Universal Language

 

 The first was named Peleg – “division” –

for during his lifetime the people of the world were divided into different language groups.

1 Chronicles 1:19 NLT

 

In your time, the earth is divided. Review chronicles of every nation and generation, and you will find that human nature has not changed. The Tower of Babel is under continual reconstruction. But great effort is useless if I am not the Architect. People who believe only in themselves and build only for themselves find communication next to impossible.

 

God-fearers and God-rejecters are not on the same wavelength—they do not speak the same language. Christians seem to speak in an unknown tongue, using an incomprehensible foreign language.

 

Highlighting pleasure, nonbelievers feel no need of the Comforter. Accenting self-reliance, skeptics feel no need of the Encourager. Stressing do-it-yourself religion, legalists feel no need of the Advocate. Pronouncing independence, egotists feel no need of the Paraclete. Emphasizing self-righteousness, the pious feel no need of the Savior. No wonder the speech of atheists and believers sounds worlds apart!

 

In My time, the earth will be united. I am the Only Optimism for a connected world. My Holy Spirit is the Only Unifying Factor. I am at work in trusting hearts—creating a united kingdom of one body, one Spirit, one faith, one baptism, one Father, one hope.

 

Only when Christ reigns over the nations will unity prevail. Then His prayer— that all His disciples may be of one heart and mind—will at last be answered and will inspire eternal global celebration—adoration of the Lamb who gave His blood to ransom people from every language and nation, worship of the One worthy to unseal the future.

 

The divided world will come together only when Jesus reigns. Human ingenuity has never been able to get it all together—it never will. Christ is the star of hope. When current events in a fragmented world discourage you, look forward to Christ’s joining together unsettled nations into genuinely united nations.

 

Avoid the evil one’s divisive vocabulary—obscene, blasphemous words of TV sitcoms; hostile words of warmongers; discouraging words of the malcontent, egocentric words of the ambitious; bigoted words of the religious. Use heaven’s speech—loving, joyful, peaceful, patient, kind, good, faithful, gentle, self-controlled words taught by My Holy Spirit.

 

In the babble of confusing dialects spoken by the world, use My unifying vocabulary. Practice speaking what will one day become the universal language.

© 2013 Johnny R. Almond

Pastor, Hull’s Memorial Baptist Church

Author, Gentle Whispers from Eternity

 

Vanity Prayer

 

They worshiped worthless idols and became worthless themselves.

2 KINGS 17:15 NLT

They lived a “nothing” life and became “nothings.”

THE MESSAGE

They followed vanity (false gods – falsehood, emptiness, and futility)

and they themselves and their prayers became false (empty and futile).

THE AMPLIFIED BIBLE

 

Despising their Deliverer, Israelites stubbornly traded worship of the True God for religious practices of pagan nations. Their “worship” involved shameful sexual perversions, relying on constellations rather than the Star Maker, sacrificing sons and daughters I gave them to a nightmarish fire god, flirting with demons straight out of hell! How far from My plan they wandered! My chosen people proved their intention to forsake Me—I proved My holiness by allowing their captivity. People become like what they worship.

 

If you worship idols, you become immoral and insane. Pay attention to the prophets I send your way, warning you of sad consequences of bowing your knees to false gods of the heart. Replicating the stupid mistake of the heathen in designing your own religion will only get you in trouble with your Creator. Thinking up your own ideas of what I am like will darken and confuse your mind. Worship the Immortal God—live forever in My house!

 

If you worship money, you become miserable and miserly. Devote yourself to Me—enjoy true riches!

 

If you worship mind, you become impersonal and insensitive. Remember Einstein’s advice: “We should take care not to make the intellect our god; it has powerful muscles but no personality.”

 

If you worship yourself, you become selfish and sinful. Transgression has an evil influence on you—your thoughts are tarnished, your soul agonizes in guilt, and your heart has trouble singing. When you do not stay near Me, life is empty.

 

If you worship God, you become good and gracious. Do not give your allegiance to worthless idols—trifles with no value, no good to anybody. All the world can offer you is insatiable lust for carnal pleasure, craving for possessions, and proud class consciousness. I offer heaven. I alone deserve praise and worship—all else is vanity.

 

 

© 2013 Johnny R. Almond

Pastor, Hull’s Memorial Baptist Church

Author, Gentle Whispers from Eternity

Altar Ego

 

 

King Ahaz went to meet Tiglath-Pileser king of Assyria in Damascus.

The altar in Damascus made a great impression on him.

He sent back to Uriah the priest a drawing and set of blueprints of the altar.

Uriah built the altar to the specifications King Ahaz had sent from Damascus.

By the time the king returned from Damascus, Uriah had completed the altar.

The minute the king saw the altar he approached it with reverence

and arranged a service of worship with a full course of offerings.

The old bronze Altar that signaled the presence of God he displaced from its central place

and pushed it off to the side of his new altar.

King Ahaz ordered Uriah: “The old bronze Altar will be for my personal use.”

2 Kings 16:10-12, 14, 15 THE MESSAGE

 

Being king, Ahaz could, of course, do as he pleased. But he had no right to redesign My altar. And he had no business making offerings—I gave that serious responsibility to the priests ordained for the task.

 

Seeing a Syrian altar he liked more than the one in the Jerusalem Temple, he sketched it and ordered Uriah to construct it. That new altar became the symbol of his egocentricity.

 

I had inspired detailed plans for the sacrificial worship altar. This arrogant ruler actually presumed to have a better idea than Mine! His self-centered, do-it-my-way attitude expressed itself in a major overhaul of the Temple. Defying My divine blueprint, he ordered changes—offering sacrifices on his larger, newer altar; putting the old bronze altar to his personal use in divination, seeking guidance from lesser gods; changing movable stands; removing the sea from bronze bulls, unceremoniously placing it on a stone pavement; in deference to the king of Assyria, removing the Sabbath canopy.

 

Who did Ahaz think he was, changing heaven’s plans? I saw it all from My throne, and I did not like what I saw.

 

All you do is in My eyes. My night vision is as sharp as My daylight perception. Live like a subject of the King of kings—conform to My blueprint for your life.

 

Your human nature presumes to set up your own ways of living in opposition to Mine. Carnal detours distract from the high road. Self-worship dethrones Me from your heart. Building newer, more elaborate altars, your alter ego proudly asserts itself, doing it your way.

 

On the altar of your life, surrender to My perfect plan since I know best. Let My holy nature become your second nature. Let Me alter your ego—changing you from the inside out, shaping you into Jesus’ perfect image. Then you can do as you please, so long as you seek to please your King.

 

© 2013 Johnny R. Almond

Pastor, Hull’s Memorial Baptist Churh

Author, Gentle Whispers from Eternity

 

Unconditional Love

 

 

 

Hazael king of Aram badgered and bedeviled Israel all through the reign of Jehoahaz.

But God was gracious and showed mercy to them.

He stuck with them out of respect for his covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

He never gave up on them, never even considered discarding them, to this day.

2 Kings 13:22-23 THE MESSAGE

 

My unchanging love sustains you through all life’s vicissitudes. All around you in the world there is change and decay—nevertheless, My unfathomable love never varies, and My unfailing love never dies. My heart is wider than rebellious tangents, longer than earthly existence, higher than fondest hopes, and deeper than your despair.

 

I love you—not because you are good, since you deserve it; not because you behave well, and have earned it—I love you in spite of your sin. Nothing you do lessens My concern. Evil cannot stifle My love. The king of the world attacks you, but I tenderly embrace you. The evil one pesters you, but I bolster you. Satan worries you with his “if nothing happens,” but I promise to stay whatever happens. My compassion enhances your happiness. Mercy and grace enrich your life with goodness. My heart goes out to you with kindness.

 

I love you—not because you merit it, but because of My nature. My concern ensures your help. Idolatry leads to defeat, but prayer brings victory. My aim in chastising is to turn your heart home.

 

I love you—not because you are good, but because I am God. My covenant enforces your hope. I moved with Abraham, laughed with Isaac, and struggled with Jacob. I am with you in transitions, celebrations, and hard times. Depend on the Unchanging One.

 

I love you—not because you are faithful, but because I am. My clemency encourages your humility. I will never reject you.

 

I love you—not because of who you are, but because of who I am. My companionship excites your heart. My heart will not let Me destroy or reject you. I will never give up on you. I will never lose faith in your potential. My heart always hopes for the best for you.

 

I love you—not because you are flawless, but because I am your Friend. My love for you will endure through all time and into eternity. Whatever your condition, My love is unconditional.

 

 

© 2013 Johnny R. Almond

Pastor, Hull’s Memorial Baptist Church

Author, Gentle Whispers from Eternity

Honesty — The Only Policy

 

No accounting was required from the construction supervisors, because they were honest and faithful workers.

2 Kings 12:15 NLT

 

The basis of credibility is integrity. Trustworthiness hinges on truth. Supervisors of Temple repairs were uncompromisingly honest, so no accounting was required of their expenditure of funds. They gave clear evidence of reliability, so normal accounting procedures were waived. They acted faithfully, so they were not required to account for the money entrusted to them.

 

My uncommon policy of honesty is superior to the commonplace policy of deception. Blood of Truth redeemed you from dishonesty. As your Supervisor, I demand veracity in business dealings with others. My scales are absolutely accurate—they weigh your deepest thoughts. I measure true feelings, placing My tape around your heart.

 

I check to see if your ethical standards measure up to heaven’s. I care about honesty in the workplace. Your vocation is to honor Me in everything you do—report to work on time, give a full day’s work for a full day’s pay, above all be transparent and honest in everything you do. You represent Me to coworkers, so do your best for heaven’s sake!

 

It is senseless to attempt a cover-up of dishonesty. Your life is an open book before My eyes. Someday you will give an account of your actions and attitudes to Me. Does contemplating your appointment with Me make you nervous? Does the idea of standing in My Holy Presence make you feel you might be embarrassed by the way you have lived? Even if you do not live truthfully now, one day you will tell Me the truth—does this fact make you want to change the way you do business? There is still time to make adjustments. Get serious!

 

Be very careful how you manage the building project of your life. Renovate rooms of your character that have fallen into disrepair. Replace dilapidated walls of lies with strong buttresses of truthfulness. Keep a close eye on policies and procedures; watch your p’s and q’s—then no one will have to check up on you, and you will not have to hang your head in shame when I conduct your performance evaluation. In view of the sobering reality of your interview with your Boss, let Me teach you to be totally honest.

 

Honesty is not just the best policy—as far as I am concerned, honesty is the only one!

 

© 2013 Johnny R. Almond

Pastor, Hull’s Memorial Baptist Church

Author, Gentle Whispers from Eternity

Wholeheartedness

 

Jehu paid no attention to walking in the law of the Lord, the God of Israel, with all his heart.

2 Kings 10:31 THE AMPLIFIED BIBLE

 

A graph of your spiritual course would show a recurring pattern of three steps forward, two steps backward, three steps forward. Sometimes you are half-hearted in your commitment to Me; at  other times your heart is undivided in devotion. The anonymous poet could have been describing your own fickleness: “Coward and wayward and weak, I change with the changing sky; today so eager and brave, tomorrow not caring to try.

 

You mirror Jehu. You go from being careful to being careless. You are often more concerned with externalities than what matters most. You are sometimes beside yourself about how you look to others, worrying more about your reputation than your character. Decrying others’ shortcomings, you neglect to wage holy war against your own sins. In the process, you miss the victory celebration.

 

Jehu-like, you are an iconoclast and idolater simultaneously. You get all fired up about straightening other people out, then worship the golden calves of convenience yourself. You are good at leading crusades to recover holy land from people you consider pagans, yet you yourself fail to live in the holy land of the broken heart.

 

You make a big deal about devoting yourself to heaven’s service—then turn around and disobey Me! Not fully committed to your King, you refuse to give up honoring false gods of your heart. Conducting inquisitions to root out heresy and heretics, you yourself miss the Truth right under your eyes in My Word and so miss the personal joy of a transformed life.

 

Let Me remind you that your relationship to Me is more important than anything in the world.

 

Let Me encourage you to spend more time scouring greed and self-indulgence from inside the cup of your life, and less time trying to impress others with gleaming superficialities.

 

Do more than follow the letter of My law—be My servant.

 

Do not be content with busy work—passionately serve Me.

 

I love you with all My heart. Is that the way you will love Me?

 

 

© 2013 Johnny R. Almond

Pastor, Hull’s Memorial Baptist Church

Author, Gentle Whispers from Eternity

 

Divine Hospitality

 

Let’s make a little room for him on the roof and furnish it with a bed, a table, a chair, and a lamp.

Then he will have a place to stay whenever he comes by.

2 Kings 4:10 NLT

 

I am your Shepherd—All You Ever Really Need in life. Since you have unlocked heaven’s treasure chest with faith’s key, personal relationship to the Infinite One guarantees plentiful resources. My supply standard is not your idea of enough, but My generous heart. I am your Host providing cordial reception, taking care of room and board—and more. I always welcome you and treat you as My honored guest.

 

You have Me to thank for shelter. Whatever your address, I am your Home. Because I am the Architect and Builder of your life, your home is fit for a King. I put a roof over your head in regal fashion. I am your Shelter in devastating high winds, Hiding Place in fearful thunderstorms, and High Ground in catastrophic flash floods.

 

You have Me to thank for sleep. After a tiring day of work, I let you rest in serene green meadows and sleep beside peaceful streams. My Spirit sings you to sleep with a lullaby of love, keeps you safe through the night, and wakes you up to a brand new day of possibility. Foxes have dens and birds have nests, but the Son of Man had no home of His own. Yet I always provide for you a comfortable bed at day’s end.

 

You have Me to thank for sustenance. I satisfy the hunger and thirst of all living things. I prepare a feast to renew your strength, in full view of your spiritual enemies. I set your table with far more than enough to keep body and soul together. I reserve a place at My table especially for you—there is no need to go hungry. Do not wring your hands about your next meal—today’s manna will be provided in the morning.

 

You have Me to thank for support. When life’s battle wears you out, I invite you to take a seat and relax. Your resting place will not always be an easy chair, and it will rarely be a recliner; sometimes it will be a straight-backed plain chair. But I promise to provide what you need right when you need it.

 

You have Me to thank for Scripture. My Word is a lamp in the lonely night to encourage you, and a flashlight to help you make your way through the dark world.

 

You live in a world that can be inhospitable, yet Love unfailingly accompanies you. Until you live forever with Me in My house, enjoy My perfect hospitality! I give you good things now—and I am saving the best for later.

© 2013 Johnny R. Almond

Pastor, Hull’s Memorial Baptist Church

Author, Gentle Whispers from Eternity

Searching for God

 

 He took the cloak that had fallen from him and struck the water with it.

“Where now is the Lord, the God of Elijah?” he asked.

When he struck the water, it divided to the right and the left, and he crossed over.

2 Kings 2:14 NIV

 

I am the God of HistoryLord of past, present, and future. Do you wonder where I am now? Do you feel I am long-ago-and-far-away dramatic headlines on old pages of yesterday’s news? Do you think of Me as merely an obsolete used to be, or the awesome I Am?

 

I am discoverable in your present situation. I have not changed from what I was to Abraham, Moses, Elijah, Isaiah, Daniel, John the Baptist, and Paul the apostle. I still challenge you to move in faith, revere My holy law, bravely confront evil, listen for whispers from heaven, surrender to My purpose, pray relentlessly, pave the way for Christ’s entry into human hearts, envision My Kingdom, and preach My Word from the pulpit of your personality.

 

I am the One Who Will Always Be Who I Have Always Been—Lord of Love. I am the same yesterday, today, and forever. I have not changed—have you? Take the cloak of history and strike the “uncrossable” river flowing before you, and you can go across to My magnificent future.

 

I am the God of Help—Lord of your strength. The fire of My power is still available to earnest seekers. Miracles are not just a thing of the past, never-to-be-repeated events of ages gone forever. If you cry out to Me with all your heart, you can expect supernatural assistance in your impossible situations. If you pray humbly and sincerely, I will listen and march to your rescue.

 

You are unable to resist temptation or serve Me on your own. In fact, without Me you can accomplish absolutely nothing. The wisest course of action is to stay near My throne—pleading for power to say no to sin and say yes to Me. Child of weakness, watch and pray—make Me your Center of Gravity and find in Me the strength you need to carry out My assignments and be ready for anything tomorrow brings.

 

I am the God of Holiness—Lord of transformed hearts. People wonder where the God of Elijah is; I wonder where the Elijahs of God are—unreservedly surrendered to Me, enthusiastically serving Me, boldly challenging others to radical decisions, wearing a prophet’s mantle, preaching a message that softens hearts and enriches relationships.

 

I promise you will find Me when you really mean business. Put your heart into the ultimate search—searching for God.

 

© 2013 Johnny R. Almond

Pastor, Hull’s Memorial Baptist Church

Author, Gentle Whispers from Eternity

 

 

Small-town Star

 

 

You, O Bethlehem Ephrathah, are only a small village in Judah.

Yet a ruler of Israel will come from you, one whose origins are from the distant past.

He will be highly honored all around the world. He will be the source of our peace.

Micah 5:2, 4, 5a NLT

 

He was born in a little town, yet He never began.

Before mountains were sculpted, He existed—in fact, He made them.

Before the planet you call home hung in space, He was your Home.

You cannot understand this, but you can believe it.

 

He entered earth in a dark barn, yet He will enlighten new Jerusalem.

His light illumines seeking minds—His life comforts desperate hearts.

He spoke first light into being—that light shines on, inextinguishable.

You cannot explain this, but you can enjoy it.

 

He was marked by a star, yet He made all the stars.

Heaven’s GPS pointed out His location to those who wanted to know.

I still use circumstances, events, and people to direct people to Jesus.

You cannot figure out what I am up to, but you can follow.

 

He was a helpless baby on earth, yet He is the Sovereign of Heaven.

He enjoyed prerogatives of power and glory, but He gave it up for you.

Rather than demand His rights, He humbly gave His life to redeem you.

You cannot earn this, but you can receive it.

 

He was adored by wise men from a foreign land,

and He will be worshiped by ransomed saints from all lands.

No one else is worthy of universal praise—He alone is the Savior.

You cannot imagine this, but you can experience it.

 

He became human in time, yet He is the Ruler of Eternity.

You cannot see Him now, but in the distant future you will.

Storm clouds veil stars, but dawn will reveal the rhapsody of peace.

You cannot envision this, but you can anticipate it.

 

His star led magi to Him, and the Bright Morning Star guides you.

All wisdom centers on Him—all truth connects to Him.

Wise men traveled a long way to find Him—yet it was worth the trip.

You cannot know it all, but you can know the One who does.

© 2013 Johnny R. Almond

Pastor, Hull’s Memorial Baptist Church

Author, Gentle Whispers from Eternity

Gentle Whispers from Eternity

 

 

“Go out and stand before me on the mountain” the Lord told him.

Elijah stood there, the Lord passed by, and a mighty windstorm hit the mountain.

It was such a terrible blast, rocks were torn loose, but the Lord was not in the wind.

After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake.

And after the earthquake there was a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire.

And after the fire there was the sound of a gentle whisper.

1 Kings 19:11-12 NLT

 

When fierce windstorms of chaos crumble mountains of your life, I may be trying to teach you a critical lesson. Your typical response is to attempt to put everything back together as best you can. In the process, you may or may not be aware of My Presence.

 

When emotional earthquakes shake familiar ground beneath your feet and everything nailed down comes loose, you may run to Me in search of stability—or you may simply run away.

 

When judgment fires sweep through your life’s landscape, you may recognize My purifying purpose—or you may do your best to extinguish the holy blaze.

 

When I gently whisper, I capture your attention.

 

Sometimes you feel like Elijah—afraid, lonely, burned out, exhausted, and discouraged. At those times, thank Me for My Holy Spirit. Better than a worrisome wind, egocentric earthquake, or fearful fire—the quiet whisper of My voice encourages you to get up and keep going by consoling, comforting, supporting, and helping you like no earthly voice.

 

In the midst of the world’s cacophony, My Spirit’s symphony is a welcome break for your troubled soul. Force is touted as the answer to the problems of the world; human strength impresses the masses—but My Holy Spirit is the Ultimate Solution.

 

My still, small voice counteracts tumult with tranquility—calming the noisy wind to a light whisper and hushing loud waves of the sea to sleep.

 

In the gentleness of My heart, find rest for your soul. Be silent and get still—you will know deep in your heart that I am God.

 

I never crush the bruised reed of your music-making ability—I restore your joy and teach you to sing of heaven’s forgiveness. I do not quench the smoldering wick of your good influence—I rekindle hope and encourage you to shine on for My honor. I calm your troubled heart, speak peace to your restless mind, and soothe your jangled nerves—when you listen prayerfully to gentle whispers from eternity.

© 2013 Johnny R. Almond

Pastor, Hull’s Memorial Baptist Church

Author, Gentle Whispers from Eternity