Category Archives: Success

Success – may bring failure

The shiploads of precious metals from the New World swelled the treasury of Spain.  Great wealth followed.  And…great inflation.  Citizens called it The Price Revolution because prices skyrocketed.  The inflation spread like a virus throughout Europe.  It also hastened Spain’s decline.  The Discoverers, 653

So much for all that money flooding the Spanish treasury.

Since WWII America has been on an endless binge of successes:  in space, in medicine, in technology, in economy, in inventions.  And the result has been a swollen pride and ego that declared independence of God in Christ.  What has it gained us to profit in all the ways we have while plummeting to ever-deepening depravity?  If we had any sense, we would industriously pray for God to reduce our standard of living and increase our dependence on him.  But don’t count on it.  For we have yet to learn what Chesterton wrote—that victories often lose what defeats preserve.  American Heritage, November 1993, 50

Yours for faith that refuses to be intimidated by failure or bolstered by success.  For faith that trusts only Jesus Christ through defeats and victories.  That always makes us confident and assured.  For Jesus never fails.

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

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Success – greater when opposed

The Universities of Illinois and Michigan met in a mighty face-off in Champaign, Illinois in 1924 to settle an argument over superiority in Big Ten football.  They had shared the title in 1923, not having played each other.

Michigan brought to the game a tradition of dominance in the Conference.  Illinois paraded on the field with a certain “Galloping ghost” called Harold “Red” Grange in the squad.  His reputation when a sophomore rankled Michigan.  He had only been so successful the year before, they said, because he hadn’t met Michigan tacklers.  Like warriors putting on their armor, they boasted that Grange wouldn’t pass the line of scrimmage.

The Michigan coach proved his confidence by having the kick-off directed to Grange.  Sixty-seven thousand fans watched as #77 caught the ball and raced 95 yards  for a T.D.  The second time he touched the ball he went 67 yards for a T.D.  The third time he went 55 yards for a T. D.  Before the game finished, Red Grange had gained 402 yards and scored 5—count ‘em—5 touchdowns!  With him targeted by the vaunted Michigan defense.  With a bulls-eye on his every move.  With Michigan reputations and boasts at stake.  Still Grange shredded the opposition.  American History Illustrated, November 1965, p. 30.

Jesus Christ understood being the target of the opposition, in his case the entire leadership of Israel.  See Luke 5:17, 5:30, Mark 2:18, John 5:10, 18, Mark 3:2 as a few of more examples.  Once his fame reached critical levels, Jesus always taught, healed and exorcised demons in the presence of hostile critics.

Yet he continued to teach and heal and exorcise, to take unpopular stands and criticize those who felt righteous in their own eyes.  What an example Jesus set for all his people as they find their witness challenged, unpopular and opposed, sometimes physically.

What to do, then, Christians, when we confront hostile situations, audiences and certain persecution if we speak up for Jesus?  Why, what else?  SPEAK UP for Jesus.

The Gospel has always had enough fearsome teaching to give listeners pause; to make them recoil; to stir their animosity.  At no time more than now.  Nowhere is this more obvious in reaching the unsaved.  In a day when preachers are often afraid of people, especially the unsaved, it isn’t politically correct to call people sinners; to tell the unsaved they need to have their sins forgiven.  It’s a lot less challenging to promise the lost that church can provide fellowship, friendship, better marriages, child care and a happier life.  But is it what Jesus did?  Is it what he would do now?  Would he let the lost tell him how they’ll be found?

God equips us to be spiritual Red Granges if we serve Jesus Christ as Jesus Christ served him.  Will we accept his commission as the condition of being equipped with God’s protective armor?

Check out my E-books and website at:;

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

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

 Books also at  (Virgil Hurley)

Success – can depend on a bad memory

While not a devotee of Eleanor Roosevelt I admire her perspective on failure.  She discussed it with Edna Ferber.  She admitted to no energy source denied others; and to no special illumination in planning daily activities.

Like everyone else she determined a plan and followed it.  She followed it until it succeeded or failed.  She continued, whatever success she enjoyed and despite any failure she experienced.

Above all, she didn’t waste time mourning over what might have been IF ONLY….  For example, should a speech disappoint her or her audience, she simply determined to do better the next time.  Concentrating forward energized her and enabled her to escape energy-depleting regret.  She learned to do her best, then continue.  She learned from her mistakes without mourning over them.  And she learned to start again, forgetting the past.

Did we ever stop to think that the ability to forget is also a blessing?  While a retentive memory treasures past joys, a gracious forgetfulness obliterates past blunders.  The apostle Paul stressed this point.  “…Forgetting what is behind,” he wrote in Philippians 3:13, “and straining toward what is ahead, I press on….”  Could he ever have lived in peace with himself if he hadn’t learned to forget his brutal crimes against innocent Christians?

So with us.  Today will have its share of errors.  We’ll either remain silent when we should speak, or we’ll mis-speak when we talk.  Or we’ll trivialize the sacred and maximize the profane.  Whatever mistake we can make, we will.  The one we can’t possibly make we will anyway.

How will we respond?  Live haunted by our humanity?  Or respond to God’s grace or forgiveness by learning from our sin/mistake/failure?  Give up because “we can’t do anything right”?  Or try again because “we can do better next time”?  Continue to try or surrender to self-destructive regret?

Repent if that’s necessary.  Above all, willingly accept God’s indulgent forgiveness.  And, “forgetting what is behind,” go on in Christ’s persevering strength.  Note:  No Blog till 4/27

Success – important IF…

We’re success-oriented people, for sure.  We’re told to “compete, overcome, succeed, persevere, climb to the top, be the best.”  All admirable advice…  IF…we channel that spirit within self.  If we don’t use or domineer others in improving ourselves or our station.  If we let Jesus be the model of perfection towards which we work.  That means we always at best improve self, never achieve our ultimate potential.

Then our greatest victory will be conquest of self; our greatest joy forgiveness of sin; our greatest honor the privilege of serving others; our greatest beauty a patient, quiet, anxiety-free spirit; our greatest talent communicating Christ’s love to all; our greatest frontier the undeveloped spiritual dimensions in our minds and hearts; our greatest possession faith in the risen Lord.

Let us succeed all we want.  Strive for excellence.  Commit ourselves to its pursuit.  But let us be very sure that we succeed in the one enterprise that cannot fail. Otherwise, all our success will be a mockery.  God’s cause never fails.  Be a shareholder in a victory already won by the Lord, who gives equal shares of it to his disciples.