Daily Devotional for Thursday September 10, 2020

Football and gambling!!!

(Psalm 118:8)

***DAILY PERSONAL PRAYER FOR YOU: Dear Lord, YOU are my provider. You know my daily needs. You promised to care what I need each day for life....food, shelter, clothing. I put my trust in You. You own the cattle on a thousand hills, and I come to You today to thank you for providing for my needs in the past, and knowing my needs today. Today, I come to You, asking you to meet those needs as I glorify You for Your provision. In the name of Jesus I pray...AMEN!

***THE DAILY LIVEPRAYER TV NUGGET: Pray for Liberty University in Lynchburg, Va. Founded by Jerry Falwell, Liberty has grown into a MAJOR university that has maintained the high moral standards that you would expect from a Christian college. For full disclosure, I received my theological training through Liberty 31 years ago. Sadly, after the death of Dr. Falwell, his son Jerry Falwell, Jr. took over as the head of Liberty. Being a successful businessman, it was under the leadership of Jerry Jr. that Liberty grew into the major university it is today. Today, there are 110,000 students enrolled at Liberty between their on campus population and those enrolled online. Along with Oral Roberts University in Tulsa, Liberty has to be a huge target for satan since it turns out thousands of young men and women of God each year, taking their education and faith into the marketplace! So it was sad to hear that Jerry, Jr. has fallen into very public sin along with his wife. I applaud the Board of Liberty who had no choice but to ask for his resignation. Please be in prayer for Jerry Jr. and his wife, and that the Lord will heal their marriage and use him in some capacity in the coming years. Also, please be in prayer for Liberty. I am fearful that this may be an opening for a power grab, possibly by someone who will lead LU down a much more liberal, non-Biblical path. I was shocked to hear they had some Black Lives Matter meetings on campus recently. BLM of course is not a racial justice organization, but run by devoted Marxists who are atheists and desire to see God’s plan for marriage and the family destroyed. I am praying that Liberty will find Godly leadership who will not compromise the Gospel or the Truth of God’s Word. It is one of the few universities Christian parents can trust with their child’s advanced education.

*Don’t miss the Liveprayer TV program, airing “LIVE” every Monday thru Friday from 11pm EDT to Midnight! For details on viewing options for the Liveprayer TV program, “LIVE” or “On Demand,” go to: https://liveprayer.com/liveprayer-show-about.cfm

***Action steps: 1) Pray for the nation to turn back to the Lord every morning for at least 5 min. 2) Share the Gospel every day with at least 1 person you know is no saved. 3) Every day share something Biblical with everyone you know via email. 4) Every day encourage at least ONE PERSON you know about the responsibility we have to VOTE in November. 5) GET ONE PERSON YOU KNOW TO DO ACTION STEPS 1-4!!!

Football and gambling. The new college and pro-football seasons start tonight, tho most without fans due to the Chinese Flu.. All across this nation, it is football season. It is a time for fans of the game to root their favorite team on to victory (hopefully the Ohio State Buckeyes will be playing in October). Sadly however, it is also a time for millions of people to gamble on this great sport.

From now until the Super Bowl next February, BILLIONS will be wagered legally and illegally on pro and college-football games. Even though gambling has always been part of sports, it is now openly accepted by all of the professional leagues. Over the next 5 months, lives will be destroyed by people who are in bondage to gambling on football games.

Over the past decade, by far the fastest growing form of sports gambling, especially on professional football, has been "fantasy football." The latest are the websites who offer daily action. In fantasy football, a predetermined group of people get together, make up fantasy teams from the existing pool of players, and are rewarded when the players they select have productive statistics in the games they play.

It sounds like fun and can be. However, in most fantasy leagues there is an "entry fee" and a financial reward for those who do well, which also means a financial loss for those who do poorly. You can call it whatever you want, but if you are playing fantasy football and there is money to be won or lost, YOU ARE GAMBLING!

The appalling thing to me has been the hypocrisy of the National Football League in regard to gambling. They openly promote standard betting on games as well as fully embracing fantasy teams and leagues. They have taken this position because they view it as an entertaining way for more people to watch and be involved in their product. They are 100% right since not many people would be worrying about the number of yards a running back on a bad team gained in a meaningless game late in the seasons, unless that player was on your fantasy team.

The reality is, the NFL as well as the NCAA that oversees the college game, fully understands and tacitly accept the fact that billions are wagered every season on their games. Pick up ANY newspaper during the season and in the back of the sports page are the Vegas lines. My friend, there is only ONE reason they are printed...for GAMBLING. The explosion of interest in college and pro football has been primarily driven by gambling. People no longer have to go to Vegas or bet with a local bookie.

Football and television are a match made in gambling heaven. The "line" is broadcasted and openly talked about in regard to EVERY game without any hesitation by the announcers. Programs geared to people who gamble are all over TV and radio during football season. You can now sit at home and watch virtually every college and pro game that is played.

I can assure you, the ONLY reason someone is up at 2 a.m. on a Sunday morning watching Hawaii play TCU, other than those who went to Hawaii and TCU, are people betting on the game. The ONLY reason someone is watching two pro teams with 2-9 records on a Sunday afternoon, other than the fans of those teams, is because they have a bet on the game. Gambling has driven the TV ratings, which in turn has put millions in the pockets of the NFL and NCAA schools!!!

I am often asked whether it is a sin to bet on a football game or 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. I will be praying for you today, praying for those who have been caught up in the bondage of this addiction to gambling, especially those caught up in gambling on football games and other sporting events. 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 never forget that Christ died on the cross to wash our sins away and give us victory. If you are in bondage to gambling on football, it is no accident you are reading this message today.

God is speaking to your heart about STOPPING. Don't spend another season without sleep, worrying about an 18-year-old student at a school you can't even pronounce making a 53-yard field goal to cover the spread or watching a meaningless Monday night game trying to get out of the hole from your losses on Sunday!!!

In His love and service,

Your friend and brother in Christ,

Bill Keller