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Tuesday, April 3, 2012

How to have a perfect basketball bracket

            I filled out a perfect bracket!! One of the men with whom I have a Bible study gave me a real nice bracket to fill out for the NCAA tournament. So, I decided to fill it out. The odds of correctly filling in every single bracket is 1 in 147,573,952,589,676,480,000. If every person on earth were to fill out one bracket per second, humankind would eventually produce a winning bracket after 700 years!  But I have a winning bracket in my hand. 
            To make it even more astounding, I did not only write the winning team - even the upsets. I have the exact score for every team. The exact score! For every team. For every game. For the whole bracket. What are the odds of that happening? 
            You know by now - presuming I'm not lying - that I actually filled in the brackets after each game. That's what I did. It's not hard - the possibility of thus having a winning bracket is 1 in 1 - when you fill out the brackets after the fact. 
            The apostle John wrote in 1 John 5:13, "These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know that you have eternal life." God has not left the path to heaven as guess work. He has given us the "perfect bracket" already filled-in. God tells us exactly what we need to do to get to heaven. 
            We need to hear the Gospel of Christ (Romans 10:17). We need to believe that Gospel (John 8:24). We need to repent of our sins (2 Corinthians 7:10). We need to confess our faith (Romans 10:9-10). We need to be immersed in water for the forgiveness of our sins (Acts 2:38). We need to remain faithful unto death (Hebrews 3:6). 
            As a member of the body of Christ, the "bracket" would include: singing and making melody in our hearts (Colossians 3:16). It includes praying for one another (James 5:16). It means dedicating ourselves to the reading of Scripture (1 Timothy 4:13). It means observing the Lord's Supper on the Lord's Day (1 Corinthians 11:17-20). It means giving for the support of good works (Galatians 6:6). 
            As an individual Christian, filling in the "perfect" bracket means I grow and practice more and more love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Galatians 5:22). It means I consistently delete from my life unrighteousness, wickedness, greed, evil, envy, murder, strife, deceit, malice, gossiping, slandering, insolence, arrogance, boasting, disobedience to parents (Romans 1:29-31).
             These are the things I need to have in my bracket and I'll be a winner. The possibility of having such a "winning bracket" and going to heaven is 1 in 1. You and I will then receive the "crown of righteousness" (2 Timothy 4:8).
 --Paul Holland

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