Monday, February 28, 2011


Approximately 3,000 years ago, the wise man Solomon wrote, “Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging: and whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise” (Prov. 20:1).  A lot of wine has “passed under the bridge since then,” but lots of folks are still being deceived by the “rag­ing mocker,” alcohol.  The statistics tell the sad story of alcohol abuse in America.  More than 70% of adult Americans drink alcoholic beverages, and 1 out of 10 becomes an alcoholic.  Alcohol is the most abused drug in our society, costing our nation over $100 billion dollars annually in lost production, medical costs, property damage, violent crime, and death, not to mention the misery which results from the effects of this deadly drug.

Did you know that over half of all fatalities, resulting from car crashes, are caused by drivers who are “under the influence?”  Every 48 seconds a person is injured in an al­cohol related auto accident, disabling over 500,000 people annually.  Alcohol is involved in 30-40% of all sexual abuse cases, and over 675,000 children annually are the victims of child abuse at the hands of a sub­stance-abusing caretaker.  Over 5,000 babies are born each year with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, and according to a former Surgeon General, alcohol causes more deaths, than all major diseases combined.  Law enforce­ment experts agree, alcohol abuse is the leading cause of nearly every type of crime.
When all the statistics are considered, how foolish it is that some “Christians” still advocate the consumption of alcohol in moderation, so long as one does not become drunk. Again, Solomon gave wise counsel when he wrote, “Who hath woe? Who hath sorrow? Who hath contentions? Who hath bab­bling? Who hath wounds without cause? Who hath redness of eyes? They that tarry long at the wine; they that go to seek mixed wine. Look not thou upon the wine when it is red, when it giveth his colour in the cup…, At last it biteth like a ser­pent, and stingeth like an adder. Thine eyes shall be­hold strange women, and thine heart shall utter perverse things. Yea, thou shalt be as he that lieth down in the midst of the sea... They have stricken me, shalt thou say, and I was not sick; they have beaten me, and I felt it not: when shall I awake?  I will seek it yet again” (Prov. 23:29-35).   

A careful study of God’s Word reveals the devastation, which results from consuming alcohol, referred to in the Scriptures as, “the raging mocker.”  For instance, Lot became guilty of incest with his daughters because he became drunk (Gen. 19:33-35).  Nadab & Abihu were likely “under the influence” when they offered “strange fire” leading to their demise (Lev. 10:1-11).  Amnon was easily slain by the servants of Ab­salom, because he made the foolish mistake of getting drunk (II Sam. 13:28-29).  Queen Vashti was dis­honored by her husband, Ahasuerus, when at a drunken feast he ordered her to pa­rade her beauty before the crowd (Esther 1:1-22).  Belshazzar lost the kingdom of Babylon to the Medes and Per­sians, because he desecrated God’s sacred temple vessels, during the midst of a drunken feast (Dan. 5:1-31).
God’s Word says the human body is to be preserved in purity as the temple of the Holy Spirit. “Know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?  For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s” (I Cor. 6:19-20).  However, alcohol destroys that temple. Ethyl alcohol reaches the bloodstream 30 seconds after ingestion, where it begins its damaging work.  Consuming it, in even small quantities, kills brain cells, impairs judgment and coordination, and adversely affects nearly every major organ of the body.  Overwhelming medical evidence shows there is no level of drinking that is not harmful to the body.

Christians are warned to guard our influence and not become a stumbling block to the weak.  We are not to abuse our freedom in Christ, by causing the weaker brother to sin, and social drinking falls within the jurisdiction of this counsel.  “Whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.  Give none offence, neither to the Jews, nor to the Gentiles, nor to the church of God (I Cor. 10:32).

Yes, wine is still “the rag­ing mocker,” and millions are still being deceived by its influence.  However, the faithful child of God will wisely avoid strong drink, lest he become addicted to this work of the flesh, and miss inheriting the king­dom of God (Gal. 5:21, I Cor. 6:9-10).  Has “the raging mocker” fooled you?  Please think about it seriously.  

The bold letters tell the story of exactly what alcohol will do for you.  It will take you AWAY from God, your family, your job, and your life.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

The Back of a Billboard

     Imagine driving down the interstate and the many advertising billboards one may see in a given day.  By way of marketing and advertising many of them have images of a “cool, mountain stream” and guys fishing and a cooler of beer or the picture of a sports night at a friend’s house with all the beer and chips and good times or the night on the town just the two of them, a romantic setting in a restaurant with a bottle of Champaign.  All and all it looks so wonderful.  It must be amazing to be an adult our young people might think – “we can finally do what we want to do and enjoy ourselves and have a ‘good time’.”  It is possible that even worse could happen: our young people go out and find a way to get alcohol by some immoral means or person who cares nothing for their souls or the consequences that are about to be produced by these actions.
     We are not usually able to see the backs of billboards because of the way they are strategically positioned along our highways for obvious reasons as seen in the picture above.  They are dirty, nasty, and rusted.    No one wants to see the back of the billboard.  As consumers, they want us to buy their products or services.  Much the same way, advertisers do not want us to see the consequences and devastating effects of sin.  It is truly an ugly sight.  The effects of sin in an individual’s life will break the heart of those closest to them.  There are immediate consequences to the sinner (Prov. 11:6), as well as eternal consequences to be considered (Romans 6:23; Isaiah 59:1-2). 
The front of the billboard gives that enticing picture which appeals to our “fleshly lusts” and the back of the billboard symbolizes sin’s end result and consequences.  Peter warns us to “abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul” (1 Peter 2:11).  The war of which Peter speaks is that battle within man’s own heart: the spiritual vs. the flesh.  James teaches us of the progression from temptation to sin and even the end result:
“But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death” (James 1:14-15).
     The progression from temptation to death is met with our “own lust.”  This is why Peter warns us to abstain from fleshly lusts.  It is truly a war within each of us.  If each temptation we face is an attempt to appeal to my own lust, then I must arm myself, as did Jesus.  He faced temptation and that which might have appealed to his own desires at that time.  Consider that Jesus had been fasting “forty days and nights” and He was hungry (Matthew 4:2).  His fleshly desire would have been for food. 
“And when the tempter came to him, he said, If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread.  But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God” (Matthew 4:3-4).
     The apostle Paul admonished the Roman Christians to “put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof” (Romans 13:14).  We learn that we are to not give opportunity for the temptation.  Through Bible study, which produces faith in God (Romans 10:17) and prayer for help, I can get through the temptations, which befall me (Philippians 4:6-8; Hebrews 4:14-16).  The apostle Paul also reminds me that there is a “way to escape” the temptation (1 Corinthians 10:13).
     The backside of the billboard is filthy, dirty, rusty and ugly.  So is SIN and what it does to our lives!  May we heed the warnings of the apostle John:
“Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.  For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.  And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever” (1 John 2:15-17).
     Not only does sin bring about immediate consequences, which are devastating to our lives and to those around us, but also there are eternal consequences.  Paul warns of these consequences:
“Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.” (Galatians 5:19-21).
“Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God” (1 Corinthians 6:9-10).
 “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ” (Romans 6:23).
     John also reminds Christians if we do give into temptation to sin how “we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the Righteous” (1 John 2:1).  He also tells us “if we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).  May we like Christ only desire to do the will of God (1 Peter 4:2).