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Daily Thought - Remembering God On 9-11

Discussion in 'Thoughts for Today' started by anthony wade, Sep 11, 2012.

  1. Sing praises to the Lord, enthroned in Zion; proclaim among the nationswhat he has done.– Psalm 9: 11 (NIV)

    For through me your days will be many, and years will be added to your life – Proverbs 9: 11 (NIV)

    The defining day of our lifetimes now sits 11 years ago in our painful memory. In our parent’s generation the question was where you were when John F. Kennedy was shot and killed. For our generation it was where you were when the twin towers were struck. I of course remember. I was entering the Lincoln Tunnel when I saw smoke arising from the first tower. By the time I arrived at work everyone was in a state of panic. America under attack. Both towers hit. Then we watched from across the East River in Queens as the towers fell.

    I stayed until my staff were safely on their way to try and get back home to the ones they loved. Then I tried to get home. Four different train lines, two different busses and finally a long walk to my house. Plenty of time to reflect on the day that changed so many things in this country. People ask me what I remember most from that day and as a native New Yorker I can say that what always stuck in my mind was that was the only day that it was ok to look each other in the eye on the subway. Those who commute in New York know what I mean. We are a funny lot. We refuse to make eye contact with people when we commute. Yet on that day it was ok. It was ok because there was a collective sense of being hurt together. Of being in this together. By the time we all went back to work later in the week the rules were back in full effect but for that one moment in time – we were all one.

    Then there is the memory of the bravest on that day. Carter Conlon from Time Square Church gave the sermon of his life the week following 9-11 (linked on my website). It was entitled “Run for Your Life!” He described how while people were trying so desperately to escape the dust clouds and the fires there were police, firemen and other emergency personnel running into the mortal danger and screaming at the citizens to run for their lives. Many of these people would never be seen again, giving their lives for the lives of others. Pastor Conlon lamented the current state of the church and how anemic we have become and how he wanted to be the man of God who was running into the dangers of this world and warning people to run for their lives!

    I think on some levels we lost a rare opportunity on 9-11. A chance to really look at what God has to say to us as a people. Others used those horrifying events to promote hate and fear. That hate and fear is still palpable today for many. But what were the real lessons? The first is that this temporal life is but a vapor:

    Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. – James 4: 14 (NIV)

    Tomorrow is promised to no one beloved. People arose on September 11th 2001 and did nothing wrong except go to work like they had done every other working day for years upon years. The devil does a good job of convincing us that our lives are long when in reality they so fragile and tenuous that we need to respect them more than we do. Never put off saying you love somebody until tomorrow because tomorrow is not promised. Appreciate all that God has given you and never take people for granted.

    The second real lesson we may have lost is that eternity does matter. The mystery of agnosticism baffles me. The atheist I get. He simply puts his faith in man over God. But the agnostic believes in God but doesn’t seem to care. Listen well because you will not be able to say that you were not told. Heaven and hell are very real places. This life is a glimmer compared to eternity. If you choose to live your life apart from God then you will spend eternity as you have chosen – apart from God. If you lived your life in relationship with God, through His Son Jesus Christ, then you will spend eternity with Him. The true lesson of 9-11 is that we value the wrong life. We value this temporal shell which can be taken from us tomorrow and don’t even consider too often the eternal life which no one can take from us. Do not buy into the kumbya theology of the world that says we all serve the same God and everyone gets to go to heaven. Don’t fall for the love only crowd that thinks there is no consequence for behavior. Without heaven and hell there is no need for a Savior. Don’t fall for it! Run for your lives!

    I was praying about what key verse to use for 9-11. I went to Joshua 1:7 and felt that could have been good but it didn’t feel…whole. I finally turned to actual ninth chapters and eleventh verses in the Bible. I turned to Psalms and Proverbs – encouragement and wisdom – because that is what I think we need on a somber day such as this. God did not disappoint as we read the key verses. Psalm 9:11 reminds us that in all things and even in our darkest hour, we should be praising the one and only God; Maker of Heaven and Earth. Yes, 9-11 was a horrible blood-stained day for us but we serve a God who has promised that when He returns, He will wipe every tear from our eyes and there will be no more suffering. Psalm 9: 11 also reminds us of the awesome responsibility we have between now and that day when the trumpet sounds. We sometimes fall short in our “proclaiming among the nations what he has done.” That means ALL nations though. Not just the ones we like and yes it even includes the one we have been taught to hate. God is above our retribution beloved. Praise His name and spread His Gospel – it really is that simple.

    Where Psalm 9: 11 deals with things of eternal value, Proverbs 9: 11 deals with the temporal value of things. Days will be added unto us and years will be added to our lives. But only through God. We cannot embrace the things of this world and expect lasting peace and prosperity. I do not mean how the world measures peace and prosperity but rather how God does. To live a peaceful life, where the events even as bad as 9-11 do not shake who we are at our core. Grieve? Absolutely. But change who we are as a people? No. Wisdom starts by fearing the Lord. Wisdom continues by staying in the Lord in everything we do. God will reward that.

    So the eleventh anniversary of 9-11 will pass today. Politicians will make their speeches. Those who lost loved ones will remember and grieve. Maybe even on the way home in New York a little eye contact might be made. A simple nodding of the head in agreement that it is ok on this day. Because we share in the collective tragedy and we allow it not to define us but to refine us. That we could come out of such tragic circumstances as better people for it. As Christians, that we would turn back to our God, live our lives through Him, sing His praises, and share His wonderful Good News with a lost and dying world that so desperately needs to hear it today. God loves you. He has always loved you. He wants you to come back to Him today.

    Rev. Anthony

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