- ReadCentral church of Christ Weekly Newsletter/ BulletinAugust 18, 2019Only True Christianity is Defensible
By Kyle Butt
Recently I was involved in a very productive discussion with two atheists. They were in their early thirties, intelligent, and extremely well spoken. We arranged the meeting to discuss why they had chosen to adopt atheism, and reject God and Christianity. In the course of the two-hour discussion, it became clear that many of their complaints about “Christianity” were legitimate. In fact, I heartily agreed with a host of their lengthy refutations of, and rebuttals to, “Christianity.” Lest I mislead the reader, however, let me explain. Notice that I have put in quotation marks the “Christianity” against which they railed, because the term demands qualification. Much of the “Christianity” that so incensed these young men involved gross misrepresentations of God and heinous misinterpretations of the Bible. For instance, during the discussion, one of the men explained that if, according to John Calvin’s views, God arbitrarily chose some people to be saved and some to be lost, regardless of their choices, then God would be unjust. He explained this point in detail for several minutes. After listening attentively to his astute refutation of Calvinism, I completely agreed with him, but noted that Calvinism is not true Christianity. It seemed that since Calvinism had been so inseparably bound-up in many “brands” of “Christianity” to which this young man had been exposed, he was taken aback that any “Christian” would so readily agree with his assessment of its evident flaws.
The discussion with these men, coupled with a critical reading of the atheistic community’s primary authors, has impressed upon my mind the fact that skeptical writers have a knack for exposing pseudo-Christianity for the error that it truly is. Unfortunately, skeptics often use the pseudo-Christianity and misinterpretations of the Bible that they so adequately debunk as straw men that they insist represent true Christianity. In truth, they certainly do not. It is a useful study, however, to notice several areas of biblical misinterpretation and un-Christian beliefs that skeptics have correctly identified as flawed.
THEISTIC EVOLUTION IS INDEFENSIBLE
In 2006, David Mills authored a book titled Atheist Universe: The Thinking Person’s Answer to Christian Fundamentalism. Much of the material in that book is incorrect. But chapter six, titled “Can Genesis Be Reconciled with Modern Science?” has some trenchant things to say about those who claim to believe the Bible but try to bend its interpretation to jibe with modern evolutionary findings. At the beginning of the chapter, Mills stated:
According to Genesis, God made Adam and Eve on the sixth day of Creation Week. The Genesis genealogies then detail the exact ages at which Adam and his male descendants “begat” their own male offspring. The New Testament books of Matthew and Luke [NOTE: Matthew and Luke actually do not give ages—KB] then continue the genealogy from David to Jesus, again specifying the age at which each male descendent “begat” the next generation. Since we have a fixed “historical” time period for Jesus’ birth, creationists thereby calculate that the heavens and Earth were created by God in the year 4004 B.C.Earth, therefore, is only 6000 years old by biblical chronology. [NOTE: Although Mills is correct about the general age of 6,000 years, the chronology is not so precise as to nail down the exact date of 4004 B.C.—KB.] Despite widely divergent viewpoints, creationists and evolutionary biologists agree on a crucial fact: Six-thousand years is insufficient time for evolution to have produced the complex life-forms we observe on Earth today.... A 6000-year-old Earth means therefore that Genesis and the Theory of Evolution are forever irreconcilable (p. 137).
Mills further noted:
If Earth’s history began with Creation Week, and if Genesis provides an accurate historical record, then Earth had no prehistoric eras, no prehistoric peoples, and no prehistoric animals. Dinosaurs walked the Earth only a few thousand years ago, side-by-side with modern man (p. 141).
Mills went on to write: “If creationists now wish to abandon their historical position and acquiesce to an ancient Earth, then I applaud their progress. But it is a farce to maintain that Genesis never really demanded a young Earth since the genealogies were always intended as metaphors” (p. 148, emp. added).
Regarding those who attempt to compromise the literal nature of Genesis and accept both the Bible and evolution, Mills wrote: “Citing the Day-Age theory, these Great Pretenders make believe that Genesis actually describes an ancient Earth. The purpose of this pompous intellectual charade is to allow the Great Pretenders to ‘have it both ways’—imagining themselves to be both religious and scientific at the same time” (p. 151). In what sounds exactly like a young Earth apologist’s writings, Mills then commented: “In seeming anticipation and preemptive rebuttal of the Day-Age theory, however, the Book of Genesis itself provides a clear and specific definition of Creation Week...‘the evening and the morning’ were a day—a literal 24-hour day” (p. 151).
Mills is exactly right in regard to the fact that a compromise of the Genesis account of Creation is indefensible and illogical. He does an excellent job of showing that the special pleading needed to warp the text of Genesis into agreement with modern evolutionary ideas cannot stand critical scrutiny. He concludes correctly that: “A 6000-year-old Earth means therefore that Genesis and the Theory of Evolution are forever irreconcilable” (p. 137). Those who compromise the text of Genesis in an attempt to force it to agree with modern evolutionary teachings have gotten it wrong, and would do well to listen to Mills’ criticism of their inaccurate interpretation.
Unfortunately, Mills leaves his critical thinking at the doorstep of his correct assessment that the Bible and evolutionary theory are irreconcilable. He incorrectly reasons that the Bible has been wrong all along and that evolution is the true creative agent of our planet. We have shown repeatedly that such simply cannot be the case (cf. Jackson, et al., 2008), and Mills and other atheists would do well to apply the same critical thinking to the false evolutionary theory as they so aptly apply to indefensible compromises of the biblical text.
Many people who consider themselves Christians today have accepted the idea that humans are born with a sinful nature. These religious people believe that sin can be inherited from one’s ancestors, and that every human, even infants, deserve death due to their inherently sinful nature. The Bible, however, nowhere teaches such a doctrine. Thus, when atheists and skeptics seize on this false interpretation of Scripture, they correctly insist that such a teaching would manifest a contradiction in the nature of the God of the Bible.
Christopher Hitchens, in his discussion of Christ’s death on the cross, wrote:
Furthermore, I am required to believe that the agony was necessary in order to compensate for an earlier crime in which I also had not part, the sin of Adam.... Thus my own guilt in the matter is deemed “original” and inescapable. However, I am still granted free will with which to reject the offer of vicarious redemption (2007, p. 209, italics in orig.).
Hitchens correctly concluded that such an idea “negates the moral and reasonable idea that the children are innocent of their parent’s offenses” (p. 99). Richard Dawkins weighed in on the idea as well: “The sin of Adam and Eve is thought to have passed down the male line—transmitted in the semen according to Augustine. What kind of ethical philosophy is it that condemns every child, even before it is born, to inherit the sin of a remote ancestor?” (Dawkins, 2006, p. 251, emp. added).
Hitchens, Dawkins, and numerous other atheistic writers correctly conclude that a god who condemns children because they inherited their ancestors’ sins would be an unjust being unworthy of worship. The biblical portrait of God, however, is not of such a cruel, unjust being. In fact, it is the exact opposite. The Bible points out in unambiguous terms that children do not inherit the sins or guilt of their ancestors. The prophet Ezekiel wrote: “The one who sins shall die. The son shall not bear the guilt of the father, nor the father bear the guilt of the son. The righteousness of the righteous shall be upon himself, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon himself” (18:20). It has been shown repeatedly and beyond doubt that the Bible never indicates that children inherit sin or guilt from their parents (Butt, 2004), nor do children ever suffer any type of spiritual punishment as a result of the sins of their parents (Butt, 2003). While it is the case that children often suffer physical consequences of their parents’ wrong choices, such as when a drunken father abuses his children, it is not the case that those children bear any of the father’s spiritual guilt or inherit any of their parents’ sin.
One can completely understand why the skeptical community would be aghast at a being who would cast innocent babies into hell as punishment for the sins of their parents. Yet, a correct interpretation of the Bible shows that such is not the case. While it is sad that many religious people have falsely taught such a view, their false teaching on the subject, and the skeptics’ acceptance of that false teaching as a correct interpretation of the Bible, cannot be used as a legitimate weapon to impugn the character of the God of the Bible.
WRONG DEFINITION OF FAITH
It is unfortunate for Christianity that some who call themselves Christians completely misunderstand the basic concept of faith. For many in Christendom, faith is a warm feeling in their hearts when they have failed to find adequate evidence to justify their beliefs. Modern dictionaries have done much to engrain this false definition of faith into modern Christianity. For instance, Webster’s Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary states that faith is “a firm belief in something for which there is no proof” (1988). The American Heritage Dictionary gives as a primary definition of faith: “belief that does not rest on logical or material evidence” (2000, p. 636). The idea that faith is a warm, fuzzy feeling divorced from logical thinking and separated from all “material evidence” does not coincide with what the Bible actually says about faith (cf. Sztanyo, 1996). As Sztanyo correctly noted: “There is not a single item in Christianity, upon which our souls’ salvation depends, that is only ‘probably’ true. In each case, the evidence supplied is sufficient to establish conclusive proof regarding the truth of the Christian faith” (1996, p. 7).
The false view that faith is “a leap in the dark” without adequate evidence provides the skeptical community plenty of fodder for their atheistic, anti-Bible cannons—and rightly so. If believing in God, or the divine inspiration of the Bible, or the deity of Jesus Christ is not established by rational, logical evidence, then those ideas are as unworthy of belief as the unprovable ideas of atheism and evolution. Knowing the inconsistency of such a false definition of faith, Sam Harris wrote: “In fact, every religion preaches the truth of propositions for which no evidence is even conceivable. This put the ‘leap’ in Kierkegaard’s leap of faith” (Harris, 2004, p. 23, italics in orig.). Christopher Hitchens, building on the “leap of faith” idea, opined:
Actually, the “leap of faith”—to give it the memorable name that Soren Kierkegaard bestowed on it—is an imposture. As he himself pointed out, it is not a “leap” that can be made once and for all. It is a leap that has to go on and on being performed, in spite of mounting evidence to the contrary (2007, p. 65).
In his analysis of religion, Richard Dawkins quipped: “The whole point of religious faith, its strength and chief glory, is that it does not depend on rational justification” (2006, p. 23, emp. added). Because of his belief that biblical faith is belief without rational justification, Dawkins concluded: “We believe in evolution because the evidence supports it, and we would abandon it overnight if new evidence arose to disprove it. No real fundamentalist would ever say anything like that” (p. 283). What Dawkins really means to say is that no fundamentalist who has adopted the concept that faith does not depend on rational justification would abandon his or her belief if evidence were provided to the contrary. But if his definition of faith is wrong, then he is incorrect to conclude that those who believe in God, the divine inspiration of the Bible, and the deity of Christ would not alter their views based on the evidence. In fact, according to a proper definition of biblical faith, it is only because of the rational justification and logical evidence available that true Christians hold to their beliefs.
When Dawkins states, “Christianity, just as much as Islam, teaches children that unquestioned faith is a virtue. You don’t have to make the case for what you believe” (p. 306), he manifests his lack of knowledge of what biblical faith is. Biblical faith is based completely and solely on truth and reason, as the apostle Paul succinctly stated in Acts 26:25. The prophet Isaiah underscored this fundamental truth about biblical faith when He recorded God’s invitation to the Israelites: “‘Come now, and let us reason together,’ says the Lord” (1:18). Luke, in his introduction to the book of Acts, pressed the point that Jesus’ resurrection was attested by “many infallible proofs” (1:3). For one to believe in the resurrection requires faith, based on infallible proofs.
Sam Harris wrote: “It is time that we admitted that faith is nothing more than the license religious people give one another to keep believing when reasons fail” (Harris, 2006, p. 67). Harris’ accusation is justified when it is applied to false religions, and to those who attempt to defend Christianity without providing a logical, rational justification for their belief. But his allegations, and similar sentiments from Dawkins, Hitchens, and other atheists, are wholly inadequate to attack true, biblical faith. Sadly, too many self-proclaimed Christians open the door for the skeptical community to bash Christian “faith,” when, in reality, the “faith” that is being destroyed was never biblical in the first place.
It is often the case that “Christianity” is abused by modern skeptics due to the tendency of many in Christendom to claim that the Holy Spirit continues to work miracles today just as He did during New Testament times. Atheist Dan Barker wrote about the time that he was thrown out of “Peter Popoff’s ‘miracle’ rally” (1992, p. 291). Barker wrote that Popoff “grabbed a woman’s head, deliberately mussed up her hair, shook her and pronounced her healed” (p. 293). During Popoff’s healing antics, Barker noted, “The audience punctuated his ‘healings’ by loudly speaking in tongues, raising their arms, shaking, crying, and hollering ‘Amen,’ ‘Thank you, Jesus!’ and ‘Hallelujah!’ It had the feel of one of those professional wrestling matches on TV” (p. 293).
Barker’s assessment of the event was, “It was comical; and it was sad. The man was practicing medicine without a license, raising false hopes and endangering lives. (Many of his believers have discarded medicine or cancelled doctor’s appointments.) I remember having participated in meetings just like this when I was a full-gospel evangelist, and I was ashamed” (p. 294). Barker’s caustic assessment of Popoff’s “faith healing scam” is accurate in many ways. As Barker admitted, he at one time in his past participated in many false-healing events, and thus he knows the inherent dishonesty involved in such deceptive shenanigans. Here again the skeptical community has logically and correctly concluded that such faith healings are not valid. As David Mills wrote: “If God has the power to miraculously cure others (though invariably in a vague and uncertain way), why doesn’t God ever help amputees?” (2006, p. 161).
Mills is right to surmise that if the miraculous power that was available during the time of the apostles is still available today, as many Christians erroneously teach and believe, then miracles that can be empirically verified like the healing of amputees should be documented. After all, even the enemies of the apostles had to admit that the miracles worked by the apostles were empirically verifiable: “For indeed, that a notable miracle has been done through them is evident to all who dwell in Jerusalem, and we cannot deny it” (Acts 4:16).
In truth, the skeptical community does an excellent job of showing that such “faith healing” events are emotionally charged frenzies that do not produce legitimate medical results. The problem arises, however, when the skeptical community tries to lump all Christians into this mold, or attempts to use these verifiably false miracles to discount the possibility of any type of miracle at any time in history. The fact of the matter is, the Bible predicted that the miraculous power that was available to the apostles would come to an end, and would not continue throughout the ages until modern times (Miller, 2003). Furthermore, it has been repeatedly and definitively shown that such false miracles sustain no argumentative value against the historical legitimacy of true miracles recorded in the Bible, such as the resurrection of Christ (Butt, 2002).
Mortimer J. Adler once stated, “Christianity is the only logical, consistent faith in the world” (as quoted in Sharp and Bergman, 2008, p. 288). Unfortunately, the truth of his statement is often obscured by the copious, false philosophies and inaccurate biblical interpretations that masquerade as Christianity. Calvinism, theistic evolution, inherited sin, misdefined faith, and a belief in modern-day miraculous healings are just a few of the obstacles standing in the way of a proper understanding of New Testament Christianity. To this list could be added hundreds of similar ideas fraught with error such as the unscriptural concepts of purgatory, limbo, modern-day Divine inspiration, the perseverance of the saints, and a plethora of ridiculous “predictions” supposedly rooted in the biblical text of Revelation. Those who genuinely wish to defend the validity of New Testament Christianity must be willing and able to assess the writings of modern skeptics, separating the wheat from the chaff. By acknowledging the mistakes that are inherent in false concepts of “Christianity,” the honest-hearted truth seeker can be led to see that such foibles and errors do not mar authentic, defensible Christianity.
- ReadCentral church of Christ Weekly Newsletter/ BulletinAugust 11, 2019What Is A Good Time Worth?
By Gene Taylor
They were just out for a good time. Cruising around, as teenagers have done since the invention of the car, with "no particular place to go." Two boys and a girl with only fun on their minds.
One of them got the idea that it would be fun to take down a stop sign. Stop signs, along with rural mailboxes, seem to be a popular means of entertainment for a few young people. Some shoot holes in them, some bend them over, others turn them around to face the other direction. These three decided to remove them completely.
It worked! They were enjoying themselves immensely. As a matter of fact, they derived so much pleasure from it that they removed 18 more that night. What fun! A good time was had by all!
All did not have a good time. You see, later that night three more teenagers, three boys who had gone bowling, came to one of the intersections where the stop sign had been removed. Seeing no reason to stop, the young driver proceeded across the crossroad. Their car was broadsided by a large truck. The three boys were killed instantly. A good time, a lark, a silly prank had cost three innocent lives. What is a "good time" worth? Is it worth three lives? But the story is not over.
The three teens who removed those signs were arrested, tried and convicted on manslaughter charges. The judge determined there was no intent on their parts to kill anyone so he was lenient on them. They each were sentenced to 15 years in prison. In Florida, a convicted felon has to serve at least 85% of his sentence. In the case of these young people that amounts to 13 years. What is a "good time" worth? Well, in this instance the cost is now up to three lives and at least 39 years in prison.
We haven't even mentioned the parents. In essence, six sets of parents have lost children-three to prison and three to death. The tearful remorse of the three guilty teens was little comfort to them. "I'm sorry" and "I didn't mean any harm" is little solace when such harmful consequences are the harsh reality of thoughtless actions. All for a "good time?" What is a "good time" worth?
Young people, youth is a time to be enjoyed. But please think before you act. Realize the tragic consequences that can follow thoughtless and, pardon the plainness of speech, stupid actions.
Before you do anything, even if it is for a "good time," think of what it might cost you and others.
The God of heaven also realizes that youth is to be enjoyed. As a matter of fact, He encourages you to enjoy it. In Ecclesiastes 11:9 He says, "Rejoice, O young man, in your youth, And let your heart cheer you in the days of your youth."
Yes, youth is to be a happy, carefree time that you can enjoy before the difficulties, problems and obligations of adult life begin to mount up. But there is a difference between "carefree" and "careless." Youth is not a time for foolish and reckless behavior.
God continues in Ecclesiastes 11 by saying to the young, "Walk in the ways of your heart, And in the sight of your eyes; But know that for all these God will bring you into judgment" (Eccl. 11:9). Please understand, that a "good time" that causes you to do things contrary to the will of God can cost you your eternal soul.
Young people, all people, ask yourself before you thoughtlessly do something just for a "good time," "What will this cost me?" "What will it cost others?" "Will it make me live the rest of my life with regret and shame?" "Could it cost me my soul?"
What is a "good time" worth? Please think about it.
- ReadCentral church of Christ Weekly Newsletter/ BulletinAugust 4, 2019His Eye Is On The Sparrow
By David Padfield
In Matthew 10 Jesus sent out the twelve apostles and "gave them power over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all kinds of sickness and all kinds of disease" (Matt. 10:1). This commission was limited in that they were not allowed to "go into the way of the Gentiles" or "enter a city of the Samaritans" (Matt. 10:5). Instead, they were sent "to the lost sheep of the house of Israel" (Matt. 10:6). Our Lord also warned them that persecution would accompany their preaching (Matt. 10:16-22). As an encouragement in the midst of this persecution, Jesus told the disciples of His Father's care: "And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell. Are not two sparrows sold for a copper coin? And not one of them falls to the ground apart from your Father's will. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows." (Matt. 10:27-31).
"Sparrow" is the name given to several different species of birds in the Bible—they ate grain and insects and gathered in noisy flocks. Sparrows would often build their untidy nests in the eaves of houses, but were not driven away when they built their nests in the Temple (Psa. 84:3). These insignificant little birds were such social creatures that a lone sparrow was the symbol of deep loneliness (Psa. 102:7).
In the days of our Lord sparrows were sold for a very low price—two of them for a copper coin (Matt. 10:29). A copper coin, an asarion, was a very small Roman coin, was worth about 1/16 of a silver denarius, and was therefore worth less than a quarter in U.S. currency today. Those who were poor and could not afford to sacrifice a sheep or a goat might bring a sparrow to the Temple (cf. Lev. 14:1-7).
So insignificant were these little birds that if you bought four sparrows the seller would throw in one more for free (Luke 12:4-7). It was this extra sparrow of which Jesus said, "and not one of them is forgotten before God." His care for His creation is so great that even this extra sparrow is noted and observed by God! The point our Lord was making is this: if God is concerned about the tiny sparrow and notes its fate, how much greater must His concern be for man, who is immeasurably greater in value than the sparrow!
God's Eye Is On Things We Deem Insignificant
Sometimes it seems that God is the only one who cares for sparrows. Cats and birds of prey like to hunt and eat them, and little boys have been known to torment them. Adults complain about how they multiply and consider them pests. Yet, Jesus said, "not one of them falls to the ground apart from your Father's will" (Matt. 10:29). It is interesting that Jesus chose the most common of all birds to teach a profound truth: in God's eyes, no one is insignificant!
God not only provides food for "the birds of the air," but He also "clothes the grass of the field" (Matt. 6:25-34). The "lilies of the field" were the scarlet poppies—they bloomed for only one day on the hillsides of Israel, and yet in their brief life they were clothed with a beauty which surpassed "Solomon in all his glory," and when they died they were "thrown into the oven."
In the days of our Lord ovens consisted of a clay box set on bricks over a fire. When it was desired to rapidly raise the temperature of it, some handfuls of dried grasses and wild flowers were thrown inside the oven and set alight. The flowers had but one day of life; and then they were set alight to help a woman to heat an oven when she was baking in a hurry; and yet God clothes them with a beauty which is beyond man's power to imitate. If God gives such beauty to a short-lived flower, how much more will he care for man?Surely, the generosity, which is lavished upon a flower for one day, will not be forgetful of man, the crown of His creation.
David was impressed by God's care for us: "When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, the moon and the stars, which You have ordained, what is man that You are mindful of him, and the son of man that You visit him? For You have made him a little lower than the angels, and You have crowned him with glory and honor. You have made him to have dominion over the works of Your hands; You have put all things under his feet, all sheep and oxen—even the beasts of the field, the birds of the air, and the fish of the sea that pass through the paths of the seas. O Lord, our Lord, how excellent is Your name in all the earth!" (Psa. 8:3-9).
God Does Not Always Prevent Evil From Happening To Us
Though God does provide care for the sparrows, the fact that "not one of them falls to the ground apart from your Father's will" (Matt. 10:29) means that sometimes bad things can happen. Although He watches over the sparrows, this does not prevent them being hunted by predators. Although He watches over every one of us, this does not mean that our lives will be free from care.
God had placed a "hedge" around Job (Job 1:8-11), but allowed Satan to tempt Job (Job 1:12). In the midst of his trials he did not lose his trust in God (Job 1:21). In one of the most beautiful passages in the book of Job, we hear Job say of God, "Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him" (Job 13:15).
We can be assured that with every temptation there will also be a way of escape. "No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it" (1 Cor. 10:13). My brethren, there are no special cases! When you get to the end of your rope, tie a knot and hang on!
God's Care Continues For Us
We may not esteem the tiny sparrow, but Jesus used it to illustrate our heavenly Father's watchful care: "you are of more value than many sparrows" (Matt. 10:31). If God is concerned about the tiny sparrow, how much greater must His concern be for man, who is immeasurably greater in value than the sparrow!
There is no place for worry in the life of a sparrow, and no attempt stockpile supplies for the future—yet their lives go on. The point Jesus is making is not that the birds do not work; it has been said that no one works harder than a sparrow to make a living; the point He is making is that they do not worry. Sparrows do not strain to see into a future, which they cannot see, and do not seek to find security in the things they have accumulated for the future.
Worry is needless, useless and even injurious (Matt. 6:25-32). Worry, which wears out the mind also, wears out the body. Worry affects our judgment, lessons our powers of decision, and renders us progressively incapable of dealing with life. Worry is a manifestation of our lack of faith in God (Matt. 6:30). We need to learn to be content (Phil. 4:4-13).
In the midst of turbulent times Habakkuk said, "Though the fig tree may not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines; though the labor of the olive may fail, and the fields yield no food; though the flock be cut off from the fold, and there be no herd in the stalls—Yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my salvation" (Hab. 3:17-18).
God's continued care for us should bring contentment in our lives. "But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content." (1 Tim. 6:6-10).
In 1904, a songwriter, Mrs. Civilla Martin, went to visit a bedridden friend in Elmira, New York. Mrs. Martin asked the woman if she ever got discouraged because of her physical condition. Her friend quickly responded: "Mrs. Martin, how can I be discouraged when my heavenly Father watches over each little sparrow and I know He loves and cares for me?"
On her journey back home, Mrs. Martin completed the writing of her new text, which has since been a source of much encouragement to many of God's people:
Why should I feel discouraged, why should the shadows come, why should my heart be lonely and long for Heaven and home, when Jesus is my portion? My constant Friend is He: His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me...
"Let not your heart be troubled," His tender word I hear, and resting on His goodness, I lose my doubts and fears; though by the path He leadeth but one step I may see: His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me...
Whenever I am tempted, whenever clouds arise, when songs give place to sighing, when hope within me dies, I draw the closer to Him; from care He sets me free; His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me...
God's care for us is immeasurable—He allowed His only begotten Son to die in our stead (John 3:16). When we consider the "riches of His goodness, forbearance, and longsuffering" this ought to soften our heart, "knowing that the goodness of God leads you to repentance" (Rom. 2:3-4).
God's care for us will sustain us throughout life, for "we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose" (Rom. 8:28).
God's care for us extends beyond the grave and into that home of the soul, for those who "do His commandments" have the right to the tree of life, and "may enter in through the gates into the city" (Rev. 22:14).