Participating in poker with God

When playing poker, it's always best to maintain your opponents guessing until it's time to start your cards. Poker players often enjoy misdirecting the other players regarding the strength with their hand while using intent of manipulating their decisions. Poker is definately a well known game because no one really knows who props up best cards prior to the very end when everyone's hand is revealed. When it comes to betting about how better to please God and ourselves, life's choices can appear like playing poker.
Traditional Christians are betting that believing in Jesus for their Lord and Savior is similar to holding the ultimate wild card that trumps all of the others. For Muslims, believing inside five pillars of Islam may be analogous to holding 5 best cards in the deck. The Hindus' belief in reincarnation may be seen as having an unlimited level of poker hands and funds to play until we succeed. Buddhists might start to see the highest goal as every player at the table holding cards that end up with a balanced draw for everyone.
It is straightforward to find out in making use of this poker analogy that not everyone is playing with the same rules and may even believe anyone not following their rules isn't using the full deck. But then a good question arises, 'Are we playing poker and competing with the other person or, shall we be held playing poker with/against God'? That may seem like a bizarre as well as inappropriate question nevertheless the fact is worth exploring.
Most religions agree that God is all-powerful and all-knowing. Playing poker with God clearly takes away any bluffing strategies. Realizing God can stack those times in a order He likes it doesn't matter how they are shuffled and cut means the result is already assured and before the action begins. It really all relies on what we believe God's goal was in creating us in the first place.
Many Christians feel God's passion for us is conditional and our salvation is achieved by deciding on the winning wildcard (salvation through Jesus) a moment before we die. Others still think that we earn our salvation through our choices and deeds done on God's behalf. The Bible lets us know that God is unwilling for virtually any repentant soul to perish, so some place their faith in God's desire to stack the deck of life in our favor to ensure all His children are eventually saved despite having provided us with free will. So, the same as with poker, there are a lot of bets shared of life but nobody knows the answer until every one of the cards are revealed and that we cash in your chips. But think on this'
If God truly is love, is all-knowing and all-powerful, and it is the most wonderful parent we're able to ever imagine, can we really think you will find any cards He is holding that He won't give us? Do we believe He would create even one soul that wont eventually be saved at the time of their choosing as opposed to irreversibly condemned? Do we think God cannot or unwilling to save lots of all His children yet deciding we should have free will? If so, only then do we are creating the wrong God inside our own less-than-perfect image rather than doing all we can to make the cut and 'Be ye therefore perfect' as Jesus taught and showed us.
The only sure bet we've check here got in daily life is the fact that God has stacked those times in your favor. We usually stay losers so long as you want, for everyone has free will, but our separation from Him isn't the will of our own loving Father. The approach to actually win is to try out by His rules of unconditional love following Golden Rule and the perfect role model proven to us through the life of Jesus. Once we do, then every day life is not really a game of ups-and-downs, but a never-ending experience with love and joy in God's abundant universe.
As always, I welcome your questions and comments at jschroeder@unityphx.org.

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