Are You “Damaged Goods”?


What does it take to push someone over the edge? How much stress can a person take before they snap? Is it a sin to have a mental breakdown?

How long must a person be subjected to abuse before they become damaged goods?

Can a person who’s snapped, gone over the edge, and become damaged goods ever find true freedom and solace; safe from the long reaching arms of their abuser?

I should probably interject something here, as a point of clarification. Abusers (I’m referring to people who damage others either physically, emotionally, mentally, or spiritually) aren’t necessarily demon possessed, but they ARE allowing themselves to be used by the devil. 
He is a murderer, thief, killer, and destroyer. 

And he uses people to get his junk accomplished. 
I wondered these things while reading the gospel of Mark. 

“They came to the other side of the sea, to the country of the Gerasenes. And when Jesus had stepped out of the boat, immediately there met him out of the tombs a man with an unclean spirit. He lived among the tombs. And no one could bind him anymore, not even with a chain, for he had often been bound with shackles and chains, but he wrenched the chains apart, and he broke the shackles in pieces. No one had the strength to subdue him. Night and day among the tombs and on the mountains he was always crying out and cutting himself with stones.” (Mark 5:1 – 5:5 ESV)

A wild man. A mad man. Why? How? I don’t know, because the narrative doesn’t go there. 

But it COULD be due to how he was raised, what he was subjected to, or something else involving people from his past. Maybe he allowed hatred and bitterness to fester and grow in his heart until he completely yielded to the powers of darkness. 

I don’t know. 

I do know he was damaged. 

Damaged goods. Not a very nice description, is it? But what does it mean or how does it happen?

I’m really going to simplify things here and answer with three words. 

People hurting people. 

People, for whatever reason, sometimes hurt others. Allow the hurt to continue, and more damage is done. Eventually, if not helped, and the hurt is reinforced with more hurtful actions and words, the person can become so damaged they are beyond anyone’s ability to help them heal.

But not beyond God’s ability to save, heal, and deliver. 

Jesus changed the man’s life by releasing him from the things tormenting him. He didn’t erase the man’s past, but he did disable the power of the past. 

And isn’t it odd how the ones who knew the “crazy” man seemed to have preferred he remain in that condition instead of enjoying true freedom?

The herdsmen fled and told it in the city and in the country. And people came to see what it was that had happened. And they came to Jesus and saw the demon-possessed man, the one who had had the legion, sitting there, clothed and in his right mind, and they were afraid. And those who had seen it described to them what had happened to the demon-possessed man and to the pigs. And they began to beg Jesus to depart from their region (Mark 5:14 – 5:17 ESV)

That’s what makes me think they were part of the problem in the first place.

The madman in Mark five is, to me, a picture of damaged goods coming in contact with the Lover of the soul. No matter how bad things had become for the man, hurt and total hopelessness met its match that day on the Galilean seashore.

And that’s one huge reason why I love the Lord! He took a damaged person (me) and delivered my life from destruction. 

How about you?

“Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless his holy name! Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits, who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit, who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy, who satisfies you with good so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.” (Psalm 103:1 – 103:5 ESV)
 

Spiritual Pimples

I was chatting with a guy the other day, talking about how we sometimes allow things, situations, and, of course, people the opportunity to offend us. 

Sometimes we let the wrong things get under our skin. We hang on to them until they begin poisoning our system. 
Kind of like pimples.

Pimples are indicators of more serious problems.

What should we do? When we see it for what it truly is (or when it finally comes to a head) we should squeeze it until the blood flows. The flow of blood helps cleanse the wound (as Jesus’ blood cleanses all our sin).

It helps get the poison out of our system. 

As you may have figured out, it’s much better to never allow offenses to get under our skin. That being said, it is imperative we continuously wash ourselves in the water of God’s Word. It’s also important to be in close fellowship with other believers who may help keep the wrong things from getting under our skin by watching for areas in our life where an infection could be setting in. 

Spiritual pimples are indicators of a more serious problem…

…a poisoned soul.

…an offended heart.

…a victim mentality.

…a joyless existence.

“Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.” (Ephesians 4:31 – 4:32 ESV)

“Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord. See to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God; that no “root of bitterness” springs up and causes trouble, and by it many become defiled.” (Hebrews 12:14 – 12:15 ESV)

Childhood Monsters

Childhood monsters can become adult demons.

It’s been some time since I’ve written a post; no excuse other than I didn’t feel like writing. 

Instead, I’ve been watching a television series on Netflix called “Criminal Minds”. 

I realize the show is not for everyone, and some of the themes are pretty dark, but I have always been fascinated with behavioral studies.

Especially as it pertains to why certain criminals do what they do.

But watching an episode last night hit a little too close to home. No, it didn’t make me want to go out and kill someone. 

But it did stir up old memories from my childhood.

So it hit me: childhood monsters can become adult demons.

I’ll not bore you with details, but suffice it to say I had monsters to face as a kid. Real monsters. They didn’t hide in my closet or live under my bed, but I saw them every day.

At times, everything seemed wonderful. The monsters were nowhere to be seen. But things could and did change without warning. 

And the monsters were back. 

Thinking of all of this while watching the program made me realize a few things. 

First of all, I thought of just how blessed I am to have weathered a stormy childhood. I’m not saying I’ve never had to deal with any adult demons. No, I’ve had plenty. 

But things could have been worse. A lot worse. 

Secondly, we all need a savior. Not just to forgive us of our sins, but to make us a brand new creation. A child of God. After all, without the new nature we receive from the Lord, anyone is capable of giving in to the demands of our demons. 

Remember, our childhood monsters CAN become our adult demons.

Finally, I thought of those who are trying to overcome the past, and distance themselves from their monsters. 

It doesn’t work. 

You can’t outrun your memories, experiences, hurts, scars, etc. No one is that fast. But there are some things you can do to keep the monsters at bay, and the demons off your back.

1. As mentioned before, we all need a savior. Rather than constantly facing your demons, turn your heart to Jesus Christ. He’ll not only forgive you of your past, but will also make you a brand new creation.

2. Choose to forgive the past’s players. That doesn’t mean you have to spend time with them. In fact, forgiving them is more for your own health and welfare than theirs. Without the release of forgiveness, you may become the monster you hated. You may find yourself doing the same things to the people you love; all the while hating every moment of your life.

3. Renew your mind with God’s word. Take control of your thoughts, not allowing hatred or bitterness to hang around. 

4. Feed your faith in God. The monsters/demons who want to keep you under their control lose all power when your source of emotional and mental strength, along your personal self-worth, is based upon Father God’s opinion of you.

Not theirs.

5. Love covers a multitude of sins. Yours, theirs, everyone’s. However, excuses cover nothing. 

Excuses only allow childhood monsters to grow into adult demons. Excuses say, “That’s just how they are. They can’t help what they do. They weren’t treated well in their childhood, so we shouldn’t expect any different.”

Love cuts them off at the knees, because love declares truth. Truth says, “That isn’t right. Regardless of the reason why the monster is on the loose, it isn’t right and something must be done about it. I’ll put up with it no longer.”

Truth is what monsters and demons fear the most. 


Childhood monsters can become adult demons,
but they don’t have to. At least not in your life. 

Beyond our ability is…God

“We think you ought to know, dear brothers and sisters, about the trouble we went through in the province of Asia. We were crushed and overwhelmed beyond our ability to endure, and we thought we would never live through it. In fact, we expected to die. But as a result, we stopped relying on ourselves and learned to rely only on God, who raises the dead.” (2 Corinthians 1:8 – 1:9 NLT)

Tough times happen. Trouble comes. Yes, even for people who seem to have it all together, and are a testimony of godliness to their community.

Take the apostle Paul. Busy with God’s work, he ran into some unexpected trouble. At one point, he and his pals thought they might even die!

See what he wrote? “In fact, we expected to die.”

But they didn’t die.

Instead, they learned something very important.

“…we stopped relying on ourselves and learned to rely only on God, who raises the dead.”

They learned to rely on God.

Even if things didn’t turn out the way they wanted, they were still determined to rely on God.

On God Who raises the dead.

You could possibly be facing the biggest problem you’ve ever faced. It might be a huge physical problem, financial worries, or family relationship issues.

And it may appear to be just about over; finished with no way out.

But maybe you could take this opportunity to learn something about God.

He’s faithful, He will not quit, and…

He raises the dead.

I’m not saying it’s a fun time, nor do I believe that’s what Paul was implying.

Troublesome times come, even to those who seem to be God’s special people.

But we can face those moments much easier if we’ve prepared ourselves to rely upon God Who raises the dead.

Even when things look hopeless.

Are you ready for your next lesson?

With Healing In His Wings

There is a special place in God, a place known as the Secret Place, or the Hiding Place.

It’s a place of peace, protection, provision; the fulfillment of God’s Promises.

A place where healing flows freely, grace covers like a shield, and no evil is allowed.

A special place where all the promises of God have been secured by the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.

It’s a place known also as The Shadow of His Wings; the Mercy Seat of God.

Jesus.

He is our place of refuge. Our place of communion with Almighty God. The Table prepared in the presence of our enemies.

“There I will meet with you, and from above the mercy seat, from between the two cherubim that are on the ark of the testimony, I will speak with you about all that I will give you in commandment for the people of Israel.” (Exodus 25:22 ESV)

Meeting with the Lord under the shadow of His wings, at the place where His testimonies, presence, power, and mercy all join together, is the place to which He calls us.

“Then the priests brought the ark of the covenant of the Lord to its place, in the inner sanctuary of the house, in the Most Holy Place, underneath the wings of the cherubim. The cherubim spread out their wings over the place of the ark, so that the cherubim made a covering above the ark and its poles.” (2 Chronicles 5:7 – 5:8 ESV)

Notice King David’s words:

“Keep me as the apple of your eye; hide me in the shadow of your wings, from the wicked who do me violence, my deadly enemies who surround me.” (Psalm 17:8 ESV)

“How precious is your steadfast love, O God! The children of mankind take refuge in the shadow of your wings. They feast on the abundance of your house, and you give them drink from the river of your delights.” (Psalm 36:7 ESV)

“…for you have been my help, and in the shadow of your wings I will sing for joy.” (Psalm 63:7 ESV)

“He will cover you with his pinions, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness is a shield and buckler.” (Psalm 91:4 ESV)

It so grieved the Lord Jesus, shortly before His crucifixion, that His people would reject Him; would fail to run to His place of protection and fellowship. Scripture records Him weeping while lamenting over the city of Jerusalem.

“O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you would not!” (Matthew 23:37 ESV)

It grieves Him today, with mankind clamoring to find meaning in life without God. He calls to each person, “Come to Me”, yet many have not yet answered His call.

However, there is a special promise for those who look for and find the secret place.

“But for you who fear my name, the sun of righteousness shall rise with healing in its wings. You shall go out leaping like calves from the stall.” (Malachi 4:2 ESV)

You see, He didn’t go through all He did just for everything to remain the same. He wasn’t punished for His sins. No! It was for us.

“He was despised and rejected by men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief; and as one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not.

“Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his stripes we are healed.” (Isaiah 53:3 – 53:5 ESV)

And now the place of eternal refuge AND healing is open to whoever will dare to believe; will dare to receive Jesus Christ as Lord (Ruler) of their life.

“For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.'”(Romans 10:13 ESV)

“But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God” (John 1:12 ESV)

“And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12 ESV)

“Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.'” (John 14:6 ESV)

“He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed.” (1 Peter 2:24 ESV)

For when we take a step toward Him, He arises with healing in His Wings.

And new life begins…

It’s time to stop the thief! (part two)

As I mentioned in the last blog, while reading Ephesians 4:28, something really stood out to me.

“Let the thief no longer steal, but rather let him labor, doing honest work with his own hands, so that he may have something to share with anyone in need.” (ESV)

The words my eyes and heart seemed to lock in on were “Let the thief no longer steal…”

“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” (John 10:10 ESV)

Jesus is speaking of the devil, and while Jesus has gone to the cross and paid for our freedom from the devil, he, the thief is still finding plenty of people to rip off; even those who are born again.

How is this so? The first way is when someone doesn’t know the thief’s plans (is ignorant of his devices), and isn’t ready for the attack. He may not even be aware he’s been robbed!

Paul said we’re to be aware of what our enemy is up to.

“…so that we would not be outwitted by Satan; for we are not ignorant of his designs.” (2 Corinthians 2:11 ESV)

So did Peter.

“Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. ” (1 Peter 5:8 ESV)

Designs, devices, plans, ideas, thoughts, plots… all speak of something the evil one does on purpose, for a specific outcome.

Our responsibility, if we’re to stop the thief, is to first know the character and nature of our adversary, and through the word and leading of the Spirit of God, recognize the ploys of our enemy.

Jesus said, “But know this, that if the master of the house had known at what hour the thief was coming, he would not have left his house to be broken into.” (Luke 12:39 ESV) 

Sure, He was referring to the coming of the Lord. But what He said also applies to every area of our life; i.e. don’t allow the thief any room to work in your life.

So how can we keep him at bay?

1. Learn to hear the Master’s (Jesus) voice. He speaks in accordance with His word, so become a student of the Word (especially the New Testament).

2. Be quick to respond to a prompting of the Spirit, even if it doesn’t make sense. What if you’re not sure it’s God? Then talk to a friend who has a history of hearing and obeying God. They may be able to help you sort things out.

3. Don’t accept everything that comes into your life as God’s will. It just isn’t so. If everything was God’s will, there’d be no reason to be vigilant about watching for the devil’s maneuvers.

Right?

That’s why it’s of utmost importance to know the difference between God’s will and the thief’s shenanigans.

“Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.” (Ephesians 5:15 – 5:17 ESV)

Do we have time to waste? Then we have time to get to know our Father and His ways better. For the better we know the Father’s voice, the better we’ll be at fending off the thief.

God’s will brings peace and wholeness, while the thief’s intent is to steal, kill, and destroy.

“But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere.” (James 3:17 ESV)

The next post will cover the second reason why the thief is getting fat off the lives of God’s people (and how to stop him).

We compromise God’s “security system” (ignore His word):

A. with our actions (or lack of action)

B. our words

C. our attitudes

Later…

It’s time to stop the thief! (part one)

I read a familiar scripture today and it was as though God was speaking directly to me. I saw it in a different light than I’d ever seen it in the past.

The scripture was Ephesians 4:28, which reads: “Let the thief no longer steal, but rather let him labor, doing honest work with his own hands, so that he may have something to share with anyone in need.” (ESV)

The part my eyes and heart seemed to lock in on was “Let the thief no longer steal…”

Immediately I thought of different tests, trials, and attacks my family and I have endured over the last several years. And although God has been faithful throughout all we’ve gone through, the Lord was reminding me about my responsibity to make sure the thief, that is, the devil, isn’t given free reign over my life.

“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” (John 10:10 ESV)

Jesus said the devil is a thief, killer, and destroyer.

When allowed to initiate and perform his designs for us, we will never taste of the abundant life Jesus promised.

I thought about some different areas where the thief had been allowed to go about his business uncontested.

Here is a list of things the thief typically uses to gain entrance to our affairs; virtually bypassing any security system God has for us.

The thief is “allowed” to operate when:

1. We don’t know his plans (ignorant of his devices)

2. We compromise God’s “security system” (ignore His word)

A. with our actions (or lack of action)

B. our words

C. our attitudes

3. We let diligence be replaced with slothfulness

4. We don’t understand how totally defeated our adversary is

5. We allow pride to keep us from calling 911

6. We’ve turned over our “house keys” to the thief

7. There’s no power in the house (all the lights are off)

8. We are entangled with care and worry

9. We refuse to forgive

10. We make no attempt to stop the thief (unarmed)

Over the next week or so, I’ll address each of the ten items listed. With scriptural and personal examples you’ll get a better idea about how to stop getting ripped off by the thief.

Later…

The Marriage Bed

“Marriage is honorable among all, and the bed undefiled; but fornicators and adulterers God will judge. Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you…” (Hebrews 13:4 – 13:5 NKJV)

What an interesting passage of scripture. I used to believe the thirteenth chapter of Hebrews was kind of a catch-all chapter; you know, a thought here, another thought there. Nothing tied together. Simply a number of random thoughts, possibly even last minute thoughts the writer didn’t want to leave out.

I felt verses 4 and 5 were completely unrelated.

But I now believe I was wrong.

What?

Discussion about the marriage bed, covetousness, and contentment together?

Stranger things have happened.

Let’s take a look and see.

The writer declares marriage is honorable; or, in other words, marriage is precious, greatly esteemed, and highly favored of God. It’s God’s design and delight. Throughout scripture, from “God blessed them” in Genesis to “heirs together of the grace of life” in 1 Peter, the value God places on marriage is clear.

He ordained it, loves it, and wants to bless it.

Marriage is special to God.

Marriage includes the marriage bed.

The word translated “bed” is from the Greek word “koite”, which is where we get our English word “coitus” (meaning the physical union of male and female).

Let’s make sure we get this straight before moving on: marriage is precious to God, and He’s not put out when a married couple express their love and commitment to each other by having sex. He doesn’t see it as vile, vulgar, dirty, or anything like that.

But that doesn’t mean just anything goes.

“Marriage is honorable, and the bed undefiled…” indicates not only God’s opinion of sex, but also warnings against allowing it to become something other than the beautiful thing it is.

The Lord’s intention from the beginning was for His people to enjoy the gift of sex; without selfishness, greed, thoughts or images of another person defiling or making the marriage bed impure. And He wants us, people who declare Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, to steer clear of any sexual immorality.

“For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from sexual immorality; that each one of you know how to control his own body in holiness and honor, not in the passion of lust like the Gentiles who do not know God.” (1 Thessalonians 4:3 – 4:5 ESV)

In Hebrews 13:4, as well as in 1 Thessalonians 4:3, the Greek words translated as fornication and sexual immorality have basically the same root word; “Pornos”. It’s where we get words such as pornography.

In other words, pornography defiles the marriage bed.

Anything that trains the emotions and flesh to escape true intimacy and focus on selfish imagery, one’s own feelings and pleasures, memories of another person, completely goes against God’s intent and favor for the married couple.

Pornography, even “soft porn”, is a killer of true intimacy, even if viewed together (as some misguided counselors prescribe); and it most definitely defiles the marriage bed.

“Marriage is honorable, and the bed undefiled…let your conduct (way of living) be without covetousness; be content…”

Allowing pornographic images into your marriage bed feeds the spirit of lust, not true love and intimacy. It pumps more fuel into such troublesome spirits as covetousness and discontentment.

What should be the expression of commitment and complete oneness is reduced to an act not much above that of a couple of alley cats.

Defiled. Not satisfied. Needing more imagery, more graphics, more anything than what the spouse, the covenant partner, is able to give.

An open door for the enemy to come in and steal, kill, and destroy.

Once more, let’s look at our Hebrews passage. Only this time, read my loosely paraphrased version:

“Marriage, the union of a man and woman, is precious and extremely dear to God. He has established the marriage bed, that place where the marriage was consummated and where physical intimacy takes place, as a place of purity and holiness in His sight. Purity protects the union, but He will judge (that is, contend with, fight against, incarcerate, or remove) anything that attempts to defile the marriage sanctuary (to include pornography, uncontrolled and selfish acts, impure imaginations, and violations of the marriage covenant whether in thought, word, or deed).”

“So guard yourself, and your marriage bed, against covetousness; be content with the one God has joined you with. For He will never leave you or forsake you. You can depend on Him to continually bless your marriage union; spiritually, emotionally, and physically. His way.”

Remember, God created the marriage bed as a place of perfect enjoyment AND purity.

Don’t settle for anything less.

What is a “Manly” Man?

I’ve heard the same thing before, but when someone said it again a couple of days ago I thought to myself, “What a jerk! And horribly deceived!”

Maybe I shouldn’t have thought the first part, but then, it’s what the guy who said it was acting like.

What did he say?

“I’ve never felt so manly.”

What’s wrong with saying that?

Context, people, context.

He was referring to how he felt since he’d thrown away his wife, trampled his marriage vows into the dirt, and taken up with another man’s wife.

That is NOT a “manly” thing to do!

So what does a manly man look like? How can one be recognized?

It has nothing to do with outward appearance. Whether a guy is beefed up like Mister Universe, tough as Clint Eastwood, or as skinny as Wally Cox; it makes no difference in the manly department.

A guy who is manly is one who acts like a real man.

Not a Hollywood depiction of a man, but someone who lines up with the Creator’s description as we see in the word of God.

So what makes a man manly?

1. One who finds their purpose and pleasure in knowing Father God and His Son, Jesus Christ.

“…till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ…” Ephesians 4:13 NKJV

“…and have put on the new man who is renewed in knowledge according to the image of Him who created him…” Colossians 3:10 NKJV

2. A guy who allows the Holy Spirit to guide him, even when it’s not a comfortable thing to do.

3. A man who keeps his promises to His God, his wife and children, and society in general. A man of integrity.

4. A guy who fights for his family – their honor, physical protection, and spiritual well being.

5. A guy who lays down his life for his wife.

6. Someone who isn’t swayed from his commitments through the wiles of an immoral woman.

7. A man who trains his eyes to look no further than his own wife for intimacy, whether intellectual, emotional, or sexual.

8. A man who doesn’t treat his wife and children like possessions, but rather individuals who have a right to their own opinions. He is considerate of others, but is not afraid to speak loving correction to those in his care.

9. Someone who takes care of his responsibilities before God and man (which includes working).

10. A man who doesn’t walk in step with the godless.

11. Someone who will cherish the mercy he’s received from God enough to extend that same mercy to others.

12. A man who can readily admit his mistakes, seek forgiveness, and respond to correction.

13. A guy who is not stingy, but instead knows the joy of giving.

14. Someone who trains his tongue for righteousness and the glory of God.

15. A guy who seeks unity among the Body of Christ, while abhoring jealousy, lying, and strife.

16. Someone who does not allow failure to define him, but turns his heart back to God and begins anew.

17. A man with true friends – who can speak with him about anything.

18. One who prepares for the storms of life, while trusting in his Savior.

19. A man who not only can handle correction, but more importantly, praise.

20. A guy who listens more than he talks.

Other scriptures: Romans 8:12-14; Proverbs 3:5-6; Psalm 15; Ephesians 5:21-33; Proverbs 5-7; Psalm 1:1-3; Matthew 5; 2 Corinthians 9:6-10; Proverbs 27:21; Proverbs 13:3

Would your wife say you’re “manly”? Would your kids?

How about God?

Christians and the Consumption of Alcohol. 

The debate rages on: should or shouldn’t Christians drink alcoholic beverages? I’ll toss in my opinion right at the start of this post by saying no, they shouldn’t.

But I’d like to further add that I don’t believe ANYONE should drink alcohol; Christian or not.

No, I am not of the mindset that a glass of wine will send someone to hell. If murder won’t (and it doesn’t), then getting a buzz off a bottle of champagne won’t do it either.

The ONLY thing that sends a person to hell is the rejection of God’s Son, Jesus Christ, Who gave His life so we could all have eternal life. 

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.” (John 3:16 – 3:18 ESV)

My wife and I enjoy watching the original MacGyver. The other night, an episode was called “Twenty Questions”. It was about a ninth grade girl with a drinking problem.

Because of the episode, I Googled “Twenty Questions” and found the following self-test from an Alcoholic’s Anonymous website.

The person taking the test was instructed to be completely, brutally, honest with themselves, answering yes or no to each question.

Maybe you could give it a whirl…

1. Do you lose time from work due to your drinking?

2. Is drinking making your home life unhappy?

3. Do you drink because you are shy with other people?

4. Is drinking affecting your reputation?

5. Have you ever felt remorse after drinking?

6. Have you gotten into financial difficulties as a result of your drinking?

7. Do you turn to lower companions and an inferior environment when drinking?

8. Does your drinking make you careless of your family’s welfare?

9. Has your ambition decreased since drinking?

10. Do you crave a drink at a definite time daily?

11. Do you want a drink the next morning?

12. Does drinking cause you to have difficulty in sleeping?

13. Has your efficiency decreased since drinking?

14. Is drinking jeopardizing your job or business?

15. Do you drink to escape from worries or troubles?

16. Do you drink alone?

17. Have you ever had a complete loss of memory as a result of your drinking?

18. Has your physician ever treated you for drinking?

19. Do you drink to build up your self-confidence?

20. Have you ever been in a hospital or institution on account of drinking?

The instructions went on to say any “Yes” answer COULD indicate you are, or are on your way to becoming, an alcoholic.

It has nothing to do with getting stumbling drunk. It has everything to do with becoming dependent upon it.

Alcohol consumption may be all the catalyst needed to badly mar or ruin a person’s life; or at least allow just enough room in their life for a spirit of deception to operate. One cannot be filled with the spirit of wisdom and revelation (Ephesians 1) and deception at the same time.

A person cannot be led by the Spirit of God if their mental faculties are discombobulated because of alcohol. And although it’s true there are times we need to trust our heart rather than our reasonings, the mind still must choose to obey what it believes the Spirit of God is saying.

Here are some biblical reasons why I believe abstaining totally from alcohol is the best course to take for everyone; and ESPECIALLY those who are serious about following in the footsteps of Jesus and making an eternal difference in their world. (There’s no particular order to these points, but are listed as they appear in the scriptures.)

a. Incest, sexual perversions of all kinds, are more likely to happen when one’s reasoning is impaired (Genesis 19 – the Case of Lot and his 2 daughters)

b. Idolatry and other sorts of corruption have taken place when people yielded to a “party spirit” (Exodus 32 – the Saga of Aaron’s Golden Calf).

c. The Priesthood was given specific instructions from the Lord “Do not drink wine nor strong drink…when you go into the tabernacle of the congregation…” (Leviticus 10:9). As New Testament believers in Christ, we are ALL kings and priests unto God (1 Peter 2:9; Revelation 1:6). See also Proverbs 31:4,5.

d. Moses’ (speaking for God) words, at the end of the 40 year wilderness experience, and shortly before he died, “…neither have you drunk wine or strong drink, that you may know that I am the Lord your God” – Deuteronomy 29:6. The Lord must have thought it was more important for the Israelites to know Him than have that “feeling of relaxation”. And apparently it would have been next to impossible for them to do both.

e. Samson was NOT SUPPOSED to drink wine or strong drink…but he felt he had a better idea. Drink wasn’t the only reason his calling and life was cut short, but it contributed.

f. “Wine is a mocker (against one’s own self), strong drink is a brawler (fightings within and without), and whoever is led astray by it is not wise” (Proverbs 20:1). Not too hard to figure that one out, huh?

g. “Who has woe… sorrow… contentions… complaints… wounds without cause… or redness of eyes? Those who linger long at the wine, who go and search for it” (Proverbs 23:29).

h. “Don’t gaze at the wine, seeing how red it is, how it sparkles in the cup, how smoothly it goes down” (Proverbs 23:31 NLT). The passage goes on to describe how the alcohol will at last “bite like a serpent and sting like a viper.” No thank you. That’s not for me.

i. “Woe to them that rise up early in the morning, that they may follow strong drink; and continue until night, until they are inflamed!” (Isaiah 5:11)

j. Daniel, along with his three buddies, chose to not “defile” themselves with the king’s food and wine (Daniel 1). Because of Daniel’s stance, God gave he and his friends ten times the wisdom of the others, and Daniel was able to be used of God to affect NATIONS.

k. “Do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation (or a waste of one’s resources and faculties); but (rather, instead) be filled with the Holy Spirit of God” (Ephesians 5:18).

People say, “I’m not getting drunk.” But how can they know where that line is between a social drink or two, a slight buzz, and total inebriation? What if they can’t handle as much as they thought they could?

Someone may argue, “Paul told Timothy to ‘drink no longer only water, but use a little wine for your stomach’s sake and your frequent infirmities’…” (1 Timothy 5:23).

Fine. If that is truly the reason for drinking (and the amount consumed, i.e. “a LITTLE wine”), then okay.

But from what I have gathered by hanging around other believers over the last ten years or so, that is NOT the case. Instead, there seems to be more of a party spirit associated with Christians and their drink than anything else. “It’s my right, I’m not hurting anyone else, and I’m not getting drunk, so I’m going to relax, unwind, and have some fun.”

“Besides, Jesus turned water into wine.” Yep. He also raised people from the dead.

What about you? Are you a Christian who consumes alcohol? Can you live without it? Have you tried?

If you love your alcohol, that’s really between you and God. But would you be WILLING to dump all of your drink down the sink if it would mean knowing Him even just a tiny bit better? Would you drop any and all alcohol consumption if He told you to?

Did you take the AA self-test?

Were you totally honest?

Are you hearing what I’m saying?

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