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Give unto the Lord the glory due to His name; Worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness. Psalm 29:2 (NKJV)

To the preacher/speaker it’s the accolades of those who have heard his/her latest presentation. To the author it’s seeing your work in print, or better yet on the best sellers list. To the builder it’s seeing the superstructure rise to the sky as planned. To the parent it’s watching your child receive that diploma (whether it be for a doctorate or kindergarten graduation). To the young bride it’s coming home to flowers and chocolate from her husband for no apparent reason. To some, it’s the beauty of wildlife living free in the wild, for others it’s the euphoria of the successful hunt.

Each of us, in whatever role of life, has those things that bring us joy. Those things that say “all that hard work was worth it.” It’s paid off.” They say beauty is in the eye of the beholder and that’s true in so many areas of life. I have friends who love to knit and find beauty and fulfillment in a new scarf or handbag or whatever else you can knit. While I admire their work and ability, to be honest I have a hard time finding the beauty in fancy string (sorry knitters).

On the other hand, the things I find beauty in may not be the things you find beauty in. That’s a part of human nature. We each find beauty in those things we have a special connection to.

So what does God find beauty in? Generally, beauty is found in those things closest to our character. God, Jehovah God, by the very nature of his name tells us what he finds beauty in. The name Jehovah, a name so beautiful, so powerful that the Hebrews dare not even say his name, brings us a picture of mercy, love, power, and wisdom. These are the things that make up our heavenly Father, and they are the things that are beauty to him.

The priests in the OT/NT times wore robes. Beautiful, elegant robes to approach Jehovah. Growing up in the church, I saw certain standards that were to be met to approach God. Men wore suits and ties, women wore dresses. Some pastors wore robes.

Today we have moved beyond that in some circles. Shorts and T-shirts are perfectly appropriate for church goers, although some still hold pastors to a different standard of ties/suits or robes. But does God see beauty in those things? I think not. Our Father is far less concerned about how we adorn the exterior than he is how we dress up our hearts.

We come before him this weekend to worship him for his mercy, love, power and wisdom. Does he see those things in us? Let me vent just a little here. Over the years we’ve fought for position over what kind of ‘worship’ we do. Do we follow a lectionary or experience ‘free worship’? Do we hold to traditional worship or move towards contemporary worship. Do we allow pastors to wear shorts and T-shirts in the pulpit or require they dress more ‘suitably’?

The question isn’t how our worship looks to each other. The question is, is our worship beautiful to God. Worship isn’t one day a week, or a segment of our weekly club meetings. Worship is wearing the character of God in such a way that there is no question of who we belong to. That’s true beauty to God. That’s true worship.

PRAYER: Father, here I am to worship you. I confess my worship has been shallow and surface based. Empower me with your spirit to show the world your beauty. In Jesus name, Amen.

We know also that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding, so that we may know him who is true. And we are in him who is true by being in his Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life. 1 John 5:20 (NIV)

Take a moment to sit back and contemplate what this means: God loves you.

Before you think I’ve totally lost it, take some more time and ponder what this really means.

If you believe God to be Jehovah God, the creator/sustainer of the universe, the one who put all this together, every seen and unseen thing around us. If you believe this God to be the one who steers the hurricanes, rattles the earth during an earthquake, and directs all of nature in its course. Remember. God loves you.

It’s really too huge to wrap your mind around it in some ways. I am so insignificant. My influence on this world will be a in a tiny little corner of the world and for only a few years when compared to eternity. I’m nothing more than a speck on the timeline of eternity! Yet God loves me!

The phrase translated, “And we are in him’ eludes us if we aren’t careful. ‘We are in him.’ To be in him describes the most intimate of relationships. We’ve cheapened that word intimacy to refer to a physical, sexual encounter but it’s so much more than that.

Intimacy speaks of those relationships where we know exactly what the other is thinking. We know their next move; we anticipate correctly their response to a question, a joke, a life event. We laugh with them; we cry with them…we laugh at our crying over silly movies!

How can I, a mere speck, know God so well that I know his thoughts intimately? There is only one way this miracle could happen happen. He had to desire me, long before I could desire him. He had to want to know me so well that he was willing to go to any length to reach me.

That’s where Jesus comes in. A personal, deepening relationship with Jesus Christ allows us to join together in a most intimate of relationships. Jehovah God WANTS to love me. He WANTS to know me. He WANTS to reveal himself to me through his Spirit, nature and his Word. But it all starts with Jesus.

Perhaps I haven’t told you anything new today. You already knew all this? Then take some time to remind yourself of his love and to remind him how thankful you are.

On the other hand, perhaps you are enslaved by fear of the future, frustrations of the present or shadows of your past. For you, ask him to reveal himself through his son Jesus. Jehovah God has been looking for an opportunity to show you his love.

PRAYER: Father, I get busy with my writing. I get busy with family, church, my career and all the good things in life. But sometimes I get so caught up in the good I miss the excellent. Thank you for loving me passionately. Empower me through your Spirit, because of Jesus, to understand you more. Amen.

The king rejoices in your strength, Lord. How great is his joy in the victories you give! Psalm 21:1 (NIV)

Effective leadership is leadership that acknowledges their success is the result of God’s power and strength and not their own.

As I write this post we are in the midst of Memorial Day weekend. Memorial Day was established in 1868 to remember those who had fallen in one of the darkest times ofUShistory, the Civil War. During this time brothers fought against brothers; fathers against sons.

The meaning of this day has lost its impact as we’ve focused more on the beginning of summer, trips to the cabin, picnics and other celebrations. But let us not forget those who died so that we could celebrate freedom in a variety of ways.

Another aspect of our freedom that has become lost over the years is that many of the movements and battles we have fought over the years had moral implications. We went to war not because we enjoyed the fight, but we saw a need to protect the freedom of people groups on our home soil or abroad. Regardless of your political views, this fact can not be denied.

The foundation of theUSAwas laid by men and women who realized the importance of Gods blessing in our endeavors. ‘God BlessAmerica’ was more than a rousing song, it was a life style. It was the motivation for all we did. George Washington, Abraham Lincoln and many other presidents and leaders of this country openly testified to the fact that it was by God’s strength, not mans that victory was to be had. It was by God’s working in the lives his people that true joy would come.

True leadership, effective leadership isn’t the result of political programs, electoral colleges or catering to special interest groups. True leadership comes when the Creator God of the Universe is acknowledged as the supreme commander-in-chief. Effective leadership comes when Jesus Christ is acknowledged as the underlying reason to move on.

We don’t need more leaders who rely on their own expertise and ability to bring the crowds to their knees. We need more leaders who fall to their knees themselves in humble adoration to the one who brings ultimate victory.

God BlessAmerica. God Bless those who have given the ultimate sacrifice so we can be free. As King David declares, We rejoice in the strength we receive from the King of Kings, Jehovah God.

PRAYER: Lord I thank you this morning for freedom. Not just the political freedom you have granted us by your own hand, but the spiritual freedom we have in Christ Jesus. I pray that our leadership would bow their knees before you in acknowledgement of your greatness. Amen.

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