Hover over Romans 1:20-22 for proof of God's existence, and over Matthew 5:27-28 for Judgment Day’s perfect standard. Then hover over John 3:16-18 for what God did, and over Acts 17:30-31 for what to do.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

How to Drink a House

It's been said that if you have a question about something, ask a teenager. They know everything. Well, they think they do. One of my sons moved into an apartment with a couple of friends when he was a teenager. After about a year of his paying rent, I explained to him how much he could have saved if he had stayed at home. The thought of not paying rent, no utility bills, free food, and clean clothes must have spoken to him, because he moved back home and saved a bundle.

He was soon in a financial position to support the woman of his dreams. This happened around the time he purchased a pair of generic sneakers for about $20. He said that he realized he had been wasting money on high-priced designer brands just to look cool. My boy had become a man.

More recently a mother asked me to talk to her teenage daughter about tattoos. The daughter was tempted to get one, so I suggested that she wait until she was in her early 20s, and then make a decision. When I added that the difference between 19 and 22 was about 10 years, both mother and daughter nodded in agreement.

Tattoos are fine for those who want to mark themselves for life. I remember chatting with a very distressed man who complained that he couldn’t get a job. I told him that the words "F- - - You!" that he had tattooed on his chin, could have had something to do with it. He reluctantly agreed.

Two nights before I was married I decided to find out if there was anything worthwhile in alcohol and tobacco. I drank eight double Bacardis and then chain-smoked 13 cigarettes. All that happened was that I ended up with a mouth that tasted horrible, and had to be carried home because I couldn't walk. Needless to say I didn't take up smoking or drinking. After becoming a Christian I saw the wisdom of my decision: "Fools, because of their transgression, and because of their iniquities, were afflicted" (Psalm 107:17).

After speaking with a friend (affectionately known as "Bear") about the subject of smoking and drinking, he told me that before he was a Christian, he drank "a whole house." He wasn't joking. He threw away enough money on alcohol to buy his own home. Now he is forced to live in a tiny rented house with his wife, son, and daughter-in-law, struggling week by week to make ends meet. His American dream went down the drain...flushed forever. But that's not the whole story. Alcohol doesn't just drain us of finances, it drains us of health. It not only deprived Bear of his own home, but left him with serious medical problems.

Bear also "smoked an SUV." He threw away thousands of dollars on cancer sticks--and the vehicle he could have owned went up in smoke. He estimated that he spent $47,000 on cigarettes and an incredible $170,000 on alcohol in the 23 years that he smoked and drank.

Now that Bear can see through the smoke, he's the first to admit that people who smoke are a little slow mentally. Think about what smokers do. They pay good money for cigarettes when they could just as easily wrap their lips around any exhaust pipe and get similar carcinogens. Tobacco smoke is poison.

Alcohol is also a poison. It's "toxic." That's why we call someone who is drunk "intoxicated." They are filled with poison. Hangovers are a good clue that the body doesn't like what is going down. It's trying to say, "No more, please."

Last month, I took time to chat with a teenager smoking outside of his workplace. He was on his break and had stepped outside for a breath of fresh air. As he breathed in the fresh air of toxic fumes, I explained what fun it is to die of emphysema. No doubt the naive kid thought that his lungs were like two paper bags that he filled with smoke, and then when he kind of squeezed them, he was able to make little smoke signals come out of his ashtray mouth. If the smoke was sending any signal, it was saying that where there's smoke, there's fire. In time, he was going to get burned.

I said that his lungs were made up of tiny holes, and every time he breathed in the poison of burning fumes, they were slowly clogging up with a black tar, and eventually he would suffocate. That means nothing to a healthy, breathing teenager—unless you can get him to experiment by closing his mouth and then blocking his nose, so that he can only breathe in the smallest amount of air. Doing that produces a sense of terror-stricken panic in the human mind. Try it for a moment, if you dare. That's what it's like to die of emphysema. And modern medicine can do nothing but stand by and watch you suffocate to death.

So my advice to a drinking smoker is that we only get one shot at this life. We should therefore make it our aim to be on target, and we can do that by thinking deeply about life's consequences. And while we're thinking clearly, we should give some sobering thought as to where we will spend eternity. If you are having such thoughts, you will find details about how to find everlasting life on www.needGod.com