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The following item by Paul Heil was distributed September 18, 2001, to subscribers of The Gospel Greats Weekly [e-mail] Newsletter, and subsequently posted on our web site. It is a compelling reaction to the tragic terrorist acts of September 11, 2001. This article has been widely circulated and reprinted.
Courtesy Insight Mag.
ARE YOU READY?
Our local newspaper had three words emblazoned across the entire width of its front page in a bold black headline on Sunday morning: Bush: Get Ready.
It was referring, of course, to President Bushs call for Americans to be ready for whatever happens in the near future as the nation strikes out against the terrorists who last week committed the most heinous series of coordinated acts of terrorism in American history.
But I think there is a much more urgent meaning here to the phrase, Get ready!
First, let me say that I am constantly amazed at how God can take such unspeakable evils as last weeks and use them to bring glory to Himself.
Have you seen the outpouring of prayer and spiritual concerns in the mass media? I dont remember anything quite like it ever. The other morning we saw Katie Couric on NBCs Today show interviewing Franklin Graham, who boldly and concisely outlined, not once but twice, the plan of Salvation. No one objected. And no one watching this national telecast could miss the plain truth of the Gospel. Then the nation watched or listened transfixed as the national Day of Prayer and Remembrance service was broadcast from the National Cathedral in Washington on Friday, complete with another bold sermon from Dr. Billy Graham, calling for spiritual revival. Whats more, the national networks and local broadcasters across the land have been interviewing a seemingly unending procession of clergymen, seeking answers.
The Associated Press reported last week that Eddie Smith, a director of the evangelical Christian U. S. Prayer Center in Houston, had prayed earnestly for revival four years ago. Smith said he felt God spoke to him and promised that such a revival would come, but it would be served to you on a platter of ruin. We have now seen the devastating fires of ruin; are we now also seeing a rekindling of the fires of revival?
On Sunday, churches in New York City and across the land reported larger-than-normal attendance. Some described attendance as Christmas-like. People have had their spiritual awareness heightened a key prelude to revival.
Revival, though, begins on a very personal level. As Dr. Billy Graham pointedly reminded us all in his special Friday sermon, This event reminds us of the brevity and the uncertainty of life. We never know when we, too, will be called into eternity. I doubt if even one of those people who got on those planes or walked into the World Trade Center or the Pentagon last Tuesday morning thought it would be the last day of their lives. It didnt occur to them. And thats why each of us needs to face our own spiritual need and commit ourselves to God and His will now.
On the radio last week at a station in Louisville, Kentucky, R. Albert Mohler, Jr., president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, was asked by a caller if those who perished in last weeks sudden disasters would get a second chance to enter heaven. With the Bible as our sole authority, the only hope we have in salvation is conscious faith and trust in the Lord Jesus Christ, Mohler answered. There is no Biblical back door that is offered about how persons may come to God in faith except through Jesus Christ. Romans 1 says that we are all accountable, that there is no one who is going to be able to say before the throne of God, I didnt know you, I didnt know of you and I did not know I was a sinner, because thats revealed to all of us.
Death allows no second chance at salvation. And no one knows when death will strike. Jesus told the parable of the rich man who was doing so well he wanted to build bigger barns to hold his wealth. Theres no indication he was sick. Theres no indication he was attacked by vandals. But he died. The Bible says God told him, Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided? (Luke 12:20.) Do you know someone a friend or perhaps a relative who died totally unexpectedly? Chances are you do. Its not uncommon. Death doesnt always announce itself in advance.
Aside from the total uncertainty of when death may strike, the time of the Lords promised return is likewise unknown. But it clearly is drawing near. As Dr. Mohler told his radio audience, We do know this: Today is one day closer to when that will take place, and we need to live in the expectation that it could happen at any moment.
Southern Gospel songs have always had a clear message concerning the Lords soon return. But have you noticed how many of them there have been recently? One of the clearest is the Gold City song with a very appropriate title: Are You Ready? Look at these lyrics:
The hour is approaching when the souls of man will hear
A mighty shout resounding in the sky
In power and great glory King Jesus will appear
And take His children home to paradise
It will be a celebration for the ones who chose His name
But total separation for the ones who turned away.
Are you ready for the trumpet?
Are you ready for the call?
Soon the angels will assemble to usher in the Son of God
Will He come and find you faithful?
Will He know your name at all?
Every moment brings us closer
Are you ready for the call?
Are YOU ready? If today some unexpected tragedy were to strike you down, would you be ready? If today death overtakes you without warning, are you ready? If the Lord returned this very day, are you ready? Do you know Christ as your Savior and Lord? Have you surrendered your life to Him? If not, do it today. Right now! No one is too bad a sinner to qualify. Christs shed blood covers it all. His forgiveness is freely offered. But you must ask for it.
For those of us who have already done so, recent events are sparking a burning urgency to be sure our families and our acquaintances are likewise ready. Lets help fan the flames of revival. Who do you know who isnt ready? Tell them today Who the only One is Who can bring certainty to an uncertain world.
Therefore be ye also ready; for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh. (Matthew 24:44.)
The above is reprinted from "The Gospel Greats Weekly Newsletter" distributed by e-mail on September 18, 2001. Click here for information about subscribing (free). Copyright 2001, Heil Enterprises. All rights reserved.
The song "Are You Ready" was written by Douglas W. Riley, ©2001 Lonesome Bend Pub.
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