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Monday, April 24, 2017

A House on the Rock

April 24

(Matthew 7:24-27 NIV) "Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. {25} The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. {26} But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. {27} The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash."

(Luke 6:47-49 NIV) "I will show you what he is like who comes to me and hears my words and puts them into practice. {48} He is like a man building a house, who dug down deep and laid the foundation on rock. When a flood came, the torrent struck that house but could not shake it, because it was well built. {49} But the one who hears my words and does not put them into practice is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation. The moment the torrent struck that house, it collapsed and its destruction was complete.""

(James 1:22 NIV) "Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says."

We must put the word of God into practice. Jesus told a parable about two houses. One had a foundation of solid rock -- the other was built on sand. The houses represent people. Our spiritual foundation must be built on more than just knowing God’s word. It must also include doing the word of God. Putting God’s word into practice makes our foundation solid. Christians today are dropping like flies because knowing God’s word has somehow become more important than doing God’s word. It doesn’t matter how much scripture we know if we are not willing to live by its truth. Doing the word of God is the antidote for anemic Christianity that crumbles during times of storm. Putting God’s word into practice is the foundation of a strong spiritual house. Christians who ignore this principle end up crumbling like houses built on shifting sand when the storms of life come. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Sunday, April 23, 2017

New Music Files

April 23

(Psalms 40:1-3 NIV) "I waited patiently for the Lord; he turned to me and heard my cry. {2} He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. {3} He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see and fear and put their trust in the Lord."

(John 8:36 NIV) "So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed."

Once Jesus sets us free we must take steps to remain free or we can slide right back into bondage. We all have music that plays in our heads -- songs learned long ago, some good and some bad. God wants to reprogram our player and fill it with new music, but we hoard our old music files. We stash them away for safe keeping. For some strange reason we don’t want to erase them completely. Our old songs can be memories, longings, habits, hang ups, grudges, attitudes, or addictions. We just can’t seem to let them go. Even though we have been abused by them, they still hold a place in our hearts. Christians, we have a choice to make -- we can live with the corrupted music files from our old days in bondage, or we can delete them and download God’s new music. We cannot enjoy complete freedom in Christ until we stop singing the old songs. Hit that delete key today. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Troubles and Faith

April 22

(Genesis 32:28-31 NIV) ""Then the man said, "Your name will no longer be Jacob, but Israel, because you have struggled with God and with men and have overcome." {29} Jacob said, "Please tell me your name." But he replied, "Why do you ask my name?" Then he blessed him there. {30} So Jacob called the place Peniel, saying, "It is because I saw God face to face, and yet my life was spared." {31} The sun rose above him as he passed Peniel, and he was limping because of his hip.""

(Genesis 35:10-11 NIV) ""God said to him, "Your name is Jacob, but you will no longer be called Jacob; your name will be Israel." So he named him Israel. {11} And God said to him, "I am God Almighty; be fruitful and increase in number. A nation and a community of nations will come from you, and kings will come from your body.""

One indicator of the Bible’s integrity is found in the honest way it treats its heroes. Nobody escapes the omnipresent, omniscient gaze of God. Consider Jacob. His mother spoiled him rotten. His father favored his brother Esau. His parents struggled in their marriage. Jacob became a manipulator and a deceiver. His brother hated him. His uncle cheated him. His marriages were a mess. His wives fought constantly. His in-laws despised him. His children grew hostile toward one another. His son slept with his wife. His daughter was raped. His favorite son went missing. His land and his life savings were lost in a drought. He never saw God’s greatest promise come about. Jacob’s life was far from perfect, yet God used him in a mighty way. And therein lies the good news… if God used Jacob, He can certainly use us. Continue to trust God during the tough times. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day  

Friday, April 21, 2017

God’s Sovereign Mercy

April 21

(Exodus 33:19 NIV) "And the Lord said, "I will cause all my goodness to pass in front of you, and I will proclaim my name, the Lord, in your presence. I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion."

(Romans 9:13-16 NIV) "Just as it is written: "Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated." {14} What then shall we say? Is God unjust? Not at all! {15} For he says to Moses, "I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion." {16} It does not, therefore, depend on man's desire or effort, but on God's mercy."

Being declared “righteous” by God doesn’t necessarily mean we have lived a righteous life. It means we are saved by grace through faith. It doesn’t always mean righteous in deeds -- it is about being made righteous in the eyes of God. This is difficult for us to understand, but in the end, this is what really matters in eternity. We can live most of our life on the wrong side of God, but end up on the right side. God can take our broken, fragmented souls, and declare them healed and whole in a moment’s time. The thief on the cross near Jesus is an example of this kind of mercy and grace. So we must accept this truth: God is sovereign and will have mercy on whomever He chooses to have mercy. God doesn’t need our approval or permission to declare someone righteous and forgiven, nor does He really care about our opinion. He is the sovereign Lord. He is God, and we are not. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Declared Righteous

April 20

(Genesis 13:10-13 NIV) "Lot looked up and saw that the whole plain of the Jordan was well watered, like the garden of the Lord, like the land of Egypt, toward Zoar. (This was before the Lord destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah.) {11} So Lot chose for himself the whole plain of the Jordan and set out toward the east. The two men parted company: {12} Abram lived in the land of Canaan, while Lot lived among the cities of the plain and pitched his tents near Sodom. {13} Now the men of Sodom were wicked and were sinning greatly against the Lord."

(2 Peter 2:4-9 NIV) "For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but sent them to hell, putting them into gloomy dungeons to be held for judgment; {5} if he did not spare the ancient world when he brought the flood on its ungodly people, but protected Noah, a preacher of righteousness, and seven others; {6} if he condemned the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah by burning them to ashes, and made them an example of what is going to happen to the ungodly; {7} and if he rescued Lot, a righteous man, who was distressed by the filthy lives of lawless men {8} (for that righteous man, living among them day after day, was tormented in his righteous soul by the lawless deeds he saw and heard)-- {9} if this is so, then the Lord knows how to rescue godly men from trials and to hold the unrighteous for the day of judgment, while continuing their punishment."

(Philippians 3:7-9 NIV) "But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. {8} What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ {9} and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ--the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith."

After looking at Lot’s life in Genesis, it would be easy to write him off as lost. He serves as a classic example of what happens when we turn our backs on God and go the wrong direction for a long period of time. He appears foolish, ignorant, deaf to God, and dead in his sins. We could easily assign him a place on the ash heap of Sodom with the other sinners, but God had a different plan. The apostle Peter says that God declared Lot to be a “righteous man”. Surely this is a mistake. Read it again… read it as many times as you want, but the words will not change. Lot is declared “righteous”. God is sovereign and will have mercy on whomever He pleases. And so once again we are reminded to stop worrying about the righteousness of others. God takes that concern off our plate. He decides and will do just fine without our help. Focus on your relationship and your righteousness. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Leaving Our Sodom

April 19

(Genesis 19:12-17 NIV) ""The two men said to Lot, "Do you have anyone else here--sons-in-law, sons or daughters, or anyone else in the city who belongs to you? Get them out of here, {13} because we are going to destroy this place. The outcry to the Lord against its people is so great that he has sent us to destroy it." {14} So Lot went out and spoke to his sons-in-law, who were pledged to marry his daughters. He said, "Hurry and get out of this place, because the Lord is about to destroy the city!" But his sons-in-law thought he was joking. {15} With the coming of dawn, the angels urged Lot, saying, "Hurry! Take your wife and your two daughters who are here, or you will be swept away when the city is punished." {16} When he hesitated, the men grasped his hand and the hands of his wife and of his two daughters and led them safely out of the city, for the Lord was merciful to them. {17} As soon as they had brought them out, one of them said, "Flee for your lives! Don't look back, and don't stop anywhere in the plain! Flee to the mountains or you will be swept away!""

(Genesis 19:23-29 NIV) "By the time Lot reached Zoar, the sun had risen over the land. {24} Then the Lord rained down burning sulfur on Sodom and Gomorrah--from the Lord out of the heavens. {25} Thus he overthrew those cities and the entire plain, including all those living in the cities--and also the vegetation in the land. {26} But Lot's wife looked back, and she became a pillar of salt. {27} Early the next morning Abraham got up and returned to the place where he had stood before the Lord. {28} He looked down toward Sodom and Gomorrah, toward all the land of the plain, and he saw dense smoke rising from the land, like smoke from a furnace. {29} So when God destroyed the cities of the plain, he remembered Abraham, and he brought Lot out of the catastrophe that overthrew the cities where Lot had lived."

The Lord came to lead Lot out of Sodom, which proves that Jesus will go anywhere to rescue a soul. He will walk into our Sodom to save us, but He also expects us to follow Him out. He certainly does not expect us to remain there. Jesus came to lead us out of our Sodom, not to live there with us. He graciously offers to lead us to a new home. We would be wise to accept the Lord’s offer. Let us not show reluctance, as Lot’s sons in law did. Their refusal to take God seriously cost them their lives. The Lord has a plan -- we are saved to be transformed. If you have heard the Lord’s offer, but are still eating lunch in Sodom, your soul is in danger. We become what we eat. If we have to seek forgiveness for the same sins over and over again, we are probably not growing as Christians. Identify your Sodom, and let Jesus lead you out of it. It’s about survival, and it’s about being a true Christ follower. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day   

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Inside Outside

April 18

(Luke 18:9-14 NIV) ""To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everybody else, Jesus told this parable: {10} "Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. {11} The Pharisee stood up and prayed about himself: 'God, I thank you that I am not like other men--robbers, evildoers, adulterers--or even like this tax collector. {12} I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.' {13} "But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, 'God, have mercy on me, a sinner.' {14} "I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.""

(Matthew 23:25-28 NIV) ""Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. {26} Blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and dish, and then the outside also will be clean. {27} "Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of dead men's bones and everything unclean. {28} In the same way, on the outside you appear to people as righteous but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness.""

The word Pharisee means "separated one". The Pharisees in Christ’s day were a separate, select group who carefully kept their distance from all sinners. They were those “good people” that many often lift up as models of good and proper behavior. Today, they might be called the “pillars of the church”. But they had a major problem -- they had a pride issue. Their idea of godliness was regularly reciting the list of all the bad things they did not do. They thought their list of “don’ts” made them spiritually superior to other people. The Pharisees looked good on the outside. They excelled in externals that the public could see, but Jesus said that on the inside, they were darker than the prostitutes and the tax collectors. What a shock! Christ taught that self-righteousness and prideful goodness will separate us from God just as much as any sin of the flesh. Check your pride level today. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day  

Monday, April 17, 2017

Name Change

April 17

(Genesis 32:22-30 NIV) "That night Jacob got up and took his two wives, his two maidservants and his eleven sons and crossed the ford of the Jabbok. {23} After he had sent them across the stream, he sent over all his possessions. {24} So Jacob was left alone, and a man wrestled with him till daybreak. {25} When the man saw that he could not overpower him, he touched the socket of Jacob's hip so that his hip was wrenched as he wrestled with the man. {26} Then the man said, "Let me go, for it is daybreak." But Jacob replied, "I will not let you go unless you bless me." {27} The man asked him, "What is your name?" "Jacob," he answered. {28} Then the man said, "Your name will no longer be Jacob, but Israel, because you have struggled with God and with men and have overcome." {29} Jacob said, "Please tell me your name." But he replied, "Why do you ask my name?" Then he blessed him there. {30} So Jacob called the place Peniel, saying, "It is because I saw God face to face, and yet my life was spared.""

(Luke 8:26-33 NIV) "They sailed to the region of the Gerasenes, which is across the lake from Galilee. {27} 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. {30} Jesus asked him, "What is your name?" "Legion," he replied, because many demons had gone into him. {31} And they begged him repeatedly not to order them to go into the Abyss. {32} A large herd of pigs was feeding there on the hillside. The demons begged Jesus to let them go into them, and he gave them permission. {33} When the demons came out of the man, they went into the pigs, and the herd rushed down the steep bank into the lake and was drowned."

One of the reasons we avoid intimate contact with Jesus is because He knows our real name and we are afraid that He will ask us to reveal it. Then, like the demons in Luke chapter 8, we would be forced to tell him who we really are. My name is Anger. My name is Addict. My name is Drunk. My name is Lust. My name is Greed. My name is Phony. My name is Abuser. My name is Bitterness. My name is Lazy. My name is Envious. My name is Manipulator. My name is Victim. My name is Liar. My name is Hypocrite. My name is “Lots”. We cannot be blessed with God’s saving, delivering, and transforming grace until we have confessed our true name to Him. Owning our old name is the key to receiving our new name. This is part of a repentance that leads to salvation. Are you tired of who you are and how you’ve been living? Are you ready for a new name? Talk to Jesus. Tell Him your name. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Sunday, April 16, 2017

No Negotiating

April 16

(Mark 8:34-37 NIV) ""Then he called the crowd to him along with his disciples and said: "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. {35} For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me and for the gospel will save it. {36} What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his soul? {37} Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul?""

(Matthew 19:21-24 NIV) ""Jesus answered, "If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me." {22} When the young man heard this, he went away sad, because he had great wealth. {23} Then Jesus said to his disciples, "I tell you the truth, it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. {24} Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.""

One of the great dysfunctions of the church today is negotiating Christians. Jesus says, “Take up your cross”, and we ask, “Does that come in a petite size that's not so heavy and rough?” Jesus says, “Take the narrow road”, and we ask, “Are there plenty of restaurants and rest stops along the way?” Most of us are champions at half measures and cutting corners when it comes to following Jesus. We want to get it done at the lowest possible price. This is Christianity on the cheap. Maybe it's time to stop bargaining with God. Frankly, we're not really in any position to negotiate. What's actually called for is a total and unconditional surrender -- no negotiations, no fine print, just run up the white flag. Open up every single room of your heart to the Lord. Give Him every key. Turn over every password. No holding back. He does the talking. We do the listening. This is what disciples do. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Tough Times

April 15

(2 Timothy 2:3 NIV) "Endure hardship with us like a good soldier of Christ Jesus."

(2 Timothy 4:5 NIV) "But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry."

(Hebrews 12:7 NIV) "Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as sons. For what son is not disciplined by his father?"

Anything that requires discipline will usually bring with it a measure of pain. Tough times will either whip us or whip us into shape. What the church needs today are some Christians with old fashioned grit -- some disciples who believe that God can use anything that life throws at them to accomplish His plan and glorify His name. In today’s culture of comfort and blessing, many Christians head down the road for greener pastures at the first sign of hardship. Brothers and sisters, this should not be. Hardship serves a dual purpose. It can strengthen us as it draws us closer to God, and it can prepare us to be of help to someone else in the future. We can be a comfort to those who are suffering through something that we have already survived. Do not allow tough circumstances to determine your attitude. Life is often unfair, but God is up to something. Wait on Him and do not give up. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Friday, April 14, 2017

The Conscience Corrupted

April 14

(1 Timothy 1:18-19 NIV) "Timothy, my son, I give you this instruction in keeping with the prophecies once made about you, so that by following them you may fight the good fight, {19} holding on to faith and a good conscience. Some have rejected these and so have shipwrecked their faith."

(1 Timothy 4:1-2 NIV) "The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons. {2} Such teachings come through hypocritical liars, whose consciences have been seared as with a hot iron."

(Acts 24:16 NIV) "So I strive always to keep my conscience clear before God and man."

(1 Corinthians 4:4 NIV) "My conscience is clear, but that does not make me innocent. It is the Lord who judges me."

Consider the marvel of the human conscience, the internal voice of God. Random chance evolution could never produce a conscience -- this is divine stuff. Modern culture is no friend of the conscience. It does all that it can to suppress it. When personal happiness becomes our primary goal in life, personal responsibility is pushed aside, and the conscience becomes a hindrance rather than a helper. It becomes a foe to conquer, rather than a friend for counsel. People spend lots of money to eliminate the tension caused by their conscience. When morality is portrayed as an albatross, most will work to repress the conscience, rather than responding to it. And when the conscience is consistently ignored, it becomes like a vestigial organ -- the individual reigns supreme, and God has been effectively silenced. Don’t go there! -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Discipline Helps with Stupidity

April 13

(Hebrews 12:5-7 NIV) "And you have forgotten that word of encouragement that addresses you as sons: "My son, do not make light of the Lord's discipline, and do not lose heart when he rebukes you, {6} because the Lord disciplines those he loves, and he punishes everyone he accepts as a son." {7} Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as sons. For what son is not disciplined by his father?"

(Proverbs 12:1 NIV) "Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge, but he who hates correction is stupid."

The wise Christian accepts God’s discipline as an indicator of God’s love. Without God’s discipline, our lives would most certainly remain “stuck on stupid”. Wisdom comes from God, and as we live by the Spirit, we realize that human foolishness and carnal thinking are what led us down all those wrong roads in our life. We desperately need God’s wisdom, because we have a lot of human ignorance to overcome. We can never get enough of God’s wisdom, because we can never get enough of God. The wise Christian will stop seeking the approval of fools, as imitating fools leads to stupid living and eventual ruin. The formula for godly wisdom is to live for God, learn what God approves, pursue God’s teaching, and accept God’s discipline. If we do these things on a daily basis, we can move from the land of fools to the city of wisdom in the Kingdom of our Lord. It’s one of the best moves we will ever make. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Higher Ways

April 12

(Isaiah 55:6-11 NIV) ""Seek the Lord while he may be found; call on him while he is near. {7} Let the wicked forsake his way and the evil man his thoughts. Let him turn to the Lord, and he will have mercy on him, and to our God, for he will freely pardon. {8} "For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways," declares the Lord. {9} "As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. {10} As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, {11} so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.""

(2 Corinthians 4:7-18 NIV) "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."

The biggest battle that most of us will fight in our lifetime is surrendering our wills to God. When we fight against God’s will, we become like that child in the doctor’s office who struggles against the parent trying to hold them still for a shot of antibiotics. We cry out, “No! Please don’t! It hurts!” We get angry with our parent. It feels like a betrayal. We struggle and try to pull away, but their grip is firm, and in the end we get what we need to make us well. They know the shot hurts, but they know our life may be in danger if we don’t get it. They see further ahead than we do. This may be difficult for us to grasp, but sometimes pain is a provision of the Lord. We often mistake it as a lack of caring by God, but in reality, it may be the ultimate in care. It may benefit us and protect us in the long run. God’s ways are higher than our ways, but there will certainly be times when it doesn’t feel that way. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Leaving Our Life of Sin

April 11

(John 8:3-11 NIV) "The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery. They made her stand before the group {4} and said to Jesus, "Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. {5} In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?" {6} They were using this question as a trap, in order to have a basis for accusing him. But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger. {7} When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, "If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her." {8} Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground. {9} At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there. {10} Jesus straightened up and asked her, "Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?" {11} "No one, sir," she said. "Then neither do I condemn you," Jesus declared. "Go now and leave your life of sin.""

(Romans 6:22-23 NIV) "But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves to God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life. {23} For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord."

Christ’s refusal to condemn the woman caught in adultery does not mean He condoned her sinful behavior. God’s mercy is a pre-emptive strike on our sin, but it is a strike designed to decapitate sin, not defend it. God’s mercy often comes ahead of our repentance. After telling the woman that He didn’t condemn her, Jesus commanded her to leave her life of sin. This would be her repentance. So the fact that God is merciful cannot be used to rationalize continued sin. Christ offered the woman forgiveness, but it came at a high price. The cross loomed just ahead. The Pharisees were dying to condemn her, but Jesus would soon be dying to free her from condemnation. He gave up His life for her sin so she could give up her life in sin. Jesus came to justify sinners, not to justify sinning. Those two things are totally different. Grab hold of His mercy. Leave the sin behind. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Monday, April 10, 2017

Beyond Our Ability

April 10

(1 Kings 17:7-16 NIV) "Some time later the brook dried up because there had been no rain in the land. {8} Then the word of the Lord came to him: {9} "Go at once to Zarephath of Sidon and stay there. I have commanded a widow in that place to supply you with food." {10} So he went to Zarephath. When he came to the town gate, a widow was there gathering sticks. He called to her and asked, "Would you bring me a little water in a jar so I may have a drink?" {11} As she was going to get it, he called, "And bring me, please, a piece of bread." {12} "As surely as the Lord your God lives," she replied, "I don't have any bread--only a handful of flour in a jar and a little oil in a jug. I am gathering a few sticks to take home and make a meal for myself and my son, that we may eat it--and die." {13} Elijah said to her, "Don't be afraid. Go home and do as you have said. But first make a small cake of bread for me from what you have and bring it to me, and then make something for yourself and your son. {14} For this is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: 'The jar of flour will not be used up and the jug of oil will not run dry until the day the Lord gives rain on the land.'" {15} She went away and did as Elijah had told her. So there was food every day for Elijah and for the woman and her family. {16} For the jar of flour was not used up and the jug of oil did not run dry, in keeping with the word of the Lord spoken by Elijah."

(2 Corinthians 8:2-4 NIV) "Out of the most severe trial, their overflowing joy and their extreme poverty welled up in rich generosity. {3} For I testify that they gave as much as they were able, and even beyond their ability. Entirely on their own, {4} they urgently pleaded with us for the privilege of sharing in this service to the saints."

Generous giving is a choice, and the churches in Macedonia excelled at choice giving. These Christians lived in extreme poverty, but gave as though they were wealthy. Scripture tells us that their hearts overflowed with joy, and that they begged the apostle Paul for an opportunity to give. When was the last time anyone at your church pleaded for the offering to be taken? They also gave “beyond their ability.” How is that possible? It can only happen with a people of deep faith who are willing to trust God. It can only happen with a God who provides manna from heaven, a jar of flour that is never used up, a jug of oil that does not run dry, or a few loaves and a couple of fish that end up feeding thousands. It can only happen with the multiplying God of Scripture. Faith and surrender are at the root of this kind of generosity… faith that God will provide, and surrender of all that we have. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Sunday, April 9, 2017


April 9

(Ecclesiastes 1:3-9 NIV) "What does man gain from all his labor at which he toils under the sun? {4} Generations come and generations go, but the earth remains forever. {5} The sun rises and the sun sets, and hurries back to where it rises. {6} The wind blows to the south and turns to the north; round and round it goes, ever returning on its course. {7} All streams flow into the sea, yet the sea is never full. To the place the streams come from, there they return again. {8} All things are wearisome, more than one can say. The eye never has enough of seeing, nor the ear its fill of hearing. {9} What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun."

(Ecclesiastes 1:13-14 NIV) "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."

(Ecclesiastes 4:2-4 NIV) "And I declared that the dead, who had already died, are happier than the living, who are still alive. {3} But better than both is he who has not yet been, who has not seen the evil that is done under the sun. {4} And I saw that all labor and all achievement spring from man's envy of his neighbor. This too is meaningless, a chasing after the wind."

As Solomon grew older and took stock of his life, he realized that he had been chasing after all the wrong things. His pursuit wealth, power, and possessions had been greatly detrimental to his pursuit of God. When he realized this, he became depressed. So much of his life had been squandered. It was like he had been chasing after the wind. Solomon was a very wealthy man. God had given him great wisdom. He had become famous as the wisest and most successful man on Earth. But even though he accumulated great power and enormous wealth, he realized that none of it brought contentment. Tremendous achievement didn’t translate into true happiness. Great wealth didn’t bring a richness of life. In the end, he saw everything he had done as meaningless. What a tragic realization! Don’t go the way of Solomon. Chart a different course in your life. Pursue Jesus. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Saturday, April 8, 2017

The Peace of God

April 8

(Psalms 23:1-3 NIV) "The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not be in want. {2} He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, {3} he restores my soul. He guides me in paths of righteousness for his name's sake."

(John 14:27 NIV) "Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid."

(Philippians 4:7 NIV) "And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."

In these days, “chaos reigns” is more than just a trendy expression -- it is a way of life. For many it is an addiction, as they need a daily dose of it in order to feel “normal”. Stop it! Chill out before you burnout. Cool your jets before you go down in flames. Slow down, calm down, pipe down and turn it down, before it shuts you down. Take control of your schedule. Allow the God of peace to speak order into your chaotic life. The truth is, chaos sucks. It is not of God. So why not follow the Shepherd home. Lie down in His green pastures for a while. Find rest beside His quiet waters. Allow the Counselor to soothe your frantic heart. Settle into the arms of Jesus like an easy chair. Let the Comforter wrap you up in His warm blanket. God brought you here to this page today. Maybe it’s time to take the hint. The Lord says, "My peace I give you." It’s a peace that passes all understanding. Why not take it? -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Friday, April 7, 2017

God or Money, Choose One

April 7

(Matthew 6:24 NIV) "No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money."

(Matthew 19:21 NIV) ""Jesus answered, "If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.""

(Ecclesiastes 5:10 NIV) "Whoever loves money never has money enough; whoever loves wealth is never satisfied with his income. This too is meaningless."

Money is the only idol spelled with a capital letter in the New Testament. That is significant. Jesus emphasized the folly of trying to love both God and Money. He went so far as to declare that we cannot love both. Money is an insidious false god in the lives of many people today. It is demanding and it controls the lives of far too many Christians. It often determines our availability for service to the Lord. We can easily end up loving Money more than we love Jesus. When we love Money, it becomes the driving force in our life and we can never get enough of it. The amount we possess is irrelevant. It’s as addictive as any drug on the market. The only successful “treatment program” involves giving it away. It boils down to this: Money will be our Master and run our lives, or Jesus will be our Lord and guide us in faith. But only one can truly be our Lord and Master. Which one will it be? -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Public Square Living

April 6

(Matthew 5:14 NIV) "You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden."

(1 Peter 2:12 NIV) "Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us."

In spite of heavy persecution, the early church grew at a phenomenal rate because those early believers lived out their faith and let their light shine wherever they went. They put the word of God on display in their daily living. They believed and loved Jesus enough to put His words into practice for all to see. They made Christ visible in the public square as they openly followed Him. The public eye was on Jesus, because the public’s eyes were on those new believers. That is still our calling today. Love Jesus and believe the word of God enough to live it out. One of the greatest hurdles faced by the church today is Christians who do not follow Jesus, and who do not practice what they preach. In our workplaces, in our marriages, in our leisure, and even in our churches, we often resemble the world more than our Lord Jesus… and someone is always watching. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Lost and Found

April 5

(Genesis 3:8-9 NIV) "Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the Lord God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the Lord God among the trees of the garden. {9} But the Lord God called to the man, "Where are you?""

(Matthew 18:12 NIV) "What do you think? If a man owns a hundred sheep, and one of them wanders away, will he not leave the ninety-nine on the hills and go to look for the one that wandered off?"

(Luke 19:10 NIV)  "For the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost.""

(Matthew 9:9 NIV) ""As Jesus went on from there, he saw a man named Matthew sitting at the tax collector's booth. "Follow me," he told him, and Matthew got up and followed him.""

The love of God can reach into any hellhole and set us free. The Holy Spirit can track us down in every one of our dark hideouts. We have a built in GPS tracking device and God is the master computer. Regardless of how lost we are, God knows our coordinates and will come looking for us. No matter how far gone we are, God wants us home and has provided a way for each of us to reach Him. When God calls out our name it is for our benefit, not His. Coming out from our hidden place and following Him home is the wisest decision we will ever make, but it is a choice that God will not make for us. He can find anyone, but He will not force us to come out from behind the trees, or from behind our tax booth. He comes for us, but we must choose to make a move toward Him. Do it today! Cry out, “Here I am. Come and save me from myself.” -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

The Answer

April 4

(Job 33:13-14 NIV) "Why do you complain to him that he answers none of man's words? {14} For God does speak--now one way, now another-- though man may not perceive it."

(Jeremiah 29:13 NIV) "You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart."

(John 14:6 NIV) ""Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.""

In March, we looked at the Five Great Questions that every inquiring soul asks: Where did I come from? Why am I here? Where am I going? Why am I so far from where I should be? How do I get to where I'm supposed to be? Getting the answers to these questions is like putting together a difficult puzzle. We can squander our entire life just asking the questions. But it is God’s desire that we find the answer. Jesus came to Earth so that we could find the answer that many will never know. Do you really want to know where you came from? Jesus is Creator. Do you really want to know the way home? Jesus is the Way. Do you really want to know the truth? Jesus is the Truth. Do you need to get a life? Jesus is the Life. Do you really want to be found? Jesus is the Savior and Shepherd for lost people. Do you really want answers? Whatever the question is, Jesus is the Answer. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Monday, April 3, 2017

Transformer God

April 3

(Isaiah 30:21 NIV) "Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, "This is the way; walk in it.""

(Matthew 16:24 NIV) "Then Jesus said to his disciples, "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me."

(Romans 12:2 NIV) "Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is--his good, pleasing and perfect will."

God doesn't want to just save us -- He wants to change us into who we were meant to be. We were created for a purpose, but this world has retro-fitted us with stuff that’s not helpful to the Kingdom of God. That’s why our God is a transformational God who is interested in more than just rescuing us. If God simply rescues us from our current mess, we’ll soon find ourselves in another one. The Lord is intent on changing the way we live, because the way we live is what messes us up. God is interested in our recovery and in our long term well being. That is why Jesus calls us to follow Him, and why Scripture calls us to be transformed. This will take effort and a willingness to sacrifice. Change is not easy. We will need to learn to deny ourselves. We must give up some things so that some better things can be added. Salvation is free, but being a disciple will always cost you something. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Tellers or Askers

April 2

(Psalm 66:16-20 NIV) "Come and listen, all you who fear God; let me tell you what he has done for me. {17} I cried out to him with my mouth; his praise was on my tongue. {18} If I had cherished sin in my heart, the Lord would not have listened; {19} but God has surely listened and heard my voice in prayer. {20} Praise be to God, who has not rejected my prayer or withheld his love from me!"

(James 4:2-3 NIV) "You want something but don't get it. You kill and covet, but you cannot have what you want. You quarrel and fight. You do not have, because you do not ask God. {3} When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures."

Many of us have a nasty habit when it comes to prayer. We think we know what’s best for us, and spend a lot of our prayer time telling God how to best meet our needs. We inform Him on a regular basis what He should be doing and when He should be doing it. Then if He doesn’t meet our timetable, we give Him a piece of our mind. God answers prayer, but He answers in His time, in His way, on His terms, and often through improbable means. God once made a highway out of the bottom of the Red Sea. He once provided water from a rock and food from the sky. God does things in this way so there is no doubt about who should get the glory. We need to remember that we are the paupers -- He is the Provider. We are the beggars -- He is the Benefactor. So, break that nasty habit. Spend more time asking than telling… and accept the answers that come. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day 

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Precious Death

April 1

(Psalms 116:7-9 NIV) "Be at rest once more, O my soul, for the Lord has been good to you. {8} For you, O Lord, have delivered my soul from death, my eyes from tears, my feet from stumbling, {9} that I may walk before the Lord in the land of the living."

(Psalms 116:15-17 NIV) "Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints. {16} O Lord, truly I am your servant; I am your servant, the son of your maidservant; you have freed me from my chains. {17} I will sacrifice a thank offering to you and call on the name of the Lord."

(Romans 7:24 NIV) "What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death?"

God loves us even more in death than He does in life. Our lives on Earth last only for a season, but eternal life is forever. Christ died to deliver our souls from death. He came to free us from these “bodies of death” which hold us captive. This is why death, one of the things we dread most, is precious in the sight of the Lord. Heaven rejoices when the penned up souls of God’s saints are set free to come home to Him. Here on Earth, we mourn, but in heaven, there are no tears… only celebration. Death is a portal. Jesus is at the door, and He holds the key to eternal life in His nail pierced hands. Only those who know the Lord, and who are known by Him, can enter through that door. Do you know Jesus? Have your eyes been opened? Have your feet been delivered from stumbling? Has your soul been delivered from death? Will your death be precious in God’s sight? Trust in Jesus! -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Friday, March 31, 2017

Sin is Sin

March 31

(John 8:3-11 NIV) "The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery. They made her stand before the group {4} and said to Jesus, "Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. {5} In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?" {6} They were using this question as a trap, in order to have a basis for accusing him. But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger. {7} When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, "If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her." {8} Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground. {9} At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there. {10} Jesus straightened up and asked her, "Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?" {11} "No one, sir," she said. "Then neither do I condemn you," Jesus declared. "Go now and leave your life of sin.""

(Romans 3:22-24 NIV) "This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference, {23} for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, {24} and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus."

Listen up! Sin is sin. Large or small, hidden or exposed, sin is sin. Perish the thought that your sin is somehow lighter, or less black than the sins of others. It makes no difference what the sin is named: murder, greed, adultery, slander, envy, gossip, coveting… sin is sin. There is no "minor league" sin in the eyes of the Lord. God winks at no sin of any kind. The degree of our sin matters not -- we all need God's mercy. Whether our list of sins is an inch long or a mile long, Christ was crucified for us. He gave His life for the sins of the world, and those Roman nails were driven as deeply into Christ’s limbs for your “little” sins as they were for another’s “big” sins. The road to hell will be littered with the souls of "good" people who thought their sins were relatively minor, and too few to require repentance. Don't be one of those fools. Sin is sin. Repent! -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Thursday, March 30, 2017

For Us

March 30

(Romans 5:8 NIV) "But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us."

(Romans 8:31 NIV) "What, then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us?"

(Ephesians 2:4-5 NIV) "But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, {5} made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions--it is by grace you have been saved."

(1 John 3:16 NIV) "This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers."

One of the more difficult concepts to grasp in this trouble filled world is that God is for us. Many times it feels like just the opposite. Bad things happen on what seems like a regular basis. Christians, in times of trial and testing it is imperative to remember that God is for us. He has a great love for us. He came to Earth for us. He lived for us. Christ, who had no sin, became sin for us. He was crucified for us. He was pierced for us. He was crushed for us. He became a curse for us. He died for us, and was raised to life for us. God is for us! How then, can we not be for Him? How can we not take up our cross and follow Him? How can we not make His will our number one priority? How can we not live for Him, and if required, die for Him? Let us live every day as though God were for us, and we were for Him. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

End the Chase

March 29

(Ecclesiastes 2:10-11 NIV) "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."

(Psalms 46:10 NIV) "Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth."

(Matthew 6:32-33 NIV) "For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. {33} But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well."

Many would be disciples think that they can hang onto Jesus and continue to cling to the stuff of this world. That is childish thinking. When the material world captures our affection, it almost always enslaves us, and we end up serving our stuff, instead of it serving us. Abandon the desperate quest for things that are temporary. They are like dust, blowing about in the wind. Stop chasing after the wrong gods. They promise contentment, but always fail to produce the real thing. They blind us to that which is of eternal value. We can squander our life accumulating stuff and end up with nothing of lasting joy. Picture a delusional man, wildly flailing at the air, chasing after the wind as if it could be captured and possessed. Do not join in this insanity. Seek God above all things. Stop chasing the wind. Follow after Jesus. Trust Him to provide what you really need. End the chase. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Itching and Chasing

March 28

(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."

(Ecclesiastes 12:13 NIV) "Now all has been heard; here is the conclusion of the matter: Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man."

Many today believe education, accomplishment, possessions, fame, and power will bring happiness and meaning to life, but in the end, all these things prove hollow and meaningless. Solomon called it “chasing after the wind.” Success and wealth cannot produce what we really itch for inside, which is contentment. Just ask the host of rock stars, movie stars, and athletic stars who have self destructed after reaching the top. They had it all, but they crashed and burned. None of the things that this world calls us to chase after bring lasting fulfillment. In fact, getting them usually increases our anxiety levels. Stop coveting and craving the high life! Meaning and contentment are found in following Christ. Serving God is the secret to genuine freedom and true joy. Only Jesus can scratch that internal itch. Only He is worth chasing after. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day  

Monday, March 27, 2017

Option or Standard Equipment

March 27

(1 Timothy 6:18 NIV) "Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share."

(2 Corinthians 8:2-7 NIV) "Out of the most severe trial, their overflowing joy and their extreme poverty welled up in rich generosity. {3} For I testify that they gave as much as they were able, and even beyond their ability. Entirely on their own, {4} they urgently pleaded with us for the privilege of sharing in this service to the saints. {5} And they did not do as we expected, but they gave themselves first to the Lord and then to us in keeping with God's will. {6} So we urged Titus, since he had earlier made a beginning, to bring also to completion this act of grace on your part. {7} But just as you excel in everything--in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in complete earnestness and in your love for us --see that you also excel in this grace of giving."

(Luke 18:22-23 NIV) "When Jesus heard this, he said to him, "You still lack one thing. Sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me." {23} When he heard this, he became very sad, because he was a man of great wealth."

(Luke 19:8-9 NIV) "But Zacchaeus stood up and said to the Lord, "Look, Lord! Here and now I give half of my possessions to the poor, and if I have cheated anybody out of anything, I will pay back four times the amount." {9} Jesus said to him, "Today salvation has come to this house, because this man, too, is a son of Abraham."

Generosity is a command of God for the faithful Christian. It is not an option -- it is standard equipment. When we refuse to be generous, we join thieves, murderers, gossips, and adulterers on the wrong side of God. Greed separates us from God just like those “big sins”. All of us desperately need God’s grace, because we all struggle with generosity. Are you a generous person, or does God have to pry your fingers off of every last dollar you give to Him? Do you have trouble trusting the Lord to provide for you? Miracles happen when we surrender our pocketbooks to God, but we cannot surrender our possessions and purses until we have surrendered our person. Giving ourselves to the Lord must come first, but once we fully grasp His lavish gift of grace, surrendering everything else to Him should become standard equipment. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Matters of Giving

March 26      

(Matthew 6:24 NIV) "No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money."

(Matthew 19:21 NIV) "Jesus answered, "If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.""

(Ecclesiastes 5:10 NIV) "Whoever loves money never has money enough; whoever loves wealth is never satisfied with his income. This too is meaningless."

Giving to God is a matter of Lordship. Our Lord said that it is impossible to “serve both God and Money.” Many people think He was speaking only to wealthy people with these words, but that is not the case. The amount of money that we possess is irrelevant to whether or not we love it more than God. Some who are poor have stingy and greedy hearts that dishonor God. Giving is a matter of attitude. God loves the one who gives with a cheerful heart.  With Jesus, attitude is more important than amount. Godly giving is a matter of priorities. It's amazing what ends up on our “necessary” list. If we believe all of our spending goes toward necessities, we are delusional. Sacrificial giving is really a matter of faith. It always boils down to trusting God. It’s easy to say that we have faith. It’s harder to live out that faith in the way we give… harder, but not impossible. Become a generous giver. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Firstfruits or Crippled Sacrifice

March 25

(Proverbs 3:9 NIV)  "Honor the Lord with your wealth, with the firstfruits of all your crops;"

(Exodus 23:19a NIV) "Bring the best of the firstfruits of your soil to the house of the Lord your God."

(Malachi 1:8 NIV) "When you bring blind animals for sacrifice, is that not wrong? When you sacrifice crippled or diseased animals, is that not wrong? Try offering them to your governor! Would he be pleased with you? Would he accept you?" says the Lord Almighty."

(Malachi 1:13-14 NIV) "And you say, 'What a burden!' and you sniff at it contemptuously," says the Lord Almighty. "When you bring injured, crippled or diseased animals and offer them as sacrifices, should I accept them from your hands?" says the Lord. {14} "Cursed is the cheat who has an acceptable male in his flock and vows to give it, but then sacrifices a blemished animal to the Lord. For I am a great king," says the Lord Almighty, "and my name is to be feared among the nations."

The "principle of firstfruits" calls for us to give our best to God. His people were to bring the firstfruits of their crops and the firstborn of their flocks as an offering. They had to trust that God would provide for their families with the crops and livestock that came later. But some brought their blind, diseased, and crippled animals to God. They brought their leftovers and culls, keeping the best for themselves. God rejected this “crippled sacrifice”. The principle of firstfruits is more about growing faith than about meeting God's needs. God has no needs. Our faith is strengthened when we give our firstfruits to God. Many today seem more committed to the principle of leftovers (if anything is leftover after we’ve met our needs, we might give a little of it to God). That’s “crippled sacrifice.” God offered us His first and best. How can we do any less? -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Friday, March 24, 2017

A Tithe of Faith

March 24

(Genesis 14:18-20 NIV) "Then Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine. He was priest of God Most High, {19} and he blessed Abram, saying, "Blessed be Abram by God Most High, Creator of heaven and earth. {20} And blessed be God Most High, who delivered your enemies into your hand." Then Abram gave him a tenth of everything."

(Genesis 28:20-22 NIV) "Then Jacob made a vow, saying, "If God will be with me and will watch over me on this journey I am taking and will give me food to eat and clothes to wear {21} so that I return safely to my father's house, then the LORD will be my God {22} and this stone that I have set up as a pillar will be God's house, and of all that you give me I will give you a tenth.""

(Matthew 23:23 NIV) "Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices--mint, dill and cummin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law--justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former."

Abraham is well known in Christian circles as “the father of faith”. Not as many know that he was also the father of tithing. The word “tithe” simply means ten percent. Abraham gave the Christ-type priest Melchizedek ten percent of everything he had. Abraham’s grandson, Jacob, continued the practice by giving God “a tenth of everything”. Although tithing was later written into the Law, it preceded the Law. So tithing is more about faith than the Law. For the Christian, tithing is like the training wheels on our first bike. Those little wheels were a beginning point, but they were not the end. They were a way to get started, but eventually we gained the confidence to take them off. Then we could ride faster and further. Maybe it’s time to take the training wheels off of your giving. Move beyond the tithe, and grow into generous faith giving. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day