Almost everyone has heard the cliché “Don’t do drugs.” But I’m going to tell you something else.
Don’t try drugs.
The curiosity in young people looking for an experimental adventure or a way to escape pain and stress functions as a game of Russian roulette.
Just trying narcotics one time is equivalent to putting one round in the chamber and spinning it wildly before placing it up to your skull to pull the trigger.
Trying drugs once doesn’t automatically destroy the lives of everyone who tries them, but it’s not worth the gamble of your life and the lives of innocent others.
Unlike the horrific game of Russian roulette, drugs might not kill you on the first try but instead slowly lead you down a path of long suffering as demonic spirits take over your mind and trade your ambitious opportunities for a lifestyle of destruction to yourself and to all of those around you—doing the most harm to those who love you the most.
Despite how you feel, there are people who love you.
And for sure, God loves you.
He is closer than the air your breath.
And his plans for you are greater than any narcotic could ever be.
It was when I was a little boy. I remember looking at the enamel pins that were attached to a black cardboard. Some were sporadically missing, but many were still left. It was the first time I can recall seeing a skull with wings attached to it. I remember these pins because they did not fit in with my family’s style or character. Later, I found out why.
My nanny and papa used to rent and operate a small restaurant near the bottom of the Grapevine. If you’re familiar with driving through California, you’ll probably recall the dangerous highway as it descends down from the mountains into the valley where Bakersfield resides. The difficult drive is infamous to truckers, and there are a few emergency pull-off areas for when trucks burn through their brake pads.
My nanny told a story about a trucker who came in hollering that he wanted to buy the best steak in the house for another trucker who pulled in front of him when he lost his breaks and slowed down his big rig with his own truck, saving his life—a selfless hero who would go his own way on the road and soon become forgotten.
My nanny told another story that stood out to me even more. One day she looked out the restaurant’s door to see three men standing out in the cold. She could tell that they were migrant workers and hungry.
She hollered out, “You guys want to come in for some food on the house?”
The three men nodded thankfully and followed her in.
My nanny went in the back and prepared three large plates overflowing with food. When she carried them out and sat them on the table, the men’s eyes stretched in hungry anticipation. She noticed that one man was missing.
She asked, “Is your friend in the restroom?”
The men looked at each other a little confused. One apprehensively answered, “What friend, miss?”
My nanny replied, “There were three of you. I saw three of you come in. That’s why I made three plates.”
The same man replied, “Sorry, but there’s only two of us.”
My nanny continued, “No, I saw a third man with you.”
He responded a little confused and maybe even a little spooked, “It has just been me and my friend here the whole time.” The friend nodded sincerely.
My nanny believed she entertained an angel that day. I believe it too. I know it’s odd to talk about seeing angels when we are encouraged to be critical thinkers bound to the realm of whatever is directly in front of us, which is normally our cell phone, but we really must speak and live as if Scripture is real, because it is.
There’s a spiritual realm that’s just as real as anything we can see.
We have likely entertained a few angels and certainly have been in the presence of many.
Let’s give them something good to watch—some quality entertainment as we demonstrate how awesome the love of God is through our daily lifestyle worship.
There was an excitement in the crispy, cold air as students hurried through the halls of my junior high in their California-thin jackets the week before Christmas break. The two-week break was practically an eternity for us young teens. And there was also the excitement of the anticipated Christmas presents. Christmas always seemed to be the time when the best video games were released with the newest gaming consoles.
I was in the 8th grade, and it was my first year in band. I was a drummer. And although many would say that it should be illegal to give junior high boys drumsticks, drumming was a great passion of mine, but since it was my first year in band, I wasn’t very skilled yet.
The top band students got to leave school early the Friday before Christmas break to perform in a musical Christmas concert off campus, and boys had to wear ties and girls, dresses. Some of the nerdy band boys got all dressed up in tight dress pants tucked in too much, exposing their awkward transitioning junior high bodies. But not the drummers. They wore their dress shirts but tucked them into lose jeans, and their ties hung a little more casually and were bright with fun colors, some even rebelliously featuring cartoon characters. So somehow it became the cool thing to wear a tie on that last day of school before Christmas break.
The night before the last day of school, I asked my mom around 8ish at night, if she would take me to get a tie to wear.
Yes, I was one of those kids who waited until the last moment to tell my parents anything—my mother hated science fair projects.
When I mentioned my tie request to my mother, I didn’t expect her to be all for it. I didn’t really need to wear a tie; I just kind of wanted to. My mom responded with enthusiasm, and we hurriedly hopped into our family’s minivan and drove to Mervyn’s because they were open later than most of the other clothing stores.
She and I searched the large store as elevator Christmas songs placed in the background. It was the same Mervyn’s she used to take me to for back-to-school shopping when I was little, and I would hide inside of the giant clothes racks, the circular ones.
My mother and I eventually found the perfect tie. It displayed the Looney Tunes characters with a Christmas theme. My mom bought me a dress shirt to match it too, and the next day at school, I was one of the cool kids … well, maybe not “cool,” but I stood out in a way that I liked.
As a grown man today, happily married and with my own son, I understand my mother’s eager excitement during those short hours of late-night shopping, and to this day, that Looney Tunes Christmas tie still hangs in my closet with all my others.
In many ways I have learned about God’s character through my mom. I didn’t need that tie, but she still blessed me with it. God does the same, and we need to remember all the blessings we have been given in our life—all the ties.