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Scripture: Hosea 4:6, 1 John 3:2-3
Perhaps the subject of most vital interest to every human being is how to postpone one’s funeral. Life itself is the sweetest gift that anybody possesses and the greatest causative factor behind unhappiness is the dreadful toll of sickness and disease.
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Perhaps the subject of most vital interest to every human being is how to postpone one’s funeral. Life itself is the sweetest gift that anybody possesses and the greatest causative factor behind unhappiness is the dreadful toll of sickness and disease. Millions of people live in daily fear of languishing in pain through some possible future disease. In spite of the tremendous advances made in medical research, the world continues to suffer under the weight of much mysterious unexplained illness.

Now how does all this scene of human misery affect the great God of the universe, friends? Believe me, He is not pleased to see His creatures suffer. His plan for us has always been clearly revealed in the Bible. He wants us to be strong and in good health. But mankind has largely ignored the basic rules of taking care of that body which the Scriptures laid down long, long ago. God says, “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.” And how true that is, especially in these days of physical and moral excesses.

One of the strangest paradoxes of American life is found in this area of health. Though people fear sickness above every other enemy, yet they do almost nothing about taking care of their health until after disease has already struck. In a year’s time, one out of every dollar spent on medical needs, ninety-five cents was spent to get well by the average American and five cents was spent on preventive medicine. Now this doesn’t make a lot of sense. But in this field most people don’t seem to excel in reason or good sense anyway. It reminds me of a group of tourist in Spain who had gone there to visit one of the historic sites.

Up on the side of a cliff, there was an ancient monastery which they wanted to visit. After they had toured the monastery, they were being lowered back down the side of the cliff. The only way to get up there was in a basket which was pulled up over a pulley by some of the monks. As they were getting into the basket to be lowered back down, they noticed that the rope was rather frayed. So they asked the monk in charge. “How often do you change the rope?” And the monk said, “Well we change it every time it breaks, of course.” That wasn’t much comfort to those who were being lowered down in the basket.

The care and control of one’s body requires self-denial and self-discipline. These characteristics aren’t very popular in the soft materialistic world that we have inherited. Friends, perhaps you haven’t realized it before, but there’s a marvelous relationship between good health and good religion. A sick, weakened body can’t really give full true service to God and His commandments. But do we realize that human bodies and systems are exactly the same as they’ve been for thousands of years?

Also, the basic laws of our being have been unchanged for generations. Doctors, drugs and disease may change drastically as time goes along but the human machine is essentially the same as when God made it at the very beginning of human history. The laws which govern our health are permanent and unchanging. “Whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.” That’s merely repeating an eternal truth which applies to every age and every people.

The practices which kept Grandpa healthy will doubtless be good for us. And by the way, some of the more simple and natural remedies are still recognized as being the most effective-fresh air, exercise, plenty of water, lots of sleep and relaxation are standard prescriptions of modern physicians just as they were a generation ago. Unfortunately under the 20th century scheme of things, people will not slow down to enjoy the benefits of these reliable remedies.

Medical doctors also seem to find it easier and faster to just give an injection or a pill instead of utilizing some of those longer treatments more in line with nature’s operation. Now don’t misunderstand me, friends, there’s certainly a need for every new medical aid to combat disease, but there remains a lingering question that we depending too much on drug medication instead of the slower but more genuine benefits of natural therapy. If the preventive practices of good living habits could be used against illness, many of the emergency drug medications would never be needed today.

Well, I want to deal today with another health and life destroying habit which has recently received world-wide publicity. I have a list of several reasons here by tobacco smoking is wrong. First of all, it contains nicotine which is one of the most deadly poisons known to man. Besides nicotine, there are 18 other active poisons found in the cigarette smoke. If you want to see what these poisons really look like, just blow the smoke through a white handkerchief and observe the yellowish deposit on the cloth. A half of pure nicotine placed on the bare skin of a small rabbit or rat will immobilize the animal and knock it unconscious almost instantly. In every cigarette there are 2 or 3 drops of that pure nicotine. Not all of it, of course, is absorbed into the body of a person when he smokes, because if that were true he would die immediately. But slowly those poisons are assimilated into the system and slowly the lungs are coated with that fatal tobacco tar. The narcotic affect soon makes a man an addict so that he craves more and more of the tobacco with its nicotine.

Many people claim that it quiets their jittery nerves. Of course it’s true the narcotic nicotine gives a temporary sedative effect, but so does a tenth of a grain of morphine. But the sedative wears off in a short time and those jangled aggravated nerves begin to cry out for more. Thus, more nicotine is required to overcome the jittery felling and the end result is more addiction. Habitual smokers have bodies that are simply saturated with the poisons of tobacco.

One cigarette often will cause the blood pressure to rise 10 to 15 points. It contracts the arteries causing the heart to overwork in pumping the blood through the contracted vessels. That’s why some smokers have yellow discolored finger tips. The tiny blood vessels are so constricted that circulation is not adequate in those extremities to keep them healthy.

The Mutual Life Insurance Company checked on the mortality among tobacco users and abstainers. They found that among the tobacco abstainers there was but fifty-nine percent of the expected mortality rate. The total abstainers live nearly one-third longer than the tobacco users. Now this is pretty good evidence on how to postpone your funeral. I would say, friends.

Books could be written about the massive research into the deadly effect of nicotine on the body. Since the Surgeon General’s first release on the subject, every new study had documented more supporting information. Nicotine is possible the most deadly poison known to man. Millions have died as a result of it malignant influence. By constricting the arteries of the body, nicotine forces the heart to over-exert. Lungs have become riddled with carcinoma. Fetuses have been fatally affected. Hardly an organ of the body escapes the insidious effect of the deadly nicotine poison.

Is it a sin to us tobacco? There is no sense in denying a patent truth. Anything that defiles the holy body sanctuary is a sin. God says He will destroy those who do it. We dare not call it less than it is. It is a sin, and no Christian should presumptuously shorten his life by introducing it into the body. Few church members would consider taking even small, microscopic doses of arsenic or strychnine into their body. Yet they take something just as deadly. Slowly the cigarette tars coat the delicate membranes of the lungs until death results. It is exactly the same when men and women deliberately inhale the toxic fumes of tobacco until the accumulative effect causes death. It is suicide on the installment plan. It is morally wrong to take God’s property, violate our stewardship, and rob Him of His possessions.

And what can we say about the waste of money on tobacco? Most smokers spend $50 or more every month for their indulgence. By retirement time this would amount to $25,000, enough to guarantee a fair life income, even if Social Security fails. Yet many of those who waste money on tobacco come to the end of life penniless and dependent on welfare or relatives. What an unspeakable tragedy! No wonder God said, “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.” Hosea 4:6. How much better it would be simply to place the $25,000 in a neat pile and strike a match to it. At least it would not be serving as a destroyer of life.

We can surely see by now what a serious matter it is to desecrate the physical body and mind which were created for specific, spiritual purpose. This principle of being accountable to God for the way we take care of our bodies is rooted deeply in the Bible, but millions are becoming health conscious today just to avoid the painful effects of neglecting their bodies. And it is so true that reason and good judgment alone should provide enough motivation for a balanced diet-and-exercise program.

But sometimes logic, and even scientific evidence, has a tremendous conflict with appetite, social custom and addiction. Caffeine is a dramatic example. There is a growing catalog of research which points to caffeine as a pernicious enemy of good health. It is a powerful, habit-forming drug which has fastened millions in a vice of addiction. Many find it just as hard to give up caffeinated drinks as to stop smoking or drinking. It has been indicted for its adverse effect upon heart, stomach, nerves and even the fetuses of expectant mothers.

Now the big question is how to get rid of the habit. Friends, there’s only one way to do it. Just stop. You can’t taper off and tease yourself with the taste of something so destructive and poisonous as this. Throw it away. Make a resolution of the will never to touch it again and then ask God to strengthen you to overcome it right now. You can gain the victory if you desire to have it.

Now I know I’m getting a bit hard on you but what about tea, coffee, and the other caffeinated drinks? Do you know that one and a half to two and a half grains of caffeine is found in each cup of coffee and that it’s also a dangerous habit-forming drug? People with heart trouble and high blood pressure are warned to leave off tea and coffee as well as smoking.

Tea, in addition to its content of caffeine, has another harmful constituent, tannic acid. The New York Life Extension Institute reveals that out of 16,562 men examined by the institute, the excessive use of alcohol was considered to be responsible for seven per cent of the physical impairment while coffee and tea were assigned as a cause of forty per cent of these ailments and impairments.

Well, our time is just about gone, friends. Let me leave you with this text in closing, 1 John 3:2, 3. “Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. And every man that hath this hope in him, purifieth himself, even as he is pure.”

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