Category Archives: Christ

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

 

 

 

 

 

Christ – the desired model

Jean-Honoré Fragonard left France to study art in Rome.  The effort puzzled and disappointed him.  The great masters bewildered him.  Michelangelo’s energy terrified him.  Raphael’s capture of beauty moved him to tears but discouraged him.  He simply couldn’t imagine himself being in their company.

In self-defense he fell into indolence.  Unable to equal them, he felt no need to continue. Then he had an epiphany. If he couldn’t master the artistic levels the incomparables represented, why not study lesser, but still challenging, artists?

That led him to study Baroccio, Pietroda Cortona and Tiepolo.  They offered skills above his without overwhelming him.  Holding his attention they simultaneously enlarged his mind and art.  Durant, History of Civilization X, 115

The moral of his story is:  if some models in one’s career seem too advanced or hard to follow, choose others within one’s skill level.

However, and Christians PAY ATTENTION, we never settle for a lesser model than Jesus Christ to study and emulate.  Even though his life is unparalleled in history.  Even though no one, not even the apostles, came close to his perfection.

Why then shouldn’t the example Jesus Christ set intimidate us into giving up, forgetting it, being satisfied with lesser model set by mortals like ourselves?   Because of what happens when we try to be like Jesus!  Whatever way we TRY to be like Jesus, and succeed only partially, or not at all, the very effort leads us closer to where God wants us to be.  While we try but fail, we succeed in being increasingly mature Christians and MORE like Jesus than we were before.  Thus…given enough efforts at trying to be like him and only partially, or not at all, succeeding, the spiritual principle always works:  the human effort multiplied by the Holy Spirit’s grace leads us from one level of maturity to another.

So what if the measureless person of Christ can’t be equaled…now…or ever?  What if we spend eternity plumbing his depths and breadths?  The very effort will continue to enlarge and deepen our lives step beyond step, measure beyond measure, dimension after dimension.  Amen to the Master’s richness of wisdom and knowledge!  Romans 11:23.

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)

 

Christ – identifies with us – Part II

Cowboys on the open range learned the identity of unbranded calves by throwing each on the ground.  The pitiful bawling brought the calf’s mother running.  Identification.  General Richard Ewell loved to fight with his men on the line.  That bravery cost him a wound that cost his leg.  Identification.

Hebrews 2:14-15 offers scintillating insights into the human drama of life and death.  The fear of death originates in either or both:  losing what now has unsurpassing value to us; or being unsure of what awaits beyond the grave.  Both originate in either our guilt before God or ignorance about God.

Christ’s sacrifice, willingly given and proven acceptable to God by raising him from the dead, at once eliminates the guilt that harasses us and the ignorance that hinders our understanding of the future.  Jesus is both Savior and Intercessor with God.  He saves us initially and continually.  He hoists us out of our sins and into an ever-new and renewable relationship with God.

Jesus is merciful in that he forgives.  He is faithful in that he ever remains true to his mercy.  He will continually forgive and represent us before God.  In the Master’s righteousness we stand before the Father pure, at ease, unafraid, full of joy.  Paul explodes in adoration when contemplating the Savior’s depth and Regency Romans 11:33.  – 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)

 

Christ – identifies with us – Part I

Based on Hebrews 2:14-18, the next 2-3 blogs focus on the Lord’s identification with mortals.

When cowboys on the open range wanted to identify the brand of any calf, they grabbed the nearest one and threw it to the ground.  It naturally bawled in the desperation of fear.  And lo…out from the many cows in the herd rushed the one who identified the calf’s call.  The ‘pokes noted her brand and gave it to the offspring.

Think of ourselves as a calf caught in sin and unable to extricate ourselves.  And we’re yelling our head off for help.  Here Jesus comes running to our side with his forgiveness.  That’s the meaning of the word translated help or succor.  Jesus always runs to our side when hearing us cry for help.  In identifying himself with us, he held himself aloof from nothing but sin.  He endured humanity to the greatest degree, even to dying in the most degraded way.

Confederate General Richard Ewell so loved combat that, though Jackson’s division Commander, he would leave headquarters to fight in the line with his troops.  At Second Manassas that boldness cost him a wound that cost amputation of his leg above the knee.  Lee’s Last Campaign, 17

And where do we see Jesus nearly every day of his ministry but on the front line, in the trenches and fox holes where people contest the battles of life?  Though his sufferings transcended all that humans experienced, Jesus grew increasingly solicitous of the welfare of common people for whom the leaders had no concern.   – 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)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Christ – faith in perseveres

A.J. Liebling wrote The Road Back To Paris, an account of the war in North Africa.  He noted that an American pilot in a P-38 flew too low while strafing a line of German trucks.  His right wing glanced off a telephone pole.  A one-engine plane would have crashed, killing him.  The blow instead turned the P-38 upside down, the pilot gripping the stick so hard it turned his hand black and blue.  Up and over he steadied the plane and flew back to base.  P. 244

The Faith Jesus established on Pentecost, and the faith Jesus inspires in his disciples, is sturdy like that P-38.  It can be blown over and blown down; beaten flat by circumstances and entirely deflated.  Only to bellows itself into swelling resurgence.  Satan can knock on the Faith, but never topple it.  He can knock on the faithful and knock us down…but never out.  The Christian Faith has never been leveled in conflict.  Christians in faith never hear the ref count 10.

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)

 

Christ – always better as time passes

King Saul proved best in his first crisis, and never again II Samuel 11:1-15.  General Ben Butler proved best in his first leadership role in the Civil War, and never again.  Riots in Baltimore isolated Washington, D.C. from the north until the last of April 1861.  Butler led two regiments from the depot down Pennsylvania Avenue to the White House.  He never again equaled that high level of leadership.  In fact, whatever he did afterward he proved all politician and no General.  Battles of the Civil War, p. 33

Christians may be like Saul and Butler in their discipleship, but only because they don’t gradually mature in faith.  For Jesus is ALWAYS at his best, whenever he appears, wherever he leads, whatever the task or crisis.  What he did at the wedding in Cana offered the best wine people had ever sipped to that time, but Jesus had barely begun to reap his vineyard.  Wherever we see him in ministry he amazes, first to last, always better, stronger and more daring.  Until, while he seemed only a Lamb of God at the Cross, he proved the Lion of Judah by devouring in his resurrection the death that seemed to devour him.  And that’s but an introduction to his Return in Majesty.  After that…well…eye hasn’t seen or ear heard….

The Master’s All-Sufficient resources assure our increasing success as Christians.  However we develop our discipleship, we can thank Jesus he has empowered us to do more, be more, succeed more, achieve more.  Wherever we stop our Christian growth is our decision, but it’s never determined by Christ’s limitations.  He always has more of everything we need to be his conquering disciples.

 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)

 

 

 

Christ – only his way as he teaches it

Many of the earliest polar explorers ignored Eskimo methods of travel.  Some tried to combine Eskimo and then-modern concepts of clothing and transportation to reach the Pole.  Instead of dogs, they hired sailors to lug boats.  Instead of sleds they hired carts.  They gradually discovered that curious native procedures, traditions, clothing, food and vehicles helped them reach their goals.  Stephanson, Great Adventures, 595.

Jesus Christ has experienced the same abuse from sinners.  Many lost people welcome forgiveness if they can have it on their own terms.  They long for confidence in life but think others can as easily give it as Jesus.  They certainly want to go to Heaven, but think it can easily be gained, with or without Jesus.

Though Jesus alone came to earth to be God’s Sacrifice to forgive sin.  Though he alone ROSE from the dead to which he had freely given himself.  Though he alone governs history at the Father’s pleasure.  Though he alone comes again to verify the victory he won in life, at death and over the grave.  Though he alone judges the fitness of every single mortal to enter Heaven.

At least some Arctic explorers admitted the wisdom of Eskimo ways and procedures.  Enough failures tempered their pride and they re-thought their former ego-driven conclusions.

 

Jesus has never had such a privilege from humanity as a whole.  From individuals, yes; from sometimes wholesale conversions, yes.  But in what nation of the world have congresses or parliaments finally agreed that politics and politicians are powerless before unresolved human issues?  In what human meeting of minds would a resolution be proposed and passed that God is right after all?  That Jesus is the True and Only way to God after all?  Even when Jesus Christ comes again, soaring on foaming iridescent clouds of Heaven, accompanied by trumpets blasting and Angels flying everywhere at his behest, most people wonder why God had to do THAT?

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Christ – always had time

A Houston, Texas emergency operator had a history of terminating phone conversations with those seeking her help.  Thousands of calls were short-circuited because, she said, she didn’t want to talk to anyone just then.  It took authorities 6 months to discover and verify her derelicton of duty.  If convicted she could receive a year in jail and a $4,000 fine on each count.  San Diego U-T, 10/16/16.  Talk about a misfit between job and occupant!

Thank God that nowhere in the life of Jesus, harried as he often was by thousands of seekers, did he ever truncate an appeal.  He occasionally wanted repose, not the never-ending calls for help, but he helped when they came, appealing.

Of all people, Christians need to be aware of human need.  And, aware, to be good listeners, with solid suggestions for change and resolution.  We need to be on duty wherever we go, so Christ can work through us to care.

We won’t be jailed if we fail to be like Jesus.  We won’t be fined.  Our punishment will be worse; we’ll have refused an opportunity to serve the Lord who loved and cared and helped.  Surely such a prospect should put us on our guard, and on our best Christ-like behavior.

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Christ – said what he meant

And meant what he said.  In that regard, conductors know something about composers that many theologians and preachers don’t know about God.  Conductors know their task is to interpret exactly what the composer has written—whatever corrections they feel would improve the composition.

Many theologians and preachers mistakenly think they have the right to change God’s word to conform to what they, and others, like.  To make Christianity relevant, they say, listen to the music people hear, then adapt worship music to it.  Or take a survey of what they want to hear, then adapt preaching to it.  Whatever you don’t like about Bible teaching, alter it, soften it, ignore it!

We better listen to Jesus in Mark 10:17-22.  When he told the rich Young Ruler that only God was God, Jesus identified himself with God, not distinguished himself from God.  He was warning the man to understand that God uses words with distinct meaning; that Jesus spoke of God as God; and that whatever he said resonated as God’s final word on any subject.

As this writer continues to emphasize in his books Their Own Best Defense, we must understand that Jesus is Jehovah God in human form before we listen to him, change our perspectives, accept his word as final on any subject, and surrender to any teaching he offers.  Only in that context will we see that he rules life now and the after-life to come.  Only when affirming that will we stop hassling with him over what he said or demanded.  Only then will we admit he knows what’s necessary, and we don’t; he says what we need to believe, and we never could.

It isn’t left to us to alter, change or delete anything in the Bible.  It’s enough of a compliment that Jesus lets us preach his word as written, and like conductors, interpret exactly what the Holy Spirit composed.

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