Christ – centrality of, Part II

Captain Jack, leader of the Modoc Indians who rebelled against unjust Caucasian rule, asked if the killers of settlers would be tried by white or red juries.  The commissioner replied that white men would determine their fate.  Captain Jack then asked if the killers of Modoc’s would be tried by Modoc’s?  No, the commissioner replied, “by whites.”  The white man’s law ruled the country.  And a country can have but One Rule and one Law at a time.

The reign of Jesus is distinct.  Only One Jesus Christ came from God.  Only He was needed.  For he offered himself as God’s Perfect Teacher, Example and Sacrifice Hebrews 10:5-7.  In essence, Jesus embodied the purpose and goal of all preceding him; and originated all that followed.  Jesus Christ rules, governs, teaches, promises and warns humanity:  until he has put all God’s enemies under his feet, he is, was and is to be the center of life.  No one else.  When he’s finished eliminating God’s enemies, in an administrative change he’ll return all his authority to God the Father into a SHARED authority I Corinthians 15:24-28.  Jesus will continue at God’s Right Hand, forever and ever, the visible expression of the otherwise invisible God Revelation 21:22-22:5.

The RMS Titanic could float with one compartment flooded, with two flooded, even with three or four flooded.  It couldn’t stay afloat with all five flooded.  And all five had been!  Thus, some losses won’t destroy us.  Some can even be turned to gain.  But if we lose Jesus, we’re doomed.  No hope.  No peace.  No justification before God.  No entrance into the New Jerusalem.  Remember, and don’t forget.  Everything from Genesis 1:1 to Revelation 22:21 it’s all about Jesus, Don’t even glance at anyone else.  There is none but HE, Forever and Ever!

– 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

Christ – centrality of, Part I

Like Latin to the medievalist to his studies, Jesus occupies the absolutely central role in humanity, no competitors before and none since.  His nature carefully, fully and distinctly expressed God the Father’s John 3:16, Love; 5:8, Healer; 5:21, Resurrection; 5:24, Eternal life; 5:27, Judge; 6:33, 35, Sustenance for life; 8:58, Incarnate; 9:5, Light, etc.  Blaise Pascal summarized it in the Penses, Great Books, p. 319, Section 740, saying that Jesus is the one both Testaments regard as essential:  the former as its hope, the latter as its fulfillment, both with him as central.  F.F. Bruce wrote that Christians should focus on Christ’s nature as God in the flesh, not in proving his miracles.  They flow inevitably from his nature even as Old Testament prophetic miracles flowed from the Christ’s Spirit in them.  They naturally performed fewer by being spokesmen for Law; he performed many by being the embodiment of God’s Grace in human life.

We say of some people, “We could use ten more like him.”  That’s at once a great compliment of his worth and an admission of limitation of worth.  He does much, but can’t do all.  Jesus is different.  We don’t need five of him, or ten, or even two.  One is enough since One Jesus Christ does it all, works all good things, inspires all necessary virtues, forgives all human sin in every generation, perfectly governs history as its sole sovereign and Personally, Solely and All By Himself Judges every human being at the Last.

We need no more Christ’s.  We do need more of Christ in his people.  Whose lives embody as much as possible what he embodied completely.  And more of his total worth embodied in the corporate body of Christ—powerfully serving in every generation.  We determine how much of him the unsaved see.

Jesus will come again, but only as Judge of history.  Meanwhile his servants have the privilege of serving daily as his messengers.  May God raise us to his Son’s standard.  He will never reduce his standard to our achievements.       – 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

Sin – what . will keep us from God, Part IV

The human will continues to fly the red against after the human intellect raises the white flag to God.

Many rational reasons exist why we should accept Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord.  Among them are:  he’s God’s Eternal Son John 3:13; in God’s mind Jesus was crucified eternally I Peter 1:20; he’s the image of the invisible God Colossians 1:15, the exact representation of God’s being Hebrews 1:3; he holds in himself the fullness of the Godhead in bodily form Colossians 2:9.  He demonstrated all the above by willingly sacrificing himself on Calvary and, after three days and nights, rose bodily from the grave.  That was never done before and hasn’t been done since.

True, many don’t accept these Biblically-stated truths about Jesus Christ.  That’s their problem.  They must explain him and his continuing impact on history without the above—and that’s impossible.

But many people agree with the above truths without committing themselves to his Saviorhood and Lordship.  Why?  Because they WILL not to obey him.  Percy Shelley decided that God didn’t exist:  because his idealism considered the abuse of power in religion, politics and commerce disproved GOD.  He didn’t even consider, let alone investigate, the human WILL as the cause of evil.

How casually unbelievers and believers alike excuse humanity’s flagrant rejection of God as the cause of all human problems.  They don’t want us to assume responsibility and want God to assume all the blame when any wrong afflicts the race.  That’s stupid.  God won’t accept any blame, let alone all.

The human mind accepts the validity of God long before the human WILL bows before evidence the human mind accepts.  Remember that when talking with unbelievers and believers alike.

– 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

Sin – what . will keep us from God, Part III

Sin won’t keep us from God.  Our WILL, expressed in opposition to God, keeps us unsaved.

George Washington once said that errors once discovered are half resolved.  Flexner’s Biography, I, 381.  Not always true.  The Pharisees knew God as the source of Christ’s power, but they WILLED to believe Satan employed him.  Liberal politicians know that big government has no answers to our problems, but they WILL to develop bigger and bigger government.  Liberal theologians know they can’t sustain their rejection of Christ as God’s Son, yet they WILL to believe that the Gospels are largely the composition of the disciples.

With no bars on the windows, and with them propped open, our minds can still be captive to our WILL against any idea, good or bad, and any truth from God, however compelling.  Christians can adopt sins from the world.  Non-Christians can borrow virtues from Christians.  But that’s simply the human WILL going undecided and being unconverted and perverted.  – 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

Sin – what . will keep us from God, Part II

Sin itself won’t keep us from God.  Our Will, refusing to repent of any sin, keeps us alienated from God.

The Pharisees combined growing isolation from God’s truth with hardening prejudice for their traditions.  They proved only that people can grow more distant from God’s truth as they demand more evidence that he IS TRUTH.  The WILL determines that.

Some late 19th and early 20th century polar explorers tried to stay warm by mixing European and Eskimo clothes.  Roald Amundsen, the great Norwegians explorer, instead opted to wear only Eskimo clothes.  He found it superior to any European clothes.  The wool of Europeans easily got wet and couldn’t protect.  While Eskimo reindeer skins fit loosely, dried easily, didn’t need to be washed and felt comfortable from the first.  Explorers knew the benefits and liabilities of both.  Their WILL determined their choice.

We can be forgiven any sin, but we must acknowledge it as sin, our guilt participating in it, our INTENTION to repent of it and to REPENT of it.  To exercise the WILL to repent.  In addition, as Kurt Singer said about communists who recanted communism, WILLING themselves out of it wouldn’t eliminate the effect of their crimes, but it would put the guilty in a position to be forgiven.  Trojan Horse, 214         –  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

Sin – what . will keep us from God, Part I

Consider sexual immorality.  Will it guarantee condemnation, not blessedness, for us?  Or idolatry?  Or adultery?  Or prostitution?  Or homosexuality?  Or thievery?  Or greed?  Or drunkenness?  Or slander?  Or swindling?

Only if they aren’t repented.  And everyone is a repentable sin!  EVERY ONE.  Read I Corinthians 6:9-10.  No sin, no violation of grace is so hideous God won’t forgive if repented.  He forgave murder in Saul of Tarsus, cowardice in Simon Peter, adultery in David and lying in Abraham.

No reason exists to believe the self-imposed deception that God would never forgive that sin.

However, this disclaimer:  while sin won’t keep us from God if we repent, our WILL constantly keeps us from God.  It can be Felix’s procrastination—come back later.  That’s an act of the will.  It can be Herod Antipas’ unrepented sin.  He never failed to hear John the Baptist and never failed to be troubled by it.  Trouble came to him by an act of his will; he refused to repent.  It can be Pilate’s indecisiveness:  refusing to defend the Savior’s innocence against the hatred of the Jewish leaders.  That was an act of his will.

–  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

Respect – must be shown to receive

How many of the black pro athletes who demand “to be respected” freely show “blatant disrespect” of the flag?  They must show respect to get respect.  No one will automatically appreciate them because they jump higher, hit harder, shoot better or run faster in their respective careers.

They sit or knee during the national anthem, though the flag they disregard is the symbol of a country that gives them the freedom to earn millions of dollars a year in subsistence careers.  For make no mistake.  Pro sports is an EASY alternative to responsibility and the demands of education.  Thanks to runaway obsession with sports in American life, more of those unqualified to play in college sports, because they can’t compete academically, ARE playing because of pressure from alumni, administration and coaches.  That encourages teachers to dumb-down their requirements for chosen athletes.  It also creates a false-sense of worth in them.  It certainly creates an atmosphere in pro football that any success, especially a touchdown, gives the athlete the chance to exhibit his dance steps.  A perversion of decency that should be eliminated.

But American life is getting what it deserves.  For, while any number of black athletes won’t join the rebellious, stupid ones who disrespect the flag, untold millions of American act in unison in disrespecting God.  We spit in God’s face.  We turn our nose up at God.  We reject his word.  We refuse to follow his will.  We laugh at his command for self-denial.

America, you’re getting what you deserve, having inferior minds declaring the flag unworthy of a pledge of allegiance.  And that’s not the end.  You never figured that disbelieving in God would have any consequences.  You forgot that all belief has either results or consequences.  And rejecting God has only consequences, which we hate and regret.

The worst is yet to come, America.  God cannot be mocked and his judgment is ahead.  Prepare to meet your God, America.

 

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

 

Discipleship – never, really

Actor Hal Holbrook noted the difference between looking like Mark Twain and thinking like Mark Twain.  Obviously, we can learn the appearance of something or someone long before we master its/his substance.

That raises provocative challenges for Christians.  First, we can appear to be a Christian long before we produce Christ’s nature.  Indeed, appearances aplenty exist of the Christian faith—bumper stickers, fishes, the dove.  But the fruit of the Spirit, by which a Christian is truly identified, is much rarer.

Second, Christ tolerates all imperfections of his Glory in his people and allows us to claim the name Christian while we learn to demonstrate its fruit.  Someone said that no one should be allowed to play the violin until he has mastered it.  That’s why author Bruce Catton never played the violin though he took lessons as a boy.  His teacher said Catton had a monkey’s hand, enabling him to easily grip the instrument.  Unfortunately, as Catton’s refusal to practice proved, the instructor also accused him of having a monkey’s head.  Many Christians are monkey-heads when it comes to practicing their faith.  They don’t seem to improve their discipleship skills.

Yet…God never says we can’t LIVE the Christian life till we’ve mastered it.  While we abuse the faith we practice God urges continued, repeated efforts at living it.  He seeks the effort that certifies our zeal, whatever inexpertise and shortcomings mar the effort.  God knows that experience will make our witness more credible.  And more credible it needs to be.  For the Christian faith incorrectly used or lived, can make people demand “no more of this” and “if this is what God is like, I don’t want God.”  A badly-expressed faith makes for more noises and bedlam than all the ill-played violins.

Third, growth in, not mastery of, discipleship is our only hope.  We’ll never master the Christian faith, as Holbrook would Twain or Isaac Stern the violin (though each would deny mastery; each would seek dimensions in his work not yet explored).  In Christ, such incredible depths, breadths and heights appear that the disciple staggers when trying to comprehend it all.

 

In discipleship we often find ourselves like the earliest explorers who first saw the Rockies from the plains; they invariably felt themselves closer than they really were.  Pike thought himself close from the Arkansas River on the Colorado plains, though several days away.  Long thought himself close from the Platte, though six days removed.  The dry, clear air fooled them.  Disciples may occasionally, in a fit of spiritual arrogance not uncommon to us, think ourselves closer to Christ’s greatness than we really are.  Like some of Moody’s students, after attending prayer meeting, asked him, “Mr. Moody, do not our faces shine?”, we think we’re more brilliant than can ever be proven.

Most always, however, even we know what others see—no way at all, under any circumstances, can we even begin to appreciate the glory and grandeur that is Jesus Christ.  But, thanks be to God, while we’re seldom scholars of, we can remain students of his life, God accepts us while we try, declaring us righteous even when we’re not, proclaiming us justified by grace even as our works fail.

 

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 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

 

Relationships – positive. the result of discipleship

I remember the comment of a preacher leading a large church.  The congregation had a dynamite educational program led by a layman.  The interesting part of the story focused on the man’s skill to envision, create, staff and oversee the program while lacking interpersonal skills.  A source of contention when relating to peers, he excelled in administration and directing procedures.

Thus, we have human nature—the composite of DNA, environment, giftedness and predilection—rehabilitated in Christ’s image without the person being altered.  No problem; any mortal can be used in Christian service whatever his personality.

While Bible study and prayer fuel discipleship, Christian character develops best as we work in and through relationships.  We can be a zealous disciple without being a bon vivant in relationships.  We may even have zero skills.  We may know much about God but fail to work well with people. That’s human nature in everyday life and…we often forget…in Christian fellowships.

Instead of taking offense in those relationships, Christians need to stress their common faith in Jesus, not the differences that distance them from loved ones in Christ.  Cut each other slack personally since we share equally in an indivisible faith in Christ.  Consider every activity as small stuff so long as we jointly embrace God’s BIG STUFF.

 

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 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

God – means what he said

Through Moses, 1500 B.C., God warned Israel that punishment would as certainly follow apostasy as benefactions obedience Deuteronomy 28:1-68.  Generations came and went, lived and died.  When kings rebelled against him, God raised up kings who obeyed.  The permanence of Israel seemed so secure the warnings of Deuteronomy 28 fell below hearing.  Then, when they found themselves kingless and living in a foreign land, the Israelites finally decided that God meant what he said.

How many Americans…how many Christians…believe that God really meant what he said through the apostle Paul, “Do not be deceived:  God cannot be mocked”?  Not, God shouldn’t be mocked, as if we could if we wanted to.  No…he cannot BE mocked.  It’s impossible for us to turn up our noses at God.  Americans don’t believe that.  We’re so confident in our materialism, our humanism, our immorality, our doctorates, our technology, we think ourselves immune to God’s moral laws.  As one example, 61% of Americans polled approved when the Supreme Court made same-sex marriages legal.  So what if God in every reference to the perversion condemned and punished societies that supported it?  Our Supreme Court legalized it.  Didn’t that make it final?

Absolutely NOT!  By elevating ourselves, our convictions, our morality, our opinions, etc. to the place we previously reserved only for God, we only proved how fallen from grace and CLOSE to God’s inevitable condemnation we are.  We have already crossed the line between God’s patience and God’s wrath.  Only Judgment awaits our culture, at HIS WILL.

Christians shouldn’t pray for revival in a culture that isn’t listening to God.  Judgment is at hand.  Christian leaders should now be preparing Christians for the opportunities the inescapable crisis will surface.  Don’t wait for the tribulation to prepare.  The point of crisis isn’t the time to establish convictions and commitments.  They must be fixed previously to automatically kick into gear and us into action.  That means preachers must do more to educate their people in spiritual recovery—as First Responders train their people to know what to do when disaster hits.

 

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