Obey God Or Your Hardened Heart?

Obey God Or Your Hardened Heart? by Kirk Hunt

But the Lord said to Moses, “Pharaoh will not heed you, so that My wonders may be multiplied in the land of Egypt.” So Moses and Aaron did all these wonders before Pharaoh; and the Lord hardened Pharaoh’s heart, and he did not let the children of Israel go out of his land.

Exodus 11:9-10 NKJV

Pharaoh denied, once again, Moses’ request to end the slavery of the Israelites. Despite the prior nine plagues that had wracked and ruined Egypt, Pharaoh refused to end the injustice against the people of God. Pharaoh set the stage for the tenth plague with his hardened heart and willful disobedience.

Many Bible scholars state that the ten plagues of Egypt systematically denied and refuted the supposed power of the Egyptian pantheon. God displayed His power over His creation and the Egyptians for all to see. The pagan myths of the Egyptians failed to stand against the actual power of God.

The nationwide suffering of the Egyptians could not be denied or hidden. Still, Pharaoh persisted. As each plague grew in power and punishment, one man led his nation in opposition to God. Pharaoh could have avoided the tenth plague. Instead, He chose rebellion and disobedience.

You have a choice. You can choose to harden your heart and embrace your tenth plague. Or you can chose belief and obedience to God.

Think: I can chose between my hard heart and obedience to God.

Pray: “Lord, please make my heart obedient and pliable in Your Hands.”

Copyright © July 2020, 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.

I Have Remembered

I Have Remembered by Kirk Hunt

And I have also heard the groaning of the children of Israel whom the Egyptians keep in bondage, and I have remembered My covenant. Therefore say to the children of Israel: ‘I am the Lord; I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians, I will rescue you from their bondage, and I will redeem you with an outstretched arm and with great judgments.

Exodus 6:5-6 NKJV

I have remembered.” For 400 years the children of Israel suffered injustice and mistreatment from the Egyptians. It must have seemed that God had stopped caring and forgotten His people.

It turns out that our timing is not God’s timing. He has never forgotten His promises and will never fail to deliver His benefits. Suddenly, things will happen. To you, for you and around you. And pray for those who will stand against God’s sovereign actions.

Moses came out of the backside of the desert and faced down the most powerful ruler in the world. By the time God was done, Egypt was eager for the children of Israel to leave and paid dearly for their departure. When God our all-powerful commands, you and they will obey, sooner or later.

God upended precedent and history. Perhaps the Egyptians thought their power and systems of oppression could stand against anything. They found out that God’s supreme power would deliver redemption and judgment on His schedule.

Think: God remembers His promises to His people.

Pray: “Lord, remember Your promises and answer in Your sovereign power.”

Copyright © June 2020, 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 Master Will Come

The Master Will Come by Kirk Hunt

But if that servant says in his heart, ‘My master is delaying his coming,’ and begins to beat the male and female servants, and to eat and drink and be drunk, the master of that servant will come on a day when he is not looking for him, and at an hour when he is not aware, and will cut him in two and appoint him his portion with the unbelievers.

Luke 12:45-46 NKJV
Please also read Luke 12:41-48

In this parable, Jesus is talking to leaders and others with authority. “The Master will come” is not just a warning to followers but especially to those who are supposed to know better. Verses 47-48 are clear that Judgment will fall on everyone, but leaders harder than followers.

Accountability comes for us all. Real justice is merciless and undiscriminating. True justice makes no exceptions and accepts no excuses. True and just servants know that.

Too often, leaders will make excuses: “You do not understand.” “The job is hard.” “I have to make sacrifices.”

No one wants to hear excuses: “Explain yourself clearly and completely.” “Find an easier job.” “Find a less demanding job.” Much of the time, excuses are an attempt to avoid accountability or responsibility.

Not everyone is capable of being a leader or having authority. And for that reason, accountability and responsibility are that much more important. The Master will come and judge us all, but the leaders first.

Think: Judgment will come. Are you ready?

Pray: “Lord, help me to be ready for Your judgment at all times.”

Copyright © June 2020, 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.

A Black Christian Definition of White Privilege

A Black Christian Definition of White Privilege by Kirk Hunt

After one of my Gospel brothers asked about understanding white privilege I wrote this article for him. He knew I would blurt out the truth. Faithful are the wounds of a friend, but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful.

You have likely heard someone use the phrase “white privilege” and wondered what they really meant. I define white privilege as the system of positive economic, social and political benefits that white people receive in preference to (over) non-white people. These days, most white folks are born into that privilege.

Are you white? Then you have benefited from white privilege. Like it or not. Want it or not. Devout Christian or not, the system has heaped benefits and advantage on you.

Often, I hear people cry out, “Yes, I am white, but we are (were) really poor. How can you say I have white privilege?”

You may have been poor, but you were likely better paid than your Black or Latinx neighbors. It may have been the same impoverished school, but the teachers took more time and effort with your kids. Even the same scowling policeman did not arrest you as often, or brutalize you as much, if he arrested you.

Said a different way, white folks usually get extra when they should not, are frequently protected when they should not be, or receive fewer blows than they should. And, if that was the end of it, people of color (PoC) would go about their business. Unfortunately, that is rarely the end of it.

White privilege all too often becomes white entitlement. Since most white folk grow up receiving when they should not, or being protected when they should not, or not paying the full price often enough, they come to think that is how it should be. White entitlement is the sense that white privilege is a right and is owed to white people.

In my adult life I have seen more than one example of white privilege that became white entitlement. I have met more than one white business owner who thought employees were his or hers to freely mistreat or misuse. I have interacted more than once with a white subordinate who assumed that his or her opinion carried as much weight as a superior’s. Consider the frequent videos of white folks who feel they are empowered and obligated to supervise the lives or conduct of PoC.

And when confronted, white privilege or white entitlement can easily turn toxic (and vicious). Consider the video evidence against Amy Cooper. Her response to a black man who pointed out that park rules apply to her? She made a dishonest call to police where she lied about the level of threat she and her canine faced.

White privilege came to Amy’s rescue. No one filed criminal charges against her for her false call to police. The canine she choked was removed for a time but has been returned to her.

White privilege (or entitlement) is a system of benefits and privileges unavailable to PoC. It is a violation of the Declaration of Independence of the United States: “all men are created equal.” The Bible, at James 2:1-5, condemns such favoritism.

While my white brothers and sisters have no choice about having white privilege, they have every choice in how they live out their Christian lives. Because you are called by God, you can use your privilege to build God’s Kingdom.

Now that you know, what will you choose to do? You might choose to continue sitting on your couch. I pray you will choose to become a Gospel champion.

Copyright © June 2020, Kirk Hunt

This article 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.

Cleanse The Temple

Cleanse The Temple by Kirk Hunt

Then Jesus went into the temple of God and drove out all those who bought and sold in the temple, and overturned the tables of the money changers and the seats of those who sold doves. And He said to them, “It is written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer,’ but you have made it a ‘den of thieves.’”

Matthew 21:12-13 NKJV

Please read also:
Luke 19:45-48
Matthew 21:12-15
Mark 11:15-18
John 2:13-16

Jesus drove out the money changers. And the animal sellers. He cleansed the Temple with violent (intense, turbulent, furious and likely destructive) action.

Scripture does not report that anyone was killed or wounded, so some argue that Jesus was not “truly” violent. Men in mid-transaction left money and merchandise and fled. I doubt that a polite request was the reason they left so suddenly.

Many Bible scholars and historians assert that Jesus’ disruption of the commerce happening on the Temple grounds is the trigger event for His crucifixion. The High Priest and the elite leadership decided that Jesus had to die, because of the money. Real action that accomplishes something will make enemies.

Jesus reacted to injustice (theft) against faithful Jewish pilgrims plus violation of the sanctity of the Temple. People should have been praying in reverent quiet. Instead, the Temple was a common swap meet.

Circumstances will not change until you take action. The action you take will upset someone. Are you pleasing them or pleasing God?

Think: Righting an injustice, like cleansing the Temple, may take forceful action.

Pray: “Lord, give me the courage to uphold Your righteousness and justice.”

Copyright © June 2020, 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.

Rotten Green Tree

Rotten Green Tree by Kirk Hunt

Wait on the Lord,
And keep His way,
And He shall exalt you to inherit the land;
When the wicked are cut off, you shall see it.
I have seen the wicked in great power,
And spreading himself like a native green tree.

Psalm 37:3435 NKJV

The tree was big, green and notable in its surroundings. The problem is that the good looks were hiding a critical rot in the roots. The rot had so weakened the tree that it could not keep itself upright. The tree fell suddenly and without warning in the dead of night. Had it fallen in daylight, someone could have been crippled or killed.

The fallen tree blocked a central set of walkways. The mercy is that in its fall, the most serious damage was limited to a single directory sign. In a matter of seconds, the tree was transformed from a living state of beauty and utility to a dead object of hindrance and destruction.

And for days, men and machines labored hard to clear away the remains of a once healthy-looking tree. The hidden rot had killed the tree and tainted the wood. The wood could not become lumber, only firewood.

When men and women fall, they can do serious damage. The moral disease, thought hidden, is exposed to everyone. Where once there had been benefit and profit, there is suddenly destruction and damage.

As God’s saints, you must keep yourself free of rot and disease. Otherwise, like my tree, your fall will come suddenly and without warning. The remains of your passing suitable only for a fireplace or furnace.

Think: The green of the tree can hide a killing rot.

Pray: “Lord, keep me in Your way, free of moral taint or decay.”

Copyright © May 2020, 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.

Sacrifice Is Personal

Sacrifice Is Personal by Kirk Hunt

Then the king said to Araunah, “No, but I will surely buy it from you for a price; nor will I offer burnt offerings to the Lord my God with that which costs me nothing.” So David bought the threshing floor and the oxen for fifty shekels of silver. And David built there an altar to the Lord, and offered burnt offerings and peace offerings. So the Lord heeded the prayers for the land, and the plague was withdrawn from Israel.

2 Samuel 24:24-25 NKJV

Araunah (also called Ornan) had every reason to give King David anything he needed for a sacrifice. In addition to being a devout worshiper of Jehovah, he also owned great wealth. David needed to sacrifice the goods to stop a heaven-sent plague coming his way. “Anything you want, your majesty.”

David, a true leader who cared for his followers, made a point of buying, not taking. David refused to sacrifice a cost-less gift to God. David understood what made a sacrifice or offering acceptable to God. As the flames burned on the altar, the king’s once heavy purse held only a bill of sale.

Saints, especially leaders, must personally sacrifice for the Kingdom. Wealth, time and comfort are often burned on the altar of our worship. As the smoke and flames go heavenward, tears often flow downward from our too human eyes.

The point of worship and sacrifice is to demonstrate that we love Him first and foremost. If you want your offering to be real to God, it must be significant and personal. You give what is yours to prove the love is yours.

Well meaning hearts and souls might offer to pay at the wrong times. Remember David’s example. Give your personal sacrifice out of love and devotion.

Think: Sacrifice to God must always be personal to be real.

Pray: “Lord, accept my sacrifice to You.”

Copyright © April 2020, 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.

Faith In The Storm

Faith In The Storm by Kirk Hunt

Then He arose and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, “Peace, be still!” And the wind ceased and there was a great calm. But He said to them, “Why are you so fearful? How is it that you have no faith?

Mark 4:39-40 NKJV

Did Jesus need to calm the storm? Since the boat was sinking, His interference in the natural course of events was welcomed by the Disciples. Still, the need or desire for God to intervene in circumstances is not an excuse to lose (or set aside) your faith.

God is God, all of the time. Not even a series of circumstances can exceed God’s sovereignty or mastery of creation. You might be in over your head, but God remains above everything. He is the final authority of all time, space and situations.

Keep and guard your faith, no matter how fierce the storm. Since God is always omniscient, omnipotent and omnipresent, your inconveniences are never an issue for Him. Your faith should be based on Him, not what is going on around you.

Jesus rebuked the storm. Then He rebuked the Disciples. Their concern about the storm was reasonable and to be expected. Their sudden loss of faith was a failure to think and act on their understanding of God and the presence of Jesus.

No matter how difficult the situation, God is your source. Keep your faith strong. The Master is more than equal to your storm.

Think: In the middle of the storm, my faith remains in God.

Pray: “Lord, help me to keep my eyes and faith on You.”

Copyright © March 2020, 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.

In The Storm

In The Storm by Kirk Hunt

And a great windstorm arose, and the waves beat into the boat, so that it was already filling. But He was in the stern, asleep on a pillow. And they awoke Him and said to Him, “Teacher, do You not care that we are perishing?”

Mark 4:37-38 NKJV

Simon, Andrew, James, and John were not rookies, afraid of a strong breeze.    They were professional fishermen who earned good livings, with this kind of boat, on this very body of water.    They were expert, seasoned sailors and knew watercraft well.    They had all been through storms before. This storm was different.

They did not panic, at first.    They did what they knew to do.    They used their professional skills and extensive experience to weather the storm.   

They bailed water.    They shortened the sails.    They lightened the ship.    All to no avail.

The Disciples woke Jesus.    Big, burly men who, until now, had seen everything the Galilee could throw at them.    Strong, tough guys, who were way past their limits. And knew it.    They could do nothing, but they knew someone who could do anything.

In the middle of the crisis, the Disciples turned to the Master of Storms.   

Do what you know to do, but call out His Name.    Use your skills and abilities, but look to Christ for the solution.    Act, but rely on Jesus.    When we reach our limit, God’s Power begins.

The wind will howl.    The waves will crash.    Is the Master of Storms in your boat?

Think: In the middle of the storm, Jesus is my safety and comfort.

Pray: “Lord, thank You for how You protect and preserve me.”

Copyright © January 2020, 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.

God’s Word The Second Time

God’s Word The Second Time by Kirk Hunt

Now the word of the Lord came to Jonah the second time, saying, “Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and preach to it the message that I tell you.”

Jonah 3:1–2 NKJV

“Don’t make me tell you again,” is the exasperated admonition (or warning, or threat) every parent has said at least once to a beloved but recalcitrant child. Even God’s people are more child-like than we admit. God too often has to tell us the second (or third, or fourth) time.

At God’s command, the great fish had spit Jonah out on dry ground. God’s prophet likely smelled like fish belly, and he may have been spitting sand out of his mouth. . The storm and time in the fish had the desired effect of getting Jonah’s attention. The prophet listened when God spoke the second time.

There are reasons God has to repeat Himself to us. We can be too busy with our plans and agendas to listen to Him now. Our daily cares, concerns, or pains drown out His voice. Too often, our willfulness or disobedience leads us to knowingly ignore or disobey God.

God loved Jonah and patiently worked to get his attention. Thankfully, God loves us and patiently works to get our attention. Instead of reacting to us with justice and judgment, He responds to us with mercy and grace. God unfairly allows His children to misbehave and not pay the (full) cost they should.

Perhaps God is speaking to you the second (or third, or fourth) time. You should listen, this time. You should be obedient, this time. After all, God is demonstrating His great love for you, this time.

Think: When God speaks to me I should listen and obey every time.

Pray: “God, please help me to listen and obey every single time.”

 

Copyright © March 2020, 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.