Hear

Who’s Listening?

Are we listening? Not just hearing a person, but listening to what they say impacts nearly all aspects of our lives. We see in Scripture that Pilate didn’t listen to Jesus. In John 18:37-38, we read:  Then Pilate said to him, “So you are a king?” Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. For this purpose I was born and for this purpose I have come into the world—to bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth listens to my voice.” Pilate said to him, “What is truth?”

Pilate was talking to “The Truth,” yet he wouldn’t take the time to listen. I wish I could come down hard on Pilate, but there have been innumerable times when I just heard   _______, (fill in the blank) instead of listening to that person. How disrespectful Pilate was and I have been. It sickens me to think that he and I share something in common.

Living a Christian life is quite a different life from those still of this world. The Holy Spirit lives within us; we hear with different ears. We must not allow ourselves to live in “auto-pilot” mode and drift along. We need to be engaged at all time and in all situations. As Peter wrote in 1 Peter 3:15 (ESV, emphasis added), “but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you…

Asking, as in the above verse, means the speaker has a question. If we aren’t listening, then we will miss the “asking,” and I, for one, am sick of acting like Pilate.

Photo by Wonderlane on Unsplash

Happy International Happiness Day!

Little girl that is happy

Per the UN, today is the International Day of Happiness because the United Nations said so.

“… The official International Day of Happiness invites all Member States, organizations of the United Nations system and other international and regional organizations, as well as civil society, including non-governmental organizations and individuals, to observe the International Day of Happiness in an appropriate manner, including through education and public awareness-raising activities[…]”

http://www.un.org/en/events/happinessday/

Yippee!

My understanding is that external declarations (don’t worry; be happy) only affect us (okay today I’ll be happy) when we acknowledge the authority that makes the declaration (United Nations). So, what’s all this got to do with my Bible reading today?

I’m in 2nd Peter and here is some of what I read:
2 Peter 1:16-19, We were not following a cleverly written-up story when we told you about the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ—we actually saw his majesty with our own eyes. He received honour and glory from God the Father himself when that voice said to him, out of the sublime glory of Heaven, ‘This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased’. We actually heard that voice speaking from Heaven while we were with him on the sacred mountain.

The word of prophecy was fulfilled in our hearing! You should give that word your closest attention, for it shines like a lamp amidst all the dirt and darkness of the world, until the day dawns, and the morning star rises in your hearts.

God spoke out loud, from Heaven. Then Peter tells us to pay attention to what God said. Now that external declaration should affect us if we’ve acknowledged Jesus as our Lord and Savior. Hey, all of a sudden I am happy because that’s good news!

Context

Knowing the context of any conversation or book is immensely important.  The Guardian ran an article in May 2013 with the subheading, “Sri Lanka has the hotels, the food, the climate and the charm to offer the perfect holiday… It’s just a pity about the increasingly despotic government.”  A highly edited version of this piece was immediately posted on the official Sri Lankan news portal under the heading “Sri Lanka has everything to offer for a perfect holiday.”

Likewise, too often we allow ourselves to take phrases of Scripture out of context, leaving behind the parts we don’t want to hear.

A great example of an out of context quote from the Bible is, “curse God and die.”  But reading in the context we find that, yes, Job’s wife says this to him, but, then, Job reprimands her as this action would be contrary to God’s will. 

As we move between the various contexts of our lives, such as home, work, church, and so forth, we need to be on guard against allowing ourselves to hear a word or see a deed outside of the context of the situation. That’s how gossiping gets started, “fake news” takes hold and, even worse, how we can misinterpret what God is saying to us through His Scripture.

Photo by Ben White on Unsplash (I apologize for the stereotypical picture but I couldn’t find a better public domain pic.)

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