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 So the Lord heeded the prayers for the land, and the plague was withdrawn from Israel.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.

Having Great Faith

Having Great Faith by Kirk Hunt

When Jesus heard these things, He marveled at him, and turned around and said to the crowd that followed Him, “I say to you, I have not found such great faith, not even in Israel!”

Luke 7:9 NKJV
Read also Luke 7:1–10

Jesus did not note great faith amount the Pharisees or the Sadducees. Jesus instead found faith worth mentioning in the life of a foreigner. Great faith is not a found intellectual commodity. Faith in God is something you can develop, if you choose.

Centurions were officers in the Roman legions. Such men had to distinguish themselves in battle, but they also had to get recommendations from others of rank such as generals or Senators. Centurions understood authority from giving orders and from following orders.

Jesus’ miracles would have screamed real authority and true power to this veteran soldier. The centurion understood Jesus’ literal command over life and death. To the centurion, Jesus’ spoken word of healing might as well be a written order from a superior officer. Such an order would be obeyed.

Faith does requires a small amount of understanding and belief. Just as much, faith requires a maximum of willingness to act, based on your understanding and belief. The centurion acted on his belief that Jesus only needed speak, and his servant would be healed.

The facts and figures are what they are. What does Scripture say? What is God telling you in prayer? What will you now choose to do?

Think: Anyone with true faith understands the power and authority of Jesus.

Pray: “Lord, help me to act out my faith in You.”

 

Copyright © October 2019, 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.

Praying In Anguish

Praying In Anguish by Kirk Hunt

And she was in bitterness of soul, and prayed to the Lord and wept in anguish.

1 Samuel 1:10 NKJV

Hannah appeared before the altar and poured her heart out before God. No lyrical or poetic phrases were spoken. Not one theological utterance, elegant or otherwise, came out. Hannah prayed and wept in anguish.

Hannah’s heart gushes out raw, unfiltered grief and sorrow. To the untrained eye, Hannah’s heart-cry looks like drunkenness. Even Eli, the High Priest, assumes she is under the influence.

Despite her hurt and pain, Hannah chooses carefully and wisely. She appears before God. She tells Him all that is on her heart.

Never think God does not see you and your situation. Always remember that He cares for you and yours. Know that He will move, in His timing, in your situation.

Hannah’s appeal to God draws a response. The prophet Samuel is the first of Hannah’s six children. God replaced her season of lack and sorrow with a season of plenty and joy.

No matter how deep your hurt or anguish, you can choose your response. Appear before God. Tell Him about it all.

He understands tears and sobs. He sees the pain and sorrow that you keep hidden from everyone else. He will respond to you.

Hannah eventually wrote a song of praise to God for His answer to her heart-cry. Father-God has an answer that will make your heart sing. Are you willing to tell Him all about it?

Think: No matter how much I hurt, God cares and He will respond.

Pray: “Lord, I am here. Please, hear my prayer.”

 

Copyright © October 2019, 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.

Not Ashamed

Not Ashamed by Kirk Hunt

In You, O Lord, I put my trust;
Let me never be ashamed;
Deliver me in Your righteousness.

Psalms 31:1  NKJV

David fled from his father-in-law like a criminal.  King Saul viewed his loyalty, faithfulness and fidelity as crimes, fit only for death.  Still God never let David be ashamed.

Certainly, there is nothing like the fugitive life to teach you fear and paranoia.  Or perhaps the lesson David learned is faith and confidence in God.  God delivered David through His righteousness, at a time of His choosing.

Hunted as a fugitive, David did not despair.  Unjustly accused, David did not lose faith.  Despite these admirable responses, David remained human after all.  David cried out for deliverance and confirmation.

Christian saints, like all human men and women, are hurt and battered at times.  The storms and tempests of this life can stress and strain the best of us.  Despite those times our faith in God is never misplaced.

God’s faithfulness is unending and immeasurable.  No one who trusts in God will ever be disappointed.  Still, during a long, sleepless night, it’s too easy to wonder when His deliverance will arrive.

God is there.  You will not be left “holding the bag.”  God will not let your inconveniences be the end of you.

Put your trust in Him.  Stand and wait for His deliverance.  It may take a while, but God will not let you be ashamed.

Think:      Put your trust in God.  No matter how it looks, He is in control.

Pray:         “Lord, I choose to trust You.  You will not let me be ashamed.

 

Copyright © September 2019, 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.

Works Are Good and Profitable

Works Are Good and Profitable by Kirk Hunt

This is a faithful saying, and these things I want you to affirm constantly, that those who have believed in God should be careful to maintain good works. These things are good and profitable to men.

Titus 3:8 NKJV

Scripture is clear that faith is an internal matter and salvation is not a matter of doing enough good deeds. Scripture is just as clear that men and women of faith should perform good works on an ongoing basis. God’s people are good and profitable to others in the here and now.

The phrase “thoughts and prayers” has become a symbol of lip-service and inaction. The best demonstration of what you feel or think are concrete actions that help. What you do with your time, talent and treasure are the game-changers that matter. Everything else is platitudes.

Just to be clear: No one cares about what your heart feels or your head thinks; until the acts of your hands are visible. A man and woman may be skeptical of your motivations, but they will believe the nutritious food you feed them. Folks may disagree with your morality but they will approve of the warm shelter you place around them.

Good works open a path for unbelievers to understand. Your good works give your presentation of the Gospel weight and substance. It is difficult to ignore the folk who feed, clothe and shelter others.

We all know that words can come easy. We all know that actions are the best proof of your thoughts and feelings. Obey Scripture and get to work.

Think: My works demonstrate my faith in God to hard hearts and skeptical minds.

Pray: “Lord, help me to demonstrate my faith in You at every opportunity.”

 

Copyright © March 2019, 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.

Who Have You Received?

Who Have You Received? by Kirk Hunt

Then Paul dwelt two whole years in his own rented house, and received all who came to him, preaching the kingdom of God and teaching the things which concern the Lord Jesus Christ with all confidence, no one forbidding him.

Acts 28:30-31 NKJV

Chained to a Roman soldier, Paul received everyone who came to him. The prisoner freely taught and preached about Jesus Christ. For two years, handcuffed to his captors, Paul repeated the crime that brought him to trial in Rome.

It took courage to visit Paul in Nero’s Rome. Christians were already under suspicion and discrimination. Still, the opportunity to learn of Jesus, directly from Paul, brought men and women to his door.

Paul welcomed his guests, then generously gave them his richest gift: Jesus Christ. In the face of political, social and religious (Pagans or Jews) opposition, Paul insisted on sharing his knowledge of the Gospel. Whether with those in the room, or with saints around the known world, Paul spoke God’s truth to all who could hear.

Who do you receive? What do you give them? Why should they want what you give?

Under the watching eyes and listening ears of the elite Praetorian Guard, Paul taught the Gospel to all who asked. The Apostle used his adverse circumstances to build the Kingdom. Can you do the same?

Who is at your door? What do you give them? Even a prisoner can be a generous host, if they have something of value to give. What is more valuable than the Gospel?

Think: Who have you received? What have they received from you?

Pray: “Lord, help me to generously receive then give You to all who come to me.”

 

Copyright © February 2019, 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.

Who Are Gathered With You?

Who Are Gathered With You? by Kirk Hunt

David therefore departed from there and escaped to the cave of Adullam. So when his brothers and all his father’s house heard it, they went down there to him. And everyone who was in distress, everyone who was in debt, and everyone who was discontented gathered to him. So he became captain over them. And there were about four hundred men with him.

2 Samuel 22:1-2 NKJV

King Saul issued a death warrant for his loyal and valiant son-in-law, David. Unjustly hunted and cruelly hounded, David found refuge in the cave of Adullam. There, at his lowest point, losers, deadbeats and whiners gathered with David.

David could have easily become a brigand and villain, leading a band of cutthroats. Instead he transformed himself into a valiant king-like leader. The crybabies and snotnoses who gathered with him? They became an elite fighting force who championed the defenseless.

You always have a choice. There is the easy way or the right way. You can choose to walk upward in righteousness or slide downward in villainy. It is just that easy.

Insist that the people who gather around you have a simple choice: 1) Get with your program or 2) leave. Keep their immediate decision clear and simple.

It takes courage, fortitude and intention to choose righteousness. There will be confrontations and conflicts, but insist that anyone who stays with you does the same. No one said it would be easy.

Who is gathered with you? You can help them change their story. Make sure you choose the right story to tell with your life and theirs.

Think: Who is gathered with me and why do they stay?

Pray: “Lord, help me and those gathered with me to choose Your righteousness.”

 

Copyright © February 2019, 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.

Where Are You Stationed?

Where Are You Stationed? by Kirk Hunt

And after him was Shammah the son of Agee the Hararite. The Philistines had gathered together into a troop where there was a piece of ground full of lentils. So the people fled from the Philistines. But he stationed himself in the middle of the field, defended it, and killed the Philistines. So the Lord brought about a great victory.

2 Samuel 23:11-12 NKJV

Shammah is listed in Scripture as one of David’s “mighty men”. His greatest deed? Alone and abandoned, Shammah stood and fought while others ran. He stationed himself in a patch of beans and defended them.

Shammah’s duty was made harder, and riskier, because others failed in their duty to their nation and God. Still, he stood his ground and fought. Despite his personal courage and skillfulness, Scripture is clear that Shammah did not bring about success. God’s faithfulness and power bought and brought victory.

What has God assigned you? Steel your heart and determination, even if it seems you are defending something of low value. Courageously hold your ground against greater numbers and firepower, no matter how alone you are. Mighty men and women are determined by faithful courage and determined hearts.

Military last stands tends to favor the attackers and are universally costly to the defenders. Determine now that you will do your part, confident that Father-God will do His. Despite your personal courage and skill, victory will come through God’s faithfulness and power.

Think: Do your part to bring about victory.

Pray: “Lord, help me to fulfill your assignment to me, regardless of what others do.”

Copyright © February 2019, 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.