Thankful: God loves the world

For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him will not perish but have everlasting life.

– John 3:16

Today I am thankful that God loves the world.

God’s love extends to every person. He loves everyone who ever was and ever will be. He loves the child being formed in the womb and the person struggling to hang onto life. God loves people of every culture, heritage and ethnicity. He loves people no matter what language they speak. There is nowhere in the world God’s love doesn’t reach. He loves those working their way up the corporate ladder, and those who are out of work. He loves people living in crammed high-rise apartments, palaces, suburban three-bed two-baths, and trailers with no electric. God loves people who do good and do bad. He loves people who invest their lives in philanthropic work and people who are serving life sentences in prison. He loves those who believe in Him and those who don’t. God loves the person who only goes to church on Christmas, and those who are there every time the doors are open. He loves those who take His name as a Christian, and those who use His name to curse.

God loves without bias or judgment. He loves each person completely. God’s love is not based on our decisions or worthiness. It is based on His. God does not qualify His love. He freely gives it.

God loved the world, each person, so much, that He gave us Jesus. He sent His One and Only Son here to bring us back to Him. Jesus gave up His life because of God’s great love, so each of us can be made right with God and have everlasting life.

Don’t think for a moment that you aren’t worth it. Don’t believe it when you begin to feel that no one loves you, or could ever love you. God’s great love gives us our worth.

Wherever you are right now, whatever you have done or not done, no matter how you feel you measure up, you can know this: You are loved.

Thankful: God is in control

Then Joseph said to his brothers, “Please come near me,” and they came near. “I am Joseph, your brother,” he said, “the one you sold into Egypt. And now don’t be worried or angry with yourselves for selling me here, because God sent me ahead of you to preserve life…God sent me ahead of you to establish you as a remnant within the land and to keep you alive by a great deliverance.”

– Genesis 45:4-5, 7

Today, I am thankful that God is in control.

There are no surprises to God. He knows our future and the events that will take place to shape us into the people He created us to be. He weaves our lives together, and His plan extends from before time through eternity. God is in control, and He has an intricate plan to hold us and move us through any crisis.

The book of Genesis closes with the story of the life of Joseph. God gave Joseph the strength to endure extremely difficult circumstances. Joseph was betrayed by his brothers and sold to Midianite traders. He became a slave of the captain of Pharaoh’s guard in Egypt. Joseph was falsely accused of rape and then thrown into prison. He helped two of Pharaoh’s servants while there, interpreting their dreams, but then was forgotten. All together, Joseph was a slave and then prisoner for 13 years.

Despite the heartbreak, loneliness, sorrow and surrounding darkness, Joseph clung to His faith in God. He doggedly grasped the hope given to him in a boyhood dream, that God would elevate him as the leader of his family. Scripture tells us that God was with Joseph (Genesis 39:2-6, 21-23). When he was Potiphar’s slave, God blessed Joseph, and he was put in charge of the entire household. When Joseph was in prison, God granted him favor, and Joseph was given responsibility over all the prisoners. God never left, in the midst of crisis. God had Joseph right where he needed to be.

God eventually delivered Joseph and made him second in command of the most powerful country in the world. Directed by God, Joseph carried out a plan to save an entire nation from a devastating famine. So terrible was the drought that his brothers came from far away to buy food. Joseph’s dream came true as his brothers bowed low before him, not knowing that they were in the presence of the boy they had horrifically abandoned years earlier. God’s plan was even bigger than Joseph’s dream. He brought faithful Joseph through the dungeon to dominance in order to save God’s chosen people, secure His covenant promise with Abraham, and rescue countless people from starvation. Later, God would bring Joseph’s descendants, and the Hebrew people, out of Egypt in such a miraculous way that the entire world, from then until now, would be reminded that God is the One True God and there is no one mightier and greater than He.

Like Joseph, we won’t always understand when crisis comes and burdens hammer at our hearts. We may become dizzy as life spins around us and trip when the darkness closes in. But, we do not have to be defeated. The Almighty King of Kings is with us, and He has a plan. We must choose to trust Him when we cannot see the end of our story. Our God is in control.