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Sunday, November 19, 2017

Paul: Graduation Day is Coming

November 19

(Matthew 10:28 NIV)  "Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell."

(Luke 23:46 NIV)  "Jesus called out with a loud voice, "Father, into your hands I commit my spirit." When he had said this, he breathed his last."

(1 Corinthians 15:19 NIV)  "If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are to be pitied more than all men."

(2 Corinthians 5:10 NIV)  "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."

(Philippians 1:21 NIV)  "For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain."

(Hebrews 9:27 NIV)  "… man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment,"

Most of us don’t like funerals because we are forced to face death -- not only another’s death, but also our own. Many people today live in denial when it comes to death. They procrastinate when it comes to preparing for that day that will most certainly come. Funerals tend to shake us out of our lethargy. Three things are certain. We live once, we will die once, and we will all stand before God to give an account for how we have lived the life we were given. How we live matters, and how we use our time matters. Every day matters. What we did last night matters. What we do today matters. Where we spend eternity, and who we live with for eternity, will be determined by who we have lived with here on earth. Are you living with Jesus today? Graduation day is coming, and we will all give an accounting. Are you ready for that day? -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Paul: Saved for What?

November 18

(Ephesians 2:6-7 NIV)  "And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, {7} in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus."

(Ephesians 2:10 NIV)  "For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do."

(Matthew 5:14-16 NIV) "You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. {15} Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. {16} In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven."

Christians sometimes get confused about why Jesus saved us. God didn’t save us just so we could escape hell -- He saved us so we could shine His light into the darkness of this world. We are transformed to live for God’s glory today. We have been saved to glorify God in our lives. We can’t earn our salvation by good works, but salvation will always produce good works. Doing good things won’t save us, but we are saved to do good things. Can you imagine a world where everyone lived to glorify God? The world could be changed if we all allowed Jesus to shine through us, giving others an opportunity to see God. We were created to bring God’s light to our world. This is the elusive “meaning of life”. As long as we are alive, it’s not too late to change. No matter what we have done, God knows what we were meant to do. No matter who we have been, God knows who we can become. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Friday, November 17, 2017

Paul: Saved by Grace

November 17

(Ephesians 2:4-9 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. {6} And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, {7} in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. {8} For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith--and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God-- {9} not by works, so that no one can boast."

(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."

One of the greatest, but most misunderstood Christian doctrines is salvation by grace through faith. God gives us grace. It is a gift. We cannot earn it, buy it, cajole it, conjure it, or control it. Grace is a pre-emptive strike on our sin. God extended grace to us before we ever asked for it… before we even knew we needed it. God’s method for delivering this gift was the cross. Faith brings us to the foot of that cross. Grace provides the cross as God reaches down to save us. Our faith and God’s grace partner to bring about the salvation of our souls. Faith is the conduit -- grace is the power flowing through it. We must maintain a proper perspective between our faith and God’s grace or we become prideful. Faith the size of a mustard seed can save. We don’t need a great faith -- we need a great Savior. Accept what He has done. It is finished. God so loved the world. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Paul: The Doctrine of Grace

November 16

(Ephesians 2:1-3 NIV)  "As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, {2} in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. {3} All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature objects of wrath."

(Romans 3:10 NIV)  "As it is written: "There is no one righteous, not even one;"

(Romans 3:23 NIV)  "for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,"

If you are living and breathing today, you are a beneficiary of God’s grace. You may not have asked for it, but you have already been shown a measure of it. The essence of grace is that we get better than we deserve from God. We deserve judgment and wrath -- we get mercy and forgiveness. We deserve death -- we get life and a second chance at living. Sin is a universal problem. Every one of us deals with it in varying degrees, but no one is “sin free”. We all have it, and we will all die from it. God’s grace is the only antidote. The question is: will you take it, or will you die in your sin? God loves us, and is rich in mercy. He is infinite, and has enough grace for the whole world. But He will not force us to take it. We must choose to accept it and receive it. And the fact that God gives us time to change our minds about Him is proof that God is full of grace and mercy. Soak in His grace today. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Paul: Grace Giving 2

November 15

(2 Corinthians 8:8 NIV)  "I am not commanding you, but I want to test the sincerity of your love by comparing it with the earnestness of others."

(2 Corinthians 8:20-21 NIV)  "We want to avoid any criticism of the way we administer this liberal gift. {21} For we are taking pains to do what is right, not only in the eyes of the Lord but also in the eyes of men."

(2 Corinthians 8:24 NIV)  "Therefore show these men the proof of your love and the reason for our pride in you, so that the churches can see it."

(Malachi 3:10-11 NIV)  "Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this," says the Lord Almighty, "and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it. {11} I will prevent pests from devouring your crops, and the vines in your fields will not cast their fruit," says the Lord Almighty."

You can tell how dedicated a person is to a cause by how much they are willing to give up for that cause. They will make sacrifices. They will go the extra mile. Giving also exposes the sincerity of our commitment to God. It’s odd that not all Christians are good givers… that those who have received God’s greatest gift would find it difficult to give generously. Jesus taught that giving to the poor was to be done secretly, so that the poor would not be humiliated. But giving to the Temple was usually done publicly, so that God would not be humiliated. Secret giving is enshrined in many churches today. That’s convenient, because in many cases we would be embarrassed if others discovered what we actually gave to Jesus and His beautiful Bride, the church. We call for personal accountability in a lot of areas. We would be wise to also make ourselves accountable in this area of giving. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Paul: Grace Giving

November 14

(2 Corinthians 8:1-9 NIV)  "And now, brothers, we want you to know about the grace that God has given the Macedonian churches. {2} 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. {8} I am not commanding you, but I want to test the sincerity of your love by comparing it with the earnestness of others. {9} For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich."

People do not really own anything -- God owns everything. God allows us to use His stuff as we pass through this world, but then someone else gets it. This makes us “stewards”, not owners. A steward is someone who takes care of things that belong to another. We have no choice about being a steward -- our only choice is what kind of stewards we will be. God, the owner, calls us to be generous with His stuff. He calls us to be grace givers. Grace giving is more about who you are than what you have. God loves giving, and so should we. People who truly love God will love being generous in all circumstances. They will not just give until it hurts, they will give when it hurts, and even after it hurts. They will do without things for themselves before they withhold their giving. So give like it doesn’t really belong to you, because it doesn’t. Give like you love God with all your heart. Be a grace giver. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Monday, November 13, 2017

Paul: Sending It On Ahead

November 13

(Matthew 6:19-24 NIV)  ""Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. {20} But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. {21} For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. {22} "The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are good, your whole body will be full of light. {23} But if your eyes are bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness! {24} "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."

(2 Corinthians 9:6-15 NIV)  "Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. {7} Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. {8} And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work. {9} As it is written: "He has scattered abroad his gifts to the poor; his righteousness endures forever." {10} Now he who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness. {11} You will be made rich in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God. {12} This service that you perform is not only supplying the needs of God's people but is also overflowing in many expressions of thanks to God. {13} Because of the service by which you have proved yourselves, men will praise God for the obedience that accompanies your confession of the gospel of Christ, and for your generosity in sharing with them and with everyone else. {14} And in their prayers for you their hearts will go out to you, because of the surpassing grace God has given you. {15} Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!"

Many in the church have been taught that we give in order to get, but what Scripture teaches is just the opposite -- we get in order to give. The purpose of income is to have something to bless God and others with. Jesus doesn't need our money. If Christ can make man out of dust, bread out of rocks, and wine out of water… He can make money out of thin air. What God wants is your heart. That’s why He keeps tugging at our treasure… because that’s where our heart is. When our hearts are attached to money and stuff, they cannot be fully attached to the Lord on high. God calls us to give our treasure away because that’s the only way our hearts can ever be free. The old saying goes, “You can’t take it with you.” But God declares, “You can send it on ahead.” When we live and give for God’s glory, we are storing up treasure in heaven, and we are sending it on ahead. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Paul: Conversion Costs

November 12

(Romans 5:8-10 NIV)  "But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. {9} Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God's wrath through him! {10} For if, when we were God's enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life!"

(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."

(Acts 26:19-20 NIV)  ""So then, King Agrippa, I was not disobedient to the vision from heaven. {20} First to those in Damascus, then to those in Jerusalem and in all Judea, and to the Gentiles also, I preached that they should repent and turn to God and prove their repentance by their deeds."

(Ephesians 3:7 NIV)  "I became a servant of this gospel by the gift of God's grace given me through the working of his power."

Paul’s conversion proves that even enemies of Christ who have blood on their hands, can be changed. Jesus came to Paul, not to kill him, but to convert him. Jesus doesn’t destroy sinners, he dies for them. If that were not true, we would all be soot and ashes, because the penalty for sin is death, and frankly, we have all sinned. We have all driven our share of nails into the hands and feet of Christ. We have all tested the limits of God’s patience. We have all persecuted Jesus in some way, and lived as enemies of the Lord. But instead of punishment, Christ offers us love. This offer includes a changed life, because that is what conversion is about. No one can become a true disciple and remain the same. Following Jesus will always cost us something. Salvation may be free, but it is never cheap. Anything less that this is counterfeit Christianity. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Paul: The High Price of Calling

November 11

(2 Corinthians 11:24-27 NIV)  "Five times I received from the Jews the forty lashes minus one. {25} Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned, three times I was shipwrecked, I spent a night and a day in the open sea, {26} I have been constantly on the move. I have been in danger from rivers, in danger from bandits, in danger from my own countrymen, in danger from Gentiles; in danger in the city, in danger in the country, in danger at sea; and in danger from false brothers. {27} I have labored and toiled and have often gone without sleep; I have known hunger and thirst and have often gone without food; I have been cold and naked."

(Hebrews 11:32-40 NIV)  "And what more shall I say? I do not have time to tell about Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, Samuel and the prophets, {33} who through faith conquered kingdoms, administered justice, and gained what was promised; who shut the mouths of lions, {34} quenched the fury of the flames, and escaped the edge of the sword; whose weakness was turned to strength; and who became powerful in battle and routed foreign armies. {35} Women received back their dead, raised to life again. Others were tortured and refused to be released, so that they might gain a better resurrection. {36} Some faced jeers and flogging, while still others were chained and put in prison. {37} They were stoned ; they were sawed in two; they were put to death by the sword. They went about in sheepskins and goatskins, destitute, persecuted and mistreated-- {38} the world was not worthy of them. They wandered in deserts and mountains, and in caves and holes in the ground. {39} These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised. {40} God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect."

Paul, the converted persecutor, paid a dreadfully high price for his calling. Eventually he was killed. One by one, the apostles were murdered, but it didn’t silence the gospel. In spite of ridicule, deprivation, torture, suffering, and death, Christianity continued to grow under severe persecution. Killing God’s messengers cannot kill God’s message. Today, Christianity is the largest religion on earth with billions of adherents because believers are still willing to suffer for their faith and pay the ultimate price for their witness. What about you? How much would you be willing to sacrifice for the gospel? American Christians have lived in a sheltered environment. We feel persecuted if someone attacks our faith at work, or we read an article in the newspaper that is hostile to the church. But scripture says it’s going to get worse. Will you stand for Jesus when the real tribulation comes? -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Friday, November 10, 2017

Paul: Living Down Our Reputation

November 10

(Acts 9:20-31 NIV)  "At once he began to preach in the synagogues that Jesus is the Son of God. {21} All those who heard him were astonished and asked, "Isn't he the man who raised havoc in Jerusalem among those who call on this name? And hasn't he come here to take them as prisoners to the chief priests?" {22} Yet Saul grew more and more powerful and baffled the Jews living in Damascus by proving that Jesus is the Christ. {23} After many days had gone by, the Jews conspired to kill him, {24} but Saul learned of their plan. Day and night they kept close watch on the city gates in order to kill him. {25} But his followers took him by night and lowered him in a basket through an opening in the wall. {26} When he came to Jerusalem, he tried to join the disciples, but they were all afraid of him, not believing that he really was a disciple. {27} But Barnabas took him and brought him to the apostles. He told them how Saul on his journey had seen the Lord and that the Lord had spoken to him, and how in Damascus he had preached fearlessly in the name of Jesus. {28} So Saul stayed with them and moved about freely in Jerusalem, speaking boldly in the name of the Lord. {29} He talked and debated with the Grecian Jews, but they tried to kill him. {30} When the brothers learned of this, they took him down to Caesarea and sent him off to Tarsus. {31} Then the church throughout Judea, Galilee and Samaria enjoyed a time of peace. It was strengthened; and encouraged by the Holy Spirit, it grew in numbers, living in the fear of the Lord."

Paul met Jesus face to face in a blaze of glory on the Damascus Road. He was struck down and blinded. In the process, Paul became a believer. The fruit of genuine conversion is a changed life, and Paul’s life was definitely changed. Paul had been a “Christian hunter”. Now he became the hunted -- forced to seek refuge among those he had formerly hunted. The early church showed him grace, but many were still suspicious. You cannot be someone’s enemy for years and then presume that they will begin trusting you overnight. You cannot expect those you have harmed in your old life to suddenly forget and forgive, just because you say you have changed. It’s called the “fruit of sin” and we all live with it -- sometimes for years -- sometimes for the rest of our lives. Be patient. Forgiveness, trust, and healing take time, and in many cases, lots of time. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Paul: A Fateful Road Trip 

November 9

(Acts 26:9-18 NIV)  ""I too was convinced that I ought to do all that was possible to oppose the name of Jesus of Nazareth. {10} And that is just what I did in Jerusalem. On the authority of the chief priests I put many of the saints in prison, and when they were put to death, I cast my vote against them. {11} Many a time I went from one synagogue to another to have them punished, and I tried to force them to blaspheme. In my obsession against them, I even went to foreign cities to persecute them. {12} "On one of these journeys I was going to Damascus with the authority and commission of the chief priests. {13} About noon, O king, as I was on the road, I saw a light from heaven, brighter than the sun, blazing around me and my companions. {14} We all fell to the ground, and I heard a voice saying to me in Aramaic, 'Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me? It is hard for you to kick against the goads.' {15} "Then I asked, 'Who are you, Lord?' "'I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting,' the Lord replied. {16} 'Now get up and stand on your feet. I have appeared to you to appoint you as a servant and as a witness of what you have seen of me and what I will show you. {17} I will rescue you from your own people and from the Gentiles. I am sending you to them {18} to open their eyes and turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.""

Paul’s persona dominates the New Testament outside the gospels. Other than Jesus, Paul probably influenced the Church more than anyone else in the New Testament. But it took a showdown to get him saved. The “Damascus Road Experience” has become a modern cliché for a major event that changes our direction in life. But it wasn’t a cliché for Paul -- it was reality. While on a road trip to Damascus, he had an unscheduled meeting. He received a visit from God himself. Jesus knocked Paul to the ground, and Paul never saw things the same again. When you have been in the presence of Christ, you never forget it. It changes you at the core of your being. Pride is obliterated as we are driven to our knees, blinded by the holy light of the One we have persecuted. This must happen before our eyes can be opened. Have you been to Damascus yet? Maybe it’s time for a road trip. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

James: Changed Brother in Christ

November 8

(1 Corinthians 15:7 NIV)  "Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles,"

(Acts 1:14 NIV)  "They all joined together constantly in prayer, along with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brothers."

(Galatians 2:9 NIV)  "James, Peter and John, those reputed to be pillars, gave me and Barnabas the right hand of fellowship when they recognized the grace given to me. They agreed that we should go to the Gentiles, and they to the Jews."

(James 1:1 NIV)  "James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, To the twelve tribes scattered among the nations: Greetings."

James, the brother of Jesus, was an unbelieving antagonist during Christ’s ministry here on earth. After the resurrection, Christ appeared to James and he saw the Light. James met the risen Jesus, an experience guaranteed to bring about a change in any person’s life. James recognized the Truth and the Life, and was changed from a doubting brother into a brother in Christ. James became a leader and a pillar in the infant church. Eventually, he also became a martyr for Christ. He became so effective in his ministry that he was killed in order to shut him up. From James we learn not to be hasty in writing off those family members who harass us for our faith. Jesus can change a heart in an instant. We also learn that our checkered past does not necessarily have to color our whole life. Anyone can have a change of heart. Anyone! -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

James: Doubting Brother

November 7

(Matthew 13:55-57 NIV)  ""Isn't this the carpenter's son? Isn't his mother's name Mary, and aren't his brothers James, Joseph, Simon and Judas? {56} Aren't all his sisters with us? Where then did this man get all these things?" {57} And they took offense at him. But Jesus said to them, "Only in his hometown and in his own house is a prophet without honor.""

(Mark 3:21 NIV)  "When his family heard about this, they went to take charge of him, for they said, "He is out of his mind.""

(Mark 3:31-35 NIV)  "Then Jesus' mother and brothers arrived. Standing outside, they sent someone in to call him. {32} A crowd was sitting around him, and they told him, "Your mother and brothers are outside looking for you." {33} "Who are my mother and my brothers?" he asked. {34} Then he looked at those seated in a circle around him and said, "Here are my mother and my brothers! {35} Whoever does God's will is my brother and sister and mother.""

(John 7:5 NIV)  "For even his own brothers did not believe in him."

(Galatians 1:19 NIV)  "I saw none of the other apostles--only James, the Lord's brother."

When Jesus went into full time ministry at about age thirty, His brother James and the rest of His family thought He had lost his mind. He was going around telling people He was God. He was an embarrassment to them. They became resentful and hostile, and tried to do a “family intervention”. It failed. Jesus wouldn’t even give them a hearing, and so they essentially disowned him. That estrangement would last until the day Jesus died. Meanwhile, Jesus attached himself to a new family… a family of faith. We may have to do the same thing. It’s painful, but sometimes faith must separate before it can unite. Jesus taught it and lived it. The good news is that after Christ’s death and resurrection, some of His family became believers. Some of your family may do the same. Don’t turn back. Don’t give up. Be faithful to your calling and keep praying. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Monday, November 6, 2017

Lazarus: Get a Clue

November 6

(John 11:1-6 NIV)  ""Now a man named Lazarus was sick. He was from Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha. {2} This Mary, whose brother Lazarus now lay sick, was the same one who poured perfume on the Lord and wiped his feet with her hair. {3} So the sisters sent word to Jesus, "Lord, the one you love is sick." {4} When he heard this, Jesus said, "This sickness will not end in death. No, it is for God's glory so that God's Son may be glorified through it." {5} Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. {6} Yet when he heard that Lazarus was sick, he stayed where he was two more days.""

(John 11:32-37 NIV) ""When Mary reached the place where Jesus was and saw him, she fell at his feet and said, "Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died." {33} When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled. {34} "Where have you laid him?" he asked. "Come and see, Lord," they replied. {35} Jesus wept. {36} Then the Jews said, "See how he loved him!" {37} But some of them said, "Could not he who opened the eyes of the blind man have kept this man from dying?""

When Lazarus was deathly ill, Jesus took His time getting there. He took long enough that Lazarus died. His critics were irked. They cackled, “What took you so long? You should have come sooner. Don’t you care?” They didn’t have a clue about what was going to happen. It still irks us when God doesn’t come immediately to rescue us when we face a problem. Jesus doesn’t get in a hurry just because we get into trouble. God lives in eternity. The word “hurry” has no meaning in eternity. God’s desire for us is salvation, not speedy delivery. When death comes knocking on our door, believers and friends of Christ will hear one of two things: “Welcome home”, or “Welcome back.” Lazarus heard, “Welcome back.” The majority of Christians will hear, “Welcome home”. Either way, believers will come out winners because Jesus is the resurrection and the life. Get a clue! -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Lazarus: The First Christian Celebrity

November 5

(John 12:1-2 NIV)  "Six days before the Passover, Jesus arrived at Bethany, where Lazarus lived, whom Jesus had raised from the dead. {2} Here a dinner was given in Jesus' honor. Martha served, while Lazarus was among those reclining at the table with him."

(John 12:9-11 NIV)  "Meanwhile a large crowd of Jews found out that Jesus was there and came, not only because of him but also to see Lazarus, whom he had raised from the dead. {10} So the chief priests made plans to kill Lazarus as well, {11} for on account of him many of the Jews were going over to Jesus and putting their faith in him."

(John 12:17 NIV)  "Now the crowd that was with him when he called Lazarus from the tomb and raised him from the dead continued to spread the word."

The story of Lazarus went viral. He became an overnight sensation… the first Christian celebrity. He gained “rock star” status because he died and lived to tell about it. After four days in a dark tomb, he walked out alive again. But Lazarus was only the appetizer. Soon after this event, another great man would die and be buried. Another stone would be rolled away from the entrance of a tomb. Another future celebrity would step out from death into life. Another great “Rock Star” would rise again. His name was Jesus, and He is Christ the Lord. Lazarus became a local celebrity when he came back from the dead, but the resurrection of Jesus Christ changed the history of the world. It also established a beachhead here on Earth for the church. Those in the church have faith that they too will one day rise again from their tombs. Do you live with this hope of the resurrection? -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Saturday, November 4, 2017

Lazarus: Motivational Pain

November 4

(John 11:32-45 NIV) "When Mary reached the place where Jesus was and saw him, she fell at his feet and said, "Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died." {33} When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled. {34} "Where have you laid him?" he asked. "Come and see, Lord," they replied. {35} Jesus wept. {36} Then the Jews said, "See how he loved him!" {37} But some of them said, "Could not he who opened the eyes of the blind man have kept this man from dying?" {38} Jesus, once more deeply moved, came to the tomb. It was a cave with a stone laid across the entrance. {39} "Take away the stone," he said. "But, Lord," said Martha, the sister of the dead man, "by this time there is a bad odor, for he has been there four days." {40} Then Jesus said, "Did I not tell you that if you believed, you would see the glory of God?" {41} So they took away the stone. Then Jesus looked up and said, "Father, I thank you that you have heard me. {42} I knew that you always hear me, but I said this for the benefit of the people standing here, that they may believe that you sent me." {43} When he had said this, Jesus called in a loud voice, "Lazarus, come out!" {44} The dead man came out, his hands and feet wrapped with strips of linen, and a cloth around his face. Jesus said to them, "Take off the grave clothes and let him go." {45} Therefore many of the Jews who had come to visit Mary, and had seen what Jesus did, put their faith in him."

The shortest verse in scripture consists of just two simple, but profound words: “Jesus wept”. Let that soak in for a moment. Christ was so deeply moved by the death of His good friend Lazarus that He identified with humanity in the fullest sense. He sensed the crippling grief of those around Him, and felt personal pain. It overcame Him and He cried. Think about that -- God cried! Jesus likely remembered this day of grief and weeping as He sweat drops of blood in the Garden of Gethsemane. He knew why He was going to the cross. He died so those He loved could live in hope instead of despair. He had felt despair, and He knew that He had the antidote. As He hung on the cross, He may have remembered the pain He had experienced that day at the tomb of Lazarus, and perhaps this helped Him endure unto death, so that we could have the promise of life. Thank you, Jesus! -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Friday, November 3, 2017

Lazarus: The Man with Two Lives

November 3

(John 11:17-44 NIV) "On his arrival, Jesus found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb for four days. {18} Bethany was less than two miles from Jerusalem, {19} and many Jews had come to Martha and Mary to comfort them in the loss of their brother. {20} When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went out to meet him, but Mary stayed at home. {21} "Lord," Martha said to Jesus, "if you had been here, my brother would not have died. {22} But I know that even now God will give you whatever you ask." {23} Jesus said to her, "Your brother will rise again." {24} Martha answered, "I know he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day." {25} Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; {26} and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?" {27} "Yes, Lord," she told him, "I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, who was to come into the world." {28} And after she had said this, she went back and called her sister Mary aside. "The Teacher is here," she said, "and is asking for you." {29} When Mary heard this, she got up quickly and went to him. {30} Now Jesus had not yet entered the village, but was still at the place where Martha had met him. {31} When the Jews who had been with Mary in the house, comforting her, noticed how quickly she got up and went out, they followed her, supposing she was going to the tomb to mourn there. {32} When Mary reached the place where Jesus was and saw him, she fell at his feet and said, "Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died." {33} When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled. {34} "Where have you laid him?" he asked. "Come and see, Lord," they replied. {35} Jesus wept. {36} Then the Jews said, "See how he loved him!" {37} But some of them said, "Could not he who opened the eyes of the blind man have kept this man from dying?" {38} Jesus, once more deeply moved, came to the tomb. It was a cave with a stone laid across the entrance. {39} "Take away the stone," he said. "But, Lord," said Martha, the sister of the dead man, "by this time there is a bad odor, for he has been there four days." {40} Then Jesus said, "Did I not tell you that if you believed, you would see the glory of God?" {41} So they took away the stone. Then Jesus looked up and said, "Father, I thank you that you have heard me. {42} I knew that you always hear me, but I said this for the benefit of the people standing here, that they may believe that you sent me." {43} When he had said this, Jesus called in a loud voice, "Lazarus, come out!" {44} The dead man came out, his hands and feet wrapped with strips of linen, and a cloth around his face. Jesus said to them, "Take off the grave clothes and let him go.""

“Near death experiences” are fairly common today. Clinically dead people often describe walking toward a bright light, where someone eventually tells them they need to return to life. The bible tells an even better story. Lazarus didn’t have a near death experience for just a few minutes. He was dead for four days, and had even started to decay before Jesus spoke life back into him. That’s when Lazarus became a living legend. From Lazarus we can learn that being a friend of Jesus does not exempt us from disease and death, but that we who believe have two lives… the here and now, and the hereafter. The great promise of Jesus is the resurrection. The great question of Jesus is, “Do you believe this?” Well do you? It’s still the most important question anyone will ever answer. Jesus was clear. Are you clear? Will you lead two lives, or will the one you’re living now be it? -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Peter: Unschooled, But Astonishing

November 2

(Acts 4:8-13 NIV) "Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them: "Rulers and elders of the people! {9} If we are being called to account today for an act of kindness shown to a cripple and are asked how he was healed, {10} then know this, you and all the people of Israel: It is by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified but whom God raised from the dead, that this man stands before you healed. {11} He is "'the stone you builders rejected, which has become the capstone.' {12} Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved." {13} When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus."

Through Peter, God healed a man crippled from birth. Peter called on the name of Jesus, and the man stood up and walked. The religious leaders of the city arrested Peter, but even that would not shut him up. They tried to intimidate Peter, but instead, he intimidated them. They thought they had him in a corner, but he was thinking, “I’ve got them cornered. They can’t get away now.” In the end, they gave Peter one of the greatest compliments we can ever receive as a Christian. We don’t need a seminary education to be an “astonishing” believer. Peter was unschooled, but he was not untrained. We can have the same credentials today. We can live with such courage and faith that people around us take note that we have been with Jesus. When we walk daily with Christ, feeding on God’s word, we can live a life that astonishes the world. Live like you have been with Jesus! -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Peter: Giving What We Have

November 1

(Acts 3:2-16 NIV)  ""Now a man crippled from birth was being carried to the temple gate called Beautiful, where he was put every day to beg from those going into the temple courts. {3} When he saw Peter and John about to enter, he asked them for money. {4} Peter looked straight at him, as did John. Then Peter said, "Look at us!" {5} So the man gave them his attention, expecting to get something from them. {6} Then Peter said, "Silver or gold I do not have, but what I have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk." {7} Taking him by the right hand, he helped him up, and instantly the man's feet and ankles became strong. {8} He jumped to his feet and began to walk. Then he went with them into the temple courts, walking and jumping, and praising God. {9} When all the people saw him walking and praising God, {10} they recognized him as the same man who used to sit begging at the temple gate called Beautiful, and they were filled with wonder and amazement at what had happened to him. {11} While the beggar held on to Peter and John, all the people were astonished and came running to them in the place called Solomon's Colonnade. {12} When Peter saw this, he said to them: "Men of Israel, why does this surprise you? Why do you stare at us as if by our own power or godliness we had made this man walk? {13} The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the God of our fathers, has glorified his servant Jesus. You handed him over to be killed, and you disowned him before Pilate, though he had decided to let him go. {14} You disowned the Holy and Righteous One and asked that a murderer be released to you. {15} You killed the author of life, but God raised him from the dead. We are witnesses of this. {16} By faith in the name of Jesus, this man whom you see and know was made strong. It is Jesus' name and the faith that comes through him that has given this complete healing to him, as you can all see.""

(Acts 4:18-20 NIV)  ""Then they called them in again and commanded them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus. {19} But Peter and John replied, "Judge for yourselves whether it is right in God's sight to obey you rather than God. {20} For we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard.""

(Acts 5:28-29 NIV)  ""We gave you strict orders not to teach in this name," he said. "Yet you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching and are determined to make us guilty of this man's blood." {29} Peter and the other apostles replied: "We must obey God rather than men!""

The beggar wanted money -- what he got was Jesus. Peter did not have silver and gold, but he had the name of Jesus -- he had the healing and the joy found in Christ’s name. Peter gave what he had, and a crippled man got his legs back. There is power in the name of Jesus. That’s why the world works so hard to keep His name out of the public square. Christians, we must not be complicit in this effort. We are commanded to give what we have, and what we have is the name of Jesus. Why do so many of us hold back? We have Jesus, but we hide Him. We fear even the slightest rebuke for our faith. One of the besetting sins in Christianity today is our silence. For some strange reason, we have put popularity ahead of proclamation. Repent! Work at representing His name well. Speak His name whenever possible. Be a name dropper. Give what you have. Souls are at stake. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Peter: Dealing with a Noisy Rooster

October 31

(Luke 22:54-62 NIV)  "Then seizing him, they led him away and took him into the house of the high priest. Peter followed at a distance. {55} But when they had kindled a fire in the middle of the courtyard and had sat down together, Peter sat down with them. {56} A servant girl saw him seated there in the firelight. She looked closely at him and said, "This man was with him." {57} But he denied it. "Woman, I don't know him," he said. {58} A little later someone else saw him and said, "You also are one of them." "Man, I am not!" Peter replied. {59} About an hour later another asserted, "Certainly this fellow was with him, for he is a Galilean." {60} Peter replied, "Man, I don't know what you're talking about!" Just as he was speaking, the rooster crowed. {61} The Lord turned and looked straight at Peter. Then Peter remembered the word the Lord had spoken to him: "Before the rooster crows today, you will disown me three times." {62} And he went outside and wept bitterly."

On the last night of his earthly life, Jesus looked straight at Peter and said: "Tonight, before the rooster crows, you’re going to disown me three times." Peter did exactly that and the rooster crowed. Sooner or later, we all hear that rooster. It can crow for years. It just won’t stop crowing. So here’s a novel idea... maybe it’s time to kill the rooster. Maybe it’s time for a fried chicken dinner. Dead roosters are found all along the road to peace with God. You might not be able to catch your rooster, but Jesus can. Let Him silence the noise. Just before Jesus died on the cross, He said, “It is finished”. He was talking to the roosters. They died when he died, and now they can only live with our permission. What you’ve been listening to is a ghost… an evil spirit of shame and regret. Jesus silenced the crowing of every accusing rooster with His death on the cross. Believe it. Live like it is the truth. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Monday, October 30, 2017

Peter: Called Out

October 30

(Matthew 14:22-33 NIV)  "Immediately Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowd. {23} After he had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone, {24} but the boat was already a considerable distance from land, buffeted by the waves because the wind was against it. {25} During the fourth watch of the night Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. {26} When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. "It's a ghost," they said, and cried out in fear. {27} But Jesus immediately said to them: "Take courage! It is I. Don't be afraid." {28} "Lord, if it's you," Peter replied, "tell me to come to you on the water." {29} "Come," he said. Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. {30} But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, "Lord, save me!" {31} Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. "You of little faith," he said, "why did you doubt?" {32} And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down. {33} Then those who were in the boat worshiped him, saying, "Truly you are the Son of God.""

Peter did the impossible -- he walked on water. The walk didn’t last long, because Peter lost his focus. He began looking around at the wind and the waves, and fear got the best of him. He focused on the storm, instead of the Son. He began to fixate on the chaos, instead of on Christ. His fear overwhelmed his faith, and he went down. Jesus still calls us out onto turbulent waters. He doesn’t need more fair weather disciples -- He needs stormy day disciples. Faith can only strengthened in times when we must exercise it. Trust only grows when we face situations where we must trust. Only in storms do we learn that the impossible is possible. Only when we fix our eyes on Jesus and walk toward Him, can we walk on water. Only when human solutions fail, are we forced to believe God for an answer. Get your eyes off the storm and onto the Son. He is calling you. He will hold you up. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Peter: Out in Front

October 29

(Matthew 4:18-20 NIV)  "As Jesus was walking beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon called Peter and his brother Andrew. They were casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. {19} "Come, follow me," Jesus said, "and I will make you fishers of men." {20} At once they left their nets and followed him."

(Matthew 16:13-19 NIV)  "When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, "Who do people say the Son of Man is?" {14} They replied, "Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets." {15} "But what about you?" he asked. "Who do you say I am?" {16} Simon Peter answered, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God." {17} Jesus replied, "Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by man, but by my Father in heaven. {18} And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it. {19} I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.""

(Matthew 19:27 NIV)  "Peter answered him, "We have left everything to follow you! What then will there be for us?""

(Matthew 26:33-35 NIV)  "Peter replied, "Even if all fall away on account of you, I never will." {34} "I tell you the truth," Jesus answered, "this very night, before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times." {35} But Peter declared, "Even if I have to die with you, I will never disown you." And all the other disciples said the same."

Peter was a born leader. He spent a lot of time, out in front, walking in faith. He wasn’t into “consensus thinking” or “group processing”. He was one of the first disciples called, and Scripture says he “left everything to follow Jesus.” He was also the first to proclaim Jesus as the Christ. But Peter was also the first disciple to publicly deny Christ. The Rock crumbled. His fear overcame his faith. He crashed and burned, and like Jacob, Peter walked with a limp for the rest of his life. But failure is never final. Peter dealt with his denial, and became a vocal leader in the infant church. He stood up to the political and religious powers of his day and defied their orders to stop preaching about the risen Jesus. He may have walked with a limp, but he still walked out in front. So can you. Get going. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Saturday, October 28, 2017

John the Baptizer: Evangelist 

October 28 

(Matthew 3:1-12 NIV)  "In those days John the Baptist came, preaching in the Desert of Judea {2} and saying, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near." {3} This is he who was spoken of through the prophet Isaiah: "A voice of one calling in the desert, 'Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for him.'" {4} John's clothes were made of camel's hair, and he had a leather belt around his waist. His food was locusts and wild honey. {5} People went out to him from Jerusalem and all Judea and the whole region of the Jordan. {6} Confessing their sins, they were baptized by him in the Jordan River. {7} But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to where he was baptizing, he said to them: "You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath? {8} Produce fruit in keeping with repentance. {9} And do not think you can say to yourselves, 'We have Abraham as our father.' I tell you that out of these stones God can raise up children for Abraham. {10} The ax is already at the root of the trees, and every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire. {11} "I baptize you with water for repentance. But after me will come one who is more powerful than I, whose sandals I am not fit to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire. {12} His winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing floor, gathering his wheat into the barn and burning up the chaff with unquenchable fire.""

(Matthew 14:3-4 NIV)  "Now Herod had arrested John and bound him and put him in prison because of Herodias, his brother Philip's wife, {4} for John had been saying to him: "It is not lawful for you to have her.""

(Matthew 14:10 NIV)  "and had John beheaded in the prison."

John’s message was simple and direct. “God is here. Repent or face judgment.” This message is out of style today. We certainly wouldn’t want to impose our religion on anyone. Nowadays we preach “friendly stuff”. But John was right. The road back to God originates at the cross. It’s built on repentance, paved with obedience, and sealed by the Spirit. This is the highway of our God. It is a narrow road. Genuine repentance produces fruit “in keeping with repentance”. If it doesn’t, it’s just remorse. Remorse is being sorry for what we did. Remorse is good, but it’s insufficient for salvation. Repentance goes further. It’s being sorry for our sin, but it’s being sorry enough to quit and to change. Jesus becomes greater. We become less. This is the formula for discipleship. This was John’s message and it cost him his life. But, it’s the truth. It’s the gospel. And it’s still worth dying for. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Friday, October 27, 2017

John the Baptizer: Straddling the Testaments

October 27

(Matthew 3:3-4 NIV)  "This is he who was spoken of through the prophet Isaiah: "A voice of one calling in the desert, 'Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for him.'" {4} John's clothes were made of camel's hair, and he had a leather belt around his waist. His food was locusts and wild honey."

(Malachi 4:5-6 NIV)  ""See, I will send you the prophet Elijah before that great and dreadful day of the Lord comes. {6} He will turn the hearts of the fathers to their children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers; or else I will come and strike the land with a curse.""

(Matthew 17:12-13 NIV)  "But I tell you, Elijah has already come, and they did not recognize him, but have done to him everything they wished. In the same way the Son of Man is going to suffer at their hands." {13} Then the disciples understood that he was talking to them about John the Baptist."

(Luke 1:13, 17 NIV) ""But the angel said to him: "Do not be afraid, Zechariah; your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you are to give him the name John. {17} And he will go on before the Lord, in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers to their children and the disobedient to the wisdom of the righteous--to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.""

(John 1:29 NIV) "The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, "Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!"

John the Baptizer was an Old Testament prophet born in New Testament times. He ate locusts and honey, and wore clothes made from camel hair. Maybe that’s why he seemed cranky most of the time. John was chosen and set apart by God, even before birth. He broke all the rules for drawing a crowd and getting a message out. His sermons were radical, “in your face”, “fire and brimstone” stuff. He didn’t minister in a giant cathedral -- he preached out in the boondocks. People had to go out of their way to get there. But, people flocked to see him, heard God speaking, confessed their sins, and were baptized. John was one of the first humans to recognize Jesus as the Messiah. So when God decided to be baptized, John got the job. Watch for Jesus, preach the truth, and be ready. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John

October 26

(Acts 1:8 NIV) "But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.""

(Acts 4:13 NIV) "When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus."

God loves variety. Just look at the gospel writers: Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. They had very little in common. They came to Christ from very different backgrounds. Matthew was a turncoat tax collector who needed a second chance at life. Mark had likely followed Jesus around as a boy. Luke was a successful, upper crust physician, looking for the truth in life. John was a hot-headed, small time fisherman who loved to run his mouth. What an unlikely group to write a biography of God’s Son. They were very different people, who came to Christ from different places, at different times, and in different ways. But God chose them! It just goes to show that God doesn’t care who you are, or how you arrive, as long as you get there, and sign on to work for the Kingdom. By the way, God has recruited you to tell His story too. He does have a sense of humor, doesn’t He? -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

John: Apostle of Love

October 25

(John 13:23 NIV) "One of them, the disciple whom Jesus loved, was reclining next to him."

(John 19:26-27 NIV) "When Jesus saw his mother there, and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to his mother, "Dear woman, here is your son," {27} and to the disciple, "Here is your mother." From that time on, this disciple took her into his home."

(John 3:16 NIV) "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life."

John, who at one time was ready to call down fire on those who didn’t measure up, ended up writing about how much God loved the world. What happened? How did this impulsive “Son of Thunder” become known as the “Apostle of Love”? Here’s how: John was greatly loved by Jesus. He was the only disciple near the cross as Jesus poured out His life for our sin. He heard the Lord take His last breath. John entered the dark, empty tomb of Christ, and came out full of light. The Holy Spirit of God filled John and he was changed forever. Overwhelmed by God’s love and mercy, John recalled what Jesus had said to Nicodemus: “God so loved the world that he gave.” John concluded that he could do no less. How about you? What will you conclude? Will you be a love giver? Will you love others like Jesus has loved you? Will you be changed by Christ’s love? -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

John: Son of Thunder

October 24

(Matthew 4:21 NIV)  "Going on from there, he saw two other brothers, James son of Zebedee and his brother John. They were in a boat with their father Zebedee, preparing their nets. Jesus called them,"

(Luke 9:52-54 NIV)  "And he sent messengers on ahead, who went into a Samaritan village to get things ready for him; {53} but the people there did not welcome him, because he was heading for Jerusalem. {54} When the disciples James and John saw this, they asked, "Lord, do you want us to call fire down from heaven to destroy them?""

(Mark 3:17 NIV)  "James son of Zebedee and his brother John (to them he gave the name Boanerges, which means Sons of Thunder);"

(Mark 10:35-37 NIV)  "Then James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came to him. "Teacher," they said, "we want you to do for us whatever we ask." {36} "What do you want me to do for you?" he asked. {37} They replied, "Let one of us sit at your right and the other at your left in your glory.""

John, who became known as “the apostle of love”, wasn’t always a loving man. He started out as a blustery loud mouth. He and his brother James could often be seen arrogantly strutting around with their chests puffed out, spouting off about the power they had in God. Jesus dubbed them the “Sons of Thunder” and told them to pipe down. We see this same “boasting in the Spirit” today. People brag about having this or that kind of spiritual power as they loudly rebuke this or that spirit. But frankly, we’re the ones in need of rebuke. We’re still being foolish and arrogant. We would do well to sit down, shut up, and listen to the Lord. Big heads and puffed out chests can often lead to buckling knees. John was eventually transformed into the “apostle of love.” We can be transformed too. It may take a crucifixion, but there is always hope. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Monday, October 23, 2017

Mark: Growing Up is Showing Up

October 23

(Mark 14:50-52 NIV)  "Then everyone deserted him and fled. {51} A young man, wearing nothing but a linen garment, was following Jesus. When they seized him, {52} he fled naked, leaving his garment behind."

(Acts 12:25 NIV)  "When Barnabas and Saul had finished their mission, they returned from Jerusalem, taking with them John, also called Mark."

(Acts 13:13 NIV)  "From Paphos, Paul and his companions sailed to Perga in Pamphylia, where John left them to return to Jerusalem."

(Acts 15:36-40 NIV)  "Some time later Paul said to Barnabas, "Let us go back and visit the brothers in all the towns where we preached the word of the Lord and see how they are doing." {37} Barnabas wanted to take John, also called Mark, with them, {38} but Paul did not think it wise to take him, because he had deserted them in Pamphylia and had not continued with them in the work. {39} They had such a sharp disagreement that they parted company. Barnabas took Mark and sailed for Cyprus, {40} but Paul chose Silas and left, commended by the brothers to the grace of the Lord."

(Philemon 1:23-24 NIV)  "Epaphras, my fellow prisoner in Christ Jesus, sends you greetings. {24} And so do Mark, Aristarchus, Demas and Luke, my fellow workers."

Mark was just a boy when Jesus walked the Earth. Some think he may have even hung around with Jesus, and that he may have been the unnamed boy who fled the scene of Christ’s arrest in the gospel of Mark. Following the death of Jesus, Paul and Barnabas chose young Mark to accompany them on a mission trip, but he didn’t last long -- he got homesick and bailed. Later, the two argued and parted ways over whether or not to take him again, but by the end of Paul’s ministry, Mark was one of those traveling with him. Mark had grown up, and had become one of the great comeback stories of the bible. The mistakes and failings of our youth don’t have to haunt us for the rest of our lives. We don’t have to remain a quitter just because we once were. Get back to it. Start showing up, because showing up is one of the marks of growing up. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Luke: Physician to the Stars

October 22

(Luke 1:1-4 NIV)  "Many have undertaken to draw up an account of the things that have been fulfilled among us, {2} just as they were handed down to us by those who from the first were eyewitnesses and servants of the word. {3} Therefore, since I myself have carefully investigated everything from the beginning, it seemed good also to me to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, {4} so that you may know the certainty of the things you have been taught."

(Colossians 4:14 NIV)  "Our dear friend Luke, the doctor, and Demas send greetings."

(2 Timothy 4:11 NIV)  "Only Luke is with me. Get Mark and bring him with you, because he is helpful to me in my ministry."

As far as we know, Luke never met Jesus in person. He likely had never even heard of Jesus until after the resurrection. We do know that Luke was a medical doctor -- a healer. Matthew left his lucrative tax table to follow Jesus. Luke left a profitable medical practice to travel with Paul the apostle. Both serve as models for those who struggle with their calling. The world says, “Follow the money.” Jesus says, “Follow me.” The world says, “Come and get rich.” Jesus says, “Go and make disciples.” When we decide to follow Jesus, our earthly occupation becomes a means to an end, rather than an end in itself. Our craft becomes subservient to our calling. Our calling supersedes our craft. Luke is not remembered for how many people he healed as a physician. He is remembered for the millions who have found healing through his telling of the Great Physician’s story. Go tell the story. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Matthew: The Obedient Taxman

October 21

(Matthew 9:9-13 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. {10} While Jesus was having dinner at Matthew's house, many tax collectors and "sinners" came and ate with him and his disciples. {11} When the Pharisees saw this, they asked his disciples, "Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and 'sinners'?" {12} On hearing this, Jesus said, "It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. {13} But go and learn what this means: 'I desire mercy, not sacrifice.' For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.""

When Jesus walked by Matthew’s tax booth, he said only two words to him: “Follow me.” No flashy introduction, no high pressure sales pitch, no moving sermon with a tear jerking altar call… just, “Follow me”. At the heart of almost every miraculous faith transformation lies obedience. Genuine faith is both the source of obedience, and the fruit of obedience. Don’t miss this profound biblical truth. One indicator that Jesus is Lord of our life is whether or not we do what He commands. Obedience is evidence of the Lord’s presence. Would you like to see a miracle happen in your life? Obey God’s word -- not so He’ll reward you with a miracle, but so you will be in a position to be a miracle when God gets ready to make His move. Obedience will require that we finally realize, “It ain’t about me”. Instead, it is about the glory of God, as it has always been. Be a Matthew today. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day