Posted by: ritagone | May 1, 2013

Magnify the Lord!


Sometimes when you’re teaching or preparing a devotional for other people, it winds up affecting you much more than those who are listening to you.

I had that kind of experience this past week as I was tasked with giving the devotional at the beginning of our Christian Associates quarterly board meeting.

It was a devotional based on Psalm 34, where David cries out at the beginning: “Oh, magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt his name together!” (verse 3)   I landed on the word “magnify” and what it signified.  It means “to enhance, to enlarge or make bigger in perspective.”  When we magnify something with a magnifying glass, a microscope, or a telescope, we don’t change its reality, do we?  The object stays the same size in real life, doesn’t it?  (As an illustration, I used the smallest Message New Testament Bible I could find, with the smallest font known to man.  I opened up the text and used a magnifying glass to point out that the text itself didn’t change; only the magnifying glass held correctly enhanced the size of the font so that the reader could actually see what she was reading!!)

We don’t make the object we are observing any bigger, then, but we do change our perception of it.

We can’t make God any bigger than He already is – you can’t increase omnipotence.  But you can magnify (or the opposite – diminish) your perspective of God.  And perspective has everything to do with whether you are encouraged or discouraged.

I also referred in my devotional to a book called “What To Do on the Worst Day of Your Life” by Brian Zahnd, which Rick Warren recently referred to as a book that helped him immensely during the sorrow over the loss of his youngest son by suicide.  I read this book and felt it to be an extremely significant and important work in my reading for this year, filled with encouragement and thoughtful steps to take when life seems to overwhelm you, when you get that diagnosis that you don’t want from the doctor, when your marriage ends, when the job that you thought was yours suddenly goes to someone else, when all of life’s calamities seem to batter and buffet you.

I remarked that I’ve noticed as I’ve gotten older and as my friends have gotten older, our prayers and prayer requests center more and more around asking God to heal and work mightily in health issues specifically.  This is normal, because as we age, health issues become more and more the focus of our lives.

To some people, the worst day of their lives was the day they got a negative diagnosis from their doctor, a diagnosis that changed their lives forever, maybe even shortening their lives by a few years or sometimes down to a few months.

I single out health issues because, first of all, I’m becoming too familiar with them as prayer requests: asking God to intervene for the health and welfare of people around me.  My peers and I spend the majority of our prayer request time when we’re all together (Michael and I are in a small group of our peers that meets every Monday night) sharing health issue needs for those in our group and those in the group who know people who are suffering with illness, body parts that need replacement, mental faculties that are diminishing rapidly, and a host of other ailments that seem to demand a lot of personal and godly attention.

And one thing I keep noticing about these prayer times: we don’t spend a lot of time magnifying the Lord.  Oh, we pray.  We ask God for healing and for mercy.  And that’s all as it should be.  But we do very little magnifying of God together as a group.  Our concerns are much more of the “heal me” variety, not the awareness of the awesomeness of God variety.

Have you experienced the worst day of your life already, do you think?  Or are you going to experience it this week, perhaps?  Or next month?  Or in a year or two or ten or twenty?  Be assured that we will all experience “worst days” in our lifetime, because that’s the nature of living in a fallen world, filled with sin and illness and every manner of bad things.

But the secret to getting through it is to learn to “magnify the Lord” not just by yourself but in the company of those who love you and who love the Lord alongside you.  Notice that David in Psalm 34:3 says to magnify the Lord with him, specifically alongside someone else or in a group of believers.

Who do you magnify the Lord with?  If no one, find someone today and start praising the Lord for who He is, without asking Him for anything, just recognizing what a glorious God you serve and honor.  Together the two or three of six of you can actually change the world and bring healing not only to yourselves but to a world that badly needs it.

And I tell you, it’s some of the best medicine you could ever take!

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