Sports Betting and the Christian

Gambling: A biblical response by George Mwangi 

I remember a fellowship I attended once where one of the sisters in attendance asked for prayer because of a betting entry she had made and she wanted God’s help to win. Then one day while listening to one of the religious radio stations, there was this pastor praying with great enthusiasm for all those brethren who had played in one of the betting competitions that they may receive the anointing that wins. In early 2017, I received an unsolicited SMS inviting me to make use of the sender’s skills to place winning bets in one of the footballing betting companies! I silently declined of course.

Gambling is everywhere and beckoning everyone! But what is it?

Gambling is founded on the desire to make quick easy money; to get rich quickly without having to work at all, leave alone working hard, to sweat. The argument goes this way, “If I can make money without investing my time, effort and creativity, why bother. If all it takes is 20 bob to win 20 Million, why bother to labor?  That is why many people who have hit the jackpot in the lotteries, and won big money, never really invest it. They are incapable of investing. So the money ends up eating them up instead of them eating the money. The scripture says that, “Wealth hastily gotten will dwindle, but he who gathers little by little will increase it.” Proverbs 13:11

            In 1873, Governor Washburn of Wisconsin, U.S.A, in his annual message declared, “Some law seems to be required to break up the schools where gamblers are made. These are everywhere. Even the church (unwittingly, no doubt) is sometimes found doing the work of the devil. Gift concerts, gift enterprises and raffles, sometimes in aid of religious or charitable objects, but often for less worthy purposes, lotteries, prize packages, etc., are all devices to obtain money without value received. Nothing is so demoralizing or intoxicating, particularly to the young, as the acquisition of money or property without labor. Respectable people engaging in these chance enterprises, and easing their consciences with the reflection that the money is to go to a good object, it is not strange that the youth of the state should so often fall into the habits which the excitement of games of hazard is almost certain to engender.”

Is it not amazing that this was said more than 100 years ago? And yet the same thing has gripped many completely today. It is destroying countless lives of men and women, young and old alike, but especially the young. There are countless betting shops today; each declaring it offers better returns than the other, and that at an affordable ‘investment’. And a great number of people are hooked to this vice. It is like a drug—easy to start, hard to stop! What is more, the government is legalizing various forms of gambling. Look at Sport-Pesa, and the likes of Lotto and many others. They are all sponsored publicly. They are advertised every day in several media outlets. It’s not criminal to conduct gambling and betting businesses. In actual fact, the government collects taxes from them, hence making them legal enterprises. For the Christian, what should be the guiding rules?

Biblical principles against gambling

Gambling defeats the life of faith; it depends on luck.

There is no promise of scripture which you can stand on, for faith in its simplest definition, is standing on the promises of God. Therefore God is not pursued despite a façade of praying for God to help you win. The desire to gamble in order to win makes the heart too centered on the treasure that it has no real emotion for God. “Where your treasure is there will your heart be also. (Matthew 6:21). And because of the addictive nature of gambling, it enslaves the soul, and consequently leads to its destruction. “For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? (Mark 8:36).  A soul that does not live by faith in God is a soul on its way to destruction both here, and in the life to come.

Gambling defeats hope.

The Christian’s hope is founded on Christ’s finished work on the cross. To depend on gambling for God to supply your needs and/or wants is wishful thinking! It creates despair where one makes a lifestyle of gambling without winning. Such examples abound: There is this employee who bets his employers M-pesa float money with the hope that he will win, make money himself and return the employer’s money, and this without the employer’s knowledge. This is misplaced hope, not even built on quicksand, for in this case quicksand may have a better foundation! It is wishful thinking. It is a game of chance and it is clearly a deception built on deception. You cannot trade this way with God.

Gambling for the Christian is clothed with the deception of tithing and giving to sanctify the money.

Most Christians, after they happen to win by chance say, “I will give God 10% and then I use the rest for my needs and then perhaps invest the rest in business.” This is so as to soothe their conscious and involve God where He is not! David says, “I will not sacrifice to the Lord that which costs me nothing” (2 Samuel. 24:24). This principle of David is not an idle one. The principles of tithing and giving are based on the premise of fruitful labor! You cannot tithe/give that which you haven’t worked for! Says Paul to the Ephesian brethren: “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” (Ephesians. 4:28).

Gambling by its very nature promotes laziness.

It defeats the spirit of work. Chances are you will find people looking for little money to play to make big money.  Men spend their time in bars and market places following football matches so as to know whether their bet won! If one puts his hopes on winning the lottery, then he does not see the purpose of hard work to bring in income. The Christian must keep remembering that God instituted work even before the fall of Adam. Work is not a curse and brings great joy and prosperity God’s way when done. Work is at the foundation of true godliness. God himself is a worker. Anything therefore that sabotages the principle of work is ungodly! Addressing Christian slaves (you may call them servants today) about work, Paul says, “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving. (Colossians 3:23). Can gambling truly satisfy this principle? Can you gamble with all your heart as gambling for the Lord? Does it pass the test of serving Christ?

Gambling promotes violence and destroys families

You often hear of people who commit suicide or kill others because they have lost money. There is this man who betted his entire wife’s loan, about five hundred thousand Kenya shillings. The result was destruction of the marriage and of course the family! Thus the scripture is true that says: “A greedy man brings trouble to his family,” (Proverbs 15:27). We have heard over and over again how many young people have committed suicide because they put they school fees on bet and lost. This is very devastating.

Gambling is fueled by greed for big money and covetousness

Gambling is the desire to instantly get  something big for something small, say 20 Million for 20 bob! This is at the heart of it is greed and covetousness. At the heart of any kind of gambling is covetousness. The scripture speaks for itself, “The desire of the lazy man kills him, For his hands refuse to labor. 26 He covets greedily all day long, But the righteous gives and does not spare.” (Prov. 21: 25-26).  Paul also warns Timothy that those who desire to get rich will find themselves in a lot of trouble.

6 Now godliness with contentment is great gain. 7  For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. 8  And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content. 9  But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and harmful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition. 10  For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows” (1 Timothy 6:6-9).

Conclusion

We need to keep our lives free from the love of money. For money is never enough. It does not matter how much you make, even when your money is genuinely made. You must train yourself contentment, for as it is written, “He who loves silver will not be satisfied with silver; Nor he who loves abundance, with increase. This also is vanity (Ecclesiastes. 5: 10).   The writer of Hebrews also warns us to ‘Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you” Hebrews 13:5

George Mwangi is a passionate Bible Teacher based in Nyeri and you may read him on www.burninglampblog.wordpress.com

 

 

 

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The ostrich mentality of the modern parent  

 

George Mwangi 

 

Job 39: 13 “The wings of the ostrich wave proudly, But are her wings and pinions like the kindly stork’s? 14  For she leaves her eggs on the ground, And warms them in the dust; 15  She forgets that a foot may crush them, Or that a wild beast may break them. 16  She treats her young harshly, as though they were not hers; Her labor is in vain, without concern, 17  Because God deprived her of wisdom, And did not endow her with understanding. 

When they are young, every young man and girl looks forward to a time in the future when they will settle in their family. With long periods of prayer and fasting, they and especially the girl trusts God for a husband, as it were, for eternal companionship. As soon as God…

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Why go to school when you can get the Leakage?

As we gear towards National Exams and even end of term/semester exams. Here are some thoughts on education.

Living by His Word

PencilsThe rampart cheating in 2015 was perhaps the most obvious and worst it has ever been on the Kenyan history. What really is wrong with our education system? What are we missing? What really is education? Why do you go to school? Just to pass exams?

What is education?

The Complete Christian Dictionary defines education as “Development of the mind and character”, or “A system of training and instruction, especially for children and young people”.

Education is a daily thing.  You are always learning, adding to the knowledge you have.  You are developing your mind and your character, as you are trained and instructed systematically in school.  You pattern your life after a lifestyle based on certain principles and convictions.  That is what character is.

What is it for?

The purpose of developing the mind and character is to make a personal contribution of goodness toward a better society.  God…

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The Sacredness of Romantic Relationships – Part One

bibleheartOften most of us will get into romantic relationships for different reasons. Few of us really get to reflect on how important romantic relationships are. A number will fast, perhaps the only time they get to do it for more than a day and even visit the prayer center. Meaning they have an idea that the relationship is a great deal and they will need to trust God to lead them. Those are few, the majority tends to take it casually and make arbitrary decisions concerning the relationships.

But why are romantic relationships sacred? Why should they be taken seriously? Romantic relationships are sacred because of many reasons. Let us consider a few of them in this article and consider two others in part two.

  1. Romantic relationships are sacred because they form one of the strongest evidence of your encounter with the Gospel.
  • The Gospel caused us not to live for ourselves and our happiness (2 Cor 5:15). This means that we do not get into relationships for fun or personal gain. We know why God instituted them and so seek to honor Him in our motives.
  • Through the Gospel, we were delivered from the bondage of sin (Romans 6-8). Sexual purity is a great commitment for every believer. We do not remain pure because we want a glorious wedding or even have a steaming wedding night. Even though valid reasons, they would be meaningless if we never marry. We remain pure because we are Christians and God has commanded us to do so. Being able to remain pure therefore throughout your courtship period is a mark of Jesus redemption. We are now able to say NO to all forms of sin because the power of sin is broken.
  • The Gospel taught us to love graciously- an answer to the heartbreaks and selfish ways of relating among the young people. The rise in divorce even among believers is an indication of a high level of selfishness among us. We seek relief at every small discomfort and inconvenience. Even though these may not be the only cause of divorce, it sure is among the leading ones. The Gospel has taught to stick through hard times seeking the good of the other person rather than yourself. 1 Corinthians 13 is a classic of what love is.
  • The Gospel broke down the walls of hostility that divides humanity and made us one in Christ (Ephesians 2:14-16). How glorious is the fact that now you can marry across the boundaries even when your tribesmen  are fighting? Romantic relationships are sacred because they give us an opportunity to display this powerful truth to our families and friends who fight over such lines.
  • The Gospel demonstrates the permanence of the union with Christ. God will never divorce us. This is perhaps one enough to remain married to the person you gave your vows. Romantic relationships are sacred because they demonstrate the kind of relationship God has with His church. We will look at this deeper in the last point.
  • The Gospel has given us the opportunity to share life with our friends. Romantic relationships are sacred because they are a powerful witnessing tool to your non-believing friends. When your roommate is cohabiting with his girlfriend, when he dumps one and picks up another and when they sleep around without care, your conduct in a romantic relationship will be a strong witness. When you get into a relationship for the right reasons and walk in purity until your wedding day, the message will speak loudly.  Has your relationship prompted unbelievers to ask “How do you do that?”

 

  1. Romantic relationships are sacred because they play a role in the ending of the chain of the pain of dysfunctional homes.

The continual rise of dysfunctional homes in our country and the world is worrying.  Many of us come from homes where love and the meeting of basic needs are rare.  You rarely come across someone who has a godly heritage from home.  So it is very important that we take responsibility for breaking the chain of pain and lay foundations for the generations that will come after us.  In order to end this kind of hurtfulness, we must be deliberate in starting a new generation that fears and obeys God. This does not happen when we get married, it must happen now – before you enter into a relationship.  Many of us came from homes where people do not honor God and have no respect for His ways.  You are a light for that home.  When God saved you, He did it not just for you but for your family and the many generations ahead of you.  How do you want them to remember you?

The decision our grandparents made about their marriage and how they lived it has continued to affect us to this day.  Similarly, the decisions you make about your future spouse will not only affect you and that person, but will affect your children, their children, and their children’s children up to the umpteenth generation.  Taking this important relationship casually means taking the lives of those people casually.  It assumes that the people who will be born out of your union are insignificant and all that matters is your happiness.

Photo courtesy of (https://www.zonajobs.com.ar/noticias/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/heart.jpg)

 

 

It is Easter again, what makes it special?

TombIt is Easter again, what makes it special?

The Gospel

This is the Good News of our salvation. It is the message that is of first importance. It is the message that must be communicated as the most important thing any time we meet a non-believer. Paul writes to the Corinthians;

1 Corinthians 15: 1-6

Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, 2and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you—unless you believed in vain. For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures,4that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, 5and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. 6Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep. 7Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles. Last of all, as to one untimely born, he appeared also to me.

  • The centrality of our faith is the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus,
  • The atonement for our sins
  • and our blessed hope, the glorious return of the Lord Jesus Christ

If this is the Good News, what is the bad news?

The bad news as stated in Ephesians 2

  • We were dead in our transgression (v1)
  • We walked following the course of this world (v2)
  • We were under the dominion of satan (v2)
  • We were sons of disobedience (v2)
  • We lived in the passions of our flesh (v3)
  • We were by nature the children of wrath (v3)
  • We were separated from Christ (v12)
  • We were strangers to the covenant of the Promise (v12)
  • We were far off (v13)
  • We were without hope and without God (v12)

Elsewhere

  • We strayed like sheep each of us turned in our own separate ways (Isaiah 54:6)
  • We all sinned and fell short of His glory (Romans 3:23)
  • We were under the curse of the law (Galatians 3:13)
  • We were alienated and hostile in mind and doing evil things (Colossians 1:21)

This is just to mention but a few

What happened when the Good News happened?

  • He conquered the enemies of God :

Sin: Has no dominion over me: (Hebrews 9:26-28)

Death: we have hope beyond the grave. (1 Corinthians 15:13-22, 1 Corinthians 15:55)

Satan:  we are no longer under the power of satan. (Romans 16:20 , Acts 26:16-18)

  • He became the propitiation for our sin (1 John 4:10)
  • He canceled the record of debt that stood against us (Colossians 2:13-14)

From Ephesians 2

  • He made us alive together with Christ (Ephesians 2:5)
  • He raised us with Him in heavenly places in Christ Jesus (v7)
  • We are His workmanship (v10)
  • We have been brought near (v13)
  • He is our peace (v14)
  • He has broken down the wall of hostility (v14)
  • He has reconciled us back to God (v16)
  • We have access in One Spirit to the Father (v18)
  • We are no longer strangers but fellow citizens (v19)
  • We are the righteousness of God (2 Corinthians 5:21)
  • We have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our sin (Ephesians 1:7)
  • He made known to us the mystery of His will (Eph 1:9)
  • We have been sealed with the Promised Holy Spirit (Ephesians 1:13, Galatians 1:14)
  • He redeemed us from the curse of the law (Galatians 3:13)
  • In Christ the blessing of Abraham came to us the Gentiles (Galatians 1:14)
  • We are children of Promise (Galatians 4:28)
  • We have been known by God (Galatians 4:9)
  • We are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession (1 Peter 2:9)
  • We have an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading kept for us in heaven (1 Peter 1:4)
  • We are God’s children (1 John 3:2a )

These are just but a few insights of so much more! Indeed in Townend’s words,

How deep the Father’s love for us, how vast beyond all measures that He could give His only Son to make a wretch His treasure. How great the pain of searing loss, the Father turns His face away, As wounds that mar the Chosen One, bring many sons to Glory!

Have a reflective Easter Friends!

Image courtesy

 https://six11.wordpress.com/2012/04/09/easter-with-aw-tozer/

 

 

Project ‘X’: A reason to retract our steps

I can’t add anything. Well articulated

CITAMBlog

By Bishop David Oginde

It most certainly caught almost everyone’s attention readily becoming the talk of town and easily upstaging the usual political rhetoric. The audacity of its adverts and the boldness of its promised recklessness was perhaps beyond what we are used to. Project-X challenged the safety of our discourse in every respect — especially on drugs and promiscuity. Parents have been waxing livid and the religious communities are off the stage, united in condemnation of the faceless organizers of this crude event. At some point, though, I wondered whether it was not all but a hoax. But I was duly silenced by some young people who confirmed that these parties do happen. For them, the only new thing was the brazen manner in which the organizers went public.
Indeed, further reading reveals that since the film by the same name was released in 2012, these kinds of events…

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Why go to school when you can get the Leakage?

PencilsThe rampart cheating in 2015 was perhaps the most obvious and worst it has ever been on the Kenyan history. What really is wrong with our education system? What are we missing? What really is education? Why do you go to school? Just to pass exams?

What is education?

The Complete Christian Dictionary defines education as “Development of the mind and character”, or “A system of training and instruction, especially for children and young people”.

Education is a daily thing.  You are always learning, adding to the knowledge you have.  You are developing your mind and your character, as you are trained and instructed systematically in school.  You pattern your life after a lifestyle based on certain principles and convictions.  That is what character is.

What is it for?

The purpose of developing the mind and character is to make a personal contribution of goodness toward a better society.  God created us with a purpose in mind. All of us were formed to fulfill certain purposes in God’s plan. We were created to make certain good contributions to society. To deliver this, the kind of education we receive is supposed to prepare us to fit into that purpose.  Education is that important.

Education is supposed to train us to be Godly.  We should have godly principles and convictions on which to base our lives.  These godly principles will help you to play the different roles that life will bring as you get more and more responsibilities.  For example, you will probably be a parent one day.  As a parent you will need to make serious choices concerning the company you will keep, where you will live with your family and the values your family will live by.  Are you prepared to make good choices on these issues?

You need Look at education as a way to equip yourself for what God destined you to be. That way you will be fulfilled all your life. On the other hand if you focus on exams and mean grades, most likely you will always be under pressure to perform and if you don’t do as well as you thought you could, then frustration creeps in.  You will never shake the feeling that you are a failure.  But you are not a failure.  There is so much more you could be in this life.  You could be the best there ever was in so many other things.  Passing an exam or failing one should not seal the fate of who or what you will become.  Don’t let it!!

Just for Exams?

Unfortunately, the picture we get of many current education systems today is that training in schools focuses on passing examination. We are trained to pass exams, qualify for university and get good jobs. We are trained to look at education from two perspectives: Passing or Failing.  If you look back through your school life you are either among the top students or the average ones.  Worse still, you could be among those that have come more often than not among the “last” students in class. So your studies have been based on performance rather than learning.

Unhealthy Competition

Another bad effect of focusing on passing exams is that it creates unhealthy competition among students.  Instead of appreciating one another, we as students are ever worried about how to beat everyone else and be ahead of the pack.  We are always working hard to prove ourselves, to out-do others, to be the popular one, and so rather than look at our peers as colleagues, their presence creates fear in us.  We are threatened that they may do better than us. In such a scenario rather than build healthy relationships with them we strive to either bring them down or ignore them altogether. Competition has turned us against each other.  Rather than build our society, we have torn it apart with strife, division and pride.  Competition creates in you such insecurity that you do not desire to give toward anyone else’s progress.  “Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. 4Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.”(Philippians 2:3-4)

In the biblical parable of the talents, Jesus illustrates in Mathew 25:14-30 that God gives talents, not to see who will be ahead of the pack, but to see who will be faithful.  Verse 15 says, “To one he gave five talents of money, to another two talents, and to another one talent, each according to his ability”.

God will never judge us for what He did not give us but for what He gave us. We need to be contented and use whatever ability we have to our best capacity, not to compete with others but to faithfully contribute to society.

What Am I To Do?

Acknowledge that life is more than material prosperity.  It is God who gives good living.  If you had much money, a very good car, a great job, and a palace for a house but had cancer, you may realize that there is more to life than money

Decide that you will pursue that purpose.  Say to your heart, “I want to fulfill the purposes that God had in store for me when He made me.

Go for total education.  Determine in your heart that you want to develop your mind, your body and your soul for integrated growth.  Make character your primary concern.  Guard your heart for out of it comes the issues of life.  Practically, you may want to reserve some time to read educational material that has nothing to do with Maths and Biology.  Do you read the Bible studiously?  Do you take it as seriously as you take Physics?  You need to value it even more.  Study it carefully, seriously and purposefully.  Study it with others of a like mind.  Read other godly books and find out God’s mind on marriage, money, greatness, knowledge, wisdom, leadership, children, and practically every important area of life.  There are values there you will need.

Don’t give yourself a raw deal in life.  Choose education that prepares you to fully live.

(Image from dreamstime)