Copyright 1994 - 2018 Bill's Bible Basics
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November 18, 2012
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November 18, 2012
My Father's Habits, My Opinion Concerning Cigarette Smoking, My First Kiss And Old Furnace Mouth, Selfish Smokers And Do Unto Others, God Lets Us Stew In Our Juice So That We Learn From Our Mistakes And Experiences, Parents And Disciplining Children, A Pit Of Your Own Making, Stubbornly Ignoring The Warnings For Years, The Greedy American Tobacco Industry And The Tobacco Lobby, Statistics Concerning Global Smokers And Mortality Rates, A Quarter Of Your Life Unnecessarily Lost Due To Smoking Habit, Television Cigarette Commercials And Tobacco Industry Icons, A Message To My Christian Brethren, Sitting In The Muck And Mire Of Our Own Rebellion And Sins, Our Body Is The Temple Of God's Holy Spirit, Polluting And Defiling Temple And Sanctuary Of Our Body, Him Shall God Destroy, Turning Our Bodies Into Abominable Things Through Smoking, Glorify God In Your Body, Vices And The Demons Of Addiction, Satan Has Been A Liar And Murderer From The Very Beginning, Ye Shall Not Surely Die, Don't Let Sin Reign In Your Body, Lusting After Cigarettes, Yield Yourself To God, Ugly Agonizing End Of A Smoker's Life, Resist Dominion Of Addiction, Chained Slave To Nicotine Addiction, Fruit Of Your Addiction May Be Death, Paul's Flesh Vs Spirit Battle
As a small number of my longtime friends will know, I have a rather strong opinion when it comes to the issue of smoking. My own father was a heavy smoker while I was growing up over forty years ago. While he at first smoked cigarettes -- Lucky Strikes as I recall -- he later switched to smoking cigars, -- King Edward -- in the erroneous belief that they were not quite as hazardous to his health as cigarettes. My dad would smoke in the house as he watched weekend sports, as well as in the car while he drove us kids to some particular outing. Today, decades later, considering what has been discovered regarding the danger of secondhand smoke, I have found myself looking back and questioning my dad's seeming lack of concern for us kids who were forced to breath in the cigarette smoke in an enclosed environment, such as in the car.
Quite frankly, I consider cigarette smoking to be a dirty, disgusting habit. I do not allow anyone to smoke in my home. Even finding cigarette butts that were discarded by neighbors laying in the doorway outside my front door will perturb me. In fact, I am so sensitive, that just the whiff of cigarette smoke passing through the air can be enough to immediately clog up my sinuses. It is like a natural defense mechanism, or perhaps it is an allergic reaction, I suppose. The stench of cigarette smoke in someone's hair, or on their clothing, utterly repulses me. While they appear to be oblivious to it, having grown accustomed to it, I am most certainly not.
I have shared the story before regarding the first woman who I ever kissed. At that time, I was still a young man in my early twenties, and totally inexperienced when it came to the opposite sex. Yes, I was a so-called late bloomer. This was due in large part not only to the fact that I was rather shy and introverted, but also to my beliefs as a Christian man. From reading my "Good News for Modern Man" New Testament as a young teenager, I had acquired some very conservative views regarding human sexuality.
At any rate, this woman -- a resident of one of the colonias of Mexico City, D.F. -- took an interest in me. She was the aggressor. Thus, a very brief relationship ensued. She also happened to be a regular smoker. My gosh! It is an experience which I will never forget! I can still recall the shock and disgust I experienced when we became intimate. The taste of cigarette smoke in her mouth, and the numbing sensation which began to occur as a result of what I assume was an apparently high concentration of nicotine inside of her mouth, is quite unforgettable. Not wanting to offend her, I said nothing at the time.
While I can only vaguely recall what this woman looked like, I do remember her first name, even though this event occurred in my life almost forty years ago. However, on the very few occasions when this event has surfaced in my memory, I have preferred to think of her as "Old Furnace Mouth". Some of you smokers may take offense at my designation, but it perfectly describes how I remember this experience from many years ago. No doubt, this experience, as well as my experiences with my dad, my experiences with my neighbors, and other incidents which have involved smokers in elevators, etc., have helped to shape my opinion concerning smokers in general.
Basically, I have formed the opinion that some smokers -- but not all -- are very selfish, inconsiderate, rude people whose only thought is to engage in their filthy habit, regardless of how their actions affect others. One thing is for certain. It is not doing unto others, as Jesus commanded us to do in the following verse:
"And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise."
Luke 6:31, KJV
What actually motivated me to write this current article is that two days ago, I was engaged in an online exchange with a friend who is currently endeavoring to kick the nasty smoking habit. As I explained to this individual, some smokers seem to expect God to supernaturally take the desire to smoke away from them. However, personally, I am not convinced that this is how God normally chooses to operate. If He did, not only would we learn very little from our mistakes and experiences, but we might be tempted to adopt the attitude that no matter what we do wrong, there is no need to worry about it, because God will always pull us out of it.
Imagine if we were to operate in the same manner with our own children. By allowing them to believe that we will always be there to bail them out when they make mistakes, not only are we doing them a disservice, but we are asking for trouble. If we choose to operate in this fashion, a young individual may be prone to think "If I get caught speeding, no worry; mom and dad will just pay the fine for me." Or imagine the child who becomes involved in taking drugs. "Oh, if I get caught smoking this joint, no worry; mom and dad will just call in some favors, pay the fine, and I will be out of this mess." I discuss this same theme in articles such as "Beholding the Evil and the Good". Sometimes, God in fact prefers to let us stew in our own juice for a while, until we really learn the lesson that He is trying to teach us.
At any rate, if you happen to find yourself in the position where you want to stop smoking, please seriously consider the remainder of this article. I hope that it will be a help to you, even if it is somewhat of a hard pill to swallow.
While it may be difficult for some smokers to admit, the simple truth of the matter is that you knowingly dug the pit in which you currently find yourself. No doubt, many of you stubbornly ignored all of the warnings that have appeared on cigarette packages for literally decades now. You purposely ignored warnings that you read and heard elsewhere as well. In some cases, perhaps you also foolishly ignored what you saw happening to some of your acquaintances who are likewise smokers. How many have died from lung cancer, or suffer from other smoking-related illnesses?
Despite the abundance of evidence which has been before your very eyes, you just stubbornly kept on smoking anyway. Maybe it was because you erroneously thought that smoking is cool. Or perhaps you just couldn't resist peer pressure. Or maybe your dependence on your nicotine fix has built a cage around you from which you cannot escape. Whatever the case may be, in a word, you did this to yourself. Now that you need help and realize your error, you expect the Lord to just take away the desire to smoke. As I said, it doesn't quite work that way.
I first discussed this issue in my 1999 fourteen-part series entitled "Fulfilled Prophecy: The Beginning of Sorrows". In that particular series, I expose the greedy machinations of the American tobacco industry and the powerful tobacco lobby, which even today continue to reap great financial rewards at the expense of millions of addicted American citizens. While the following information is somewhat dated, nevertheless, it helps to expose the extent of the problem. I extracted this information from the World Health Organization website when I wrote the original version of the aforementioned series:
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About Tobacco and Treatment
* Tobacco use is widespread. At the beginning of this decade at least one-third of the global adult population, or 1.1 billion people, used tobacco. Although overall tobacco use is decreased in many developed countries, it increased in most developing countries. An estimated 48% of men and 7% of women in developing countries smoked; in industrialized countries, 42% of men and 24% of women smoked, representing a marked increase among women. Tobacco use is a pediatric epidemic, as well. Most tobacco use starts during childhood and adolescence.
* Tobacco kills. A long-term tobacco user has a 50% chance of dying prematurely from tobacco-caused disease. Each year, tobacco causes some 4 million premature deaths, with 1 million of these occurring in countries that can least afford the health-care burden. This epidemic is predicted to kill 250 million children and adolescents who are alive today, a third of whom live in developing countries. By the year 2030, tobacco likely will be the world's leading cause of death and disability, killing more than 10 million people annually and claiming more lives than HIV, tuberculosis, maternal mortality, motor vehicle accidents, suicide, and homicide combined.
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As I mentioned earlier, despite the fact that most people are aware to some degree of the dangerous health hazards which are associated with inhaling cigarette smoke, and using other tobacco-related products, a November 1999 CNN report clearly indicated that just as the WHO report had stated, this global addiction is on the rise, and millions of people continue to cut their lives short needlessly. Consider the following:
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More People Smoking Despite Known Health Risks
(CNN) -- Thursday is the American Cancer Society's "Great American Smoke Out," a day smokers around the country are encouraged to kick the habit. Despite millions of dollars in state spending for anti-smoking campaigns, more adults and teens are smoking now than in the early 1990s.
In 1991, 28 percent of high school age teen-agers said they had smoked in the past month. By 1997, the most recent figures available, that number jumped to 36 percent. And young adults aren't doing much better. Smoking among 18 to 24 year-olds has increased from 25 percent in 1990 to 29 percent in 1997
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Another report that was issued almost two decades ago in 1993 further reveals the extent of the problem. What I find most alarming is the fact that it states that people who smoke lose an average of twenty to twenty-five years of non-smoker life expectancy. It is crazy! Is losing a quarter or more of your life worth your foolish habit?
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Human Resources Development and Operations Policy HRO Dissemination Notes Number 1, February, 1993
Added to all the most fearsome plagues (the Black Death, smallpox, malaria, and tuberculosis), a man-made plague -- diseases resulting from the smoking, chewing and snuffing of tobacco -- is now the leading scourge of the twentieth century. But unlike most microbial plagues, damage to the human body from cigarettes progresses slowly. Approximately five trillion cigarettes are produced each year, or 1,000 cigarettes for each man, woman, and child on earth. Worldwide, consumption is increasing about 2% per year, with the greatest rise occurring in the developing countries and eastern Europe. China is the world's leading consumer of cigarettes (31%), followed by the United States (10%), Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) (7%), and Japan (6%). Fifty-two percent of cigarettes are consumed in Asia.
Hazards of Tobacco
Tobacco is highly addictive: studies of people who have smoked for many years show grossly higher death rates among smokers than among non-smokers. Most of this excess mortality is caused by tobacco. Overall, more than one-third of all regular cigarette smokers, many of these still in middle age, will be killed by the habit. Smokers lose an average of 20-25 years of non-smoker life expectancy. Tobacco also causes excess morbidity. Up to 14% of all preterm deliveries in the U.S. may be attributable to maternal smoking. Children whose parents smoke experience more respiratory symptoms and have an increased frequency of bronchitis and pneumonia.
Magnitude of the Hazard
The annual global tobacco death toll is already about three million -- about 1 million in developing countries -- and will rise to more than ten million by the 2020s according to current trends. Most of this increase will occur in developing countries. Of all the people aged under 20 alive today in China, 50 million will die prematurely from tobacco. For men, the epidemic of premature death from tobacco has already become substantial in all developed countries. The death rates in middle-aged men from all causes are especially high in eastern Europe, one major reason for this being tobacco.
----- End Of Quotes -----
When I was a young teenager, it was still permissible to air cigarette commercials on the television set. Looking back at that time, it is nothing short of mind-boggling to observe how many people allowed themselves to be duped and enticed into smoking and chewing lethal tobacco products -- and thus gradually filling their lungs with tar, and encouraging the growth of cancerous cells -- through deceptive advertising campaigns which promoted such industry icons as the "macho" Marlboro Man, the supposedly "graceful" Virginia Slim, and the idiotic "cool" Joe Camel. It would be ludicrous, if it was not so tragic. Have you allowed a fictitious character to take a huge chunk out of your life?
I honestly do not expect anything I say in this article to have an effect on the children of the world who smoke. After all, if decades of official warnings haven't turned the tide and woken up people, why should my words? However, it is my hope that at least some of my own Christian brethren will sit up and take heed to what I am sharing in this article. It is my hope that this discussion will speak to your heart, and perhaps give you the strength and the conviction to do what needs to be done, so that you can extend your life for His glory.
As I noted earlier, it is my personal belief that sometimes the Lord purposely allows us to stew in our own juice, just as any wise parent will do when a child repeatedly fails to take heed to parental warnings regarding some unacceptable or dangerous behavior. As I explain in "Beholding the Evil and the Good", sometimes, this is the only way that certain stubborn people will learn their lesson; but experience can be a very tough and unmerciful teacher.
At any rate, the Lord may allow us to sit in the muck and the mire of our own rebellion, sins and mistakes for a while so that we get a good dose of it. He symbolically shoves our face in it as if to say "Now is this really what you want, oh foolish, rebellious child?" In other words, through your current battle with smoking cigarettes, perhaps the Lord is trying to teach you an important lesson. While the children of the world may never stop to consider or even care what God thinks about their filthy habit, as a Bible-believing Christian, you are held to a higher standard, and you should consider how the Lord views your smoking addiction. God gave you a wonderful, healthy body to enjoy, and to use for His glory. Furthermore, the Apostle Paul informs us that our physical body is the temple of God's Holy Spirit, as we see by the following verses:
"Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are."
1 Corinthians 3:16-17, KJV
"What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's."
1 Corinthians 6:19-20, KJV
Wow! Notice Paul's stiff warning in the first set of verses. "Him shall God destroy" Paul writes. That one warning alone should really be enough to sober up any Christian who is a smoker. What if God were to simply allow cancer to take your body due to your foolish rebellion? Whose fault would it be? In the Book of Daniel, we discover the following prophecy which concerns an event that occurs near the end of the prophetic age:
"And arms shall stand on his part, and they shall pollute the sanctuary of strength, and shall take away the daily sacrifice, and they shall place the abomination that maketh desolate."
Daniel 11:31, KJV
While the previous verse is actually describing a certain leader and his army -- or arms -- who desecrate the Temple in Jerusalem, remove the Daily Sacrifice, and set up the Abomination of Desolation, in a symbolic sense, through your filthy smoking habit, you have turned around and knowingly disrespected your body, as well as polluted the temple, or sanctuary, of the Holy Spirit; that is, your body. We find another symbolic parallel in the following verse that is found in the Book of the Prophet Jeremiah:
"And I brought you into a plentiful country, to eat the fruit thereof and the goodness thereof; but when ye entered, ye defiled my land, and made mine heritage an abomination."
Jeremiah 2:7, KJV
While the previous verse is actually describing how the Lord brought the descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob into the land of Israel, and gave it to them for an inheritance, only to have them turn around and pollute and defile the land with pagan worship, child sacrifice, and other evil practices that greatly displeased and angered the Lord, at the same time, we can symbolically view this land as our bodies of clay. After all, as we read in the Book of Genesis:
"And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul."
Genesis 2:7, KJV
Now isn't that interesting: Jeremiah 2:7 and Genesis 2:7. So you see, God gave you life when He brought your spirit into the "land" of your body of flesh to enjoy, and to serve and glorify Him. However, by indulging in your smoking habit, you have turned around and abused and defiled your land; that is, your body. You have made the heritage which you received from the Lord -- again, your body of clay -- a dirty, abominable thing in His sight. You have filled your lungs with tar and other poisons and foreign pollutants. In the previous verse we read from the Book of Jeremiah, the word "abomination" is derived from the Hebrew word "towebah". This word refers to a disgusting, abominable, unclean thing. So as I said, you have polluted and defiled your temple which houses your spirit, and turned it into an unclean thing.
You will recall that in his first Epistle to the brethren at Corinth, the Apostle Paul wrote "therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's." Later on in that same Epistle he reiterates the same point by saying the following:
"Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God."
1 Corinthians 10:31, KJV
Obviously, by smoking, you are not glorifying God. In fact, you are not glorifying self either. You are actually slowly killing yourself.
While to some people smoking cigarettes -- or cigars for that matter -- is viewed as a physical habit and one of the many "pleasures" of this life, it is my belief that whether it is drinking, smoking, taking drugs or any other vice, whether we realize it or not -- and most people don't -- we are actually allowing ourselves to become enslaved by a deceptive demon of addiction. That demon just rides our backs as we slowly kill ourselves through our own foolish and irresponsible behavior. You may recall that in John chapter eight, Jesus clearly said that the Devil is a liar and a murderer. He has been killing people -- both physically and spiritually -- since the very beginning of the world. Consider this verse:
"Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it."
John 8:44, KJV
As I explain in other articles, that subtle serpent and demon of darkness pronounced a sentence of death on the first pair -- Adam and Eve -- when he purposely lied to them by saying "Ye shall not surely die." -- Genesis 3:4. As we all know, he told them the exact opposite of the truth. Satan's demons of addiction do the very same thing. They likewise lie to people and provoke them to slowly kill themselves through their own addictions. "Oh, just try it once. It is lots of fun. Doing this will make you cool, and you will have lots of friends. It won't kill you. You can stop at any time. Oh, come on now. Don't be a wimp!" Have you foolishly listened to these lies?
In the sixth chapter of the Apostle Paul's Epistle to the brethren at Rome, we find the following interesting verses:
"Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him. For in that he died, he died unto sin once: but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God. Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord. Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof. Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God. For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace. What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid. Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness? But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you. Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness. I speak after the manner of men because of the infirmity of your flesh: for as ye have yielded your members servants to uncleanness and to iniquity unto iniquity; even so now yield your members servants to righteousness unto holiness."
Romans 6:9-19, KJV
Please notice that Paul writes "Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof." This is exactly what you are doing. Sin -- which is breaking, violating or transgressing God's Laws -- does reign in your body; and because it does, you are obeying the lusts of your body, exactly as Paul writes. Because of your uncontrollable nicotine fix, your body is is fact physically and mentally lusting after cigarettes. How often and how many do you smoke a day? One pack? Two packs? More? Do you think that you are addicted?
However, rather than obey the lusts of our flesh, what does Paul advise us to do? He writes "but yield yourselves unto God". It is as simple as that. Instead of yielding to your demonic addiction, what you really need to do is yield to God's Spirit and strive to kick your habit, regardless of what it takes. To do otherwise is to slowly kill yourself; and the very end will not be pretty. As my very own father informed me regarding one of my cousins who was a longtime smoker who died in recent years, a death from lung cancer can be very slow, very agonizing, and very ugly. The Apostle James offers us similar advice when he writes the following:
"Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you."
James 4:7, KJV
The Apostle Paul then continues by saying "for sin shall not have dominion over you". To reiterate, that is exactly what has happened to you. The sin of addiction has in fact taken dominion over you. Furthermore, you have yielded to it for so long, that now that you want to resist it, and break your smoking habit, you are finding it extremely difficult to do. Your flesh is rebelling and shouting "No! No! Give me more nicotine, give me more!"; but God's Spirit within is saying, "You really need to stop smoking before you kill yourself."
Paul then continues with "Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey". As we have already seen, this is precisely what occurs to smokers such as yourself. You have in fact became the very servant -- or more accurately stated, slave, from the Greek word "doulos" -- to your nicotine and cigarette addiction. You no longer have control over it, it has complete control over you. Your nicotine addiction has you tightly bound in chains. Have you in fact become a literal chain smoker?
Notice that Paul uses the phrase "the infirmity of your flesh". Because you have yielded yourself to this demon of addiction, you have in fact become infirm -- or sick -- in the flesh, and it will only continue to get a lot worse, the longer that you continue to smoke, until you reach an ugly end. Is that what you really want? Do you really want to continue to fill up your lungs with tar and other poisons? Do you have a suicidal death wish? Do you honestly want to cut your life short by possibly twenty-five per cent?
Paul then states "for as ye have yielded your members servants to uncleanness and to iniquity unto iniquity; even so now yield your members servants to righteousness unto holiness". As we have already seen, this is precisely what you need to do now. You need to resist Satan and his demons -- particularly his demon of addiction -- and yield yourself to God. You need to sanctify your body unto the Lord, and remember that it is the temple of His Spirit, which is meant to be used for His honor and glory. Paul concludes by saying the following:
"For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord."
Romans 6:23, KJV
While the Apostle Paul is obviously speaking of Eternal Life versus death in the previous verse, as we have already seen, in a very real, physical sense, the wages -- or fruit -- of your sin of the flesh -- that is, addiction -- may also very well be a premature, painful death. Do you really want that to occur? Isn't it time for you to stand up and resist Satan and his demon of addiction and take back the reins of your life? Or are you just going to go quietly into the night and be another victim of smoking and lung cancer? Will you be just one more sad statistic in someone's annual report?
As I point out in other articles, the Apostle Paul was by no means a stranger to these personal battles between the flesh and the spirit. It is not surprising then that in the very next chapter he writes the following:
"For we know that the law is spiritual: but I am carnal, sold under sin. For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I. If then I do that which I would not, I consent unto the law that it is good. Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not. For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do. Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me. For I delight in the law of God after the inward man: But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin."
Romans 7:14-25, KJV
Does that sound familiar? Is that how you feel? Do you tell yourself "I really need to stop smoking", and then just do the exact opposite? In his own rhetorical question, Paul then asks "who shall deliver me?" Are you asking yourself the very same question? "Who shall deliver me from this smoking habit that is slowly killing me?" Paul provides us with a clear answer when he writes "I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord."
Please go to part two for the conclusion of this article.
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