9/11. What We Have Yet To Learn

As the 10th anniversary of a dark day approach, once again, the families that were left behind will mourn their loss on this day of infamy. It was an interracial tragedy. No one race of people suffered alone.

It was a bright, sunny, cloudless day when two airplanes struck the north and south towers.

Two more aircrafts, destined for another deadly assault were racing to hit their targets. One crashed, in what was called utter confusion, into the Pentagon. Sheer fortune on the terrorist driver of the craft. I refuse to call him a pilot because it would put him in a class of the skilled pilots that were killed that day before the planes crashed.

The other aircraft crashed in Shanksville, Pennsylvania but not by the will of the terrorist driver by choice. There were selfless heros on that plane. All were heros because they knew that one way or another, their precious lives would end, and they didn’t want the terrorists to succeed.

I was on the roof of my father’s apartment building after the first plane struck the north tower. Just before the first attack, my wife drove our daughter to school. I ran to our usual voting district to vote, I came home, and went to bed. But for some strange reason, I turned on the TV.

It was just after 9 AM when the most horrible pictures flashed on the screen.

Smoke was billowing from the north tower of the World Trade Center.

I had put on some clothes and went to the roof to get a bird’s eye view of the “accident.”

If you’ve been inside the World Trade Center, it was awesome.

When I was training to be a teller for Manufacturers Hanover (I know, this is going back in time), we had to ride the elevator to get to the training floor. Riding in these elevators is like riding an airplane. If you are not used to it, your brains along with your heart, falls into your belly. The “G” or gravity force going up nailed you to the floor. Going down was like riding in an airplane with almost zero “G’s.” Your ears would “pop” in either direction.

When you go to the 79th or 80th something floor (I don’t recall which floor), you transferred to a local elevator. As you looked out the window, the sky is the limit. You could see for miles. On days that it would rain, you were in the rain clouds or above it. On windy days, both towers would take turns swaying.

My sister went to the towers one day. On that particular day, she observed a bird flying towards the building. It hit the window. Beak first and slid down like in the cartoons.

Hysterical.

On occasion, there would be “gospel concerts” on the grounds of the WTC. Yeah, God was there using His people to get people saved from their sins.

I wondered who listened and who refused the gospel of Jesus Christ?

As a young teenager in Junior High, we would look out the window and see the cranes assemble the towers. It was magnificent. Sometimes we forget that one day, people would work in these buildings because the structures tend to overshadow the fact that humans would one day occupy these buildings.

As I was taking pictures on the roof on that fateful day, I looked up and two planes flew over where I was standing. They were flying unusually close. At that time, the FAA had not given the order for all aircraft to land.

I mentioned the word “accident” because a few years before 9/11, a plane flew around to go up the Hudson River to land in LaGuardia Airport. This airplane was under 1,500 feet and was turning towards the south tower when the air traffic controller ordered the pilot to turn right and climb to 3,000 feet. 3,000 feet is the holding pattern altitude for certain situations at that time.

The plane barely missed the tower.

For a plane to hit the north tower, I thought at first, that this was definitely an accident. Pilot error or instrument error.

As an Operations Specialist in the Navy over 30 years ago, we are not air traffic controllers, however, depending upon ship assignments we are to know the rules. On board the ship that I last served, the USS Savannah AOR4, we had CH-46’s onboard, and we had to qualify on “vectoring” the helicopters towards the ship in low visibility situations to land on the flight deck astern.

There is IFR and VFR rules. IFR is “Instrument Flying Rules” and VFR is “Visual Flying Rules.” With the north tower struck by an airplane, how could it be a malfunction with instruments when you can see as clear as day out the cockpit window?

Anyway, I thought that this was definitely an accident until out of the corner of my eye, an ominous sight. It was a United Airlines plane that rapidly descended and struct the south tower. I counted the seconds because sound travels at 1,100 feet per second. It took 2 and a half seconds for me to feel the blast and the heat.

It was then that I knew that we were under attack and that lives were lost in an apparent coordinated terrorist attack on US soil.

The first thing on my mind was, it’s an attack. It’s time to re-up. It’s time to go to war with whoever attacked the US. My wife and daughter didn’t want me to go and cried.

Obviously, I didn’t go but others did.

Some to never make it back.

In a nut shell, here’s what we have yet to learn.

Everything about America isn’t as what it seems. Since the idea of democracy was born, humans without God can be prideful, arrogant, greedy or covetous, lascivious, and destructive. Just that evening after the attacks, both sides of the government stood on the steps to sing “God Bless America.”

At every Yankee game, during the seventh inning, they sing “God Bless America.”

America, God cannot bless us when we live in sin. God cannot bless us when we blatantly snub God by legislating sin called same sex unions. God cannot bless us when pastors are living extravagant lives that poor people dream of having while we preach to them. God cannot bless us when we pastors live secret lives of sexual immorality and permit music ministers to play while they live homosexual or bisexual lifestyles. God cannot bless us if singers that claim to be singing for the Lord watch porn and gratify themselves. God cannot bless us if we are doing all these things.

God cannot bless us while we live any old kind of way.

Church attendance is down because the sinning hypocrites of the world calls the church a bunch of hypocrites and they are mostly right. NO church is perfect, but there is someone out there that is living right, telling the truth, and helping the desperately poor folks in their neighborhoods. Some church is doing the right thing.

According to one statistic, 65% of people view church on the Internet. They never come out to church for 3 basic reasons.

1. Hypocrites.

2. Money.

3. Church Hurt.

The terrorist attacks, natural disasters, and economic turmoil that America and the other nations is experiencing is consequential judgment.

Luke 13:1-5 is like reading the Daily News.

The issue is clear. Unless you repent, you shall all likewise perish.

The issue is not just attending church for attendance’ sake. The issue is getting into and developing a relationship with the Father, through His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. This is the bottom line of the church. To live lives apart from the way the world lives it and to show that we have been changed by the power of God.

To extend and teach by example faith, hope, love, and forgiveness from a non condemning and non compromising position.

The church is not just a “charitable organization.”

The church is an organized organism. We live to please the Lord. We live to worship the Lord. We live to honor the Lord. We live the life of Jesus Christ unapologetically. We tolerate the person, not the sins a person commit.

In Him we live and move and have our being (see Acts 17:28).

God attached consequential judgment as a penalty for the sins man intentionally commits. For instance, when you see a sign that says “Danger 600 Volts. Do Not Touch,” it is there for a reason. Yet, people foolishly touch it. It’s the same with sin. No one escapes the deadly penalty.

End time judgment is God’s direct hand on every man. End time judgment will come later according to the book of Revelation from chapters 4 to 20.

We see evidence of consequential judgment in the OT (Old Testament).

When Israel obeyed the Lord’s commands, they were spared consequential judgment. When they sinned, they would receive judgment. The ultimate judgment was when Israel was exiled to Babylon.

Every year before the death of Christ, the Jews would celebrate the Passover to “atone” or cover their sins.

However, after the death of Christ, there is no longer a need to “atone” for sin (see Hebrews 9:6-15). When we come to Christ and believe that His sacrifice or propitiation forever took away our sins, we have eternal life (see John 3:15-16).

However, because man insist on disobeying the Lord, judgment is meted out as a consequence for sin.

The people of this nation continues to sin before God.

We haven’t learned a thing.

We, as a nation, both inside and outside the church, continue in sin.

All this can turn around if we find a reputable place of worship where the gospel is neither watered down or compromised. Where consecration, dedication, and sanctification to the Lord is the byword of our lives. When sin is no longer excused but washed away by the blood of the Lamb.

Where people can go and hear the unadulterated Word of God. Where a passion for Jesus and a yearning to be close to God is borne. Where true believers incorporate the Word of God into every day living to please God, and with His help and grace, change our immoral ways to live holy before God. Where believers come together to live victoriously over sin and the world through the power of the Holy Spirit.

When the nations turn back to God in repentance with godly sorrow for sin, we could potentially add years to the life of a nation before a definite turn for the worse occurs.

We still have time, but, if we don’t repent, then we haven’t learned a thing.

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