Friday, December 21, 2012

Stories

Stories can be used to send out a powerful message.  Throughout the ages, cultures around the world have used stories to entertain, to spread news, and to teach a moral value.  In the United States, about 3.1 billion books are sold in a year.  That is a lot of books!  In the year 2010, there were 328,259 new  books and editions published in the United States.  We have a lot of stories and opinions to tell.  Then, there is also the media such as newspapers, magazines, television, movies, and the internet to consider as sources for stories.  We also like using symbolism, don't we?  When you think of music, art, and dance we send out messages that require a bit of thinking in order to hear the message being conveyed.  How about some music videos that use creative ways to send a message that the listener wouldn't have necessarily thought of if they were merely listening to the song on the radio.  It is like a story inside a story.  Jesus used stories as well, stories called parables.  He used these parables to teach a deeper message that He wanted His followers to think about.  Please read Matthew 13:1-17.

Matthew tells us at the beginning of these verses that Jesus told a lot of parables.  He then wrote out one of the parables Jesus told people about a farmer scattering seed.  I want to dig into this parable later, but I want to look at what happened later when the disciples had a chance to talk to Jesus about His use of parables.  They asked Him why He used parables whenever He talked to the people listening.  Jesus' answer was interesting and it is important to remember that it applies today just as much as it applied at the time He said it.  Jesus explained that people who are truly seeking and listening, they will be given the understanding of the things He says.  However, there are those whose hearts were hardened and listened without hearing.  They would not understand; but Jesus went on to say that the the little bit of understanding they had would even be lost.

We have something that people didn't have - the Bible.  We have these historical events recorded and written out in a way that we are able to read it!  That is exciting and amazing to think that we are also able to hear the things that Jesus said.  But, we need to be sure that our heart is truly seeking what God is telling us in the Bible.  We need to pray that God continues to soften our hearts so His truth will sink deep down and take root.  Don't forget, anyone who believes in our great hope through Christ has been empowered with the Holy Spirit to give us the understanding we need.  The more we seek, the more will be revealed to us.  What an incredible gift and blessing God has given us.  If you do not understand the things you read in the Bible, you just need to pray and ask God for the understanding.  Sometimes the understanding comes from other people God uses, sometimes the understanding comes from a sermon, and sometimes the understanding comes from the whispers of the Holy Spirit in our heart.  Either way, we are promised that when we seek, it will be given to us (Matthew 7:7-8).

Do you seek and ask God to give you the understanding of what He is teaching us in the Bible?

This post is linked with Faith Filled Friday.

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