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God's Gifts To Man
The Lord God has been most generous with mankind, like any parent He has given us many wonderful gifts.  And like many petulant children we too often abuse those gifts.  All too often we fail to recognize that they even are gifts. Sometimes, out of fear, misunderstanding or misguidence, we refuse those gifts.

God has given us the gift of His Word.  The Bible is all at once a history, a guide to living, and an endearing and entertaining story.

Children ask questions, parents provide answers.  We, as God's children, also ask questions and God has given us answers.  

Parents and teachers don't always provide direct answers to the questions posed by children.  Oft times we answer a question with another question.  We do this to induce the child to use his or her intelligence and come up with and answer by themselves.  Besides teaching the child how to think this also helps the childs self-esteem.

Like any good parent, God does not always provide direct answers to our questions.  Like a good parent, God wants us to use his or her intelligence.  For this is the first of the great gifts God gave us.

Genesis 1: 27.
And God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.

God created man in his own image.  Immature humans think in concrete terms, consequently we have often thought in terms of a physical image.  But God created us in a spiritual and mental image.  We do not physically look like God but we do think like Him.  Of course, unlike God's our thought processes are fallible, we can make mistakes.  Nevertheless we can think and we can arrive at valid conclusions from valid and sufficient data.

God also gave us intuition, this is the ability to arrive at valid conclusions from insufficient data.

God, like a good parent, wants us to exercise our mind.  To that end, He does not always provide direct answers.  We must use our minds and compare the answers He gives us to the truths provided by His other gifts.

The main source of answers is another of God's gifts, His Word.  The Bible contains many answers, we need only ask the questions.  The answers are usually not direct so we must use the gift of our minds to fully understand this gift.

Genesis 15:1-4.
After these things the word of Jehovah came unto Abram in a vision, saying, Fear not, Abram. I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward. And Abram said, O Lord Jehovah, what wilt thou give me, seeing I go childless, and he that shall be possessor of my house is Eliezer of Damascus? And Abram said, Behold, to me thou hast given no seed. And, lo, one born in my house in mine heir. And, behold, the word of Jehovah came unto him, saying, This man shall not be thine heir. But he that shall come forth out of thine own bowels shall be thine heir.

When the answer we get from the Bible seems illogical or inconsistant, it may be that we are not fully understanding the answer provided.  We are not using the gift of mind and intelligence to properly interpret the answer provided.

God also gave us the gift of this earth and all the wonderous things on it.  Like many children, we have all too often abused the gift of this planet.  Fortunately God is a wonderful and capable designer.  He designed this earth and its biosphere to recover from our abuse.  Unfortunately, God did not create it to withstand the full intensity of abuse to which we humans can subject it.  We can destroy this planet, this wonderful gift.  The earth is an important gift for if we destroy it we destroy ourselves.

Genesis 1:27-30.
And God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. And God blessed them: and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it; and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the heavens, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.  And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb yielding seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for food: and to every beast of the earth, and to every bird of the heavens, and to everything that creepeth upon the earth, wherein there is life, I have given every green herb for food: and it was so.

The gift of this earth can provide many answers to our questions.  With intelligence and logic we can get this earth to give up her truths and provide answers to many of our questions.

We have discussed three gifts, our minds, the Bible and this earth.  The Bible and this earth can both provide answers to our many questions, all we need do is use the gift of our intelligence to understand them.

Sometimes it seems that the Bible and the earth give different answers, often seeming incompatible answers.

When the Bible and the earth seem to disagree there are three possibilities:

*     We have misunderstood what we have observed about the earth.

*     We have misunderstood what we have read in the Bible.

*     We have misunderstood both what we read in the Bible and what we have observed about the earth.

Clearly we can try to reconcile our observations with what we read in the Bible.  Or we can try to reconcile what we read in the Bible to our observations.  If neither of these works then we must reasses both our observations and our readings.

Praying to God and his Son, Jesus Christ can help us to understand.  This leads us to God's next gifts, his greatest.

God also gave us the gift of his only Son, Jesus Christ.  Most parents would rather die than allow their child to suffer and die.  This gives us a small understanding of just how great and wonderful God's gift to us was.  Jesus himself gave us a gift, He willing suffered and died for us.  This enabled all mankind, each and every one of us, to enter a State of Grace.

John 17:14.  
And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us (and we beheld his glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father), full of grace and truth.

The Grace of God is a gift from God equal to the gift of his son.  God willingly forgives us our sins and offers us eternal life in his Kingdom of Heaven just because, just because.  All he asks in return is faith and good works.  Faith in Him and his Son, Jesus Christ, Faith in the Holy Spirit, and our own good works.  He asks us to try to live the goodly life, a life without sin.  We must present ourselves to the world as a good example for all.  We must follow the guidelines set forth in His Word.

All this He asks of us.  Yet when we fail to measure up he gives us His Grace and forgives us.

John 17:17.  
For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.

Our minds and spirit, His Word, the earth, His only Son and His Grace, these are the gifts God has given each and every one of us.  Use them wisely.

Amen