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Hull's Memorial Baptist Church
 Pastor's Blog 
Tuesday, June 28 2016

God of the nations,

How easy it is for us to decry downward spiraling moral trends in America. The majority ignores your commandments and lives by their own rules. Many worship their work, work at their play, and play at their worship. Most people in our country appear self-centered, pleasure-seeking, materialistic, and proud of possessions. Still known in the world as a superpower, Americans sometimes forget that “all the nations of the world are only a drop in the bucket, nothing more than dust on the scales” (Isaiah 40:15).

God of holiness,

How difficult it for us to be completely honest in admitting our personal shortcomings. We criticize other people for sinning in ways that we don’t. We harshly judge others for bad habits different from ours. We rarely take time to ponder the condition of our own inner being

God of justice and mercy,

Remind us again of your promise. If – a little word with big repercussions, the hinge on the door of blessing. My people – not unbelieving society, but your children by sincere faith in your Son. Called by My name – honoring your authority, pledging allegiance to the cross. Humble themselves – coming down where we belong,  acknowledging your Sovereignty. Pray – pouring our heart out to our Creator, Redeemer and Guide. Seek My face – yearning for your Presence more than the comfort of noise. Turn from their wicked ways – repenting of our evil, quitting our sins. I will hear from heaven – granting us an audience with the living God. I will forgive their sins – cleansing our hearts of iniquity. I will heal their land – curing the epidemic of individualism with the rewards of community, curing the disease of restlessness with tranquility, curing the sickness of rebellion with commitment to righteous living, curing the illness of fear of terrorism with trust in Your protection, curing the malady of anxiety with confidence in Your bright future, curing the disorder of chaos with calming assurance all will be well.

God our help in ages past, our hope for years to come,

Though it sometimes feels everything nailed down in this world is coming loose, we believe You are the One who holds everything, including us, together. Though we often sense our weakness, we trust your power to enable us to walk the high road. Though nations are unsettled – European Union fragmenting, the Middle East torn apart by war, our country divided politically – we believe You will unite the world when the King of kings reigns from the new Jerusalem. Though we’re aware of America’s goodness, we also acknowledge her flaws. Privileged to live in a great country, we look forward to your promise of a better country to come, a heavenly one.

God of our hearts,

Help us to be patriotic – loving our country and doing our best to improve her character. Help us also keep in mind we are citizens of heaven—investing in eternal treasures, keeping our eyes on the bright Morning Star.

Amen.

Johnny R. Almond

Pastor, Hull’s Memorial Baptist Church - Friends on a Journey of Faith

Author, Gentle Whispers from Eternity—Scripture Personalized

http://GentleWhispersFromEternity--ScripturePersonalized.com/

Posted by: Pastor Almond AT 03:28 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Tuesday, June 21 2016

It is not at all because you are such righteous, upright people that you are about to occupy their land. The Lord your God will drive these nations out ahead of you only because of their wickedness, and to fulfill the oath he had sworn to your ancestors Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.  DEUTERONOMY 9:5 NLT

Despite countless warnings against self-righteousness, we still sometimes have the nerve to take personal credit for spiritual conquests. Human egocentric arrogance is unbelievable. When we sense we’re making moral progress and we’re reveling in overcoming temptation, we may begin to feel we have reason to congratulate our self for what we have accomplished. I doubt if we have any idea how ridiculous we look when we strut with pride.

We should have learned by now that ego trips invariably end in crashes. Pride paves the road of self-destruction. A haughty spirit is black ice causing moral catastrophe.

The true reason for winning is not our righteousness, but Christ’s. Spiritual victory happens not because we are ever good, but because God is always God. We are not saved based on our labor, but our Savior’s love. God’s heart is filled with compassion for us, so He deals with us mercifully. Unfailing Love shelters us. God said He would always love us, and He will stand by His word. The cause of triumph is not our integrity, but God’s intervention; not our resolve, but God’s fidelity; not our strength, but God’s Spirit; not our smartness, but God’s wisdom; not our plans, but God’s Providence.

The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob blessed them as they pulled up stakes, worshipfully obeyed, and dreamily struggled. God is also our God—blessing us in our moving experiences, joyful maturing, and visionary hoping.

Praise God publicly for His guidance and strength that enable us to live victoriously and win our battles with the evil one. We can depend on God to conquer adversaries occupying our promised land. Our Commander in Chief is on the front line battling for us. Without divine help, there is no way we could win. With heaven’s assistance, we cannot lose.

It is the highest wisdom to factor God into the equation of every situation we face in our life—“impossible” circumstances, “unsolvable” problems, and “endless” struggles. Here’s a good formula for celebration—Jesus + Any Problem = Victory.

Johnny R. Almond

Pastor, Hull’s Memorial Baptist Church - Friends on a Journey of Faith

Author, Gentle Whispers from Eternity—Scripture Personalized

http://GentleWhispersFromEternity--ScripturePersonalized.com/

This devotional based on day 96 of Gentle Whispers from Eternity

Book available at Amazon.com

Posted by: Pastor Almond AT 10:31 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Thursday, June 16 2016

“This will be our reply to violence: to make music more intensely, more beautifully, more devotedly than ever before.” (Leonard Bernstein)

With last Sunday's awful news of the worst mass killing in American history saddening our hearts, my wife and I joined others in St. Paul’s Adult Masterworks Chorus in King George to rehearse the beautiful St. Cecelia Mass by Gounod. As we lined up to process into the sanctuary, I noticed this quote by Bernstein on a bulletin board. It struck me as a poignant reminder of eternal love, encouraging hope, and transforming faith.   

In the shadow of hate, we can choose to sing the music of love. The killer was filled with hate and expressed it in an unspeakably horrible act of violence. Christians believe in the God who is love. We follow His Son’s example in “living a life filled with love” (Ephesians 5:2). There is no room for hate toward anyone.      Love should guide our actions in relationship to every human being. God loves everyone—so should we.

In the valley of despair, we can choose to sing the music of hope. Recurring news of a killer attacking with an assault rifle has inclined some people to expect more of the same. Christians believe God has a plan—to bring heaven to earth in the return and reign of His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. We never lose hope because we believe “the future is as bright as the promises of God.”

In the downward spiral of cynicism, we can choose to sing the music of faith. Skeptics and pessimists view current events as a preview of terrorist acts making bloody headlines. Christians believe that one day, in God’s time, unsettled nations will be united under the sovereign rule of the Messiah. Christ is our peace in pandemonium, our calm in chaos, our courage in a dangerous world, and our confidence that at the end of life’s little day all will be well. We refuse to give in to total cynicism, despite the many signs that planet earth is the insane asylum of the solar system—because we believe the new Jerusalem will be deathless, painless, sinless, and tearless.

“My life goes on in endless song above earth’s lamentations; I hear the real, though far off, hymn, that hails a new creation. Through all the tumult and the strife I hear its music ringing. It sounds an echo in my soul. How can I keep from singing?”

Whatever happens in this crazy world, may God’s grace enable us to keep joyful music in our life—with intense love, beautiful hope, and devoted faith—    until that glorious day we join the chorus of millions of the redeemed singing praises to the Prince of Peace.   

Johnny R. Almond

Pastor, Hull’s Memorial Baptist Church - Friends on a Journey of Faith

Author, Gentle Whispers from Eternity—Scripture Personalized

http://GentleWhispersFromEternity--ScripturePersonalized.com/

Book available on Amazon

Posted by: Pastor Almond AT 02:13 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Tuesday, June 07 2016



You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your strength.

Deuteronomy 6:5 NLT

God is Love, not law. God is not interested in compulsive religiosity. He is unimpressed by punctilious rule keeping. His standing order is crystal clear—love Him with all we are. It is the highest wisdom to place our love for God above all—nothing could make our life sadder than a heart estranged from our Heavenly Father. God expects intensity in our love—half-heartedness is totally unacceptable!

Devotion is more than ideal—it is imperative. To avoid disappointment, we should refuse to give allegiance to counterfeit gods. To avoid heartbreak, we should refuse to give contemporary rivals a hearing. To advance in holiness, we should not be enamored by pleasure or fooled by the treadmill of advancing in social status. To find real joy, we must trade society’s dissatisfying lifestyle for Christ’s restful way and exchange our vicious cycle for His victory celebration.

We should love God with all emotions—being sincere in our feelings. If we consider love’s deepest meaning at Calvary’s cross, we will love our Savior more and prove our love by wholeheartedly obeying Him and affectionately serving Him.

We should love God with all our ego—being serious in our faith. The Holy Spirit sensitizes our conscience to distinguish good and evil. If we wholeheartedly love God, we will love the world through our personality and find ways to creatively serve Him.

We should love God with all our energy—being strong in our focus. Commitment to our Master will motivate us to use our vitality to demonstrate we have a heart for God. We’ll do more than announce to the world that we love God—we will prove it by our actions. The Almighty reinforces us with response-ability for responsibilities. If we surrender wholeheartedly to the King of kings, we can enthusiastically serve Him.

We should love God with all our education—being sharp in our fact finding. Ennobling our mind through daily Scripture intake changes how we think as we wholeheartedly think God’s thoughts. It does not take a great mind to be Jesus’ disciple; it does take all the mind we have. Realizing nothing could make our mind more distressed than to be of a different mind than our Lord, we will seek to intelligently serve Him.

God wants to be more than words to us—He wants to be intertwined with our innermost being. It is not far from where we are to where God is—He is nearer to us than our hands and feet; He is closer than our breathing. We do not reach God by traveling, but by loving.

The best way to live is to fall in love with Love and stay in love with Love. When we give God our heart, He gives us His.

Johnny R. Almond

Pastor, Hull’s Memorial Baptist Church - Friends on a Journey of Faith

Author, Gentle Whispers from Eternity—Scripture Personalized

http://GentleWhispersFromEternity--ScripturePersonalized.com/

This devotional based on day 95 of Gentle Whispers from Eternity

Book available on Amazon

Posted by: Pastor Almond AT 02:42 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Thursday, June 02 2016

So be very careful to act exactly as God commands you. Don’t veer off to the right or the left. Walk straight down the road God commands so that you’ll have a good life and live a long time in the land that you’re about to possess.

Deuteronomy 5:33 THE MESSAGE

A trusting heart listens prayerfully to God’s laws, reads His Word very closely, and pays strict attention to timeless principles. Our ears must be open if we are to hear what our Lord has to say. Our heart must be open and receptive if we are to detect His voice.

A wise heart learns God’s rules, prioritizes study of the Book from Heaven, and reflects on the meaning of Christ’s teaching. Our mind must be open if we are to receive insight to interpret Scripture.

A committed heart lives by God’s Book. Not content with meditation only, the serious disciple obeys. Responding to our Lord’s instructions, we apply His Word to everyday life. When we translate orthodox beliefs into correct behavior, we write the finest translation of the Bible.

Sincere study of Scripture brings light into our dark world, wisdom into our searching mind, hope into our uncertain heart, life into your sagging spirit, and love into our relationships—provided we go beyond casual perusal and academic investigation to radical obedience. Here is the best Bible study plan: 1) read it over glacially; 2) think it through carefully; 3) pray it in earnestly; and 4) live it out practically. We prove our love by obeying Christ. He is present when we quote His lines.

Life is different from thinking about life. The relationships arena, not a philosophizing balcony, is where a heart for God is lived out. Fighting the good fight of faith is a far cry from donning spiritual armor and then awkwardly reclining in an easy chair.

Eons before we were born, God loved us and planned for us to ultimately become like Jesus. His Spirit charmed us to His heart. His compassion forgave our sin and made us His friend. He has charted a glorious destiny for us. We are His children, so He wants us to really enjoy life.

Even more than our personal happiness, our Father wants us to grow up. We are a subject in His Kingdom—and He expects us to live like it. To refine our character, God passes us through the crucible of tough times. Walking in Jesus’ steps is never easy—the path to glory is treacherous. Claiming to be acquainted with God, we are compelled to imitate Jesus’ lifestyle.

We are far from perfect—we need to keep practicing.

Johnny R. Almond

Pastor, Hull’s Memorial Baptist Church - Friends on a Journey of Faith

Author, Gentle Whispers from Eternity—Scripture Personalized

http://GentleWhispersFromEternity--ScripturePersonalized.com/

This devotional based on day 94 of Gentle Whispers from Eternity

Posted by: Pastor Almond AT 11:18 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email

    Hull's Memorial Baptist Church
    420 Enon Road | Fredericksburg, VA 22406 | PH: 540.371.4124