Pastor, What’s Wrong With The Lottery?

Dr. Dan Reed was born in Birmingham, Alabama in 1951. He was saved at the Woodland Avenue Baptist Church in 1973 while studying engineering at Auburn University. Sensing the call to preach in 1973 he enrolled at Tennessee Temple College under the ministry of Dr. Lee Roberson. Finishing his B.A. in December of 1975 he was called to Emden, Missouri , a town of 61, to pastor the Community Baptist Church. Pastor Reed has started two churches and two Christian schools during his 33-year ministry. He is currently the pastor of Harvest Baptist Church of Acworth, Georgia. (Learn more about Dr. Reed HERE)

WHAT’S WRONG WITH THE LOTTERY?
(Proverbs 28:8Proverbs 28:8
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8 He that by usury and unjust gain increaseth his substance, he shall gather it for him that will pity the poor. unjust...: Heb. by increase  

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) “He that by usury and unjust gain increaseth his substance, he shall gather it for him that will pity the poor.”  (KJV)

Is there anything wrong with the lottery? Yes, and Christians should not be a part of it nor a part of any other sort of gambling.

The lottery is spreading gambling fever across the world. Only a few years ago there were no state sponsored lotteries in AMERICA. The first was formed in 1963. America’s first lottery dates back to 1612 and Jamestown, Virginia. The Virginia Company was having trouble staying in business and it was granted permission from the King of England to hold a lottery to raise money. By the 1770’s most of the American colonial governments had begun to hold lotteries. They were used to raise money for churches, schools, public buildings, roads and bridges. The Continental Congress turned to the lottery to help raise money for the War for Independence. In 1798 Alexandria, Virginia held a lottery to help pay for the paving of the streets of the city. But as the number and size of the lotteries increased, so did the fraud. In 1830 a lottery reform movement took place and by 1840 twelve states, mostly in New England, had outlawed lotteries. By 1878 only one state lottery remained and that was in Louisiana. Finally, however, in 1895 the U.S. Congress prohibited interstate commerce in lottery tickets and outlawed the import of lottery material. That was the end until 1963. New Hampshire, suffering from a lack of funds and refusing to enact a state income tax or sales tax, approved a New Hampshire Sweepstakes in 1964. It brought in almost 3 million in the first year. New York was the second state to join ranks. The South (the Bible belt) held out until last but today 37 states and the District of Columbia have legalized the state lottery system.

The money expended on lotteries has exploded! In 1994 $482 BILLION was spent on lottery tickets nationwide (Newsday, “Gambling the New National Pastime,” Dec. 3, 1995ec. 3, 1995
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). In 1974 it was only $17 billion a year. An estimated one third of all American adults buy lottery tickets. In New York State that figure is two thirds. Americans spend more on lottery games than on movie tickets, plays, and all forms of recorded music combined; and they wager more each year than they spend on national defense.

THE GOVERNMENT ITSELF PAYS FOR ADS WHICH MAKE QUICK RICHES APPEAR TO BE THE SOLUTION TO LIFE’S PROBLEMS. Each year U.S. state governments spend more than $300 million in lottery advertisements. An ad in New York, where the odds of winning the top prize are about one in 12.9 million, depicts “Happy Gary,” a car salesman who wins the lottery, gives away his cars and heads for the Bahamas. Another ad shows a winner floating in a pool outside his new mansion. The New York lottery slogan since 1967 has been “All you need is a dollar and a dream,” and ads depict people daydreaming about being rich. A Washington State ad shows a line of workers punching a time clock. An announcer says, “Nothing satisfies the soul so much as honest toil and seeing through a job well done.” As if to mock this philosophy of life, the man at the end of the line, a lottery winner, takes his time sheet and throws it out the window, and the announcer adds, “Of course, having a whole bunch of money’s not bad either.”

Some researchers believe gambling is the fastest growing addiction among teenagers. The director of the Maryland Council on Compulsive Gambling blamed the lottery for the steep rise in two new classes of compulsive gamblers, women and teenagers (Sword of the Lord, Nov. 20, 1992). A survey among college students revealed that roughly one fourth gamble at least once a week. As noted earlier, an extensive survey completed this year in Canada found that two thirds of young people aged 12‑17 in Alberta are gamblers, and large numbers are in danger of becoming addicted. Jeffrey Devevensky, director of McGill University’s school of applied and child psychology, observed that “this is the first generation of kids who have grown up in a society where gambling has been totally legalized.” What will be the frightful result of this unbridled lust for easy riches?

State sponsored lotteries have unleashed a gambling fever which is expanding in other directions. There are more than 500 CASINOS in America today, and casino gambling is allowed in 23 states. Minnesota has more casinos than Atlantic City. “In Mississippi, more money was gambled in casinos in 1994 than was spent on all taxable retail goods” (Newsday, Dec. 3, 1995ec. 3, 1995
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One of the newest gambling rages is VIDEO LOTTERY TERMINALS (VLT), which, because of their extremely addictive character, have been called the “crack cocaine of gambling.” Robert Goodman calls VLT “McGambling ‑‑ gambling’s fast food equivalent.” These are extremely popular among young people who have grown up with video games. The VLTs are similar to slot machines, in that the customer feeds coins into the terminal and looks for matches on the numbers or cards or cherries which spin at the drop of the coin. In St. John’s, Newfoundland, a province with 20% unemployment, many of the bars are filled with patrons seven days a week, and one of the big draws are the VLTs. There “is hope that a loonie or two plugged into one of the ubiquitous video lottery terminals will return a jackpot. It is that hope that keeps machines everywhere blinking in four‑color neon and eating coin after coin, quietly humming a siren song that draws the poor to their promise everywhere in Canada” (Calgary Herald, “VLT Gambling Terminal Disease for Canada’s Unemployed,” June 3, 1996ne 3, 1996
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). (The above info is taken from David O. Cloud & Rus Walton’s material on gambling)

New York spent $41 million on such ads in 1995. The lottery commission purchased more than 16,000 radio spots in New York City alone. A billboard, erected in an impoverished section of Chicago’s West Side, advertised the Illinois lottery with these words: “How to get from Washington Boulevard to Easy Street ‑‑ Play the Illinois lottery.”

The ads work. Describing the gambling frenzy in Arizona when the lotto jackpot reached $23 million, a newspaper said, “People are buying (tickets) all over the state. It’s crazy everywhere.” The frenzy is even higher at times in England, where 90% of adults purchased a lottery ticket in the first week of January (Ian Cotton, Unreality Bites, p. 33).

Not only are the state governments addicting their citizens to gambling, THE GOVERNMENTS THEMSELVES HAVE BECOME ADDICTED TO GAMBLING INCOME. New York raked in more than $3 billion in 1994. It is usually claimed that the revenue goes to fund education and other endeavors, but many states put the income into the general budget. In some states, taxes have been raised for education in spite of the promise that lottery revenue would meet the need. New York raised $1.24 billion in 1994, but this did nothing to increase the amount spent on education. “The State Legislature simply puts that much less from the general fund into the education budget.” A national study shows that states that earmark some or all of their gambling revenues for education, less than 4 percent of the education budget goes towards schools (Paul Scianna, Missouri Family Policy Center, Straight Talk, Family Research Council, Jan. 17, 1996Jan. 17, 1996
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THE RESULT OF THE GAMBLING EXPLOSION HAS BEEN PREDICTABLE. The number of Gamblers Anonymous groups in the U.S. has doubled since 1980, to 1,200. There were 40,000re 40,000
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Izbrano poglavje ne obstaja! Štetje svetopisemskih vrstic se začne z 1! Vrstica 0 ne obstaja!

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calls to the Council on Compulsive Gambling’s national hotline in 1994. Gambling researcher Rachel Volberg, in a 1991 study in Connecticut, found that pathological gamblers were costing the state nearly $200 million more than it received from legal gambling. Gambling is resulting in increased family breakup, suicide, crime, and overwhelming personal debt. In a warning to government leaders in Ontario, which is phasing in video lottery terminals this year, Robert Goodman predicted that the province must “expect an increase in embezzlement, insurance and credit card fraud, theft, bad cheques, family problems and domestic violence” (Windsor Star, “Author Spells out Video Gaming Danger, July 9, 1996). “A survey of compulsive gamblers by University of Illinois researcher Henry Lesieur found that 22 percent became divorced because of gambling, 40 percent lost a job, 49 percent stole from their employers to cover debts and 79 percent said they wanted to die. Two thirds of compulsive gamblers commit other crimes to pay for their habit, several studies have found” (William Falk, “Gambling the New National Pastime,” Newsday, Dec. 3, 1995ec. 3, 1995
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). Compulsive gamblers have an average gambling debt of $43,000, and 85 percent of them have stolen from their employers in an attempt to pay their debts.

 WHAT DOES THE BIBLE SAY?

I. Scripture condemns covetousness and easy wealth  

A. Gambling encourages covetousness and greed which is clearly forbidden

Exodus 20:17Exodus 20:17
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17 Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbour's.  

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“Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor anything that is thy neighbor’s.” 
Hebrews 13:5-6Hebrews 13:5-6
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5 Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. 6 So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me.  

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“Let your conversation be without covetousness and be content with such things as ye have; for He hath said, I will never leave thee nor forsake thee. So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my Helper and I will not fear what man shall do unto me.” 

Gambling entices people to want more and not to be satisfied with what is being provided by legitimate means of income. Remember, God never tempts any man to do evil (James 1:13James 1:13
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13 Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man: evil: or, evils  

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)! Gambling cannot be from the Lord!

G. Campbell Morgan, a renowned Bible scholar, pointed out that the urge to gamble goes far beyond the desire for amusement or entertainment; it involves an inordinate (and often uncontrolled) appetite that is covetousness. The apostle Paul used the terms “lust” and “concupiscence” to describe covetousness (I Thess. 4:5ss. 4:5
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5 Thy two breasts are like two young roes that are twins, which feed among the lilies.  

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); he urged Christians to “mortify” these desires (Col. 3:1-6Col. 3:1-6
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3 1 If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. 2 Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. affection: or, mind 3 For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. 4 When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory. 5 Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry: 6 For which things' sake the wrath of God cometh on the children of disobedience:  

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). Covetousness is also called “idolatry” (Col. 3:5Col. 3:5
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5 Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry:  

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B. Gambling encourages a wrong emphasis to life.

Proverbs 23:4-5Proverbs 23:4-5
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4 Labour not to be rich: cease from thine own wisdom. 5 Wilt thou set thine eyes upon that which is not? for riches certainly make themselves wings; they fly away as an eagle toward heaven. set...: Heb. cause thine eyes to fly upon  

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“Labor not to be rich; cease from thine own wisdom. Wilt thou set thine eyes upon that which is not? For riches certainly make themselves wings; they fly away as an eagle toward heaven.”
Proverbs 30:8-9Proverbs 30:8-9
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8 Remove far from me vanity and lies: give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with food convenient for me: convenient...: Heb. of my allowance 9 Lest I be full, and deny thee, and say, Who is the LORD? or lest I be poor, and steal, and take the name of my God in vain. deny...: Heb. belie thee  

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“Remove me far from vanity and lies; give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with food convenient for me. Lest I be full, and deny Thee, and say, Who is the Lord? Or lest I be poor, and steal, and take the name of my God in vain.”
 I Timothy 6:6-11 (Gambling is both a root and a fruit of sin) , “For the love of money is the root of all sin (root), which while some have coveted after, they have erred from the faith and pierced themselves through with many sorrows (fruit).”

 Matthew 6:19-21Matthew 6:19-21
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19 Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: 20 But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: 21 For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.  

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“Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth… but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven…”

C. Gambling promotes “easy money”

“Easy money” is not one of God’s plans to gain wealth. In fact, work is God’s method which produces not only wealth but character. “Easy money” promotes laziness and a concentration of pleasure and ease.

Genesis 3:19Genesis 3:19
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19 In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.  

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“In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread till thou return to the ground…”   Eccl. 5:10-12Eccl. 5:10-12
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10 He that loveth silver shall not be satisfied with silver; nor he that loveth abundance with increase: this is also vanity. 11 When goods increase, they are increased that eat them: and what good is there to the owners thereof, saving the beholding of them with their eyes? 12 The sleep of a labouring man is sweet, whether he eat little or much: but the abundance of the rich will not suffer him to sleep.  

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“He that loveth silver shall not be satisfied with silver…the sleep of a laboring man is sweet, whether he eat little or much; but the abundance of the rich will not suffer him to sleep.” Proverbs 6:6-9Proverbs 6:6-9
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6 Go to the ant, thou sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise: 7 Which having no guide, overseer, or ruler, 8 Provideth her meat in the summer, and gathereth her food in the harvest. 9 How long wilt thou sleep, O sluggard? when wilt thou arise out of thy sleep?  

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“Go to the ant thou sluggard, consider her ways and be wise…”

Common sense would tell most people from the information regarding lotteries and gambling in general that it would not be wise to ever get started. But to us as Christians, we want to know what scripture says.

II. Gambling’s addictive nature makes it forbidden by scripture to any Christian.

I Cor. 6:12,13 “All things are lawful unto me, but all things are not expedient; all things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any. Meats for the belly and the belly for meats; but God shall destroy both it and them.” Note the little phrase Paul uses, “I will not be brought under the power of any.” No one or no thing should control us but the Lord and His Word! Gambling definitely has an addictive, controlling nature to it. This is particularly true for certain types of people. It really is not a matter of whether or not someone has the money to gamble, it is matter of who is controlling me! (See also Romans 6:16-19Romans 6:16-19
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16 Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness? 17 But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you. which...: Gr. whereto ye were delivered 18 Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness. 19 I speak after the manner of men because of the infirmity of your flesh: for as ye have yielded your members servants to uncleanness and to iniquity unto iniquity; even so now yield your members servants to righteousness unto holiness.  

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II Peter 2:14 “Having eyes full of adultery and that cannot cease from sin.” (a mark of a false prophet is one who “cannot cease from sin…an heart they have exercised with covetous practices”) Note also the phrase “an heart they have exercised with covetous practices.” All of us have a wicked heart prone to covetousness but we must not exercise that sinful practice for if we do it becomes a habit very difficult to break!

III. Gambling violates God’s principles of stewardship.

Luke 16:10,11Luke 16:10,11
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10 He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much: and he that is unjust in the least is unjust also in much. 11 If therefore ye have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon, who will commit to your trust the true riches? mammon: or, riches  

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“He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much; and he that is unjust in the least is unjust also in much. If therefore ye have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon, who will commit to your trust the true riches?” Mammon speaks of money. God has given us our money, we are but stewards of what He has given us. Deut. 8:18Deut. 8:18
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18 But thou shalt remember the LORD thy God: for it is he that giveth thee power to get wealth, that he may establish his covenant which he sware unto thy fathers, as it is this day.  

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“It is God that giveth thee power to get wealth.”, Psalm 24:1Psalm 24:1
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24 A Psalm of David. 1 The earth is the LORD'S, and the fulness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein.  

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″The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof.”  I do not have the right to spend God’s money on that which is forbidden. It is His money, I am but the manager or steward of it.

IV. Gambling is an unscriptural way of earning wealth.

The Bible talks about “unjust gain” and “dishonest gain” — wrong ways of getting money.  What are God’s ordained ways of acquiring wealth?

Labor- II Thess. 3:10ss. 3:10
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10 He made the pillars thereof of silver, the bottom thereof of gold, the covering of it of purple, the midst thereof being paved with love, for the daughters of Jerusalem.  

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“If any would not work, neither should he eat.”, Gen. 3:19Gen. 3:19
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19 In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.  

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“in the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread.”, Eph. 4:28Eph. 4:28
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28 Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth. to give: or, to distribute  

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“Let him that stole steal no more but rather let him labor, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth.”

Inheritances and gifts- Pro. 19:14Pro. 19:14
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14 House and riches are the inheritance of fathers: and a prudent wife is from the LORD.  

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“House and riches are the inheritance of fathers…”, II Cor. 12:14 “The children ought not to lay up for the parents but the parents for the children.”, Gen. 23:1-11Gen. 23:1-11
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23 1 And Sarah was an hundred and seven and twenty years old: these were the years of the life of Sarah. 2 And Sarah died in Kirjatharba; the same is Hebron in the land of Canaan: and Abraham came to mourn for Sarah, and to weep for her. 3 And Abraham stood up from before his dead, and spake unto the sons of Heth, saying, 4 I am a stranger and a sojourner with you: give me a possession of a buryingplace with you, that I may bury my dead out of my sight. 5 And the children of Heth answered Abraham, saying unto him, 6 Hear us, my lord: thou art a mighty prince among us: in the choice of our sepulchres bury thy dead; none of us shall withhold from thee his sepulchre, but that thou mayest bury thy dead. a mighty...: Heb. a prince of God 7 And Abraham stood up, and bowed himself to the people of the land, even to the children of Heth. 8 And he communed with them, saying, If it be your mind that I should bury my dead out of my sight; hear me, and intreat for me to Ephron the son of Zohar, 9 That he may give me the cave of Machpelah, which he hath, which is in the end of his field; for as much money as it is worth he shall give it me for a possession of a buryingplace amongst you. as much...: Heb. full money 10 And Ephron dwelt among the children of Heth: and Ephron the Hittite answered Abraham in the audience of the children of Heth, even of all that went in at the gate of his city, saying, audience: Heb. ears 11 Nay, my lord, hear me: the field give I thee, and the cave that is therein, I give it thee; in the presence of the sons of my people give I it thee: bury thy dead.  

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, Eph. 4:28Eph. 4:28
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28 Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth. to give: or, to distribute  

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“that he may have to give.”

Proper investments- Luke 19:15Luke 19:15
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15 And it came to pass, that when he was returned, having received the kingdom, then he commanded these servants to be called unto him, to whom he had given the money, that he might know how much every man had gained by trading. money: Gr. silver  

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“And it came to pass, that when he was returned, having received the kingdom, then he commanded these servants to be called unto him, to whom he had given the money, that he might know how much every man had gained by trading.”

Savings- Proverbs 21:20Proverbs 21:20
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20 There is treasure to be desired and oil in the dwelling of the wise; but a foolish man spendeth it up.  

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“There is treasure to be desired and oil in the dwelling of the wise; but a foolish man spendeth it up.”

Gambling, which includes the lottery, should be a definite “no” for the Christian committed to obeying God’s Word!

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Added Commentary:

Thank you Dr. Reed for your thoughts on the subject of gambling… specifically concerning the increasingly popular lottery system. I would like to remind our readers of the things that many pastors see which is NOT advertised on the lottery billboards. Things such as broken down moms and dads who have spent their families into debt seeking the elusive million dollar jackpot. How about the homes which have ended up in divorce court over irreconcilable differences due largely to financial ruin created by the seeds of greed and enabled by State sponsored gambling.
What about the children? They suffer the most! Instead of the parental example of hard work and strict moral ethics, many are ensnared by the lure of fast cars, beautiful mansions, easy women, seductive men, and the endless supply of money. Of course, this is only possible if you buy that lottery ticket!
In summation, gambling is sinful and facilitates laziness, a deceptive picture of the “good life” and is diametrically opposite to sound stewardship principles found in the Holy Scriptures. Anyone who promotes this wicked sin is in danger of judgment from God. While folks may not see this impending judgment, a wise man once said, “The wheels of God’s justice may turn slowly, but they STILL turn!”

Would you consider purchasing this book?

411649: Seven Snares of the Enemy Seven Snares of the Enemy
By Erwin W. Lutzer / Moody Publishers

There are many “modern” sins ensnaring more and more people everyday. Some are blatant, but many are secret, quickly seducing the participant into behavior that separates them from God. In Seven Snares of the Enemy, Pastor and author Erwin Lutzer exposes Satan’s seven most common “traps,” warning readers and giving them hope for liberation from these forms of bondage. Addressing greed, gambling, alcoholism, pornography, sexual freedom, pleasure, and occultism, Lutzer takes on tough and sensitive issues with great compassion and clarity.

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Originally posted 2011-10-24 08:37:00. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

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