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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

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Stewardship or Ownership

March 23

(Psalm 24:1 NIV) "The earth is the Lord's, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it;"

(Haggai 2:8 NIV) "'The silver is mine and the gold is mine,' declares the Lord Almighty."

(Job 41:11 NIV) "Who has a claim against me that I must pay? Everything under heaven belongs to me."

If God had a "Top Ten” list of important things to do as a believer, generous giving would be near the top. The Bible contains over two thousand verses about money and possessions. Either we need extra teaching in this area, or it’s very important to God. Perhaps it’s both. To be the kind of giver God desires, we must recognize that we are stewards, not owners. Stewards take care of stuff that belongs to someone else, and God makes it clear in Scripture that he owns everything. That makes us all stewards. We don’t really have a choice about being stewards. The only choice we have is what kind of stewards we will be. Is Jesus Lord of all things in your life, or just some things? Only you can answer that question, and your answer will be lived out in the way you give. Give as a steward, not an owner. It will change the way you live, and it will change the way you give. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

God’s Un-Love

March 22

(Lamentations 3:22 NIV) "Because of the Lord's great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail."

(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."

(1 John 4:10 NIV) "This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins."

In recent years, one soft drink company successfully promoted their product as superior by branding it as “The Un-Cola”. God's love also has some “UN” features that brand it as superior. For instance, God’s love is UN-caused. Nothing we have done, or ever will do, can earn God's love. God’s love is UN-deserved. We have nothing to recommend us to God. We have nothing to offer God for His love. It is by grace we receive it. God’s love is UN-conditional. He loves us when we’re good -- He loves us when we’re bad. Nothing can prevent God from loving us. God's love is UN-compromising. He has a standard. God does not bless all behaviors -- that would be co-dependency, not love. God’s love has healthy boundaries. God’s love is UN-failing. As long as we have breath and are able to respond to God voluntarily, we are within reach of His love. God’s UN-love is amazing! -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

How Do I Get Home?

March 21

(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.""

(Isaiah 45:22 NIV) "Turn to me and be saved, all you ends of the earth; for I am God, and there is no other."

(Matthew 4:19 NIV) ""Come, follow me," Jesus said, "and I will make you fishers of men.""

When it finally dawns on us that we don't know where we came from, or why we're here… when we realize we don't have a clue where we are going, or how we got so far from where we wanted to be... we then have a decision to make. We can ignore the questions and live in denial about where we are. We can try to cover our anxiety by living in a chemical induced stupor. Or we can ask, “How do I get home? How do I get back to where I’m supposed to be?” When we ask those questions with an open heart, God is faithful to provide an answer. He says to us, “Turn to me and be saved. This is the way, walk in it. Come follow me.” God is willing to give directions to those who ask and those who will listen. Are you asking? Are you listening? God doesn’t just want to save us -- He wants to help us get to where we are supposed to be. How do we get there? We follow Jesus. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Monday, March 20, 2017

How Did I Get Here?

March 20

(Psalm 107:4-5 NIV) "Some wandered in desert wastelands, finding no way to a city where they could settle. {5} They were hungry and thirsty, and their lives ebbed away."

(Jeremiah 50:6 NIV) "My people have been lost sheep; their shepherds have led them astray and caused them to roam on the mountains. They wandered over mountain and hill and forgot their own resting place."

(Isaiah 55:7 NIV) "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."

When we don't know where we are going, it doesn't take long to end up a long, long way from home, on a wrong road to nowhere. We start out heading for Freedom, but more often than not, we end up in Chains. We start out in confidence, perhaps even cockiness, but before we know it, we end up lost. We realize that there is someplace else we ought to be, and that we’re definitely not there. After we acknowledge that we’ve missed the mark and failed to arrive at the right destination, we will often begin to ask, “How did I get here, so far from where I am supposed to be?” When we begin to ask that question, we have entered onto the road of repentance. In the end, it doesn’t really matter how you got there, or what road you took to get lost, the Lord just wants you home. Those who are wise will call on Jesus for directions. Why not make that call today? -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Where Am I Going?

March 19

(Psalms 25:4 NIV) "Show me your ways, O Lord, teach me your paths;"

(Psalms 139:24 NIV) "See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting."

(Proverbs 3:5-6 NIV) "Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; {6} in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight."

Sometimes we wake up to reality and realize that the road we have been traveling is not leading to where we thought it would. That way which seemed so right suddenly comes to an abrupt dead end. Our human plans have failed. We have climbed the proverbial ladder of success all the way to the top, only to discover that it is leaning against the wrong building. Confusion and chaos reign in our life, and we begin to ask that all important question, “Where am I going?” It is even more difficult when we won’t ask God for direction. We get confused, and we can easily lose our way. God will guide us, if we will listen. Where we’re going is home, and Jesus came to show us the way. He will lead us there if we will follow Him. Get back on His straight path. Use the road map found in Scripture. And if we won’t read His map, then it’s time to stop whining about being lost. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Why Am I Here?

March 18

(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?""

(Philippians 3:10 NIV) "I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death,"

Why am I here? This classic question has to do with purpose. Humanity offers many answers, but only our Creator has the correct one. We are born to have a relationship with God. That’s why we are here. But in any genuine relationship, we must give up our absolute autonomy. In our self-centeredness, most of us resist doing that, and try desperately to find a purpose that doesn't require such a relinquishment. We especially try to avoid God, because in that relationship there is one Lord and one human, and we instinctively know who must surrender autonomy there. We may ask, “Why am I here?”, but often we don’t want the real answer. We’ll accept just about anything but the Truth. But those who are wise will hear and understand their divine calling. We are here to be in a relationship with God and to bring glory to His Name. God wants you to know Him personally. That’s why you are here! -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Friday, March 17, 2017

Where Did I Come From?

March 17

(Genesis 1:27 NIV) "So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them."

(Jeremiah 1:5 NIV) "Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations."

(Revelation 3:11-12 NIV) "I am coming soon. Hold on to what you have, so that no one will take your crown. {12} Him who overcomes I will make a pillar in the temple of my God. Never again will he leave it. I will write on him the name of my God and the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem, which is coming down out of heaven from my God; and I will also write on him my new name."

There are five major questions that mankind asks on a regular basis. Many philosophers have tried to answer these questions, but God answers them best. We will look at these questions over the next few days. The first question is: “Where did I come from?” This is not a difficult question if you believe the first two chapters of Genesis. We came from God. God created us -- male and female, He created us. "Where did I come from?" really has to do with identity, because where you come from has a direct bearing on who you are. For the disciple of Jesus, the answer to “Where did I come from” and “Who am I” is simple. We came from Him and will return to Him. Our identity is in Christ, God incarnate. We are called by His name: CHRISTian. We are God’s people. He created us, called us, saved us, and He loves us! Why waste any more time searching for your identity? -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Thursday, March 16, 2017

The Resurrection and the Life

March 16

(John 11:25-26 NIV) ""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?""

(1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 NIV) "Brothers, we do not want you to be ignorant about those who fall asleep, or to grieve like the rest of men, who have no hope. {14} We believe that Jesus died and rose again and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him. {15} According to the Lord's own word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left till the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. {16} For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. {17} After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. {18} Therefore encourage each other with these words."

Christ revealed to us that He is not just a good model for living -- He is the key to living forever. The “life” that Jesus speaks of in John 11 is more than just our physical life, because He says those who believe in Him will live, even though they die. We have all known faithful Christians who died. Jesus must be talking about another “life”. The life Jesus is speaking of here is eternal life. He is saying, “I AM the resurrection. I AM eternal life.” Jesus taught that those who follow Him will rise again after they die. When we live faithfully with Jesus here on Earth, we will live forever with God in eternity. Believers in Christ have an assurance about the future that no one else can have. Our Jesus is the Resurrection and the Life. God does not want us to be “ignorant” about this -- nor should we mourn like those who have no hope. What an assurance from the great I AM! Do you believe this? -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

The Way, the Truth, and the Life

March 15

(John 14:1-9 NIV) ""Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. {2} In my Father's house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. {3} And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. {4} You know the way to the place where I am going." {5} Thomas said to him, "Lord, we don't know where you are going, so how can we know the way?" {6} Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. {7} If you really knew me, you would know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him." {8} Philip said, "Lord, show us the Father and that will be enough for us." {9} Jesus answered: "Don't you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, 'Show us the Father'?""

(Acts 4:7-12 NIV) ""They had Peter and John brought before them and began to question them: "By what power or what name did you do this?" {8} 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.""

A majority of Americans today say there is no such thing as absolute truth. How foolish! Worse yet, almost half of those who call themselves evangelical Christians say the same thing. A majority of Americans believe that "all faiths teach similar lessons about life", and about half of those who consider themselves "born again" agree. About a third of those folks believe that, “all good people go to heaven”. If all these people are right, Jesus Christ was a liar and He died on the cross for nothing. After all, he claimed to be THE way and THE truth. So if the majority of Americans are right and there is no absolute truth -- if all good people go to heaven, then we should bring our missionaries home immediately. They are wasting their lives and we are wasting our money. But the majority of Americans are not right. Jesus is not just one of the ways. He is the ONLY way to eternal life! -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

The Shepherd Gate

March 14

(Psalm 118:19-21 NIV) "Open for me the gates of righteousness; I will enter and give thanks to the Lord. {20} This is the gate of the Lord through which the righteous may enter. {21} I will give you thanks, for you answered me; you have become my salvation."

(Matthew 7:13-14 NIV) "Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. {14} But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it."

(John 10:1, 7, 9 NIV) ""I tell you the truth, the man who does not enter the sheep pen by the gate, but climbs in by some other way, is a thief and a robber. {7} Therefore Jesus said again, "I tell you the truth, I am the gate for the sheep." {9} "I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. He will come in and go out, and find pasture.""

In Christ’s day, when a shepherd kept his flock in the countryside overnight, they would often be kept in a pen called a sheepfold. The sheepfold usually had three high sides and a small opening through which the sheep could go in and out. At night the shepherd would lay down to sleep in that opening and literally become "the gate" for his sheep. Nothing could go in or out unless it went over or through him. This human gate was not only the entrance for the sheepfold, he was also the security door. The shepherd gate not only provided access, he also provided safety. Christians, Jesus is the shepherd gate for us. We are His sheep. There are not many gates into His sheepfold -- there is only one narrow gate. No one goes in or out without His approval. This means that Jesus is our Lord, our Savior, and our security. Thank Him today. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Monday, March 13, 2017

Vines, Branches, and Fruit

March 13

(John 15:1-8 NIV) "I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. {2} He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. {3} You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. {4} Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. {5} "I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. {6} If anyone does not remain in me, he is like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. {7} If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you. {8} This is to my Father's glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples."

Jesus used the vine and its branches to teach a lesson about the relationship between God and His people. Jesus is the vine -- we are the branches. The job of the branches is to bear fruit of some kind. The term “fruitless Christian” is an oxymoron. We are saved and grafted into the tree in order to bear fruit. Jesus taught that unproductive and fruitless branches would be cut off, thrown into a fire, and burned. Christ taught the importance of “remaining in the vine” or “remaining in Him”. He said it was essential that we bear much fruit. Even the productive branches are pruned back so they will become more fruitful. Has God been doing some pruning in your life? Rejoice in the pain. It means you are alive, and considered productive enough to be tended. Being pruned is better than being burned. You may live with some temporary discomfort, but there will be no fire for you. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Sunday, March 12, 2017

The Good Shepherd

March 12

(Psalm 23:1-4 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. {4} Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me."

(Isaiah 40:11 NIV) "He tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart; he gently leads those that have young."

(John 10:11-14 NIV) "I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. {12} The hired hand is not the shepherd who owns the sheep. So when he sees the wolf coming, he abandons the sheep and runs away. Then the wolf attacks the flock and scatters it. {13} The man runs away because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep. {14} "I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me--"

Jesus gave us several descriptive word pictures of who He is and what He wants to do in our lives. On one occasion he called himself “the Good Shepherd.” The disciples knew what that meant. A good shepherd knows his sheep and separates them from others who do not belong to him. His sheep follow him as he leads them to “green pastures” and “quiet waters”, where they find enough to eat and drink for today. They do not worry about tomorrow -- tomorrow is the shepherd’s concern. When they stray, the shepherd goes out to find them. He is their protector, standing between them and predators that would do them harm. The sheep know their shepherd’s voice. Even when mingled with another flock, they respond to his call to “come out from among them”. Do you know the Shepherd’s voice? Can you say with integrity today, “the Lord is my Shepherd”? -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Give Me a Light

March 11

(Psalm 27:1 NIV) "The Lord is my light and my salvation-- whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life-- of whom shall I be afraid?"

(John 8:12 NIV) ""When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, "I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.""

(John 12:46 NIV) "I have come into the world as a light, so that no one who believes in me should stay in darkness."

Without light, all life on Earth would perish. Without Jesus, the Light of the world, all souls would perish. Jesus came to bring us light and life. The Creator of light became light for us. The One who said, “Let there be light”, became light and lived for a while among us. The light of Christ can guide our steps and keep us from stumbling around in the darkness of sin. It saves us and sustains us. Just as light is necessary for the flower to bloom, so our lives must have God’s light to blossom and thrive. Just as grass turns yellow and dies without sunlight, so our souls fade and die without Jesus, the light of the world. If you are still walking and living in the darkness, move out of the shadows and into the wonderful light of Christ. Make a decision! No one can be forced to stay in the darkness. You have a free will. Use it and move toward the light. Choose life! It’s your move. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Friday, March 10, 2017

Our Daily Bread

March 10

(Exodus 16:4 NIV) "Then the Lord said to Moses, "I will rain down bread from heaven for you. The people are to go out each day and gather enough for that day. In this way I will test them and see whether they will follow my instructions."

(Luke 11:3 NIV)  "Give us each day our daily bread."

(John 6:48-51 NIV)  "I am the bread of life. {49} Your forefathers ate the manna in the desert, yet they died. {50} But here is the bread that comes down from heaven, which a man may eat and not die. {51} I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. This bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.""

When God led His people through the desert, He provided a bread-like substance called “manna” for them to eat. They did nothing to earn it -- it came daily as a gift from God. Manna would only keep for one day. If people tried to gather enough manna for tomorrow, it would spoil and rot. They could only gather enough for that day. Each and every day, they had to trust God to provide for them. In Twelve Step circles this principle is called, “one day at a time”. It’s also a principle found in the Lord’s Prayer. As we move through our personal deserts, we have been taught to pray, “Give us this day our daily bread.” Jesus Christ is the bread of life. He is our daily bread -- our manna from Heaven. We do nothing to earn His care for us. It is the gift of God -- a daily provision that we cannot hoard. It is by grace we have been saved, and it is by grace that we are sustained -- one day at a time!

Thursday, March 9, 2017

The Most Important Question

March 9

(Exodus 3:13-15 NIV) "Moses said to God, "Suppose I go to the Israelites and say to them, 'The God of your fathers has sent me to you,' and they ask me, 'What is his name?' Then what shall I tell them?" {14} God said to Moses, "I AM WHO I AM. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: 'I AM has sent me to you.'" {15} God also said to Moses, "Say to the Israelites, 'The LORD, the God of your fathers--the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob--has sent me to you.' This is my name forever, the name by which I am to be remembered from generation to generation."

(Mark 8:27-29 NIV) "Jesus and his disciples went on to the villages around Caesarea Philippi. On the way he asked them, "Who do people say I am?" {28} They replied, "Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, one of the prophets." {29} "But what about you?" he asked. "Who do you say I am?" Peter answered, "You are the Christ.""

When God spoke to Moses in Exodus, chapter 3, Moses wanted to know His name. God gave him two answers: “I AM”, and “the LORD”. Fifteen hundred years later, when God came to earth in Jesus Christ, He asked his disciples a question recorded in the gospel of Mark: “Who do you say that I am?” He gave them a clue to his identity in the question itself. Peter responded, “You are the Christ.” By saying this, Peter was declaring, “You are God. You are the LORD. You are the great I AM.” Jesus asks us the same question today. It is the most important question you will ever answer. What will your answer be? Here’s a clue: the “Christ” that Peter recognized in the book of Mark is the great “I AM” and “LORD” that Moses met in the book of Exodus. He is also the One that Christians call Savior. Jesus is Lord! He is the great “I AM”. Be sure you know the answer to this most important question. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Growing Faith

March 8

(Hebrews 11:1-6 NIV) "Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. {2} This is what the ancients were commended for. {3} By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God's command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible. {4} By faith Abel offered God a better sacrifice than Cain did. By faith he was commended as a righteous man, when God spoke well of his offerings. And by faith he still speaks, even though he is dead. {5} By faith Enoch was taken from this life, so that he did not experience death; he could not be found, because God had taken him away. For before he was taken, he was commended as one who pleased God. {6} And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him."

(Hebrews 11:39-40 NIV) "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."

(Romans 8:24 NIV) "For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what he already has?"

Faith is not a tool we use on a stingy Father to get him to release good things to us. It’s not a magic potion that makes things happen if we can just conjure up enough of it. Instead, faith is for enduring the lean times. It is for when we do not receive what we have been expecting. Faith is more about waiting for God's will than about getting what we want from God. It is for staying the course when God tells us, "No", or “Not yet”. Faith is like a muscle. It grows stronger when exercised against resistance. We do not gain strength by eliminating resistance, but by increasing resistance to the point of producing some pain. In the same way, faith can be strengthened by times of disappointment and stress. Being forced to wait on the Lord can actually work to increase our faith. Pray that God will grow this kind of faith in you, and then accept His method of producing it in your life. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Commendation for Faith

March 7

(Hebrews 11:1-2 NIV) "Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. {2} This is what the ancients were commended for."

(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."

Faith is like a coin -- it has two sides. One side moves mountains and does heroic things. It produces miracles and wins great victories. This is the side of faith most of us desire. It’s the side of faith that gets the most publicity. The other side of faith is for when the mountain doesn’t move. It’s for when the mountain falls on us. It’s for when evil seems to triumph and the victory does not come. This side of faith doesn’t boast of prosperity -- it endures persecution. This faith is for the hard times, not the high times. It’s the faith of pain, not pleasure. This faith won’t ever build large cathedrals, sell books, or fund television ministries here on Earth. But it is an extremely heroic faith -- a faith that is highly valued by God. It is a faith that will win us high commendation in Heaven -- commendation as great as those who moved mountains. Lord, help us to have a faith like this. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Monday, March 6, 2017

Faith is a Verb

March 6

(Hebrews 11:4-31 NIV) "By faith Abel offered God a better sacrifice than Cain did. By faith he was commended as a righteous man, when God spoke well of his offerings. And by faith he still speaks, even though he is dead. {5} By faith Enoch was taken from this life, so that he did not experience death; he could not be found, because God had taken him away. For before he was taken, he was commended as one who pleased God. {6} And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him. {7} By faith Noah, when warned about things not yet seen, in holy fear built an ark to save his family. By his faith he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness that comes by faith. {8} By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going. {9} By faith he made his home in the promised land like a stranger in a foreign country; he lived in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise. {10} For he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God. {11} By faith Abraham, even though he was past age--and Sarah herself was barren--was enabled to become a father because he considered him faithful who had made the promise. {12} And so from this one man, and he as good as dead, came descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as countless as the sand on the seashore. {13} All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance. And they admitted that they were aliens and strangers on earth. {14} People who say such things show that they are looking for a country of their own. {15} If they had been thinking of the country they had left, they would have had opportunity to return. {16} Instead, they were longing for a better country--a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them. {17} By faith Abraham, when God tested him, offered Isaac as a sacrifice. He who had received the promises was about to sacrifice his one and only son, {18} even though God had said to him, "It is through Isaac that your offspring will be reckoned." {19} Abraham reasoned that God could raise the dead, and figuratively speaking, he did receive Isaac back from death. {20} By faith Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau in regard to their future. {21} By faith Jacob, when he was dying, blessed each of Joseph's sons, and worshiped as he leaned on the top of his staff. {22} By faith Joseph, when his end was near, spoke about the exodus of the Israelites from Egypt and gave instructions about his bones. {23} By faith Moses' parents hid him for three months after he was born, because they saw he was no ordinary child, and they were not afraid of the king's edict. {24} By faith Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be known as the son of Pharaoh's daughter. {25} He chose to be mistreated along with the people of God rather than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a short time. {26} He regarded disgrace for the sake of Christ as of greater value than the treasures of Egypt, because he was looking ahead to his reward. {27} By faith he left Egypt, not fearing the king's anger; he persevered because he saw him who is invisible. {28} By faith he kept the Passover and the sprinkling of blood, so that the destroyer of the firstborn would not touch the firstborn of Israel. {29} By faith the people passed through the Red Sea as on dry land; but when the Egyptians tried to do so, they were drowned. {30} By faith the walls of Jericho fell, after the people had marched around them for seven days. {31} By faith the prostitute Rahab, because she welcomed the spies, was not killed with those who were disobedient."

(James 2:26 NIV)  "As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead."

Faith is a verb. It always involves action. Read the great list of faith heroes in Hebrews 11, and take note that in every case, faith did something concrete and tangible. Faith offered, built, went, blessed, gave instruction, disobeyed evil laws, left the land of sin behind, passed through dangerous waters, brought down walls, and gave shelter to God’s people at the risk of death. Faith is not just something we possess. It is something we do. It is something we live out. Faith always causes us to do something, or it is not biblical faith. Jesus would laugh at the idea that we can have faith, but do nothing. The first indicator of faith found in the disciples was when Jesus said, “Follow me”, and they did exactly that. Peter and John left their nets -- Matthew left his tax table. God moves and works through people who consider faith a verb. Go and do your faith today. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Faith Obeys 

March 5

(Acts 26:20 NIV) "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."

(Matthew 3:8 NIV) "Produce fruit in keeping with repentance."

(Romans 1:5 NIV) "Through him and for his name's sake, we received grace and apostleship to call people from among all the Gentiles to the obedience that comes from faith."

One of the fruits of genuine faith is obedience. When we believe God, we obey God. Deeds cannot save us, but we are called to prove our repentance by our deeds. If our faith is real, it will bear fruit that looks like repentance. We will visibly live out an obedience that derives from our faith. Faith and obedience go hand in hand. This kind of obedience goes beyond God’s moral commands alone. It includes following Jesus on a daily basis and understanding His calling on our life. Genuine faith starts with obedience, and continues to obey as God speaks to us through His word. If meeting Jesus does not change us, if our lives remain the basically the same as they were before we met the Lord, then we have probably not met the Jesus of Scripture. The experience we had was likely more emotional than spiritual. Jesus calls us to a radical faith… a faith that obeys. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Being a Finisher

March 4

(James 1:22-25 NIV) "Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. {23} Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror {24} and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. {25} But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it -- he will be blessed in what he does."

Anyone can start a project. It’s easy! Beginners are a dime a dozen. But it takes persistence and stamina to be a finisher. When it comes to obeying the word of God, Jesus wants finishers. If you haven’t been finding any fresh truth in the Bible lately, maybe it’s because you haven’t done what you already know to be true. Why would God show us anything new, when we aren’t doing what He has already shown us? Why would God give us new insights when we won’t apply what we already understand? Our spiritual knowledge will begin to expand when we stop stewing about all those things in scripture we don’t understand, and we start doing what we do understand. Do what you already know. New truth will follow obedience to known truth. This little principle will revolutionize your spiritual life. Don’t just listen to the word of God. Do what it tells you to do. Be a finisher! -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Friday, March 3, 2017

Making Sense of It All

March 3

(Luke 18:34 NIV) "The disciples did not understand any of this. Its meaning was hidden from them, and they did not know what he was talking about."

(Mark 9:32 NIV) "But they did not understand what he meant and were afraid to ask him about it."

(John 12:16 NIV) "At first his disciples did not understand all this. Only after Jesus was glorified did they realize that these things had been written about him and that they had done these things to him."

Sometimes we just do not understand what we read in the Bible. Some of the truths in Scripture are deep and we struggle to grasp what God is saying. One consolation is that we are in good company. Those heroes of the faith known as the disciples could not always grasp what Jesus was saying, nor did they always comprehend the word of God that was available to them at the time. Many times they were confused and Jesus would have to sit them down and say, “Look, this is what I meant”. When it comes to discovering the meaning of Scripture we should avoid struggling alone. We should seek help from our pastors, and from our brothers and sisters in the Lord. Scripture is best interpreted when believers come together and ask, “What is God trying to tell us?” God speaks to us through His word, and we can hear Him more clearly when we pray and work together at understanding. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Digging for Gold

March 2

(Acts 17:11 NIV) "Now the Bereans were of more noble character than the Thessalonians, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true."

(Luke 24:45 NIV) "Then he opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures."

(Proverbs 2:1-5 NIV) "My son, if you accept my words and store up my commands within you, {2} turning your ear to wisdom and applying your heart to understanding, {3} and if you call out for insight and cry aloud for understanding, {4} and if you look for it as for silver and search for it as for hidden treasure, {5} then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God."

The treasures of Scripture are not found like large rocks on the surface of a beach. We don't just stumble over them as we stroll casually across the sand. The "deep things of God" are more like buried nuggets of gold. We have to mine for gold -- we have to dig for it. It tends to be hidden in something much bigger -- like a mountain. We may occasionally get lucky when strolling near the mine, but we’ll find a lot more if we dig daily, dig deep, and ask God to open our minds so we can understand. This kind of search takes time, energy, thought, effort, and commitment. But if we persist, we can unearth a fortune greater than gold, silver, or any other precious metal. We can discover the heart and mind of God. What a great treasure! Will you be among those who dig deep and strike it rich? Search for your nugget today, and don’t stop until you find one. You will be richer if you do. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day 

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

A People of the Book

March 1

(Ephesians 6:17 NIV) "Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God."

(Hebrews 4:12 NIV) "For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart."

(Matthew 22:29 NIV) ""Jesus replied, "You are in error because you do not know the Scriptures or the power of God.""

The word of God is the “sword of the Spirit” and can cut through the defenses of our greatest Enemy. But before we can wield that sword with skill and authority it must be internalized. This is why meditating on Scripture, and memorizing it, are important disciplines for the Christian. Without God’s word, we have no effective weapon for battle. Christians and churches that will not wield the Spirit’s sword cannot be truly victorious. Some churches have dulled the Spirit’s sword so much that it would not cut hot butter. God’s word has been downgraded to the status of mythology and poetry. These churches pose no threat to the kingdom of darkness, and one day will hear these chilling words from Christ: “You are in error because you do not know the Scriptures." Don’t let that be what you hear. Store up the word of God in your heart and live it out in your life. Be a people of the Book. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day