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Finding Happiness (Part 4)

Matthew 5:6

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I was doing some research for this sermon and decided to type the word “craving” into a google news search engine to see what people are craving for.  On the first page I saw articles about Girl Scout cookies, hot chili, drugs, calm and gambling.  I clicked on one headline entitled “Superior Court Employee Embezzles Money to Alleviate Casino Craving” and read this, “David Anthony Macias, 47, an accounting supervisor at the Superior Court in El Cajon, California, allegedly stole court fees and fines possibly worth hundreds of thousands of dollars to alleviate his craving for casino gambling.” What struck me as odd about this article is the website I found it on.  Look at this screen shot of the page—it is on a site entitled 101-best-online-casinos.com.  (http://www.freshministry.org/illustrations.html) Premium members download graphic

I’m dumbfounded.  Why would a gambling site tell the story of what happens to people who crave gambling?  Probably the same reason that beer ads encourage people to drink responsibly; it is an acknowledgement of what can happen to people who have uncontrollable cravings.

What are you craving?  What are you hungry and thirsty for?  According to Jesus, the happy people are those who crave righteousness.

Some people crave influence & power but find destruction --you will destroy yourself and others trying to satisfy this insatiable urge. Saddam Hussein was a power hungry dictator who would stop at nothing to accumulate power. He paid writers to portray him as a modern Saladin, a 12th century warrior who unified Muslim armies. One Iraqi stamp pictures Hussein and Saladin side by side, and a children's book refers to the Iraqi leader as Saladin II. 

Historians say Hussein's model in consolidating power and governing was Soviet dictator Josef Stalin.  Robert G. Rabil, manager of the Iraqi Research and Documentation Project in Washington says what Hussein built in Iraq "is a replica of what Stalin did in the Soviet Union.” He surrounded himself with grateful relatives and complaint fellow tribesmen from Tikrit. Hussein followed the path Stalin took by taking control of security agencies and strictly controlling administrative tasks himself. Hussein collected books on Stalin and built his regime on a Stalinist model, using constant purges of his Baath party to eliminate rivals. 

Phebe Marr, author of a history of Iraq, says Hussein “stopped a cycle of coups” in Iraq when he came to power.  She notes that the leader promoted education and spread around wealth from oil sales.  Marr says, “But he fastened to Iraq a totalitarian system the degree if which has never been seen before in the Middle East.” She adds, “There were no checks and balances on his judgment” which eventually proved to be Hussein's undoing. (http://www.freshministry.org/illustrations.html)   Psalm 73:6 says, “Therefore pride compasseth them about as a chain; violence covereth them as a garment.”  (KJV) and Proverbs 16:18 says, “Pride goes before destruction and haughtiness before a fall.” (TLB)

Some people crave money but find emptiness.  In 1993, Suzanne Mullins won 4.2 million dollars in the Virginia Lottery. Eleven years later, she was deep in debt to a Florida Company. A circuit court ruled that Mullins owed $154,147.

In 1998, Mullins took out a loan with a Florida company that serves lottery winners who need their money
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