Welcome to God's Lemonade Stand

It is my hope that by reading this daily you will grow in your walk with Christ and be set free from any struggles in your life that are weighing you down. Be blessed to be a blessing.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

SIPPING SAINTS

This was actually the title of a book I saw over 20 years ago. The issue of drinking in the Christian church has been very controversial. Certain churches are very liberal and others think drinking is the ultimate sin. It is a fact alcohol can cause lots of problems such as addictions, car wrecks,medical conditions, promiscuity, financial problems, silly behavior, and family breakups to name a few.

 I guess one of the funniest ,or I should say saddest things, I remember is a time when I was on active duty in the Army. There were these things called 'Officers Calls' which were held at the Officers Club. Usually there was a guest speaker talking on a topic followed by a social time. Once at Ft Campbell, Kentucky back in the early 80's the subject of this meeting was alcoholism in the military or something to that effect. What was odd about it was that once the speaker was done someone else came up to the podium to  announce that 'the bar was open'. Say what? "You just got done speaking of the perils of alcohol abuse then you open up the cocktail lounge." Oh well. Life is funny sometimes.

The saying or the excuse is "everything in moderation". Or how about "Jesus turned water into wine".  "Hey they drink in Germany and there is no problem there." "Red wine can help you medically so it is not bad."  "Beer is actually good for you and has food value."  I am sure you have heard many more. Some of these are in fact true.

 Now do not get me wrong. I am not writing to condemn those of you who choose to have a drink every now and then ,but to just make you think. Drinking is not going to send you to hell.  The Bible does have something to say about it though so you decide after you read this. Each person has to be convicted in their own way . For me personally if I am going to cause a person to 'stumble' by them knowing I am a prayer group leader and then they see me with a margarita it might hurt my witness. This is not to say it is wrong to have a glass of wine to celebrate special occasions. Let me give you the Bible verses and you pray about it yourself and ask God what He would have you personally do. I for sure am not trying to guilt anyone, only make you think. Also another factor is raising children and what example you want to set. Each person has to decide on there own. This can be a very sensitive issue to some.

In Proverbs 23:29-35 it says " Who has woe? Who has sorrow? Who has strife? Who has complaints?  Who has needless bruises? Who has bloodshot eyes?  Those who linger over wine,  who go to sample bowls of mixed wine.  Do not gaze at wine when it is red,  when it sparkles in the cup, when it goes down smoothly!  In the end it bites like a snake
and poisons like a viper.  Your eyes will see strange sights, and your mind will imagine confusing things.  You will be like one sleeping on the high seas, lying on top of the rigging. “They hit me,” you will say, “but I’m not hurt!   They beat me, but I don’t feel it! When will I wake up  so I can find another drink?” Ephesians 5:18 says " Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit.'

I know the days of youth can cause many to do lots of crazy things and thankfully most people survive their stupidity or this growing up phase. It is not necessary to become a drinker to grow up though. Alcohol can create serious havoc. How can a person know when they drink 'only one beer' that they are not headed for alcoholism? So ask for God's direction. Do you drink to fit in or because your job requires it at social functions? Or you say, I just happen to love beer. OK that is fine. Just know when to say when and ask yourself if you really need it to have fun.

I will leave you with a couple more scriptures to ponder. Romans 14:21 says 'It is good not to eat meat or drink wine or do anything that causes your brother to stumble." 1 Corinthians 8:9 says "Be careful, however, that the exercise of your freedom does not become a stumbling block to the weak."  For the younger members of my reading audience I will leave you with this verse from 1 Timothy 4:12 which says " Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity.'

It is important to remember I am not saying drinking is a sin but just giving you some food for thought from God's Holy Word. Be blessed.

PRAYER: Father there may be those people struggling to overcome an alcohol problem who are having a hard time. Give them the strength only you can give. Also for anyone who does not want to drink but feels social pressure give them the courage to say no. Father help those who do not choose to drink not to act self righteous to others. Help us show your love to everyone we encounter. In Jesus Name. Amen. 

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