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Give Heed to What God’s Spirit Says

One of Jesus’ common expressions is “let him who has ears hear.” Jesus understood that human beings tend to have a short attention span. Rather than take the ability to hear for granted, Jesus wanted his audience to remember his teaching by putting it into practice. One of Jesus’ former disciples takes this one step further by paying close attention to what the Holy Spirit is calling you to do.

He who is able to hear, let him listen to and give heed to what the Spirit says to the assemblies (churches). To him who overcomes (is victorious), I will grant to eat [of the fruit] of the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God, Revelation 2:7.

In the first century church, illiteracy was rampant. Subsequently, church leaders would read out loud letters received from the apostle Paul. If you weren’t able to read, you had to pay careful attention to the message being passed on. Perhaps this explains John call to give heed to what the Holy Spirit is trying to express daily. If you tune out for a moment, you’ll miss what God’s Spirit has to say to you.

If we live by the [Holy] Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit. [If by the Holy Spirit [g]we have our life in God, let us go forward [h]walking in line, our conduct controlled by the Spirit,] Galatians 5:25.

The apostle Paul explains the benefits of listening to the Holy Spirit in the passage above. Developing keen listening skills enables a Christian to actually keep in step with the Holy Spirit. Just like pet owners who take their dogs for a walk each morning, the Holy Spirit has the ability to pull you in direction God wants you to go. As human minds learn to follow the spiritual fruits mentioned in Galatians 5:22-24, you will begin to give heed to what God’s Spirit says.

by Jay Mankus

How God Works Behind the Scenes

One day a family emergency arose in the house of Kish.  Those of you who are pet owners understand the frustration when your dog gets out, roaming the neighborhood until you are able to get them back on a leash.  According to the passage below, donkeys escaped from a back field and did not return.  Similar to a household chore, Saul is requested to take a servant with him to corral these animals.

Now the donkeys of Kish, Saul’s father, had wandered off and were lost. Kish said to his son Saul, “Please take one of the servants with you and arise, go look for the donkeys.” And they passed through the hill country of Ephraim and the land of Shalishah, but did not find them. Then they passed through the land of Shaalim, but they were not there and the land of the Benjamites, but they [still] did not find them, 1 Samuel 9:3-4.

From a human perspective, Saul was embarking on a minuscule task to help his family.  Based upon the details provided by Samuel, this unsuccessful search went on for a couple of days.  This quest just so happened to enable Saul to cross paths with a revered prophet.  While Saul and his servant look for a couple of donkey, Samuel was searching for Israel’s first king.  This unusual encounter illustrates how God works behind the scenes.

Now a day before Saul came, the Lord had informed Samuel [of this], saying, 16 “About this time tomorrow I will send you a man from the land of Benjamin, and you shall anoint him as leader over My people Israel; and he will save My people from the hand of the Philistines. For I have looked upon [the distress of] My people, because their cry [for help] has come to Me.” 17 When Samuel saw Saul, the Lord said to him, “There is the man of whom I spoke to you. This one shall rule over My people [as their king],” 1 Samuel 9:15-17.

Tonight you may have to work.  Others may be forced to go to school tomorrow morning.  Over the weekend, you will likely have to fix something, start a project or work on something around the house.  These mundane exercises often bring about boredom, a waste of time to many Americans and individuals throughout the world.  Yet, just as Samuel was secretly searching for a king, God is behind the scenes waiting for the next person who is willing to stand in the gap, by awakening their faith, Ezekiel 22:30.

by Jay Mankus

When Donkey Knows Best

As television evolves, the more preposterous ads, shows and slogans become.  Look no further than a time machine powered by Doritos, cologne that serves as a chick magnet and cars that cause a baby to speak their first words.  By the time Sunday evening rolls around, Super Bowl XLIX commercials will likely push the envelope further to a new low.

But God was very angry when he went, and the angel of the LORD stood in the road to oppose him. Balaam was riding on his donkey, and his two servants were with him. – Numbers 22:22

The Bible contains its own version of improbable events.  A serpent that walks and talks, seas that turn to solid ground then swallows up an entire army and a man who rises from the dead.  While post-modernists may tend to believe Hollywood more than the authors of the Bible, one of my favorite passages is when a donkey knows best.

Then the LORD opened the donkey’s mouth, and it said to Balaam, “What have I done to you to make you beat me these three times?” – Numbers 22:28

According to a 2013 study, more than 164 million households own a pet.  Although cats and dogs get most of the attention, its not uncommon for country folks to own a donkey.  Own his way to curse Israel, Baalam travels on a donkey with Moabite officials.  However, his donkey encounters an angel of death.  Unseen by Baalam, he begins to beat his donkey, a shocking sight to those who support PETA.  After the third attack, the Lord enables Baalam’s donkey to speak.  Opening the eyes of his master, God allowed Baalam to realize that sometimes donkeys and all animals alike know best.

by Jay Mankus

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