We “set” our thoughts on certain things. Much more than we want to admit, we decide what to set our affections on.
We must discipline ourselves every day, every hour, every minute to rationally order our thoughts. Focus on starving bad thoughts, emotions and desires. Focus on feeding Godly thoughts, emotions and desires.
If we study the Bible we are feeding our thoughts on things above. When we fellowship with believers we are feeding our thoughts on things above. When we focus on obedience we are feeding our thoughts on things above. Other positive things that feed our thoughts include: small Christian groups, serving the Lord, Christian music and prayer.
Set your affections on things above. I can’t afford to be bitter, unforgiving, resentful or mad. Our sins and negative emotions must be starved to death. Today, focus on the destruction that negative thoughts and emotions cause you. Today, focus on the great new life you can live if you have Godly thoughts and emotions. Now choose.
Do not choose that short term pleasure that comes with all that destructions and lowers your pleasure later anyways. Today, choose life and joy.
William Glasser from his book Positive Addiction noted the following.
Peace is one of the fruits of the Spirit. This fruit is rare in gamblers. We want action and trills. We have conditioned ourselves to be OK with the pain it brings. If we could take a magic pill and be at peace and content to live a normal life, some of us would take it.
Pray: Father, fill me with your peace.
If you are striving to learn how to worship God, review day 47
Read Matthew 14
Hope is a critical element in overcoming addiction. Michael Cartwright in his book Believable Hope notes the following. “Believable hope is based on evidence that change has been experienced by others in conditions similar to yours and is absolutely possible for you. It helps to have some positive role models, mentors, or sponsors, or some reason to believe that you can actually change. One of the most effective means of developing believable hope is to enroll in a residential program where you can immerse yourself in a new mindset. Sometimes simply knowing that somebody believes in you provides the believable hope that you can be better.”
If you can find a mentor that would be great. He continues “A mentor’s experience often can provide a positive frame of reference. If they can change so can I. You have to truly believe that you not only can change but that you will.
We have all lost hope in some sense at some point in our live. Maybe it was our favorite sports team that gets so far behind in points that there was not hope in them winning. Maybe it was a little more serious, maybe you there was time when you were without a job and with no money. Maybe it was a health issue where you thought there was no hope for you or loved one.
During those times perhaps you want to take the advice of Job’s wife, who told Job to “Curse God and die”.
Hope let us realize is necessary to the human spirit as oxygen is to the physical body. When we lose all hope we are overcome with feelings of senselessness, purposelessness, and despair. Lack of hope can destroy our very lives.
The word Hope occurs some 52 times in the New Testament alone. And if you take the time to look up those 52 passages you will find that it ALWAYS is connected in some way to God. God is the author of hope, Romans 15:13 tells us “Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”
Our God is the God of hope, and here there is a prayer that we may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
But what exactly is hope? One of the definitions I read for hope stated, “Hope is, desire, with the expectation of getting what is desired.” One cannot hope for that which he neither desires or expects to receive.
Sometimes our hope can be misplaced. There are those who hope to receive eternal life in heaven without acknowledging Jesus Christ as their personal Lord and Saviour.
There are those who hope to grow in Christ without reading His word or going to God in prayer on a regular basis. There are those who hope to live happy lives even though they are in rebellion to God.
All these are misplaced hopes, false hopes, hopes that our not founded and based in God.
Life can be difficult and harsh, and there are times we may think that it will not get better. But there is hope, true hope in Christ, and there is hope no where else.
I want to give three reason for the type of hope Paul mentions in Titus 1:2.
The first is The WORD OF GOD GIVES HOPE. A verse that we referred to a lot when we did that series of sermons from the OT a while ago. Romans 15:4; “For whatever things were written before were written for our learning, that we through the patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope.”
The scriptures give to us hope. The stories of old give us hope. This verse can be looked at in the context of both the Old and New Testaments.
You see folks are problems are not now. We may think that our problems our unique to ourselves, but there has been someone else who as gone through them before.
God ministered to them in their situation and He will do the same for us. The same God who dealt with those saints of old, deals with us today. God ministered to their needs and He will ours.
Are you lonely and depressed. Look at Elijah, he thought he did not have a friend in the world. He thought he was the only one who still loved God. He was alone and depressed. But Elijah found that God was still with him, that God was there. God sent fire from heaven to show him that He was with him.
Are you frightened? Something in your life has gotten out of control? Look at David, he fought a 9 foot 6 inch giant and beat him. God was with David, no need to be afraid when God is on our side. As the Bible states, “if God is for us, who can be against us?”
Are you being treated unfairly? What about Joseph? He was treated unfairly. He treated unfairly by his family, by Potiphar’s wife, by Potiphar himself, and the list goes on. Yet His hope was in God. He rose for prison to be the second most powerful man in Egypt.
Are you in some sort of crisis? Talk about a crisis how would you like to be facing a group of hungry lions with nowhere to run! That’s were Daniel found himself. What did Daniel do? He prayed, because He knew where his hope was, it was in God.
These stories and more are given to us that we might have hope. Hope in God, knowing that He is still there, that He cares for his children. None of our problems are new, God has seen them before. Maybe the outcome will be different then what we see in the Bible, but let us know where our hope is!
The promise found in the Bible give us hope. In Hebrews 13:5 “…For He Himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” Jesus will not leave us, He is always with us. Even when we go places we should not be, or say things we should not say, or do things we should not do, Jesus is with us, our hope is there.
No matter what our situation, hope is there, that Hope that is Jesus Christ.
The second reason for hope is the Cross of Jesus Christ. The cross ought to remind us that someone loves me, and that someone is master of the universe, He is Lord of all, King of kings. Listen to Jesus words in
John 15:13; “Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.”
There is no greater love then the love Jesus Christ as for the saints of God. A love by which He came to earth and died for our sins, paid the price of our sins with His own blood. We cannot even begin to understand that love of Christ.
That love ought to give us hope, because that love demonstrates to us, how much Jesus cares for us. How much the Father cares for us and desires what is best for us.
Romans 8:32 “He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?”
Our hope is in God because He has demonstrated to us through the cross of Christ that He desires for us what is best.
Pray the Lord’s prayer 4 times a day (if you can do it each time sincerely) or as often as you can sincerely pray it.
The Lord’s Prayer: Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us, and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever and ever. Amen.
Day one: Quitting addiction exercises
Day two: It is important to admit you are powerless
Day 3: Learn the right way to live
Day 4: Getting rid of negative emotions
Day 5: Remember – money lost is not yours. Don’t try to get it back or you will lose more.
Day 6: can you increase your pleasure by gambling?
Day 7: Staying clean in all ways helps you quit the addiction
Day 8: Decide what pain and pleasure you want
Day 9: Analyze what leads you back to your addiction
Day 10: Change your emotions and your mindsets. Stop believing that your big score will come in.
Day 11: Where the Spirit of the Lord is – there is liberty
Day 12: Learn how to worship God. Also try to develop positive addictions.
Day 13: Write out a letter saying why you want to quit
Day 14: Overcoming cravings and negative emotions
Day 15: You have some self control
Day 16: Have a list of coping statements. Have a list of substitute activities.
Day 17: How to find living water that will always satisfy you
Day 18: Do not have faulty beliefs abourt gambling odds
Day 19: Interview with a professional poker player
Day 26: Which prayers are answered quickly – which prayers time more time and persistence
Day 27: How to fill the vacuum that addiction caused
28: Finding a good church
30: How to eliminate the vacuum created by quitting
31: Tripping your addiction trap. Overcoming sloth
32: You need clean people around you if you are going to stay clean
33: Use real math not gambling math
Day 34: Don’t condemn yourself
Day 35: Don’t test yourself to see if it is safe to gamble a little bit
Day 36: Knowing why you can’t quit can help you quit
Day 37: Do not chase pipe dreams
Day 38: Getting the anger out
Day 39: The vice of greed
Day 40: Specific planning helps break addiction
Day 41: Embrace the truth about gambling. Know your odds of hitting the big score.
Day 42: Quitting permanently
Day 43: Financial problems
44: Overcoming cravings
Day 45: The importance of helping others right now
Day 46: The devil is always campaigning for you
Day 47: Who or what do you worship