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Ontario to sponsor "online gaming"

Greetings and Happy New Year from all of us at the National House of Prayer.  Another year is already under way, and we are off and running. We have seen God do so much through the last year and we look to the coming year full of faith for what he will do . For those of you that track with us here at NHOP we hope to bring weekly updates of current news and issues to lift up in prayer for our Nation. One issue that was recently highlighted in our Province  of Ontario was the issue of Gambling. Upon further investigation it is clear that the Provincial Government is moving to regulate and become active participants in the “on-line gaming’ world, following the example of British Columbia and now Quebec. Although the name has been changed in recent years to try to clean up the image to “gaming”, it is still the same thing. The Ontario legislation would bring gambling into the homes of Canadians via the Internet in the guise of “on-line gaming”. This brings up some moral questions that we should be asking ourselves: 1. What doe’s God say about gambling? A quick search on “Bible & money” can bring a long list of different well known verses about what he say’s regarding our finances and possessions. However no definitive verses come up directly referring to Gambling. I think the Apostle Paul sums it up best in his letter to the Corinthians; Everything is permissible for me"—but not everything is beneficial. "Everything is permissible for me"—but I will not be mastered by anything. (1 Corinthians 6:12, NIV) He uses the same language again in 1 Corinthians 10:23, where he adds; "Everything is permissible"—but not everything is constructive." When an activity is not distinctly described as sin in the Bible, its good to ask these questions: "Is this activity beneficial for me or will it become my master? Will participation in this activity be constructive or destructive to my Christian life and witness?" Our Christian witness and walk should reflect our hope being in Christ and his ability to provide our every need. “And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 4:19). 2. Government is supposed to be a servant of God to do the people “good” (Rom.13:4). When Government becomes involved in Gambling they impact us negatively in a state-sponsored vice. The Ministry of Health and Long Term Care allotted $36m in 2005 for the treatment of gambling addictions. What’s funny is that money is generated by taking 2% off the annual revenue of slot machines. That’s like a drug dealer taking 2% of their proceeds in order to rehab those they helped get hooked. We need to remember that God uses government not as an antidote for sin, but to help restrain sin and it’s negative influence on society. How can this happen when it stands to profit from the very corruption that gambling and all the various problems and vices that have been proven to be linked to it? 3. God loves justice, he cares for poor the widow and the orphan. Gambling as an enterprise builds itself on the loss of others, which in turn builds poverty into our nation.  Instead of offering real hope and equipping people with tools in order to escape poverty, gambling preys on poor in our society offering a false hope to those that need it most. It is no coincidence that the highest concentration of lottery ticket offices are located in the lowest income neighbourhoods. Bottom Line: Government sponsored gambling is not good for our nation. It provides a false hope and always leads to despair. Let’s pray that our various provincial governments will not choose this same path and that those that have chosen this course may have a change of mind. Find rest, O my soul, in God alone; my hope comes from him. (Psalm 62:5, NIV)

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