You, O Bethlehem Ephrathah, are only a small village in Judah.
Yet a ruler of Israel will come from you, one whose origins are from the distant past.
He will be highly honored all around the world. And he will be the source of our peace.
MICAH 5:2, 4, 5a NLT
He was born in a little town, yet He never began.
Before mountains were sculpted, He existed—in fact, He made them.
Before the planet you call home hung in space, He was your Home.
You cannot understand this, but you can believe it.
He entered earth in a dark barn, yet He will enlighten new Jerusalem.
His light illumines seeking minds—His life comforts desperate hearts.
He spoke first light into being—that light shines on, inextinguishable.
You cannot explain this, but you can enjoy it.
He was marked by a star, yet He made all the stars.
Heaven’s GPS pointed out His location to those who wanted to know.
I still use circumstances, events, and people to direct people to Jesus.
You cannot figure out what I am up to, but you can follow.
He was a helpless baby on earth, yet He is the Sovereign of Heaven.
He enjoyed prerogatives of power and glory, but He gave it up for you.
Rather than demand His rights, He humbly gave His life to redeem you.
You cannot earn this, but you can receive it.
He was adored by wise men from a foreign land,
and He will be worshiped by ransomed saints from all lands.
No one else is worthy of universal praise—He alone is the Savior.
You cannot imagine this, but you can experience it.
He became human in time, yet He is the Ruler of Eternity.
You cannot see Him now, but in the distant future you will.
Storm clouds veil stars, but dawn will reveal the rhapsody of peace.
You cannot envision this, but you can anticipate it.
His star led magi to Him, and the Bright Morning Star guides you.
All wisdom centers on Him—all truth connects to Him.
Wise men traveled a long way to find Him—yet it was worth the trip.
You cannot know it all, but you can know the One who does.
(c) Pastor Johnny R. Almond
Day 298, Gentle Whispers from Eternity
How can we sing the songs of the LORD while in a foreign land? PSALM 137:4
When you are in a situation that makes you want to hang up your harp,
you may wonder how in the world you can ever celebrate again.
Where is that toe-tapping rhythm, that spring in your step?
You are on alien soil in the ungodly world.
No wonder antagonists poke fun at your hymns of praise.
The world is “not a friend to grace to help you on to God” (Isaac Watts).
I am the One “who makes the woeful heart to sing” (Anonymous hymn).
When Paul wrote Philippians, he was not in a Statler Hilton luxury suite.
Yet he published a message of joy advising believers to rejoice.
Hope can sing—heaven’s music echoes in listening hearts.
Faith can dance—heaven’s message encourages trusting souls.
Joy can celebrate—heaven’s mirth is in inner-stances, not circumstances.
Love can rejoice—heaven’s melody inspires invulnerable joy.
Horatio Spafford experienced this joy—even after his daughters died.
That ship collision in the Atlantic took their lives, but not his peace.
Sorrows like sea billows rolled over him, but it was well with his soul.
Richard Wurmbrand experienced this joy—even after 14 years in prison.
Brutally tortured until he could find relief only on his elbows and knees,
he still sang a song a fellow prisoner wrote about Jesus.
Joni Eareckson Tada experienced this joy—even as a quadriplegic.
Confined to a wheelchair, painting with her mouth,
she sang from her heart a song of trusting faith.
Betsie ten Boom experienced this joy—even in a concentration camp.
She knew they would be free, and she told her sister to tell everyone
there is no pit so deep that God is not deeper still.
You can also experience this joy.
Though you feel like sighing, your Greatest Friend can teach you a song.
By My grace, you can sing—even when you do not feel like it.
Jonah answered “I am a Hebrew and I worship the LORD, the God of heaven who made the sea and the land. Then he told them he was running away from the LORD.
JONAH 1:9-10 NLT
Do you think it is possible to be reverently rebellious toward Me?
Submissively disobedient to the Commander of Angel Armies?
Lovingly running away from Love seeking your company?
Openly hiding from the One who knows everything about you?
How can you demonstrate such sharp contrast in your life—
Falsely true? Genuinely counterfeit? Sincerely hypocritical?
Unfaithfully faithful? Treacherously loyal? Dishonestly honest?
Fearfully courageous? Halfheartedly committed?
You are a bundle of contradictions and a strange mixture of opposites—
pure and lustful, enamored with idols and ecstatic with Me,
hostile and kind, quarrelsome and tranquil, jealous and content,
angry and patient, selfishly ambitious and sacrificially caring,
fussy and gentle, bigoted and generous.
What am I to make of you? What will you let Me make of you?
Follow heaven’s victory strategy, and you can win this tug-of-war.
Heed My positive advice, and you can resolve this polarity within.
Like Much-Afraid in Hannah Hurnard’s Hinds’ Feet on High Places,
you may weep bitterly and say over and over again to yourself: What is the use of even thinking of going to the High Places?
I could never reach them, for the least little thing is enough
to turn me back.
You are an oxymoron—two-sided, attempting dual allegiance.
It will not work—an unsettled mind cannot know peace.
Will you run to Me or run away?
Will you hide in Me or try to hide from Me?
Will you be earnest by My power or just eloquent with fancy talk?
When will you wise up and quit being an oxymoron?!
(c) Pastor Johnny R. Almond
Day 297, Gentle Whispers from Eternity
I will cut you down to size among the nations, Edom; you will be small and despised. You are proud because you live in a rock fortress, making your home in the mountains.“ Who can ever reach us way up here?” you ask boastfully. Don’t fool yourselves! Though you soar high as eagles and build your nest among stars, I will bring you crashing down. I, the LORD, have spoken! OBADIAH 1:2-4 NLT
Sitting on a wall you have constructed by your own wisdom and ability?
Feeling secure in accomplishments, sure nothing can touch you now?
Condescendingly perched in your nest, looking down on the world below?
King of a mountain you so skillfully climbed, despising lower classes?
Thinking you have it made? Better think again!
Arrogance makes you strut—reality can bring you to your knees.
Ego makes you brag—embarrassment can cut you down to size.
There is no security without God. Everything else changes—I remain the same through the years.
I alone in the entire universe am absolutely trustworthy.
Mountains do not give you security—the Mountain-Maker does.
The proud are My enemies—they are against Me, so I am against them.
The higher you climb, the greater your crash.
There is a wrecking ball inside every egotistically constructed life.
Mother Goose got it right in her nursery rhyme for children: Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall. Humpty Dumpty had a great fall.
All the king’s horses and all the king’s men,
Couldn’t put Humpty together again.
If a nation, business, church, family, or individual collapses from pride—
political, military, economic, religious, and psychological remedies fail.
The only prescription for health is to repent and return to God.
John Bunyan said it well in his poem
“The Shepherd Boy Sings in the Valley of Humiliation”: He that is down, needs fear no fall; he that is low, no pride.
He that is humble ever shall have God to be his guide.
The humble are My favorites—they are on My side, so I am on theirs.
Make Me your Mighty Fortress—I will keep you from having a great fall.
(c) Pastor Johnny R. Almond
Day 296, Gentle Whispers from Eternity