Jesus Loves Me

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“Jesus Loves Me” by Kirk Hunt

But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

Romans 5:8 KJV

“Jesus loves me! This I know,

Because the Bible tells me so.”

<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jesus_Loves_Me>

Many of us sang Jesus Loves Me as children. I’m certain more of us should sing it as adults. Perhaps constantly.

We make our relationship with Jesus too complicated. The complex theological terminology gets in the way. The simple truth is, Jesus loves you.

It doesn’t matter if your voice is high and squeaky or deep and rumbling. You could be strikingly slim or substantially sturdy. Jesus loves you.

Maybe your childhood wasn’t all that innocent. Perhaps your adulthood hasn’t been very pleasant. It does not matter. Jesus loved you then. Jesus loves you now.

Don’t let the events of your life or your past history confuse you. You are here because of Jesus’ love for you. He has a plan and purpose for your life that will astound you. A plan created out of His deep and limitless love for you.

What does the future hold? I wish I could tell you. All I can say for sure is that when you get to tomorrow, Jesus will love you then.

Think: Jesus loves you and me, but especially me.

Pray: “Lord, help me to always remember your love for me.”

Copyright © June 2009, Kirk Hunt

There Will Be Room

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“There Will Be Room” by Kirk Hunt

A man’s gift maketh room for him, and bringeth him before great men.

Proverbs 18:16 KJV

Sometimes, Christian men and women concern themselves with the relationship between giving and progress. “I have given so much. Where and how will I see the outcome?”

It’s only natural and human to be concerned. When you give of your time, talent and treasure, you want it to count for good. Even the most selfless among us want a good return on investment.

The word “gift” in verse 16 can be translated as “a present.” While Scripture condemns bribes, it encourages generosity. When is it a gift and not a bribe? What are the motives of your heart?

There will be room for you. In fact your generosity will place you in front of the important and influential. According to your gifts, not your bribes.

Give your gifts with all your heart. Be generous with your time, talent and treasure. God delights in rewarding those who sincerely and diligently serve Him.

Stand and deliver, right where you are. Bless and benefit those who are close to hand. If you are giving from your heart, God will ensure there is room for you.

Think: God rewards those who give themselves in His service.

Pray: “Lord, help me to give generously of myself.”

Copyright © June 2009, Kirk Hunt

God’s Blessing (Jacob)

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“God’s Blessing (Jacob)” by Kirk Hunt

Thus have I been twenty years in thy house; I served thee fourteen years for thy two daughters, and six years for thy cattle: and thou hast changed my wages ten times. Except the God of my father, the God of Abraham, and the fear of Isaac, had been with me, surely thou hadst sent me away now empty. God hath seen mine affliction and the labour of my hands, and rebuked thee yesternight.

Genesis 31:41-42 KJV

“For every Jacob, there is a Laban.” I grew up hearing that phrase, and it never had a fixed meaning. Usually, it was a warning. Sometimes, it was an admonishment. On occasion, it was a comfort.

Jacob, the trickster, met more than his match in Uncle Laban. For 20 years, Jacob lived life in the negative uncertainty of what trick or swindle would hit next. I’m certain the irony was not lost on the man who robbed his own twin brother.

At the end of their time together, Jacob returned home, wealthy, blessed and protected by God. Not because of Jacob’s power or brains, but because of God’s faithfulness and provision. Not even Laban’s cunning is a match for God’s sovereign will.

God didn’t save Jacob from the consequences of his actions. Still, Jacob lived a fruitful, blessed and blessing life. Because Jacob learned to live a Godly life.

No matter what you’re living through, you can live in God’s blessing. Your way may not be easy, but it can still be blessed. And that something not even “Laban” can take away.

Think: God’s blessing is stronger than any thing else.

Pray: “Lord, help me live life Your way.”

Copyright © June 2009, Kirk Hunt

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

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