for it.  Christians, raise your expectations.

Consider.  Jesus demands that we advance in righteousness from our baptismal experience, consistently leaving our old life ever-farther removed in our rear-view mirror.  While we find lingering in our old nature easier and less demanding, it leaves our discipleship distressingly closer to our old life than Christ’s new.  Christians, raise your expectations.

And consider.  Jesus aims to present us pure, spotless and declared righteous before God Almighty.  While we satisfy ourselves with daily tasks that draw us FROM God’s life to an earthly existence that ends at death.  Christians, raise your expectations.  – End Part I –

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

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)

Judgment – a time of fear

It happened at this year’s Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show in New York City.  Holding her dog’s head erect, the little girl stood before the judge.  While the judge probed the dog’s frame—a layman’s opinion—the girl stared at her, attentive for some response.

The girl’s eyes, those all-important causeways from sight to Brain-Central, filled with fear, expectation and bewilderment.  Hopeful that the judge would be pleased; terrified she would discover something unacceptable; petulant against any possibility her pet could be less than perfect.  San Diego U-T, 2/14/17

Think of that little girl as an example of us when humanity gathers before the Great White Throne, those on the King’s right racing there to see and hear; those on his left driven there without their permission.  Then Jesus orders “the books” opened to angels.  Then each mortal is called by name and commanded “front and center,” every other looking on!  Then angels carefully and loudly read each person’s record.  Then, with each name called, search is made in the Book of Life for that person’s name.

Judgement Day will find every eye from every person drawn to and riveted on THE JUDGE.  And each person’s eyes will express whatever’s in his SOUL.  Let us be aware, however, a fluttering disquiet will hover over even the saved, tempered by hope.  But a quaking tremble will shake the unsaved, deepened by despair.  And no one, not even the saved, casual, carefree, certain, frivolous, self-confident.  Our humanity cannot stand there without some turbulence when facing Almighty God in his holiness and glory.

 

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

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)

Faith – in Christ always active and useful, Part V

The story so far.  A multi-millionaire discovered Italian motorcycles as irresistible collectables.  He accumulated and rode them until failing health prevented further use.  He then divested himself of the collection.  Each previous blog included an appropriate spiritual point.

Today’s spiritual point:  investing our life in God’s word has positive, permanent results.  It never stops paying dividends, now or eternally.  When every earthly investment vanishes in the Great Incineration, faith in God’s will remain intact…AND… increase in value.

By their very nature, the Godhead of Father, Son and Holy Spirit can never be fully understood.  Yet, the knowledge gained every time we read the Bible expands our apprehension of the MORE that exists.  By his infallible skill in charging God’s word with dynamic enlightenment, the Holy Spirit opens God’s word to new dimensions we can presently acquire and explore.  Studying one fact about Jesus leads to a desire to study another and that to another and that…well, you know.

It’s a never-satisfied search for the Complete Knowledge of God in Christ, every discovery of which enriches us without exhausting them.  And God’s word, Ephesians 1:6-7, promises that eternity will be one discovery after another of what is now mystery.  Each unlocking other vaults of knowledge in which God has hidden treasures about himself.  Each continually enriching our lives with greater understanding that reveals exponentially greater mysteries to study.  With the promise that God uncovers ever-more mysteries that inspire eternal searching and discovery, leading to eternally more satisfying knowledge and wisdom of God.  Who would want to miss such pleasure?     – Fini –

 

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

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)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Faith – in Christ always remains active and useful, Part IV

Parts I – III revealed a multi-millionaire’s love of Italian motorcycles.  He collected all he could until he filled a two-story barn with $5 million worth of the cycles.  When his health didn’t equal his wealth; when his body couldn’t compete with his acquisitiveness; and when his desire to ride couldn’t guarantee his safety on the roads, he had to sacrifice ownership.  If he couldn’t use them, he no longer wanted them.

Spiritual point.  So long as we’re sentient—able to be AWARE, to DISTINGUISH—faith in Christ remains essential, availing and invaluable to us.  Given awareness, we never have to fear surrendering the Holy Spirit-produced fruit that enriches life.  Whatever our physical condition, we can delight in the presence of Jesus Christ.  He’s always “useable”, a force maintaining hope when physical breakdown foretells despair.  The graces and mercies Jesus provides grow in us even as every part of our body diminishes.  Given our sentience, we continue to enjoy all that failing health otherwise removes from daily life.

And, great blessing of God, should our sentience fail, our previous experience with Jesus remains our possession, even if we aren’t aware.  Nothing separates the Savior from his Saved!  – End Part IV –

 

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

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)

Faith – in Christ always remains active and useful, Part III

A correction.  This blog came from a story in the San Diego Union-Tribune about a living man’s experiences, not his obituary.  I regret the error.

While still physically active, the owner of the motorcycle collection gave tours to visitors from home and abroad. Spiritual Point.  God has a clear purpose for each Christian.  He insists that we “Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us” I Peter 2:12.

Point of fact.  We no less than first century Christians live among pagans/heathens.  Until Christians understand that we won’t feel compelled to witness to unsaved people. So long as we convince ourselves that moral people are equal to forgiven people, we won’t see the need to witness to those who content themselves with being moral.  Our lives need to be different in spiritual quality from the morality so welcomed because it costs people nothing they can’t pay.  So dynamic with spiritual grace that the lost moral person will ask what makes us different.  That will be our opportunity.

The man wasn’t concerned with financial profit when selling his motorcycles.  He had only one hope:  that “they”, his “inanimate” objects, would find “good homes.”  As if they were living things, not machines.  And if to him they had such quality, it’s a mistake every animal owner makes who considers them equal to us!

Spiritual Point.  Being a “good home” to the Gospel is absolutely necessary, or the Holy Spirit will not make his home in our mind and heart.  Period.  As Paul stressed in II Timothy 2:20-21, any large home had numerous vessels and articles of unequal value.  Making a Biblical application, Paul said if Christians cleansed themselves by turning from unworthy, ignoble purposes, the Holy Spirit would be pleased to fill us with Christ-honoring activities.

–End Part III-

 

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

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)