Tomorrow is September 11, 2021, the 20th anniversary of the day that changed the world. The attack against America on 9/11/01 by radical Islamist terrorists changed everything. It was traumatizing and demoralizing, with an estimated 70,000 people treated for symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder.(1) Almost 3000 people were killed and hundreds more wounded, as four hijacked planes crashed into the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and a field in Pennsylvania. Hundreds more have perished since then from illnesses stemming from toxic dust and “thousands of first responders and local residents would seek treatment for cancer and other health conditions stemming from their exposure to ground zero.”(2)
If you have watched some of the news this week, you have seen a good deal of reporting about this horrible day. Saturday, the actual anniversary, there will be many reports and commentaries about this evil attack. The pain and trauma to many Americans will be magnified by the fact that Biden just handed Afghanistan back to those responsible. Four of Afghanistan‘s new government leaders were actually part of the terrorist group that carried out the attack. They had been captured and imprisoned at Gitmo but were released by Obama in a trade to release an American deserter in Afghanistan. The four are now preparing to kill more Americans.
Another terrorist leader (Haqqani) on the FBI’s Most Wanted list with a reward of $10 million offered, is now head of their Interior Ministry, making him the person in charge of who comes in and out of Afghanistan. According to Congressman Michael Waltz, this member of the Taliban has been a serial hostage-taker for 20 years, orchestrated a truck bombing in 2011 that killed dozens of American soldiers, and currently holds Navy veteran Mark Frerichs hostage.(3)
While we mourn on Saturday, the Taliban in Afghanistan will celebrate, while brandishing our 85 billion dollars worth of left-behind military equipment and gloat over hundreds of hostage Americans, also left behind. I sometimes wonder when I will wake up from this bizarre dream.
Timmerle Kelly, Executive Director of The Reformation Prayer Network, reminds us to “pray for the nation today and tomorrow. There is much fear in the nation, even among believers. The situation in Afghanistan has left us feeling vulnerable while enemies of this country feel emboldened. Above all, we must remember the Lord and His covenant with this land. Fixing our eyes on Jesus, we can proclaim our dependence on Him for all things, and ask Him for mercy to America.”
She continues, “On 9/11, I encourage individuals to join me on a national prayer call event, open to all. Dai Sup Han, the founder of Transform USA, is hosting 9/11 Twenty Years Later. This is a national call on 9/11 from 9 A.M. to 11 A.M. EDT. He will have Alveda King, Allan Parker, John Robb, and many other national prayer leaders on the call interceding for America. Call 605-475-4797, Code 336718#, for access. You can find more information at prayersurgenow.net.
“Also,” she says, “Sean Feucht is leading a worship event on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., on 9/11 at 6 P.M. You can find ticket information on this Day of Prayer for America here.” Thank you, Timmerle.
As I prayed and processed with Holy Spirit what to share today regarding 9/11, I felt He wanted me to steer this post away from our trauma and toward hope. It is good and necessary to remember certain things in our past. What occurred on that day must never happen again. But it is also important to anchor ourselves to the power of hope for the future. As I meditated, Holy Spirit reminded me of a portion of my book with that title, The Power of Hope. May it bring you hope in this troubled time.
“As I write this, I’m sitting on my back porch, drawing inspiration from an amazing picture of hope. It’s a tree in my backyard that I named The Hope Tree. I gave it that name because it used to be dead - or so the previous homeowners thought.
“I remember talking with the former owner when we were considering purchasing the house. He told me that not only had the tree died, but he had cut it down. There was nothing left but a stump! It doesn’t get much deader than that!
“‘Then I put in the sprinkler system,’ said the man. ‘I placed one of the sprinkler heads next to the stump, and the tree grew back.’
“I stood next to him looking at the tree. This was not a wannabe tree consisting of two or three small sprigs, mind you, but a complete tree. Immediately, I thought about a scripture where God talks about this never-say-die kind of tree:
‘For there is hope for a tree when it is cut down, that it will sprout again, and its shoots will not fail. Though its roots grow old in the ground and its stump dies in the dry soil, at the scent of water it will flourish and put forth sprigs like a plant.’ (Job 14:7-9)
“Why had this passage from Job come to mind so quickly? Amazingly, in that season I had been encouraging myself with these exact verses as I prayed for America. You can revive America’s destiny and cause us to be great again, Lord, I prayed often.
“You can imagine my shock and amazement as I looked at the tree before me, a perfect picture of the scriptures I had been standing on. ‘Sold!’ I said. I hope Ceci likes the house because I’m buying it, I thought. That tree is now my daily reminder of the validity and power of audacious hope.
“Many people in this season are looking for hope. Life can be difficult, at times brutal. The struggling economy is stealing jobs and destroying the dreams of many; diseases seem to have multiplied, ravaging the health of some and taking the lives of others; our kids cut themselves and shoot their classmates; our government is broken and refuses to reform; and the entire world, it seems, is filled with unrest and war.
“In 1965 during a family reunion in Florida, a grandmother woke everyone at 2:00 a.m., issuing orders to get empty soft drink bottles, corks, and paper. ‘I’ve received a message from God,’ she said. ‘People must hear His Word.’ She wrote verses on the paper while the grandchildren bottled and corked them. Then everyone deposited over two hundred bottles into the surf at Cocoa Beach.
“People contacted and thanked her for the scriptures throughout the years. She died in November 1974. The next month the last letter arrived.
Dear Mrs. Gause,
I’m writing this letter by candlelight. We no longer have electricity on the farm. My husband was killed in the fall when the tractor overturned. He left eleven young children and myself behind. The bank is foreclosing, there’s one loaf of bread left, there’s snow on the ground, and Christmas is two weeks away. I prayed for forgiveness before I went to drown myself. The river has been frozen over for weeks, so I didn’t think it would take long. When I broke the ice, a bottle floated up. I opened it, and with tears and trembling hands, I read about hope from Ecclesiastes 9:4.
‘But for him who is joined to all the living, there is hope, for a living dog is better than a dead lion.’
You went on to reference other scriptures: Hebrews 7:19, 6:18; John 3:3. I came home and read my Bible and now I’m thanking God for the message. We’re going to make it now. Please pray for us, but we’re all right.
May God bless you and yours.
A Farm in Ohio.(4)
“How did this life-saving bottle make a nine-year journey all the way from Cocoa Beach, Florida, to a river in Ohio? Not just any river, mind you, but the right river, near the right farm, at the right time.
“I can almost hear the ‘Mrs. Gause Message Bottle Angel Patrol’ heaving a sigh of relief when the last message of hope was delivered nine years after it had been sent. And I can imagine God’s explanation to the angels: ‘This last one will be a Christmas present, much like the first one I delivered to hopeless humans two thousand years ago.’
“Soft drink bottles were transformed into hope bottles - three of the four verses in the bottle were about hope. Interesting. The bottles didn’t contain verses regarding faith, power, miracles, or even provision, all of which this lady desperately needed. Why? Because those things are produced after we hope. The demoralizing power of hopelessness paralyzes the soul; hopeless hearts can’t reach out in faith.
“Hope is to the heart what seeds are to the earth. Without hope, life is sterile, unfruitful. Without it dreams won’t be conceived; destinies won’t be realized. Hope is essential because it is the starting line, the genesis, the launch pad. It is the incubator where faith is formed: ‘Faith is the substance of things HOPED for,’ God tells us in Hebrews 11:1. If there is no hope for the future, there will be no faith to face it - let alone shape it.
“Never underestimate the power of hope!
“The Old Testament word for hope has the connotation of a cord, used as an attachment; the New Testament calls it “an anchor of the soul” (Hebrews 6:19). Allow hope to become your lifeline, your stabilizer.”
Pray with me:
Father, in these troubled times we are determined to keep ourselves anchored to You. You are the anchor of our souls. You are also the wind in our sails and the rudder that guides us as we navigate these incredibly stressful times. The secret to victory is not in how hard we strive to overcome, it is in keeping our focus on You, the One who overcame for us. “This is the victory that overcomes the world, even our faith.” (1 John 5:4)
Today, as well as tomorrow, we pray for those whose lives were forever changed on 9/11. May they be comforted in their grief, but also aided in their determination to move forward. And may we as a nation do the same.
And Father, we boldly ask You today for a radical change in our government. We pray that the mess made in Afghanistan, at our southern border, in our economy, through the handling of the C-19 virus and more, would cause the people of America to say, “We need God and God-fearing people leading this nation.” Deliver us from the evil one and deliver us from evil people. And we finish this prayer by saying, “We are confident You are going to do this.” We want you to know, gracious Father, we believe. We believe.
The Ekklesia of Jesus Christ on the earth decrees that evil will not win, terrorism will not win, the ungodly will not win. God has already declared the winner: Jesus Christ.
Portions of today’s post were taken from my book The Power of Hope.
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Info viewed on Fox News 9/8/2021
Jack Canfield, Mark Victor Hansen, and Barry Spilchuk, compilers, A Cup of Chicken Soup for the Soul (Deerfield Beach FL: Health Communications, Inc., 1996), p 209.