Tag Archives: hearing

Shining Brightly 2

After focussing on the central dot. A green dot emerges at the revolving gap. Later the magenta coloured dots disappear completely.

This is an optical illusion.  Sometimes our eyes see what they think they see.  Equally our ears can hear what they think they heard.  Often because that is what we are expecting, or because our focus is gone.  I really struggle, because often my sight is blurry – especially if I’m tired.  I have to really focus to grasp what an image is.  Sight and hearing are things we take for granted – but don’t always use to their best.

We continue with the theme of Moses’ shining face:

2 Corinthians 3:12-4:2

12 This wonderful hope makes us feel like speaking freely. 13 We are not like Moses. His face was shining, but he covered it to keep the people of Israel from seeing the brightness fade away. 14 The people were stubborn, and something still keeps them from seeing the truth when the Law is read. Only Christ can take away the covering that keeps them from seeing.

15 When the Law of Moses is read, they have their minds covered over 16 with a covering that is removed only for those who turn to the Lord. 17 The Lord and the Spirit are one and the same, and the Lord’s Spirit sets us free. 18 So our faces are not covered. They show the bright glory of the Lord, as the Lord’s Spirit makes us more and more like our glorious Lord.

Treasure in Clay Jars

4 God has been kind enough to trust us with this work. That’s why we never give up. We don’t do shameful things that must be kept secret. And we don’t try to fool anyone or twist God’s message around. God is our witness that we speak only the truth, so others will be sure that we can be trusted.

Wow!  God has trusted us with his work.  Wow!  Nothing scary then?!

But if we are going to be part of God’s work, we have got to listen to what he is saying and see what he is doing.  Are we failing to see what God is doing?   Or are our minds covered and closed?  Seeing only what we want to see?  Hearing what we want to hear?  Or are we opening up to becoming more like God and his ways?

There seem to be more questions there than answers.  But sometimes that’s how it is.  We need to ask ourselves these questions, and hear the answers honestly.  And then we ask the same questions of God – what is his response to where we are?  What is he saying to us?  Asking of us?  Where is he guiding us?

What work is he asking you to do?  Me to do?

Open my heart Lord,

open my mind.

Help me to hear with clarity,

see what is there;

that I may hear you,

know what work you are trusting me with,

and be equipped to go and do it

Reading and Doing

There’s nothing like a good book.  Reading a good book should do something to you.  It should enthral you, transport you to another place, teach you – or even challenge you.  It should certainly make you think.  I loved this book when I read it, and it certainly took me into a whole new world.

Ezra Reads God’s Law to the People

1-2 On the first day of the seventh month,the people came together in the open area in front of the Water Gate. Then they asked Ezra, who was a teacher of the Law of Moses, to read to them from this Law that the Lord had given his people. Ezra the priest came with the Law and stood before the crowd of men, women, and the children who were old enough to understand. From early morning till noon, he read the Law of Moses to them, and they listened carefully. Ezra stood on a high wooden platform that had been built for this occasion. Mattithiah, Shema, Anaiah, Uriah, Hilkiah, and Maaseiah were standing to his right, while Pedaiah, Mishael, Malchijah, Hashum, Hash Baddanah, Zechariah, and Meshullam were standing to his left.

Ezra was up on the high platform, where he could be seen by everyone, and when he opened the book, they all stood up. Ezra praised the great Lord God, and the people shouted, “Amen! Amen!” Then they bowed with their faces to the ground and worshiped the Lord.

7-8 After this, the Levites Jeshua, Bani, Sherebiah, Jamin, Akkub, Shabbethai, Hodiah, Maaseiah, Kelita, Azariah, Jozabad, Hanan, and Pelaiah went among the people, explaining the meaning of what Ezra had read.

The people started crying when God’s Law was read to them. Then Nehemiah the governor, Ezra the priest and teacher, and the Levites who had been teaching the people all said, “This is a special day for the Lord your God. So don’t be sad and don’t cry!”

10 Nehemiah told the people, “Enjoy your good food and wine and share some with those who didn’t have anything to bring. Don’t be sad! This is a special day for the Lord, and he will make you happy and strong.”

The people have settled in their towns.  They have returned from exile and returned to Jerusalem and Judah (7:6), and they are gathering in Jerusalem.  The first thing they do is turn to God.  It was the people who ask Ezra to go and get the book of the law.  Ezra returns with it, and reads it to them.  As soon as he opens the book, the people praise God, and kneel in worship.  Opening the book of God’s law causes them to respond.  It is not a dull lifeless book, or even an interesting read.  They experience and acknowledge it as the word of God, and it moves them to worship and praise.  If we read further into the book of Nehemiah, their response goes to celebrate the Festival of Shelters and to confess their sins.  The word of God doesn’t just instruct them, it moves them to act.

You cannot hear what God has to say and do nothing.  Impassivity to God is not possible.  You hear his word and you cannot stay the same.  Decisions have to be made.

So this gives us two pointers:

  • We should take the time to read and listen to God’s word
  • We need to respond to it in our lives today

So lets spend time with God’s word, and not just out of interest, but to let it speak to us, challenge us, comfort us, reveal to us who God is.

Lord,

I come to you,

to read your word.

Help me to hear what you are saying to me

– and to respond

By the way, Animal’s People by Indra Sinha is a very good read!

We Know Who You Are

Character assessment – we all do it.  Whenever we meet someone we immediately start weighing them up.  Do we like them?  Can we trust them?  Do we want to hear more of what they say?

Sometimes our snap decisions are wrong.

Mark 6:1-6

A prophet without honour

6 Jesus left there and went to his home town, accompanied by his disciples. When the Sabbath came, he began to teach in the synagogue, and many who heard him were amazed.

‘Where did this man get these things?’ they asked. ‘What’s this wisdom that has been given him? What are these remarkable miracles he is performing? Isn’t this the carpenter? Isn’t this Mary’s son and the brother of James, Joseph, Judas and Simon? Aren’t his sisters here with us?’ And they took offence at him.

Jesus said to them, ‘A prophet is not without honour except in his own town, among his relatives and in his own home.’ He could not do any miracles there, except lay his hands on a few people who were ill and heal them. He was amazed at their lack of faith.

How often have you missed something because you have dismissed someone because of their appearance, the way they talk, something you’ve heard about them, or some other feeling that doesn’t give them a chance?

Are we missing hearing the voice of Jesus?

Thank you Lord,

that it’s not who we are,

where we’re from,

who our parents are,

our occupation,

or anything else that matters

– but that we speak of you.

May we allow others to speak

and hear what you are saying to us through them