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Golf and the Glory of the "Mulligan"

The greatest word in the game of golf is "Mulligan." It means you get a second chance on a bad shot, and your bad score is erased. Life can be like that.

I have been playing golf now for over 30 years. I have never yet had anybody love me enough to take a little two-stroke penalty for me. Have you? But God loves us so much He sent Jesus to this earth to pay the penalty for me so I can have eternal life! Wow!

Tim served as President of CBMC International for six years before returning to Lexington to be appointed as a Circuit Court Judge. He has been a trial lawyer and a Kentucky State Senator. He is an avid golfer who dreams about regaining a '2' handicap. He's married to Sue, who is his favourite "partner."

What happens if you trust in Jesus? You get something which to me is the greatest word in the game of golf. You get a "Mulligan." Do you know what a mulligan is? A mulligan is a brand new start, a "do over." You hit a bad shot, but you get to forget about the bad shot and do it all over again. That is exactly what God is ready today to give to everybody in the world, if they will accept it. You may have heard the term "born again." A "mulligan" is being born again. It is a second chance. God has said, "I will give everybody a second chance." God says the mulligans are free. They are free because Jesus Christ has already paid the penalty.

My favourite golfing verse in the Bible is in Psalm 32.

"Blessed is he whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered. Blessed is the man whose sin the Lord does not count against him" (Psalm 32:1, 2).

Look at your life's scorecard. It says something like 7, 6, 4, 7, 5, 6, 8, 7, 9: 62 on the front 9! Not a good performance. Most lives have been full of problems and sins, double bogeys and triple bogeys. But God says, "If you will trust in Me I will give you a mulligan." We are going to take your 62 on the front 9, your sin filled life, and we are going to tear it up, rip it up, and throw it away. In its place, we are going to give you a brand new score-card. You can start over.

Maybe your life isn't so bad. But even if you are a par shooter, you're still not perfect, and God is ready to exchange the perfect life of Jesus for your imperfect life.

God today is ready to allow you to start over if you can trust in Him. This is possible because "Greater love has no man than to give his life for his friends" (John 15:13). Jesus did this for you.

I am going to ask you right now to bow your head and read the simple prayer below. It is an opportunity for you to trust in Jesus and start to walk with Him on a daily basis. I will start with my prayer for you, and then I suggest that you say the prayer that follows.

Our Father in Heaven, we thank you for the great game of golf that has taught us so much about You and about Your plan for us. I pray right now that any person who has never really trusted in You as their Saviour would do that right now. Lord, give them the courage at this very moment to pray this very simple prayer with me:

Dear God, I confess to You that I am not perfect. I am a sinner. But I believe Jesus came to this earth to die for me and I want to trust in Jesus. I want to count on Him, and I am asking You to give me a clean score-card, a mulligan in life, to forgive me for my sins and give me a brand new start, beginning right now. In Jesus' name I pray. Amen.

Tim Philpot is a circuit court judge in Lexington, Kentucky.

Originally published in Business.Life, Spring 2004.




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