Life (22)



I have been working on a book on the warnings of Jesus concerning difficult times that are coming. However, a recent doctor appointment gave me a different perspective on my cancer. This has changed my approach to a number of things in my life including my work on this book. Although I am still not sure how quickly the drink offering of my life is being poured out to God, I believe I need to walk more wisely in relation to time.

Ephesians 5:15-17 speaks pointedly to this.

“Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.”

I believe it wisest, concerning the book, to write snatches of what I believe God is pressing upon me, and post them in my blogs rather than worrying about layout and presentation for the book. 

So beginning this week, I will post something on praying in the Spirit which would come much later in the book but has come together in my mind.





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Recently my oncologist ask if I would add my experience to the ‘Patient Stories” on his website. I agreed, and began by looking at the stories already included there. I was amazed that out of 27 accounts only one had any mention of prayer or God or anything beyond this life. In 1 Corinthians 15:19 Paul tells believers that if our hope is only in this life we are of all people most miserable. This truth can be applied to cancer patients whether they are Christians or not. It is hard to be positive when you no you may very well lose everything you hope for. This of course is true for everyone, whether you have cancer or not. In Colossians 4:5 Paul speaks of the hope stored up for us beyond this life. Look with me at the context of this verse in Colossians 1:3-6

“We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you, since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love that you have for all the saints, because of the hope laid up for you in heaven. Of this you have heard before in the word of the truth, the gospel, which has come to you, as indeed in the whole world it is bearing fruit and increasing—as it also does among you, since the day you heard it and understood the grace of God.

Our hope is stored in heaven for us. Our great treasure, our ultimate rewards are waiting for us in heaven. It is there that we will enjoy the embrace of our Lord, and hear him say, “Well done.”

The gospel gives our lives purpose, meaning, and hope beyond this life. and it will bear fruit in our lives and in the lives of others to the last breath that we take. If this is true, we do not need to escape our trials. God will give them meaning to the last moment we live on this earth.




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Life Changes

Life changes and is never stagnant, if you allow yourself to grow. Growing takes effort. Reading His Word and applying His principles to your life. They are good principles, adding value to life. This does not mean you’re going to hop on a fluffy soft cloud and float through life with no heartache or pain. It does mean that you have God to lean on. It means when you seek Him, He will answer. When you follow His principles the hardships in life can be overcome. He cannot always keep you from harm, but He can help you heal from it. He does not control anyone. He is not a control freak. He is here to guide you when you ask but you must listen when He answers. He is your healer, but not always in the way you expect. You only think in the ways of man. You cannot always comprehend what He is doing in your life. This is where trust comes in. If you are following Him, reading His word, praying and soaking in His presence you will have greater understanding and greater healing from life’s hurts.


He is here for His people! The one’s who choose to follow Him. Being a follower of His Son Jesus does not make you weak. Instead it makes you strong. Spiritually strong. Align yourself with the Holy Bible. Align yourself with a Bible believing church that teaches Agape Love above all else. Learn of His ways. Learn to love others and His Son. Learn to love yourself. Many people have done so much wrong, been taught wrongly, or mistreated so badly, even by those who call themselves Godly, that they are confused and refuse to hear His Word. But know that I do not control them and they can choose to misconstrue His Word, or twist it for their own glory or excuses. He is the ONE and ONLY TRUE GOD who love’s your soul. Who forgives your sins and longs to guide you to the truth of the Word. He is peace when there is no peace around you. He is Love when there is no one to love you and even when you do have people to love you. He is the Great I AM, here to guide and save His people. You must choose Him as He has already put you on the list of HIS Chosen. He has given you the opportunity and the right to follow Him and seek His peace in your life.



Matthew 11:28-30: “Come to me you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

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Last Sunday our pastor preached on Psalm 133. And God spoke to me as he preached. I am reminded of something I once heard from a spellbinding preacher. He said God gave him his best sermons as He spoke to him when he was listening to other preachers preach. Well, in fact, although my preaching is now done with my pen, God still seems to be giving me sermons. And I would like to share this one with you. And my sharing will be most blessed, if at some point in reading this God gives you a sermon to preach to His people.


I once heard a denominational leader say he could tell the spiritual temperature of a church by simply walking into a worship center as people were gathering for the service on a Sunday morning. I think he was absolutely right. You can sense excitement in the people or the lack of it. And most of all you can feel the love and unity binding the church together. Jesus said all men would know we are his disciples by the way we love one another.

One of my favorite Psalms is Psalm 133. The first verse of Psalm 133 calls us to see the goodness of unity in the family of God.

“Behold, how good and pleasant it is
   when brothers dwell in unity!”

The wording of this reminds me of the creation account in Genesis 1. There the Hebrew word tov, which translates to our English word “good” is first used in the Bible. Again and again as God creates, the scripture says “God saw that it was good.” But after He created man, we have His greater exclamation in verse 31 which begins with the word, “Behold.”

“And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good.

With this call for us to sit up and pay attention, Psalm 133 is calling us to see that in the unity of the family of God, He is restoring the goodness of His creation.

And he says it is good and pleasant. There is a sweetness that is not only enjoyed by our Heavenly Father, but that He shares with us in the unity of the Church of Jesus Christ.


Verse 2 of Psalm 133 paints a vivid picture for us.

“It is like the precious oil on the head,
   running down on the beard,
on the beard of Aaron,
   running down on the collar of his robes!”

The Holy Spirit is comparing unity in the family of God with the consecration of the priesthood. What this must have brought to the minds of the Children of Israel is something very similar to some things God did in my early life.

I grew up in Oklahoma going to Falls Creek Baptist Assembly. You do not have to be from Oklahoma to have herd of the largest Youth Camp in the world. But I remember going as a young person with thousands of other young people and listening to the word of God preached. At the end of each evening service hundreds of young people would go forward in the altarcall to commit their lives to Christ. When they would finally bring that invitation to a close they would lead those young people to the chapel where where there was counseling space. And as they marched away we would all sing, I have decided to follow Jesus. I seldom sing that hymn without chills rising up on my neck and the the backs of my arms as I remember seeing those crowds of young people, and myself being one of those committing our lives to Christ.

The psalmist here is saying our unity is a God thing. He brings it about. And it is an expression of consecration to him.

But I said this reminds me of two things in my early life. The other is when I first sensed God calling me to preach. I struggled with His calling for an entire semester in college. And when I became convinced that God was indeed calling me, that became the driving force of my life. It is that to this day. You may not be called to preach. But as you sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ you have been given a calling by God. And like Aaron and all the priest who followed him you have a special anointing, a purpose that is to be the driving force of your life. This picture says the unity of the church is an expression of our


The next picture given in verse 3 is very different but quite as vivid.

“It is like the dew of Hermon,
   which falls on the

   mountains of Zion!
For there the Lord has commanded the blessing,
   life forevermore.”

This is a picture of rich blessing from God.


Mount Hermon is a snow capped-mountain, part of a snow-capped range just north of Israel. We lived for 30 years in the Pacific Northwest surrounded by glorious snowy mountains. And the rain fall was a continual mist of blessing. We had a 90 foot Douglas Fir in our backyard. There was a hundred fifty foot tree in the park two blocks from our house. And our library had in a glass case a cutting of the largest Douglas Fir ever removed from the forest. The base of that tree was over 12 feet in diameter. In this picture God is saying unity the church grows from his continual blessing upon us. And it ends by saying this blessing is itself eternal life.


When we see and enjoy unity in the family of God we ought to immediately think of John 3:16. Let's say that verse together in the version we have projected.

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”

Do you have a longing in your heart to be part of the unity of God's family?

The sermon that God gave me is different from the sermon our pastor preached. And I suspect if God speaks to you through this brief, the sermon you preach to your people will be much different than mine. However, I suspect any sermon preached on Psalm 133 would depend upon similar fundamentals. In the days when I was preaching week by week I always began with the basics listed below. With these basics in my mind I would usually take a walk. As I walked my sermon I would preach everything that came into my mind on these basic points. And so I actually composed my sermons out loud.

THE CENTRAL IDEA OF THE TEXT : The psalmist exclaims over the God given goodness of unity among brothers.

PEOPLE : believers who make up this church

  Felt/Need : unity in the church

PURPOSE : Doctrinal; I want my hearers to know unity in the church is a work of God.

THRUST : Unity in the church is a God thing.

PICTURE : The Dew from Mt. Hermon

STORY : Oil on, Aaron's beard


Introduction :

Good and Pleasant

  • Consecration
  • Purpose, Gospel
  • Blessing
  • Eternal life



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I was talking with some friends today about medical issues. I told them I had heard people say they didn't want any extreme measures if they were critically ill. But I said, “I want extreme measures.” Life is precious. And it is good even if I am in pain or debilitated.

Immediately one of them gave the common answer that I was reacting against in the first place.

“Well,” he said, “you don't want to live if you don't have quality of life.”

I did not answer him, but I have been thinking about what gives quality of life. I don't believe it is comfort or freedom from pain.

I believe quality of life has to be related to purpose. As writers you know something about purpose. But in fact, any believer in Jesus Christ should be aware of divine purpose. If you are still alive God has a purpose for you on this Earth. God has a purpose for you even beyond this life. And knowing hope beyond this life ought to make us want to fulfill every purpose God has for us until we step into eternity.

If you do not know God's purpose for your life, you need to seek earnestly to learn what He is doing around you. Even if you don't know all that God wants to do through you, you can begin by obeying Him in small things that you know to do.

Among other things, this will shape your prayer life. I have frustrated some loved ones by telling them, “Every time I have prayed for God to heal me, I have sensed Him reminding me that it is appointed unto man once to die. In fact, I have seen a kind of healing. I am still alive years longer than my doctors thought I would be. But I still have cancer.

Earlier one of the friends I was talking to said, possibly in jest, that he wouldn't want to live if he couldn't play golf. Particularly as a writer I know I can still enjoy things I can no longer participate in. This really relates to being an intellectual. I don't think being an intellectual necessarily means you are smart. I have explained it like this for years. I would rather hear or tell a story about a boy hitting a homerun than to hit a homer myself. I have enjoyed fly fishing for a long time. I am afraid I can longer negotiate the rough stream banks. But I can still enjoy fishing in my memories and imagination.

So how do I pray for my cancer, and my life for that matter? I pray what David prayed in Psalm 138. “Lord, fulfill your purpose for me.” If God allows me to live when I can no longer write, then I hope I can still pray for people around me. And I pray that He will be glorified in me however He brings that about.



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How to Pray if You're Type "A"

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PTAP: City Focus: Dhaid, UAE

Dhaid is an oasis town in the UAE.  It is what a typical city might look like in the United Arab Emirates if oil wealth had not radically changed the country.  This city does not boast any massive skyscrapers like its neighbors Dubai and Abu Dhabi, but is a desert city with some agriculture and many date palms.
Throughout history, the nomadic Bedouin tribes would pass through Dhaid because there was fresh drinking water and beautiful oases. Desert cities like this need life-giving water. Because of city growth and the expansion of agriculture, much of the ground water is drying up.
In the past, this was a political center for certain Bedouin tribes.  The Kitbi tribe is prominent in Dhaid.  This is the tribe of Fatima Mubarak al-Kitbi, the "Mother of the Emirates," the third wife of the founder of the UAE, Sheikh Zayed. 
The city is expanding and more industry is being developed here.  However, some of the locals are still Bedouin in their thinking and like to be in the desert with their camels.  

Prayer Points:
  1. Pray that the Lord of the Harvest, Jesus Christ, will send workers into Dhaid and the surrounding area to be witnesses for Him.
  2. Jesus Christ is the living water and the bread of life.  Pray that Emiratis in Dhaid will come to Him as the giver of living water and eternal life and be satisfied in Him alone. 
  3. Pray that the Kitbi tribe would come to know the Lord Jesus and use its influence to lead others into His Kingdom.  Pray that they would be known as an Emirati tribe that follows Jesus Christ! 
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Explosive Faith

By Jennifer Kennedy Dean

From The One Year Praying the Promises of God

Fear flees when faith is activated. No matter how intimidating your circumstances appear, you don’t have to succumb to fear. You can exercise explosive faith.


The LORD said to Joshua, “I have given you Jericho, its king, and all its strong warriors.” Joshua 6: 2


As God was speaking these words, the Israelites were standing outside the fortified city of Jericho. It was surrounded by two parallel walls about fifteen feet apart. Jericho was no illusion. There it stood— fortressed, barricaded, impenetrable. To the Israelites’ physical sight, taking Jericho was difficult, if not hopeless. Cities such as Jericho had convinced ten of the twelve spies sent to scout out the land forty years earlier that Israel could not conquer it (see Numbers 13: 27-28). Fear activated by the sight of such an intimidating obstacle had already stolen forty years as well as an entire generation of people. Now, everything their eyes could see told them that this was still a lost cause.


But when God spoke to Joshua and called him to battle, he said, “I have given you Jericho” (emphasis added). The verb tense indicated that it was already a done deal. Finished work. Just waiting for the people’s obedience to bring that completed promise into their experience.


The writer of Hebrews tells the story in a few well-chosen words: “It was by faith that the people of Israel marched around Jericho for seven days, and the walls came crashing down” (Hebrews 11: 30). When the people obeyed the Lord’s command and marched around Jericho for seven days, the walls fell.


When the promise of God comes into contact with our faith-fueled obedience, an explosion of power results. Walls fall. Obstacles disappear. Enemies flee.   


You may be looking at a Jericho today. Maybe something in your life looks too big for you. Your enemy might be pointing out all the reasons why your obstacle will win the day. If so, remember this: when God calls you to battle, He has already won the victory. The only way your Jericho will stand is if you believe your limited perceptions instead of God’s Word and slink away, missing the opportunity to see God’s power in action.   



What obstacles in your life look too big for you right now? What changes in your perception if you redefine your circumstances by what your heart knows instead of what your eyes see?


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Abiding but not Thriving


There are two questions every believer must deal with in their Christian life. The first is: "Why aren't I bearing more fruit for the Kingdom of God?" The second is more troublesome: "Why does a good God allow evil and suffering in the world?" 

As He sits by the sea one day, Jesus answers both questions. In the parable of the sower, He reveals the believer's four-step growth progression towards fruitfulness. We know the first two: "wayside" hearers who do not understand the Word, and "stony" believers, or those who love the Word but have no root in themselves to persevere. It is the third type of believer we can learn from. 

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Down-to-earth Living

“Be practical as well as generous in your ideals. Keep your eyes on the stars, but remember to keep your feet on the ground.” (President Theodore Roosevelt)


Private quiet time with God in rarefied spiritual heights is enjoyable. In fact, His company may be so sweet we consider constructing a shrine to revisit now and then; we may even feel we’d like to permanently move to our mountainside retreat. To escape the world’s polluted atmosphere and breathe pure oxygen, to be reenergized by invigorating heavenly elevation—what could possibly be any better? Reveling in friendship with God, we may wish we could just stay on Transfiguration Mount.


But being a hermit does not fit into our job description. We need frequent mountain climbing, to pray in solitude and keep our relationship with God on course. We also need to come down to earth to care for people. God is Love and He wants us to be loving. Preparation for ministry happens on peaks, but practical application occurs on everyday plains and depressed ravines.


We need to pray alone, and we also need to relate meaningfully. We need to ascend to commune with our Lord, then descend to serve others. It’s wonderful to enjoy tranquil interludes, so we can be strong in noisy chaos. But we should be careful not to become so heavenly minded we’re of no earthly good. When our head is in the clouds, God help us not to forget the crowds.


Though Jesus reveled in glory, when He sensed humanity’s plight He stooped to help. The King of kings descended the majestic mountain, assuming a servant’s role to compassionately care for a world in desperate need—now it’s our turn.


“Then Moses turned and went down the mountain.”  (Exodus 32:15 NLT)


Johnny R. Almond

Author, Gentle Whispers from Eternity

[This devotion based on Day 54 of Gentle Whispers]

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“Those who hope for no other life are dead even in this.”

- Johann Wolfgang von Goethe


People frequently make sad mistakes at funerals—

eulogizing a loved one only in the past tense, as if life were all history;

mourners speaking of the need for closure, laying to rest previous relationships;

through ritual and ceremony, trying to bury strong emotional ties along with the remains.


Grieving people do need to continue responsibly; and life, whether we like it or not, does go on.

However, what we need most is a sense of OPENING—a skylight of hope in the dungeon of despair.


Human beings do live on after death; it’s not all over when names appear in obituary columns.

The God of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph did not say He was their God—He said I am.

God is the God of the living, not the dead—death does not have the final say—Life does.  


The future will be as bright as the promises of God.

The Lamb’s wedding will follow Satan’s funeral.

Life’s gala will succeed death’s dirge.

Heaven will cancel heartbreak.


Jesus is our skylight of hope.


“O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?

Sin is the sting that results in death, and the law gives sin its power.

But thank God! He gives us victory over sin and death through our Lord Jesus Christ.”

(1 Corinthians 15:55-57 ESV)


Johnny R. Almond

Christian preacher and writer

Author, Gentle Whispers from Eternity

[Devotion based on Day 36 of Gentle Whispers from Eternity]

GentleWhispersFromEternity-ScripturePersonalized (copy, paste to browser for blog)

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Responding to Christ's love

Our life is Christians is a response to the love of our Savior. Read "Responding to Christ's love" on my blog at

Johnny R. Almond
Pastor, Colonial Beach Baptist Church, Virginia
Author, Gentle Whispers from Eternity—Scripture Personalized
Book available through local bookseller or preferred on-line retailer.
[This devotion was based on/adapted from Day 24 of Gentle Whispers from Eternity]

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Life -- A Coat of Many Colors

Life is good because God is good.

“No man is in true health who cannot stand in the free air of heaven, with his feet on God’s free turf,

and thank his Creator for the simple luxury of physical existence.”

- T. W. Higginson (1823-1911) American clergyman and writer


God embroiders elaborate rainbow-hued relationships.

He orchestrates events for your benefit in kaleidoscopic patterns.

Your robe is not just one color—variegated threads make life anything but drab.

God conducts the full orchestra of His instruments—time, place, people, circumstances—

drowning out monotony’s sour note of pessimism and playing His never-ending love symphony.


Thank God for the privilege of physical life – every breath and heartbeat is His gift.

Thank God for the pleasure of abundant life – He does not orphan you in the storms of life.

Thank God for the promise of eternal life – you will live with Him in a tearless, deathless, painless place.


Wrapped around your vision field is a full-color spectrum—

an azure sky of hope, green grass of life, purple violets of royalty,

red roses of pardon, snow-white lilies of purity, golden sunsets of triumph.

Proudly wear your richly ornamented coat every day until the Lord Jesus Christ

drapes an immaculate heavenly robe fashioned for you around your redeemed shoulders.


“Jacob loved Joseph, so he gave Joseph a special gift—a beautiful robe—a coat of many colours.”

(Genesis 37:3 NLT, KJV)


Johnny R. Almond

                Pastor, Colonial Beach Baptist Church, Virginia

Author, Gentle Whispers from Eternity—Scripture Personalized

GentleWhispersFromEternity-ScripturePersonalized  (copy and paste to browser)

[This devotion based on/adapted from Day 26 of Gentle Whispers from Eternity]

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The Power of the Cross

From the upcoming book Altar’d by Jennifer Kennedy Dean. Release date February 2012.


The cross of Christ stands as the point of separation between the old person powered by death-driven corrupted flesh, and the new creation, powered by the very Spirit who raised Jesus from the dead.   At the moment you embrace the cross, you receive its power into your life —a power that is eternally and continually working. Paul says that “death is at work in us.” At work in us now. Doing ongoing work. Doing present work. A.B. Simpsons says, “We may not preach a crucified Saviour without being also crucified men and women…The cross that Paul speaks about was burned into his very flesh, was branded into his being, and only the Holy Spirit can burn the true cross into our innermost life.”


The death that Jesus died on the cross cannot be—and need not be—repeated. Only He is able to die for our sins, having no sins of His own to die for.  As we surrender our corrupted flesh to His crucifixion, and as His death works in us, we are not repeating the atoning work of the cross. That is done, completed, finished. Instead, we are letting the power of the cross work out the crucifixion of our flesh. It is not a cross of punishment that works in us. The cross did its work of punishment on the body of Jesus. It is the cross that is freeing us from the confines and the distortions and the limitations of our sin nature. It is not restriction, but freedom. It is, in fact, the only hope of being all that we were created to be.


God designed the eternal cadence and it is built into creation at its crux. Life emerges out of death.  The seed that falls into the ground to die to produce a harvest. The branch that is pruned so that it can bear more fruit.  The beautiful colors of fall, ushering in the very death that will culminate in the springtime resurrection.


Living altar’d means surrendering to the death from which life comes. The cross is the only place where flesh can go to die.


Flesh’s Design


Flesh is designed to misdirect.  Flesh will work hard to direct your gaze somewhere other than the cross. Failing that, flesh will attempt to distort your view of the cross. Make it seem ugly and harsh instead of life-giving and redemptive and tender.


I have something of a hobby, I guess you would call it, of reading books and articles and blogs by people who grew up in strong Christian homes, but as adults rejected their belief in Jesus. Their stories seem to have several common themes, but central to most is the theme of always trying to please a God who could not be pleased. They felt burdened and ashamed—always trying to measure up.  They fell for a misdirection.


You know how a magician’s tricks work. He depends on the fact that our minds can only focus on one thing at a time. He uses his skills to draw the focus of his audience where he wants it, so that he can do something else where his audience is not looking. The end result is that a lie appears to be the truth. He appears to have accomplished something by magic that was really done by trickery. It is very convincing.


This is what our flesh will try to induce in us. A misdirected focus. If flesh can keep you focused on your sin instead of His grace, then the myth of a rigid, angry god seems absolutely true. If your flesh can misdirect your focus away from the reality of the cross, and keep your attention on your best effort, then the perception of a demanding, harsh god appears grounded in reality.


Flesh tries to pull our attention away from the beautiful cross, where our freedom is to be found. tries to keep us focused on our own failings, or our own fleeting successes, redefining the cross as vindictive and vengeful and fearsome.


The cross is a living power working in our lives to irradiate the flesh that holds us captive and stunts our growth.  It has nothing to do with our ability to follow rules. 


If the cross is working on the inside, then the evidence will show up on the outside. If, however, the flesh is working hard at conforming the outside, it will wear you out and discourage you. Flesh-produced outward changes that started out looking shiny and beautiful will fail the test of perseverance. It won’t be lasting change.  What counts is a new creation, transformed from the inside out. Not a spiffed up old creation. The only way to live is to live altar’d.



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Words Work

 “The tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark. The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole person, sets the whole course of his life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell” (James 3:5-6)

I don’t think I have to convince you about the power words wield. When you think back to eventful moments in your life, there are likely words involved, either encouraging or discouraging. Those words had power. They perhaps changed your course. The tongue is a perfect illustration of the power of small. James makes the point that though the tongue is a small part of the body, it can set the course for a life.

Words are amazing weapons or great healers. Words have to be managed carefully. Once spoken, a word can’t be unspoken. You can’t inhale and pull it back in. Words take on a life of their own. All words are modeled after the Eternal Word: living, active, sharp. If you let words fly in the heat of the moment, someone will have to heal from their impact. You can say, “I’m so sorry! I didn’t mean that!” but the word is out and it lives in the person to whom you spoke it. No wonder the Word of God is jam-packed with warnings about using words prudently.

Words have the power to tear down, but they also have the power to build up. God can empower our words so that one small word can have so much impact that it redirects the trajectory of your life. God’s work in our lives can be so deep that it changes our words. After all, words come right from the heart. Changed heart, changed words. We can be so much in His presence that we naturally speak His words. Jesus once said of His words: ’These words you hear are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me”’ (John 14:24).

I’ve always been accused of being exactly like my dad. People say that we are alike in looks, in temperament, in personality, in the way we process information, and in how we communicate. My two sisters, when the three of us are together, will often react to some statement of mine by looking at each other, rolling their eyes, and saying in unison “That’s Daddy talking”.

They mean that I am expressing my own thoughts, but that my own thoughts are exactly like my father’s. If he were present, he’d have said exactly what I said. You might say I’m speaking my father’s words.

As you live moment by moment in His power and presence, he will speak His present-tense word through you. "The lips of the righteous nourish many" (Prov. 10:21). You will speak what you have heard from the Father. When you speak, it can be said of you, “’That’s her Father talking.”’

The Cumulative Power of Words

Words, once spoken live on. Those words you speak to your teen-ager, thinking they are going in one ear and out the other? They are landing and making themselves a home. The words you thought you could throw out in a huff and apologize for later? They’ve carved out a nook and settled in. The words of kindness and encouragement that seemed to be ignored? They are fertilizing dreams. Make it your goal to speak into lives such a preponderance of uplifting, encouraging words that they will eventually tip the balance and move a life from discouragement to hope.

From an upcoming book by Jennifer Kennedy Dean, The Power of Small: Think Small to Live Large. Make sure you are on our quarterly newsletter list so you will know when new products are available.

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Circumcising the Vision

From  Fueled by Faith by Jennifer Kennedy Dean

Listen to an interview on Fueled by Faith here.


The Finishing Touch
“Looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith”  (Heb. 12:2, KJV).

Faith in its finished form results in the power and provision of God manifested in the circumstances of earth. The perfecting and finishing of our faith is accomplished through difficulties and challenges of life. As we face challenges, it trains us in the ways of faith, it trains us to keep our focus on the reality instead of the shadow, and it circumcises all the flesh out of the vision God has given us. Like muscles in the physical body, faith grows by resistance training—by being forced to do heavy lifting.

“Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything” (James 1:2-4).

Difficulty becomes blessing. Trials become joy. 

Circumcising the Vision
When God impregnates you with promise and causes vision to grow in you, that vision is designed and tailored to fit you and only you. It fits you exactly. When God describes His will, He uses three words: good, pleasing, and perfect (Rom. 12:2). The word “perfect” means  “a perfect fit.” His will for you is beneficial to you (good); it will bring you pleasure and will please you (pleasing); and it will fit you to down to the last detail (perfect). You love the vision. You’re supposed to.

As the vision develops, the time comes when you are forced to recognize that although the vision is God’s, it has some of your flesh wrapped around it. When I say “flesh,” I am talking about those parts of your life that are still fueled by your human nature. Your flesh wants to own and control and possess and manage and manipulate. God is always working in you to free you of your flesh and move you more and more into the power of the Spirit. To that end, He arranges crisis moments at which you are brought face-to-face with your flesh and the claim it is trying to have on God’s vision. Those times are painful, but they are the most productive times of all. When your flesh is brought to its crucifixion, it is bloody and messy and our tendency is to resist. But crucifixion has but one end: resurrection. This has always been God’s pattern and continues to be so today. Crucifixion. Resurrection.

In Hebrews 11, God spotlights  and highlights lives that have put faith on display. In each, the crucifixion-resurrection principle is evident. Look with me at an example.

Moses’ Parents
The writer of Hebrews spotlighted Moses’ parents as prime examples of how faith works. The vision that God put into Moses began as a vision in the minds of his parents, who saw that he was no ordinary child.  God caused them to see His promise and it jumped up and took such possession of them that a bold and reckless faith was born, freeing them from fear of the pharaoh. They didn’t know all its ramifications, but their vision was that he would live and not die at the pharaoh’s hands. That may be as far as they could see, but it was far enough.

God had to have provided supernatural protection for the baby Moses. He gave wisdom and ideas to Moses’ parents. Why did they even think that a little ark of bulrushes might protect Moses’ life? How did the idea even occur to them?

Three months they loved him and nurtured him and memorized his darling face and recorded in their hearts his dear sighs and gurgles and cries. With each passing day, love grew.

When the day came to let him go, imagine his mother’s walk from her home to the Nile's edge. Three-month-old son entombed in a basket. 
Surely only her selfless love for her son could induce her to walk her Via De La Rosa. Had she given one thought to her own desires, she would have turned back. She was going to place him into the Nile in the days when the Nile ran red with the blood of Hebrew sons. She was letting him go into the river that his enemy had declared to be his burial place. Imagine as she stood in the Nile's waters and came to that moment when she had to do the hardest thing she would ever be called upon to do. She had to let him go. She had to die to her mother's instincts to guard and protect. To save his life, she had to let him go.
When she did, her son was put upon the course he had been ordained to travel. The very river that might have been his end was instead his beginning. Jochabed received him back again, but everything had changed. When she put him into the Nile he was a slave. When she received him back from the Nile, he was a prince.
The secret was in the letting go.

(Learn more about the Crucifixion-Resurrection principle in  Fueled by Faith by Jennifer Kennedy Dean.


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From Pursuing the Christ by Jennifer Kennedy Dean

“I will make a covenant of peace with them; it will be an everlasting covenant with them. I will establish and multiply them, and will set My sanctuary among them forever. My dwelling place will be with them; I will be their God, and they will be My people.”
—Ezekiel 37:26–27

The Word became flesh and took up residence among us.
—John 1:14

God with us, Immanuel, Your stated purpose for Your Incarnation and all that it entailed—Your birth, Your crucifixion, Your resurrection, Your ascension, the sending of Your Spirit—was to establish peace.

You are the  peace. The peace You offer is not something separate fromYourself. The peace You offer is entirely based on who You are. Who You are is all that matters.

When Your messenger came to Mary, as recorded in Luke 1, Your message was a bit unsettling: “Do not fear. I am about to upend your life and make you centerstage for My divine drama, but do not fear.” Mary had one question: “How can this be?” (v. 34). You had one answer: “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you” (v. 35). Mary wanted to know how, but You only told her who.

“Our faith does not provide us with an answer, but with a Person. When Mary sought an explanation, what she got was a revelation,”  Brantley reminds me Dean.according to my son Brantley.

I imagine how Mary  might have reacted   had You explained to her Mary  the how of Your plan. How would  I respond to the most complex explanation of the most intricate matter regarding a subject of which I am wholly ignorant?   That would sound like baby talk compared to an explanation about how You would come as a little baby fashioned in the womb of a virgin. The how would not have brought peace to Mary’s heart, but the who caused a peace that surpassed understanding to stand guard over her heart (Philippians 4:7).

When anxiety tries to lay claim to my thoughts, when fear seeks a foothold in my mind, when confusion threatens to make a stand in my heart, I look to You, I seek Your face. You are all the antidote I need to anything that might steal my peace.

You will keep in perfect peace
the mind that is dependent on You,
for it is trusting in You.
Trust in the Lord forever,
because in Yah, the Lord, is an everlasting rock!
—Isaiah 26:3–4

You came to me. You, the Unknowable made Yourself known.The Invisible made Yourself visible. The Invulnerable made Yourself vulnerable. The Unapproachable approached.

No frantic seeking was required. No ceremonies and rituals were necessary. You, for whom our souls long, have eternally been longing for us. With all our anxious looking about, You were always there. Your presence is peace.

I found You in the spaces in between
I found You in the dark and not the light
I looked for You in drama
In the earthquake and the fire
And found You in the quiet,
You were waiting for me there.
I looked for You in miracles
In the loud, in voices raised
I looked for You in gatherings
In signs, in prayer and praise
But I found you in the gentle breeze
The still small voice, the darkened cave.

I found you in the spaces
Between sleeping and awake
I found you in the waiting
The worry, in the fear
I found You in the sleepless night
I found You in despair
I found You in the questions
No loud answers anywhere
I found You in the silence
Silence full not silence void
I found You in the spaces
You were looking for me there.

—poem by Rachel Holley,   © 2007

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Hand Made

I realized something this morning that I had not seen quite so clearly before. It jumped out and surprised me today. I was considering that the power of God’s Word that created the universe is as powerful now as it was in the beginning. When God says “Let there be…”, molecules accumulate into matter, atoms bond together into mass, cell fuses to cell and things which were not, now exist. When the breath of His mouth rushes out to vocalize His Word, even the tiniest neutrino is ordered into lockstep with His command.

Then I started thinking about His breath . It takes breath to form a word. Have you ever been with someone whose breathing is compromised? They can’t speak easily. Breath is the transporter of words and without breath, words are imprisoned inside the mind and have no outlet.

Then I started thinking about how He breathed the breath of life into the human He created on the sixth day—the pinnacle of His creation. That led me to consider – and here is the picture that took me by surprise—that He created the human differently than the way He created everything else.

Everything else was formed by His Word, but the human was formed by His hands.

As I observed with my imagination how God shaped the human—formed him, molded and sculpted him—I was awed by the intimacy of touch that was being acted out. How God left His fingerprints and His DNA all over the human. How He took the time to tenderly create this Self-expression with His own hands. Down in the dirt, one with the clay from which He sculpted. He made the human from the dust of the earth He had just created. Earthy.

Then—and now the intimacy is stunning—then He breathes. He leans over this earthy man, covers the human’s mouth with His own, and breathes.

The man formed of earth is filled with the life of the heavenlies. Heaven and earth meet, and life as God intended appears. What was not, now had become. When God breathed, He breathed into the human. Not around him, or over him. He breathed the Word into him.

With the fall, the man who started out earthy—all earth—was once again earthy. When Jesus, the last adam, appeared in earth’s environment, once again heaven and earth met. When the day came for the Word to indwell mankind again, He breathed. (John 20:22)

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God Calling

The person who is living a praying life is not circumstance-driven, but Christ-driven; not problem-centered, but Power-centered. Our frame of reference is not what we lack, but what God has. We define our lives within the context of eternity instead of time.

I find it interesting that when Abram, later to be Abraham, is first introduced on the pages of Scripture, he is defined by what he lacked. We first encounter his name in the lengthy lineage recorded in Genesis 11. All the other men were described in terms of whom they begot. Whom they fathered. Abram is described by his failure to father an heir. That's what we learn about him first of all. The narrative tells us that Abram took a wife named Sarai, and that Sarai was barren and had no child (Gen. 11:20). Abram, who was destined to stand front-and-center as the very definition of a living faith, is introduced not as brave Abram, or faithful Abram, or kind Abram… just childless Abram. Defined by lack.

Why? I ask. When there were so many other things to say about Abram, why turn the spotlight on the one thing he lacks? I think the reason is that by shining the light on the lack, the Scripture rivets our attention on the cusp of re-creation. We can't look away. How will a God who so directly calls our attention to Abram's greatest sorrow and humiliation, show Himself the life-creator? Watch Him work!

Have you noticed this about God? He never avoids the issue. He never spins the facts or brushes reality under the rug. Up Front God. Look how Paul summarizes Abraham's situation: "Against all hope, Abraham in hope believed and so became the father of many nations, just as it had been said to him, 'So shall your offspring be.' Without weakening in his faith, he faced the fact that his body was as good as dead--since he was about a hundred years old--and that Sarah's womb was also dead. Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, being fully persuaded that God had power to do what he had promised"
(Romans 4:18-21). God just puts it out there. The bad news is just setting the stage for the good that is about to come.

It's like He's calling our attention to the need so that when the supply is revealed, we won't be focused elsewhere and miss the power display. Abram's paucity has a starring role in the eternal drama. Playing opposite the power and provision of God, Abram's need offsets the wonder of God's plan so that we are nearly blinded by its luster.

As if in Abram's lack, God is saying, "Right here! This is exactly where I am about to apply my power. Take a good look. See the barren sterile, dried up dream? See the death of hope? Right here is where I'm working!"

Resurrection God. From Abraham-- as good as dead-- and Sarah-- whose womb was also dead, came Isaac. Laughter. Joy. Merriment. Celebration. Life that came from death-- Resurrection.

Paul calls Him "the God who gives life to the dead and calls things that are not as though they were" (Romans 4:17). Are these two descriptive phrases two ways of stating the same thing? I think so. These words are presented to us within Paul's description of the miraculous birth of Isaac. Life that came out of death. Paul says that He "calls" those things which are not as though they were. Call can mean to call aloud, utter in a loud voice, invite; to call by name. When did Jesus "cry out in a loud voice" and bring life out of death? John 11:43, as He stood at the grave of Lazarus. "Lazarus, come out!" Called out loud.

I think the Scripture is saying that God steps right into the middle of mucky, messy death-- all-hope-lost death; no-way-out death; not-gonna-happen death-- and He calls out, "Life, come out!" And the voice of the in-the-beginning God reproduces the earth's opening act. He calls order out of chaos. He calls something out of nothing. He calls life out of death.

The lack sets the stage for the provision. Death lays the groundwork for resurrection.

In your praying life, is there a big, hot light on your need? Does it seem to define you right now? You don't have to pretend its not there. In fact, show it off. That's where God is about to apply His power.
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Washed by the Word

Brain Washing

Jesus said that we are made clean by the Word. "You are already clean because ofthe word I have spoken to you" (John 15:3). Speaking of the church, He said that He would "make herholy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word" (Ephesians5:26-27). He prayed, "Sanctify them in the truth. Your word is truth"(John 17:

The first way that Jesus begins to clean us out inside is by speaking His Word inHis present-tense, living voice.When you read the Scripture, when you meditate on the Scripture, and memorizethe Scripture, hear His voice speaking to you. It washes your brain clean.

Soaking in the Scripture lets its living power penetrate into the marrow of yourpersonality, changing every part of you. As the Word pours into you, the truthconfronts lies you didn't even know you believed. It takes lies head on andoverpowers them.

Do you remember the very first video games? There was one called PacMan. I can'tremember what the object of the game was, but I remember a big round head witha mouth overtook little dots and swallowed them up. That's all I remember.Chomp, chomp, chomp. Little dots disappearing into the giant head never to beseen again. That 's my picture of how the living Word works on the inside. Itovertakes and chomps down lies.

The same voice that created the universe in the beginning is speaking to you now.The same Spirit who hovered over the chaos in the beginning and called orderinto being is living in you now. "By the word of the Lord were the heavensmade, their starry host by the breath of his mouth" (Psalm 33:6). He stilldoes His work by His word.

Take the Word in and let it do its work. Expose yourself to all the Word of God youcan, and trust that He will make it effective in your life.

From Life Unhindered! by Jennifer Kennedy Dean

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