Sojourners And Pilgrims

Sojourners And Pilgrims By Kirk Hunt

Beloved, I beg you as sojourners and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts which war against the soul,   having your conduct honorable among the Gentiles, that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may, by your good works which they observe, glorify God in the day of visitation.

James 3:17 NKJV

Sojourners and pilgrims are temporary residents of a place but make no effort to become permanent citizens.  It is not, nor should be, adversarial.  As followers of Jesus Christ, we are foreigners and voyagers, seeking our final destination in God’s Kingdom.

You are a temporary resident of your place.  No matter what it says on your title deed or mortgage contract.  Christians are (or should be) marching to Zion, the beautiful city of God.

As you travel through this current land, bless and witness to those around you.  Let your honorable, Godly conduct compel men and women to praise and magnify God.  Let your passing through this world seem like a visitation by God to those left behind.

Of course, God’s Kingdom should be established within you.  That is how you can leave His glory behind as a witness and enticement for others to seek God.  You can only teach or demonstrate what you know.

As God’s people, we are only passing through.  By living a truly Godly life, we can leave good works and God’s glory in the wake of our travels.  What we leave behind should lead people to God and His Kingdom.

Think:        I am passing through to God’s Kingdom.  Do others want to join me on my journey?

Pray:           “Lord, help me to travel to Your Kingdom.”

 

Copyright © August 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.

Without Partiality Or Hypocrisy

Without Partiality Or Hypocrisy By Kirk Hunt

But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy.

James 3:17 NKJV

The last few months have been disappointing. I know partiality and hypocrisy exists in the world. I suspected even the best of us can have the occasional episode. I did not realize how blatantly, extensively and intensively it exists among those who are supposed to be the wisest among us.

It is directly related to the source of the wisdom. Wisdom from above, God’s wisdom, is pure and consistent with God’s character, and God’s Word. Since God’s wisdom restrains self-serving actions and motivations, men and women often seek other, easier ways to get what they want.

Of course, I expected a lack of Godly wisdom from unbelievers. What I did not expect was the number of God’s people, especially “leadership,” who embraced earthly, ungodly schemes and cheats. Suddenly, the actions and characteristics they decried, and held against, were okay on their side.

Godly men and women are consistent and true. Godly wisdom holds that what is good for you is good for them. What God’s Word rebukes in others, rebukes in us as well. Or would you have stoned the adulterous woman, but not the adulterous man?

God’s people are (still) the light of the world. Using God’s wisdom, you can live without partiality or hypocrisy. God’s people may not be perfect, but it should be obvious we live in and from God’s wisdom.

 

Think: God’s wisdom is never hypocritical or partial to anyone.

Pray: “Lord, help me to seek Your wisdom, above all else.”

 

Copyright © August 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.

Gifts To The Poor

Gifts To The Poor By Kirk Hunt

To establish among them that they should celebrate yearly the fourteenth and fifteenth days of the month of Adar,   as the days on which the Jews had rest from their enemies, as the month which was turned from sorrow to joy for them, and from mourning to a holiday; that they should make them days of feasting and joy, of sending presents to one another and gifts to the poor.

Esther 9:21–22 NKJV

The Jewish holiday of Purim is a time of joy and celebration.  Haman’s conspiracy was thwarted and Mordecai personally promoted by King Ahasuerus.  Yet, in all of the feasting and festivity, gifts to the poor were intended to be a part of Purim.

Too often those who are doing well give no thought about those who are struggling.  You may not be able to erase all of their suffering or difficulty, but you can share your joy.  Joy and celebration is not a zero-sum game.  You and they can win, simultaneously.

Were the poor at risk from Haman’s plot?  Yes, just like wealthier folk.  Life and liberty are precious commodities, regardless of your income level.  Was their salvation from Haman’s conspiracy any less precious?  Not one iota less than other folk.

Consider the things you enjoy, the privileges you experience, and the benefits you receive.  Is it really so difficult or onerous to share from all that God has provided to you?  After all, sharing increases joy in the world.

God has blessed you.  Consider how you can pass His blessings on to others, as Jesus commanded.  Give your gifts, especially to those less fortunate.  Joy, divided and distributed, gets larger, not smaller.

Think:        I can share my joy, especially with those who are less fortunate.

Pray:           “Lord, help me to remember to bless others in Your Name.”

 

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.

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.

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.