Finding Bethel

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“Finding Bethel” by Kirk Hunt

And Jacob rose up early in the morning, and took the stone that he had put for his pillows, and set it up for a pillar, and poured oil upon the top of it. And he called the name of that place Bethel: but the name of that city was called Luz at the first.

Genesis 28:18-19 KJV

Jacob levered his granite mattress upright. Reverently, he used the ceremony for dedicating an altar to mark it as a holy memorial. Suddenly, a blank spot at the side of the road became a holy shrine.

“Beth-el” means “the house of God.” A place where God lives is precious. We underestimate the number of places that God can dwell.

Too often, we expect that in the hard, difficult places of our lives, we have been abandoned by God. Jacob, as a fugitive and exile, likely thought himself a long way from God. Instead, he met God in a miraculous and awe-inspiring way.

The place where you stand is Beth-el. Despite your hardship. With the tears and sorrow. You are in the presence of an all-powerful God, who loves you more than even you know.

No matter what is going on, God is nearby. Settle down and listen. Even a stone pillow becomes a comfort in the presence of God.

Think: Any place can be come God’s place.

Pray: “Lord, help me to listen for You, wherever I am.”

Copyright © May 2009, Kirk Hunt

Jacob’s Victory

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“Jacob’s Victory” by Kirk Hunt

And Jacob went out from Beersheba, and went toward Haran. And he lighted upon a certain place, and tarried there all night, because the sun was set; and he took of the stones of that place, and put them for his pillows, and lay down in that place to sleep.

Genesis 28:10-11 KJV

Jacob arranged the rocks, just so. Alone and on the run, he enjoyed the luxury of sleeping on stone. On top of his restful bed, he had the comfort of his most recent victory.

Earlier that week, if not that day, Jacob successfully swindled his father to get Esau’s blessing. Years earlier, he had cheated his twin brother out of his birthright in the first place. Jacob had won.

Of course, Jacob’s victory meant he would not see his father or mother again for 20 years. His brother had sworn a death oath against him. Alone and friendless, he fled the family homestead like a common criminal.

Jacob had used fraud, deceit and trickery to get what he wanted. God had already promised that he would become a great man and nation. Instead of seeking out God’s direction and wisdom, Jacob orchestrated his own victory.

What God has promised, He will deliver. In joy. With peace. Without trickery. Without cheating.

Who’s victory do you want? Yours or God’s? One involves peace and joy, the other a stone mattress.

Think: Am I doing it my way, or God’s way?

Pray: “Lord, guide me in Your way and path. I want Your victory, not my own.”

Copyright © May 2009, Kirk Hunt

Care and Provide

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“Care and Provide” by Kirk Hunt

But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel.

1 Timothy 5:8 KJV

“Can Suzy Mae1 our niece, come live us?”

It had been years since there was an infant in my life. I have to confess, the question echoed theatrically in my head. Still, before I could form a full thought, the Holy Spirit arrived.

“This is your chance to live out what you write and teach.”

It ought to be hard to say “no” to a helpless baby. It is hard to say “no” to the Holy Spirit. Especially when it’s phrased that way.

Suzy Mae arrived with a paper bag of baby stuff and an enormous need for love and care. She needed us. The things we do for family.

In the end, we were a blessing. Not just to Suzy Mae, but to her parents. And everyone else who watched the situation.

Sometimes, it’s harder with family than anyone else. Still, you do the hard tasks out of love. Is there another reason?

Think: Am I doing a good job of caring and providing for my family?

Pray: “Lord, help me to bless my natural and spiritual family, out of love and obedience.”

Copyright © May 2009, Kirk Hunt

1Suzy Mae is a fictional name for a precious young girl.

Pray For Them

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“Pray For Themby Kirk Hunt

But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.

Matthew 5:44-45 KJV

There it is. Red ink on white paper. Our Savior, Himself, commands us to bless and pray for the very people causing us the most pain.

Perhaps you’re like me. The very idea seems beyond your grasp. Certainly, the willingness is sorely lacking.

The idea really isn’t that hard. The level of effort needed isn’t beyond you. What matters is your ability to be obedient.

Your ego and emotions whisper like little devils against obedience. The actual hurts and slights beg for eyes and teeth as compensation. The common wisdom screams for revenge and retaliation.

Despite all of that, you know what you should do. Give forgiveness. Deliver graciousness. Pour kindness.

It may be wooden and awkward at first. That’s okay. Even clumsy obedience pleases God.

Think: God calls us to forgiveness and graciousness.

Pray: “Lord, help me to forgive, and bless, the difficult people in my life.”

Copyright © May 2009, Kirk Hunt