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 So the Lord heeded the prayers for the land, and the plague was withdrawn from Israel.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

Seeking Something Better

Seeking Something Better by Kirk Hunt

These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised, since God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect.

Hebrews 11:39–40 NIV

Despite (partial) victories (such as the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965) Dr. King continued the work of freeing all of America’s citizens from injustice and discrimination. His earthly reward for seeking something better for America? An assassin’s bullet.

Scripture summarizes the suffering and victories of Old Testament Prophets and Heroes in Hebrews 11. Those men and women did not live to see God’s promises completed, but they did their part to fulfill their callings. Usually, at great personal cost or their very lives.

Hebrews 11 rehearses the faithfulness and endurance of Old Testament saints. They fulfilled their calling and purpose, despite not seeing their victory in complete fullness. Hebrews 12 exhorts New Testament saints to be just as faithful and enduring.

Christians of the Roman world often suffered and died but they eventually converted polytheistic pagans into devout Christians. With the continuing advantage of Jesus and the Holy Spirit, we should do as much. Echoing the faith and diligence of Old and New Testament saints, our faithfulness will require that we seek something better, regardless of the personal cost.

Seek something better, no matter who is bother or how they object. Your prize for delivering freedom or salvation will be God’s eternal approval. Try not to mind any short term inconveniences or even living to see it completely fulfilled.

Think: Do your part whether or not you see the final victory.

Pray: “Lord, help me to fulfill my calling from you, no matter how others object.”

 

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.

Greater Love

Greater Love By Kirk Hunt

This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.

John 15:12–13 NKJV

Jesus taught, than demonstrated, the pattern of greater love. Determine you love a group of people so much that you are willing to serve them. If your love is great enough, even the threat of death will not stop you from giving your service.

On Memorial Day, Americans celebrate the men and women who died while serving in the armed forces of the nation. Their great sacrifice for America is to be sincerely remembered and deeply appreciated. Still, the sacrifice of Jesus Christ for His “nation,” anyone who chooses to accept Him into their heart, sets the greater example.

Jesus first gave up heaven to come to earth. Then He agreed to live as a mere man, so that He would truly understand our lives. Finally, He sacrificed His sinless life as the last and final payment for our sins.

Jesus demonstrated His love for mankind on the Cross. Men and women can freely kneel at the Cross and receive the salvation they so desperately need, from His willing sacrifice. Jesus does not restrict the benefit of His service on race, nation or past behavior.

The only restriction on salvation is your confession of sin and acceptance of Jesus as your Savior. He has already proven His greater love. Have you accepted His love? Do you demonstrate His love in turn?

Think: How am I demonstrating my greater love?

Pray: “Lord, help me to love greatly for Your Name and people.”

 

Copyright © May 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.

Weapons Of Our Warfare

Weapons Of Our Warfare By Kirk Hunt

For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds

2 Corinthians 10:3–4 NKJV

From his jail cell in Birmingham, Alabama Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. confronted the clergy who criticized his leadership during the Birmingham Campaign. King’s fostering of tension and even crisis did not involve violence or threats. “For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal,” ought to be the strategy of activists the world over.

In his “Letter from Birmingham Jail” Dr. King declared the strategy of the Birmingham Campaign: “Nonviolent direct action seeks to create such a crisis and foster such a tension that a community which has constantly refused to negotiate is forced to confront the issue.” The marchers did not carry bombs. Not one of the young teenagers facing fire hoses or attack dogs raised a gun.

God’s people have powerful weapons at our disposal: Scripture, prayer, fasting, personal sacrifice. We can change the culture. We can build the Kingdom of God. To do so, we must wield Godly (spiritual) not mundane weapons.

Too often, we try to use the mundane weapons of carnal men: media buys, political power, legal proceedings. Too often we avoid touching the hurting, comforting the distressed, confronting the wicked. God’s Church cannot change the culture comfortably or from a distance.

To change the culture, God’s people will have to deploy spiritual weapons. The scars of Apostle Paul’s beatings, stonings and whippings gave him the gravitas and credentials. When he spoke to the hardened men of the Praetorian Guard they listened and believed.

If you are truly a man or woman of God, you can have an impact. You have access to the spiritual weapons of God. Are willing to wield them as His faithful soldier?

Think: Our struggle to change the culture requires that we use spiritual weapons.

Pray: “Lord, help me to build Your Kingdom Your way.”

 

Copyright © January 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.

At All Times

At All Times By Kirk Hunt

A friend loves at all times,
And a brother is born for adversity.

Proverbs 17:17 NKJV

I hate the need for “at all times” calls. “I know it is short notice, but…?” “Can you come, now, then…?” “I hate to ask but we are at the emergency room, so…”

I may grumble and grouse as I get off of the couch. I do not always think the kindest thoughts on the way over. Still, when I get there, I do all I can to be cheerful, joyous and helpful.

Love is not a feeling. Love is a choice, followed by action. Especially during 2 AM crises.

Being a friend, a Gospel brother or sister, can be inconvenient at times. Godly men and women find themselves helping at the strangest times and oddest places. Worse, you could be the one being assisted.

I know what it is like to be the giver. I also know what it is like to be the receiver. Sooner, or later, you will know both sides. It is part of the human condition and being part of God’s family.

When you share your strength and patience, especially with a Gospel brother or sister, you are building God’s Kingdom. As your Godly friend comes to help you, he or she is building into your life. Either way, God is pleased.

One day, stuff will happen. A night will come when your brother or sister will need you. This is why God gave them to you, and you to them.

Think: Real brothers and sisters help others, especially within the Gospel family.

Pray: “Lord, help me to be a true brother or sister during adversity.”

 

Copyright © December 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.

No Greater Love

No Greater Love By Kirk Hunt

Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.

John 15:13

 

The test came, and three true Americans passed. Good men refused to stand by and let evil triumph. For friends they may not have truly met, they proved their greater love.

 

It is appropriate on this Memorial Day that we Americans recognize this fresh proof that freedom is not free. It requires men and women, many without arms or armor, to stand in courage. Some will make the ultimate sacrifice, out of love.

 

Real love requires standing against all enemies, foreign and domestic, natural and spiritual. Real love stands against sin, hate and violence with grace and truth. All too often, the enemy of our souls, or his agents, will retaliate viciously.

 

However they act, God’s people are commanded to respond in love and grace. Even when provoked, God’s people must respond as Jesus would. His greater love lives in us and finds its expression through us. Sometimes at the risk of being known as a hero.

 

Jesus knew He would face the ultimate test. He refused to stand by and let mankind continue in separation from God. Jesus stood in courage and made the ultimate and eternal sacrifice, on the Cross. He proved that the evidence of greater love requires action.

 

I pray you are never tested this way. May His wisdom and grace lead you around or past any situation. Still, do not hesitate to become a known hero. True heroes are in short supply.

 

Think: Jesus gave His life to save us from the enemy of our souls.

 

Pray: “Lord, guide me in Your wisdom, with courage.”

 

Copyright © May 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.

Love One Another

Love One Another By Kirk Hunt

Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.

1 John 4:11 NKJV

 

“Love one another.” Too often, even God’s people make it more complicated than it needs to be. Care for each other. Make sure folk have enough. Inconvenience yourself (if a little) for someone struggling just to survive.

 

John did not invent this commandment on his own. Jesus Himself ordered us (see John 13:34) to love one another. After telling us to care for, minister to and support others, Jesus did not fold His hands. Instead He went to the Garden of Gethsemane and started His walk to the Cross.

 

Out of care for our future, Jesus endured His trial by Pilate. Because of His concern for men, then and now, Jesus allowed His public scourging. Out of love for generations yet to be born, Jesus died on the Cross. Perhaps you could pay just a little bit more for those who have little or nothing?

 

Will some of the folks you care for only take advantage? Probably. Will some of the people you love reply with hate or disdain? Again, probably. Does Jesus’ command to His faithful disciples stand? Absolutely.

 

Love gives. It also creates opportunities. Men and women, boys and girls, are drawn to authentic love. That positive attraction gives us the opportunity to share the Gospel.

 

It will cost you something to show love to others. Someone, somewhere, will find a way to exploit, mishandle or ill-use what you give. However they respond, His command to you remains clear. Are you obedient to His Word?

 

Think: Real love requires action and pays costs.

 

Pray: “Lord, show me how to love others as You do.”

 

Copyright © March 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.

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.