America’s national motto, “In God We Trust” was formally established in 1956 by an act of congress and signed by President Eisenhower. The motto started appearing on our paper money in 1957. However the movement to acknowledge God on our currency began as early as 1861, largely because of the increased religious sentiment existing during the Civil War. Then House Speaker Schuyler Colfax noted: “The last act of Congress ever signed by President Lincoln was one requiring that the motto … ‘In God we Trust’ should hereafter be inscribed upon all our national coin.” During the War of 1812, Francis Scott Key wrote “The Star Spangled Banner” which congress adopted as the national anthem on March 3, 1931. The fourth verse states:
O thus be it ever when free men shall stand,
Between their loved home and the war’s desolation;
Blest with victory and peace, may the Heaven-rescued land,
Praise the Power that hath made and preserved us a nation!
Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just;
And this be our motto ‘In God Is Our Trust’!
And the Star Spangled Banner in triumph shall wave.
Over the land of the free and the home of the brave!
American history has demonstrated repeatedly that the nation was founded on Christian principles as the founding fathers acknowledged in their writings, documents, and historical speeches. We see Bible verses and God’s acknowledgment on many of the historical buildings in Washington D.C. Of course the national motto of “In God We Trust” has survived repeated challenges by atheists down through the years.
I am glad for the motto, but I wonder how true it really is? Does our national leaders really trust in Almighty God to guide their decisions? Do we as American citizens acknowledge our dependence on God to provide, protect, and prosper us? When we fail Him do we confess our sins and repent of trying to live without Him. I don’t think America’s greatness ever rested on any kind of motto engraved in stone or printed on our currency. And we will only be great again when we genuinely trust in God as our Savior, as our Sovereign, and as our Lord.
Last summer somehow I was affected with double vision. It was the result of a condition called third nerve palsy. Wearing a patch for three months was the only thing I could do until my vision returned. Losing part of my vision made for a difficult summer. I was looking forward to enjoying my vacation this summer without any obstructions, but such was not to be. A cold and sinus infection right before I left on my trip caused me to lose my sense of smell and taste. No matter how delightful or how obnoxious, I was not able to discern how things smelled or tasted. I am just about fully recovered from my latest dance with losing my senses.
As annoying as these losses were, I am afraid that many of us have lost something far more significant. We have lost our sense of sin. We have allowed so many things to plug up our relationship with God so that we are no longer sensitive to evil in our own heart. Our language becomes hateful, our behavior unloving, our attitude ungrateful and our spirit descends into bitterness. We become careless with what we watch and reckless in the places we go. What can we do when we no longer have that sense of sin?
King David went for some time hiding his adulterous affair with Bathsheba. His joy dried up and his songs of praise became silent as he went about his duties. But God sent a prophet with a word from the Lord. Nathan pointed out to David his terrible sin and the wells of repentance broke open for David. He said in Psalm 51:2,3: “Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin. For I acknowledge my transgressions, and my sin is always before me”. David’s sense of sin was fully restored as he repented before the Lord.
Visit the Great Physician and take the strong medicine of His Holy Word to break up your insensitive spirit. Oh, by the way, pray that next vacation I won’t lose my hearing.
Once in a while I get to travel to different states for a conference or even a vacation. While there I have occasionally tried to pick up some kind of little gift for members of my family. I am sure you have visited those kiosks with the small gifts with various names inscribed on them. I have 6 children so I had quite a bit of searching to do. I could usually find items for 4 of my kids but rarely could find anything with Micah or Esther inscribed on it. As much as I searched, those 2 names were always missing from the knickknack kiosks.
It is no big deal not to find your name inscribed on a keychain or refrigerator magnet. However there is another place that it is essential to find your name written down. That place is called the Lamb’s Book of Life. In the book of Revelation John tells us that one day in the future all of the dead will be judged. This event is called the Great White Throne Judgment. Revelation 20:11,12,15 says: “Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away. And there was found no place for them. And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God, and books were opened. And another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books. And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire”. God loves everyone in the whole world and desires that no one should be left out of His book. But in order to have your name inscribed in that book you must repent of your sins and place your faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.
You may have one of those names that are unique and not found in many places. God knows your name and invites you to believe in His Son. If you do you will find your name inscribed in the Book of Life. Make sure your name is not missing.
Pastor Stultz has been writing this weekly devotional for many years. In 2009, he published a compilation of devotionals in book form, also called Moments of Meditation