In God We Trust

The following is used by permission from the author, Chaplain Glen Krans. He asked that I also acknowledge www.sermonillustrations.com. This "Thought for the Day" from Chaplain Krans is perfect for Independence Day.

This year the United States of America is 233 years old. That's a long time for a nation to remain free. But when you look at nations such as Egypt, China, Japan, Rome, and Greece who have been around for thousands of years, America's history seems short indeed.

Consider what a brief time we've really been here as a nation: When Thomas Jefferson died, Abraham Lincoln was a young man of 17. When Lincoln was assassinated, Woodrow Wilson was a boy of 8. By the time Wilson died Ronald Reagan was a boy of 12. There you have it. The lives of four men can take you all the way back to the beginning of our country.

We are young and yet we stand tall among these nations because of the principles on which we were established: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness”.

This is what we celebrate: the inalienable rights that we have and the fact that we believe they have been given to us by God. Both truths are important. We can debate whether God has blessed us with liberty and therefore we are free, or whether we have wisely and simply built our liberty based on biblical principles. In either case our freedom is from God.

When America was first established as a nation, the feeling was that God had given us an opportunity to do something great! Each person had value and rights. Our democratic society was to reflect that and be run by rules that embody those values. AND THERE WAS ALWAYS AN UNDERCURRENT OF DEPENDENCE ON GOD AND GRATITUDE FOR HIS DIVINE GUIDANCE. You will see that language in every major speech delivered by our founding fathers, in our Constitution, and in each and every preamble to each Constitution of each state in our union.

The difference between then and now is this: even though we still focus on the same values, many Americans have forgotten that God has given all this to us. The result of that denial is that it has become nearly impossible to have a moral conversation in our society. When we deny that this conversation is rooted in God, then it all comes down to “me” and we are left with no common language of moral discourse. That is, when we stop choosing one course over another simply because we know it to be the right thing to do; when we live as though freedom meant doing what we want because we have the “right” to do it; when we have no ability to talk about those principles and mandates beyond ourselves that determine what is true or false/right or wrong; then we have chaos.

19th century French writer, de Tocqueville, after visiting in America in 1831, said, “I sought for the greatness of America in her commodious harbors…and it was not there. I sought for it in her rich mines, her institutions of higher learning…and it was not there. I looked for it in her democratic Congress and…matchless Constitution…and it was not there. Not until I went into the Churches of America and saw her pulpits aflame with righteousness did I understand the secret of America’s genius and power. America is great because America is good. And, if America ever ceases to be good, America will cease to be great.”

This is an important part of what it means to say, “In God We Trust”. It’s not just a slogan, a tip of the hat to the good ole boy upstairs, a hopeful expression that God will continue to favor us as a nation and shower us with blessings as individuals. It means that our lives are built upon faith and trust; on respect for each other based on a goodness that God has taught us, and upon the belief that the very future of our free society is in God’s hands.

On this Independence Day weekend we confess that our freedoms and our blessings as Americans are gifts from God. These are gifts that cannot be repaid—that’s the nature of a gift. But there is a debt of gratitude that our hearts recognize and that we willingly take on. “In God We Trust” also speaks of that debt.

God Bless America!

Every Blessing,
Chaplain Glen Krans


Aniya said...

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gigi said...



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