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  • July 11, 2014 - Reflections

    By Jean S. Horner
    The other day while walking down a corridor in a public building, I saw what appeared to be someone walking toward me. On coming closer, I found it was my own reflection in a huge mirror. For a moment it frightened me. Somehow a full-length reflection of one’s self is a startling thing. ...


Daily Boost

September 23, 2013 - Did You Say Something?

By William E. Richardson

I've never owned a parrot or other talking bird. Our family cat thinks I should understand her every meow, but I've never heard her speak with a human voice.

Two animals in the Bible did have special vocal abilities. The first was the serpent in the Garden of Eden. The devil controlled its words. The other animal, the prophet Balaam's donkey, used human language, courtesy of God.

Balaam was not a prophet of God. The seer from Mesopotamia (Deuteronomy 23:4, KJV) knew about God. He could even discern God speaking to him. But he listened to other voices as well.

One day Balak, the king of Moab, sought Balaam's services. Balak promised a hefty reward if Balaam would curse the Israelites. God clearly warned Balaam not to speak against His chosen people.

At first, Balaam refused the Moabites' generous offer. They persisted. Eventually, Balaam caved, saddled his donkey, and followed Balak's emissaries back to Moab.

God sent an angel to stop Balaam. The prophet didn't see the heavenly being, but his donkey did. She veered to the side. Balaam struck her with his staff. The donkey couldn't avoid the angel standing in their path with a drawn sword. She lay down.

Then Balaam heard a voice that didn't belong to anyone in the group of travelers. The donkey asked, "What have I done to you?" (Numbers 22:28, NIV).

Balaam was so blind with anger he argued with his donkey as if conversations between them were common. Then God's angel of judgment revealed his presence to Balaam.

Although Balaam ended up blessing Israel rather than cursing them, he later died in a battle against Israel (Numbers 31:8). Balaam had heard God's voice and even obeyed God, though reluctantly. Yet, in spite of the unique revelation Balaam received, he preferred to follow other voices.

We hear hundreds of persuasive voices every day. We choose which to ignore and which to follow. If we ask God for His guidance, He will help us turn a deaf ear to the wrong voices. He'll also tell us, "This is the way; walk in it" (Isaiah 30:21).

I pray that you follow God's words to you today, and that you shut out competing voices from other sources.

— William E. Richardson is senior pastor of Afton (Iowa) Assembly of God and blogs at



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