Wednesday, July 31, 2013



When he takes his seat on the bus for the ride home Jeremy is still laughing. His best friend has just told him a joke that still has him rolling. Every time he thinks he is done laughing he glances as Will and starts chuckling all over again. The first leg of the trip home is fine. Conversation keeps Jeremy in good spirits, but then Will gets dropped off at his house; Jeremy feels cold fingers of dread working their way into his stomach... in roughly ten minutes he will be home. After two more stops, Jeremy peers around the seat in front of him and through the front windshield of the bus he can see his house and the large black pickup parked in the driveway. Mommy isn't home. Daddy is. As the banshee wail of the breaks fills Jeremy's ears he feels a tightening in his chest that he has felt many times before. Unlike the other children who exit the bus and run playfully up the stairs to their front doors, Jeremy just stands at the edge of the driveway by the truck, watching as the bus rolls away and out of the neighborhood. He enters through the open garage door and glances inside the large plastic trashcan to the left of the steps leading up to the doorway. In the can he counts twelve empty, crushed beer cans and begins to tremble. That's two more than yesterday... and yesterday Daddy had been bad. He lets himself in, careful not to allow the screen door to slam behind him (that makes Daddy angry). As he enters the kitchen he hears his father's steps coming from the living room and heading his way. He hopes that his Daddy will be happy to see him or at the very least be ready to give him chores to do. Jeremy doesn't like chores but at least when he does them Daddy isn't angry. Sometimes Daddy even hugs him when he gets home, although that hasn't happened in weeks. But as Jeremy feared it isn't Daddy who walks through the doorway... it is the beast. It looks like Daddy but it eyes are bloodshot, its face and forehead red. It has the belt again, holding it with both hands so it can make that thunderous snapping sound that Jeremy has come to dread. The child doesn't know what he has done to make Daddy angry, but he knows why Mommy isn't home. She must have "smelt it on his breath" as she sometimes said. She must have found an excuse to work late. He doesn't blame her. He just wishes he could escape too.

I wrote "Devil In A Bottle" to adress an issue which in recent years has become a very controversial topic in the church: alcohol. Now I have no intention of getting into a theological debate over whether the bible condones or condemns drinking, or whether jesus turned the water into Welch's grape juice at that wedding party. Instead I want to discuss the issue of abusing alcohol and what a dangerous thing it can be. In my time as a youth leader I have watched the effects of heavy drinking bring disaster into people lives and those of their families.
In the song there are two characters. The first is a teenaged girl who begins to drink. She thinks like so many others her age that being the party girl that can drink the boys under the table is going to establish her among her peers. She gets drunk on the weekends and every time she does she feels more of her inhibitions drop away, she likes the attention of the boys that gawk at her as she dances and shows off her body, and she thrives off the jealousy of the other girls that stand around pointing and shaking their heads. Nevermind that her grades are plummeting, she's got her looks and her friends. What she doesn't know is that they aren't jealous or enraptured as she "dances". They are laughing at her as she stumbles drunkenly around the room. They are telling stories about how she was hitting on every guy she could find and how she threw up all over the couch then actually DROVE HOME! If something doesn't change in her life this girl will throw her life away. She will look old much to young. The drinking and partying will take its toll on her looks and her future. She will make disastrous decisions that she won't even remember the next day. Her parents don't even know what she is doing. When she hits college it will get even worse. The other character is a man like the one in the introduction. He drinks under stress and doesn't even realize what a monster he has become. His wife misses the man who proposed to her so sweetly and his children suffer either his violent temper or just his drunken laziness. There was a time when he could drink a beer or two and stop but those days have been gone for a long time. Now he just comes in exhausted and overwhelmed from work and drinks until he runs out of cans.
Does drinking do this to every person? No. Could it? Yes. this song is a warning not a sermon. Drinking has ruined so many marriages and so many childhoods that one cannot help but ask if it is worth the risk at all.
Ephesians 5:18 - And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit;

Proverbs 20:1 - Wine [is] a mocker, strong drink [is] raging: and whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise.

     What should we be filled with? what should we allow to control us. What have we made our ruler? Scripture warns that being drunk works against the ability of the Spirit of God to work in our lives. It deceives us and dethrones the Holy Spirit in our lives. We have a name for someone who is a "deceiver" and desires to rules us and replace Jesus as our Lord: Satan. That is why this song is called Devil in a Bottle. If he can use excessive drinking to take control of you then he receives that excess as worship. Furthermore as a follower of Christ our first priority should be to glorify Him and not jeopardize our testimonies.

Romans 14:21 - [It is] good neither to eat flesh, nor to drink wine, nor [any thing] whereby thy brother stumbleth, or is offended, or is made weak.

     One last thought for our teenage fans. If you are underage and have been drinking you are breaking the law.

James 4:17

So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin.


1)Do I use alcohol or any other thing in my life to excess?

2)Do I allow things to exist in my life that will cause others to stumble?

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