Shelby G. Floyd
Last year (2013) on my birthday, my son Damon, Susan and the boys gave me the book with the title, “In God We Still Trust.” Now every morning when I get up around five o’clock, the first thing I do is put on my coffee, and then as I drink my coffee, I read the Bible. I am reading Matthew out of the hardcopy and at the same time I am reading Mark on my Kindle, and I am also reading the Old Testament.
After that, I pick up this book, In God We Still Trust. And I think this is one of the best birthday presents because it lasts 365 days. There is a one-page devotional every day of the year revealing how our forefathers built this country on faith in God and the providence of God. And I make little notes because when Damon gave me this book, he said, “Dad there are a lot of sermons in this book!” So I have made my notes, and this is the first sermon that I have preached based upon some of the notes that I have made throughout the past year.
This is a good book for all of you to buy, whether it is for a birthday present or not. In God We Still Trust, is a 365 day devotional by Richard G. Lee! Now, to any of you rebels from Alabama, I did not say it was by Robert E. Lee, I said, Richard G. Lee! (Laughter).
I want us to get into the word right here at the beginning of this lesson. Paul and his companions on one of their evangelistic journeys were treated very shamefully and violently while they were in Asia. Later on he writes a letter to the Corinthian church where he had spent about a year and a half. In this second letter to the Corinthians Paul declared,
“For we do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, of our trouble which came to us in Asia: that we were burdened beyond measure, above strength, so that we despaired even of life. Yes, we had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves but in God who raises the dead, who delivered us from so great a death, and does deliver us; in whom we trust that He will still deliver us, you also helping together in prayer for us, that thanks may be given by many persons on our behalf for the gift granted to us through many” (2 Corinthians 1: 8-11 NKJV).
Notice Paul said that they had learned not to trust in themselves but in God. We need to trust in God because he will help us, and we also can help each other by offering up prayers to Almighty God for his help.
THE COUNTRY SONG: IN GOD WE STILL TRUST
We need to trust in God. Many of us enjoy some country music. The group known as Diamond Rio may have been inspired to write their song, In God We Still Trust, based on the book previously mentioned or vice versa. Listen to the words of the song:
You place your hand on His bible, and when you swear to tell the truth.
His name is on our greatest monuments and all our money too.
And when we pledge allegiance, there’s no doubt where we stand:
There’s no separation, we’re one nation under Him.
In God, we still trust here in America,
He’s the one we turn to every time the going gets tough.
He is the source of all our strength, the one who watches over us.
Here in America, in God, we still trust.
Now there are those among us,
Who wanna push Him out.
And erase his name from everything,
This country’s all about.
From the schoolhouse to the courthouse,
They’re silencing His word,
An’ now it’s time for all believers,
To make our voices heard.
In God, we still trust here in America,
He’s the one we turn to every time the going’ gets tough.
He is the source of all our strength, the one who watches over us.
Here in America, in God, we still trust.
We need to stand up and let our voices be heard, like the words of the song say. The pagans are trying to take over America. When we study Old Testament history we take note that God drove out the nations that occupied Palestine because of their pagan lifestyle. Then later, he drove Israel and Judah out of the same land area because they were living the same way. I have reference to the Assyrian and Babylonian captivity of the 12 tribes of Israel.
The worldly and the anti-religious people want to erase every vestige of God from our land—from the courthouse, from the schoolhouse, and the White House. They want to do away with God and Christianity in particular. And we know what happens to nations when they do away with God. They do not last very long. And that would not be a good thing for America.
Years ago, we had some young men that worked for us in our business. In some ways they were good young men, but they were spoiled. Many parents today fail their children because they will not let their children fail on their own. That is how they learn to overcome failure. About halfway through our period of work, we would pull into a fast food outlet and allow the workers to take a break. As we drove away from the pickup window, these young men would throw their pennies out the window. They didn’t want the pennies. How many of you still stoop down and pick up a penny when you see it lying on the ground? I still bend down and pick up a penny when I see it. I remember what old Benjamin Franklin said, “A penny saved is a penny earned.”
PICK UP A PENNY!
But I learned from a story that I read that there is more to it than just picking up a penny. A penny is not worth very much today, but when we pick up a penny it could be worth a lot more to us after I tell you this story. I have some pennies in my pocket, and I am going to throw them down on the floor in front of me just like those kids threw their pennies out the window. [I threw a pocket full of pennies down on the floor in front of the congregation. Gabriel, one of our finest young boys, picked up a penny and said, “In God I Trust!”] I said, “Good job Gabriel—In God We Trust.” On the PowerPoint screen there was the image of both sides of the penny. Daylon and Taylor came forward and read what was on both sides of the penny. The emphasis was upon the motto, “In God We Trust” found on every penny. “Now pick them all up and put them in the collection basket.” While a penny may be small, let us remember the example of the widow who cast into the treasury two mites. Jesus said she gave more than everybody because she gave all that she had, even her whole living (Mark 12:41-44).
Recently, I read a story that I want to relate to you. An owner of a large company invited his employee and wife to their home for a visit. They were very wealthy and the couple was impressed with their beautiful home. Then they invited them to go to a very expensive restaurant. As they walked to the restaurant the owner of the company stooped down and picked up a very tarnished penny. He looked at it, and then put it in his pocket. The lady was very curious why he would pick up an old penny, when he had such wealth. So she asked him if he was a coin collector and if the coin that he picked up was very valuable. And then she was very surprised at his answer.
He said he was not a coin collector, but he always picked up a penny because God’s name is on it. He said that anything that has God’s name on it is holy and sacred to him. He stated that every time he picked up a penny and read the motto, “In God We Trust,” he always asked himself if he really trusted in God. He said he prayed to God, thanking him that we have such a wonderful country and that He takes care of all of us. He said that if God’s name is on the penny, then he needs to be reminded to trust in God instead of his wealth.
Therefore, I want each one of us when we bend down to pick up a penny, to ask ourselves if we trust in God or ourselves. When we read “In God We Trust” on each penny, let it remind us that our trust is to be in God Almighty and not in anything else. Let us teach even our little children that when they see a penny it should remind them, “In God We Trust.”
THE MOTTO: IN GOD WE TRUST
Now let us examine the motto, “In God We Trust.” This motto is an everyday occurrence on all of our coins and currency. For a long time this inscription has been on all of our coins and currency. The only known exception is the Buffalo nickel. This inscription is a testimony of the trust that our country has placed in God from a very early beginning. There are people today who want to remove that inscription from all of our coins and currency. Their stated goal is to remove every reminder of God from all public and political places. They do not trust in God, but in the weak arm of human flesh.
We are very proud of those who have put this inscription on our coins and currency. This motto was first suggested by a minister. The preachers have done a lot of good for America. M. R. Watkinson, in a letter to the secretary of the treasury, the very Honorable Samuel P. Chase, suggested this Motto on November the 13th, 1861. “In God We Trust” first appeared on a two cent coin in 1864. This was about the time the civil war was over. President Dwight D. Eisenhower made it mandatory that this motto be on all coins and currency, by signing it into law on July the 11th, 1955. So this is a summary of how that motto came to be on all of our coins and currency.
THREE SCRIPTURES ON TRUST IN GOD
Let us look at three different scriptures that teach us to trust in God. First, let us look at a passage in the Old Testament book of Proverbs:
Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.
God wants us to walk in his straight paths. They are the old paths of Jeremiah 6:16: “Thus says the Lord: ‘Stand in the ways and see, and ask for the old paths, where the good way is, And walk in it; Then you will find rest for your souls. But they said, ‘We will not walk in it.’” The only way we can do this is to trust in the Lord with all of our heart. When we acknowledge him, he will guide us in the straight and narrow way that leads to eternal life (Matthew 7:13-14).
Then in Paul’s letter to the young man Timothy, we read how Paul instructed him to trust in the Lord, and to teach the members of the church to trust in the Lord instead of themselves.
1 Timothy 4:9-10
This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance. For to this end we both labor and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the Savior of all men, especially of those who believe.
God saves all people in the area of Providence. He makes the sunshine and rain to come down on the just and the unjust alike. He provides for us good seasons of plenty. He saves us physically in the area of Providence. But in a special way, he saves those who believe in Christ and obey him. Therefore we trust in the living God because he takes care of us physically and spiritually.
We have another wonderful Scripture that teaches us to trust in God in Paul’s second letter to young Timothy. In this statement Paul warns the people of his day and all of us, of the danger of trusting in our wealth. America is the wealthiest country on the face of the earth. Even when we are having a hard time, we are still better off than probably ninety-nine percent of the people throughout the world. So he declares to Timothy,
1 Timothy 6:17-19
Command those who are rich in this present age not to be haughty, nor to trust in uncertain riches but in the living God, who gives us richly all things to enjoy. Let them do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to give, willing to share, storing up for themselves a good foundation for the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life.
Therefore, from these three Scriptures I think we can all safely conclude that God wants us to trust in him. Just as a little child trust in his parents, God wants us to trust him. When we were children we never worried about where we would sleep, if we would have enough clothes to wear, or what we would eat at the next meal. My parents were not wealthy, but they always made sure that we had clothes to wear and food to eat and a place to sleep. Jesus said we are worth more than the birds of the air, and God takes care of them.
TRUST IN GOD EVERY DAY
But what does it mean to trust in God? Let’s break this question down to a practical application in everyday life.
A Young Couple
Let us apply this topic to a young couple that are married and expecting their first baby. That is a traumatic time for a young couple. They have started their home and now they are expanding into a family with children. That is not an easy thing for a young couple to go through. If you are in that situation you may need to tell yourself that you are going to trust in God that the baby will be delivered safely and be healthy. You will trust that God will give you a good beginning to your expanded family. So a young married couple needs to learn very early their need to trust in God every day.
School Age Children
What about school age children? They also need to learn to trust in God, because even from a child’s vantage point, there are anxieties that they must deal with. Parents, if your child comes up to you with a childlike problem, don’t brush them off, because in their world their anxieties and troubles are just as important to them at their age as yours as an adult are to you. We can illustrate these anxieties in the parents who have a child that is lost and they can’t find them anywhere. All they can do is trust in God and hope that somebody will bring their child back to them.
What about young teenagers and their anxieties? Teenagers have special anxieties resulting from the immaturity of their youth and the making of mistakes. They also need to learn to trust in God as they approach adulthood. Everyone has made mistakes when they were young, and wisdom teaches is not to make those same mistakes again.
Young adults have special concerns about marriage, family, and career. This is a critical time as to whether young adults will learn to trust in God or in the allurements and temptations surrounding them.
Elderly people, when they have reached the golden years of their life, also have special anxieties and concerns to deal with every day. Declining health, dwindling income, inflation in the cost of health care and the necessities of life, loss of employment, and the loss of family and friends creates a lot of stress. Only by trusting in God can the older citizens of our country have peace of mind and heart.
Therefore, we must conclude that every age group has special needs and need to trust in Almighty God who loves and cares for his creation. The fatherhood of God is why we must learn to trust in God.
THE FATHERHOOD OF GOD
We must trust in God because God is our father. It is wonderful to have a good image of an earthly father. I have a good image of my wonderful father. I could never have asked for a better dad. Because of that image of my father, it gives me some idea of what it means to have a Heavenly Father who is perfect in every way. Now God is better and stronger and wiser than our earthly father. So we need to learn to trust him even more than we trusted our earthly father, because God is all good and he loves us, he takes care of us, and he disciplines us when we get out of line. God is a wonderful father to his children. And it is wonderful to be a child of God. I love the statement of Paul to the church at Ephesus,
“For this reason I kneel before the father, from whom his whole family in heaven and on earth derives its name” (Ephesians 3:14-15).
Every family on earth and every family in heaven derives its name from the heavenly father. What a blessing we have in our heavenly father.
A lot of people have a misconception about the nature of God. They look upon God as impersonal. Their concept is that God created the world, the earth and everything on it, and then he went off to leave it run on its own. That may be true of some absent landlords in our world, but that is not the way that God works. God is a personal God. He is interested in even the little things that occur in our life as well is the big things. He blesses us with every good thing. He disciplines us when we go astray as the father would his own children. Like an earthly father who helps his child with a broken toy, God is concerned with his people when they have a broken heart. In every way he prepares us to spend eternity with him. But God’s children must also do their part. Our part is to trust in God and obey his will.
THREE THINGS WE MUST DO
If we trust in God there are three things that we must do on our part. God is not going to do it all on his part.
One: We Must Conform to God’s Will
First, as we grow and develop physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually, we must try to become godlike and take on the qualities of God as much as possible. It is called in the Bible being “godly.” I remember H. A. Dixon at Freed-Hardeman College (Now a University), describing an old man who would always use the word “ungodly” in his prayers. His language was characteristic of the language in Jude verse 15. To be godly then is just the opposite of what Jude called ungodly. We do not want to be known by other people as an “ungodly” person. We will be a godly person as we conform ourselves to the way and will of the Lord: “Therefore I exhort you, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a sacrifice—alive, holy, and pleasing to God—which is your reasonable service. Do not be conformed to this present world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may test and approve what is the will of God—what is good and well-pleasing and perfect” (Roman 12:1-2 NET).
Two: We Must Make Use of Prayer
In the next place, we must learn to make much use of prayer. When we spend much time in prayer it indicates that we trust in God to take care of us. To the church at Thessalonica, Paul wrote these words:
“Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18).
God does not want us to be negative and always whining. He wants us to have a joyful spirit. He wants us to be joyful not some of the time, but all the time. Regardless of what’s going on in the external world we can be joyful within. And it will radiate in our countenance, our actions and our attitudes. Always make much use of prayer and this will reveal your trust in Almighty God.
Three: We Must Relax Our Anxieties
We all have anxieties that cause us to question God’s providence and care for us. We must learn to relax a little bit. Let God take over in our lives and take care of us as he has promised to do. The apostle Peter faced an untimely death, but he declared to all of us his trust in God when he said, “Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you“(1 Peter 5:6-7 ESV).
Friends, I know you trust in God. But every time you pick up a penny, say to yourself, “Do I really trust in God or something else?” Every time you take currency out of your billfold or purse and you see the motto, “In God We Trust,” please ask yourself, “Do I still trust in God?” Let all of us trust in God more and more each day that we live. And then we can truly sing all the songs that exhort us to trust in God.
The apostle Paul is probably the best example that we could possibly find of someone who trusted in God at all times. Before Paul became a Christian he persecuted and made havoc of the church. After his conversion, Saul the persecutor became Paul the persecuted. And in his letter to the church at Rome he could look back and say that, “All things work together for good to them who love God and are called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28). If we could just learn to trust in God, everything that happens in our life will work out for our ultimate eternal good.
If you’re not a Christian, will you put your trust in God, confess the name of Jesus Christ, repent of your sins and be immersed for the forgiveness of sin? In Jesus name: Amen.
Copyright © 2013, 2018 Shelby G. Floyd, All Rights Reserved
Shelby G. Floyd delivered this sermon “In God We Trust,” February 3, 2013, at the Heartland Church of Christ, 1693 West Main Street, Greenwood, Indiana 46142. Today, August 5, 2018, I delivered this same sermon, but not in the same words or order. We had a full house with many visitors present. Come visit us when you can.
Shelby G. Floyd
Heartland Church of Christ
1693 West Main Street
Greenwood, Indiana 46142