Category Archives: Afterglow

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)

Afterglow – from Mother’s Day, Part I

With many others we intentionally and with great care, design all worship services to bring our people into God’s Presence.  There we seek to lead them in adoration of the Father and his Son and to the Holy Spirit’s direction for inspiration to serve God and Christ.  We have shared in many such stimulating worship experiences through the years.  And each time we’ve thanked God for gathering his people on Sunday.

Sunday, May 14, 2017, MOTHER’S DAY, brought a landmark worship service for Escondido Christian Church.  By combining God’s word with life-experiences and memories of mothers and grandmothers.

A few stories were humorous.  One lady said her mother was the best cook in the world.  She wished she had paid attention!  One said a coat of paint covers a multitude of sins.  This writer wondered aloud if that was the same idea as “women need make-up because every old barn needs new paint.”  Only groans filled the air.  Another said her mother always told her never go anywhere if she couldn’t come home on roller skates.  Couldn’t figure that one!  Still another told her daughter to “marry a rich man.”  “But what if I don’t love him?” she queried.  “You can Learn to Love him!!” she declared.

One guy noted that his mom married his dad after his first wife—mom’s sister—died in childbirth.  Thanks, mom, he said, “I wouldn’t want to look like Aunt Gertie.”

A few accounts remembered their mother or grandmother’s concern for others.  Two stories related their desire to help others, to always be kind to others and to say only good things about them.  Another related the patience of their maternal leader.  She never raised her voice in anger and never complained about anything.  (Since we have a very informal congregation, on hearing this one, one of the ladies piped up with, “That certainly doesn’t apply to me.”)

Another to the positive effect mom and her mother had on her life.  They cared for husbands through multiple surgeries, offering long-term care and provided daily help in practical needs.  Our lady learned care-giving from them:  ministering to her mom for almost 15 years, then to her own husband.

A pleasant shock rolled through the group when a daughter by email related her own story.  At 9 years of age she had fallen off her speeding bicycle and struck her head on an upraised sprinkler head.  That left her in a coma for months, from which she emerged with some brain damage.  She suddenly couldn’t read, write or do her sums.  Her mother tirelessly worked with a teacher and principal to re-teach memory skills.  She recovered and gained 3 education degrees—partially to celebrate her ability to do it.  She counseled that the odds against such a recovery had been diminished by getting immediate rehab help.      – 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.) 

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

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