Magnify

southcumberlandhike008I will bless the LORD at all times; his praise shall continually be in my mouth. My soul makes its boast in the LORD; let the humble hear and be glad. Oh, magnify the LORD with me, and let us exalt his name together!
Psalm 34:1-3

Sometimes we trudge through our little worlds in weary tedium, forgetting that we are a part of something so much larger and more magnificent that even our dreams do not brush against the truth of it.

But there are other times when for some obscure reason of particular attentiveness on our part or perhaps out of sheer compassion, God lets us glimpse the tiniest fragment of His work. At such times, an almost dreadful sense of the enormity of His scope crashes into our bland little realities, leaving us breathless and reeling in the wake of His unfathomable love for each one of His creatures.

I suppose it is times like this that reality of what Jesus did on the cross seems truly personal. Perhaps it is just me, but I find that I can often be utterly convinced of God’s love for His people and yet somehow my mind almost makes His love a thing vast and vague rather than concrete and specific.

But it is not vague. Not at all. His love is intensely real, vibrant, alive, and intimate, as I have been recently reminded.  I know that, of course. I have known it for as long as I have known Him, and yet it is always wild and wonderful to be allowed to see it in action. It still thrills me, and I pray it never ceases to do so.

Let me share with you an experience that is small but not at all meaningless to the principal players.

In order to begin, I need to take a glimpse back into the dark and aimless days before I met Jesus. There was a time when I built a little sham house up around me; a little fun-loving persona that I constructed and adopted in an effort to escape the dreary prison my own mind had become.  Yet this counterfeit version of me had little to do with who I was, and indeed was itself a deceit that only increased the strength of my prison. I was a total slave to sin and believed that I always would be.

Then something happened — a death quickly followed by new life — and my delicate house-of-cards world imploded, laying bare the bars that hemmed me in. It was the first time I had an honest glimpse of the ‘me’ I had attempted to create, and she was not a pretty sight.

Sometime after that, I met Jesus and He began the slow process of healing years of willful blindness, unlocking my prison, and drawing me (albeit reluctantly at first) out into the freedom of reality. He showed me the ‘me’ He always intended and began the sometimes painful process of remodeling.

Somewhere in all that mess, I lost the baby book my sweet mama had made; her treasured memories of her firstborn and photos that were the only one of their kind. For some mad reason, she entrusted this to me at a time in my life when my very life should not have been entrusted to me — call it the blind love of motherhood. Anyway, I lost it.

Soon after meeting Jesus, I prayed and begged God to find this thing. My poor mama had already endured much hurt in her life, and it killed me that I had added to it. I asked God for some time to move the heart of anyone who would find it to contact me or to lead me to it if that were more plausible.

And the years went by… and I gave the thing up for lost and asked for forgiveness instead.

Out of the blue just about two weeks ago, a girl I had known in the middle of my most self-destructive time actually found me — in a very roundabout way. She recalled my baby sister’s somewhat unusual name and through that channel reached out to my sister’s friend who I just so happen to be friends with on Facebook.  M__ forwarded the message to me, and I could not believe it. This lady had found my baby book in a recent move and had been trying to find me.

M__ had not even gotten the message until months later (it was sent in March), but I immediately texted the phone number I was given and believe it or not, she had continued to hang onto the thing.  I was in awe.

Since I now live in a different city, I reached out to family members and another sister was able to meet her and retrieve the book. My plan is to surprise my mama for Christmas. I have wept tears of joy over this — I am so thankful that this one, seemingly insignificant desire of both my heart and my mother’s has been granted.

Sometimes God may take years longer than our impatient selves think necessary, but I know in my heart that He has His reasons. Either way, we will see if I can actually wait for Christmas or not…

There is more. So much more I could share, but some experiences are not my own but someone else’s story in which I was able to play some very small part. Often, there are people I begin to pray for without understanding why they are on my mind until the Lord reveals the amazing work He is doing.

In just such a way, I was able to see a step of victory for a sweet sister in Christ just yesterday — and the celebration within my heart overflows into many words of praise. Our God is truly marvelous and amazing. Oh magnify His name with me today!

 

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15 thoughts on “Magnify

  1. I really enjoyed reading this story, I think it’s one you mentioned in a thread from a fee days ago? Such a great gift from God, the father of the heavenly lights. This made me think about how he brings old the new and the old, gifts spanning our lives, to delight us in the most creative and unique ways. He pursues our hearts across time…what a great gift to get back from him!

    I love that dreadful sense of enormity. It’s like God three back the stage curtain so we could see what is really going on in our world. Things really aren’t how they seem.

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    1. So, so true. Yes, I do think I mentioned it in a thread recently. I am just so thankful for my little mama. She has had such a dark and rocky time for many, many years and in some ways she is still in it. But she did tell me last month that God has restored her joy and peace even though her circumstances continue to be difficult. I really feel like this is a gift just for her. It’s beautiful.

      I have insomnia tonight — first time in quite a while, actually, though it plagued my younger years. Probably pain-related, but it’s good because I have a couple of decisions I need to seek His face on. Thought I’d take a quick break, though, and check on here… Have a great day!

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      1. It sounds like it’s going to be a very precious gift 🙂 I’m happy for you that God worked it out like that!

        Talking insomnia…so I haven’t had insomnia exactly, but I really struggle with my choices in the evening time. After the kiddos are asleep (and my wife has been falling asleep with them ), I really just choose to stay up. If I chose to go to bed earlier, I would get more sleep, but I’ve found that my repetitive choices of staying up are extremely difficult to break. Even though the next morning I wake up groggy, vowing to myself that I absolutely will go to bed by 10pm and I never do. I went to bed at ~11 last night and actually go ~8 1/2 hours. It was needed. I think I struggle with choosing sleep because it’s my time to have to myself to process and learn things that I don’t have time to do throughout the rest of my day. So I am on here, I am doing my Greek or Hebrew, I’m talking to a friend. God talked to me about this last night actually. I told him on my drive home that I didn’t want to choose to go to sleep early. That it stinks that I’m completely unconscious (I’ve tried lucid dreaming and haven’t had much success) and can’t do anything for 6-8 hours a day. That’s boring. And he replied with something along the lines of, when you sleep your body is asleep, your soul is not. You need to prep more before bedtime and throughout your day by spending deeper time in intimacy with me so that you will feel closer to my Spirit while you sleep.

        And I really liked that. So I’m focusing more during my day and also the time right before I fall asleep on just being in deep and intimate worship with him. I’m excited to see how this plays out.

        I’m sorry to hear it was pain related for you! Was it something like headache or stomach related?

        Hope you have a blessed Thursday!

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      2. Eh , pain’s a part of life. I just see it as my outer self wasting away, while my inner self is being renewed day by day. The parts are kind of starting to wear out, if you will. 😉 I just have a few issues — some arthritic changes in my spine, muscle spasms that come from time to time (probably related), etc. etc. Just lots and lots of reminders that this body is just a temporary shelter until I go home!

        I have often had difficulty with sleep, but after having meningitis when my middle one was a few months old, I just can’t stay up like I used to. I have struggled with that as well, or for me really just struggled with finding time to do everything. But God has reminded me that He is with me no matter what; asleep, awake, in triumph or in trial, whether I am aware of Him or not. It’s very comforting to be reminded of that!

        Yes, I am very excited to give the baby book back to my mom. I am so glad to see God really pouring out peace and joy on her lately. It’s been a long, difficult journey for her.

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      3. I really love your perspective here. What’s weird is that I’ve had a very similar thought processing with God for the past few days about the body wearing out. On my drive home from the office tonight I thought about writing a post called “I am not a demigod” and discuss that very concept. Not sure if I’ll write it, but I think it’s fun that Jesus’ thoughts permeate several of us and we can discuss them together 🙂

        Amen to that, he is with us always. And that’s wonderful. I feel like I’ve gotten more comfortable with that lately and just sunk into him being with me. I’m a heck of a lot less concerned with things that used to really freak me out (like my elevator phobia for example). I guess it’s Jesus growing me up.

        Speaking of sleep, I’m going to head off to bed in a few! My dad and I have an early morning Greek class before work so I won’t be able to sleep as much.

        Here’s a question though in that vein…2 corinthians 5:1 says that if our earthly tent is destroyed we have a heavenly tent. And 1 Corinthians 15 says that our physical bodies are literally just seeds. So do you think our resurrected bodies will be our physical bodies resurrected and glorified into spiritual bodies? Or do you think we will go from earth to heaven after death and have our spiritual body waiting for us?

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      4. I did write a post a couple of years ago, around my 40th birthday, about aging and being actually thankful for the reminders not to hold too tightly to the things of this world. Even God’s gifts can be appreciated more than the God who gave them, I have learned. So sometimes I think He takes things away from me just for that reason! Either way, the older I get, the less horrible old age seems! 😉

        Hmmm, concerning our spiritual bodies, I have actually thought a bit about it before. It’s pure conjecture, of course, but I have wondered if our spiritual bodies will be our bodies as they should have been, maybe the way they would have been without the sin curse. I do wonder, though. I know Jesus had a physically resurrected body, and that He was recognizable but also the fact that Mary and the two disciples on the road to Emmaus did not immediately recognize Him makes me wonder… Perhaps it was simply because they did not expect to see someone they had recently buried walking and talking to them, or perhaps there was something different about Him — something undefinable that may have been recognizable as Jesus but also otherworldly as the King of kings. Or something else entirely. Either way, i suppose we will know soon enough! 😉

        Happy Friday!

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      5. Amen, his gifts can sometimes blur our vision for him.

        There is a lot we can glean from Scripture about what different properties our glorified bodies will have versus what we have right now (physical barriers won’t be an issue, we will be able to be seen for who we really are – 1 Co 13:12, etc). The thing about Mary and the road to Emmaus has me wondering. And also when Jesus had breakfast with the disciples on the seashore of Galilee…they didn’t recognize him then either at first. I think there’s two good possibilities: either A) he didn’t want to be recognized, for he was either being playful or wanting to see how they would react, or B) his body literally had such changes administered to it in his glorification that physically they saw him differently. And I’m not sure which, if either, is the answer. But it’s perplexing for sure.

        We do know that our glorification will be fantastic. We will have a body, like Jesus did and have the best characteristics just greatly enhanced, we will have a world of love to enjoy, we will have marriage with the Son, we will be children of our Father, we will have friends, brothers, sisters. The relationships will be there – except earthly marriage (which is a very interesting passage) – it’s going to be everything we ever hoped and dream for (1 Co 2:9, Ecc 3:11). Isaiah 65 is interesting too, I think it might imply there will be children (also Zechariah 8). It’s going to be amazing, but there’s a lot to be learned about the specifics!

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      6. That is interesting. I have honestly never thought about it before, but Isaiah 65 does talk about people bearing children. I have to wonder where and when it is referring to? Verse 20 speaks of a youth dying at the age of 100, at least in my translation. I am nowhere near good enough at Hebrew to try it out (still laboring over trying to translate sentences with Qal perfect verbs with a leaky memory!). I’m going to mull that one over prayerfully — probably for a long time!

        And yes, I agree that it’s perplexing that Jesus wasn’t immediately recognized; but then again, I suppose if someone I knew well died, I wouldn’t be expecting to see them walking and talking, either. Another thought I had was that since His work was now done, He was no longer constrained to human ability. Perhaps it pleased Him to make it so they would not recognize Him all at once.
        Anyway, mentioning Hebrew reminded me of a question I had for you. In my textbook, the word כרת (no vowels, sorry, but it’s Qal perfect) is translated “to cut or to make a covenant.” Yet in the couple of sentences I have encountered it, it is followed by the word ברית. I remember learning years ago that in very ancient times, covenants were sealed by cutting animals in half (although I was never clear where the information came from other than that they were speaking of Genesis 15). I also know that circumcision (also cutting, of course) was given to Israel as a sign of the covenant. So, I guess my question is: since the word ברית always seems to appear after כרת, isn’t it literally “cut a covenant?” I am assuming that the translation “to make a covenant” is really just meant to avoid lengthy explanations to English speakers…

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      7. Yes, you are correct. For example Jer 34:8 would be King Zedekiah cut a covenant with the people. Qarat has the other meaning of just “to cut, to cut off, to kill, to destroy” which makes sense. I bet qarat barit (I’m typing this out with a sleeping baby on my shoulder without a Hebrew keyboard readily available so forgive my transliterations!) Is idiomatic – don’t take my word for that though, but I bet it could be idiomatic . The phrase is for the exact reason you gave, they make a covenant by diving the victims.

        I’ve heard that Is 65 refers to children born in the millennium, which I’m kosher with that interpretation, but the passage in zechariah seems like eternity to me. Maybe I’m wrong there though.

        Have you gotten into the other binyanim yet? Like niphal, hiphel, hitpael, etc? From my experience, once I mastered the binyanim and the other various grammatical rules, it was just vocabulary memorization. Which is a long road that I’m still on!

        I am wanting to find a good advanced-intermediate book for Christmas. I have an intermediate reader and it’s ok, but I want something with some meat in it, really delving into the poetry, idioms, spatial metaphors (have you studied spatial metaphors with prepositions? We’re doing that in Greek and it’s fascinating)

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      8. OK, good to know. It really threw me at first until I had some time to think about it. (And what 15-year housewife thinks about Hebrew grammar in her spare time? Seriously, I have problems! Lol). It would be helpful if I had an “official” class rather than just videos, but I’ll get there. No, I haven’t really gotten far into the verbal system yet. Just an intro to the basic forms and the next few chapters are devoted to Qal perfect, imperfect, strong, and week. Then I’ll get into the other stems. I think it’s a little tough to prioritize when I’m pretty much on my own, but I’m trying to get better about it.

        I will have to re-read the Zechariah passage a few times. I just did a quick read of them both last night before responding. Well, I need to get back to revising — my son is at his Kobudo (weapons) class and I am about half-way done with initial revisions on the book. Then I’ll send out proposals and leave it all in God’s hands! 😉

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