Monthly Archives: July 2017

Decisions – wrong based on assumptions, Part 1

In late 1941, American intelligence officers in Hawaii had only Japanese radio transmissions to determine the approximate location of their carrier groups.  By the middle of October they put them in home waters.  Which, as Rear Admiral Edwin T. Layton wrote, was wrong.  That very day Admiral Yamamoto addressed the six-carrier task force in Saeki Bay before they steamed to the remote Kurile Islands on their journey to Pearl Harbor.  The massive carrier force maintained complete radio silence throughout that journey.  To mislead American snoopers, Yamamoto kept sending messages to his Second Fleet—which American agents assumed were with the carriers. Which they were not.   And I Was There, 184-185

. . . . . .

The Union Army under McClellan toiled slowly up the peninsula towards Richmond in 1862, a relentless juggernaut of men and weapons.  Union hopes were high that they would take Richmond and end the Civil War.  A soldier wrote to his father that he hoped to be home by the end of summer so he could teach school in the fall.  Another soldier wrote that the Federals had the Rebels in so tight a corner they didn’t run because they couldn’t.  Battles and Leaders of the Civil War, 145.  Not so fast!  Robert E. Lee had yet to be elevated as commander of Confederate forces.

. . . . . .

In 1939 Anglo-French military planners created Plans D and E.  If Germany invaded Belgium, Plan D would advance Allied troops to the Antwerp-Dyle-Meuse Line.  Plan E called for the Allies to meet a German thrust at the Scheldt River.

Neither plan envisioned what the Germans decided:  to surprise everyone by invading through “nearly impenetrable” Ardennes—which the Allies assumed were much too difficult for offensive operations and too much a threat to invaders.  Encyclopedia of WWII, 499

. . . . . .

In the Battle of the Bulge, December, 1944 (a neighbor of our family in Lincoln, Illinois lost a son in the battle), Allied security imposed a 48 hour blackout on all news reaching America.  That didn’t keep the Germans from listening to all American traffic conversations.  And from knowing how many troops we had, where they were stationed and how fast they could counter-attack against their panzers.  Battle of the Bulge, 149.

–  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.) 

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

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

 

New book:  The Parables of Jesus at www.createspace.com/7164741

Church – buildings “that used to be”

White frame churches stand in the center of many New England villages.  The steeple soars above the trussed roof.  Many are kept in repair as symbols of what “used to be.”  Once they deeply influenced the community’s personal beliefs and habits, but now serve only as a gesture.  The New England Village, 45

Their existence poses two questions.  One, why were they built?  Two, why do they remain?  Even if some are still in use or maintained as tourist destinations, what personal belief exists in those attending compared to those who built them?

Many church buildings remain, all over America, built by those persuaded that Jesus Christ needed to be proclaimed.  But are now relics of the past, not harbingers of the future.  They’re in big cities and rural towns.  Nearly empty of people, or used by cults, ethnics, or government agencies extending welfare where preachers once extended salvation, they no longer influence community decisions or personal lives.

They remain physical structures void of spiritual energy.  The people of a later generation or more forsook what had been the inspiration that built them.  Instead of aggressive evangelism they chose maintenance.  They remain as mute witnesses of what they “used to be.”  Their structural and spiritual decay muzzle a past VOICE that spoke good news.  That changed lives.  That built marriages.  That incubated children from cradle to maturity in Christ-centered activities.

What a sad epitaph for so many church buildings in America:  they are “USED TO BE” Congregations.  They “Used to believe” Jesus Christ’s deity, Divine Sonship, Saviorhood and Lordship.  What a sad epitaph for many people who “Used to be workers” in God’s vineyard.  “Used to be”:  a curse on any building or person.

Are we a “Used to be” Christian or congregation?  Living on a legacy?  On the generosity of former members who financially endowed a future they envisioned for the church, now ruined by beneficiaries who accepted the endowment while removing from the church the Christ of God, his Saviorhood and Lordship?

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)

 New book:  The Parables of Jesus at www.createspace.com/7164741

Age – vigor in old

You may have seen his obituary:  Dr. Shigeaki Hinohara, the famous Japanese Doctor of medicine.  He pioneered Japanese recovery from a lifespan of 40 years in 1911 to 87 for women and 80 for men in 2017.  Born in 1911, he died July 18, 2017, nearly 106 years later.

He never stopped working, though he changed his focus from a 60-year career in medicine to volunteer work.  Only in the last few months did he work less than 18 hours a day, still seeing a few patients.  Noticeably, his appointment book had space for five years of patients.  San Diego U-T, 7/27/17.  Like him, Louis L’Amour died at age 80, his desk still stacked with projects to research and wrote.

Yet, the church can’t use older men and women because young men and women have all the wisdom needed?  Many older Christians do want to finish their work before they die.  But many of us want to die in harness doing our work, never finishing it.  Jesus is the only person who could say, “It is finished” when he died.  He completed in his 33 years all that God wanted for him. No other person, and no Christian, need ever say he wants to FINISH his work.  May God keep us working until he calls us home.  Amen.

A disclaimer.  Age is more than a number only if sickness or other health problems limit a person.  It’s understandable under those circumstances to finish what one can.  But many older Christians, still able, seek opportunities to serve in active ministries.  What they usually find is a refusal to hire them, even in part-time position.  The local church has no need of them. Sad.  For many.  Not the least sad for the church not to use all willing servants, whatever their age.

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)

 New book:  The Parables of Jesus at www.createspace.com/7164741

Eyes – and women

A Woman’s World magazine article, 3/30/15, featured feminine eyes.  There was the Cat Eye; the Smoky Eye—that one baffled me—; the Shimmery Eye—ditto, more so; the Doe Eye—got that one; and the Contoured Eye—maybe the prettiest of the bunch.

Women accent their eyes in order to impress others, mostly men.  With the right make-up, and a little imagination in viewers, women can be seen as mysterious, unstable, innocent, or beckoning.  This writer often studies eyes:  when meeting people, passing them in public, or seeing them in pictures.  In a book on Photography in New Orleans, today I saw two of the saddest eyes in a young lady.  Very touching.  And the daguerreotype was from 1845-1850.  Eyes seldom fail to reveal something interesting; fear, excitement, uncertainty, hope, distress— you get the idea.

Which is all entertaining or useless except as Jesus made strong statements about the human eye.  He said that eyes serve as entryways into the person inside the body.  The context of Matthew 6:19-24 focuses on our need to trust someone in life.  The two sources of help are MONEY and GOD.  If we trust money as our source, our eyes—we ourselves—are full of darkness.  If we trust God, our eyes—we ourselves—are full of light.  That’s the pertinacity of the context.  Whom shall we trust?  Shall we seek our fulcrum for life in whatever money can buy; or in God, who demands priority in our lives and promises to care for those who TRUST him?

In that context, what do our eyes say about us?

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)

 New book:  The Parables of Jesus at www.createspace.com/7164741

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Christ – by attacking

General Ezra Carman, one of General McClellan’s subordinates, later wrote that when a subordinate told Napoleon he didn’t know the strength of the enemy army in his front, Napoleon told him to attack!  That would let him know.  The Gleam of Bayonets, 164

In I John 3:8 the apostle wrote that Jesus came to destroy the devil’s work.  In so doing he discovered how strong the devil was.  He found him formidable, entrenched and contesting every inch of territory claimed.  BUT…unable to resist the attacks Jesus made on his strongholds. That’s the essential fact of history!

Thus, he cleansed the Temple twice during his ministry and removed it entirely in AD 70. Because it represented a religious force incapable of contesting Emperor worship in the Roman Empire.  Because after Pentecost Jesus had in Christianity the very spiritual power that could and did successfully contest it.

Thus, Jesus thrashed Satan into a bloody pulp in their wilderness confrontation, proving his mastery of every satanic temptation in the very presence of the evil one.  It wasn’t surprising that he later attacked and evicted the devils from demoniacs.

By attacking Satan Jesus discovered his major strengths and revealed his own irresistible strength.

Thus, Jesus heroically submitted to death so he could prove his mastery of a heretofore unconquerable foe of humanity.  He died to “destroy him who holds the power of death—that is, the devil—and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death” Hebrews 2:14.

Again, by attacking Satan in his strongest of strongholds Jesus proved his greater, invincible strength.

That’s the very power Christ gives his people over Satan’s temptations.  In that regard, consider I Corinthians 10:13 as a challenge, not a comfort.  For when we fall to Satan because “we couldn’t help ourselves,” Jesus says we simply ignored the way we could have by invoking the Holy Spirit’s power to ATTACK its presence in our lives.  That succeeds every time.  If we find it doesn’t, it’s because we haven’t attacked strongly enough, or long enough or persistently enough.  In truth, as C.S. Lewis said, Jesus is the strongest man in the world since he neither surrendered to any satanic temptation nor failed to overcome and destroy any stronghold Satan built.  When Satan came to Jesus, intriguing, blustering and threatening, Jesus attacked, attacked and attacked him.

Let us follow the Savior’s example, and not be subject to our weakness and refusal to withstand, then attack, withstand, then attack until Satan flees!  Let that help us better understand James 4:7.  Resistance isn’t merely a declaration of intent.  It’s a willingness to let the Holy Spirit activate Jesus Christ’s overcoming power in us, John 16:33, to not merely shove back when Satan tempts, but to BLOW him back, beat him down, then walk all over him like he’s nothing but a floor mat!  Yours for a Christ-conquering life.

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)

 New book:  The Parables of Jesus at www.createspace.com/7164741

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Christ – left nothing unfinished

On July 1, 1916, Lt. Henry Field led his 836 man battalion against strong German positions that were protected by enfilading machine gun fire on both their flanks.  Of the 836, 520 Englishmen died, Field among them.  On his first Christmas at war he wrote a poem expressing faith in God’s care.  Two of three stanzas had four lines each.  The fourth had three, no more, and no more was ever added:  it was the Lieutenant’s Unfinished Poem.  First World War, 261

When, after six hours on the Cross, Jesus declared, “It is finished,” John 19:30, he meant he had completed all he came to do.  Nothing remained undone.  No more would be accomplished had he lived longer.  God sent him with a purpose, which he fulfilled in 33½ years, particularly in 3½ years of public ministry.  Alexander the Great, who also lived 33 years, likewise achieved God’s will for his life.  He carried Greek culture and language through his military victories.  Which served to prepare the way for Christianity to be preached in a language common to all in the Roman world.

Significant differences distinguished the two men.  The first was provenance.  Alexander came from the union of Philip II of Macedon and Olympias; Jesus IS the Only and Eternally Begotten Son of the Father.  Alexander rode roughshod over kings he conquered; Jesus humbly served all he met.  Alexander never knew he served God’s purpose.  Jesus came specifically and intentionally Anointed to BE God’s Purpose and fulfill all the prophecies of ancient times.  Most importantly:  the Greek didn’t think he was finished when he died; that came through drinking too much wine.  Like other conquerors, he dreamed of other conquests.  Jesus knew his life was finished when his work for God had been completed.  Knowing it, he didn’t choose to prolong his life off or once on the cross.  He died by choice.  Why would we honor a man who died in a dead-drunk when Jesus died as a living sacrifice to save the world?

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)

 New book:  The Parables of Jesus at www.createspace.com/7164741

 

 

 

 

 

Past – indebted to while growing beyond

Thomas Paine noted in his pamphlet Common Sense that it didn’t follow that the American Colonies should remain in the British Empire since it had so profited by being part of it.  He argued that the Colonies would have prospered independent of, and separate from, the Empire.  In essence, America had grown beyond her need of England’s protection, tutelage and identity.  The American Reader, 25ff

Paine’s treatise surfaces the truth that the past can’t always be the basis of present and future belief and behavior.  While an unerring tutor to its students, they may need higher learning when scholars of its didache.  If we remain committed to it in our maturity, it forfeits some of the value it held when we were more child-like.

Jesus faced the issue throughout his ministry.  His willingness to heal on the Sabbath; and his unwillingness to be strait-jacketed into man-made traditions surfaced the conflict with Pharisees.  He defended himself as the One God sent to lead Israel from its honored past into a glorious future.

However, what Paine said applied to human relationships; it never applies to the human-divine relationship.  At what period of time would the Master’s own tutelage be eclipsed by something better?  At no time in the future.  When would humanity find themselves too mature for his “limited” revelation?  Never, at no time!

Jesus Christ remains in history all he had been in the past, and all he would be in the future:  the Great I AM.  No people, no age, would reach a point where they even approached equality with him, let alone achieved superiority to him.  The beatitudes offer an excellent example.  Basic as they are to the Christian life, we have hardly matured into the Kingdom person they develop, let alone surpass them into super-spirituality.  And our immaturity is glaringly evident in considering Christ’s in-depth teaching in the Gospels; and the immensely challenging didache of the Pauline, Petrine and Johannine epistles.

Hang in there, Christians.  But never hang-out with anyone but Jesus.  He’s ALL anyone ever needs.  He’s exactly what everyone needs.

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)

 New book:  The Parables of Jesus at www.createspace.com/7164741                                                                                                        

Self – too accurate a portrait of

The Daguerreotype, named after its inventor Louis Daguerre—why can’t foreigners have names like Jones or Smith?—offered the first likeness of humans on film.  A productive business in the art flourished in New Orleans.  (In honor of our friend Mike Brown, in NOLA—New Orleans, Louisiana.)

A cumbersome procedure, the study had to sit quietly, unmoving, while the plate developed the image.  The photographer had a gadget that fit around the back of the head, holding it still.  Like all cameras—and not a few portraits—they re-produced only what existed.  Which brought howls of dissatisfaction to many people, who didn’t like what the camera photographed.  The Daguerreotype unfailingly replied that, “The camera reports nature’s truths.”  Photography in New Orleans, 32-33

Which has a spiritually relevant point.  We don’t like what God says about us when he calls us sinners.  We don’t want to be called sinners.  We’re decent, moral people.  We pay our debts.  We support charities.  We congratulate any honesty or generosity people show.  We express regret when disaster afflicts others.  We bravely endure when it afflicts us. Let us be valued, not criticized.

Too bad.  Nothing we mention as our value impresses God.  Nothing secures our relationship with God.  Sinners we are and sinners we remain, even after our baptism—only then we’re sinners saved by grace.  But not because he doesn’t see us as we really ARE.

Let us never come to God complaining about how his WORD pictures us.  For it’s exactly what he sees when he views us.  His Son didn’t die because we were easy on his eyes and naturally attractive to him.  We were, and are, natural spiritual rebels who must lay down our arms and surrender to him.  Only then do we acquire the spiritual beauty we think we have without surrender.

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)

 New book:  The Parables of Jesus at www.createspace.com/7164741

Society – high . protects itself

Tom Brady and his high-profile wife may be well-known, rich and able to afford any domicile they want to buy.  None of that mattered when they purchased a multi-million dollar home in ultra-exclusive The Country Club in Brookline, Massachusetts.  Only after two years of debate among the members were they accepted.  One of the reasons delaying the decision was the Bradys’ societal status.  The privacy-driven settlement didn’t want their peace disturbed by the inclusion of media-attractive people.  San Diego U-T 7/15/17

It’s interesting that high-society people, themselves of significant fame, wealth and prestige, limit those who would share their elevated status.  Because they consider others inferior in some way to them.  Or because other famous or rich people create disturbances in their quiet community.

Unlike them, God welcomes the wickedest of sinners, the poorest of mortals, the richest of men, the most moral of humanity to live with him on the basis of their faith in Christ, repentance of their sin and baptism into Christ for the forgiveness of their sin.  Where high society doesn’t want to be stained by inferiors, or ashamed by being less famous than others, God makes us all EQUAL as sinners needing Grace, having mercy on all Romans 11:32.

God overlooks all the trouble caused by people like and unlike us to who come for admission.  Whatever our societal state, he elevates us all spiritually in the process of forgiving us.  That very cleansing grants us entrance into his Presence.  We immediately fall heir to all the riches of his knowledge and wisdom.  And we joyously welcome anyone who wants to share it ALL with us.

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)

New book:  The Parables of Jesus at www.createspace.com/7164741

Life – we can ruin our life for God’s work

Samuel Chamberlain photographed many images for his book The New England Image.  He found many willing to have themselves or their property memoralized.  He also had some who objected.  While he obliged their wishes not to photograph from their property, he protected his right to do so from public highways.  The result from the unwilling ran from a photo of a man shaking a fist to lady who flapped her arms at the camera.  That lady ruined his picture. pp. 11-12

She offers a spiritual lesson.  God wants to love us, to correct us, to criticize us, to warn us—all in an effort to save us from our sins and make us worthy of him and eternal life.  Then, in grace we can never understand, but appreciate, he gives us the right to ruin his every desire FOR US.  We can’t alter his predictive will, or torpedo his sovereignty over history.  We CAN, and often DO, spoil his purpose for us.  And in so doing ruin our chance to be servants, not obstacles, to others.

The lady proved only that the photographer didn’t get the picture he wanted.  It didn’t prevent his success in shooting many others.  When Jesus judges the world, and each person stands before him, and many are found guilty, not saved; lost, not found; cast out, not gathered in, they will have only themselves to blame.  For every person who doesn’t want God in their lives now, many yield themselves to him, his will, his perspectives.  They know his expertise fills them with spiritual grace for living while preparing them for the ecstasy of eternal life in his Son.

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)

 New book:  The Parables of Jesus at www.createspace.com/7164741