KEVIN FELT TRAPPED; HE was unable to break free from his negative situation. About this time, he became aware that many people had stories of shortages of work similar to his, which led to other means of trying to make ends meet. In fact, he discovered that what he had experienced was quite commonplace in his town after hearing stories of others losing everything at the casino. One day, Kevin found a quiet place and asked God how he could help himself and others through this ordeal—if God could use this experience. Kevin knew he had been conned and deceived, but he could not bring himself to blame anyone else.. Ephesians 4:26 says,

"Be angry, and do not sin: do not let the sun go down on your wrath" (NKJV).

He realized that he had chosen his own way, which was hostile to the path of life and peace that he once knew. Kevin was under the weight of a taskmaster whose burden was heavy, keeping him

a slave to a gambling addiction. Kevin was full of anxiety, broken, and defeated. Where would his help come from?

Around this time, feeling tired of the negative talk and angry faces of people losing their games at the casino, Kevin would get away to find some solitude. However, when he tried to talk to God, it used up what little energy he had left. Kevin yearned for peace in his soul but found very little. He felt like Moses must have after being banished from Egypt with only a small portion of food and water and yet miraculously crossing the desert. Stripped of vain titles and worldly loves and having exhausted all his resources, Kevin was similarly at the mercy of a higher power that would decide his fate. Moses found a new life, free from the idols of Egypt. Kevin thought, "Could God restore me as He did Moses?" Would He?" Kevin's feelings were at an all-time low in that moment. Any time that the devil wasn't weighing Kevin down with guilt, shame, and condemnation about his poor choices, Kevin put it on himself. He believed the lies that Almighty God couldn't and wouldn't forgive him. Kevin felt that he had gone too far, and yet he had a spark of hope left. Kevin felt that if he could gather up the strength to make it back home from the casino, maybe he could find out. After not seeking God for so long, it was easier for Kevin to believe the devil's lies about himself and God. Speaking about the devil, the Bible says,

"He has always hated the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, it is consistent with

his character; for he is a liar and the father of lies" (John 8:44 NLT).

Because of his absence from the things of God and activities of His people, Kevin's mind was not being renewed toward the will of God. Kevin thought, "If only God will take me back, I'll give him my very best." Hebrews 13:5 says,

"For God has said, "I will never fail you. I will never abandon you"

When poisonous, untrue thoughts plagued Kevin's mind, he wished he knew the truth and knew what to do. Then it hit him like a ton of bricks: He remembered the words of Jesus that said He

"was the way, the truth and the life" (John 14:6 NIV),

and a fresh wind blew his way. Although Kevin felt crushed from all the time he had spent at the casino, he had more hope in spite of his fears of what others might say or think of him. He told himself, "It doesn't matter if others judge me. God is the true judge, and I hope to find forgiveness and mercy." Kevin started going to church again—not every Sunday at first, but he loved the worship when he went. He often wept as he felt God's grace and mercy rather than criticism and judgement. However, Kevin wasn't totally out of the woods yet. He still went to the casino, yet it became increasingly less frequent. Kevin felt that he was being wooed by the great, gentle love of God.

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