Category Archives: Christ

Christ – centrality of, Part III

The Last Days began with the birth of Christ.  His beginning heralded the end of history.  It occurs when he returns from Heaven on towering cloud-chariots, accompanied by loud trumpet blasts, his own stentorian call to the dead and numberless angels he sends to gather and separate the harvest.  When that happens it heralds the end of all we know and the beginning of what only God knows.

That could only happen since Jesus ROSE BODILY from the grave.  The very truth that separates Christianity from all other religions, including Judaism.  Buddha is dead.  Moses is dead.  Confucius is dead.  Mohammed is dead.  Joseph Smith is dead.  But Jesus Christ lives—personally, forcefully, dynamically, intensely, eternally!

Naturally, all men are alive in some way or another.  The immortality of influence can’t be denied.  Good men live on in the lives, attitudes and work of their followers.  Evil men continue to plague earth long after their personal demise—witness the underlings of Hitler even today, and the followers of a very dead Osama ben Laden.

But Jesus isn’t alive merely as an influence.  He’s alive as a Person, a Presence, an Individual.  He speaks and worlds take shape.  He orders, and diseases vanish, limbs grow and spirits return from the abode of the dead to the corpse they left!  He died and strong men carried his corpse into a tomb and rolled a giant stone to shut him in.  No matter to him.  He who spoke worlds into being and corpses into life himself lived again in that dark place and exited it in blazing illumination that lights all history and eternity Revelation 21:22-23, 22:5.

That’s Jesus.  Subjected once to death, but victorious over it and never again subject to it.  Jesus, a living Presence filling the life of the Christian and the church’s personality.  Jesus, an energetic historical reality who has been worshipped into the 21st century, who has worked among the nations in all times.  Jesus—an ever-present actuality waxing greater and greater, directing his people, moving from conquest to conquest time after time.  Jesus, who is not subject to the laws of nature but subjects them to his will; who is not overcome by age, enervation or change, but overcomes them all by the force of his endless life.

That’s what makes Jesus Christ so relevant and the church so necessary.  Twenty-one hundred plus years after his birth in Bethlehem he LIVES, RULES and JUDGES.  This sounds like an Easter sermon, but it’s an everyday, “thank God Jesus Lives” reminder that He gives us victory because HE LIVES and, by trusting him, even we conquer death!  – 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

Captain Jack, leader of the Modoc Indians who rebelled against unjust Caucasian rule, asked if the killers of settlers would be tried by white or red juries.  The commissioner replied that white men would determine their fate.  Captain Jack then asked if the killers of Modoc’s would be tried by Modoc’s?  No, the commissioner replied, “by whites.”  The white man’s law ruled the country.  And a country can have but One Rule and one Law at a time.

The reign of Jesus is distinct.  Only One Jesus Christ came from God.  Only He was needed.  For he offered himself as God’s Perfect Teacher, Example and Sacrifice Hebrews 10:5-7.  In essence, Jesus embodied the purpose and goal of all preceding him; and originated all that followed.  Jesus Christ rules, governs, teaches, promises and warns humanity:  until he has put all God’s enemies under his feet, he is, was and is to be the center of life.  No one else.  When he’s finished eliminating God’s enemies, in an administrative change he’ll return all his authority to God the Father into a SHARED authority I Corinthians 15:24-28.  Jesus will continue at God’s Right Hand, forever and ever, the visible expression of the otherwise invisible God Revelation 21:22-22:5.

The RMS Titanic could float with one compartment flooded, with two flooded, even with three or four flooded.  It couldn’t stay afloat with all five flooded.  And all five had been!  Thus, some losses won’t destroy us.  Some can even be turned to gain.  But if we lose Jesus, we’re doomed.  No hope.  No peace.  No justification before God.  No entrance into the New Jerusalem.  Remember, and don’t forget.  Everything from Genesis 1:1 to Revelation 22:21 it’s all about Jesus, Don’t even glance at anyone else.  There is none but HE, Forever and Ever!

– 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

Like Latin to the medievalist to his studies, Jesus occupies the absolutely central role in humanity, no competitors before and none since.  His nature carefully, fully and distinctly expressed God the Father’s John 3:16, Love; 5:8, Healer; 5:21, Resurrection; 5:24, Eternal life; 5:27, Judge; 6:33, 35, Sustenance for life; 8:58, Incarnate; 9:5, Light, etc.  Blaise Pascal summarized it in the Penses, Great Books, p. 319, Section 740, saying that Jesus is the one both Testaments regard as essential:  the former as its hope, the latter as its fulfillment, both with him as central.  F.F. Bruce wrote that Christians should focus on Christ’s nature as God in the flesh, not in proving his miracles.  They flow inevitably from his nature even as Old Testament prophetic miracles flowed from the Christ’s Spirit in them.  They naturally performed fewer by being spokesmen for Law; he performed many by being the embodiment of God’s Grace in human life.

We say of some people, “We could use ten more like him.”  That’s at once a great compliment of his worth and an admission of limitation of worth.  He does much, but can’t do all.  Jesus is different.  We don’t need five of him, or ten, or even two.  One is enough since One Jesus Christ does it all, works all good things, inspires all necessary virtues, forgives all human sin in every generation, perfectly governs history as its sole sovereign and Personally, Solely and All By Himself Judges every human being at the Last.

We need no more Christ’s.  We do need more of Christ in his people.  Whose lives embody as much as possible what he embodied completely.  And more of his total worth embodied in the corporate body of Christ—powerfully serving in every generation.  We determine how much of him the unsaved see.

Jesus will come again, but only as Judge of history.  Meanwhile his servants have the privilege of serving daily as his messengers.  May God raise us to his Son’s standard.  He will never reduce his standard to our achievements.       – 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 – all we have; all we need

Corrie ten Boom once said that we may know Jesus is all we need only when Jesus is all we have.  That profound truth is repeatedly stressed in scripture and experienced by believers.  Sunday Bulletin, 9/17/17.

In Genesis 13:1-18, as a result of God’s too-numerous blessings, Abraham and Lot had to separate.  In a generous gesture, since Abraham had received God’s covenant and its benefits, he allowed Lot to choose first.  His eyes full of green in an otherwise barren land, Lot chose the plain of the Jordan, though under God’s curse by its Sodom being in God’s wrathful bull’s-eye.  Lot got what he wanted, a comfortable life and apparent prosperity.

However, while remaining in Canaan, a land of sometimes marginal, sometimes subsistence production, Abraham got ALL.  “Lot got the land he chose,” God said to Abraham, “You get ME, the Great I AM, your Great Reward.  Oh, in addition, you get the privilege of populating the earth with believers like yourself.”  Abraham’s greatest gift was the former, not the latter.

God may leave us in a precarious lifestyle while he bolsters us with his Holy Spirit.  He kept Allied prisoners in the Kwai death camps while he inspired them to develop medicines, invent musical instruments, hold concerts and start studies in all subjects.  More importantly, their spirits, like sky-scrapers filled with Christ’s presence, poured mercy on all prisoners in need, comforted all who died and…amazingly, forgave their tormentors.

The Japanese were the captors, held captive by their brutality.  The prisoners were the besieged, freed by Christ’s grace to SOAR to dimensions their humanity had never before reached, remained immune to the pain, sickness, wounds and death.  The captors lost by wining; the prisoners won far more by losing.

We sometimes feel we need this or that, or must have this or that, when all we need is to be aware of Jesus Christ’s Presence in us.  Yours for a faith in Christ that instinctively knows he’s all we need without having to learn by experience that he’s all we have.

 

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 – always offered clear hope

John Ashbery, renowned American poet, has died at age 90.  A popular figure in the genre, he won numerous awards, taught poetry at Harvard and other eastern universities and had a volume of his poetry published by the Library of America.  But don’t be deceived by all honors.  He once said that if his name could become a verb, Ashbery would mean—“to confuse the hell out of people.”  San Diego U-T, 9/4/17

Which calls the sentence of doom on his work.  Which of us can’t be obscure if he chooses; who is despite attempts to be clear; who won’t leave listeners and readers wondering what he said; who can’t spin words into webs of deceit and obscurity; who can’t make a maze of the simplest subject?  What does it all prove except the one so honored so confused people they considered him superior?

When Jesus came he found the people discouraged, depressed and in despair.  To have philosophized would have driven them deeper into their depths.  Thus, he abhorred philosophy.  To have politicized the issues would have created more distrust, hatred and suspicion than already existed.  Thus, he rejected politics.  To have militarized the issues would have glorified the Roman conquest of enemies and its domination of friends.  Thus, he wouldn’t use force to make himself known.

Think of the words he used instead:  healed, walk, see, hope,…and more hope… endless emphases on hope.  “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened….” Matthew 11:28.  Words of hope to those needing a lift.  “A bruised reed he will not break, and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out….”  Matthew 12:20.  Words of hope to those feeling defeated.  “Having loved his own who were in the world….In this world you will have trouble.  But take heart!  I have overcome the world” John 13:1, 16:33.  Words of hope for all who wonder if they can persevere through troubles and disappointment.

Jesus came to educate listeners in his authority over all that would diminish us.  He came to clarify the issue. God rules, he repeated.  God loves.  God cares.  He has equipped his people to survive when attacked; to resist when opposed; and to overcome when they’re embattled.  God wills his truth to triumph through us:  his strength and our commitment to him combine to empower, whatever our weakness!

 

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 – exceeds all, Part III

Suppose you live to be 90 years.  Yet, in all that time you seek only within yourself the meaning and purpose of those years.  What has been the value of the effort contrasted with Christ’s statement that HE alone gives fullness to life—meaning, purpose and direction?

Suppose you live those years thinking this life is all that matters because no one proved anything further existed.  How directly and arrogantly that contrasts with the bodily resurrection of Jesus that assures life beyond the grave?

Hate with prophetic vehemence any teaching that can’t guarantee the reality of the next life by declaring Jesus Christ alive in every sense on the third day AND FOREVER, and all his believers the same.  Deduce the present truth of any teaching by its teaching about the after-life.  For what’s the difference if positive thinking helps us recover from divorce or cancer or loss of health, but offers nothing certain beyond death?  For any teaching is incorrigibly false who offers only self-help, and that only for this world, and that insufficient and contradictory.

Millions should flock from such incompetent purveyors of religious illusions.  And to Jesus, who taught that a healthy life can best be assured by being forgiven our sins against God, and the offenses of others against us.  But beyond that, what?  Beyond the blood-pumping, air-breathing time, what then?

This, thank God in Christ, this!, a time beyond time, beyond years, beyond centuries, beyond eons measured only by eternity and eternity.  And there God in Christ reigns and welcomes those who have loved and served him in the few brief years allotted them here.

We’re not like animals, with souls that perish in death, and don’t live again.  We’re souls reinforced with God’s Image—the eternal part of us—turning us into spiritual beings who never die once born.

Know for a fact that life beyond this world exists. Know for a fact Jesus prepares us now through forgiveness of sin to live in the new body only the redeemed inhabit.  Prepare now for that world.  And put your hope in the Savior who proved he can take you there in delight by rising from a corpse into a living Lord.    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 book:  The Parables of Jesus at www.createspace.com/7164741

 

Christ – exceeds all, Part II

Part I related the death of a religious science writer, teacher and counselor.  She overlooked Scriptural teachings that stress Christ’s superiority to her view that humans have within themselves the resources to make a complete life.

That was only half her fault.  She and the religious science she promoted neglected an important fact of life:  the best way to save face is to keep the lower half shut.  For they prove that sinful dying mortals never get too old to be vain and false.  Those religious magicians never stop summoning hopeful spirits from within fallen mortals to resolve spiritual problems beyond humanity.

For they speak only for now, to this land of the dying.  And, as shown in Part I, falsely even in that message.  While they foolishly say we can resolve problems we face by summoning energies and insights from within ourselves, they never mention what happens NEXT.  When we breathe our last.  When our brain ceases to function.  When our limbs grew stiff, then rigid.  When loved ones can only cry in regret!

And…shattering the pretensions of religious science, when they say no one can speak of the future after death because NO ONE knows, that denies the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead!  To preserve their lies, they deny the truth of his conquest of death.  It doesn’t matter that it’s what humanity needs and longs for.  It’s what actually happened to the body of Jesus on the third day after his burial.  He came alive from the dead and rose bodily!  That makes a lie out of anyone who says we can, on our own, make our way successfully through this life and safely into the next.  – End Part II –

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

 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 –exceeds all, Part I

She lived nearly 91 years.  Then died.  Before she died she built a self-help publishing company that made her millions.  Finding in religious science what helped her recover from the trauma of divorce, she then tried to help others find in themselves the resources for successful living.  When the time to die seemed at hand—it didn’t come for 9 more years—she wanted someone with her who could help her to “live my dying fully”. Whatever that meant. San Diego U-T, 9/4/17  There’s a lot more to write about this person, but consider two perspectives, the first today, the second Monday, September 11.

One, the lady considered that she found in religious science what wasn’t available elsewhere.  Apparently she never read Christ’s words in John 10:10, “…I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”

Or Christ’s words in Luke 6:38, “Give, and it will be given to you.  A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap.”  Note…Jesus said blessings in life came naturally to those who give generously to help others, not to those who intentionally seek “fullness” of life.

Or Christ’s words in John 16:33, “…In this world you will have trouble.  But take heart!  I have overcome the world.”  Note again…whatever we experience in life, the Savior’s own overcoming life empowers us to overcome, as Paul said in Romans 8:37, “…in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.”  Jesus is the source of our personal conquest.  We haven’t designed the way to overcome life and we haven’t developed the resources to overcome life.

Or again and again, Christ’s words in Revelation 3:31, “To him who overcomes, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I overcame and sat down with my Father on his throne.”

Jesus put himself squarely in the center of all success in life.  And freely shares his conquest with all who accept him and let him empower them with himself.

That being true, religious science, the modern counterpart of false teachers the apostle Paul denounced in Colossians, has no formulas for successful living that Jesus Christ didn’t enunciate in his ministry, through his apostles but ALWAYS IN HIM!

And that’s just half the story.  Next week, the rest of the story.   – End Part I –

 

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 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