Monthly Archives: March 2017

Signs – traffic . and God’s word

I stopped for a red light when returning home from a doctor’s visit one day last week.  At the right side of the street a lane marked by an arrow and, accompanied a road sign, read, “Right Turn Only.”  It suddenly occurred to me that we pay more attention to road signs than to God’s word.

 Think:  we know law enforcement is serious whatever its signs say:  STOP; No Parking; 35 MPH; YIELD; LEFT TURN lane only; NO U-Turn; Railroad Crossing; Do not Block intersection; One car each green light on metered Freeway entrances; Blue Call Box sign; Off Ramp Closed; Commuter lanes:  two or more in a vehicle, etc., etc.

 Any time a word is capitalized, highlighted, printed in bold letters, or otherwise PRONOUNCED, Pay attention, Obey its instruction, Don’t think you’re exempt from tickets or arrest if caught.  If, for example, our refusal to YIELD to incoming traffic causes an accident, we’re responsible for the consequences. 

 Yet, we take little notice whatever God commands in his word.  When we’re told, we don’t think God means it; when preachers insist, we get irritated, or worse.  Let us understand:  if God forbids an attitude, activity or behavior, that means STOP IT!  Though we convince ourselves that it doesn’t apply to us if we’re consenting adults, or mature adults; or we’re always able to control and limit the effects of whatever behavior we know is prohibited.  When God says YIELD our will to his word to be in Grace, we resist because ego encourages us to trust self to know what’s best. 

Let us to be warned:  if we enter a “right turn lane only”, but decide to go straight ahead, we may make it.  If a cop doesn’t see it.  If he does he won’t accept any excuse we offer for breaking the law.  We aren’t forced to obey the traffic signs.  We are forced to pay the price of disobedience.

 Thus, Jesus warns us to walk only the Zion-Narrows kind of road through life—the restricted Spirit-led life.  If we decide to, and we have the right to do so, we can walk whatever way we please—which will always be the road of least resistance and greater freedom—the Broad Road.  However, don’t expect at the end of that road to find LIFE.  It ain’t there.  It will never be there.  And we’ll go to Hell saying, “It should be there because I wanted it to be there.”

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)

 

 

Success – greater when opposed

The Universities of Illinois and Michigan met in a mighty face-off in Champaign, Illinois in 1924 to settle an argument over superiority in Big Ten football.  They had shared the title in 1923, not having played each other.

Michigan brought to the game a tradition of dominance in the Conference.  Illinois paraded on the field with a certain “Galloping ghost” called Harold “Red” Grange in the squad.  His reputation when a sophomore rankled Michigan.  He had only been so successful the year before, they said, because he hadn’t met Michigan tacklers.  Like warriors putting on their armor, they boasted that Grange wouldn’t pass the line of scrimmage.

The Michigan coach proved his confidence by having the kick-off directed to Grange.  Sixty-seven thousand fans watched as #77 caught the ball and raced 95 yards  for a T.D.  The second time he touched the ball he went 67 yards for a T.D.  The third time he went 55 yards for a T. D.  Before the game finished, Red Grange had gained 402 yards and scored 5—count ‘em—5 touchdowns!  With him targeted by the vaunted Michigan defense.  With a bulls-eye on his every move.  With Michigan reputations and boasts at stake.  Still Grange shredded the opposition.  American History Illustrated, November 1965, p. 30.

Jesus Christ understood being the target of the opposition, in his case the entire leadership of Israel.  See Luke 5:17, 5:30, Mark 2:18, John 5:10, 18, Mark 3:2 as a few of more examples.  Once his fame reached critical levels, Jesus always taught, healed and exorcised demons in the presence of hostile critics.

Yet he continued to teach and heal and exorcise, to take unpopular stands and criticize those who felt righteous in their own eyes.  What an example Jesus set for all his people as they find their witness challenged, unpopular and opposed, sometimes physically.

What to do, then, Christians, when we confront hostile situations, audiences and certain persecution if we speak up for Jesus?  Why, what else?  SPEAK UP for Jesus.

The Gospel has always had enough fearsome teaching to give listeners pause; to make them recoil; to stir their animosity.  At no time more than now.  Nowhere is this more obvious in reaching the unsaved.  In a day when preachers are often afraid of people, especially the unsaved, it isn’t politically correct to call people sinners; to tell the unsaved they need to have their sins forgiven.  It’s a lot less challenging to promise the lost that church can provide fellowship, friendship, better marriages, child care and a happier life.  But is it what Jesus did?  Is it what he would do now?  Would he let the lost tell him how they’ll be found?

God equips us to be spiritual Red Granges if we serve Jesus Christ as Jesus Christ served him.  Will we accept his commission as the condition of being equipped with God’s protective armor?

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)

Creation – goes on its usual way, whatever

Astronomers probing with their powerful scopes beyond Neptune think they found…a likely “dwarf planet” in the Kuiper belt.  Though it would take years before it became officially designated.  Who knows or cares?  Since astronomers have decided that Pluto failed to pass the “bigness” test, and found itself eliminated from the PLANET CLUB, why would astronomers consider a dwarf planet worth consideration?  San Diego U-T, 7/17/16

Pluto and the dwarf remind me:  as they continue being what God made them on the fourth day of creation, believers in Christ continue being committed to him whatever scholars may decide about him or discipleship.  As his own best evidence Jesus cares nothing for what cultures say of him, seminaries say of him, theologians say of him.  As the Judge of all, and subject of none, Jesus Rules.

As he always has in the Eternal Godhead.  As he did while in ministry in Israel.  As he continues now in history.  As he’ll continue doing eternally, after conquering all of God’s enemies and he turns over the kingdom to God the Father in an administration change, Jesus will continue to reign at God’s Right Hand.

Christians, put your hope nowhere but in Jesus:  what he says, believes, does.  Read the Gospels and let him speak for himself.  You won’t need the opinion of experts to describe, define or interpret him.

 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)

 

 

 

 

 

Truth – never compromise Gospel

Well, Sears, Roebuck and Co. is in deadly danger of bankruptcy.  How sad.  Years ago its store occupied the southeast corner of the square in Lincoln, Illinois.  (San Diego U-T, 3/23/17)  As a high school student I worked there as stock boy.  (By the way, J.C. Penny’s then occupied the middle of the block just northwest of the square.)  Those were the days when Lincoln and Logan County people came to town on Saturday nights.  This kid usually stole pop bottles from a neighbor’s alley to get 10-12 cents to spend.  Mary Schafer would see me and shout, “I see you Virgil.  Don’t steal my bottles.”  She would have given them had I asked.  But the adventure was worth her verbal shellacking.

Now…with bad business decisions and a changing market scene, Sears is about to vanish, with other “bricks and mortar” retailers.  Some of us want everything people order on line NOT TO FIT, so they’ll have to get in their cars and drive to the Mall and SHOP!  A sign of the times:  a picture taken in the Chicago Sears store in 1964 had (gasp) only WHITE faces.  What a change.

Whatever about all that, what started as a mail-order catalog company—the internet of its day I guess—once owned the tallest skyscraper in the world but now teeters on the edge of and will likely soon fall into the abyss of bankruptcy.   Through the years it has divested itself of trademark possessions:  Sears Tower in Chicago; also gone is the Craftsman trademark tool line, acquired in 1927, sold in 2017.  And the Allstate Insurance Co., launched in 1931.  And the Discover Card Sears introduced in 1985.  The Company divested it in the 1990’s.  The Catalog died in 1993.

Sears assured its destruction by eliminating the very products and lines that gave it public identity; that gave people reasons to trust the Company.  Whatever the reasons, and however necessary they seemed at the time, Sears lost the very reasons it was attractive, sought, prosperous.

A spiritual powerhouse point!  When we sell our soul—our identity as a mortal made in God’s image, our reason for being, what motivates, inspires and energizes us—the essence of our self—we lose what makes us objects of God’s creation and Christ’s Sacrifice.

To make peace with unconverted sinners who don’t want Jesus Christ cluttering their life, many churches mention him sparingly, and in the most innocuous context as a servant wanting to help, to advise, to encourage.  But not as the Lion of the tribe of Judah, mouth open, fangs exposed, claws extended!  Christians, be warned.  Don’t sacrifice the Deity, the Virgin Birth, the Miracles, the Message, the Sacrifice, the Resurrection, and the Second Coming of Jesus Christ to keep peace with a fallen world.

 

Sears Roebuck can perish.  The Church, NEVER.  If we commit the catastrophic sins listed above, God will find others to replace us.  Jesus Christ will be praised as revealed in the Gospels.  If we don’t want the job, God will employ those who do.  If we surrender the very Bible doctrines that characterize Christianity, God will fire us and recruit new people who’ll embrace them.  And we’ll lose our souls while God retains the distinctives that set Christ and Christianity apart from all others in history.

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)

 

 

 

Problems and Opportunities

Notwithstanding family health problems, let’s get back to blogging.  Problems can become opportunities if they’re carefully studied and analyzed.  Without that, opportunities that seem to exist may not.

Adam in Eden faced the first problem in history:  what to do with their perfect innocence shattered by Eve’s fall?  Give up?  Ask for another chance to get it right?  Plan on establishing a kingdom where wrong was right and right was wrong?  (That’s the evil haunting America today.)

No…Adam simply said, “The time has come for my wife Eve to become mother of all our progeny” Genesis 3:20.  What to do, then, when catastrophes strike:  go on with life.  While life is best understood only from the past, it can be lived only in the present and future.

Early Christians also faced and resolved problems into opportunities.  Jesus left them and vanished, carried aloft by a cloud-chariot.  What were they to do facing life alone, Jesus not visible, worse still, Jesus being permanently absent from them for the first time in 3 ½ years?  With the nudge of angels, they returned to Jerusalem Joyous.  Entered the Upper Room holding such precious memories of Jesus and Prayed through the next 10 days.  A Problem became an Opportunity.

The principle continued in Acts.  The apostles faced a problem when Ananias and Sapphira lied about their gifts to the Fellowship.  What would happen to preserve Apostolic authority?  The Holy Spirit provided Opportunity in the Problem.  While Peter spoke, the Spirit struck Ananias dead.  By the time Sapphira came before him, Peter knew her fate had been sealed Acts 5:1-11.

One more of many examples.  The widows of Judean Jews received a lion’s share of the benevolence.  The Jews of the Dispersion—Grecians—living in Jerusalem—felt overlooked.

A problem!  What would happen to the unity previously binding all the believers?

Under the Spirit’s guidance, the apostles shed their role as ministers of benevolence to remain prophets of prayer and preaching.  That brought the seven deacons to the former role.

The point is always the same.  We’ll never be without problems, either personally as Christians or corporately as a church.  With clear, objective thinking and planning, any problem will become a spiritual opportunity.  But don’t make the mistake of thinking problems naturally become opportunities without God’s guidance from his Word through the Holy Spirit’s illumination and energizing presence.

Think.  Plan.  Act.  Trust God to turn any problem into Opportunity.

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)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Water – the Wonder of

Note:  my brainy professor-pastor friend Mark Berrier writes columns for his hometown paper.  I’ll include a few/as blogs this week/as blogs.

Scientists call water “the maverick compound.” No scientist can tell us why water is a liquid. Everything in the universe acts according to its molecular weight—except water. According to its molecular weight, it should be two gasses, hydrogen and oxygen, all the way down to 142 degrees below zero Fahrenheit. Then it should be a liquid from -142 to -148, and then a solid from then on down. But for some reason, it doesn’t do as it is “supposed” to. Instead, it is a liquid from 212 degrees down to 32 degrees; then as it cools, it becomes a solid. Again, opposed to everything else, water expands as it gets colder—or hotter. From 39.2 degrees, either hotter or colder, up or down, water expands.

Not only that, but according to Genesis 1:2, water at one time filled the universe: “…the Spirit of God was brooding over the waters….” Scientists tell us that if the whole universe was brought down to “absolute zero,” which is -273.15 degrees Celsius (or minus 459.67 degrees Fahrenheit), all matter would shrink down until nothing existed! The only thing that would fill the universe would be water, because it expands as it cools. It is the first thing that exists, besides God, mentioned in the Bible (Genesis 1:2).

Water is absolutely essential for all life as we know it. Without water, everything dies. The surface of our planet is made up of about 70% water, and our bodies are also about 70% water. All plants and animals depend on water to survive.

Have you ever asked yourself how water can get up into the tops of trees, even the giant sequoia? Water does what scientists call “chinning itself.” Somehow, with just the right size straw, water actually climbs up the straw, and it appears there is no limit how high water can climb. Trees and plants can’t “suck” the water up inside themselves; the water climbs up in there itself. If you’ve ever had a roof leak, you know how water can wick to different places; the leak is often very hard to find.

Water is truly a miracle. Water can break steel or concrete when it freezes. Nothing can contain water and hold it if the water keeps getting colder. It will break any container as it expands. It can exert tremendous pressure. The colder it becomes, the more pressure it exerts.

If you were to electrolyze water, you are basically “burning” the water. When you do electrolysis, water burns, separating it into its two parts, hydrogen and oxygen, and you get twice as much hydrogen as oxygen. That’s why it’s called H2O. Recently, a “hydrogen car” has been invented. The only “pollution” left by burning hydrogen is pure water. Hydrogen may be the perfect fuel for a clean world.

II Peter 3:5 says that the universe was created “out of water and through water.” This agrees with Genesis 1:2. Water was there before even the Word of God spoke.

Jesus said, “I am the water of life.” If we are going to live, we need Jesus. Jesus gives life to all he touches. Maybe water is such an amazing miracle because Jesus is.

Leader – follow the right.

Judy and I shopped at the Escondido Walmart Tuesday; she to look for thread and I to tag along and, well, see her pay.  Our first time ever in the store, we walked about half-way through looking for, without seeing signs of, the necessary department.

We finally saw a manger/associate manager who promised to guide us there.  Off he went leading, we following.  On ahead he went south-eastward in the store, apparently guiding us.  After getting well east, he admitted he didn’t know the way and asked an employee for directions to dry goods.

The second man led us back the way we came, past the place we had first encountered the manager and beyond it to the far northwest corner of the store.  THERE it was, and Judy purchased two balls of colorful crochet thread.

Exchange uninformed  for blind, and we experienced the words of Jesus, “If a blind man leads a blind man, both will fall into a pit” Matthew 15:14c.  We didn’t know the store departments; obviously, the manager didn’t know the location of the sewing department.

Which teaches a spiritual lesson.  Lots of people follow religious leaders who promise a sure way to God.  The trouble is:  they don’t know the way to God and can’t lead others there.  They think to find him in any direction they walk, in any doctrine they teach, in any lifestyle they feel comfortable embracing.  AND, importantly, they always go as far as possible from the Biblical Almighty God and his equally formidable Almighty Son.

Like our experience in Walmart, followers of false religious teachers lead them from, not to God.  For whenever those leaders seek God any place but in the Bible, and his final revelation in anyone but Jesus Christ, he’ll never be found by them and they’ll always lead the opposite of where God is.  Read Matthew 15:1-20, particularly the context of verses 12-14.  Jesus said what he meant and meant what he said.  His half-brother James remembered these words—or, more likely, the Holy Spirit refreshed his memory of them.  Read James 3:1-13, especially verses 1-2.  The warning offers no excuse to abstain from teaching.  It does caution all teachers to emphasize only the Biblical teaching of God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit.

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)

 

 

Spiritual Growth – comes suddenly or…

I’ve used the following story in one of my books Their Own Best Defense.  It’s useful for this blog.

Malcom Muggeridge wrote that the earliest blood-transfusions had donors and recipients lying side by side.  Activated by a pump, blood flowed through a glass tube from one to the other.  It had an almost instantaneous impact on the recipient.  Jesus, 82

Jesus taught three lessons of spiritual growth in three parables:  Leaven, inner growth; Mustard Seed, external growth; Seed growing by itself, inherent growth.  Those in the business of teaching the Gospel know that spiritual enlightenment can come like the old transfusion procedure:  instant changes occur in people’s perspectives and lives.  In most lives, however, far more gradual change results.  The Holy Spirit operates in both ways, depending on us.  Some people are surprised how rapidly conversion impacts them.  Others grow in Christ so imperceptibly that only making a previously unthinkable decision makes them aware.

Either way, growth in the Love of God, the Grace of Christ and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit is expected and demanded of God’s people.

 

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)