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The King's Blessing

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 God blesses those who realize their need for him, for the Kingdom of Heaven is given to them.

             Matthew 5:3 NLT

 

In a strutting world that values independence, I bless the desperate.

     VIPs struck on themselves receive nothing but disapproval from My hand.

     Beggars prostrate before My throne are blessed beyond imagination.

     The holy land of the broken heart is where I am most at home.

     The reward of humility is ultimate perfection—the Kingdom of Heaven.

 

In a pleasure-mad world pursuing happiness at any cost, I bless the tearful. 

     Those who cry their heart out over evil learn to laugh out loud. 

     Those who confess and repent discover the ecstasy of My salvation. 

     Yearn to see My face—I will reward you with the pleasure of My company. 

 

In a dog-eat-dog world obsessed with power, I bless the gentle. 

     The unbelieving world scorns the meek, but they are heaven’s favorites.

     Now the God-controlled and Spirit-sensitive get pushed around.

     But mark My Word—someday their reward will be owning the earth.

 

In an unfair world focused on personal needs, I bless hungry souls.

     Starved for justice?  Wondering if I will ever balance the books?

     Just wait and see—crooks and thieves will have their day in court.

     Being embraced in My arms will be reward enough for a lifetime of abuse. 

 

In a ruthless world oppressing lower classes, I bless the merciful. 

     I am unfailingly kind to you—be sure you are kind to others.

     Receiving undeserved mercy will be ample reward for your compassion.

 

In a dark world of perversion, I bless the pure-hearted.

     Get your mind and heart right, and you will see Me with eyes of your heart.

     When eternity dawns, you will see Me face-to-face—incomparable reward.

 

In a warmongering world, I bless the peacemakers.

     You are a subject of the Prince of Peace, so do your best to live peacefully.

     Genuinely love others, patiently endure trouble, and pray day and night.

     Do not be uppity, be a smart-aleck, or try to get even.

     Live like this and I will reward you by calling you My child.

 

In a hateful world ridiculing commitment, I bless the persecuted.

     You may be ostracized now, but someday you will be honored.

     You may be told to sit on the back row, but I will seat you at My head table.

     You may be mistreated now, but I will reward you beyond your dreams.

 

The rewards offered by the King of kings are not always obvious in time.

     What I have in store for surrendered hearts will be seen only in eternity. 

 

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© Pastor Johnny R. Almond        


   Gentle Whispers from Eternity

 

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Guest Post ~ #Reconceive Future Church

Guest Post ~ #Reconceive Future Church

The Future  Church
By Mike Glenn, Pastor of Brentwood Baptist in Brentwood Tennessee.
 
The age of the mega-church is over. 
 
We won't be building church campuses like we used to. 
 
Churches will be centered in neighborhoods and communities. They will be central to community life seven days a week. 
 
The rising generations won't financially support the construction of large facilities. Future facilities will be integrated into the neighborhood by providing everything from ESL classes to daycares for children and senior adults. 
 
More and more people will be brought into the church through weekday engagements than Sunday mornings. The ministry now comes before the message. When people see the church loving the community, they will want to know what motivates that love.
 
Because churches will be smaller, they will be run by co-vocational staff and volunteers. 
 
More and more, successful pastors will be those who can piece together full-time programs and ministries with a patchwork of "employees" with limited hours.  
 
More and more of the pastor's time will be spent training, assigning, and overseeing volunteer and part-time ministers. 
 
In some congregations, everyone in attendance during Sunday worship will have some kind of job in the church's ministry. What used to be forty-hour-per-week jobs will be broken up into ten four-hour-per-week or eight five-hour-a-week positions.
 
Leaders will train leaders. 
 
We'll finally get Ephesians 4 right. Instead of "Training God's people -- comma -- for the work of the ministry," we'll get back to "Training God's people for the work of ministry."  
 
Instead of visiting the hospital, pastors will be training those who go to the hospital. Instead of teaching small groups, pastors will train leaders of small groups. Effective leaders will multiply their ministry by developing leaders who will do the actual ministry.
 
While the rising generations give, they give very differently than the builders and boomers before them. 
 
If you need a well dug in Africa or school supplies for orphans in Moldova, you'll find that millennials, Gen X and Gen Z will give sacrificially and generously. 
 
But if you need to pay the light bill on your church building, well, not so much. Remember, every institution in our current culture is undergoing a crisis of trust. 
 
We no longer trust the government, the medical profession, the judicial system, our academic institutions, or our churches. 
 
Sexual and financial scandals have made everyone suspicious of the church's motives. Trust has to be earned every day. When it is, financial support will flow to whatever ministry is personally impacting the person or their family.
 
Trauma is the new reality. 
 
For years we've been discussing the breakdown of the nuclear family without fully understanding the long-term ramifications. 
 
Now, those ramifications are being lived out in front of us. Few people you know, especially young adults, are stepping into their futures with a solid base for their lives. 
 
People get married hoping their partner will fix them. Couples have children hoping the child will make their marriage complete. Most people are walking around with a giant hole in their heart waiting for someone to validate their existence. 
 
This means that when we're dealing with people, the church isn't dealing with a clean slate. There's a lifetime of pain to deal with before any healing and growth can begin.
 
This means that the gospel is needed now more than ever. 
 
The good news that we are loved and forgiven is amazing news in and of itself, but the invitation to live a life that we've always wanted -- a life of purpose, meaning, joy, and hope -- that's almost too good to believe. And a lot of people don't believe....and that's why we have to find a way to our best preaching. In a world this dark, we can't be shy with the light we have.
 
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The One and Only

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                                                                Hubble Telescope Image 



You have been chosen to know me, believe in me, and understand that I alone am God.

                There is no other God; there never has been and never will be.

                               I am the Lord, and there is no other Savior.

                                              Isaiah 43:10-11 NLT


I am the only Resource sufficient enough to supply all your needs.

I am the only Counselor caring enough to calm your worries.

I am the only Fortress secure enough to overcome your fears.

I am the only Friend loyal enough to stay beside you in every storm.

I am the only Savior compassionate enough to forgive your rebellions.

I am the only Strength strong enough to do the impossible.
                                
I am the only Commander smart enough to win your life’s battles. 

I am the only Name meaningful enough to give all the world hope.

I am the only Example holy enough to inspire your noblest effort.

I am the only Power awesome enough to give you absolute confidence.

I am the only Guide wise enough to see you through life’s maze.

I am the only Warrior skilled enough to help you conquer temptation.

I am the only One consistent enough to stabilize you in change. 

I am the only Prince peaceful enough to calm you in chaos and turmoil.

I am the only Mind imaginative enough to engineer a beautiful world.

I am the only Comforter caring enough to help you survive hard times.

I am the only Being worthy enough to merit your heartfelt worship.

I am the only Way clear enough to direct you through uncertainties.

I am the only Truth honest enough to believe at all times.

I am the only Life vital enough to guarantee your eternal destiny.

I am the only Authority comprehensive enough to rule every kingdom.

I am the only Master mighty enough to hold you together in trouble.

I am the only King immortal enough to conquer the enemy of death.

I am the only Lord perceptive enough to understand you at all times. 

I am the only Foundation reliable enough to stand under you always.

I am the only Helper capable enough to unify your fragmented life.

I am the only Influence transforming enough to make all things new.

I am the only Antidote effective enough to turn pandemonium to peace.

I am the only Force strong enough to guard you in devastation.

I am the only Heart loving enough to pardon sins and remove guilt.

I am the only Mind wise enough to manage the universe. 

I am the only Solution ultimate enough to solve the world’s problems.

I am the only Light intense enough to make the future bright. 

I am the only Physician skilled enough to heal your soul’s diseases.

I am the only God infinite enough to totally satisfy your hungry heart.

 

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© Pastor Johnny R. Almond                        

Gentle Whispers from Eternity

 

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Divine Imperatives

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The Lord has already told you what is good, what he requires:

                     to do what is right, to love mercy,

                   and to walk humbly with your God.

                                  Micah 6:8 NLT

  

There is nothing you can give Me to make up for evil done.

     Writing a ten thousand dollar check would not change a thing. 

     Funding a cathedral would not pay off your transgressions.     

     Underwriting a missionary team to foreign lands would not erase sin.

 

What I am looking for in human beings is really very simple—

     obedience to My commandments, honest endeavor to do right;

     compassion toward others, kindness and mercy for the struggling;

     humility before Me, taking Me seriously.

 

I desire a responsive LIFE, not just response in offerings.

     In gratitude for My steadfast faithfulness, surrender your heart to Me. 

     Prove you love Me by doing your best to meet My demands.

 

In a world that offers you many options, I offer you basically two—

     obedience, resulting in the blessing of life;

     or rebellion, resulting in the curse of death.  

It’s up to you which road you travel, but keep consequences in mind.   

Every thought, word and deed is an accurate boomerang.

If you decide to ignore heaven’s requirements, you will suffer for it.

You heard right—I said requirements. 

 

My laws are not suggestions—they are orders from Higher Headquarters.

My commands are not recommendations—they are clear requirements.

Christlikeness is more than an ethical ideal—it is a moral imperative.

Life Curriculum has required courses, including these three core ones—

    Doing what is right—living by the Book, not your unruly urges;

    Being kind to others—being aware they fight a hard battle, like you;

    Walking humbly with Me—keeping in mind you are not God, I am.

 

Why do right?  Because I said so.

Why be kind?  Because I am not hard on you.

Why be humble?  Because you are limited, weak, mortal, and finite.

 

Let Me remind you again of what you can do to make My heart sing—

     choose to do the right thing, whatever the majority does;

     be kind to everybody you meet, regardless of how they treat you;

     walk humbly with Me, remembering I am God and you are not.

 

Do as I say, and all will be well.

 

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         © Pastor Johnny R. Almond                   Gentle Whispers from Eternity

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GUEST POST: Game-Changer

VIEWPOINT: GAMECHANGER

Bob Whitt

Back in the early ’80s, I had the opportunity to play for an NCAA Mid-American Conference (MAC) football team. In my sophomore year, we played against the 12th- ranked team in the country. Prior to us going out on the field to play in front of 70,000 fans at home, our coach wanted to review the scouting report one last time.

As he proceeded to get ready to share, he was looking for the whiteboard to write some things down. But there was no whiteboard in the room. He ended up having a couple of student workers run down and get the visitor's whiteboard.

As we sat quietly, we could hear the band playing and could feel the intensity that today was going to be our day. The two student workers finally rolled in the whiteboard, and as they did, they both had a smile on their face. When they rolled it in and turned one side of the board around, on it was the scouting report of our team! Someone from the other team forgot to erase it! There were several members of my team on the scouting report. Each summary was written like this:

No. 12 – Jeff M. Quarterback, 6’5, 230 lbs. Strength – Strong arm and can throw the long ball. Weakness – Can’t run; force him out of the pocket.

This was the summary scouting report of each player that they felt was important to be aware of on our team. They shared their strengths and weaknesses and what to do against those weaknesses. There were seven (7) team members in all on the whiteboard. The last person on board read like this:

Number 84, wide receiver Bobby Whitt. (I was called Bobby back in my playing days.) The summary on me just said, GAME CHANGER! Nothing else.

 

 

What is a game changer? It can be looked at in many forms, but in this case, it has a big and important effect on something, usually making the difference between one thing happening and another. From a spiritual prophetic
standpoint, it can mean that God is on the move; there is a change in the spirit, and major shifts are taking place. It’s someone or something that can create a significant shift in the way things are done. We were created by God, and through that existence, we have been given a sphere of influence to shift the atmosphere that brings God’s presence into existence around you and others. That’s a game- changer!

Through Jesus Christ, you are someone to contend with as you serve the Lord on His behalf. You are the light that God has chosen. Not darkness.

In reality, we didn’t choose Jesus; Jesus chose us.

Like Peter, we have to be positioned and ready to walk on water, not as a “look at me,” but as one who will trust God even when storms or challenges arise.

Outside the four walls of the Church is the mission field.

We are living in an era of hate. In our country and, respectfully, in some places of The Church, we have watered down the Word of God and lost sight of how to honor. There are lots of hurting people who don’t know Jesus; who don’t know freedom in Jesus; who don’t know that Jesus isn’t some religious idol but a loving and merciful God who loves us and accepts us as who we are. Love proceeds honor. Romans 12:10...Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves.

As Jesus said, go out and fish for people and show them how much they matter to you and to God. Offer them forgiveness even if they have done something against you. Offer redemption, encourage new life and hope, reach out in love, and walk in a culture of honor. I am not suggesting we walk around with a

Bible on a street corner and preach. But we should walk in a lifestyle as an example representing Christ.

There was a lady in a church one day looking for some music sheets for the worship team. She couldn’t find them in the place she thought they were. She ended up going into another room that she was familiar with but didn’t turn the lights on. She thought she could get right to the desk and grab the music sheets.

As she walked in, she bumped into three different things and actually fell twice. She got so frustrated that she went back out of the office and was mad with God that she kept bumping into things, even though she was lazy not to turn
the light on to see.

In her frustration, she said to God, "Lord, what’s the deal that I keep bumping into things in this room?" God told her to turn on the light. She did and saw that the room had been remodeled, and she hadn’t been aware of it.

Then the Spirit of the Lord said to her, “I have a new blueprint for you. The old no longer works. That’s why you keep bumping into things”.

Even though the matter was centered around music sheets and a new remodeled room, God took that situation to speak to her, to tell her that He was doing something new in her life.

This woman became a game changer because she received new blueprints.

Noah changed the game by obedience; Abraham changed the game by faith; Joseph changed the game by integrity; David changed the game by courage; and the disciples changed the game by standing up for Jesus Christ!

If you were wondering what the outcome of the game was and me being acknowledged as a “game changer,” we beat the 12th-ranked team in the county at that time. The score was 27 to 0. I had three catches for 247 yards and three touchdowns. I am pretty sure they didn’t know what they were speaking prophetically about me being a game changer, but God showed up that day!

As you, in remembrance, honor Jesus this holiday season and prepare for the New Year of 2023, the year of the Lord Jesus Christ, know that He has new blueprints for you. You are a game-changer for Jesus! Let us all truly be Relevant Ambassadors for Christ (RAC).

May you truly walk in love, grace and honor.

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GUEST-POST: #ReimagineCOMPASSION...as Generosity
 
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Connecting Pablo Picasso to Generosity

Written by Dynamis Ministries

If you’re like most people, when you hear “Picasso” you probably think of a famous painting like the one above. For some who are more familiar with the person, you may think of Picasso himself an eccentric artist. Fewer of us would think of Picasso as a philosopher. Pablo Picasso is in fact one of the world’s most influential artists and has inspired countless people through his work, and he was also quite contemplative when it came to the deeper questions of life. Although Picasso lived his life as an avowed atheist, his thoughts show that perhaps he was much closer to the Kingdom of God than he ever realized. One such example is what he said about the meaning and purpose of life:

 

“The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away.”

 

For a Christian, our meaning and purpose of life is connected to much more. We affirm the purpose of life is to let God love us and to live in a way that brings glory to Him. However, there is a valuable lesson in Picasso’s philosophical quote. In fact, what Picasso said is not too far off from what the Apostle Peter said in one of his letters. Check out his words:

 

“God has given each of you a gift from his great variety of spiritual gifts. Use them well to serve one another.” (1 Peter 4:10)

 

Each of us have been given gifts from God through the Holy Spirit. In the Bible these are called spiritual gifts, and we’re to use them to serve one another. In other words, spiritual gifts are meant for generosity – for helping others! A big part of living out our greatest generosity is tapping into our spiritual gifts. The Bible reveals the types of spiritual gifts God bestows on his people, and here’s one type of master list:

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From this list, we each typically carry a top 3-5 gifts that we have been uniquely blessed with for serving others. Developing our spiritual gifts is a big part of growing our generosity potential because they can guide us in areas where we can serve others in impactful ways. What better time to reassess how we’re using our gifts than right now, as 2023 is upon us? The new year is so often associated with goal setting and resolutions, so let’s make sure we spend some time reflecting on how we’ve been developing and using our spiritual gifts.

 

What are some of the spiritual gifts God has given you? Are there fresh ways to use your gifts to serve others? If you want some guidance, consider doing a Dynamis Generosity Plan in 2023 as this is a big part of the coaching process. Not only does the Generosity Plan reveal your gifts, but it draws out how they can be used with new and exciting ideas. To begin this process, sign up for an introductory call with our Generosity Coach, Ben Berg, by clicking the icon below. In doing so you’ll be growing your generosity and living out your purpose in impactful ways in the year to come!

If you would like to subscribe to The Dynamis Drop please click the button above. If you are a current subscriber please consider forwarding this to anybody in your network that might benefit.

 

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Dynamis Ministries
2700 Duncan Lane
Batavia, IL 60510
630.643.0009
http://www.dynamisministries.org

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Traveling Light

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The Lord is my light and my salvation—so why should I be afraid?

                                       Psalm 27:1a NLT

  

 

 

 

 

     The light of courage dispels the darkness of cowardice. Faith is the antidote to fear’s poison. Fear Me and you need fear nothing else! Trust the Solid Rock in a quicksand world—I will never disappoint you. Stay close to My heart—change will not throw you. Rely on Me—storms will not dismay you. Build on Christ as your Foundation—be well.

 

     The light of conquest dispels the darkness of defeatism. The dark side cannot vanquish the trusting heart, because I am the Victor. I am your Strength, so do not let anything Satan hurls at you scare you. Jesus plus any problem equals victory. Hide in Me, your Fortress—win.

 

     The light of communion dispels the darkness of self-centeredness. I am your Salvation, so you can be satisfied in all circumstances. Happiness comes and goes, but joy stays. I am your Felicity—worship.

 

     The light of companionship dispels the darkness of loneliness. I am your Song, so you do not have to be sad and down-in-the-mouth. In the hymn “Wonderful, Wonderful Jesus,” Anna Russell reveals an unfailing source of music: “There is never a day so dreary, .never a night so long, but the soul trusting Jesus will somewhere find a song.” I am your Friend—enjoy My welcome.

 

     The light of counsel dispels the darkness of ignorance. My guidance may seem slow in coming, but is a reliable light to guide your way. Live more by faith, less by sight. Use faith eyes to see invisible realities. I am your Father—live by My wisdom.

 

     The light of confidence dispels the darkness of pessimism. There is Light beyond light at the end of the tunnel of despair—and it is not the headlight of an approaching train. No matter how depressing current events get, you can look forward to My promised tomorrow. The future is as bright as My promises. I am your Future—just wait!

 

     A new day is dawning. You can choose to be anxious about it, or you can choose to be enthusiastic about it. How you choose will determine how your day goes. Gaze reverently on the cross—it shines as a plus sign dispelling all darkness.

 

     Do not reclaim unnecessary lost baggage of fear, negativism, egocentricity, melancholy, conceit, and despair—now is the perfect time to lose your luggage. Walk as a child of the Light—travel light!

 

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© Pastor Johnny R. Almond                Day 201, Gentle Whispers from Eternity

 

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Note: Grid News published this report.

 
It repeatedly quotes Stephen Bullivant, author of the new book Nonverts: The Making of Ex-Christian America. (see more at>>> )
 
We must #ReimagineCHRISTIANITY...in America 
 
A personal reply from my friend and colleague David Bryant - -
 
Thanks for sending me the article below.  I've read a number of article lately based on Bullivant's new book.  This is a nice summary of what has been uncovered through his thorough research.
 
Yet all of it results in increased grief in my soul. 
 
Not to sound too melodramatic here, but by the compelling of the Holy Spirit--that is, it is IN me but not OF me--I've found myself for 25 years as a "voice crying in the wilderness" about the crisis concerning the Church's lack of a great enough vision of Christ inside our congregations and ministries which, as this article reveals, has now borne the bitter fruit of apostasy--with a  projected  accelerating disassembling of the Christian movement in our nation in the near future. 
 
The fact is, the Jesus the Church presents, the one who "get us" and is all "about us", lacks the wonder and majesty and greatness to seriously captivate hearts--especially when it comes so little understanding of the marvels of his saving power and supremacy for now and for eternity.  Since so many believers, and Americans in general, appear not to "get him", therefore multitudes are finding out there's no good reason to hang around him, or those who claim him, any longer.
 
Yes, my heart grieves, deeply grieves, this morning (and all the time really) because I know with CHRIST NOW we have pioneered a whole new way to help bring people into a transforming, compelling, life-fulfilling encounter with the glory of Jesus--admittedly, it is just a beginning but it provides the road map for many others to follow and improve. 
 
And yet now -- we have nearly totally run out of funds so that come our January 15 board meeting, despite the fact of this emergency of a  "mass exodus" from Christianity, we may need to pull the plug --  despite the fact there currently exists no other initiative (that we know of), either digital or otherwise, exclusively focused on  confronting and curing this deadly crisis, to pick up this mandate and mission.
 
SO here at Proclaim Hope! we are crying out to the King of Heaven for a mighty, even miraculous, intervention within the next few days.  Surely someone, somewhere is being prepared by the Spirit to join forces with us in a way that will take our mission (and our extraordinary inventory of resources and contacts) to the next level--to, as I've said this fall, we can begin to "flood the zone" (saturate the Church) with the supremacy of Christ. 
 
Otherwise, shortly we will become a casualty where, as Scripture would put it, "the wind blows over Christ Now and it is known no more". 
 
At no other point in my life have I been so sobered by "the handwriting on the wall"--both for our nation and for our ministry--as I am at the close of 2022. We stand at the vortex of what genuine spiritual warfare looks like.
 
Please pray for us.   DAVID
 
PS.   No need to respond.  Thanks for listening and praying.  That is enough.
========================================
 
 
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Hearing God's Voice

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That night the Lord appeared to Paul and said, “Be encouraged, Paul.  
Just as you have told people about me here in Jerusalem, 
you must preach the Good News in Rome.”  
                                            Acts 23:11 NLT

                                     

Hear My voice in creation—

  laughter in streams, music in birds, joy in the breeze.

    Listen—be encouraged to live life to the fullest.

 

Hear My voice in children—

  spontaneity in chatter, freedom in play, love in talk.

    Listen—be encouraged to enjoy life’s adventure.

 

Hear My voice in the center of your being—

  nearer than hands and feet, closer than breathing.

    Listen—be encouraged to march ahead chin up.  

 





Hear My voice in circumstances—

  whatever happens, giving you reasons for gratitude.  

    Listen—be encouraged to live gratefully.

 

Hear My voice in the church—

  unique personalities at the cross to hear My Word.

    Listen—be encouraged to live a life of love.

 

Hear My voice in My calling—

  teaching you to nestle near My heart.

    Listen—be encouraged to follow a sacred purpose.

 

Hear My voice in My commandments—

  ringing true in a deceptive world,

  shining bright in a dark world.

    Listen—be encouraged to live obediently.

 

 

Picture - Cross Roads Camp;  Lowesville, Virginia 

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 © Pastor Johnny R. Almond       

Day 333, Gentle Whispers from Eternity

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#ReimagineMINISTRY... through Transformational Coaching

6 reasons coaching is the best investment

By Robert E Logan on Jan 04, 2023 
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You are likely doing things very differently than you used to.
Whether your mission is to provide for your family, live into your gifts and talents, and/or make disciples,
even if you do everything differently your mission has stayed the same.
 
Coaching is more important than ever. For you. And for those you work with.
Here are 6 reasons that coaching may be the most important investment you make this year.

6 Reasons to Invest in Coaching in 2023

1. Change is now a constant

There has always been change, the speed of change—the rate of change—has accelerated dramatically. With so many things constantly in flux, how do you get your bearings?

How can you get perspective? Coaching is an investment in increasing your effectiveness during rapidly changing times. As people are coming out of crisis and looking for their new normal, it’s not the same world out there.

To the degree you can get your bearings, you can help other people get theirs and move forward effectively and confidently into whatever changes come next.  

2. Change is sudden, transition is not

Change can happen suddenly, but our adjustment to that change is what requires time and energy. Transitions move slower.

A volcano can erupt suddenly and without warning, but coping with the damages left in its wake can take years. Regardless of whether the change is good or bad, it takes time to accept it and adjust to it.

Coaching helps you strategically consider how to best adapt to whatever changes are affecting your ministry—as well as how to help your people adjust in healthy ways. As a leader receiving coaching, you can step back to see the forest for the trees—as well as the trees for the forest—so you can implement your action plans wisely, involving the right people and considering the best steps to move things forward.  

3. Fragmentation is a credible threat

We live at the interface of the analog world and the digital world. We have so many devices and programs and apps to structure our lives and ministries that we can get lost in them.

As a leader, you are pulled in different directions, and everyone seems to have access to you all the time. Everything vies for your attention.

If you want your ministry to span generations, you’re going to need to deal with that fragmentation. You’re going to need to cut clearly through all the clutter to maximize your work so it’s laser-focused toward the fulfillment of your calling.

Coaching provides a place to feel centered and focused. A coaching relationship is a place to slow down and see the bright spots and assess the progress in order to gain the perspective necessary to see the windows of opportunity that exist. 

4. In spite of everything, you’re still in the game.

You have hung in there through an unprecedented season of ministry, and you’ve probably taken more than a few hits along the way. The stressors have been significant and the world has become ever more isolating, even as it’s gotten louder and more crowded.

Coaching provides you with the encouragement you need to recognize that you’re really not in this alone—because it can feel like that sometimes. You need to feel like someone has your back and is invested in helping you keep making progress and moving forward. Because you’re still in the game, you need a coach.  

5. Your goal is better over bigger

Sure, you want to grow. But you also want to improve. You want to take the ministry to the next level, not just moving forward, but moving up, outward, and all around. And to do that, you need to not just be a doer of ministry, but a developer of other doers of ministry.

You need to move beyond leading personally into the investment in helping others to lead. That’s what a coach can help you achieve: the next level of magnitude.

You know if you keep doing what you’re doing, you’ll get the same results. And even if you’re successful right now, you want to go beyond that. You know new barriers will arise that you’ll need to tackle, new opportunities will arise that you need to be prepared to meet. Coaching helps you shift and reset your course before you hit your ceiling and plateau. Maximize your learning and stay ahead of the curve with coaching. 

6. You want to do less with greater impact

No one can do everything. You know you need to zero in on the few really important things that will make a difference. But do you really know what those few things are? And when you do know, how can you free up the time and energy to really dig in and work on them? The important things are rarely the urgent things. Coaching helps you sort your priorities, determine what will provide you with the most leverage, and then free up the time and energy you need to get the work done. It’s an investment in helping you use your limited energy in the most strategic way possible to release ministry. 

Get excellent coaching

Even if you’re already getting coaching, take this time to reevaluate. The new year is a good time to focus your coaching agenda to maximize your own development as a leader and also to maximize the potential of your ministry. Take stock. Do you need to reproduce what you’re trying to work on? Are you working on the one thing that will really make the greatest difference? 

Bob and Gary are currently taking on new coaching clients. Whether you are looking for coaching or a coach-mentor you can work with some of the best! Contact us to learn more.

Invest in excellent coach training

With coaching, people can move from surviving to thriving. Ministry is more than just about keeping your head above water. Take leadership to the next level.

Take your people development to the next level. You’re not just running a program—you’re biggest investment is in the development of people. In doing so, you’re increasing the capacity to fulfill the mission. 

 

Upcoming Coaching Training Opportunities

Jan 2023- The Coaching Excellence Cohort

You are seeing some traction in your coaching ministry but feel like if your skills were more honed, you could be more effective. The Coaching Excellence Cohort is an investment in growing your effectiveness as a coach. It combines assessment with one-on-one mentoring and group webinars. Learn how to get $500 off tuition HERE.

April 2023- The Christian Coaching Essentials Cohort

Learn and practice the coaching essentials with Bob and Gary. This cohort is designed to give you a solid foundation in coaching principles and get you coaching with confidence. Learn more HERE.

AND MORE…

Your situation is unique. That is why we offer several roads to becoming a coach and becoming the best coach you can be. Check out our GrowthTracks to find the best fit for you.

Cover Photo by Wynand van Poortvliet on Unsplash

Photo by Edge2Edge Media on Unsplash

The post 6 reasons coaching is the best investment appeared first on Christian Coaching Tools.

 

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Seeing God's Vision

 

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Look at the Kingdom of God, not just your own little corner.

     On D-Day, Marines on Omaha Beach thought they were going to lose.   

     A reconnaissance pilot saw the big picture and knew they would win.  

     Take a higher perspective—count on ultimate victory through Christ.

     After the world’s nightmare, heaven’s dream will come true.

     Envision My future—brightened by My guarantee.

     Live optimistically.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Look at Christ, not just your circumstances.

     What happens to you can be miserable, but you do not have to be.   

     After the world’s troubles, heaven’s joys will dawn.

     Envision My festival—brightened by My glory.

     Live cheerfully.

 


Look at blessings, not just problems.

     See with the eyes of your heart, and learn to be humbly grateful.

     Every day I give good and perfect gifts—light in the world’s darkness,  

          stability in the world’s changes, and truth in the world’s confusion.      

     After the world’s pain, heaven’s health will prevail.

     Envision My friendship—brightened by My generosity.

     Live thankfully.

 

Look at My call, not just your comfort.

     After the world’s pleasure fades, heaven’s reward will endure.

     Envision My faithfulness—brightened by My goodness.

     Live purposefully.

 

Look at My Presence, not just your preoccupations.

     After the world’s turmoil, heaven’s peace will last.

     Envision My face—brightened by My Grace.

     Live prayerfully.


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©  Pastor Johnny R. Almond          

Day 332, Gentle Whispers from Eternity  

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GUEST-POST: Was

GUEST-POST: Was "Reimagine" Jesus' 1st Word?

By Emily Provance


In Bible study, we've been reading Mark. The first words that Jesus says are, "The time has come, and God's kingdom is near. Change the way you think and act, and believe the Good News."

This is the sort of statement that has launched a bajillion theological debates. Must we change? Or must we believe? Or must we change in order to believe? Or must we believe in order to change? Was Jesus speaking to individuals? Or was Jesus speaking to whole communities?

(Sometimes I suspect that Jesus must be very exasperated with all of us.)

For some, Christianity hinges entirely on belief. If we've accepted Jesus into our hearts, then we are saved. Heaven-bound. Nothing can change that. But this theology feels wrong to me. It seems to suggest our behavior doesn't matter, or at least that it doesn't matter very much. It also doesn't imply an obligation to relieve other people's suffering. We might be tempted just to evangelize. "If you believe in Jesus, you'll be happy in heaven." But something--I think God, but even if not, something embedded in the moral fabric of the universe--compels us to do more, or at the very least to try. Safety, food, shelter, medicine, education, and freedom for everyone feels like a minimum.

Many of the Quakers I know lean very far in the opposite theological direction. Changing the way we think and act matters, but belief does not. We spend a lot of time emphasizing behavior. Showing love and kindness. Writing to representatives. Feeding the hungry. Vigiling for peace. And liberal Friends especially work really hard on changing how we think. Unlearning systemic racism, for example, and homophobia. All of this is extremely important. It's a vital part of what we're called to do.

But Jesus did not say change or believe. Jesus said change and believe. And sometimes we really deemphasize belief. Many of us even say that a virtue of Quakerism is not insisting on beliefs. This position, when taken to the extreme, is unfaithful.

The statement Jesus preached is all of a piece: "The time has come, and God's kingdom is near. Change the way you think and act, and believe the Good News."

I think it matters a lot whether we believe the time has come and God's kingdom is near. It matters because of what happens if we don't believe. The time has come; Christ Jesus has come to teach His people for Himself. God's kingdom is near; we need not wait for the establishment of the kingdom. If we believe the Good News, then we believe we can and will be guided, and we believe God's kingdom can be and is manifested on Earth right now. 

What happens if we don't believe we can and will be guided by God? If we don't believe, we don't listen. God is speaking, but we are not hearing. We are leaning, instead, on our own understanding. No matter how smart we are, we are not God.

What happens if we don't believe God's kingdom can be and is manifested on Earth right now? If we don't believe, we see limits on what's possible. We make decisions based on what we think can be achieved. We hope for something less than God's kingdom. We don't even try for the fulness of what can be.

Quakerism is not a religion where belief doesn't matter. On the contrary, certain beliefs are essential, foundational, to our collective identity and calling. This isn't the same thing as developing a creed and requiring one another to recite it. It's more along the lines of acting as if the truth were true. Elf Bumblespice would tell us, "Deciding to believe is a very powerful thing."

With love,

Emily Provance

quakeremily.wordpress.com

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GUEST POST: The Reimagine Journey

GUEST POST: The Reimagine Journey

Eric Kouns

 

DESPITE A ROCKY START, my retreat has been productive. Although threatened, a measure of equanimity and mindfulness has prevailed.
 
With just over 24 hours remaining until I leave for home, here is a sample of the thinking I've been doing.
 
If there were no Facebook, I would be putting my thoughts--about faith and life, God and humanity, religion and politics, justice and equality--in a journal that few would read. Since this medium is available, however, I record them here.
 
Over the past decade, I've experienced great change--in what I believe and why I believe it; in my general worldview and the assumptions on which it rests; in what I consider important and worthy of my time and attention.
 
I'm convinced those changes--as costly, painful, and difficult as they have been--have also been good and positive and right.
 
Still, the temptation to abandon this new way of seeing and being is ever with me. Not because I doubt its veracity and authenticity but because I miss the comfort and security of the old days and the old ways.
 
I am under no illusions that my words and thoughts are making much difference or changing many minds. That's not why I write.
 
I write not so much to correct distorted thinking or to combat corrupt behavior as to help ensure that the distortion and corruption will not consume me.
 
I write, not because I think my words will dispel all the darkness, heal all the hurting, and vanquish all the hopelessness I see around me. I write as a way to prevent the darkness, the hurting, and the hopelessness from making me cynical and depressed.
 
I write so that I won't give up. Some folks tell me that what I write helps them in a similar way.
 
That makes me happy.
Peace.
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The Savior's Joy

                                    The Savior’s Joy

 

     10908485868?profile=RESIZE_180x180      Suddenly, an angel of the Lord appeared among them,  

           and the radiance of the Lord’s glory surrounded them.

           They were terrified, but the angel reassured them, “Don’t be afraid!

            I bring you good news of great joy to all people. The Savior—yes, the Messiah,                    

            the Lord—has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David!”   

                                           Luke 2:9-11 NLT

 

Glory surrounds you!

     In the midst of ordinary, everyday living, I am with you—

         nearer than your hands and feet, closer than your heartbeat.

     Do not spend too much time pondering this Mystery—

         Listen to life’s thrilling symphony, not just single notes. 

         Savor the feast, do not analyze the recipe’s ingredients. 

         Surrender your heart to Me, or you will bypass peace.  

     There is no need to be terrorized by My Presence.

         In the darkness, My face reflects heaven’s radiant light.

     I empower you—hush, and hear My voice;  trust, and be strong.

     I love you—draw near My cross and be reassured.

     I keep you sane—fix your mind on Me and find equanimity.

     Even in your gloomy routine, extraordinary glory envelops you.

     Hear My surround sound—birds sing melodies I taught them.

     No matter how dreary your day, I can teach you to sing too.

 

Good news saves you!

     I am Immanuel—God with you, your Greatest Blessing.

     I am the Wonderful Counselor—leading you through life’s maze.

     I am the Mighty God—reinforcing you to battle the evil one.      

     I am the Everlasting Father—stabilizing you in change and decay.

     I am the Prince of Peace—calming you in chaos and pandemonium.

 

Great joy sustains you!

     I am the Savior with authority to forgive—restoring joy.

     I am the God with a heart—acquitting repentant sinners.

     I am the God making your heart My home—bringing glory.

     I am the King with a plan for the ages—focusing your life.

     Dejection wanes when you make My joy your strength.

     Life means opportunities to serve Me, so there’s no need to drift.

     I am your Center of Gravity, Supervisor, and Reward.

     I am the Lord whose mastery liberates your heart.

     Commit sin and you’ll become addicted to evil habits.

     Use the key of faith and I will remove Satan’s handcuffs.

     Free, leap for joy like a calf gamboling in a springtime meadow. 

     Whatever else you plan to do today, remember I created it for joy.

     Celebrate My joy from sunrise to sunset.  Revel in your Savior!

 

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 © Johnny R. Almond                                 

Gentle Whispers from Eternity

 

 

 

 

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Sharing God's Gifts

 

 

         You should remember the words of the Lord Jesus:

               “It is more blessed to give than to receive.”

                                  Acts 20:35 NLT

 

 

Be grateful—thank your Father for My lavish provisions.

     Undeserved forgiveness, miraculous healing, infinite mercy,

          unconditional love, indefinable peace, unlimited grace,

          undying hope, invulnerable joy—all are gifts from My throne.

     I send My Spirit to comfort, inspire, and defend you in your journey.

     I sent My Son to show you how to live, and to die for your iniquities.

     I shower you with gifts to show how much I personally care for you.

     Loving Me is the heart of worship.

     Be blessed—share My joy.

 

Be gracious—focus on your life’s purpose.

     To believers, meaningful living is serving the Lord Jesus Christ.

     To disciples, rough roads paved with grace are avenues of service.

     To serious followers, concentration proves heartfelt consecration.

     I give much, so I require much—with privilege comes responsibility.

     Be resolved to continue in My steps even when life is difficult.

     Single-mindedness is imperative—dual allegiance is impossible.

     Honoring Me is the heart of service.

     Be a blessing—share Jesus.

 

Be generous—a friend who loves all people.

     I loved the world so much I gave My Best—now it is your turn.

     Live a life filled with love, and you will be like your Savior.

     Reflect My love in an unloving world of strangers to My grace.

     Be kind when others are unkind or sharply critical of you.

     Follow Jesus’ openhearted example even when it hurts to give.

     Stay close, and I promise I will make Myself very real to you.

     Following Me is the heart of discipleship.

     Be brave—share My journey.

 

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© Pastor Johnny R. Almond                 

Day 331, Gentle Whispers from Eternity

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Good Leadership Starts With Good Questions

Good Leadership Starts With Good Questions

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Good Leadership Is About Asking Good Questions

Guest Post by John Hagel

Originally Posted @ Harvard Business Review

Leaders today need to revisit an overlooked skill: asking questions. In my 40 years as an executive and advisor in Silicon Valley, I’ve often seen leaders assume that people look to them for answers — bold assertions that build people’s confidence in their competence. But in reality, that kind of approach erodes trust, especially at a time when so much is manifestly uncertain. You think you have the answers to all important questions? That suggests that you are either clueless — you have no idea how rapidly the world is changing — or that you are lying. In either case, you won’t find that trust that you’ve been looking for.

Instead, leaders should ask powerful and inspiring questions, convey that they don’t have the answers, and solicit others’ help to find them. The leaders I talk to tend to be nervous about this approach: Won’t it look like they don’t know what they’re doing? On the contrary, however, research has shown that expressing vulnerability and asking for help is a strong signal to others that you are trusting, and you’re more likely to be trusted in return. In fact, if you can learn to ask questions well, it can help you connect with others. Thinking together can put you on the path to solving intractable problems and sparking innovative thinking.

Drucker Forum 2020

This article is one in a series related to the 12th Global Peter Drucker Forum, with the theme “Leadership Everywhere.” See the program here.

Ask Big Questions

To be clear: I’m not saying you should ask pointed questions that put others on the spot, like “How can you deliver 10% higher productivity?” or “Are you missing anything here?” The kind of questions leaders need to ask are those that invite people to come together to explore major new opportunities that your organization hasn’t identified yet. Here are some examples:

  • What is a game-changing opportunity that could create much more value than we have delivered in the past?
  • What are emerging unmet needs of our customers that could provide the foundation for an entirely new business?
  • How could we leverage the resources of third parties to address a broader range of the needs of our customers?
  • How can we move from standardized, mass-market products and services to personalizing our products and services to the specific needs of each customer?
  • How can we develop supply networks that would be more flexible in responding to unanticipated disruptions in production or logistics?
  • How could we harness sensor technology to create more visibility into how our customers are using our products and use this information to deliver more value and deepen trust with our customers?

Focusing your questions on these kinds of new and big opportunities rather than on the existing activities of the organization can also help you to sidestep your fear that questioning will be seen as a sign of weakness, since there’s no way you could be expected to know the answers.

These broader questions also communicate that you have a sense of ambition, that you want to take the organization way beyond where it is today. And you can bolster your credibility by providing evidence of those long-term trends that underlie your question – for example, emerging technologies that are likely to offer new opportunities, or demographic shifts that will create some significant unmet needs among your customers.

Involve Others

These questions also invite collaboration. To make the most of them, don’t ask them in closed leadership meetings. Instead, broadcast them throughout your organization and even beyond it. It’s not just you posing a question to your people, it’s your brand reaching out to learn from its consumers. Reaching out beyond the institution to connect with expertise and perspectives from a broader set of more diverse sources will help your company learn faster.

For example, take Domino’s Pizza. About 10 years ago, Domino’s was hearing from customers that they did not like the company’s pizza. Many organizations might have tried to hide this information or work behind the scenes to correct the problem. Domino’s Pizza did something different. They made public the feedback they were receiving and asked for suggestions on how they could improve the quality of their pies. This open question generated an avalanche of suggestions that proved very helpful in improving the pizzas.

But beyond an open innovation success, the impact was even more fundamental: by expressing vulnerability, I believe that the company built trust with customers. Here was a company that was willing to acknowledge they had a problem and to ask for help in addressing the problem. If more organizations were willing to ask for help from their customers and other stakeholders when experiencing a problem, they would likely have much greater success in re-building trust.

Change Your Culture

Anxiety can run high in volatile times, and by asking these kinds of questions you can help people overcome some of their fears. It’s well established in the psychology field that coming together with others can reduce anxiety — that’s the idea behind group therapy. And achieving real impact can also help overcome feelings of being overwhelmed. Thus by helping people to focus on short-term actions they can take together, your questions can provide a focusing and calming effect during a crisis. .

By asking questions as a leader, you also communicate that questioning is important. You’ll inspire people to identify new opportunities and to ask for help when they need it. These behaviors lead to a culture of learning, which is critical, since the institutions that will thrive in the future are those that encourage everyone to learn faster and more rapidly expand the value that they deliver to their stakeholders.

This will be especially true if you encourage exploration that can generate new insights into potential answers to your questions, rather than simply expecting complete answers and nothing less. This will encourage people to make small moves initially that can quickly help to increase excitement about the question since participants can quickly begin to see progress. As early answers to your question begin to emerge (as a result of experiments or research, for example), share them, even if they are not groundbreaking. They’ll contribute to your culture of learning and show your stakeholders that your questioning is generating new insights, increasing their confidence in your methods.

Leaders who ask powerful questions have the greatest success in both seizing new opportunities and addressing unexpected challenges — and they build cultures that will carry these benefits into the future.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

John Hagel is a trusted advisor who has been based in Silicon Valley for over 40 years but who has worked with leaders around the world. On the side, he has published 8 books, including his most recent, "The Journey Beyond Fear"  You can connect with John @ JohnHagel.com

 
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#ReimaginePRAYER…this Advent

    In the Christian year, we're about to enter the season of Advent - and be reminded that we are still waiting for God to fulfill the all that has been promised in Jesus for us and for the world. That space of waiting reminds us that our posture should be aligned with that of Mary when she received the annunciation from the angel Gabriel: "may it be in me according to your will" (Luke 1:38)


     My Advent prayer for myself, for The Initiative, and for each of you who reads these updates is that we will continue to yield ourselves and our structure to be formed and shaped according to God's good purpose and loving design.



Yours in Christ's Love,
       Scott Brill
       Executive Director

https://theinitiative.org/

 

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Knowing God's Reality

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        As I was walking along I saw your many altars.

   One had this inscription on it—“To an Unknown God.”

You have been worshiping him without knowing who he is,

                 and now I wish to tell you about him.

                               Acts 17:23 NLT

 

 

 

 

I am not a founder of a religion—I am the Redeemer.

     On the altar of Calvary, believe Me and know complete salvation.

 

I am not a teacher of a philosophy—I am the Prince of Peace.

     On the altar of reverence, seek Me and know indefinable serenity.

 

I am not a charlatan—I am the Wonderful Counselor.

     On the altar of faith, follow Me and know unflinching assurance.

 

I am not an abstraction—I am the Almighty.

     On the altar of expectation, depend on Me and know graceful strength.

 

I am not a security blanket—I am the Savior.

     On the altar of repentance, receive Me and know unfailing love.

 

I am not a concept—I am the Creator.

     On the altar of humility, recognize Me and know ultimate meaning.

 

I am not a hallucination—I am your Helper.

     On the altar of trust, rely on Me and know unflappable equanimity.

 

I am not a superstition—I am the Sovereign.

     On the altar of wisdom, learn of Me and know infinite worth.

 

I am not a fabrication—I am your Friend.

     On the altar of truth, walk with Me and know heavenly compassion.

 

I am not a lunatic—I am Lord of all.

     On the altar of surrender, give Me your heart and know total freedom.

 

I am not a creed—I am the Christ.

     On the altar of sincerity, obey Me and know perfect reality.

 

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  © Pastor Johnny R. Almond                

Day 330, Gentle Whispers from Eternity

 

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Second Coming - Second Thoughts

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Just as the lightning flashes from the east and shines and is seen   

   as far as the west, so will the coming of the Son of Man be.     

        Watch [be cautious and active] for you do not know

              in what kind of a day your Lord is coming.

                  Matthew 24:27, 42  AMPLIFIED BIBLE

 




My return will be evident to skeptics—the end of the world for atheists.  

   Those who thought it would never happen will be convinced—too late.    

   My Presence will be as obvious as lightning lighting up the entire sky.      

   The Second Coming is more than a doctrine—it will really happen.  

   You can count on it—you have My Word.

   The King’s return will be unmistakable.

 

My return will be exciting to saints—the ecstasy of worship for believers.  

   The King of kings will unite unsettled nations and rule the universe.

   The surprise and shock will be more than many people can bear.

   The Second Coming will bring the future perfect tense I have promised.

   Everything will be transformed for the better when I put My foot down.

   The King’s return will be unimaginably beautiful.

 

My return will be enlightening to the sincere—

   the encouragement of wonder for the redeemed.

   The triumph of righteousness will obliterate the darkness of evil.

   Constellations will fade in the light of the Bright Morning Star.

   To the lost, My return will mean tragedy—outer darkness with no exit.  

   To the saved, My Second Coming will mean triumph—eternal light.

   The King’s return will bring unending celebration.

 

My return will be embarrassing to the slothful—

   the exposing of waste to the lazy.

   The unprepared will blush with shame—and cry tears of futile regret.

   The King’s return, to them, will be uncomfortable—to say the least.

 

Are you surrendered to Me as your King? Then be subject to change!

Are you convinced I am actually going to return? Then live like it!

Are you persuaded you have an interview with Me? Then get ready!


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© Pastor Johnny R. Almond           

Day 311, Gentle Whispers from Eternity

 

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