Questions – silly, strange

Lady Nancy Astor awoke briefly and saw her family around her bed.  She asked, “Am I dying or is this my birthday?”  San Diego U-T, 1/23/18   If she had Jesus as Savior, it really was her birthday—another child of God entering eternal life.

Questions people ask employees in National Parks.  In Yosemite:  when do they let the deer out?  Or, can we visit Yosemite and Yellowstone in one day?  Or, when do they turn the waterfalls on?  In Colorado National Monument:  at what altitude do deer turn into elk?  In Bryce Canyon, Utah:  opening a map of the Grand Canyon, a tourist asked:  where am I on this map?  In Disneyland:  what time is the 2 o’clock parade?  On a cruise ship:  do elevators only go up and down?  Etc.  Westways Magazine, Jan./Feb. 2018, 48-49

These aren’t as silly as questions we ask God.  Such as, are you serious that only Jesus can save everyone?  Or, how can one person’s sacrifice of himself offer forgiveness for everyone?  Or, how can you fail to appreciate the many sincere religious leaders throughout history?  Or, are you sure we must seek the Bible for our life-directions and ignore the knowledge humanity has accumulated through the centuries?  Or, why can’t culture determine what’s most useful for it at any given time in history?

The questions are silly because God has already answered them and left no doubt what he meant.  We’ll never stop asking such questions because we won’t learn to accept God’s priority in life; God’s presence in history; God embodied in Christ; God finalizing history in Christ’s Return from Heaven.  Until we learn these truths, God will scorn, ridicule and mock any silly questions we ask.  Do we really want to ask questions that make God laugh and scoff?  When the only interrogatives he’ll entertain are those which deal with our ignorance and his wisdom; our inability and his capability; our need of his guidance and our despair without it; our lack of any potential and his complete empowerment?

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

Ethics – and higher education

A San Diego State University professor studied the ethics of students who attended “Super Scholastic” universities versus those attending “Regular Scholastic” universities.  Not surprisingly, those of “prestigious” academic institutions had a far more personally-based ethics system than those in more conventional schools.  The former possessed an instinctive sense of “social dominance” that allowed them to cheat, steal and deceive.  They felt it their right to define acceptable behavior.  San Diego U-T, 1/1/18

The report doesn’t surprise anyone who studies the galloping immorality in America.  The lack of ethics in business and government mirrors society’s refusal to believe in absolutes.  Higher education, with its emphasis on intellectual primacy, minus morality, minus humility, minus social equality, creates arrogance.  Those with the highest possible opinion of themselves have always considered rules governing others to be personally irrelevant.  Oscar Wilde and Somerset Maugham in their generations; any Darwinian professor in ours.  And, with degrees proliferating from world-renown universities, with the largest member of doctorates and post-doctorates in the faculty, who can contest them?

GOD!  He makes “foolish the wisdom of the world.”  GOD… He was “pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe.”  GOD…His “foolishness” is “wiser than man’s wisdom”…his weakness is “stronger than man’s strength.”  GOD…He “chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong…the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are….”  I Corinthians 1:20-30 (selected verses).

Let anyone who feels free to tear morality apart like a cell dividing ponder the apostle’s words.  Truth, morality and ethics begin with God, remain with God and will be the basis of God’s judgment of every human being, whatever his university degree, his financial portfolio, his social position.

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

 

 

 

 

 

Life – what constitutes a successful, Part IV

Only having as our life-goal what survives death to live in God’s new world constitutes a successful life.  Having the confidence that we’re now living for Heaven while being productive as citizens of this life eliminates partial discipleship.  For we don’t expect to be partly committed to Jesus when he wholeheartedly served God. We don’t expect to surrender only this or that to him when he surrendered everything in his life to God’s will.

We want to be complete Christians because we don’t want to be partly forgiven!  Therefore, whatever Jesus teaches, we learn.  Wherever he leads, we follow.  If we have a possession that limits our Christ-life, we lose it.  If we practice a habit that threatens our discipleship, we break it!  The Lord’s slightest WISH is our command.  His strongest command is our most fervent wish.  It’s Jesus today, tomorrow and forever.  It’s Jesus alone, only and always.

What I’m trying to say, and hope you’re understanding…if we want our life to be successful, devote it to what AT THE END of this life lives on in the NEW!  Don’t spend our life on what at the end is irrelevant to the new.

Embrace the Apostle Paul’s view of the difference.  II Timothy 4:6-8 details it.  Paul’s life on earth had come to an end.  The short view.  But his LIFE-Goal had only begun.  The long view.  The time of Paul’s departure from this life had come.  Which meant nothing but the time of his arrival in the next life awaited.  The best part of our Christ life is always COMING now and forever.  – 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

 

 

Life – what constitutes a successful, Part III

How can people so casually dismiss God from their lives while considering other mortals necessary?  Yet, that depraved thinking characterizes so many.  It’s because they think only as existentialists—want it all and want it now—a deadly goal that hardens us to ultimate realities…death, judgment, eternity.  For, as Longfellow wrote in the Psalm of Life,

“Life is real!  Life is earnest!

And the grave is not its goal;

‘Dust thou art, to dust returnest,

Was not spoken of the soul.”  Pocket Book of Verse, 165

Jesus raised us from the grave of baptism to be fruitful disciples.  He DID NOT raise us from that grave to let us remain a corpse in the ground or dust in a mausoleum!  That’s what makes the Gospel a scriptural power drink; a spiritual energy bar; a daily infusion of spiritual chocolate covered pecans; and assorted other “pick me up” and “keep me going” incentives for spiritual velocity!

The practical meaning of being raised from the baptism is:  we have a new life.  The practical meaning of being raised from the dead at a future time is:  we have a perfect life ahead!  That reality casts a glow over everyday life.  Our future hope fuels our present discipleship.  What we’re going to be inspires us to presently become more than we have ever been.   – 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.) 

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

 

 

 

Life – what constitutes a successful, Part II

A person’s life is successful when one’s life-goal survives death to serve in the next world.  Many who lived only for this life left even it prematurely.

George Eastman founded the Eastman Kodak Company.  He became a famous multi-millionaire.  He shot himself in the heart at age 78 after leaving a note, “My work is done.  Why wait?”  He did have a spinal ailment that threatened to leave him a cripple.  But many people with physical disabilities still find life rewarding and useful.

Dostoevsky’s story White Nights has the male speaking to Nastenka about the wastefulness of his life:  the years gone; the dreams vanished; the best moments buried; everything stupid, a cipher, a fancy, round zero.  Gateway 3, 295.  In the Seeley Stables at Old Town, I saw an advertisement by a stage line company.  It offered a trip from San Diego to San Antonio:  a road that “ran from no place through nothing to nowhere.”

Both stories relate to many people, never more than right now, when society has lost touch with God.  Humphrey Bogart thought it years ago.  He used a vulgarity to express it, which we won’t.  But he called life an illusion—proving only that he spent too much time in front of a camera creating illusion.

A young, professional couple in San Diego agreed with Bogart.  Both had successful careers in the medical field.  Their combined income reached $200,000 a year.  Yet, he checked into a motel, went to his room and took an overdose of barbiturates he prescribed for himself.  His wife later sat in her car in a medical facility parking lot and swallowed the same fatal dose.  He was 33, she 32.

How sad.  They easily lived without God, but didn’t think they could live without each other.  A perfect example of a life’s goal, not life’s purpose.   – 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

Life – what constitutes a successful, Part I

When is life a success?  One insightful answer:  when we leave a situation better than we found it.  Good.  A couple others:  when it has been lived for Jesus Christ.  Actually, many possible suggestions exist.  Many divergent answers would come if asked.  But only one true answer.  A life is a success when its goals can be carried beyond death into the next world.

Patient with us, God distinguishes the debris of life from life-goals.  For example, the necessities—food, clothing, housing, transportation are the detritus of life.  Necessary, but not the essence.  They become a spiritual problem only when we make them our life-goal.  Which many have and do.  That’s when they become a sin that must be forgiven.

A belief can be relatively harmless, but not a sin, if it doesn’t infringe on God’s truth.  When it does it becomes a threat to our soul’s destiny.  As an example, we’ve heard people say, “If so and so isn’t in heaven, I don’t want to be there.”

Then plan not to be in heaven.  For telling God that so and so must be there for us to be happy is a form of spiritual blackmail God won’t countenance.  It’s a way of saying God has to meet our expectations if he wants us to be happy with HIM!  Such a view proves our unworthiness to be with God.  And we won’t be!

Without being particularly conscious of God, people have made good decisions later in life to overcome mistakes of youth.  A 52 year old lady went back to school…to grade school…just so she could go to High School and graduate.  A 30 year old man left a financially secure profession in New York and returned to his New England roots.  To live in a smaller house with fewer amenities.  To buy a small business.  To build a new life with his family that his career had threatened to abolish.

It’s the principle of gaining by losing.     – 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

Christian – privileged to be a, Part IV

We agree that Jesus’ life had God as his focus.  But can believers now imitate his example?  Wouldn’t being that “religious” make us sober as Cato and gloomy as Hamlet?

Well…the best answer is Jesus himself.  He perfectly served God, thought about God, taught about God.  Did he ever have trouble drawing a crowd?

When people flocked to him like migrating birds to feeding grounds, was it because he was SOBER, or JOYFUL; GLOOMY, or HOPEFUL, NEGATIVE or POSITIVE?  We’ve heard of people about whom we want to know MORE.  Jesus was the one person in history about whom we want to Know everything—everything, as Paul wrote in Philippians 3:7-11.

How silly then to refuse Christ because he is too “other-worldly”; how useless to opt for someone more concerned about life here and now.  Biblical Christianity proves that, to be useful here, religion must begin with the True and Only God.  Any other effort, however sincere, becomes an enemy of the very people it was created to help.  Starting with God, however, it alleviates misery, reduces sorrow, meets needs, eliminates guilt.  It builds homes for orphaned, abused children, or for aged, infirm adults.  And rehabilitation centers that recreate lives broken by alcohol or drugs.  Families find unity and enemies love, and everyone forgiveness, from which other secondary results accrue.

Remember:  Christianity isn’t about a few special people who climb social, economic, or spiritual heights, but of the many common people who study, fathom and express God’s Glory.  If we let God love us through Christ, we’ll always say, “I know this:  I never lived until I met Jesus.  And I know this:  I’ll never stop living because I did.”    – 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

Christian – privileged to be a, Part III

The spiritual challenges facing each disciple should be met head-on, face-to-face.  Conquest is always possible for the believer who won’t say, “I can’t because I haven’t YET.”

Not surprisingly, the disciples at first had no ability to understand Jesus.  When they returned from Sychar to Jacob’s well, they couldn’t believe it:  there Jesus stood, talking with the Samaritan woman.  Had he no respect for tradition; and had she no shame?

When they began to eat, and noticed that Jesus didn’t join them—he obviously had on previous occasions—they solicitously urged him to enjoy lunch.  When he said he had food they didn’t understand, they could only conjecture that someone had given him food.

Give the men credit, however.  They perseveringly, if only incrementally, matured in faith.  But only within the Jewish-nationalist perspective.  Their request, on the very day he ascended into Heaven, meant they still had no idea of his PURPOSE and their MISSION.

Only 10 days later did they discover that God hadn’t restored the Kingdom to Israel; but had reconciled the world of humanity to himself through Jesus Christ!  Once learning that, they never retreated to previous political misconceptions.  They did irreversibly advance in spiritual wisdom and intellectual foresight.     – 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.) 

 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

 

 

Christian – privileged to be a, Part II

Continuing to TRY after failing to resolve difficult issues distinguishes eventual success from failure.  A Christian man shared that he had been a navy signalman aboard ship in WWII.  He first had to learn the meaning of each flag signal and position—like learning the alphabet.

Once mastering the alphabet of signaling, he faced the complex task of learning the words each signal spelled.  He couldn’t do it.  It was too complicated.  He had never faced such a challenge.  He failed repeatedly, despite hours of study.  Nothing made sense.  He wanted to give up.  He dared not.

Now and then he learned a word.  Less often a phrase.  Hardly ever part of a sentence.  Then, as if by magic, one day all the signals clicked into an orderly sequence.  He could read and signal!

It wasn’t magic.  It was perseverance!

That’s the way to understand about Jesus what we haven’t known before; or, having known, haven’t put into practice.  Try again.  Push yourself.  Extend yourself beyond what you previously have.  Expect more of yourself than ever before.  Learn Jesus by bits and pieces and little by little:  phrases, sentences and paragraphs.  Before you know it, you’ll systematically read chapters, then volumes.  Because you started with a step at a time.

But never say, “I can’t because I haven’t YET!”     – 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

 

 

 

 

Christian – privileged to be a, Part I

Having resolved internet problems, we’re back at blogging.

 When Oliver Cromwell sat for a portrait, he admonished the painter to describe him truly, all imperfections noted.  Unlike him, we want our photographs “re-touched”—blemishes removed and wrinkles erased.  Like actress Claudette Colbert, we want our best side to the camera.

Blessed rather are those who accept their humanity, laugh at their peccadilloes and humbly seek forgiveness of their sins.  God has never condemned us for admitting our mistakes or withheld forgiveness from a penitent sinner.

Learning to live that way baffles unbelievers—and not a few Christians.  How can we be so transparent about our failures?  Won’t people laugh at us?  Why should we confess our sins to one another James 5:16?  Won’t they make a scandal of it?  How can we stop making excuses why we can’t do certain things and find ways we can?  Isn’t it easier to live inside our limitations?

Regarding discipleship, unbelievers can’t fathom letting Jesus determine our lifestyle and belief—as Paul forcefully demanded in I Timothy 4:16.  The very idea, so instinctive to New Testament Christianity, terrifies the unsaved.  It makes them shudder to have their need of anyone, let alone God, publicly acknowledged.  Henry Kissinger heard Israeli Abba Eban speak.  With Cicerone eloquence, aided by a perfect British accent, Eban impressed everyone, Kissinger especially, with his heavily-accented English.  No other American or British speaker had so forcefully reminded Kissinger he wasn’t a native-born American.

This writer first heard Eban in 1967, when the then-Israeli Foreign Minister arrived in New York.  From his very first statement, eloquence flowed.  This writer also had James S. Stewart as his model for preaching.  He wanted to imitate Stewart’s eloquence.  He has never achieved it; it has never stopped being his goal.

Christians often want to imitate Jesus; he is, after all, the most celebrated religious leader in history.  Problem is, the prospect intimidates us into retreat.  Then there are the spiritual challenges everywhere in the Bible, especially those outside our life-experience or intellectual level.  Though our real problem is more that we’re:  content with what we’ve become; we fear what promises to make us what we’ve never been; indeed, we instinctively say we can “never be that way.”    – 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