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About the Author
Johnny R. Almond earned a doctor of ministry degree from Drew University in Madison, New Jersey. He served the Air Force as a military chaplain. After retiring from the military, he served as full-time pastor in Virginia for 14 years. He is now available for preaching engagements anywhere across the state of Virginia. He and his wife, Beverly, have four sons, three grandsons, and two granddaughters.
Read an Excerpt
Gentle Whispers from Eternity
By Johnny R. Almond
Bookmark PublishersCopyright © 2016 Johnny R. Almond
All rights reserved.
Then God said, "Let there be light," and there was light.
Let there be quiet sunrises —
turning every day into a sparkling diamond of new beginnings;
painting crescendos of radiant hope on uncertain horizons;
brightening the future and canceling all midnights of despair.
Let there be silent sunsets of breathtaking color —
framing even difficult days with a triumphal benediction.
Let there be warming sunbeams —
soothing cold, stinging faces of the wandering and homeless.
Let there be dazzling rays of incandescence —
humbling anyone who dares to casually stroll into My Presence.
Let there be rainbows of comfort —
painting lilting symphonies after nerve-racking storms.
Let there be glistening moonlight —
charming forlorn hearts, encouraging upward looks of faith.
Let there be shimmering starlight —
cascading calls to worship, inspiring praise songs to the Star Maker;
pinpointing hope for the saddest heart and the loneliest traveler.
There is no need to be afraid of the shadows —
You are never alone since My Spirit accompanies you everywhere.
You do not have to be ignorant of life's profound realities —
I breathed out My Word to enlighten your mind.
Say a final goodbye to evil, shameful deeds —
Open your soul's windows to the joyful sunshine of right living.
To contemplate the magnificence of heaven's glory —
Gaze on the face of Jesus, My Bright Morning Star.
Take life one step at a time —
I will illuminate your footpath on the journey home.
I am Light beyond light, so you do not have to be afraid of the dark —
I will always leave the light on.
* * *
Psalm 19; 119:105; Isaiah 55:8-9; John 8:12; Romans 15:13; 2 Corinthians 4:6; Philippians 2:14-15; Hebrews 13:5-6; Revelation 21:23-25; 22:3-5,21
The Lord God called to Adam, "Where are you?"
Sometimes your mind is so preoccupied with chasing the wind — arranging your busy schedule, balancing your budget, and mapping your future — you do not even notice Me calling you.
I am not in the windstorm of your anxieties, the earthquake of your ego, or the fire of your frustrations. I speak to you in the hushed tones of providence and the still small voice of conscience.
You are typically running so fast in your human race that you cannot hear Me walking nearby. You may think of Me as being at a great distance, but in reality I am nearer to you than your hands and feet and closer than your breathing. I would really enjoy your friendship. If you will stop hurrying long enough, slow down a few minutes, and take a walk with Me, I have a few questions for you.
Where have you been?I have noticed that you have been extremely busy, actively pursuing earthly success. Do you understand that I have a higher standard by which to measure eternal significance? No matter how many rungs you climb, it would be humiliating for you to reach the top of the wrong ladder!
Where are you now? After all your merry-go-round days, your hectic pace, your frequent moves, and your accomplishments in life, what is the current state of your heart? Do you feel fulfilled, satisfied, and content? Are you at ease and relaxed with who you are and what you have become? Are you hiding from Me? Or am I your Hiding Place?
Where are you going? Have you pondered your direction? If you continue on the road you are traveling, where will you be ten or twenty years from now? Are you willing to trust Me with your destination? Will you allow Me to arrange your itinerary? Does your heart hunger to enjoy paradise? Care to go for a stroll?
* * *
1 Kings 19:9–12; Psalm 46; 139; Acts 17:24–31; James 4:7–10; 1 John 2:15–17
"Why are you so angry?" the Lord asked him. "Why do you look so dejected? You will be accepted if you respond in the right way. But if you refuse to respond correctly, then watch out! Sin is waiting to attack and destroy you, and you must subdue it."
Take time to reflect on your relationship to Me — try to learn from your history. When you disobeyed My commands and I disciplined you, did you resent My correction? Did I touch a nerve? Because you, in your imagined moral strength, could not keep My law, did you become angry at yourself, blame others, and sulk around down in the mouth?
Remember how I pulled you through your dejection to My delight? You chose the correct response — My way instead of yours — then our fellowship was restored, sadness gave way to singing, and you managed a smile again. Life is indeed sweet in the victory lane.
Think you have got it made? Watch your step! You are not home yet. You are still subject to vicious satanic attacks. The Devil has ten thousand lures. Your adversary is on the prowl like a roaring lion, crouching in the moral jungle on the lookout for an unsuspecting victim to tear to shreds. When you least expect it — when you are exhausted or discouraged or disoriented or worried — suggestions to do evil will assault your mind.
When you are hungry, aggravated, lonely, or tired — halt! Resolutely refuse to let sin control how you live. Stand fast against evil desires, because if you do not they will develop into evil actions. That is no way to live; in fact, it is the way to die. Subdue sin or sin will subdue you. Conquer or be conquered! Holiness is more than an ethical ideal; it is a moral imperative. Christlikeness is an absolute must!
I know sometimes it seems no matter how hard you try, you just cannot win over evil. The truth is, by yourself you cannot. But do not think you have to struggle all alone against sin. Help is available.
Satan did his best to defeat My Son, but Jesus crushed the head of the serpent striking at His heel. Triumphant over sin and death, the Victor lives to bring you personal victory over sins hindering your advance in holiness. He fights right alongside you on the front lines, encouraging and reinforcing you in your intense battles with temptation. Stay close — one day we will celebrate winning the war.
* * *
Romans 16:20; Galatians 5:16–25; Philippians 4:13; Hebrews 2:16–18; 4:14–16; 12:4–11; James 1:14–15; 1 Peter 5:8–10; 1 John 1:9; 2:6
Enoch walked with God.
GENESIS 5:24 KJV
When you reflect on who I am, is your mind illuminated with joy or overshadowed with dread? Do you think of Me as a harsh Judge out to nail you for your misdemeanors? Guidance Counselor with your best interests in mind? Friend who deeply loves you? Companion always walking by your side?
Is your relationship with Me delightful? Or are you obsessed with dutiful, meticulous adherence to a burdensome set of self-imposed rules and regulations?
I am not a killjoy! I created you to really enjoy life. But you can only experience joy to the degree that you draw near to Me. I did not write commands to shackle but rather to liberate. When you humbly obey My Word, you are walking in the light of absolute freedom. Search high and low — you will never find a more enjoyable lifestyle.
Today you have several options — the joys of an intimate relationship with Me through obedience and trust; the drudgery of a mechanical relationship with Me through reluctant, superficial conformity to My law; or the catastrophe of a distant relationship with Me through sophomoric insurrection.
Parting company with Me inevitably breaks your heart; living in steady fellowship with Me infinitely blesses your heart. The choice is yours. I extend the invitation to joy. If you RSVP "yes," you will not be transported by a whirlwind into heaven, as My prophet Elijah. Nor will you be transferred to paradise without dying, as My friend Enoch. But My Spirit Wind will teach you a charming new song that will color your personality with heaven's grace and ecstasy, enabling you to celebrate life as a prelude to your glorious destiny — when I make My home yours.
Stay close — I will grant you the joy of My Presence in the hours of time and the eons of eternity. Hold My hand — habitually walk in step with Me.
Enjoy the pleasure of My company. And by the way, I will also enjoy the pleasure of yours.
* * *
Psalm 16:11; 139:23–24; Matthew 11:28–30; John 8:36; 2 Corinthians 13:14; Philippians 4:4; James 4:1–10; 1 John 1:3; 2 John 1:9; Revelation 3:20
As the waters rose higher and higher above the ground, the boat floated safely on the surface.
Do you panic when you are in over your head? Are you uneasy about your swimming ability when your feet cannot touch bottom to give yourself an occasional push? Ever wonder how long you could tread water should angry waves capsize your craft? Do you pace the deck, anxious you could be drifting aimlessly? Do you frantically scan the horizon above the dark depths, trying to detect some sign of a coastline or a lighthouse on the shore of your next port?
I fathom the depth of the floodwaters. I perfectly understand the chaos of your current situation. Leave all your fears and worries with the ship's Captain.
I will sometimes navigate you through waters way over your head, much deeper than shallows you might be able to manage on your own. You may be extremely uncomfortable on the high seas and terrified by the deafening roar of the encircling abyss of rising, swirling water. But that is a terrific place to learn faith.
You get dizzy and nauseated when rivers of difficulty and rapids of changing circumstances rock your boat, but remember I am in the boat with you — steadying your balance and calming your nerves. I still command the winds and waves to quiet down — so do not let alarm get the best of you.
No matter how stormy your passage gets, threatening waves will not overwhelm you. You will never have to lower a lifeboat — in fact, you are already on board My lifeboat. I have the passenger manifest written on My heart, and I guarantee no one will drown. Rest assured HMS Zion is seaworthy — able to traverse any route and weather any hurricane.
I am aware life's sea can be intimidating. I know your boat is small, and you are concerned it might keel over. I promise to take good care of you, so heave "what ifs" overboard. Quit supposing — start reposing.
Trust Me with the ultimate destination of your voyage. Believe Me, you will delight in your peaceful home when you disembark.
I will see that you make safe harbor. I have the helm — relax.
* * *
Isaiah 43:1–3; Mark 4:35–41; Romans 1:17; Hebrews 4:14–16; 1 Peter 5:7
The Promise of the Seasons
As long as the earth remains, There will be springtime and harvest, cold and heat, winter and summer, day and night.
As long as the earth rotates on its axis;
as long as the sun beams its welcoming heat and photosynthesizing light
to the planet you call home —
I will season life with a quartet of predictable variety;
I will engineer seasonal quadrants of delightful diversity.
I pledge to you —
Summers of superabundant, vibrant life;
Autumns of magnificent, breathtaking color;
Winters of still, pure coldness;
Springs of fresh, verdant renewal.
For your sake —
I will create autumnal times of quiet reflection after intense summer labor;
I will cause ecstatic springtime fulfillment after agonizing wintry waiting;
I will reward summers of painstaking work with falls of plentiful harvest;
I will melt winters of dark despair by warming rays of vernal hope.
I create a time for everything and a season for every activity.
After exhausting work, enjoy the deserved products of your effort.
In chilling discords of desperation, listen prayerfully for the opening notes
of My future symphony of heartwarming hope.
The terrorizing night will not last forever.
The Dayspring from on high will shine down to annihilate evil
and extinguish the oppressive darkness of sin.
I vow that the pattern of the seasons will continue beautifully through all time
until the dawn of eternity.
Then the Bright Morning Star will illuminate heaven in a perpetual season of joy.
Until eternity's sunrise —
let changing seasons remind you of My promise to reestablish paradise.
Anticipating the perfect day, make a conscious effort to live with integrity
and My perfect peace will sustain you through every season of your life.
* * *
Psalm 46:10; Ecclesiastes 2:26a; 3:1–8, 11; 9:10; Isaiah 26:3; 2 Peter 1:19; 3; Revelation 21:23–25; 22:3–5, 16
I have placed my rainbow in the clouds. It is the sign of my permanent promise to you and to all the earth.
Foreboding clouds will occasionally overshadow your life. When the sun is indiscernible, you may feel depressed by enveloping darkness and wonder how long it will be before you can revel in the atmosphere of an azure sky.
Reverberating thunder, rapid-fire lightning, accelerating wind, devastating hail, and torrential downpour may disturb your rest and cause you to seek defensive shelter. You may even be scared you are going to die. You are incorrect — the storm will not kill you.
You will not have to worry very long.
I place definite limits on the intensity and duration of every storm. And in their final phase, behind the scenes, I will be painting a symbol of My reliability to protect you and keep you from being harmed. I will quiet down the thunder, order the lightning bolts to halt, hush the chilling wind, and call off the rain. Gaze through evaporating clouds, and you will discover My enduring love embracing you in a multicolored arc of assurance.
All sunshine makes the desert. Without rain, you would never enjoy rainbows. The sun could never reveal the beautiful spectrum of light if it had no rain through which to shine. When your tomorrow horizon appears bleak and colorless, open your heart and look prayerfully — I will project light from heaven, refract it through the raindrops of your tears, and unveil the variegated gifts of My Comforting Spirit.
Though earth's troubles may cloud your vision, if you gaze into heaven through trusting eyes, you can make out dim outlines of a breathtaking rainbow eternally encircling My throne of mercy.
When sunbeams change course as they travel through the mist, creating a beautiful postlude to the tempest, read My handwriting — No storm can destroy you; the sun will shine again; you will live; you can trust Me; I promise I will never retract My solemn word; My signature is written with love's indelible ink.
* * *
Isaiah 43:1–3; Ezekiel 1:28; Romans 8:18–39; 2 Peter 1:3, 4; Revelation 4:3
Let's build a great city with a tower that reaches to the skies — a monument to our greatness! ...so that we may make a name for ourselves.
GENESIS 11: 4 NLT, NIV
In case you are starting to think that you have all the answers, I havesome tough questions for you.
What are you building by your life? Which current construction projects preoccupy your mind and crowd your calendar? What keeps you busy all day? What significant plans keep you awake into the night? What is so great about your ideas?
Why are you building? Are you ambitiously erecting a towering memorial to your own presumed intelligence? Are you trying to impress people with your sophisticated achievements?
What do you want carved on your tombstone? What are you doing with the dash between the dates of your birth and death?
Do you reason that joining others in the struggle for greatness produces enduring unity? Do you suppose building projects based on a success dream hold people together? Do you assume a corporate goal of fame unifies divergent personalities intent on individual advancement? Do you think I am more awed by merged cleverness than by mutual character building?
When I survey human accomplishments from My throne, what do you imagine impresses Me most — an Eiffel Tower, a Sears Tower, an Empire State Building ingeniously engineered — or a human life oblivious to personal convenience, humbly lived?
Excerpted from Gentle Whispers from Eternity by Johnny R. Almond. Copyright © 2016 Johnny R. Almond. Excerpted by permission of Bookmark Publishers.
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