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.

Building To Destroy

Building To Destroy By Kirk Hunt

But he disdained to lay hands on Mordecai alone, for they had told him of the people of Mordecai. Instead, Haman sought to destroy all the Jews who were throughout the whole kingdom of Ahasuerus—the people of Mordecai.

Esther 3:6 NKJV

Based on an offense from one man, Haman sought to destroy an entire people. His reaction is retaliation on a massive, disproportionate scale. Vengeance is a blood-thirsty type of lust. Haman was not the first man or woman to seek vengeance. Unfortunately, he is clearly not the last.

Consider the men and women around you. There is a very good chance that someone you know personally is vindictive and unforgiving. Do not be fooled because their eyes do not glow red, nor do they froth at the mouth. Vengeful is as vengeful does.

Haman spent time, treasure and talent on trying to destroy Mordecai and the Jews. Haman could have focused on the duties of his office. Haman could have indulged in the privileges of his high rank. Instead he directed his mind to sinister and cruel thoughts.

Vengeance is not noble, strong or clever. Wise men and women seek righteous outcomes and avoid inflicting casualties, even on enemies. As a man or woman of God, avoid the all too human lust to inflict vengeance on those who offend you.

Haman could have sanctioned Mordecai alone. Instead, his lust for blood and dominance demanded no less than a gallows (Esther 5:14). Even now, I flinch at the overreaction.

Haman had rank and privilege, wealth and fame. Yet his lust for power and dominance ruled him. What rules you?

Think: Godly men and women flee thoughts of vengeance.

Pray: “Lord, guide my thoughts in paths worthy of You.”

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.

Come To Save Them

Come To Save Them By Kirk Hunt

But He turned and rebuked them, and said, “You do not know what manner of spirit you are of. For the Son of Man did not come to destroy men’s lives but to save them.” And they went to another village.

Luke 9:55–56 NKJV

The Disciples were eager to use their power. They wanted to indulge their lust for control and dominance. Jesus reminded them He came to save lives.

I am distressed and saddened by the adversarial and vindictive words and actions of too many in our society. I am especially upset by those who claim to be God’s people. Even cursory examination of the Gospels reveals that Jesus is neither a brawler or spiteful.

He extended dignity, mercy and grace to adulterers, prostitutes and publicans. He was silent before Pilate. He did not call a host of angels to save Himself from the Cross. Jesus demonstrated, in the flesh, that the truly strong understand how to restrain their strength.

By having control over His strength, Jesus was able to fulfil His purpose to save mankind. He did not come to destroy men’s lives. Nor did He allow His disciples to flame strike the Samaritan village, despite their rudeness and inhospitality.

Do you have self-control? Do you understand Jesus’ purpose should be your purpose as well? God’s people are called to save men and women.

We save others by being careful how we use the power that God entrusts to us. Just because you can, does not mean you should. Remember; Jesus saves.

Think: As a disciple of Jesus, I am to save the lives of men and women, not destroy them.

Pray: “Lord, help me to save the lives of those 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.

Father-God’s Will

Father-God’s Will By Kirk Hunt

Are not two sparrows sold for a copper coin? And not one of them falls to the ground apart from your Father’s will.

Matthew 10: 29 NKJV

Poppa made me get in the truck and go to work with him. Did I appreciate learning a trade and work ethic? Not at the time. In retrospect, I am thankful Poppa compelled me. Consider now the Father’s will.

We confuse God’s best path for us with pleasant things and placid events. We act as if we think God only loves us when we lounge on flowery beds of ease and comfort. Instead, He loves us most when He allows us to reach our limits in desperation and distress. It is in the place of our extremes that we can best hear and respond to His voice.

He is omniscient. He sees all of our situation, no matter where we are. He is omnipotent. No matter how far we are past our limits, He is well within His power. He is omnipresent. You cannot go where He is not or even get there before Him.

No matter how hard and difficult your circumstances, God is right there with you. He is caring for you, despite your pain. His strength carries you no matter how weak you feel. His grace comforts you, no matter how many tears you cry.

The skills Poppa taught me have carried through my life. I still do not completely understand all of God’s will for my life. All I know is that I worth more than many sparrows (Matthew 10:31).

Think: One day I will understand God’s will for my life. Until then I will be obedient.

Pray: “Lord, help me to follow Your will for my life, regardless of how I feel now.”

 

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.

Poppa’s Hands

Poppa’s Hands By Kirk Hunt

And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father’s hand.

John 10:28–29 NKJV

The scene plays in my mind with thoughts of peace, safety and golden warmth. I was 4, maybe 5 years old. I sat on the front pew of Prayer Temple (now Nash Temple) and examined Poppa’s hands with rapt fascination. To my innocent young eyes his hands seemed without limit and without equal. 50 years later, my opinion is better informed, but no less convinced.

Even then his hands were scarred and rough from years of hard labor. His hands were strong from pulling electrical cable or cutting wires. In later years I would watch him switch seamlessly from casual displays of raw strength to deft demonstrations of control and finesse.

Despite how gnarled and unattractive they appeared, Poppa’s hands were a blessing of rare quality and strength. Poppa ministered to, provided for and gave protection to his family and anyone who sought his help. His hands were instruments of deliverance and provision.

Consider now the hands of Father-God. God’s hands are omnipresent, omnipotent, guided by his omniscience and motivated by His bottomless love for you. His hands are a place of peace, safety and warmth for every soul that will seek Him. And even for some souls who flee Him.

I sit in Father-God’s hands. It is a place of peace safety and golden warmth. With each passing day, my opinion is better informed and more convinced of His love and provision for me.

 

Think: The best place to be is in the hands of Father-God.

Pray: “Lord, guide me every day with Your loving hands.”

 

 

Copyright © June 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.

Exacting Usury

Exacting Usury By Kirk Hunt

After serious thought, I rebuked the nobles and rulers, and said to them, “Each of you is exacting usury from his brother.” So I called a great assembly against them.

Then I said, “What you are doing is not good. Should you not walk in the fear of our God because of the reproach of the nations, our enemies?

Nehemiah 5:7,9

 

The working people of Jerusalem and Judah were being oppressed. Men were first exacting usury, then selling men and women, sons and daughters, into slavery. Who was inflicting poverty, pain and hardship on the people of Judah? The leadership of Judah exploited their own.

 

Nehemiah openly rebuked the leadership of Judah regarding their corrupt government. They were deliberately violating God’s laws plus making Judah an object of contempt among the nations. He demanded restitution, giving back what they stole, from the nobles and rulers.

 

Kleptocracy, rulership by thievery, is not a new concept. Exploiting others, just because you can, seems to an epidemic throughout ancient and modern nations. Not even my beloved nation of birth, the United States of America, is immune.

 

Unfortunately, all enemies are not hostile foreigners. All too often, your oppressor is a familiar and friendly-looking countryman. Too often, the very people who should be insuring your wellbeing are instead enriching themselves. At your expense.

 

As one of God’s people, you are called to be honest and fair dealing with everyone. Do not be fooled: Exacting usury can take a lot of different forms. God judgment will come. Keep your hands clean.

 

Think: Exploiting others violates God’s laws and invites His judgment.

Pray: “Lord, guide me in honest and fair dealing with everyone.”

 

Copyright © June 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.

Becoming A Delightful Land

Becoming A Delightful Land By Kirk Hunt

“And all nations will call you blessed,
For you will be a delightful land,”
Says the Lord of hosts.

Malachi 3:12
Please also read Malachi 3:8–12

 

You can be a delightful land, if you choose. All it takes is to be a giver. If you are generous in fact and nature, men and women, boys and girls, will see the glow of God through your life.

 

Malachi 3:10 is a promise of God. “If you give, He will bless.” Your platform may be small or large. Your capacity may be expansive or limited. What matters is your determination to serve and honor God through what you give.

 

You can do your generous acts in secret and anonymity. God’s omniscience will see your sincere heart anyway. His delight, in you honoring Him, will still fall on your life.

 

Yes, your giving must include finances. Your giving should also include your talent and especially your time. Consider that your time, talent and treasure may not all go to the same recipient, at the same time.

 

Nor is your giving limited to your personal resources. Channeling or enabling organizations and others is just as important as what you give yourself. Becoming delightful is never a zero-sum game. The more you do, the more you become able to do, and the richer your joy in service and giving.

 

God rewards His faithful daughters and sons. Do what you can, right where you are. Watch as you become blessed and even more blessing.

 

Think: Generosity of act and spirit, even in secret, makes you visibly blessed and blessing.

 

Pray: “Lord, help me to give so I can honor You.”

 

Copyright © June 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.

At The River’s Bank

At The River’s Bank By Kirk Hunt

But when she could no longer hide him, she took an ark of bulrushes for him, daubed it with asphalt and pitch, put the child in it, and laid it in the reeds by the river’s bank.

Exodus 2:3
Please read also Exodus 1:8–22

 

At the river’s bank, Jochebed carefully laid her infant son in a waterproofed basket. Driven by a mixture of fear, hope, desperation, ingenuity and determination, she sought life and safety for her boy in the Nile. She risked the life of her helpless infant with crocodiles or drowning. She saved him from the certainty of death at the hands of Pharaoh’s soldiers.

 

“Amram, I put the baby in the river today. Now I am being paid by the royal court to raise our baby. God is good.”

 

Desperate people do extraordinary things. Some acts, in retrospect, are unwise. Others actions demonstrate courage and determination despite stress and danger. In some circumstances, you must do what you can with what you have.

 

Perhaps you stand at a river’s bank in your life. Your circumstances have driven you in ways you never imagined. Even in a place of risk and danger, God is still with you.

 

Turn to His wisdom and guidance. Ask Him to guide you in what He is blessing. God’s direction may not make sense to others. His guidance may not make sense to you. His path remains the way to safety and blessing.

 

Think: God sees and cares for me, even in the worst of circumstances.

Pray: “Lord, guide me in Your wisdom, even at the river’s edge.”

 

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.