Tag Archives: September 11

Reflections On Rebuilding

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My wife and I recently visited the World Trade Center Memorial and Freedom Tower. We stood around the cavernous memorial listening to the water fall and then drain into the hole in the middle. We read names of those who were killed on 9/11 and prayed for the families still grieving. It was an humbling experience to stand in the place where so much destruction and devastation took place. I remembered how I wanted to be near a TV at all times right after it happened so I could hear if they had found any survivors.

As I stared silently into the pool, I saw the reflection of Freedom Tower in the water. I did my best to take a photo of it (seen above). I flipped the picture to show the hole where the water drained as the foundation for the new building. The loss that once was so deep, so great can become the foundation to build again. It can be what drives us to move forward. So many times though, when we experience a great loss or destruction on our life, we do the opposite.

I was thinking about all the twisted metal that was once in that spot. I saw video on TV, photos on the internet and heard first hand accounts of the mess that was created when those two building fell. I’m sure there were days where people thought, “This will never get cleaned up. There’s just too much here.” For months and years, dump truck after dump truck left the site with the rubble. It wasn’t a quick process to clean it up, but it happened with consistent effort.

Once it was all cleaned up, the task of rebuilding came into question. Should we rebuild? How should we rebuild? What should we build? Now, when I see Freedom Tower standing tall in that iconic skyline, I’m reminded that we are to clean up the mess after a destruction happens in our lives. We are to rebuild bigger and better than before. Quitting is the simple solution. Letting the debris of destruction stay where it fell doesn’t require hard work. But that’s not what God says we are to do.

Proverbs 24:16 says, “No matter how often honest (righteous) people fall, they always get up again; but disaster destroys the wicked.” How we react after a major destruction happens in our life says a lot about our spirituality. Are we content to let it destroy us or are we willing to get back up no matter how often we fall? Disaster will happen in each of our lives. It’s part of life. Each time it happens, God wants us to get back up and rebuild. He doesn’t want us to stay down and take the easy road. He wants us to clean ourselves up, dust off and start to build again. What was once a big hole will now be your foundation for going forward.

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God Is Your Refuge

September 11, 2001, was a day that no one who was alive will forget. Since it happened, people have placed blamed on the hijackers, the government, Muslims, George W. Bush and God for the attacks. No matter who you believe was behind it, there is evil in this world and it seeks to destroy. On that day it destroyed lives, buildings, families, people’s sense of security, health, hope and trust.

In John 10:10, Jesus said that it is the enemy who comes to steal, kill and destroy. It bothers me when people place the blame on God when bad things happen. That is not who God is. In the same sentence, Jesus said that His purpose is to give a rich and satisfying life. He does not cause bad things to happen to you. James 1:17 tells us that whatever is good and perfect comes down to us from God our Father.

Why is it that we blame the bad things on God, but not the good things? Somehow we think that we are responsible for anything good that happens in our lives without the help of God, yet we are not responsible for bad things that happen. The Bible is full of scriptures that show consequences for actions: honor your father and mother so that your days may be long (Exodus 20:12), a man who is diligent in his work will stand before kings (Proverbs 22:29), if you are faithful with the small things, God will make you faithful over many (Luke 16:10) and if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can move mountains (Luke 17:6).

Too often we associate God as someone in the sky who is waiting for us to mess up so He can crush us. Yes, just like there are consequences for good actions, there are consequences for going against what He says too. The difference in what the reality of who He is and who we think He is in those times is that He doesn’t want us to stay in those consequences. He always provides a way of forgiveness no matter how bad the sin. He doesn’t want to leave us there so He has provided a way out. II Chronicles 7:14 says that if we will humble ourselves, pray and turn from our wrong doing, He will hear from Heaven, forgive our sins and heal our land.

God has no desire to leave you in sin or to destroy your life. He wants you to live freely in Him, overcome evil and to walk in forgiveness. Your life matters to Him. When evil seeks to destroy you, your life, your home, your business or your relationships know that you can run to God for help. He is a strong refuge (Nahum 1:7). He is help in time of need (Psalm 46:1). He raises a standard when he enemy comes in like a flood (Isaiah 59:19). He fights for you (Exodus 14:14). No weapon that is formed against you will prosper (Isaiah 54:17). If He is for you, who can be against you (Romans 8:31)?

If you are under attack today, proclaim those promises that God has given you in scripture. I’m not telling you these things out of faith. I’m one who has lived those promises and has seen God do it in my life. I know His Word is true and He can be trusted. I have seen Him be my refuge and fight for me when I didn’t have the strength to. I’ve had the enemy come in like a flood and try to destroy everything. When that happened, I cried out to God who lifted up a standard and held back that waters before they consumed me too. If He did it for me, He’ll do it for you. Ask Him and trust Him with your life.

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Always Remember

“Always remember” became a rally cry after the initial 9/11 attacks. Today, my Facebook feed is full of people remembering where they were that morning. They recall what they were doing and how they felt. Each of us who were alive that day have a story of when and how we found out. For one day out of the year, we share that story and post it for all to see. I can’t help but think what would happen if the world’s Christian population did the same thing with when and how they came to know Jesus. What would our Facebook feed look like then?

Imagine the testimonies that would be read on such a day. Think of those who you’ve never told about your faith, but wish you had the guts to. Something like that could change lives forever. I go to church with lots of people, but I don’t know most of their testimonies of how they were called out of the life they were living. It would be so encouraging to read the ways that God reached into someone’s life and brought them from despair to hope. It would be incredible to see how many were raised in church and stayed true to the faith they were handed down.

I know it’s kind of a pipe dream to think that we would all do this one day, but I also think dreams are how things get started. When is the last time any of us shared our testimony publicly? When is the last time we let anyone know what God did for us? Why do we keep silent about it? When it first happened, we couldn’t shut up about this amazing feeling if redemption and forgiveness. Now we scared to open our mouths even among fellow believers to share what God is doing. How did that happen?

For me, I was raised in church. I first gave my heart to The Lord at 7 during a children’s crusade given by a former biker who used the loss of limbs from an accident to become Captain Hook. He shared of God’s hidden treasure and how we needed to seek Him like that hidden treasure. I knew then that I wanted to spend a lifetime seeking that treasure. When life got complicated, I quit searching for that treasure. I got lost in the cares of this world. Things in my life went from bad to worse. My wife left me and I lost my business.

After that, I went to a bar every night 7 days a week to help me forget the pain and to help me sleep. One night, a guy I knew from high school sat down beside me at that bar and asked why I was in a bar. I told him everything that happened. When I looked for sympathy, he gave me none. He stood up and said, “I’m not going to sit here and drink with you. You’ve given up and that’s not the Chris I knew. I don’t want to see you like this.” He got up and walked out. All of a sudden everything became clear. I was in a rut and hiding from the God who was seeking me.

I left and never went back. I began seeking that treasure once again. I owned up to the mistakes I made, dealt with my past and started to move forward. I rebuilt on the foundation that had been laid as a child. I will always remember that night when God used that man to call me out of darkness and back into His light. I’m thankful that I wasn’t left wallowing in self pity. I could have wasted more years of my life not seeking Him, but God wouldn’t let me.

That’s mine in a nutshell. What’s yours? If we can’t fill up Facebook with our testimonies, maybe we can share them here. I love hearing how God called each person individually. Always remember what He did for you and never be scared to share it.

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