Playing poker with God

When playing poker, it's always best to maintain your opponents guessing until you need to start your cards. Poker players often enjoy misdirecting the other players for the strength of their hand using the intent of manipulating their decisions. Poker is unquestionably a popular game because no-one really knows who supports the best cards before very end when everyone's hand is revealed. When looking at betting about how best to please God and ourselves, life's choices can seem to be simular to playing poker.
Traditional Christians are betting that believing in Jesus as his or her Lord and Savior is like holding the greatest wild card that trumps each of the others. For Muslims, believing inside the five pillars of Islam can be analogous to holding 5 best cards inside deck. The Hindus' belief in reincarnation could be seen as having an unlimited level of poker hands and funds to play until we succeed. Buddhists might begin to see the highest goal as every player at the table holding cards that end up with a balanced draw for everybody.
It is easy to determine in employing this poker analogy that doesn't everyone is playing from the same rules and might believe anyone not following their rules isn't having fun with the full deck. But a good question arises, 'Are we playing poker and competing with the other person or, are we playing poker with/against God'? That may seem like a strange and also inappropriate question though the answer 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 occasions in almost any order He likes regardless of how the cards are shuffled and cut means the result is already assured before the overall game begins. It really all comes down to that which you believe God's goal is at creating us inside first place.
Many Christians feel God's fascination with us is conditional and our salvation is just achieved by picking out the winning wildcard (salvation through Jesus) a good moment before we die. Others still believe we earn our salvation through our choices and deeds done on God's behalf. The Bible informs us that God is unwilling for almost any repentant soul to perish, so some place their faith in God's desire to stack the deck of life within our favor in order that all His children are eventually saved despite having given us free will. So, exactly like with poker, there are tons of bets shared of life but nobody knows the solution until all of the cards are revealed and that we cash inside our chips. But think on this'
If God truly is love, is all-knowing and all-powerful, and it is the most wonderful parent we could ever imagine, will we really more info think you will find any cards He is holding that He won't share with us? Do we feel He would create even one soul that won't eventually be saved at the time of their choosing in lieu of irreversibly condemned? Do we presume God is unable or unwilling in order to save all His children nevertheless deciding we have to have free will? If so, then we are coming up with the wrong God in our own less-than-perfect image instead of doing all we can to measure up and 'Be ye therefore perfect' as Jesus taught and showed us.
The only sure bet we've got in life is God has stacked occasions within our favor. We usually stay losers for as long as we wish, for you have free will, but our separation from Him isn't the will of our own loving Father. The strategy to actually win is to play by His rules of unconditional love following Golden Rule as well as the perfect role model consideration to us from the life of Jesus. Once perform, then every day life is not only a game of ups-and-downs, but instead a never-ending connection with love and joy in God's abundant universe.
As always, I welcome the questions you have and comments at jschroeder@unityphx.org.

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