Category Archives: Faith

Faith – in Christ always active and useful, Part V

The story so far.  A multi-millionaire discovered Italian motorcycles as irresistible collectables.  He accumulated and rode them until failing health prevented further use.  He then divested himself of the collection.  Each previous blog included an appropriate spiritual point.

Today’s spiritual point:  investing our life in God’s word has positive, permanent results.  It never stops paying dividends, now or eternally.  When every earthly investment vanishes in the Great Incineration, faith in God’s will remain intact…AND… increase in value.

By their very nature, the Godhead of Father, Son and Holy Spirit can never be fully understood.  Yet, the knowledge gained every time we read the Bible expands our apprehension of the MORE that exists.  By his infallible skill in charging God’s word with dynamic enlightenment, the Holy Spirit opens God’s word to new dimensions we can presently acquire and explore.  Studying one fact about Jesus leads to a desire to study another and that to another and that…well, you know.

It’s a never-satisfied search for the Complete Knowledge of God in Christ, every discovery of which enriches us without exhausting them.  And God’s word, Ephesians 1:6-7, promises that eternity will be one discovery after another of what is now mystery.  Each unlocking other vaults of knowledge in which God has hidden treasures about himself.  Each continually enriching our lives with greater understanding that reveals exponentially greater mysteries to study.  With the promise that God uncovers ever-more mysteries that inspire eternal searching and discovery, leading to eternally more satisfying knowledge and wisdom of God.  Who would want to miss such pleasure?     – 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.) 

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

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Faith – in Christ always remains active and useful, Part IV

Parts I – III revealed a multi-millionaire’s love of Italian motorcycles.  He collected all he could until he filled a two-story barn with $5 million worth of the cycles.  When his health didn’t equal his wealth; when his body couldn’t compete with his acquisitiveness; and when his desire to ride couldn’t guarantee his safety on the roads, he had to sacrifice ownership.  If he couldn’t use them, he no longer wanted them.

Spiritual point.  So long as we’re sentient—able to be AWARE, to DISTINGUISH—faith in Christ remains essential, availing and invaluable to us.  Given awareness, we never have to fear surrendering the Holy Spirit-produced fruit that enriches life.  Whatever our physical condition, we can delight in the presence of Jesus Christ.  He’s always “useable”, a force maintaining hope when physical breakdown foretells despair.  The graces and mercies Jesus provides grow in us even as every part of our body diminishes.  Given our sentience, we continue to enjoy all that failing health otherwise removes from daily life.

And, great blessing of God, should our sentience fail, our previous experience with Jesus remains our possession, even if we aren’t aware.  Nothing separates the Savior from his Saved!  – End Part IV –

 

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)

Faith – in Christ always remains active and useful, Part III

A correction.  This blog came from a story in the San Diego Union-Tribune about a living man’s experiences, not his obituary.  I regret the error.

While still physically active, the owner of the motorcycle collection gave tours to visitors from home and abroad. Spiritual Point.  God has a clear purpose for each Christian.  He insists that we “Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us” I Peter 2:12.

Point of fact.  We no less than first century Christians live among pagans/heathens.  Until Christians understand that we won’t feel compelled to witness to unsaved people. So long as we convince ourselves that moral people are equal to forgiven people, we won’t see the need to witness to those who content themselves with being moral.  Our lives need to be different in spiritual quality from the morality so welcomed because it costs people nothing they can’t pay.  So dynamic with spiritual grace that the lost moral person will ask what makes us different.  That will be our opportunity.

The man wasn’t concerned with financial profit when selling his motorcycles.  He had only one hope:  that “they”, his “inanimate” objects, would find “good homes.”  As if they were living things, not machines.  And if to him they had such quality, it’s a mistake every animal owner makes who considers them equal to us!

Spiritual Point.  Being a “good home” to the Gospel is absolutely necessary, or the Holy Spirit will not make his home in our mind and heart.  Period.  As Paul stressed in II Timothy 2:20-21, any large home had numerous vessels and articles of unequal value.  Making a Biblical application, Paul said if Christians cleansed themselves by turning from unworthy, ignoble purposes, the Holy Spirit would be pleased to fill us with Christ-honoring activities.

–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)

 

 

Faith – in Christ always remains active and useful, Part II

As a rich man, he purchased houses, properties and, once he saw them, Italian motorcycles.  He vowed to have all he saw; and wherever he looked he saw one.  So began an acquisition that wanted only 3 to 4 different kinds for different kinds of riding.  That desire GREW with each kind possessed:  from the original 3 to 10, to 20, then 30.

He first had a garage full of his treasures, then a second garage, then the garages and his house.  Finally, like the Rich Fool of Luke 12, he built a 2-story barn to house his 150 machines.  He

hunted world-wide for more, paid premium prices to acquire them and used them to satisfy his passion to fly on the open road.  He accumulated a non-pariel selection surpassed in the world only by some collections in Italy.  His collection finally went over the $5 million mark.

Spiritual Point.  Christian discipleship must have a zeal to know Christ more deeply and widely, more wisely and maturely.  The apostle Paul expressed that desire in Philippians 3:7-11.  Jesus Christ’s entire Persona, not Jesus in pieces.  We may come to know Jesus by installments, learning here, there, suddenly, purposefully.  But we must desire to know him completely, every inch, every pound, every teaching, every example.  He doesn’t come in parts!

Note that Jesus blessed that zeal, that hunger to KNOW him Matthew 5:6.  He didn’t see blessed the acquisition of the knowledge but the pursuit of it.

He knew, whether we learn of him in sound bites or in lengthy studies, we are filled and want to be stuffed to overflow.  – 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)

 

Faith – in Christ always remains active and useful, Part I

This blog originated in the obituary of a California multi-millionaire.  He had a successful career as a famous photographer of musical album covers.  During his first year in that career he made money.  By the end of the second year he had accumulated wealth and celebrity status.

In turn he invested in Beverly Hills homes, Martha’s Vineyard and Ojai properties, farmland in Spain and art in Florence, Italy.  In Florence he discovered Italian motorcycles he never knew existed.  Seeing them became a passion to own them; which became a passion to purchase them.  Which became three or four.  Then more; ten different kinds, then 20, then 30.  Then…. San Diego U-t, 2/2/17

Spiritual point.  Lots of people, lots!, have no idea WHO Jesus is.  Like old Cornelius, they may have heard about him or known someone belonging to him Acts10:36, 37.  Since nothing compares with personal experience in evaluating things and people, seeing Jesus as the Gospels reveal him shocks, enlivens and delights seekers of God.  Which leads to wanting to know more about Jesus, which leads to Bible study and prayer and worship experiences.     – 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)

Faith – God accepts only personal, mind-filling, life-changing – Part III

I Samuel 4:1-22.  In parts I and II the Israelites lost 4,000 men in a battle with the Philistines.  While the heathen rejoiced over the victory, and Israel mourned the defeat, Israel brought the Ark of God into camp.  Its arrival spread terror among the Philistines and delight among the Israelites.

In the next battle, Philistia so dominated that 30,000 Israelites died; the priests carrying the Ark died; the Ark was captured; Eli fell and broke his neck on hearing the news; Israel fled from the surrounding cities and Philistines occupied them.

Consider only two of more points this chapter teaches.

First, while single wrongs can harm people, the linkage of wrongs over a period of time will bring disaster.  Everyone in Israel knew the iniquity of Hophni and Phinehas, but they all tolerated their continued leadership.  And, truly, laymen could do little about it, in that clerical-dominated age.  But Eli could have done something had enough lay leaders protested his sons’ wickedness.  Yet, it’s well-known that laymen bear with abuses rather than demand correction.

That has a direct warning to America.  I recently read that WWI brought into being the revolution in the men’s and women’s roles.  That isn’t true.  Millions of women did work in factories and business during WWI.  But after the war, most of them returned to being homemakers.  During WWII millions more women worked in defense industries.  With the coming of peace, most of them stayed in the workplace.  That change contributed to the secularization of America, but it began in WWII.

The author also wrote that America began to lose faith in God because of WWI.  Again, not really true.  In fact, significant revivals in music and evangelism occurred after WWI.  Then, in the aftermath of WWII, particularly with the discovery of the holocaust, even theologians began to doubt God.  Of course, they’re often the first to doubt; and, in doubting, flee from the FACTS.  The reason for the destruction in WWII was the Nazi acceptance of Darwin’s theory of evolution, which German philosophers wove into the superior race theory, which Hitler adapted as the basis of genocide. It’s far more correct to say that skeptical theologians weren’t looking for answers to the gas ovens, as they claimed, but were fleeing the reasons for those ovens—the godless theories of Darwin adapted to politics.

In the 1950’s, then, Americans began a descent from belief in God, which became obvious only in the 1960’s, with the rise of rock and roll music, the violent, profane free-speech movement at Berkeley and the anti-establishment underground groups.  The clamor of homosexuals for freedom to choose followed in the 1970’s , the affliction of AIDS its bequest in the 1980’s.  (Thanks to drugs, many active homosexuals and reckless heterosexuals are living longer.  But a rise in AIDS among homosexuals proves that they have learned little.)  And now follows the demand of homosexuals for same-sex marriage.

None of this happened over-night.  Much of it happened as single episodes of wickedness that many didn’t even consider harmful, let alone evil.

Any complex problem in a life, a church, a society has at its base a deadly combination of wrongs that people tolerated at the time as single deviations from normal behavior.  Left unchallenged they become unmanageable disasters.

Second, symbols matter only as adjuncts to the spiritual life.  The Ark, God’s own gift to the Israelites, and a visible expression of his invisible presence, meant nothing if the people didn’t yield their lives to God.  However, the elders had come to look on the Ark as a god itself, not the symbol of God.  The same fixation on the temple afflicted the Jews in Jeremiah’s, then Christ’s generation.  It stood forever, they felt, and because it did, Israel would remain intact.

God has consistently used symbols to explain himself and his covenants:  circumcision, baptism (which is far  more than a symbol), a Passover Lamb, the Lord’s Table. But they take their meaning from the spiritual life that creates them.  They remain the shadow cast by the substance, and must never be mistaken for the substance.

Humanity has demonstrated a perverted skill in upending this reality.  This has led people to content themselves with cosmetic changes in lifestyle and attitudes while maintaining the same basic, carnal nature week after week.  This is a curse on American Christianity today, with its emphasis on numbers, entertainment and relational preaching.

We should always pray to be renewed from within, where thought begins and motives originate.  And to pray that God will be a Living Presence, rehabilitating our brokenness into the image of the Christ.    – Fini –

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Faith – God accepts only personal, mind-filling, life-changing – Part II

The Philistines threw themselves into the battle with the desperation of doomed men.  The Israelites marched jauntily to the front lines confident of victory because they had the Ark of God with them.

Catastrophe struck Israel.  When the warriors clashed, the Philistines found the Israelite line a sieve.  Philistine swordsmen poured through and soon as many of their soldiers occupied Israel’s rear as her front.  Where God’s people lost 4,000 men without the Ark, they suffered 30,000 deaths with the Ark in camp.

Israel fought like warriors but without weapons, without armor, without legs, without arms, without defense.  Had they fought only shadows, they would have fled as from a host.  Had their whole army fought a single Philistine, before him the army would have wildly scattered.

Because God had withdrawn his protecting presence.  Because he wouldn’t tolerate desecration of his name by priests and arrogance of impenitent people who thought him obligated to them despite their refusal to obligate themselves to him!

– End – Part II –

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Faith – God accepts only personal, mind-filling, life-changing – Part I

This blog excerpts a message from I Samuel 4:1-22, preached July 26, 2015.

The arrival of the Ark of the Covenant in Israel’s camp produced misconceptions in both the lost and the saved.  The Philistines feared it guaranteed their defeat.  The warriors had returned to their bivouac full of self-congratulations.  After removing their armor and grabbing their cups and the nearest piece of meat from the spit, they lay among the baggage eating, drinking and boasting of the 4,000 Israelite warriors slain.

They were there when a thunderous eruption from the Israelite lines, and a faint shuddering rippling through the earth, drowned their clamor.  A picket from their advanced post soon rushed into camp with news that “a god has come into their camp”—in a box carried by their priests.  Euphoria vanished and the bravest warrior suddenly gulped the bite of meat in his mouth.  Not only was their earlier victory imperiled; their own future as slaves seemed certain.

If the Philistines feared that the box guaranteed their defeat, Israel knew it guaranteed their victory.  The elders had autopsied the previous defeat.  After exhausting analysis and microscopic studies, they found no spiritual reasons for it.  They could only believe it due to the absence of the ark at the battleground.

The gold-covered chest, 4 feet long, 2 feet wide, 2 feet high, served as the symbol of God’s presence among his people.  It held manna, the tablets from Sinai and Aaron’s rod.  The problem was:  like the Philistines, Israel equated the ark with God.  It seemed but a box of magic out of which they could pull a spectacular victory.  The ark of God, not God, won battles.  Thus, they unanimously voted to have Hophni and Phinehas remove it from the Holy of Holies for transport to the army.

– End – Part I –

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