D-Day

 

D-Day

Deborah said to Barak, “Get ready! Today the Lord will give you victory over Sisera, for the Lord is marching ahead of you.”

So Barak led his ten thousand warriors down the slopes of Mount Tabor into battle.

Judges 4:14 NLT

 

Today you are going to engage spiritual enemies from hell—temptation, apathy, egocentricity, greed, pride, impatience, hostility. The evil one has set traps in hopes of tripping you up. Fiends of hell have improvised deadly explosive devices and hidden them along your road. However ferocious the war, you have heaven’s guarantee of victory.

 

I am Jehovah—the One Who Will Always Be Who I Have Always Been. I am on your side, so no force in the universe can defeat you. I enable you to triumph over sin and death—your worst enemies. March smartly in Christ’s victory procession. Live grace-fully, trusting the promise that ultimately the God of peace will pulverize public enemy number one. Stand tall.

 

Love is wide enough to include you, long enough to outlast earth, high enough to inspire you infinitely, deep enough to stand under you no matter how far you fall. My unfailing love makes us inseparable. Despite everything threatening you, you are invincible connected to the Almighty. Death cannot kill love. Life’s maze will not hide you from mercy. Demons are unable to breach the protecting walls encircling you. Worries cannot halt the sunrise of hope. In fact, nothing created can ever come between you and your Creator. Relax.

 

In all the battles you fight, I am your Commander in Chief. No one outranks Me.  I issue orders, ruling and overruling life’s skirmishes. I am the Vanguard of the army of saints—combat evil boldly because I am on the front line with you. I march ahead of you in your tomorrows—listen for My orders. Stay close.

 

I am the Great Difference between joy and despondency, courage and cowardice, optimism and pessimism, and victory and defeat. Faith in Me transforms you from a whining victim into a whistling victor. A popular way of expressing confidence is, “Nothing will happen to me today that God and I together cannot handle.” The biblical way of expressing confidence is, “I am ready for whatever happens today because of the strength of the One living in my heart.” In Christ, you can overcome every obstacle on life’s confidence course. Believe Me.

 

Faith’s strenuous battle for heaven’s cause requires backbone, but you are not an army of one—ten thousand invisible warriors are descending with you into the dark and shadowy valley battleground. Today is D-Day on the bloody beaches of Satan’s territory. Attack!

 

By Pastor Johnny R. Almond

Author, Gentle Whispers from Eternity © 2013

Devotional is Day 123 of Gentle Whispers from Eternity

The Difference of One

 

Shamgar son of Anath rescued Israel. He killed six hundred Philistines with an ox goad.

Judges 3:31 NLT

 

Ask your neighbors if they have ever heard of Shamgar, and you will probably hear that they have no idea who he was. However, this man with a strange name went down in history as a champion—an unknown who dared to get involved in a major crisis, a nobody who freed My chosen people and preserved the nation of Israel. You should be impressed by his example.

 

He was just one man—not an army, a team, or a rescue squad. Just one person.

 

He was one man alone. He bravely stood by himself against the enemies of his nation, single-handedly combating opponents maliciously intent on cutting out the apple of My eye.

 

He gave Me what he had. Just a stick used to prod oxen to plow. Not much. But he voluntarily surrendered it to My purpose.

 

I blessed him and used him to deliver My people. I reinforced him to be a mighty warrior who destroyed enemies of the race through whom the Messiah would ultimately be born.

 

Wonder what difference one can make? You are just one person. You cannot do everything. But what you can do, you ought to do. And what you ought to do, by My grace, resolve you will do.

 

I will sometimes ask you to take on tasks your society calls “impossible.” But remember whatever I ask you to do, I also empower you to accomplish. You can do everything I want you to do with the help of Christ who makes your heart His home. Your responsibilities may be painful and difficult, but nothing is impossible when you are connected by faith to supernatural strength. Faith does not make challenges easier—it does make them possible.

 

Sometimes it gets lonely being My disciple. It seems you are walking alone. Take heart—I am always with you. And other Christians in the ranks are fighting the battle alongside you.

 

Give Me whatever you have—creative talents, natural abilities, tender heart, thoughtful mind, unique personality, enthusiastic energy.

 

Consecrate your life in all dimensions to your Creator. Be more than a local hero in your time—be My bright deathless star for all eternity.

 

 

Johnny R. Almond

Pastor, Hull’s Memorial Baptist Church – Friends on a Journey of Faith

Author, Gentle Whispers from Eternity—book available on Amazon

http://GentleWhispersFromEternity–ScripturePersonalized.com/

devotional based on day 122 of Gentle Whispers from Eternity

 

 

 

Nevertheless

 

Nevertheless the Lord raised up judges, who saved them from those who plundered them.

Judges 2:16 MLB

 

Gaze into the mirror of My Word—and see yourself there. Like My people Israel, you go round and round in the vicious circle of obedience, rebellion, heartbreak, repentance, forgiveness, fresh start, obedience, rebellion, heartbreak…

 

Every time you wander after so-called gods, you are disappointed. Everywhere you turn, everything goes wrong. Without God, life falls apart. In your despair, you cry out for heaven’s  deliverance.

 

Because of My eternal covenant, I have compassion for you. I freed you from sin’s slavery to bring you to the promised land of rich spiritual life. My Word is as good as I am—I will never, in any situation, take back a single word I have said. I will not break My promise. I have always loved you and I always will. My faithful love endures forever. I hold you in omnipotent hands, so no force can wrench you from My care. I am Love—my heart will not let Me give up on you or let you go.

 

In spite of your recidivism—chronic, habitual relapse into sin—My steadfast love is rock steady. You are changeable and erratic in your devotion to Me; however, I am unvaryingly faithful to you.

 

Let My unchangeableness inspire you to greater loyalty. Hold your head high, march in step with My Holy Spirit, and live enthusiastically for Me. Continue to trust Me. Persist in serving Me. Rest assured that nothing you do in My Name wastes time.

 

You are sinful—nevertheless, I am your Savior. When you cry out for pardon, I rescue you from despair. When you acknowledge transgression, I am faithful to cleanse you of every wrong. When I see the trouble you are in, My heart goes out to you and My hand rescues you. My mercy has no boundary. Rebellion does not cancel redemption. In spite of everything you do, I forgive.

 

You are aware of your corrupt nature. You have experienced My kindness and patience with you. You have learned you can conquer temptation by relying on Me. Let these facts spur you on to aim for Christlikeness. When you wander from My side, listen for your Gentle Shepherd’s voice leading you to return to righteous paths.

 

Heaven’s nevertheless of grace infinitely exceeds your sin. No matter how you misbehave, My love is never the less.

 

 

Johnny R. Almond

Pastor, Hull’s Memorial Baptist Church – Friends on a Journey of Faith

Author, Gentle Whispers from Eternity—book available on Amazon

http://GentleWhispersFromEternity–ScripturePersonalized.com/

devotional based on day 121 of Gentle Whispers from Eternity

 

 

 

 

Pace Setter

 

If you are unwilling to serve the Lord, then choose today whom you will serve.

But as for me and my family, we will serve the Lord.

Joshua 24:15 NLT

 

It seems less than desirable to some people to serve Me. Like Ruth’s sister-in-law, they revert to their former gods. I challenge you to be like Ruth, insisting on staying with her mother-in-law in Israel. Live near Me in the holy land of the broken heart. Desire nothing in life more than honoring your Creator in your thoughts, words, and deeds. I am the Holy One—reflect My holiness in all you are.

 

 

No matter what idols others may choose, give Me full control—gladly follow Me as your Perfect Tour Guide. Listen carefully to the voice of your Shepherd—tune out voices of contemporary rivals. I am the Ardent God—I brook no rivals. No other Savior exists—false gods of the heart rob Me of the supreme allegiance I alone deserve. Resolutely turn away from idols and give your heart unreservedly to Me, the One and Only True God.

 

 

Counterfeit gods of sexual lust, selfish greed, and head-swelling self-importance are evil influences that clamor to take charge of your will. Why be preoccupied with physical gratification and human applause, when I offer you a river of infinite joy? Why wander about in a ghetto of poverty and loneliness, when I have prepared a luxurious mansion for you in My eternal city of hope? Why live beneath your means spiritually?

 

 

I repeatedly confirm My affection for you. I demonstrate My faithfulness and power in life’s changing seasons. I reveal My wisdom in My Word. I reach out to you in friendship and offer to guide you by My Spirit. Toss idols—trust the Infinite. Put away the dearest idols you have known and make the noble choice to serve Me wholeheartedly—today.

 

 

Do not waver in opinions about Me—worship Me with conviction. Do not just silently mull over religious ideas—publicly voice your beliefs. Quit dabbling in sin—get serious about holiness. Recommit yourself to love Me, the Living Lord, and leave lesser gods. Rededicate yourself to lead your family and friends to serve Me and set aside tawdry substitutes. Treasure the Eternal, not the ersatz!

 

 

Give Me undivided allegiance, and I will sculpt your attitudes and reactions to be Christlike. Stay focused on Jesus, and you will inspire others to energetically run with you in the Faith Marathon. Example is the only way to influence others—by My grace, set the pace.

 

 

Johnny R. Almond

Pastor, Hull’s Memorial Baptist Church – Friends on a Journey of Faith

Author, Gentle Whispers from Eternity—book available on Amazon

http://GentleWhispersFromEternity–ScripturePersonalized.com/

Devotional based on day 120 of Gentle Whispers from Eternity

 

 

Promise Keeper

 

All the good promises the Lord had given to the family of Israel came true.

Joshua 21:45 NLT

 

I promise you My Presence. You can always count on My constant companionship. I accompany you every heartbeat—every hour, every day, your lifetime on earth, every phase of your journey, eternally. In sunshine and in shadow, I am closer to you than your hands and feet, nearer than your breathing. Enjoy the pleasure of My company.

 

I promise you forgiveness. Acknowledge your sins to Me, and rest assured of My faithfulness and mercy to purify you of every wrong. Admit your personal wrongdoing, and state your sincere intention to turn away from evil. You have been pardoned in response to repentance, time and time again. When you trust in the good works of Jesus on the cross, I transform a depressed dirge into a freedom song. Let your heart sing.

 

I promise you deep and enduring peace of mind—unlike temporary peace the world offers. My Tranquil Spirit will calm your troubled heart in every circumstance, no matter how stressful. Earth life will bring wave after wave of heartache, but you will not drown. You have enjoyed My comfort day after day. Take heart—I still rule the waves on life’s high seas. Your small boat will not sink—I am at the helm. Do not panic—rest in the arms of the Captain. Relax.

 

I promise to take care of your everyday needs. My Son did not die and rise from the dead so you could just get by. You have enjoyed My lavish hospitality through the years; you have never gone hungry and you never will. Bow your head and say grace. Celebrate.

 

I promise to strengthen you to face every situation. I will counsel and encourage you. Skies may not always be blue, but I will walk with you through the rain. I will empower you to obey My orders, survive every difficulty, and be ready for whatever happens. You have enjoyed many victories in conflict with spiritual enemies. Every time you have depended on Me to conquer temptation, you have won. Every time you have tried it on your own, you have lost. Success is My way; failure is yours. Seek My strength in prayer, and win against sin.

 

I promise you heaven. I am preparing a glorious place for you, an environment of untarnished beauty and undying joy. Until then, do not let disappointments throw you—paradise is just around the corner. The future is as bright as My promises. Trust Me—everything will turn out right.

 

 

Johnny R. Almond

Pastor, Hull’s Memorial Baptist Church

Author, Gentle Whispers from Eternity—available on Amazon

http://GentleWhispersFromEternity–ScripturePersonalized.com/

Devotional based on day 119  of Gentle Whispers from Eternity

 

 

 

The Perfect Storm Shelter

Jesus Calming the Storm by Rembrandt

 

Now tell the Israelites to designate the cities of refuge, as I instructed Moses.

Joshua 20:2

 

 

I am your Storm Shelter from guilt—walls of pardon around My city of salvation keep you safe and secure from the Accuser. Despite your best efforts to resist temptation, you sometimes give in and are filled with remorse. Find consolation in Jesus, your Defense Counsel. When the Devil reminds you of your past, remind him of his future! Confess your sins to Me—depend on Me to forgive you. Even if your heart condemns you, I will not. In the storm of self-reproach, hide in your Savior.

 

I am your Storm Shelter from worrywalls of My promises around My city of hope keep you safe and secure from anxiety. Beneath quicksand circumstances, I am the Solid Rock. Life’s roller coaster will not throw you—I am riding right alongside you in all its unpredictable twists and turns, so do not let fear get the best of you. Real trust in Me builds confidence as you encounter time’s vicissitudes on the approach to your eternal destination. Today will not change who I was yesterday; tomorrow I will be the same. I have always loved you—and I always will. In the night of fear, take refuge in faith.

 

I am your Storm Shelter from temptation—walls of power around My city of grace keep you safe and secure from assault. Be careful that you do not allow false gods of the heart to steal allegiance from Me. Lust for physical gratification, the urge to buy all you desire, conceit based on tangible possessions—the range of temptation—will all ultimately fade into oblivion; but those who live My way will endure eternally. You can only imagine what it will be like when Jesus returns. Until the golden dawn, live purely to prove you are Mine. Battling the evil one, wield a faith shield.

 

I am your Storm Shelter from doubtwalls of paradise around My city of heaven will keep you safe and secure from Abaddon. Because I live forever, the real you will never die. Because I love you, you are perfectly safe in My arms. I freely care for you, so you can live carefree. I am praying for you, so you can take it easy. You and I are inseparable. In the shadows of uncertainty, take cover in Love. The Mighty Fortress is great enough to protect you whatever happens. Even if you find yourself in the middle of a perfect storm—overwhelmed by a combination of circumstances making your heart palpitate with anxiety—rest assured that heaven is ready for any emergency. However rough the storms may get, seek asylum in My heart and remain inside the walls—enjoy the pleasure of My company.

 

 

Johnny R. Almond

Pastor, Hull’s Memorial Baptist Church – Friends on a Journey of Faith

Author, Gentle Whispers from Eternity—book available on Amazon

http://GentleWhispersFromEternity–ScripturePersonalized.com/

Devotional based on day 118 of Gentle Whispers from Eternity

 

 

 

Killing Time–Injuring Eternity

 

Joshua addressed the People of Israel: “How long are you going to sit around on your hands,putting off taking possession of the land that GOD, the God of your ancestors, has given you?”

JOSHUA 18:3 THE MESSAGE

 

Frequently we delay doing the right thing. It is not that we are ignorant of what we should be doing; our sin is procrastination. We keep waiting for “the right time.” Now is the right time! Today is the day of salvation; today is also the day of service. Here and now is all we have. This is a workday—we should not report late!

 

Putting off tasks that seem overwhelming or disagreeable shows lack of discipline, careless use of time, and disobedience to God. When we are tempted to postpone getting into action by substituting good intentions—we should concentrate on high priority tasks, work as a team with others, and seek encouragement from fellow members of the church.

 

Our head may be filled with knowledge, but our heart is sometimes slow to act on what we know. Wasting time grieves the heart of God.

 

I do not think God is impressed by our biblical IQ, if it is not matched by a high spiritual “I do.” Whatever we intend to do for God, we should do it today! It’s time to wake up and follow through on our noble dreams! Here are some practical ways to translate our resolutions into practical deeds—demonstrate love to our family; phone our friends to cheer them up; write a note to someone going through hard times to express concern.

 

We should not allow our lesser goals to overshadow the kingdom of God—to do so would make us a scatterbrain. After we make sure our ambition and aim are sincere, we must then swiftly obey God’s will. It is high time to passionately, prayerfully, intelligently, and energetically serve our Creator, Redeemer, and Friend. We need to quit staring up the steps and start stepping up the stairs.

 

Often we allow distractions to hinder our commitment to God. Rather than focusing on claiming our spiritual inheritance, we allow peripheral issues to sidetrack us. Trivial pursuits occupying our time will not matter a century from today. But who we are and what we do for heaven’s sake will matter millenniums from now—and beyond.

 

Henry David Thoreau was right in Waldenwe cannot kill time without injuring eternity.

 

 

Johnny R. Almond

Pastor, Hull’s Memorial Baptist Church – Friends on a Journey of Faith

Author, Gentle Whispers from Eternity—book available on Amazon

http://GentleWhispersFromEternity–ScripturePersonalized.com/

devotion based on day 117 of Gentle Whispers from Eternity

 

 

 

Your Lot in Life

 

According to the LORD’s instructions to Joshua, he gave Caleb son of Jephunneh an allotment among the Judahites,

namely the City of Arba, the father of Anak, which is now Hebron.

JOSHUA 15:13 MLB

 

I am your Sovereign—allow Me to choose your lot in life and accompany you as you traverse its emotional topography. I perfectly understand you and I powerfully stand under you. You can trust Me to constantly take care of you. Because I care for you, you can be carefree. Do not complain and bellyache about your circumstances; learn to be content in your inner-stances, whatever lot I assign you. Be satisfied and you will be truly rich. Whether you have little or much, rest assured in the confident awareness that I am leading you to paradise. Celebrate every mile of the journey.

 

I may give you difficult mountainous terrain, as I did My servant Caleb. Do not pray to live on easy street; pray for strength of character. There may be giants in your territory you will need to expel—drive them out by My authority. I do not give you an attitude of cowardice and shyness—I bless you with a bold spirit, a caring heart, and disciplined good sense. Visigoths of discouragement, loneliness, and weariness may attack—conquer them in My Name.

 

Whatever your address, I am your Home. I made your heart My residence, and I will in no case move away. My Presence permeating your personality will be evidenced by your affectionate heart, exuberant outlook, serene disposition, patient stick-to-itiveness, kind manner, generous compassion, loyal consistency, gentle interaction, and self-controlled appetites.

 

Empowered by My Almighty Spirit, you can do “the impossible.”

Charmed by My Selfless Spirit, you can minister in a Christlike fashion.

Guided by My Tranquil Spirit, you can stay sane in the eye of the storm.

Shaped by My Creative Spirit, you can bloom wherever you are planted.

Reinforced by My Invincible Spirit, you can vanquish giants in your territory.

Inspired by My Hopeful Spirit, you can dance heaven’s dance on earth.

 

Feel like grumbling about your lot in life? Build a service station on it.

 

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Johnny R. Almond

Pastor, Hull’s Memorial Baptist Church – Friends on a Journey of Faith

Author, Gentle Whispers from Eternity—book available on Amazon

http://GentleWhispersFromEternity–ScripturePersonalized.com/

Devotional based on day 116 of Gentle Whispers from Eternity

 

 

 

Room to Grow

When Joshua was an old man, the Lord said to him,

“You are growing old, and much land remains to be conquered.”

JOSHUA 13:1 NLT

 

You have a lot of room to grow in communion with Me. Everything else is rubbish compared to the priceless gain of intimate relationship to Me. You have known Me a long time, but you still do not know Me like I would like you to. If you have prioritized anything above life’s noblest goal, now is the time to reorder your values. Trash all your trivial pursuits, and treasure friendship with your Creator.

 

You have plenty of room to grow in consecration. You have experienced a victory here and there over the years, but you still need to draw on more of the vitality of Christ’s resurrection in your everyday life. Experiencing His resurrection power will move you beyond easy street, dead-end ideas of your society. Before you can celebrate robust life, you must die to sin. Crucify your evil ways and count on My infinite power to vanquish every entrenched bad habit.

 

You have much room to grow in Christlikeness. You have followed Me fairly closely along the way, but you still need to concentrate on your supreme ambition—to humbly walk in the footsteps of Jesus in your attitudes and actions. Compare yourself with Me, and you will realize the chasm between your ideal self and the person you actually are. You have good intentions but do not always follow through. You become irritable when things do not go your way. You are sometimes judgmental, self-righteous, woebegone, proud, anxious, and egocentric. I know you like an open book. Yet I still love you, and I still have plans for you. Someday you will be like My Son; until then, follow His example. When you are tempted to quit the struggle, gaze on the mysterious figure on the cross and return to your assigned task. My fondest dream for you is that you become like Christ—I am using every circumstance to sculpt you into a replica of Perfection.

 

Much land in your life territory remains to be conquered—mountains of conceit, islands of selfishness, valleys of discouragement, rivers of impatience, plateaus of ritualism, and deserts of criticism. Claim all the promised land of the inheritance I have staked out for you!

 

With the single-mindedness of an Olympic athlete in training, focus on drawing nearer to Jesus. Reflect His likeness as you live out your God-designed identity. Go for the gold.

 

Do more than grow old—grow up!

 

Johnny R. Almond

Pastor, Hull’s Memorial Baptist Church – Friends on a Journey of Faith

Author, Gentle Whispers from Eternity—book available on Amazon

http://GentleWhispersFromEternity–ScripturePersonalized.com/

This devotional based on day 115 of Gentle Whispers from Eternity

 

 

 

 

 

Battle Fatigue

 

The following is a list of the kings Joshua and the Israelite armies defeated on the west side of the Jordan, from Baal-gad in the valley of Lebanon to Mount Halak, which leads up to Seir.

JOSHUA 12:7 NLT

 

Israel had many kings to conquer, but with the King of kings fighting on their side, they celebrated one victory after another. You, too, have many enemies, but when I reign in your heart you can beat the Devil. He is the god of the world, but he has no claim on Me and mine. My chosen people had many territories to vanquish, and so do you—the hill country of pride, foothills of discouragement, lonely valleys, plateaus of dull routine, wilderness of confusion, and the Negev of desolation.

 

Fragmentation is conquered in the light of faith. Satan would love to ruin your life by tearing your wholehearted allegiance away from Me. But I have given My word never to desert you, guaranteeing it by My Holy Spirit signature. Your heart is My home—rest assured I will never move away. I reign as Sovereign of your will, holding you together.

 

Pessimism is conquered in the light of My promises. Though Satan is your greatest foe, he is already defeated by My grand victory over death, hell, and the grave. I will have the last word. I have great plans for tomorrow. Listen for My future melody and dance My faith dance each step of the way. Count on Me, and finish My confidence course.

 

Selfishness is conquered in the light of sacrifice. The master of evil would love to ruin your relationships, but My love is greater than his disruptive hate. Imitate My loving lifestyle, and find fulfillment.

 

The Devil is conquered in the Light of the Divine. Do not get overconfident, napping in your castle of pride. Be on the alert for attacks from the evil one. Satan is a roaring lion constantly on the prowl, searching for a victim to shred. Deal decisively with the adversary of your soul, and stay strong in your faith. Remember to hold My hand as you make your way through the jungle. Cage the lion by yielding control of your impulses and emotions to Me. Let the Lion of Judah’s tribe reign as undisputed King of your heart—be a victor, not a victim!

 

I am Lord of the whole earth, and I give My warriors courage and strength to endure hardship and combat evil. Because I am fighting with you on the front lines, there is no need to be afraid. Whatever foe you may face, I am stronger. Ultimate triumph is Mine—linked to Me by faith, it is yours. Counteract battle fatigue in the energy of My Spirit—march on in heaven’s victory parade!

 

 

Johnny R. Almond

Pastor, Hull’s Memorial Baptist Church – Friends on a Journey of Faith

Author, Gentle Whispers from Eternity—book available on Amazon

Devotional based on day 114 of Gentle Whispers from Eternity