Observe And Do

Observe And Do By Kirk Hunt

Then Jesus spoke to the multitudes and to His disciples, saying: “The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat. Therefore whatever they tell you to observe, that observe and do, but do not do according to their works; for they say, and do not do.”

Matthew 23:1–3 NKJV

Jesus observed and commented. He clearly and plainly told the majority of folk that their religious scholars and leaders preached one thing but clearly practiced a different thing. How is it possible to mess up, “Observe and do the right things”?

Was Jesus critiquing pagan Romans? No. Was Jesus rebuking Roman collaborators or prostitutes? No. Jesus criticized the very people who should have known better than anyone else.

The Pharisees preached righteousness and adherence to the law, but their motivations however were corrupt or self-serving (Matthew 23:5). Of course, these high minded religious experts were not above exploiting the poor or vulnerable in the name of profit (Matthew 23:14). In general, the Pharisees did the easy part of looking sanctimonious, but did not do the hard part of living righteously (Matthew 23:23).

Living righteously before God and man is easier said than done. That is why the Holy Spirit helps those men and women who seek Him. Religious law can only help you realize how sinful you are. It takes God’s spirit and grace to fulfill the law by living a sanctified life.

Take a good look at how you actually live. Does your life match what you preach (or say you believe)? Seek the Holy Spirit and ask Him to help you live out what you say.

Think: Observe yourself. Are you really doing the hard work of living righteously?

Pray: “Lord, help me to live righteously, no matter the difficulty.”

 

Copyright © October 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.

Are You A Brood Of Vipers?

Are You A Brood Of Vipers? By Kirk Hunt

But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to his baptism, he said to them, “Brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come?

Matthew 3:7 NKJV

The Pharisees and Sadducees were the religious leaders and Scriptural (Torah) scholars of the era. John the Baptist, as the son of the Temple Priest, Zacharias, likely knew many of them personally. One must wonder why John deliberately called the religious elite “vipers.”

It is easy to criticize leaders, right or wrong. In too many cases, the revelation of bad behavior and villainous schemes of leaders is the source of the criticism. In too many other cases, the mismatch between the words spoken from the lectern, and the lives led in the streets, is the reason for disdain.

Consider the moneychangers (merchants) in the Temple. The violation of the Mosaic law, and the sanctity of that holy place, was tolerated because the High Priest and other Temple officials were being paid. A clear violation of the letter and spirit of the Law they claimed to love so much.

We associate snakes with sin, evil and deception. By calling them Vipers, John deliberately references the poison that some snake breeds use to better devour their prey. There is no subtleness in John’s message.

Consider the Christian life you live. Does it match the Christian Gospel you preach? I pray that men and women see you as a child of God and not as a walking snake.

Think: Does my life match the Gospel of Jesus Christ? Why or why not?

Pray: “Lord, help me to live in obedience to Your Word and Spirit.”

 

Copyright © October 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.

Believe The Truth

Believe The Truth By Kirk Hunt

And for this reason God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie, that they all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness.

2 Thessalonians 2:11-12 NKJV

Apostle Paul wrote 2 Thessalonians to warn God’s people to love the truth and reject lies. The truth is often simpler and less complicated than the lie. The problem is that the lie appeals to something sinful in us.

All too short a time after the establishment of the Church at Thessaloniki, someone was teaching that Jesus had already returned and raptured His Church. Paul spoke against this apostasy but then addressed the deeper issue of loving the truth.

Paul states it is important for God’s people to cultivate a love for the truth. He states just as clearly that men and women can take “pleasure in unrighteousness.” Which do you choose; truth or unrighteousness?

Addicts believe the drug is a benefit. Adulterers believe in their reasons to lie and betray. Swindlers believe the money in your account is theirs, rather than yours. Of course, there are subtler ways to believe a lie, rather than the truth.

Do you love the truth, rather than a lie? Are you willing to believe a lie and be damned? The choice is binary. Either you seek God’s truth or you love the enemy’s lies. Believing the lie means accepting a delusion that leads to condemnation.

Believing the lie requires that you set aside the facts and data. Loving the truth makes it easier to spot the lies. Seek His righteousness. It is easier in the long-run.

Think: Do I really seek the truth, or do I prefer unrighteousness?

Pray: “Lord, help me to love Your truth and righteousness.”

 

Copyright © January 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.

The King’s Actions

The King’s Actions By Kirk Hunt

Then Herod, when he saw that he was deceived by the wise men, was exceedingly angry; and he sent forth and put to death all the male children who were in Bethlehem and in all its districts, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had determined from the wise men.

Matthew 2:17 NKJV

King Herod actions cannot be seen as anything other than ruthless, cruel and monstrous. He ordered the death of every male child in Bethlehem and the surrounding areas. His purpose in murdering babies? Preserving his station and power.

Warned through a dream from God, the wise men outwitted and outmaneuvered Herod. Herod then resorted to brute force to achieve his ends. From his position of power and wealth, Herod delivered death to the cradles and cribs of Bethlehem.

The result? God’s omniscience and omnipotence again thwarted Herod. Jesus and His family found safety in Egypt. Herod could never have overthrown the building of God’s Kingdom, but he tried.

The massacre of the innocents is not all that is recorded of Herod’s reign. Herod established the Herodian Dynasty. He also re-built the Second Temple, expanded the Temple complex, and brought water to Jerusalem.

Herod’s construction projects and political accomplishments are not the mainstay of his legacy. Instead, he is remembered as a murderous, blood-soaked tyrant who impoverished his own people.

What actions are you taking? Are they part of building God’s Kingdom? When you stand before God, the True King, what will He say of your actions?

 

Think: Are my actions designed to build God’s Kingdom, or something else?

Pray: “Lord, help me to take the actions that build Your Kingdom.”

 

Copyright © December 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.

Do You Persecute?

Do You Persecute? By Kirk Hunt

Therefore, indeed, I send you prophets, wise men, and scribes: some of them you will kill and crucify, and some of them you will scourge in your synagogues and persecute from city to city

Matthew 23:34 NKJV
Read also Matthew 23: 31-36

 

Neither foreigners nor pagans persecuted any of the Old Testament prophets. Their own supposedly devout countrymen and kinsmen tortured and murdered them. Why? The greater your sin, the harder it is to hear the truth. Just ask Cheney, Goodman and Schwerner.

 

The prophets, scribes and others called God’s people back from sin and error. Often they were met with violent opposition. Even when Jesus walked the earth, men and women often met God’s truth with unrighteous responses.

 

James, Andrew and Michael left the safety of their homes to help register men and women to vote in their local elections. Instead of being congratulated for their American spirit they were brutalized and murdered under the cover of darkness. The very men (and women) charged with keeping them safe participated in the heinous act or protected the perpetrators.

 

The terrorists were American sons, born and bred on American soil. Their targets? Other Americans born and bred just as they were. Sort of.

 

Jesus was sent to the Cross for healing the sick then preaching grace and truth. Here in America, the land of my fathers, truth has also been met with violence and murder. Still, many brave souls continue to speak out God’s truth.

 

Roman hands may have swung the hammers, but it was Jewish priests and leaders who sought Jesus’ blood. What is your response? Do you persecute truth-tellers or do you respond in God’s grace?

 

Think: Do I encourage those who speak God’s truth, or do I persecute them?

 

Pray: “Lord, help me to hear Your truth and respond with grace and humility.”

 

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.

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.