Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us,--Hebrews 12:1

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Have a Happy, and Safe, Fourth of July!

Tomorrow is the Fourth of July, our Independence Day. It's a day that's often celebrated with cookouts, fireworks, and partying. We wish you all a happy 4th, and a safe one.

That means, if you're underage, NO DRINKING!

I'm one who always underestimated the dangers of teen alcohol and drug abuse. Oh, I knew it was wrong and always discouraged it, but I never recognized the severity of the danger it posed. Until January 15, 2011.

My beautiful daughter was at a "party" where several underage kids were drinking and getting high. One 19-year-old idiot, drunken and stoned, became angry at Amanda, pulled out a gun, shot and killed her. One minute, she was a lively, beautiful teenager with her entire life ahead of her. The next, she lay lifeless in a pool of her own blood on the floor.

Alcohol and drugs lead even the smartest of people to do stupid things. Amanda had no idea when she arrived at that "party" that she would never walk out. She didn't recognize the risk, didn't foresee the danger. Now she's dead.

Part of my goal now is to educate teens and their parents of the dangers of teenage substance abuse. People often say alcohol and drugs don't hurt anyone but the person doing them. WRONG!

Amanda is dead, and I can't even count the number of people it hurt. Countless other mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, and friends around the world have faced similar tragedy--losing their teenaged loved ones to the poor decisions and unsound judgment resulting from alcohol and drug abuse. I hear from a lot of their parents and siblings who tell me their stories of lost children, brothers, and sisters.

The following video was sent to me from a mother in Ireland who lost her 17-year-old daughter to a drunk driver in 2002. It's a television ad she hopes will save lives. "She had been drinking earlier and then took a chance to go for a short drive in a car driven by a known dangerous driver. The rest is history literally, she didn't come home. Oh! how I have begged and pleaded with so many young people since then to be more careful," the mother wrote me in her email.

It's important for teens to recognize (and for parents to explain to their children) that being under the influence not only puts you at the mercy of your own bad decisions, but even being in the vicinity of others who are drunk and stoned puts you at risk of becoming victims of their poor judgment. You can't trust anyone who's been drinking or doing drugs to behave rationally, or safely.

Regardless what others may tell you, you don't have to drink or do drugs to have a good time. In fact, drinking and drugs can turn what seems like a good time into a tragedy in an instant, without warning. Anyone who tells you alcohol and drugs can't hurt you, or can only hurt the person using them, is a liar!

I know. First hand. My daughter, Amanda Marie Allison, died at 17 years of age, murdered by a drunken, stoned fool.

If you're a teenager, please avoid alcohol and drugs. Avoid even being around others doing them. If you're a parent of a teenager, sit them down and talk to them. Tell them about the dangers, not just of abusing alcohol and drugs themselves, but the danger of being around others getting drunk and stoned.

Have a happy, and SAFE, Fourth of July tomorrow. I pray that God will bless you and keep you safe.

If you don't know Jesus as your personal savior, if you're missing the faith, hope, and love written about here, if you want the peace that we as Christians have in our lives, please visit our Got Jesus? page for step-by-step instructions on how to accept Jesus Christ as your personal Savior.

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