The Long Black Train


The way of life winds upward for the wise, that he may turn away from hell below.

~Proverbs 15:24, NKJV


Those who give themselves to sin give the steering wheel to the devil.

~Ray Comfort {Think on These Things, p.156}

They have an old WWI steam locomotive at Dollywood that pulls a long train. As you ride the train, they play Josh Turner’s gospel song…The Long Black Train. “Oh there is victory in the LORD I say, victory in the LORD. Cling to the Father and His holy name and don’t go riding on the long black train.” At the end of the song he reveals the engineer who is driving the train…the devil is driving. I providentially stumbled over a video the other day of a Christian college bringing in an atheist to challenge a group of students in an Apologetics class. I sat there for a few minutes listening to this man who was raised by Christians and claimed that at one time, he lead bible studies and shared his faith. When he got to college, he became enamored with science and empirical data, things that can be verified by the senses {see, touch, hear, etc.}.

The first thing I want to say is that God is invisible. Now to the eternal king, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever! [I Timothy 1:17] Jesus said, “God is Spirit and those who worship HIM, must worship Him in spirit and truth.” No one can verify God empirically. The only way we can relate to God is by faith. If you believe the Bible, there is one rare exception and that is the incarnation. God actually became a man in the person of Jesus so all the disciples saw God in that sense. They saw Him, heard Him teach and witnessed His miraculous power. But as Jesus concluded His earthly mission and moved toward Jerusalem, He began preparing His disciple to live by faith, to trust in a God you cannot see. No one can see the Holy Spirit. Paul understood this clearly when he said, “We walk by faith, not by sight.” The pagan Babylonians taunted the Jews with this continuous question, “Where is your god.” You see the pagans could reach in their lap sack and pull out and idol…“Here is my god, where is yours?” All pagans have to have a god they can see. If you do like the pagans, the secular humanist, you create your own god to your liking. When you create your own god, you can also create your own ethical standard that appeases your god. Quiet different for we believers: we have God na uncreated God that we cannot see, cannot fathom let alone image. We cannot move Him from place to place. We can’t sit Him on the mantle or move Him from the kitchen to the living room. We have absolutely no control over our God: it is vice versa.

But that is just one difference. The question I would have asks the atheist would be this…You deny the existence of God and of Christ. Do you also deny the existence of sin, evil and depravity? I admit, it takes faith to believe in a God you have never seen and even more faith to believe that He is touched by our infirmities, that He cares deeply about each and everyone of us. I have no doubt God exist: where I struggle is with Him loving me. BUT and it is a huge BUT, it takes no faith, zero faith to acknowledge sin, depravity and evil. I do not have one ion of doubt that I am a sinner–none, zilch, nada, zero. I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that I am depraved and deserving of what Jesus got. By the way, the man denied the historical Jesus. What fool does this? He pretends to be the dean of Philosophy is some California University but he came across as a hayseed to me.

Bottom line: we need faith, without faith it is impossible to relate to God. I do not know why He chose to related to us in this manner but He did and he who does not believe, does not receive. So confess your sinfulness and get off that Long Black Train because it is going straight to hell. The man didn’t believe in hell either but he will not be there two minutes until he changes his mind.

Have you ever been glad a day was over? I am glad that yesterday is gone. We narrowly avoided disaster and had to sacrifice the edges but we got 9 yards poured and half-way finished. You can’t get concrete when you want it these days and I could line up my help and the concrete on the same day. Anywho, it is done and it cannot be moved or redone. I could make a finisher out of Hannah but Holly doesn’t have a prayer. When I’d say, take out a little out right there, she would rake out a quarter of yard and leave a hole big as Texas. Holly does not know what the word little means. Send her to town to get a little lunch and she comes back with enough to feed an army. She doesn’t know how to do a little birthday party for the kids either. Her birthday parties will run you a thousand bucks.

COLS today and tomorrow. Pray for my energy to be renewed and wisdom to know what to say and do in these next two days. My Sunday AM message is not fully prepared either. The Thomas Pickens service is today at 2:00 and the Larry Slatter Service is tomorrow at 2:00.

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