The King’s Celebration

The King’s Announcement By Kirk Hunt

And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying:

“Glory to God in the highest,
And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!”

Luke 2:13–14 NKJV
Please also read Luke 2:1–20

Humble shepherds witnessed a celebration by the King.  Literal angels sang of the birth of Jesus, our Messiah.  Scripture does not mention an angelic worship band or praise dancers, but my imagination likes to add them to the scene.

After millennia, evidence of the fulfillment of Genesis 3:15 could be seen by mere men.  Since the fall in Eden, sin kept mankind from full reconciliation with God.  Jesus’ birth was the (earthly) beginning of the process of restoring the fellowship on humanity with God.

And God celebrated.  The long separation of man from God would soon end.  Adam’s breech would be repaired by God’s own son.

Like Jesus, you were born for purpose.  God has a plan for you and your life.  And He will celebrate you in fulfilling the purpose He ordained for you.

The shepherds were not just passive witnesses.  The found their way to Jesus and joined the angels in celebration and worship.  God’s celebrations are open to any with a heart open to Him.

You too can be an active participant in God’s celebrations.  Find your purpose in the Kingdom and begin fulfilling it.  Join in with others who are completing the work for which they are ordained. 

Follow your calling.  Fulfill your purpose.  You may not see or hear a choir of literal angels, but you will feel His joy in your heart, nevertheless.   

Think:        God celebrates the fulfillment of His purpose in my life and others.

Pray:           “Lord, as I and others build Your Kingdom, I look forward to celebrating with You.”

Copyright © December 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.

The King’s Announcement

The King’s Announcement By Kirk Hunt

Then the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name Jesus.”

Luke 1:30–31 NKJV
Please also read Luke 1:5–38

In Scripture, Gabriel is only called an angel.  Still, he appears in Scripture giving important messages from God.  Announcement of the coming Messiah and Savior surely qualifies as significant.

The announcement of Jesus was not made from the housetops or palaces.  The message was given in private to a young (probably teenage) woman.  The true King’s statement came quietly, but nevertheless with all of God’s authority.

Never confuse fury or decibels with significance and authority.  When the King makes an announcement about your life, you will know.  Do not worry about who else hears Him at the time.

Did Mary completely understand the significance of Jesus’ human birth?  Was she completely aware of her and His part in the reconciliation of man to God?  Two millennia later, scholars still wrestle with Jesus’ redemption of mankind.

Alone, in the quiet, God announced His purpose for Mary’s life, and all of mankind.  There would be glory and wonder, heartache and dismay, in fulfilling her purpose.  With full faith, if not full knowledge, she responded to God’s messenger with humility and obedience.

God has a purpose for you in His Kingdom.  Continue to seek Him until His announcement regarding you.  I pray you respond to His announcement with, “Let it be to me according to Your Word.”

 

Think:        How will I respond to God’s announcement of His purpose for my life?

Pray:           “Lord, help me to fulfill Your purpose for my life in Your Kingdom.”

 

Copyright © December 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.

 

The King’s Actions

The King’s Actions By Kirk Hunt

Then Herod, when he saw that he was deceived by the wise men, was exceedingly angry; and he sent forth and put to death all the male children who were in Bethlehem and in all its districts, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had determined from the wise men.

Matthew 2:17 NKJV

King Herod actions cannot be seen as anything other than ruthless, cruel and monstrous.  He ordered the death of every male child in Bethlehem and the surrounding areas.  His purpose in murdering babies?  Preserving his station and power.

Warned through a dream from God, the wise men outwitted and outmaneuvered Herod.  Herod then resorted to brute force to achieve his ends.  From his position of power and wealth, Herod delivered death to the cradles and cribs of Bethlehem. 

The result?  God’s omniscience and omnipotence again thwarted Herod.  Jesus and His family found safety in Egypt.  Herod could never have overthrown the building of God’s Kingdom, but he tried.

The massacre of the innocents is not all that is recorded of Herod’s reign.  Herod established the Herodian Dynasty.  He also re-built the Second Temple, expanded the Temple complex, and brought water to Jerusalem.

Herod’s construction projects and political accomplishments are not the mainstay of his legacy.  Instead, he is remembered as a murderous, blood-soaked tyrant who impoverished his own people.

What actions are you taking?  Are they part of building God’s Kingdom?  When you stand before God, the True King, what will He say of your actions?

 

Think:        Are my actions designed to build God’s Kingdom, or something else?

Pray:           “Lord, help me to take the actions that build Your Kingdom.”

 

Copyright © December 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.

The King’s Intent

The King’s Intent By Kirk Hunt

Now when they had departed, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream, saying, “Arise, take the young Child and His mother, flee to Egypt, and stay there until I bring you word; for Herod will seek the young Child to destroy Him.”

Matthew 2:13 NKJV

 

It turns out that King Herod had villainous intent.  He did not intend to worship Jesus.  Instead, he wanted to murder Jesus in the cradle, as a potential rival.

 

King Herod’s intent conflicted with God’s intent.  Despite his position and power, Herod was frustrated in His purpose and Jesus lived.  The King of Kings’ intent was realized. 

 

Today is no different than yesterday.  Men and women of power and influence try to frustrate the plans of God.  Now, as then, the true King’s purpose will come to pass.  The question is whether or not you will follow the true King’s intent.

 

God could have stationed literal angels around Joseph, Mary and Jesus, but He did not.  God could have caused earthly zealots to protect Jesus and His family, but He did not.  Instead, God told Joseph to take action.  Obediently, Joseph gathered his family and escaped into Egypt.

 

We are called to take action per God’s intent.  Too often we worry about what others will, will not or should do.  God’s people should be quick to obey their true King.  Follow God’s intent, especially when it means our actions are contrary to what we or others intend.

 

Think:        Do I follow God’s intent or someone else’s?

Pray:           “Lord, help me to have Your intent for everyone around me.”

 

Copyright © November 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.

Freedom From Want

Freedom From Want By Kirk Hunt

And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content.   But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and harmful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition.

1 Timothy 6:8–9 NKJV
Please read 1 Timothy 6:3–10

 

You must breathe oxygen to survive.  The newest ultra-high definition television is far less critical to your continuing existence.  You can never be free from need, but you can be free from want.  And Scripture commands you to avoid lust.

 

A want is always optional and not crucial to your (immediate) survival.  Want, carried too far, is lust.  Lust is an excessive desire for sex, money, power, adoration or anything else.   God Himself should be the chief and only real desire of your heart, mind and soul. 

 

Paul wanted Timothy to avoid falling into error.  He cautioned his young protégée against allowing lust to nest in his heart or mind.  What was true then remains true now.  Avoid the siren songs that call us away from God and toward the rocks of unbridled hungers.

 

Men and women need food, clothing, shelter and fellowship.  Nor is there sin in having more than the bare minimum for survival.  However, past the point of needs, wants too quickly turn into lusts. 

 

Consider the things you intensely want.  Does your desire for them control you?  Please, do not give up your freedom for wants.

 

Think:        Do I control my wants, or do they control me?

 

Pray:           “Lord, help me to be free from my wants, except for You.”

 

Copyright © November 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.

Freedom Of Speech

Freedom Of Speech By Kirk Hunt

And my speech and my preaching were not with persuasive words of human wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power,  that your faith should not be in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.

1 Corinthians 2:4–5 NKJV

 

It is my prayer that the speech of every son and daughter of God is full of quality, eloquence and diction.  Still, more than mere excellence, I pray that what you say comes directly from the Holy Spirit.  I pray that your every word drips with God’s wisdom, shines with God’s grace and throbs with God’s power.

 

Americans are used to freedom of speech.  I suspect that too often we make use of the privilege without taking full responsibility for what is said.  Just because you can say something, does not mean you should say anything (1 Corinthians 8:9).

 

All freedoms consist of two parts, the privilege and the responsibility.  I have the privilege of driving an automobile and the responsibility to do so safely and courteously.  A car can be a weapon like any other, in the hands of the irresponsible.

 

The tongue, our speech, can bind wounds or start wars.  What you say can bless hearts or blast souls.  Your words are a destructive weapon or beneficial tool, depending on how skillfully and responsibly you use your privilege. 

 

You have the freedom to speak in your circles and spheres of influence.  I pray that you consider carefully what you say and why.  You are an authorized representative of Jesus Christ.  Consider your responsibilities as you exercise your privileges.

 

Think:        Do I use the privilege of speech responsibly?

 

Pray:           “Lord, help me to take responsibility for my free speech.”

 

Copyright © November 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.

Do You Persecute?

Do You Persecute? By Kirk Hunt

Therefore, indeed, I send you prophets, wise men, and scribes: some of them you will kill and crucify, and some of them you will scourge in your synagogues and persecute from city to city

Matthew 23:34 NKJV
Read also Matthew 23: 31-36

 

Neither foreigners nor pagans persecuted any of the Old Testament prophets.  Their own supposedly devout countrymen and kinsmen tortured and murdered them.  Why?  The greater your sin, the harder it is to hear the truth.  Just ask Cheney, Goodman and Schwerner.

 

The prophets, scribes and others called God’s people back from sin and error.  Often they were met with violent opposition.  Even when Jesus walked the earth, men and women often met God’s truth with unrighteous responses.

 

James, Andrew and Michael left the safety of their homes to help register men and women to vote in their local elections.  Instead of being congratulated for their American spirit they were brutalized and murdered under the cover of darkness.  The very men (and women) charged with keeping them safe participated in the heinous act or protected the perpetrators.

 

The terrorists were American sons, born and bred on American soil.  Their targets?  Other Americans born and bred just as they were.  Sort of.

 

Jesus was sent to the Cross for healing the sick then preaching grace and truth.  Here in America, the land of my fathers, truth has also been met with violence and murder.  Still, many brave souls continue to speak out God’s truth. 

 

Roman hands may have swung the hammers, but it was Jewish priests and leaders who sought Jesus’ blood.  What is your response?  Do you persecute truth-tellers or do you respond in God’s grace? 

 

Think:        Do I encourage those who speak God’s truth, or do I persecute them?

 

Pray:           “Lord, help me to hear Your truth and respond with grace and humility.”

 

Copyright © October 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.

Spirit Of Kindness

Spirit Of Kindness By Kirk Hunt

To Godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love.  For if these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.

2 Peter 1:7–8 NKJV
Read also 2 Peter 1:5–9

 

Kindness can be defined as the act of being friendly, generous, and considerate.  Not just one or two of those adjectives.  Real kindness requires all three. The spirit of kindness is a component of your knowledge of Jesus.  The Holy Spirit will help you, but you must also make your own effort.

 

Kindness cannot come from a place of weakness or ignorance.  Kindness comes from a heart that knows and understands Jesus and is powered by the Holy Spirit.  Perhaps that is why so many men and women do not understand how to be kind; they do not know Jesus.

 

God showed kindness to all of mankind by sending Jesus to the Cross.  Jesus showed kindness to you by sacrificing Himself for you.  Follow their example and show kindness to the souls around you.  Even to those who are currently your enemies.

 

Your profession of Jesus is not enough.  Men and women, boys and girls, will see and react to your acts of kindness.  No human heart can forever resist sincere kindness.

 

Jesus knew the real you and died for you anyway; so you have an example.  The Holy Spirit stands by to assist you.  Who will you be friendly, generous, and considerate to today?

 

Think:        Kindness is the act of being friendly, generous, and considerate.

Pray:           “Lord, help me to show kindness in Your Name.”

 

Copyright © October 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.

Spirit of Self-Control

Spirit of Self-Control By Kirk Hunt

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,   gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.

Galatians 5:22–23 NKJV

 

Self-control is the act of deciding if or when you engage in a particular behavior.  I say if, then when, I will eat a cookie.  Fasting, an exercise in self-control, is the deliberate restraint of consuming food.  Media fasting is a different example of voluntary restraint.

 

Do you really want power in your own life?  How about the ability to easily resist the plots and plans of others?  Develop your self-control.  “More salad, fewer cookies.”

 

The ability to control your own actions is the first step to purity.  Joseph demonstrated self-control when he refused Potiphar’s wife.  Daniel was immune to political attack because of his impeccable personal and public life.  Jesus was worthy of the Cross because of His sinless life.  Purity (via self-control) gave them power, influence and impact.

 

I am not suggesting that you move into a convent or monastery.  If anything, I encourage you to engage with your city.  Just do so with self-control.  “More grace, less (no) condemnation.”

 

All things are lawful, but not all things are helpful.”  If I want to look better in the mirror I must eat more salads and fewer cookies.  Do I want to impact my city for Jesus?  I must act with increasing grace and forbearance

 

I can stride confidently and peacefully through work and home.  All I have to do is live with more grace and no sin.  The spirit of self-control lets me decide my next act.

Think:        Self-control is the act of deciding my own behavior.

Pray:           “Lord, help me to have the self-control You want me to have.”

 

Copyright © October 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.

Spirit of Faithfulness

Spirit of Faithfulness By Kirk Hunt

“But I have prayed for you, that your faith should not fail; and when you have returned to Me, strengthen your brethren.”

Luke 22:32 NKJV

 

In the hours before His crucifixion, Jesus carefully strengthened His Disciples.  Especially Peter.  Before dawn, Peter would deny any knowledge of Jesus.  Knowing he would fail the first test, Jesus knew Peter’s faithfulness would pass the final test.

 

Faithfulness can be defined as the act of remaining true to your word or promise.  Traditionally, Peter was also crucified, because he would not deny Jesus a second time.  We remember Peter as Jesus’ man because he kept his word.

 

Too often we expect perfect, error-free living from God’s people.  Too often we throw away perfectly good souls because it turns out they were human.  Peter is a prime example of a man who refused to be less-then again. 

 

Peter did not keep his word the first time.  Still he died a martyr for the man he once denied.  That is faithfulness, even if it is human.

 

Faithfulness sees the task and acts.  Despite the risks.  Without any credit.  Silently, in the background.

 

Perhaps there is a task that you should be doing.  There could be a responsibility you need to take on, knowing there is no return on investment but a lot of risk.  Flinch if you have to, but give your word.  Be the man or woman who gives and keeps promises.

 

Think:        Faithfulness is the power to give and keep your word or promise.

 

Pray:           “Lord, help me to be faithful for Your Kingdom.”

 

Copyright © October 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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Spirit of Forbearance

Spirit of Forbearance By Kirk Hunt

And do you think this, O man, you who judge those practicing such things, and doing the same, that you will escape the judgment of God?   Or do you despise the riches of His goodness, forbearance, and longsuffering, not knowing that the goodness of God leads you to repentance?

Romans 2:3–4 NKJV

 

Forbearance can be defined as the act of restraining an action, despite right or privilege.  The bank can choose not to start foreclosure.  The officer can choose not to write a speeding ticket.  They choose to restrain their right and capacity to act.  Jesus and the adulterous woman (John 7:53-8:11) is a prime example of the spirit of forbearance.

 

Jesus, sinless, pure and perfect, could cast the first store.  The Law said He ought to cast the first stone.  Instead, He refused to condemn her. 

 

Jesus was more concerned about her soul than the opinion of the Pharisees.  He had the power to act and the power to restrain Himself.  Graciously, He instructed her to give up sin then sent her back to her life.

 

Jesus held the right, the privilege and capacity to condemn her.  By restraining His action, the woman received an opportunity for repentance and restoration.  Jesus’ forbearance was a strong act of mercy, grace and outreach.

 

The spirit of forbearance is a sister of gentleness.  Forbearance and gentleness only matter where there is the ability to act.  Both require you to consider the impact on others, before yourself.  Do you choose to act against others at every opportunity?  Can you restrain yourself, sometimes?

 

Think:        Forbearance is the power to restrain yourself.  Can you?

 

Pray:           “Lord, help me to restrain myself in order to benefit others.”

 

Copyright © October 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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Spirit of Gentleness

Spirit of Gentleness By Kirk Hunt

Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted.

Galatians 6:1 NKJV

 

Perhaps your mental image of gentleness needs adjustment.  Too often, men (and some women) associate gentleness with weakness or a lack of power.  In fact, only the strong and powerful can be gentle.  God’s love to us is the ultimate example of gentleness.

 

My favorite definition of gentleness is “strength or power with skillful control”.  Anyone who cannot restrain their own strength or power is a threat to all around them.  Worse, they may cause harm where they intended to help.

 

Without strength or power, you cannot have an impact in the world.  Without gentleness, your strength or power will tend toward harm and never help.  Who could you help, if you could skillfully apply your might and muscle on their behalf?

 

Gentleness is a fruit (characteristic) of the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:22–23).  The longer your walk with God, the more we should see evidence of all of these characteristics in your life.  You may not have perfected one or any of them, but we should see you growing in all of them.

 

Gentleness is arguably the most easily recognized of the fruit.  Regular folk easily see if you wield your power or strength to benefit others.  It is obvious to everyone if you leave wreckage or blessing in your wake. 

 

Think:        Gentleness is power with skill.  Do I help or hurt with my strength?

 

Pray:           “Lord, help me to live my life showing the same gentleness You show me.”

 

Copyright © October 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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