Men, Our Most Critical Need

By A.W. Tozer

The most critical need of the Church at this moment is men—the right kind of men, bold men. The talk is that we need revival, that we need a new baptism of the Holy Spirit—and God knows we must have both—but God will not revive mice. He will not fill rabbits with the Holy Spirit.

We languish for men who feel themselves expendable in the warfare of the soul because they have already died to the allurements of this world. Such men will be free from the compulsions that control weaker men. They will not be forced to do things by the squeeze of circumstances. Their only compulsion will come from within—or from above.

This kind of freedom is necessary if we are to have prophets in our pulpits again instead of mascots. These free men will serve God and mankind from motives too high to be understood by the rank and file of religious retainers who today shuttle in and out of the sanctuary. They will make no decisions out of fear, take no course out of a desire to please, accept no service for financial considerations, perform no religious acts out of mere custom, nor allow themselves to be influenced by the love of publicity or the desire for reputation.

Much that the church—even the evangelical church—is doing today, it is doing because it is afraid not to do it. Ministerial associations take up projects for no higher reasons than that they are scared into it. Whatever their ear-to-the-ground, fear-inspired reconnoitring leads them to believe—or fear—the world expects them to do, they will be doing come next Monday morning with all kinds of trumped-up zeal and show of godliness. The pressure of public opinion calls these prophets, not the voice of Jehovah.

The true church has never sounded out public expectations before launching its crusades. Its leaders heard from God and went ahead wholly independent of popular support or the lack of it. They knew their Lord’s will and did it, and their people followed them—sometimes to triumph, but more often to insults and public persecution—and their sufficient reward was the satisfaction of being right in a wrong world.

Another characteristic of the true prophet has been love. The free man who has learned to hear God’s voice and dared to obey it has felt the moral burden that broke the hearts of the Old Testament prophets, crushed the soul of our Lord Jesus Christ, and wrung streams of tears from the eyes of the apostles.

The free man has never been a religious tyrant, nor has he sought to lord it over God’s heritage. It is fear and lack of self-assurance that has led men to try to bring others under their feet. They have had some interest to protect, some position to secure, so they have demanded subjection from their followers as a guarantee of their own safety. But the free man—never! He has nothing to protect, no ambition to pursue and no enemy to fear. For that reason he is completely careless of his standing among men. If they follow him, well and good. If not, he loses nothing that he holds dear. But whether he is accepted or rejected, he will go on loving his people with sincere devotion, and only death can silence his tender intercession for them.

Yes, if evangelical Christianity is to stay alive, it must have men again—the right kind of men. It must repudiate the weaklings who dare not speak out, and it must seek in prayer and much humility the coming again of men of the stuff of which prophets and martyrs are made. God will hear the cries of His people as He heard the cries of Israel in Egypt, and He will send deliverance by sending deliverers. It is His way.

And when the deliverers come—reformers, revivalists, prophets—they will be men of God and men of courage. They will have God on their side because they are careful to stay on God’s side. They will be co-workers with Christ and instruments in the hands of the Holy Spirit. Such men will be baptized with the Spirit indeed and through their labours He will baptize others and send the long-delayed revival.

Fact file

A.W. Tozer (1897-1963) authored more than 40 books. Material things were never important to him, and the family never owned a car. Even after becoming a well-known Christian author, Tozer signed away most of his royalties to those who were in need. He and his wife, Ada, had seven children.

He once wrote, “I have found God to be cordial and generous and in every way easy to live with.” A simple epitaph marks his grave in Akron, Ohio:

A. W. Tozer – A Man of God.

 

Ficksburg (SA) / Maseru (Lesotho) / Ficksburg (SA) Photos ~ Part III

This is the final Part III of the photos from our Cherry Festival 2010 Outreach … [Gary’s Camera ~ Friday November 19 to Saturday November 20]

                                                                                              

To see the complete photo album taking in the trip from Pietermaritzburg through the Golden Gate Nature Reserve to Ficksburg in the Eastern Free Sate, the trip to Maseru in the Mountain Kingdom of Lesotho and back to Ficksburg (South Africa). It also includes more scenic photos of my journey back into the KwaZulu-Natal province which can be viewed at my Facebook profile Here. Praise Almighty God for He is Good.

Maseru (Lesotho) / Ficksburg (South Africa) Photos ~ Part II

This is Part II of the photos from our Cherry Festival 2010 Outreach … [Sello’s Camera ~ Saturday November 20]

                                                                                    

Ficksburg (South Africa) Photos ~ Part I

This is Part I of the photos from our Cherry Festival 2010 Outreach … [Sello’s Camera ~ Friday November 19]

                                                                                                                        

Cherry Festival Report-back

3 And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent. ~ John 17:3

All Glory to our King Jesus.

Forty-five minutes before leaving work to embark on the mission trip to Ficksburg in the Eastern Free State, a challenge was presented to me when the garden services employed by our legal firm; a grass-cutter whilst cutting the grass cut where there were some loose stones and one was clipped and became a projectile which smashed the front passenger’s window of my Bantam bakkie (LDV). It was a challenge to try getting a window repaired before leaving Pietermaritzburg on the road trip. Although the garden service supervisor was very apologetic, I consoled him and the grass-cutter and told them that “accidents do happen” ~ it was as if my witness would be tested by how I would react. My Lord Jesus kept me under control and at ease and after going to two glass fitters they both were out of stock of the type of window to be repaired. It was raining at the time and I was pressed to fetch my wife Tammy with time running by. I eventually requested Glasfit to patch up my window with plastic and vacuum out the shattered glass in the vehicle. My travelling schedule would now be changed and I would not be leaving at 02:00 am Thursday morning, but 07:15 am. One does wonder when you have insurance for such occasions, why one’s excess is always so high. I was told by a Glasfit consultant who quoted me that after Outsurance (my insurers) would pay their 35% share, my portion would still be about R1,100.00!! This situation not only spared me a possible mishap on the road – as there was a fallen boulder on the road going through the Golden Gate Nature Reserve which I passed by while the clean up team were busy removing it (makes one think and reflect – thank you Father) – but in Ficksburg I was first quoted to have the glass repaired for R950.00 – which was later reduced after the owner Warren (Dumela Glass) had read the Gospel on the side of my vehicle – he settled to charge me R800.00 including labour and I also presented him with a Million Dollar Gospel Tract which he read. I also witnessed to his son and friends in the shop while waiting for the window to be fitted and handed out tracts to his staff in the workshop and briefly witnessed to them, too. Nothing happens by chance – God has His ways. Praise Him for He is worthy of all praise.

Sello and an Airforce-man

On Friday I met up with Brother Sello Rasephei from Pretoria (a Brother I first met at the 2010 FIFA World Cup). We then proceeded to the local township Meqheleng to meet Hloni Letsoka and Sawi Masitsa at the Assemblies of God Church. We spent about three hours in training the Brothers by showing them the “Hells Best Kept Secret” and the “Crafting the Message” DVDs on Sello’s laptop and ended off with committing the outreaches to our Lord in a time of prayer. They were enlightened by the Holy Spirit as they took to the Biblical mandate readily. When the four of us hit the streets our two “new trainees” were on fire to share “law to the proud, grace to the humble.” After this, we know Ficksburg will not be the same again … I found that the people attending the festival, both local and visitors, were mainly there just looking to have a good time. The Bible says that you will know a tree by its fruit (Matthew 7:16,17) and we could see by the way people acted or dressed what their reasons for being at the festival were. It is sad when you see so many youngsters smoking, some who had taken alcohol (we could smell it on their breath or see their glassy eyes) and especially young girls dressing provocatively with mini-skirts and low-front tops. They were adulteresses in the manner of their dress wanting men to fall into sin. The problem does not only lay with the girls dressing the way they do, the blame is with the parents for allowing them to buy the clothes they pay for and then allowing them to leave the house dressed the way they are.

Many youngsters appear to be part of this lost generation – some looking for Truth others just living in the flesh and just following after what the world can offer them. Many younger children received colouring books with lots of Scripture on the pages presenting the Gospel and about 3000+ Gospel booklets, including tracts and colouring books were handed out during our Friday and Saturday outreaches. During this time we had many wonderful opportunities presented to us by the Holy Spirit to share the Law and the Gospel of Grace with many people from different tribes, tongues and nations who are hungry for the Word. We also met up with a Portuguese Brother named Gil Neves – an attorney by profession who works for the Legal Aid Board in Ficksburg – who shared the Gospel of Jesus Christ with passion and who also uses the “Good Person Test.” It was wonderful meeting a Brother who is on fire to reach the lost with Christ. We also thank him for voluntarily serving us by walking the extra mile to buy us Energade drinks and snacks. Your rewards are both here and in heaven, Brother Gil.

Gil Neves on his lunch break witnessing to two souls

In the early evenings we also used amplification in the proclamation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and we were unhindered by any police or festival staff – we praise our God for His favour in allowing us to preach His Word. [Note – Leading up to the event Sello and I had searched out the Ficksburg by-laws and found no by-laws that would restrict the preaching of the Gospel with or without sound] On Saturday, Sello and I crossed into Lesotho via the Maputsoe border post to take the Gospel to the neighbouring Basotho people. On our way we first visited at a pastor’s house in St. Monica – he was in Pretoria, but we met with his wife who prayed for us – then we headed out west to Maseru, the capital city. Opposite a shopping centre / taxi rank in downtown Maseru, Sello and I were blessed in engaging passer-bys in witnessing in the name of Jesus to them in conversations, handing out tracts, booklets and colouring books and open-air preaching. It was truly a blessed time of God allowing us the freedom to share Him and His blessed Son our Lord Jesus Christ with many, many souls. I had a wonderful conversation with two youngsters named Lekhetho (14) and his friend Rethabile (12) who overheard my conversation with a passerby and saw the Million Dollar tract, but also wanted to know how to be born again. If Almighty God had not directed our steps we would not have been in Lesotho to share the Truth with these boys. We pray for our Father to save their souls.

Rethabile (12), Gary and Lekhetho (14) on the streets in Maseru, Lesotho

After Maseru we headed back to Ficksburg for the late afternoon into the evening outreach at the festival. I saw a mother buying her daughter some “red devil horns” from a street-stall outside the festival where we were stationed and I felt prompted by the Holy Spirit to approach her and say, “Your beautiful daughter would look better in angel wings, than devil horns.” She smiled and said that’s true, but still she gave in and bought her daughter the horns!! Do parents know that they will be accountable to God for what they are teaching their children – or lack of teaching. Some might think it’s cute – it is hideous. Period. There were also truly so many wonderful conversations we had and then there were also some “dozy” conversations when you could just see the devil was trying to have his two-cent worth or trying to sidetrack us, especially where there was alcohol involved. And God had the last Word and overcame those conversations too.

Soli Deo Gloria

A Vision of Hell

I was reading a back issue of a South African Christian magazine Prepare the Way“: Answering the upward call of God in Christ Jesus (Issue No. 25) and came across this article by Greg Gordon (view the pdf file at this link) published at pages 10 and 11. To the Christian, may we all receive a vision of Hell from Almighty God to get us urgent about our Father’s business. And to the unbeliever, who has sinned against a Holy God and rejected His Son Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour of their life, may this be a warning!!!

SOMBER ACCOUNTS OF THE REALITY OF ETERNAL PUNISHMENT

This is the cry of the damned “send!” Are we numb to this cry from hell dear Christian? Right now you can hear it millions of damned souls crying out send someone, tell someone, you have your entire life before you. We need a vision of hell amongst our modern day, lazy, undisciplined Christianity. We have a “cloud of witnesses” that have gone before us that were fully convinced of this truth and warned men of the judgement to come. – Greg Gordon

THE CRY FROM HELL

Right now if we could put a megaphone into hell we would hear a resounded message “send!”. When a soul realizes that he cannot be freed from such torment his immediate plea is for his family, friends, neighbours to be warned of such a place. In Luke 16 we see the story of the Rich man and Lazarus and when the Rich man is in eternal torment he cry’s out: “I pray thee therefore, father, that thou wouldest send him to my father’s house. For I have five brethren; that he may testify unto them, lest they also come into this place of torment.” This is the cry of the damned “send!” Are we numb to this cry from hell dear Christian? Right now you can hear it millions of damned souls crying out send someone, tell someone, you have your entire life before you. We need a vision of hell amongst our modern day, lazy, undisciplined Christianity. We have a “cloud of witnesses” that have gone before us that were fully convinced of this truth and warned men of the judgement to come. Hear the words of Christ: “Then He shall say unto those on the left hand, “Depart from me, you cursed ones, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels!” Oh does that not shake your soul? or are you deafened by selfishness? Deafened by worldliness? Deafened by materialism? Will you not today hear the cry from hell?

Thomas Boston three hundred years ago wrote of the misery of the damned: “They shall never more taste of His goodness and bounty, nor have the least glimpse of hope from Him. They will see His heart to be absolutely alienated from them, and that it cannot be favourable towards them; that they are the party against whom the Lord will have indignation forever. They shall be deprived of the glorious presence and enjoyment of God– they shall have no part in the beatific vision; nor see anything in God towards them but one wave of wrath rolling after another! This will bring upon them overwhelming floods of sorrow for evermore.” Oh! Hear the warning of J.C. Ryle in response to a everlasting hell: “What would you say of the man who saw his neighbour’s house in danger of being burned down, and never raised the cry of “fire?” What ought to be said of us as ministers if we call ourselves watchmen for souls, and yet see fires of hell raging in distance, and never give the alarm? Call it bad taste, if you like, to speak of hell. Call it charity to make things pleasant, and speak of smoothly, and soothe men with constant lullaby of peace. I have not read my Bible. My notion of charity is to warn men plainly of danger. My notion of taste in the ministerial office is to declare all the counsel of God.”

MILLIONS OF AGES

J.C. Ryle an non-conformist from the 18th century writes on hell: “The punishment of hell shall be most severe. There is no pain like that of burning. Put your finger in the candle for a moment if you doubt this, and try. Fire is the most destructive and devouring of all elements. Look into the mouth of a blast furnace, and think what it would be to be there. Fire is of all elements most opposed to life. Creatures can live in air, and earth, and water; but nothing can live in fire. Yet fire is the portion to which the Christ-less and unbelieving will come. They will be ‘cast into the lake of fire.’ The punishment of hell will be eternal. Millions of ages will pass away, and the fire will never burn low and become dim. The fuel of that fire will never waste away and be consumed. it is ‘unquenchable fire.’ O reader, these are the sad and painful things to speak of. I have no-pleasure in dwelling on them. I could rather say with the apostle Paul, “I have great sorrow.” But they are things written for our learning, and it is good to consider them. They are part of that Scripture which is all profitable, and they ought to be heard. Painful as the subject of hell is, it is one about which I dare not, cannot, and must not be silent.” What a fearful thought of an eternal hell! Millions and Millions of years but never relief or rest. Perpetual ongoing torment unceasing, never ending, eternity, eternity, eternity in hell!

C.H. Spurgeon spoke on hell much being faithful to warn the masses: “In hell there is no hope. They have not even the hope of dying–the hope of being annihilated. They are forever–forever–forever lost! On every chain in hell, there is written ‘forever’. In the fires there, blaze out the words, ‘forever’. Above their heads, they read, ‘forever’. Their eyes are galled and their hearts are pained with the thought that it is ‘forever’. Oh, if I could tell you tonight that hell would one day be burned out, and that those who were lost might be saved, there would be a jubilee in hell at the very thought of it. But it cannot be–it is ‘forever’ they are cast into the outer darkness.” Christopher Love uses an illustration to try and help us understand what eternity means: “Suppose all the mountains of the earth were mountains of sand, and many more mountains still added thereto, till they reached up to heaven, and a little bird should once in every thousand years take one (grain of) sand of this mountain, there would be an innumerable company of years pass over before that mass of sand would be consumed and taken away, and yet this time would have an end; and it would be happy for man, if hell were no longer than this time; but this is man’s misery in hell, he shall be in no more hope of coming out after he hath been there millions of years, then he was when he was first cast in there; for his torments shall be to eternity, without end, because the God that damns him is eternal.” Dear reader if you feel lacking in this vision of hell cry out to God for it, plead for it, Oh we need this burden again tears over the truth of hell. Leonard Ravenhill spoke of this burden-less condition: “You can tell how bankrupt a preacher is when he prays in the pulpit they say nothing, ‘Lord bless us today, amen.’ Forget it! A parrot could do better in some churches. I believe to quote Whitefield, if I am going to preach on heaven I should live there a week before I preach. If I am going to preach on Hell I should get soaked in hell for a week. Bring the atmosphere of heaven, bring the atmosphere of hell! When we do that the house of God will not be empty.”

LOST SOUL SPEAKS

John Bunyan the famous baptist preacher before his conversion attempted suicide and was given a vision of hell of which he recounts of a soul there speaking of hell: “Our miseries in this infernal dungeon are of two sorts; what we have lost, and what we undergo. And these I will name under their several heads. First then for what we have lost. Here we have likewise lost the company of saints and angels, and in their place have nothing but tormenting devils. Here we have lost heaven too. The seat of blessedness. There is a deep gulf betwixt us and heaven, so that we are shut out from thence forever. Those everlasting gates that let the blessed into happiness are now for ever shut against us here. To make our wretchedness far yet more wretched, we have lost the hope of ever being in a better state, which renders our condition truly hopeless. The most miserable man upon earth still has hope. And therefore, it is a common proverb there that were it not for hope, the heart would break. Well may our hearts break then since we are both without hope and help. This is what we have lost; which, but to think on, is enough to fear and rend and gnaw upon our miserable souls forever. Yet, oh, that his were all! But we have sense of pain as well as loss. And having showed you what we have lost, I am trying to show you what we undergo. And first, we undergo variety of torments: we are tormented here a thousand, nay, ten thousand different ways. They that are most afflicted upon earth have seldom any more than one malady at a time. But should they have the plague, the gout, the stone, and fever at a time, how miserable would they think themselves? Yet all those are but like the biting of a flea to those intolerable, pungent pains that we endure. Here we have all the loathed variety of hell to grapple with. Here is a fire that is unquenchable to burn us with; a lake of burning brimstone ever choking us; eternal chain to tie us; here is utter darkness to affright us, and a worm of conscience that gnaws upon us everlastingly. And any one of these is worse to bear than all the torments mankind ever felt on earth.”

“But as our torments here are various, so are they universal, too, afflicting each part of the body, tormenting the powers of the soul, which renders what we suffer most unsufferable. In those illnesses you men are seized with on earth, though some parts are afflicted, other parts are free. Although your body may be out of order, your head may yet be well; and though your head be ill, your vitals may be free; or though your vitals be affected, your arms and legs may still be clear. But here it is otherwise: each member of the soul and body is at once tormented. The eye is here tormented with the sight of the devil’s who do appear in all the horrid shapes and black appearances that sin can give them. The ear is continually tormented with the loud yellings and continual outcries of the damned. The nostrils smothered with sulphurous flames; the tongue with burning blisters; and the whole body rolled in flames of liquid fire. And all the powers and faculties of our souls are here tormented. The imagination, with the thoughts of the present pain; the memory lost with reflecting on what a heaven we have lost, and of those opportunities we had of being saved. Our minds are here tormented with considering how vainly we have spent our precious time, and how we have abused it. Our understanding is tormented in the thoughts of our past pleasures, present pains, and future sorrows, which are to last for ever. And our consciences are tormented with a continual gnawing worm.”

“Another thing that makes our misery awful is the extremity of our torments. The fire that burns us is so violent that all the water in the sea can never quench it. The pains we suffer here are so extreme that it is impossible they should be known by any one but those that feel them. Another part of our misery is the ceaselessness of our torments. As various, as universal, and as extremely violent as they are, they are continual, too. Nor have we the least rest from them. If there were any relaxation, it might be some allay. But this makes our condition so deplorable that there is no easing of our torments, but what we suffer now we must for ever suffer. The society or company we have here is another element in our misery. Tormenting devils and tormented souls are all our company; and dreadful shrieks and howlings, under the fierceness of our pain, and fearful oaths, is all our conversation. And here the torments of our fellow sufferers are so far from lessening our misery that they increase our pain. The place in which we suffer is another thing that increases our sufferings. It is the abstract of all misery, a prison, a dungeon, a bottomless pit, a lake of fire and brimstone, a furnace of fire that burns to eternity, the blackness of darkness for ever; and lastly, hell itself. And such a wretched place as this must needs increase our wretchedness. The cruelty of our tormentors is another thing that adds to our torments. Our tormentors are devils in whom there is no pity; but being tormented themselves, do yet take pleasure in tormenting us. All those particulars that I have reckoned up are very grievous; but that which makes them much more grievous is that they shall ever be so; and all our most intolerable sufferings shall last to all eternity. ‘Depart from Me ye cursed into everlasting fires’ is that which is perpetually sounding in my ears. Oh, that I could reverse that fatal sentence! Oh, that there was but a bare possibility of doing it! Thus have I showed you the miserable situation we are in, and shall be in forever.”

In the prophet Jeremiah God said to the hell bound nation of Moab “I will weep for thee.” Can we share God’s tears for those that are walking in the vanity of their minds and apart from God. Weep, Christian!

The Scourge of Alcohol

It is that time of year again when many will be looking to the month of December as a time to get into the mode of revelling, partying, the time to be festive and the time to consume large quantities of alcohol. There will be those who will look to this time of year to get drunk. Even unbelievers who reject God’s Son Jesus Christ will find a reason to partake in some celebration at this time of year, even though they don’t believe in Him. The pagan-“Christmas” period is not only the time of year when people consume great quantities of alcohol, it is a problem throughout the year. How do I know these things? Simple – I was once a slave to alcohol, a slave to sin. Just like any sinner stocking up on food and alcohol for the festive season, so too did I just want to get drunk, have what I thought was a good time and look for answers in the bottom of a bottle. Not only was I a depraved despicable sinner who suppressed the Truth in my unrighteousness, I encouraged and brought others down to my filthy level and encouraged sin where ever I could. I know the low-life, the debauched life of alcohol and sex – you see, they are bed-fellows, believe me.

South Africa has one of the highest fatality rates in the world for alcohol related crimes, not just drink and driving offenses, but including murder, rape and assaults. Here in South Africa the “festive seasons” – “Easter and Christmas” – yield carnage on the roads like nothing else you could imagine. When one watches the evening news over these periods the newsreader will often give statistics per provincial region – giving a score card of persons who have died – unfortunately, they do not tell the viewers that these souls have now moved on into eternity and met their Holy Judge, Almighty God. Most of the dead are victims of alcohol abuse who were on their way to family, friends, a nice break at the coast, or innocently walking on the sidewalk by the roadside. And then, there are those who are felons and victims of their own drunkenness who stand accused before the law or have met their Creator God through their evil and wicked sin.

Whiskey and beer are all right in their place, but their place is in Hell. — Billy Sunday

It is tragic when we read of the loss of life through the schemes of the evil one – for alcohol is the tool of the devil, assuredly. Families are ruined, children are abused and their innocence is destroyed by the people who use alcohol. The saying is true: Guns don’t kill people; people kill people using guns. But, in the case with Alcohol: Alcohol is a drug that harms, abuses and kills people. Period. As any journey starts with the first step in that direction, so it is with alcohol consumption. The first drink leads to the second drink, which leads to … Here in South Africa it is not uncommon to see labourers spending their weekly wages that they receive on Friday afternoons at liquor stores. Most of their meagre wages end up in the gutter or in ‘shebeens’ (drinking houses), or on drugs, gambling and loose living. Not only do the families lose out on the wages not being brought home, but often times the spouse and children are the victims of the wrath that follows from the drinking binges. You think I am over-reacting? I too became aggressive when I drank and as a result thereof I used and abused women sexually. It was all just a sick-game – drinking, getting drunk and having promiscuous fornication (orgies).

We see daily the scourge of alcohol companies peddling their trade on national television when it would be “family time” (sic) and the pushers – for alcohol is a drug – think that the “small print warning” – “Not to be sold to persons under the age of 18” will deter small minds from going after the often misrepresented advertisements, where they display that those who drink this brand of alcohol will have fame and fortune and get the girls – what they don’t tell is how many end up in gutters, hospitals and grave yards, or those that lose everything in poverty, or contract or pass on sexually transmitted diseases like gonorrhoea, syphilis and HIV/AIDS, or the victims of the abuse and killings that follow.

It is also sad to say, that there are Christians who say, “What is it to have a drink or two. Didn’t Jesus turn water into wine?” My friends, when He turned water into wine it was not the poison that is being consumed nowadays. There are three types of wines so I think it best that you read the following article Jesus and Wine by Chris Wilhoit to get an understanding that it was the fruit of the vine. I believe the Church of Jesus Christ should not read into Scripture to find a way to drink alcohol – the Church should be the light warning against the evils of alcohol – we must not look like the world, speak like the world, act like the world or drink like the world. There is much we can drink without partaking in the alcohol beverages on offer. I suppose those with a testimony of alcohol abuse can understand these things more clearly, so do watch this space. For by the grace of Almighty God He chose to save me – a slave to alcohol, sex and pornography – by reaching out to this wretched, evil, despicable sinner and by pulling me out of the quagmire of sin I found myself drowning in. In thankfulness to my God – a Good God for saving me – I now forewarn slaves to sin that their rebellion against a Holy God will take them to an eternal punishment in Hell if they do not repent of their evil sin and receive forgiveness of their lawlessness by faith in Jesus Christ.

Please take time out to view these statistical websites to really see the problem that we are experiencing here in South Africa with Alcohol abuse:

Jacqueline Suburido (Pictured above, click picture for video)

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Here is also an article that appears at Frontline Fellowship by Dr. Peter Hammond, titled:

Alcohol Abuse in South Africa

Who has woe? Who has sorrow? Who has strife? Who has complaints? Who has needless bruises? Who has blood shot eyes? Those who linger over wine, who go to the 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 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

It is estimated that up to 30% of general hospital admissions in South Africa are directly or indirectly related to alcohol use.

A clinical assessment of general hospital admissions found alcohol to be a contributing factor in general trauma cases: in 38% of the admissions in the Cape metropolitan area and 49% in rural communities alcohol was found to be a contributing factor.

48% of trauma patients admitted to the casualty department of the Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital in Soweto on a Saturday night were found to be intoxicated.

Almost 80% of all assault patients – both male and female – presented at an urban hospital Trauma Unit in Cape Town were either found to be under the influence of alcohol or injured because of alcohol related violence. In another study, over 50% of non-natural deaths received at state mortuaries in Cape Town had high levels of blood alcohol concentrations.

58% of people fatally injured in train related trauma (who either fell from or walked in front of trains) in Cape Town had high blood alcohol concentrations.

60% of pedestrians involved in collision traumas on the road and then treated in a hospital trauma unit were found to have high blood alcohol concentrations.

Over 50% of those who had died by drowning in greater Cape Town, over a ten year period, were found to have high concentrations of alcohol in their blood stream.

One study found that the incidence of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS) in Cape Town is 1 per 281 live births. Fetal Alcohol Syndrome occurs in infants born to women who drink heavily during pregnancy. Signs of this syndrome include mental retardation, poor motor co-ordination, hyper activity, facial abnormalities and malformation of organ systems. Amongst the poorer communities, the incidence of Fetal Alcohol effects are consistently high.

The Medical Research Council’s National Trauma Research Programme reports that 67% of domestic violence in the Cape Metropolitan area was alcohol related. In a study of women abused by their spouses, 69% identified alcohol/drug abuse as the main cause of conflict leading to the abuse.

76% of domestic violence in rural areas in the South-Western Cape was found to be alcohol related.

The National Institute of Crime Prevention and Reintegration of Offenders (NICRO) has reported that alcohol contributes substantially to the high incidence of crime in the country. Their study found that just under half of all male prisoners had consumed alcohol or drugs at the time of, or before committing, their most recent crime.

The Medical Research Council has found that alcohol has a negative effect on the business community due to absenteeism, poor productivity, high job turnover, interpersonal conflicts, injuries and damage to property. One study in the Orange Free State found that 20% of gold mine workers involved in occupational injuries had high concentrations of alcohol in their blood streams.

The Medical Research Council’s National Trauma Research Programme has estimated that alcohol related costs associated with pedestrian trauma alone are in excess of $83 million per year. The Transport Ministry has estimated that motor vehicle collisions cost the country at least $1,5 billion per year and that at least 50% of these vehicle accidents are alcohol related. The economic costs associated with alcohol abuse in the work place are likely to be in excess of $1,7 billion (2% of the gross national product) per year.

The National Injury Surveillance System in its “Profile of Fatal and Non-fatal Injuries in South Africa” of May 2000, states that South Africa has “one of the highest per capita alcohol consumption in the world” and “more that three-quarters of homicides perpetrated with a sharp object are alcohol related”. Approximately 40% of firearm and 58% of blunt instrument homicide victims have consumed alcohol prior to their fatal injury. Not only are those perpetrating the crimes likely to be under the influence of alcohol, but the victims also tend to have much higher alcohol levels as well.

What Does the Bible Say About Alcohol Abuse?

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

“Do not join those who drink too much wine or gorge themselves on meat.”
Proverbs 23:20

“Be careful, or your hearts will be weighed down with dissipation, drunkenness and the anxieties of life, and that day will close on you unexpectedly like a trap.”
Luke 21:34

“Let us behave decently, as in the day time, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and debauchery, not in dissention and jealousy.” Romans 13:13

“Nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor slanderers, nor swindlers will inherit the Kingdom of God.” 1 Corinthians 6:10

“It is better not to… drink wine or to do anything else that will cause your brother to fall.” Romans 14:21

“Woe to him who gives drink to his neighbours, pouring it from the wineskin till they are drunk, so that he can gaze on their naked bodies. You will be filled with shame instead of glory. Now it is your turn! Drink and be exposed! The cup from the Lord’s right hand is coming around to you, and disgrace will cover your glory.
The violence you have done… will overwhelm you and your destruction of animals will terrify you. For you have shed men’s blood and you have destroyed lands and cities and everyone in them.” Habakkuk 2:15-17

It is also noticeable that total abstinence from strong drink was required from the priests:

“You and your sons are not to drink wine or other fermented drink… this is a lasting ordinance for the generations to come.” Leviticus 10:9

“You must abstain from wine and other fermented drink…” Numbers 6:3

It is also mentioned in the book of Proverbs as a standard for rulers:

“It is not for kings,… not for kings to drink wine, not for rulers to crave beer.”
Proverbs 31:4

Two of the most exemplary characters in the Bible, Daniel and John the Baptist, were teetotalers:

“But Daniel resolved not to defile himself with the royal food and wine…” Daniel 1:8

“For he would be great in the sight of the Lord. He is never to take wine or other fermented drink and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit even from birth.” Luke 1:15

All Christians are commanded:

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

“Woe to… drunkards… those laid low by wine!… drunkards will be trampled under foot… these also stagger from wine and reel from beer… are befuddled with wine; they reel from beer, they stagger when seeing visions, they stumble when rendering decisions. All the tables are covered with vomit and there is not a spot without filth” Isaiah 28:1-8

Deuteronomy 21:20 associates drunkenness with stubbornness, rebellion, gluttony and dishonour to parents.

Isaiah 28:7 associates drunkenness with Spiritual blindness and uselessness.

Isaiah 22:13 associates alcohol with a sense of hopelessness.

Hosea 4:11 associates alcohol abuse with whoredom and deception:

“…they have deserted the Lord to give themselves to prostitution, to old wine and new, which take away the understanding of My people… a spirit of prostitution leads them astray; they are unfaithful to their God.” Hosea 4:10-12

Testimonies of Transformation

There are many tens of thousands of Christians worldwide who can testify to how alcohol ruined their life, but how the Lord Jesus Christ freed them from their addiction to alcohol, saved their marriage, restored their health and transformed their lives.

“He heals the broken hearted and binds up their wounds.” Psalm 147:3

Our existential and hedonistic societies produce addicts at a faster rate than ever before in history. The reason for this is that our modern cultures have a “quick-fix”, convenience orientated mentality. Our society stresses easy solutions. Our era suffers from values confusion and confused morals. Our culture is heavily orientated towards entertainment. Our culture suffers from disrupted family life. Many children grow up in fragmented, dysfunctional homes. There has been a tremendous loss of community. The average person moves home about every 3 years. Ours is a high stress culture and a very high anxiety and abusive society. In this existential and hedonistic environment, drug and alcohol addictions inevitably abound.

To those bound by addictions, whether to alcohol or drugs or anything else, the Lord Jesus is the One who sets the captives free:

“The Spirit of the Lord is on Me, because He has anointed Me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent Me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight to the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour.” Luke 4:18-19

“And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free” John 8:32

” Because through Christ Jesus the Law of the Spirit of Life set me free from the law of sin and death” Romans 8:2

“You my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature; rather, serve one another in love.” Galatians 5:13

“Life as free men, but do not use your freedom as a cover up for evil. Live as servants of God.” 1 Peter 2:16

“That they will come to their senses and escape from the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will.” 2 Timothy 2:26

“So, if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” John 8:36

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