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Monday, April 23, 2018

For This Very Purpose

April 23

(2 Corinthians 5:5-11 NIV)  "Now it is God who has made us for this very purpose and has given us the Spirit as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come. {6} Therefore we are always confident and know that as long as we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord. {7} We live by faith, not by sight. {8} We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord. {9} So we make it our goal to please him, whether we are at home in the body or away from it. {10} For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive what is due him for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad. {11} Since, then, we know what it is to fear the Lord, we try to persuade men. What we are is plain to God, and I hope it is also plain to your conscience."

Our life’s goal is to please the Lord. This world is temporary, but while we live here, God calls us to act in faith. He says, “Seek me. Come to me. Trust me. Follow me. Obey me.” God’s deep desire is that we walk by faith, not by sight. Walking by sight makes demands of God. Walking by faith realizes it’s about what we give, not what we receive. It’s not about survival, but about arrival. It’s not about the blessings accumulated in this temporary world, it’s about the treasure stored up in heaven. This life is really all about what comes next. It’s not about gaining stuff, but about gaining souls. This is why we try to persuade others -- eternity is at stake. The driving force in our lives should be faith, not fear. If we cling to life in this body and this world, we can never be fully at home with the Lord. God made us for this very purpose. This is why we make it our goal to please him. -- Friar Tuck's Word of the Day

Sunday, April 22, 2018

Fixing Our Eyes

April 22

(2 Corinthians 4:17-18 NIV)  "For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. {18} So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal."

(2 Corinthians 5:1-4 NIV)  "Now we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands. {2} Meanwhile we groan, longing to be clothed with our heavenly dwelling, {3} because when we are clothed, we will not be found naked. {4} For while we are in this tent, we groan and are burdened, because we do not wish to be unclothed but to be clothed with our heavenly dwelling, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life."

People of faith have fixed their eyes. They look at life and death differently than others. We do not give up, we rise up. Our goal is not survival but glory. We inhabit a tent of a body, with all the limitations of a tent. We groan, because life is hard as we await our resurrection. This does not surprise God. He told us it would be so. He knows the sin that infects our world and inhabits us all. He knows we struggle under the weight of our troubles. He knows this life is coupled with loss and pain and death. But the resurrection gives lasting hope. We look ahead to the day when we will be changed. Many will die with a whimper, but we who believe have a greater hope; a different future, as eternal life swallows up mortality. When our eyes are fixed, the resurrection of Jesus Christ is like the dawn’s early light. The bright and morning star has risen! Fix your eyes. Fix your eyes on Jesus. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Saturday, April 21, 2018

Glory or Dust

April 21

(2 Corinthians 4:1-18 NIV)  "Therefore, since through God's mercy we have this ministry, we do not lose heart. {2} Rather, we have renounced secret and shameful ways; we do not use deception, nor do we distort the word of God. On the contrary, by setting forth the truth plainly we commend ourselves to every man's conscience in the sight of God. {3} And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. {4} The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. {5} For we do not preach ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus' sake. {6} For God, who said, "Let light shine out of darkness," made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ. {7} But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. {8} We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; {9} persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. {10} We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. {11} For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus' sake, so that his life may be revealed in our mortal body. {12} So then, death is at work in us, but life is at work in you. {13} It is written: "I believed; therefore I have spoken." With that same spirit of faith we also believe and therefore speak, {14} because we know that the one who raised the Lord Jesus from the dead will also raise us with Jesus and present us with you in his presence. {15} All this is for your benefit, so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God. {16} Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. {17} For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. {18} So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal."

Christians, we live with one foot on Earth and one foot in eternity. We long for this body of death to be replaced with God’s eternal dwelling. We groan and await the day when what was weak will rise in power and our crumbling jars of clay will become glorious cups of gold. If we do not have this hope of resurrection, we can become bitter at the losses of life. We may even shake our fists at God and lament our birth. If we persist in this rebellion, we die with a whimper. Our unredeemed jars of clay break into a thousand little pieces and over time become nothing more than dust in the wind. But we who believe have a greater hope. Our faith trusts God for a better future. We are confident that death will one day be swallowed up by Life. We will not perish. We will have eternal life in glory. Only Jesus gives this kind of hope. Believe God! -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Friday, April 20, 2018

Runnin’ with the Devil

April 20

(Luke 8:27-29 NIV)  "When Jesus stepped ashore, he was met by a demon-possessed man from the town. For a long time this man had not worn clothes or lived in a house, but had lived in the tombs. {28} When he saw Jesus, he cried out and fell at his feet, shouting at the top of his voice, "What do you want with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I beg you, don't torture me!" {29} For Jesus had commanded the evil spirit to come out of the man. Many times it had seized him, and though he was chained hand and foot and kept under guard, he had broken his chains and had been driven by the demon into solitary places."

(1 Peter 5:8 NIV)  "Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour."

When we make a habit of “runnin’ with the devil”, bad things happen. First comes isolation. The devil’s hyenas isolate us and separate us from those who love, help, and protect us. We go from “lone wolf” to “lost lamb” in short order. Lone Ranger Christians almost always end up on “Wanted” posters. We end up in lonely places. We stop going to church. We stop going to meetings. We stop reading God’s word. We hardly notice that we’ve left the house of God and are now living in a graveyard. High risk behavior becomes “normal”. The light of God grows dim. The darkness of death becomes palatable. We hardly notice its stench anymore. We live like we’re already dead. We become a walking corpse. Flee from this! You cannot fool the devil. He will always make a fool out of you. Cry out for God. Get back into fellowship. Light and life is found in walking with Jesus. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day