Life becomes unmanageable when we can’t use our feelings appropriately. If we insist on feeling a certain way based on external events we will continue with our habits.
If we insist on thinking a certain way no matter what we start to control our destiny. When we develop a habit of thinking a certain way we can next develop a habit of planning our actions ia more concrete way. I sometimes have such a lack of control of my thinking/feelings that I write what I “should think” on a paper 40 times.
For example Bill is a self-employed house handy man free from gambling for 15 days. But today things are not going well and all he can think about is gambling. But he 100% knows that out of control behavior is ruining his life. But he can’t stop thinking about gambling. He also has a job he needs to work on today, but he 100% does not care because all he can think about is going to the casino. In a last ditch effort he calls his pastor.
His pastor says: “you need to focus on something else. Has your life been better in the last 15 days? Are you sleeping better, are relationships better, is your health better? What can you do today for 15 minutes to start to turn this around?
Bill said: “for a few minutes I am going to write down what is better in my life. Then I will know what I should do today. Then I am going to write down 40 times what I will do today.” He then proceeds to write 40 times: work, pool, Ronny, BS, 12, LTH. Which translates as: work 9-5, play a little pool, hang out with his buddy for a bit, Bible study and prayer, go to bed on time, which LTH (leads to happiness).
We all want to be happy. We just remain confused, thinking our addiction is a magic key to happiness.
Today: change your thinking, change your focus, do whatever it takes to accomplish this. Bill made it through the day. He ended the day with prayer and Bible study which changed his focus for the next day. Bill is gaining traction.
Did you ever wonder why people idolize a basketball player or a rock star? The reason we do this is because we were created to be this way. We want to find something great and we want to be a fan of the greatness, or a participant in the greatness.
For a variety of reasons we now idolize our addiction on some level. It is now more important to us than many things that should be priorities. Even though we are aware of this problem we struggle to change, we are driven and sometimes controlled.
This brings us to addictions real issue. We are supposed to Worship. When we worship the wrong thing, life goes very badly. God created us to love many things but to worship only Him and His Son Jesus Christ.
Many of us worship God and we love (and maybe sort of worship) other things. Things like success, money, addictions, you name it, there are many things to choose from. As time goes by, we tend to put those other things firmly ahead of God. Some of us do it all of the time and the rest do it some of the time. But God does not accept us ever putting anything before Him.
The reason many people can’t quit their addiction is because when they quit the one thing that they really love (and maybe even worship), they have lost the one thing that they love the most.
The answer is that instead of worshipping our addiction we need to learn to worship God consistently so that He will be the One that we love the most. Once we have disciplined ourselves to do that, our addictions will begin to disappear.
To worship God step #1 is to ask for forgiveness for your sins and to accept him as your Savior (if you have not done that already). Step #2 is to do everything you can to get the sin out of your life. Step #3 is to learn to habitually worship God.
Key Point #1 We should always be telling God that we love Him.
Many of us old cranky people hate it when we hear a young couple in love. Oh I love you, no, I love you more, Oh I’m going to miss you when you leave for 71 minutes, no I’m going to miss you more. Please grow up so you can be disgruntled like the rest of us.
But the Bible insists that we always have our first love as Christians. We need to always love God the way we loved Him the day we became a Christian. Key Point #2 We need to always tell God that we worship Him. We need to check ourselves to make sure that we are always worshipping Him not something else. For example don’t stop worshipping God when you are entertaining yourself. When you are watching TV, during the commercials, mute it and pray.
Key Point #3 get into the habit of always praising God. Key Point #4 the Bible says in everything give thanks. This means that we are to thank God for everything good or bad. Key Point #5 listen to Christian music.
I love listening to Christian music. Nowadays there is Christian rock, rap, country, you name it and there there is a Christian style for you. You may be able to stream your style of choice on the internet. Give it a try, it can sometimes help you worship God.
The late Keith Green sang one of my favorite songs which was written by Ray Boltz. It is called
Oh Lord, You’re Beautiful
Oh Lord, You’re beautiful
Your face is all I seek.
For when Your eyes are on this child,
Your grace abounds to me.
Oh Lord, please light the fire
that once burned bright and clear
Replace the lamp of my first
love that burns with holy fear
Key Point #6 Begin turning over to God areas of your life that you have never committed to Him. This is the heart of worship – surrender. God won’t settle for 80 percent of your life; He wants it all.
Read Matthew 13
Father, help me to quit gambling, to learn how to think about other things instead of gambling and to learn what to do instead.
Covetousness is the mother of many vices. Expert Jerry Shirley shared the following:
“It is an excessive desire for something you don’t have. There’s nothing wrong w/ wanting certain things, like something better for your family, etc. But this is an excessive desire that compromises convictions to gain something you want. It is also an envious desire for what someone else has…desiring what they have to be yours.
The other commandments deal w/ actions, but this one with attitude. The others are about behavior, but this one is about our mind. “Don’t Steal” says keep your hands off. “Don’t Covet” says don’t even think about it!
It is the mother of the other 9 sins in the commandments:
No other gods = the covetous worships the gods of money and materialism
Wars are waged because people coveted land or power
Don’t kill = many are killed every day by someone who wanted what they had.
Adultery = this always begins w/ covetousness, wanting the spouse of another.
Don’t Steal = this is obvious
The dictionary definition of “covetousness” is “grasping for more.”
This is the sin of selfishness. You’re never content. Dr. Lee Roberson calls this, “An ancient sin dogging the steps of modern man.”
A story is told of a peasant who murmured to a giant landholder of the
unfairness of it all. Knowing the nature of men, the landholder promised to give the peasant all the land he could walk around in a whole day. The peasant, greedily trying to take in all the area possible, overexerted himself and dropped with a heart attack and died. He ended up with nothing.
I would like for us to notice three things about covetousness:
I. THE SIN OF COVETOUSNESS
16 And he spake a parable unto them, saying, The ground of a certain rich man brought forth plentifully: 17 And he thought within himself, saying, What shall I do, because I have no room where to bestow my fruits? 18 And he said, This will I do: I will pull down my barns, and build greater; and there will I bestow all my fruits and my goods. 19 And I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry.
Instead of putting his great wealth to work, he intended to build great storehouses to store his goods and hoard it for himself. He had desire, deed, and the deception was on himself, for Jesus said, “Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee” (Luke 12:20).
• A Debasing sin—it’ll turn you into someone else.
1 Timothy 6:9-10
9 But they that will [want to] be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition. 10 For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.
There’s no virtue in poverty. Some very godly people in the Bible were rich. It’s the desire for more and more that is sinful. It’s not necessarily a rich man’s sin.
And yet this is the mother of all sins!
Eve coveted the fruit and it’s still stuck in man’s throat today! Lot coveted the best land, and mankind is still fighting over that land today! Judas coveted 30 pieces of silver resulting not only in the Savior’s death, but his own death! Ananias and Sapphira also died because of it.
• A Damning Sin—one to take seriously!
For this ye know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.
It’s a sin to be saved from.
Ill.—people all over this town won’t come to church because they have it in their head that all we want is their money. We know that’s not true, but even if it was true, wouldn’t it still be worth tolerating in order to go to heaven? It just goes to show that the thing standing between them and God is their material possessions!”
Pray often if this sin torments you. Pray “Father, take this covetousness out of me.” Pray this as often as needed until you get it out of you. More on this tomorro.
If you would like to start living in God’s blessing pray: “Father – I plan to start doing things your way, obeying your commands, studying the Word. Please bless me when you are ready to do so. I am planning to do my part and I will patiently wait for you to bless me when the time is right.”
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
29: Knowing why you can’t quit can help you plan how to quit
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