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Monday, October 22, 2018

The Only True Life Saver

October 22

(Titus 3:3-7 NIV) “At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another. {4} But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, {5} he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, {6} whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, {7} so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life.”

Before we came to the Truth, most of us tried just about every god except Jesus. We made love with the booze god, the career god, the recreation god, the success god, the busyness god, the drug god, the sex god, the fantasy god, and a host of other phony deities that vied for our affection. We also looked everywhere but inside ourselves for someone to blame for our problems. But hiding behind puny, powerless gods, and blaming others did not alleviate our pain and emptiness, because our problems ran much deeper. You can’t fix a heart by applying a Band Aid to the skin. Until we got to the root of our sin, life just continued to get rougher and emptier… and then we met Jesus. An amazing calm can come into your life when you finally grab onto the only true Life Saver out there. And unless you have something better, maybe it’s time to look into His eyes and let Him save you. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Sunday, October 21, 2018

Forgetting God

October 21

(Jeremiah 2:1-11, 32 NIV) ““The word of the Lord came to me: {2} "Go and proclaim in the hearing of Jerusalem: " 'I remember the devotion of your youth, how as a bride you loved me and followed me through the desert, through a land not sown. {3} Israel was holy to the Lord, the firstfruits of his harvest; all who devoured her were held guilty, and disaster overtook them,' " declares the Lord. {4} Hear the word of the Lord, O house of Jacob, all you clans of the house of Israel. {5} This is what the Lord says: "What fault did your fathers find in me, that they strayed so far from me? They followed worthless idols and became worthless themselves. {6} They did not ask, 'Where is the Lord, who brought us up out of Egypt and led us through the barren wilderness, through a land of deserts and rifts, a land of drought and darkness, a land where no one travels and no one lives?' {7} I brought you into a fertile land to eat its fruit and rich produce. But you came and defiled my land and made my inheritance detestable. {8} The priests did not ask, 'Where is the Lord?' Those who deal with the law did not know me; the leaders rebelled against me. The prophets prophesied by Baal, following worthless idols. {9} "Therefore I bring charges against you again," declares the Lord. "And I will bring charges against your children's children. {10} Cross over to the coasts of Kittim and look, send to Kedar and observe closely; see if there has ever been anything like this: {11} Has a nation ever changed its gods? (Yet they are not gods at all.) But my people have exchanged their Glory for worthless idols…. {32} Does a maiden forget her jewelry, a bride her wedding ornaments? Yet my people have forgotten me, days without number.””

Several times in Scripture, God’s people had to learn the hard way that forgetting the Lord leads to defeat and disgrace. But before you feel smug in your piety, you need to know that we still do it today. We do it a lot! Whenever a culture realizes they’ve been born with a silver spoon in their mouth, instead of praising God for His provision, their focus in life seems to become keeping the spoon. Just look around. Over time, our purpose for living has mutated from bringing glory to God to bringing glory and pleasure to ourselves. Hoarding and accumulating have become virtues instead of vices. When we begin to treat the Lord like an extra-curricular activity, we will eventually squander our inheritance and damage our legacy. Don’t go down that road. As God’s people learned, it is the road to bondage and enslavement. What’s amazing is that we keep forgetting that lesson. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Saturday, October 20, 2018

Pray and Work

October 20

(Nehemiah 4:6-18 NIV) “So we rebuilt the wall till all of it reached half its height, for the people worked with all their heart. {7} But when Sanballat, Tobiah, the Arabs, the Ammonites and the men of Ashdod heard that the repairs to Jerusalem's walls had gone ahead and that the gaps were being closed, they were very angry. {8} They all plotted together to come and fight against Jerusalem and stir up trouble against it. {9} But we prayed to our God and posted a guard day and night to meet this threat. {10} Meanwhile, the people in Judah said, "The strength of the laborers is giving out, and there is so much rubble that we cannot rebuild the wall." {11} Also our enemies said, "Before they know it or see us, we will be right there among them and will kill them and put an end to the work." {12} Then the Jews who lived near them came and told us ten times over, "Wherever you turn, they will attack us." {13} Therefore I stationed some of the people behind the lowest points of the wall at the exposed places, posting them by families, with their swords, spears and bows. {14} After I looked things over, I stood up and said to the nobles, the officials and the rest of the people, "Don't be afraid of them. Remember the Lord, who is great and awesome, and fight for your brothers, your sons and your daughters, your wives and your homes." {15} When our enemies heard that we were aware of their plot and that God had frustrated it, we all returned to the wall, each to his own work. {16} From that day on, half of my men did the work, while the other half were equipped with spears, shields, bows and armor. The officers posted themselves behind all the people of Judah {17} who were building the wall. Those who carried materials did their work with one hand and held a weapon in the other, {18} and each of the builders wore his sword at his side as he worked.”

Nehemiah saw that the walls around Jerusalem were broken down and in disrepair. God laid it upon his heart to rebuild them. God’s method for accomplishing this was for the people to pray and work. It was a situation of “both/and” not “either/or”. They prayed and worked. Sometimes the walls which protect us spiritually need to be rebuilt. Without boundaries our soul is vulnerable to every attacker that comes along. Our method for accomplishing this should be the same: prayer and work. We pray in faith, believing God for protection, but we also move to “build up our walls”. Prayer and work will move us forward in faith. We should not move without God; we should not run ahead of God; but we should also not be sitting on our hands waiting for God to do our work for us. Faith and action work together to accomplish God’s will. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Friday, October 19, 2018

Chasing the Wind

October 19

(Ecclesiastes 1:12-18 NIV) “I, the Teacher, was king over Israel in Jerusalem. {13} I devoted myself to study and to explore by wisdom all that is done under heaven. What a heavy burden God has laid on men! {14} I have seen all the things that are done under the sun; all of them are meaningless, a chasing after the wind. {15} What is twisted cannot be straightened; what is lacking cannot be counted. {16} I thought to myself, "Look, I have grown and increased in wisdom more than anyone who has ruled over Jerusalem before me; I have experienced much of wisdom and knowledge." {17} Then I applied myself to the understanding of wisdom, and also of madness and folly, but I learned that this, too, is a chasing after the wind. {18} For with much wisdom comes much sorrow; the more knowledge, the more grief.”

(Ecclesiastes 2:4-11 NIV) “I undertook great projects: I built houses for myself and planted vineyards. {5} I made gardens and parks and planted all kinds of fruit trees in them. {6} I made reservoirs to water groves of flourishing trees. {7} I bought male and female slaves and had other slaves who were born in my house. I also owned more herds and flocks than anyone in Jerusalem before me. {8} I amassed silver and gold for myself, and the treasure of kings and provinces. I acquired men and women singers, and a harem as well--the delights of the heart of man. {9} I became greater by far than anyone in Jerusalem before me. In all this my wisdom stayed with me. {10} I denied myself nothing my eyes desired; I refused my heart no pleasure. My heart took delight in all my work, and this was the reward for all my labor. {11} Yet when I surveyed all that my hands had done and what I had toiled to achieve, everything was meaningless, a chasing after the wind; nothing was gained under the sun.”

Getting everything we want often leads to emptiness. At the end of his life, a disenchanted and humbled Solomon wrote that everything he had spent his life chasing after was meaningless -- a “chasing after the wind”. Instead of pursuing the Father, he mistakenly pursued females, fame, and fortune. The more goods he acquired, the less he thought about the Goods Giver. When he was old, Solomon realized we are judged on our relationship with God, not on our personal achievements. The things we cheat others to get and fight others to keep, will all pass away. We will stand before God with nothing. None of us will take a single thing with us into eternity. Be wiser than Solomon. Don’t follow his path of accumulation and indulgence. Don’t waste your life chasing after the wind. Follow the One who is greater than the wind. Follow the Master of the wind. Follow Jesus. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day