This Day’s Thought From The Ranch- This Week’s Sermon

This Day's Thought from The Ranch

Commitment To Trust

by Steve Shepherd

Two partners from a small law firm were having lunch when suddenly one of them looked alarmed. He announced, “I have to go back to the office right away! I forgot to lock the safe!”
“What are you worried about?” asked the other lawyer. “We’re both here.”

Do lawyers trust lawyers? Does anyone trust a lawyer? Can you trust anyone these days? If not, we’re all in deep trouble. Trust is a real problem in our society.

I have watched with some interest the TV reality show, “Survivors.” Every week they have a different contest to see who will win immunity and keep them from getting kicked off the show. The survivor contestants talk to one another in small groups, trying to gain support from one another. It’s a matter of trusting one another, but the truth is…no one trusts anyone else! Why? Because the last remaining survivor will win a million dollars! And when you’re talking about the possibility of winning money, no one trusts anyone!

In fact, when it comes to money, most people won’t trust anybody. Would you mind loaning me a $1000 bucks? Well, then what about $100? See what I mean?

This is pretty much the way it is in life. It’s a dog eat dog world and it’s every man, woman and child for themselves. This is why many people are not trustworthy. We are self-centered, self-absorbed, etc. We’re out to take care of number one!

Here’s another story of distrust, dated Nov. 17, 2005. Calling her actions “a new low,” a federal judge today imposed a five-year prison term for a former Shreveport, LA, woman who lied and told people she had an inoperable, malignant brain tumor in order to get thousands of dollars from them.

“You have breaded distrust where there was no distrust before,” Judge Maurice Hicks told Tina Larry as he sentenced her in federal court in Shreveport. Larry, he said, “Was trying to create a perpetual money machine. It is, indeed, a new low.”

Tina’s ex-husband, former Shreveport police officer Tony Larry, was sentenced along with her and received a three-year, five-month sentence.

The Larry’s, both 38, were both convicted of conspiracy charges earlier this year. She had pleaded guilty earlier to health care fraud and also to filing bogus claims on the city’s dental insurance plans.

The same jury acquitted the Larry’s of charges they conspired to burn their rental home to collect insurance money. That jury also acquitted Tony Larry — who insisted he knew nothing of his wife’s scheme — of the fraud charges against him.

Tina Larry cried as she spoke to the judge about leaving her children behind and told of “a lie that snowballed.”

“I just got caught up in something I created,” she said. “I’m not as smart as you guys have given me credit for. I am sorry to every person I hurt, I feel like a fool and I’m embarrassed. I don’t have a criminal heart. I don’t have a criminal mind.”

Afterward, Assistant U.S. Attorney Mignonette Griffin replied, “Well, she’s good. I’ll give her that, your honor.”

I DON’T HAVE A CRIMINAL HEART. Well, what kind of a heart and mind do you have, lady? Greed is good to many people and they’ll lie in every conceivable way to get money.

Is there anybody out there we can trust?

The famous preacher Dwight L. Moody once said, “Trust in yourself and you are doomed to disappointment. Trust in your friends and they will die and leave you. Trust in money and you may have it taken from you. Trust in your reputation and some slanderous tongue may blast it. But trust in God and you are never to be confounded in time or eternity.”

Proverbs 3:5-6 “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.”

Ps. 118:8 “It is better to take refuge in the LORD than to trust in man.”

Ps. 146:3 “Do not put your trust in princes, in mortal men, who cannot save.”

Don Dwelt of Ozark Christian College was one of my favorite professors and preachers. In fact, his oldest son, Dan, baptized me into Christ about 40 years ago. I never once saw Don falter and fail when it came to the Christian faith. I am sure that he knew when he faltered, but I never saw it in him. I always considered him a man who could be trusted, no matter what. He never once failed me. However, as great as Don was to me or in my eyes, he could save no one. He could only tell people how to be saved.

At other times I have put my trust or faith in some people whom I knew were very human but I thought, also faithful. But I found out I was wrong. I have discovered that some people will not only fail you but also deceive or betray you, just as Judas betrayed the Lord with a kiss.

It’s sad to think that there are some people you can’t trust BUT if there is one person we can trust, it is the Lord! He remains trustworthy even when human beings are not.

II Tim. 2:13 “If we are faithless (or untrustworthy), He will remain faithful, for He cannot disown Himself.”

Deut. 7:9 “Know therefore that the Lord your God is God; he is the faithful God, keeping his covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love him and keep his commands.”

I Cor. 1:9 “God, who has called you into fellowship with his son Jesus Christ our Lord, is faithful.”

I Cor. 10:13 “No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear.”

Heb. 10:23 “Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.”

God can be trusted even when we don’t understand all His dealings with mankind. He is the Mt. Everest of trust.

In this message let’s consider some of the benefits or blessings of putting our trust in the Lord and not man.

1-Delivery from evil

2-Delight in the spirit


Remember the phrase, “God helps those who help themselves”? Where is that in the Bible? It’s not. And it’s not a Biblical truth. The Biblical truth is this: God helps those who can’t help themselves!

Want proof of this? Will your righteousness take you to heaven?

Is. 64:6 “All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags; we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind our sins sweep us away.”

II Cor. 5:21 “God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”

Christ is our righteousness. We are unrighteous. Without His righteousness there is no salvation. God helps those who can’t help themselves.

Ps. 22:8 “He trusts in the LORD; let the LORD rescue him. Let him deliver him, since he delights in him.”

From what does the Lord deliver us? From all kinds of evil that can happen in our lives. I think many times we have been spared, protected and/or delivered and we never knew it. Or perhaps we saw it sometime later, after the fact.

In the early winter of 1968 I was headed out of Joplin, MO, in my new Pontiac Firebird. I was going to some small town in Iowa to preach a trial sermon at a church. I didn’t get 10 miles out of Joplin when suddenly I hit a patch of what many people call “black ice.” I was only traveling about 50 mph and immediately I lost control of my car and started going in circles. It made a couple circles while I was clinging to the steering wheel (because that’s all I could do) and suddenly slid sideways off the highway, jumped a ditch and ended up in a farm field. I got out, looked the car over and decided there was nothing visibly wrong with it.

I got back in, put it in gear and drove out of that farm field at the nearest entrance. I then proceeded to drive on to Iowa so I could preach. When I returned home I discovered that both of my front tires were badly worn to one side. Consequently, I had to buy two new tires and get the front end of that car aligned.

Brothers and sisters, I considered that incident to be a kind of deliverance or protection even though I had to buy new tires. My car could have flipped over and I could have been killed. God is our deliverer from evil!

Ps. 22:8 “He trusts in the LORD; let the LORD rescue him. Let him deliver him, since he delights in him.”

Prov. 29:25 “Fear of man will prove to be a snare, but whoever trusts in the LORD is kept safe.”

Ps. 56:11 “In God I trust; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me.”

Ps. 91:2 “I will say of the LORD, ‘He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.’”

Matt. 6:13 “And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.”

Someone wrote: All I will ever need to know I learned from Noah.

1- Don’t miss the boat.

2- Remember that we are all in the same boat.

3- Plan ahead. It wasn’t raining when Noah built the Ark .

4- Stay fit. When you’re 600 years old someone may ask you to do something really big.

5- Don’t listen to critics, just get on with the job that needs to be done.

6- Build your future on high ground.

7- Speed isn’t everything. The snails were on board with the cheetahs.

8- When you’re stressed, float awhile.

9- Remember the Ark was built by amateurs, the Titanic by professionals.

10- No matter what the storm, when you are with God there’s always a rainbow waiting.

Noah was a man of faith. Noah trusted God and what did God do for him and his family? Obviously, he saved them. God saved Noah and his family from certain destruction.

God can be trusted to do that for us as well. He can deliver us from certain destruction and/or all evil.

Perhaps you’ve read the book or seen the movie, “The Cross and the Switchblade.” The story of David Wilkerson’s first five years in New York is told in The Cross and the Switchblade, a book he co-authored in 1963. The book became a best-selling phenomenon and more than 15 million copies have been distributed in over 30 languages.

In 1969, a motion picture of The Cross and the Switchblade was released, starring Pat Boone as David Wilkerson and Erik Estrada as Nicky Cruz, the teen gang member whose life was dramatically transformed by Christ.

Nicky was only 3-1/2 years old when his heart turned to stone. As one of 18 children born to witchcraft-practicing parents from Puerto Rico, bloodshed and mayhem were common occurrences in his life. He suffered severe physical and mental abuse at their hands, at one time being declared the “Son of Satan” by his mother while she was in a spiritual trance.

When he was 15, Nicky’s father sent him to visit an older brother in New York. Nicky didn’t stay with his brother long. Instead, full of anger and rage, he chose to make it on his own.

Tough, but lonely, by age 16 he became a member of the notorious Brooklyn street gang known as the Mau Maus (named after a bloodthirsty African tribe). Within six months he became their president. Cruz fearlessly ruled the streets as warlord of one of the gangs most dreaded by rivals and police.

Lost in the cycle of drugs, alcohol, and brutal violence, his life took a tragic turn for the worse after a friend and fellow gang member was horribly stabbed and beaten and died in Nicky’s arms.

As Cruz’ reputation grew, so did his haunting nightmares. Arrested countless times, a court-ordered psychiatrist pronounced Nicky’s fate as “headed to prison, the electric chair, and hell.”

No authority figure could reach Cruz – until he met a skinny street-preacher named David Wilkerson. He disarmed Nicky – showing him something he’d never known before: Relentless love. His interest in the young thug was persistent. Nicky beat him up, spit on him and, on one occasion, seriously threatened his life. Yet the love of God remained – stronger than any adversary Nicky had ever encountered.

Brothers and sisters, the story of David Wilkerson and the salvation of Nicky Cruz could only have happened because of the faithfulness of God and His power to deliver people from evil.

What God did for David Wilkerson and what He did for Nicky Cruz, He can do for us too! God can be trusted to deliver us from evil!


Ps. 28:7 “The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and I am helped. My heart leaps for joy and I will give thanks to him in song.”

MY HEART LEAPS FOR JOY. That sounds like delight to me. When we learn to trust Him fully He brings joy into our lives and spirit.

Rom. 15:13 “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”

Richard Wethersfield, at age 22, having studied piano, violin, and voice, got his first chance to conduct an orchestra. “The moment I picked up the baton, I knew this was what I wanted to do.” His parents however, urged him to be more practical. So he got a master’s degree in business and took a well-paid position in international investment banking.

But Richards’s passion for music never ebbed. After putting in 12-hour days on Wall Street, he’d stay up nights writing music scores. His vacations were spent guest conducting for orchestras around the country. One year he got his big break when a famous European conductor (Erich Leinsdorf) had to bow out of 5 guest appearances with the New York Philharmonic Orchestra. Westerfield, who was his understudy, took over to critical acclaim.

On the last night of the Philharmonic, Richard learned that his father had terminal cancer. “I realized then that life is too short not to do what’s really important to you.” He quit his job and started fulfilling his passion– full time conducting. Today he earns half of his old salary, he’s had to simplify his life, but he has finally found the joy he never knew in business.

Brothers and sisters, there are many people who are not happy and it’s simply because they have followed the wrong pursuit in life. No matter what we do in life and no matter how much money we make, there will never be any great joy or delight until we are linked up with the Lord.

Why is this true? Because deep in the heart of every person looms the certainty of death. And when death is on the horizon and you are not sure of what is going to happen to you, how can anyone find joy or delight in this life? However, on the other hand, if you know where you are going when this life is over and you are certain of eternal life, HOW CAN YOU NOT EXPERIENCE A CERTAIN AMOUNT OF JOY?

Ps. 28:7 “The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and I am helped. My heart leaps for joy and I will give thanks to him in song.”

One day when George MacDonald, the great Scottish preacher and writer, was talking with his son, the conversation turned to heaven. “It seems too good to be true,” the son said at one point. A smile crossed MacDonald’s whiskered face. “Nay,” he replied, “It is just so good it must be true!” IT IS TRUE. We must believe God’s Word. We must trust Him. He can be trusted.

Col. 3:1-3 “Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God.”

If we are ever going to find any happiness in this life then we must realize there is more to life than this life. We must focus on that which is eternal! We need to change our focus from earth to eternity. We must anticipate, not dread what is going to happen. We must glory in it. Prepare for it. Sing about it. Dream about it. Live for it.

C. S. Lewis in Mere Christianity wrote, “If you read history you will find that the Christians who did the most for the present world were just those who thought most of the next. It is since Christians have largely ceased to think of the other world that they have become so ineffective in this.”

To find some happiness in this life and be effective as a Christian, we must set our focus on eternity and heaven!

There is more to come. More life to come, especially to the follower of Christ. There is good to come. The greatest good of all! And this great good brings delight to our souls!

Charles H. Spurgeon was England’s best-known preacher in the 1800’s. He often preached to audiences of 10,000 without a PA system. He said one time, “I would recommend you either believe God to the hilt, or else not to believe at all. Believe this book of God, every letter of it, or else reject it. There is no logical standing place between the two.”

BELIEVE GOD TO THE HILT. Believe Christ to the hilt. We must trust the Lord and nothing but good will come from it. Make a commitment to trust Him more!

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