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People who have decided to leave this habit forever will memorize this statement: The lows in gambling are twice as horrible as the highs are good.
Guilt says I did something bad. Shame says I am bad. The devil wants to use your shame to drive you away from God. God wants to use your guilt to draw you to grace. You can’t change your past, but God can change your future. A Christian leaves the past behind and prays harder and fights harder.
Parable – What would Jesus do if he were magically changed to being a gambler? Forced into having the same habits and mindsets that you or I may have.
The first thing He might do is to go after change with more passion than anyone in sight. Sometimes the most enthusiastic person at support groups is a bit annoying. But then we start to figure out that that is the type of person who changes more than any other type. For Christians, Jesus said that the lukewarm will be spit out of his mouth (Revelations 3:16). He is saying that Christians must be fully dedicated to following Him.
Next, he might attack the lust cycle that was placed on Him and replace it with a love cycle. Americans are the richest and most successful country in the world. But we rank about 30th in the world for happiness. Why? Because we focus on lust which kills joy instead of love which grows joy. Lust for sex, gambling, booze, money – the list is endless. This fatal quest is empty, meaningless and it kills our joy. One advantage Jesus might have over some of us in changing would be that he knows it kills our joy. Many of us are just starting to suspect it. Or may even be fighting that fact. Trying to prove it wrong.
Next, He would pray about His condition. Not an endless prayer asking Almighty God to help Him. Just a simple time of spending time with the Father. Getting direction, getting marching orders for what to do next. Getting strength from the love which flows from the Father into anyone who repents and spends time with Him. Giving the Father time to sort out the confusion addiction brings. Giving the Father time to fill the mind with new thoughts and habits.
Next, He would spend time in the Bible. Listening to chapter after chapter of the New Testament. Letting the Word wash Him clean of the bondage which was cast upon Him. Allowing the Scripture to inspire Him, teach Him, fill Him and change Him. (Obviously, this is a parable because Jesus is the Word and sin could never continue to have power over Him).
I could go on with more Biblically based idea’s but lastly – He would focus on spreading love to every person He came into contact with. He would rebuke the lifestyle of lust and embrace the lifestyle of love with a passion never seen before on planet earth.
You might say – buddy, you don’t understand. He would have a compulsion and if he thought about gambling as much as I do it would be tough. True, but unlike us He would never again look to the left or to the right. He would follow God’s plan with a 100% focus which would not allow Him time to mess up.
Why is that – it is because He would never be confused or distracted in His recovery. He would “know” how great life is when lived correctly. He would “know” how destructive it is to look back at satans traps. He just would fight until He was free again.
The more often we treat changing the way Jesus would – the quicker we will be totally free again.
Always Journal your pleasure and destruction daily. Identify your worst addiction and every day you go return to it, rate your pleasure from 1-5 with 5 being the highest score. The next day go back and add column 2 which is the destruction rating. Rate the destruction from 1-5 with 5 being the most destruction. Next, add a 3rd column which is your net pleasure gain or loss. If you rate your pleasure a 7 and your destruction rating is an 8 you have a negative one. Now you are learning something.
Most realize that their addiction is destroying them, but we exaggerate the pleasure and under-emphasize the destruction constantly. A daily scoring forces us to be honest with our pleasure increase. Honesty helps us begin to break habits.
Many problem gamblers are either broke or in debt. They cling to the hope that gambling will make them rich or get them out of debt. I talked before about the terrible odds you have of hitting it big to get rich. Today lets talk about the chance that gambling can help you get out of debt. Jake Brindell from www.wanttostopgambling.com wrote the following:
“And yet all problem gamblers (me included until recently) think that sustained problem gambling gives them a chance. A chance that they may get out of debt with that ever elusive ‘one big win’. Even if a problem gambler has that ‘big win’ – sustained problem gambling would mean, it will only be a matter of time before they are back in debt. MONEY LOST IS NOT YOURS. During my lifetime of problem gambling I always viewed that the money I had lost was rightfully mine and that it should be given back to me – it’s rightful owner. This strangely held belief has caused me untold pain throughout my life but I am happy to announce that I no longer want a penny of that money back. The gambling industry has worked hard for it and therefore they have earned it. They are the new keepers of my old money.
Wouldn’t you feel great if you could let all that money go and say to yourself ‘I’ve lost all that money and I’m never going to spend another penny trying to win it back’.”
Lewis B. Smedes wrote in his book, Forgive and Forget, “When you release the wrongdoer from the wrong, you cut a malignant tumor out of your inner life. You set a prisoner free, but you discover that the real prisoner was yourself.” We will know the work of forgiveness is complete when we experience the freedom that comes as a result. We are the ones who suffer most when we choose not to forgive. We must pray to forgive so that the Lord sets our hearts free from the anger, bitterness, resentment and hurt that previously imprisoned us. Most times, however, forgiveness is a slow process.
Pray 3-13 times per day: Father, thank you for forgiving me. Give me the strength to forgive ______ who hurt me.
One trait that all people with addictions have is that we have the habit of giving up. Work is harsh, relationships stink, money is elsewhere and a list of a million other problems get us down. So we tell ourselves that we have the right to go back to our addiction. We can’t fight back anymore. One of the reasons I recommend daily Bible reading is because of people from the Bible like Paul. His reaction to problems was the opposite of ours – he never gave up. He always fought to the end. When he was whipped and put in chains he praised God and sang so heartily that God just couldn’t resist breaking him out of jail. He was stoned (at that time in history sometimes groups of people would throw large stones continuously at someone in an effort to kill them. 2 Corinthians 11:27 talks about Paul’s tribulations: In weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness.
Instead of giving up, Paul always had the habit of fighting through problems. Develop the habit of never giving up and of fighting through problems. Fight to learn to Stop Gambling.
Read John 2 and 1st Corinthians 2 from the Bible.
Continue to read “The Purpose Driven Life”.
Pray: Father keep me from temptation.
Ecclesiastes 5:10 He that loves silver shall not be satisfied with silver; nor he that loves abundance with increase: this is also vanity.
www.lifespy.com said the following “Your children are looking up to you. And your gambling is threatening your family’s stability. Think of your children, and how your vice is affecting their childhood and their values.”
Let’s continue to watch people who are trying to quit to see what they are doing. Lisa is forming a habit to say to herself 6 times a day that “gambling causes me destruction. It has in the past and it will in the future unless I quit.”
To change his thinking Tom decided to read Experiencing God by Henry Blackaby. It might change your life to try something like that.
God has unfailing love for us. Every day I will add another verse that talks about His unfailing love. Psalm 13:5
But I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation.
Mike decided to memorize this verse: Proverbs 28:22 “He that hastens to be rich has an evil eye, and considers not that poverty shall come on him.”
Believe this verse, it was written by the wisest man to ever live (Soloman). Study this verse. Repent if you feel like you have an evil eye. Always work hard to live life the way God wants you live.
When you are a Christian guilt is left behind. Your past is buried in the deepest sea. Jesus Christ is all about the future, not the past. He is all about what are you going to do now. If your past haunts you ask Jesus to start to blot that memory out of your mind. Ask him to make you stronger and tougher if there are always things that bring the past back. Remember that Jesus can answer anyone’s prayer that He wants to, but that He tends to answer the prayers of people who are fighting to get the addiction and sin out and who are working to fulfill their God given purpose.
When we have truly repented of our sins before God we will be free from our past and can live in his love and joy.
I need your help. My new book “What The Bible Says About Addiction” is available for sale on Amazon. If you want a copy please purchase one and leave a good review. This book along with this course will help you change twice as fast. Writing a good review is your way of helping the next person. When you are busy helping the next person, you are starting to think the right way. Click here to access it.
Memorize this statement: The lows in gambling are twice as horrible as the highs are good.
The great prayer continues: “For thine is the kingdom.”
Satan wants our complete focus on our kingdom. Our money, our stuff, our success, our types of pleasures. But God wants a complete focus on His kingdom. In fact, Jesus told his disciples to go spread the gospel. What did they need for their journey? “Take nothing for the journey–no staff, no bag, no bread, no money, no extra tunic.”
God always provides for the people who will do something for Him.
Today, focus on His kingdom. Pray: “Father, help me to focus on treasures in heaven.”
What is keeping you from that focus? Write out your own prayer of the top two things that are keeping your eyes on “your” kingdom. For example: If you spend excessively, and love to buy things. Just write out a simple prayer: “Father, take away my focus on things, and show me how to have treasures in heaven.”
Always pray about whether your issue is a short-term problem, or whether it is turning into a longer-term sin habit. If it has become a big problem, go to war with the issue that is keeping you trapped. Continuing our example: Pray 7 times per day. “Father take away my spirit of covetousness, and fill me with Your Spirit.”
Then, look up Bible verses on covetousness. Study, meditate, and then pray over those verses. Read a few of them every day all year.
Open Bible has Bible verses for almost any issue you have. Go to war with any issue that keeps you from focusing on the fact that it is His kingdom.
Lastly, keeping our eyes on our kingdom leads to frustration and often leads back to addiction. Praying and meditating on this great prayer often will show you the keys to a better life.
Monitor whether you are living in the light. If you see that darkness is descending on you – panic. Spend extra time studying overcoming addiction, extra time reading Scripture, and spend some intense time in prayer. Insist on living in the light.
I have made a permanent decision that I want the great light of Jesus shining through me. I will pray to turn aggressively from sin so that it keeps shining.
If you are struggling with gambling, the verses for quitting are the best way to turn on the light. If your war with sin is going well, ask the Holy Spirit to fill you today. Ask Him to show you what living in the light is really like.
Jesus’ Example In Prayer. Firstly, Jesus prayed without ceasing: He prayed “in the morning, having risen a long while before daylight” (Mk. 1:35). He prayed during the day (Matt. 15:36; Jn. 11:41-42); and He prayed during the night (Matt. 14:23).
Having a prayer time first thing in the morning helps fight addiction. Then, when we are at work or at school, we pray aggressively when our old thoughts keep popping up.
Pray, “Father, take away these unhealthy fantasies, and thoughts, and teach me how to pray.” This prayer goes to war with addiction, and it invites the Holy Spirit to give you other specific things to pray about.
Then, pray during your evening activities. To prepare, scour this site to find prayers that will help you stay free during the evening. These should be short prayers that you can pray when temptations arise when you are on the go. Then pray when you go to bed at night.
In Matthew 4 Jesus prayed to prepare for satan’s temptations. When we pray to prepare for temptation, we take a block of time for prayer. First, a thorough time of repentance. Then, focused prayer. If you don’t know what to say, you can find 100 prayers on this site. But, with every prayer, we must be 100% sincere, with a deep desire to change. It’s not the repetition that helps, it’s your changing heart that gives the prayer’s power.
Lastly, Jesus knew exactly which scriptures to quote to satan when he was tempted. So, study, memorize, and be like Jesus in knowing which scriptures you need in your fight to win the war.
WikiHow noted the following: “Blessed are the ‘poor in spirit’: for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven.”(Matthew 5:3)
The Bible says: “Take every thought captive.” If it tells you to do that, it means you “can” do it. The first step to success is to remind yourself to do it every day. Then, write out a list with 5 or 10 things that you should be thinking about. Include 1 or 2 of the quitting addictions things you are trying to work on.
Secondly, realize that satan will pop sinful thoughts into your head. But now you are prepared to take them captive. You reject his thoughts (that lead to destruction) and you look at your list and replace that thought with a good one.
If you make this into a permanent habit great things will happen!
As Saul (soon to be Paul) went to Damascus, a blinding light came down from heaven upon him.
While in the wilderness a bush turned into a blazing fire in front of Moses.
In 2022 we either seek the Lord aggressively through Bible study and prayer or we don’t. People act like stories like these are unique to people in the Bible. But that is just not true. Every person who fervently and permanently seeks the Lord, finds Him. And when they find him, a powerful light will start to shine.
Why did the Spirit’s light shine so brightly on these two? Because they were willing to do something for God. Anything really.
Some people struggle with addictions because they are not convinced that God has a powerful, personal interest in them. But… God always has a personal, powerful interest in Christians. But it is a lot more obvious in those that fervently seek Him.
When the Spirit came down upon Saul he was more of a mess then us. Killing Christians right and left. But God saw his heart, and he sees our hearts. He sees what we will become if we will spend time with Him.
Secondly, I always say to “go to war with sin.” Why? Because it is really hard to have a blazing fire experience if you are okay staying in the darkness.
God wants you to know that He is the King of kings and the one true God. He wants you to know that the Bible is true. Seek Him until you know. Then, once you know, you just might have your own blazing light experience.
God is far more interested in changing our minds rather than changing our circumstances. We should fix our minds first because our thoughts control our lives.
Rick Warren noted: “Every action begins with a thought. If you don’t think it, you don’t do it.”
Note: If you are always thinking about changing the world, helping others, and telling others what Jesus has done for you. What habit will you no longer have time for? Proverbs 4 says: Your life is shaped by your thoughts.
My notes from Rick’s video continue: “Your thoughts have tremendous power to shape your life. Secondly, the mind is the battlefield for sin. Satan wants to control your mind just like he controlled Adam and Eve’s minds. The world wants to control your mind. The Holy Spirit wants to guide our minds. There is a battle for the way you think. Whoever wins gets you. Thirdly, the mind is the key to peace and happiness.
Romans 8:6 “So letting your sinful nature control your mind leads to death. But letting the Spirit control your mind leads to life and peace.” “Many people think their thoughts are uncontrollable. They are wrong.”
My note: Memorize that verse. If you want the Holy Spirit to lead you, quote the last half of this verse ten times per day.
Finally, if you study the verses for quitting you are allowing the Holy Spirit to have full control of your thoughts for a period of time (which lasts for a while even after you are done – especially if you stay in prayer afterward). If you develop a systematic way to get those verses in your mind virtually all of the time, you will have enabled the Holy Spirit to power your thoughts and to change them into good thoughts. Just as importantly, you have severed satan’s control of your thoughts for a large portion of time. Satan has been cut out by Scripture. The Sword of the all-powerful Bible has cut him out of your thoughts.
Pray: “Father, help me to think about Your will being done.”
It is a daily fight to win the battle of the mind. But if you put the Holy Spirit in charge and if you dig into Scripture… it is a battle you can win.
When Biblical David thought wrong, disaster plagued him. But when he thought right he was a hero and blessings followed him. When David was thinking right it was because he fed his mind with truth.
I will continue with my notes from Rick Warren’s video: “David fed his mind with truth in the morning. Psalms 119:147 “I rise early, before the sun is up; I cry out for help and put my hope in your words.” The Word starts our day with an attitude of hope. Or, we can start with an attitude of hopelessness. Psalm 119:97 Oh, how I love your instructions! I think about them all day long. Psalm 16:7 I will bless the Lord who guides me; even at night my heart instructs me.”
In the early morning, all through the day and even at night, David was thinking about God’s Word.”
My comment: If David focused on the Bible morning, noon, and night; the least we can do is to read one of the verses for quitting every hour and have Bible study every day.
Rick continues: “Romans 7:23 “But there is another power within me that is at war with my mind. This power makes me a slave to the sin that is still within me.” Satan wants to control your mind. He constantly plants sinful thoughts in your mind. But you have the power to accept or reject any thought.”
My comment: When satan plants a sinful thought pray: “Father, I worship You and only You.”
Pray: “Father, You are high and lifted up. I will focus only on You.”
Pray: “Father, show me Your glory, and teach me about satan’s mind tricks.”
When you pray these prayers and prayers like it, you are rejecting that thought and, you are punching satan in the face. He likes to play games with your mind. He hates being punched in the face. When you pray and praise God at all times you are punching satan as effectively as a heavy-weight boxer who is winning a world championship.
Lastly, focus on the Word, reject sinful thoughts, think right, live right, start finding joy.
Over the course of one month, gambling always increases our pain. With addiction, instead of 5 bad days per month we have 19. Or instead of 7 bad days we have 24.
For example: Your boss hates you and once again today, he rips you to shreds. You now have a choice of falling or fighting. The problem with falling is that falling is what causes the 19 or 24 bad days per month. While fighting is what causes you to have more and more good days per month.
We fight temptation by digging into the Word and by prayer. In this case we pray: “Father, please show me why I keep having this problem.” Then we study some more and pray some more. At some point God will give you some direction. The direction may be to show you what it is like to be a boss with a bunch of people who really don’t really want to be there. Who cause him/her trouble left and right. The direction might be to memorize this verse: “Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord.”
So, in this situation, you fight, and make these changes and your boss still treats you like dirt. But now you understand 2 things better. #1: What life is like from the other persons perspective. How have you treated them? As a Christian, how should you treat them?
But, more importantly, you have decided that you don’t want to solve your problem in a sinful way that causes you to have 19 or 24 bad days per month. You are willing to work on solving the problem, fighting the way Christ wants you to fight, and allowing today to be a little bit bad, but also a massive learning experience because you spent extra time fighting addiction instead of falling.
Flip the switch today. It is not uncommon for a person who goes to war with sin to have 19 or 24 good days per month.
Lastly, falling kills your pain like heroin kills a heroin addicts pain. It dulls it for a few hours and then increases it for a few weeks, months, or years.
Instead, fight, attack, dig into Scripture, get your life back, and start increasing your number of good days each month.
George’s life was spiraling downward so he went to the sand dunes to contemplate how to avoid destruction in the future. While striding up the dunes he paused to look at beautiful lake Michigan, sparkly, clear, and blue. Then he noticed a man passing him. He had on a t-shirt that said, “The Answer” on the back.
“How you doing, the man said with a smile?”
“Okay… so tell me, what is the answer?”
The man looked at George, his eyes conveyed a spirit of wisdom. He said, “Most people chase pleasure, and gain. The Bible tells us to pursue purpose and purity.”
“How would I start doing that,” George asked.
“Attack sin systematically. Biblical Paul was not perfect, but he always attacked sin.”
“I could never be perfect,” George said.
“Neither could Paul, but he always repented quickly. He always had a plan for how he would change. He knew that purity was the answer.”
“Oh, so he planned better and tried harder.”
“Right, and he knew the scripture. He knew what he what striving for was right and great.”
“Yeah, I am always confused about everything.”
“For me, if the Bible says to do it that way, I believe it, try to do it, and think that it will make my life great.”
“Well… I try to do Christian things sometimes and my life is not great.”
“Here’s a tip. The answer is to get rid of the sometimes in that sentence and to believe the Bible until it starts a fire burning in your soul. Paul had this huge fire burning, and that is why he knew what he knew. That is why he attacked sin.”
“So, if I do that I can have a great life?”
“One last thing. Always pray and ask the Holy Spirit what to do. Paul always tried to help others, to shine the light of Jesus wherever he went.”
“I am no good at that type of thing.”
“Jesus picked the 12 disciples mostly from fishermen. He wanted people who would try, not those with a religious degree.”
“I am willing to try.”
“Then you have everything you need to find the answer.”
One week after his sand dunes trip ended, George called Charlie, the man he met at the dunes.
“George, how are you, charlie asked?”
“I’m okay. I’ve been trying to do what you told me, but it’s not working. I’ve been trying to attack sin, but my gambling addiction always gets me.”
“The key to overcoming is to find out where the breakdown is.
To do: Firstly, we should read the Bible daily. A chapter in the Old and a chapter in the New Testament. Even better, we should study God’s commandments. A Google search will bring up a list for you. Better yet, we should meditate over and work on commands that we struggle with. Still better, we should memorize and pray over the specific verses that give us insight into our struggle.
Firstly, we need to know where the breakdown is because the Bible says that satan takes strongholds in our minds. He has taken over a portion of our thinking. With his stronghold, he keeps the power to consistently fill our minds with a drive to gamble.
For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ.”
Now, we need to take that stronghold back. Let’s look at the “to do” paragraph. Some people read the Bible a bit, others memorize and pray over specific scriptures. But if we want to take the stronghold back it is important to do everything on that “to do” list.
Here is why. Let’s just say that we both read the Bible and start to memorize the verses for quitting. But… we notice that every time we get drunk, or greedy, or covetous – you name the sin that starts you on a slippery path. Every time we fall into any habitual sin we fall back into the lust habit.
In that case, we were sloppy with other commandments. We agreed with God that the lust sin would destroy us, but we decided that the other ones would not. God said they will, but, just like Adam and Eve, for a minute, we think we know better.
Memorize the Adam and Eve story. They gave up everything for a stinking Apple.
If I will give up everything for greed, or if Bill gives up everything for partying, or if Alice will give up everything for things.
If we give up everything, then, we need something sinful to replace our emptiness. Or… we can agree with God that doing things His way will start to lead to a great life.
Here are a couple of prayers that you could consider praying a few times per day:
Pray: “Father, show me why these other sins are so problematic.”
Pray: “Father, I agree with You. Please help me.”
Secondly, the to-do list will take a lot of time and effort. But… if you do the “to-do” list, you now are starting to write a new ending to your very own Adam and Eve story. Now, you are rapidly breaking down satan’s stronghold. Now, your story starts to include, blessings, purpose, and the start of a great joy. And… your takeover and take-back will increase in success.
Two days later, George called Charlie, the man he met at the dunes.
“George, how are you, Charlie asked?”
“I’m great. I’ve been trying to do what you told me, it’s something I really want. But, the reason for my call is that I told my best buddy about the “to-do” list and he found it very overwhelming. Talk to me a little bit about that.”
“I have two stories for you. The first one is the famous story of jungle hunters who set traps for monkeys. They would make traps where the opening was just big enough for the monkey’s hand. Then they would place a shiny object in the trap. The monkeys would reach in, but once they grabbed the object, their hand was too big to pull back out. Even when the hunters were coming to kill them, they still knew they wanted that shiny object more than anything. They refused to let go and the hunters got them.
Consider praying: “Father, help me not to overvalue pleasure and not to overvalue ______.” Most of us have about four blanks we need to fill in.
The “to-do” list is overwhelming… unless we let go of those shiny objects we value so highly.
The second story: I was speaking at a small church about overcoming addictions. I gave everyone a one-page handout of the main points. The group was so lively and enthusiastic, I loved it.
When I finished a lady walked up to me and said, “Can I have your notes.”
“I have more handouts, do you need one,” I said.
“No, I need all your notes.”
“But, this is my copy that I use for these talks.”
“You have other notes, and you have other notes in your computer.”
Now, the truth was… I didn’t have this exact message saved. Sure I had these notes scattered here and there in my computer, but – wow.
She stared at me and said, “I need your notes.”
I gave her my notes.
Obviously, she had a son or daughter on drugs or something like that. And she did not want some random one-page handout. She wanted, “All the notes.”
Other people got a few good tips, she got all the notes. And if anyone who got information from that meeting quit for good, I bet it was her kid.
She wanted it. Nothing was going to stop her from getting it.
Thank you for reading day 5: Ways to stop gambling.
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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