Monthly Archives: October 2017

History – some facts of….

I saw two stories in the 10/29/17 San Diego Union-Tribune.  Each had a relationship with history.  Each related to unknown aspects of the culture involved.  And each made no real difference in the accumulated knowledge of the culture.  For example, the study of witchcraft, which has historically focused on Salem, Massachusetts, had a much earlier existence in the Connecticut Colony.  The first execution of a witch occurred in Connecticut in 1647.  In 1662 eleven people paid the ultimate price.  The figures are useful for adding information most didn’t know.  But it doesn’t change history.

Jewish documents hidden in Lithuania from the Nazis during WWII have recently arrived in New York.  They will be on display as example of Jewish religious and secular writers before and during WWII.  Some critics strangely consider the trove the most important to Israel since the Dead Sea Scrolls.

However the writings reveal Jewish life before WWII, as it had before WWI, after WWII up to the present time, it may add information but not break new historical ground.

Much new material has the same minimal impact:  more of the same already known under different authors and times.

The life of Jesus Christ is different.  Any new information surfaced in archaeology, linguistics, psychiatry, chemistry, etc., will add more luster to his brilliant life.  And new facts will reinforce the integrity of the Four Gospels and New Testament epistles.

However, the value of the life of Christ is seen in one fact:  all the new information uncovered by us comes from the SAME BOOK, the 27 volumes in the New Testament.  To say nothing of the better understanding of Figures of Jesus in the Old.  Satan lies with a bald-faced lie that second and third century writings tell more truth about Jesus than the Four Gospels.  He knows that the Biblical illiteracy in America convinces the uninformed.  Those fortunate enough to be continuing students of the Gospels know belter.  From each text of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John the Holy Spirit continues to surface deeper truths and more illuminating insights.  But from the only books that record the truth about Jesus.  And they will never fail to further enrich students of Jesus.  Not that those truths haven’t been there since written, but that Christians gradually, by deepening their faith in Jesus, SEE what was there all the time.  And so shall it be until Jesus Returns and opens himself to in-depth learning—which will take eternity to completely uncover.

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 books:

      The Parables of Jesus at www.createspace.com/7164741

      Gift of the GIVER:Gifts for the GIVER, Vol. 2 at www.createspace.com/7551153

      Their Own Best Defense, Vol. 2, Part 2 at www.createspace.com/7446349

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Individual – the . in discipleship

This blog is a brief adaptation from Book 2, Part III of my books Their Own Best Defense.  Mark 3:21, 31-35 has the account of Christ’s mother and siblings trying to impose family authority as the basis of discipleship.  That’s what ruled Jewish culture for 1500 years.  It’s what the family thought still ruled when Christ’s fame so outgrew even their patience that they decided he had become a danger to himself—the personification of what would later be known as the Jerusalem Complex.

In Judaism at the time, fathers dominated religious life as in Roman culture everyday life.  Whatever fathers believed, taught and observed became RULE number ONE in family life.  Christ’s family simply followed traditional thought when they had the message telegraphed from them to him.  They came to take him.  They had no doubt he would obey.

From him to them the answer came, teaching that cracked like a flaming whip under their chins, singeing his brothers’ beards and burning his mother’s feelings.  It hurt for a long time, but they learned something about Jesus they never forgot:  don’t interfere in his work.  Simon Peter learned it later when he officiously told Jesus he couldn’t die.  Jesus shrank him to an inch by calling him a “Satan!”  Skeptics today who bring criticisms of him instead of compliance should take note.  As should believers who bring him compliments instead of commitment.  In any situation, don’t call for Jesus to follow us.  He won’t.  Don’t think he won’t hurt our feelings.  He will.

Let no one determine that self-denial is no longer necessary to be a Christian.  Let no one think we can hide a lack of personal faith inside a church body.  Let no one excuse personal obedience because others in the family don’t yield allegiance to hm.  Let no one misunderstand:  however good our family relationship may be, a great FAMILY of God is our only eternal fellowship.  Let no one think that a poor family life eliminates our having a powerful and pleasant fellowship among Christian friends.

Above all, never consider Jesus a helpless kitten, warm and cuddly, depending on our approval.  He’s the LION roaring, claws extended, ripping apart all who think to control 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.) 

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

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

 New books:

      The Parables of Jesus at www.createspace.com/7164741

      Gift of the GIVER:Gifts for the GIVER, Vol. 2 at www.createspace.com/7551153

      Their Own Best Defense, Vol. 2, Part 2 at www.createspace.com/7446349

Individuals – even enemy . can be good

I remember reading of a Japanese guard of American prisoners.  He treated them very well, especially compared to the usual barbarity of other guards.  The man had an explanation.  If Japan should lose the war, he wanted to be remembered by the Americans in a positive way.

Self-preservation motivated him.

Tony Iannarelli told a story that gave a positive slant to this truth in a negative way.  He had been captured on Guam three days after Pearl Harbor.  He soon discovered the difference in one Japanese officer—a positive man in an officer corps generally merciless towards prisoners.  An amputee American construction worker didn’t move quickly enough for the guard, who angrily knocked him down.  The officer happened by and saw his soldier’s barbarity.  He called him to attention, approached and started beating him.  The American POW’s cheered.

Iannarelli thought that officer must have had an experience which taught him patience with the handicapped.  It was at that time that Iannarelli started thinking of the Japanese as individuals, not as a group.  He thought that many, like that officer, didn’t choose to be warriors.  And wouldn’t let their previous civilian behavior change their core values.

Let us pray to be individual Christians who give a good account of believers as a group.  Let us refuse to take offense when we have cause, remembering that Jesus didn’t.  Let us quickly forgive others when they offend us, for Jesus did.  Let us always look to how we can help others, since Jesus made that his lifestyle.

Let us intend to be the good example Jesus can make of each Christian, even if other Christians don’t avail themselves of that Grace in their lives.  Christians as a group usually make good impressions.  But sometimes they don’t.  Let us as individual Christians commit to doing so.  And…important, if as individuals, or as a group, we’re criticized, let it be because we believe and defend Christ-honoring doctrine and lives.

 

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

 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 books:

      The Parables of Jesus at www.createspace.com/7164741

      Gift of the GIVER:Gifts for the GIVER, Vol. 2 at www.createspace.com/7551153

      Their Own Best Defense, Vol. 2, Part 2 at www.createspace.com/7446349

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Individuals – separate . from the group

The Jews during the ministry of Jesus had a generality:  all tax collectors in the land were Roman hirelings and thieves.  Yet, when John the Baptist preached, others not Pharisees or Sadducees asked John for directions to live within God’s will.  Tax collectors being among them, John had specific instructions:  they were not to “collect any more than you are required to” Luke 3:13. That implies their interest in changing habits.

While Pharisees and peasants alike reprobated tax collectors, Jesus saw a man called Matthew/Levi at his tax booth.  Then, gasp, he called that man to discipleship.  Levi immediately complied, leaving a prosperous career to follow an itinerant preacher.  Jesus saw something in the man others didn’t.  In his Later Judean ministry Jesus saw a man in a tree, looking down.  He invited himself to that man’s house for lunch.  Whatever he said to Zacchaeus at the meal, the chief tax collector gave half his possessions to the poor and obligated himself to repay four-fold anyone he cheated.  Obviously, Jesus saw something even Zacchaeus didn’t know he had in him until Jesus called it out.

When disliking the group, personalize individuals in it.  It’s much easier to relate to the person.  A caveat, however:  we must sometimes separate the nation from the individuals in it.  This writer has known individual Jews who didn’t create favorable impressions.  However, as a believer in Jesus he knows the importance of the nation of Israel to God’s final plans in history.  Therefore, he prays that God’s promises to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob continue to be fulfilled.

 

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 books:

      The Parables of Jesus at www.createspace.com/7164741

     Gift of the GIVER:Gifts for the GIVER, Vol. 2 at www.createspace.com/7551153

     Their Own Best Defense, Vol. 2, Part 2 at www.createspace.com/7446349

 

Individuals – God loves

In Rappaccini’s Daughter Professor Pietro Baglioni tells another man that no one in Italy had more scientific knowledge than Dr. Rappaccini; and no one cared more for knowledge and less for people.  He saw patients as objects of scientific research, not as individuals.  He said the doctor would sacrifice human life, even his own, to add “a grain of mustard seed” to the knowledge already accumulated.  Gateway to the Great Books, 3, 133

Dr. Joseph Mengele, the Dr. Death of Nazi Germany, qualified as a Dr. Rappaccini.  He willingly sacrificed Jewish patients to brutal experiments to learn what he considered medical knowledge needed to save German soldiers wounded in battle.  Every Jew necessary, he declared, but not a single Aryan; and never the doctor himself.

Jesus always had compassion on individuals.   To the recently bereaved widow in Nain, “Don’t cry” Luke 7:14.  To the demon-plagued Legion, “What is your name?” Luke 8:30.  To the recently converted prostitute, “Your sins are forgiven” Luke 7:48.  To the hemorrhaging woman touching the hem of his garment, “Daughter, your faith has healed you.  Go in peace” Luke 8:48.  To the despairing Jairus, “Don’t be afraid; just believe, and she will be healed” Luke 8:50.

Every instance cost Jesus and benefited the person in need.  It didn’t matter to him that he GAVE himself.  It mattered only that, in the GIFT the person RECEIVED the help sought.

 

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

 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 books:

      The Parables of Jesus at www.createspace.com/7164741

      Gift of the GIVER:Gifts for the GIVER, Vol. 2 at www.createspace.com/7551153

      Their Own Best Defense, Vol. 2, Part 2 at www.createspace.com/7446349

 

 

 

 

 

Individuals – reduce the whole of humanity to the . in it

In a military campaign against Sestos and Byzantium, Greek leader Cimon took many captives and enormous booty.  He separated the treasure from the men and gave his allies the choice between them.  To a man they divided the plunder among themselves, leaving Cimon with naked POW’s.  Thinking Cimon had been a fool, they left him with his captives.  He returned home with them.  Later, relatives and friends contacted him to pay high ransoms for their release, which made Cimon a wealthy man for life.  Plutarch’s Lives, 394

God always emphasizes individuals as treasure greater than things.  Often a secret source, not at all obvious like gold, silver or rich robes, their hidden resources once surfaced prove inestimably valuable.  That’s why Jesus always valued persons, not traditions, the substance within them, not the emptiness in forms:  the individuals he came to forgive so their changed lives could change any society into which God put them.

In critiquing Rosseau’s Julie, ou La Nouvelle Heloise, Durant mentioned his only fault being he made his “characters talk like Rosseau.”  Story of Civilization, X, 168.  Rosseau had no ability to turn others into himself.  Jesus did, does and insists his people be like him every way possible.  The greatest individual ever, he settles for nothing less than each believer being him in miniature.  The Holy Spirit, the Someone exactly like Jesus, achieves what is possible only for God Almighty:  changing sinners to saints and saints to replicas of the Son of God.

 

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 books:

      The Parables of Jesus at www.createspace.com/7164741

      Gift of the GIVER:Gifts for the GIVER, Vol. 2 at www.createspace.com/7551153

      Their Own Best Defense, Vol. 2, Part 2 at www.createspace.com/7446349

Discipleship – enter . by Grace; remain by effort

Hebrews 1 verifies Jesus Christ as God’s Singular historical personality.  In him alone God sent his full and final revelation.  As God in the flesh, Jesus surpasses all Old Testament servants, including fabled Moses.  Then, beginning with chapter 2, the writer begins a series of warnings that Christians must guard by effort their personal discipleship in God’s Kingdom.

For example, in 2:1 we “must pay more careful attention” to God’s word so we don’t drift away from him.  For if we don’t “pay attention,” we will drift away.  Note:  attention, effort, perseverance.

In 3:1 we’re told to “fix our attention on Jesus….” so we can understand him as the SOLE depository of God’s truth.  SOLE—no competitors, not even Moses, the only one before him who could have been.  SOLE—none since, and so irrelevant in comparison they need never be named.  Note:  fix, effort, attention, perseverance.

In 4:1 “….let us be careful that none of you be found to have fallen short of it”—the Rest God promised through Moses in Canaan, but actualized through Jesus in Eternity.  Any unbelief…any…jeopardizes our eternal life.  Note:  careful, attention, effort, perseverance.

In 4:11 “Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that Rest….” Heaven itself, where God resides, rules and reigns.  Because it’s always possible for us to lose our place by unbelief, inactivity, fruitlessness.  Note:  make every effort, persevere.

In 6:1 “Therefore let us leave the elementary teachings of Christ….”  Because maturity in discipleship, not entrance into discipleship, is God’s goal for us.  If we don’t make an effort to grow in Christ, we’ll always be in spiritual kindergarten.  While God demands we mature into Post-Graduate Christians in faith and service.  Note:  effort, leave, study, perseverance.

These caveats come in only the first six chapters, with more throughout the book.  None of these warnings can bring comfort to Calvinists, who think they can’t be lost.  Nor can they comfort Christians who know they can be, but approach discipleship casually, carelessly, passively, dispassionately.  As if it doesn’t really matter.  As if nothing essential is at stake.  We can be lost both through false belief and false behavior.

Yours for a discipleship that thanks God for his FREE GIFT of Salvation, then “makes every effort” to mature in discipleship.

 

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

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 books:

      The Parables of Jesus at www.createspace.com/7164741

     Gift of the GIVER:Gifts for the GIVER, Vol. 2 at www.createspace.com/7551153

     Their Own Best Defense, Vol. 2, Part 2 at www.createspace.com/7446349

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Individual – all humans judged as an

In life God judge nations.  The fall of nations and empires throughout history proves that.  Beyond history he judges individuals.  Though that often happens in tandem with the fall of the anti-God nations and empires. Pharaoh discovered that when he returned from the Battle of the Red Sea accompanied only by his personal staff—his chariots and charioteers bobbing silently up and down at the margin.  With leather-lunged Hebrew women on the far shore banging tambourines and singing in mockery, “The horse and its rider he has hurled into the sea” Exodus 15:21.

However, while nations, once dismantled, pile in heaps, individuals get the chance till they die to change their habits and beliefs; to get right with God before standing before his searing judgment.

That’s why it’s easier to pray for individuals to change before death silences their brains and their ability to choose.  Nations, such as America today, can only face God’s terrifying judgment of condemnation.  As he punishes, and before he’s finished, individuals in the nation will have the chance to re-think their objections to God and their rebellion against God in Christ.  That change will lead to repentance and baptism for the forgiveness of their many sins.  And that will lead to a chance for revival in the nation.

Think individuals. Help individuals.  Challenge individuals.  Correct individuals.  Not by quarreling, but by kind, compassionate, gentle instruction, “in the hope that God will grant them repentance, leading to a knowledge of the truth, and that they will come to their senses…” II Timothy 2:24-26.

 

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

 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 books:

      The Parables of Jesus at www.createspace.com/7164741

      Gift of the GIVER:Gifts for the GIVER, Vol. 2 at www.createspace.com/7551153

      Their Own Best Defense, Vol. 2, Part 2 at www.createspace.com/744634

Individual – every can be in prison

Tony (I think) Iannarelli became a captive of the Japanese in WWII.  Once, in Osaka, he and a group of American POW’s stood around an army truck.  An American voice from a Japanese soldier asked if any of the guys were from Seattle.

One POW proved he knew the city by describing buildings, sights, water front, etc.  Iannarelli asked him what he was doing in the Japanese army.  He explained:  he had lived in America many years; he had come to Japan to visit his family; he had been impressed into the Japanese army walking down the gang plank of his ship.

Another asked what he planned to do after the war.  Well…he didn’t know.  All he concentrated on was staying alive.  Undoubtedly the aim of more than a few soldiers and POW’s.  It struck Iannarelli as an irony.  That soldier, like the POW’s, was a prisoner.  Source not available.

It doesn’t take a fence, a wall, a tower or a guard to make a prison.  It takes only a mindset that’s subservient to the demands and expectations of others.  That mindset says YES when NO is needed.  It also invariably says NO to Jesus when YES is mandatory.  Jesus invariably equips us to say NO and YES at appropriate times.  NO is as liberating in refusing unjust or counter-productive requests as YES is fortifying when obedient to Jesus.

In his poem Obedience, George MacDonald recounted his struggle when Jesus called for his surrender.  Of the lines I remember, these challenge me still.

“My friends will miss me,” they say.

And Jesus replied, “Choose now whether I will miss, or they!”

A powerful statement that shatters any weakness I may have to think more of a mortal than I do of Jesus Christ.  It’s as simple as that.  If we refuse the liberating wisdom Jesus provides every believer, we’ll always find ourselves at the behest of someone other than he:  a friend, a work associate, a relative, a _________ (you fill in the blank).  And to the extent we’re enslaved by others, we’ll never know the liberation Jesus wants to provide.  If we TRY to change bad, harmful, damaging habits, he’ll strengthen us to do it.  But we must be willing to TRY.  Will we?

 

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 books:

      The Parables of Jesus at www.createspace.com/7164741

     Gift of the GIVER:Gifts for the GIVER, Vol. 2 at www.createspace.com/7551153

     Their Own Best Defense, Vol. 2, Part 2 at www.createspace.com/7446349

Individuals – God sees us as

We can be lost in the crowd.  We can die unknown on the streets of San Diego, or in the deserts of California or Nevada and never be found.  But no one, absolutely nobody, ever gets lost to God’s awareness; ever escapes God’s attention.

The heart of a person; the heart of a family; the heart of a church; the heart of a nation pumps continually, recharging itself from the energy expended by individuals in it.  God identifies particular macaws by the “lines of face feathers,” National Geographic, January, 1994, p. 127.  God knows individuals by the prints on fingers, by names bestowed by parents and by his image on our soul.

Lt. General Bernard Freyberg commanded the Second New Zealand Expeditionary Force in WWII.  Very popular with his troops, Freyberg once said you couldn’t treat a man “like a butler” if you wanted him to “fight like a gladiator.”  Reader’s Digest, Seventy Most Unforgettable Characters, 110.  Absolutely and infallibly true.

That’s the fatal flaw in organic evolution.  Liberals continue to demand that people behave, love each other, treat others with respect.  All the while they insist we came from a lower form of life where the “survival of the fittest” ruled, to our present superior one where forgiveness, patience an individual rights rule.  That’s laughable.  Listen to what the General said.  God certainly imposes his perfection on us by reminding us of our highest possible source as his personally-created humans stamped with his image.  On our brains, our intellect, our emotions and completely separate from what happens to our bodies.  There’s an irreconcilable difference between soul and body.  There’s no need for liberals to talk about the soul of America when all they mean are the bodies of Americans.  They want us to believe that having jobs, insurance, homeless housing, food stamps and increasing welfare payments reaches, touches and empowers the human soul.  That’s stupid.  It’s what we have as a plethora now—and never has the soul of Americans been less like God in Christ!

Christians, remember that Jesus calls us to evangelize those outside Christ because only by being forgiven can they regain the state of peace with God, which results in many good things for the body.  First things first, however!

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 books:

      The Parables of Jesus at www.createspace.com/7164741

     Gift of the GIVER:Gifts for the GIVER, Vol. 2 at www.createspace.com/7551153

     Their Own Best Defense, Vol. 2, Part 2 at www.createspace.com/7446349