eternal (6)


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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An Eternal Perspective Changes Everything

"We may ‘believe’ in eternity, but to what extent have we actually agreed with the world that eternity is not relevant until after this life? Eternity is not merely a time frame that is endless; it is profoundly and foremost a qualitative thing that is available now. When we begin to see all our moments set in the context of eternity, we will bring to those moments a seriousness that we would not otherwise have had." Art Katz

What will I do this year or even this next month? How will my family survive? How will I make ends meet?
As we enter into this New Year, these are questions that vast amounts of people are asking. Is there a way to live above all of these temporary trials and truly thrive amid the stress and the strain of end time living? If the whole world is groaning and the birth pangs before the Lord’s return are getting closer, what can we do in order to survive? Is there a way to live victoriously?
Perhaps what we need is an eternal perspective that changes everything–how we view life, how we view our trials, and how we live life in the ordinary.
The truth is that we are being prepared for eternity. God is building character within us that will last forever. He is most concerned about our character and motives. The unique trials that each of us face on earth are designed by an eternal God who sees and knows all. They are not a mistake or by chance. Of course, we ourselves make mistakes, but God can turn them all into good (Romans 8:28). He knows our advantages and our disadvantages–our family backgrounds, our marriages, our education, and everything about us, even to the minutest detail. He sees the good and bad circumstances that we face. We must realize that God sees everything in the eternal context, but we live in a world that wants everything now.
The world system is built on immediate gratification and living for present pleasures. But if we lose the meaning of eternity and fail to see life from an eternal perspective, we lose everything important from God’s point of view. To apprehend eternity in this life is not only to anticipate a future enjoyment, but it is to appropriate a present reality.
The apostle Paul lived in the powerful reality of the eternal. It was a joyful reality, and it made a difference in everything he did. He saw beyond the things that he suffered on earth. He was hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecute, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed (2 Corinthians 4:8-10). His trials (shipwreck, stoning, persecution, prison, and so much more) were merely light and momentary afflictions. Why? Paul had an eternal perspective and saw an eternal weight of glory that would be his reward. An eternal perspective changes everything. He said:
"Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal" (2 Corinthians 4:16-18).
If we look at our life at this moment, how do we see our trials? Are they burdensome, depressing, overwhelming, worthless, and to be avoided at all cost? Or can we rise up higher and see the eternal realm? Everything depends on seeing the unseen and the eternal. Are we living as if we were a citizen of heaven or a citizen of earth? Are we bringing the eternal dimension into our daily tasks and the ordinary?
It is possible to live as if everything is charged with eternity. We as believers have the calling to bring eternity into time, of bringing the reality of heaven down to earth. God wants us to lay up our treasures in heaven and live in the joy of being rewarded for everything we do for Jesus’ sake. Even giving a cold glass of water will not lose its reward when we do it for Jesus.
If we live as the world lives by seeking to find fulfillment now, then how are we different than those who do not know Christ? We are living like mere men who have not tasted of heaven and are blinded by the alluring traps of the enemy. We are trying to make the emptiness of this life our home. The whole world lies in massive deception. Many of us keep rearranging the furniture in our earthly life (endless buying, multiple divorces, countless addictions) without ever finding true fulfillment and joy. It just can’t be found without Jesus.
The Bible says that we are strangers on earth and are looking for a city whose maker and builder is God (Hebrews 11:10).
As we begin this New Year, it’s time to live up to our true heavenly calling. True joy is found only in living for heaven, where the glitter of this world has lost its glamour and power. An eternal perspective changes everything. There is an unbelievable purity and simplicity in knowing Christ that is far greater than anything this world offers. But we can so easily be led astray (2 Corinthians 11:3).
As believers we must understand this message about the eternal. The urgency around us screams for our attention. We can no longer say that what is coming on the world is just a bad dream. This is the hour where the Lord is asking us to rise up to our true calling. He wants us to shake off the lies and be all that He intended for us to be at this hour. He wants us to set our minds and hearts on things above. Only then can He truly use us to the fullest extent for His glory. With an eternal perspective:

  • We can be truly joyful even when all around us is falling apart. 
  • We can rise up with a new perspective that will make the lost world take notice. 
  • Our life can burn with eternity and purpose. 

This is an invitation for all of us to come into a new dimension of being. We need to evaluate all of our earthly activities from an eternal perspective. It’s time to live for heaven and narrow down our life to what will be eternally of value. Joy is found not in half-hearted commitment, but when we go all the way for God. I am evaluating everything I do. In light of the judgment seat of Christ at the end of the age, Mike Bickle has often said to our IHOPKC staff:
“Lord, shock me now! Show me what areas in my life that need change before that final day.” 
Four years ago my life dramatically changed in an instant. Running to answer my doorbell to get a new computer for writing, I slipped on my top step and fell all the way down the stairs, landing at the bottom in a heap. My husband quickly drove me to the emergency, and I ended up in the hospital with a broken wrist and heel. I was in a wheelchair for months with a cast on my foot and leg, and one on my arm. From a human viewpoint, it made no sense at all. There were months of recovery where I couldn’t do a thing!
During that time I had a lot of time to think. I thought about life. I thought about what was important. I thought about eternity. Through this unfortunate circumstance God turned personal tragedy and loss into blessing and joy, because He gave me an eternal perspective that changed everything. 
It’s time for us to change our perspective and seek that which is above. It’s time that we live in light of eternity. 
Every time we pray and bless another, every time we don’t complain, every time we turn another cheek and stop our tongue from speaking evil, we are laying up our treasures in heaven and will be rewarded. God is conforming us to His image, and we will not be disappointed. Let’s see our eternal reward in every act of kindness and in every sacrifice we make, large or small. Everything on earth is preparation for the age to come. We have an eternal destiny. Let’s learn to live a joyful life in light of this reality.
"If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory" (Colossians 3:1-4).

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But whoever keeps His word, truly the love of God is perfected in him. By this we know that we are in Him.  He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk just as He walked....(1 John 2:5-6)


Oh Most Holy and Heavenly Father, I think You that Your Word, Oh God, is written in the Heavens. I thank You that Your Word is Truth. I thank You that Your Words will never fade or pass away and therefore, because You keep Your Word, I pledge to do my part and keep Your Word hidden in my heart and shown through my actions and deeds, that Christ lives within me. 

Lord, may Your Holy Spirit, the Spirit of all Truth, Wisdom and Understand Who keeps me permanently connected to the Eternal, fortify my will to keep Your Word of Truth firmly embedded, to keep it from shame and slander, to keep it from dishonor and degradation and to keep and guard it as jealously as You guard Your Holy Name. Your Love commands, compels and gives me confidence in Your Word to remain faithful to it, to obey it and dwell on it as our Savior did. Your Word says in Hebrews 5:7 that our Savior's prayers, cries and petitions were heard because of His piety, obedience and submission to Your Will and Yours alone.

Let us now walk in that Truth, in the Path of Persistent Obedience where He, the Lord Jesus, walked that we may too be found in Him, to the praise and glory of His Name. By this Truth we know we are His, in Him, in His Will and walking in His Ways. Lord we long to be like Jesus, and to live, walk, talk and rest in You as He did and may ALL our worship be Yours and His, throughout our lives, in the Strong and Mighty Name of King Jesus I pray, amen.

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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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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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Too much has been said about freedom, deliverance, breaking free, breaking loose from the bondage and shackles of our past without the actual application of just doing it! So many Christians live such defeated lives that it would take me another book to dissect all the reasons; rhymes and horrible times we put ourselves through when we refuse to live in the Victory.

What Victory am I speaking about? This Victory is one we won when we took up residence at the Foot of the Cross. We then embraced its substitutionary atonement and subse accepted the Pardon which was paid for there, and is still valid almost 2000 years since!

Two verses today speak to this as we glance at the wonderful chapter of Romans 8 and see that verses 1 and 2 undergirds this foundational truth: "So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus. 2 And because you belong to him, the power of the life-giving Spirit has freed you from the power of sin that leads to death"!

How about that! Here are just the facts, ma'am"

No condemnation: we have been pardoned and declared not guilty BECAUSE we surrendered all at the Foot of the Cross.
- We are not just not guilty (even though the Charge against us was "WE SINNED AGAINST GOD") but now the Judge Who said we are still "not guilty"  then says..."and furthermore, you now belong to My Son, Who created the Heaven's and the Earth! Can you just imagine how that feels?! WE BELONG TO THE ETERNAL KING!
- AND not just that, but because we DO belong to this Eternal King of Glory, the Lord God Almighty, the Powerful Force Who created and controls the entire Universe just pulled our fat out of the fire and given us"ZOE"! That word ZOE is a powerful word. It is officially described as "GOD intimately sharing His gift of life with people, created each of us in His image". Then gave us all the capacity/power/supernatural strength to know His eternal life.

Therefore, in light of all this mind-boggling Grace to us from our Heavenly Father, we can now not only be free from the past sinfulness but can proactively live victoriously. This can only come about because we are safe and solidly in the knowledge of the Holy, Who has given us more than we deserve! So friend, if you're struggling today with some past acquaintance reminding you of things which God has already forgiven you or even your conscience being used to play tricks on you....if you're saturated with societal lunacy, which never seems to satisfy but more than ever pulls you down into a zone of fleshy dissatisfaction with your current physical environment and circumstance....well then, remember these same verses from Romans 8:1 and 2!

Father, in the Name of Jesus, please seal this encouragement from Your Holy Scriptures in our heart. Help us to learn to not just accept that You have forgiven us, through repentance and the sacrifice on the Cross, but to comprehend that we can now hold on to with this Truth and walk in peace, joy, contentment and righteousness. Father, knowing that You love me and everyone reading this, I pray for those who have not been told the Truth. I pray that if they have truly come to the saving personal knowledge of the Lord Jesus as Lord and Savior, that they will believe with every fiber of their being that "He whom the Son sets free - is FREE indeed"....and THAT FREEDOM is now theirs!  In the Strong and Powerful Name of Jesus, amen!
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