Potential – seeing . an exceptional gift, Part I

Judith Jones died recently at age 93.  Perhaps an unknown to you—as she was to me until I read her obituary—she had for many years edited such literary lions as John Updike, John Hersey and works such as The Diary of Anne Frank.  She saw the young Dutch girl’s genius when the Diary crossed her desk at Doubleday in Paris.  She strongly urged it be published in America.

Then there was Julia Childs. Judith had always been attracted, indeed fascinated, with French cooking.  She talked it, wrote about it and practiced it in her New York apartment and Vermont kitchen.  When Childs’ 800 page manuscript reached Judith, it had a shopworn look.  It had been sent and rejected by other publishers; too many French cookbooks on the market.

The hope of every writer was fulfilled:  Childs’ work got the attention of an editor who had dreamed of reading and publishing such a book.  It led readers step by step into the art, not just the science, of French cooking.  And…well…the rest of the story comes next.  San Diego U-T, 8/3/17   –  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

Habit – once begun…

When Philip V, King of Spain, sank into melancholia in 1736, nothing could retrieve him.  He stayed in his room, hunched in a corner.  He feared having anyone enter, thinking assassination.  He feared eating, thinking poison.

He finally refused to leave his bed to perform his personal toilette.  His wife Isabella exhausted herself seeking cures.  Nothing worked until she brought Farinelli, a famous castrato, to perform a concert in the palace.

Hearing the pleasing voice through an open door, Philip rose and looked for the source.  Isabella introduced Farinelli to the King, who promised him whatever he requested.  Having been prepared by the Queen, the soprano asked only that Philip would be shaved, dressed and appear before his council.

That request freed the King from his melancholia, but attracted him to Farinelli.  For the very next evening Philip wanted the same two songs sung.  So it continued, Durant wrote, for the next decade. Story of Civilization, X, 278.

Which offers a spiritual point.  Beware what habit you begin, thinking it alleviates stress, conflict or boredom.  You may lose them but at the expense of another source of dependence even harder to shake.  The one and only habit we can start, and continue consistently, continually and eternally, is the habit of believing in, trusting completely and living for Jesus Christ.  That habit attaches you to him in a “MUST HAVE” relationship that gives absolute freedom.

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

America – always plunging

While it isn’t a “done deal”, the State Bar of California has proposed lowering—yes, that’s right—lowering—the minimum score needed to pass the licensing exam.  Why not?  Schools have lowered their requirements, passing students to higher problems with lesser skills.  Churches have lowered their admission requirement from self-denial to being a good guy, and from immersion for the forgiveness of sin to whatever WE decide brings us to God.  San Diego U-T, 8/1/17

But the State Bar lowering its requirements to become a practicing lawyer?  Will the American Medical Association decide their schools don’t need to stress diagnosis?  Next thing you know, “The Few, The Proud, The Marines”, will eliminate the rifle range to keep poor-shooting recruits from feeling inferior.

Back to the Bar’s suggestion.  We have over 70% of the world’s lawyers; why reduce requirements so we can have more?  We have more litigation than ever by having law schools and lawyers advertising for business; why clog court schedules more?

One certainty exists in all the changes.  Whoever else reduces qualifications to enter schools or professions, count on it:  Jesus insists on self-denial as the basis of discipleship.  If we don’t pass that entrance requirement, we don’t enter the kingdom of God, whatever assembly we enter as a substitute.  Understand?

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

 

 

 

Values – skidding

According to Parade Magazine, 7/30/17, the beer industry sells $350 Billion of the suds annually.  According to the Internet, 8/1/17, charity giving in 2016 amounted to $390.05 Billion.  That includes gifts to churches and synagogues.  According to the Internet, 8/1/17, Americans spent nearly $61 Billion on pets in 2015.

I re-checked the charity giving, to be sure we gave more to it than we spent on beer—the figures consider the church a charity, which it ISN’T.  Yes, we actually gave more to charity than we spent on suds in 2016.  Nevertheless, do we need to drink that much beer?  Do we think we’re Germans?

Legalizing marijuana is part of the skid.  What’s interesting in the job market, using Warren, Ohio, as an example, is that jobs are available but candidates can’t pass drug tests.  And many of the candidates are young people.  Such statistics warn us against legalizing the drug.  Which is too late since it has been in many states.  It won’t create a more reliable work force!  San Diego U-T, 7/31/17

Buckling to the militant homosexual lobby is a symbol of the skid.  No society can escape God’s penalty for supinely tolerating a behavior that his word repeatedly condemns.  It’s hard to live in a morally-deteriorating society, but it’s what Christians face.  Our challenge is to remain faithful to Jesus.  The time will come when a return to God may occur:  when we won’t be as sure of ourselves as we are now; so tolerant of evil as now; so willing to banish God-honoring standards for the brave new immorality championed by the humanist-secularist-liberal-environmentalist-evolutionist lobbies.  They will find their hole too deep to exit and what’s above too wicked even for them to tolerate.  THAT will be our opportunity.

Be faithful, Christians.  God still rules.  When humanity admits its inability to know what’s right, we can witness to Christ’s eternal truth.

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

 

 

 

 

Decisions – wrong based on assumptions, Part II

The previous blog listed four military decisions based on assumptions.  Each led to disaster.  This blog emphasizes the spiritual lessons Jesus would surface.

Re:  the blackout on all Japanese ships in the Pearl Harbor attack.  When God doesn’t answer prayer, or respond to need, or help us when we need him most…don’t immediately decide that:  God has lost interest; God doesn’t care; God has changed how he responds to human need and human sin; God has forgotten something we wanted him to remember.  His own time-table and sovereign grace determine how he supplies our needs, not our perceived crises.

Re:  the Union Army’s slow progression up the Peninsula to Richmond.  Since retreat expends less energy than attack, if Satan seems in retreat, he may be simply conserving his energy.  When we go past his “flight” distance to his “fight” distance, back he storms.  Then, as McClellan discovered in the Seven Days Campaign, Satan unleashes frontal and flank attacks that find us reeling from confidence to despair.

Consider the Allies planning for the invasion route Germany would take if invading Belgium in 1940.  If Satan can’t find one way to defeat us, he’ll find another.  He often humbles people we think are invulnerable to his temptations.  He uses the intellectual pride of scholars to dispute with Jesus instead of submitting to Jesus.  He uses religious people to lash out at what they consider lifestyles they can’t tolerate.  Satan never lacks ways to come at us. Just when we think we’re finished with him, UP he shoots, like the target at a shooting range.  Jesus never failed to discern Satan’s behavior, strategy and tactics.  Or lacked a response to any Satanic probe.

Consider the Battle of the Bulge.  Never assume that Satan no longer has the will or resources to retaliate after being beaten.  Jesus never assumed Satan was defeated after the wilderness struggle.  Though he flattened Satan like a pancake.  Though he beat him black and blue.  Jesus won the spiritual war in that conflict but knew that many battles remained to be fought during his ministry— and since.

Luke says that Satan left Jesus “until an opportune time.”  Which came through the leaders:  how dare Jesus heal on the Sabbath; how dare Jesus feast on fast days; how dare Jesus claim to be Lord of the Sabbath and God’s Son!  Which came through his family: who refused to consider him a true prophet John 7:2-5; who considered him at best mentally unbalanced Matthew 12:46-50.  Which came through his disciples:  who pledged faith in him as God’s Son, then challenged his right to determine its meaning Matthew 16:16, 21-23.  ETC. How often do we pledge fealty to him as Lord, then decide that his word means only what we consider true? 

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

Decisions – wrong based on assumptions, Part 1

In late 1941, American intelligence officers in Hawaii had only Japanese radio transmissions to determine the approximate location of their carrier groups.  By the middle of October they put them in home waters.  Which, as Rear Admiral Edwin T. Layton wrote, was wrong.  That very day Admiral Yamamoto addressed the six-carrier task force in Saeki Bay before they steamed to the remote Kurile Islands on their journey to Pearl Harbor.  The massive carrier force maintained complete radio silence throughout that journey.  To mislead American snoopers, Yamamoto kept sending messages to his Second Fleet—which American agents assumed were with the carriers. Which they were not.   And I Was There, 184-185

. . . . . .

The Union Army under McClellan toiled slowly up the peninsula towards Richmond in 1862, a relentless juggernaut of men and weapons.  Union hopes were high that they would take Richmond and end the Civil War.  A soldier wrote to his father that he hoped to be home by the end of summer so he could teach school in the fall.  Another soldier wrote that the Federals had the Rebels in so tight a corner they didn’t run because they couldn’t.  Battles and Leaders of the Civil War, 145.  Not so fast!  Robert E. Lee had yet to be elevated as commander of Confederate forces.

. . . . . .

In 1939 Anglo-French military planners created Plans D and E.  If Germany invaded Belgium, Plan D would advance Allied troops to the Antwerp-Dyle-Meuse Line.  Plan E called for the Allies to meet a German thrust at the Scheldt River.

Neither plan envisioned what the Germans decided:  to surprise everyone by invading through “nearly impenetrable” Ardennes—which the Allies assumed were much too difficult for offensive operations and too much a threat to invaders.  Encyclopedia of WWII, 499

. . . . . .

In the Battle of the Bulge, December, 1944 (a neighbor of our family in Lincoln, Illinois lost a son in the battle), Allied security imposed a 48 hour blackout on all news reaching America.  That didn’t keep the Germans from listening to all American traffic conversations.  And from knowing how many troops we had, where they were stationed and how fast they could counter-attack against their panzers.  Battle of the Bulge, 149.

–  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

Church – buildings “that used to be”

White frame churches stand in the center of many New England villages.  The steeple soars above the trussed roof.  Many are kept in repair as symbols of what “used to be.”  Once they deeply influenced the community’s personal beliefs and habits, but now serve only as a gesture.  The New England Village, 45

Their existence poses two questions.  One, why were they built?  Two, why do they remain?  Even if some are still in use or maintained as tourist destinations, what personal belief exists in those attending compared to those who built them?

Many church buildings remain, all over America, built by those persuaded that Jesus Christ needed to be proclaimed.  But are now relics of the past, not harbingers of the future.  They’re in big cities and rural towns.  Nearly empty of people, or used by cults, ethnics, or government agencies extending welfare where preachers once extended salvation, they no longer influence community decisions or personal lives.

They remain physical structures void of spiritual energy.  The people of a later generation or more forsook what had been the inspiration that built them.  Instead of aggressive evangelism they chose maintenance.  They remain as mute witnesses of what they “used to be.”  Their structural and spiritual decay muzzle a past VOICE that spoke good news.  That changed lives.  That built marriages.  That incubated children from cradle to maturity in Christ-centered activities.

What a sad epitaph for so many church buildings in America:  they are “USED TO BE” Congregations.  They “Used to believe” Jesus Christ’s deity, Divine Sonship, Saviorhood and Lordship.  What a sad epitaph for many people who “Used to be workers” in God’s vineyard.  “Used to be”:  a curse on any building or person.

Are we a “Used to be” Christian or congregation?  Living on a legacy?  On the generosity of former members who financially endowed a future they envisioned for the church, now ruined by beneficiaries who accepted the endowment while removing from the church the Christ of God, his Saviorhood and Lordship?

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

Age – vigor in old

You may have seen his obituary:  Dr. Shigeaki Hinohara, the famous Japanese Doctor of medicine.  He pioneered Japanese recovery from a lifespan of 40 years in 1911 to 87 for women and 80 for men in 2017.  Born in 1911, he died July 18, 2017, nearly 106 years later.

He never stopped working, though he changed his focus from a 60-year career in medicine to volunteer work.  Only in the last few months did he work less than 18 hours a day, still seeing a few patients.  Noticeably, his appointment book had space for five years of patients.  San Diego U-T, 7/27/17.  Like him, Louis L’Amour died at age 80, his desk still stacked with projects to research and wrote.

Yet, the church can’t use older men and women because young men and women have all the wisdom needed?  Many older Christians do want to finish their work before they die.  But many of us want to die in harness doing our work, never finishing it.  Jesus is the only person who could say, “It is finished” when he died.  He completed in his 33 years all that God wanted for him. No other person, and no Christian, need ever say he wants to FINISH his work.  May God keep us working until he calls us home.  Amen.

A disclaimer.  Age is more than a number only if sickness or other health problems limit a person.  It’s understandable under those circumstances to finish what one can.  But many older Christians, still able, seek opportunities to serve in active ministries.  What they usually find is a refusal to hire them, even in part-time position.  The local church has no need of them. Sad.  For many.  Not the least sad for the church not to use all willing servants, whatever their age.

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

Eyes – and women

A Woman’s World magazine article, 3/30/15, featured feminine eyes.  There was the Cat Eye; the Smoky Eye—that one baffled me—; the Shimmery Eye—ditto, more so; the Doe Eye—got that one; and the Contoured Eye—maybe the prettiest of the bunch.

Women accent their eyes in order to impress others, mostly men.  With the right make-up, and a little imagination in viewers, women can be seen as mysterious, unstable, innocent, or beckoning.  This writer often studies eyes:  when meeting people, passing them in public, or seeing them in pictures.  In a book on Photography in New Orleans, today I saw two of the saddest eyes in a young lady.  Very touching.  And the daguerreotype was from 1845-1850.  Eyes seldom fail to reveal something interesting; fear, excitement, uncertainty, hope, distress— you get the idea.

Which is all entertaining or useless except as Jesus made strong statements about the human eye.  He said that eyes serve as entryways into the person inside the body.  The context of Matthew 6:19-24 focuses on our need to trust someone in life.  The two sources of help are MONEY and GOD.  If we trust money as our source, our eyes—we ourselves—are full of darkness.  If we trust God, our eyes—we ourselves—are full of light.  That’s the pertinacity of the context.  Whom shall we trust?  Shall we seek our fulcrum for life in whatever money can buy; or in God, who demands priority in our lives and promises to care for those who TRUST him?

In that context, what do our eyes say about us?

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 – 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