(Philippians 3:14, Psalm 118:8)

***DAILY PERSONAL PRAYER FOR YOU: Please Lord bless me and my family today. Help us to never forget to honor You and praise Your holy name. Thank You for Your blessings. Let us be good stewards of those blessings and never forget to reach out to others and be a blessing to those who cross our path each day. In the name of Jesus I pray…AMEN!

Football and gambling. The new college season in underway and the NFL season begins Thursday night. All across this nation it is football season. It is a time for fans of the game to root their favorite team on to victory (go Ohio State Buckeyes!). Sadly however, it is also a time for millions of people to gamble on this great sport. From now until the Super Bowl next February, TENS OF BILLIONS will be wagered legally and illegally on pro and college-football games. Over the next 5 months, lives will be destroyed by people who are in bondage to gambling on football games.

Sadly, this ye! ar will
be even worse as it is now LEGAL for all 50 states to offer sports gambling, something that has only been allowed in Nevada. As we have watched our culture in spiritual freefall, on the verge if not already a post-Christian nation (more on this sad reality in the coming months),one of the most disgusting developments have been most states operating like a mafia crime family while destroying the lives of its’ citizens in the process!

States are now drug dealers, bookies, and soon to be pimps. Many make a very legitimate argument they are also in the extortion business through their excessive taxation. What is the difference between organized crime and states who have legalized marijuana, gambling on the lottery (the old neighborhood numbers racket) and now sporting events, and very soon prostitution?

In the process they are helping to create a new generation of addicts while destroying lives. For what purpose? To generate a few extra dollars for the state c! offers
because they spend irresponsibly and are lazy. The states have locked up people over many decades for the very same activities they have now legalized!

Over the past decade, by far the fastest growing form of sports gambling, especially on professional football, has been “fantasy football.” There are several websites that offer daily action on all sporting events. In fantasy football, you create a fantasy team from the existing pool of players. You bet real money on your “team” and are rewarded when the players you select have productive statistics in the games they play.

It sounds like fun and can be exciting, but if you are playing fantasy football and there is money to be won or lost, YOU ARE GAMBLING!!! IT IS A GAME OF “CHANCE,” WHICH IS WHY IT IS CALLED…GAMBLING!!!

The appalling thing to me has been the hypocrisy of the National Football League in regard to fantasy football. Until the states recently legalized gambling on the games themse! lves, the league
had a zero tolerance position regarding gambling on its’ game even though they fully endorsed and supported fantasy football.

They took this position for two reasons. First, they view it as an entertaining way for more people to watch and be involved in their product. They are 100% right since not many people would be worrying about the number of yards a running back on a bad team gained in a meaningless game late in the seasons, unless that player was on your fantasy team. Second, they claim to only endorse fantasy leagues where no money changes hand, knowing full well that 99% of fantasy leagues have entry fees anywhere from $10 to $100,000 and more!

The reality is, the NFL as well as the NCAA that oversees the college game, fully understands and tacitly accept the fact that billions are wagered every season on their games. Pick up ANY newspaper during the season and in the back of the sports page are the Vegas lines. My friend, there is only ONE reason they! are
printed…for GAMBLING. The explosion of interest in college and pro football has been primarily driven by gambling. People can wager in Vegas, with the local bookie, with their friend, or at offshore bookmakers online, and then sit back and watch the game they have bet on.

NOW, THEY CAN BYPASS THE LOCAL BOOKIE SINCE THE STATES ARE NOW IN THE BOOKMAKING BUISNESS!!

Football and television are a match made in gambling heaven. The “line” is broadcasted and openly talked about in regard to EVERY game without any hesitation by the announcers. Programs geared to people who gamble are all over TV and radio during football season. You can now sit at home and watch virtually every college and pro game that is played.

I can assure you, the ONLY reason someone is up at 2 a.m. on a Sunday morning watching Hawaii play TCU, other than those who went to Hawaii and TCU, are people betting on the game. The ONLY reason someone is watching two pro teams with 2-9 records on! a Sunday
afternoon, other than the fans of those teams, is because they have a bet on the game.

Gambling has driven the TV ratings, which in turn has put millions in the pockets of the NFL and NCAA schools, which is why they used to say they are against gambling with a wink and a nod. Now that it is legal for states to allow bets on college and pro football, they no longer even have to wink and nod. IT IS OUT IN THE OPEN WHICH IN THE END MAY BE A GOOD THING FOR THE INTEGRITY OF THE GAMES.

By the way, another cultural byproduct of the breakup of marriage and the family that all sports leagues are well aware of, is the dwindling fan base in the 30 and under demographic. How do little boys and girls for that matter, become interested in sports? It is usually through their father, someone who is now absent in a high percentage of homes.

I CAN ASSURE YOU MOST MEN AND MANY WOMEN CAN REMEMBER THEIR FIRST SPORTING EVENT AND IT WAS ALMOST A MEMORY OF GOING WITH DAD! !

I
will never forget the moment at 6 when my dad took me to Crosley Field in Cincinnati to see the Reds. The moment we came out from under the stands through the entry way and saw the field, I will never forget how brown the infield dirt was, how green the grass was, the signage on the outfield fence. It was a moment in time I will never forget, and one so many children also have.

I am often asked whether it is a sin to bet on a football game or to buy a Lottery ticket. I am going to tell you up front that there is no verse in the Bible that says, “thou shalt not gamble.” However, let me give you a Biblical basis why gambling is a sin. Gambling involves an element of risk. Ultimately, you are putting your faith in something other than God for the outcome. Therein lies the foundation of why gambling is a sin.

Instead of trusting God, instead of putting your faith in God, you have chosen to put your faith in luck. You are hoping to beat the odds and it is putting! your
hope and faith in something other than God that makes gambling a sin. Let me outline for you three additional reasons why gambling is a sin.

First, it can cause you to lose sight of your priorities. Never forget, anytime something is more important than the Lord in your life, it is a sin. We are to love the Lord our God with all of our heart and He MUST be our first priority at all times.

]Second, it can be a poor use of God’s resources that He has entrusted to you. Many people I have counseled are in financial difficulties, not because they have not been blessed by God, but because they have misused and mishandled their blessing.

Lastly, it can be a stumbling block to your brother or sister. Many people have a compulsive nature, could end up in total bondage to gambling. So while it may not be a problem in your life, your involvement may cause someone else to have a problem with gambling.

Let me make an important point. When I talk about gambling, ! I am
referring to the lottery, sports gambling, casino games, private card games, but I am also talking about the financial markets. Having been involved heavily in the financial markets in the 80’s, I can tell you that many people use the word investing, when in fact they are literally gambling. When you are taking a financial position in the outcome of something that is unknown, that is gambling no matter what words you want to use. You have as much control over the stock price of a particular company as you do over the performance of your favorite football team.

***This is NOT an indictment against having stocks and bonds. Prudent, reasoned, well strategized investment plans are encouraged in God’s Word. I am talking about those who are simply rolling the dice hoping to get lucky in the stock market.

The Bible teaches us to be wise stewards with the resources God has entrusted to us. I am a strong advocate of investing a portion of our resources in well researched,
fundamentally sound opportunities that have the real potential of giving us a reasonable return. That is wise use of God’s money. God encourages this type of prudent investing. The line is crossed into gambling when you are just “hoping to be right,” or entering into a situation with greed as your motive. No prayer, no research, simply taking a chance you might win. For the above-outlined reasons, that is a sin my friend.

I love you and care about you so much. I will be praying for you today, praying for those who have been caught up in the bondage of this addiction to gambling, especially those caught up in gambling on football games. If you, or someone you know is addicted to gambling, know that I will be praying today for those who are in this bondage. God is a God of deliverance and He can deliver someone from the bondage of gambling. Never forget that there is hope in Christ, and no matter how bad someone has destroyed their life, God can help them put the pieces ! together
if they are ready to surrender to Him.

Gambling is a sin, since inherent in the nature of gambling there is a reliance on chance instead of faith in God. But never forget that Christ died on the cross to wash our sins away and give us victory. If you are in bondage to gambling on football, it is no accident you are reading this message today. God is speaking to your heart about STOPPING. Don’t spend another season without sleep, worrying about an 18-year-old student at a school you can’t even pronounce making a 53-yard field goal to cover the spread or watching a meaningless Monday night game trying to get out of the hole from your losses on Sunday!

In His love and service,

Your friend and brother in Christ,

Bill Keller