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Rick's Epistle to the Nashvillians

An Appeal to the Faithful for Moderation

The Lord has within his mind a design for all of His people. As each of God?s children grows into adulthood, he finds that God has prepared for him a ministry. God shapes our talents and hones our skills and makes of us an instrument to do His works on Earth. It is through our individual ministry that the Lord continues to shape the life of the World.

One of the most moving ministries that God calls many of His children to is that of Music. One of His children called to the ministry of song was George. George was Blessed by the Lord with a golden voice, innocent looks and a kind heart. Early in his life, George sought to bring music to God?s people and he found great success therein. And by the time of his early adulthood, George?s voice was heard throughout the Land and he brought peace and contentment to the hearts of those who hearkened to his Great Gift.

But Satan is always moving to thwart the will of God and to destroy his works by tempting the hearts of men in those places where they are weakest. Satan knew that all men have the Power of Choice, which is one of God?s Greatest Gifts to his children. Satan knew that he could pervert the Power of Choice to serve his own works of evil. And as George moved through the land spreading God?s word through his music, Satan laid traps before George?s feet, knowing that he might stumble.

One of Satan?s most vile traps is that of wine and other liquors. An excess of wine leads to an excess of revelry, both of which lead to the path of debauchery. Once the path of excess is opened to man, he ceases to do God?s work and does the bidding of Satan. Satan knew that George?s spirit loved God but that he had all the weaknesses of the flesh. George was weakest when his mind and heart were clouded by drink and so it was that as George?s fame grew, so too did his riches. And George began to use his riches more often for the purpose of revelry, and he imbibed of wine and other liquors, dulling his senses and darkening the temple that is his spirit. Satan knew that he had opened a fissure in George?s heart so that if he continued to set traps of wine and revelry before George?s feet, that he must fall from his high seat and dwell outside the Light of God?s Love.

And so it came to pass. George became enamored with wine, women and revelry and as a result of his great perversity he ran afoul both of mortal law and God?s Commandments. George was constrained by the Governor?s officials and restricted in his ability to travel due to his excess of public revelry and drunkenness. But it was God?s Will that this should be so. His Divine Punishment of George was created to be an opportunity for George to reflect on his tribulations and in doing so enter in again to God?s Path of Righteousness.

But Satan knew that the heart was a nest of yearnings and that George?s heart had hardened against God?s Chastening. Instead of turning to prayer and reflection, George had sat in bitterness and had grown willful and angry over his reprimand. Most of all, George greatly desired to revel in wine and liquor again as he once had done. George?s mind seethed with phantom injuries done to him and illusory injustices that Satan caused to appear in his mind?s eye. More than ever, George yearned for alcohol to dull the pain of his loveless heart and soul.

A day came when George could no longer stand the pain in his soul, and Satan laughed in his wily heart, for now the time had come for which he had prepared. The trap he now set before George?s feet would be one of the deepest humiliation, to alienate George from God?s Love everlastingly. On a hot summer afternoon, George purposed that he would break the ban that constrained him from travel, and he would go into town and purchase the liquor that he was now so enslaved to in his heart. George mounted the conveyance that he used to mow the beautiful green grass that bordered George?s abode. As George?s chariot rolled out onto the street, it belched forth vapors of fire and brimstone and made the very sounds of the Abyss. George cared not. His one thought was to reach town and procure the wine for which he so longed.

As George progressed down the Highway of Shame, Satan whispered in his ear constantly, urging him to move faster to seek his heart?s desire. As would any fool, George listened to the lies of The Deceiver. He pushed his chariot to the limits of its endurance, causing it to smoke greatly and spurt forth fire in morbid abundance. Other men traveling on the street in safer and more respectable manners looked on George and found only pity and scorn in their hearts. Surely, here was a man enchained to his desires and enslaved to Satan?s Darkness.

George did obtain liquor on that sad day, but he lost the esteem of his fellow man and was cut off from God?s Light. George?s once mighty ministry of music was cast out from men?s hearts as they saw that George had chosen to walk a dark path. And so I write to you my brothers and sisters of God?s Church in Nashville. Keep pure your hearts and be ever vigilant for it is with great deviousness and guile that Satan seeks to tempt and pervert your soul that is God?s true abode. Keep true to the ministry that God has set in your hearts and you will be rewarded richly with the Kingdom of Heaven.

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