January 18, 2015
The Powerball Generation
The recent hype over the Powerball lottery has been hard to ignore. For several nights the major news networks had the lottery craze as their lead story. People were waiting in line for up to at least three hours to have a shot at winning $1.5 billion.
The weirdest thing I noticed throughout this national drama was how hundreds of people were flooding into the California 7-Eleven—the store that had sold one of the winning tickets; the prevailing mindset was to tap into the magical energy in the place.
Lottery fever passed over me, because I have a full comprehension of the odds against some- one winning. How long are those odds? According to Powerball’s website, the odds of winning the grand prize is 1 in 292,201,338.00. A few years ago, the odds were a mere 1 in 195,249,054.
But the folks operating the lottery decided to increase the jackpot by doubling the price of a ticket from 1 to 2 dollars and by increasing the number of balls in play in each drawing. People fail to realize it is far more likely for someone to die due to an accident on the way to buy a lottery ticket than to actually win the lottery.
The annual odds of anyone dying in a car accident is 1 in 6,700. Here are a few more sobering statistical odds:
One in 3,703 odds of being wrongfully convicted of a crime.
One in 4,464 chance of losing an appendage in a chainsaw accident.
One in 18,000 possibility of being murdered in a given year.
One in 115,300 likelihood of going to the E.R. with a pogo stick-related injury.
One in 700,000 odds of being crushed by a meteorite.
One in 1,000,000 chance of dying in a plane crash.
People who don’t fly or own a pogo stick may think luck is on their side.
They should try an exercise that demonstrates the foolishness of such dreams. Even though the drawing had already taken place, I wrote down six random numbers. When I looked at the winning numbers, I didn’t get a single number right;
which is the case for over half of the tickets sold. Unlike millions of people, I still have my two bucks.
One of the worst things about gambling is the temptation and burden it places on the poor. There was a study in 2010 showing that households with annual take-home incomes under $13,000, on average, spend $645 a year on lottery tickets (which comes to about 9 percent of their yearly income). I know people who have played the lottery for decades, and would have a sizeable nest egg if they had put all that money into a savings account.
I once listened to an interview featuring Steve Wynn. He has overseen the construction and operation of several historically notable Las Vegas and Atlantic City casinos. Wynn said he has never witnessed someone winning big in his gambling joints, and then walk away rich. “They always give it back,” said Wynn. His own father died with $350,000 in gaming debts, so Wynn obviously decided it’s better to be on the other side of the blackjack table.
Winning a lottery can be more of a curse than a blessing. We’ve all heard stories about people who win millions of dollars, and then blow it all. What you don’t hear about is the corrupting nature of money. When parents win the lottery and play the role of a financial Santa Claus to their kids, the result more often than not is a life of idleness.
Because easy money destroys productivity, people who are given wealth are often sent into a spiraling downward direction. Studies have shown that 7 percent of wealthy families lose their wealth by the second generation, and a stunning 9 percent by the third, according to the Williams Group Wealth Consultancy.
I know of a Christian who came into a vast future. He gave millions of dollars to various ministries. The money was to be used productively for the kingdom of God, but it went down a rat hole because those entrusted with the funds failed to wisely administer the money. Some of the deadest churches in America got that way because someone died and left them a fortune.
Not many years ago, it was possible to accumulate wealth through honest and intelligent hard work. Today, the quick payout is the primary goal of most people. This short-sightedness is the reason why America is floundering both financially and spiritually.
The jackpot I’m looking forward to is the one we’ll receive when the Lord takes us home. If you are a believer in Christ, your chances of winning that grand prize is 100 percent. In heaven, there is no lump sum cut, and the mansions are tax free.
“In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you” (John 14:2).
Satan's End Times Surgery
Academia, it is becoming more apparent each day, is serving as the devil's workshop. Specifically, for example, Yale University is being sought out to serve as the devil's operating room for carrying out an excision of truth in an area that is most troubling to him in restricting his end of days stratagem.
A report I received the past week from a friend and fellow watchman on the wall immediately impressed scriptural implication upon my spiritual senses.
This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be... Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof... (2 Tim 3: 1-2a, 5: 1a)
My friend's email provided two letters to the editor that were recently sent to his local newspaper. He lives in Connecticut, near Yale University, the curriculum of which is the target of the letter writer’s proposals.
The letters to the editor, I'm of the opinion, encapsulated a stratagem of the old serpent I have for some time been observing. He seeks desperately to destroy the true, unvarnished witness of the veracity of God's word. Key to his strategy seems to be the mixing in of biblical truth with the false religions of the world. On some levels it appears that he is having success.
Lucifer has "enlightened" (seduced) the world’s religionists to a large extent to his seductive whispers proclaiming God is love. Anyone who denies that God is love must be put within the theologically and politically correct detention camp—the gulag—where haters must be dealt with appropriately. Anyone who claims that God condemns is a hater, a bigot, a person filled with an inhuman phobia of one sort or the other.
All within humanity are on the heavenly highway to salvation, no matter their sin—which, in fact, Satan whispers, doesn't exist. That is, all are on that salvation highway except those who insist there is but one way to redemption—to Heaven. Such are haters, who preach that God is judgmental—that He is vindictive and vengeful.
The Bible and other "holy books" show—Satan whispers to the theologically and politically correct—that God is only love. The parts that indicate that the Christian Bible's God judges humanity for sin other than the sin of failing to take care of the physical needs of fellow man is to be disregarded—to be spiritualized as meaning something other than what the hate-filled bigots who hold to the fundamental, evangelical view say it means.
This is the surgery Satan is attempting to perform—cleaving the love portion of religiosity from the judgmental. And, this brings us to the letters to the editor concerning that prestigious academic institution, Yale University.
The writer, from Vermont, is, he informs, a former student of Yale's School of Theology. He points to apocalyptic prophecy as the primary reason for all of mankind’s problems today. That a loving God would condemn anyone to suffer eternal punishment...well...let's let his own words explain...
Yale shouldn’t simply change the name of Calhoun College to that of an alumnus who is not a white supremacist. It should re-examine the mission of the Divinity School (where I received a Master of Divinity degree in 1980) which treats eschatology like a benign academic theological category, instead of the dangerous and incendiary belief-system that it is, in whatever religion it appears.
It is not Christianity or Islam which is responsible for many of the mass killings we have seen in my lifetime. It is the unchallenged belief in eschatology (end time; final judgment; apocalypse) which has produced Jim Jones, David Koresh, the Tsarnaev brothers, Army psychiatrist Nidal Hasan, and the San Bernardino husband and wife shooters, all in the last half-century.
It is time for President Peter Salovey’s challenge for Yale to engage in soul searching to be expanded to include the Divinity School on a topic equally as poisonous as institutional racism: the belief that God will punish mankind for not obeying his sacred word, by imposing a final judgment in an end-time of hellfire and torment or of eternal bliss. (Source: Letter to the Editor: Yale needs deeper ‘soul searching’ www.nhregister.com)
The letter to the editor writer later replied to a response given his charge by the dean of Yale's School of Divinity. The dean explained how Yale and other such institutions were working with the U.N. to "remove all religion as a rationale/cause of extreme violence." The dean said he wasn't certain eschatology was the cause of the violence.
The letter writer wrote:
Isn’t Dean Sterling missing the forest for the trees? All religions which include Armageddon belief-systems, throw gasoline on the inflamed minds of wannabe martyrs, terrified of eternal torment and hungry for eternal bliss, from Jim Jones in Jonestown, Guyana, and David Koresh in Waco, Texas, to the Tsarnaev brothers in Boston, Army psychiatrist Nidal Hasan in Fort Hood, [Texas], and the husband and wife mass murderers in San Bernardino, California.
Armageddon should be banished from the religious canon as a paranoid delusion, not taught as benign theological embroidery. That would assist “the UN to try to remove religion as a rationale/cause for extreme violence,” as Dean Sterling puts it.
At the least, scholars at Yale’s distinguished divinity school should pursue the truth wherever it leads, without fear. (Source: Letter to the Editor - New Haven Register, January 8, 2016. Eschatology fuels ‘inflamed minds’.)
Lucifer’s attempted surgery is focused in laser-like fashion upon those who present end times matters to the world. The old serpent has a volcanic rage against prophecy from the Bible because such prophecy tolls his soon-coming doom, and because that truth might resonate with anyone who looks around them and sees how world conditions align perfectly with Biblical eschatology. The world today demonstrates the absolute veracity of God's holy word. Satan has decided on the brilliantly evil tactic of lumping all who preach and teach that truth with the likes of the murderous Mullahs and Jihadists who have as part of their madness to bring on their version of Armageddon so their prophesied Mahdi can rule the caliphate they seek to establish.
Anyone who thus puts forth that there is coming a tribulation and an Antichrist—and God's judgment for rebellion and sin—are wicked and no different from those raping, murdering and beheading people by the thousands.
It is a stratagem that is working—within academia and even within the pseudo-Christianity held by many of today's liberal theologians.
God's love, however, cannot be cleaved from His judgment. It is all part of the same divine plan for the ages. Sin must be dealt with in final judgment so that pure, unadulterated love can reign throughout eternity.
That love is a person, and His is a name like no other name. Jesus Christ is coming to make all things new and righteous. The first phase of that return—the rapture—is on the very brink of taking place. We must not and will not be silent regarding prophetic truth.