Observations on 9/11/16

First:

The radio woke me up this morning with commentators talking about this being the 15th-anniversary of the terrorist attacks against the United States. They reviewed both the attack(s) in New York and Washington, DC. Talking about the terrorists hijacking three airplanes and flying two of them into the twin towers and one into the Pentagon. And I’m thinking, wait a minute! Their were four aircraft hijacked that morning. What about United Flight 93?

I listened for 30-minutes; then got up and went online. I thought I’d surely find current stories that mentioned the 4th airplane. Nope. Nada. Found lot’s of coverage about the museum and memorial in New York City. But in those stories nothing was mentioned about Flight 93. What a travesty of justice.

Flight 93 was on it’s way from Newark to San Francisco. It had 44 people aboard. Seven crew, 33-passengers, four-terrorists. The plane was hijacked and turned back on a course for Washington DC. It is believed the target was either the Capital Building or the White House. Passengers and crew used phones to communicate with family members. They learned the Twin Towers and Pentagon had already been attacked. They spread the word through-out the cabin, took a vote, and decided to re-take control of the airplane—or die trying.

At 10:03, on 9/11/2001, United Flight 93—in a high speed dive—struck the ground in Somerset County, Eastern Pennsylvania. There were no survivors. There was, however, ample evidence that the passengers and crew had regained control of the cabin and were about to (or had just) breached the cockpit, thus forcing the hijackers to abort their mission. How many lives they saved is not known. How much terrorist propaganda was averted can only be imagined.

To all the family and friends of the brave crew members and passengers of United Flight 93, my heart goes out to you. And, I will never forget that this country owes them a great debt, indeed. They will be remembered, as true patriots, and heroes—who gave their all, that others might live.

Second:

The events of 9/11/2001 are difficult to think about. The total number of fatalities is given as 2,996. The number injured? I doubt anyone really knows that number. And, as a Christian I know that day has had tremendous impact on people’s belief. It shows us the depth of evil that can overtake and fill the hearts of men. It demonstrates just how quickly and without warning innocent lives can be snuffed-out. It begs the questions, were was God, and what was God trying to tell us.

I wish I knew for certain; but… I don’t. I am certain God was present. He was on all four of the aircraft. He was in the Twin-Towers and the World Trade Center. He was in the Pentagon. I know that every single Christian who died in that attack is now with Jesus.

I also know that God is God. He makes the “rules.” And, it all comes down to this.

God is holy and perfect. He cannot abide sin. Everyone on planet earth is a sinner—you, me… everyone. We will die. If you die in sin, you will go directly to Hell, where you will spend eternity in agony. If you die in a relationshp with Jesus Christ and your sins forgiven, you will immediately go to Heaven, where you will spend eternity in paradise as a son or daughter of God. (I’ll come back to this in a bit.) In the meantime consider the following.

I’m sure millions of people, all over this great nation came together to pray for the injured, dying, and their families. I’m certain that many people who had never before given it a whole lot of thought, were assessing and considering how shallow, empty and fragile their lives were. And, I would suspect a great number of them, recognizing their sin burden, turned to God. If not immediately, then certainly over time.

Also, by 2001, this nation was already telling God to get his nose out of our business. Drug use was going up. A woman’s right to have her unborn child killed (excuse me) her fetus aborted was in hot debate, and booting God out of our schools was getting more and more traction. That said, remember God is the perfect gentlemen. He will not force himself on anyone—or any nation. Have you considered that God may have been giving us a foretaste of how events might roll-out, …if He pulls-out?

Back to God being God…. No one on earth is perfect (without sin). Sin started when Adam allowed Eve to disobey God, and then, did the same thing himself. (Sin is knowing what is wrong; but, doing it anyway). So Adam committed the original sin which brought sin upon all of mankind for all time. This grieved God, for man was God’s favorite creation. So, over a long period time, God demonstrated (to man) that man cannot live a perfect life by his own merit and effort.

Then God did the best thing, ever! He gave mankind a Savior. He sent His only Son to earth to live a perfect life and become the perfect sacrifice for our sins. Jesus became our Savior when He died on the cross taking the sins of all believers, for all time, with Him to Hell. He was placed in a tomb with a stone closure. Three days later He walked out of his tomb as He had said He would. (Thus we can be assured that He was the son of God). He spent the next 40 days teaching and showing the scars from the nails that had been driven through his hands and feet. He then, in the presence of two of His disciples ascended into Heaven! (Thus we know He lives today and assures believers of our eternal life in Heaven).

God and Jesus are very specific about the following: There is only one way into Heaven and it is through Jesus Christ. And, while there is only one way, that way is open to anyone and everyone who truly chooses to believe in Jesus as God’s only son, and asks Jesus to forgive his sins forever and restore his relationship with God.

So, no matter who you are, no matter how big a burden of sin you have brought upon yourself, if God is speaking to you, and you know you must do it, you can start your relationship with God/Jesus right now. Here is a simple prayer. I recommend you read it first, just to see what you will be saying to Jesus. Then, if you want to start a new life in Jesus—read it as a prayer to your new best friend.

Jesus, you know that I have sinned. I know I can’t help sinning even when I am trying my hardest to live a good life. Jesus, you also know my heart, and that I believe you died for my sins on that cross so long ago. Please, Jesus, take my sins and restore my relationship in your family. Jesus, I want to make you Lord of my life by living the life you have planned for me. I’ll need your help. Thank you for hearing my prayer. Amen

What now? If you just made that prayer, you probably have a lot of questions. And, I have written a lot of Blogs that could help you. The one I think you should start with is: You Aren’t Perfect, posted: 03/18/16. Just keep scrolling down and you’ll find it. Another you may find interesting is: Where We Stand, posted: 04/01/16.

Avery Goodday

Happy? …Not Always!

I spend a fair amount of time “people watching. And one thing I’ve noticed is no one is always happy. What a surprise. I suspect if someone was always happy, they would end up, locked-up in some form of an institution. Even the Bible tells us that we will all experience troubles.

Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. [James 1:2, NLT]i

Did you notice that James (the brother of Jesus) did not say “…if troubles come your way,….” We are living in a broken society, on a broken planet. We will experience troubles.

But did you also notice James’ advice to consider trouble as, “…an opportunity for great joy.” At this point, some of you might be thinking, “Now that’s just wrong!” And you’d be, …wrong. Why?

For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. [James 1:2, NLT]

James is telling us that God will test us from time to time. And that does make sense. As noted above, we live in a dangerous environment, in dangerous times. We have to be strong to stand for Jesus. But James also said trouble is “…an opportunity for great joy”. It’s not a sure thing. Can we make it a sure thing? Not by ourselves! But, with Jesus on our side….

Proverbs 19:21 tells us that: Many are the plans in a man’s heart…”. (A fine example of biblical truth!) How often we get ahead of ourselves, to say nothing of God. And, it is usually because we are saying nothing to God, that we find ourselves in trouble. So, first and foremost we must humble ourselves before God and, P-R-A-Y. Get into God’s purpose (His will) for your life. It will be much easier to deal with troubles—very often the consequences of our own actions—when you are under God’s providence. The 2nd half of Proverbs 19:21 continues with, “…but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.” [NLT]

Remember, troubles do not originate with God. But, God will use troubles that can grow us. And, while they will never be more than we can handle; they will, never-the-less, stretch us, and strengthen us. Just think of Jesus and the Holy Spirit as trainers—standing with us and encouraging us, every step of the way. So, cooperate; and keep praying.

They are being tested by many troubles and they are very poor. But they are also filled with abundant joy which has overflowed in rich generosity. [2 Corinthians 8:2, NLT]

So let it (endurance) grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing. [James 1:4, NLT]

In everything we do, we show that we are true ministers of God. We patiently endure troubles and hardships and calamities of every kind. [2 Corinthians 6:4,NLT]

And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them. [Romans 8:28, NLT]

Romans 8:28 delivers a truly wonderful message. It is God’s word to us that, for those who love Him (i.e. Christians) and, are living in His purpose for us; then everything—let me repeat that—everything we do, is going to work together for our good!

And, just to tie this altogether we have one more passage of scripture.

Do everything without complaining and arguing, so that no one can criticize you. Live clean innocent lives as children of God, shining like bright lights in a world full of crooked and perverse people. …your faithful service is an offering to God. [Philippians 2:14-15, 17, NLT]

Did you get that? When we are living our lives for God, we are honoring—giving glory to—God. And, God is busy putting it all together for our “good”. Talk about a “win-win”. Folks, it just can’t get any better than that!

Jesus,

I have often prayed for kingdom eyes and ears. And, I praise you for what you have shown me thus far. I am also learning why it is so hard to truly come to grips with the differences between earth and heaven. I guess this is part of the “perfecting” that we must all go through. Sometimes, Lord, it is difficult; and sometimes, I loose my way for awhile—as you have seen. So, I thank you Jesus for your inexhaustible supply of love and patience. I don’t know if I’m “on schedule” or not; but I recognize that my faith grows stronger and my love for others becomes easier. And from the vantage point of elapsed time, I think many would say you have worked miracles in me, …and I know that’s true. I also know, that I still have lots of room for improvement. And, while I am not always happy, I can be joyful and content in Romans 8:28.

Lord, I ask you to keep perfecting me. And, I pray the Holy Spirit will guide this servant along the path you have planned for his life.

In your precious name I pray, Amen.

Avery Goodday

i Scripture quotations marked [NLT] are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2007. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.