Monday, March 29, 2010

The Sorrows of Alcohol

Proverbs 23:29-35 Who hath woe? who hath sorrow? who hath contentions? who hath babbling? who hath wounds without cause? who hath redness of eyes? (30) They that tarry long at the wine; they that go to seek mixed wine. (31) Look not thou upon the wine when it is red, when it giveth his colour in the cup, when it moveth itself aright. (32) At the last it biteth like a serpent, and stingeth like an adder. (33) Thine eyes shall behold strange women, and thine heart shall utter perverse things. (34) Yea, thou shalt be as he that lieth down in the midst of the sea, or as he that lieth upon the top of a mast. (35) 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.

Here is one of the MANY Bible passages that teaches us the perils of alcohol. In this passage, we read about the Sorrows of Alcohol:
  1. The Reminder of the Sorrow Alcohol Causes - 23:29. It causes pain in the body with headaches, body sickness, agonies of the mind, and the torture of your conscience through the sins that it leads you to commit. You do things that you normally wouldn't do, and you say things that you normally wouldn't say. The next day brings sickness and regret.
  2. The Reality of the Sorrow Alcohol Causes - 23:30. The reality is that a person does not consume alcohol, but alcohol consumes them. It takes over their personality and takes over their life. Eventually, it is not enough and they need to mix the alcohol and make it stronger. Sin is never enough, and it quickly spirals out of control. Reminds me of the fact that an alcoholic never thinks they will be one when they take that first drink.
  3. The Remedy for the Sorrow Alcohol Causes - 23:31. Look not means that you are not in the presence of it, and so then you cannot be tempted with it. The best advice to avoid the pitfalls of alcohol is just to avoid it all together!
  4. The Results of the Sorrow Alcohol Causes - 23:32-35. Here, the author of this Proverb paints the "morning after" picture that the alcohol companies WILL NOT show you on their product advertisements. Why in the world would anyone choose to subject themselves to these sorrows? The answer is: SIN!
Instead of trying to figure out some way that it might be okay or acceptable to drink alcohol, lets just take the Principle of the Proverb and avoid the Sorrows of Alcohol.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Be Careful With Some "Friends"

We often think that it is the teenager who needs to be careful with who they are friends with. While it is true that the wrong kind of friend and influence have been the downfall of many a teen, the same can be said for the Christian adult. The 16th chapter of Proverbs gives us some instruction on how to be careful with some "friends":
  1. Be Careful Who Helps You - Proverbs 16:5 - Every one that is proud in heart is an abomination to the LORD: though hand join in hand, he shall not be unpunished. The phrase, "though hand join in hand" is what stood out to me this morning. It is interesting to note all those who go astray with pride usually have someone behind the scenes, "stoking the fire." We need to be careful about those who may be telling us how great we are, all the time. It has been well said by others that we should not be so quick to, "Believe all the press clippings about us."
  2. Be Careful Who Hangs with You - Proverbs 16:19 - Better is it to be of an humble spirit with the lowly, than to divide the spoil with the proud. Often times, the proud look at their spoil and tell people, "See, this is so much better than that other guy over there with the lowly." Yet, it is this very trap that we must watch out for today. Especially in Christianity, where so much "success" is determined by human measure, and not Spiritual mandates.
  3. Be Careful Who Hints and Heaps with You - Proverbs 16:27 - An ungodly man diggeth up evil: and in his lips there is a burning fire. It is sad today that most Christians are more willing to dig up evil and spread rumors and gossip than spread the Gospel and minister to people. The word "diggeth" implies that you are getting into something that is not your business You must be careful of surrounding yourself with those who want to dig into other people's lives and churches because when you are with them, you get their dirt heaped upon you.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Get Out of the Way!

2 Chronicles 5:14 - So that the priests could not stand to minister by reason of the cloud: for the glory of the LORD had filled the house.

In our text today, the Ark of God was brought for the first time to the newly finished House of God. As Solomon and Israel finished building the Temple, the musicians began to sing and praise God as the ark is brought in. When the ark is brought in, something even greater is brought to the Temple: the Power and Presence of the LORD. As some like to say, "It got thick in there!" So much so, that the priest could no longer stand and minister because of the glory of the LORD.

When is the last time you felt the power and the presence of the LORD in such a magnificent and magnified way? When is the last time, while ministering for the Master, you just had to "get out of the way" because God had taken over? Far too many Christians have lived their life never to experience this. May it be our prayer today that God will show up in our churches and our families in such a manner that we will have nothing left to do but, "Get out of the way!"

Book Review: Christian Encounters, John Bunyan by Kevin Belmonte

Author Kevin Belmonte's work on the life of John Bunyan covers this great man of God's life from birth, childhood, conversion, imprisonment, and death. You read about the loss of his first wife, to the loss of his freedoms for standing firm and faithful for the cause of Christ, to his untimely death as he traveled to speak on behalf of a prodigal son to his unforgiving father. Kevin Belmonte sums up the essence of John Bunyan this way: His simple cadences transformed the language, and his memorable characters became familiar to millions. Bunyan became a public figure, a captivating speaker, and above all, a man known for his unrelenting trust in God.

I would highly recommend this book to any Christian, and especially those who have suffered great tragedy in their own life. The author does a good job in taking what bits of historical information there is about his early life and upbringing, and showing how that may have shaped his life and the writing of Pilgrim's Progress. In putting together the early aspects of Bunyan's life, the author does a good job in letting the reader know that he is making educated assumptions based on the little that is documented from other sources about his childhood and early years.

Reading this biography gave me a greater appreciation for Bunyan's life and a new desire to reread Pilgrim's Progress so that I may understand it in a richer way. While the language used in this book is not typical and may be opn a higher reading level than some are accustomed to, I would highly recommend it.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

David's Life Lessons for a Lasting Legacy

1 Chronicles 28:8 Now therefore in the sight of all Israel the congregation of the LORD, and in the audience of our God, keep and seek for all the commandments of the LORD your God: that ye may possess this good land, and leave it for an inheritance for your children after you for ever.

In our Scripture today, David is making his final address before he passes on to his eternal reward and his son Solomon takes over. In this farewell speech, David gives us in this one verse "Life Lessons for a Lasting Legacy."

  1. Live for the Lord - "Now therefore in the sight of all Israel the congregation of the LORD,"
  2. Listen to the Lord - "...and in the audience of our God,"
  3. Learn from the Lord - "keep and seek for all the commandments of the LORD your God:"

What will your lasting legacy be?

  • Leaving a Lasting Legacy - "that ye may possess this good land, and leave it for an inheritance for your children after you for ever."

Everyone leaves something behind - wouldn't you like to leave a Godly legacy for the generations that follow? Each of us, no matter what stage in life we may be, would do well to follow David's life lessons for a lasting legacy.