Thoughts on 9/11

September 11, 2013 at 6:52 pm | Posted in Christianity | Leave a comment
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12 years ago today, our nation was rocked to it’s foundation by the actions of a few (although more could have been unknowingly thwarted) Muslims who hijacked planes and flew them into the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center (WTC). Many of us have heard stories throughout the day remembering that tragic day. Many will watch documentaries and dramas tonight recounting the harrowing tales of those who survived the death and destruction. It is good to do these things. We must remember the tragedies that we’ve suffered else we get too full of ourselves. But, having done some of these things today, I have to ask a question that I think is very important.

What have we learned?

Is today just another quasi-holiday where we go through the motions of mourning and remembering? Is it another day where we hold special events to “honor” those who were killed? Is it a day where we give a reassuring hug to those who survived and then move on with the rest of our day? If that’s all that September 11th has become, then I have to say that I’m both sad and concerned.

I think it may be safe to say that September 11th, 2001 was the largest attack on American soil since Pearl Harbor took place. No one would dare attack Americans on their home turf, right? No country would be stupid enough to bring the fight to us, would they? No group, organization, or faction would actually consider harming us in our own cities and towns, would they? You know the answer: Yes, they would. And they did. The safety of the American shorelines had been broken and Muslims had brought their hatred for the West to the very place they could do the most damage. We were complacent. We believed that we had done all that was needed to remain safe and that bubble of protection couldn’t be breached.

We were wrong.

The attack was quick and deadly, just like Pearl Harbor. But, I have to go back to my question. What have we learned? What about Pearl Harbor or 9/11 have we learned that will allow us to be safer? What have we learned about life? What have we learned about God? What have we learned about ourselves? 12 years later, I would have to say that we’ve learned almost nothing. What makes matters worse is that it seems that we’ve ignored some of the easiest lessons we SHOULD have learned. Nowadays, Islam is a protected religion. If anyone says anything about the Muslim faith or what it means practically, they’re labelled Islamophobes. It doesn’t matter if what they say is true. the Quran makes it clear that there is a war going on between Muslims and non-Muslims and it won’t end until the non-Muslims are converted or killed. But, that’s not tolerant, is it? Instead, our nation has turned a blind eye to the truth of Islam in an effort to appease those who follow it while Christians are having their liberties stripped from them on a daily basis by Muslims, homosexuals, and other anti-Christian groups. I wonder if that’s because they know that Christians won’t kill them because of it?

After the attacks, life was precious to us. The loss of life was seen for what it was and the 2,974 people who lost their lives were respected and honored. Their lives were valuable. But now? They are names on a monument. They are blips on the periphery of our tunnel vision and we hardly hold them in our minds and hearts. We’re too busy googling Miley Cyrus’ new music (porn) video. Just as our fear and humility was raised to a new level immediately after the attacks, so too was our value of life. And a dodecade later (yes, I made that word up), we gasp and weep at the children killed by chemical weapons in Syria while we murder 3,000 children every day in the name of choice. I think our double standard is showing.

Are we safer now? I think the words “Boston Marathon bomber” should be enough of an answer. We had information on the bombers and we did nothing with it. In the last 12 years, we’ve become numb to the pain we all experienced on 9/11. It’s been forgotten and replaced by a shallow, superficial tweaking of our emotions (except for those who were in it). We feel differently as the images dances before us taking us back to that day, but it’s a fleeting wisp of emotion that does nothing to motivate us. How do I know this to be true? Simple. Right after the attacks, large numbers of people flocked to churches across the nation. Politicians “prayed” in public. God’s name was invoked (in vain) as we worked through this tragedy. And within 3 weeks, church attendance had dropped to almost where it had been before the attacks. Are we so fickle and self-centered? Are we so sin-hardened that we think that we can run to God when we face troubles and then go back to our “normal” lives once the danger has passed? Has God become our genie in a bottle that grants us what we wish on our command and who is otherwise kept in his small decorative bottle until we need something from Him again? Are we so arrogant?

I think over the time since the attacks, what we have learned about ourselves is most apparent. We have increased our rebellion against God. We have elevated ourselves to the point that we’re entitled to everything that we think will make us happy without having to lift a finger to earn it. We have put entertainment and sports above all else and have forgone all knowledge and shame. Our lusts and passions have consumed us to the point that common sense and conscience are ignored.

The saddest part of all of this is the fact that it’s really hard to tell the church apart from the rest of the world. We’ve increased our rebellion against God. We’ve rejected His truth and His Word for our own idolatrous images. They may not be wood or stone, but they’re idols nonetheless. We’ve elevated ourselves to the height of arrogance. We think that we’re little gods and that we can command God to act on our behalf. We think that our way of preaching, teaching, singing, or “doing church” is the best way; even though God has laid out in His Word the way things are to be done. We think that we’re entitled to God’s blessing without having to be changed. We can sin against God and others with no repercussions. There’s no honesty or humility anymore. It’s all about image. We’ve replaced expositional preaching and sound Biblical doctrine with business methods, catchy message titles, games, entertainment, sports, and pastors who dress as Batman, Spiderman, Elvis, or a Transformer. We spend much time being busy in the church, but what do we have to show for it? Have our lives glorified God? We think we’re invincible. We’ve come to the “altar”, said the prayer, shed some tears, signed a card, and said “Jesus is Lord”; so we’re good, right? That’s all that’s necessary, isn’t it? There doesn’t have to be any life change. There isn’t any true fellowship necessary. There isn’t any honest look at our words or actions. As long as our facade is without spot and no one knows the truth about us, we’re good.

Is this really how things are supposed to be? Are we supposed to be about cliques, seekers, health, wealth, denomination, church membership, or any of the other myriad things that have become milestones for the modern Christian? Have the words of the Lord just become a soft echo in the back of our mind? Have we learned nothing in the last 12 years? 2,974 people died on 9/11. How many were born again? How many had repented of their sins and put their faith in Christ alone to save them? How many knew without a doubt that, as their life passed out of their grasp that day, they would stand before the glorious Savior who shed His precious blood for their sins and made them whole? How many sad goodbye that day knowing that they would one day be reunited around the throne of God worshipping the Lamb forever? How many entered eternity to stand before the holy, just Judge of the earth? How many heard the thundering voice of many waters condemn them for their sins? How many watched as the eyes of fire searched their soul and saw every hidden sin? How many felt their knees weaken as the weight of the wrath of God weighed them down? How many listened as the Lord of all proclaimed that He never knew them?

Today, our nation is filled with people who seem more concerned with what people say (including themselves), regarless of whether it is true. Many claim to be Christians, and yet they live in sin. They commit fornication, adultery, idolatry, covetousness, and numerous other sins. As we remember the tragedy of the 12 years ago, we must remember that the truth still remains. All will die. No one will be exempt from this truth. As we watch the videos and hear the stories of those who survived, let’s remember the truth of the One who died that sinners might survive the wrath of God. Let’s live our lives so that people will know us as Christians, not only by what we say, but because of our character. Let’s preach the gospel to those we come in contact with. Let’s preach sound doctrine, teach the truth of God unerringly, and hate sin. Let’s remember that the harvest is white, and that many will not have tomorrow. Let’s forgive and be reconciled to those around us. Let us love like Christ in truth, justice, mercy, and humility.

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Persecution Fridays – Pakistan – New Blasphemy Charge

March 16, 2012 at 6:30 am | Posted in VOM Fridays | Leave a comment
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For more news on what’s really happening to Christians around the world go to the Voice of the Martyrs website: www.persecution.com

Pakistan: New Blasphemy Charge

Dildar Yousaf, 28, was arrested and charged with blasphemy after defending his 8-year-old nephew from a group of Muslim boys on June 10, 2011. That morning, Dildar’s nephew, Ehtasham, was taunted by a group of boys as he passed the madrassa on his way to the market. A madrassa is a school where Islamic students study the Quran.

As Ehtasham walked by the madrassa, seven boys gathered around him and tried to force him to become a Muslim by repeating the phrase, “There is no god but Allah and Muhammad is his prophet.” Ehtasham refused, and the boys began to scream at him and beat him.

Ehtasham’s uncle, Dildar, happened to pass by at that moment. Dildar pulled his nephew away from the boys and took him back home. Dildar then went on to his job. That afternoon, the news spread that Dildar had disgraced the Muslim proclamation of faith; the news was repeated from one mosque loudspeaker to another. Soon Muslim crowds began to shout, “Kill him! Death for the blasphemer!”

Police picked up Dildar from his workplace and put him in protective custody. They also filed a blasphemy charge against him under Pakistani law 298A, which carries the lightest sentence for blasphemers. (Pakistani Christian Asia Bibi, who was charged with blasphemy under 298C, was sentenced to death. Her case is on appeal.)

Dildar remains in prison as his case progresses through the justice system. His blasphemy charge carries a potential three-year sentence, with the possibility of parole. Dildar’s wife, Naseem, and two children have had to leave their home and move in with her family in another village because of ongoing threats. Ehtasham and his family have also had to leave their village. VOM is supporting the family and providing legal assistance to Dildar.

Dildar’s village has a history of persecution. In the past, a Christian’s house was burned, a pastor was killed, and believer Ayub Masih was charged with blasphemy. “Muslims have always looked down on us,” Ayub told VOM workers. “We cannot send our children to school, and we cannot feed our animals because we cannot go into the fields. We live under the fear that anything can happen any time.”

Persecution Fridays: Indonesia – Pastor Arrested

November 18, 2011 at 10:05 am | Posted in VOM Fridays | Leave a comment
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For more news on what’s really happening to Christians around the world go to the Voice of the Martyrs website: www.persecution.com

Indonesia: Pastor Arrested

After closing the Indonesia Pentecost Church (Gpdi) in Sumedang, Indonesia, for using an illegal building permit, authorities arrested the church’s pastor for forcing others to attend church. The church was built more than 24 years ago, and it has experienced threats only within the last few months.

“This church building is a permanent building, and it has been there for more than 24 years,” said Theophilus Belo, director of Jakarta Christian Communication Forum (FKKJ). “During that time, everything was going well. But on July this year, this congregation got a problem. Their church has been closed by local administration.”

On Tuesday, Sept. 20, 2011, a local administrative group threatened to close the church. The church had previously received a letter urging them to stop Christian activities, and the district head of Jatinangor in Sumedang, Nandang Suparman, said the church building had no legal building permit.

“Until today we have not yet received their building permit documentation application,” Suparman said. “We have checked if they are already submitting it from a district administrative level. On May this year, if I’m not mistaken, we sent them a letter to urge them to start applying for their building permit. We are already giving them a chance to start applying, but they don’t do it.”

Suparman urged the church to move its services into a church building belonging to the Institute of Public Administration (IPND). “I’ll talk with the leaders of IPND that this congregation is permitted to use their institute’s church building,” he said.

The Indonesian Christian organization Kabar Gereja reports that the IPND cannot accommodate the congregations of any more closed churches. At least 14 churches have been relocated to the IPND’s church building.

Gpdi’s pastor was put on trial on Oct. 3 at Sumedang Government Court, and he faces up to three months in prison for forcing others to attend church. The church’s closure adds to the long list of churches that have been closed by Indonesian authorities. Other church leaders have also been arrested after their churches closed, according to Kabar Gereja. According to the FKKJ, at least 30 churches have been closed or burned in Indonesia in 2011.

Persecution Fridays – Egypt – Video Sparks Protest

November 4, 2011 at 9:49 am | Posted in VOM Fridays | Leave a comment
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For more news on what’s really happening to Christians around the world go to the Voice of the Martyrs website: http://www.persecution.com

Egypt: Video Sparks Protests

A YouTube video of 25 Egyptian soldiers beating Coptic Christian Raef After Faheem prompted a protest by thousands of Coptic Christians on Sunday, Oct. 9.

“[I] would like to let you know that millions of Egyptian Christians will go out to the streets all over Egypt — from all the cities — to demonstrate against the army leaders because of the video,” a VOM contact wrote the day before the protests. “The Muslim group and Salafi movement are threatening the Christians, saying that we do not have any rights in the country. We do not know what could happen tomorrow, but we decided to go out and [use] our voices against persecution.”

The military fired at demonstrators when the protests began Sunday afternoon, and videos posted online show increased violence as military vehicles ran over protestors. According to VOM contacts, the Egyptian military eventually attacked the hospital where injured Christians were being treated and even tried to kill hospital employees. International news agencies report that at least 24 people have been killed, including at least 17 Christians.

The violence began after Muslim extremists attacked a recently rebuilt Christian church in Sohag, near Cairo. The governor of Sohag protected the church’s attackers and said, “If the Muslims did not destroy the church on that day, I would go destroy it myself.” Shocked by the governor’s comment, the Christians held a demonstration at a TV and radio building, and the Egyptian army responded to the demonstrations. A VOM contact said, “They were very [tough] in beating and attacking the Christians instead of restoring their rights. [This] situation is too hard and really unbelievable. We are waiting for the Lord to show mercy on the martyrs’ families. Please keep praying for us, and ask our beloved friends everywhere to pray.”

Persecution Fridays – Iran – Government Takes Child

October 14, 2011 at 6:30 am | Posted in VOM Fridays | Leave a comment
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For more news on what’s really happening to Christians around the world go to the Voice of the Martyrs website: www.persecution.com

Iran: Government Takes Child

Agents of Iran’s intelligence ministry recently took a Christian couple’s adopted child, demanding that the couple file a complaint against other Christians being held in prison, according to Mohabat News. The couple was taken to the hospital because of emotional stress caused by the loss of their child. “This is the first time I have ever seen this tactic — taking a child hostage,” said a VOM contact. “In the past, it is always the parents.”

The Christian couple legally adopted their child after years of waiting, according to Mohabat News. Security officers reportedly took the child as a way to pressure the Christian family and other Christian converts. Mohabat News reports that the security agents threatened the couple, saying, “If you want your child back, you must file a complaint against your fellow Christians in prison.”

Within the past year, Christians have been arrested, falsely charged and imprisoned for extensive periods of time. House and church raids are common occurrences, and the Christian community faces continual threats and pressure. Please pray that this Christian couple will get their child back soon and that they will rely on God during this time of extreme emotional stress.

Genesis 18:1-15

October 10, 2011 at 6:30 am | Posted in Christianity | Leave a comment
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Now the LORD appeared to him by the oaks of Mamre, while he was sitting at the tent door in the heat of the day. When he lifted up his eyes and looked, behold, three men were standing opposite him; and when he saw them, he ran from the tent door to meet them and bowed himself to the earth, and said, “My Lord, if now I have found favor in Your sight, please do not pass Your servant by. “Please let a little water be brought and wash your feet, and rest yourselves under the tree; and I will bring a piece of bread, that you may refresh yourselves; after that you may go on, since you have visited your servant.” And they said, “So do, as you have said.” So Abraham hurried into the tent to Sarah, and said, “Quickly, prepare three measures of fine flour, knead it and make bread cakes.” Continue Reading Genesis 18:1-15…

Persecution Fridays – Nigeria – Attacks in Plateau State

October 7, 2011 at 6:30 am | Posted in VOM Fridays | Leave a comment
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For more news on what’s really happening to Christians around the world go to the Voice of the Martyrs website: www.persecution.com

Nigeria: Attacks in Plateau State

Muslim extremists carried out new attacks on villages in Nigeria’s Plateau state in September, killing more than 100 Christians, including entire families, according to Compass Direct News.

On Sept. 10, 2011, Muslim extremists stormed Vwang Fwil village at 3 a.m., killing 13 Christians. Attackers killed 14 more Christians, including one pregnant woman, when they attacked the Christian community of Vwang Kogot on Sept. 9. And on Sept. 8, 10 Christians from one family were killed in an attack on Tsohom Foron village.

Compass Direct reports that some of the attackers were wearing Nigerian Army military uniforms. “What is the government doing about the soldiers?” asked Dachung Dagai, a pastor of a Nigerian church. “In some places, enough evidence has been found against these Muslim soldiers and nothing has been done. The government officials have always said they will look into the problems, but nothing has been done.”

In another attack, on Aug. 21, Muslim extremists entered Fadiya Bakut village and attacked Andre Allahmagani’s home. They killed his 10-year-old son and injured his 70-year-old mother. Allahmagani told Compass Direct News that the assailants were armed with guns, cutlasses and other dangerous weapons.

“This is becoming too much to bear,” said Emmanuel Dachollom Loman, chairman of the Barkin Ladi Local Government Council. “The government should help us before Muslims come and wipe out all of us one day.”

According to Release International, the recent violence broke out after a number of Muslims moved into the largely Christian area to celebrate the Islamic religious festival Eid, which marks the end of Ramadan.

Please pray for Christians in Nigeria’s Plateau state as they continue to face daily dangers.

Persecution Fridays – Somalia: Christian Decapitated

September 30, 2011 at 6:30 am | Posted in VOM Fridays | Leave a comment
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For more news on what’s really happening to Christians around the world go to the Voice of the Martyrs website: www.persecution.com

Somalia: Christian Decapitated

After an extensive search, Christians in the Bakool region of southwestern Somalia discovered the decapitated body of kidnapped Christian Juma Naradin Kamil on Sept. 2, 2011. Kamil’s body reportedly bore the marks of an execution by the Muslim terrorist group al-Shabab.

“It is usual for al-Shabab to decapitate those they suspect to have embraced the Christian faith, or sympathizers of Western ideals,” a local Christian told Compass Direct News. “Our brother accepted the Christian faith three years ago and was determined in his faith in God. We greatly miss him.” Continue Reading Persecution Fridays – Somalia: Christian Decapitated…

Persecution Fridays – Sudan: Church Leaders Threatened

September 23, 2011 at 6:30 am | Posted in VOM Fridays | Leave a comment
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For more news on what’s really happening to Christians around the world go to the Voice of the Martyrs website: www.persecution.com

Sudan: Church Leaders Threatened

In July and August 2011, Muslim extremists sent threatening text messages to at least 10 church leaders in Khartoum, Sudan, according to Compass Direct News. The messages warned that Christian leaders, buildings and institutions have been targeted for future attack. As a result of the threats, many Christians have reportedly stopped attending church.

“We want this country to be purely an Islamic state, so we must kill the infidels and destroy their churches all over Sudan,” stated one text message circulating in Khartoum. Continue Reading Persecution Fridays – Sudan: Church Leaders Threatened…

Persecution Fridays – Laos – Childlike Faith

September 16, 2011 at 6:30 am | Posted in VOM Fridays | Leave a comment
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For more news on what’s really happening to Christians around the world go to the Voice of the Martyrs website: www.persecution.com

Laos: Childlike Faith

Eleven orphans in northern Laos are currently facing pressure from the principal of their orphanage to stop attending church. If they do not obey, the children may have to leave the orphanage, according to VOM contacts.

After attending a local church and becoming a Christian, one of the orphans shared the gospel with his peers. Soon, 10 other orphans turned to Christ and began regularly attending church. When the principal heard of the conversions, he told the children multiple times to stop attending church, according to VOM contacts.

After pressuring the children with no results, the principal called the group to his office on Friday, Aug. 19, 2011. He told the children they must stop attending church or face the consequences.

Seven of the orphans promised they would stop attending church, but none of them have renounced their faith. The remaining four orphans continue to attend church and refuse to bend under the pressure. Please pray that God will protect these orphans, who depend entirely on government support.

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