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Devotionals 2003

Who Has Woe?
January 13, 2003By Ed Wrather


Who has woe? Who has sorrow? Who has contentions? Who has complaints? Who has wounds without cause? Who has redness of eyes? Those who linger long at the wine, those who go in search of mixed wine. Do not look on the wine when it is red, when it sparkles in the cup, when it swirls around smoothly; at the last it bites like a serpent, and stings like a viper. Your eyes will see strange things, and your heart will utter perverse things. Yes, you will be like one who lies down in the midst of the sea, or like one who lies at the top of the mast, saying ‘They have struck me, but I was not hurt; they have beaten me, but I did not feel it. When shall I awake, that I may seek another drink?’ - Proverbs 23:29-35.

In Modesto, California, a man had his head split open by a brick, and was taken to the hospital. The police investigated, thinking that someone had attacked the man. However, witnesses said that he was throwing a brick into the air, trying to see how high he could throw it. But at 2:30 A.M. in the dark it is hard to see a falling brick. The man lost track of the brick, and it hit him in the head. Why would anyone do such a stupid thing? The police department said that alcohol did appear to be involved in the incident.

We automatically understand when we are told that alcohol or drugs are involved in some act of stupidity. We understand, because we know intoxicated people often do irrational things. Here are some ugly facts just for alcohol. Alcohol is a contributing factor in: 65% of drownings; 53% of all highway deaths; 50% of spouse abuse cases; 38% of child abuse cases; 54% of those in jail for violent crimes; and 49% of those convicted for murder, or attempted murder were intoxicated when they committed the crimes. Of course, alcohol abuse is very damaging to the physical body as well.

Then there are illegal substances such as methamphetamines, which can cause heart palpitations, nausea, and damage to blood vessels in the brain, shortness of breath, mental confusion, malnutrition, anorexia, severe anxiety, and depression. A more severe manifestation of chronic toxicity is a state of paranoia closely resembling paranoid schizophrenia. Psychotic symptoms include visual and auditory hallucinations, paranoid delusions, and delusions of parasites and bugs in the skin. Continued use may lead to permanent damage to the brain or death. One former user of meth states: "It’s like selling your soul to the devil. When I was high, I felt alive for the first time in my life. While I was using, I thought nothing could touch me. I was beautiful and perfect in my meth world. In the real world, my body was rotting from the inside out." (Methamphetamine information from the County of San Diego Methamphetamine Strike Force website.)

Do you have woe, sorrow, contentions, complaints, wounds without cause, and redness of eyes? Why not come out of the darkness and the self-inflicted misery? Instead of worshipping alcohol and illegal substances do as the apostle Paul urges: "I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God (Romans 12:1-2)." Your mind and your very life can be transformed and renewed through the turning from the things of this world, to the things of God. The formula for relief is simple: Prayer, Bible, and Church add them up, and they will equal the power of God to overcome whatever addiction you may have. It really depends on you. Do you want help, and really want to change your life? If you do, God has the power and it is available for free (Philippians 4:13; Philippians 4:19).

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