Daily Devotional for Thursday January 14, 2016

The Nation Goes Crazy Over a $1.5 Billion Lottery Prize?

(Psalms 118:8 )

***DAILY PERSONAL PRAYER FOR YOU: Dear Lord, help me to be a good steward of the funds you entrust into my care. You and you alone are my provider. I pray for your wisdom and direction as I provide for the needs of my family and make my sacrifice for the Kingdom as a regular act of worship. In the name of Jesus I pray…AMEN!

The nation goes crazy over a $1.5 BILLION lottery prize! 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. Forty years later, Atlantic City has ended up a bust with most casinos now out of business.

Over these past 35 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.

The newest craze the past few years has been fantasy sports online. It has come under attack since there is no case that can be made it is anything but GAMBLING! Many states are now looking into the fantasy sports business, primarily so they can get their “cut!”

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 stumbling block 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!

In His love and service,

Your friend and brother in Christ,

Bill Keller