A 9-11 Remembrance

Near the end of the Old Testament, we read the prophecies of Amos, Obadiah, and Jonah. Read together, these three Old Testament Prophets challenge us to think about our national enemies as we once again commemorate the tragedy of 2001 that will forever be called “9-11.”

Amos, like all other prophets, prophesied of the coming judgment against Israel and Judah. Amos’ message of judgment starts against the enemies of Israel and gets increasingly tighter until the message “zeroes” in on Israel. The significance of this progression is that judgment is certain. The opportunity for repentance has passed. However, there is the hint that Israel could have avoided judgment if they would have heeded God’s seriousness toward sin. Likewise, the message for America today is “We must learn from the mistakes of our enemies.”

Obadiah is the shortest book in the Old Testament. We know very little about Obadiah or the exact perspective from which he wrote. We do understand that his prophecy targeted Edom—an enemy of Israel.

Obadiah’s preaching was likely a message to encourage Israel during the days of exile or immediately following exile. His preaching would have pointed to God’s judgment against Israel’s enemies. As we commemorate the anniversary of September 11, we should continue to find hope in God to deal justly and rightly with our enemies. So, here is the lesson: “We must trust God with our enemies.”

The book of Jonah contains the account of Jonah’s call to preach to Ninevah, his refusal to go, his preaching to Ninevah, and the result. The whole reason that Jonah seems to run from God is that he knows that God will relent if the people repent. Jonah seems to be enamored with the thought of these people facing the judgment of God. Out of this story, we see God’s great love for mankind. There is no one God does not love and will not offer salvation. Let us pray that we catch God’s vision in this regard. Again, in light of the events of September 11, are we praying that God might save those who are our enemies? Or, would we be glad to see them face the wrath of God? If we cannot pray for their salvation, we have not begun to understand the great love of God. What’s the lesson? As we think about the horrible events of 9/11, “We must pray for the salvation of our enemies.”

Spiritual Lessons from Hurricanes

One of the big news stories of this week will be Hurricanes. As I write, there are three named storms in the Atlantic Region, one more area being closely monitored for tropical development, and two named storms in the Pacific Region. The most significant threat at the moment is of course, Florence, zeroing in on the North Carolina Coast.

I first began thinking about the spiritual lessons from hurricanes years ago, but I always think about these lessons when we have encounters with hurricanes. Maybe somebody needs to be reminded of these lessons today.

So, I offer these thoughts as “Top 10 Spiritual Lessons from Hurricanes.”

10. It is better to go through a hurricane in the daytime than at night.

We ought to celebrate light. Things in darkness ought to raise a red flag for us. If we are hiding something in the dark, we should be convicted, because light is always better than darkness.

9. We must learn from the past.

Much has been said about the mistakes made by all during other hurricanes. The good thing about mistakes is that we can learn from the past.

8. Advanced preparation is the key.

In all matters of life, we must get ready well in advance of the problem. The time to prepare for eternity is now. The time to prepare for God’s calling on your life is now. The time to gain spiritual maturity is now.

7. The next one is coming.

You don’t like to hear that, but it is true. The next crisis of life is coming, so…

6. We are going to have to learn to put our faith into practice.

And…

5. Because the future is uncertain, we must know the One who holds the future.

4. It really is true what Jesus said, “Don’t Worry about tomorrow.”

3. We are all in this thing together.

Have you ever noticed that during hurricanes, we are all in it together? Why does it take something like a hurricane to cause us to remember that we need each other?

2. I will never completely understand the mercy of God.

1. Always give thanks!

What’s Happening This Week at FBC?

Perhaps you have heard it said, “We are always in a crisis, just coming out of a crisis, or about to be in a crisis.” So life seems to be! And, this tests our faith or confronts our faith. That is why I am exciting about our preaching series which begins Sunday. With the exception of a few Sundays here and there for special emphases, we are going to be in the book of Isaiah from now until the end of the year. We are going to consider this book from the general theme of “Crisis.” We begin Sunday in Isaiah 7.

We have a lot of exciting events in the next few weeks. Let’s take advantage of all of these opportunities. These are exciting days in the life of our church. Whether it is the Survivor Man retreat for boys next weekend or the Refresh Event for Women on September 22, we have something to encourage and challenge our walk with God. Please pay attention to the details and deadlines for each of these great opportunities.

Please pray about opportunities for missions giving this month as well. We will have boxes out for the Louisiana Baptist Children’s Home Annual Food Drive. In addition, September is the month of giving for Louisiana State Baptist Missions Offering. This offering is called the Georgia Barnette State Missions Offering. A gift to this offering specifically aids the joint mission endeavors of the Louisiana Baptist Convention.