"Give thanks to the LORD, for He is good; His love endures forever." (1 Chronicles 16:34)

I have a lot to be thankful for, especially the last few weeks. As difficult as this may be to believe, every day I have apparently been winning several lotteries I never entered and suddenly hundreds of people I've never met have left me millions in inheritance, grants, and extravagant contributions. I've even heard from many who are themselves millionaires and simply need my assistance to help get their money out of their countries. Even as I write this, I have been blessed twelve more times.

Of course, I'm kidding about all of that. I do receive such emails of offers, prizes, etc., countless numbers it seems, but they are all false. And I hope you've never fallen victim to these liars. Still, it has been interesting. In this season, there are some good lessons here about what we're to be truly thankful for.

I've been studying a lot about "Thanks" lately and I've noticed a few things. In the Old Testament, the direction of 1 Chronicles, or one very similar, is repeated often. The words are spoken by all kinds of people at all stations of life and in all kinds of circumstances. Many had just experienced a wonderful blessing while others were in the middle of difficult times. And there were also those who spoke in anticipation of what they believed would one day come.

These words are more than simple instructions or the expression of hope. They are a prayer in and of themselves, an expression of humility intended by those who understand that without God...they have nothing...they deserve nothing...they can expect nothing...and they will receive nothing. When you begin your talk with the Creator of the Universe in this way, thanksgiving freely flows from the heart.

Ah, but that's not enough for most of us, is it? Whether spiritual or physical, we don't want to begin kneeling from our own unworthiness, but standing in the midst of our treasures. Life, our relationship with Christ, and our ability to love and encourage others are not enough to be thankful for. Instead we look to our possessions, our bank accounts, and the attention others give us. The focus is on the things we have received. And yet, God's Word says to give thanks simply because He is good.

But there's something else about these words we need to remember, and not just during this season. Look at how the goodness of God is known. His love endures forever. The goodness of God, the reason for why we are to give Him thanks, is rooted in the fact that His love is consistent, it is constant, and it lasts. Regardless of what may be occurring in the world, or in your life, God's love endures forever. We can count on that. And yet, there's even more to these words.

His love for you endures forever! Yes, God loves the world, but His love is also very specific. You! It's you that He loves and His love is an everlasting love. Even when you were controlled by sin, He still loved you. Even before you were born, He still loved you. And because of that love, He came, He died, He rose again, He lives, and He reigns!

Jesus did not come to give us the things of this world so that we might be thankful in them. He came...to give us eternal life and a home in the world beyond this one. He came...so that through His love for us, we might know and love Him, too. He came...to be with us forever, not to take away the harshness of this world but to help us through it. And because of these -- even if we have no spouse or children, no family or friends, no home or job -- we can give thanks to God, because...He came!

Though I could win all the lotteries in the world, live in mansions, drive Bentley and Mercedes cars, and have enough money to buy anything my heart desired...it would mean nothing compared to being loved by God. Such things do not make me who I am or give power to my voice. And given the choice, I would gladly give them up just to follow Him.

Give thanks to God, for He is good; His love for us endures... forever!

Take care and be God's,

Chuck Graham

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