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Zechariah  14 : 12
And this shall be the plague wherewith the LORD will smite all the people that have fought against Jerusalem; Their flesh shall consume away while they stand upon their feet, and their eyes shall consume away in their holes, and their tongue shall consume away in their mouth.
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Thursday, September 28, 2017
J.L. Robb

I began playing golf late in my life, at least for golf, at age 45. I have never been very good and found the difficulty frustrating. I love nature and spend a lot of time in the woods and water when I play. I am lucky to break 100, unless I use a Mulligan… or three.

Though against the rules in professional golf, most amateurs make themselves feel a little better because of Mr. Mulligan.

Mulligan: (noun) a free shot sometimes given a golfer in informal play when the previous shot was poorly played- Merriam-Webster

David Bernard Mulligan is the cause of the custom. Canadian born, Mr. Mulligan was a significant golfer and member of several fancy clubs. Golfing with three friends one day, he hit his T-shot far astray. He unthinkingly took out another ball, teed it up and hit the fairway. His buddies asked him what he called that, and he replied, “A Mulligan.”

Hit a bad shot, take another. I often take a Mulligan per hole, 18 second chances.

Do you think God gives us Mulligans in the game of life? When we break His rules, especially knowingly, does He give us a Mulligan? What if we intentionally break the rule ten times?

When reading the Old Testament and the history of the Jewish people and their evolution from Hebrew to Children of Israel to Israelites and Judahites and then Jews, God seemed to have given them one Mulligan after another. Though His justice and discipline was attention-getting, so was His love and forgiveness.

Jesus said that if we prayed in His name to our Father in Heaven, the prayers would be answered. They would be answered because, by praying in Jesus’ name we are acknowledging that we know that Jesus is who He said He is: the Messiah.

Does God always give us Mulligans? Is there a limit?

Jesus went out as usual to the Mount of Olives, and his disciples followed him. On reaching the place, he said to them, “Pray that you will not fall into temptation.” He withdrew about a stone’s throw beyond them, knelt down and prayed, “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.” An angel from heaven appeared to him and strengthened him. And being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground. Luke 22:39-44 NIV

Jesus was living in anguish at what was about to happen. He did not want to be bludgeoned, nailed to a piece of wood and speared in the side, murdered because of the people He came to save. He did not want to leave the world because there was so much more to do. His own apostles failed to realize the truth of the prophecies concerning the Messiah, and the purpose, and the death and resurrection.

Jesus’ prayer was answered, but it was not the answer prayed for. God’s will at that time was not Jesus’ will; but Jesus knew it had to happen. The angel that strengthened Jesus was a Mulligan.

Why was God’s answer, No?

I have thought about this often. Jesus tells us to pray in His name and the prayers will be answered; yet He prayed and did not get the answer He was seeking. Jesus never said the answer would always be the affirmative.

If Jesus had loosened His bonds, jumped off the cross and destroyed the Romans, the Jews would have believed. They would have embraced Jesus. But that would have eliminated the rest of the population. He would not have died, which means nearly 500 people would have never seen Him walking around days after the execution. Think about how impressed the followers of Jesus were when they saw him healthy and alive? If there were ever any doubts as to his identity, for the people who saw him, all doubts were erased.

After Jesus’ death, all the apostles except John, scattered. They were fearful. They were doubting that Jesus’ story was not true. They were fearful that there really was not an afterlife. But seeing was believing.

How many second chances did Job wish for? A holy man and possibly one of the few who worshipped the God of Adam and Eve at that time. His buddies kept asking him what in the world he had done to God? He began to wonder himself. Did God give Job a Mulligan?

After Job had prayed for his friends, the Lord restored his fortunes and gave him twice as much as he had before. Job 42:10 NIV

How many Puerto Ricans are praying for a Mulligan? How many Barbudans and Dominicans are praying for a second chance. Many are in danger of dying today because of lack of water, food, shelter. There is the fear of mosquito-borne illnesses like dengue fever and Zika, a fear of malaria. Their lives are dire and could possibly be “years” before they have electricity?

When I view videos of the disaster caused by the hurricanes this year, it is heart-wrenching; and who would not pray for these brothers and sisters of all of us? It makes me wonder if the tribulation will be like this? Can you imagine an entire world without electricity? A world scrambling to find even a gallon of drinkable water? Disease outbreaks? It certainly sounds like some of Revelation.

A few months ago, I received an email from a friend who asked me why I did not write positive stuff instead of all this Revelation. She did not realize that a story cannot get more positive than the last chapter of Revelation.

Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb down the middle of the great street of the city. On each side of the river stood the tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month. And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations. No longer will there be any curse. The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city, and his servants will serve him. They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. There will be no more night. They will not need the light of a lamp or the light of the sun, for the Lord God will give them light. And they will reign for ever and ever. Revelation 22:1-5 NIV

The last chapter describes a new earth with no sun or moon. There will be light 24 hours per day, and God will provide the light. Just like He did in the first book.

And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. Genesis 1:3 NIV

There will no longer be night. There will be no sickness or death. That doesn’t sound depressing.

In life, if you believe Jesus is who he says, we have Mulligans for life. God’s greatest gift to mankind. A stream of 2nd chances.

Thank you.

About J.L. Robb

Last week: Where Have All the Palm Leaves Gone?

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