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Few issues have generated more heated debate among Christians than that of the morality of alcohol consumption. The dispute has generated responses ranging from local educational temperance movements to federal amendments to the U.S. Constitution.
Certainly there is evidence of widespread abuse of alcoholic beverages today; this few would deny. Furthermore, the Bible clearly condemns all forms of alcohol abuse, by binding precept and by notorious example. Yet the ethical issue before us is, Does the Bible allow for a righteous consumption of the beverage alcohol? The fundamental question is ethical, not cultural or demographical; it requires an answer from a Biblical, not an emotional, base.
Among evangelicals, the fundamental approaches to alcohol use may be distilled (no pun intended) into three basic viewpoints.
(1) The prohibitionist viewpoint universally decries all consumption of the beverage alcohol. Adherents to this position do not find any Scriptural warrant for alcohol consumption, even in Biblical times.
(2) The abstentionist perspective discourages alcohol use in our modern context, though acknowledging its use in Biblical days. They point to modern cultural differences as justification for the distinction: widespread alcoholism (a contemporary social problem), higher potency distilled beverages (unknown in Biblical times), and intensified dangers in a technological society (e.g., speeding cars).
(3) The moderationist position allows for the righteous consumption of alcoholic beverages. This position, while acknowledging, deploring, and condemning all forms of alcohol abuse and dependency, argues that Scripture allows the partaking of alcoholic beverages in moderation and with circumspection.
Plant me by a river, Lord,
Pull me down, by the roots
Draw me up to the heavens, Lord,
Lift my arms, in Your Son
Grant me gift of bark, Lord,
When rain, and wind
As well as tender leaf, Lord,
Where wind, and bird
Wash me in the spring, Lord,
When limbs grow heavy in fall, Lord,
I pray, may it be
In winter be my strength, Lord,
In trials, my Hope,
And gather over time, Lord,
By Grace of Your gifts,
He shall be like a tree
Planted by the rivers of water,
That brings forth its fruit in its season...
There are two seas.
One is fresh, and fish are in it.
Splashes of green adorn its banks.
Trees spread their branches over it and
stretch out their thirsty roots to sip of its healing waters.
Along its shores the children play, as children have played for 2,000 years.
The river Jordan makes this sea with sparkling water from the hills.
So it laughs in the sunshine.
Men build their houses near it, and birds their nests;
and every kind of life is happier because it is there.
The river Jordan flows on south into another sea.
Here is no splash of fish, no fluttering leaf,
no song of birds, no children's laughter.
Travelers choose another route, unless on urgent business.
A man fell into a pit and couldn't get himself out.
A subjective person came along and said, "I feel for you down there."
An objective person came along and said, "It's logical that someone would fall down there."
A Christian Scientist came along and said, "You only think you're in a pit."
A Pharisee said, "Only bad people fall into a pit."
A mathematician calculated how he fell into the pit & the speed of the decline.
A fundamentalist said. "You deserve that pit."
Confucius said, "If you would have listened to me you wouldn't be in that pit."
Buddha said, "You're pit is only a state of mind."
A realist said, "That's a pit. "
Finally, on this last day of this eating disorder awareness week, we encounter, perhaps, the trickiest issue: love. The Most High's love is so thorough and passionate, it outlasts time. It is everlasting.
"... Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee." Jeremiah 31:3
We are that wanted.
We often underestimate that reality. We can get distorted tunnel vision, convinced by the rejection we encounter in our lives.
Our experiences often produce a lie with each negative encounter: "you are unlovable."
For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he... Proverbs 23:7
I like to play with words and phrases. A particular one recently popped up in my mind: "the benefit of the doubt."
We've heard this expression before. It denotes largesse, a generosity to not write off a person or circumstance so quickly. As it rolled around in my spirit, its opposite phrase sprung to life: the detriment of certainty.
Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life. Proverbs 4:23
A businessman was plagued with distractions. At the end of the day, he faced a pile of unfinished work and felt like a failure.
The businessman hired a consultant who charged him a cool million then gave him a piece of organizational advice solving all his problems. "Set goals," said the consultant, "and put them on your calendar. Each day, list mini-goals you need to accomplish to meet your main goals. Everything else comes second."
Ever felt like this businessman? I have. We all fight an uphill battle and it is easy to burn out.
We cannot call our worrying, anxiety, and fretfulness a sign of godly concern and faith
without at the same time implying that our Lord is a liar.1 ~ R. J. Rushdoony
It’s interesting that the modern world struggles with worry and anxiety as much as any other time in history. It’s interesting only because civilization, industry, and technology are so highly advanced so that modern man needn’t concern himself with “What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed?” (Matt. 6:31). So, why are we so worried and anxious?
I have a friend who insists on never saying "goodbye." Instead, she utters, "Later" at the end of our conversations.
This word started me thinking. And the first thing which popped up was another word, procrastination. Its definition being...
"... the avoidance of doing a task which needs to be accomplished. It is the practice of doing more pleasurable things in place of less pleasurable ones, or carrying out less urgent tasks instead of more urgent ones, thus putting off impending tasks to a later time. Sometimes, procrastination takes place until the "last minute" before a deadline."
...forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Philippians 3:13-14
I find myself looking forward to the year to come. Appropriately, I've been rereading the story of the Israelites' escape from Egypt and their "wilderness wanderings" on the way to the Promised Land. The Scriptures tell us that everything recorded in the Old Testament is there for our learning, and the amazing story of the Exodus is no exception.
Most of us know that this epic story is a picture of our being delivered from a life of sin into new life with Christ, and if we've had that very personal experience, we "get it," the Exodus part, at least.But do we get the rest of it? Do we understand that we were "brought out" so we could be "brought in?" God didn't simply send His only Son so we could escape death and hell (which is mercy, because we all deserve death and hell!) but so that we could experience the joy of a new life in Him (which none of us deserves, and that, my friends, is grace!).
I wonder how many of us miss out on so