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

Answer The Call

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“Answer The Call” by Kirk Hunt

Therefore Eli said unto Samuel, Go, lie down: and it shall be, if he call thee, that thou shalt say, Speak, LORD; for thy servant heareth. So Samuel went and lay down in his place. And the LORD came, and stood, and called as at other times, Samuel, Samuel. Then Samuel answered, Speak; for thy servant heareth.

1 Samuel 3:9-10 KJV

The God of eternity opened a door in time and space and stepped into young Samuel’s life. A little child became a national leader because he said “yes” to God. So began the ministry of one of the most important of the Old Testament Prophets.

Christians tend to make calling more complicated than it is. God calls all of us to follow Him. Some of us are called to additional service in His Kingdom. The question is how we respond.

Samuel could have refused to acknowledge God’s Voice. We are not machines or robots. God allows men and women to choose whether or not to accept Him. Samuel made the right choice. What choices have you made?

Step one is hearing the call. God is already calling you. Are you listening?

Calling happens. No circumstance, age or situation makes you immune. You may not think much of what you can do, but God works through the most unlikely men and women. All it takes is faith in God’s power and a willingness to answer God’s call with “yes.”

Think: Everyone is called. How will I respond?

Pray: “Lord, help me to say “yes” to Your Will and Way for my life.”

Copyright © April 2009, Kirk Hunt

Saints Share

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“Saints Share” by Kirk Hunt

That there should be no schism in the body; but that the members should have the same care one for another. And whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; or one member be honoured, all the members rejoice with it.

1 Corinthians 12:25-26 KJV

Real friends and true family are glad for your good news. They try to pry every little detail of your victory out of you. When they tell others, the sincere tone in their voice makes you think it happened to them, and for them.

Genuine friends and loyal family grieve with you over your bad news. They sit in silent watch with you or listen patiently as you explain, over and again. They share in your hurt and woe, as if it were their own.

Loneliness and isolation is the ironic tragedy of our digital age. With so many different ways to communicate, we connect less than ever. The one exception ought to be Christians.

The body of Christ, the Church, shares. Good and bad. Woe or weal.

It’s only a matter of time until you have news: good or bad. When it happens, it’s better if you share. Call your Christian friends and Gospel family. Let it all out.

Kith and kin, especially the Gospel variety, are always there for you. Authentic family and friends will share the load or lead the parade. Reach out. Today.

Think: Real saints share the good and the bad.

Pray: “Lord, help me to hold up others, and accept their support in return.”

Copyright © April 2009, Kirk Hunt

Christians Retreat

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“Christians Retreat” by Kirk Hunt

But so much the more went there a fame abroad of him: and great multitudes came together to hear, and to be healed by him of their infirmities. And he withdrew himself into the wilderness, and prayed.

Luke 5:15-16 KJV

Crowds and attention. Notoriety and buzz. Jesus’ ministry had achieved “rock star” status.

The conventional wisdom says to lean in when the crowds are thick. A modern day manager would advise Jesus to take it all in, while the taking is easy. Jesus, had a different response.

Fully God, but fully human, Jesus needed time alone. Well, not completely alone. Jesus needed time alone with God.

Jesus retreated from the crowds and spent time alone with God. To rest. To recharge. To regain clarity and Godly direction.

Despite being at the top of His fame and fortune, Jesus pulled back. He retreated to spend time with His real power source. Jesus spent time alone with God.

Perhaps you’re having a season of impact and notoriety. I’m always happy to hear that someone is exercising their blessing to bless others. Still, there’s a time and season to retreat.

There’s a place and space to reconnect with God. No matter what’s going well right now, you need to stop and spend time alone. Alone to pray.

Think: I need time alone with God

Pray: “Lord, help me to make time to be alone with You.”

Copyright © April 2009, Kirk Hunt

Grace Is Not Indulgence

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“Grace Is Not Indulgence” by Kirk Hunt

When Jesus had lifted up himself, and saw none but the woman, he said unto her, Woman, where are those thine accusers? hath no man condemned thee? She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more.

John 8:10-11 KJV

The scribes and Pharisees slunk away. Jesus used their own trap against them. The stark, unyielding nature of the Law, and the sin of their own lives, left them no choice but retreat.

While the Pharisees were motivated by error and hypocrisy, they were right about the woman’s sin. Jesus could have launched into a blistering sermon. He could have done with words what her accusers wanted to do with stones.

Jesus’ words and actions towards her are pure grace. Grace, the unmerited favor of God, is a gift beyond measure. With grace, we receive what we do not deserve.

Jesus is careful to admonish her: “Sin no more.” Too often we confuse grace with indulgence. Nothing can be further from the truth.

God’s grace is an opportunity to make it right, or at least, not again. It’s a chance to pursue Him. It’s an occasion to grow in His truth.

Use the gift of grace to get it, and yourself, right. God doesn’t want to beat you down. Instead, He wants to raise you up.

Think: God’s grace in my life is not an indulgence of my sin.

Pray: “Lord, help me use Your grace to grow closer to You.”

Copyright © April 2009, Kirk Hunt

First, Look Within

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“First, Look Within” by Kirk Hunt

This they said, tempting him, that they might have to accuse him. But Jesus stooped down, and with his finger wrote on the ground, as though he heard them not. So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.

John 8:6-7 KJV

The scribes and Pharisees wanted justice against the adulterous woman of verse 3. As always Jesus came to save sinners, not slay them. Still, these men callously called for “justice.”

Scripture is silent regarding what Jesus wrote in the dust of the Temple. One popular guess is that Jesus began writing out the sins of the accusers. It’s not too surprising to see a prosecutor in violation of the Law they enforce.

Certainly, Jesus saw through the staged theater to their willful and disobedient motivations. Then, as now, the ends can not justify the means. Real justice can only be achieved when men and women do the right thing and for the right reasons.

Jesus exposed their inconsistencies and hypocrisy elegantly. He asked the scribes and Pharisees to enforce the entire Law. Even the provision that the accusers themselves be without sin.

Too often, we call out for judgment and justice against others. Justice starts within and demands we judge ourselves first. Revival and justice always starts among God’s people, then spreads.

Think: If I want justice and purity in the world, I must first be just and pure.

Pray: “Lord, help me lead life in Your Way.”

Copyright © March 2009, Kirk Hunt

Hope In The Savior

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“Hope In The Savior” by Kirk Hunt

They say unto him, Master, this woman was taken in adultery, in the very act. Now Moses in the law commanded us, that such should be stoned: but what sayest thou?

John 8:4-5 KJV

To the Pharisees, she was disposable. A human life of no worth or consequence. Her life and soul were a trifle to be cast away at their whim. Cold and callous hearts sought to destroy two lives with their charges.

To Jesus, she was precious. He had come specifically to save her. Her life and soul were so valuable to Him that he surrendered his place in eternity to preserve her.

Make no mistake, her sin and guilt were a garish and offensive spectacle before Him. Still, in the very same moment, His love for her exceeded all boundaries and measures. He responded to her situation with loving grace and tender mercy.

Then, as now, Jesus loves sinners just like you and I. His love for you exceeds all boundaries and measures. Your accusers want to hurl stones and condemnation. Your Savior wants to lavish you with grace and mercy.

He loves you as you are. Right where you are. Re-enthroned in eternity, Jesus waits specifically for you. All you have to lose are your guilt and sin.

Think: God loves sinners. Even me.

Pray: “Lord, lead me to restoration in You.”

Copyright © March 2009, Kirk Hunt

Hope In The Darkness

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“Hope In The Darkness” by Kirk Hunt

And they came to Jericho: and as he went out of Jericho with his disciples and a great number of people, blind Bartimaeus, the son of Timaeus, sat by the highway side begging. And when he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to cry out, and say, Jesus, thou Son of David, have mercy on me.

Mark 10:46-47 KJV

In the Israel of Jesus’ earthly ministry, the options of a blind man were limited at best. Without the ability to see the world around him, begging served as Bartimaeus’ only real option for survival. Likely for years, Bartimaeus had existed solely on the occasional coin that clanked into his cup.

The years of humiliation and abasement should have broken him. The darkness should have swallowed his heart and spirit. Instead, Bartimaeus harbored hope in his soul.

What should have died, endured. The facts and data of his life should have strangled his aspirations. Instead, Bartimaeus nurtured his dreams and expectations in the darkness.

As Jesus came near, Bartimaeus responded from the depths of his soul. He bellowed for mercy. He screamed for deliverance.

Perhaps your circumstances seem dark. It doesn’t matter how long you’ve been in that condition. Are you ready for mercy? Are you prepared for deliverance?

Jesus is near. Cry out to Him from your heart . Prove to Him, and yourself, that your hope endures.

Think: Keep your hope in Jesus.

Pray: “Lord, I choose to to put my hope in you.”

Copyright © March 2009, Kirk Hunt

Shelter From The Storm

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“Shelter From The Storm” by Kirk Hunt

Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock

Matthew 7:24-25 KJV

In my mind’s eye, I pray about the storm raging outside. When I finish my prayer, with a loud “amen,” it’s still raining. I feel the concussion of thunderclaps in my bones. The house groans and creaks from the fury of the wind.

I wring my hands and fret. My thoughts go to my neighbor across the way. His house went up so much faster than mine. His home has features and advantages mine lacks. Building on the Rock of Jesus has cost me time and money I could have used for other things.

I barely hear the knock over the violent pelt of rain. Grumbling that anyone is out in this storm, I go to the door. My neighbor and his family huddle and shiver on my porch.

Lightning flashes reveal the ruin that was his home. Built on the sand of human wisdom, their house stood no chance against the storm. My simpler, humbler home is now a sanctuary from the chaos outside.

The storm outside still rages, but I no longer mind as much. My hands are suddenly busy, ministering to the spiritually homeless. The sure foundation of my house has proven itself and Him.

Think: Obedience to God is its own reward.

Pray: “Lord, teach me the benefits of obeying Your Word.”

Copyright © March 2009, Kirk Hunt

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Seek God

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“Seek God” by Kirk Hunt

Seek ye the LORD while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near: Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the LORD, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.

Isaiah 55:6-7 KJV

It is right and good that Christians emphasize God’s love for men and women. It is only through God’s grace and mercy that anyone approaches salvation. Still, there is more to the story.

God is also righteousness. His judgment is without error. His justice cannot be appealed.

It is a mistake to think that judgment and righteousness can, or should, be delayed indefinitely. Sooner or later, righteousness silences grace. Eventually, justice pushes past mercy.

While His Presence is near, seek Him. While His Voice speaks, listen. Your opportunity may not come again quickly, if at all.

God pardons us. God embraces the worst of sinners, including you and I. It is risky and foolish to put off God for another day.

Mercy cannot out-wrestle judgment forever. Grace cannot push off justice indefinitely. Sooner or later, God’s love contends with God’s righteousness.

Seek God. Today. Don’t take His Presence for granted.

Think: Seek God now. Encourage others to seek God now.

Pray: “Lord, help me seek You here and now.”

Copyright © March 2009, Kirk Hunt

You Have Access

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“You Have Access” by Kirk Hunt

Also the sons of the stranger, that join themselves to the LORD, to serve him, and to love the name of the LORD, to be his servants, every one that keepeth the sabbath from polluting it, and taketh hold of my covenant; Even them will I bring to my holy mountain, and make them joyful in my house of prayer: their burnt offerings and their sacrifices shall be accepted upon mine altar; for mine house shall be called an house of prayer for all people.

Isaiah 56:6-7 KJV

There is no doubting, especially after reading the Old Testament, the privileged place of the Jewish people. They are His favored ones. Still, the blessed status of the Jews is not the whole story.

From the beginning, the Law and the Prophets made room and provision for foreigners and sojourners. Gentiles, known to some as goyim, have played critical roles in Jewish and Scriptural history. No matter how primary the Jewish people, God insisted there be access to Him for the rest of us.

You have access to God. Space has been reserved for you. Provision and place has already been made for your soul.

All you have to do is seek Him out. Even those who are favored must give place, just for you. Are you willing to seek out your place before His Throne?

Think: I already have free and clear access to God’s Throne.

Pray: “Lord, help me seek You out as one of Your adoptive children.”

Copyright © February 2009, Kirk Hunt