Isaiah 49: 14-16 But
Zion said, "The LORD has forsaken me, the Lord has forgotten me." "Can a mother
forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has
borne? Though she may forget, I will not forget you!
See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands; your walls are ever before me. (NIV)
I still remember the morning our world changed. I remember going into the Lincoln Tunnel and looking out the window to see the smoke coming from the first tower. I remember staying with my employees until they knew they had safe passage home. I remember beginning the three and half hour commute home through four trains and two buses. What stood out is the sense of togetherness with my fellow New Yorkers. Those who commute regularly know that one of the unwritten rules is you don't look into anyone's eyes on the subway. But not that day. That day it was ok. That was the day that our loss, pain and fear was a shared experience. September the 11th, 2001.
Many sought the Lord that day and the days that would follow. It seems sometimes it is easier to be an atheist when there is nothing on the line. Now tomorrow we face the tenth anniversary of that fateful day. The cries of "never forget" permeate the air. I find that strangely odd for Christians. Not that we would want to necessarily forget but it would seem that what we choose to remember determines so much of how we progress in our walk with God.
And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. Keep putting into practice all you learned and received from me--everything you heard from me and saw me doing. Then the God of peace will be with you. Philippians 4: 8-9 (NLT)
And if we were to break it down, terror is the absence of peace, no? You see, t error only works if you succumb to fear. If you allow it to change who you are and what you believe in. But as children of the Almighty God, we have better things to never forget.
All who confess that Jesus is the Son of God have God living in them, and they live in God. We know how much God loves us, and we have put our trust in his love. God is love, and all who live in love live in God, and God lives in them. And as we live in God, our love grows more perfect. So we will not be afraid on the day of judgment, but we can face him with confidence because we live like Jesus here in this world. Such love has no fear, because perfect love expels all fear. 1John 4: 15-18 (NLT)
We need to never forget that the perfect love of God expels all fear. The God we serve has already conquered the grave! Death has no sting! The eternal life of promise is what we live now, not what we look forward to! We need to realize whom we have believed in. We do not serve a baal-god, who you could call on day and night and not hear an answer from. Our God is not made of wood or stone. We do not serve a dagon-god who falls down in the presence of the one true God! The God we serve dwells with us as believers. We have access 24-7 to the God who created the universe by merely speaking it! If we have that power within us then the very presence of God is also within us. And according to these verses from 1John, that presence alone should cast out any fear; any terror. And what of this Spirit living with us?
For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. 2Timothy 1: 7 (NKJV)
This flies in the face of what evil seeks to do in our hearts. Terror seeks to make you feel powerless. I remember feeling powerless ten years ago. Unsaved, dazed and confused. God would then reach far down into a pit I had climbed into in 2002 to pull me back up. Now the God who created everything lives in me and His Spirit casts out all fear in my life. Does that mean we never are afraid? Of course not. We still reside in flesh and flesh reacts. Fear is also a necessary defense mechanism. What it means though is that when we think about what we fear and put it up against the God we serve, He wins. What we choose to never forget will determine under what power we walk with. We must choose to never forget that the Spirit God gives us is one of power and that power conquers terror.
But the Spirit God give us is also one of love. There wasn't a great feeling of love in the air ten years ago. There was a lot of hate. The world sells us on hate and vengeance, and when it does, love is the casualty. But God is most definitely a God of love. He so loved us He sent His only Son as an atoning sacrifice for the evil that we are born with. As Jesus was dying on the cross for mankind He asked His Father to forgive his murderers for they knew not what they were doing. There is no question about the love of God. But the world confuses love, with acceptance of everything they want to do. God loves us so much that He does NOT allow us to do whatever we want. Because He knows better.
But the world looked at that day 10 years ago and some wondered where God was, or even worse that it was somehow His fault because He did not stop it. I saw God that day. I saw Him in every person who sacrificed themselves for their fellow man. I saw God in the faces of those who were spared. Those who lived to tell miraculous stories of how they survived. In fact, I can only imagine the level of disaster if God had not been there that day. Realize that the depths of depravity the human heart can descend to, has no end. We saw only a glimmer of that on September 11th, 2001. Man is constantly confusing his depravity with the absence of love on the part of God. But the harsh reality is that the depravity of man is not the absence of love but rather the absence of God.
Lastly, the Spirit God gives us is also one of a sound mind. Terror seeks to disrupt our mind; to leave us confused. But the New Living Translation actually says this is about self discipline. That a sound mind is the mind that is self disciplined. Disciplined to do what? To choose to never forget who God is. The self disciplined mind chooses to reflect to the God it serves and not the feelings it experiences. Once again, I am not suggesting that fear is eliminated within a reactive nature. But that no matter what we face in this life we always bring it back to the God we serve.
I beg you that when I come I may not have to be as bold as I expect to be toward some people who think that we live by the standards of this world. For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. 2Corinthians 10: 2-5 (NIV)
We are not called to live by the standards of this world beloved. Arguments and pretensions that the world foists upon us are not meant to be entertained. They are meant to be taken captive and brought into obedience to Christ. This does not mean that we seek to minimize loss, pain, or fear. It means we seek to maximize God. Whatever is bigger in your life is what you will serve. We can easily find ourselves servants to our loss, our pain, or our fear. They are harsh taskmasters too. When we focus on our loss, pain and fear they are what we dwell on. They become who we are. But when we are servants of Almighty God, we find freedom from the undisciplined thinking of the world. When the armies of Israel cowered before Goliath, he had become bigger than the God they served. He became what they focused on and as a result they could not see any victory in their efforts. But David did not see the size of the giant before him. He maximized God in His eyes and as a result he knew that his God was bigger than his giant. Was he afraid? Of course he was. He was only a teenage shepherd boy against a nine foot giant! But he knew that God was bigger than his fear. He took his fearful thoughts and the lies that the giant was too big and made them obedient to the Master he served. His mind was sound. It was self-disciplined. He knew God loved him. He knew the power in which he walked.
David said to the Philistine, "You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the LORD Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. This day the LORD will hand you over to me, and I'll strike you down and cut off your head. Today I will give the carcasses of the Philistine army to the birds of the air and the beasts of the earth, and the whole world will know that there is a God in Israel. All those gathered here will know that it is not by sword or spear that the LORD saves; for the battle is the LORD's, and he will give all of you into our hands." 1Samuel 17: 45-47 (NIV)