spiritual (41)


I have recently been made more aware of serious problems in our nation, and of spiritual attack in the lives of people that I love. These things are frustrating. And one of the most frustrating factors in my seeing these things is that I cannot see anything I can do to have any appreciable effect. But while I cannot help in the physical realm, I know I can have great effect in the spiritual realm where the real battle will be fought. Paul wrote about this in 2 Corinthians 10. Verse 3 says as much.

“For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh.”

I am not exactly sure how to apply this truth. Paul is warning people who have not repented of sins against the church that he is coming with spiritual authority. But how he applies this seems to fit a much larger set of circumstances, including those that I am dealing with right now. Look at the following verses. Verse 4 reads,

“For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds.”

Paul says the weapons of spiritual warfare are not fleshly efforts. They do not come by screaming at people, although God can speak thunderously.  On a broader scale, they are not political, although they can affect governments. When Paul says they demolish strongholds, he is talking about the strongholds of demonic forces in the world and in the lives of people, sometimes even believers. This certainly describes things I have seen in the lives of people who cannot seem to let go of attitudes that are destroying them and others. It also applies to some who are being attacked by jealousy, intrigue, and infighting among colleagues. And I can see this in the culture of my own country, and around the world.

We see something of how this works in verse 5.

“We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ.”

How do we confound ungodly arguments? Let me point out three crucial factors. The first is love. God's love for people will often overcome opposition. When we speak of spirituality, we have to include all the fruit of the the Spirit listed in Galatians 5. But possibly the most powerful of them is agape, the infinite, ultimate love of God in our lives. Next is spiritual knowledge. This must begin with the gospel by which lives are transformed. Sometimes this means simply speaking the truth even when it is opposed. When he was tempted by Satan in the wilderness, Jesus just quoted Scripture. He did not convince Satan, but Jesus was not swayed by the temptation.

Finally, and many ways most important is prayer. In Ephesians 6:10-17 Paul gives us what are mostly defensive weapons. But in verse 18 he concludes with the power of prayer.

“Praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end, keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints.”

We break the power of the enemy by prayer. We extend the Kingdom of God by praying. And we can trust the power of God as we become more and more intimate with Him. You may not see revival as you pray. But you can know God is at work. And you never see revival without extraordinary prayer. You may not avoid evil in this world. Abraham interceded for Sodom. But it was still destroyed. Jesus could have avoided the cross. But I am so thankful that He did not. You will not be able to to keep the Antichrist from rising in the last days. But you will be able to endure all that comes upon the Earth. And you can build a shelter of prayer around those you pray for. And again and again you will turn the hearts of those for whom you pray back to the God of the Bible.









Read more…


My eyesight is not as good as it once was. And that affects many things in my life. Astigmatism has distorted my vision since I was a boy, and cataracts do no help. In Matthew 6 Jesus compared eyesight with spiritual vision.

Matthew 6:22,23

“The eye is the lamp of the body. So, if your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light, but if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light in you is darkness, how great is the darkness!

Let me point out a few distortions that plunge us into spiritual darkness.

Worldly Eyes

If your focus is only on this world, even for your church or your ministry, you have been blinded to ultimate reality. Many people do this deliberately. Others of us are simply distracted by the worries and desires of this life. If you live as though this life is all there is, all meaning is reduced or eradicated. Your body becomes your soul, and time becomes eternity, the church becomes a club, and life becomes meaningless.

Lustful Eyes

Do you look at others with lust in your heart? Lust distorts people into fleeting pleasures. This shallow vision is soon reinforced by glandular drives. However, lust can be broader than physical desire. The word translated lust in the original language of the New Testament is also used to translate covetousness. If your vision is distorted by anything that you want, you will never be able to understand why things do not satisfy. In Luke 12:15 Jesus warned us to be on our guard against all kinds of covetousness. We have to watch out for it because we seldom recognize it in our own lives. When you cannot even see that you are blind, how deep that darkness is indeed.

Prideful Eyes

These are eyes that see everything in the light of yourself. Pride does not just see yourself as better than others. It pushes you to claim the most prominent position. Pride studies, not to learn, but to impress. Pride dresses, not comfort, or even beauty, but for success. Pride looks at a home or a car as a means of intimidating others. Pride is blind to anything and anyone beyond yourself.

Selfish Eyes

The previous two eye problems are self-centered. But I think we need to see selfishness as a separate category. First, it is always in competition for what you want. Selfishness sees love as a means of personal fulfillment rather than commitment. It treats other people as means to its own ends. And also because it tends to self-pity, this malady turns everything into resentment. It often seeks friends, marriage partners and sometimes even counselors who will reinforce your resentments.

But what can you do about spiritual blindness? In one of my books a doctor tells about a patient who got a thorn in his eye. (In The Wilderness, https://www.amazon.com/WILDERNESS-David-Young-ebook/dp/B00BLNMUIA/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1539279887&sr=8-3 ) He pointed out that the natural defence mechanism in humans kept him from removing the thorn. That is also true of our spiritual blindness. We need God in His tender care to correct our diseased eyesight. To some extent our perspective is transformed at our conversion. “All things become new.” (2 Corinthians 5:17) But God also puts us through a process of therapy to enable us to see more and more as He sees. And ultimately, we will see as clearly as we ourselves are seen by God. (2 Corinthians 13:12)









Read more…


How do you measure the church? Do you measure it by the beauty and size of the building? Do you measure it by the number of programs and activities? Do you measure it by the number of people who attend or the size of the offerings gathered?

In Revelation 11 John was told to do some measuring. And I think his measurements tell us something about measuring the church.

“Then I was given a measuring rod like a staff, and I was told, ‘Rise and measure the temple of God and the altar and those who worship there.’”


I do not believe that the temple which John was told to measure was just the temple of God in heaven. I believe it is also the temple of God where he dwells in His church. Ephesians 2:21 says we are being built together as a dwelling for God. You measure the church partly by how its members are bonded together like bricks in a wall. This comes from fellowship, from working together, from facing trials together, from believing together, and most of all from praying together. God’s presence blesses a church whose members are bound together in Him. Is your’s a gathering where God dwells? You can sense the presence of God in a church.


The altar is the place of worship. How important is worship to your church? Do people worship sacrificially, giving everything in their lives to God? Does your church worship joyfully, praising God with all of your hearts? Does service and sacrifice spring up out of love for God?


I think it is telling that John was told to measure the temple and the altar and those who worship there. You do not measure a church simply by the number of people who attend. A church must be measured by the spiritual growth in the lives that God has trusted to it. Are people becoming more Christ-like. Are people becoming more and more faithful, more and more devoted, more and more loving from the ministry of your church?









Read more…


Many of you in our community responded positively to last week’s post, which included a reminder of God’s promise to bless those who set aside time for Him. You may remember that part of the specific promise the Lord gave was to “release strategies to help you bring the full tithe of your time and energy into the Kingdom.” (For the full post, click here.)

This week as I studied, the Lord gave me a strategy to share with you, which I have found immensely helpful. It is the idea of a “mini” Christian prayer retreat. What I will share with you is an adaptation of a plan outlined in Michael Hyatt and Daniel Harkavy’s new book, entitled “Living Forward.

Keep Reading

Read more…
Morning by Morning, January 16 - Compass and Guide
Good morning, Lord Jesus. Help me begin my day grounded in Your Word and growing in Your grace -- Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.  ...
"But the path of the righteous is like the light of dawn, which shines brighter and brighter until full day.... Keep straight the path of your feet, and all your ways will be sure. Do not swerve to the right or to the left; turn your foot away from evil" (Proverbs 4:18-27).
Guide my steps on Your path of life. Let Your Word be my compass and Your Spirit be my guide. Then, "when (I) turn to the right or when I turn to the left, (my) ears shall hear a word behind (me), saying, 'This is the way; walk in it'" (Isaiah 30:21).
You said, "The gate is narrow and the road is hard that leads to life, and there a few who find it" (Matthew 7:14). But by the power of the grace of God at work within me, by the guidance of Your Word and Your Spirit, I want to find it. I want to grow in grace and walk in truth in the fullness of the life I have in You. As I choose to seek You and follow You, You will always be "(my) way, (my) truth, and (my) life" (John 14:6). In Jesus' name I pray. Amen.
Be encouraged today! In the Love of Jesus, Tommy Hays
My friend,  May you walk in the way that leads to life every day with God's Word as your compass and God's Spirit as your guide, in Jesus' name. Please pray the same for me. God bless you, my friend!
Read more…
Laylat al Qadr (Night of Power or the Night of Destiny)
"The visions of your prophets were false and worthless; they did not expose your sin to ward off your captivity.  The prophecies they gave you were false and misleading."  - Lamentations 2:14 (NIV)
"For He has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins."  - Colossians 1:13-14 (NIV)
Christians serving among Muslims suggest we keep these verses in mind as we pray regarding this topic:  Lamentations 2:14 and Colossians 1:13-14
Laylat al-Qadr [Night of Power]
"The Night of Power is better than a thousand months" (Surat al-qadr, 3).
Muslims believe that God revealed the first verses of the Qur'an during this night and that it is the holiest night of the year. Many will spend the whole night in prayer and devotion in mosques or at home, reading the Qur'an and hoping that their requests will be granted, specifically asking for forgiveness. A hadith promises, "Whosoever offers voluntary prayers during the Night of Power out of belief and expecting from Allah its reward will have his past sins forgiven" (Bukhari and Muslim).
Pray that Muslims will see their own sinfulness and spiritual disillusionment with the promises of Islam.
Pray Muslims will open themselves to true revelations from God.
Pray for opportunities for Christians to share about the forgiveness through Jesus and for Muslims to hear His voice.
Laylat al-Qadr is also translated as Night of Destiny. Muslims expect that their prayers during this night will change their destiny for the year. Many devotions are aimed at reaching a higher spiritual state, promising an eternal destiny closer to God. Many are experiencing dreams, visions, and other supernatural incidents.
Pray many Muslims will have dreams and visions of Jesus during this night.
Pray that Jesus will reveal His power through signs and miracles.
Pray that Muslims will experience the fullness of God in Jesus.
Read more…

PrayNetwork spotlight - Ron Edwards

This week, we're turning the Spotlight on Ron Edwards, a relatively new member of PrayNetwork.  Ron is located in Australia and joined the Network on July 1, 2015.

PN: Ron, how did you first come to be interested in prayer?

Ron: I began to experience prayer as spiritual warfare when I took my company Christian Press into the secular marketplace under the name Care & Share Products.  We focused on offering scripture cards and gifts.  The company began to come under intense spiritual attack, and I realized then that prayer is spiritual warfare and that I was involved in it whether I realized it or not.


PN: What's your favorite passage about prayer and why?

Ron: It's Ephesians 6:18, "Therefore give yourselves wholly to prayer and entreaty; pray on every occasion in the power of the Holy Spirit". In context, this verse ties prayer in with the armor of God and spiritual warfare, and this summarizes well my experience in prayer.


PN: What topic(s) of prayer make your heart beat faster?

Ron: With the perspective of spiritual warfare, I'm particularly interested in prayer as a means of binding the strong man (Matthew 12:29; Luke 10:19). Satan is our spiritual enemy, the strong man, and prayer is our main weapon for binding him.


PN: What has been your best experience of prayer in community?

Ron: Praying with Transforming Sidney.  We saw the kind of unity that Jesus himself prayed for evident across denominations, age, and nationalities as we came together in this prayer event.


PN: What resources would you recommend on prayer?

Ron: The Way of Victorious Praying by Zacharias Tanee Fomum and Handle with Prayer by Charles Stanley.  Also, for praying in community, Joe Aldrich's Prayer Summits.


PN: What word of encouragement do you have for the PrayNetwork community?

Ron: God stirs up prayer movements and prayer warriors to stem the tide of people turning away from him.  We've seen this in Australia, as a renewed emphasis on prayer has resulted from our country's movement toward ejecting God from its life.  God does not give up on us!

PN:  Ron doesn't have a profile set up on PrayNetwork yet, but you can find out more about him at his sites,



Also, check out Ron's homepage on PrayNetwork for a Powerpoint presentation sharing his insights on praying effectively.

PrayNetwork.org Spotlight by Andrew Wheeler.

See Andrew's website at www.togetherinprayer.net

Read more…


Jesus told us to ask the Father for our daily bread. We are tempted to devote prayer to the chocolate donuts of luxury and comfort. But none of these pleasures are good, if our real needs are not met. Two truths emerge from the wording of this prayer. Needs are immediate. And needs are ultimate.

We have a tendency to pray for God to provide our needs far into the future. These seem to be prayers for God to provide so we will not have to trust him ever again. I have terminal cancer. God has not chosen to remove my cancer. But I have lived and often been basically healthy years longer than my doctors told me I would. Not long ago a friend introduced me as a cancer survivor. I told him later that I couldn't say that. He said, "Every day you are alive, you are a survivor." I told one of my doctors I was doing better than he thought I would because people were praying for me. He was silent for a moment and then said, "That's right."

Our needs are also ultimate. You will die if you do not have food to eat. You have other ultimate needs. Some are physical like the need for bread. Others are emotional, intellectual or spiritual. From an ultimate perspective our greatest needs are spiritual. Life is ultimately meaningless without a sense of wonder, truth, purpose, righteousness and security. These only come from God. They are the fruit of the gospel in our lives. Jesus died that we might have life truly, fully and eternally. Are you focusing on the greatest needs that face us? Or are your prayers distracted by lesser things. My cancer brings an urgency to my life. I don't want to devote most of my energy to praying for a better parking place at the donut shop.

Next week we will look at praying for forgiveness.



Read more…

Overcoming Exhaustion

One of the reasons why I began writing His Inscriptions was to strengthen believers - especially Christian leaders - who are weary and exhausted for various reasons. You may be feeling that way today. It is not uncommon, in an increasingly hostile world, to feel tired or discouraged. Once we are weary, it becomes harder than ever to maintain the good habits we have of connecting with God. Self-discipline eludes us and our communication with God ebbs at the time we need it most.

The Bible addresses weariness, and in its simplest form, we know that a weary body needs rest and nourishment, just as a weary spirit does. (Read more here)

Read more…

How in the world can we relax?

“To be ‘on edge,’ you are literally not centered — not being in your spiritual center.”  (Carrie Latet)


When life gets confusing, Christ is our personal Tour Guide.  If we trust and obey the Lord, He will accompany us on our wilderness journey to the promised land. Christ is our Comforter, Coach, Guide, Defense Counsel, and Teacher. He is right beside us—praying, cheering, advising, forgiving, and instructing. If we yearn for Christ to be more real to us, we must obey Him unquestioningly. If we sincerely want His guidance on the road He wants us to travel, we must not take a step without Him.


When life gets rough, Christ is our Storm Shelter. If we open the eyes of our heart, we’ll see evidences of Love all around—shining in mercy, grace, compassion, pardon, and kindness. If we are seeking stability in a quicksand world, we must take our stand on the Solid Rock.


When life gets complicated, Christ is our Greatest Friend. When the pressures are on, we’re privileged to talk problems over with Him. If we’d like to have a heart-to-heart conversation with Him, we have to quit doing all the talking and listen to what He has to say. Hearing His voice, He puts us at ease.  


When our self-image is fractured, Christ is our Faithful Shepherd.  We may have trouble believing this, but He really likes us. When we’re down on ourselves, He isn’t. When we don’t feel like taking another step, He lifts us up and carries us. Nestling near His heart, we feel secure.


When everything nailed down comes loose, Christ holds us together. When our world falls apart, we don’t have to. When we stop searching for the panic button, He gives us unshakable courage and incomprehensible peace. We will not go crazy, if we make Him Lord of our intellect. We will not spin out of control, if we surrender to Him as King of our personality.


When we’re “on edge”, we can recover our emotional balance by spiritual centering—focusing on Christ, our Center of Gravity. Making Him our Resting Place, we can relax.


The Lord replied, ”My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.”  (Exodus 33;14 NIV)


Johnny R. Almond

Author, Gentle Whispers from Eternity

[This devotion based on Day 55 of Gentle Whispers]

Interim Pastor, Nomini Baptist Church; Montross, Virginia

Blog & book info http://GentleWhispersFromEternity-ScripturePersonalized.com/

Read more…

Presidents Day - Lincoln on Progress

“I walk slowly, but I never walk backward.” – Abraham Lincoln, U.S. president from 1861 to 1865


President Lincoln’s statement prompts us to reflect on several dimensions of the truth about progress.


Walking forward is the best course. Our Creator made us in such a way that walking backward is awkward. Physically, it’s challenging. Emotionally, it’s counterproductive. Spiritually, it’s discouraging. Our bodies can trip if we attempt this. Our minds grow despondent if we fret about our past mistakes. It’s better to let God shape us by His glorious future, than to be shaped by our guilty past.  If we spend too much time looking in the rearview mirror, we’ll miss the view through the windshield.


Good things take time. If we don’t do things right, we’ll have to find time to do them over. Things built rapidly fall apart easily. Loving relationships and sterling character traits do not develop overnight.

A slow pace is good for the soul.  Some Parke County Indiana covered bridges still have the saying “Cross this bridge at a walk” over their entrance. These words were placed there because of the presumption that trotting horses or marching Civil War soldiers might cause structural damage to the bridge. The words remind us that slowing down enables us to enjoy the beauty of life. Elijah did not hear God’s voice in the windstorm, earthquake, or fire, but in a gentle whisper. Driving on the Interstate can wear us out; to relax, we need to take an exit ramp now and then and travel a scenic byway—taking a walk is even better. When we turn off the comfort of noise, we open our hearts to God.  


Small steps in the right direction eventually add up to significant  moral and spiritual progress. Little things can be extremely important—a misplaced car key or a lost wedding ring is enough to drive home this point. Daily habits may seem inconsequential at the time, but over the years they can lead to disease or health.  


Spiritual maturity takes a lifetime. Character-building experiences combine with God’s work in believing hearts to sculpt us into Christ’s image. We’re a work in progress—incrementally, day by day, gradually, almost imperceptibly—we’re growing in Christlikeness.


“I don’t mean to say that I have already reached perfection. But I press on to possess that perfection for which Christ Jesus first possessed me. I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God through Christ Jesus, is calling us.” (Philippians 3:12-14 NLT)


Johnny R. Almond

Author, Gentle Whispers from Eternity

Interim Pastor, Nomini Baptist Church; Montross, Virginia

Blog & book info http://GentleWhispersFromEternity-ScripturePersonalized.com/


Read more…

Be Careful!

“No one tests the depths of a river with both feet.” (Ashanti Proverb)


Knowing life could be dangerous and being concerned for our welfare, our parents advised us to be careful. From God’s omniscient perspective, aware that invisible forces are ready to attack when our guard is down, our Heavenly Father warns us to be careful.


Drifting on life’s sea can lead to moral shipwreck. A tumbleweed in circumstantial winds entangles in embarrassing ethical barbed wire. Therefore we should prayerfully listen to our Lord’s  wise and loving counsel.


A common public sign cautions us of possible danger—WATCH YOUR STEP! Sadly, we sometimes pay closer attention to human words than to heaven’s. When we’re inattentive or tired, we’re more likely to trip. We wouldn’t play volleyball in a minefield, so why run helter-skelter through life?


We should be careful to pray only to the one true God. We should avoid bending the knee to ego, status, money, possessions, technology, power, or sensuality. Under no circumstances should be climb on Satan’s bandwagon—he would take us on a wild ride ending in catastrophe.


If we have the courage and desire to follow the marks of Jesus’ wounded feet, we will watch our step while we walk in His.


“Be careful to do everything I have said to you.” (Exodus 23:13 NIV)


Johnny R. Almond

Christian preacher and writer

Author, Gentle Whispers from Eternity

[This devotion based on Day 50 of Gentle Whispers from Eternity]

Read blog at http://GentleWhispersFromEternity-ScripturePersonalized.com/

Read more…
that is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not see Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you and will be in you....(John 14:17)
PRAYER: (Part 2)
Father, You said if we, as a people return to You - in spirit, in truth and through repentance, You will hear, heal and help us in our time of need. Lord, but we are still a people hard of hearing. We have more bibles in circulation in print and electronically around the world, more worship music, more "Christian" movies, more "churches", more....more....more. We send more people on missions trips around the world yet some of them only go for their own selfish reasons for their resumes. Some of them only go for a reason to do something on their summer vacation. Most of them have not truth in them, because the Truth was never in them.
This is the Spirit of Truth, the Holy Spirit, Who testifies within us that every jot, tittle, word, phrase and passage in the Bible is true. Yet the world cannot receive it because sin, intellectualism and humanism are obstacles to a simple understanding of what Your Spirit is saying to us in these last days. They cannot receive it because they doubt. Sometimes we, Your remnant have our doubts, oh Lord, but our doubts are not about Your existence, self-existence and sovereignty, but our doubts are the scar tissues of our fallen state which will not be done away with while we are still living on earth. Their doubts are because, to put it bluntly - they do not know You even while knowing OF You. 
They see You as their ticket to prosperity and nothing bad happening in their lives because some smiling preacher in $5000 suits on TV told them so in his books, and seminars etc....or their local minister talks only of Your fictional tolerance of sin and "loving everything and everybody" no matter what.  So when their concept of prosperity and the easy western life do not materialize, they walk away from you, just like the "disciples" did in John 6:66. These are the same people who will one day take the Mark of the Beast, whose number is 666....because they do "not see Him or know Him". Lord, You said in this Word above (John 14:17) that this "seeing or knowing" is literally about partaking of, experiencing, beholding and discerning YOU - the One True God of Heaven, Who is the Way, the Truth and the Life (Verse 6). This spiritual blindness exists today because even though the world and its false religions know of and about Your Word, they refuse and reject and were never truly reborn.
Father God, so we pray for them right now that they may "see" that they may "taste and see that the Lord is good" blessed is the man and woman and child who trusts in Him. We pray that they too will remove the self-embedded scales from the eyes of their own spiritual hearts and see that the Lord - He is God. The Lord - He is God. The Lord - He is God and there is no other. Give us the influence and boldness to share the joys of knowing this Truth that the world may know and seek to wait, rest and anticipate that glorious eternity with You, through Christ our Soon Coming King. Amen.
Read more…

PTAP: Taken Captive by the Devil

For many believers, churches, denominations, and missions organizations prayer has been lost. The Apostle Paul says: "Pray without ceasing," or "Pray continually," or "Never stop praying."

The devil has been taking people captive to do his will (2 Timothy 2:26) since the fall of man. The land and kingdoms of this earth are controlled by him (Matthew 4:8-9). As we think about advancing the Kingdom of God we know that there is a fight between two kingdoms. There are places in the Arabian Peninsula that have been controlled for years by the devil. Pray that the land of the AP will be freed from the devil and his control. Pray that the hearts of Gulf Muslims would be freed from the hardness the devil places there, especially the hardness against knowing Jesus the Son of God and the full truths about Jesus. Pray for a growing movement among people who will seek Jesus to advance His great name in families, villages, towns and cities across the AP. The devil has been in control too long, we are seeking the God of all creation to have a great victory in the AP.

A servant of the Lord must not quarrel but must be kind to everyone, be able to teach, and be patient with difficult people. Gently instruct those who oppose the truth. Perhaps God will change those people's hearts, and they will learn the truth. Then they will come to their senses and escape from the devil's trap. For they have been held captive by him to do whatever he wants. 2 Timothy 2:24-26

Next the devil took him to the peak of a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. "I will give it all to you," he said, "if you will kneel down and worship me." 

Matthew 4:8-9

What did Jesus respond? "Away from me, Satan! For it is written: 'Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.'" Matthew 4:10

Read more…

Our Brain's GPS

“Memory is the diary that we all carry about with us.” (Oscar Wilde, The Importance of Being Earnest, 1895)


The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine has been awarded to three neuroscientists whose work is answering the question why we know where we are and where we’re headed.


John O’Keefe (University College, London), May-Britt Moser (Norwegian University of Science and Technology), and Edward Moser (Norwegian University of Science and Technology) have discovered cells that form a positioning system in the human brain, kind of a hard-wired GPS. These cells tell us our physical location, help us navigate our direction, and help us remember it so we can make the same trips again. These neuroscientists have figured out that two types of cells – called place cells and grid cells -- work in harmony to make the brain know where it is and where it’s going.


Memory and orientation are critically important for both our physical and spiritual well-being. If we couldn’t remember pleasant places we’ve been, how could we repeat the journey? If we can’t remember mistakes we’ve made, how can we learn from history? If we aren’t aware of our coordinates, how can we find our way home?


In one sense, “we make the road by walking” (Spanish poet Antonio Machado, 1875-1939). In a higher sense, we find the right road by praying.


With our brain, we find our bearings. With our heart, we find our beliefs.


“Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take.” (Proverbs 3:5,6 NLT)


Johnny R. Almond

Christian preacher and writer

Author, Gentle Whispers from Eternity


Read more…

Do You Have Abundance to Share?

Jesus, as recorded in Luke 11, shared a hypothetical, yet realistic, situation with his disciples.

Then Jesus said to them, “Suppose you have a friend, and you go to him at midnight and say, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves of bread; a friend of mine on a journey has come to me, and I have no food to offer him.’ And suppose the one inside answers, ‘Don’t bother me. The door is already locked, and my children and I are in bed. I can’t get up and give you anything.’ I tell you, even though he will not get up and give you the bread because of friendship, yet because of your shameless audacity (boldness- NIV 84) he will surely get up and give you as much as you need.

“So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.

“Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead?  Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion?  If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!” - Luke 11:5-13

Jesus points his disciples toward the importance of praying; seeking God in persistent prayer to provide the good things He makes available to us (especially His Holy Spirit).

But let's consider the one who finds himself needing bread for a visiting friend in a moment's notice.

Handling Abundance

In America, most of us are only one or two generations removed from a time of storing up and sharing abundance.  You may have neighbors, parents, grandparents, great grandparents, or other relatives who planted huge gardens each year.  When the produce was ripe to pick, much of it was canned and stored away to provide sustenance out of season, or to share with friends, family, or neighbors.  Many would store up for themselves and for others at the same time.  It was a time when a mindset of healthy storing up and/or sharing abundance (for the sheer joy of it or to meet the needs of others) was valued more greatly than it seems today. 

Today, our culture tells us to "live for now," or "get only what you need for today."  Sometimes we see this played out when people make multiple trips to a bank, grocery, or shopping store during a day or week.  Some people also handle relationships with this type of mindset.  But the "get what I need for today" mentality can extend far beyond financial, relational, or practical things- even into the spiritual.

Spiritual Consumerism

In our modern thinking, abundance is seldom stored up; it's picked from and devoured at a moment's notice.  Many Christians consume just enough spiritual content each day or week to reach a point where they feel they'll "get by" or have just enough.  Whether it's listening to segments on Christian radio, consuming a five-minute devotional, going to church for fellowship one or more times per week, or something else, a brief time of "plugging into God" or "touching base" with Him seems to satisfy a momentary want or need. 

Yet the abundance God makes readily available in continual relationship with Him and His Word isn't stored up to share with others when one only seeks for their own spiritual needs to be met in the moment!

What happens when a friend, acquaintance, or stranger personally approaches with a need (maybe the need to hear the gospel clearly or lovingly presented- but that need is masked or contained within another need)?  Do we have any spiritual bread or sustenance left in the cupboard to share? 

If we only consume (keeping for ourselves) what the Bible, church leaders, pastors, or writers tell us, we can be found empty-handed with nothing extra to share when need arises- and we'll likely need to outsource or find someone else to help meet the need.

If we're unprepared, with nothing of substance to offer, someone with an unmet need (spiritual, or otherwise) will likely move on to seek another answer or source of provision.  Often times, those other sources they discover will meet needs without a Christ-centered foundation or biblical worldview.  That could lead to a double defeat- especially if the seeking person is greatly influenced by the non-Christian worldview they encountered simply because the Christian was not originally prepared when opportunity arose.

Preparation happens before a need arises.  If it begins at the point when a need occurs, opportunity and blessing will be lost.

Paul, in 2 Timothy 4, tells Timothy to be prepared.

In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and in view of his appearing and his kingdom, I give you this charge: Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction. For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths. But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry. - 2 Timothy 4:1-5 (emphases added)

As friends to others, how prepared are we to pray with someone, to accurately and lovingly share the gospel, to give patient and careful instruction in season and out of season (when we feel ready and when we might not feel so ready); to discharge all the duties of our personal ministries?

While many outsource to pastors or church leaders for answers and solutions (it's not totally wrong to do so), as maturing Christians- if we're maturing beyond only consuming for ourselves, we are to be the hands and feet of Jesus Christ to those in a lost world all around us.  This includes storing up and growing in biblical truth, sharing it with others as we learn, and assisting others in their maturation in Jesus Christ.  It's not only a pastor or spiritual leader's responsibility!  We all share in this abundance.

But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven,
- Matthew 6:20

It's more than consuming spiritual food for ourselves for today- but storing up and sharing for eternal treasures.

Seeking Who Provides Instead of Only the Abundance Itself

In a consumer-based culture, it's easy to become distracted by the items of abundance.  While we pray, "give us our daily bread," let's keep the Provider forefront in our thinking and worship instead of only obsessing over the bread or material items alone.

...how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!

As we daily seek God to provide for our physical and emotional needs, let's remember to ask Him to fill, shape, and guide us with His Spirit living and working within us.  There's the abundance we can have and offer to others!  It may produce an internal battle at times when our flesh resists a leading, prompting, or direction He gives, but His Spirit helps us to pray, to speak the gospel in truth and love, to read, ingest, apply, share His Word, and more.  Let's ask with Him in mind!

By ourselves, we do no better than when we make a New Year's resolution.  Try as we might, we eventually become tired, distracted, exhausted, and lose drive.  By the Spirit's empowering, God is glorified through our weaknesses as He helps us through and past them- to do what He empowers us to do by His power.  And His outcome is always better than what we attempt to produce on our own!

Ask, seek, knock.  He provides.  But as we seek God, let's also be sure to ask for His perspective for ours, and others', needs- and how He might work in and through us to draw others to Himself for His glory alone!

Father, you are God of all.  In you we have all we need.  Help me to see beyond myself, my perceived needs and desires, and to see with your perspective- with vision far clearer and wisdom-filled than my own.  I expect I'll be wowed and amazed with what you show me and how you draw me closer in relationship with yourself.  I want you to fill my day; may waking and sleeping hours alike.  Have your way in me, and help me to store up treasures in heaven; to approach today with an eternal perspective that only you can give me.  Thank you for your grace, patience, love, mercy, truth, and so much more.  Continue to meet me where I am- for your glory alone.  In Jesus' name, Amen.

*Portions of this originated from sermon notes by Pastor John Parker of Westfield, Indiana.

Read more…


Hello everyone,I have information about spiritual warfare on my website:http://www.valentinabestmusic.net/spiritual-warfare-daily.htmlincluding very informative and educational material about destroying witchcraft and dangers of the occult.Please read gospel tracts entitled: "Exposing And Destroying Witchcraft!" "Dangers Of The Occult: Exposed!" and "You Can Be Set Free!" at: http://valentinabestmusic.net/read-free-ebooks-online.htmlI also have many other inspirational and motivational tracts on my websites at:http://www.godzangelmusic.com & http://www.valentinabestmusic.netPlease recommend this material to all your friends:http://valentinabestmusic.net/recommend-website.htmlGod bless you all!
Read more…

Check Your Spiritual Heart Rate

We live in a day and age where many people exercise for health, appearance, and happiness.  Many who do so wear heart rate devices to monitor the speed of their heart rate as they run or work out.  If the rate is too high or low, they change pace to bring it into a safe or more comfortable range to prevent injury or worse.


But how do we check our spiritual heart rates?  Has someone developed a device that will do such a thing? 

If such a device exists, would we be scared to own something that shows us the rate our spiritual heart beats for God?  What if it showed a heart beating faster for something or someone other than God?  What would we do?

God has given us at least three such devices- and the good news (or bad news; if you fear having such accountability) is that we already have them.  There's no purchase to make!

Our first spiritual heart rate monitor is the Holy Spirit.  We who've already received Jesus Christ as personal Lord and Savior know the Holy Spirit dwells within us (Romans 8:5-17). He resides within to help us worship God throughout each day.  He points out sin areas in our hearts that must be addressed before He will work more fully and completely within and through us (Galatians 5:16-25).  He also helps align our hearts with His heart, God the Father's, and Jesus' heart- so that we can know what to do, and how to pray, moment-by-moment throughout each day.

Our second spiritual heart rate monitor is the Word of God (2 Timothy 3:16-17).  God has given us His Word to help quicken our spiritual heart rates toward Him, His creation, and others (all pointing our hearts back to worshiping God for who He is).  Without reading and applying God's Word into our lives each day, we quickly can become spiritual couch potatoes; unhealthy and out of shape to serve God or others.  Spiritual couch potatoes absorb God's glory and poorly reflect it back to Him.  They struggle or fail as fruitful witnesses to others who need to come into a personal relationship with God.  They can exhibit slow, or sometimes even hard-to-notice, heart rates toward God or others.

Healthy time and prayer in God's Word (and with the empowering of the Holy Spirit) quickens the heart for the Father, increases awe in who He is, and motivates the Christian to both watch for God working around them daily, and witness as He provides opportunities to do so.


Our third spiritual heart rate monitor comes in the form of other Spirit-filled, Word-grounded, Christians (Hebrews 10:24-25).  These Christians exhibit healthy beating hearts and lives as they pray, serve, and train (disciple) others around them.  They aren't actors, but are living fully in the joy, power, love, grace, and truth of God and His Word.  These Christians are eager to help others freshly taste and see that He is good- in every day and every way; making disciples of Jesus out of others around themselves.  Proverbs 27:17 also sums it up well.  "As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another." 

Heart Check Time

Have you checked your spiritual heart rate monitors recently/today?  Are you willing to believe what they say?

What are your spiritual heart monitors saying?  Is your heart beating quickly in God's presence (worshiping, praising, and thanking Him for who He is and for specific things you see Him doing in and around you)?

Is your heart rate slow; maybe barely beating?  Does it seem like a lot of time has passed since you've dwelt in His presence; worshiping, watching, or quietly listening for His voice as you worship Him in your heart?

God desires that our hearts beat quickly and only for Him.  He is a jealous God (Deuteronomy 4:23-24).  Our hearts quicken as we seek Him, worship, and allow our hearts to be filled with awe and wonder of who He is (by His Word, Spirit, and the witness of other Christ-centered people).

Take some time right now to ask the Holy Spirit to search your heart and assess your heart rate (Psalm 139:23-24).  If it's not where He'd (or you'd) like it to be, don't beat yourself up or become frustrated.  Instead, confess whatever needs to be confessed to God.  Realign your heart with His as He instructs, and allow Him to fill you with His joy, presence, fullness, and more that will quicken your heart rate for Him and reflect his glory outward to others as well.  As you do, others will begin to see more and more of Jesus within you!

Continue checking your spiritual heart rate throughout each day.  It's a vital way to live a healthy and Christ-honoring life moment-by-moment!

Read more…


Your prayer life needs the tension of spiritual attack. Have you ever been hunting with a bow? Have you ever shot an arrow from a bow? Most of us have at one time or another. Of course before you can shoot an arrow you must stretch the string on the bow. And as you draw the bow to shoot, the tension on the string multiplies. So it is with your prayer life. Before the power of your prayers is unleashed in the purpose of God, He must increase the tension of spiritual attack in Your life.

The Bible is clear that the reasons for spiritual attack are beyond our level of understanding. Job was never told as much about the purpose of the attack on his life as readers are told in the first chapter of the book. In the same vein Ephesians 3:10 says God intends for His manifold wisdom to be demonstrated through us to rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms. But however cosmic the reasons for spiritual war, you are also part of God’s purpose for these things. James 2 and Romans 5 declare that trials develop patience, character and hope.

We can rejoice in the spiritual attack being lashed upon us in these days. It causes us to cry out to God. And His mighty power will be unleashed in our prayers. http://watchinginprayer.blogspot.com/  http://daveswatch.com/
Read more…

Draw Near To God, and He Will Draw Near To You

Let’s start thinking about this simple, but profound promise (Draw Near To God, and He Will Draw Near To You) by going back to square one, and moving forward with ideas on actual ways to do this.

In either your experience or your understanding, who approached whom first, you or God? You may have searched or studied about God, feeling that you were the driving force. However, most of us who now know God by faith and experience have come to understand from His Word that He is the One who took the initiative in our relationship, and even our own efforts were guided by Him. This does not in any way devalue the FREE WILL He provided us, based on His love for us. God will never force Himself on us, and the love He shows us in giving us free will has a lot to do with Him wanting us to CHOOSE to know Him and love Him back. He could have made us ROBOTS, but that would have killed the essence of us choosing to respond to His love and thereby experience a growing, vital, dynamic love relationship with Him.

So, what is the bedrock way to see and experience His love initiative toward us? Jesus’ whole brief life on earth focused on His mission as Emmanuel (God with us) to show us God in flesh-action on His way to offer us salvation via the cross and the empty tomb. All forces of human and evil spiritual authorities tried to kill or sidetrack Jesus from His mission to become our savior by paying full price for all our sins. Perhaps the strongest potential deterrent from His mission was the foreknowledge of the pending physical, spiritual, and emotional pain He faced in his mock trials and crucifixion. For example He sweat drops of blood as he wrestled to seek any alternative to making full payment by taking ALL our sins upon Himself on the cross. Since none was to be found if we were to be given the invitation of heaven in God’s holy presence, dressed in Christ’s robe of righteousness, the third time Jesus agonized alone in prayer, he yielded, “Not my will, but Thine be done.” Psalm 22 predicted His cries from the cross, as well as the answer to His grueling WHY question. “My God, my God, why have you abandoned me? Why are you so far away when I groan for help?...3 Yet you are holy”

So God the Father, Son, and Spirit planned before our known world began, to provide man a way that would satisfy God’s holiness, to live in their holy presence forever. They took love initiative way beyond our comprehension to invite us to love and worship them back. Only those who are impacted by the magnitude of such love, and respond with a decisive RSVP act of their will and commitment, will experience that extended transforming love, and be allowed into the holy presence of God forever.

So for those only, who have RSVP’d for heaven, God now offers us the opportunity to respond to His love initiative, in kind, with our initiative to draw near to Him. It is no surprise that some of these “methods” include: prayer, worship, adoration, sharing His worthiness and glory with others, and cooperating daily with the Holy Spirit to allow Him to produce and refine His fruit in us (which includes love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and Spirit-control). As we see God at work in this world and join Him as partners (ambassadors), we experience His enablement, filling, equipping, and transforming power at work in, through, and around us. As we mostly listen and worship in prayer we see Him High and lifted up. In King David’s impactful Psalm 51 prayer of brokenness and repentance, he prays, “Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and make me willing to obey you.13 Then I will teach your ways to rebels, and they will return to you. There are many such ways to respond to God’s love and experience Him drawing near to us, but the first step is to accept His love initiative to us on the cross where the dearest and best died for us.

For more, please see: How to Draw Nearer to God; John Hoelzel Sr; 2011; Amazon.com

Read more…