God Speaks, Good Happens

God Speaks, Good Happens by Kirk Hunt

“Those who regard worthless idols
Forsake their own Mercy.

“But I will sacrifice to You
With the voice of thanksgiving;
I will pay what I have vowed.
Salvation is of the Lord.”

So the Lord spoke to the fish, and it vomited Jonah onto dry land.

Jonah 2:8-10 NKJV

God’s prophet finally responded correctly. Jonah spoke his contrition, worship, praise and thanksgiving to the God of mercy and love. So God spoke and His prophet landed face first on the beach, alive and well (if chastened).

God is a god of mercy and love. God’s mercy refused to burn Jonah down on the dock. God’s love refused to let him drown in the sea. Then, as now, God loves all of His children, not just the well-behaved kids.

God is also a god of justice and righteousness. His righteousness refused to let Jonah be willful and disobedient. God’s justice delivered correction to His prophet for his sin and rebellion.

Spitting sand out of his mouth, Jonah stood, still a prophet of God and still loved by Him. No matter what you have done, God is waiting for you to repent. His correction is part of His love. His forgiveness is prepared and waiting for you.

Earthly fathers, imperfect as they are, love their wayward children. Father-God is perfect and His love for us is without limit or restraint. When will you go back to Him and repent? When will you accept what He has waiting for you.

Do your part. God will speak His part and it will happen for you. Never mind any sand you have to spit out.

Think: After I repent God will speak good into my life.

Pray: “Lord, thank You for continuing to love me.”

 

Copyright © February 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.

He Hears Your Voice

He Hears Your Voice by Kirk Hunt

Then Jonah prayed to the Lord his God from the fish’s belly. And he said:

“I cried out to the Lord because of my affliction,
And He answered me.

“Out of the belly of Sheol I cried,
And You heard my voice.”

Jonah 2:1–2 NKJV

Out of the boat and inside the fish, Jonah prayed. Finally, instead of rebelling, Jonah decided to talk with God. God had been waiting and listening all along.

Jonah’s naked rebellion could not have been clearer. God ordered him to walk east to Nineveh. Jonah sailed west to Tarshish. A less merciful God could have justly burned Jonah alive on the dock. God was not obligated to indulge Jonah’s resistance and revolt.

Too often we take our privilege with God for granted. Men and women respond to God’s commandments and direction with willfulness and defiance. Then we have the nerve to be surprised and offended when things do not go our way.

Are you ready to speak with God yet? Are you not tired of your fruitless attempt(s) to flee Him? Has His discipline not penetrated your willfulness yet?

God patiently waits for you to turn and speak with Him. Despite it all, He loves you. No matter what you did or said before, He is waiting for you to come to Him and speak.

Maybe you are angry. Perhaps you are scared. You might be confused. No matter where you are, stop and talk to Father-God.

Like any good father, He is waiting for His beloved child to talk to Him. The creator of the universe is waiting for you to speak. Here and now is a perfect time to let Him hear from you.

Think: When I get tired of my rebellion, God is ready to listen.

Pray: “Lord, thank you for listening to me.”

 

Copyright © February 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.

Prepared Belly

Prepared Belly by Kirk Hunt

Now the Lord had prepared a great fish to swallow Jonah. And Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights.

Jonah 1:17 NKJV

The fish, large enough to swallow a man (or woman) whole, met Jonah at the appointed time and place. The belly, prepared by God, gave an intimate residence to God’s prophet. For 72 hours, Jonah had the time and opportunity to consider who is in charge of whom.

Moses stood before a burning bush. Elijah heard a still, small voice. An angel appeared to Gideon. To men and women who are not resisting Him, God speaks and they give their attention readily. For those who resist Him, God creates circumstance that command your attention.

Keep in mind that resisting God is not the same thing as rejecting God. Jonah, as a prophet had accepted his calling from God. Still the prophet decided to be disobedient and resistant to God’s will. Jonah decided he did not want to be obedient regarding Nineveh, but did not reject God altogether. Jonah wanted his own way and to retain his place and privilege with God.

In the belly of the fish, God gave Jonah the time and space to consider his decisions and choices. God prepared a place and (cramped) space for Jonah to remember who is in charge of creation. Under God’s gracious discipline, Jonah remembered that mere men ought to obey God the first time He speaks.

God’s discipline helps us remember who is supposed to obey whom. The prepared belly of a circumstance is from God’s love and grace. Take the opportunity to end your resistance to hear and obey Him.

Think: Does God have my attention? How might God command my attention?

Pray: “Lord, I want to listen and attend to You, when You speak to me.”

 

Copyright © February 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.

Fear And Reverence

Fear And Reverence by Kirk Hunt

So they picked up Jonah and threw him into the sea, and the sea ceased from its raging. Then the men feared the Lord exceedingly, and offered a sacrifice to the Lord and took vows.

Jonah 1:15–16 NKJV

Jonah hit the water and everything changed. The murderous storm instantly dissipated. The howling wind became a whispering breeze. The towering waves that threatened to smash the hull vanished. God’s demonstration of His naked power and command over creation invoked fear and reverence from the sailors.

Fear can be defined as “profound reverence and awe especially toward God.” The sailors watched someone switch off a major tempest like flipping a switch. That is not the action of a mere man or an accident. The God who can do that has my awe, for sure.

Father-God loves us like a father. Like any good father, He is often gentle and tender with us. But God so much more than a mere father.

God’s power over all creation demands our awe. His holiness deserves our reverence. The level of awe and reverence you feel toward our all-powerful God should be overwhelming at times. Call it fear if you must. The sailors would.

They responded, the way I hope you respond, to seeing God’s power at its most unrestrained. Reverent worship and awestruck adoration is the only reasonable response to all that God is and can do. With a little more fear of God in his life, Jonah may not have wound up overboard.

Think: Does God have my reverence? Does God have my awe?

Pray: “Lord, You are worthy of all of my awe and reverence.”

 

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.

Calm Your Storm

Calm Your Storm by Kirk Hunt

Therefore they cried out to the Lord and said, “We pray, O Lord, please do not let us perish for this man’s life, and do not charge us with innocent blood; for You, O Lord, have done as it pleased You.” So they picked up Jonah and threw him into the sea, and the sea ceased from its raging.

Jonah 1:14–15 NKJV
Please also read Jonah 1:1–17

Rank pagans trembled while God’s prophet stood in calm stillness. The deck pitched violently as the storm continued to rage, threatening the lives of all aboard. To restore calm, all the sailors had to do was throw a man overboard.

Jonah, a prophet of God, had attempted to flee from his calling and assignment. God had sent him to Nineveh (see northern Iraq) but Jonah willfully tried to sail to Tarshish (far eastern Mediterranean). The storm that enveloped the ship was only a small reflection of God’s judgment and displeasure with his disobedient man.

What task has God given you? Are you working toward your assignment or trying to run away? Following God’s purpose will lead to calm and peace. Sin and rebellion will generate storms and turmoil in your soul. And the people around you may have to suffer along with you.

God’s purpose is rarely the easy way, but there is always joyous calm on His path. His love for us is great and He wants us to experience the blessings of obedience. And there is love in His correction. He will patiently and lovingly discipline you as long you think it is necessary.

Father-God loved Jonah too much to let him continue in sin and disobedience. The sailors were ready to be obedient and save the ship and their lives. Finally, Jonah decided he was ready to throw his sin and rebellion overboard. Are you ready for calm in your soul?

Think: What do I need to throw overboard to restore God’s calm in my life?

Pray: “Lord, help me throw distraction, sin and error out of my life.”

 

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.

See With His Eyes

See With His Eyes by Kirk Hunt

Then the Philistines took him and put out his eyes, and brought him down to Gaza. They bound him with bronze fetters, and he became a grinder in the prison.

Judges 16:21 NKJV

After all of the damage Samson had inflicted on the Philistines, they took poetic revenge. They put out his eyes, which led him once and again, into error and sin. Then, the burner of fields made flour for his enemies (for the rest of his life).

Walking in a circle, in the darkness, Samson had time. Time to think. Time to remember. Time to get serious with God.

Mortal men or women might have left Samson alone and defenseless, in the hands of his tormentors. God instead came close, then embraced and spoke with the man he still loved. Despite his rebellion and disobedience, Samson remained God’s beloved son.

Samson’s eyes were not restored, but his relationship with God was healed. Alone among his enemies, he dwelled securely in the hands of the Most High. A good father loves all of his children, not just the well-behaved ones. A father loves most when he disciplines his children.

Look at yourself through God’s eyes. He sees your sin. He sees your error. Still, He loves you. As you serve your sentence, He looks out for you, even when you cannot (or will not) look out for yourself.

Samson served his prison sentence with Father-God at his side. His eyes never looked away from Samson. His eyes will never look away from you. Are you looking to Him?

Think: Despite my circumstances I can have relationship with God, if I choose Him.

Pray: “Lord, forgive my sin. Help me to draw close to you.”

 

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.

He Did Not Know

He Did Not Know by Kirk Hunt

And she said, “The Philistines are upon you, Samson!” So he awoke from his sleep, and said, “I will go out as before, at other times, and shake myself free!” But he did not know that the Lord had departed from him.

Judges 16:20 NKJV

Samson woke up and engaged with his enemies, but he did not know. As a man of God, he should have known that God’s Spirit and power had left him. His education and experiences should have told him that he was being set up, again, by a betrayer. He ran headlong into a trap and defeat.

Samson’s humiliation (and mutilation), at a minimum, should have impossible or at least more difficult. Instead he has become a byword for wasted potential and squandered opportunity. A man born a Nazarite ignored his upbringing. Intended for greatness in God, he ended humbled in prison.

Samson used God’s power and strength through God’s mercy and grace. God is full of love and tenderness for us, but He is also a God of justice and judgment. God eventually moves against deliberate sin and error. Psalm 103:9 warns us: He will not always strive with us, nor will He keep His anger forever.

So God withdrew from Samson. He allowed Samson to operate without Him. Deliberate sin and disobedience is a way of telling God you do not need Him or you know better. And Samson learned the truth.

We have all sinned and fallen short. After your error, do you repent and try to do better? Do you deliberately sin again and assume God is still with you? You may not know the truth when you start, but you will know at the end.

Think: Do I know the truth of how close I am to God?

Pray: “Lord, forgive my sin. Help me to be Your obedient child and know Your truth.”

 

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.

These My Brethren and Sistren

These My Brethren and Sistren by Kirk Hunt

“Then the righteous will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You drink? When did we see You a stranger and take You in, or naked and clothe You? Or when did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’ And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.’”

Matthew 25:37-40 NKJV

Some people see marauding invaders. Others see plague bearers. God’s faithful should see brothers and sisters. Jesus called them brethren (and sistren).

I have a sister and three brothers. I have been very annoyed at all of them, at one point, or another. Still, in the middle of our greatest disagreements, I would never let any of them go hungry or lack shelter. How could I even bear to think of Momma or Poppa if I mistreated one of my siblings?

God loves all of the men and women who cross over a border, regardless of the papers they do, or do not, carry. Whether fleeing a violent criminal gang or a devastating storm, a refugee is one of Jesus’ siblings. When you stand before God’s throne how will you explain your treatment of men and women that Jesus loves?

God’s people are commanded by Jesus himself. “Care for those in need.” Do not check their credentials. Refuse to look at how do, or do not worship. Comfort and support them because they are Jesus’ siblings.

Think: I am commanded to care for those in need by Jesus Himself.

Pray: “Jesus, help me to serve Your brothers and sisters.”

 

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.

Except This Foreigner?

Except This Foreigner? by Kirk Hunt

So Jesus answered and said, “Were there not ten cleansed? But where are the nine? Were there not any found who returned to give glory to God except this foreigner?”

Luke 17:17-18 NKJV

They kept their distance per the Law but that did not stop them from calling out to Jesus for mercy. They were lepers, men still alive, but rotting to death. Jesus sent them to the priests to be declared clean of their living putrefaction. None said thank you for their miraculous healing, “except this foreigner.”

He could not take another step. His slow, cruel death sentence had been lifted. His desperate separation from friends and family was ended. His days of being despised and feared were over.

How could you not be grateful? Why would you refuse to thank God for the enormous mercy and miraculous goodness you had just received? Looking at his restoration, this nameless foreigner knew the priests could wait. His gratitude on the other hand, could not.

So he did what the native-born would not. He ran to Jesus and kneeled to Him in thankfulness. The same voice that cried for mercy now cried out glory to God.

All ten received the same miracle blessing. All ten had their miserable and degrading suffering ended through healing and restoration. Only the foreigner, the man who should not have received anything, bothered with gratitude or appreciation.

What mercy have you received? What mercy have you given? Did you show gratitude to God for the privilege given to you or through you?

Think: God’s mercy is for native-born and foreigner alike. Am I grateful for what I receive?

Pray: “Lord, help me to give and receive Your mercy freely, and with gratitude.”

 

Copyright © August 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.

His Compassions Fail Not

His Compassions Fail Not by Kirk Hunt

Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed,
Because His compassions fail not.
They are new every morning;
Great is Your faithfulness.

Lamentations 3:22-23 NKJV

In recent months I have been concerned by the general lack of compassion I see from my Christian brothers and sisters.  Consider God’s compassions toward us, His people.  Should we not follow the example of our heavenly Father and Jesus?

The Book of Lamentations was written at or after the destruction of Jerusalem and the Babylonian captivity of the nation of Judah.  For their great sins and open rebellion, God could have cast away the Jewish nation for good.

Instead, He was faithful to His people.  His mercy spared their lives.  His grace arranged their eventual restoration.  Not for the last time, God proved both His strength and His character to His people.

The capacity for mercy exists only where there is a reservoir of strength.  Only a man or woman of strong character can commit an act of grace.  When you see displays of mercy and grace, know that the powerful and honorable are nearby.

Are you an adopted son or daughter of Father-God?  Then you should have a measure of His strength and your character should be a growing reflection of Him.  What acts of mercy or grace prove your heavenly pedigree?

Judah had death and destruction coming, but a loving God gave them mercy and grace instead.  Look around you.  Do you have enough of His strength to give them mercy?  Is your character Christ-like enough to extend His grace?

Think:      His compassions fail not.  Do mine?

Pray:         “Lord, help me to show Your compassions to those around me.”

 

Copyright © January 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.