Thinking Ahead

She played fast and loose with life, she never considered tomorrow, and now she’s crashed royally, with no one to hold her hand. “Look at my pain, O God! And how the enemy cruelly struts.” Lamentations 1:9 THE MESSAGE

After getting burned playing with fire, you say, “I just wasn’t thinking.”

    You should have been!

    Flirting with temptation starts you on a toboggan ride toward disaster.

    Sin’s slippery slope is difficult to exit—it is easier to avoid altogether.

    It is foolhardy to only consider the consequences after they hit.

    Impulsive choices typically land you in trouble.

    Human nature chooses the easy way, and that is usually wrong.

Think back—learn from history you cannot sin without painful effects.

    Reflect on how unpleasant your life became when you acted badly.

    Reconsider how complicated relationships got when you misbehaved.

Think ahead—anticipate the awful effects of sin—turn away from it.

    Keep in mind consequences of guilt and grief—avoid doing wrong.

    Reflect on how pleasant your life is when you trust and obey Me.

Jerusalem, city of peace, was exiled to heart-wrenching loneliness.

    Jerusalem, city of the Great King, was shackled by cruel tyrants.

    Jerusalem, the holy city, was orphaned from the Promised Land.

    If they had only thought ahead, they could have avoided disaster.

Now it is your turn.

    Repent and walk humbly with Me, and I will help you live correctly.

    Hold My nail-scarred hand, and I will guide you on a glorious path—

        a path of peace and joy, not chaos and heartache.

Want to celebrate victory—not defeat—at sunset?

    Then, at sunrise, think ahead!

© Pastor Johnny R. Almond, Day 280 Gentle Whispers from Eternity

Shock Absorbers

Praying Hands Albrecht Durer

Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God. Psalm 20:7 NIV

     When you are in distress, I am your Vitality. When life crashes and you send out an SOS, I quickly respond to your desperation. I do not give you an attitude of paralyzing fear or immobilizing timidity—I embolden action, intensify compassion, and calm anxieties. Do not go to pieces when trouble comes—I hold you together. Discover the secret of surviving every situation—lean on Almighty God!

     When you are discouraged, I am your Valiancy. When the fight is fiercest, I am on the front line with you. With My support, you will not sink—you will soar high on eagle’s wings. You can be strong, not intimidated; brave-hearted, not cowardly; faith-full, not fearful; determined, not irresolute—all because of Me. There is a Higher Power on your side, fighting your battles for you—press on!

     When you are bothered by doubt, I am your Vision. Your devotion to Me will eventually be openly vindicated. Place your life on the altar of surrender, and I promise to remember your sacrifice and smile on your efforts in My cause. Detractors judge worship worthless, but unfolding developments will prove its worth. When time gives way to eternity and human governments are replaced by My throne, the wisdom of worship will be crystal clear to the entire universe. On the other side of trouble and sin and sadness—you will sing My praises, serve Me wholeheartedly, enjoy face-to-face communion, and reign with Me forever. So make a conscious effort to live a pure life.

     Lowell’s poem “The Present Crisis” eloquently expresses ultimate reality:

Then to side with Truth is noble when we share her wretched crust,
Ere her cause bring fame and profit, and ’tis prosperous to be just;
Then it is the brave man chooses, while the coward stands aside,
Doubting in his abject spirit, till his Lord is crucified,
And the multitude make virtue of the faith they had denied.

     It may seem at times you are on the brink of defeat, but that will never happen, because I am your Victory. Life’s battles may occasionally make you weak-kneed, but you do not buckle under—stand tall! Military armed forces cannot stop evil fiends attacking your heart; cruise missiles and fighter jets will not help in this fight with the Devil. The sure formula for spiritual conquest is to earnestly seek My help. Include Me in your formula for living—and you are sure to win!

© Pastor Johnny R. Almond, Day 198 Gentle Whispers from Eternity

God’s Smile

May the words of my mouth and the thoughts of my heart be pleasing to you,
O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.
Psalm 19:14 NLT

     See My smile in star-shine marvel and sunlight majesty. The skies speak of My omnipotent greatness. The dazzling beauties of My earliest creations reflect My supernatural power.

     My throne is in the third heaven—invisible to you from earth. However, you can gaze in wonder at the second heaven of stars and the first heaven of clouds. High above faltering people, I direct the traffic patterns of countless galaxies and paint canopies of beauty. Spacious firmament, blazing sun, sparkling stars, and orbiting planets are “forever singing as they shine, ‘The hand that made us is divine’” (Joseph Addison).

     See My smile in inspired Scripture. My Word is a compass revealing wise moral principles. The Book from Heaven is a travel guide for meaningful living. My flawless law puts a spring in your step. My true Word gives sense to your head. My basic principles inspire a song in the depths of your heart. My direct orders clarify your soul’s vision.

     See My smile in your everyday life. My face shines on you with reinforcing smiles—undying grace sustains. My face shines on you with revitalizing smiles—unfaltering light energizes. My face shines on you with loving smiles—unfailing wisdom teaches. My face shines on you with understanding smiles—unparalleled compassion holds you together.

     In the grip of despair? Hear gentle whispers from eternity—find hope. Discouraged? Recall your ultimate destination—get up and keep going. Saddened by the world scene? Look up—I will teach you to smile again.

     See My smile of approval as you obey the Omnipresent God. If your conscience yearns to please Me, submit to My thorough x-ray of your life—I will test your thoughts and point out attitudes and habits that sadden My heart. Make necessary changes and all will be well.

     To hear My “well done” will not compare to the joy you will experience when you see My gracious smile. When you stand before your King, everything you have done in My service and for My honor will be worth it. Let this thought keep you going—live and work above all for My pleasure. I will repay you with something better than a golden crown—My smile.

(c) Pastor Johnny R. Almond,

Day 197 Gentle Whispers from Eternity

The Apple of God’s Eye

Guard me as the apple of your eye. Hide me in the shadow of your wings. Psalm 17:8 NLT

     Incredibly, I take a personal interest in you. Believe it or not, you are a gleam in your Heavenly Father’s eyes! The sun and moon and brightest stars do not bring Me as much delight as caring for you.

     My unfailing love, undeserved mercy, and kind understanding are your heart’s sweetest delights. However, how often do you consider the reality that I actually enjoy you? Trust Me, it is not too good to be true! As your Creator, I celebrate you. As your Father, I dance for joy when I think of you. You set My heart to singing. You are one sheep in millions—yet I know you intimately, calling you by name. You are far more to Me than a number on the books—you are the apple of My eye.

     Invariably, I protect you. Your archenemy is intent on stealing enthusiasm, killing contentment, and destroying influence. Your Greatest Friend is intent on enriching your life, guarding you from all that would rob you of joy.

     You naturally protect the pupil of your eye—I supernaturally encircle you. My commandments are not designed to make you miserable—I am not a killjoy! I nestle you near My heart in eternal love—death’s terrors cannot kill love, life’s troubles cannot overcome love, demons’ distractions cannot cancel love, today’s fears cannot overwhelm love, tomorrow’s worries cannot defeat love, hell’s powers cannot destroy love.

     Infinitely, I provide for you. I govern your life every day in every way. Providence engineers your circumstances, orchestrating every event for good. Whatever happens to you, I either cause or permit. I do not sign every piece of work, but I am the Artist behind the scenes.

     I am the Good Shepherd leading the way through life’s labyrinth. Recognize My voice in the midst of the competing cacophony—trust My limitless knowledge to know what is best for you. Life makes sense when you take time to listen to My voice and seek My face. The journey will be an adventure if you stay close to your Guide. Feeling overwhelmed, remember My wings overshadow you. When you tremble on foot bridges, I am out there with you—trust Me to find your way across the deep ravine.

     Immortally, I make paradise your home. Face to face, we will embrace in joy. Waking up from death’s sleep and getting up from the grave to see the One who made it possible—that is My promise to you! Until you see your Savior, let the light of heaven sparkle in your eyes.

© Pastor Johnny R. Almond, Day 196 Gentle Whispers from Eternity

The Test of Time

O Lord, how long will you forget me? Forever? How long will you look the other way? How long must I struggle with anguish in my soul, with sorrow in my heart every day? How long will my enemy have the upper hand? Psalm 13:1-2 NLT

     When you experience one of those days when life is in shambles, nothing goes right, and you wonder if it will ever end—in your heartache and despair, you theorize I have forgotten you and left you out in the cold to eke out an existence on your own.

     Raging winds of catastrophe and faith-quakes raise serious questions. In a seemingly endless emotional tempest, you cry out “How long?” In your desperate moments, recall My promise never to orphan you in the storm.

     When problems overwhelm you, you may wonder how long you will have to look at the back of My head. In a long day of panic and perplexity, you may ache to experience My Presence. Wrestling with heavy thoughts and broken heart, you may wonder if worry will ever stop. A ton of trouble may weigh so heavily on your shoulders that you feel you are going under. Battling evil, you may doubt that you can ever experience victory.

     When you are afraid, let Me remind you of your conqueror status. Death’s terror, life’s trouble, demons’ distractions, today’s fears, tomorrow’s worries, hell’s powers—none of these can come between Me and you, because we are inseparable! Any friend of My Son is a friend of Mine—when the smoke of battle clears, you will share in the King’s glorious reign!

     In your most frustrating day—when you are tempted to conclude I have actually written you off—continue to exercise tenacious faith in Me. In chaos, believe in Christ. In trouble, trust. In every difficult situation, seek My help and you will survive. In heartache, count on My unfailing love. Rely on heaven’s help, and you will make it through earth’s toughest day.

     You will not always feel like celebrating circumstances, but you can always celebrate inner-stances. Your heart is My permanent home—nothing will cause Me to move away. My Presence in your life is your greatest blessing—Christ in you is your hope of heaven. I am with you for the long haul—you can stay in high spirits because of My Spirit.

     The longest day is not forever. At the close of time’s little day, you will see Jesus and join a symphony of praise in eternity’s unending celebration.     Listen hopefully for heaven’s future melody—dance faithfully for joy today.

© Pastor Johnny R. Almond, Day 195 Gentle Whispers from Eternity

Compass Heading–Reality

I’ve already run for dear life straight to the arms of GOD.
So why should I run away now when you say, “Run to the mountains”?
Psalm 11:1 THE MESSAGE

     When you are honest to God, you admit there are times when you feel like running away. Sometimes it seems the values you thought would always be respected are ridiculed, and your nation’s wholesome influence in the international community is deteriorating rapidly. When foundations of law and order crumble, what is a believer to do? When you need a storm cellar for your soul, where can you turn?

     No matter how uncertain circumstances are, one thing is for sure—you do not have to tremble; you can trust. You do not have to turn into a jigsaw puzzle—going to pieces every time you face a problem. You do not have to wring your hands in terror—you can fold your hands in trust and let your tranquil life be a testimony to the pleasure of My company. Your situation may be shaky ground, but your soul can be serene when you are resting on the Solid Rock.

     Synthetic foundations—prestige, materialism, pleasure, money—will collapse; but you can always lean confidently on Me. Other hiding places are papier-mâché compared to Me. Human advice may be that the best thing for you to do is escape, but experience keeps teaching you that running anywhere else except to My heart is a useless exercise. With heavenly assistance available, why seek shelter elsewhere?

     You do not need to resort to psychological defense mechanisms—turn to the Eternal One. You do not have to be paralyzed by fear—move out by faith. Tough times do not come down to either fight or flight; there is a third option to resolve your dilemmas—FAITH. When you go out on a limb, I will be your Guide so you will not perish in the ravine of uncertainty below. Rather than hiding from your problems, hide in My promises. Instead of panic, enjoy My peace. You might think you would like to live trouble-free, but there is something far better—getting to know Me as you and I go through trouble together.

     I am the Divine Psychiatrist—calming your inner being when chaos encircles. I enable you to stay on an even keel on the high seas of a crazy world. Refuse to be discouraged by signs all around you that earth is the insane asylum of the universe.

     Søren Kierkegaard was right—life is not a problem for you to solve; it is a reality for you to face.

     Do not run from reality—run to Reality!

© Pastor Johnny R. Almond, Day 194 Gentle Whispers from Eternity

Spokesperson for God

“The Lord gave me a message. He said, ‘I knew you before I formed you in your mother’s womb. Before you were born, I set you apart and appointed you as my spokesman to the world.’ ‘O Sovereign Lord ‘ I said, ‘I can’t speak for you!  I’m too young!’ ‘Don’t say that,’ the Lord replied, ‘you must go wherever I send you and say whatever I tell you. And don’t be afraid of the people, for I will be with you and take care of you. I, the Lord, have spoken!’ Then the Lord touched my mouth and said, ‘See, I have put my words in your mouth!'” Jeremiah 1:4-9 NLT

You have a divine calling — I had a plan in mind for you before your birth.   

I placed My hand on your shoulder, commissioning you for a special task. 

Your highest honor in life is to be endowed with a heavenly purpose.

Above all else, make it your supreme ambition to be true to your vocation.

I promise you a divine reward –I will not forget your work on My behalf.

Treasure the pleasure of My company as you serve Me day by day.

Anticipate the joy of living with Me in My home eternally. 

Look forward to the compensation of My words of commendation.

I provide divine empowerment — I overcome your feelings of inadequacy.

Weak?  I am strong.  Ineloquent?  Use My words.  Incapable?  Lean on Me.   

Not up to My assignment?  Whatever I ask of you, I help you accomplish. 

I guarantee divine protection — whatever happens, I will take care of you. 

Don’t be afraid of your audience — their scowls don’t compare to My smile.

Don’t quake at delivering unpopular messages — you’re in good company.

Don’t flinch when people laugh at you — one day, they’ll cry before Me.

Don’t run anywhere . . . unless it’s into My everlasting arms.

I am your Fortress — giving you nerves of steel and a moral backbone.

I am your Rock in a quicksand world — stronger than any hostile force.

Deliver My divine message — an unsteady, hurting world needs to hear it. 

Worried about running out of anything to say?  Share My eternal Word.

Anxious about creatively holding others’ attention?  Preach Scripture. 

Wondering where to get ideas?  Let Jesus be the theme of every sermon.

Follow My divine directions — you have your orders . . . now obey them.

Let Me choose the coordinates – then bloom where you’re planted.

Be concerned about divine success — not success by the world’s standards. 

Doubting you’re making headway at the task I’ve given you?  Persevere.

Wondering if you’re making any difference?  Stay focused on the cross.

Discouraged by sparse results?  Jeremiah preached 40 years without any.

Work conscientiously for Me ~ your Boss’ smile will amply repay you.       


(c) Pastor Johnny R. Almond

Vital Signs of Discipleship

If you want to be my follower you must love me more than your father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters – yes, more than your own life. Otherwise, you cannot be my disciple. You cannot be my disciple if you do not carry your own cross and follow me. Count the cost. No one can become my disciple without giving up everything for me. Luke 14:26-28a, 33 NLT

Sanctify your heart—consecrate your inner being to Me.

In grateful response to My mercy, love Me wholeheartedly.

Live passionately—prioritize My cause above earth’s trivial pursuits.

Live thoughtfully—ponder behavior, and reside in the moral highlands.

Live energetically—serve Me with all your strength and health.

Live creatively—allow Me to work through your unique personality.

Live loyally—make Me your Center of Gravity.

Live lovingly—adore Me with sincere affection nothing can kill.

Shoulder your cross—carry responsibilities willingly, without griping.

No difficulty or frustration begins to match the cross I carried for you.

Do not run from suffering—it is part of the landscape of obedience.

I endured excruciating pain for you—it is your turn to hang in there for Me.

There is only one way you can bear the cross I give you—grace.

Live unselfishly—put aside egocentric ambition and focus on others.

Live courageously—splinters from the cross should not surprise you.

Live nobly—follow my example; walk in My steps.

Surrender your life—count the cost of being My disciple.

Live for my glory—never seek your own.

Hold nothing back—renounce the idea of ownership.

Recognize My sovereignty—acknowledge that I rule and overrule all.

Be totally sincere in working for Me—take My business seriously.

Live humbly—do not be self-assertive; remember your place.

Live hopefully—practice downward mobility and I will promote you.

Live carefully—calculate the cost of obeying, and higher cost of rebelling.

Live radically—give up everything for Me and finish the Faith Marathon.

© 2013 Pastor Johnny R. Almond, Day 317 Gentle Whispers from Eternity

Music of the Heartland

Rejoice in the Lord, O you [uncompromisingly] righteous [you upright in right standing with God]; for praise is becoming and appropriate for those who are upright [in heart.] Psalm 33:1 THE AMPLIFIED BIBLE

     Praise Me for musical celebration—let your heart sing because of My inspiring symphony. Let the rhythm of Life put a spring in your step. Confessing the name of Jesus, make it a habit to give Me the credit due for life’s blessings—let your speech honor Me. Praise Me for praise.  

     Praise Me for the message of Christ—let your heart sing because of invaluable salvation. Forgiven by his blood, strengthened by his grace, equipped to do his work by his strength, hopeful by his promises—tell love’s never-ending story to all who will listen. Praise Me for peace.    

     Praise Me for merciful clemency—let your heart sing because of incredible solace. Time after time, Israel’s high priests carried blood into the Most Holy Place as an offering for sin, and then burned the bodies outside the city limits. The Great High Priest himself became the definitive offering for sin—dying on a cross outside Jerusalem’s gates. His blood is the final evidence of My love.  Praise Me for pardon.

     Praise Me for magnificent creation—let your heart sing because of the inspiration of nature. First believe, then understand this truth—I made the universe out of nothing! Praise Me for perfection. 

     Praise Me for My mastery of countries—let your heart sing because of My international supervision. The best country is yet to come. Praise Me for something greater than patriotism. 

     Praise Me for My mindful concern—let your heart sing because of My intimate solicitude. I made you, understand you, and care for you. I will never orphan you in life’s storms. Praise Me for Providence.         

     Praise Me for My mighty command—let your heart sing because of My infinite strength. Military forces sometimes deter aggression, but I am the true Superpower. Do not fear mere mortals; they can hurt, but they cannot destroy.  Praise Me for My power.

     Praise Me for being your Mainstay and Confidence—let your heart sing because of My invariable stability. Praise Me for permanence.

     Attitude determines your living. Even in dungeons, I inspire hymns.    Other prisoners will be listening—be sure to sing well!

© Pastor Johnny R. Almond, Gentle Whispers from Eternity

Funeral Procession

God will redeem me from the power of Sheol (the place of the dead);
He will receive me. Selah [pause, and calmly think of that]!

     You cannot stare directly for long at the sun or at death—the first would blind you; the second would overwhelm you. Nevertheless, I encourage you to pause and ponder a moment your human mortality and My promise of immortality. 

     Trusting in fleeting riches is deceitful. Money cannot buy time. Neither can it compare to spiritual wealth. When you die, you will leave everything behind;    but who you are is yours forever. Be careful what you become—invest in heavenly treasures that thieves cannot steal, rust cannot corrupt, and moths cannot destroy. Set your heart on eternity. Make Me your highest joy.

     Triumph in My faithful redemption and deliverance from death. What I promised Israel I promise you—I will ransom you from death, and redeem you from the power of the grave. 

     By faith, you can look death squarely in the face, and exultantly proclaim Where, O death is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting? Thanks be to God, who gives me victory through the Lord Jesus Christ. The philosopher Heidegger spoke of the inevitability of nonbeing,  implying people eventually cease to exist. Do not believe such gibberish. You are a creation of the Immortal One—sculpted in My image, you will continue to exist as long as I do! You can overcome fear of  the awful enemy of death by trusting My Son who rose triumphantly.              

     Travel optimistically toward the future of rejoicing I have planned. I am leading you toward a glorious destiny—immortality and heaven! Each step you take brings you one step closer to home. Chardin conceptualized an Omega Point—a singularity in time of infinite density and temperature, toward which the universe will collapse in a backward Big Bang he called the Big Crunch, an implosion with enough energy to bring back to virtual life all creatures that ever lived. Jesus does not just philosophize—He promises that all the dead in their graves will hear his voice and will rise again, some to enjoy eternal life, others to endure agonizing separation from good. The Alpha and Omega is the ultimate answer to a grave situation—I show you the path of life, bless you with pleasure of My company, and will greet and embrace you in heaven. You are not in a funeral procession to oblivion, but a victory parade to glory!         

© Pastor Johnny R. Almond;  Gentle Whispers from Eternity