Monday, November 26, 2012

The Lure of the Powerball

The lottery fever comes around a few times a year when the nation’s Powerball lottery swells into the hundreds of millions of dollars. This was the case previously when a group of eight ‘ordinary’ people who worked for the same company in Nebraska won $365 million dollars by selecting the winning lottery numbers. Each person in the group ended up with approximately $15 million dollars each.

This is generally the dream of the millions of people who buy lottery tickets each week. The chance to instantly become millionaires with all the ‘benefits’ that it supposedly brings. To be certain, there are many who don’t play the lottery “religiously” (a curiously common term used here purposefully), but who can’t resist the lure of the big jackpot. Most of these probably invest a relatively small sum, proportion to their income (say less than $20), for the chance at millions. Others however are probably a lot more liberal in their pursuit investing hundreds or thousands of dollars each year.

As a Christian, how do you feel about all this? Do you participate? Perhaps in the office pool at work or with the ‘spare’ dollar in your pocket or purse as you buy your cup of coffee? Have you ever wondered what God thinks about this? Would you want to know?

There are many who say that there is no clear directive in the Bible against gambling. Sure, there is scripture about much that surrounds the mentality that accompanies gambling such as greed: Then he (Jesus) said to them, "Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; a man's life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions." (Luke 12:15 NIV parenthesis mine). I dare say however that the lure of wealth and material gain is so ingrained in our culture (an idol perhaps), that Jesus’ words are probably not enough to dissuade the average American Christian from resisting the lure of the Powerball’s millions.

As you ponder all this, here is some scripture for thought for the next time the Powerball is once again above $100 million, and you just happen to have 4 quarters staring at you from the center console of your car or jingling around in your purse: What will I, the LORD, do if any of you reject me and my holy mountain? What will happen to you for offering food and wine to the gods you call "Good Luck" and "Fate"? Your luck will end! I will see to it that you are slaughtered with swords. You refused to answer when I called out; you paid no attention to my instructions. Instead, you did what I hated, knowing it was wrong. (Isaiah 65:11-12 CEV)

Sunday, November 25, 2012

You are in one of these 3 Groups

All living people likely fall into one of the three groups listed below:
  •          People who are hostile to God
  •          People who are ambivalent to God
  •          People who love God
All three know God exists but express that knowledge in profoundly different ways:

People who are hostile to God
This first group typically display hostility to God because they don't like what He represents - an all powerful force who will not allow them to live as they please - therefore the hostility. Their lie is public expression of a lack of belief in Him or His sovereign nature. Otherwise their hostility to God is paradoxical. Why be hostile to something that does not exist? If you sit next to one during extreme turbulence on an airplane, you'll understand why I call their lack of belief a lie. They fear dying and in most cases refuse to deal with this subject unless it cannot be avoided i.e. the death of someone close. Their hope is in the story of Saul who became Paul - writer of the majority of the Bible's New Testament (see the Book of Acts)

People who are ambivalent to God
Probably the largest of the three groups. Some are people who may have never heard the gospel but as the Bible says in Romans 1 - they instinctively know via nature that God exists. Many believe that God is who He says He is - the creator of all things. Sovereign above all. However, they care more about themselves than they do about worshipping God. When the demands of God and the demands of their life are in conflict, they almost always choose their way. If there is no conflict, they will acknowledge God in their lives (i.e. asking Him to help them in times of need or crisis). Unfortunately, there are a lot of people in this group who believe (in error) that they are in the group below (see the Matthew 7:21-22). They too fear dying because deep inside, they know that the consequences for them are not good. Their hope is the example of the vast majority of the people in the next group below - most of who were once part of this group.

People who love God
Likely the smallest of the three groups (see the Matthew 7:13-14) These are people who have had a true life conversion somewhere along the way, where they have come to know that a) they are born sinners b) they will die someday c) upon their death, they will have to give an account of their lives to God and d) that accounting can only be removed by accepting that Jesus has already paid for their judgment. Most of these people probably came to this realization through a crisis in their lives. Something that made them realize that all of their own efforts at trying to solve their problems are futile. However, once the acceptance of Jesus is made, it was like a "veil had been removed from their eyes and mind". They no longer feared death. Maybe they still fear how they would die, but not death itself. They have a firm belief that as the Bible says…to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord (2 Corinthians 5:8) or to live is Christ, to die is gain (Philippians 1:21). Their hope is in Jesus alone.

Where are you within these three groups?

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

The Handwriting on the Wall

For those of us Christians who are bewildered at the result of the US elections, keep in mind the following scripture which I believe is very applicable to the United States at this time: "...mene, mene, tekel, parsin..." which is translated by the prophet Daniel as "weighed, weighed, wanting, divided" (Daniel 5:25-26)

This was a warning to the nation of Babylon on the eve of their destruction.

As for us Christians, here has always been God's warning to all of us:

"...if my people , who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways then I will hear from heaven, and forgive their sin and heal their land." (2 Chronicles 7:14)

Saturday, November 03, 2012

A One Issue Voter

I am what you would call a one issue voter. That issue is Christ.

Whoever's policy and morality aligns closest to Jesus' command for how we should live our lives per his direction in the Bible receives my vote. Accordingly, in this US election, I have voted for Mitt Romney.

When a person or their party cultivates an atmosphere that causes the Name of Almighty God to be booed, then that person cannot receive my support or respect.

In Christ alone I live. In Christ alone I will die, and for Christ alone I will vote.

Thank You.

A God who sends people to Hell?