Greater Love

Greater Love By Kirk Hunt

This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.

John 15:12–13 NKJV

Jesus taught, than demonstrated, the pattern of greater love. Determine you love a group of people so much that you are willing to serve them. If your love is great enough, even the threat of death will not stop you from giving your service.

On Memorial Day, Americans celebrate the men and women who died while serving in the armed forces of the nation. Their great sacrifice for America is to be sincerely remembered and deeply appreciated. Still, the sacrifice of Jesus Christ for His “nation,” anyone who chooses to accept Him into their heart, sets the greater example.

Jesus first gave up heaven to come to earth. Then He agreed to live as a mere man, so that He would truly understand our lives. Finally, He sacrificed His sinless life as the last and final payment for our sins.

Jesus demonstrated His love for mankind on the Cross. Men and women can freely kneel at the Cross and receive the salvation they so desperately need, from His willing sacrifice. Jesus does not restrict the benefit of His service on race, nation or past behavior.

The only restriction on salvation is your confession of sin and acceptance of Jesus as your Savior. He has already proven His greater love. Have you accepted His love? Do you demonstrate His love in turn?

Think: How am I demonstrating my greater love?

Pray: “Lord, help me to love greatly for Your Name and people.”

 

Copyright © May 2018, 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.

Left For Dead

Left For Dead By Kirk Hunt

Then Jews from Antioch and Iconium came there; and having persuaded the multitudes, they stoned Paul and dragged him out of the city, supposing him to be dead. However, when the disciples gathered around him, he rose up and went into the city. And the next day he departed with Barnabas to Derbe.

Acts 14:19–20 NKJV

Paul was not attacked by pagans or heathens. The Apostle was stoned to “death” by pious, religious folk. Their contempt and anger for Paul was so great that they did not bother with burying him. They simply dragged his “dead” body outside of the city limits and left him for rot or wild animals.

Paul was nearly murdered for preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ, by kith and kin, not strangers or foreigners. Of course, Paul once had persecuted Christians in similar manner. The saddest fact is much of the persecution against early Christians came from their own kinsmen, not the pagan Roman invaders.

Too often, modern, Western Christians blame the unchurched for difficulties or resistance in building God’s Kingdom. Religious fratricide is the more likely reason saints and ministries struggle. Outsiders are easier to blame but insiders are the more likely culprits.

Consider how you respond and are responded to, by fellow Christians. Is there upset over differences of style or tradition? How does your disagreement or conflict look to outsiders and unbelievers?

You may not agree with other Christians. Still, there are Biblical ways to work through our differences in grace and love. Certainly, there are Nero-like folk (modern and ancient) who persecute Christians. Make sure, my Gospel brother or sister, that you are not one of them.

Think: Our greatest hindrances are too often religious folk, not the unredeemed.

Pray: “Lord, help me to approach other Christians in Your grace and love.”

 

Copyright © May 2018, 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.

Gift Minister

Gift Minister By Kirk Hunt

As each one has received a gift, minister it to one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.

1 Peter 4:10 NKJV

You have a gift or gifts. God gave it (or them) to you as part of the “saints of God” package. Use them to minister, as a good steward of God’s grace.

Do not make it complicated or difficult. You have an ability, skill or talent that makes you uniquely valuable and useful, especially to the Kingdom of God. If you are not using it, you are not being a good steward of His gift to you.

You do not get to age out. There is no disability clause. Wherever you are, no matter whom you are with, you have a God-given gift. I pray you are using your gifts to demonstrate the many paths of grace. When God does not send angels, He sends men and women just like you.

In your eyes, your gift may not seem big or flashy. That does not mean that you cannot touch lives or impact souls. Use what He gave. Watch the blessings ripple out, farther and greater than you thought.

All of the gifts God has already given you can be used to build His Kingdom. The gifts you possess can benefit you, yours and others. All it takes is a heart willing to trust Him and a spirit generous enough to pass on His grace to others.

There may be sweat-stained headbands in your future. Your shirt might become tear-soaked. You may even have to put on a bandage or two. When you stand before His throne, such things will testify to your stewardship of His grace.

Think: I should be using my gift(s) to build God’s Kingdom.

Pray: “Lord, help me to use my gift from You to build Your kingdom.”

 

Copyright © February 2018, 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.

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.

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.

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.