Meditations by John Dean

Monday, December 1, 2014

Giving Thanks

(Psalms 136:1 KJV)  O give thanks unto the LORD; for he is good: for his mercy endures forever.

I love this verse because the end of it explains why we should do the beginning of it. The end tells us that God’s love endures from everlasting to everlasting and that is hard to comprehend.

The reason that it is so hard to understand is because most people’s understanding of love fits more in the category of ‘seasonal love’ than it does God’s love. ‘Seasonal love’ is ‘liking’ someone for a reason, a season, or a lifetime.

God’s love is covenant love and covenant love is founded on mercy. Mercy is why God still loved Adam in spite of his sin. Adam may have lost his place in the Garden of Eden but he never lost his place in God’s love through mercy.

Over the years I have heard folks say, “I love you with the love of the Lord”. That is a very kind statement and I would never discourage such a wonderful saying but it fits more as a statement of faith than reality. The reason is, if one could actually love with the “Love of the Lord” then that would indicate that their love is perfect and perfect love “casts out fear”.

Over the years I have known a lot of people who had great faith in some areas of their life but I have never known anyone who walked in total faith in every area of their life. All of our love and faith is being perfected through Jesus even though God already sees us as a finished product because of the shed blood of Jesus. The fact is God’s love is perfect and our love and faith are measured by degrees.

The Apostle John said, “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear because fear hath torment. He that fears is not made perfect in love”. (1Jn 4:18)  In other words, perfect love not only removes fear but it is the beginning of wisdom and that is consistent with faith, hope, love, and joy.

My conclusion is there is a big difference between God’s love and man’s love. In other words that which is being perfected (man) is not the same as that which is already perfect (God).

My family and I got up Thursday morning and drove an hour and a half to my sister-in-law’s beautiful ranch for Thanksgiving. Even though many of our family members could not be there for various reasons we still had a large gathering. Some drove in from Austin, Houston and San Antonio while other flew in from Georgia and Florida.

As everyone was gathering, there was no end to the joy, laughter and wonderful stories being shared. There was also no end to the scrumptious smells that filled the house as the ladies worked their miracles in the kitchen making twelve different dishes of food plus a litany of deserts.

When it got time to eat I was given the privilege of sitting at the head of this long dining room table which also had additional tables linked to it in order to accommodate four generations of family. I not only enjoyed all the delicious foods but I was also captivated by the interaction and joy between everyone.

However, the thing that blessed me most was when it was time to go around the table and share the things we were most thankful for this year. It was a very moving moment as everyone shared how thankful they were for their wives, husbands and children. They were also thankful for their health and provision through their businesses but more especially they were thankful for the love of the Lord. They were thankful to the Lord for teaching them real servanthood and for showing them mercy instead of judgment.

There was no dry eye at the table this Thanksgiving as the Holy Spirit hovered over us as we shared our love for each other but especially our love for the Lord. There will be many wonderful Thanksgivings in the future but none will look quite like this one.

 Because of this wonderful Thanksgiving day I think we can understand our text a little better when it says, “O give thanks unto the LORD; for he is good: for his mercy endures forever.” Thank You Lord that Your mercies truly do last forever.
Help us to be as merciful to others as You are to us.

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