Daily Devotional for Tuesday January 4, 2005
Pornography and Gambling Destroys Lives
Just 50 years ago, if you wanted to look at naked women in magazines you had to consciously and purposefully go out and find those few places that sold pornographic magazines. Even more difficult to find was pornographic movies. Again, you had to seek out those who sold X-rated movies for the projectors of that day. Did pornography exist 50 years ago? Absolutely! However, you had to go to great lengths to find the people who were selling it. It simply was not something you could easily purchase.
Just 50 years ago if you wanted to gamble you had three options. One, you could take a trip to this new place in the desert called Las Vegas. Vegas was in its infancy and had not yet become the gambling Mecca of the world it has evolved into. Two, you could find the local bookie who took sports bets, action on the "numbers" (now known as the Lottery), ran private casino games, and usually had some connections with organized crime since gambling was also illegal. Three, you could gamble with your friends. Did gambling exist 50 years ago? Absolutely! However, it was not something you could do without a real desire on your part.
Please do not misunderstand me. Pornography and gambling DID exist 50 years ago. However, there was a clear stigma attached to those who looked at pornography and to those who gambled. It was understood in our culture and society that pornography and gambling were NOT acceptable things for a person to participate in. Sadly, in my short lifetime of only 46 years, I have watched that stigma attached to pornography and gambling removed to the point now, in the year 2005, it is perfectly acceptable in our culture and society today to view pornography and to gamble.
While both industries in the past catered to a very small percentage of our society and were part of the underground economy primarily run by organized crime, today, porn and gambling are both mainstream multi-billion dollar a year industries marketed to society as a whole and no longer controlled by crime bosses but by CEO's of publicly traded corporations.
Today, pornography is easily purchased at your local bookstore, drugstore, or 7-11. You can go to your local video store and rent movies for children in one section, and go to another section and rent movies depicting every kind of sexual act you can imagine. If you want to gamble, just stop at any gas station and after you purchase your gas, play the lottery. If a lottery ticket is too tame, treat yourself to a night out of gambling at the local riverboat casino or Indian reservation. Of course, you can always go to Vegas, Reno, Tahoe, or Atlantic City where gambling is glorified. Pornography and gambling is boldly, aggressively, and visibly marketed and advertised to the general public today just like any other product or service is.
The reason I am addressing this is due to the fact that because of the explosion and now mainstream acceptance of porn and gambling, there is also an explosion in the number of people who have become addicted and living in bondage to porn and/or gambling. A big misconception is that these are problems faced only by men. I can assure you that there is an equal amount of women in bondage to pornography and gambling as men.
What has exacerbated the number of people living in bondage to porn and/or gambling has been the COMPUTER. Even with the mainstream acceptance in our society today of porn and gambling, it has been the computer that has added billions of dollars a year in revenues to these two industries.
Why? Simple. You no longer have to leave your home to look at porn or to gamble. You can do it in the comfort and ANONYMITY of your home or office and nobody will ever know. Nobody has to see you at the local bookstore buying Playboy magazine. Nobody has to see you in the local video store renting an X-rated video. Nobody has to see you buying a lottery ticket. Nobody has to see you in the local casino. No, you can sit in the privacy of your home or office, turn on your computer literally 24/7, and access all the porn you want in seconds or bet on anything from sports to horses to when Britney will have a baby. Nobody sees you, nobody knows, or so you think.
Before I bring this message home I want to say something. I realize that companies are in business to make money and that the bottom line is their only god. However, it is men of flesh and blood who run these corporations and make the decisions, and it is these same men who will die one day and stand before God and answer for their lives. The most viewed sites on the Internet by a HUGE margin are porn sites. The greatest two streams of revenue on the Internet are from pornography and gambling. It has been reported that over 1/3 of the high speed Internet lines installed in the past year were installed for the purpose of being able to view pornography faster.
AOL and YAHOO are both publicly traded corporations. I can assure you today that if AOL and YAHOO shut down all of their "adult" sections, their revenues would decrease by half if not more! They have created "communities" that are ideal for those who are looking for sex via multiple and anonymous email addresses, adult chatrooms, instant messaging, and very inexpensive live audio and video applications. Millions of their subscribers are using these "adult sections" daily and they know it! Obviously there are ADULT ONLY sites that offer these same perverse opportunities, but I mention AOL and YAHOO since they are the two biggest, they are publicly traded companies, and they do not advertise themselves as ADULT ONLY but as "family friendly."
Listen, I am well aware that those who built the Internet did not build it for the purpose of pornography and gambling. Sadly, like all things, satan has used the Internet for his perverted goal to "kill, steal, and destroy." I also am aware that those companies who sell high speed connections do not market their product as ways to view porn faster, again, that has simply been a perverted use of their product. I am also aware that AOL and YAHOO did not start out to be conduits for porn, though they have willingly allowed themselves to be used by their members for that purpose and due to the incredible amounts of revenues they derive from offering "adult areas," have no motivation to do anyhting about it.
50 years ago it was easier to make the right choices. We lived in a culture and society that called sin sin. Looking at pornography, gambling, were called what they were, sin. Sadly, today porn and gambling are no longer called sin by our society, they are called "businesses." They are marketed and sold to the public like any other business, and run by men and women who have allowed money to take the place of their conscience. They are not going to change what they do. As a mater of fact, they will only get bolder and more aggressive in marketing and selling their "businesses" to the masses, not caring that they are bringing death and destruction to millions of lives.
It ultimately comes back to the fact each person who has choices to make. YOU HAVE THE CHOICE TO LOOK AT PORN OR NOT LOOK AT PORN. YOU HAVE THE CHOICE TO GAMBLE OR NOT GAMBLE. Being an Internet Ministry, we obviously deal with people who are part of the Internet world. Over these past 64+ months, I have dealt daily with the very real lives that have been damaged and destroyed by porn and gambling, especially over the Internet. I can't even being to tell you the number of suicides, broken marriages, destroyed relationships with children, legal and financial problems I have dealt with directly caused by pornography and gambling. Real lives left in a wake of destruction caused by pornography and gambling.
*THAT IS WHY YOU NEED TO STAY CONNECTED TO THE LORD EACH DAY THROUGH PRAYER AND THE WORD SO THAT YOU MAKE GODLY CHOICES WHEN FACED WITH TEMPTATION!
I love you and care about you so much. I stated above that people look at porn and gamble on the Internet in private and in anonymity and they think nobody knows. Don't forget that if you gamble online you have to set up an account at some offshore sports business and they know who you are. If you look at pornography on the Internet, despite all of the "free porn," it is only a matter of time before you start to purchase porn and those you buy it from know who you are. But most of all, GOD KNOWS! There is nothing that you do in secret because God sees everything you do. You can hide what you do from your spouse, from your children, from your boss, from your pastor, but you can't hide what you do from God.
I KNOW MANY READING THIS TODAY ARE BATTLING WITH PORNOGRAPHY AND GAMBLING. IT IS NO COINCIDENCE THAT YOU ARE READING THESE WORDS TODAY. SATAN WANTS TO DESTROY YOUR LIFE. GOD IS SPEAKING TO YOU NOW TO DEAL WITH THIS ISSUE BEFORE IT IS TOO LATE. IF YOU DON'T, IT WILL DESTROY YOUR RELATIONSHIPS, IT WILL RUIN YOUR FUTURE, AND IT CAN LITERALLY KILL YOU. DEAL WITH IT NOW!!!
I realize this is hitting home with many of you. Nobody knows about the bondage you are in to porn and/or gambling but God. Let it be a special tap on the shoulder from God that NOW is the time to deal with this issue in your file. It isn't going to change until YOU decide to change. The first step is admitting you have a problem. Once you admit you have a problem with porn and/or gambling, then you have to deal with it. YOU CAN'T DO IT ALONE OR YOU ALREADY WOULD HAVE!
You need someone you can be accountable to on a daily basis. You can't win this battle alone, you need someone to stand with you and to hold you accountable. You need the strength that you can only get from God. That comes from your daily relationship through prayer and the Word, from being in church, and finding ways to serve the Lord. All of these things working together will give you the hope and strength each day to walk in His victory. God is still a God of deliverance, and He can deliver you today from your bondage to pornography and/or gambling!
Since this is such an incredible problem so many face, this Friday I will be spending several hours praying for those in this bondage to pornography and gambling. I will be praying for those people fighting this sin in their life and believing God to touch their hearts, bring them under conviction, and help them to have the courage to take the steps necessary to walk away from this sin and live a victorious life. Pornography and gambling destroys lives, God has come to rescue YOU before they destroy yours!!!