Do we really have to cut off our hand and foot if they cause us to sin? Or gouge out our eyes if we can't control what we lust after and covet? Or tie a millstone around our necks to avoid leading another to stumble?
I read where the government (that pesky interfering, annoying, dictating entity), wants to start charging folks on Medicaid and Medicare a fee for doctor visits that are caused by smoking, drinking etc. I suppose, if citizens have to fork out tax dollars to help the less fortunate supplement their healthcare, then it may seem fair to charge the less fortunate a fee when they ignore their health and spend what little cash they have on vices that do nothing to benefit their well-being. I also heard on the news that the government was considering a fee for the obese. I hate that word. But it is what it is. And a person who exceeds a particular weight, might need to consider their health if they can't afford their own health-care and must depend upon the public to care for them. Florida was trying to pass legislation to deny cakes and cookies and stuff like that from "food-stamp" recipients. It didn't pass the House, though. Does make one wonder if Double-stuffed Oreos are really necessary for one's diet, though.
I need to get rid of about "uh-hmmmm-duh" pounds. I've been working on it. A month ago, a grotesque virus gripped my gut and created havoc with my digestive system for a week. I lost ten pounds. Since then, I got serious about what I put into my system. I am eating more protein, spinach, greens, and have eliminated nearly all processed sugars from my diet. I've lost one pant-size.
Since I heard "obesity" is being bandied about for another penalty fee for Medicaid and Medicare recipients, I'm doubling down on getting "obese" eliminated from my health records before I'm eligible for Medicare. To be clear...I am not on either Medicare or state assisted Medicaid. I was once advised by a government-paid hospital social worker to have my husband quit working so we'd qualify for hospital care, foodstamps, Medicaid, rent and other government supplied perks. However, my hubby and I thought her advice rather silly since he could still work and make enough to buy our own groceries and pay for the few doctor visits we had in a year. (If you ask me, government officials who encourage dependency on the government ought to quit work so tax payers don't have to pay their salary and pension funds.)
I digress. This post is about eliminating things in our lives which harm us (I started with sugar). And it's expedient and Scriptural to begin introducing those things which improve us, help us, and keep us healthy. Physically. Mentally. Emotionally and Spiritually. Jesus said, "It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God". Matthew 4:4 KJV
Guess the fact that God expects me to be sober minded, and filled with the Holy Spirit eliminates a lot of questionable practices, huh? Especially those which science has proven kills brain cells (like alcohol), and produces cancer (like tobacco products), and destroys the well-being of others (like second-hand smoke and fetal alcohol syndrome, DUI fatalities), whom He demands we love as we love ourselves. There's a lot to applying Scripture to our lives. More than we want to admit sometimes. For some folks, it's easier to rest in God's grace than to grow in it. Is that kinda like the way the wicked servant was who buried his talents instead of investing them? Or being foolish, instead of wise? I think so, but then I'm no theologian. selahV
I haven't written anything in quite awhile. Well...I'm moving and packing and sorting and tearing my hair out. I've written a few things on Facebook and manage to keep my Common Matters column up-to-date. But I've sorely neglected you, my friends.
To be honest, my brain is better absorbing than producing right now. Too many things going on inside my head. Decisions, decisions. Mentally my brain is playing both sides of the tennis court. Emotionally I feel fairly well. Not having withdrawals from eliminating 47 years of memorabilia and well, stuff. Am grateful to be under God's grace spiritually. He is my anchor for sure, right now. He makes all the little nitty gritty molehills into flattened anthills. And those are even easier to deal with as all the demonic ants run for cover.
I see where my friend David Brumbelow, (author of Ancient Wine and the Bible, A Case for Abstinence), is having a whale of a time fending off some folks at SBC Voices regarding his view of alchohol use in the Lord's Supper (/link). If anyone can handle it, David can. He's a prince of a man.
Looks like a few other friends are tearing it up with controversial subjects on their blogs, too (/link). Wow! A preacher and his wife are advocating sodomy in marriage via a sex-book they co-authored!!! AND....a seminary president endorses it?? I think...
oh...nevermind. It doesn't mind what I think. I've gotta go empty another cupboard. Clear it of yeast and leaven. Onto new heights. I'll just pray about all that other debauchery and dwell on that which is pure, positive, holy and good. Catcha later. selahV
...Sunday dawned. He and his angels were dancing, drinking, and celebrating the death of Jesus. They were probably so drunk they didn't even know what day it was. Satan heard the walls of hell tremble as the stone was rolled away. He cried all day Sunday, then on Monday, he got up and went to work.
Satan could not destroy the Son of God. The Son of God had just died on the cross and paid the price for man's sin. We who believe in, cling to, and rely upon Jesus as Redeemer, are made righteous because He took our judgment for unrighteousness and made us righteous. Jesus rose again and defeated death. But the devil? He must destroy the Son's message. He must keep you from letting anyone else know about the freedom in Christ. Satan and his demons want to extinguish the Light in you--dim it, blacken it, block it. He doesn't want you or me to live holy lives.
So, today is Monday. The devil is walking about like a roaring lion, stalking us, and looking for the perfect opportunity to devour us. Don't let him fool you. He's out to get you. He's out to destroy your witness...rob you of joy...and tell you the victories you have on Sunday don't count on Monday. Don't believe the lies.
No. This post is not a true confession about me purchasing a scotch on the rocks or a case of beer. It's not a post trying to persuade you to think like me, either. It is simply a post on why, after receiving a free autographed copy of Peter Lumpkins' first book, ALCOHOL TODAY, Abstinence in an Age of Indulgence, it was worth forking out the money to purchase five more copies of the book.
Apart from the fact that I personally know the author and can, with great privilege, call him a loyal friend of thirty years, I am persuaded that this book is worth giving as a gift to some folks I know.
One copy is going to my daughter. I'm trying to keep her from sinning. No, she isn't a drunkard. In fact, she agrees with the entire premise of the book's content. So why would she want to read something she already agrees with when she is such a busy wife/mother/deacon's wife? As it happened she saw my copy and was green with envy. As she poured over the back cover, she got greener. She said, "You need to give this to Bro. Doug." She recalled multiple conversations with Peter that she'd had as a child, a teenager, a young adult when he would visit with us and preach revivals. She knew his passion for young people and the concern he had for their well-being. So that is why I bought the first copy of ALCOHOL TODAY--for her--I simply couldn't have her coveting mine. She needed her own. It provides more logical reasoning and vital information to help her as she deals with her teenage sons and guides teens at church. It cites statistics that show "an estimated 46 MILLION persons 12 and older are binge drinkers...an estimated 300 drinking "binges" per day by 12 to 13 year olds alone." It makes the argument that if it is morally acceptable for one to indulge in a mind-altering drug such as alcohol, it only lends credence to posit for any other mind-altering drug as morally acceptable. Such should not be.
Peter Lumpkins' passion for abstinence is superceded only by his passion for living for Christ and surrendering to Him every portion of his life. Writing this book stems in part from Peter's call as a young man to preach the Gospel. He knows firsthand how one taste of fermented, adulturated grain or fruit places children, teenagers and young people at dangerous risk. He knows how the negative example of a parent or respected leader sets a trap for these young people. In ALCOHOL TODAY, Peter shares scientific and historical evidence that speaks to the issue of indulgence and the cost and toll it takes upon society. But greater still is his clear, succinct Biblical case for abstinence.
Another reason I bought 5 copies of ALCOHOL TODAY is because I wanted to give one to my pastor as my daughter suggested. I dearly love our pastor and his expository preaching. I love the messages he preaches on the grace of God, the joy of Christ, and the sovereignty of God in Job's life. I love the fact that he never preaches on politics but preaches the Word of God and how our relationship with God should be reflected in our life choices and actions. I love that he leads our church to support the Pregnancy Resource Center in our town which helps young women who are considering abortion to decide to keep their babies instead of killing them. I love that he does not see color when he looks at the shade of someone's skin. And I knew my pastor didn't need a book that offered the same old arguments and worn-out phrases he'd heard for years on the subject of alcohol abstinence, and would appreciate a fresh approach to the position. So, I believed it would be a great resource for his library. When my pastor looked at the cover and read the title, he nodded affirmatively, and said, "We need this." And now he has it.
So why else would I buy 5 copies of ALCOHOL TODAY? I was reading mine while waiting for my Christian counselor. When I went in for my appointment, she saw it. She took my copy and scanned the contents. The chapter on Prohibition captured her eye. "I just heard a discussion on the Christian radio today about Prohibition. This is great! I need a copy." I told her I had one on the way. I wanted to give it to her for all she has done for me in processing the death of my son who was killed as a result of his tolerance with another's drunkenness.
My counselor insisted on paying me right then and there. She was thrilled when I delivered her copy. She did not need to read a book on all the woes of alcohol. She counseled families, abused women, and children--every day--who were living examples of the consequences of the alcohol industry. She didn't need more conviction for her own position of abstinence as a pastor's wife or therapist. No. She wanted the book for the same reason most people ought to read this book. She thumbed through the impressive 6-page bibliography. She knew immediately that this little 166-page volume was far more than one man's experience and dogmatic viewpoint. She knew it was a piece of scholarly apologetics on the abstinence of alcohol in a culture ignited by passion, desire and myopic pleasure-seeking. She wanted to see the first book published in over 50 years that addressed this issue from a Biblical perspective. And now she has it.
Another reason I bought 5 copies of ALCOHOL TODAY is because I knew God wanted me to place two volumes in the Cameron University Library here in Lawton, Oklahoma. I wanted them to have a book on their shelves that spoke with solid Biblical reason and academic evidence for the position of abstinence. I wanted a university to have Peter's first book because of his love for education and the hunger for learning truth and dividing it from falsehoods and presumptions. It's in honor of that respect for academia that I will donate these to them. Who knows what God will do with this little volume? I don't. But I do know one thing.
I know what God has done with the young boy whose most vivid memory of his father is that he always had a beer in his hand. I know how God took that young man from a life filled with his own life-threatening alcohol abuse to become an educated man, pastor and writer. And I know that if anyone reads this book they will not be disappointed for having spent the money. For even opponents to his position will have to think hard and long about the arguments he presents. Even they will appreciate the "riveting manner" in which he builds his argument and makes his point. Even they will judge ALCOHOL TODAY with a critical eye that will challenge more thought and provoke a response and engage others in conversation. And all because a man led by God, saved by grace and living by faith, answered the call to address one of the most controversial issues of his era--alcohol in an age of indulgence. selahV
[At the Southern Baptist Convention in Louisville, KY, Peter Lumpkins and Dr. Jerry Vines will be present for a Book Signing Monday, June 22, 2009 from 11 am - 12 noon. The Book Signing will take place in the LifeWay Bookstore part of the SBC Display area.]
Should we be surprised that Jesus could turn water into wine at the Cana wedding feast, when they ran out of beverage? No. Of course not. Given all we know about our Savior today, we shouldn't be surprised if He made water into diet Coke if He wanted to, (albeit that may have been as ridiculous as riding into Jerusalem on the hood of a Corvette). What purpose would that serve to teach the people of that time? Idiocy aside, we must recognize that the guests at that Cana wedding questioned the contents of those water pots as much as many theologians do today. The freshly created beverage was far superior to anything they'd been drinking thus far. Why was the best saved for the last? How did he do that? To be honest, with all the thoughts I've read on that event through my 30-plus years as a Christian, I've never wondered how, but I have wondered why Jesus chose a wedding for His first miracle? Why not at a funeral? Why not raise someone from the dead? Instead, He chooses to make wine.
Throughout Scripture, God makes so much sense with all His symbolism. He provides the unlikely to reveal a part of Himself and His character: an ark closed from the outside by the hand of God to save a remnant of the world, a raised rod to part the sea and save all those who look upon it from the poisonous consequence of serpent bites, a little boy's lunch to feed thousands with twelve baskets of leftovers, a bursting net to manifest His provision to wearied fishermen, a resurrection of a friend who'd been dead for days to prove time nor circumstance has any limitation on Christ, gifts of gold, frankincense and myhrr to a baby for a death of a king to come, The Vine, the branches, the fruit, the harvest.
But water into wine? Why?
In light of all the destruction that comes from drinking alcoholic beverages today, shouldn't we question why He would do this? It seems to contradict all that is pure and holy about our Lord.
It wasn't until I read Peter Lumpkins' book, ALCOHOL TODAY, Abstinence In An Age Of Indulgence, that I discovered a greater significance to the miracle of so long ago. Finally, "what" Jesus made is as significant as the Who and why. The case for abstinence that Peter Lumpkins offers as a result of this first recorded miracle of Christ our Lord is soundly in keeping with all I have come to treasure about God and how He works out details as well as generalities in life to preach His message of salvation. Indeed, I think I've just tasted fresh wine, sufficient to meet all my needs. selahV