“He created him; male and female…Then God blessed them…Then God saw everything He had made and indeed it was very good.”  Genesis 1:27.28, 31

“These things I have spoken to you to you, that in Me, you may have peace.  In this world you will have tribulation, but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”  John 16:33

“I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly” John 10:10

Dear readers, this intended to be a slightly shorter post (I can hear the applause coming across the internet 🙂 ).  For being an instructor and facilitator as long as I have been; I know that no one can be forced to learn.  In the same way, no one can be forced; first, to make a decision and second should they decide to decide, what choice they decide, which can be influenced, can not be completely forced.  Ah, that free will thing.

So it is Dear Sisters and Brothers, if you are reading this and decide to continue on; no one can argue that you are indeed alive.  Your heart is beating, your lungs are taking in air and your brain synapses are firing.  So the basic, bottom-line questions is: How do you see your life? Is your (and my) life a gift from God?  Is it a burden (perhaps placed on us by God or not)?  Is it a curse?  Do please understand two things.  First, I’m asking you to think, not just about your circumstances concerning today; but how you truly see your life in total.  Second, this is not a purely academic or fuzzy, nebulous exercise.  For how you see or define your life is how you will behave toward yourself, toward God, toward others.

So (and again briefly) let’s explore this question.  First, scripture tells us in the beginning; that all God created was good, indeed very good.  God did not create us to be burdened or even cursed.  Yet we rebelled.  Surely at that point, God cursed us, turned His back on us, levied burdens on us too tough to bear.  God did not curse Cain when he slew his brother Abel.  Yes Cain was sent away but God swore to protect Him.  Look how God protected and provided for Noah, Abraham, Moses, Ruth and so many more regular, imperfect people who had faith in Him.

Yet for all that God did for us we could not find it within ourselves to save ourselves and come into a righteous eternal relationship with Him.  Again, He didn’t curse us and turn His back on us.  On the contrary, He sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to do what we could not.  Through His death and resurrection; Jesus Christ allowed us to come into eternal fellowship with our Heavenly Father.  To experience the true gift our life can be.

So how do we respond?  First, like an earthly gift, we can completely reject the gift and the giver, seeing no value in what is being given to us.  Or, we can see that it is a gift, but like that crazy relative that keeps giving us strange and unwanted things, we can politely accept the gift and seeing no value in it, put it way in a closet, never bringing it out or maybe just once or twice a year.  A few, fortunate ones may see the gift for the treasure it is.  Understanding that the giver didn’t just give to us one thing and then step away to see if we’d use it right or not.  No, God everyday, is adding to His gift of life.  God is teaching us, blessing us, leading us and most important of all; loving us.

Dear Sisters and Brothers; our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ know that we will sometimes mistreat Their wonderful gift of life.  They also know that many will reject not only the gift and the Giver, but will also reject and be jealous of those who choose to accept the gift and be blessed by it.  Yet neither of those things will diminish the lengths that God is ready to go to sustain the wonderful gift He has given.  Today, regardless of your (or my) circumstances, God wants to give you, His Peace, His Joy, His Strength, His Spirit, His Love.  All He demands, all He expects, all He truly wants in return; is that we accept His gift and accept Him who is the giver, as well as He through and by who the gift is given; Jesus Christ.  A fundemental joy, peace and amazement await all who will truly, faithfully accept.

Our Most Gracious Heavenly Father, we give You thanks and praise for the gift of this life that You have given us.  Forgive us Most Merciful Father when we take this gift for granted or worse yet, see it as a burden or curse.  Restore us through Your Love and Spirit we pray, that in living into Your most precious gift, we would live lives of praise and glory to Your Most Holy Name.  In the name of Jesus Christ we pray.  Amen