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.

Enough Love To Persist

Enough Love To Persist By Kirk Hunt

 

Moreover if your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone. If he hears you, you have gained your brother. But if he will not hear, take with you one or two more, that ‘by the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.’

Matthew 18: 15–16 NKJV
Please also read Matthew 18: 15–17

 

Confrontation is an act of love and loyalty. It is part of the healing protocol against moral and spiritual infection. One dose is not always enough. Godly men and women must persist in loving confrontation until there is change.

 

Jesus gave us a procedure for resolving conflict. We are commanded to have courage and speak, alone the first time, directly to an offending brother or sister. The goal is not hurt feelings but restoration. The best outcome is reconciliation driving out separation.

 

Men and women continue to sin (a specific way) either because they do not know better, or because they benefit (profit) from the sin. Persistent, Godly confrontation forces home the truth and degrades the benefit.

 

Human beings can be willful, obstinate creatures. While it is easy to recognize error and willfulness in others, it is more difficult to see it in yourself. Dismissing a single complaint is one thing. Dismissing a growing portion of your community is a different thing.

 

Persist in saying the truth, especially to power. Shine the lights of Scripture and publicity on injustice and wrongdoing. After a while, God’s righteousness will disinfect even the most deeply entrenched infection of sin.

 

Think: I must be persistent in Godly confrontation, an act of love and loyalty.

 

Pray: “Lord, help me to persist with love and grace, especially in confrontation.”

 

 

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.

Enough Love To Confront

Enough Love To Confront By Kirk Hunt

Now when Peter had come to Antioch, I withstood him to his face, because he was to be blamed; for before certain men came from James, he would eat with the Gentiles; but when they came, he withdrew and separated himself, fearing those who were of the circumcision.

Galatians 2: 11–12 NKJV
Please also read Galatians 2:11–12

 

Apostle Paul chose to confront Apostle Peter. No one would say, or even think, this act of courage made Paul an enemy of Peter. Real brothers and sisters refuse to let a sibling continue in error. Sometimes, confrontation is an act of love and loyalty.

 

Confrontation is rarely a pleasant activity for either side. Pain, grief and anger all too easily flow in, and from, the moment. After all, confrontation is not needed when everything is right and righteous.

 

Biblical confrontation is an act of love. It is an act of devotion and courage when parents confront a son or daughter about drugs. Things will only get worse if a husband does not confront his wife with evidence of infidelity. Consider the loyalty of a sister who confronts her friend about a moral failing.

 

The drug user will deny it. The adulterer will blame others. The fallen will make excuses. The strong and courageous will refuse to be deterred, despite the tears and harsh words.

 

God’s men and women confront their brothers and sisters in love, and with grace. Not to condemn, but to help start repentance and reconciliation. Acts of love are not always pleasant. Acts of loyalty are usually uncomfortable. Do them anyway.

 

Think: Godly confrontation is an act of love and loyalty.

 

Pray: “Lord, guide me in love and grace, especially in confrontation.”

 

 

Copyright © July 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.

His Command To Love

His Command To Love By Kirk Hunt

 

A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another.

John 13:34 NKJV

 

Lots of folks are talking about “love” these days. Some are also speaking of brothers and sisters. If I really love men and women as my brothers and sisters, what actions should I take?

 

I am blessed with three brothers and a sister. We have had conflicts and words. No matter how angry we have been at each other, we have never once refused to protect, assist and support each other. Ever.

 

Jesus loved us first and best. Out of love, He laid down His life for us. He did not wait for us to stop being His enemy (Colossians 1: 19–22). He did not wait for us to stop sinning (Romans 5:8).

 

As a Christian, I should follow His example. If you are a Christian, I ask you to consider His example before you act. What can you do to prove to yourself that you follow His pattern?

 

Perhaps that means letting myself be wronged in order to win back a Gospel sibling (1 Corinthians 6: 7-8). It could mean pointing out a shortcoming in grace and humility (Matthew 18: 15–17). If the Apostles had conflicts, it should come as no surprise that today’s saints will not always see eye-to-eye (Galatians 2: 11–12).

 

I am blessed with numerous Gospel brothers and sisters. Some are not Christians yet. It is not always easy to love them, but I am following Jesus’ commandment and example.

 

Think: Love is a series of acts. Sometimes, acts of sacrifice.

 

Pray: “Lord, help me to love Your children as my brothers and sisters.”

 

Copyright © July 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.

Be The Strong One

Be The Strong One By Kirk Hunt

We then who are strong ought to bear with the scruples of the weak, and not to please ourselves.

Romans 15:1 NKJV

 

Now is the time to be strong. Be strong enough to survive injustice. Be strong enough to overcome fear. Most of all, be strong enough to help others.

 

Often, our best ministry comes when we are most under pressure. We are God’s best ambassadors when we stand after hurt and loss, then reach out to those who oppose us the most. It is not enough to turn the other cheek. You must also carry the burden (Matthew 5:38-42).

 

My heart has been torn by recent events. Anguish and fear are not a help. I have turned to God’s strength and grace. They are the tools that bring reconciliation and restoration.

 

Strength is not a clenched fist. Strength is found in skillful hands that bind wounds and uphold the weak. An avenging spirit is not strength. Strength is found in hearts and minds that pierce the chaos with wisdom and justice.

 

All Christians should be eager to respond with the strength they get from God. Strength that refuses to hate. Power that acts through wisdom and justice. Might that overcomes fear and injury.

 

The solutions to today’s problems are neither quick nor easy. The solutions to the issues we face require strength and fortitude to work through the chaos to God’s peace. God calls you to take His strength, then serve others with wisdom and justice.

 

Think: Strength is not a fist of vengeance. Real strength chooses wisdom and justice.

 

Pray: “Lord, help me to minister to others with Your strength.”

 

Copyright © July 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 Burden In His Heart

The Burden In His Heart By Kirk Hunt

 

Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.

Galatians 6:2 NKJV

 

It was 1990-ish and I sat alone in a room of white men and told the story from my heart. “White cops do not stop to help black men.” I was there to learn about how to minister. Instead, I discovered a burden in my heart I did not know I had. A hurt I would have otherwise kept hidden.

 

My Christian brothers listened carefully to a viewpoint they did not expect to hear. They could not reject my story without rejecting me. So, for a little while, they helped me bear my burden. Their obedience to Jesus helped begin healing an infection that could have disqualified me from ministry.

 

I did learn a lesson about ministering to men and women during that day. Whatever you think, a man’s experience is his experience. He is correct about what he felt. You may not understand or agree, but you cannot reject the story that comes from his heart without rejecting him. And it may be appropriate for your heart to ache with him.

 

I struggle when men and women tell me hard, painful stories about their earthly fathers. My memory of Poppa Hunt remains my most valuable possession. Still, I believe the story they share from their heart. I then lead that hurting soul to Jesus, our Healer.

 

In the coming days and weeks, God’s people will be ministers of healing, reconciliation and restoration. It starts with a willingness to accept the heart the story comes from. Then lead them humbly and graciously to Jesus. Bear their burden, for a while, so that healing can begin.

 

Think: Reconciliation and healing begin by bearing someone’s burden.

 

Pray: “Lord, help me to bear someone’s burden, as Your instrument of healing.”

 

Copyright © July 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.