• Live Your Life by Choice Not Chance

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LIVE YOUR LIFE BY CHOICE NOT CHANCE

By Barry Cameron
February 16, 2018

Christopher Carbone, a reporter for FoxNews.com, recently wrote an article (Feb. 6, 2018) titled, The ‘CURSE’ Of Winning The Lottery? Here’s a sample of what he shared:

“Be careful what you wish for.

The New Hampshire woman who won the $559.7 million Powerball jackpot last month is refusing to claim her prize until she’s assured anonymity. And she may have a compelling reason to see the guarantee.

It turns out winning a jackpot of millions or even thousands of dollars can lead to financial ruin – even death. Several recent lottery winners have turned up dead in communities across the country.” 1

Mr. Carbone went on to share about Abraham Shakespeare, who won $30 million in Florida’s lottery in 2009, but less than three years later was found in a makeshift grave, buried under a concrete slab.

47-year old Deborah McDonald was run over and killed outside a bar where she’d been celebrating with friends. She’d won $5,520 in the Ohio lottery’s TV game show in 2010.

Jeffrey Dampier won $20 million in the Illinois lottery in 1996. Moved to Florida with his family where he’d invested some of his earnings in a business. He was murdered by his sister-in law and her boyfriend on July 26, 2005.

Doris Murray won the Georgia lottery in 2007 and planned to use her $5 million to start a trust fund for her children. But she was found stabbed to death in her home a year later by her ex-boyfriend.

Billie Bob Harrell, Jr. won $31 million in the Texas Lotto jackpot back in June of 1997. He quit his job, gave money to the needy and made a deal with a company that gives lottery winners lump sum payouts instead of annual payments, which meant he ended up with a lot less than he’d actually won. He separated from his wife and was tragically found dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound on May 22, 1999.

In 1985, Evelyn Basehore won $3.9 million in the Pick Six jackpot and another $1.4 million five months later, playing the same game. She had a serious gambling habit and gave large amounts of money to her friends. She eventually lost it all and moved into a trailer park in New Jersey in 2000. She said, “Winning the lottery isn’t always what it’s cracked up to be. Everybody wanted my money. Everybody had their hand out.” 2

In another article in USA TODAY (Feb. 2, 2018), William Cummings told the story of a New York carpenter who won $1 million in the lottery, but a few weeks later died of stage-4 cancer. He had previously been uninsured because he couldn’t afford it. After winning the lottery, he used some of his winnings to go to the doctor and it was then he learned he had cancer.

When we live our lives in such a way it honors God, we’ll be the recurring recipients of His bountiful blessings.

James 4:13-15 says, “Come now, you who say, 'Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit' – yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, 'If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.'”

Paul told Timothy in 1 Timothy 6:7, “For we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world.” In other words, whatever we have in our hands or in our possession right now, isn’t ours. We didn’t bring it with us and we won’t take it with us. Paul went on to tell Timothy we should not “set our hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly provides us with everything to enjoy” (1 Timothy 6:17).

I am so thankful thousands of our Crossroads’ family are living their lives by choice not chance, choosing to put God, His Church and His Kingdom first (Matthew 6:33) when it comes to money. Managing the resources He gives us in a way that honors Him (Proverbs 3:9-10) and using whatever He gives us to help people come to know Him and go to Heaven (Luke 16:9).

In our most recent stewardship series, More Than Enough! 2,908 families/individuals made commitments to live their lives by choice: putting God, His church and His Kingdom first. 1,119 made the commitment to begin tithing (giving back to God 10% of our weekly/monthly income). 574 made the commitment to begin to give above the tithe each week/month. 1,215 made the commitment to continue giving above the tithe each week/month.

Making the commitment to put God first doesn’t mean we won’t face trials and struggles, tough times or tragedies. What it does mean is we are trusting in Him to provide for our needs – all of them (Philippians 4:19), and are trusting Him, when the trials, struggles, tough times and tragedies come, to take care of us no matter what happens.

JESUS said if we “seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness,” that “all these things will be added to you” (Matthew 6:33). He also said we wouldn’t have to be anxious for tomorrow.

In Psalm 9:10 David said, “Those who know Your name will put their trust in You.” He also said, “I have been young, and now am old, yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken or his children begging for bread” (Psalm 37:25). David’s testimony was we can trust God. That’s my testimony as well as the testimony of thousands of people here at Crossroads and millions of Christians all over the world.

Making a commitment is one thing. Keeping it is another. I’m praying for the thousands of people who have already made commitments here at Crossroads, to put God first in their finances and I’m praying for thousands more to follow their example. Not only making a commitment, but keeping it!

Remember what Solomon, one of the wisest men who ever lived, said: “One person gives freely, yet gains even more; another withholds unduly, but comes to poverty. A generous person will prosper; whoever refreshes others will be refreshed” (Proverbs 11:24-25).

When we live our lives in such a way it honors God, we’ll be the recurring recipients of His bountiful blessings.

That’s better than winning any lottery!

© 2018. Barry L. Cameron

1 http://www.foxnews.com/us/2018/02/06/curse-winning-lottery.html

2 IBID

BARRY CAMERON

Senior Pastor

Barry L. Cameron has been the Senior Pastor of Crossroads since 1992 when the church was averaging 188 in morning worship. Pastor Cameron and his wife, Janis, have three children and two grandsons. He’s the author of the bestseller: The ABCs of Financial Freedom, Contagious Generosity, and The Financial Freedom Workbook. The Cameron family has been completely debt free since November 2001.

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