Choices
Name Your Poison Yesterday would have been a more appropriate day to write this article, but I didn't get it worked out in my head until today, so here it comes. A guy walks into a bar....... (no, it isn't that kind of story) and sits down. The bartender walks over and says "name your poison" and as the guy looks over the bartender's shoulder he sees a mind boggling assortment of bottles, each with a different label, different shape, different size, and different price. If he has been here before he probably knows what he wants. If he has been to places like this, he knows without a doubt what each bottle tastes and smells like. Once he had been to this bar several times the bartender knows without asking which bottle to go for, he knows the customer's poison. At some point, probably over time and unnoticed, the man becomes intimately familiar with a certain brand. He knows the taste, the aftertaste, how it makes him feel and how he feels the next day. Eventually it dominates his life, it becomes all he thinks about, all he lives for. His life, his love, his strength, his tears and his despair all live in that bottle. If you were to mentions it to him, chances are that he wouldn't know what happened to him and wouldn't admit it if he did. So what did happen? Yes, be became an alcoholic, but something far worse happened, many things far worse happened actually but one worse than all the others. It's probably the last thing most people see or even consider. The drink, the bottle, and its contents take first place in his life. It has become his God. A woman walks into a huge auditorium buzzing with people scurrying around like ants. Elevator music is playing over the sound system but no one even hears it. Their attention is dedicated completely to the row after row of tables and what they contain. Her heart beats faster and faster, she has waited a whole year for this event. She has saved her money for a whole year just for this one day. She has went without things that she needed, her kids have went without, her husband has done without things he needed just so she could have today. It's so silly in a way, she always loved PEZ dispensers when she was a little girl, at some point she started accumulating them, along the line she started collecting them. Then she found out that there were other people like her who collected them and that they had shows where they traded and bought them. This was one of those shows. No, collecting things isn't a sin (unless you collect something you shouldn't be collecting) and lots of people do it and to a point it's healthy, but only to a point. Eventually it can take so much of your time, energy, and attention that it rules your life. She races from table to table, booth to booth and suddenly freezes in her steps, even her breathing stops. There, in a glass case all by itself, sitting regally on a silk pillow is a make-a-face PEZ dispenser, rarest of them all. She stares at it reverently. She has seen it before, but only in pictures. She never dreamed that she would see one in real life, but here one is. Her collection would be awesome with that sitting on the shelf, it would put her in the big leagues. But the price tag of $4000 is more than she could ever afford, unless..... maybe..... yes, she would try. Out comes her cell phone and her credit card, she calls the number on the back, asks one question, hangs up, and gives her card to the owner of the treasure. She couldn't afford the credit card payments before, but now she has had her limit raised by $4000, there goes Christmas and vacation next year. Her husband would understand, he had no choice, she wanted this regardless of the cost. Her God, whatever she might think, is the God PEZ. Ridiculous, sad, yes. God feels so strongly that it was the first rule He gave us: "You will NOT have any other gods." He wants, no, He demands that He be put first in our lives, no exceptions. When we read or hear that sentence, we (at least most of us) think of Idols and bowing and chanting. You may or may not worship those things, or you may be a pagan and worship the goddess and the horned god. If so, you've made your choice and this page probably isn't for you. This article is for the average person. Unlike most of the articles here this one isn't intended only for the beginning Christian. It's so widespread and subtle that I think most of us, if not all of us fall for into that trap at some point. Think about it. What have we made into our gods these days? Society as a whole has substituted science for God, that one is pretty obvious, and need I go on about what sports has done to us? What about our jobs? Yes, we have to have money and we have to have jobs (at least most of us unlucky dogs do) and they have to be given attention. God knows that, but He also expects us to look to Him first and He will help us with the necessities. I also don't feel that I have to point out what a god money has become to our society, but I will in case someone hasn't noticed it yet. The next part will make some people mad at me, in fact it has already made some people hate me. Nevertheless I have to mention it because eventually I'll have to stand before God and account for what I've written. I will be held accountable for what I wrote that was wrong, and what I didn't write that I should have written about. I'd rather have people mad at me than have Him mad at me. So if you read this and you get mad, I'm sorry but I have no choice, actually I do have a choice and this is it: It seems innocent enough, sites about them are all over the net. Every day my mailbox is full of fuzzies about them. What are fuzzies?, oh, sorry, it's a term of my own making, I know you get them too. Those eternal email chain letter attachments (fw; fw: fw: fw:...... 20 times), they always have cute midis playing, invariably they are full of animations and poems designed to make you feel warm and fuzzy inside. Invariably the last thing you see is a button asking you to send this to all of your friends. (ever wondered who actually comes up with these things?). I also wonder how much faster the email servers would be if we didn't have those things flooding them by the squillions but that's getting off topic. Ok, I'm talking about angels, I knew it would make a lot of people mad. Every day I get emails and see little signs here and there about "road angels", and "kitchen angels" etc. Everywhere I look there are pictures of angels watching over kids crossing bridges or sleeping. I keep hearing good, well meaning people talking about how their angels are there for them when they need them and when times get rough all they have to do is ask their angels for help. What's wrong with this picture? Are angels evil? Certainly NOT, they are messengers of God, although I've never knowingly seen one, I'm sure they are magnificent and would stagger our imaginations. There also is no doubt in my mind that they are powerful and that they have knowledge beyond our wildest dreams. I also feel that collecting angel statues and angel graphics is ok, as long as they are kept AS works of art. The problem is that like almost everything we do, we go overboard with it. People start putting the emphasis on the angels instead of God. Yes, we have angels watching over us, the bible says that, and yes, they save us from who knows what, and yes, they bring us gifts and wisdom. But the wisdom they possess, the power they possess, the beauty they radiate, the help they give, doesn't come from them, it comes from God and only God. Angels, for all their light and glory are messengers. Some people more radical than me (if you choose that description) feel that we should never even mention them, that we shouldn't collect them as artworks or pictures. Maybe I'm wrong, but I don't think that's wrong in itself. But I am without a doubt certain that God doesn't want us to put his servants ahead of him. Name your poison, is there something in your life that you put on a pedestal and worship? Is there something that comes before everything else? If there is, it had better be God. Even our spouses, our children, our families have to come second to Him. That part hurts, I don't like the idea of anything being more important to me than my wife. But isn't that fair? He made me, He made her, He gave us each other and everything good that we have. He deserves center stage. What is in your life that's so important that you would trade it for time with Him on Sunday? That's why I wish I could have written this yesterday, it would have been very appropriate. Yesterday was superbowl Sunday...... Name your poison. Where, you might ask was I yesterday? I wish I could say I was right there in church. I wasn't. I was cleaning the house because I put someone's visit ahead of God. We are all guilty. All I can do is ask His forgiveness and try to better the next time.
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