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.

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.

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.

Mature Understanding

Mature Understanding By Kirk Hunt

Brethren, do not be children in understanding; however, in malice be babes, but in understanding be mature.

1 Corinthians 14:20 NKJV

 

Paul told the saints at Corinth to be clever but guileless. The Apostle wanted them to be people of insight and cleverness, yet without being maliciousness or conniving. Godly men and women should always have mature understanding and never be gullible or undiscerning.

 

Jesus, at Matthew 10:16, says the same thing. “All smarts, no venom” is for you and I, here and now. Intelligence, intellect and insight are not the opposite of faith, innocence and integrity. In fact, saints should be the smartest folks in the room, because the Holy Spirit empowers the mind as well as the soul.

 

There are a lot of folks who want to sell you a lot of nonsense. A suit, tie and holy mannerisms may disguise a malicious predator. Just because you want to hear something does not make it right or righteous. Be smart. Be perceptive.

 

Mature men and women examine what is presented to them. They are smart enough to know that the easy thing is not always the right thing. God’s people never dismiss a good messenger because of an imperfect past or difficult message.

 

With the Holy Spirit empowering your heart, mind and spirit, you can be mature and understanding in matters both sacred and secular. Through God, you can be perceptive and insightful, without losing your holiness or innocence. Still, you will have to be mature enough to do the hard work of seeing past the fake to the authentic.

 

Think: The strong and mature consider what people want them to believe.

 

Pray: “Lord, help me to understand what I should choose for my life.”

 

 

Copyright © September 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.

How To Vote

How To Vote By Kirk Hunt

You are our epistle written in our hearts, known and read by all men

2 Corinthians 3:2 NKJV

Dear Winston*,
I often thank God for you as a friend and Gospel brother. I have often turned to you for encouragement and advice, trusting that God’s wisdom is at work in your life. While I have not always used your guidance exactly as given, I cannot deny the skillful and Godly nature of your counsel. I am prayerful that I can now offer you direction on how you should vote this fall.

 

Your vote, despite all of its practical applications and greater symbolism, is nothing more than a choice. A man of your wisdom and insight knows that choices can be categorized as either intellectual decisions or emotional reactions. While no decision is ever purely intellectual or strictly emotional, one or the other dominates the choice(s) made.

 

As your own experience has taught you, choices based on emotional reactions are almost never the best course of action. Even in those rare episodes where an emotional choice worked out, you later found the facts and data that supported that path. Conversely, when you sit in the ashes of a poorly made emotional decision, the clear-headed reasons you could have easily read and understood were right there, mocking you.

 

Neither the politicians, the political system nor special interests can overcome the good judgment of thinking voters. Even when the choices seem dismal, the exercise of choosing, using facts and data, imposes rationality on everyone involved. One choice is always better than the other, even if by a razor’s edge. Set aside your emotional response and use your intellect and Godly wisdom to make a clear-headed decision.

 

Finally, I cannot urge you enough to vote this November. Americans’ failure to participate fully and completely in the core mechanism of the democracy has impaired the function of the Government. Those who do not vote are getting the America someone else chooses.

 

Your brother in Christ,
Cadreman

 

Copyright © September 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.

 

* “Winston” is the fictional name of a real Gospel brother.

Bad Princes

Bad Princes By Kirk Hunt

Neither our kings nor our princes,
Our priests nor our fathers,
Have kept Your law,
Nor heeded Your commandments and Your testimonies,

Nehemiah 9:34 NKJV

 

Nehemiah spent a lot of his time and energy getting national leadership to do the right thing. The Hebrew word for “princes” (see Strong’s 8269) refers to a “chief (captain), general, governor.” Nehemiah first called to repentance the very people who should have been the best behaved. God’s Law was not inadequate or incomplete. They chose to ignore or violate the Law to line their pockets and fill their purses.

 

Nehemiah faced widespread corruption among those who knew better. The leaders were supposed to respond according to the Law. The leaders became rich while the “regular folk” became poor, or in some cases, literal slaves. The problem was not pagan outsiders. The problem was greedy or immoral insiders. Nor could they claim they “did not know.”

 

Modern “princes” include more than members of Congress or State legislatures. Relatively senior members of the Judicial, Legislative or Executive Branches of government, State or National, are “princes.” The higher-ranking leaders of Corporations and other Commercial Interests are also “princes” by this definition. If you have a higher rank, and/or a higher paycheck, you are included in this group.

 

It is easy to blame foreign strangers. It is harder work to hold insiders of rank and privilege accountable. The problem is rarely a marauding outsider. Much more likely, the problem is an insider who is supposed to be the solution.

 

If you want compliance with God’s Law, as expressed in Scripture, then you have to get involved. Do not let a “prince” claim they “did not know.” Even “princes” can be held accountable, if you have the courage to call them on their unrighteousness.

 

Think: It is easy to blame others. Usually, the problem starts among ourselves.

Pray: “Lord, help me, and my leadership, to obey Your Scripture.”

 

Copyright © September 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.

Appoint Over This Business

Appoint Over This Business By Kirk Hunt

 

Therefore, brethren, seek out from among you seven men of good reputation, full of the Holy Spirit and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business

Acts 6: 3 NKJV

 

Can you be impartial yet considerate? Can you serve others honestly and graciously? Should we appoint you to important work?

 

The widows needed the distribution. No one suggested otherwise. Still, whose hands and feet would conduct the business effectively and joyously? Whose head and heart would conduct the business with compassion and efficiency?

 

I am certain there were several Spirit-filled believers available who did not make the standard. Good reputation requires time and focus doing the right things. Wisdom comes from God, and from the hard work of seeking wisdom. Salvation alone is not a passkey to all jobs.

 

Salvation opens the door to God’s work and benefit in your life. God could instantaneously and radically transform your qualifications. Typically, the Holy Spirit makes possible the long and sweat-soaked road to new abilities and characteristics.

 

It is possible to be full of the Holy Spirit and have a less-than-good reputation. Being saved does not automatically fill you with wisdom. Because God gives us free-will, you and I get to choose.

 

You choose your reputation and wisdom. If you are filled with the Holy Spirit, then you have God’s power to carry you forward. Still, you must make the choices, and do the work, that qualifies you for your appointment.

 

Think: Am I qualified to be appointed over business in God’s Kingdom?

 

Pray: “Lord, help me be qualified to serve your Kingdom.”

 

 

Copyright © September 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.

Some Folks Cheat

Some Folks Cheat By Kirk Hunt

 

Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ.

Colossians 2: 8 NKJV

 

No matter who the preacher or teacher is, I check their work and words in my Bible. I assume other Christians do not cheat or misinterpret Scripture, but even true saints make mistakes. That also presumes that I am listening to a true disciple of Christ in the first place.

 

There are lots of ways and reasons for the mistakes (innocent) saints can make. There are lots of ways and reasons that some (guilty) folks cheat. Either way, I have to do my part not to be deceived.

 

I receive God’s truth with joy and gladness. Of course, it hurts when His truth is a corrective Word for my life. Still, I am glad that God speaks to me.

 

God is not the only one trying to get a message through to me (or you). There are a variety of false prophets, errant teachers, and blatant crooks out there. They peddle spiritual snake oil to the unwary. The less actual Scripture is involved, the more likely you are dealing with a cheater.

 

Follow along in your own Bible. Unique insights hold up under scrutiny. Spiritual truth is always supported by Scripture.

 

True prophets and sincere teachers always support their work and words with Scripture. God’s people, especially teachers and preachers, always accept the Bible as their source and standard. Cheaters always reject correction or accountability.

 

Think: It may sound good, but is it consistent with Scripture?

 

Pray: “Lord, help me to see and resist those who would cheat me out of You.”

 

 

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.

Render As Appropriate

Render As Appropriate By Kirk Hunt

 

And He said to them, “Whose image and inscription is this?

They said to Him, “Caesar’s.”

And He said to them, “Render therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.

Matthew 22: 20–21 NKJV

 

Jesus, the all-powerful King of all kings, did not move to overthrow the Roman Empire. In fact, the Disciples themselves seem to have been bewildered (Acts 1:6) by Jesus’ “failure” to seize political power. Instead, through His example and instructions, Jesus commands them and us to render good citizenship and make disciples.

 

The Romans were polytheistic pagans. The Caesars spent lavishly on the human blood sport of the gladiator games. Still, Jesus did not seek to directly overthrow the Romans. Being a good citizen does not mean you condone or (choose to) participate in everything the government does.

 

Jesus, Peter, John and Paul lived, worked and evangelized under the Roman Caesars. There were occasional inconveniences (imprisonment, beatings, beheading or crucifixion). Ultimately the Kingdom of Heaven was established in the earth.

 

Christians today have the same instructions (Matthew 28: 19–20) as Christians then; make disciples, everywhere. You may have to render some good citizenship to your “Caesar” but your King (Jesus) still commands.

 

The Roman Empire eventually ended, but not because Christians worked against their government. Despite being thrown to the (literal) lions, Christians worked to turn pagans into Christians. It took blood sweat and tears, but enemies became Gospel brothers and sisters. Should we not do the same?

 

Think: Scripture commands me to make disciples and be a good citizen of my government.

 

Pray: “Lord, help me to be a good citizen, first of Your Kingdom, then of my earthly government.”

 

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.

Avoid Contrary Souls

“Avoid Contrary Souls By Kirk Hunt

Now I urge you, brethren, note those who cause divisions and offenses, contrary to the doctrine which you learned, and avoid them. For those who are such do not serve our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly, and by smooth words and flattering speech deceive the hearts of the simple.

Romans 16: 17–18 NKJV

 

Unleashed in the world are men and women who deliberately cause wounds, separation and needless controversy. Contrary souls are not always easy to spot. Contrary souls can be dealt with, once detected.

 

Contrary souls assault others because they can, and the victim cannot (usually) retaliate. Contrary souls start brawls among others, because they somehow profit from the disturbance. Contrary souls violate Scripture and take pleasure, or income, from the act.

 

Most groups have one or two souls who are (usually) at the root of controversies and clashes. In too many churches, extended families, or workplaces a sigh goes up when certain names are spoken. Everyone knows that bad news is associated with certain souls.

 

They may hide for a season, but sooner or later their contrary nature is exposed. Once they are out in the open, you can start to minimize the damage and heartache they cause. Shining Scripture and Godly wisdom on their toxic words and ways will always begin the healing process.

 

You may not be able to evade seeing a contrary soul, but you can avoid giving them room to operate. You can avoid letting them get away with their selfish and self-serving actions. The aggravation you avoid may be your own.

 

Think: Scripture commands me to identify and avoid those who act contrary to Scripture.

 

Pray: “Lord, help me to first see, then respond to contrary souls, according to Scripture.”

 

 

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.