Daily Devotional for Thursday January 5, 2012

Gambling is Not the Answer to the Fiscal Problems We Face

(Psalms 118:8)

Gambling is NOT the answer to the fiscal problems we face! It has been sickening to watch over the past decades as one state after another has embraced gambling as their "answer" to make up for their fiscal irresponsibility. I will never forget back in the 70's when casino gambling was being proposed for Atlantic City, NJ. I remember vividly the arguments made about how it would create so many wonderful jobs, how the economic boom from legalizing gambling would benefit the city in many ways. Thirty years later, just one block off of the boardwalk where the casinos are located, Atlantic City is still the impoverished town it was 30 years ago. The only economic benefit has been to the casino companies, and even they have struggled at times.

Over these past 30 years, state after state has turned to the lottery to generate revenues. I find it amusing that most states sell gambling as a way to pay for their schools. At the end of the day, despite the tens of millions of dollars they take in, the schools are in worse shape than ever, and most every state that embraced gambling are still running huge budget deficits. Many states have also embraced gambling on land set aside for Indian tribes to generate revenue. Again, at the end of the day, the states have simply spent their portion of the "take" and those funds have done nothing to alleviate the fiscal crisis they face.

Now, in a new effort to generate new revenues from gambling, many states are looking to legalize internet gambling. Internet gambling is a multi-billion dollar a year industry, primarily run in small offshore countries where it is legal. Internet gambling is illegal in the United States, but there are still tens of millions of US citizens who have ignored that law and gamble online anyway. That has become the main argument for legalizing internet gambling. It already is going on, so the states might as well cash in on it.

What Vegas, Atlantic City, state lottery commissions, Indian casinos, internet gambling sites never tell you about are the millions of lives destroyed every year by gambling. The real story of legalized gambling you will never hear are those who end up addicted and lose everything of value in their life in the process. The only thing legalizing internet gambling will do, is exponentially add to the number of lives destroyed by gambling, since now a person can legally sit in the comfort of their home and lose everything they own without even getting dressed!

I am often asked whether it is a sin to buy a Lottery ticket. I am going to tell you up front that there is no verse in the Bible that says, "Thou shalt not gamble." However, let me give you a Biblical basis why gambling is a sin. Gambling involves an element of risk. Ultimately, you are putting your faith in something other than God for the outcome. Therein lies the foundation of why gambling is a sin. Instead of trusting God, instead of putting your faith in God, you have chosen to put your faith in luck. You are hoping to beat the odds and it is putting your hope and faith in something other than God that makes gambling a sin. Let me outline for you three additional reasons why gambling is a sin.

First, it can cause you to lose sight of your priorities. Never forget, anytime something is more important than the Lord in your life, it is a sin. We are to love the Lord our God with all of our heart and He MUST be our first priority at all times. Second, it can be a poor use of God's resources that He has entrusted to you. Many people I have counseled are in financial difficulties, not because they have not been blessed by God, but because they have misused and mishandled their blessing. Lastly, it can be a stumblingblock to your brother or sister. Many people have a compulsive nature, could end up in total bondage to gambling. So while it may not be a problem in your life, your involvement may cause someone else to have a problem with gambling.

Let me make an important point. When I talk about gambling, I am referring to the lottery, sports gambling, casino games, private card games, but I am also talking about the financial markets. Having been involved heavily in the financial markets in the 80's, I can tell you that many people use the word investing, when in fact they are literally gambling. When you are taking a financial position in the outcome of something that is unknown, that is gambling no matter what words you want to use. You have as much control over the stock price of a particular company as you do over the performance of your favorite football team.

This is NOT an indictment against having stocks and bonds. Prudent, reasoned, well strategized investment plans are encouraged in God's Word. I am talking about those who are simply rolling the dice hoping to get lucky in the stock market.

The Bible teaches us to be wise stewards with the resources God has entrusted to us. I am a strong advocate of investing a portion of our resources in well researched, fundamentally sound opportunities that have the real potential of giving us a reasonable return. That is wise use of God's money. God encourages this type of prudent investing. The line is crossed into gambling when you are just "hoping to be right," or entering into a situation with greed as your motive. No prayer, no research, simply taking a chance you might win. For the above outlined reasons, that is a sin my friend.

I love you and care about you so much. As you watch news over the coming months and see states legalizing more forms of gambling, as you see the move by states to specifically legalize internet gambling, remember you are watching society turn a blind eye to the destructiveness of gambling while they promote it as wholesome entertainment. The homosexual lobby in this nation has already accomplished that, the pornography lobby has already accomplished that, and so has the gambling lobby. Sadly, nobody cares about the real lives these perverse activities destroy in the process!

I will be praying for you today, especially those who have been caught up in the bondage of this addiction to gambling. If you, or someone you know is addicted to gambling, know that I will be praying today for those who are in this bondage. God is a God of deliverance and He can deliver someone from the bondage of gambling. Never forget that there is hope in Christ, and no matter how bad someone has destroyed their life, God can help them put the pieces together if they are ready to surrender to Him. Gambling is a sin, since inherent in the nature of gambling there is a reliance on chance instead of faith in God. But like all sin, Christ died on the cross to wash our sins away and give us victory!

***DECEMBER FINANCIAL UPDATE: A huge THANK YOU for everyone who prayed and those who were led and able to give to Liveprayer during December. As we start the new year, we ended December $20,000 short of meeting all of our basic operational needs. We desperately need $5,000 of that December shortfall immediately, cover the rest, and begin on covering our $40,000 operations for January. Please take a moment today and pray about making a special year-end gift to support God's work here at Liveprayer so that we can start this year with all of our basic operations current. *ALL CHECKS DATED DECEMBER 31ST WILL BE COUNTED TOWARDS YOUR 2011 GIVING!

To make your gift to Liveprayer, you can send your gift to Liveprayer on your major credit card at our website www.liveprayer.com under the"Donation" button, or you can give from your PayPal account by using my email address, bkeller@liveprayer.com , or you can mail it to: Liveprayer,6660 46th Avenue North, St. Petersburg, Florida 33709. All gifts to Liveprayer are 100% tax deductible.

Thank you to everyone who has prayed for me and Liveprayer during 2011, and for those God has led and were able to help me financially. It was another year of faithfully serving the Lord 24/7, impacting millions of lives worldwide while seeing over 80,000 souls we know of come to faith in Jesus, bringing the total to over 600,000 since we began over 12 years ago. All of that has only been possible because of your prayers and your faithful sacrifce. Please pray about helping me today. 2012, will be the year we help lead this nation back to God and His Truth!!!

In His love and service, Your friend and brother in Christ,

Bill Keller