Monthly Archives: May 2017

Sin – blood still forgives

For some years now medical authorities have worried that super-bugs would limit the effectiveness of anti-biotics.  That would produce a colossal reversal in the effectiveness of medicine.  No one’s health would profit.  Anti-biotics became necessary because folk medicine had limited effectiveness.

The long-dreaded return of a long-gone disease is upon us.  Even now the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention notes that at least 2 million annually contract anti-biotic resistant infections.  At least 23,000 die.  San Diego U-T, 5/30/17

A new generation of medicines must be developed if the medical profession is to continue to improve the nation’s health.  Time will tell if our geniuses are equal to the challenge.

Preachers never worry that the message of Christ’s cross weakens before Satan’s increasing wickedness.  That Satan will produce a Super Sin that baffles, weakens or destroys Christ’s cleansing power over ALL SIN!  From the Garden of Eden to the day Jesus died, the shedding of blood delayed God’s punishment of sin—the legacy of the Jewish Day of Atonement.  On the day Jesus died, to this very day, the Master’s blood, shed to forgive all sin from Adam on to the end of history, has removed, not delayed God’s punishment of sin.

No Satanic wickedness can become too great for Christ’s blood to remove.  It takes only Christians being honest with unsaved people:  you’re lost in sin.  And telling them the good news:  Jesus died for you and he’ll forgive any sin you have committed or will before you die.

Both factors have to be at the center of Christian outreach.  We dare not overlook human sin in an effort to make our appeal more amenable.  That will only disgrace Christ’s sacrifice and remove his invincible Presence from our outreach.  Stressing human sin to the unsaved energizes the Gospel with an appeal to sinners.  What they need to hear, and long to hear, is hope for escape from sin.  And Jesus is that HOPE.  All repentant sinners have access to the power of GRACE in forgiveness by accepting Jesus as Savior and being baptized for the forgiveness of their sin.

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.)   

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

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

Talent – can be long hidden

It’s true that Anna Mary Robertson, AKA Grandma Moses, began to paint for “life” at 78 years.  It’s true that she began to paint because arthritic hands prevented her doing farm or needlework.  It’s also true that her only training had been copying Currier & Ives prints.

However, as small children she and her brothers had their father’s stimulation.  He urged them to draw pictures on the white sheets of paper he purchased for them.  That start in childhood finally matured after nearly 80 years.  Unforgettable Women of the Century, 120

That suggests a spiritual perspective.  What skill, giftedness, talent, etc. may lay inert in a disciple’s life?  What may we have had an interest in as a youngster or teen-ager that we allowed as adults to be buried under other interests or responsibilities?  That means Christians should give careful thought before automatically saying NO when asked to serve a certain way.  Only after investigating their past, and not finding the skill-set desired can they refuse for a reason, not as an excuse.

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.) 

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

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

 

God – himself the only essential person

Madame Guyon, once a beautiful aristocratic woman bewitched by the world’s allure suffered a life-changing attack of smallpox.  That turned her from those in the upper crust who no longer chose to break bread with her to Jesus Christ, God’s Living Bread on whom she could continually feast.

For seven years she longed to feel God’s presence only to feel disappointed that he had forsaken her.  Through enough Bible study, fasting and prayer to educate her, she learned to walk by faith, not feelings.

She also found a startling new truth:   the deeper into God’s word and discipleship she plunged, she wanted to possess God himself, not merely God’s gifts.  She wanted the GOD of consolation, not merely the consolation he offered.  The GOD of peace, not just the peace of mind he bestowed.  The GOD of truth, not only the truths his word taught.  Deeper Life Experiences of Famous Christians, 80

A necessary factor in all Christian discipleship.  All too often we seek the benefits of God in Christ instead of the colossal Presence of God in Christ.  The former attitude admires the gifts of God; the latter seeks and embraces God in Christ himself, whatever good we experience, whatever challenging burden we bear.  What do we seek for our discipleship?

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.)   

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

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

 

 

 

Fear – relative

Any of us would be afraid to fly down and around an oval at 200 miles an hour.  That doesn’t faze New Zealander Scott Dixon.  On May 21 he won the coveted pole position for this Sunday’s Indy 500.  He’ll bank $100,000 for that success.

He and friend Dario Franchitti headed for an Italian restaurant in downtown Indianapolis Sunday evening, May 21.  Store closed.  They then decided to find a fast food provider.  They found a McDonald’s about a mile from the fabled Oval.  Closed for remodeling.

Next door a Taco Bell beckoned.  Into the drive-through they wound their way, their windows down, fearing nothing, tough-minded big-time racers that they were.  To all of a sudden be accosted by two teenagers with the great equalizer.  A pistol shoved against Dixon’s head brought the surrender of wallet and cell phone.  Keeping his cool—he was sure he and Dario kept their cool—he obliged.  And off the criminals rushed.  (They were arrested soon after.)  San Diego U-T, 5/23, 24/17

Dixon later reflected on his close call with a lot worse fate than being robbed.  He and Dario wore expensive watches, which the thieves didn’t know.  Dixon was glad nothing “silly”—his word—happened.  Nothing silly?  Not dangerous, wicked, lethal?  A tough man.

Yet he admits it made him feel small.  Falling from pole-position to robbery victim would have that impact.  It would reduce one from being invulnerable to feeling defenseless.  It might even encourage the toughest guy to keep his car windows up and his doors locked.  It would certainly teach him to be aware of his surroundings at all times, especially at night, especially in an area of a city plagued by crime.

Speaking of fear.  If having a pistol held to your ear gets whatever the thief wants, what will it be when each human dies and stands before Jesus Christ for judgment?  If the gun would force quiet compliance, how could we imagine we’ll have any voice at all when God Almighty opens the books to the page with our name?  The man in Matthew 22:12 warns us:  don’t plan on talking your way out of trouble when Jesus looks down on us.  Even the saved won’t speak then.  The unsaved will certainly be tongue-tied.  Only Jesus will speak.  And what will he say?  “Well done”, or “I don’t know you”?  The saved will then find their voice and Praise the One who loved them and gave himself for them.  The lost will then scream unavailingly as they’re cast out, that Jesus doesn’t understand, to please let them explain, that they didn’t really mean any of the things they said against him, blah, blah, blah.  Too late, too late.  For the unsaved, who will continue forever shouting their innocence, too late, too late.  Don’t be one of them! 

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.)   

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

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

Truth – Jesus tells us the

Well, everybody’s friend Charley Brown goes to dark-haired Lucy Van Pelt.  She offers psychiatric advice at 5 cents a clip.  Charley’s question is the usual—will he ever be mature and well-adjusted?  Lucy says she’ll have to have her fee in advance.  Why in advance? he asks.

Because, she says, he won’t like the answer.  San Diego U-T, 5/23/17

A very timely story relating to people in their search for happiness, fulfillment, pleasure and prosperity.  How can they find any, or all, of those things?

If they want a preacher’s feel-good answer, ask that guy in Houston—or any number of other guys preaching “feel good” sermons.  If they want a secular psychologist’s answer, ask any degreed doctor.  He’ll say the same as the guy in Houston.  If you want a financial wizard’s answer, ask Buffet or Dobbs.

But if you want the truth, go to Jesus and ask, “Lord, how can I be happy, well-adjusted and secure?”  You won’t like the answer, but it will be the truth.  For Jesus Christ says the way to receive all that people seek in vain in every other way they seek, he gives free of charge at our personal self-denial and service in his kingdom.

Understand that Christ’s promise comes certainly and surely, but also conditionally.  It comes easily, without looking or working for it.  But it also comes with the hardest challenge we’ll ever face at the highest cost we’ll ever pay:  Denial of self!

Give up the right to rule yourself.  Turn over the mortgage on your life to Christ’s sacrifice.  Let him determine what you believe, how you think, how you live.  He’ll provide all you need for a successful life.

We won’t like the first condition.  It’s unnatural.  But we’ll like the result of paying its price.

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.)   

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

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

 

Service – isn’t romantic

Dr. William Child served as surgeon of a New Hampshire infantry regiment in the Civil War.  He took the field in August, 1862.  While anticipating a great adventure he soon found the drudgery of service.  He later wrote that the romance lasted about two minutes.  Civil War Times, May, 1966, 37, 42

Serving/Obeying/Persevering in discipleship is like that.  Actually participating with Jesus in everyday life is often stimulating, but it’s more often time-consuming, exhausting and intimidating.  Visiting people, counseling them through their hurts, fears, sins and illnesses draws down one’s own faith.  Anyone so involved must remain close to Jesus and seek his restorative grace.

The aftermath of personal problems, struggles and sicknesses are also like the aftermath of battle, as Dr. Child discovered after many conflicts, using Antietam as an example.  The days after the shooting tested every skill the doctors possessed:  the broken limbs, the surgeries that maimed, the mortality rates that soared, the shredded hopes of young men disfigured for life.

One’s ministry sometimes brings fortuitous events of lasting delight.  As unfortunate events bring challenging consequences.  People can recover from illness or disease but be vulnerable for weeks afterwards.  Death is suddenly final for a loved one, but the grief following in survivors hangs like a dark cloud for months.  Pastoral work begins after the crisis has been solved, is past or finalized.  That’s when people are most vulnerable.  That’s when they need the feather touch of concern, the soft words of comfort, the prayers seeking God’s mercy.  All these give the afflicted the extended care needed until the pain passes and the wounds heal.

It’s all very exciting, being with people.  But it’s also a duty whose romance fades after a couple of experiences.  What a Mighty Man Jesus Christ proved to be, adding a powerful Pastoral Ministry to his equally Powerful preaching.

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.)   

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

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

Experience – some life . never fade

Dr. William Child stopped in Washington, D.C. on his way home to New Hampshire after General Lee surrendered at Appomattox.  He saw the glittering displays of Union victory everywhere.  He described it in a letter to his wife as an extended “illumination, fireworks, and one grand drunk.”

The memory he never lost, however, that remained fadelessly bright in his mind, came from Friday, April 14, 1865.  He decided to attend Ford’s Theater to see “Our American Cousin.”  He noted the President’s arrival a short time after the play began.  It continued for about an hour before a sharp pistol report interrupted the action.  When a man leaped awkwardly from the President’s box uttering a malediction, all eyes flew there.

Indescribable chaos supervened, accelerated by screams from the box, calls for medical succor from its inhabitants and efforts of helpers to force their way through doors the killer had blocked.

Everyone, including the doctor, thought the worst.  Doubts about the country’s stability stormed everyone’s mind.  Had the evil days of the French Revolution returned?  Had other government officials been harmed or killed?  Would bloodshed continue just when the guns had been silenced?

Some fifty years later Dr. Child related his experience to a granddaughter.  He said increasing age had made him an old man who had forgotten many things, but ONE remained glaringly bright:  the President’s assassination.  He could never forget the events of those few hours, April 14, 1865.  Civil War Times, May, 1996,    p. 43Most life-experiences remain in a memory package hidden in some brain cell, to be recalled only under particular stimuli.  But others burned their presence so deeply at the time that they remain, for good or ill, as points of delight or guilt, always present, never forgotten.  May the grace of Jesus Christ build so many such memories that our relationship with him stimulates continual joy and peace.

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)

 

 

 

 

Afterglow – from Mother’s Day, Part IV

Acting more from maternal rage than spiritual insight, Sarah nevertheless served God’s purpose when Abraham wanted Ishmael’s equality with Isaac.  Sarah rightly demanded Isaac as sole heir of Abraham’s spiritual legacy.

Rebekah, Rachel and Leah all served as worthy models when faced with the crisis of sight versus faith.  They all left the certainty of what they knew for a future they couldn’t discern.  Rebekah, a beautiful woman, left Paddan Aram to marry a man she had never seen in a land she didn’t know.

Her brother Laban, his eyes filled with envy at the sight of precious stones, bracelets, nose rings and necklaces, wanted her to stay home longer—perhaps to coax even more wealth from Abraham’s servant.  When the man wouldn’t be persuaded, the family summoned Rebekah’s opinion:  stay longer at home or leave.  She immediately settled the question:  follow God’s will to other places.

God ordered Jacob back to Canaan.  He wisely summoned wives Rachel and Leah to the field.  After summarizing the burdens their father had imposed on him, he wanted to know:  since God ordered him home, would they accompany him?

Yes.

Taking the unusual step of siding with their husband against their father, they knew the difference.  Jacob had been a faithful husband, worker and provider.  Their father remained the same greedy, grasping conniver he had been from his youth.  Whatever danger their future with Jacob posed, life in Laban’s family had nothing but dead-end scrawled across it.  Indeed, they had lost faith in their father by his being untrue to them and Jacob being faithful.

These woman challenge us.   We’re their spiritual heirs.  Without us, they wouldn’t be perfected in faith.  Without them, we wouldn’t be as mature in faith as we are.  Women from 4100 years ago still encourage faith in God, whatever his call, wherever he sends, however heavy his burdens.  Let us rise to their faith.  Because we know Jesus Christ, let us soar beyond them, ever higher.  – Finis –

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)

Afterglow – from Mother’s Day, Part III

Mother’s Day, 2017, has passed.  Its afterglow remains.  Consider today one of the most beautiful women in the Bible.  She modeled the discipleship we need to emulate.

Genesis 21:8-10 records Sarah’s demand that Abraham banish Hagar and Ishmael from the camp.  We need not excessively praise her foresight to appreciate her decision.  In his usual procedure God used Sarah’s maternal rage, not her spiritual insight, to achieve his will.

Remember that she had watched helplessly for 13 years as Abraham loved Ishmael and groomed him as heir.  That tore her personal peace to shreds, knowing she hadn’t produced an heir and couldn’t in her dotage.

Then, as he usually does, when she had fallen as deep in despair as she dared, God walked into camp accompanied by a pair of angels.  Ninety-year old Sarah would have a son the next year!  Which she did.

Two – three years later Abraham hosted a magnificent feast to celebrate Isaac’s weaning.  The 16-17 old Ishmael, likely prompted by Hagar, ridiculed and mocked the little boy.  Paul called it persecution Galatians 4:29.  Sarah saw it and, proving it wasn’t only her reproductive system that God renewed, exploded, “Get that slave woman and her son out of here!”  Sarah demanded the separation, but only God’s command to Abraham finalized it.  By the way, after Sarah’s death, Abraham saw the wisdom of her decision.  While he had other children by Keturah, he sent them AWAY well supplied, but never as equals of Isaac.

Give Sarah credit for knowing that Isaac and Ishmael couldn’t live as equal heirs of Abraham.  And for refusing to compromise Isaac’s role as Abraham’s sole spiritual heir.  She couldn’t stomach competition between Ishmael and Isaac.  God wouldn’t tolerate it.  Any competition required compromise so both could retain their rights.

The 4100 year-old decision has powerful relevance today.  It means that Islam can never claim equality with Christianity, let alone superiority to Christianity.  God considered the Mosaic Covenant a passing-scene in sacred history.  Islam doesn’t even get on stage.  It fulfills God’s purpose as a political and economic player, not a spiritual star.

Threats and acts of compromise have plagued God’s kingdom, but only by human perversion, and against God’s threats to harm anyone involved in it.  Revelation 2-3 stress that scary certainty.  The Lord’s Supper itself warns us that God has but one way to reconcile us to himself.  Had any other way existed, Jesus wouldn’t have died.  That he did means that he alone is the Way providing the only way to God.   – 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)

 

 

 

Afterglow – from Mother’s Day, Part II

Mother’s Day Sunday May 14, 2017 proved special for Escondido Christian Church.  The stories people told about mothers and grandmothers, coupled with stories of Bible women, made it a memorable worship experience.

Part II includes stories about Christian examples.  One said her paternal grandmother took her to Bible School from the time she was 3 years old.  Grandma influenced her and her mother to become Christians.  They were the last ones baptized before a church fire destroyed the old church building.

A man remembered that his grandparents were Methodists.  His mother, however, so strongly believed in immersion that she took the kids to the Christian Church to be immersed.  That decision influenced his whole life.

A lady had a story about two grandmothers.  After her mother died, they made sure that she and her sister went to Sunday School and church and came to know Jesus Christ.  Her paternal grandmother taught Bible School over forty years.  An aunt complemented the work of the grandmothers.  She tutored our lady when she married and her first child came.

The last group of stories emphasized the faith in God mothers and grandmothers expressed.  One said her mother taught her to be a disciple of morals and values; to be devoted to God and to love everyone.

Another said her mother taught her to honor, love and respect God.  To remember he knows our thoughts and behavior.  Still another said her mother set a faithful example of taking the children to church every Sunday and during the week.  While a compulsory example, it never became a duty.  She has instilled the same desire in her girls.

Another remembered growing up on a farm where she learned discipline and obedience, traits she possesses to this day.  Her mother loved and was loved by the children she taught.  She served as the inspiration of our lady’s own teaching career.  She appreciated the privilege of being reared in the church and getting to love Jesus.

The latter lady’s daughter acknowledged a third generation appraisal.  Her mother had taught her many things as she grew up and continues to do so.  She remains grateful that church was always a part of their lives.  It not only offered fun times but it offered acquaintance with “our Jesus.”  Her mother always worked with kids.  They loved her because, while strict with them, she enveloped them in the love of Jesus.  Daughter is a better adult for having a Christ-honoring Mother’s example.   She honors the kindness and respect modeled, which daughter tries to emulate.    – End Part II –

 

 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)