Deuteronomy 30:19 I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live.

John 10:10 The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.

John 14:6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.

Choose life. That sounds simple enough and there was a time when it was a no-brainer. It actually still is but when you get the cares of this life stacked against you and you get overwhelmed in soul and your spirit gets broken, you come to the point where there are worse things than dying. I am not speaking of myself, but I am afraid that is where a lot of our youth find themselves today. To be without hope is a dark, desperate, and lonely place. Hidden behind a smile and maybe even a laugh, there are folks that are walking among us each day with their hearts just ripped out or crushed by the storms of life. They don’t wear a sign around their neck saying, “I’m depressed” or anything like that. Instead, they try to hide their disappointments and troubles behind the face that they put on each day. That is the very reason that I believe that Paul wrote to the Galatians in chapter 6 verse 2: “Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ.”

As I was preparing to write this article, I read about some of the events that occurred on this day in history. On this day in 1896, gold was discovered in Rabbit Creek in the Yukon Territory ushering in the last great gold rush of the west. Also, on this day in 1948, arguably the best baseball player to ever put on a uniform, George Herman “Babe” Ruth passed away at the young age of 53 years old. Probably in part to a wild and loose lifestyle. Also, not that it is noteworthy on its own, but Madonna was born on this day in 1958. I mention her only because she was single-handedly responsible for taking the youth of the ’70’s and ’80’s to a public level of perverseness that had previously been thought not possible. I may be giving her too much credit; she may not have done it on her own but she played a big role in the demise of the youth of that era. Youth that were not getting the in-home training as in past generations. Youth that were desiring to be heard, to get some attention, and to know that someone cared for them. When those are the desires that you have, it doesn’t take long to find someone to fill them or something to make you feel good and take you away from your problems if only for a little while. That brings me to my last historical occurence. On this day in 1977 the world was shocked to hear on the evening news that Elvis Presley, the king of rock and roll, had passed away at his home in Memphis at only 42 years old of a heart attack. Although he weighed 350 pounds at his death, it was later discovered that he had 199 prescriptions totaling 10,000 doses of sedatives. According to the autopsy report, there were 14 different drugs in his system and 10 of those in significant quantities.

That brings me to my point. At 42 years old, what could possibly be a valid medical reason for having that many prescriptions and that many drugs in your body? I believe the answer isn’t physical but mental. Although he was categorized as nearly the devil himself because of his lewd gyrations, the man provided the world with some of the most beautiful music ever recorded including gospel. Raised in a God-fearing christian home, he always kept his faith as far as not turning his back on his beliefs. He did however have an obvious drug problem. If someone with unlimited funds and the ability to travel anywhere anytime and lived in a mansion has the need for all those drugs, it isn’t hard to imagine how someone struggling to make ends meet, or survive high school or the breakup of their family, could be tempted to try drugs or alcohol or illicit relationships to temporarily escape their reality. We now live in a time when all three vices that I mentioned are destroying our youth and our nation as a whole in epidemic proportions. If we as adults, parents, and preachers continue to ignore our youth, we won’t have them very long. Beer commercials show good times and beautiful women but fail to show the destruction left behind by that kind of lifestyle. Our young people see only the allure of all that Hollywood throws at them. It is up to us to tell them that there is a better way and that is accepting the Lord Jesus as their personal Savior.

After talking with a local pastor last night, he said that he realizes that we as christians have been too quiet for far too long about the temptations our youth are facing today. Even though we may not be comfortable talking about certain things, I myself have never been comfortable going to a funeral home for a young person that has destroyed their life with alcohol, drugs, participation in illicit relationships, or even suicide. We have youth that have not gotten to be kids and are not capable of resisting the dangers of the real world without the gentle guidance and encouragement of adults. It is our job to encourage them to “choose life” and also to show them that there is “abundant life” in Christ. And most of all to show them that Christ is the ONLY way to heaven. I hate if I have offended anyone but facts are facts. You can’t be good enough, smart enough, pretty enough, religious enough, or rich enough to earn your way in. It is only by faith in the shed blood of Jesus and his death, burial, and resurrection that we can be saved.

I know I usually try to stick with encouraging articles and subject matter, but I felt the need to mention this. We do have abundant, eternal, life through Christ our Lord. He is our hope. We need to share that good news with the world. If we were talking about Christ as much as we are the coming solar eclipse of August 2017, how many more people would be hearing that Jesus loves them? Think about it. Have a blessed day in the Lord!!!

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