Higher Ground

Crown Point at Columbia River Gorge, Oregon


From the end of the earth will I cry unto thee, when my heart is overwhelmed: lead me to the rock that is higher than I. Psalm 61:2 KJV

I am God Most High—when you are faint, I give you new perspective.

     I am your Rock, higher than the valley of limited vision.

     In the midst of life’s sinking sand, I am your Stability and Confidence.

     In conflicts and sorrows, do as William Cushing* recommends in a hymn

          “Hiding in Thee”—fly to the Rock that is higher than you.

     From your dark valley of despair, view mountains in the distance.

     In your desperate situation, look forward to the daybreak of joy.

     Whatever your angst, I am your Hope.

I am Almighty God—when you are fearful, I surround and protect you.

     I am your Refuge, towering high above the valley of limited valor.

     In the midst of life’s storms, I am your Security and Courage.

     In tempests of life, on its wide, heaving sea, hide in the Rock of Ages.*

     I am your Solid Rock in a quicksand world.

     I am your Mighty Fortress in a dangerous world.

     I am your Shield in a demon-infested world.

     I am your Strong Point in an impersonal, uncaring world.

     Whatever your anxieties, I am your Hiding Place.

I am God of your life—when you are fragmented, I hold you together.

     I am your Residence, high above the valley of limited victory.

     In the midst of life’s stress, I am your Sanity and Calm.

     In conflict, pressed by the foe, flee to Me and breathe out your woe.*

     Whatever your address, I am your Home.

I am God above gods—when you are frustrated, I focus your heart.

     I am your Resolve, higher in meaning than the valley of limited value.

     In the midst of life’s sin, I am your Sanctification and Celebration.

     Looking for light in the darkness, joy in your sorrow, grace in your sin?

     Whatever your ambition, I am your Higher Ground.

© Pastor Johnny R. Almond, Day214 Gentle Whispers from Eternity

https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/higher-ground-johnny-almond/

Stress Management

Galilee Sunrise

Cast your burden on the Lord [releasing the weight of it]
and He will sustain you.
Psalm 55:22 THE AMPLIFIED BIBLE

     I am infinitely superior to all the idols the world worships. False gods of the heart cannot satisfy your deepest yearnings. No-gods are less than nothing. You do not pray to the god whom you may or may not know, as the Babylonians did. You do not have to take a shot in the dark and petition the god whom it may concern, as those pagans did. I am the One and Only God—and I am concerned about you!

     You can cast all your anxieties and concerns and worries on Me— rest assured I care for you affectionately and watch over you day and night. You can be sure I am always thinking about you—it matters to Me what happens in your life. Let Me have your cares, and you can live carefree. This approach to living is far more effective than the naïve philosophy that advocates “don’t worry, be happy.”

     Often you are care-full, when you could and should be care-free. Here is My recipe for peace—pray about everything that concerns you; tell Me what you need; thank Me for My answers; focus your mind on truth, honor, right, purity, loveliness, and excellence. If you do this, you will enjoy the pleasure of My company and experience My calm.

     When you were a child, you had trouble blowing up balloons. You did not seem to have the breath for it. Now that you are grown up, you still have some trouble with balloons—and with life’s frustrations. When weariness takes all the wind out of your sails, I can re-energize you and pump you up by My Spirit Wind. When you are all worn out, the Breath of Heaven can lift you up. Here is My formula for a worry-free life—prioritize living for Me and make My kingdom your primary goal, and I will take care of the rest.

     When the peace of God is elusive, your trouble is that you keep attempting to carry your own cares, and in the process you get crushed under the heavy, impossible load.

     If you will give your cares to the God of peace, I will carry them—and you. Submit to My gentle mastery as you reread My cordial invitation to you:     Come to Me all who labor and are heavily burdened, and I will give you rest.

     Let go of your stresses and let Me sustain you—I will bear your burdens on My strong shoulders and make your heart lighter than air.

     I manage the universe—do you think I cannot manage your stress?

© Pastor Johnny R. Almond, Day 213 Gentle Whispers from Eternity

The Understanding God

Surely God is my help; the Lord is the one who sustains me. Psalm 54:4 NIV

     The most critical decision you need to make is to trust Me. Take My invitation and challenge personally—make the Almighty God your help, and I promise to hold you together.

     I stand beside you by My Presence. When you are surrounded by spiritual forces of malignant evil that would undermine you, I support you by goodness and undergird you. Do not tremble in fear thinking of forces stronger than you—  a Power far greater than any other is on your side and fighting battles for you. Be strong in the Lord. Storms will not orphan you. War will not kill you. Satan will not defeat you. You will not be forsaken—because I am your Friend.

     I stand for you with My power. When you are struggling with temptation that would demoralize you, I enforce you by grace and deliver you. Suit up in My armor and take a stand in opposition to satanic schemes. Carry the heavenly faith shield to extinguish hellacious flaming arrows. You will not fail—because I am your Freedom.

     I stand within you by My peace. When you are stressed out by pressures of unrealistic deadlines that would unravel you, I sustain you by My rich gifts and breathe supernatural calm into your soul. I still can hush the high seas to sleep. When you are in a perfect storm, I am your Bridge over troubled water. You will not fall apart—because I am your Fortress.

     I stand beneath you by My Providence. When you are stumbling under the weight of overwhelming cares that would crush you, I stand under you by My government and carry you. I can do more than you can imagine. When you panic in quicksand, I am your Solid Rock. You will not fall—because I am your Foundation.

     I stand ahead of you by My promise. When you seek equilibrium in roller-coaster situations that would undo you, I secure you by My greatness and stabilize your heart. I illumine tomorrow’s path. And when the time is right, I will inaugurate My master plan for the eons. You will not falter—because I am your Future.

     The Changeless Rock of Ages stands under you, and the Compassionate Friend of sinners understands you. Live confidently today—assured that I will see you safely through perplexity, pain, pressures, and problems. At the end of the day,   sunset will be a personal victory celebration—bow your head and say thanks.

© Pastor Johnny R. Almond, Day 212 Gentle Whispers from Eternity

Making A Conscious Effort


Albrecht Durer Praying Hands

God looks down from heaven on the entire human race;
to see if there is even one with real understanding, one who seeks for God. Psalm 53:2 NLT

     My search for people who understand who I am and what is right invariably leads to disappointment. Crowds loiter in a valley of indecision—opinion polls are still out about who I am and how to relate meaningfully to Me.

     Reflect on your conscience. Human nature being as it is, everyone has turned away from Me, and in the process they have become thoroughly corrupt. Forsaking the Good Shepherd, people attempt to shepherd themselves through life. The majority live as if I do not exist. Nominal Christians live like practical atheists. Without Me, you cannot be good.

     Only the Savior can erase your sins. You are not an exception to the universal rule of sinfulness and death. Everyone—including you—falls short of My glorious standard. The payoff is death. The other side of the moral coin is more encouraging—though you are a sinner, you can freely receive My unmerited grace. Heaven’s gift of eternal life through My Son is yours for the taking. You cannot earn this gift, and you do not deserve it; but if you repent and believe, it is yours.

     Kneel at the cross. Turn from evil—really live! Banish from your mind the very thought of doing wrong—my pardon will flood your soul with peace and reinvigorate your spirit to enjoy life.

    Keep the change. Only I can educate you to understand the solution to the sin problem. Without Christ, you are miserably corrupt. With Christ, you are changed—a heart transplant gives you a new, tender heart; birth from above gives you a new character; faith eyes give you a new perspective and hope;   new life from the Holy Spirit transforms you into a brand new person.  Focused on new goals and driven by new ambitions, you are different.

     My search for people who conscientiously seek My face is often futile. However, your search for Me is fulfilling and delightful. I promise that if you seek Me with all your heart, you will find Me. Pursue life’s noblest quest—yearn for My Presence and experience My transformational strength. Sing the ancient song of saints intent on living in the moral highlands.

     Make a conscious effort! Be desperate for Me—I promise that you will not be disappointed.

© Pastor Johnny R. Almond, Day 211 Gentle Whispers from Eternity

Guilt Trip

Don’t keep looking at my sins. Remove the stain of my guilt.
Create in me a clean heart, O God. Renew a right spirit within me.
Psalm 51:9-10 NLT

     Individual confession is the temperament you need for a new creation. Judging others merely adds to your own iniquity. It is you that needs forgiveness, your transgressions that should concern your heart, your personal iniquity that burdens you, your sin that clouds the sunshine of spontaneity. Claim the promise of the second chance—confess your sins, and I can be depended on to forgive and purify you.

     Dismount your high horse of imagined goodness! Quit sneering in contempt at dirty faces of sinners around you. You cannot change yourself—only I can, so give up your haughty habit of criticizing others not measuring up to your standards. Confess and renounce your superiority complex—humble yourself and be lifted up.

     Internal cleansing is the miraculous therapy only I can do. When I wash you, you are snow-white. Heart cleansing is My work. Transplanting tender hearts for stony hearts is something only I can do. Confess and renounce your subterfuge—be honest to God and learn.

     Immaculate change is transformation only I can make happen. I alone purify your heart and give you a clean bill of health. In Christ alone is there new creation—new life and a fresh start. Confess and renounce your sin—pursue holiness and live in My love.

     Intimate companionship is the highest thrill you long for. You are not an orphan on life’s high seas—you are the apple of My eye. You experience no drought of joy—a river of life flows through your soul. Quit singing the blues; dance My jig of joy! Confess and renounce your sadness—be truly happy and love life.

     Intense celebration is the triumph of a right relationship with Me. When you are pure in heart, you see Me. When you are near My heart, you sing hymns of optimism and praise even at midnight. Confess and renounce your sulkiness—be hopeful and lean on Me.

     Instructional conversation is teaching that you do in My Name. My converting work in you is heart-to-heart conversation influencing your words and deeds.       You are My masterpiece, My work of art with a noble purpose of good works that influences and inspires others on their inner journey. Confess and renounce your selfishness—be helpful and lead.

© Pastor Johnny R. Almond, Day 210 Gentle Whispers from Eternity

The Blessing of Stillness


Hubble telescope image

Be still, and know that I am God … Selah.

Psalm 46:10a, 11b NIV

     Uncomfortable with silence? Addicted to comfort of noise? Why not turn off your gadgets, call a halt to hectivity for a day, and ponder what you are aiming for and why you are living? Acknowledge I am irrevocably and totally responsible for everything. Get out of fast forward mode—push the pause button …

     I am your Eternal Refuge in the storms of life. In difficulties, I am your Mighty Fortress. In faith quakes, I am your Rock. On high seas, I am your Captain. I am not a very absent help in time of trouble—I am your Invincible Hiding Place. Satan cannot disturb your rest when you are nestling near My heart. I am your Castle of courage—when you are humbly relying on My grace, NO FEAR is far more than a t-shirt motto. Exit bumper-to-bumper high-speed traffic—take a scenic route.

     In the turmoil of life’s pandemonium, pause to calmly think about Me—I calm your raging storms by My Presence.

     I am your Ecstatic Resource in the sorrows of life. I am your Delightful Festival of celebration, cascading your inner being with joy from the unseen river of My Holy Spirit. Perfect peace cures worry. Heavenly patience slows hurry. Living Water quenches soul thirst.

     Jerusalem did not have a river, but it had the LORD Almighty. I was more than enough for them—and I am more than enough for you. In the trauma of life’s pain, pause and calmly think about Me—I cure your sadness by My peace.

     I am your Exalted Ruler in the struggles of life. I am the Prince of Peace who will unite unsettled nations, inspire warriors to become farmers, and halt senseless combat.

     Human solutions have not fixed problems of planet Earth. The military solution has aggravated international disputes. The economic solution has widened the gap between rich and poor. The political solution has broken innumerable empty promises. The white-horse Rider who judges righteously is heaven’s Final Answer. I am your Dependable Future of confidence—brightening tomorrow. In the terror of life’s perplexity, pause and calmly think about Me—I cheer your soul by My promise.

© Pastor Johnny R. Almond, Day 209 Gentle Whispers from Eternity

State of the Heart


In God we have made our boast all day long,
and we will give thanks to Your name forever.
Selah [Pause and calmly think about that.]
Psalm 44:8 THE AMPLIFIED BIBLE


     I am the God of your yesterdaysrecall the times you celebrated Me. Triumphs came not because of your sword, but because of Mine.

     Success came not by your limited ability, but My infinite strength.   

     The light of My smile has illuminated the darkness of your fears time and time again. Memory of your history is encouraging when you reflect on Unfailing Love. You have never gone wanting for good things, so you should not complain about your current frustrations.

     Recall My peacelet heartfelt praise transform your depression into delight and give you a new view.

     I am the God of your todayrejoice in conquests you experience in Me. By heaven’s power you overcome ferocious spiritual enemies. In My invigorating energy, you win life’s battles before they are fought. Pledging undivided allegiance to the King of your heart, you are guaranteed victory at every turn.

     Through the Name above all names you defeat evil threatening to overwhelm you. Suited up in heavenly armor, you still stand tall after the smoke of battle clears. My mastery is your confidence in struggling with temptation—Satan will not throw you when you cry out for My help.

     Rejoice in My power—let heartfelt praise transform your defeat into dynamics and give you a new vitality.

     I am the God of your tomorrowsrely on My constancy. Even if it seems I have given you up, rest assured I will keep My promises. Resolve to obey Me no matter what—I honor that kind of commitment.

     If you feel like retreating before foes, depend on My Holy Spirit to cause a turnaround and inspire you to seize the initiative again. Saints are sinners who keep trying—never give up! Though the world makes fun of your faith, make Me your Refuge and survive the storms. Do not let mysteries of the unknown cancel your hope—count on Me.

     Rely on My promises—let heartfelt praise transform your doubt into devotion and give you a new vision.

© Pastor Johnny R. Almond, Day 208 Gentle Whispers from Eternity  

Trail of Tears

Why am I discouraged? Why so sad? I will put my hope in God!
I will praise him again–my Savior and my God!

PSALM 42:11


In your grief, surrender through your trials.
Crying sad tears as society scoffs at faith’s radical perspective? Heartbroken as skeptics make fun of your optimistic creed? Sighing and singing the blues as cynics deride your hopeful stance? Tempted to wonder where I am as atheists question My existence? Return to Me.


In your grappling, search through your trouble. Thirsty for significance in a world experiencing spiritual drought? Reach out for Me. Yearn for My Presence as a deer pants for the brook. Do not settle for anything less than infinite joy. I do not ration My Spirit—it cascades from My heart to yours—drink deeply at the Fountain.


In your gladness, sing through your travels. Nostalgic about how it used to be? Reflecting on good old days when crowds celebrated My love? Remember high points of worship. Conduct therapeutic self-talk—respond to disturbing inner voices. When you are down-in-the-mouth, place your hope in your Creator. Fix your eyes on your Face Healer—I will put a smile on your face. Reflect on your relationship to the One who will always be here for you.


In My goodness, struggle through your tension. Whatever disturbs or dismays you will pass, but I never change at all. Look forward to looking back on whatever has worried you on earth. Remembered from eternity’s perspective, difficulties will become blessings. Heartaches are steppingstones along an upward-winding trail. Be patient and poised—heaven will never be surprised by any emergency.

Trust My guidance and unfailing love—gladly sing My praises. Faith quakes will stop. Storms will subside. The sun will shine again. Rely on Me—nestle near My loving heart. In your midnight hour, believe in Me and you will hear nocturnal echoes of heaven’s melody of hope.

Trust Me, however sad life gets—then you can dance the jig of joy. Remember what a Jewish girl named Etty Hillisum wrote in her diary as
she endured a World War II concentration camp: “There will always be a small patch of sky above, and there will always be enough space to fold two hands in prayer.”

In My grace, smile through your tears.

(c) Pastor Johnny R. Almond, Day 207 Gentle Whispers from Eternity

The Pleasure of God’s Company

Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you your heart’s desires.
Psalm 37:4 NLT  

     Delight in the wonder of our relationshipbe sure of focus. Enchantment with anything else can be disillusioning, but I never fail. Avoid false gods of the heart—never let anything usurp First Place. Worship the Invisible and Eternal One, be content with your lot in life, and walk humbly with the King of your heart—live a purpose-driven life. Enjoy the pleasure of My company and vindicate your faith to the world.

     Dedicate yourself to living My waybe sure of fulfillment. Devoting yourself to lesser causes leads to despair, but relying on Me and committing your energy to My service increases hope and peace. Place your entire being on the altar of sacrifice and you will find true joy. In his hymn “Trust and Obey,” John Sammis goes to the heart of the matter: “Trust and obey, for there’s no other way to be happy in Jesus.” Want a worthwhile purpose? Searching for a reason to get out of bed in the morning? Walk in My steps.

     Depend on Me in life’s waiting roombe sure of a bright future. Be calm in My Presence; wait patiently for Me; steady as you go. Relying on anything else will dishearten you. Other staffs you lean on will break and pierce your hand and heart—I am the Only Absolutely Trustable Spot in the universe.

     Decline wrath—be sure of friendship. Giving in to rage and anger always disrupts relationships. I alone bring perfect peace—let Me.

     Discipline your walk—be sure of forward spiritual progress. You stumble on your own, but you will never fall if you hold My hand—I will see that you make progress in Christlikeness. Some will tell you the Devil is in the details—the fact is I delight in every detail of your life. An undisciplined day paints a sunset of defeat—watch your step!

     Displace all wickedness—be sure of fidelity to your Master. If you want to really live, you must reverse evil! Transgression distracts from life’s highest purpose and is deadly to peace. I place you in a crucible to purify you and draw you nearer to My side—stay close.

     Decide for wisdombe sure of fairness in your relationships. Know the difference between right and wrong, and then choose wisely. Do not join fools practicing deception and deceit. Keep company with Me—and you will surely enjoy life’s best!

© Pastor Johnny R. Almond, Day 206 Gentle Whispers from Eternity

Light beyond light

You’re a fountain of cascading light, and you open our eyes to light.
PSALM 36:9 THE MESSAGE


In light of My peace, see the Light of holy ecstasy.
No matter how shadowy life gets, the dawn of lightheartedness brings radiance to your face. The wonder of unparalleled joy inspires a song.

In your dark world, there is a Bright Light shining. Satan is king of the dark
side, but he will lose to Jesus—Source and Sovereign of Light. My Son has turned on the light in your life, and nothing can extinguish it.

In light of My promises, see the Light of perfect eternity. Dawning of the kingdom of heaven will bring rejoicing beyond belief. Jesus is the Solution to the world’s problems—the Universal Hope. Seek shelter under Christ’s overshadowing wings—survive the meltdown of the elements, and celebrate the new heaven on earth.

Make Jesus the Light of your life and discover wisdom’s key. Learn to think
vertically as well as horizontally—do not worry constantly about earthly concerns; lighten your mind with thoughts of heaven.


In light of My purity, see the Light of a worthy example. Dawning of Life makes you righteous—I forgive your badness and give you My Son’s goodness. The whiteness of His untarnished holiness—the antithesis of sin—makes you able to stand in My Presence. The Light of the world died for your dark deeds—He shines joy into your heart to replace the shadows of guilt and inspire you to live nobly.


In light of My principles, see the Light of true education. When My lessons dawn on you, you grow more reflective. The wisdom of heaven strengthens you for the decisions and responsibilities of your life. Thinking My thoughts, you change from the inside out—and in the process grow up.


In light of My protection, see the Light of encouragement. Dawn of My love makes you relax. My welcome is your Eternal Home and Comfortable Sanctuary. I live in light so brilliant no person can approach Me without going blind—no one is able to look at Me directly. I shine Light through the darkness so people can get a glimpse of My glory— seen most clearly in the face of My Son.


Live as My child—keep your heart’s eyes on Light beyond light.

(c) Pastor Johnny R. Almond, Day 205 Gentle Whispers from Eternity