WHY GAMBLE WHEN YOU HAVE JESUS?

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WHY GAMBLE WHEN YOU HAVE JESUS?

“Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock.” Matthew 7:24-25

I had a dear family friend who liked to take a punt every now and then. Actually it was more ‘now’ than ‘then’. On Sundays, she would head off to the lottery office right after church, buy a ticket, and place it in her Bible. And every so often, when the time came for the draw, she would have a winning ticket. Of course, it was not always first prize, but it was enough to keep her interested and busy in her old age.

Now, before you start sending us hate mail claiming that this ministry condones gambling, let me state outright that in so far as gambling causes social ills and can possibly take one’s attention away from God and the family, we do not condone gambling. But for today, let us challenge our imagination and definition of gambling. Must we only gamble at the lottery office or the craps table? What does it mean to gamble, really?

A young man prepares for THE date. He’s got the ring, he’s got the flowers, he’s rehearsed his lines and he’s prepped the waiters at the restaurant. Yes, he is going to propose. He heads off to the date with butterflies in his stomach. But why? Now, we all know that that’s because he can never be too sure about whether or not his prospective bride would say ‘yes’, right? So he is taking a chance. Would you consider that a gamble?

A young lady is sitting in line, waiting for her turn to be interviewed for a job. She checks her attire, makes sure that the hair is in place. Ruffles through her papers and makes sure that her resume, certificates and letters of recommendation are all in order and neatly pinned. She is sufficiently qualified for the job and has the necessary job experience, yet she can’t help feeling nervous at the thought of meeting her interview panel. But why? Yes, again we know why, and we can empathize. Yet she is taking a chance. Would you consider that a gamble?

Merriam-Webster defines ‘gamble’ as “to stake something on a contingency: take a chance”; “to bet on an uncertain outcome”; “to risk losing (something valuable or important) in order to do or achieve something”. By that definition, both the young man and the young lady were as much gambling as my dear family friend was. In fact, fishermen who sail the open seas without sonar, make a living from gambling. So the act of gambling really is not the issue now, is it?

Beloved, in so far as gambling is an activity, it is no different from fishing, going for a job interview or asking someone to marry you. To some, marriage itself is more of a gamble than the jackpot machine. But jokes aside, the activity is not important. What is important is where you place your trust.

Do you place your trust on the person agreeing to marry you, or do you trust that our Father will provide you the one who will complement you perfectly? Do you place your trust on the person in-charge of hiring you, or do you trust that our Father will open doors that are good for you and shut those that will harm you? Do you place your trust on His provision, or do you place your trust on a computer that is programmed to turn a profit for the lottery company?

Beloved, for us we have a sure foundation because Jesus said that if we heed His sayings and do them, we are like wise men who built our house on the rock: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock. (Matthew 7:24-25)

So what then are these sayings?

“Blessed are the poor in spirit,
For theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn,
For they shall be comforted.
Blessed are the meek,
For they shall inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
For they shall be filled.
Blessed are the merciful,
For they shall obtain mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart,
For they shall see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers,
For they shall be called sons of God.
Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake,
For theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” Matthew 5:3-12

Are you poor? Are you dejected? Are you hungry? Are you always trying to help others? Are you persecuted? Blessed are you for your Father sees and knows and most of all, He’s got your back.

“You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.” Matthew 5: 14-16
Yes beloved, you are made for good works. And you are called to shine. Our Father purposed that you be noticed. Not hidden away, languishing in obscurity.

But most of all beloved,

“Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature?
So why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?
Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.” Matthew 6:25-34

So then, all we need to do is,

“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. Or what man is there among you who, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent? If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him!” Matthew 7:7-11

Beloved, if God seems far away and intangible; how tangible is the computer that is designed to turn a profit for the casino? How reliable are the people whom you are counting on to give you what you need? Remember beloved,

“For He knows our frame;
He remembers that we are dust.” Psalm 103:14

Would you rather place your trust in the creator or the created? Beloved,

“Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord,
And whose hope is the Lord.
For he shall be like a tree planted by the waters,
Which spreads out its roots by the river,
And will not fear when heat comes;
But its leaf will be green,
And will not be anxious in the year of drought,
Nor will cease from yielding fruit.” Jeremiah 17:7-8

Because, “…thus says the Lord God:
“Behold, I lay in Zion a stone for a foundation,
A tried stone, a precious cornerstone, a sure foundation;
Whoever believes will not act hastily.” Isaiah 28:16

Jesus is our precious cornerstone, He is our sure foundation, and this is His seal, “The Lord knows those who are His” 2 Timothy 2:19

Sure, the rains will fall, the flood will rise and the wind will blow and beat. But because our Father knows that you who believe are His, you will not fall, because you are founded on Jesus, the rock of your salvation. (2 Samuel 22:47)

So “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal.” Matthew 6:19-20

Set your eyes on your sure foundation, for He has set His eyes on you. Remember, our Father has promised,

“Kings and queens will serve you
and care for all your needs.
They will bow to the earth before you
and lick the dust from your feet.
Then you will know that I am the Lord.
Those who trust in me will never be put to shame.” Isaiah 49:23 (NLT)

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