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Failure – Bible Facts About, Part I

The Bible says much about failure, directly and indirectly; by example for warning or encouragement; in the lives of believers, skeptics and unbelievers.  Consider six Bible facts about failure.

First Bible Fact About Failure.  All failure is caused by the initial disobedience of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden Genesis 2:17, 3:6, 17.  Failure is in our nature because sin was in their free will.

Second Bible Fact About Failure.  Even the best of God’s servants are victims of failure.  Abraham had a congenital weakness for lying when he felt physically threatened Genesis 12:10-20, 20:1-18.  David sinned by lusting after Uriah’s wife, II Samuel 11:2-4, then egregiously violated the sixth commandment, Exodus 20:6, by murdering her husband II Samuel 11:14-15. 

Third Bible Fact About Failure.  Christians are potentially beyond the power of failure if they’re true to the purpose of baptism Romans 6:1-14.  For it’s oxymoronic for someone dead to something to continue a living relationship with it.  If we continue failing, it’s because we ignore the purpose and power of our baptismal vow.        – 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 book:  The Parables of Jesus at www.createspace.com/7164741

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bible – no contradictions in, Part II

Part I suggested that letting scripture interpret scripture eliminates many apparent contradictions.  It also suggested that studying the contexts of the passage eliminates even more.

Contradictions in the Bible will be eliminated if we understand that all the writers agree in essence and differ only in details. This is especially important in studying the Gospels. Matthew 8:5-13 and Luke 7:1-10 both record Christ’s healing of the centurion’s servant. A contradiction is removed if we understand that the centurion may well have rushed to Jesus once he saw him arrive outside his house. Luke records that arrival.

An important point here: if the Gospel accounts agreed in every detail, collusion would be rightly charged. However, critics are so anxious to convict the Bible of fraud that they consider as proof of inconsistency personal details that serve the writer’s purpose. Critics fault the Gospels when they agree in essence and when they disagree in detail. God will reveal any fact needed to prove the validity of his word, but nothing to satisfy our curiosity or remove our objections. The Bible assumes God’s existence, but God won’t tolerate critics assuming the Bible’s guilt until it proves its innocence. No less a scholar than Will Durant, himself a skeptic, admitted that if the tests applied to New Testament books were applied to ancient writings, none of them would be considered true.

Contradictions in the Bible are eliminated if we understand that, where the Bible states a truth without explanation, we must believe it without understanding. This is a scientifically demonstrable principle, without which research wouldn’t be possible. Consider Christ’s statement that the loaf was his body and the cup his blood Matthew 26:26-28. Apart from the fact that they couldn’t literally be or become his body and blood, he said what he meant and meant what he said—without explanation. We may say the loaf and cup represent his body and blood, or are symbolic of his body and blood, but Jesus didn’t say that. In addition, believing that he meant what he said has never divided God’s people; trying to explain what he meant has. Therefore, what Jesus stated without explanation, we must accept without understanding or explanation.      – Fini –

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

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

God – clearly teaches what he wants kept

In 1905 Andrew Carnegie established a Foundation to be the depository of his surplus millions and his benefactor to cities, colleges and educational agencies.  Many public libraries in the nation had their origins in his bequests.

He wrote a “letter of gift” to his original trustees with information followed by every succeeding group.  He noted that since conditions on earth “inevitably change,” he wouldn’t bind trustees to hard and fast rules.  Indeed, he gave them “full authority” to change both policy and benefactions as they thought necessary.  They would conform to his “wishes by using their own judgement.”  That has led the Foundation to make changes in its bequests while remaining true to education and “international peace”—whatever that misnomer means.  If it means supporting the United Nations, it’s a waste of money.  Internet, 8/10/17

The point of this blog:  Carnegie gave succeeding generations of trustees the right to change the beneficiaries and bequests—and they have.  Since his word is eternal, God has given no one any right to change anything in his word.  But churches and individual have nevertheless taken the liberty to add to, subtract from, God’s word.  When we’re told we CAN change things, we do.  When God tells us not to change his WORD, we still do!  We never stop being arrogant!

The Bible isn’t a Foundation whose owner considers its benefactions liable to change.  The Bible is God’s Eternal Mind recorded so we can know eternal principles and truths by which to direct our daily lives and hope for eternal life with him.  No one, no group, who feels it their right to alter or amend God’s book will ever see God, except in Wrath.

Think about that when we’re tempted to soften God’s word so people won’t be offended.  Or to remove essential teachings to make our appeal more popular.  Or to live outside God’s teaching while expecting to be forgiven.  Matthew 7:21-27 never stops challenging this writer with a provocative question:  am I a true disciple?

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

 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

Independence Day – Afterglow from July 2, Part I

The word extrapolate should be in our minds.  It means to infer, project, extend and predict future results from existing behavior, data, decisions and convictions.  While many people seldom consider that present decisions have long term results, or consequences, they do.  Sunday’s message stressed a basic question to Americans.  Where would this country be now if we had BEGUN with our present moral and spiritual values?

The sermon first took a brief historical survey of what motivated the founding fathers to establish the American commonwealth.  It began as a Christian society.  How can we continue to exist since we are no longer true to our origins?

In the Earliest Settlements

In 1607 the Pilgrims established Jamestown in Virginia as the first permanent European society.  Their Virginia Company Charter said, in part, that they came by God’s providence to proclaim the Christian faith to the people (make that Indians) living in ignorance of God.

Now…that kind of upward appraisal of Christianity versus world religions isn’t heard much today.  We don’t want to offend anyone, after all.  Every religion is good for its people, after all.  The Pilgrims didn’t believe that.  Neither should we.  For by tolerating that Satanic lie, Christians have by default lost much of their pervasive influence.

In 1620 the Puritans sailed from Plymouth, England, after arranging financial support from English businessmen—the venture capitalists of their day.  They intended to settle north of Jamestown and live under their Virginia Charter.  They actually landed near Cape Cod, Massachusetts, far outside the Virginia Charter’s area.  Unable to live under their rules, they had to develop their own.  Before they went ashore in December 22, 1620, they wrote their Mayflower Compact.

The preamble noted that they came to America to reveal the Glory of God in the advancement of the Christian faith.  Ten years later John Winthrop came as their Governor saying, his group claiming only to be fellow members of Christ.    -End Part I-

Next:  what happened in the following 200 years.

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

Future – when hope exists, Part I

The following two blogs originated in a graveside service the writer conducted.  It was the last of 4 funerals our congregation had in a few months’ time, the last three within two weeks.

II Corinthians 4:16-5:1 offers the reason Christians must live for tomorrow.  There’s always enough sorrow in life to eclipse our joy, if we let sorrow dominate.  OR…there’s always more than enough Joy than sorrow can ever eclipse, if we let Jesus fill us with himself and his promises.

The apostle confronted that dilemma as he wrote the above text.  He understood the problem of humanity:  “outwardly we are wasting away.”  The four loved ones we lost experienced that wasting.  Of the quartet only one death shocked us by its suddenness.  We watched the other three vanish in stages—one lady slipped away in a worship service, only to rally for a few more weeks.

Like them, all of us waste away:  bodily, mentally, emotionally…until we go the way of all the earth.  We’re either now tired or weary or exhausted, or, like my brother Rich a few days before he died, “WORN OUT.”  If not now, later.  If not immediately, eventually.

Death…the human condition that interrupts relationships, cancels friendships, ends marriages, blasts retirement plans and mocks all the improvements in diet, health, exercise and medical care to significantly lengthen lifespans.

Yet…appreciate that little conjunction…though all I’ve written is true…       –  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)

 

 

Death – Jesus conquered – by dying, Part IV

Accept the principle that the strongest man is the one who gives all the advantages to the opponent in a contest, then beats him badly.  Then see Jesus as infinitely greater than Satan in any confrontation they had, their Wilderness brawl the prime example.

Christ’s conquest there, and at the Tomb, gave early Christians the confidence to face and conquer an entrenched heathenism throughout the Roman Empire.  It gives Christians the same confidence today.  We face a ravenously anti-Christ society.  What, then, should his disciples do?  Why, what else?  Preach Jesus Christ crucified!  This is the time for more, not less courage; for more, not less boldness in preaching; for more, not less insistence on self-denial in discipleship; for confronting people with their need to obey God, whatever he says, not seek him only for comfort in our problems.

By giving himself over to death.  Where Satan built his immovable fortress.  Where he erected his greatest barriers and flexed his greatest strength.  Where he had buried every generation forever.  And God seemed impotent to interfere.  Jesus came into Satan’s citadel.  And gouged out death’s eyes; sliced open its chest; tore out its heart; seized its arms and ripped them off.

Glory to God, the Master’s victory in the wilderness is also the reason he had no fear of death or submitting to it.  He proved it nothing but an empty shell, lacking substance.  It also occasioned the most unusual response in Hades

– 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)

 

 

Pain – with equal pleasure

All the apostles shared in the punishment of an enraged Sanhedrin Acts 5:40-42.  That didn’t keep them from publicly continuing to preach what brought the beating.  The attack on the entire apostolic corps accelerated the leadership’s hostility that began with the overnight imprisonment of Petr and John Acts 4:1-3.

Of all the apostles, only two had beatific visions of Heaven itself.  Paul’s occurred in approximately AD 40-41 during his ministry.  We don’t know the details.  What’s interesting is the sequel.  He received a thorn in his flesh to keep his mind on his business, not dreaming his way through daily life in Christ by dwelling on future ecstasy II Corinthians 12:1-10.  The thorn also kept him humble; it didn’t allow exaltation of himself as an apostle.  Equally interesting, when Paul referred to the crown of righteousness he would receive after death—eternal life in Christ’s presence—he also saw that as God’s gift of grace to every believer II Timothy 4:8.

The apostle John received the entire Revelation as an aged apostle.  The Roman Empire still considered him dangerous enough to their emperor worship that they exiled him to Patmos.  His vision came while in exile where he worked and awaited God’s summons to beatitude.  God’s revelation to him included future sufferings for God’s people and God’s assurance of Victory for him and his followers.

Thus we have two great men of God finding delight in Christ’s Resurrected, Ascended Glories while paying a physical price in his service.  The two concepts are mutually compatible, not distinct.  To this day we still find Grace more sufficient than the problems, disappointments, griefs, sins and failures daily life imposes.  Nothing in this life that could be an excuse NOT TO SERVE must ever be USED.  Paul continued to serve Christ despite his thorn.  John continued serving Jesus throughout his exile.

That’s a warning to our mortal need of answers from God:  trust him, regardless.  It’s also an encouragement.  Using Paul and John, God knows how and when to plant and bloom his ecstasies in daily life to compensation for any hardship experienced.

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 III

Based on Hebrews 2:14-18, the blogs this week focus on the Lord’s identification with us.

The eternal God became a man in Bethlehem.  When he did he remained God the Son in human form.  He didn’t become sinful man.  The reason was simple:  enough sinful leaders, with flawed purposes, had already come before Jesus arrived.  Even more have come since.  And they have, as sin-riddled mortals, added to the PROBLEM, not to the solution needed.

In the first place, then, Jesus became a man to demonstrate what it meant to really be a human.  As George MacDonald said, Jesus is the only real man—human—ever!  All the rest of us are merely trying to reach manhood/humanity, while we struggle mightily with our frailties, limitations and sins.

In the second place, while he had no sin, he didn’t content himself with being SINLESS—which is a point of undeniable integrity.  Only the perfect person would have a distinctive purpose for his perfection.  Which Jesus did. While free of sin, the gracious Lord gave himself as Savior for those still burdened by it and with problems he never had Mark 10:45.  Thus, while many who have overcome particular problems have no interest in showing those still manacled how to unlock the cuffs, Jesus without the problems gave hope to those all their lives contesting them.

Which is also why Jesus died without fear.  He knew his death would be the means by which he banished death.  Indeed, by dying Jesus gouged out death’s eyes, tore off its arms, slit open its chest and tore out its heart. – End –

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)

Water – the Wonder of

Note:  my brainy professor-pastor friend Mark Berrier writes columns for his hometown paper.  I’ll include a few/as blogs this week/as blogs.

Scientists call water “the maverick compound.” No scientist can tell us why water is a liquid. Everything in the universe acts according to its molecular weight—except water. According to its molecular weight, it should be two gasses, hydrogen and oxygen, all the way down to 142 degrees below zero Fahrenheit. Then it should be a liquid from -142 to -148, and then a solid from then on down. But for some reason, it doesn’t do as it is “supposed” to. Instead, it is a liquid from 212 degrees down to 32 degrees; then as it cools, it becomes a solid. Again, opposed to everything else, water expands as it gets colder—or hotter. From 39.2 degrees, either hotter or colder, up or down, water expands.

Not only that, but according to Genesis 1:2, water at one time filled the universe: “…the Spirit of God was brooding over the waters….” Scientists tell us that if the whole universe was brought down to “absolute zero,” which is -273.15 degrees Celsius (or minus 459.67 degrees Fahrenheit), all matter would shrink down until nothing existed! The only thing that would fill the universe would be water, because it expands as it cools. It is the first thing that exists, besides God, mentioned in the Bible (Genesis 1:2).

Water is absolutely essential for all life as we know it. Without water, everything dies. The surface of our planet is made up of about 70% water, and our bodies are also about 70% water. All plants and animals depend on water to survive.

Have you ever asked yourself how water can get up into the tops of trees, even the giant sequoia? Water does what scientists call “chinning itself.” Somehow, with just the right size straw, water actually climbs up the straw, and it appears there is no limit how high water can climb. Trees and plants can’t “suck” the water up inside themselves; the water climbs up in there itself. If you’ve ever had a roof leak, you know how water can wick to different places; the leak is often very hard to find.

Water is truly a miracle. Water can break steel or concrete when it freezes. Nothing can contain water and hold it if the water keeps getting colder. It will break any container as it expands. It can exert tremendous pressure. The colder it becomes, the more pressure it exerts.

If you were to electrolyze water, you are basically “burning” the water. When you do electrolysis, water burns, separating it into its two parts, hydrogen and oxygen, and you get twice as much hydrogen as oxygen. That’s why it’s called H2O. Recently, a “hydrogen car” has been invented. The only “pollution” left by burning hydrogen is pure water. Hydrogen may be the perfect fuel for a clean world.

II Peter 3:5 says that the universe was created “out of water and through water.” This agrees with Genesis 1:2. Water was there before even the Word of God spoke.

Jesus said, “I am the water of life.” If we are going to live, we need Jesus. Jesus gives life to all he touches. Maybe water is such an amazing miracle because Jesus is.