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Saturday, September 23, 2017

Solomon: Folly in Wisdom

September 23

(1 Kings 3:1-5 NIV)  "Solomon made an alliance with Pharaoh king of Egypt and married his daughter. He brought her to the City of David until he finished building his palace and the temple of the Lord, and the wall around Jerusalem. {2} The people, however, were still sacrificing at the high places, because a temple had not yet been built for the Name of the Lord. {3} Solomon showed his love for the Lord by walking according to the statutes of his father David, except that he offered sacrifices and burned incense on the high places. {4} The king went to Gibeon to offer sacrifices, for that was the most important high place, and Solomon offered a thousand burnt offerings on that altar. {5} At Gibeon the Lord appeared to Solomon during the night in a dream, and God said, "Ask for whatever you want me to give you.""

(1 Kings 3:9-10 NIV)  "So give your servant a discerning heart to govern your people and to distinguish between right and wrong. For who is able to govern this great people of yours?" {10} The Lord was pleased that Solomon had asked for this."

(1 Kings 4:29 NIV)  "God gave Solomon wisdom and very great insight, and a breadth of understanding as measureless as the sand on the seashore."

(1 Kings 11:9-10 NIV)  "The Lord became angry with Solomon because his heart had turned away from the Lord, the God of Israel, who had appeared to him twice. {10} Although he had forbidden Solomon to follow other gods, Solomon did not keep the Lord's command."

Solomon had it all: wealth, fame, power, wisdom, religious upbringing, the right family line… but in the end, his life went down the tubes because he worshipped and served created things instead of the Creator. When we worship and serve created things, the Creator’s light grows dim in our life. As we systematically yoke ourselves to unbelievers, our ties with God are weakened and we begin the downward slide into futility. The desire for other things leads us away from Jesus. We lose our focus. We forget our priorities, our purpose, and our calling. We lack for nothing, but give our hearts to anything and everything. We become polytheistic polygamists, squandering our lives investing in relationships that have no eternal value. We labor for that which came from dust and will return to dust, until finally, we arrive at our ultimate destination: Meaninglessness. Stop! -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Friday, September 22, 2017

David: The God of Second Chances

September 22

(Psalms 51:1-17 NIV)  "For the director of music. A psalm of David. When the prophet Nathan came to him after David had committed adultery with Bathsheba. Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love; according to your great compassion blot out my transgressions. {2} Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin. {3} For I know my transgressions, and my sin is always before me. {4} Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight, so that you are proved right when you speak and justified when you judge. {5} Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me. {6} Surely you desire truth in the inner parts ; you teach me wisdom in the inmost place. {7} Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow. {8} Let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones you have crushed rejoice. {9} Hide your face from my sins and blot out all my iniquity. {10} Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. {11} Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me. {12} Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me. {13} Then I will teach transgressors your ways, and sinners will turn back to you. {14} Save me from bloodguilt, O God, the God who saves me, and my tongue will sing of your righteousness. {15} O Lord, open my lips, and my mouth will declare your praise. {16} You do not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring it; you do not take pleasure in burnt offerings. {17} The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise."

David sinned and got caught. But he didn't just blow it off and mumble something about no one being perfect. He didn’t blame anyone else for his actions. He was crushed by the weight of his sin. His heart was broken and he repented. Because of what Jesus did on the cross, God will forgive us, no matter what we have done. His mercies are never ending. So, if God has forgiven you, maybe it's time you forgave yourself. When we have been forgiven by God, but refuse to forgive ourselves, we are acting like we know better than the Lord. We are placing ourselves in a higher position than Jesus and occupying His judgment seat. So, if you’ve been forgiven by the Lord, but will not forgive yourself, you have essentially become an idolater -- and you are the idol. Worship God acceptably. Cease and desist from your self-worship. Begin to forgive. Begin with yourself. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Thursday, September 21, 2017

David: Busted

September 21

(2 Samuel 12:1-14 NIV)  "The Lord sent Nathan to David. When he came to him, he said, "There were two men in a certain town, one rich and the other poor. {2} The rich man had a very large number of sheep and cattle, {3} but the poor man had nothing except one little ewe lamb he had bought. He raised it, and it grew up with him and his children. It shared his food, drank from his cup and even slept in his arms. It was like a daughter to him. {4} "Now a traveler came to the rich man, but the rich man refrained from taking one of his own sheep or cattle to prepare a meal for the traveler who had come to him. Instead, he took the ewe lamb that belonged to the poor man and prepared it for the one who had come to him." {5} David burned with anger against the man and said to Nathan, "As surely as the Lord lives, the man who did this deserves to die! {6} He must pay for that lamb four times over, because he did such a thing and had no pity." {7} Then Nathan said to David, "You are the man! This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: 'I anointed you king over Israel, and I delivered you from the hand of Saul. {8} I gave your master's house to you, and your master's wives into your arms. I gave you the house of Israel and Judah. And if all this had been too little, I would have given you even more. {9} Why did you despise the word of the Lord by doing what is evil in his eyes? You struck down Uriah the Hittite with the sword and took his wife to be your own. You killed him with the sword of the Ammonites. {10} Now, therefore, the sword will never depart from your house, because you despised me and took the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be your own.' {11} "This is what the Lord says: 'Out of your own household I am going to bring calamity upon you. Before your very eyes I will take your wives and give them to one who is close to you, and he will lie with your wives in broad daylight. {12} You did it in secret, but I will do this thing in broad daylight before all Israel.'" {13} Then David said to Nathan, "I have sinned against the Lord." Nathan replied, "The Lord has taken away your sin. You are not going to die. {14} But because by doing this you have made the enemies of the Lord show utter contempt, the son born to you will die.""

Sin always bears fruit here on earth. Eventually, the chickens always come home to roost. As that great proverb says, “Stupid should hurt.” And in the end, it always does. There is no such thing as a harmless sin. Repentance can help, but it does not clean up the debris field left behind by our selfish and thoughtless behaviors. Sin always harms something or someone, somewhere in our lives, and we do not get to choose the what, or the who, or the where. Sin is messy. It always splatters on those around us… those closest to us… those we love. Sin cannot be “contained”. It’s like a toxin released into the air on a warm and breezy day. We cannot control its deadly, drifting fumes. We do not decide who succumbs to its lethal residue. Being saved settles our debt with God, but the bills will continue to come due here on Earth. Expect it. Stop whining about it. Deal with it. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

David: The Agony of Defeat

September 20

(2 Samuel 11:1-27 NIV)  "In the spring, at the time when kings go off to war, David sent Joab out with the king's men and the whole Israelite army. They destroyed the Ammonites and besieged Rabbah. But David remained in Jerusalem. {2} One evening David got up from his bed and walked around on the roof of the palace. From the roof he saw a woman bathing. The woman was very beautiful, {3} and David sent someone to find out about her. The man said, "Isn't this Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam and the wife of Uriah the Hittite?" {4} Then David sent messengers to get her. She came to him, and he slept with her. (She had purified herself from her uncleanness.) Then she went back home. {5} The woman conceived and sent word to David, saying, "I am pregnant." {6} So David sent this word to Joab: "Send me Uriah the Hittite." And Joab sent him to David. {7} When Uriah came to him, David asked him how Joab was, how the soldiers were and how the war was going. {8} Then David said to Uriah, "Go down to your house and wash your feet." So Uriah left the palace, and a gift from the king was sent after him. {9} But Uriah slept at the entrance to the palace with all his master's servants and did not go down to his house. {10} When David was told, "Uriah did not go home," he asked him, "Haven't you just come from a distance? Why didn't you go home?" {11} Uriah said to David, "The ark and Israel and Judah are staying in tents, and my master Joab and my lord's men are camped in the open fields. How could I go to my house to eat and drink and lie with my wife? As surely as you live, I will not do such a thing!" {12} Then David said to him, "Stay here one more day, and tomorrow I will send you back." So Uriah remained in Jerusalem that day and the next. {13} At David's invitation, he ate and drank with him, and David made him drunk. But in the evening Uriah went out to sleep on his mat among his master's servants; he did not go home. {14} In the morning David wrote a letter to Joab and sent it with Uriah. {15} In it he wrote, "Put Uriah in the front line where the fighting is fiercest. Then withdraw from him so he will be struck down and die." {16} So while Joab had the city under siege, he put Uriah at a place where he knew the strongest defenders were. {17} When the men of the city came out and fought against Joab, some of the men in David's army fell; moreover, Uriah the Hittite died. {18} Joab sent David a full account of the battle. {19} He instructed the messenger: "When you have finished giving the king this account of the battle, {20} the king's anger may flare up, and he may ask you, 'Why did you get so close to the city to fight? Didn't you know they would shoot arrows from the wall? {21} Who killed Abimelech son of Jerub-Besheth ? Didn't a woman throw an upper millstone on him from the wall, so that he died in Thebez? Why did you get so close to the wall?' If he asks you this, then say to him, 'Also, your servant Uriah the Hittite is dead.'" {22} The messenger set out, and when he arrived he told David everything Joab had sent him to say. {23} The messenger said to David, "The men overpowered us and came out against us in the open, but we drove them back to the entrance to the city gate. {24} Then the archers shot arrows at your servants from the wall, and some of the king's men died. Moreover, your servant Uriah the Hittite is dead." {25} David told the messenger, "Say this to Joab: 'Don't let this upset you; the sword devours one as well as another. Press the attack against the city and destroy it.' Say this to encourage Joab." {26} When Uriah's wife heard that her husband was dead, she mourned for him. {27} After the time of mourning was over, David had her brought to his house, and she became his wife and bore him a son. But the thing David had done displeased the Lord."

In slaying the great giant, David experienced the thrill of victory. But the agony of defeat was just over the horizon. The enemy that eventually conquered David did not have mighty strength or greater numbers. David’s greatest foes did not stand nine feet tall or wear heavy armor. They were as small as his eyes and heart. As the married woman Bathsheba bathed on a rooftop in David’s line of sight, his eyes became focused on something other than his righteousness. His heart succumbed to the desires of his flesh, and he crumbled to the ground like the giant Goliath had done years before… slain by a single stone called Lust. His greatest defeat did not come from Philistines on the battlefield -- it came from philandering in his backyard. He dishonored himself, disgraced his nation, and disrespected his God. Our greatest enemies almost always live within us. Guard you heart! -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day