September 11, 2023
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We had a few days off, and the phone rang in our little cabin in the woods. A family member was calling. She said, "You need to turn on the news. A plane just crashed into the World Trade Center." I watched the news for much of the next three days. I was trying to absorb a scene that I had no mental file folder for. I don't think any of us did. I felt sickened, I felt vulnerable and profoundly sad beyond words.
I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "September 11th and Its Haunting Question."
Radio stations began calling and asking if I would do an interview the next day to talk about what had happened. How could I help thousands of listeners process this unprecedented trauma when I was still trying to sort my own thoughts and feelings? Then I just bowed my head and prayed: "God, would You please help me see what's happening today through Your eyes? What are You seeing here?"
Suddenly, I wasn't just seeing collapsing towers or a terrorist attack. This was about thousands of people unexpectedly rushing into eternity at one place and one time, ready or not. Nothing can diminish the deep grief and the horror of that defining September morning. But looming above those images and memories is a deeply personal question for each of us, "Am I personally ready for eternity whenever it comes, however it comes?"
That's why the Bible tells us in our word for today from the Word of God in Amos 4:12, "prepare to meet your God." See, you and I have an appointment with God that's long been scheduled in His calendar. But it's not in mine. It will come without warning, and only one thing will matter at that moment. Listen to this from the book of 1 John in the Bible, "God has given us eternal life and this life is in His Son. He who has the Son has life. He who does not have the Son of God does not have life" (1 John 5:11-12 ).
All that matters in a person's eternity moment is, "What did I do with Jesus?" Because it was only Jesus who did the dying that I deserve for the lifetime of the wrong things I've done against God. If a religion could have taken care of my sin or your sin, there's no way Jesus would have been butchered on a cross like that. But He loves me too much to lose me. He loves you too much to lose you. So He died for you; He died for me.
One of God's greatest blessings to us is the stunning discovery that we actually can be sure - right here and now - that we will go to heaven when we die; never have to sweat that question again. Not because of how good we are, but because of how good God is. In the words of the Bible, "The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord" (Romans 6:23). From the moment you take that gift, it's yours and it's yours forever.
Every day in America alone, it's like there are two September 11ths, at least in terms of lives lost. Six thousand Americans go into eternity each day and 150,000 in our world. One day that will be you. One day it will be me, and we don't know when that is.
To be ready for eternity, to know you're going to heaven when you die, means to know that you have had every sin of your life - the sin that would keep any of us out of heaven - it has been erased from God's Book forever. Only one person can do that; the man who paid the penalty for it. That's Jesus. He did it when He died on the cross. But He's alive - resurrected - to give you life. He walked out of His grave. He's ready to walk into your life today, if you'll just open up your heart to Him. Put your life in His hands.
Let me encourage you to join me at our website, and I can explain to you there exactly how to be sure you belong to Him. It's ANewStory.com. There's one final heartbeat, and then God, ready or not. It's life-or-death stuff to make sure you are ready for eternity.