The Source of Music

joyThere the Israelites sang this song: “Spring up, O well! Yes, sing about it!” (Numbers 21:17 NLT)

 

Ancient Hebrews were healed by a trusting look at a stinging serpent on a pole—we journey toward real life as we gaze in faith at God’s Son on a cross. If we get depressed and impatient because of life’s difficult score, our Savior teaches us how to sing. Jesus is our Salvation from sin, our Strength for the struggle, and our Song in sadness.

 

Whatever our situation, we are never in a God-forsaken place! We can sing even in the desert if we delight in the Master of Melody. The Lord satisfies our soul with a perpetual spring of joy even if we should feel like hanging up our harp.

 

The world cannot match heaven’s sweet air. The siren song of transient pleasures cannot compare to the symphony of infinite joy. The Holy Spirit in our innermost being inspires a rousing victory march. In God’s perfect timing, we will join in an international praise song to the King of the universe—until then, we can stay in step with the Spirit cadence with an optimistic spring in our step. We are dust, but God is Infinite Power—we will not fall out of the ranks if we depend on the Almighty to reinforces us to battle sin and win. Marching in Christ’s triumphal procession, we are honored to sing a glorious strain in harmony with the church triumphant.

 

The Lord composes a brand new chorus for us every morning. By grace, we can sing out a fresh carol in His honor each day we live—offering an original and creative melody to our listening audience. There is no reason we should ever communicate boredom with a repetitive singsong chant.

 

Our Father’s promises compose a visionary anthem that sustains us in chaos and loneliness. The keynote of heaven’s hopeful music inspires nocturnal melodies. In the shadowlands of time, we listen for the melody of eternity—banking on God’s promise of heaven on earth materializing at sunrise.

 

Fear cannot mute grace notes written in our heart by faith. In anxiety-producing circumstances, God’s unfailing care sings a ballad of courage to our soul. In discord, God’s calming peace is our Background Music. In overwhelming responsibilities, the Lord hums a heavenly tune in our ear so we can keep calm and carry on. How can we keep from singing?

 

Johnny R. Almond
Pastor, Hull’s Memorial Baptist Church – Friends on a Journey of Faith
Author, Gentle Whispers from Eternity—Scripture Personalized
http://GentleWhispersFromEternity–ScripturePersonalized.com/
This devotional based on day 87 of Gentle Whispers from Eternity

A Better Idea

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“You will know that the Lord has sent me to do all these things and that it was not my idea.”  (Numbers16:28 NIV)

 

Our idea is prestige, but God has a better idea—purpose.  By providential brush strokes, God is painting a masterpiece on the canvas of our circumstances to unveil His grace to the world. With heaven’s help, we can put spiritual adolescence behind us, refuse to be treated as Egypt’s adopted child, and grow up.

 

Our idea is sinning for pleasure’s sake, but God has a better idea—suffering for His Name’s sake. It is foolish to revel in earth’s transient thrills; it is the highest wisdom to travel the harder, higher path. Christ agonized for us; so we should agonize for Him.

 

Our idea is accumulating more stuff, but God has a better idea—investing  in lasting treasures. Linking happiness to things is insane. Dividing allegiance between God and money is impossible.

 

Our idea is fear, but God has a better idea—faith. There is no need to tremble before the pharaoh of hell. We can exit Egypt and travel heavenward, persevering by focusing the eyes of our heart on the Invisible King. When storms rock our boat, we should not panic that we might drown—Jesus still  hushes the sea to sleep and calms frazzled nerves. The Spirit Wind will guide us to a tranquil harbor.

 

Our idea is selfishness, but God has a better idea—service. To be a star for Jesus, we must be a servant. To truly live, we must give.

 

Our idea is comfort, but God has a better idea—a caring heart. Emulating Christ’s example, we will live a life of love.

 

Our idea is carnality, but God has a better idea—Christlikeness. Hammer blows sculpt us into His image. Pain precedes perfection.

 

Our idea is materialism, but God has a better idea—mission. Regarding disgrace for the Messiah’s sake of greater value than Nile stock, we strike out for the desert with our oheart set on the Promised Land.

 

With all our mind, we should learn God’s ideas. With all our soul, we should internalize God’s ideas. With all our heart, we should value God’s ideas. With all our strength, we should activate God’s ideas.

 

If we let God think His thoughts through us, our ideas will begin to look a little bit like His.

 

Pastor Johnny R. Almond

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

This devotional is based on Day 86 of Gentle Whispers from Eternity

Blog http://GentleWhispersFromEternity–ScripturePersonalized.com/

 

 

Memos from the Master

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 “You must make tassels for the hems of your clothing and attach the tassels at each corner with a blue cord. The tassels will remind you of the commands of the Lord, and that you are to obey his commands instead of following your own desires and going your own ways as you are prone to do.”  (Numbers 15:38-39 NLT)

 

God encircles us with many object lessons designed to charm us to His side. If we are wise, we will pay close attention to the memos He posts:

 

The cross of Jesus—preaching heaven’s free pardon of our sins, singing of mercy in the maze, inspiring endurance when we are tempted to abandon our mission.

 

The Book from Heaven—jogging our mind to review our Master’s blueprint for life, raising sights above mundane trivia to eternal realities, keeping us from sin.

 

The Indwelling Holy Spirit in our heart—an Infallible, Built-in Guidance System to keep us on target morally.

 

Beautiful, magnificently designed earth, sun, moon, and stars—a billboard publicizing our Father’s sovereignty, awesome power, and loving care.

 

Our spouse and children—signs of God’s love, solving the problem of loneliness.

 

Challenges and responsibilities of our work—reminding us of Providence in guiding us into avenues of service honoring the Name above all names.

 

The church—a loving family, encouraging us to activate good deeds and avoid unholy living in light of Christ’s imminent return.

 

A table loaded with delicious food—illustrating God’s ability to always provide more than enough to meet our every need.

 

History—a rearview mirror reflecting tragic consequences of rebellion against God, chronicling Hebrew recalcitrance and prompting us to learn from their mistakes.

 

Heaven help us to see with our heart—so we can marvel at encompassing traces of grace from the God who loves us, go beyond pondering His memos to conscientiously follow His cues, avoid distraction by the ten thousand lures of the evil one, and stay faithful to the God we love.

 

 

Pastor Johnny R. Almond

Hull’s Memorial Baptist Church; Fredericksburg, Virginia

This devotion based on Day 85 of Gentle Whispers from Eternity

Blog http://GentleWhispersFromEternity–ScripturePersonalized

A Different Spirit

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Panorama Overlook

Berkeley Springs, West Virginia

 

“Because my servant Caleb has a different spirit and follows me wholeheartedly, I will bring him into the land he went to, and his descendants will inherit it.” (Numbers 14:24 NIV)

 

In a dark world, the hearts of Christians are illuminated by pure radiant light. The demonic spirit of the age advocates and applauds sexual immorality, violence, quarreling, selfish ambition, bigotry, envy, and drunkenness. In stark contrast, when believers permit the Holy Spirit to control our lives, God makes all the difference in the world in the way we interact with people.

 

The Holy Spirit gives a different spirit of love—we live sacrificially, not selfishly.

The Holy Spirit grants a different spirit of joy—we sing, and do not mope in sadness.

The Holy Spirit blesses with a different spirit of peace—we are serene, and do not sigh.

The Holy Spirit furnishes a different spirit of patience—we are steady, not stormy.

The Holy Spirit supplies a different spirit of kindness—we are sincere, not sarcastic.

The Holy Spirit confers a different spirit of goodness—we share, and do not snub.

The Holy Spirit bestows a different spirit of faithfulness—we are single-minded, not spiritually schizophrenic.

The Holy Spirit provides a different spirit of gentleness—we are sensitive, not severe.

The Holy Spirit reinforces with a different spirit of self-control—we are sane,  not simpleminded.

 

Beyond the reach of change and decay, there is a beautiful Promised Land waiting for all who hear the beat of a Different Drummer—and stay in step.

 

 

Pastor Johnny R. Almond

Hull’s Memorial Baptist Church; Fredericksburg, Virginia

This devotion based on Day 84 of Gentle Whispers from Eternity

Blog http://GentleWhispersFromEternity–ScripturePersonalized.com/

 

Easter – The Day That Changes Everything

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“Thou art the Sun of other days, They shine by giving back thy rays.”   (John Keble: The Christian Year)

 

“’Dear woman, why are you crying?’ Jesus asked her. ‘Who are you looking for?’ ‘Mary!’ Jesus said. She turned to him and cried out, ‘Rabboni!’ (which is Hebrew for ‘Teacher’). Mary Magdalene found the disciples and told them, ‘I have seen the Lord!’   (John 20:15, 16, 18 NLT)

 

The sight of the stone rolled away from the tomb entrance, the folded linen cloth, the absence of the corpse—none of these moved Mary to thoughts of resurrection. The riddle of Jesus’ disappearance remained unsolved.

 

“They have taken away my Lord and I do not know where they have laid him.” Her logic is faultless. Dead bodies do not just disappear—someone has to move them. We live by laws of motion and mechanics. Science, reasoning, and perception are based upon the familiar and predictable; only what has happened before can happen now—or so we think.

 

Then Mary hears the One who had been certified as dead call her by name. Like the voice that shatters glass, the voice of Jesus shattered her world—calling her forward to new possibility and a new future.

 

“Rabboni!” (my very own Teacher) she cries out to Jesus. Then she communicated this too-good-to-keep-to-herself good news to the world. She did not shout, “I have seen the empty tomb and that proves Jesus is alive” The empty tomb never proved anything. The greatest argument for the Resurrection is personal encounter with the living Lord.

 

If something very real had not occurred on that strange, confused morning, there would have been no church, Christianity, or New Testament. Some still attempt to reduce Jesus’ resurrection to the coming of spring bringing life to the dead earth, or the rebirth of hope in the despairing soul. Some suggest these are the miracles that the Resurrection is all about, but they are not. In some way these things are miracles, but they are not this miracle—the central miracle on which the entire Christian faith pivots.

 

Konrad Adenaur, post WWII chancellor of West Germany, remarked, “If Jesus Christ is not alive, then I see no hope for the world.”  Because He is alive, we are filled with hope that our living Lord will one day solve intractable problems politicians, scientists, philosophers, economists, and warriors have for generations been unable to deal with.

 

Have you seen the Lord with heart sight? Have you heard him call your name? Have you fell at his feet and called him Rabboni?  Is Jesus your very own Teacher—leading you to see timeless truth. Is Jesus your Defense Counsel—defending you from guilt? Is Jesus your greatest Friend—letting you enjoy the pleasure of his company? Have you received his blessing, “Peace be with you”?

 

“There in the ground His body lay, Light of the world by darkness slain: Then bursting forth in glorious day Up from the grave He rose again! And as He stands in victory Sin’s curse has lost its grip on me, For I am His and He is mine – Bought with the precious blood of Christ. No guilt in life, no fear in death, This is the power of Christ in me; From life’s first cry to final breath, Jesus commands my destiny. No power of hell, no scheme of man, Can ever pluck me from His hand: Till He returns or calls me home, Here in the power of Christ I’ll stand.” (“In Christ Alone” by Stuart Townend & Keith Getty)

 

Johnny R. Almond

Pastor, Hull’s Memorial Baptist Church; Fredericksburg, Virginia