Monthly Archives: January 2018

Life – what constitutes a successful, Part II

A person’s life is successful when one’s life-goal survives death to serve in the next world.  Many who lived only for this life left even it prematurely.

George Eastman founded the Eastman Kodak Company.  He became a famous multi-millionaire.  He shot himself in the heart at age 78 after leaving a note, “My work is done.  Why wait?”  He did have a spinal ailment that threatened to leave him a cripple.  But many people with physical disabilities still find life rewarding and useful.

Dostoevsky’s story White Nights has the male speaking to Nastenka about the wastefulness of his life:  the years gone; the dreams vanished; the best moments buried; everything stupid, a cipher, a fancy, round zero.  Gateway 3, 295.  In the Seeley Stables at Old Town, I saw an advertisement by a stage line company.  It offered a trip from San Diego to San Antonio:  a road that “ran from no place through nothing to nowhere.”

Both stories relate to many people, never more than right now, when society has lost touch with God.  Humphrey Bogart thought it years ago.  He used a vulgarity to express it, which we won’t.  But he called life an illusion—proving only that he spent too much time in front of a camera creating illusion.

A young, professional couple in San Diego agreed with Bogart.  Both had successful careers in the medical field.  Their combined income reached $200,000 a year.  Yet, he checked into a motel, went to his room and took an overdose of barbiturates he prescribed for himself.  His wife later sat in her car in a medical facility parking lot and swallowed the same fatal dose.  He was 33, she 32.

How sad.  They easily lived without God, but didn’t think they could live without each other.  A perfect example of a life’s goal, not life’s purpose.   – 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.) 

 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

Life – what constitutes a successful, Part I

When is life a success?  One insightful answer:  when we leave a situation better than we found it.  Good.  A couple others:  when it has been lived for Jesus Christ.  Actually, many possible suggestions exist.  Many divergent answers would come if asked.  But only one true answer.  A life is a success when its goals can be carried beyond death into the next world.

Patient with us, God distinguishes the debris of life from life-goals.  For example, the necessities—food, clothing, housing, transportation are the detritus of life.  Necessary, but not the essence.  They become a spiritual problem only when we make them our life-goal.  Which many have and do.  That’s when they become a sin that must be forgiven.

A belief can be relatively harmless, but not a sin, if it doesn’t infringe on God’s truth.  When it does it becomes a threat to our soul’s destiny.  As an example, we’ve heard people say, “If so and so isn’t in heaven, I don’t want to be there.”

Then plan not to be in heaven.  For telling God that so and so must be there for us to be happy is a form of spiritual blackmail God won’t countenance.  It’s a way of saying God has to meet our expectations if he wants us to be happy with HIM!  Such a view proves our unworthiness to be with God.  And we won’t be!

Without being particularly conscious of God, people have made good decisions later in life to overcome mistakes of youth.  A 52 year old lady went back to school…to grade school…just so she could go to High School and graduate.  A 30 year old man left a financially secure profession in New York and returned to his New England roots.  To live in a smaller house with fewer amenities.  To buy a small business.  To build a new life with his family that his career had threatened to abolish.

It’s the principle of gaining by losing.     – 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 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

Christian – privileged to be a, Part IV

We agree that Jesus’ life had God as his focus.  But can believers now imitate his example?  Wouldn’t being that “religious” make us sober as Cato and gloomy as Hamlet?

Well…the best answer is Jesus himself.  He perfectly served God, thought about God, taught about God.  Did he ever have trouble drawing a crowd?

When people flocked to him like migrating birds to feeding grounds, was it because he was SOBER, or JOYFUL; GLOOMY, or HOPEFUL, NEGATIVE or POSITIVE?  We’ve heard of people about whom we want to know MORE.  Jesus was the one person in history about whom we want to Know everything—everything, as Paul wrote in Philippians 3:7-11.

How silly then to refuse Christ because he is too “other-worldly”; how useless to opt for someone more concerned about life here and now.  Biblical Christianity proves that, to be useful here, religion must begin with the True and Only God.  Any other effort, however sincere, becomes an enemy of the very people it was created to help.  Starting with God, however, it alleviates misery, reduces sorrow, meets needs, eliminates guilt.  It builds homes for orphaned, abused children, or for aged, infirm adults.  And rehabilitation centers that recreate lives broken by alcohol or drugs.  Families find unity and enemies love, and everyone forgiveness, from which other secondary results accrue.

Remember:  Christianity isn’t about a few special people who climb social, economic, or spiritual heights, but of the many common people who study, fathom and express God’s Glory.  If we let God love us through Christ, we’ll always say, “I know this:  I never lived until I met Jesus.  And I know this:  I’ll never stop living because I did.”    – Fini –

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

 Books at:  www.createspace.com.  (Go to search, dropdown to store, Virg Hurley.) 

 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

Christian – privileged to be a, Part III

The spiritual challenges facing each disciple should be met head-on, face-to-face.  Conquest is always possible for the believer who won’t say, “I can’t because I haven’t YET.”

Not surprisingly, the disciples at first had no ability to understand Jesus.  When they returned from Sychar to Jacob’s well, they couldn’t believe it:  there Jesus stood, talking with the Samaritan woman.  Had he no respect for tradition; and had she no shame?

When they began to eat, and noticed that Jesus didn’t join them—he obviously had on previous occasions—they solicitously urged him to enjoy lunch.  When he said he had food they didn’t understand, they could only conjecture that someone had given him food.

Give the men credit, however.  They perseveringly, if only incrementally, matured in faith.  But only within the Jewish-nationalist perspective.  Their request, on the very day he ascended into Heaven, meant they still had no idea of his PURPOSE and their MISSION.

Only 10 days later did they discover that God hadn’t restored the Kingdom to Israel; but had reconciled the world of humanity to himself through Jesus Christ!  Once learning that, they never retreated to previous political misconceptions.  They did irreversibly advance in spiritual wisdom and intellectual foresight.     – 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.) 

 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

 

 

Christian – privileged to be a, Part II

Continuing to TRY after failing to resolve difficult issues distinguishes eventual success from failure.  A Christian man shared that he had been a navy signalman aboard ship in WWII.  He first had to learn the meaning of each flag signal and position—like learning the alphabet.

Once mastering the alphabet of signaling, he faced the complex task of learning the words each signal spelled.  He couldn’t do it.  It was too complicated.  He had never faced such a challenge.  He failed repeatedly, despite hours of study.  Nothing made sense.  He wanted to give up.  He dared not.

Now and then he learned a word.  Less often a phrase.  Hardly ever part of a sentence.  Then, as if by magic, one day all the signals clicked into an orderly sequence.  He could read and signal!

It wasn’t magic.  It was perseverance!

That’s the way to understand about Jesus what we haven’t known before; or, having known, haven’t put into practice.  Try again.  Push yourself.  Extend yourself beyond what you previously have.  Expect more of yourself than ever before.  Learn Jesus by bits and pieces and little by little:  phrases, sentences and paragraphs.  Before you know it, you’ll systematically read chapters, then volumes.  Because you started with a step at a time.

But never say, “I can’t because I haven’t YET!”     – 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.) 

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

 

 

 

 

Christian – privileged to be a, Part I

Having resolved internet problems, we’re back at blogging.

 When Oliver Cromwell sat for a portrait, he admonished the painter to describe him truly, all imperfections noted.  Unlike him, we want our photographs “re-touched”—blemishes removed and wrinkles erased.  Like actress Claudette Colbert, we want our best side to the camera.

Blessed rather are those who accept their humanity, laugh at their peccadilloes and humbly seek forgiveness of their sins.  God has never condemned us for admitting our mistakes or withheld forgiveness from a penitent sinner.

Learning to live that way baffles unbelievers—and not a few Christians.  How can we be so transparent about our failures?  Won’t people laugh at us?  Why should we confess our sins to one another James 5:16?  Won’t they make a scandal of it?  How can we stop making excuses why we can’t do certain things and find ways we can?  Isn’t it easier to live inside our limitations?

Regarding discipleship, unbelievers can’t fathom letting Jesus determine our lifestyle and belief—as Paul forcefully demanded in I Timothy 4:16.  The very idea, so instinctive to New Testament Christianity, terrifies the unsaved.  It makes them shudder to have their need of anyone, let alone God, publicly acknowledged.  Henry Kissinger heard Israeli Abba Eban speak.  With Cicerone eloquence, aided by a perfect British accent, Eban impressed everyone, Kissinger especially, with his heavily-accented English.  No other American or British speaker had so forcefully reminded Kissinger he wasn’t a native-born American.

This writer first heard Eban in 1967, when the then-Israeli Foreign Minister arrived in New York.  From his very first statement, eloquence flowed.  This writer also had James S. Stewart as his model for preaching.  He wanted to imitate Stewart’s eloquence.  He has never achieved it; it has never stopped being his goal.

Christians often want to imitate Jesus; he is, after all, the most celebrated religious leader in history.  Problem is, the prospect intimidates us into retreat.  Then there are the spiritual challenges everywhere in the Bible, especially those outside our life-experience or intellectual level.  Though our real problem is more that we’re:  content with what we’ve become; we fear what promises to make us what we’ve never been; indeed, we instinctively say we can “never be that way.”    – 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 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

 

 

 

 

 

Christ – Centrality of, Part III

Knowing the necessity of leadership in humanity, God provided those to represent their country and embody their country.  Of all the peoples in history, God appointed only the Hebrews to bear his Message through Law and Prophets.  Then, when he wanted the embodiment of himself revealed, he used those same people, but reduced them to a single tribe and a family of that tribe to introduce Jesus Christ.

No one…NO ONE… completes with Jesus Christ, let alone excels Jesus Christ in any way.  He is humanity’s only inexhaustible personality.  Other historical figures have multiple volumes written about them.  Even more are written as new discoveries uncover information not previously known.  Jesus Christ alone contains in himself such depth, height and breadth that only he KNOWS all he IS Revelation 19:12.  An end comes to any other person’s life and of the information he produces.  Not Jesus.  He’s the embodiment of all that a single person is AND of all that all the billions of people of history HAVE BEEN and will yet be.

So enormously essential to us is he, and so explosively exponential, that learning of him will take the forever of eternity, which means we’ll never know all there is to know about the Living God in His Living Son Ephesians 2:6-7.

William Ramsay wrote that a historian can dismiss and include historical persons and incidents as it suits his purpose.  But no one, wherever he lives, in whatever age, can dismiss Jesus Christ at all…not with a word, a paragraph, a book, a library of books, all the books ever written John 21:25.  He will embody everything accurately thought, written about him or lived by his Spirit within us.   But he is absolutely essential, irreplaceable, unavoidable and inexhaustible.

Alfred Edersheim undertook to write his life of Christ.  He figured to spend two to three years.  He instead spent seven, and even then had written what he considered merely an introduction.  And he wrote TWO massive volumes.

Learn of Jesus by reading his word.  Study deeply.  Broaden your brain to discover truths about him you didn’t know.  The very experience will whet your appetite for MORE.  And the additional information about him will thrill your mind and fill your soul with his GLORY!  Amen.     – Fini –

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

 Books at:  www.createspace.com.  (Go to search, dropdown to store, Virg Hurley.) 

 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

Christ – centrality of, Part II

Many influential personalities have appeared in history.  They have served as representatives of their nations, or embodied their nations.  They have risen in every nation, and from every continent.

However…and understand the distinction that word creates…the seminal figures in history originated in the children of Shem:  more particularly, the Semites; more specifically, the Hebrews.  Name among them Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, David and the ONE called Jesus the Christ, the greatest of all, the most important of all, the sole essential historical figure.  From the tribe of Judah, from the family of David, he came so quietly in Bethlehem only angels noticed.  He grew so quietly into adulthood that God only twice pulled the curtain to let us see:  as a 40 day old baby over whom ancient Simeon rhapsodized; and as a 12 year old whose stay in Jerusalem bemused his father and mother.

Again, all that remained hidden in him would become known incrementally.  At age 30, he appeared at the Jordan.  He stood in line to be baptized by a reluctant but obedient Baptist.  He rose from the river immersion to see the Holy Spirit as a dove descend and rest on him.  God voiced his approval on everything his Son had said and done in those years of private preparation.  He left the Jordan for Jeshimon!—the wilderness—to face, confront and conquer Satan’s temptations.  Then…well…look in tomorrow.    – 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.)   

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

 

 

 

Christ – centrality of, Part I

A person can sometimes eclipse a country.  Hannibal excelled Carthage.  Alexander soared beyond Greece.  Charlemagne overshadowed the Holy Roman Empire.  Robert E. Lee exceeded the American Confederacy.  Carthage couldn’t bear the loss of Hannibal, Greece, Alexander, the Holy Roman Empire, Charlemagne.  In turn, the American Confederacy brought failure to Robert E. Lee.

Then there was Rome.  Whatever great sons Rome bore, they never eclipsed the privilege of being Romans.  The state embodied her men; they didn’t embody the state.  Rome could bear the loss of her great men because she kept producing, with a few dramatic exceptions, others who added to the Empire’s renown.

Successors of Indo-European people established Alexander’s Empire, the Roman Empire, the British Empire and North and South American cultures.  They also colonized Africa and created most of the few states that, until Big Middle East Oil supplanted them, control of the earth’s wealth.  Celts, 83      – 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 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 – can be much

With holidays and family illness over, back to blogging.

Mexico controlled California life until the Gold Rush altered the state’s political, economic and racial composition.  In the early 19th century, and with the right political connections, an applicant could have almost any acreage of land.  It cost him $12 to file the claim and conversion to Catholicism.

However, a petitioner had to be careful:  he dared not under-request his land grant.  On one occasion, a man requested a certain grant and it was denied:  TOO SMALL.  However, when he enlarged his request at the suggestion of the officer in charge, it was immediately granted.  San Diego Place Names, 19.

Given human nature, how many would ask for less acreage when they could have more?  Would we naturally consider the former with the latter option available?

Too bad for Christians, many of us settle for the minimum in discipleship when Jesus offers the maximum.  We settle for Jesus at arm’s length when we could live in his embrace.  We choose to live as far from grace as possible, without losing touch, instead of remaining so close that a knife’s edge couldn’t distinguish us from the Savior.

The Little Drummer Boy had little to offer baby Jesus.  But he beat that drum with a tattoo that brought a smile to the infant.  Of course, that’s only music.  Of course, it didn’t happen.  But the point is, the boy had little to offer Jesus but offered it all!

I invite you.  No, I urge you.  No, I implore you to commit to Jesus all you are and own.  He is worthy of receiving it.  And remember:  only as we surrender all to him are we worthy of him.

Let’s never settle with improving our life to please God.  That leaves us invariably content with what makes us comfortable, not what leaves us converted.  Indeed, we’ll congratulate our improvements long before God is satisfied only with Christ-likeness.  What we accept makes peace with ourselves.  What God demands makes it possible for him to live in us now and us with him later.  Will we settle for being content with a remodeling when God wants to renovate us and start anew in re-building us in Christ’s image?

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