Tuesday, September 30, 2014

2014 marks the 13th anniversary of the horrific attacks on WTC

The year 2014 marks the 13th anniversary of the horrific attacks by al-Qaeda terrorists on the U.S. Memories of the day that saw thousands of deaths and injuries and loss of pivotal infrastructure will always remain engraved in the hearts of Americans. Sept. 11, 2001 was one of the saddest days in the history of the world. On Thursday, the world will remember the day that changed the life of millions. 
This date of September 11 will be engraved on the memories of people everywhere for generations to come.  On that terrible day when terrorists commandeered several passenger planes and killed thousands of innocent people in New York and Washington, we began to realize the true depths of evil in the human heart, and the uncertainty and fragility of life itself.

     What lessons would God teach us from such an appalling tragedy? I confess I don't know the full answer.  Many people, I know, for the first time faced the shallowness of their lives, and turned to God as a result.  Millions came together to pray. -Billy Graham

 You say you will never forget where you were when you heard the news on September 11, 2001.

 Neither will I.

I was on the 110th floor in a smoke filled room with a man who called his wife to say "Goodbye." I held his fingers steady as he dialed. I gave him the peace to say, "Honey, I am not going to make it, but it is OK ... I am ready to go." I was with his wife when he called as she fed breakfast to their children. I held her up as she tried to understand his words and as she realized he wasn't coming home that night.

I was in the stairwell of the 23rd floor when a woman cried out to Me for help. "I have been knocking on the door of your heart for 50 years!" I said. "Of course I will show you the way home - only believe on Me now."

I was at the base of the building with the Priest ministering to the injured and devastated souls. I took him home to tend to his Flock in Heaven. He heard my voice and answered.

I was with the Firefighters, the Police Officers, the Emergency Workers. I was there, watching each brave step they took.

I was on all four of those planes, in every seat, with every prayer. I was with the crew as they were overtaken. I was in the very hearts of the believers there, comforting and assuring them that their faith has saved them.

I was in Texas, Kansas, London. I was standing next to you when you heard the terrible news. Did you sense Me?

     But one lesson God would teach us all is this: Our only lasting hope is in Him.  Life has always been uncertain; September 11 only made it clearer.  Where will you turn for your security?  Put your life in Christ's hands, for only He offers us "a kingdom which cannot be shaken". - Billy Graham

He sent people trained in dealing with earthly disasters to save those that were injured. And he sent in thousands of others to help in any way they were needed. And He brought people together across the world in a way that moved thousands to tears and hundreds of thousands to prayer—and caused millions to turn to the one true living God.

He still isn't finished. Every day He comforts those who lost loved ones. He is encouraging others to reach out to those who don't know Him or believe in Him. He is giving the leaders of our great nation the strength and conviction to do the right thing, to follow His will, not a popular poll.

So if anyone ever asks, "Where was your God on 9/11?" you can say, "He was everywhere! And, in fact, he is everywhere today and every day." Without a doubt, this was the worst catastrophe most of us have ever seen. I can't imagine getting through such a difficult time without God at my side. Without God, life would be hopeless.

How did 9/11 change you? We asked our Facebook fans—but tell us your story in the comments below.
  • I pay more attention to the people around me when I am in a crowd. Jane Carder
  • We now avoid air travel because of the hassles involved. Terri DuVal Riffle
  • I honor military, police, firefighters, and other service people and try to remember to say thank you when I see them. Andrea Pandeloglou Smolin
  • I was 14 and could not wrap my mind around the tragedy. Years later, we went to see Flight 93 in theaters, and I finally cried. Stephani Blair
  • I had been to the Twin Towers in 1984, so I often think it could have been that day I was there. I moved closer to my family. Dorothy Elizabeth Pine Mets
  • My partner and I were on duty as paramedics. We watched a man pass out hundreds of U.S. flags to drivers on the street. I saw something I had never before seen personified: pride, love of country, solidarity, determination. Tears ran down my face. I knew America would not only survive but recover, overcome, and thrive. I’d always loved my country, but that day I fell in love. Tammy R. Musgrove
  • We don’t travel far from home anymore. Sheila Halet
  • I realized life can never be taken for granted. Nancy Shaftang, Sabah, Malaysia
  • It helped me meet my husband. Partly because of 9/11, he was inspired to join the Army. During his first deployment to Iraq in 2006, we met online. We married in 2007. Angela Metcalf, Tucson, Arizona
  • My wife and I joined the St. Peters, Missouri, Community Emergency Response Team to help both our neighbors and the brave men of the fire and police departments in case of a disaster. Arizona Scott Epstein, St. Peters, Missouri
  • My eyes were opened to the cruel, scary world that existed outside the safety of my small town that day. Being in only the sixth grade, I felt like a huge chunk of my innocence was taken by the terrorists. Miranda Reid, Ackerman, Mississippi
  • It was a reminder that we should not wait to say “I love you” to our loved ones. Pamela Madrid, Manila, Philippines
  • It opened my eyes to the fact that America is not invincible, which was a very scary feeling. Kate Nessler, Cincinnati, Ohio
  •  I found myself examining what freedom really means to me. I realized we are not one world, as much as we would like to be. Stephen Greg Legat
  •  I became more world-aware instead of self-aware. I’ve lost a lot of my self-entitlement. Annamarie Cardinal
  •  I have learned that Muslims in other countries were also horrified and grieved on 9/11. It is past time we understood that fact. Susan Diane Cain


Raj Kosaraju

Monday, September 29, 2014

Choosing to trust God

Choosing to trust God is so daily, isn't it?

When I only looked at the "what-ifs" of Tom’s job situation – the possible unemployment, the grueling process of job-hunting, the financial strain unemployment would bring, and the uncertainty of the economy – my faith and God-confidence shook and waned. Fear and doubt knocked on my heart, suitcases in hand, wanting to move in and take up residence.
On the other hand, when I fixed my eyes on God, looked at His character and at the ways He had brought us through hard times in the past, my faith was strengthened. Courage, confidence and joy knocked on my heart!

This reminds me of Chuck Swindoll’s  article’’ Fighting the Fast Fade’’ he says....  Jesus illustrated this struggle so vividly in Mark 4. Do you remember? The seed is carefully sown. Yet shortly after God's Word is heard, the enemy of our souls, Satan himself, comes and snatches away the biblical insights that have been deposited in our hearts.

Isn't it the truth? Before the freshly baked cake is cool, he comes and licks off all the frosting. Before the new bike is ridden, he sneaks up and lets all the air out of the tires. Before the dress is worn, he slips up and jerks out the hem and jams the zipper. Before we crank up the car at 12:20, he's stolen the stuff we heard at 11:45.

Amazing! But you gotta remember, he's been at it since he winked at Eve in the garden. He's the first when it comes to rip-off experts.

There are others who follow in his train. Like a basketball fan discovered at the Portland airport awaiting the arrival of the Trailblazers following a victory over the Lakers. He was attempting to scalp a couple of tickets to the next game—for a hundred and fifty bucks each. As he wormed through the crowd, he located a well-dressed man who listened to his offer.

"How much?" asked the gentleman.

"One hundred fifty," he replied under his breath. "Not a cent lower."

"Do you realize you're talking to a plain-clothes officer of the law?" the man asked the scalper. "I'm going to turn you in, fella."

Suddenly the seller began to backpedal. He talked about how large a family he had . . . how much they needed him . . . how he'd never ever do it again.

Looking both ways, the well-dressed man said: "Just hand over the tickets and we'll call it even  . . . now get out of here and I had better never catch you here again!"

But the worst was yet to come. The well-dressed man was no officer at all. Just a quick-thinking guy who used a little ingenuity to land two choice seats to the next playoff game. He anonymously admitted it in the local newspaper several days later.

Satan's strategy is just as ingenious and effective. He hears what we hear and in the process plans his approach. He baits the rip-off trap, then sets it up with just the right hair trigger. Here are several:
  • an immediate argument in the car after church is over on where to go for dinner.
  • lots of activity, talking, and needless noise Sunday afternoon.
  • preoccupation with some worrisome, plaguing problem during the message.
  • a personality conflict with another church member.
  • irritation over how far away you had to park.
  • pride—that says, "I'm so glad Doo Dad is here. He really needs to get straightened out."
All those (there are more) are satanic rip-offs. Like a lion, he prowls silently, camouflaged in the garb of our physical habits and our mental laziness, seeking to devour. At the precise moment when it will have its greatest impact, he snatches away the very truth we need the most, leaving us with hardly a memory of what God said earlier. It occurs every Lord's Day in every language on every continent . . . at every local church where the Scripture is declared.

So many people are like the walking dead. They exist and breathe but they aren’t really living. Some people spend their days angry, depressed, resentful, and bitter. They refuse to give life a chance; they refuse to be grateful, loving, or kind. Some folks simply waste their lives and resources on things that have no meaning or purpose at all. This is not living! This is not the kind of life that God wants for us. God wants us to choose hope, faith, obedience, and kindness. God wants us to embrace Him and those around us. How can we dare ask God to select us for the Book of Life, if we ourselves have not chosen life?


Raj Kosaraju

Saturday, September 27, 2014

A True Servant

Billy Graham once said: Our modern philosophy of self-reliance and self-sufficiency has caused many to believe that we can make the grade without God. “Religion,” they argue, “may be all right for certain emotional people, but you can’t beat a man who believes in himself.” But this self-confident generation has produced more alcoholics, more dope addicts, more criminals, more wars, more broken homes, more assaults, more embezzlements, more murders, and more suicides than any other generation that ever lived. It is time for all of us to take stock of our failures, blunders, and costly mistakes. It is about time that we are putting less confidence in ourselves and more trust and faith in God

Paul writes, 'Am I now trying to win the approval of men, or of God?...If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a servant of Christ' (Galatians 1:10 NIV). A true servant of God is content to work quietly in the shadows. They know that in Heaven God will openly reward people we've never even heard of - people who taught emotionally disturbed children, cleaned up after the incontinent, nursed AIDS patients, and gave their lives in a thousand unnoticed ways. 'Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labour in the Lord is not in vain.'

During World War II, when England needed to increase its coal production, Winston Churchill called together labour leaders. He asked them to picture in their minds a victory parade which he knew would be held in Piccadilly Circus after the war. First in line would be the sailors who kept the vital sea lanes open. After them would come the soldiers who returned from Dunkirk, then went on to defeat Rommel in Africa. Next would be the pilots who'd driven the Luftwaffe from the skies. Last of all, he said, would come a long line of sweat-stained, soot-streaked men in miners' caps. Someone would shout from the crowd, 'And where were you during the critical days of our struggle?' And from ten thousand throats would come the answer, 'We were deep in the earth with our faces to the coal.'

Not all jobs are prominent and glamorous. But those who serve God with their 'faces to the coal' play a vital role in fulfilling His purposes in the earth. -Bob and Debbie Gass

But when such times come (and they come to us all). God still loves us. He does not abandon us. Remember: “The eternal God is your refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms” (Deuteronomy 33:27)


Raj Kosaraju