IT’S A LONG WAY FROM THEN TILL NOW                                                                             Andy Hollifield 9-11-18

Psalms 9:17 The wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the nations that forget God.

I sure would have liked to have started off with a really cheerful uplifting verse, but this is what the Lord laid on my heart. By the time I am finished, I hope you will be encouraged, not by the state of our nation or even the church of our day; but by the simple fact that Christ will soon return to gather his bride unto him, “and so shall we ever be with the Lord” (1 Thessalonians 4:17).

I remember vividly September 11th, 2001. I am not going to rehash all the events of that day because most of us know what happened. But I am going to discuss the attitude of those days. I can remember the sick feeling in the pit of my stomach when I realized that it wasn’t a radio prank but an actual terrorist attack. I remember wondering “What is happening to my country?” Little did I realize at the time, that the country I had grown up in had, in those moments, ceased to exist. I remember as more news accounts came in that day, that everything seemed to be getting worse instead of better. I still recall the look on the face of then President Bush as news of the attack was whispered into his ear while he was reading to elementary school kids in Florida. At that moment, I believe he realized he was facing something that no president since FDR had ever faced and also that the world would be looking to him for leadership. You could see the weight of the world settling onto his shoulders in one instant. I still recall the nervousness of the nation not knowing for hours where the president was and also unsure where the vice president was. I remember that the more news that was reported, the worse it got. That morning as those towers fell, not only did they fall, but also the spirit, peace, and security of our nation did as well. And for days, we were all waiting to see what was going to happen next and fearing an invasion by someone and not really knowing who or where it would come from.

I recall the unity of our nation during those first few days. I remember everyone waiting with anticipation, just to hear the voice of the president, even though we already knew that he didn’t have the answers and nothing he could say would ever change the events of that day. It was a day when you couldn’t get home quick enough and your greatest dream in life that day was just to hold your family close just one more time and tell them you loved them. It didn’t take long to begin hearing the name of Osama Bin Laden being tossed around as being responsible. The one thing that still burns in my mind is recalling how our elected leaders stood on the steps of the capital, arm and arm, on the evening of September 11th and sang ‘God Bless America.” Churches everywhere were having special prayer meetings just to pray for our country, its leaders, victims of the attacks, and for our military which we were all sure had to be called on to fight.

Fast forward to 2011. As a nation we are having to decide who can marry who and the term “traditional marriage” between a man and woman is now part of everyone’s vocabulary. Five years later we were trying to decide who can use which restroom. School shootings have become more common. Gun opponents want to blame the guns and not the people who use them. There is also a big push to abolish 2nd amendment rights of law-abiding citizens. In the seventeen years since 911, we have gone from probably the most accurate news reporting ever in the fall of 2001, to a time when facts seem to be irrelevant. We have also progressed, if you call it that, from identifying the terrorists responsible for the 911 attacks as Muslim extremists to not being able to say anything about them without getting labeled as a bigot. In 1999, our leaders were telling us we couldn’t pray at schools to calling for people everywhere to pray in 2001. We call ourselves a Christian nation but try to kick everything pertaining to God out of all public buildings and gatherings. Recently an elementary school kid was reprimanded by his teacher for saying his blessing before eating lunch. Also, schools are adopting dress codes which ban the display or wearing of anything containing an American flag because it might offend the very ones determined to be responsible for the 911 attacks as well as other people. By 2018 the heritage and history of the south is being destroyed by vandals in an attempt to erase it from the history books. Even though slavery is a black mark on our nation, it is still part of our southern history, a history which our relatives fought and gave their lives for because it was about far more than slavery.  We now live in a day when acts of treason and perjury at the highest levels of government are commonplace and excused, and it is encouraged to personally bash the president and spend millions trying to remove him from office even though he was the choice of the people of this country. As of late, we have determined that it is OK to kneel and do other forms of demonstration and protest during the national anthem at sporting events but God forbid that we say a prayer or quote a verse of scripture. On 911 we all sang it with tears in our eyes and now it is acceptable to dishonor the sacrifice of those that paid for that freedom with their lives. These athletes that participate in this behavior are hailed as heroes for protesting the very country that has given them such great opportunity. Meanwhile, people in uniform who are fighting on foreign soil to preserve their constitutional rights and defend liberty, barely get paid enough to survive on.

I could go on and on about the changes of the last 17 years since 911 and how that now everyone except Christians, have a right to not be offended by anyone for any reason. Even to the point locally that an ignorant statement by a car salesman of obvious questionable character, resulted in a local, 50 plus year old, statue honoring Chief Pontiac being removed because one person was offended.

Our nation has definitely turned away from the God who our leaders were asking us to call on when we were having serious trouble. In case anyone hasn’t noticed, we are in serious trouble now.  Luke 21:28 speaking of signs of nature, lack of character, and fear and confusion becoming prevalent, says this; “And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh.” So as you go about your day, pray not only for the families of all the victims of 911, but also for our nation which died with them on that day. It’s a long way from then till now. Have a blessed day in the Lord!!!


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