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Friday, November 21, 2014

Some Final Thoughts On Drinking

504 - Today's Prime Time Devo comes from: 2Sa 11:13, “ Now when David called him, he ate and drank before him; and he made him drunk. (2 Sam 11:13) Today I'm wrapping up my series on drinking, but before I begin I want to speak to those who are recovering alcoholics. May God bless your sobriety, may He continue to give you the strength to say no to even one drink, because you know that in your situation, one drink is too many. The Bible does not forbid drinking but more important for the alcoholic....it doesn't command drinking either. You'll do just fine if you never put another drink to your lips. It's fairly evident that God meant wine to be a gift to mankind for celebration and for medicinal purposes. Ps 104:15 speaks of God's gifts in creation, and wine is one of them. “and wine cheers the heart of man, and oil makes his face shine, and bread sustains the heart of man.” Eccl 10:19a says, “Bread is made for laughter, and wine makes merry;” Paul writing to his young protege Timothy, instructed him to use wine for his physical infirmities. “Drink water no longer, but use a little wine for your stomach's sake, and for your many infirmities. (1 Tim 5:23) Let us remember that, “every creation of God is good, and nothing to be refused if it is received with thanksgiving. (1 Tim 4:4) while at the same time remembering 1 Cor 6:12, “All things are lawful to me, but not all things profit. All things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any.” And for the sake of those struggling with alcohol abuse or addiction please don't use your liberty to cause others to stumble. 1 Cor 8:9 says, “But take heed lest by any means this liberty of yours becomes a stumbling block to those who are weak.” Enjoy God's gift of wine. Let it gladden your heart and help you unwind, but don't abuse it to the point that it is , as Paul wrote, “exercising power over you,” I speak from the experience of one who allowed alcohol to have power over me. I found myself always looking forward to my next high. (This is one of many telltale signs) Here's the thing about seeking a high, it always leads to an eventual low. A low that is sure to bring pain to you and others. Prov 23:20 says, “Don't be among ones drinking too much wine, or those who gorge themselves on meat' 21 For the drunkard and the glutton shall become poor;” I am forever thankful that by turning to Jesus Christ I was delivered from this sin. If you are struggling with alcohol abuse, turn to jesus and henceforth don't be filled with wine, which is dissipation, but be filled with the Holy Spirit! (Eph 5:18) Father, thank You for Your promise that the truth will set us free.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Drinking Part 5 - Feasting

503 - Today's Prime Time Devo comes from: 2Sa 11:13 Now when David called him, he ate and drank before him; and he made him drunk. Let's continue to talk about drinking. But before we begin I want to speak to those who are recovering alcoholics. May God bless your sobriety, may He continue to give you the strength to say no to even one drink, because you know that in your situation, one drink is too many. The Bible does not forbid drinking but more important for the alcoholic....it doesn't command drinking either. You'll do just fine if you never put another drink to your lips. The Bible has much to say about the sin of drunkenness and the ill effects of strong drink, but it also has some things to say about the proper use of wine. In the Old Testament system of tithing, God made provision for an annual festive occasion for the collection of what is called the “second tithe.” We read about it in De 14:26 And you shall pay that silver for whatever your soul desires, for oxen, or for sheep, or for wine, or for strong drink, or for whatever your soul desires. And you shall eat there before the LORD your God, and you shall rejoice, you and your household.” This annual communal feast was to be shared with the Levites, but not to be used as an excuse to get drunk. Isa 5:11,12, “Woe to those who rise up early in the morning to go after strong drink; tarrying in the twilight while wine inflames them! 12 And the lyre, and the harp, the timbrel, and pipe, and wine, are at their feasts; but they do not regard the work of the LORD. Yea, they do not see the work of His hands.” What's missing at this feast mentioned in Isaiah? The Lord is missing. Instead of merriment that celebrates the goodness of God, we have people getting inflamed by wine for the sake of getting inflamed. All feasting from thanksgiving to weddings should have God as the main attraction. Probably the closest thing we have to this annual feast of the Israelites in our country today is the holiday of Thanksgiving. These are annual communal gatherings for feasting and giving of thanks to the Lord, and it's okay to have some wine. Celebrate! Make merry! Feast! But let God be the centerpiece of your day rather than the food, the wine, or the football. And be responsible. Don't be a stumbling block to a brother who struggles with alcohol abuse and please, do not put yourself or others in harms way by getting behind the wheel of a car if you are in any way impaired. Where's the honoring of God in that? Father, it's so easy to make other gods the center of our feasting. Help us to remember that You are the source of any joy we may have!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Drinking Part 4 - You Can Unwind, But Don't Unravel

502 - Today's Prime Time Devo comes from: 2Sa 11:13 Now when David called him, he ate and drank before him; and he made him drunk. Let's talk about drinking. But before we begin I want to speak to those who are recovering alcoholics. May God bless your sobriety, may He continue to give you the strength to say no to even one drink, because you know that in your situation, one drink is too many. The Bible does not forbid drinking but more important for the alcoholic....it doesn't command drinking either. You'll do just fine if you never put another drink to your lips. The Bible has much to say about the matter of drinking and the sin of drunkenness. We hear an awful lot about the evils of alcohol and rightly so. Alcohol abuse is responsible for much pain and carnage in our lives and we would do well to respect it's negative impact. However, the Bible also has some positive things to say about wine and it's relationship to celebration, relaxation, and it's use for medicinal purposes. I have always hesitated to speak about these things because I'm afraid it will be misinterpreted by those who are looking for an excuse to get drunk. So before I dive into these other purposes let me pass along one more reminder from Pr 20:1 Wine is a mocker, Strong drink is a brawler, And whoever is led astray by it is not wise.” Don't allow the biblical use of wine to lead you astray. Do not cross that line into drunkenness and alcohol abuse! Let's start with the biblical usage of wine for medicinal purposes. Pr 31:6 Give strong drink to him who is perishing, And wine to those who are bitter of heart. 7 Let him drink and forget his poverty, And remember his misery no more. Note the two types of wine used here. Strong drink (undiluted) for the perishing, and wine (diluted) for the bitter of heart. In biblical times strong drink was pretty much all they had for pain, and it was okay to use it as a painkiller for the dying. But what about the bitter of heart, the destitute, and those who are just beaten down by their current circumstances. Is it okay to have a drink for the sole purpose of helping you unwind? Apparently, but be very cautious here, you can unwind but don't unravel. And if you don't know the difference, then stay away from alcohol. Always remember that the Bible never condones the abuse of alcohol or drunkenness, but it was valued in biblical times for use as medication and relaxation, and celebration. Father, everything you have created is good, for this we give you thanks. Help us to not abuse the goodness of Your created things.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Drinking Part 3 - When Drinking Becomes Drunking

501 - Today's Prime Time Devo comes from: 2Sa 11:13 Now when David called him, he ate and drank before him; and he made him drunk. Let's talk about drinking. But before we begin I want to speak to those who are recovering alcoholics. May God bless your sobriety, may He continue to give you the strength to say no to even one drink, because you know that in your situation, one drink is too many. The Bible does not forbid drinking but more important for the alcoholic....it doesn't command drinking either. You'll do just fine if you never put a drink to your lips. Drinking is not forbidden in the Bible, but excessive drinking, (to the point of drunkenness is) But when does drinking become drunking? First of all, understand this, the wine of the Bible is a lot different than the wine we drink today. It was typically mixed with three parts water. This watering down of the wine meant that your bladder would give out before alcohol would have it's forbidden effect of inebriation. Anything that was stronger than a three to one ratio was considered strong drink, and the Bible warns us about the effects of excessive strong drink. Pr 23:29 Who has woe? (Trouble) Who has sorrow? (Regrets) Who has contentions? (Fights) Who has complaints? (Babblings) Who has wounds without cause? (Injuries) Who has redness of eyes? (Hangovers) 30 Those who linger long at the wine, Those who go in search of mixed wine. 31 Do not look on the wine when it is red, (undiluted) When it sparkles in the cup, When it swirls around smoothly; 32 At the last it bites like a serpent, And stings like a viper. 33 Your eyes will see strange things, And your heart will utter perverse things. 34 Yes, you will be like one who lies down in the midst of the sea, Or like one who lies at the top of the mast, saying: 35 "They have struck me, but I was not hurt; They have beaten me, but I did not feel it. When shall I awake, that I may seek another drink?" These various effects occur when drinking becomes drunking. Having once been in the camp of the drunkard, I can tell you that all these things are true and more. Perhaps the saddest thing about drunkenness is the effect that it has on all the innocent people in your life. I thank God every day that through faith in Jesus Christ He delivered me from the sin of drunkenness and all it's effects. Come to Jesus today it is His desire to (set the prisoner free) deliver you as well!

Monday, November 17, 2014

What the Bible Says About Drinking part 2

500 - Today's Prime Time Devo comes from: 2Sa 11:13 Now when David called him, he ate and drank before him; and he made him drunk. And at evening he went out to lie on his bed with the servants of his lord, but he did not go down to his house.” Let's talk about drinking. But before we begin I want to speak to those who are recovering alcoholics. May God bless your sobriety, may He continue to give you the strength to say no to even one drink, because you know that in your situation, one drink is too many. The Bible does not forbid drinking but more important for the alcoholic....it doesn't command drinking either. You'll do just fine if you never put a drink to your lips. The problem with drinking is excess. Excess leads to drunkenness and drunkenness is lumped in with other obvious sins: Ga 5:19 says, “Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, 20 idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, 21 envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.” The word “practice” here means to “perform repeatedly.” And the Holy Spirit speaking through the Apostle Paul has warned the Galatians in the past and is warning them now that they must seek to break free from these habitual sins or they will not inherit the kingdom of God. This is a scary verse, for which one of us does not struggle with at least one of these repeating sins? There can only be one answer here in accordance with Scripture. There can only be one solution to our battle with habitual sinning. The Apostle Paul admitted to his own struggles with habitual sin, in Ro 7:19 he said, “For the good that I will to do, I do not do; but the evil I will not to do, that I practice.” And he found his solution in Christ: Ro 7:24 O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? 25 I thank God--through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, with the mind I myself serve the law of God, but with the flesh the law of sin. The key to all this is don't stop struggling. The struggle is a sign that the Spirit is at work in you. Convicting you of all your wrong behavior and helping you to bring those behaviors to the cross to receive the forgiveness of Christ. Ro 8:13 says, “For if you live according to the flesh (with no regard of Christ) you will die; but if by the Spirit (with regard to Christ) you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. Father, forgive us all of our besetting sins, and help us to turn from them in the power of the Holy Spirit.

Friday, November 14, 2014

What Does the Bible Say About Drinking Part 1

499 - Today's Prime Time Devo comes from: 2Sa 11:13 Now when David called him, he ate and drank before him; and he made him drunk. And at evening he went out to lie on his bed with the servants of his lord, but he did not go down to his house.” In the next couple of days I am going to be looking at some of what the Bible says about drinking alcohol. Before I begin I want to speak to those who are recovering alcoholics. May God bless your sobriety, may He continue to give you the strength to say no to even one drink, because you know that in your situation, one drink is too many. In this portion of 2 Samuel, we see that David has tried twice to entice Uriah to go home and sleep in his bed. It was his hope that if Uriah would do this, David's sin with the now pregnant Bathsheba would be covered, but it didn't happen as David planned, so now David decides to play the alcohol card. Get the man drunk, that will turn his “no” button into a “go” button and surely Uriah would make his way home and spend the night with Bathsheba. That's one of the problems with alcohol. All it takes is two or three drinks and our ability to say “no” is greatly hindered! The Bible states this fact clearly in Eph 5:18, “ And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess;” (What is excess if not the inability to say no?) Having been a part of the “bar scene” for many years before my conversion to Christ, I can tell you that there is an interesting phenomena among drinkers. We all have a tendency to urge others to join in the festivities. Dangerous drinking games and challenges are issued to get others to join in the “so-called” fun. But the Bible has strong words for those who encourage others to get drunk. Think about this before you dangle that drink in front of someone or mock that person who refuses to participate in your debauchery. Hab 2:15,16 says, “Woe to him who gives drink to his neighbor, Pressing him to your bottle, Even to make him drunk, That you may look on his nakedness! 16 You are filled with shame instead of glory. You also-drink! And be exposed as uncircumcised! The cup of the LORD'S right hand will be turned against you, And utter shame will be on your glory.” Plying others with alcohol for the purpose of turning off their “no” button invites the wrath of God into your life and exposes you as uncircumcised. It puts you in the camp of the unbeliever. This is how far David had fallen and he would pay the price of broken fellowship with God until he came to repentance through the preaching of Nathan. Father, thank You for holding out hope for repentance and forgiveness for our sins. Grant this gift to those who earnestly seek it today.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

No One Gets Away With Sin

498 - Today's Prime Time Devo comes from: 2Sa 11:9-11, “ But Uriah slept at the door of the king's house with all the servants of his lord, and did not go down to his house. 10 So when they told David, saying, "Uriah did not go down to his house," David said to Uriah, "Did you not come from a journey? Why did you not go down to your house?" 11 And Uriah said to David, "The ark and Israel and Judah are dwelling in tents, and my lord Joab and the servants of my lord are encamped in the open fields. Shall I then go to my house to eat and drink, and to lie with my wife? As you live, and as your soul lives, I will not do this thing." (2 Sam 11:9-11) Wow! What a man of honor! Uriah refuses to engage in intimacy with his wife because his fellow soldiers are being denied that privilege while they fight for Israel. Sounds good doesn't it? But is it more about Uriah's honor or God's sovereignty? Or is it a combination of both? Let me give you some verses to help make the point. Pr 15:3 “The eyes of the LORD are in every place, Keeping watch on the evil and the good.” God knew what was going on with David and Bathsheba and He was not going to let them get away with it. Pr 5:21 For the ways of man are before the eyes of the LORD, And He ponders all his paths. 22 His own iniquities entrap the wicked man, And he is caught in the cords of his sin. 23 He shall die for lack of instruction, And in the greatness of his folly he shall go astray. God wasn't going to let David get away with this sin. The truth is, none of us will ever get away with sin. It must be accounted for! If not in this life then the next. If we are not confronted with our sins, that is, convicted of them, and then instructed through the gospel how to shed those sins from our record, then we shall “die for lack of instruction.” It is great folly to think that we can cover our sins! We are all sinners in need of forgiveness and try as we might to cover our tracks, sin can only be obliterated by the blood of Jesus. For without the shedding of blood there can be no forgiveness of sins (Heb 11:29) The shed blood is applied the moment you trust Jesus as your Savior and Lord, and those sins are taken off the books and tossed into the Sea of Forgetfulness. Thank You Father for removing my sins from Your sight as far as East is from the West.