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.

Fallout On Sons And Others

Fallout On Sons And Others By Kirk Hunt

So the king commanded this to be done; the decree was issued in Shushan, and they hanged Haman’s ten sons.

Esther 9:14 NKJV

What you do impacts others.  What you allow to continue impacts others.  Far too often, the fallout of acts of omission or commission falls on our own sons and daughters.  Just ask Haman.

Haman’s conspiracy to destroy the Jews ended in the death of his own sons.  His plot to loot the wealth of others ended with the plundering of himself and his family.  Haman’s cruel, vindictive, destructive strategy was executed on his own family.

God’s people are called to justice and mercy; blessing of friend and foe.  Do not limit the implications of Galatians 6:7.  What you do, and what you do not do, are seeds you sow.  Your harvest is coming.

Mordecai took in an orphan in kindness, mercy and generosity.  He reaped a queen who stood for her people when it counted.  Haman hatched a murderous conspiracy of genocide.  He harvested destruction for himself and his family. 

Consider what you are doing or allowing to be done in your name.  You are planting a harvest.  Scripture promises you will receive what you sow.  

Pastor Martin Niemöller would plead with you not to stand by as others do wrong.  He would implore you to safeguard others, as your own.  Of course, his experiences in the Dachau Concentration Camp probably colored his opinions.

If you are a Christian, then Jesus’ parable of the Good Samaritan should give you pause in this era of fear and hatred of others.  Listen to the testimony of Pastor Niemöller.  Read carefully the example of Haman.

Think:        Do I extend God’s help and goodness to others? 

Pray:           “Lord, help me to bless and benefit everyone around me.”

 

Copyright © July 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.

When Bullies Are Pleading

When Bullies Are Pleading By Kirk Hunt

Then the king arose in his wrath from the banquet of wine and went into the palace garden; but Haman stood before Queen Esther, pleading for his life, for he saw that evil was determined against him by the king.

Esther 7:7 NKJV

That morning, Haman mercilessly plotted genocide against the Jews because of Mordecai’s offense.  That evening he was pleading for understanding, mercy and forgiveness for his own conspiracy.  A typical bully, Haman could not feel for others until he faced his own reckoning.

All too often, men and women, like bullies, withhold mercy or consideration for others.  Yet, when they or theirs encounter (even a little) difficulty, they expect everyone to rally to their aid and defense.  They shamelessly ask, or demand, that exceptions be made to the rules they themselves set.

Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”  Jesus’ commandment to us, often called the “golden rule,” is not difficult to understand or follow.  The problem is our inner bully; the all-too-human lust for power over others.  Haman should have considered such things before he started bullying Mordecai and the Jews of Persia.

Knowing Ahasuerus’ rage, Haman cast about desperately for a protector and advocate.  His best chance lay with Esther, a Jew and Mordecai’s adoptive daughter.  The math is clearly not in Haman’s favor.

Haman’s murderous plot had reversed on him.  His cruel, merciless conspiracy against the Jews had been exposed.  Revealed as a bully, Haman begged like a wind for his life.  Would you need to plead for mercy if your circumstances were reversed?

Think:        Do I extend God’s kindness and mercy to others? 

Pray:           “Lord, help me extend Your grace and mercy to everyone around me.”

 

Copyright © July 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.

Remembrance Of Chains

Remembrance Of Chains By Kirk Hunt

Now it happened after these things that the son of the woman who owned the house became sick. And his sickness was so serious that there was no breath left in him.   So she said to Elijah, “What have I to do with you, O man of God? Have you come to me to bring my sin to remembrance, and to kill my son?”

1 Kings 17:17-18 NKJV
Please read 1 Kings 17:14-18

 

Keening in grief, she rocked her son’s cold, limp body in her arms.  It turns out even a poor widow a precious valuable to lose.  Her heart was dominated by remembrance of past sin.

 

When Elijah entered the room, she immediately questioned the great prophet.  Do you wonder about her tone?  Bitter?  Heartbroken?  Angry?  All of the above?

 

Of all the emotions that surged through her heart and mind, guilt pushed to the front.  “Are you here to remind me about my sin?”  Her son’s life was a price for her past transgression(s).

 

You should remember from time-to-time.  What chains of sin or circumstance used to weigh down your soul?  How did God save you?

 

It is too easy to forget.  Human memory does not always remember God’s past salvation during a new crisis.  If He brought you through then, He will bring you through now.

 

God restored her and the boy, even when giving up seemed the only response.  The crisis called for more faith, not panic.  God specializes in hopeless cases and unbreakable chains.

 

No matter what you were then or now, He would love to break your chains today.  Are you willing to offer your situation to Him?  Can you trust Him, for the first time, or one more time?

 

Think:        God will not abandon me now.

Pray:           “Lord, help me remember all that You have done, and will do, for me.”

 

Copyright © April 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.

 

Fresh Mercy, New Faithfulness

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Fresh Mercy, New Faithfulness” By Kirk Hunt

 

Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed,
Because His compassions fail not.
They are new every morning;
Great is Your faithfulness.

Lamentations 3:22-23 NKJV

 

Good morning. Welcome to a new year. Also, welcome to a fresh edition of God’s mercy.

 

Perhaps last year was not your best. Even if you feel convicted, you are not condemned. Take a generous portion of His mercy and begin again.

 

You may have done well last year. Praise God for your faithfulness. Still, you cannot rest on past accomplishments. Move, in His mercy, to your next assignment and task.

 

His compassion for His people never runs out. He understands our weak spots. Our quirks are not a surprise to Him. He only asks that we faithfully share His compassion and mercy with others.

 

This New Year is an occasion to begin again, or correct course. Faithfully, God has given us a fresh opportunity to work in His Kingdom. Use this choice benefit to its fullest.

 

Learn, of course, from past errors but otherwise put all your effort into future work. God has preserved and protected you. Not just for your sake, but for those you will bless and benefit.

 

The dawn signals a new day. The New Year is more than the passage of time. It is an opportunity to be blessed and bless others.

 

Think:                New mercy and fresh compassion allow God’s people to work and bless others.

 

Pray:                   “Lord, help me to share Your mercy and compassion with others.”

 

 

Copyright © January 2016, Kirk Hunt

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

Loving Hearts

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Loving Hearts By Kirk Hunt

 

When Jesus had raised Himself up and saw no one but the woman, He said to her, “Woman, where are those accusers of yours? Has no one condemned you?”

She said, “No one, Lord.”

And Jesus said to her, “Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more.”

John 8: 10-11 NKJV
Please read John 8:3-11

 

The entire concept of love, especially Christian love, has gotten jumbled in recent history. A loving heart is not blindly permissive, or afraid of holding people accountable. Loving hearts understand that people are imperfect, especially those who stand up for right and righteousness.

 

Jesus did not call for her stoning, but He did not let her off the hook. Godly conviction would lead her to understand her error and an opportunity to amend her life. Condemnation would have ended her life without any chance for a change in her future.

 

Scripture is clear on what is, and is not, sin. Scripture is also clear that God’s people are the recipients of grace and mercy. If we are to impact the culture as Jesus did, we must operate as Jesus did. With mercy. In grace.

 

Love often will convict, but never rushes to condemn. Grace does not condone sin but gives the gift of fresh opportunity. Mercy has the strength to hold back justice and draw in repentance and redemption.

 

Jesus demonstrated His loving heart to her, then you. Can they see your loving heart?

 

Think:             Loving hearts seek to convict rather than condemn.

 

Pray:               “Father-God, help me to have a loving heart, like Your Son.”

 

 

Copyright © August 2015, Kirk Hunt

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

The Enemy’s Bayonet

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The Enemy’s Bayonet By Kirk Hunt

 

Then I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, “Now salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of His Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren, who accused them before our God day and night, has been cast down.

Revelation 12:10 NKJV
(Please read Revelation 12:7–12)

 

The enemy of your soul has a bayonet called accusation. He has accused you, to God, constantly. Despite that, God loves you and wants you to succeed.

 

Should you deepen your righteousness and increase your purity? Of course you should. Still, God’s grace stands ready to redeem and restore you.

 

In the meanwhile, what happens to your purpose and calling in the Kingdom? Should it lay undone while you work to remove your imperfections and infirmities? Your enemy wants you to stop working at your calling and abandon your Kingdom purpose.

 

Perhaps you have recently been caught up in an error. Like many saints, you probably have a weakness in your character or personality that you constantly work on, or through. The enemy wants to use that to destroy you. He certainly reminds you of it, at every opportunity.

 

God knows about your soft-spot. That is why he lends you power, grace and mercy. He wants you to overcome that flaw, not give into your wounds.

 

Your enemy wants to use your weaknesses as a way to attack you. God wants you to overcome your imperfections and become a champion for the Kingdom. Choose His love over the bayonet of the enemy.

 

Think:             God loves you, imperfections and all.

 

Pray:             “Father-God, help me to overcome my weaknesses and the enemy’s accusations.”

 

 

Copyright © April 2015, Kirk Hunt

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

The Need For Mercy

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The Need For Mercy” By Kirk Hunt

 

So Aaron said to Moses, “Oh, my lord! Please do not lay this sin on us, in which we have done foolishly and in which we have sinned.

Numbers 12:11 NKJV
(Please read Numbers 12:1 – 10)

 

Aaron and Miriam chose to sin in public, in addition to humiliating their brother, Moses. They knew better. God decided their punishment would be public, humiliating and without mercy.

 

Aaron, the mediator for the people to God, now needed a mediator to God for himself (and his sister). The sibling squabble was now settled, or at least set aside, as Aaron begged his little brother to go to God for mercy.

 

Consider for a moment your family and other close relationships. Who needs your mercy? Whose mercy do you need? Have you not been separated long enough?

 

This was not the first time Moses had been asked to intercede with God for the erring people of Israel. Still, this time he pleaded for elite leadership. This time he pleaded for his closest kin.

 

Someone among your friends, family or yourself, needs mercy. Reach out in love. Speak in humility. Listen with grace. Take, or forget, the blame. Just get the job done.

 

You can create a miracle of reconciliation and restoration with just a little courage. Do what must be done to start the flow of life-giving mercy among you and yours. You are just a call or text away from healing and renewal.

 

Think:             I have the means and ability to give, or receive, mercy. Do I have the courage?

 

Pray:             “Lord, help me to give and receive mercy, especially regarding friends and family.”

 

 

Copyright © April 2015, Kirk Hunt

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

He Restores You

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He Restores You By Kirk Hunt

 

So I will restore to you the years that the swarming locust has eaten,

The crawling locust,

The consuming locust,

And the chewing locust,

My great army which I sent among you.

 

Joel 2:25 NKJV

 

You insisted on following your own lead. The consequences of your decisions, spiritually and naturally, seem more than you can bear. Desperately, you look for a way to restore what was lost.

 

The people of ancient Israel had invited God out of their lives. When the plague of locusts came, the people faced the onslaught without God’s provision or protection. The insect army devastated the land, and battered the people.

 

Repentance is the first step to restoration. The prophet Joel called on Israel to “tear your hearts, not your garments,” as a sign of grief and regret. As always, when we turn to God with sincere hearts, He listens.

 

God promised to make up the “eaten years” to His repentant people. There would be full barns, and hearts, if the people would return to God. God promised to pour out His Mercy and Grace, in place of His Justice and Judgment.

 

There will be hard work. First, you will labor at the altar when you return to Him. Than you will work at your day-to-day labors, under God’s Blessing. Working in His Plan is always better than the alternative.

 

The poor decisions of yesterday need not be the end of your story. You can return to God today. He promises a tomorrow of blessing and provision for hearts that seek Him in true repentance.

 

Think:            God loves me and will provide if I repent.

 

Pray:               “Lord, forgive me. Restore me in Your Grace.”

 

 

Copyright © September 2014, Kirk Hunt

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

Keep Your Hope

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Keep Your Hope by Kirk Hunt

 

This I recall to my mind, therefore have I hope.   It is of the LORD’S mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not.

Lamentations 3:21–22 KJV

 

The Book of Lamentations is a grim and somber part of Scripture.  Jeremiah clearly and forcefully explains the plight and situation of Israel and Judah in Babylonian captivity.  In the center of the text, Jeremiah stops weeping and declares his hope in God’s love, mercy and compassions.

 

God issued the crushing cold and merciless darkness of His judgment against His people.  Still, in the middle of the gloom and pain is a place of light, warmth and joy.  The God who disciplines us is also the God who loves us.

 

His love for His people is so great that He restrains justice.  Mercy still has a hand in Israel’s punishment.  God’s grace, despite the captivity, remains part of Judah’s life.

 

Whatever you are facing, God’s love is still part of your life.  His grace is still at the core of your affairs.  His mercy still has a hand in your circumstances.

 

Despite the pain.  With the tears.  In the groaning.

 

His love is never ending.  His love for us is the source of our hope.  No matter how grim and somber our present is, we have hope because we have God.

 

Do not surrender.  Do not despair.  Despite it all, He loves us and therefore we have hope.

 

Think:            God’s love for me is the source of my hope.

 

Pray:              “Lord, help me to have hope in the love you have for me.”

 

 

Copyright © November 2012, Kirk Hunt

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

How Do You Use Your Power?

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How Do You Use Your Power? by Kirk Hunt

 

And when his disciples James and John saw this, they said, Lord, wilt thou that we command fire to come down from heaven, and consume them, even as Elias did?

Luke 9:54 KJV

 

The Disciples wanted to command (not request) fire from heaven to destroy an entire village.  Admittedly, providing hospitality was an important virtue in that culture.  Refusing to provide for Jesus and the Disciples was, at a minimum, a serious breach of etiquette.

 

Even if a deliberate insult, flash-frying an entire village must count as an overreaction.  Despite teaching and training from Jesus Himself, the Disciples missed the lesson on power use.  Power should never be exercised without wisdom.

 

Did they have the power?  James and John certainly thought so.  Still, Jesus rebuked them on their purpose and motivation: “Ye know not what manner of spirit ye are of.”  Broiling folk for insults was not the lesson Jesus was trying to teach.

 

God gives His saints power and wisdom.  Every exercise of power by a Christian should be done in further building the Kingdom.  For His glory.  For His purposes.  Certainly not as a naked display of willfulness.

 

Our modern culture needs us to use His power.  To heal the wounded.  To comfort the distressed.   To unshackle the spiritually imprisoned.

 

Are you a Christian?  Then you have His power.  Always use His wisdom when you use His power.

 

Think:           God gives us power and wisdom.

Pray:             “Lord, help me to use the power You gave with, and in, Your wisdom.”

Copyright © September 2012, Kirk Hunt

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

Stop And Help

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Stop And Help by Kirk Hunt

 

And David said unto him, To whom belongest thou? and whence art thou? And he said, I am a young man of Egypt, servant to an Amalekite; and my master left me, because three days agone I fell sick.

1 Samuel 30:13 KJV

 

Sick and starving, the Egyptian lay where his master abandoned him.  Despite their hot pursuit, David and his men did not close their eyes to his plight.  They stopped to help a sick man.

 

Gratitude can sometimes be purchased.  A decent meal, a warm blanket and perhaps a little herbal medicine were easy enough to give.  Such little things bought the gratefulness, trust and perhaps loyalty of the young man.  For a promise, he led David to his former master.

 

The Egyptian pointed.  The Hebrews attacked.  The Amalekites fell.  They recovered all.

 

Did David know the young man could help him find the captured families (verses 3-4)?  Probably not.  Compassion and mercy flow from the heart.  The giver is usually surprised at the benefits.

 

Opportunities to minister and serve may come at strange times or inconvenient places.  Most often when we think we have little or nothing to give.  God will always provide what you need to fulfill His Will.  Put your confidence in Him.

 

You may be pressed and strapped with your own needs and issues.  Do not let your own concerns lead you past an opportunity to stop and help.  The lives you save may include own.

 

 

Think: Mercy and compassion can have surprising benefits.

 

Pray: “Lord, give me opportunities to stop and help.”

 

 

Copyright © May 2012, Kirk Hunt