Enjoying poker with God

When playing poker, it's always best to keep the opponents guessing until it's time to sell your cards. Poker players often enjoy misdirecting another players regarding strength of these hand with the intent of manipulating their decisions. Poker is definately a popular game because no-one really knows who props up best cards before the very end when everyone's hand is revealed. When it comes to betting how advisable to please God and ourselves, life's choices can feel very much like playing poker.
Traditional Christians are betting that believing in Jesus as his or her Lord and Savior is much like holding the supreme wild card that trumps every one of the others. For Muslims, believing in the five pillars of Islam could be analogous to holding the 5 best cards in the deck. The Hindus' belief in reincarnation could be seen as using an unlimited amount of poker hands and cash to learn until we succeed. Buddhists might see the highest goal as every player at the table holding cards that end up with a balanced draw for all.
It is not hard to see in utilizing this poker analogy that everyone is playing through the same rules and might believe anyone not following their rules isn't playing with an entire deck. But then the good question arises, 'Are we playing poker and competing with the other or, am i playing poker with/against God'? That may seem like a strange and also inappropriate question but the fact is worth exploring.
Most religions agree that God is all-powerful and all-knowing. Playing poker with God clearly eliminates any bluffing strategies. Realizing God can stack occasions in different order He likes regardless how them are shuffled and cut means the outcome has already been assured could the game begins. It really all is dependant on what we believe God's goal is at creating us inside the first place.
Many Christians feel God's passion for us is conditional and our salvation is only achieved by picking out the winning wildcard (salvation through Jesus) obviously any good 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 any repentant soul to perish, so a spot their faith in God's need to stack when of life in our favor to ensure that all His kids are eventually saved despite having provided us free will. So, the same as with poker, there are tons of bets shared of life but no-one knows the answer until all the cards are revealed and now we cash in 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 might ever imagine, do we really think there are any cards He is holding that He won't share with us? Do we believe He would create even one soul that wont eventually be saved at the time with their choosing rather than irreversibly condemned? Do we believe God cannot or unwilling to save all His children but deciding we have to have free will? If so, only then do we are creating an incorrect God within our own less-than-perfect image rather than doing all we here are able to to compare well and 'Be ye therefore perfect' as Jesus taught and showed us.
The only sure bet we now have in life is that God has stacked the deck in your favor. We usually stay losers as long as you want, for all of us have free will, but our separation from Him isn't the will in our loving Father. The way to actually win is to play by His rules of unconditional love following Golden Rule along with the perfect role model consideration to us from the life of Jesus. Once we all do, then every day life is not a game of ups-and-downs, but rather a continuous experience 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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