In God We TrustSeries: Fruit Of The Spirit
IN GOD WE TRUST
Sermon By Terry Siverd / May 28, 2023 / Cortland Church of Christ - - www.cortlandcoc.org
For most of us humans, there is a significant struggle that begins early in our lives.
On a semi-serious level this “tension” begins even in our pre-adolescence years.
Life begins with total dependency - - relying upon our parents and/or others to facilitate our very existence.
Someone feeds us … changes our diapers … bathes us … dresses us - - Othesr are looking out for our every need.
But soon we naturally begin to seek levels of independence.
Not long after this natural maturation, instructions about self-management become part of our daily routine.
Quickly we learn to do for ourselves: eating our food…walking upright…tying our shoelaces...putting on clothes…brushing our teeth...throwing a ball…riding a bike…playing on the swingset…etc.
Then soon again, with hardly any fanfare, new “assignments” continue to be incorporated into our daily activities
As we approach our teenage years we are expected to become more and more self-reliant:
doing our school homework...keeping our room livable...taking a shower and washing our hair...driving a car...etc.
Hopefully our young lives are anchored in Scripture. We are taught to memorize passages like Prov.3:5-6 - -
TRUST IN THE LORD with all your heart, and DO NOT LEAN ON YOUR OWN UNDERSTANDING.
In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.
Yet, simultaneous with the planting of Scripture we hear so many other voices calling for SELF-SUFFICIENCY.
Self-esteem is highly cultivated along with strong emphasis on developing self-confidence and self-control.
While we don't want to become self-centered or self-absorbed becoming a self-starter is a good thing.
Learning to stand on our own two feet soon comes to describe more than just the actions of toddlers.
In adulthood, the world of self-help has become a cottage industry - - the culture in which we live.
Books instruct us how to do things for ourselves. Youtube videos offer to teach us everything we need to know.
DIY (do it yourself) is a slogan that blankets our world.
One might be inclined to reason that this is all well and good, and, for the most part it is as it should be.
The problem comes when this focus on SELF works in a sometimes subtle way to squeeze out God.
During our nation's Civil War the words “in God we trust” first began to appear on U.S. Coinage.
Difficult times often serve to help adjust our focus.
Since the start of this year I have read a number of books about WWII.
With Wings Like Eagles … Invasion 1940 … The City That Would Not Die … Ten-Thousand Eyes … The Victors … Wild Blue … Killing Patton … Bomber Pilot … Mission … Escape From Paris … The Lost Paratroopers of Normandy … Avenue Of Spies … Against All Odds … The Bedford Boys … The Longest Winter … Killing The Rising Sun … All The Light We Cannot See … War In The Shadows.
Dwight Eisenhower, who was the leader of the allied forces in WWII was a man who acknowledged God's sovereignty.
After the war he became our nation's 34th President, serving two terms from 1953-1961.
In July of 1954, President Eisenhower urged that “under God” should be added to our nation's pledge of allegiance.
Then in 1956, with his guidance, “In God We Trust” was declared to be our nation's official motto.
If you have ever toured our nation's capital you will see “in God we trust” everywhere.
While this is the ideal, I wonder if, in reality, it is true. Is this true for us as a nation?
Even more soul-searching is to ask, Is this true for us as a church?
While in the car and traveling to visit a friend this past week, Jeannie was responding to an online question:
What is your favorite quote to reflect on when in a struggle? Note: the quote didn't have to be a Scripture.
Prov.3:5 would be a good response: trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding.
We are living in troubling times. I am concerned greatly about the future of our country.
I am not happy with our current president and the direction in which our nation is headed. You might agree, and you might even add that this been your assessment for the last twenty plus years, spanning Bush, Obama, Trump & Biden.
Target's stocks are down considerably. While shopping for patio chair cushions this past Friday we passed Target on our way to Boscov's and we noticed that Target was not crowded at all, especially for it being Memorial Day weekend.
Target is in a free fall after promoting children's swimwear - - a girl's outfit displaying a pouch for a boy's anatomy.
It seems like our world has gone insane. More dire is the realization that our world has gone immoral.
I am concerned about where we're going to find ourselves as a nation a few more decades.
Let's add to our series on The Fruit of the Spirit this quality of trusting in God - - it is surely a central part of faithfulness. In His sermon on the mount Jesus admonished His disciples to TRUST their heavenly Father saying (Mt.6:25f):
Do not be anxious for your life, as to what you shall eat, or what you shall drink; nor for your body,
as to what you shall put on...Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, neither do they reap,
nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them...Consider how the lilies of the field grow;
they do not toil nor do they spin, yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory did not clothe himself like
one of these. If God so arrays the grass of the field...will He not much more do so for you, O men of little faith?
Ps.55.22 would be another positive quote to lay hold of in troubling times - -
Cast your burden upon the Lord, and He will sustain you...
Another would be Ps.37:3 - - Trust in the Lord, and do good. Dwell in the land and cultivate faithfulness.
Trusting God is not a call to passivity. We are charged with “doing GOOD”.
God truly cares for us. Peter references David's psalm (Ps.55:22) when he writes to those scattered due to difficulties.
He tells these first-century saints: cast all your anxieties upon Him, because He cares for you (1Pet.1:1 & 5:7).
By the mouth of the prophet Isaiah, God encourages the fearful and anxious nation of Jacob (Isa.43:1-2/NCV) - -
When you pass through the waters, I will be with you. When you cross rivers, you will not drown.
When you walk through fire, you will not be burned, nor will the flames hurt you.
In Ps.56:1-8, David bemoans being trampled upon me all long. He reaffirms His reliance upon God.
When I am afraid, I will put my trust in Thee. He finds great comfort in reminding himself and others (vs.8) - -
(God) has taken account of (our) wanderings; put (our) tears in (His) bottle; Are they not in (His) book?
In Ps.91:1-2, (Moses) speaks of dwelling in the shelter of the Most High...in the shadow of the Almighty.
Moses reminds us that Jehovah is our REFUGE, our FORTRESS and our GOD - - in whom we put our trust.
When Jeannie asked, What quote do look to for guidance in times of trouble?, my initial response was:
And It Came To Pass. Quite a number of OT & NT Scriptures begin with the phrase,.
The hardest kind of faith to profess and practice is trusting God when we don't understand His workings.
The Old Testament prophet Habakkuk is a short but terrific read on this topic. Notice how it concludes in Hab.3:16-19 - -
I heard and my inward parts trembled, and the sound of my lips quivered. Decay enters my bones and in my place I tremble. Because I must wait quietly for the day of distress, for the people to arise who will invade us. Though the fig tree should not blossom, and there be no fruit on the vines, though the yield of the olive should fail, and the fields produce no food, though the flock should be cut off from the fold and there be no cattle in the stalls, yet I will exult in the Lord. I will rejoice in the God
of my salvation. The Lord is my strength, and He has made my feet like hinds' feet, and makes me walk on my high place.
We don't know what the future holds, but we know HIM who holds the future.