Thankfully, God’s Love Never Runs Out!

ThanksLiving: 365 Days of Gratitude

I’ll bet you could write your own psalm of gratitude. In fact, that might be a good assignment for you on this Thanksgiving Day. Write an “O give thanks to the Lord for he is good” psalm, and then, like the psalmist suggested, go tell the world of how grateful you are. Or, better yet, just start with the people at the holiday meal today. Write your psalm and share it with your spouse, your family, and your friends. It will do you, and them, a world of good.

Going Deep // Focus: Psalm 107:1-2

Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever. Let the redeemed of the LORD say this!

If you are sharing a Thanksgiving meal with loved ones today, there is a chance that something will run out: the gravy, the stuffing, or the pumpkin pie. Thankfully, there is something that will never run out that will be present at your celebration: God’s love for you!

I like the way The Message version renders the psalmist’s call to gratitude: “Oh, thank God—he’s so good! His love never runs out. All of you set free by God, tell the world!”

It is true—and it is more than just christianese: God is good—all the time! That is the testimony of my life—and I have a feeling it is true of your life as well. Certainly, I ought to be proclaiming God’s goodness to anyone who will listen, and even to those who won’t, much more than I do. Add to that the fact that I am, on my best day, not so good, and on my worst day, frankly, pretty bad, only adds to the brilliance of God’s overwhelming goodness.

The New King James translation of the psalmist’s words are even more meaningful to me: “Oh, give thanks to the LORD, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever.” Mercy—I can really relate to that. Now don’t misunderstand what I’m saying: I’ll take either enduring love or enduring mercy—I can’t live without either one. Love and mercy are simply different facets of the same diamond we understand as the goodness of God.

But God’s mercy really speaks to me, and I’ll bet if you thought about, it, you would say the same. Someone said that mercy is not getting what you deserve. The truth is, you and I depend upon God’s mercy every single moment just to draw in the next breath, since the holy and righteous God has had every reason and right to annihilate us from the planet because of our sinfulness. Jeremiah said it well in Lamentations 3:22-23,

Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.

The entirety of Psalm 107 is simply giving one example after another of how God in his faithful love and enduring mercy has freed his people from what they deserve. And at the end of each example, the psalmist expresses the call to gratitude:

Oh, thank God, he is so good! His love never runs out!

I’ll bet you could write your own Psalm 107. In fact, that might be a good assignment for you on this Thanksgiving Day. And then, like the psalmist suggested, we should go tell the world. Now that’s a pretty tall order, so how about starting with the people with whom you will enjoy the holiday meal today? Write your psalm and share it with your spouse, your family, and your friends.

I am not sure how they will feel about it, but you will certainly feel pretty good. That’s what heartfelt gratitude to God for his faithful love and enduring mercy does.

Going Deeper With God: Write your own Psalm 107—a psalm of gratitude—on this Thanksgiving Day. And then, like the psalmist suggested, go tell the world of how thankful you are. Or, you could start with the people at the holiday meal today. Write your psalm and share it with your spouse, your family, and your friends. It will do you a world of good.

Remembering

ThanksLiving: 365 Days of Gratitude

Throughout Scripture God called his people to memorialize his mighty acts of deliverance by prescribing a variety of remembrances. Why? We’ve got a memory problem, that’s why! We tend to get fuzzy on the important things we ought to be very clear about. So God calls us to a very holy practice: the spiritual discipline of remembering.

Going Deep // Focus: Exodus 12:14

This is a day you are to commemorate; for the generations to come you shall celebrate it as a festival to the Lord—a lasting ordinance.

I have always been intrigued with how many times throughout Scripture God called his people to remember his mighty acts of deliverance by prescribing various kinds of memorials for them. In some cases, the memorial was an altar of remembrance (Joshua 4:1-7), at other times it involved the symbolism of the priestly garments (Exodus 28:12), sometimes it was to happen through a regular sacrifice (Leviticus 2:16), a festival (Numbers 10:10), or a high, holy day (Exodus 12:14) Most importantly, for the New Testament community, the regular observance of Holy Communion (I Corinthians 11:23-26) replaced all other official observances that were mnemonically related.

Apparently, God was concerned that his people would remember who he is, what he had done for them, and why he had called them to specific acts of remembrance. Why the concern? We’ve got a memory problem, that’s why! We tend to get fuzzy on the important things we ought to be very clear about.

People forget the covenant promise to be faithful to their spouse and begin to drift in their marriage. Parents forget how much their kids need both mom and a dad and follow their selfish desires by pursuing divorce…at a horrible cost to their children. We get sidetracked from our primary purposes in life because we fail to remember our core values. We drift spiritually because we get busy with spiritual-sounding activities, but forget to love the Lord.

That’s why Jesus said remember: “Remember your first love…remember the heights from which you have fallen and return…remember, every time you do this, my blood, my body. Remember.” Over and over the Bible calls us to remember lest we forget. You can’t read too far into God’s Word before noticing that a strong theology of remembrance is woven into the fabric of the chosen community.

God understood the power of memory and how visible representations would evoke powerful emotions that would reconnect us to defining events in our lives. He knew how symbols of memory could arrest our tendency to drift spiritually and refocus us on the core experience of loving him—that’s why he instituted the Passover in the Old Testament and replaced it with Holy Communion in the New.

God doesn’t want us to forget him. Just remember that—a lot.

Going Deeper With God: The next time you partake of the Lord’s Table with your spiritual community, make a special and strategic effort to remember what the communion represents: the mightiest act of God ever expressed—the sacrifice of his Son on the cross. Call to mind God’s grace and mercy, and express heartfelt gratitude for his gift. And then consider what such wondrous love now demands of you. And don’t forget!