Remembering My Creator: Volume 1, Number 8, Jan/Feb 2011

Remembering My Creator

Volume 1, Number 8

Themes: Drinking & Dealing With Your Parents

In This Issue:

  • Editorial: January and February Issues Combined
  • “Drink – Why Would You? by Shannon Harden
  • “Wise Up” by Jordan Shouse
  • “Teenage Drinking and Its Consequences ” by Randy Sexton
  • “Honoring Mom and Dad” by Jordan Shouse
  • “Be Thankful for Parents That Are Involved in Your Life” by Randy Sexton

Editorial: January and February Issues Combined

By Randy Sexton

This Issue of Remembering My Creator combines January and February themes, drinking and dealing with parents. Writing for a journal such as this requires a commitment of time and energy. Both of these have been in short supply for both your editor and the contributors to this electronic journal. Life sometimes gets in the way of things that we would like to do. Personally I enjoy writing and I appreciate the opportunity that today’s technology provides to teach the gospel of Jesus Christ.

It is my hope and prayer that some benefit is being derived by the small audience of readers that we have. My website counter tells me that visits to our website generally averages only around 10 hits a day, with a good day jumping to 30 or so. I also provide an RSS feed to my Facebook page, so we may have a few readers accessing this material through that path. I am definitely not an internet technology guru, so I take much of this on faith.

If you benefit from the pieces that have been written by these young Christians, who are dedicating time and energy to this effort, drop them an e-mail and tell them so. I would be happy to relay those messages, if you would like to send them to achristiansvoice@sbcglobal.net

Drink – Why Would You?

By Shannon Harden

Currently we have many examples and role models on MTV and other reality shows to show us how drinking can affect your life. From celebrities showing how cool it is getting jail time for public intoxication or getting your own 15 minutes of fame acting like a fool or being on a reality show for addiction. Some may say, “But, I would never do that.” Often we are influenced by our culture and our friends. I’m no longer in high school, but I recently read an article that discussed how binge drinking and alcohol related illnesses were on the rise for boys and girls age 11 – 15. That means kids are now starting to drink in middle school, something that boggles my mind. Instead of lecturing how bad alcohol can be for you, and how much it can damage your life and your body, let’s talk about the purpose of drinking.

I know that when I was in school the main reason most of my fellow students said they drank was because they were bored. God tells us that allowing ourselves to get “bored” can be a dangerous thing. God tells us, “We hear that some among you are idle and disruptive. They are not busy; they are busybodies. 12 Such people we command and urge in the Lord Jesus Christ to settle down and earn the food they eat. 13 And as for you, brothers and sisters, never tire of doing what is good (2 Thess.3:11-13 ESV).” If we don’t keep ourselves busy doing God’s will – serving him and others, then we open ourselves up to Satan’s deception.

In reality, whether they acknowledged it or truly realized it themselves, most of my fellow students drank because they wanted to be in the “in” crowd. But do you really want to be friends with people who are partaking in drinking parties, and all the things that go along with the drinking anyway? We’re told that a friend loves at all times (Prov. 17:17) and would a real friend want to put you in harm’s way? God also tells us who we should want to have fellowship and friendships with. We are supposed to stay away from friends who will corrupt us (1 Cor 15:11, 13, 33). A perfect example of what can happen when you become friends with ungodly people is shown with Solomon. God repeatedly told Solomon to be careful because people, who you allow to be in a very close relationship, can turn your heart away from God (1 Kings 11:2). Not only did Solomon ignore God’s warning, but he ended up marrying some ungodly women. For those of you dating, this is one of the closest relationships and one of the best ways to lead your heart away from God. Don’t be deceived, those who you allow to be close to you can influence you for good or evil. It’s your choice which you allow into your life, and who you allow to influence you.

Even if you think you are far stronger than Solomon (the wisest man) to be fooled into turning from God, alcohol has been proven to give you a lapse in judgment. I can’t even express through this typed medium how many people were affected by alcohol. There were drunken girls who got pregnant while at a party, who then aborted those babies later. There was more than one funeral that was attended after a fellow student chose to drink at the party and then drive or ride home with someone who was drunk. God tells us the type of people we are to be, those who renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, godly lives (Titus 2:11-14).

Thankfully alcohol has never been a temptation for me; I have never understood the fun in acting like a fool and getting yourself into precarious situations – then puking your guts out the next day. For those of you who struggle with this, remember – don’t be deceived. It really isn’t fun, Satan is deceiving you (Prov. 20:1; Hosea 4:11; Isa. 5:11, 22). It may look good, but in the end it is not worth it. “Do not look at wine when it is red, when it sparkles in the cup and goes down smoothly. In the end it is bites like a serpent and stings like an adder (Prov 23:31-32 ESV).”

Wise Up

By Jordan Shouse

“Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit, (Ephesians 5:15-18)

With the subject of drinking, an approach often made is to show that it is sinful to become drunk (v.18), thus do not get drunk. But, if you have noticed as others have, the Scriptures do not place a ban on drinking alcoholic drinks, just the intoxication which comes from them. The logical conclusion that some have drawn is that I can drink as long as I don’t get drunk.

Have you ever seen a rattlesnake? I was hiking with a friend once and came inches away from one. The bite of a rattlesnake is quite poisonous and can be fatal. This I knew as I in horror saw this thing rattling within striking distance of my legs. My friend with me at the time wanted to stomp on it, just to see what would happen. I knew what would happen, he’d stop, the snake would chomp and I’d be carrying my friend to the hospital. I’m thankful he listened to me and left it alone. I could have been without a good friend today.

This is exactly how some treat alcohol. I can have some; I can drink up to a certain point, just as long as I don’t get drunk. Is that the attitude a Christian should have towards something which can potentially lead to sin? The attitude today is “how close can I get without actually being bitten?” Temptation and sin is nothing to take lightly. The eternal destination of my soul is at stake. Alcohol may seem like a cool thing to do. Your peers may be involved with it, wanting you to as well. It may seem like a stress reliever or nothing more than a cool refreshment. Think again! You may think there’s no harm in one drink, but for some that’s all it takes before you’re bitten.

It is an honorable thing to flee from temptation. Solomon said, “A wise man fears, and departs from evil; but the fool rages and is confident. (Proverbs 14:16) Paul would say, “Act wise.” Jesus calls you down the narrow way. It’s a path of sacrifice and discipline, but it’s also the path which leads to Heaven. On the path you’ll hear the rattle of the rattlesnake. Before you consider taking one step closer, think again. Be wise, consider the will of God in your decisions. Is this something which would honor my God, or something which would take me further away from Him? And don’t be afraid to flee, it may save your life!

Teenage Drinking and Its Consequences

By Randy Sexton

One of the temptations that you face as a young person is to engage in the drinking of beer and other alcoholic beverages. Much of what you see and hear in the media and from your peers is designed to entice you to participate. What you are presented is the allure and the glitz and the fun associated with drinking. What is hid from you are the disastrous consequences and the heartbreak brought into the lives of young people who are victims.

Consider the statistics from this quote at learn-about-alcoholism.com:

“The teenage drinking statistics are staggering. More than half of all high school seniors report being drunk at least once. But many teens are drinking more than just once. Teenage alcoholism is a serious problem in the U.S. and in other countries.

It’s one thing to talk about the teenage drinking statistics, but it’s another to look at the real-life problems caused by teenage alcoholism. Teen alcoholics often suffer from a number of problems related to their drinking. They often suffer from a number of problems that led up to their excessive drinking, as well.

Often the first sign that a teen has a drinking problem is poor performance at school. Grades drop, a student begins to have unexcused absences, and may get in fights with other students. Teen alcoholics often have difficulty getting along with authority figures such as teachers and principals, as well.

Teenage alcoholism also causes problems at home. Teens often become withdrawn from their family, and the problem getting along with authority figures leads to frequent arguments with parents.

Alcoholic teens may also have problems with the law. Underage drinking itself is illegal. Teens may also drive while under the influence. They may also engage in risky behaviors, such as driving too fast. They may become threatening or violent during arguments at home or school.

Teen alcoholics may also begin using other substances, such as marijuana or other drugs. While alcohol is the most abused substance among teens, it can often serve as a “gateway drug,” leading into more serious substances. For instance, teens who use alcohol are 50 times more likely to use cocaine than teens who don’t drink alcohol.”

(Source: http://www.learn-about-alcoholism.com/teenage-drinking-statistics.html)

Also, consider this from http://teenage-drinking.net:

“Teenage drinking is a widespread epidemic in the United States Today; in fact, teenage drinking is so common that over fifty percent of high school seniors reported drinking heavily within 1 month period prior to an annual study… Teenage drinking is more than just a nuisance or an adolescent phase. Of a large study of high school seniors, 80 percent reported binge drinking, getting drunk, or drinking and driving, and of those students, over 50 percent admitted that drinking had made them feel ill, get arrested, have a car accident, and miss school or work. Studies also indicate that teenage drinking causes adolescents to have a lesser chance of being successful at normal adult achievements and goals, such as achieving higher education, getting married, attaining employment, and being financially successful.

There are many additional risk factors for teenage drinking and alcoholism. These include:

· Family history

· Childhood hyperactivity and/or aggression

· Mental disorders such as anxiety or depression

· Suicidal thoughts and behaviors

· Family’s view on alcohol consumption

· Lack of parental ties and/or monitoring

· Peer’s attitudes towards and consumption of alcohol

· Childhood abuse or exposure to violence and trauma

· Awareness of alcohol (usually due to advertising)

There are several negative results of teenage drinking that are quite severe and cannot be ignored. Of all car accidents involving teens, one out of five show alcohol present in his or her system. Teenage drinking is also associated with sexual promiscuity and early sexual encounters. Adolescents who drink are more often to have risky sexual behavior, have unprotected sex (which leads to a high risk of all sexually transmitted diseases), be coerced to have sex, and be forced to participate in sexual activities. Regardless of what behaviors may be acted out while drinking, one consequence of teenage drinking cannot be avoided. Growth and development of the bones is impaired, based on findings of a recent study on laboratory animals. Finally, one of the biggest issues with teenage drinking is that alcohol is often just the beginning of substance abuse problems. Alcohol has been referred to as the “gateway” drug, because it is often the first step in abusing any substance.

Many teens that start abusing alcohol find it difficult to stop for many reasons, and some will need intervention to prevent future alcoholism and potential drug addiction.“

Dear young friend, I would echo Shannon’s advise in her good article, “…don’t be deceived. It really isn’t fun, Satan is deceiving you (Prov. 20:1; Hosea 4:11; Isa. 5:11, 22). It may look good, but in the end it is not worth it. ‘Do not look at wine when it is red, when it sparkles in the cup and goes down smoothly. In the end it is bites like a serpent and stings like an adder (Prov 23:31-32 ESV).’”

Honoring Mom and Dad

By Jordan Shouse

A familiar passage in the New Testament on the subject of parents and children is Ephesians 6:1-3 – “Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. Honor your father and mother (this is the first commandment with a promise), that it may go well with you and that you may live long in the land.” Paul lists the command given to children from the 10 commandments, honor your parents. To honor means to show respect or esteem. You’ll notice that when reading the Lord’s command to children there aren’t many exceptions. The passage doesn’t read: “Honor your father and mother if they are good parents,” or “when it is convenient for you,” or even “if they never make a mistake.” The only exception given is the short three word phrase, “in the Lord” meaning that if a parent asks their child to do something God would not want us to do, it is only then that one may not obey their parents.

How do we honor our parents? Firstly is by obedience. You show respect to your parents when you do what they ask of you to do. Some may think they have it rough, that mom and dad really pile on the work load. From homework to chores, to helping others, it may seem like a lot. Trust me when I say that good parents who truly love their children have their best interest always in mind. Do as they say. Not only do as they say, but do it efficiently and excellently. When mom and dad ask you to clean your room, instead of waiting and procrastinating which will usually anger them, do it right away which will leave you much more time to do the things you want to do. Also do it excellently. If they ask for the clothes to be put away, cramming them under the bed is not what they had in mind. When we do things right the first time, giving our best, it makes a world of difference and truly shows our parents that we love and respect them.

We also honor our parents by listening. “Hear, my son, your father’s instruction and do not forsake your mother’s teaching.” (Proverbs 1:8) Parents have a lot to say. From the habits you form to the friends you hang out with, the movies you watch, the music you listen to, the people you date, and especially your relationship with the Lord; parents will want to know. It may seem like their advice is outdated and irrelevant to your life. It may seem that moms and dads don’t know what it’s like to be in your shoes. To some respect you’re correct. There are some things specific to being a youth in 2011 that some parents may not understand very well. However, they have been 12, 13, 16, 20, etc. before and know what it is like to be a youth trying to serve the Lord. Again, remember that they love you and want more than anything for you to be in Heaven. Listen to them. You’ll be amazed one day of how wise you’re parents actually are!

May I encourage you to let your parents know how special you think they are? There are many today who don’t have their parents anymore and I know they would give anything just to have one more day to be with them. Don’t forget to tell your parents you love them and you’re thankful for them. Trust me, if it weren’t for your parents there wouldn’t be you!

Be Thankful For Parents That Are Involved in Your Life!

By Randy Sexton

As the father of ten-year-old and twelve-year-old boys, I can attest to the fact that there is often disagreement between what child and parent think is the best for the child. As you read these words, where do you stand in your relationship with Mom and Dad? Would you say” things are terrible” or would you say “things are great” or would you say you are somewhere in between?

Please ponder the following question: What does God require of your parents in regard to you? Does He expect them to give you all the freedom of choice that you think you deserve? Does He expect them to give you everything (i.e. video games, gadgets, latest style clothes, etc.) that you want? Does He expect them to stay out of your business and only get involved if you ask for their help?

You should not need to ponder these questions very long until you realize that what I have described is what many parents, who are more concerned with their own lives than that of their children, demonstrate by the way that they act.

Be thankful if you have parents that are involved in your life. Be thankful if you have parents who take seriously the charge given them by God to explain to you the basis of faith in Him. Be thankful if you have parents who want to know your friends and the home environments from which they come. David Banning, in his workbook for teenagers called Tough Choices tells young people, “Read these two passages that talk about your relationship with your parents (Ephesians 6:1-3 and Proverbs 6:20-23). Then choose one and write a brief essay explaining what it means” (p. 13).

If you have a father who recognizes his God-assigned role to be the spiritual leader of your family, express your thanks to him for his guidance. In urging men to be “point men” in their families, Steve Farrar says, “God is looking for men between twenty-five and forty-five who will commit to be “rocks” for their families. These kind of rocks are characterized by an unwavering commitment to their wives, a willingness to get involved in the lives of their children, and a gut-level desire to follow hard after Jesus Christ” (Point Man, pp. 227-228).