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Eat, Drink and Be Merry

“Happy New Year.” “Eat, drink, and be
merry… have a good time!”

Each year, when the waning hours of
December give way to the opening moments
of January, millions of people around the
world celebrate. Many attend parties, some
lavish extravaganzas with feasts and open bars,
others small private gatherings with more
modest refreshments.

Restaurants and nightclubs are filled to
capacity, and multitudes gather in New York
City’s Time Square to wait for and watch the
fall of a large, lighted globe which symbolizes
the passing of the old year into history and the
arrival of the future in the form of the New Year.

At the stroke of midnight, millions lift their
glasses for a toast to the New Year, and by
word and example encourage each other to
“eat, drink, and be merry!”

There are other celebrations, too, where the
liquor does not flow and the merriment is not
a boisterous attempt to overcome propriety
and inhibitions. One could not fail to notice
that the eating, drinking, and being merry in
these celebrations is of quite another kind.

In thousands of churches across the
country, Christians gather for “watch night”
services to give thanks for God’s blessings
during the old year and to invoke His
guidance and provision in the year to come.
There is time given for fellowship, testimonies,
praise and worship, prayers — for food, music,
tears, joy, and laughter! Here, too, people are
observing the universal invitation to eat,
drink, and be merry (spiritually, as we’ll see).

It should come as no surprise that
Christians should be able to celebrate with
genuine exuberance and joy — even more
than the people of the world. Our Lord said,
These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy
might remain in you, and that your joy might be
full
(John 15:11).

Becoming a Christian does not take away
all problems and difficulties in our lives. All of
us have discovered that there are numerous
occasions for unhappiness. But neither should
being pious appear to be an ordeal of misery.

A keen observer once noted that sometimes
Christians act like a man with a headache —
he doesn’t want to get rid of his head but it
hurts to keep it on. Groaning, complaining,
and displaying a mournful face is not the best
way to express one’s faith. How can Christians
expect unbelievers to seek very earnestly
something that looks so uncomfortable?

Jesus said, In the world ye shall have
tribulation; but be of good cheer; I have
overcome the world
(John 16:33).

If we have the assurance of being
overcomers with Christ, we have a right to
celebrate! As Christians, we of all people
should be able to say “eat, drink, and be
merry.

Eat

First of all, we can eat. Our appetite should
not be for caviar and other gourmet delicacies,
but for the Word of God. The Apostle Peter
admonishes, As newborn babes, desire the
sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow
thereby
(1 Peter 2:2).

God’s Word is our source for the substance
of faith… and faith provides the strength that
enables us to stand against the sea of trouble
that may surround us at times.

I love the imagery of Micah 5:4, And he
shall stand and feed in the strength of the Lord.

What a great thought — that through the
Word we can feast and draw strength from the Lord.

In the original language, the meaning of the
word translated “feed” also implies “to
shepherdize.” To me that suggests that the
benefit we obtain is not just food, but also a
shepherd to guide us, watch over us, restore us,
protect us, and preserve us. No wonder the
Lord invites us to “come and dine.”

In the “Decade of Destiny,” let us take
advantage of the bountiful benefits God has
provided for us in the Bible. Even as we daily
consume physical food, every single day may
we find a renewal of faith from taking in the
substance of God’s Word which will give us joy
and provide strength for life’s challenges.

Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the
waters
(Isaiah 55:1).

Have you ever been thirsty? Surely thirst is
one of the greatest discomforts the human
body can endure.

I’ll never forget being in Israel a few years
ago to tape a television special. I was
performing a song on location — out in the
merciless, glaring heat of the sun on a 115+
degree day.

After a while my mouth and throat were dry
and parched. My tongue actually stuck to my
teeth. I was absolutely parched. Somehow I
managed to get through the song, but I felt
exhausted and faint, and we headed back to
our hotel.

As soon as we arrived, they gave me a large
glass of iced tea, and I quickly drank it down.
That was several years ago, and I still
remember how good that cold drink tasted. I
felt like it had saved my life!

Perhaps you’ve had your own desert
experience, when everything around you
seemed dry and lifeless and you were nearly
overcome with thirst. What a joy in such a
time to drink of the water of the Word — to
taste and see that the Lord is good!

Jesus ministered to a Samaritan woman at a
well one day. After asking her for a drink from
the well, He offered her a source of living
water. Whosoever drinketh of the water that I
shall give him shall never thirst; but the water
that I shall give him shall be in him a well of
water springing up into everlasting life
(John
4:14; John 7:37).

Think of it — Christ himself, and the Holy
Spirit, will well up inside of us as a source of
living water that will forever quench the thirst
of our souls. The water they give is permanent
and satisfying!

How do we drink of this living water? By
practicing His presence and spending time
with Him. If we eat by reading the Word of
God, then we drink by spending time in
meditation and communion with the Lord in
His presence.

Isaiah 12:3 says, Therefore with joy shall ye
draw water out of the wells of salvation
. All
Christians have this living water inside when
they receive the Lord. I do! You do! But so
often we don’t have the spiritual maturity that
keeps that fountain of water springing forth.

People who sometimes complain that their
spiritual lives have become very dry need to
take that scripture to heart and draw new
water from the well and renew their joy.
Perhaps they have not been drawing from
Him, drinking instead from some man-made
well. Let’s be careful what we drink, lest the
water within become unfit and contaminated.
It is only when we draw from Him and His
Word that we allow the Holy Spirit to truly
refresh us.

I believe the effect we get from drinking
Christ’s living water should be the same that
people of the world get from drinking wine —
it should bring a relaxed joy. And be not drunk
with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with
the Spirit
(Ephesians 5:18). Drinkers seem to
experience an almost immediate sense of joy
and happiness, just because they’ve been
drinking. In the same way, when we drink of
the water of life, people should notice that we
are experiencing happiness and joy… because
we’ve been drinking.

Be Merry

Jesus said in John 10:10, I am come that they
might have life, and that they might have it more
abundantly.

Nowhere does the Bible teach that we
shouldn’t enjoy life. Rather, we are told that
Jesus intended for us to live an abundant life.
Abundance is a positive condition, suggesting
satisfaction and joy.

Many in the world seem preoccupied with
their pursuit of happiness. They equate
happiness with hilarity — with being carefree
and giddy and full of laughter.

To me, there’s a difference between
happiness and joy. The world’s happiness is
totally dependent on circumstances, on what’s
happening around them. But the true
Christian can have joy no matter what comes
his way because of the abundant life that is
being poured out through him.

The Psalmist David declared, Thou has put
gladness in my heart
(Psalm 4:7). These are not
the empty words of a pious Pollyanna! David
knew many heartaches and disappointments
in his life. He suffered the loss of a child, his
own son turned against him, his king tried to
kill him, his own reign was turbulent and
filled with war and struggle. Certainly he
didn’t live a sheltered, picture-perfect life, yet
he could say he had gladness. Happy is he…
whose hope is in the Lord his God,
he wrote in
Psalm 146:5. And in the midst of life’s trials,
troubles, and heartaches, that is the only
source for happiness.

The world’s quest for happiness through
eating, drinking, and being merry is doomed
to failure. Following through with their
formula will only cause them to wake up the
next morning feeling really bad. As my
husband, Jack, has often said, “If you have
champagne on Saturday night, you’ll have a
real pain on Sunday morning.”

In reality, the only people who can find true
joy and happiness by following the advice to
“eat, drink, and be merry” are the people of
God! They partake of spiritual manna that
produces true joy. Beloved friend, in these last
days, don’t be overcome by the darkness of the
world and the doom and gloom some would
promote. Eat of the promises of God’s Word.
Drink of the Holy Spirit’s never-failing
presence. Be merry with the joy of the Lord
welling up within! Life is a rich adventure
when we live up to our privileges and
experience His unspeakable blessings.

This, then, should be our invitation to the
lost and unsaved. Rather than issuing a
warning to sinners to seek salvation as an
escape, we can joyfully proclaim, “Come with
us and we will do thee good — the Lord
invites you to eat, drink, and be merry… for
tomorrow we live!”

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