Following on from his previous blog, Ian Bartlett unpacks his journey to show how God has moved powerfully in his life in relation to the hold gambling had on him.
I gave my life to Jesus on 31st March 2010 and I was baptised on May 30th the same year. I did not gamble at all for 18 months, the church I was attending prayed that I would get a full time paid job and sure enough shortly after, a position was offered to me at a furniture factory. I eagerly grabbed the opportunity and I am still working there 3 years later.
I moved to a new area and shortly after, the temptation to gamble took hold of me again. I fell straight in to the trap and began gambling. I sought advice from my pastor and Christian friends as to what I should do although the final decision was mine. They encouraged me to start being totally honest in all things. I was at the time in a relationship and as a consequence when I chose to come clean to my partner, the relationship ended.
By coming clean and telling the truth, however, I felt as though a huge chain had been broken. I had been released from what was preventing me from moving forward but there are always be consequences to pay for your actions and you will always have to acknowledge that this will always be the case. (Romans 5 Verse 1-5)
The addiction to gambling has finally been broken the Lord has taken it away. Not once since Sept 2012 have I gambled or have I had thoughts about Gambling, but at a CVM/New Wine men’s day in St Paul’s, Hammersmith in Oct the same year, led by the Holy Spirit, I clearly heard the words that I was to ‘Step into the breech against gambling’.
This was really a shock for me! I never could ever of imagined that God would ask me to do such a thing. Who me, a gambler for nearly 40 years? A man who had been a thief and spent 18 years in the criminal justice system? Really me?
I prayed about how and what I should do and I was given a clear vision. I began by learning everything I could about the Gambling industry.
I also found out everything I could about Fixed Odds Betting Terminals. I did lots of research and I emailed politicians and members of the gambling industry, voicing my concerns. I received a great deal of support from different members of Parliament and I established one very helpful contact within the gambling Industry. I have built up trust over the last 20 months and just recently on a visit to a gambling industry event, I had the opportunity to discuss the idea of implementing a locking/unlocking device accompanied with age verification on all FOBTs. They have listened to my concerns and are in a prime position to implement change.
I have learned to be obedient and to be led by the Holy Spirit and to step out in faith in all types of different circumstances and to trust in God.
Next time I will talk of how the Lord has opened so many doors.