Left For Dead

Left For Dead By Kirk Hunt

Then Jews from Antioch and Iconium came there; and having persuaded the multitudes, they stoned Paul and dragged him out of the city, supposing him to be dead.   However, when the disciples gathered around him, he rose up and went into the city. And the next day he departed with Barnabas to Derbe.

Acts 14:19–20 NKJV

Paul was not attacked by pagans or heathens.  The Apostle was stoned to “death” by pious, religious folk.  Their contempt and anger for Paul was so great that they did not bother with burying him.  They simply dragged his “dead” body outside of the city limits and left him for rot or wild animals.

Paul was nearly murdered for preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ, by kith and kin, not strangers or foreigners.  Of course, Paul once had persecuted Christians in similar manner.  The saddest fact is much of the persecution against early Christians came from their own kinsmen, not the pagan Roman invaders.

Too often, modern, Western Christians blame the unchurched for difficulties or resistance in building God’s Kingdom.  Religious fratricide is the more likely reason saints and ministries struggle.  Outsiders are easier to blame but insiders are the more likely culprits.

Consider how you respond and are responded to, by fellow Christians.  Is there upset over differences of style or tradition?  How does your disagreement or conflict look to outsiders and unbelievers? 

You may not agree with other Christians.  Still, there are Biblical ways to work through our differences in grace and love.  Certainly, there are Nero-like folk (modern and ancient) who persecute Christians.  Make sure, my Gospel brother or sister, that you are not one of them.

Think:       Our greatest hindrances are too often religious folk, not the unredeemed.

Pray:         “Lord, help me to approach other Christians in Your grace and love.”

 

Copyright © May 2018, Kirk Hunt

This devotional is brought to you courtesy of CadreMen Press.  You can purchase a copy of Blessed and Blessing: Devotionals For Gospel Champions from your favorite bookseller or directly from CadreMen Press.

Buying Reconciliation

Buying Reconciliation By Kirk Hunt

But Esau said, “I have enough, my brother; keep what you have for yourself.”   And Jacob said, “No, please, if I have now found favor in your sight, then receive my present from my hand, inasmuch as I have seen your face as though I had seen the face of God, and you were pleased with me.

Genesis 33:9–10 NKJV

The murderous hatred of Esau did not soften; instead, it transformed into brotherly love.  Not suddenly with gifts, but slowly in the two decades of separation from his twin brother.  Whatever Jacob’s opinion of Esau before, he is delighted by his brother’s acceptance in reconciliation.  “You were pleased with me.”

Reconciliation is rarely a complicated business.  Restoring relationships is almost always a lavishly expensive affair.  The cost in swallowed pride and forgiven offensives starts high, then grows with each passing day.  Unwinding, or flat forgiving, old grievances can take more out of you than you think or know.

Jacob’s wealth and blessings could not buy off his conscience or wrongdoing.  He had to face his brother and fix their relationship.  Unsure of his brother’s response (400 men), Jacob faced the regional warlord with nothing but courage and determination.

The fortune in livestock Jacob gave to Esau was not a bribe.  It was an apology.  Esau’s embrace of Jacob restored peace and joy, too long absent between them.  Tears, of joy and relief, marked the return of brothers to each other’s life.

It is not too late or too hard for you.  Spend your time, money and tears on reconciliation.  Use your every skill and resource to restore the relationship.  It will be a bargain at twice the price.

Think:       Reconciliation is expensive but satisfying.

Pray:         “Lord, help me find the way to bring us back together.”

 

Copyright © April 2018, Kirk Hunt

This devotional is brought to you courtesy of CadreMen Press.  You can purchase a copy of Blessed and Blessing: Devotionals For Gospel Champions from your favorite bookseller or directly from CadreMen Press.

He First Loved

He First Loved By Kirk Hunt

We love Him because He first loved us.

1 John 4:19 NKJV

In prayer, I step out of my mundane living room and into the august grandeur of His presence.  Seated on His Throne, His full glory and holiness shines out, promising nothing but perfect justice and impeccable judgment.  Instead, He first loved me.

Our infinite and all-powerful God is perfection, holiness and justice.  Mankind should have been found guilty in judgment long ago.  Instead, He first loved us. 

Jesus chose to reconcile man to God in righteousness.  Father-God allowed Jesus’ sacrifice on the Cross to tear the veil and once again allow us free access to Himself.  He acted because He first loved us.

Grace gives gifts we can never earn or be worthy to receive.  Mercy blocks the results of our sin, despite the condemnation and judgment we have so richly earned and deserved.  After all, He first loved us.

His love is not blind, yet we are precious in His sight.  God moved heaven and earth to make provision for us.  We should understand he did so because He first loved us.

We should return His love with all our hearts and mind.  It should be easy, since He gave the first proof.  He first loved us.

This New Year’s Day, consider the eight words of 1 John 4:19.  Make your plans understanding how He loves you.  Map out your strategies, understanding how much He loves them.  Your work should be easy, considering He loved you first.

Think:        God reached to me first.  How will I respond?

Pray:           “Lord, thank you for loving me first.”

 

Copyright © December 2017, Kirk Hunt

This devotional is brought to you courtesy of CadreMen Press.  You can purchase a copy of Blessed and Blessing: Devotionals For Gospel Champions from your favorite bookseller or directly from CadreMen Press.

No Greater Love

No Greater Love By Kirk Hunt

Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.

John 15:13

 

The test came, and three true Americans passed.  Good men refused to stand by and let evil triumph.  For friends they may not have truly met, they proved their greater love. 

 

It is appropriate on this Memorial Day that we Americans recognize this fresh proof that freedom is not free.  It requires men and women, many without arms or armor, to stand in courage.  Some will make the ultimate sacrifice, out of love.

 

Real love requires standing against all enemies, foreign and domestic, natural and spiritual.  Real love stands against sin, hate and violence with grace and truth.  All too often, the enemy of our souls, or his agents, will retaliate viciously.  

 

However they act, God’s people are commanded to respond in love and grace.  Even when provoked, God’s people must respond as Jesus would.  His greater love lives in us and finds its expression through us.  Sometimes at the risk of being known as a hero. 

 

Jesus knew He would face the ultimate test.  He refused to stand by and let mankind continue in separation from God.  Jesus stood in courage and made the ultimate and eternal sacrifice, on the Cross.  He proved that the evidence of greater love requires action.

 

I pray you are never tested this way.  May His wisdom and grace lead you around or past any situation.  Still, do not hesitate to become a known hero.  True heroes are in short supply.

 

Think:        Jesus gave His life to save us from the enemy of our souls.

 

Pray:           “Lord, guide me in Your wisdom, with courage.”

 

Copyright © May 2017, Kirk Hunt

This devotional is brought to you courtesy of CadreMen Press.  You can purchase a copy of Blessed and Blessing: Devotionals For Gospel Champions from your favorite bookseller or directly from CadreMen Press.

We Call Her Blessed

We Call Her Blessed By Kirk Hunt

Her children rise up and call her blessed

Proverbs 31:28a

 

The church was large and full.  Any one you asked would claim to be Mother Hunt’s son or daughter, regardless of age or family-line.  Certainly, we all call her blessed.

 

At first, she would convince you she was the most fragile and delicate creature you ever met.  Eventually she would target you, for your own good, with her iron determination and steely strength of character.  Still, you would love her and call her blessed.

 

Momma always appreciated what you did for her.  Then she would tell you how you could have done it better.  You might roll your eyes, but you would call her blessed.

 

She beamed with delight and pride over her children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren and the fifth generation she held in her arms.  No matter how large the crowd near her, she concerned herself with who was far away.  We would sigh, then call her blessed.

 

Her work in God’s Kingdom generated a host of spiritual sons and daughters.  Everyone close to her understood the demands and privileges of being one of her children.  And when they rose up, they call her blessed.

 

Momma spent her life trying to lead others to Christ and Christ-like living.  Her love could be fierce and severe, but was always from the deepest part of her.  The part of her that taught and corrected loved you, and more importantly, loved God.  No wonder we call her blessed.

 

Think:        The children of a true Mother rise up and call her blessed.

 

Pray:           “Lord, thank you for providing true Mothers for Your earthly children.”

 

Copyright © May 2017, Kirk Hunt

This devotional is brought to you courtesy of CadreMen Press.  You can purchase a copy of Blessed and Blessing: Devotionals For Gospel Champions from your favorite bookseller or directly from CadreMen Press.

Love One Another

Love One Another By Kirk Hunt

Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.

1 John 4:11 NKJV

 

“Love one another.”  Too often, even God’s people make it more complicated than it needs to be.  Care for each other.  Make sure folk have enough.  Inconvenience yourself (if a little) for someone struggling just to survive.

 

John did not invent this commandment on his own.  Jesus Himself ordered us (see John 13:34) to love one another.  After telling us to care for, minister to and support others, Jesus did not fold His hands.  Instead He went to the Garden of Gethsemane and started His walk to the Cross.

 

Out of care for our future, Jesus endured His trial by Pilate.  Because of His concern for men, then and now, Jesus allowed His public scourging.  Out of love for generations yet to be born, Jesus died on the Cross.  Perhaps you could pay just a little bit more for those who have little or nothing?

 

Will some of the folks you care for only take advantage?  Probably.  Will some of the people you love reply with hate or disdain?  Again, probably.  Does Jesus’ command to His faithful disciples stand?  Absolutely.

 

Love gives.  It also creates opportunities.  Men and women, boys and girls, are drawn to authentic love.  That positive attraction gives us the opportunity to share the Gospel. 

 

It will cost you something to show love to others.  Someone, somewhere, will find a way to exploit, mishandle or ill-use what you give.  However they respond, His command to you remains clear.  Are you obedient to His Word?

 

Think:        Real love requires action and pays costs. 

 

Pray:           “Lord, show me how to love others as You do.”

 

Copyright © March 2017, Kirk Hunt

 

This devotional is brought to you courtesy of CadreMen Press.  You can purchase a copy of Blessed and Blessing: Devotionals For Gospel Champions from your favorite bookseller or directly from CadreMen Press.

Enough Love To Persist

Enough Love To Persist By Kirk Hunt

 

Moreover if your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone. If he hears you, you have gained your brother.   But if he will not hear, take with you one or two more, that ‘by the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.’

Matthew 18: 15–16 NKJV
Please also read Matthew 18: 15–17

 

Confrontation is an act of love and loyalty.  It is part of the healing protocol against moral and spiritual infection.  One dose is not always enough.  Godly men and women must persist in loving confrontation until there is change.

 

Jesus gave us a procedure for resolving conflict.  We are commanded to have courage and speak, alone the first time, directly to an offending brother or sister.  The goal is not hurt feelings but restoration.  The best outcome is reconciliation driving out separation.

 

Men and women continue to sin (a specific way) either because they do not know better, or because they benefit (profit) from the sin.  Persistent, Godly confrontation forces home the truth and degrades the benefit. 

 

Human beings can be willful, obstinate creatures.  While it is easy to recognize error and willfulness in others, it is more difficult to see it in yourself.  Dismissing a single complaint is one thing.  Dismissing a growing portion of your community is a different thing.

 

Persist in saying the truth, especially to power.  Shine the lights of Scripture and publicity on injustice and wrongdoing.  After a while, God’s righteousness will disinfect even the most deeply entrenched infection of sin.

 

Think:                I must be persistent in Godly confrontation, an act of love and loyalty.

 

Pray:                   “Lord, help me to persist with love and grace, especially in confrontation.”

 

 

Copyright © August 2016, Kirk Hunt

 

This devotional is brought to you courtesy of CadreMen Press.  You can purchase a copy of Blessed and Blessing: Devotionals For Gospel Champions from your favorite bookseller or directly from CadreMen Press.

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Enough Love To Confront

Enough Love To Confront By Kirk Hunt

 

Now when Peter had come to Antioch, I withstood him to his face, because he was to be blamed;   for before certain men came from James, he would eat with the Gentiles; but when they came, he withdrew and separated himself, fearing those who were of the circumcision.

Galatians 2: 11–12 NKJV
Please also read Galatians 2:11–12

 

Apostle Paul chose to confront Apostle Peter.  No one would say, or even think, this act of courage made Paul an enemy of Peter.  Real brothers and sisters refuse to let a sibling continue in error.  Sometimes, confrontation is an act of love and loyalty.

 

Confrontation is rarely a pleasant activity for either side.  Pain, grief and anger all too easily flow in, and from, the moment.  After all, confrontation is not needed when everything is right and righteous.

 

Biblical confrontation is an act of love.  It is an act of devotion and courage when parents confront a son or daughter about drugs.  Things will only get worse if a husband does not confront his wife with evidence of infidelity.  Consider the loyalty of a sister who confronts her friend about a moral failing.

 

The drug user will deny it.  The adulterer will blame others.  The fallen will make excuses.  The strong and courageous will refuse to be deterred, despite the tears and harsh words.

 

God’s men and women confront their brothers and sisters in love, and with grace.  Not to condemn, but to help start repentance and reconciliation.  Acts of love are not always pleasant.  Acts of loyalty are usually uncomfortable.  Do them anyway.

 

Think:                Godly confrontation is an act of love and loyalty.

 

Pray:                   “Lord, guide me in love and grace, especially in confrontation.”

 

 

Copyright © July 2016, Kirk Hunt

 

This devotional is brought to you courtesy of CadreMen Press.  You can purchase a copy of Blessed and Blessing: Devotionals For Gospel Champions from your favorite bookseller or directly from CadreMen Press.

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His Command To Love

His Command To Love By Kirk Hunt

 

A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another.

John 13:34 NKJV

 

Lots of folks are talking about “love” these days.  Some are also speaking of brothers and sisters.  If I really love men and women as my brothers and sisters, what actions should I take?

 

I am blessed with three brothers and a sister.  We have had conflicts and words.  No matter how angry we have been at each other, we have never once refused to protect, assist and support each other.  Ever.

 

Jesus loved us first and best.  Out of love, He laid down His life for us. He did not wait for us to stop being His enemy (Colossians 1: 19–22).  He did not wait for us to stop sinning (Romans 5:8).  

 

As a Christian, I should follow His example.  If you are a Christian, I ask you to consider His example before you act.  What can you do to prove to yourself that you follow His pattern?

 

Perhaps that means letting myself be wronged in order to win back a Gospel sibling (1 Corinthians 6: 7-8).  It could mean pointing out a shortcoming in grace and humility (Matthew 18: 15–17).  If the Apostles had conflicts, it should come as no surprise that today’s saints will not always see eye-to-eye (Galatians 2: 11–12).

 

I am blessed with numerous Gospel brothers and sisters.  Some are not Christians yet.  It is not always easy to love them, but I am following Jesus’ commandment and example.

 

Think:                Love is a series of acts.  Sometimes, acts of sacrifice.

 

Pray:                   “Lord, help me to love Your children as my brothers and sisters.”

 

Copyright © July 2016, Kirk Hunt

 

This devotional is brought to you courtesy of CadreMen Press.  You can purchase a copy of Blessed and Blessing: Devotionals For Gospel Champions from your favorite bookseller or directly from CadreMen Press.

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Christians Do Not Hate

Christians Do Not Hate By Kirk Hunt

 

If someone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen?

1 John 4:20 NKJV

 

I am always disappointed when someone, claiming to be a Christian, expresses hate for others.  Jesus told us the world would hate Christians.  Not once did He command us to hate sinners, even in retaliation.  Multiple times, He commanded us to love those who hate us.

 

Jesus said in Luke 6:27, “But I say to you who hear: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you.”  Perhaps the hearing part is the tricky part.  Perhaps the obedient to Christ part is a different tricky part.

 

Jesus could have called down fire on various sinners and adversaries during His earthly ministry.  He did not do so, even once.  Instead, He died for the Pharisees who hated him.  Jesus forgave His executioners during His execution.  He died for you and I, even though we were sinners.

 

The Christ I serve healed foreigners and aliens.  He proclaimed that He came to minister to sinners and tax collectors.  May I remind you that He personally refused to condemn an adulteress, caught in the very act?

 

Condemnation ends the conversation.  Conviction leads to restoration.  Christians are commanded to make disciples (Matthew 28:19) of all men and women.  We cannot hate the souls we expect and want to love Jesus. 

 

Think:                I cannot (effectively) share Jesus with someone I hate.

 

Pray:                   “Lord, help me to live out my love for You by loving Your (sinful) children.”

 

 

Copyright © June 2016, Kirk Hunt

 

This devotional is brought to you courtesy of CadreMen Press.  You can purchase a copy of Blessed and Blessing: Devotionals For Gospel Champions from your favorite bookseller or directly from CadreMen Press.

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Christians Do Not Fear

Christians Do Not Fear By Kirk Hunt

 

There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love.   We love Him because He first loved us.

1 John 4:18–19 NKJV

 

In recent days it is hard to avoid the media fixation on anger among citizens, the world over.  There are many potential reasons for all of that rage, but most fall short of explaining the root or true cause.  Fear, on the other hand, easily explains the driving force of so much poor behavior in the world.

 

Remove fear of coming events and people will live without violence or unrest.  Even when conditions are harsh or difficult, they keep their heads.  When people become afraid of what will happen next, the torches and pitchforks come out.  Keep in mind that neither fearful mobs nor fearful individuals make good decisions.

 

Christians of course should never give in to fear.   We are loved by God Himself.  The Creator looks after His own. 

 

Consider also that His love drives out fear.  The more you allow His care and concern for you to saturate your life, the less room there is for fear.  Sound like a good deal to me.

 

If you are a son or daughter of God, you can trust in His love for you.  Things may not be easy, but you can live in the confidence of His care and concern especially for you.  There is no room for fear in a heart filled with God’s love.

 

Think:                God’s love for me drives out my fear.

 

Pray:                   “Lord, help me to live out my life in Your love and without my fear.”

 

 

Copyright © July 2016, Kirk Hunt

 

This devotional is brought to you courtesy of CadreMen Press.  You can purchase a copy of Blessed and Blessing: Devotionals For Gospel Champions from your favorite bookseller or directly from CadreMen Press.

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Loving Under Authority

Loving Under Authority By Kirk Hunt

 

Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God.  Therefore whoever resists the authority resists the ordinance of God, and those who resist will bring judgment on themselves.

Romans 13:1–2 NKJV
Please also read Romans 13:1–14

 

The Apostle Paul commanded Christians living in Rome to obey the rule and authority of the Roman Caesars.  These same Roman leaders would eventually behead the Apostle.  Paul’s words, and example, remain a commandment for Christians today.  Our dual citizenship in God’s Kingdom, and a secular government, leads to complexities we answer through His love and grace.

 

Christians are good citizens of God and heaven, first and foremost.  When push comes to shove, His grace and love should flow out of us to the men and women who persecute us.  Especially when they respond with dogs and firehoses.  

 

Paul was beheaded for preaching the Gospel.  Traditionally, all of the Apostles, save John, were martyred for preaching Jesus.  The Apostles loved Jesus, and their pagan persecutors, more than themselves.  Instead of a clenched fist they used their loving hearts to turn the authorities to Jesus.

 

Through prayer and living as authentic Christians, the Apostles turned pagan Rome into a Christian nation.  No nation, or group, is so far gone that it cannot be brought, or returned, to Christ.  Are you willing to live, love and potentially die as a citizen of heaven?

 

Think:                I am first and foremost a loving citizen of heaven.  Regardless of the cost.

 

Pray:                   “Lord, help me to live out my life as a testimony of Your love.”

 

Copyright © June 2016, Kirk Hunt

This devotional is a ministry of https://devotionals.cadremenpress.com.

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