Sunday, July 31, 2011

Magnify the Lord!

Posted by Lisa Laree to Beer Lahai Roi

Sometimes the oddest little remark starts a chain reaction...

This morning, my pastor said something about magnifying the Lord. He was talking about whether we would consider God to be larger than our problems/issues or consider our problems/issues to be larger than God, but the word 'magnify' started a little thought process that ended up with the Hubble Telescope.

So of course I thought it would be good blog material.

The first thing I did was come home and look up 'magnify' in my NIV Exhaustive concordance.

And was surprised to find only one listing:

The king will do as he pleases. He will exalt and magnify himself above every god and will say unheard-of things against the God of gods. He will be successful until the time of wrath is completed, for what has been determined must take place. - Dan. 11:36

Wow...we could spend some time on that, but it's another topic for another day. I wanted to know where the phrase 'magnify the LORD' came from; I've heard it over and over for years and years, but I hadn't ever traced it to its source.

Next stop: King James. Or, rather, New King James. I followed my hunches and, sure enough, in Luke 1:46 I found My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior leading off Mary's song of praise.

So I pulled out the Zhodiates Word Study and looked it up, and found that magnifies is translated from megaluno: from megas to make (or declare) great, i.e., increase or (fig.) extol:-- enlarge, magnify, shew great

Megaluno is also found in:
Matt. 23:5 - "But all their works they do to be seen by men. They make their phylacteries broad and enlarge the borders of their garments."

Luke 1:58 - When her neighbors and relatives heard how the Lord had shown great mercy to her, they rejoiced with her.

Acts 5:13 - Yet none of the rest dared join them, but the people esteemed them highly

Acts 10:46 - For they heard them speak with tongues and magnify God

Acts 19:17 - This became known both to all Jews and Greeks dwelling in Ephesus; and fear fell on them all, and the name of the Lord Jesus was magnified.

2 Cor. 10:15 - not boasting of things beyond measure, that is, in other men's labors, but having hope, that as your faith is increased we shall be greatly enlarged by you in our sphere

and Phil. 1:20 - According to my earnest expectation and hope that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but with all boldness, as always, so now also Christ will be magnified in my body, whether by life or by death.

I want to say there is a reference to magnifying the Lord in Psalms...but it's obviously not in the NIV, and my KJV exhaustive concordance is in a box in the attic somewhere. A VERY quick skim through Psalms didn't yield a 'magnify' reference, so I'm going to say that the basic reference to 'magnify the Lord' must be from Mary's Song (AKA 'The Magnificat').

But, be that as it may, it's not the origin of the phrase I'm looking's the application.

Our common connotation to 'magnify' is 'to enlarge, to make something small appear big' (that's just my quickie definition). That is, we generally think of something small that we need to enlarge to see clearly.

But I submit to you that something small is not the only thing we magnify in today's world.

We also magnify things that are astronomically huge...because we are too far away to see them properly.

Instead of making something bigger, magnification, in this sense, means to see something as it really is.

Here is where I was going to insert some photos from the Hubble Telescope, but, wow, so many spectacular pictures! I'll post one, just to have a thumbnail for the Facebook link...but you gotta go look at them - Hubble Telescope. Take as long as you want, and when your awe-meter is redlining, come back.

Spiral Galaxy M100

See, those they stars, galaxies, nebulae, whatever...are out there. Their size staggers the imagination. But we couldn't see them.

Until...we put a camera up above the atmosphere of earth and focused it on those objects and magnified them.

In the same way, when we magnify God, we are not enlarging Him beyond what He is. He is vast beyond imagining. But, when we get away from the world's atmosphere and focus on Him, He is magnified. Then we can begin to comprehend just the smallest amount of who He really is.

He is, truly, Awesome. When He is magnified, that shows more and more...

Friday, July 29, 2011

Friday Faithful Faves - Matthew

Posted by Lisa Laree to Beer Lahai Roi

As we head into the New Testament, I'm once again more than just a little intimidated by my plan. Pick ONE passage from each book??

So I'm reminding myself of the criteria...I'm not looking for the most profound or key verse from each book, just the passage that speaks to me on the given day.

So when I flipped my Bible open to Matthew, the first verse my eyes landed on suddenly grabbed my attention. I nearly just went with that, but I decided maybe I was being hasty and so I skimmed through to see if anything else jumped off the page at me.

I wavered a moment over the parable of the 10 Virgins, but checked and found that I've already blogged about that. So I'm going with the passage that beckoned to me at the outset:

"Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished." -- Matt 5:17-18

Jesus came to fulfill the Law and the Prophets.

We often focus on a part of the reason Jesus came - to give his life for many, that we might have abundant life - but that really is just one aspect of why Jesus came, one part of the Law that required fulfilling.

He fulfilled it all.

Christianity is unique in this concept: mankind is unable to fulfill the requirements of Heaven, so God came to earth and fulfilled them for us.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Reminding myself...

This is a Facebook note I wrote in January, 2009:
This Was God's Idea
Wednesday, January 7, 2009 at 10:43am

I have to remind myself of that.

It's just the sort of thing He would do...put us in a house with a staggering, budget stretching mortgage and then tell us to fix it up.

When we bought the house back in 2005, the home inspector gave us a green light on it; in fact, he seemed impressed with it. There were only a few things that he recommended the seller fix for us.

We since have learned that its beauty is only skin deep. And the fixes, when they happened, either didn't fix the problem or were done improperly and created new problems. Everything...and I mean this house appears to have been done as cheaply as possible to look good. It was all about appearances.

It looks pretty good from the curb; it's in a nice neighborhood. This house shouldn't be like this.

But God was obviously in charge of us getting into this house. Never once did I pray asking Him to make it work. My prayer was that, if we were not *supposed* to be here, the deal would fall through somehow. I didn't want to live in a house that wasn't in His plan. Especially one that came with such a big debt load.

But, unlike all the others we were interested in before this one, it didn't fall through, even though there were opportunities for it to fall through. So I have to conclude that God put us here. I considered the mortgage to be the giant in the promised land and reminded myself of that over and over when the worries hit me late at night.

Now there are repairs needed that cannot be postponed. And that budget-breaking mortgage does not leave us resources for them. So, I confess, I was rather put out with My Heavenly Father. It didn't make sense.

And do you know what He did? He pointed me to Hosea and reminded me that it didn't make sense for a man of God to marry a prostitute, either.

Could it be possible that there is some sort of illustration here?

The people we purchased the house from were not Christians; they practiced a pagan religion. Somehow, I began to see the message how pagan philosophy is all about appearances...nothing good and solid on which to build something. Our task is to restore structural integrity to a house that has only a nice appearance. Yes, a powerful illustration.

Also an expensive one. But if this is what God wants us to do, He's got the resources for it. My prayer now is that we'll be strategic in finding and using those resources.

It was, after all, His idea.

We just had a contractor in yesterday to look at FURTHER repairs needed from, basically, the same materials and construction processes. And, once again, we've found that the repairs should've been made LONG ago, and, since they weren't, there is much more extensive work required to a)fix the bad stuff and b) stop further problems.

So I searched back through my FB notes to find that post and remind myself what we're doing and why. This is His idea. His illustration.

And, oh, we have a Wedding happening in less than 8 weeks. Hopefully Phase 1...the essential structural repairs...will be done by then.

I am not going to panic. I am choosing to Trust.

My part, at the moment, is to clear all my sewing stuff from the area by the end of the week. And find SOMEWHERE to put it...

Monday, July 18, 2011

The 'Quarterly Break'

In January, the annual first-of-the year fast at church always includes the Internet, so January's break was included there-in.

In April, we lost power for 5 days; I counted that as April's Break. Not exactly up to snuff, since by rights I should've taken the break the week before the storms hit. It snuck up on me.

But July's break is scheduled to start today...and I think I'll pay attention and take it.

Not that anyone would notice much here, since I am pretty much doing good to get just the Friday Faithful Faves post up right now.

But, this week is the yearly Girl's Ministries retreat, so I'll be gone half the week anyway. I'll be back next week and I'll be starting the New Testament w/the FFF when I get back online.

Where has the summer GONE???

Friday, July 15, 2011

Faithful Friday Faves: Malachi

Posted by Lisa Laree to Beer Lahai Roi

We've had some internet issues this week; our connectivity has been rather intermittent. So I haven't been able to post on things like (gulp) my second post-50 birthday, which was way harder to face than the 5-0 itself.

Maybe that explains why, out of all the instructions and exhortations in Malachi, the verse that stands out to me today is 4:2

But for you who revere my name, the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its wings. And you will go out and leap like calves released from the stall.

That sounds pretty good to this creaky 'vintage' late baby boomer...

Friday, July 8, 2011

Faithful Friday Faves - Zechariah

Posted by Lisa Laree to Beer Lahai Roi

Back in the day, when I taught youth Sunday School and our curriculum was a six-year tour through the Bible, I found Zechariah to be one of the most difficult books to teach. There are true gems in there, but to comprehensively cover all the visions in such a way as to make sense to teenagers was a real challenge.

The passage that jumped out at me today is something of a everyone:

This is what the LORD Almighty says: 'Administer justice; show mercy and compassion to one another. Do not oppress the widow or the fatherless, the alien or the poor. In your hearts do not think evil of each other.' - Zech.7: 9 -10

Study on that awhile. Each aspect of it. There's an incredible amount of instruction in that little bit of Scripture; not the least to monitor our thoughts.

Do not think evil of each other.... that really is pretty profound. That means that I'm not to think the guy who cut me off in traffic with horn blaring as if it were MY fault is a jerk; I'm not to look at folks on the other side of the political spectrum as folks acting under deliberate wicked intentions (Misguided, ill-advised, illogical, maybe ;-) );basically, I'm not to assume the worst about any other individual for whatever reason.

That's hard. Really hard. 'Cause, you know, I probably would never plan to tell someone else my bad opinion of a third party...but I sure would think it every time that third party ticked me off. And then I'd be surprised when it actually came out of my mouth someday...possibly to the wrong person, who could not be trusted to keep said bad opinion to him/herself and so the yuck grows.

But...mercy and compassion will keep that judgmental stuff from getting rooted in my spirit...and if it's not in my spirit, it won't come out of my mouth when I accidentally, momentarily drop the guard.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Faithful Friday Faves - Haggai

Posted by Lisa Laree to Beer Lahai Roi

The return of the exiles to Jerusalem had begun; building programs were shaping up. But they had become discouraged in their efforts to rebuild the Temple and had come to a halt because of pressure from the surrounding nations and ultimately by a decree from Artaxerxes.

But with a change of administration in Babylon came a shift in political leanings and the time was ripe for the construction to resume. However, the people were now not eager to undertake the construction...perhaps they remembered how they had been rebuked before, or perhaps they were just so caught up in their day-to-day responsibilities that they just didn't want to pursue it. Or maybe a bit of both.

But God knew, better than the Jews, how important the temple was to both them and to His plan. It was time to take up the tools and focus on God's house.

"You expected much, but see, it turned out to be little. What you brought home, I blew away. Why?" declares the LORD Almighty. "Because of my house, which remains a ruin, while each of you is busy with his own house." - Hag. 1:9

This is a question of priority.

And, you know, sometimes priorities are good things to check. They tend to creep off center if they're not inspected. God was calling on the Jews to look at their unfavorable circumstances and consider their priorities.

Which, by the way, they did...and they began the building process again, which was actually approved and encouraged by the government (see the post on Ezra) and blessed by God.

Checking (and, if need be, adjusting) priorities is always a good thing.