In God We Trust

  In God We Trust, God Bless America, One Nation Under God, it is words like these that our nation was founded on. It is these words that kept the pilgrims going on those endless days and nights at sea and the long cold winters in Plymouth, they gave Washington and his men hope in the Revolutionary War and strengthened Lincoln in the Civil War when he felt like giving up.

The words are everywhere, on our money, license plates, plaques and Lady Liberty too. They’re in the Pledge of Allegiance, the National Anthem, and they are the motto of this country. Our forefathers fought and died so that this nation could be free to worship Him, and now that very nation is slowly but surely, quietly but effectively slipping God out of the picture, until we now hardly want to have anything to do with the very reason we exist.

A couple of years ago, I visited Tallahassee, the Capital of Florida. I was standing in a hall, in the Capital Building, in front of me, a secretary at a desk; behind me, seats and the elevators; to my left, the House of Representatives; to my right, the Senate; and above me, an opening so the people on the floor above could look down. As I looked around in awe, still not quite believing what I was looking at, I saw that there was writing on the sides of the opening. I read the writing through, it was facts about Florida, state bird, flower, tree,mammal, etc. You name it we have it, some even seemed repetitive.

But then I got to the end of the list, and something caught my eye, the state motto, “IN GOD WE TRUST”, right there in big letters, “IN GOD WE TRUST”. At first, I felt proud not only to live in a country, but also a state that bears that as it’s motto. But, the more I thought about it, the less proud I felt. I asked my self, Is that true, are we as a nation trusting in God, and Him alone to fix all our problems?” I thought about it, and I had to say, no. Yes, we as Christian individuals do look to God in trust, most of the time, when things are easy. But in these though economic times, who do we as a nation look to, to get us out? The president and his stimulus packages? Congress, and there bailout money? That’s not what I would call trusting in God. We need look to no man for our help, but only to God. The writer of Psalms 121 said it best, “I will lift up my eyes to the mountains; from where shall my help come? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.” The Lord, not the president, not congress, the Lord.

Earlier, I mentioned Abraham Lincoln. Now there was a man who knew how to trust in God through anything. Through all the death and dying in the Civil War, Lincoln could have despaired and given up at any time, but he, through it all looked to God for strength and victory. It was Lincoln, not the pilgrims, who made Thanksgiving a national holiday. The pilgrims thanked God and celebrated, but he made it a holiday. He knew what was happening to this nation when he wrote; 

“We have been the recipients of the choicest bounties of heaven; we have grown in numbers, wealth, and power as no other nation has ever grown. But we have forgotten God. We have forgotten the gracious hand which preserved us in peace, and we have vainly imagined, in the deceitfulness of our hearts, that all these blessings were produced by some superior wisdom and virtue of our own. We have become to self-sufficient to feel the necessity of redeeming and preserving grace, to proud to pray to the one who made us.”

Abe recognized a problem that still goes on to this day,, we have forgotten God. One former slave tried to kneel to him once, but he rebuked him and said; “Don’t kneel to me! You must kneel to God only.”

There are many other stories of people who trusted God, no matter what. But we need to our selves; “Are we trusting in God?”  “Am I trusting in God?”.  No, our faith and trust in God will probably not be remembered through history as Lincoln’s was, but you never know who might be watching you, who’s lives might be changed forever because of your faith and trust in God. It is my prayer that we will return to being a nation that trusts in God. Because, unlike men, He will never leave us or forsake us.

As someone I know aptly put it, “God never promised, that the cross would not get heavy, and the hill would not be hard to climb. He never offered a victory without fighting but He said help would always come in time. Just remember when your standing in the valley of decision and the adversary says give in! Just hold on! Our Lord will show up and He will take you through the fire again!”

Defined or Refined

  Lately, as some of you might already know, I’ve been going through a lot of hard times. I’ve always had my share of troubles, but lately it seems like my life has gone crazy. It would be easy for me to stress, freak out, go berserk, what ever you want to call it, and I must confess, sometimes I have.

But right in the middle of the worst time in my life, I got to thinking, and praying, and reading my Bible, and I realized, I was letting this hard time in my life define me. I was letting the hardships, pain and difficulty, affect my family life, and my friendships, but most important, my walk with my Savior. It was destroying me from the inside out.

I was reading my bible, and a couple of verses popped out at me, and I realized, instead of letting my problems define me, I needed to let God use my problems to refine me. I needed to ask myself, “What is God trying to teach me through this?”, and “How might God be trying to use the hard times in my life to help others?”

Zechariah 13: 9 (NLT) I will bring that group through the fire and make them pure. I will refine them like silver and purify them like gold. They will call on my name, and I will answer them. I will say, ‘These are my people,’ and they will say, ‘The Lord is our God.'”

Hosea 6:1-3 (NLT) “Come, let us return to the lord. He has torn us to pieces; now he will heal us. He has injured us; now he will bandage our wounds. In just a short time he will restore us, so that we may live in his presence. Oh, that we might know the Lord! Let us press on to know him. He will respond to us as surely as …the arrival of dawn or the coming of rain in early spring.”

So our busy lives today, lets all stop and ask our selves, “Are we letting our problems define us,or are we letting God use them to refine us?”