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Tag Archives: listening to God’s voice

When You Are Moving in the Wrong Direction

Whenever you find yourself in uncharted territory, common sense leads you to ask others who have been in a similar situation. If you just ask the first person that you find and respond accordingly, you might find yourself heading in the wrong direction or going to the wrong place Whether you are dealing with an illness like cancer, considering a career change or searching for wisdom to overcome a current obstacle, the more insight you compile the better.

When He saw them, He said to them, “Go and show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went, they were [miraculously] healed and made clean, Luke 17:14.

The man in the passage above is simply following the crowd, doing what the locals are accustom to do for a healed leper. This step was necessary to be fully restored back into society; receiving acceptance from spiritual leaders. While on his way to see a priest in Jerusalem, this Samaritan has a change of heart. This didn’t seem right as this man’s conscience told him to turn around. Whispers in his mind like, “why are you going to a priest instead of the One who healed you?” Some sort of internal struggle persuaded this man to turn around abruptly and return to Jesus.

One of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, glorifying and praising and honoring God with a loud voice; Luke 17:15.

When a couple leaves the hospital with a new born child for the first time, there is no handbook to follow step by step for the rest of your life. Sure, there are books you can read, classes you can take and grandparents to reach out to, but in the end you need to figure out what works and what doesn’t. This trial and error applies to most aspects of life, living and learning along the way. Yet, when your conscience is awakened, your heart is convicted and ears hear God’s still small voice, make sure you listen so you don’t end up going to the wrong place.

by Jay Mankus

All I Need to Be

If you are a counselor, parent or teacher, there will always be questions that you will not be able to answer.  Some may be too personal, others beyond your realm of expertise or foreign to what you have experienced in life.  Thus, you may have to send an individual off to another adult, co-worker or friend.  However, when it comes to your own children, you should be able to point them in the right direction to ascertain all they need to be.

Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart, Psalm 37:4.

As the youngest child, David was relegated to the role of a shepherd, overseeing the family herd.  There wasn’t much time to consider anything else as David often slept in the fields with his sheep.  This experience swayed David to rely on the Lord at an early age, trusting God to hold back bears, wolves and any other wild animal from devouring his sheep.  During boring days and lonely nights, David learned to delight himself in the Lord.  As he pondered all that he needed to be, God rewarded David’s faithfulness with the desires of his heart.

A Psalm of David. The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want, Psalm 23:1.

Reflecting back on previous encounters, David had a revelation, switching places with God.  Instead of taking credit for years of dedication and hard work, David saw the hand of God over his sheep.  Thus, he was no longer in charge.  Rather, the Lord had become his shepherd with David serving as a sheep, listening to God’s voice for direction.  This role reversal prepared David for what was to come later in life.  If today’s blog finds you struggling to figure out all you need to be in life, delight yourself in Jesus and the Great Shepherd will lead you to greener pastures that will ultimately refresh your soul, Psalm 23:2.

by Jay Mankus

 

Where God’s Calling is Clearest

Skeptics will tend to agree with the words of 1 Samuel 3:1, “in those days the word of the Lord was rare.”  If these conditions exist today, how can someone discern or know if it is actually God’s voice calling out?  History provides 5 examples where God’s calling  is clearest.

1. In the Temple of the Lord, 1 Samuel 3:1-18.

Although just a boy, Samuel was raised in the temple.  Since his mentor was a priest, Samuel learned how to approach God, yet had never heard his voice.  On one ordinary night, Eli the priest introduced Samuel to the voice of the Lord.

2. Reading the Word of the Lord, 2 Kings 22:11-13.

Often, God is the first thing people cut from a busy schedule, allowing their Bible to collect dust on a shelf.  Time away from this book slowly reveals a shift in one’s actions, behavior and words.  After hidden for several years, Josiah finds a copy of the Old Testament hidden in a closet.  Astonished by the words he is reading, the king of Judea is moved by God to repent for the sins of his nation.

3. Retreating to a Remote Location, Mark 1:35-39 & 1 Kings 19:9-13.

To flee distractions and interruptions, Jesus regularly began his day in solitude, talking to God the Father.  This enabled the son of God to go where the Lord wanted Him daily.  Meanwhile, most retreat destinations are located in mountains or valleys, isolated from the hectic pace of life.  This atmosphere opens the door to listen for God’s still small voice.

4. Fasting and Worship, Nehemiah 1:4-11 & Acts 13:1-4.

Fasting is the practice of going without food for a set period to seek God’s will in a specific matter.  When you add worship to this equation, the Holy Spirit often opens up doors that were previous locked.  During a worship service, Paul and Barnabas each sensed a clear calling to become missionaries, sharing the good news of Jesus to a lost and dying world.

5. Keeping in Step with the Holy Spirit, Acts 8:26-31 & Galatians 5:25.

Whether you are in God’s house, fasting, praying, reading the Bible, retreating to recharge your spiritual batteries or in a state of worship, these environments provide unfiltered access to the Holy Spirit.  Essentially, this takes faith to the next level, becoming a doer of the word, Matthew 7:24.  Believers should test every voice, 1 Thessalonians 5:21-22, before accepting God’s calling, Isaiah 6:8.  If you think I’ve left any place out, please let me know under the comment section.

by Jay Mankus

 

 

Delaying God’s Promises

As I turned on the television this morning, I felt like God was talking directly to me.  Dr. Tony Evans was reminding his congregation that neutrality does not exist in the spiritual realm.  You’re either drawing closer to God, gathering up treasures for heaven or you’re falling away, disappointed by the lack of promises you’ve received if any.  Instead of blaming God for unfulfilled promises, disobedience, rebellion or unbelief essentially delays one from experiencing these blessings on earth.

According to Matthew 12:30, Jesus can’t be any clearer about his expectations for his followers.  “If you’re not with me, gathering people toward the kingdom of God, you’re against me!”  Though it sounds good today, you can’t pick and choose which commandments you follow and which you ignore and or neglect.  During my month long ordeal with my lung, liver and ribs, I began to slip away from God, frustrated by the hand I have been dealt the last few years.  However, my response has delayed God’s timing, waiting for obedience from me before I was accompanied by blessings, Deuteronomy 28:2.

I guess the easy thing to do is blame God for your lack of progress, success or wealth in life.  Nonetheless, David says it best in Psalm 37:3; “trusting in the Lord and striving for holiness comes first.”  Until this occurs, peace and safe pastures are on hold.  Therefore, don’t delay God’s promises any further by idleness.  Rather, delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart, Psalm 37:4.

by Jay Mankus

What’s God’s Handle?

Before the day’s of cell phones, internet and twitter, one of the most popular means of communication was CB radio.   The 1977 classic Smokey and the Bandit starring Bert Reynolds glorified this coded form of conversation.  In this film, Smokey referred to highway patrolmen, especially those setting speed traps for truckers.  Snowman was Cledus’ handle, played by Jerry Reed, who drove an 18 wheeler full of 400 cases of Coors Beer and Bandit was Reynold’s nickname, who teamed up with fellow drivers to escape the police and fulfill their dare with Big and Little Enos, driving 2 vehicles from Georgia to Texas just in time for a big celebration.

In the 2003 Pilot episode, Amber Tamblyn plays Joan Girardi, a high school junior trying to comprehend God’s handle on life during Season 1 of Joan of Arcadia.  Through a series of strange events, Joan’s not sure if she’s crazy, delirious or actually able to hear God speak.  Afraid to tell others she is communicating with God, Joan starts to subtly ask others their opinions about the Lord’s existence, trying to make sense of her bizarre encounters.  Finally, after obeying God’s first assignment slowly, she lays down to sleep, removing her headphones, hoping to discern God’s voice, waiting in silence, like an old CB radio with static.

The most difficult part of adjusting to God’s Handle, the still small voice of the Holy Spirit, 1 Kings 19:12, as your volume is not always tuned up.  However, when you do make a conscience effort to hear God, sometimes you may want to turn the dial to another channel because you’re not happy with what you hear.  This is where Free will enters the equation.  If you are able to watch the first season of Joan of Arcadia, CBS and the writers of the show do a valiant job of illustrating moments of obedience and disobedience.  Although the nature of God is flawed by Joan Osborne’s song “What if God was one of us,” the premise challenges the audience to ponder, “what’s God’s handle?”

by Jay Mankus

Trust vs. Want

I’ve heard Psalm 23 read several times at funerals that I’ve attended.  However, this morning the first verse struck a cord within my heart.  “I shall not be in want,” jumped off the pages at me as if God was trying to get my attention.  Will I trust the Lord to fully provide for my needs or will wants inside my sinful nature force me to take back control of my life?

The prophet Isaiah makes another comparison with sheep, claiming each person have moments in life when they reject their shepherd, turning toward their own way, Isaiah 53:6.  While the great shepherd is patient, stubbornness has driven many far from green pastures.  Instead of relying on shepherd’s crook to get back on track, selfish steers countless toward a path of destruction, Matthew 7:13

Nonetheless, the words of Jesus in Luke 15:11-16 are much closer to reality than the average person wants to admit.  If only I could came to my senses, then I would hand over the keys to my lord.  Yet, a long Christmas list of wants has brought me to a spiritual pig pen, stuck in the mud of empty promises of this world.  May the rod of the great shepherd knock some sense into you before another innocent victim enters the grave.  I pray that the valley of the shadow of death will prompt you to trust Jesus, yielding your wants on earth for a greater cause, Luke 15:7.

by Jay Mankus

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