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DAILY DEVOTIONAL – Sunday, January 31, 2016
Today’s scripture reading:
Human ears hear many sounds, but there is a deeper kind of listening that results in spiritual understanding. If you honestly seek God’s will, you have spiritual hearing, and these stories will give you new perspectives.
When speaking in parables, Jesus was not hiding truth from sincere seekers, because those who were receptive to spiritual truth understood the illustrations. To others they were only stories without meaning. This allowed Jesus to give spiritual food to those who hungered for it while preventing his enemies from trapping him sooner than they might otherwise have done.
This phrase [“To those who are open to my teaching, more understanding will be given, and they will have an abundance of knowledge. But to those who are not listening, even what they have will be taken away from them.”] means that we are responsible to use well what we have. When people reject Jesus, their hardness of heart drives away or renders useless even the little understanding they had. (NLT)
Matthew 13 9:17 – [Jesus said] “Any who is willing to hear should listen and understand!”
His disciples came and asked him, “Why do you always tell stories when you talk to the people?”
Then he explained to them, “You have been permitted to understand the secrets of the Kingdom of Heaven, but others have not. To those who are open to my teaching, more understanding will be given, and they will have an abundance of knowledge. But to those who are not listening, even what they have will be taken away from them. That is why I tell these stories, because people see what I do, but they don’t really see. They hear what I say, but they don’t really hear, and they don’t understand. This fulfills the prophecy of Isaiah, which says: ‘You will hear my words, but you will not understand, you will see what I do, but you will not perceive its meaning. For the hearts of these people are hardened, and their ears cannot hear, and they have closed their eyes—so their eyes cannot see, and their ears cannot hear, and their hearts cannot understand, and they cannot turn to me and let me heal them.’
“But blessed are your eyes, because they see; and your ears because they hear. I assure you, many prophets and godly people have longed to see and hear what you have seen and heard, but they could not. . .”
Let anyone with ears listen! — Matthew 13:9 (NRSV)
Tara Otis (Nebraska) titled her story “HEARING AIDS;” here is a portion of Tara’s story:
“I began to lose my hearing in my thirties. I ignored it as long as I could. But when it began to interfere with my conversations with family and friends and at work, I knew I needed to do something. . .
“I discovered I had been missing out on so much when I was unable to hear fully. I was often frustrated and impatient, and I lacked calm and peace. The same results can occur in my relationship with God. When I don’t spend time listening to and hearing God, I lose the fruit of the Spirit and my life lacks calm and peace. It is wonderful that God communicates in many different ways: through nature, through other people, and through the Bible.
“I am so grateful that my hearing impairment does not interfere with my ability to connect with God.”
THOUGHT FOR THE DAY – How can I hear God speaking to me today?
Prayer: Giver of all things, thank you that we don’t need perfect hearing to hear you speak to us. Open our lives to the different ways we can know you. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
To read the rest of the story in The Upper Room, click on the following link: http://devotional.upperroom.org/
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