Feb 22, 2021
Join us as we explore God’s ancient wisdom and apply it to our modern lives. His word is as current and relevant today as it was when he inspired its authors more than two and a half millennia ago. The websites where you can reach us are alittlewalkwithgod.com, richardagee.com, or saf.church.
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Thanks for joining me today for "A Little Walk with God." I'm your host Richard Agee.
We can find our nation's motto in a lot of places – on our coins and bills, on government buildings, in several federal department and state seals. It has been around for almost two centuries, first embellishing the one-cent coin in 1837 and becoming part of all our coins in 1873. It became the United States' official motto under President Eisenhower in 1956 and has been on our paper money since 1957.
At the passage of the Coinage Act in 1873, the country still reeled from the effects of the Civil War. We needed a reminder that God remained as the guiding light from whom all things would prosper and proceed after a war that killed more Americans than any other. We needed to remember our real treasure didn't reside in money or wealth or property but God. So by putting "In God We Trust" on our coins and bills, every time we paid for an item, we are reminded God provides, not the government, or our jobs, or some other tangible or intangible force we might presume gives aid. God is the source of our strength and success.
Many have tried to remove the words from our currency from the first day it appeared. To date, all attempts have failed. I'm afraid it won't be long until those opposed to God will soon succeed to the detriment of the nation, but as Christians, we need to continue to press to keep the motto alive across the land for as long as possible. Our heritage lies in the providence of God's grace. Were all our founding fathers Christian? No. As many point out, some were deists; some were atheists. But many did claim Jesus as their Lord and Savior.
The reason for the several groups' departure from the European continent certainly involved escape from religious persecution. Others wanted to take advantage of the prospect of new lands for development, the potential for finding rare minerals, power, and a host of other reasons. However, the earliest settlers from Europe came seeking religious freedom, as seen by the early charters within their settlements.
What can we learn from them? Perhaps the most important lesson, trust in God. I'm reminded of those words as I read the lectionary for this week from Psalms 25:
Make me to know your ways, O LORD; teach me your paths.
Lead me in your truth, and teach me, for you are the God of my salvation; for you I wait all day long.
Be mindful of your mercy, O LORD, and of your steadfast love, for they have been from of old. Do not remember the sins of my youth or my transgressions; according to your steadfast love remember me, for your goodness' sake, O LORD!
Good and upright is the LORD; therefore he instructs sinners in the way.
He leads the humble in what is right, and teaches the humble his way.
All the paths of the LORD are steadfast love and faithfulness, for those who keep his covenant and his decrees. (Psalms 25:4-10 NIV)
Lord, teach me. We become so arrogant in our seeming knowledge, but we know so little. If we had real wisdom, we would face the mess we find ourselves in today with its racial strife, the enormous political divide, the clashes between socioeconomic or ethnic groups. We would not create such misunderstanding between people because of disparities in material or immaterial things that might cause those disparities. If we had real wisdom, we would work together in community to help each other, lift each other, encourage each other, strengthen each other, understand each other.
So, my prayer is to teach me, Lord. Help me know your paths. Somehow get through my thick head, and lead me in your truth, not what some party or newscast or social media writer might want me to hear, but rather, lead me in your truth. I know that only your truth can save me from myself and from the evil that surrounds me. That's what the psalmist knows, and that's what I am learning daily from God's truth recorded in his word.
I like the way "The Voice" renders the next verses. "Gracious Eternal One, remember Your compassion; rekindle Your concern and love, which have always been part of Your actions toward those who are Yours. Do not hold against me the sins I committed when I was young; instead, deal with me according to Your mercy and love. Then Your goodness may be demonstrated in all the world, Eternal one." (Ps 25:6-7 The Voice)
I am so glad God doesn't give me what I deserve, but rather, in his compassion, his mercy, and love, which have always been part of his actions toward his children – humanity – he extends his grace instead. He forgives our sins. He forgets our transgressions. He wipes away the wrongs we commit against him because he is good and merciful and loving.
But God doesn't leave us at that point. He doesn't abandon us at the point of forgiveness. Instead, God instructs us to live right. He teaches us to live honorably. God leads us down paths that will benefit us and keep his reputation and name clean and clear. The humble find themselves lifted by God's teaching. But what does humility mean? I think the best definition I've heard is not thinking less of yourself, but not think more of yourself, either. Remember that you are a child of the King, but only because the King died on the cross for you.
So, where does all of this put us? I think it's time to pay attention to our motto. Whenever you pick up a coin or lay a bill on the counter to pay for something, remember where to put your trust. Faith in money doesn't work. There will never be enough to do everything you want to do. We will probably never pay off those trillions of dollars we owe that keep growing every day. The government won't fix things. For 245 years, the government has tried but has never succeeded in making life better for everyone. Someone always gets the short end of the stick. Social change doesn't make a difference. The change will benefit one group but harm another; it always does.
Our only hope for the future comes from putting our trust in God. The psalmist knew it. The Secretary of Treasury Salmon P. Chase knew it in 1861. President Eisenhower knew it in 1956. As believers, we know it today. We need to show by our actions that we believe it, though. Read God's word. Soak your mind in it. Let it become part of your life. Act on it as you let God's Spirit work through your life to show his love in a world desperate for something more than what they get every day through their standard fare. Make a difference because of what you learn in and through Jesus, the Messiah, the true King of this world.
You can find me at richardagee.com. I also invite you to join us at San Antonio First Church of the Nazarene on West Avenue in San Antonio to hear more Bible-based teaching. You can find out more about my church at SAF.church. Thanks for listening. If you enjoyed it, tell a friend. If you didn't, send me an email and let me know how better to reach out to those around you. Until next week, may God richly bless you as you venture into His story each day.
Scriptures marked NIV are taken from the NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION (NIV): Scripture taken from THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION ®. Copyright© 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™. Used by permission of Zondervan
Scriptures marked THE VOICE are taken from the THE VOICE (The Voice): Scripture taken from THE VOICE ™. Copyright© 2008 by Ecclesia Bible Society. Used by permission. All rights reserved.