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Hull's Memorial Baptist Church
 Pastor's Blog 
Monday, October 29 2018

While Ezra prayed and made this confession,
weeping and throwing himself to the ground in front of the Temple of God,
a large crowd of people from Israel – men, women, and children – gathered and wept bitterly with him.

I am the Awesome God who inspires reverence. The no-gods are limited; I am the Infinite One presiding over the cosmos. Idols inspire aversion; Divinity inspires awe.

In My Presence, humble your heart. I am the enemy of the proud; the humble are My favorites. So the wisest thing you can do is humble yourself before Me. Ponder the universe I have engineered—gaze into the expansive night sky and recall I whispered stars into being and direct planetary traffic patterns. Listen to reverberating thunder—then sing My praises. Resolve to live in the holy land of the broken heart—then you will not climb high and fall hard.

Cry your heart out for the wrong you have thought and done. I am the Awakening God who inspires repentance. My Holy Spirit stirs your heart to correct evil practices and commit energy to heavenly purposes. Sin is a crying shame! It is no joking matter! Want the Devil to leave you alone? Resist him! Want to be clean? Wash your hands and purify your heart! 

If you yearn to know My joy, you must quit flirting with sin—in other words, quit it! Then you must redouble your efforts to serve Me—in other words, stop your self-service. Let heaven’s fire burn the sin from your mind and polish your life into purest gold. In My pardon, you can be holy.

I am the Almighty God who inspires revival. Confession can be contagious. Righteousness can spark a movement toward godliness. Prayer can transform nations. Earnest intercessions of the pure-hearted produce uncommon results. Just one sincere person can attract a crowd intent on seeking Me. Conviction has wonderful consequences—hope in My promises, commitment and courage to do right, confession of sin, and consecration to live above the world. Bow down before Me and admit you really need Me, and I will take you by the hand and lift you up. In My power, you are helped.

A rock thrown into a lake causes ripples all the way to the shore. On your knees you can change the world.

(c) Pastor Johnny R. Almond
Author, Gentle Whispers from Eternity 

Posted by: Pastor Almond AT 03:55 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Wednesday, October 17 2018

The gracious hand of his God was on him. This was because Ezra had determined to study and obey the law of the LORD
and to teach those laws and regulations to the people of Israel.
EZRA 7:9b-10

I am the Writer, Producer, and Director of your life story. I have given instructions for your life on earth in My Book from Heaven—follow My directions closely and live by the script until I walk on stage.

I chose you as a priest, challenged you to live a holy lifestyle, claimed you as one of My own, commanded you to praise Me, and called you out of ignorant darkness into insightful light.

Learn from Ezra’s example how I want you to weave together study and obedience. He shouldered priestly responsibility to teach, but he did more than spend time in the library—he walked the streets and connected with people. He burned midnight oil—then he behaved the message. Well-versed in Scripture, learned and wise, he did not stop there—he took seriously his task of teaching My law.

He devoted himself to My Holy Word—and more than that, to Me.

Study is never enough! Ezra was an exemplary priest and scribe—a disciplined scholar and practitioner of My law, a devoted teacher who spoke from experience. He knew My Word—he also worked at living by it!

Before you can teach, you must think and be transformed. Any message you preach will be ineffective unless you understand the meaning and experience the metamorphosis. Any remarks you make are hollow without clear reflection and careful response.

Learning and living are critically interconnected. Study informs, schooling instructs, spirituality inspires. Private enlightenment and public example undergird powerful education. Without thoughtful pondering and sincere practicing, sermons are just so much noise. All the wisdom you offer the world will not please Me, if you are not obeying Me personally.

I know you are very fond of Bible study. That is the easy part. Next comes the more difficult part. Demonstrate you love the Author by reading it over, thinking it through, praying it in, and living it out.

People would rather see a sermon than hear one any day. So would I! That is how I know you really love Me. The most readable translation? Translating beliefs into behavior! Do that and I promise to make Myself real to you.

The finest sermon? Living by the Book! Do that, and I will shout a hearty Amen!

(c) Pastor Johnny R. Almond
Author, Gentle Whispers from Eternity 

Posted by: Pastor Almond AT 03:05 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Monday, October 08 2018

The work on the Temple of God in Jerusalem had stopped, and it remained at a standstill
until the second year of the reign of King Darius of Persia.

EZRA 4:24

Sometimes it would be appropriate for you to ask yourself thought-provoking questions—You were running a good race, so what interfered with your progress and detoured you from My best? What kinds of influence sidetrack you from persevering in the life mission I have assigned you?

Discouraging people can get the best of you, if you neglect to rely on Christ’s dynamic power at work within you. Fear can frustrate your service for Me, if it shuts down your faith. Ridicule and ostracism can paralyze your noble pursuit, if you permit it.

You can be certain that resolve to live a pure life will not make you the hit of the world’s party. And it will not get any easier when you redouble your efforts to live a godly life.

Human authority can intimidate you, if you do not pay attention to orders from Higher Headquarters.

Remember this—at all times, in all situations, it is mandatory that you obey Me!

It is okay to rest—it is not okay to resign. It is delightful to pause—it is disgraceful to stop. A Sabbath is wise—a standstill is wicked. Retirement on active duty is a contradiction in terms.

Faithfulness is much more critical than talent or skill. A running T-Model goes farther than a parked Cadillac.

Keep on keeping on, standing strong in the service of the Victor. Run until the finish line, keeping your eyes on your Savior on the cross. Courageously struggle on, standing tall and true to your convictions.

My grace enables you to survive battles with the evil one, stand firm against his strategies, stand your ground against his tricks that would overthrow you, and keep you safe and sound until you join heaven’s victory celebration.

Arrayed in heavenly armor, evil will not knock you off your feet. When the smoke of battle clears, you will not be at a standstill—you will be still standing.

(c) Johnny R. Almond
Pastor, Hull's Memorial Baptist Church
Author, Gentle Whispers from Eternity

Posted by: Pastor Almond AT 08:24 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Wednesday, October 03 2018

Here is the list of the Jewish exiles of the provinces who returned from their captivity to Jerusalem and other towns of Judah.
They had been deported to Babylon by King Nebuchadnezzar.
EZRA 2:1

The temptation to settle down in captivity was tremendous for those Jews in Babylon. Many of them had accumulated riches in the land between the rivers. Civilization was very comfortable. Enjoying an easy life far from Zion, why pull up stakes and abandon their routine? Why give up their predictable jobs for this arduous journey?

Can you see yourself and your personal experiences in the mirror of Jewish history? Their temptations are yours. Their dilemma reflects your own hesitancy to lose your life and give it up for Jesus’ sake. Addiction to a comfort zone makes it hard for you to get out of the rut—a grave with both ends kicked out—and take the exit to freedom.

For the Jews to travel those hundreds of dangerous miles was a crucial choice inspired by a search for significance. Wondering why the Hebrews set out on the trek to Jerusalem, some critics labeled the emigrants’ decision lunacy. But they were not insane—they were inspired to embark on a mission outshining the metropolis of Babylon.

Worldly attractions lose their glitter in light of My challenge—if you refuse to shoulder your cross and humbly walk in My shadow to the City of Light, you are not worthy to wear My Name.

Triumph followed courage. Sustained by their Sovereign, returnees to Jerusalem—city of peace, and Judah—country of praise, again walked the familiar streets of their hometowns. After months of danger and diffi culty, it was good to finally be home. At the day’s end, losing by earth’s standards is winning by Mine. Those who lose their lives for My sake truly discover life.

Changed by adventure, returning exiles were cataloged as stars. Honorable mention in the hall of faith is their eternal reward. When you give up your attachment to things to follow Me, I guarantee a payback that will far more than off set the expenditure. To be named by the Shepherd is no small joy. To be registered in the Lamb’s Book of Life is no shallow reward.

Whatever your society decides, choose to aim for Christlikeness. Be a diamond on black velvet—and receive heaven’s honorable mention.

(c) Johnny R. Almond 
Pastor, Hull's Memorial Baptist Church
Author, Gentle Whispers from Eternity 

Posted by: AT 09:47 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
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    420 Enon Road | Fredericksburg, VA 22406 | PH: 540.371.4124