Quite an Accident
The atheist says that there is no God. All wonders around us are accidental. No mighty hand made the thousand-billion stars. They made themselves. The earth spins itself to keep the oceans from falling off. Infants teach themselves to cry when hungry or hurt. Faith is the crutch for the ignorant.
Has he examined the evidence? Which is based on facts, belief or unbelief? Which makes more sense?
- How does the sugar thermometer in the pancreas know the proper blood sugar level to keep us from falling into a coma?
- How does the heart beat for years without faltering? It rests between beats. It pumps 800 million times in a normal life span, pushing enough blood to fill a string of tank cars that would stretch from New York to Boston.
- The pattern of a person’s fingerprints never changes and no two persons are identical. What was evolution’s purpose in keeping these?
- Kidneys filter poison from the blood and leave those components that are useful. How does the kidney know one from another?
- A brain weighs less than three pounds but directs all thoughts, feelings, and actions. Each cell dials messages to other cells in billions of different combinations. A cubic half-inch of brain cells contains a life-time of memories. Who gave the human tongue flexibility to form words, and a brain to understand them, but denied those skills to the brute animals? Who showed a womb how to keep splitting a tiny ovum until a baby had the proper number of fingers, eyes, and ears in the right place and then release the baby into the world when it is strong enough to live?
Certainly, God exists! We are evidence of it. “For every house is built by someone, but He who built all things is God” (Hebrews 3:4). Let us join David in exclaiming to God, “I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Marvelous are Your works; and that my soul knows very well” (Psalm 139:14). —Terry Hightower
Are You Sowing?
- WHAT—Precious seed (Psalm 126:6).
- HOW—In tears (Psalm 126:6).
- WHEN to Sow—Morning, evening, and always (Ecclesiastes 11:6).
- WHERE—Beside all waters (Isaiah 32:20)
Conclusion: Galatians 6:7—what we sow is what we reap. We must sow the right seed—the Word of God (Luke 8:11).
A Helping Word
Henry Ward Beecher declared, “A helping word to one in trouble is often like a switch on a railroad track . . . An inch between wreck and smooth, rolling prosperity.” This quote reminds me of a couple of statements made by Solomon:
- “Anxiety in the heart of man causes depression, but a good word makes it glad” (Proverbs 12:25).
- “A man has joy by the answer of his mouth, and a word spoken in due season, how good is it!” (Proverbs 15:23).
As Christians, we should look for opportunities to speak a good word.
—William Manchester, The Glory of the Dream.
I’m Gonna . . .
“I’m gonna convert somebody someday!”
Three things are wrong with this statement.
- “Gonna is not in the dictionary.
- “Somebody” is not in the phone book.
- “Someday” is not on the calendar.
‘Tis Midnight and on Olive’s Brow
I love the poetry and melody of the William Tappan hymn, “’Tis Midnight, and on Olive’s Brow.” It is also rich with meaning, but because it was written 200 years ago, its wording may be difficult for younger worshippers to understand. Good worship requires not only proper actions, but mental engagement and a heart-connection with the lyrics.
The first verse begins, “’Tis midnight, and on Olive’s brow.” Some may have no idea what that means. The song is about Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane the night He was arrested and ultimately led to the cross. Tappan seems influenced by Luke’s account. While scripture does not single out the hour of midnight, it does indicate Jesus was there at night (see Luke 22:56, 66; cf. John 18:3; Matthew 26:31, 34). Luke 22:39 indicates the garden’s location as the Mount of Olives. “Brow” would be a poetic, late Middle English word for the top of a hill. The phrase, “The star is dimmed that lately shown” would simply reinforce the idea of darkness and the anxiety it would add to Jesus’ suffering.
The second verse is self-explanatory, though it might help some to remember that the phrase, “the disciple whom Jesus loved” (John 19:26; 20:2; 21:7, 20) appears to be a humble term John uses to describe himself in his gospel. “Heeds not” simply means “does not hear”; he had fallen asleep with the rest of Jesus’ inner circle of disciples (Mark 14:37).
The third verse is also straightforward, though we have another allusion to Luke’s gospel, with “the Man of Sorrows weeps in blood.” Luke 22:44 tells us that Jesus, “being in agony” was praying “more earnestly,” and His sweat became like drops of blood.” The second line of this verse speaks of Jesus’ kneeling in anguish (Luke 22:44), saying Christ was “falling down to the ground.”
The last verse might cause trouble. “’Tis midnight, and from ether plains is borne the song that angels know,” is, for many, incomprehensible. “Ether plains,” is a poetic reference to “upper regions” or heaven. The song seems to allude to that part of the garden experience when “an angel appeared to Him from heaven, strengthening Him” (Luke 22:43). While this verse seems to strain the meaning of Luke’s words, it is a beautiful thought that angels or even the Father sang to comfort the suffering Son (cf. Hebrews 5:7).
We should take the time to understand the words of the songs we sing in worship. This keeps worship from being merely external, without heart (cf. Matthew 15:8). Perhaps, too, it serves as a notice that we should explain the meaning of older songs, especially those couched in language we do not use. It should also awaken the awareness that we need to incorporate songs in worship that are more contemporary in language and melody along with these beautiful, older songs. —Neal Pollard