Summary: A sermon on how we can be thankful during difficult times based on Psalm 18:1-3.
Sermon for 11/21/2004
If we could shrink the earth’s population to a village of one hundred people; here’s the way the world would look:
There would be 57 Asians, 21 Europeans, 14 from the Western Hemisphere, and 8 Africans.
50 would suffer from malnutrition and one would be near death. Only one would have a college education, and only one would own a computer.
80 would live in substandard housing.
70 would be unable to read.
6 would possess 59% of the world’s wealth and all 6 would be from North America.
We attend church without fear of harassment, arrest, torture, or death. We are better off than 3 billion people in this regard.
We have money in the bank and spare change in a dish, food in the refrigerator, clothes on our backs, and a roof over our heads. We are richer than 75% of this world.
A. I am still not thankful. My life is the pits.
B. We can be thankful even during the most difficult circumstances in life. We see an especially inspiring example of a brave and thankful heart in the story behind one of the church’s thanksgiving songs #788 in our hymnal, Now Thank WE All Our God. This hymn was written during the 30 years war in Germany, in the early 1600’s. Its author was Martin Rinkart, a Lutheran preacher in the town of Eilenburg in Saxony. Now, Eilenburg was a walled city, so it became a haven for refugees seeking safety from the fighting. But soon, the city became too crowded and food was in short supply. Then, a famine hit and a terrible plague and Eilenburg became a giant morgue. In one year alone, Preacher Rinkart conducted funerals for 4,500 people, including his own wife. The ward dragged on; the suffering continued. Yet through it all, he never lost courage or faith and even during the darkest days of Eilenburg’s agony, he was able to write this hymn. Even when he was waist deep in destruction, Preacher Rinkart was able to lift his sights to a higher plane. He kept his mind on God and heaven when the earth was a living hell. Can we not do the same- we whose lives are almost trouble-free, compared with the man who wrote this hymn?
C. This still doesn’t do it for me. Well, maybe the words of David will. Psalm 18 was written after David had rest from all his enemies.
Thesis: David told the Lord that he loved him because of 6 characteristics that we find in Psalm 18:1-3.
1. Strength vs. 1
A. I am thankful that the Lord gives us his strength.
1. Physically- bathing and man handling 4 boys.
2. Socially- teaching manners, conversation
3. Mentally- endless questions
4. Spiritually. (Rom 7:18 NIV) I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out.(Rom 7:19 NIV) For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do--this I keep on doing.
B. (1 Tim 1:12 NIV) I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has given me strength, that he considered me faithful, appointing me to his service.
C. (2 Tim 4:17 NIV) But the Lord stood at my side and gave me strength, so that through me the message might be fully proclaimed and all the Gentiles might hear it.
D. (Phil 4:13 NIV) I can do everything through him who gives me strength.
D. On thanksgiving we need to give thanks to God for the strength he has supplied for us to do. Anything that has been accomplished has been done through Him.
E. Babies and the delivery. Jason the new youth minister. God will give strength to do what needs to be done to bring in souls.
F. Many people believe that we are running out of strength as a nation, running out of resolve. Strength comes from above. New King James- My strength in whom I will trust- vs 2.
G. The motto IN GOD WE TRUST was placed on United States coins largely because of the increased religious sentiment existing during the Civil War. Secretary of the Treasury Salmon P. Chase received many appeals from devout persons throughout the country, urging that the United States recognize the Deity on United States coins.
As a result, Secretary Chase instructed James Pollock, Director of the Mint at Philadelphia, to prepare a motto, in a letter dated November 20, 1861:
Dear Sir: No nation can be strong except in the strength of God, or safe except in His defense. The trust of our people in God should be declared on our national coins.