I talked with a young man whose life has radically changed in the last year. His story goes something like this. He was raised in a Christian home where he was taught the Bible from an early age. When he was a teenager, he attended Sunday School and youth group every week. He memorized Bible verses and attended a Christian camp where he was challenged to give his life to Christ.

Somewhere along the way he got off track. Really off track. Way off track. So far off track that he ended up leaving home, traveling around the country, doing a little of this and that, and eventually breaking the law and ending up in jail. There he learned something about the paramount importance of respect for authority. Get out of line and you get in very bad trouble.

He got out of prison and continued living on the edge. Evidently he was good card player and made a lot of money at it. He played No-Limit Texas Hold-‘em and won a lot of money that way.

Then last August the Lord got hold of his life, he had a genuine spiritual awakening, and was born again. Here’s one way he knows his conversion was genuine. A few months after coming to Christ, he felt tempted to go back to his old life so he went to the casino to play cards. It didn’t work out this time.

What happened? Did he start drawing bad cards? “It’s a funny thing,” he said. “I was playing as well as I ever had, only I wasn’t winning anymore. I kept losing games I used to win.”

“It’s got to be a message from God when you’re sitting at a table of ten players and you flop a flush, push your chips in, only to find out some guy across from you hits a full house on the river.” Don’t worry if you don’t understand all that.  It just means that cards that should have won now suddenly are losing.

“I figure that’s God telling me my gambling days are over.”

That young man now has a passion to serve Jesus Christ with all his heart. It reminds me of a question I’m sometimes asked. “Can God speak to me today?” Sure, he can. He can arrange it so you keep flopping a flush and losing to a full house. And he’ll keep doing it until you get the message that living for Christ is the only thing that matters.

You can reach the author at ray@keepbelieving.com. Click here to sign up for the free weekly email sermon.