Today is the day to choose.

This is the challenge given by Joshua to the Israelites as they prepared to enter the Promised Land.  Notice it is today, not tomorrow, not next week or next months – TODAY.  This message is all the more personally applicable for me on this sober anniversary for Americans.

This is the lesson of the World Trade Center attack for me.  It is the same one I take from the great disasters of our time, Hurricane Harvey or Irma or from a simple car accident.

Choose now!  Why?

We have no idea what tomorrow holds.

September 11 hammers this point home for me.  I grew up in New York.  I saw those buildings hundreds of times.

The World Trade Center was massive.  The Twin Towers stretched into the clouds above just about every set of buildings in the world.  They were the defining structures of the skyline of one of the most powerful and wealthy cities in human history.  They were huge monuments to man’s power and ingenuity.  They seemed timeless.  They seemed impossible to defeat.

Yet they were destroyed in a few short minutes on that fateful day.  They were turned to rubble by a few guys with box cutters.  It would be ridiculous if it weren’t so tragic.  Buildings that seemed immovable were destroyed in a day.

I worked in one of the buildings of the World Trade Center while in college.  I never considered for a moment that they would disappear.

I am also the son of a New York City fireman.  My father and his friends were old style heroes.  They were like supermen to me.  The slogan of one of their firehouses was “We are running in as you are running out”.  It was an accurate description of their job.  These men braved horrible danger every day for 20 or 30 years and thought nothing of it.  It was their job and they were good at it was the attitude.  Their nickname was “The Bravest” and they lived it.

The New York City Fire Department was still indestructible in my eyes on September 10, 2001.

The very next day, their shiny trucks that were always associated with help coming were crushed under the debris from the Towers.  Hundreds of The Bravest lost their lives trying to save others.

My father wanted me to follow his footsteps into the fire department.  I never considered that this path would have ended in destruction.

Rob was my homeroom buddy in high school.  By virtue of having a name close in the alphabet, he sat directly in front of me every morning for 4 years.  We were not the best of friends but we would often goof around the morning before class got started.  He was an all around nice kid.

On September 11, 2001, Rob worked in the World Trade Center.  He was not able to get out and died with the thousands of others.

Rob was one seat off from me.  Another guy was the bartender at a bar that I frequented.  We played intermural basketball together.

Each started that beautiful September day with a very different plan for the day.

Do you think anyone who walked into the Twin Towers that morning looked at the monstrous structure and knew it would be nothing but twisted steel and rubble by 10 am?

Do you think that any of men who raced with sirens blaring to the Towers had any idea of what was to come?

Do you think that any of the folks that I knew had any idea the night before that tomorrow would hold such an outcome?

Of course not, people expect each day to be like the one before it.  People expect life to go on just like it has been up to this point.  They make plans and have hopes and dreams for the future.  They place their trust in things like massive steel edifices of man’s effort and accomplishment.  They know for certain they will stand forever.

Then they are knocked down in a moment.

Each of has an appointed day.  One day we will all die.

It is not fun to think about but it is true.  Some will face that day suddenly.  It may be today.  Am I ready?

Jesus talked about this when he talked about the rich farmer in Luke 12.  The farmer looked over all that his farm was going to produce and began planning for his future based upon his judgment.  He just knew that he had it all made now.  The future was his for the taking – retirement and a Winnebago here we come.

He said to himself, I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones to store all of my grain and goods.  Then he would sit back and congratulate himself for setting himself up for a perfect future, eat, drink and be merry for you are on easy street.  He was certain yet God had a different plan:

But God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul is required of you, and the things you have prepared, whose will they be?’ 21So is the one who lays up treasure for himself and is not rich toward God.”

We will stand before our maker on His great white throne and have to account for our lives.  The sinful creation before the sinless God.

If this your day are you ready?

Today, right now are you ready?

Can you face the King of Kings and Lord of Lords and answer for every sin, every word, every moment of your life?

How that meeting is going to go is our choice thanks to Jesus.

We can face God in our strength and prepare to face the consequences for our sins.

Or we can face Him washed clean by the blood of Jesus confident that Jesus already paid for our sins on the cross.

We will all face Him.  We will all stand before God’s throne and have the Book of Life opened before us.

The question is will this moment be one of joy or of judgment?

On September 11, 2001, death came to those whose paths I could have shared if things had gone slightly differently.

Had I followed my father’s advice, I would have been with the brave men who died on that day.  Had I continued at the job I had from college, I would have been in a building that collapsed.  Had the plan included the guy just one seat back, I would have faced the Lord on my own merit…and that would have been terrible for me.

The truth was on that day, I wasn’t ready to face the Lord.   I was dead in my sins and trespasses.  If my soul was required that very night things would have gone very badly for me.

Praise God that He gave me more days but He did not have to do so.

Life is short compared to eternity.  It is a vapor.   There is only so much time allocated to each of God’s creation.  Then it is time to meet God.

Joy or Judgment?

Are you ready?  If not, choose this day whom you serve.





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