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The Folly of Egocentricity


                                                                          black hole - Hubble Telescope image 


                They think the whole world revolves around them! 

Rabbi Hillel asked a good question in Ethics of the Fathers:
     “If I am only for myself, who am I?”
     Selfishness runs counter to My will, and isolates you from others.

The earth is not the center of the universe—the Eternal One is.
     Earthly-mindedness is limiting and worrisome.
     Go about your business, ignoring Mine, and you will go spiritually bankrupt.

The sun is not the center of the universe—the Son of God is. 
     The Light of the World illuminates the Way to the Truth of Life.
     The Sun of Righteousness holds everything together, including you.

The north star is not the center of the universe—the Bright Morning Star is. 
     The Creator of the cosmos directs the traffic patterns of the galaxies.
     The Star-Maker inspires hope in the darkest night of your soul.

You are not the center of the universe—I am. 
     Self-centeredness is laughable and sinful.
     Egocentricity breeds lust, impurity, greed, idolatry, anger, and slander.
     Egomaniacs eventually self-destruct—they love themselves to death. 
     Arrogant enough to take a do-it-yourself approach to life?
     Self-righteous to the point of taking center stage and claiming holiness?
     Convinced you are strong enough to handle any problem you may face?
     Smart enough to figure out all the enigmas of the world?
     Bragging you have it made, the world wrapped around your finger?

Christ-centeredness alone is eternally significant.
     Find a nobler purpose—honoring your Savior in all you do.
     Enjoy greater pleasure—celebrating the joy of His company.
     Experience higher power—surviving difficulties by His grace.
     Celebrate greater purity—thinking your Master’s thoughts.

Live His way—beyond yourself.


                                    (c) Pastor Johnny R. Almond 
                           Day 288,  Gentle Whispers from Eternity 

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Bragging Rights


                                                      You boasted proudly against me, and I have heard it all!
                                                                                    EZEKIEL 35:13 NLT

When you talk big, you think small.
Are you actually arrogant enough to claim that—
     by your power you have accomplished great feats?
     by your wisdom you have figured out the riddle of the universe?
     by your intelligence and strategy you have conquered the evil one?
     by your hard work you have built a financial nest egg?
     by your rebellion you have found your own way?

Are you really insolent enough to pit yourself against the Almighty?
Are you conceited enough to feel stronger than the Omnipotent Creator?
Are you egocentric to the point of believing you can do-it-yourself?

The essence of sin is attempting to live independently of Me.
     Unchecked pride will cause you to foolishly repeat Lucifer’s folly—
          exalting yourself and claiming to be greater than the Creator;
          trusting your ingenuity instead of the Sustainer of the universe;
          feeling stronger than the One who whispered stars into existence.
     If you strut, you will stumble—if you brag, you will blush—
          if you carry on, you will get carried away.

I am in heaven and you are on earth—keep your words to a minimum.
     Do not multiply words—be quiet and realize that I am God.
     Avoid high-sounding speeches, designed to impress others—
          they do not impress Me!

Thank Me for My unfailing love—My mercy that forgives sin,
     My grace that helps you endure,  My patience that encourages faith.
Worship Me all the time—sing My praises in sunshine and shadow.
     Honor Me with all you are—boast only of the cross of My Son.

If you want to brag, brag about the great things I have done for you.


                                                                           (c) Pastor Johnny R. Almond 
                                                                  Day 287,  Gentle Whispers from Eternity 

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God Given Self-Control

As he admitted to a wrongdoing, the young man said, “I just couldn’t control myself.” Self-control is a difficult thing. It has to do with discipline, and discipline is hard. We live in an out-of-control society and If you don’t discipline yourself, someone else will control you. Thus the importance of self-control. It is similar to a muscle in that the more you exercise it, the stronger it gets. The idea of self-control gains in importance when you realize that if a person can’t control themselves, it is highly debatable if they can control others, thus they disqualify themselves for effective leadership. The Apostle Paul wrote to his young friend, Titus and told him to, “Encourage the young men to be self-controlled” (Titus 2:6, NIV). So, what is there in your life that you need to bring under self-control? It is after all, a God-given ability.

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#ItSeemToMe… Grace is God’s DNA


Grace is an attribute that results in forgiving action.

It is a quality you must choose before you find out why someone needs your grace.
God’s grace is the DNA of God’s characte
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Someone You Can Fully Trust


                                 Warner Sallman  Head of Christ 


All the people of Egypt will discover that I am the LORD, for you collapsed like a reed
     when Israel looked to you for help and leaned on you.
Like a cracked staff you splintered and stabbed her in the armpit.
She put her weight on you, you gave way, her back was thrown out of joint.

                                         EZEKIEL 29:6-7 NLT

Who or what do you trust?

The world?
     Egypt was once magnificent and powerful—
          superpowers are succeeded by others more powerful.

Sinful pleasure?
     It is never worth the hangover and the heartache.

     Human praise is empty—it can never satisfy your deepest longing.

     Making payments on what you call your own is a long treadmill.

     Place your confidence in mortals and they can disappoint you.

Military forces?
     Aircraft carriers, tanks, infantry, stealth bombers, cruise missiles—
          all are useless means of defense without heaven's shield of blessing.

     Obsess over money and someday you will meet someone who has not—
          then you will realize how poor you have grown.

     Every other staff will break and pierce your hand and heart.
     I am the Only Completely Trustable Spot in the entire universe.
     Lean your whole weight on My everlasting arms—relax. 


                                   (c) Pastor Johnny R. Almond 
                         Day 286,  Gentle Whispers from Eternity 

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Bread that Returns to Bless

I spoke recently at a Men’s Breakfast for a nearby church. Present at that gathering was a man who had been a member of a neighboring church where I had served as Interim Pastor thirty-two years previously. Unfortunately, his wife was having memory issues, and it prompted him to share a story with me. A few days earlier he had been going through one of his wife’s purses in an attempt to help her find something, when his hand felt a cassette tape at the bottom of a purse. Removing the cassette, he looked at the writing on the side, which said, “Dr. Crawford’s Sermon” followed by a date. Following a brief “Wow’ and a comment or two from me, he said, “Dr. Crawford. You have no idea how many of your sermons are at the bottom of women’s purses.” This man went on to recall in some detail, another sermon I had preached as his Interim Pastor – 32 years ago. What an awesome encouragement that was to me and a timely reminder that we who preach and teach need never take our presentations lightly. Some who hear us, will remember. The writer of Ecclesiastes was correct, “Cast your bread upon the waters, for you will find it after many days” (Ecclesiastes 11:1).

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Free book offer: Christ Is All!

"No one can be robbed of his delights whose joy is Christ. Eternal is his gladness who rejoices in an eternal good."
—Augustine of Hippo (354–430), printed on page 32 of Words Old and New: or, Gems From the Christian Authorship of All Ages, by Horatius Bonar
     Phil Miglioratti (the curator, coordinator, and administrator of The #ReimagineFORUM) and I have a friend named David Bryant who has served the Lord as an ordained minister and in other ways for over fifty years. Phil has written this endorsement of him:
David Bryant is a pioneer of the late 20th century prayer movement.  His work with America's National Prayer Committee awakened congregations across the nation to recognize the priority of prayer in every ministry and activity. His leadership gave rebirth to "concerts" of prayer, opening the way for the cityreaching movement that called the Body of Christ across a community or city to pray in harmony. David's transition to a "Christ is All" message has challenged pastors, prayer champions and church leaders to re-place Christ as foundational and central to the worship, fellowship, discipleship, stewardship, leadership, citizenship of every believer, every congregation. David's tireless, authentically humble, service has been an amazing grace to the Church.
     For many years his ministry was known as Concerts of Prayer International, but for almost twenty years it has been known as PROCLAIM HOPE!. One can learn about it at its main website, which is here:
     Among the books David has written is one entitled Christ Is All!. Its title is a quotation of Colossians 3:11 with an added exclamation point.
Here there is no Gentile or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all.
--Colossians 3:11 (NIV)
     One can learn about this book here:
     The original version of Christ Is All! has the subtitle A Joyful Manifesto on the Supremacy of God's Son. It was published in hardback, and is available for free in an e-book format here and in an audiobook format here
     The revised version of Christ Is All! has the subtitle Join in the Joyful Awakening to the Supremacy of God's Son. It is a condensed version of the original. The original version is 476 pages long--the condensed version is only 176 pages. It is not available in an e-book format nor in an audiobook format, but it is available in paperback.
     One can download free resources related to both versions (such as a discussion guide for small groups) here
     In his ministry—and especially in this book—David seeks to awaken others to "ALL" who Christ is. Being a believer in the importance of his mission, I have purchased and am giving copies of the revised version of Christ Is All! to people who tell me they want and intend to read it.
     If you would like to read it, and if you would read it if I gave you a copy of it, you are welcome to request one from me by e-mail, providing your name and a mailing address. Please mention that you learned of this offer from The #ReimagineFORUM @ Discipleship.Network. My primary e-mail address is:
     I charge neither for the book nor for its shipment. I want nothing in return for it. At present, I have a few dozen copies available. Although I prefer to ship domestically (within the United States), I am willing to consider shipping internationally.
     If you would like to get an idea of what the book is like other than by reading what David, I, and others have said about it, I suggest you examine a few of his articles which he has published on the blog of this website of his ministry:
     David and I hope that through Christ Is All!, readers will gain a greater, grander, vision of our Lord, and thereby be inspired and invigorated to live in, through, and for Him. It is a book of hope and joy in Jesus.
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The three of them were at the end of their endurance, but they ran on through the thickening trees. They hoped the woods had discouraged their pursuers. Dhanua, who was in the lead, was Malayali and roughly familiar with this part of India. But he did not know where they were now. As they came to the darkest part of the jungle, all three fell on their faces in exhaustion. Their pursuers would eventually find them if they were still on their trail. They heard later that one of their adversaries had been injured in their haste to catch them. The others had little choice, but to carry him back to their village. 

Ihita, who had been in the rear, was first to recover. He tried to revive the others. Thomas, the foreign preacher, who was called an apostle, stirred but did not fully wake. Dhanua did not respond at all. The darkness was getting thicker. It would soon be night. They would need a fire for protection. He searched the woods until he found a small clearing with a large rock. Soon Thomas had revived enough to help gather stones into a circle where they could kindle a small fire. By the time they got the first embers to crackle with flames, Ihita staggered up. They still had a small meat pie purchased at a market the day before. Thomas had some nuts and Ihita had a mashed mango at the bottom of his satchel. They boiled water from a stream and made a hot drink.

They huddled around the flames and sang a hymn that a man in the church on the coast had written. With a simple tune, it spoke of the death and resurrection of Jesus. They each lifted a short prayer of thanksgiving before they cut the pie into three pieces, dividing the rest of the food between them. They would have to find food and clean water in the morning. But what they had was satisfying tonight. As they finished the meal, Thomas asked the others what they loved best about following Jesus. 

Ihita said, “The love of God. I had never heard of such a thing until you came to us.” 

Dhanua nodded and said he enjoyed sharing the love of Jesus with other believers. “We have not seen any since we left the coastal towns, but some may yet accept Christ on this trip.” 

All three were silent for a moment, and then Dhanua said, “We love the peace we have when we travel with you, Thomas. We face hardships and losses. We often don’t know where our next meal will come from. We may soon be attacked by those who think we are their enemies. But when we have a moment to pray together, the peace of our Lord settles on us.”

Thomas said, “Jesus gave us His peace. And while our hearts don’t always understand it, we can rest in Him.”

Ihita said, “It comes from the Holy Spirit that you have taught us about.”

“That is true,” Thomas said. “The Spirit reminds us of God's grace even when things are difficult. By His Spirit, we know Jesus is with us.”

Ihita said, “We sense it best when we are actually with you, Thomas.”

“That is because I saw him after he rose from death. His life has been burned into my memory. To tell you the truth, I almost missed it. I am ashamed of my lack of faith on that first day after He rose. I was so horrified by His crucifixion that I did not want to see anyone. The other disciples gathered to comfort each other. Mary Magdalene had told them He had risen, but that was more than they could understand or believe until they saw Him themselves.

“They were hiding behind locked doors in fear of our own people who had arrested Jesus. Suddenly Jesus stood in their midst. His first words were, “Peace be with you.” He showed them His nail scarred hands and His side that had been pierced by the soldier’s spear. It was important for Him to show them that He was truly Jesus. They wept with joy that night. They sought me out the next day and told me with great enthusiasm that Jesus was alive. They had seen Him face to face. This was more than I was able to believe.

“I told them I would not believe unless I saw the nail prints in His hands. I stamped my foot. ‘Unless I put my own finger in the nail marks and thrust my hand into the gaping wound in His side I will never believe.’

“The other disciples kept me with them, even though I did not share their joy. They still loved me with the Master’s love. About a week later, we were all together when Jesus appeared as before. Again, he said, ‘Peace be with you.’ He turned to me and said, ‘Come here, Thomas. Do you see the nail prints in my hands? Come put your hand in my side. Don't be an unbeliever but believe.’ All I could say was, ‘My Lord and my God.’ Jesus our Lord rose from the grave. We no longer need to fear anything. He pressed that on me so forcefully that the peace that I have is contagious.

“Jesus said to me, ‘Thomas, you believe because you have seen. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet believe.’ I knew that he was sending me to people who would only see Him through my eyes. He assured me of what he told the other disciples. ‘As my Father sent me, I am sending you.’ Great peace flows from following His purpose for our lives. We begin to see difficulties and opposition as merely efforts by the enemy to distract us from what Jesus has sent us to do.”


This story was based upon events recorded in the 20th chapter of the Gospel of John.


Lord Jesus, in these uncertain times we need the peace of your life and purpose in us.




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Justinian, the servant of Pontius Pilate, rose in the middle of the night to accompany his master to the private baths belonging to the Ponti family. He was used to Pilate not being able to sleep. It began sometime before Tiberius recalled him in anger from the Province of Syria over the Samaritan fiasco. It did not surprise Justinian when Pilate’s sleep problems continued here in Rome, even though Tiberius had died before they reached the capital. The hot bath waters often calmed Pilate enough to allow him to sleep some.

Torches were still lit in the bath house when they arrived. Probably another servant had left them burning in case Pilate came in the night. The fires heating the water were never allowed to go out. Pilate handed his towel to his servant as he eased himself into the steaming pool. When he was settled, Justinian sat down beside him with his tired feet in the water.

After a time of silence, Pilate looked up at Justinian, and the servant sensed that he was about to hear an ominous confidence. “Justinian, you have been with me all these years. And you know I have not been myself for some time.” Justinian was noncommittal in spite of the familiarity of his master’s tone. Pilate continued. “I need to talk about what has been bothering me. But you must promise that you will not utter a word of what I say, even if Caligula carries out Tiberius’s intention to put me to death.”

“You know that you can confide in me, Sir. I have been with you since your youth.”

“I know that. And I suspect you may already guess much of what I have to say. But you could not yet understand the seriousness of what I need to tell someone. And as the gods are my witness, if you reveal even a hint of it, you will wish you could have died a thousand times before you let anything slip.”

“Is it the same thing that has been plaguing your wife?” Justinian ventured.

Pilate winced and nodded. “I suppose it is. But even she does not know the extent of what I have been dealing with. I suppose you have discerned that the disturbance in my mind has little to do with the trouble in my career. I cannot stop thinking about that Galilean prophet.”

“Jesus of Nazareth, The King of The Jews.” Justinian quoted the title his master had fixed to the cross of the condemned man.

Pilate continued, “I had been observing him for some time. He puzzled me from the start. He basically ignored Rome even though attacking their conquerors would have made him more popular with the common people if that were possible. I sent many spies, some of them actually Jewish, to learn what he was about. They came back with the most preposterous stories of miracles that he had done. And yet he seemed to remain a simple man of the people, at least as far as I could see. He even did several things to keep his fame from spreading. Can you imagine that? 

“Until that morning when the Priests brought him to me, I had never seen him face to face. You may not believe this, Justinian, but I was shocked at his visage. He had an amazing dignity even after being flogged and mocked. He possessed innate authority like no one I have ever met. He was certainly the first prisoner I had encountered who did not beg me to spare his life. He seemed to be at peace with everything that was happening to him. I have worked with men, soldiers, and others, all my life. I never saw anyone who struck me like that man. I don’t know how many crucifixions I have witnessed since I first received my commission, and you were a common soldier. No one ever reacted to death like this Jesus. It did not even bother him that the priests had brought him to me because they were jealous. They could not have been around him without feeling they were inferior men. I certainly felt his superiority.”

At this Justinian sputtered a silent protest. Pilate ignored him in his reverie. “Even when the soldiers mocked him by plaiting the crown of thorns, and put on him with a royal robe, he looked majestic. While he was still preaching in Galilee, I told my wife that he was the natural ruler of the Jews. He embodied the righteousness they claimed to admire. When he was brought before me, I asked if he were really the King of the Jews. He asked if that was my conclusion or if I had heard it from others. I had never had a prisoner question me, yet I felt that I had to give him an answer. I had to defend myself before a condemned prisoner! ‘Am I a Jew?’ I asked. ‘Your own people delivered you over to me. What evil thing have you done?’

“He said his kingdom was not of this world. ‘So, you are a king,’ I said. He answered, ‘You have been calling me a king. I was born and I came into the world to bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth listens to me.’ I need to tell you, that gave me pause. I thought about truth as opposed to expediency before Rome. I threw up my cynical defense, bitterly asking if anyone knew what the truth was.”

With this Pilate stirred in the bath and seemed to change the subject abruptly. “Do you believe in the gods, Justinian?”

“I am an old soldier, Sir. And I have become cynical of much that I have heard about them. But I suppose I believe in something beyond us, beyond the world.”

Pilate looked at his servant in silence for a moment. Then he looked away and said, “Through the years I seldom gave thought to the gods, or to truth for that matter. I was ambitious and practical, so I paid the expected homage. Of course, I would say, and I suppose I believed, the Roman gods were the true deities, even knowing that we stole them from the Greeks. I despised the petty gods of the provinces where I served. That was no less true in Syria. There I was disgusted with the hypocrisy of the Jews even though I eventually came to understand something of the depth of their laws.

“But when I went back out and declared to the man’s accusers that I found no guilt in him, they said something that stopped me in my tracks. One of the priests stepped forward and said, ‘According to our law, this man ought to die because he has made himself out to be the Son of God.’ Combined with everything else I had seen, this scared me. I went back into the praetorium and asked him where he had come from. And believe this or not, he refused to answer me. “I said, ‘Don’t you know that I have authority to crucify or to release you?’

“He said, ‘You would have no authority over me at all, if it were not given you from above.’ He was not referring to Tiberius. He was talking about his God! After that, I tried to release him. But there was no way I could do it. And I am haunted by the thought that I crucified the Truth. Nothing else has seemed important or even true since that terrible day.”


This story was drawn from Pilate’s encounter with Jesus in John 19:1-22.


Father, we ask you to bring us face to face with Jesus, your eternal truth.




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Why Nations Crumble


                                           Look! Your oarsmen are rowing your ship of state into a hurricane! 

                                                     Your mighty vessel flounders in the heavy eastern gale.

                                                               You are shipwrecked in the heart of the sea!   

                                                                                 EZEKIEL 27:26 NLT

Babylon became great—but boasted of its greatness, and perished.
Greece grew strong—but trusted its strength, and disappeared.
Rome conquered the world—but worshiped itself, and toppled.
Tyre thought it had it made—international trade made it rich—
     then arrogance swelled their head and shriveled their heart.
Their ship of state was a magnificent vessel—the envy of the world.
     But that ship of state wrecked on the rocks of self-reliance.
Any nation that acknowledges My lordship will be blessed—
     any nation that refuses to bow the knee will be cursed.

Your own nation may be known as a superpower,
     but all the nations are a drop in the bucket compared to My power.
Your country may have a reputation for technological sophistication,
     but all nations are less than nothing to Me—froth on the sea of life.

An autopsy of a failed nation always reveals the growth of pride.
Hubris in the heart of a nation is a wrecking ball that will destroy it.
Strutting on the stage of history is a sure way to trip and fall.
Carrying on business without God results in moral bankruptcy.

It all begins with you.
     Do not imagine you can do wrong without weakening your country.
     Do not downgrade the positive effect you can have by a noble example.
     Do not think you have no influence over your nation—you certainly do!
     If you obey My commands, you will set the pace for your family.
     If your home reflects My love, you will encourage your neighborhood.
     If your community honors My law, they will model fairness for your city.
     If your city respects My ways, they will inspire your state.
     If your state aims for justice, your nation will grow in righteousness.
     If your nation is righteous, your world will take notice of a better way.
     It all begins with you.


                                         (c) Pastor Johnny R. Almond 
                             Day 285,  Gentle Whispers from Eternity 

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“‘I AM,’ He replied, as from the burning bush.”*

Baruch looked up in displeasure as Temple guards stumbled into his inn. They had never come in this early. He hated the fact that the tough guards had run off most of his evening business. And now, here they were in the morning. No other customers were in the inn now, so he decided not to tell them the inn was closed.

“Wine,” one of them said without the usual bravado of such guards. They shuffled back into the darkest corner of the room. Baruch carried flagons to them that he had filled from the dregs of mugs and a skin left from the night before. These soldiers had been on duty all night. They were evidently too upset about something that had happened on their watch to go to sleep without wine. Mac, the oldest in the group, said not a word as they entered. He did not look up when Baruch brought the wine. Baruch thought he might be in some sort of daze, but he certainly saw the wine. He took a long draft from his flagon, but still did not look at the innkeeper.

As Baruch walked away, he heard one of them called Zach say, “How do you explain what happened?”

One of the others shushed him. “This is dangerous business. If Caiaphas hears that we are talking about it, we will be dismissed, if we survive his immediate wrath.” Baruch avoided hearing more of the conversation even as he refilled their mugs.

Zach said, “What can we do? Someone is sure to tell him what happened.”

As he finished off his second flagon of wine Mac finally spoke. “The words that we heard that prisoner say mean something. He said ‘I AM.’ I mean he didn’t say, ‘I am here,’ or I am the one you want.’ He just said, ‘I AM.’ I have heard the words spoken like that somewhere before.”

“I know where they come from,” Timaeus, the lowest ranking of the men, said. “I thought I remembered. But just to be sure, I asked Jonas, a rabbi that I went to school with. He confirmed it. When God met Moses at the burning bush in the desert, Moses asked God to tell him His name. And the Lord said, ‘I AM!’ Then He said, ‘This is my name by which I am to be known forever.’ Was this Jesus of Nazareth saying he was God?”

Zach said, “That has to be nonsense. I mean, we wouldn't have thought anything about the words, if we had not seen three temple guards, a Pharisee, and one of his servants fall flat on their backs when this Jesus said, ‘I AM!’

Timeaus said, “He didn’t say it with any force. I wasn't twenty feet away, and I barely heard him.”

“That’s not right!” Mac argued, slurring his voice as if he were already in his cups. “He didn’t hit anyone, and his voice was not loud, but he spoke with force, a force I can’t explain.”

Zach asked, “Are you saying he spoke with the force of God when he said, ‘I AM’?"

Mac looked blankly at him for a moment. Then he said, “Do you have another explanation?”

Timeaus said, “That is impossible! He couldn’t be God.”

Zach agreed even though he was still stymied. “If he were God in the form of a man, could the others have arrested him?”

Up until now, Mac had not been sure there was a real god. He said, “I don’t know, but he had to be someone. Something happened out there in the garden.”

They did not drink until they passed out as the innkeeper had feared. As several others came in for a drink and a few moments’ rest, the Temple soldiers shrunk away as if they dared not let anyone see them.


This story was conceived from the account of the arrest of Jesus in John 18:1-6


O Lord, we tremble as you reveal yourself to us.

*From Whom Do You Seek, a poem in the book, I AM, by David Young.




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The Great Reversal


                                    God says, “Take your royal crown off your head. No more ‘business as usual.’       
                                             The underdog will be promoted and the top dog will be demoted.”
                                                                                                                        EZEKIEL 21:26  THE MESSAGE 

Some people will tell you that nothing in the world will ever change.
     They are badly mistaken—everything will change someday!
     The old order will give way when My Son rules paradise restored.
     Old earth will disappear when the new one flourishes.
     Old heaven will be history when I erase memory of Lucifer’s rebellion.
     Death will be reversed by the Life—old age will be a thing of the past.
     Tears will be reversed by the Truth—heartache will be obsolete.
     Pain will be reversed by the Way—hospitals will be unnecessary.
     The old world and its evils will be reversed by Christ’s new world.

The first now will be last then—those who think they have it made do not.
     Haughty egotists will eventually be put in their place.
     Those at the end of the line will move to the front—rewarded at last.

I bless the poor in spirit—I will enrich them with the kingdom of heaven.
     I bless the brokenhearted—I will comfort them with My grace.
     I bless the gentle and lowly—I will give them new earth real estate.
     I bless the hungry and thirsty—I will give them a full measure of justice.
     I bless the kind and merciful—I will show them abundant mercy.
     I bless the pure—I will let them see My face.
     I bless the peacemakers—I will call them My sons and daughters.
     I bless the persecuted—I will welcome them to My peaceful kingdom.

What will it take to change an old world into a new one? Christ’s return!
     The Wonderful Counselor will reverse confusion by unerring guidance.
     The Mighty God will reverse defeat by overwhelming victory.
     The Everlasting Father will reverse chaos by undisturbed stability.
     The Prince of Peace will reverse war by indestructible tranquility.

Joy will fill the earth when I bring about the great reversal. 


                     (c)  Pastor Johnny R. Almond 
              Day 284,  Gentle Whispers from Eternity 

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His studies for the day completed, Jan Hus made his way through the town square, singing for alms to pay for his lodgings and to cover his tuition at the university. Today he ambled from place to place sometimes singing only one hymn before changing his location. In addition to hymns he sang gospel choruses in the Cezch language and even a few folk songs. His Latin hymns were the most popular. He stopped in a likely place and let his strong voice carry through the open square. 

“Donna nobis . . .” He knew this might be his final opportunity to sing in the square. He was only a few weeks from graduation and then his ordination. After singing for alms in the market, he preached for a few minutes, declaring the gospel in the language of the people. Moving on from the appreciative crowd that had gathered, he noticed a young boy following him. He stopped a little farther along. When he finished singing there, the boy put a penny in his basket. 

Before the boy moved away Hus spoke to him. “Thank you, son?” 

The boy nodded. “This is not the first time I have heard you sing, but today I had a penny.” Jan fished through the few coins in his basket and found the boy’s penny.

“I believe such a music lover should be allowed to listen for free,” he said, as he returned the coin. 

“My name is Mik,” the boy supplied, stowing the penny in his satchel. “The priest sent you to our flat when I was sick. You prayed for me by name. I had never heard anyone say my name in a prayer. Until then, I didn't know you could pray in Bohemian.”

‘Ah yes, You are Michael Flynn. I thought you looked familiar. You are some distance from your home.”

“I was sent with a message for a storekeeper just off the square. That is how I got the silver penny.”

“But I am not the first to pray for you by name,” Hus said. “Jesus prayed for you. He said, ‘I do not just pray for the disciples who have followed me, but also for those who will believe in me through their word.’ That is us, Mik. Jesus prayed for you and for me.”

“But he couldn’t have known my name.”

“Oh yes. The Bible says he calls his own sheep by name. Can you read?”

“I have been to school some. I can read Czech.”

“Come with me to my quarters. I have translated some of The Gospel of John into Czech. I want to show you something in it.” 

Mik looked around him. “I can probably come with you if we don't take too long.” Jan led the way toward the University housing. The boy followed him up narrow stairs to a long hallway. They passed several others in the cramped space. Jan threw back the curtain at the doorway to his room. He lit a small lamp and searched his desk for several pieces of parchment. Finding what he was looking for, he held a page out to the boy. Mik stared at the page and struggled with the words. 

Jan let him read some before stopping him. “Read this verse.” He put his finger on a line. 

Mik read, I have showed thy name to those men, which thou hast given to me of the world.”*

Jan said, “Not only does our Lord know your name, he is teaching us his Father’s name.”

Mik asked. “Is his Father’s name God or maybe Jehovah?”

Jan patted him on the back. “That is pretty good. I suppose those are God’s names in a way. But I don’t think that is what Jesus is getting at. Look down to another verse.” 

Mik read again where Jan pointed. I pray for them, I pray not for the world, but for them that thou hast given to me, for they be thine.

“Read on further,” Jan said. 

Mik continued to read, stumbling occasionally. And all my things be thine, and thy things be mine; and I am clarified in them. And now I am not in the world, and these be in the world, and I come to thee. Holy Father, keep them in thy name, which thou hast given to me, that they be one, as we be. While I was with them, I kept them in thy name; those that thou gavest to me, I kept, and none of them perished, but the son of perdition, that the scripture be fulfilled.

“Now,” Jan said, “skip all the way down to the final verse on this page.” 

Again Mik read where Hus pointed. “And I have made thy name known to them, and shall make known; that the love by which thou hast loved me, be in them, and I in them.” Mik looked up and said, “I don’t understand any of this.”

“To tell you the truth,” Jan answered, “I don’t understand much of this either. But what I am beginning to understand is important. Jesus is introducing us to his Heavenly Father. Do you know what your name means?” 

Mik answered, “I think it was the name of an archangel or something.”

“That is right, son. And it meant, ‘Who is like God?’ But when I prayed for you by name like Jesus prayed, I did not mean any written meaning. To me your name meant you, everything about you. Well, Jesus is bringing us into intimacy with God. His name is His person. Jesus is helping us to know himself and his Father personally. In Jesus we come to know God Himself. God’s name also speaks of His nature and character. By his life and his words Jesus shows us what God is really like. Your surname is Flynn. Your father gave it to you. So Jesus gives us his Father’s name.”

Mik said, “My father gave me both of his names.” 

Jan said, “That is like what God has done. We bear His name because we have become His sons. We are part of God’s family. We share God’s legacy with our Lord Jesus. And if you are a child of God you need not fear anything, not even death. As God’s name is clarified on the Earth, everyone will see His glory. By His Spirit our lives will declare His glory to others.”

Jan then said, “Mik, I want to give you this sheet with the prayer Jesus prayed for us written in Czech. I want you to memorize it. Read each sentence over and over again asking God to speak to you as you read. When you can say the whole passage from memory, come and find me. We will talk about what God continues to show us.” The boy was overcome by the gift. He carefully rolled the parchment into a scroll, and with a string unraveled from his shirt, he tied it securely. Jan walked him back down to the square. Starting for home, Mik’s mind was filled with wonder.

This story comes from John 17. 

*I printed these verses from Wicliff’s translation of the Bible. Huss was in correspondence with Wicliff.                                And he translated portions of the New Testament into Czech from Latin like Wicliff, rather than Greek.

Lord Jesus, continue to reveal to us the Name given you by your Father. 

Help us to know You more and more.




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Prime Examples


                                                                         Albrecht Durer  Praying Hands 


                                                             Even if Noah, Daniel, and Job were there, 
                                                   their righteousness would save no one but themselves,
                                                                         declares the Sovereign LORD.

                                                                                 EZEKIEL 14:14 NLT

Noah preached to a needy world, though the majority ignored him.
     He kept at the task I gave him, despite sneers and sarcasm.
     Crowds scorned his message and laughed at his boat-building project;
          nevertheless, he hammered away and kept telling My story.
     For over a century, Noah warned rebels—with little visible results.
     I want you to keep preaching My Word, whether or not people believe.
     Stand on My promises and fasten on the belt of timeless Truth.
          Wield the Spirit Sword to counter propaganda of the evil one.
          Whatever the response—herald My Word.

Daniel prayed in a dangerous world, though government threatened him.
     Leaders could not keep him off his knees facing the Temple.
          With windows open toward Jerusalem, he prayed three times a day.
          Lions could not kill his steadfast loyalty to Almighty God.
          He worshiped Me continually, so I protected him constantly.
          No matter how antagonistic life gets, hold My hand.
          Whatever the circumstances or the situation—keep hoping.

Job persevered in a short-sighted world, though friends misunderstood him.
     On the edge of despair, he held on by his finger-nails and trusted Me.
          Life can be difficult—the lark does not always sing in an April sky.
          Life can be discouraging—futility sometimes clouds the horizon.
          Life can be tiring—apparent pointlessness weakens motivation.
          Life is not a 100-yard dash, but a marathon—run to the finish line.
          Consider your life as time to honor Me, and purpose will energize you.
          When you see your Savior, your efforts will all seem worthwhile.
          Whatever happens—hang on.

                                    (c) Pastor Johnny R. Almond 
                        Day 283,  Gentle Whispers from Eternity 

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Things were going well in the Macedonian city of Philippi. We had been frustrated as we traveled across Asia, not because the people opposed us but because the Spirit of Jesus would not let us enter any of the towns we came to. We passed through the regions of Phrygia and Galatia without being allowed to speak the word. Not knowing what else to do, we went all the way to Troas at the sea without telling anyone about Jesus. It had not occurred to us to cross the Sea of Aegeus to the strange cultures of the west. That night a man from Macedonia appeared to Paul in a vision saying, “Come over here and help us. We concluded that God was sending us there. So, we sailed as soon as we could find passage. 

Philippi was the first town we came to. We usually began our ministry in Jewish synagogues, but there was no synagogue in this city. We went instead to a river on the Sabbath hoping to find a place of prayer. Sure enough, we found a group of ladies who were pleased to listen to what we had to say. Among those who believed our message about Jesus was a woman named Lydia, a seller of purple cloth, who came from Thyatira. Although she was not Jewish, she worshipped God and knew something of the law and the prophets. The Lord opened her heart to what we had to say.

After she and others including a number from Lydia’s household were baptized, she approached us and said, “If you have judged me to be a true believer, come stay in my home.” Her staff were pleased that we were quite as interested in telling servants about Jesus as we were anyone else. Lydia’s house became our base of operations. 

One day as we were going to the place of prayer on the river, a slave girl who had a spirit of divination, began to follow us. She brought considerable profit to her owners by fortune-telling. We were gathering a crowd, so her masters were willing for her to follow us. But she became more and more disruptive. For many days she followed us around shouting at the top of her lungs, “These men are servants of the Most High God who are proclaiming to you the way of salvation.” We prayed for her each night when we gathered with those who had come to believe. The crowds often laughed when she would cry out as we were speaking. Finally, Paul had had enough. 

He turned and said to the spirit, “I command you to come out of her in the name of Jesus Christ.” The spirit came out, and the girl fell unconscious to the ground. We gathered round her in prayer. As she began to wake, we helped her to her feet. Her owners were used to her causing a commotion with such drama, but they soon realized that this was different. They pushed us aside and shook the girl hard, demanding that she prophesy. Nothing they did was to any avail. When they were convinced that they had lost all hope of profit from her they turned on Paul and me. They dragged us to the magistrates in the town center. They were making wild accusations against us and stirred up a crowd before the city officials. The crowd decided the magistrates were too slow to act, although they had hardly heard the accusations of the men. The mob had torn our clothes off before officers got to us. The officers lashed us to a post and beat us mercilessly. Then they threw us into the dungeon. They warned the jailor to guard us carefully, so he fastened our feet in stocks. 

I don’t think either Paul or I were completely unconscious, but it was some time before we were able to speak. I had just begun to stretch some of my aching muscles when I glanced to my side. In the dim light I saw Paul about 10 feet away grinning at me with smeared blood on his face. 

“Are you enjoying yourself, Silas?” He asked. 

I tried to laugh. “Could you scratch my back?” There was nothing either of us could do to ease the other’s discomfort or even staunch the bleeding. 

Paul said, “Well, what do we know now that we are here?”

I said, “I’m not sure I know anything right now.” We began to talk about things we knew for certain in Christ.

“Do you know that we belong to Christ?”

I said, “We do.”

“Do you know that God brought us here?” Paul asked. 

By then I had gained a little perspective. “I know God brought us to this city.”

“Were we faithful to the word of our Lord?”

“Yes, Paul. We told the good news of our Lord Jesus to everyone we saw.”

Paul was quiet for a moment and then he said, “One of the first Apostles told me that just before Jesus was crucified, he said, ‘If you love me you will keep my word. I will love you, and my Father will also love you. We will come and make our dwelling with you.’ We know that God loves us, and we are not alone. Our lord Jesus and his Father are with us.”

I said, “But you have to admit that this has been difficult.”

“Yes,” Paul said. “This is hard. But remember, our Lord was crucified for us. That was much worse. He said, ‘In this world you will have affliction. But take heart I have overcome the world.’” 

Before long we noticed that the other prisoners were listening to us. These people had little hope in this world. We were speaking of hope from beyond the world. We talked back and forth for some time. Some of the prisoners asked us a question or two, but for the most part they just listened. We prayed for each one of them by name. We prayed for our jailer and for the magistrates and the slave owners who had beaten us and thrown us in prison. And we sang. The prisoners listened spellbound as we sang Psalms and songs about Jesus into the night. 

About midnight we had stopped praying and singing for just a moment. It was absolutely quiet in the prison. Suddenly the earth began to shake. The floor heaved beneath us. The gate opened with a crash, and our stocks were splintered into pieces. Of course, the jailor was awakened. He rushed into the prison terrified that we had all escaped. His own life depended on keeping his prisoners. Paul saw a glint of the man’s sword and knew that he was about to take his own life rather than die at the hands of the magistrates. 

“Do not harm yourself, we are all here!” Paul shouted. 

The guard called for a light. And when he saw all the prisoners he fell down before us asking, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” He sensed the power in the dungeon and knew that he needed whatever it was that had changed the lives of the other prisoners. We told him to believe on the Lord Jesus and he would be saved. 

Having received solemn promises from the other prisoners who were already trying to repair the door to the dungeon, he brought Paul and me into his home and dressed our wounds. His whole household, awakened by the earthquake, listened as we told them about Jesus who had died for their sins. And we began to explain all that following Jesus would mean. They fed and clothed us, and all of them were baptized that very night.

This story was drawn from the words of Jesus in John 16:33 and 14:23.


Father, we give thanks for your peace in the circumstances we will face.




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This re-imagining Came to me this morning.


Evangelicals earnestly want to share the Gospel.  But how is what they share heard by those with whom they are sharing.

What they want to convey is


“Jesus loves you this I know

For the Bible tells me so.”


But does it come across like this?


“You’re go-ing to hell I know

For the Bible tells me so

If you don’t do what I say

Your soul is go-ing to pay

How do I know this?

How do I know this?

How do I know this?

I’m Evangelical.”

It should never be forgotten, and always preached or shared, that Jesus Came with an Offer, not a threat.

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Countdown to Doomsday


                                             The end has come! It has finally arrived! Your final doom is waiting!
                                                                                  EZEKIEL 7:6-7a NLT

     Do you sometimes think life will always be as it is now? Think again!
     Things will radically change someday, whether you believe it or not.

     Do you doubt that My Son will ever return to earth? Depend on it!
     When the King puts His foot down, heaven will materialize.

     Convinced you can do wrong and get away with it? Do not kid yourself!
     Every thought, word, and deed is an accurate boomerang.

     Feel you have unlimited time to straighten out your behavior? No way!
     When the trumpet sounds, time is up.

     Strutting in self-righteous splendor? Time to change your wardrobe!
     Do not lull yourself to sleep comparing yourself with “inferior” people.

     Looking down on other believers? Dismount your high horse!
     Don't be angry you can't change others—you can't even change yourself.

     Judging others for their sinful ways? Take a long look in the mirror!
     Everyone—you included—will stand before Christ to be judged.

     Wondering if justice will ever prevail? I will balance the books.
     My holy holocaust will incinerate evil—purify your heart before the end.

     Wavering in enthusiasm in My service? Trust My Spirit and keep at it.
     Nothing you do for My glory wastes time; inspired work is never useless.

     Still trying to please people? They are not your Boss—I am!
     Aim to please Me—My smile will be reward enough.


(c) Pastor Johnny R. Almond
Day 282, Gentle Whispers from Eternity  

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Countdown to Doomsday


                                             The end has come! It has finally arrived! Your final doom is waiting!
                                                                                  EZEKIEL 7:6-7a NLT

     Do you sometimes think life will always be as it is now? Think again!
     Things will radically change someday, whether you believe it or not.

     Do you doubt that My Son will ever return to earth? Depend on it!
     When the King puts His foot down, heaven will materialize.

     Convinced you can do wrong and get away with it? Do not kid yourself!
     Every thought, word, and deed is an accurate boomerang.

     Feel you have unlimited time to straighten out your behavior? No way!
     When the trumpet sounds, time is up.

     Strutting in self-righteous splendor? Time to change your wardrobe!
     Do not lull yourself to sleep comparing yourself with “inferior” people.

     Looking down on other believers? Dismount your high horse!
     Don't be angry you can't change others—you can't even change yourself.

     Judging others for their sinful ways? Take a long look in the mirror!
     Everyone—you included—will stand before Christ to be judged.

     Wondering if justice will ever prevail? I will balance the books.
     My holy holocaust will incinerate evil—purify your heart before the end.

     Wavering in enthusiasm in My service? Trust My Spirit and keep at it.
     Nothing you do for My glory wastes time; inspired work is never useless.

     Still trying to please people? They are not your Boss—I am!
     Aim to please Me—My smile will be reward enough.


(c) Pastor Johnny R. Almond
Day 282, Gentle Whispers from Eternity  

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