THE SPIRITS SWORD
Mt. Baker church of Christ
1860 Mt. Baker Hwy · Bellingham, WA 98226
Volume V, Number 31 - October 28, 2001
Editor..................Joe R. Price
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In this issue:
1. Never part for a day without loving words.
2. Never meet without a loving welcome.
3. Neglect the whole world rather than each other.
4. Never both be angry at once.
5. Never talk AT one another, either alone or in company.
6. Never make a remark at the expense of the other. It is meanness, not love.
7. Never speak loud to each other unless the house is on fire.
8. Never taunt with a past mistake.
9. Never sigh over what might have been, but make the best of what is.
10. Never find fault, unless it is perfectly certain that a fault has been committed; and always speak lovingly.
11. Never let any fault or grievance go by until you have frankly confessed it, and in sincere repentance asked for forgiveness.
12. Let each one strive to yield most often to the wishes of the other.
13. Let self-denial be the daily aim and practice of each one.
14. Never forget the happy hours of early love.
15. Never forget that marriage is of God, and that His blessing alone can make it what it should be.
16. Never be contented until you know you are both walking in the way of God.
17. Never let your hopes stop short of the Eternal Home.
Assuring you that if you make these the rules of your marriage, peace and happiness shall follow you all the days of your life.
-Grover Stevens, Caprock Church Bulletin
What Comes First With You?
Bobby L. Graham
While recently traveling to some gospel meetings with my wife, I read an article entitled "American Workers Rethink Priorities" in USA Today (October 4, 2001). Concerning the priorities of American workers since the September 11 attacks by terrorists, Stephanie Armour wrote, "American are back at work, but something fundamental has changed." She explained that the attacks had "jolted people around the country into re-evaluating choices they've made about their jobs, family, and career choices." Some specific cases, based on interviews, were then described. Quotations from employers, employees, religious leaders, and grief counselors appear in the article.
The writing of human history and the experiences of all of us verify that human beings do sometimes have to be jolted back into reality. It is the age-old story of what happened to Israel, after she came into a land handed to her with all the blessings provided by God (Deut. 6 and 8). Even after the Lord's warning that she not forget the Lord as the Giver of all benefits, she still departed from Him. The prophets repeatedly deal with the same development.
Riches somehow lull us into spiritual stupor. Power makes us feel invincible. Leadership moves us to arrogance. Pleasure stimulates us to forget God as we focus on self. The same three avenues that were used by Satan to lure Adam and Eve away from God are still heavily traveled by people today, with Satan still leading the way (1 Jn. 2:15-17). He also tried the same kinds of attack on the Son of God, but in Him he found no reception (Mt. 4). With Him the will of the Father came first!
Whether sent by God or simply used by Him for our testing, the events of recent weeks ought to wake us all up. The spiritual indifference that has plagued our land in recent decades must end if God spare us from destruction (Prov. 14:34). Just as the Lord sometimes sent partial judgments (destroying 1/3 or some part of the land of crops) on ancient nations or cities to alert them to the need to repent, so He might be trying to gain our attention.
The priorities of American workers before the attacks and after them do say something, if not enough, has changed.
|Before September 11 After September 11|
|1. Career 1. Family|
|2. Heart 2. Heart|
|3. Wealth 3. God|
|4. Health 4. Health|
|5. Family 5. Country|
|6. Home 6. Home|
|7. God 7. Career|
|8. Country 8. Wealth|
Careers have certainly come more into proper perspective, haven't they? Family is now more important, as it ought to be. Wealth has also changed for the better. Observe, however, that the improvement of God's ranking is not nearly good enough. He must have first place if anything else is going to fit into its proper place (Deut. 6:4-6; Matt. 6:33). Apart from the right ranking of God, nothing will ever be right. Whatever rules our lives becomes our God, whether family or career; nothing deserves the place of God except God! When He is in His rightful place, all will be right with the world.
Do you see yourself in these two comparative sets of priorities? Has your judgment in such matters improved in recent weeks? Where does God come with you? Really?
Sound strange? Maybe, but it is true. Recently, an article brought this to my attention. It is something that I had known already. The article was entitled "Tequila Helps Actress Take Her Clothes Off" (Reuters, May 14, 2001). It seems actress Rominin-Stamos is required to strip in her next film. According to her, "It was the scariest thing I've ever done practice and a couple of shots of tequila got me through it." Just a couple of shots of tequila helped this actress take her clothes off. There are other things alcohol can help do.
Other Things Alcohol Can Help Do
Noah "drank of the wine and was drunk, and became uncovered in his tent" (Gen. 9:21). This led to his son Ham seeing his father's nakedness (Gen. 9:22-27). Lot committed sexual immorality with his daughters while in a state of drunkenness (Gen. 19:30-38). After "drinking himself drunk," Zimri killed Elah king of Israel (1 Kings 16:8-10). Alcohol helped Zimri murder. These biblical examples show the powerful influence alcohol can have on an individual. Alcohol still has a powerful influence in the lives of men today.
How many shots of alcohol will it take to help a girl to take her clothes off on a date? How much alcohol will it take to help her into bed? How much alcohol does it take to help a woman commit sexual immorality? It is any wonder that some women have risen from drunken stupors to regret activities committed while uninhibited by the help of alcohol? It only took a couple of shots of tequila to get this actress' clothes off. Who knows how far a few more shots can take a person?
How many shots of alcohol will it take to help a man come home to verbally, emotionally, physically, and sexually abuse his wife? Have you ever noticed that alcohol helps a grown man put small children through the nightmares of physical and sexual abuse?
How many beers does it take to help one drive his automobile into another vehicle? How many shots of alcohol are needed to help a person kill himself and others by drunk driving?
Alcohol is a tremendous help. It helps in many ways. Just think how difficult it would be to find people willing to do these things without the help of alcohol.
Why Does Alcohol Help?
It helps because it perverts one's judgment. "It is not for kings, O Lemuel, it is not for kings to drink wine, nor for princes intoxicating drink; lest they drink and forget the law, and pervert the justice of all the afflicted" (Prov. 31:4-5). Alcohol causes a person to forget and pervert the law and justice. Individuals will forget common sense, the laws of the government, the instructions of parents, and more importantly God's law.
It helps because it is a mocker. "Wine is a mocker, strong drink is a brawler, and whoever is led astray by it is not wise" (Prov. 20:1). Alcohol causes one to cease to be a master of himself. For example, the actress was nervous, uncomfortable, and reserved about stripping. After a couple of shots of tequila, those emotions and feelings were removed.
One under the influence of alcohol is likely to do things he normally would not do. It may be having sex. It may be abusing a child. It may be killing, stealing, or any other number of things. Natural inhibitions are numbed and sedated. Alcohol becomes master over one's desires, feelings, and senses.
It helps increase desires. "Woe to those who rise early in the morning, that they may follow intoxicating drink; who continue until night, till wine inflames them!" (Isaiah 5:11). Why do you think David made Uriah drunk (2 Sam. 11:6-13)? David knew it would only increase Uriah's natural desire for his wife. Why do you think casinos will give those who are gambling free alcohol? It helps inflame their covetous desire for money. Anger, hatred, sorrow, lust, and all other emotions are only inflamed when using alcohol. Add to this the other ways alcohol helps and the results can be deadly.
God Condemns Using Alcohol
Since alcohol helps the way it does, it is no wonder the word of God condemns its use. Drunkenness is condemned as a work of the flesh and will cause one to lose his inheritance in the kingdom of God (Gal. 5:19-21). It is an act of unrighteousness (1 Cor. 6:9-10).
Peter instructs Christians to be of the same mind as Christ by arming themselves against the flesh (1 Peter 4:1). One must cease from the sins of the flesh. What do these sins include? "For we have spent enough of our past lifetime in doing the will of the Gentiles - when we walked in lewdness, lusts, drunkenness, revelries, drinking parties, and abominable idolatries" (1 Peter 4:3). In this verse, Peter condemns three forms of the use of alcohol. Each form involves a different degree of consumption. Drunkenness, revelries, and drinking parties cover everything from the alcoholic down to the social sipper. All three are included as sins of the flesh.
There are some things we simply do not need help doing. Stripping naked for a film is one of them. Sexual immorality, murder, and violence are others. These things are neither beneficial for the welfare of one's soul or for his life. Alcohol is really no help at all.
The actress mentioned in the article above teaches us a couple of things that even some of God's children try to deny. First, she teaches us alcohol affects one's behavior. Some brethren deny the influence alcohol has on a person's behavior. Second, she teaches us that it only takes a small amount of alcohol to influence one's behavior. Some brethren see nothing wrong in social drinking. They argue that the Bible condemns drunkenness, not drinking altogether. This actress only confirms what the word of God teaches. It is shameful that an actress who wants to take her clothes off acknowledges the influence that alcohol can have when some brethren, who are supposed to be professing godliness, deny its influence.
We need to see alcohol as God sees it. Let us recognize alcohol as a sin and an evil. "But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts" (Rom. 13:14).
-Truth Magazine, 9/6/01
The Spirit's Sword is a free, weekly publication of the Mt. Baker church of Christ, Bellingham, WA
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