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Beverage Alcohol is One of the World’s Most Widely Used Drugs

Alcohol is one of the most widely used drug substances in the world. Alcohol use & binge drinking among America’s youth is a key public health problem.

According to the National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion:

  • Alcohol is used by more young people in the United States than tobacco or illicit drugs.
  • Excessive alcohol consumption is associated with approximately 75,000 deaths per year.
  • Alcohol is a factor in approximately 41% of all deaths from motor vehicle crashes.
  • Among youth, the use of alcohol and other drugs has been linked to unintentional injuries, physical fights, academic and occupational problems, and illegal behavior.
  • Long-term alcohol misuse is associated with liver disease, cancer, cardiovascular disease, and neurological damage as well as psychiatric problems such as depression, anxiety, and antisocial personality disorder.
  • Drug use contributes directly and indirectly to the HIV epidemic, and alcohol and drug use contribute markedly to infant morbidity and mortality.

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?” Proverbs 23:29-35

Wine is a mocker and beer a brawler; whoever is led astray by them is not wise. Proverbs 20:1

Is it so surprising that the use of alcohol and other drugs has been linked to unintentional injuries?

Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Ephesians 5:18a

Debauchery is defined as, extreme indulgence in sensual pleasures; dissipation. Debauchery earliest usage meant seduction from duty, allegiance, or virtue.

Is it also very surprising that drunkenness leads to academic and occupational problems, illegal behavior and gross immorality?

Who would seduce us away from our duty or virtue? Synonyms for seduce are beguile, allure, lure, deceive or tempt.

And the LORD God said unto the woman, “What is this that thou hast done?” And the woman said, “The serpent beguiled me, and I did eat.” Genesis 3:13

The tempter came to him and said, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.” Matthew 4:3

Who beguiled Eve? Who is the tempter? Who is the great deceiver? Satan is the profoundly evil adversary of God and humanity. Drunkenness is neither a bad habit nor is alcoholism merely a disease that needs to be treated; they are snares of the devil that lead to sickness and death. Alcoholism and other drug addictions are spiritual bondages that result in physical and mental illnesses.

Does it now make sense that since the thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy that long-term alcohol misuse is associated with liver disease, cancer, cardiovascular disease, and neurological damage as well as psychiatric problems such as depression, anxiety, and antisocial personality disorder?

But what about controlled social drinking? Shouldn’t a Christian be able to have an occasional beer or two or some wine with dinner?

Then the LORD said to Aaron, “You and your sons are not to drink wine or other fermented drink whenever you go into the tent of meeting, or you will die. This is a lasting ordinance for the generations to come, Leviticus 10:8-9

Israel’s high priesthood was forbidden to drink alcoholic beverages when ministering before the LORD.

It is not for kings, Lemuel – it is not for kings to drink wine, not for rulers to crave beer, lest they drink and forget what has been decreed, and deprive all the oppressed of their rights. Proverbs 31:4-5  

It is not good for kings to drink wine or rulers to crave beer.

But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. 1 Peter 2:9

Born-again believers are not only adopted into the family of God but are the children of the King of kings. We are a royal priesthood and are to rule and reign with Jesus. Although the moderate intake of alcoholic beverages is not forbidden for believers, refraining from fermented drink is the better choice for those who which to honor God with their bodies.

Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies. 1 Corinthians 6:19-20

But didn’t Jesus drink wine?

The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, ‘Here is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners.’ But wisdom is proved right by her deeds.” Matthew 11:19

Jesus was falsely accused of being a drunkard.

For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin. Hebrews 4:15

Drinking is not prohibited in the Bible. It is uncontrolled drinking to drunkenness. The acts of the flesh include drunkenness and those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God. Jesus in order to emphasize with our weaknesses drank wine, but resisted the temptation of becoming drunk with wine.

Public intoxication, also known as drunk and disorderly conduct, is a summary offense in many countries. In other words it is prosecutable without an indictment or full trial. “Driving While Intoxicated” and “Driving Under the Influence” also carry their penalties under the law.

It is obvious that the abuse of alcohol and other drugs have had a devastating impact on individuals, their families and their communities not only here in America but throughout the world.

Annually in the United States the alcohol beverage industry is grosses nearly $500 billion dollars in the sales of wine and beer as well as distilled spirits such as vodka, rum and whiskey.

The English word, “Intoxication” is from taken from the Latin words which mean to smear with poison. The medical definition of intoxication is poisoning by a drug or toxic substance. Intoxication is the condition of being drunk as the result of drinking alcoholic beverages and/or use of narcotics. Intoxication is mental and emotional stupefaction or excitement by the action of a chemical substance. To stupefy is to befuddle, confound, confuse, discombobulate or bedevil.

When you drink alcoholic beverages to the point of drunkenness you are bedeviled. You have not only poisoned your body, which leads to physical death, but have poisoned your mind and have been ensnared by the devil.

And a servant of the Lord must not quarrel but be gentle to all, able to teach, patient, in humility correcting those who are in opposition, if God perhaps will grant them repentance, so that they may know the truth, and that they may come to their senses and escape the snare of the devil, having been taken captive by him to do his will. 2 Timothy 2:24-26

Those who are addicted have been taken captive by the devil. They must be gently encouraged to earnestly repent so that they can come to their senses and escape the snare of the devil.

Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit. Ephesians 5:18

Alcoholism like any other drug addiction is a spiritual battle that must be fought with spiritual weapons. We are not to be intoxicated with alcohol but filled with the Holy Spirit.

For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ, 2 Corinthians 10:3-5

In order to become victorious over alcoholism and other drug addictions, a person needs the power of God manifested in their life so that they can be set free from the bondage of sin, find true deliverance and save their soul. The battle of the spirit is fought in the mind and our carnal thoughts must be taken into captivity to the obedience of Christ. We must submit our thoughts to Christ’s thoughts and our ways to God’s ways.

Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. James 4:7

When Jesus Christ is not only your Savior but the Lord of your life and you are in complete submission to Him, then when you resist the devil – he will flee from you!

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. Romans 12:2

How do we renew our minds? How can we exchange our ungodly worldly thoughts and attain the holy mind of Christ? This can be accomplished, according to Ephesians 5:25, as we are cleansed by the washing of the water of the Word. We must replace our hunger and thirst for the strongholds that bind us, with a hunger and thirst for God’s divinely inspired Word.

The way we defeat addiction is to repent of our sins, place our trust in the finished work of Christ on the cross, renounce the work of the devil in our lives, seek God’s will and enablement through prayer and the reading of the Bible, and be filled with the Holy Spirit.

AMERICAN IDOLS: The Land of the Free or Home of the Enslaved?

Idolatry can take many forms.
Alcoholism and drug abuse are forms of idol worship.
They lead to spiritual bondage. Abusers are addicted and enslaved.

And God spoke all these words:

“I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.”

“You shall have no other gods before me.”

“You shall not make for yourself an idol in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing love to a thousand {generations} of those who love me and keep my commandments.” Exodus 20: 1-6

More than 1/3 of all high school seniors in America have admitted to using marijuana in the past year. These self-reports of drug use among high school seniors may under represent drug use among youth of that age because high school dropouts and truants are not included, and these groups may have more involvement with drugs than those who stay in school. Although overall drug abuse has declined since the late 1970s, the use of inhalants has increased among teenagers. Inhalants encompass a range of substances as diverse as glues, aerosols, butane, paint thinner, and nail polish remover. Use of inhalants has consistently been highest among 8th graders, likely because these products are inexpensive, legal, and easy to obtain, making them more attractive to younger adolescents who have less access to illicit drugs.

More than 70% of high school seniors in America have admitted to using alcohol in the past year, while nearly 50% have reported that they have had a drink in the past month. Most high school seniors are between the ages of 16 – 18 years old. The legal drinking age in the United States is 21 years of age. Therefore 7 out of 10 high school seniors have admitted to breaking the law by underage consumption of alcoholic beverages in the past year and half have admitted to having a drink recently.

Worldwide, more than 2/3 of all countries have a cocaine problem. By conservative estimates, there are over 2 million cocaine addicts in the United States alone.

Seven of the 20 countries designated by the President as major drug transit or major illicit drug-producing nations are located in Latin America-Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Paraguay, Peru, and Venezuela. The strategic deployment of approximately 38 percent of DEA’s foreign workforce to Latin America is testament to the important role the region plays in feeding America’s appetite for drugs.

Latin America is the source of all cocaine, most of the heroin, and significant amounts of marijuana consumed in the United States. Bolivia, Colombia, and Peru remain the primary centers of cocaine production, although DEA remains concerned about the production potential of other countries in the region. Cocaine continues to be produced in Bolivia, Colombia, and Peru in vast quantities to supply the United States’ and world’s demand. Non-existent 10 years ago, heroin produced in Colombia now supplies over 50 percent of the United States’ heroin market.

According to the United States Department of Health and Human Services, over 22 million Americans need treatment for a drug or alcohol problem!

The World Health Organization estimates that 1.1 billion people smoke, about one-third of the global population aged 15 and older. In the United States, over 25 million men and over 21 million women smoke tobacco products.

During the past 20 years there has been a dramatic increase in adult obesity in the United States. Approximately 127 million adults in the U.S. are overweight, 60 million obese, and 9 million severely obese. There has also been a dramatic increase in childhood obesity in the last decade. Childhood obesity rates have quadrupled in the last twenty five years. Diabetes, hypertension and other obesity-related chronic diseases that are prevalent among adults have now become more common in youngsters.

Alcoholism and drug addiction are impacting families and communities around the world. Here in affluent America, we are drinking, drugging, smoking and overeating ourselves to death.

You shall not make for yourself an idol in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. You shall not bow down to them or worship them…

People turn to idols because they are seeking pleasure or comfort apart from God. When trials and troubles come, when you experience emotional or physical pain, when you are lonely or bored, where do you find your comfort? Do you smoke cigarettes or eat junk food when you are nervous? Do you have a few beers or watch pornography when you are lonely or feel rejected?

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. John 10:10

You have made known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand. Psalm 16:11

Those who have placed their trust in the finished work of Messiah Jesus are not only promised a full and abundant life but will experience an eternity of pleasures.

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. 2 Corinthians 1:3-4

Our God is the God of all comfort and the Father of all compassion. When we stand in faith, we will experience an abundant life and we will experience an eternity of joy in God’s presence.

And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him. Hebrews 11:6

If we stand in faith in the midst of our circumstances and hardships, we will be pleasing to God and will reap rewards. But the LORD our God is a jealous God who punishes those who are guilty of idolatry to the third and fourth generation. Have you sought pleasure or comfort by drinking, gambling, drugging, smoking cigarettes, by overeating or indulging in pornography? Are you a workaholic or a shopaholic? Who are you serving?

Why is idolatry such an abomination before the LORD? The Apostle Paul exhorts us to flee from idolatry. In speaking about the communion table Paul wrote:

Do I mean then that a sacrifice offered to an idol is anything, or that an idol is anything? No, but the sacrifices of pagans are offered to demons, not to God, and I do not want you to be participants with demons. 1 Corinthians 10:19-21

Addictions and compulsive behaviors are not only physical bondages but demonic strongholds.

Pharmakeia is a word found three times in the Greek manuscripts of the New Testament. It is the root word from which we get our English word pharmacy or pharmacist. Pharmakeia is translated as witchcraft or sorcery. It speaks of the occult magical arts which are often found in connection with idolatry. Drug and alcohol abuse including nicotine and caffeine addictions, like witchcraft, are powerful, demonic strongholds.

Don’t you know that when you offer yourselves to someone to obey him as slaves, you are slaves to the one whom you obey-whether you are slaves to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience, which leads to righteousness? Romans 6:16

Here in America and around the world, people are drinking, drugging, smoking and overeating themselves to death. They are in bondage to their addictions and compulsive behaviors and are enslaved by sin which leads to death. Many are unknowingly offering up their bodies as sacrifices to demons. Not only are they slaves to their addictions and guilty of idolatry, they have placed a curse on their families which extends to the third and fourth generation.

The prophet Hosea warns us that the people of God are destroyed from lack of knowledge.

As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy.” 1 Peter 1:14-16

We who have put our trust in the finished work of redemption that Christ accomplished on the cross are not in darkness. We are no longer ignorant as God’s elect. We must walk in the light as He is in the light. We and our children, and our children’s children do not have to be destroyed for lack of knowledge. We must no longer conform to evil desires. We need not be enslaved. We must not serve other gods. We need to be obedient children and be holy as our heavenly Father is holy.

“Therefore come out from them and be separate, says the Lord. Touch no unclean thing, and I will receive you.” 2 Corinthians 6:17

Are we willing to commit to living a life worth of our calling and seek purity as did King David who proclaimed:

I will sing of your love and justice; to you, O LORD, I will sing praise.
I will be careful to lead a blameless life- when will you come to me?
I will walk in my house with blameless heart. I will set before my eyes no vile thing.
The deeds of faithless men I hate; they will not cling to me.
Men of perverse heart shall be far from me; I will have nothing to do with evil.
Psalm 101:1-4

BREAKING THE BONDAGE!

Exodus 6:6-7
“Therefore, say to the Israelites: ‘I am the LORD, and I will bring you out from under the yoke of the Egyptians. I will free you from being slaves to them, and I will redeem you with an outstretched arm and with mighty acts of judgment. I will take you as my own people, and I will be your God. Then you will know that I am the LORD your God, who brought you out from under the yoke of the Egyptians.

I am the LORD and I will…

`I am the LORD, and I will bring you out from under the yoke of the Egyptians. I will free you from being slaves to them, and I will redeem you with an outstretched arm and with mighty acts of judgment. I will take you as my own people, and I will be your God.’

I am the LORD and I will… Who is the LORD that He can boldly proclaim what will happen in the future?

The LORD is the way we represent in English the Hebrew term, YHWY. It is the covenant name of God and means the One who causes to be.

  • I am the LORD, who has made all things, who alone stretched out the heavens, who spread out the earth by myself
  • I am the LORD, the God of all mankind. Is anything too hard for me?
  • I am the LORD, and there is no other; apart from me there is no God.
  • I am the LORD, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior

I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me. Isaiah I make known the end from the beginning, from ancient times, what is still to come. I say: My purpose will stand, and I will do all that I please. Isaiah 46:9-11.

The LORD is the Most High God. He is the only true God. He is the Creator of the heavens and the earth. He is the Eternal. The LORD is omnipotent – all powerful. He is omniscient – all knowing. He is holy, just and righteous. He can, and will, fulfill all that He has promised.

And what did He promise to the Hebrews who had been in bondage for four hundred years in Egypt?

`I am the LORD, and I will bring you out from under the yoke of the Egyptians.’

The LORD sanctified and set Israel apart from their Egyptian slave masters. The LORD smote the Egyptians and their gods with ten plagues. Although the Hebrews and their live stock lived and worked among the Egyptians, they did not suffer the diseases and death that came upon Egypt.

I will free you from being slaves to them,

The LORD freed the Hebrews from their bondage. They were no longer slaves, but free men and women. They were freed from their harsh taskmasters. They were free after 400 years of backbreaking servitude.

and I will redeem you with an outstretched arm and with mighty acts of judgment.

The LORD redeemed a people unto himself by mighty acts of judgment. The greatest of those judgments was the plague that killed the firstborn of Egypt.

Exodus 12:12-13
“On that same night I will pass through Egypt and strike down every firstborn – both men and animals – and I will bring judgment on all the gods of Egypt. I am the LORD. The blood will be a sign for you on the houses where you are; and when I see the blood, I will pass over you. No destructive plague will touch you when I strike Egypt.”

The firstborn of Israel were spared; they passed from death to life, because of the blood of the lamb that was applied to the tops and sides of the doorframes of their houses.

‘I will take you as my own people, and I will be your God.’

The Israelites groaned in their slavery and cried out; and their cry for help, because of their slavery, went up to God. The LORD said, “I have indeed seen the misery of my people in Egypt. I have heard them crying out because of their slave drivers, and I am concerned about their suffering. So I have come down to rescue them from the hand of the Egyptians and to bring them up out of that land into a good and spacious land, a land flowing with milk and honey. I will be their God and they will be my people.”

When the people who were enslaved no longer could bear their bondage they cried out for help and their cry for help went up to God. God was and is concerned about suffering. Egypt is a symbol of the world. We live in a fallen world which has been corrupted by the stain of sin. Pharaoh typifies Satan who desires to inflict us with much suffering and enslave us in cruel bondage. The bondage of slavery is a picture of man’s bondage to sin.

Why were the Hebrews enslaved for so long? Because for many years, even though they suffered and died in their bondage, they loved the things of this world more than they loved the God of their fathers. Even after God answered their cries with a great deliverance, their hearts were fixed on the pleasures of Egypt. After the Israelites were set free, God fed them miraculously with manna. But what was their response to God’s provision?

They wailed, “If only we had meat to eat! We remember the fish we ate in Egypt at no cost – also the cucumbers, melons, leeks, onions and garlic. But now we have lost our appetite; we never see anything but this manna!”

At no cost? They paid with their very lives! Cruel servitude and death was the price for the fleeting pleasures of Egypt.

The Hebrews suffered and died in Egypt until they came to a point of utter desperation – a place where they could no longer bear their bondage. Until they cried out for help to the LORD God, they remained enslaved. And even after God came down and rescued them, an entire generation perished in the wilderness because of ingratitude and loving the things of this world more than loving God the Creator and Sustainer of life. Yet God was faithful to fulfill His promises and bring their children into a land flowing with milk and honey.

Moses the Deliverer is a type of the Messiah – Christ the Savior. The blood of the Passover lamb foreshadowed the blood of the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.

God sees your misery, hears your crying and is concerned about your suffering. His desire is to free you from bondage. Whatever has enslaved you: drug addiction, cigarettes, pornography, food, or soap operas, the Son of God came down from heaven to free you from the bondage of sin. His desire is to set you apart and make you Holy. Jesus is able to redeem you because he has paid the price for your life with His own blood.

This same God who rescued a mixed multitude of 2 ½ to 3 million men, women, and children from the clutches of the most powerful nation on earth… This same God who smote the gods of Egypt with mighty plagues… This same God who parted the Red Sea so that the children of Israel walked on dry ground… is the LORD. Is He not able to free you from the sin and corruption of addiction?

Exodus 20:2-3
“I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery. You shall have no other gods before me.”

Who or what do you seek for comfort in times of stress, or to relieve emotional or psychological pain, or to escape reality? If you are turning to anything or anybody but the LORD; in your times of stress or pain, then that thing has become your god – your personal idol. The reason that you are unable to break your habit is that your addiction is not just a physical dependency – it is spiritual bondage.

The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil’s work. Only in His name, the mighty name of Jesus our Messiah, and by the power of God’s Holy Spirit, can you be set free. But you cannot serve two masters. Jesus must not only become your Savior by placing your trust in His finished work on the cross, but you must make Him the Lord of your life, forsaking all other gods. First accept God’s free gift of salvation and then allow the Holy Spirit to cleanse you of all unrighteousness.

Romans 10:9-10
That if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved.