God loved us because he wanted to. There was nothing, and will never be anything, good in us that would merit his love. He decided to love us because he decided to love us. It’s that simple. Here’s how Deuteronomy 7:7-8 puts it:
It was not because you were more in number than any other people that the Lord set his love on you and chose you, for you were the fewest of all peoples, but it is because the Lord loves you and is keeping the oath that he swore to your fathers, that the Lord has brought you out with a mighty hand and redeemed you from the house of slavery, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt.
God is a covenant-keeper and he wanted to continue his promise. He also wanted to continue his purpose of election. For it says that the Lord “set his love on you and chose you.” That add so much more weight, significance, and motivation for worship to our lives as Christians. Paul says something similar in Romans 9:10-13:
And not only so, but also when Rebekah had conceived children by one man, our forefather Isaac, though they were not yet born and had done nothing either good or bad—in order that God’s purpose of election might continue, not because of works but because of him who calls—she was told, “The older will serve the younger.” As it is written, “Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.”
God loves because he is a covenant-keeping God, and he made a promise long ago to Abraham that his descendants would be spiritually redeemed from sin, death, and hell. God loves because he loves us. He loves because he elected us. God loves us because it glorifies him and gives us great joy.
So, worship God out of happiness, gladness, and delight, and let it not be from duty-bound, religious, Pharisee worship. You have done nothing to earn God’s love. Worship him like you haven’t earned it.
I was in the Twin Cities area this weekend and on Saturday I had the privilege of visiting Bethlehem Baptist in downtown Minneapolis to hear John Piper preach. He’s preaching through a series of Psalms right now and this past week he spoke on chapter 69. You can read or listen to the sermon here. Psalm 69 is about cursing our enemies and what that actually means.
On Sunday night, driving back to Lincoln, there was a sweet application of the sermon. One of my friends with me told me that his roommates hated me. “They say all you do is preach at them,” he said. That’s funny, considering I don’t know these guys very well at all and have never had a spiritual conversation with them. So, thanks to Psalm 69 and the truths that Piper spoke, I was able to forgive them, shrug it off, and pray that God would change their hearts. I am not called to hate them back. I am called to love, forbear, and forgive.
Romans 12:19 says, “‘Vengeance is mine, I will repay,’ says the Lord.” O, that I will always leave matters into the Lord’s hands and not try to get even with my enemies.
Because today is my Dad’s 24th Father’s Day, here are 24 reasons I love my dad.
I love you Dad! Happy Father’s Day!
1. He loves Jesus.
2. He loves my mom.
3. He unwaveringly leads, provides for, and protects our family.
4. He understands that God’s will for my life is not always what he wants.
5. He supports me in ministry — financially, prayerfully, and emotionally.
6. He taught me how to swing a bat, throw a baseball, and shoot a basketball.
7. He works hard on the job and at home.
8. He prays for Mom, my siblings, and me every day.
9. He’s very clean and organized, and he showed me how to be like that.
10. He plans amazing vacations and makes them fun.
11. He takes me out to lunch (and pays) whenever he visits Lincoln.
12. He didn’t give up on me when I was probably worth giving up on.
13. He’s never made me do one thing in my life; he simply gives strong advice to do what’s right.
14. He’s laid back and fun-loving.
15. He tolerates us when we get a little crazy during family game time.
16. He exercises and eats well.
17. He’s excited that I want to be a pastor and writer.
18. He continually seeks the Lord for direction in his job and personal ministry.
19. He enjoys music (and musicals!).
20. He’s not obsessed with making a lot of money, and he knows the importance of living practically.
21. He serves without expecting to be repaid.
22. He loves the outdoors, but is a city-slicker at heart (as am I).
23. He knows that he is far from perfect and freely admits it.
24. He makes me want to be a great husband and father to my wife and kids.
On June 10, 1983, my parents were wed. They went to the Rocky Mountains on their honeymoon. This week, they went back there to celebrate the beautiful life and marriage that God has blessed them with. Not too many people stay married for five years and certainly not 25. I’m proud to call them Mom and Dad. I don’t have many heroes in life, but certainly my parents are at the top of that select list.
Happy Anniversary, Mom and Dad. You are a complete undeserved blessing from the Lord. Your guidance, counsel, encouragement, and support is absolutely incredible. I cannot dream of two better parents in the world. Thank you for praying for me (even when I didn’t want it) and persevering in your prayers that the Lord would direct me in his steps. Thank you for being faithful to each other and to the Lord. I am amazed that after 25 years, you love each other more than you did than the day you married and that you both are closer to Jesus now than when you first met him. I pray that the the next 25 years, or whenever the Lord returns, is better than the first 25.
I love you!