God Strike Me Dead

In the mid and late 1800s, the philosophy of evolution shook the foundations of Western society. Entire Christian denominations accepted evolution, and seminaries and pastors preached that the Bible could not be taken literally; thus the Book of Genesis was a morality story rather than actual history. Without a real Adam and Eve, original sin, and the need of a Saviour from sin, these preachers and organizations turned to politics and social reform.

Robert Ingersol was born in 1833. His father, John Ingersol, was pastor of several Congregational Churches. He believed the Bible to be nothing but a series of morality and political stories and the purpose of Christianity was social reform. His liberal politics and religious beliefs were a source of constant conflict with his congregations. He was charged many times with conduct unbecoming of a minister and preaching false doctrine. He found a friend in revivalist Charles Finney, who believed that man could choose to be good or evil, and salvation was about social reform and freeing the oppressed, not regeneration of the the sinful soul. He became Finney’s associate pastor. Young Robert hated Christ and Christianity.

By his thirties, Robert Ingersol was America’s most famous atheist and evolutionist. He proclaimed, If a man would follow, today, the teachings of the Old Testament, he would be a criminal. If he would follow strictly the teachings of the New, he would be insane. He began his popular debates by demanding God prove His existence by striking him dead within five minutes. When Ingersol didn’t die, he said it was proof God didn’t exist.

Sinful hearts and minds often demand God do more to prove His existence.

Luke 16:19-33 records a parable told by Jesus about a wealthy man and a poor man. Both died; the rich man went to Hades and the poor man to Paradise. The constant and fiery torment brought the rich man to beg that the poor man return to earth and warn his brothers about eternal damnation. The response was that They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them … if they do not hear Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rise from the dead.

God has given ample proof of His existence in nature, human conscience, history, and the Bible. God doesn’t need to prove Himself further, man just needs to believe.

Broken Words Create Broken Hearts

In all this Job did not sin with his lips (Job 2:10)

What if God, who created things by His word, failed to keep a single promise tomorrow? Yes, it’s impossible, because He cannot lie … but what if?

So how seriously do you keep your word? Words are small things, but like toothpaste: once squeezed from the tube, impossible to put back. Our broken words often create broken hearts.

I have two sons who take the cricket team from their native land very seriously. It’s one of the few connections they have to the place, people, and childhood left behind years ago to become strangers in a strange land. As the cricket season progressed, it looked like their team could make it to the championship. I said if their team won, I’d wear the team jersey for one week straight. They were small words that thrilled my sons and their friends. Then the Chennai Super Kings won the championship.

Words come cheaply to us. We ask, “How are you?” without real interest in knowing. We speak of love without counting the cost. “I’ll pray for you” lasts only a day before we forget. Our words have meanings, and meanings have consequences.

I wasn’t even five years old when my father made and broke a promise to me. It was something insignificant to an adult, but to this child the world revolved around his word being kept. I refuse to be like my father. When I say something, especially to my children, I’ll do anything to keep it. For seven days straight I wore my CSK cricket jersey. If we are not men of our word, what do we have left? If our “yes” is not yes, and our “no” no, what good is our word? If we are unfaithful in little things like our words, we won’t be faithful in the greater things of life.

If God has uttered one word of Scripture that fails, He cannot be trusted to keep any other word of promise; but God is ever faithful to His word.

Yes, it’s just a yellow cricket jersey, but my reputation as a father and integrity as a trustworthy man, depend on me keeping my word.

God is not a man, that He should lie, nor a son of man, that He should repent. Has He said, and will He not do? Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good? (Numbers 23:19).

Jesus is Coming Again – John W Peterson (1957)

Marvelous message we bring,
Glorious carol we sing,
Wonderful word of the King,
Jesus is coming again!

Chorus:
Coming again, Coming again,
May be morning, may be noon,
May be evening and may be soon!
Coming again, Coming again;
O what a wonderful day it will be –
Jesus is coming again!

Forest and flower exclaim,
Mountain and meadow the same,
All earth and heaven proclaim,
Jesus is coming again!

Standing before Him at last,
Trial and trouble all past,
Crowns at His feet we will cast,
Jesus is coming again!

For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God (1 Thessalonians 4:16).

An Idol Factory

Little children, keep yourselves from idols (First John 5:21).

Idolatry doesn’t require a statue of wood, gold, or stone. An idol is anything which stands in the place a substitute for the Creator, the One true God. The idol can be a tree, money in your pocket, a community activist for social justice, one’s career, a preacher in the pulpit, doctor in the hospital, or rapper on i-tunes, a philosophy, or even the spouse or child in your home.

You may have seen recently that a billboard in the US State of Georgia implied that Donald Trump was the fulfillment of Bible prophecy concerning Jesus. One side of the US political spectrum is very good at highlighting these, yet ignores the same from their side, like the tweet below or the Georgia pastor who applied Isaiah 53:5 to a dead Congressman (click to see).

Idolatry is not a Trump thing or a Republican thing. It’s not even an American political thing. It is a human thing that goes back into the Garden of Eden.

And the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” (Genesis 3:4-5). And they said, “Come, let us build ourselves a city, and a tower whose top is in the heavens; let us make a name for ourselves ….” (Genesis 11:4).

I have video of Kenyan, Nigerian, and South African politicians and preachers alike being called by deific terms. It happens in South America, Europe, and Asia. The heart of the human race is indeed an idol factory. No man or woman or any thing of the human race is the solution to the woes of mankind. That role was fulfilled by the death of Jesus Christ two-thousand years ago.

Believer in Christ Jesus, idolatry must not be spoken of you.

God the Force

When the President of the United States was diagnosed with Covid-19 in 2020, the reaction of his political enemies was interesting. Thousands appealed for God to give him a painful death. I read dozens of Twitter prayers from preachers whose religion of hatred for a leader went far beyond death into the eternal. Other opponents claimed they were calling upon the very same God for his quick recovery.

“God” is an institution in many nations, including America where He is invoked on certain occasions and printed on money. This god is really little more than an impersonal, nameless, and faceless energy force appealed to out of fear, generosity, or a lack of knowing what else to say. The sun rises, the rain falls, and this “god” is something we ignore or silently accommodate until we find need.

Just this morning I dropped the bowl I was going to put my lunch into. The bowl fell to the ground and shattered. The invisible presence and power of gravity did its deed. This is just like the god of most people.

But an invisible presence and power, impersonal, nameless, and faceless force can’t see, hear, respond, love, have a will, or forgive. It doesn’t set the standard for life and death and eternity, nor require a standard for living. It can’t die as a substitute nor bestow grace and mercy.

The world is full of gods. Some are named, but many are this generic and ever-popular “god”. What god do you call upon, and what is His name?

I am the Lord, and there is no other; there is no God besides Me (Isaiah 45:5).