Summary: The first sermon in a series of four from a book called "The cycle of victorious giving" by Earl Lee.
Trust To Live
Pastor Glenn Newton
Oct. 3, 2004
Trust in the Lord and do good;
dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture.
Trust in the Lord, and do good;
Dwell in the land, and feed on His faithfulness (nkjv).
Trust in the Lord and do good.
Then you will live safely in the land and prosper (nlt).
Suggestion: Have someone read Psalm 37:1-7 followed by your spending a few minutes interacting with the congregation asking the following questions:
· How many of you would be interested in a little success in your life today?
· What about some positive results?
· What would that look like to you?
Alternate suggestion: Prepare video of an “On the Street” interview with members of your congregation asking the question “What is successful living?” and show it after the scripture reading.
Introduction to Series and Today’s Theme
The passage we read from Psalm 37 outlines some biblical principles that govern a successful and victorious life. These principles were put in book form almost 30 years ago by a pastoral couple named Earl and Hazel Lee, of whom some of you may have heard. Their book, The Cycle of Victorious Living, has had an incredible impact on the lives of many who have read it. In fact, it has sold over 100,000 copies since it was first published in 1971.
These principles of victorious living will help shape how we’re going to spend the next few weeks, because we’ll be exploring how they can be applied to one specific area of Christian living—stewardship. It has been said that if we want to discover what is really important in our lives, we should take a look at our checkbook and our calendar. How we spend our money and what we do with our time say a lot about those of us who call ourselves Christ-followers.
Though stewardship includes our talents as well as our time, treasure, and touch—and all are equally important—during the next four weeks we’re going to focus mainly on our treasure. I know talking about money makes many people uncomfortable—perhaps you find yourself fidgeting at the mere mention of it. But God’s Word contains more than 2,000 verses that directly address the topic of finance. Jesus himself found it important to teach on the topic. He knew that wherever your treasure is, that’s also where you’ll find your heart (Matt. 6:21).
Recently, Pastor Stan Toler and his wife Linda wrote a book in which they apply the same principles of the “cycle of victorious living” to what they call “the cycle of victorious giving.” Dr. Toler first described how he began to learn these principles in an earlier book, God Has Never Failed Me, But He’s Sure Scared Me to Death a Few Times. I wonder if anyone here today can identify with that statement? What began as an initial act of trust for the Tolers ended with totally unexpected results.
When Dr. Toler was a college student in 1971, he worked part-time at a barbershop. After hearing Earl Lee speak in a chapel service, he felt impressed to make a $100 faith promise commitment in the annual missions conference. At that time, $100 was a considerable amount of money, so it was truly a step of faith. Shortly after, he took the last of his cash, leaving his pockets empty, and gave the full amount in the offering. To his amazement, God fully supplied his need in a most unique way. His boss pulled him aside one evening after work and gave him a $100 bonus instructing him not to tell the others. Now there’s something to take to work and share with your supervisor.
For him the experience marked the beginning of a great journey during which he and his wife learned to live out the practice of giving, receiving, and giving again. The pattern proved to be more than a theory for the Tolers. They learned, as we can learn, that one can never outgive God. The lesson became for them, as it can for us, a successful way of life—the cycle of victorious giving. And we begin, just as they did, by trusting.
Trust Is the Doorway
The doorway to successful living and giving is found in the text for today. Verse three reads, “Trust in the Lord and do good. Then you will live safely in the land and prosper” (nlt). I like that. What a promise! The result of acting out of trust is the promise of safe and prosperous living. If we want to really live, we must first trust. And we can put our trust in the Lord because He is certainly worthy of it.
Psalm 24:1 tells us God is a God of abundance. “The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it.” Now that’s what I call true wealth. God created it all, and He owns it all; He created all of us, and He owns all of us. Like it or not, it’s all His. Scripture teaches us, as Earl Lee wrote, “to lean hard on the Lord” and “put all your weight on all of Him!” We can lean on His power, His presence, and His provision.