THE GREATEST SIN

I’ve always considered the greatest sin to be the sin of blasphemy.  But I’m beginning to believe that perhaps the greater sin is our feeble attempts to ‘humanize’ God.  Isn’t it true that we often think along the lines of now if this was me, (as if to say, ‘If I was God’)… I would or wouldn’t do this or that.  It can sometimes be a real slap in the face when we realize that we’re totally incapable of ‘second guessing’ Him!     

Our earthly lives are much like courtroom drama.  We have only just so much evidence at hand on which to form our opinions and understandings, and, we are  constrained by definite time restraints.  God has no restrictions.   And, He has limitless knowledge, both forward and backward in time.  God assuredly has the advantage over us!

The past few weeks the Murphy household has been much like both the courtroom and the boxing ring.  We’re in the process of selling our house in Illinois and moving back home to Mississippi.  Carol and I have turned it over to God, asking Him to lead, guide, and direct.  We truly want His will in all that is done!   Heaven knows the countless mistakes we’ve made in the past in trying to do it ‘our way.’  Our batting average isn’t the best in the world!

But in the current effort God is taking us on the roller-coaster ride of our lives!  One day is sunny and bright with what we see as progress, and the next day storm clouds surround us!  These ups and downs can be trying.  But, it doesn’t have to be that way!  Jesus told us that His yoke is easy and His burden is light. 

Our ‘roller-coaster ride has been our viewpoint.  But God keeps showing us that what we see as down can actually be an up.  What we see as 2 – 2 = 0, He keeps showing us can actually be 4… when He’s doing the math!  Only He can change a minus to a plus and do so in the blink of an eye… our eyes! 

There’s an old church song that says, ‘He is good all the time.  All the time, He in good!’  We’re seeing this proven right before our eyes and on a daily basis.

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BE A MAGNIFYING GLASS

This is a dust-off of a very old write, a presentation for a weekly devotional I gave while working for Jitney Jungle over twenty years ago.  I begin this with a brief  description of my life-long respect for communication clarity.

One of my earliest remembrances was spawned at Halloween during the late 1940s.  Battlefield Park in south Jackson, Mississippi held an annual Halloween fest for children, which included an overabundance of candy, bobbing for apples, and a rather tame spook-house.  They also had a ‘fortune teller.’  My older cousins had to explain to me what that was.  I still remember that the little slip of paper I was given by the spooky looking lady sitting behind the crystal ball said… that I would one day be a LAWYER.  I had to be told what that meant also!

   No, I never became a lawyer.  But I suppose that I have had lawyer-like tendencies most all of my life.  My high school yearbook stated something about my propensity to ‘argue.’

   That said, civil law is a stickler for truth!  And truth means saying what you mean and not simply what you say.  In other words… correct word usage is of paramount importance to me.  Say what you mean, and mean what you say.  

   This brings us to the subject of my old devotional.

   The first chapter of the book of John tells of the meeting of Mary (the mother of Jesus) and Elizabeth (the mother of John the Baptist) when both were still pregnant.  In their conversation, Mary is quoted as saying, 

“My soul doth magnify the Lord.”

                                                       Luke 1:46

   Interesting!  But doesn’t MAGNIFY mean to make something larger?  So how is it possible to make the Lord larger?  Was Mary speaking about the baby Jesus growing in her womb?

   Definitely not!

   It’s generally assumed that magnify here means praise.  But could it mean much more?

   Here is where the difference between what Mary actually said, and what it appears that she said, is most important.  What did Mary actually say… what did she say spiritually, correctly, even ‘court-house’ legally?

    Notice that Mary didn’t say, “I magnify the Lord.”  She spoke of her soul, her spirit, her inner and eternal self. 

   Scripture talks about images.  It tells us that…

So God created man in his own image, 

in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.

Genesis 1:27

   Now, let’s define what an image is.  An image is not the real, actual item, nor even a physical duplicate of that thing.  It is only a likeness, a representation, similar to a photo.

   Mary spoke of ‘magnifying’ the Lord, and magnifying means to increase or make larger.  But this is not a boast of making God larger… but of making His image (the ‘reflection’ of God that the world sees in us) appear to be larger that the images of Him they have previously seen in others!  Think of it this way… when we look at an ant under a magnifying glass, the ant appears much larger.  The aunt in not larger, but the image of the ant is!

   Our world today is beset with Godliness on every side.  God has chosen us to be the visible image of Himself, the invisible God, in the world.  We do this by allowing our lives to be a reflection of His love and mercy.  The less of our nature that shows… and the more of God’s nature that shines within us… the more of God the world will see, and will learn of Him, and will be drawn unto Him.  

All of us, like Mary, should always strive to magnify the Lord… now more than ever!  As it says in Colossians 1:27, Christ in you, the hope of glory!

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