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Hull's Memorial Baptist Church
 Pastor's Blog 
Wednesday, July 27 2016

The Lord your God is testing you to see if you love him with all your heart and soul. De u t e r o n o my 13:3 NLT

 

Christianity is not just a mind game played for entertainment—Higher Education is serious business! Life is a battery of tests designed to bring out our true colors.

God’s intelligence test determines our spiritual IQ; it indicates whether we are wise or just smart. As we learn his way, we become a new person from the inside out.

God’s practical test reveals how far we will go in obeying him. To make a passing grade, we must do more than ponder his Word—we must translate it into action in everyday relationships.

God’s authenticity test checks the sincerity of our love for him. To prove our love, we must devote our self to God 24/7. This essay question will take a long time to answer—in fact, it will take the entire course of our life. To give evidence of our genuine love—we must follow God closely, seek to bring other people to him, carry our cross daily, value friendship with God above all things, and keep our mind in tune with Truth.

God’s cross-examination demands the ultimate in introspection. Looking within, we can verify the authenticity of our faith. If Christ lives in us, we pass heaven’s most critical test. This is a true/false question—it demands an either/or response. Either we have Christ in our soul, or we do not. The final answer demands total honesty.

God’s daily quiz tests our motives. If we do what we should, we will enjoy the fulfillment of doing quality work for the right reason. There is no need to compare our work with others; it is only imperative that we follow Christ’s example and do our best for him. At the end of the day, that is all that matters.

God’s endurance test gauges perseverance through severity. Time educates for eternity by strengthening character. We are running in the Faith Marathon—we should not even think of quitting. We are students in Adversity University—we should never disenroll. Ignoring sideline distractions and focusing on Jesus is the wisest way to live. Start to finish, we can rely on the Spirit Wind for adrenaline. Holding on to the Lord for dear life, we will ultimately celebrate victory.

God’s final exam will inspect our life’s building materials. Fiery judgment will incinerate inferior work. Quality construction will shine brightly forever. We should do more than merely aim to survive—we should live so we will graduate with honors!

Pastor Johnny R. Almond

Hull’s Memorial Baptist Church

Friends on a Journey of Faith

Posted by: Pastor Almond AT 12:30 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Monday, July 11 2016

"One Nation under repair"

“It is what comes from inside that defiles you. For from within, out of a person’s heart, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, wickedness, deceit, lustful desires, envy, slander, pride, and foolishness. All these vile things come from within; they are what defile you.”  (Mark 7:20-23 NLT)

The picture above was taken last week by our youngest son, Brandon. His caption “One Nation Under Repair” is apt, in light of recent tragic events in our country. The flag at half-staff reminds us of grief at the loss of innocent lives. The scaffolding is part of the process of cleaning and repairing damage on the outside, but what happens INSIDE needs even more repair.

The shootings in Saint Paul, Baton Rouge, and Dallas have prompted the repeated statement that violence is not the answer to brutality and murder. Such generalizations do not address the source of evil. For that we must turn to the Master.

Jesus summarizes 13 actions and vices that defile a person, and teaches that they all emanate from the heart. He does not paint a pretty picture of human nature—depravity, unchastity, stealing, murder, adultery, greed, wickedness, double-dealing, unrestrained sexual drive, envy, malicious misrepresentation, arrogance, senselessness. These bad habits of the heart corrupt and spoil life.

The condition of the heart is so important to God, that the word heart is mentioned nearly 1,000 times in the Bible. Our physical hearts are very important to us—our lives depend on our hearts, so we want to avoid heart disease. It stands to reason that we should be just as interested in avoiding the diseases of the spiritual heart.

During his time in the Gulag, Solzhenitsyn wrote: “The line separating good and evil passes not through states, nor between classes, nor between political parties, but right through every human heart. This line shifts. Inside us, it oscillates with the years. Even within hearts overwhelmed by evil, one small bridgehead of good is retained; and even in the best of all hearts, there remains a small corner of evil. If only there were evil people somewhere insidiously committing evil deeds, and it were necessary only to separate them from the rest of us and destroy them. But the line dividing good and evil cuts through the heart of every human being. And who is willing to destroy a piece of his own heart?”

We should humbly recognize that our hearts are in daily need of repair. Repentance is the path to a clean heart. In the holy land of the broken heart—there is joy never felt in sin’s garbage dump; there is light never seen in dark, dingy places; there is peace never experienced in dens of iniquity; there are songs never sung in rebellious hearts.

We are all by nature sinful. The human heart, Jeremiah reminds us, is the most deceitful of all things and desperately wicked. In fact, no one really knows how bad it is. Billy Graham said, “The heart of every problem is the problem of the human heart. That is why Jesus said we must be born again.”

It is obvious, to any thoughtful person, that force or legislation cannot change the inner condition of the heart. Only Christ, the Sovereign of the human heart, can transform us.  

One nation is in need of repair—one heart at a time.  

Pastor Johnny R. Almond

Hull’s Memorial Baptist Church

Friends on a Journey of Faith

Posted by: Pastor Almond AT 12:28 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Tuesday, July 05 2016

 

Today I am giving you the choice between a blessing and a curse!    De u t e r o n o my 11:26 NLT


The sun is rising--bringing choices about the road we will travel. Decisions are incredibly accurate boomerangs. We are at a crossroads. So which will it be today—a dark alley or a magnificent boulevard?

Prayer or presumption? Faith in Almighty God or self-reliance? Zero accomplishment in our strength or unlimited capability in God's?

Care or egomania? A lifestyle of sacrifice or of selfishness? Love in our heart was not put there to stay; love is not love until we give it away.

Purity or carnality? Will we fill our mind with heaven’s truth and loveliness or pollute it with hell’s garbage? Will we focus on ennobling excellence or imbecilic filth?

Understanding or criticism? Will we fret because we cannot shape others up morally, overlooking the fact we cannot change ourselves? Or will we wish the best for every person, hating only our own latent evil?

Composure or impatience? When we feel everyone passing us is an idiot, and those going slower are morons, we are out of line! God's timing is perfect--wisdom slows down and obeys heaven’s speed limit.

Attention or preoccupation? Will we permit the Holy Spirit to conquer our inner space and teach us to love people who wander through our days? The surest sign of love is listening--how is our hearing?

Intentionality or wandering? Jesus went around doing good, but we often just go around. It's high time we wrote our mission statement, and lived it.

Serenity or agitation? On high seas, the Master can still calm the waves. He will if we let Him.

Sensitivity or rudeness? Everyone has a silent struggle, unknown agony, unresolved dilemma, or unvoiced pain. To the extent we're like Christ, we will be kind.

Self-control or profligacy? Addiction or liberation? There is no need to shuffle in chains--Jesus is the Key to thorough-going freedom.

It is a joy to catch boomerangs of thoughtful, wise decisions; it is a pain to nurse a bruised skull from foolish ones, made without thinking! If we make the right decisions, then sunset’s benediction will conclude a happy day.

Johnny R. Almond, Pastor

Hull's Memorial Baptist Church--Friends on a Journey of Faith

Devotional based on Day 97 of Gentle Whispers from Eternity

Posted by: Pastor Almond AT 10:21 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email

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