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Monday, July 31, 2017

Cain: Murder One

July 31

(Genesis 4:1-16 NIV) ""Adam lay with his wife Eve, and she became pregnant and gave birth to Cain. She said, "With the help of the Lord I have brought forth a man." {2} Later she gave birth to his brother Abel. Now Abel kept flocks, and Cain worked the soil. {3} In the course of time Cain brought some of the fruits of the soil as an offering to the Lord. {4} But Abel brought fat portions from some of the firstborn of his flock. The Lord looked with favor on Abel and his offering, {5} but on Cain and his offering he did not look with favor. So Cain was very angry, and his face was downcast. {6} Then the Lord said to Cain, "Why are you angry? Why is your face downcast? {7} If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must master it." {8} Now Cain said to his brother Abel, "Let's go out to the field." And while they were in the field, Cain attacked his brother Abel and killed him. {9} Then the Lord said to Cain, "Where is your brother Abel?" "I don't know," he replied. "Am I my brother's keeper?" {10} The Lord said, "What have you done? Listen! Your brother's blood cries out to me from the ground. {11} Now you are under a curse and driven from the ground, which opened its mouth to receive your brother's blood from your hand. {12} When you work the ground, it will no longer yield its crops for you. You will be a restless wanderer on the earth." {13} Cain said to the Lord, "My punishment is more than I can bear. {14} Today you are driving me from the land, and I will be hidden from your presence; I will be a restless wanderer on the earth, and whoever finds me will kill me." {15} But the Lord said to him, "Not so ; if anyone kills Cain, he will suffer vengeance seven times over." Then the Lord put a mark on Cain so that no one who found him would kill him. {16} So Cain went out from the Lord's presence and lived in the land of Nod, east of Eden.""

Cain, the son of Adam and Eve, made his mark in life, but it was not the kind of mark you write home about. His mother was talked into sinning by the serpent, and just one generation later, Cain couldn’t be talked out of sinning… even by God. Cain didn’t just leave his door open for the sin that was crouching outside of it -- he went out and dragged it into his house. Instead of turning to God, Cain turned on his brother. Instead of moving to eliminate his carnality, Cain moved to eliminate his competition. The result was the first recorded murder -- what police and lawyers call “murder one”. When God shows His displeasure and sends a Spirit of conviction, the proper response from people of faith is to repent and seek forgiveness. Cain’s response was anger, indignation, and defiance. His only sorrow was for the dire consequences of his sin. This man definitely earned his mark. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Sunday, July 30, 2017

The Eve of Destruction

July 30

(Genesis 3:1-7 NIV) "Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, "Did God really say, 'You must not eat from any tree in the garden'?" {2} The woman said to the serpent, "We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, {3} but God did say, 'You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.'" {4} "You will not surely die," the serpent said to the woman. {5} "For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil." {6} When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it. {7} Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves."

Eve was created in the image of God, but for her that was not enough. Her desire to be “godlike”, instead of godly, haunts all humanity. If you compare Genesis 2:16-17 with Genesis 3:2-3, you’ll discover that Eve added to God’s word, making it more difficult to obey. In so doing, she became not only the “mother of all living”, she became the mother of all Pharisees, as well as the mother of all sinners. After she and Adam ate of the forbidden fruit and realized the nakedness of their sin, they foolishly tried to hide from God. We still try to hide from God in the bushes of rules and religion. We believe in God, but do not believe God. We memorize God’s word, but refuse to do what it says. We crave spirituality, but resist the Holy Spirit. We desire God’s presence and blessing, but balk at the submission required for a relationship. We are indeed our mother’s children. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Eve: The Mother of All Living

July 29

(Genesis 1:26-28 NIV) ""Then God said, "Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground." {27} So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. {28} God blessed them and said to them, "Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground.""

(Genesis 3:20 NIV) "Adam named his wife Eve, because she would become the mother of all the living."

Some years ago a group of geneticists made a startling discovery. From their study of mitochondrial DNA, they concluded that everyone living today is the descendent of a common mother. This one woman was literally, the mother of all living. Her DNA inhabits every human being alive today. That means she now has over seven billion blood relatives who are genetically related to her. The other shocking discovery was that she lived only about 200,000 years ago. This dating concerned many devoted evolutionists, and threatened their doctrine that declares the human family tree to be millions of years old. And while the research will continue, it would seem for now that science has discovered Genesis and has come face to face with the woman to whom Adam gave the name “Eve, because she would become the mother of all living”. Welcome home! -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Friday, July 28, 2017

The Big Deal with Adam’s Sin

July 28

(Romans 5:12 NIV) "Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men, because all sinned."

(1 Corinthians 15:21-22 NIV) "For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man. {22} For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive."

(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."

Adam’s sin in eating from the forbidden tree may appear trivial in the eyes of the theologically untrained. What’s the big deal anyway? The Greek word for sin is “hamartia”. It means to “miss the mark” or “miss the target.” Many Christians don’t drink, smoke, cuss, or do any of the things commonly associated with “sinners”. But they “live in sin” daily because they refuse to go, give, serve, reach out, or forgive. They are “missing the target”. We all do! Disobedience is sin, whatever form it might take. With man’s law, it’s the nature of the deed that matters when determining how bad a crime is. With God’s law, it’s the fact that we disobey at all. The deed is secondary to the rebellious spirit in which it is done. When we live for ourselves instead of for the glory of God, we “miss the mark”. That makes us all sinners. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Adam: First in a Long Line of Sinners

July 27

(Genesis 1:28-31 NIV) "God blessed them and said to them, "Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground." {29} Then God said, "I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food. {30} And to all the beasts of the earth and all the birds of the air and all the creatures that move on the ground--everything that has the breath of life in it--I give every green plant for food." And it was so. {31} God saw all that he had made, and it was very good. And there was evening, and there was morning--the sixth day."

(Genesis 2:16-18 NIV) ""And the Lord God commanded the man, "You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; {17} but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die." {18} The Lord God said, "It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.""

(Hosea 6:7 NIV) "Like Adam, they have broken the covenant-- they were unfaithful to me there."

According to Scripture, all family trees begin with Adam. His blood flows in our veins. We carry his DNA. His rebellious nature infects us all. When Adam disobeyed God, his life became a hassle, and he began the long, painful process of dying. His once happy world became hostile. His once serene life became chaotic. His relationship with Eve deteriorated, as sin brought blame shifting and deception into the world. People often say they would be happy and content if they just had a “better this”, or a “better that”. But Adam had it all and still blew it. He walked and talked with God. All his needs were provided. His life was what we might call “perfect”, but he still wanted something else. This also makes Adam the father of all coveters, and like it or not, we are our father’s children. But we can be changed. We can be born again to a new Father. Thank God for His mercy and grace! -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Seeing Outside the Tent     

July 26

(2 Corinthians 5:1-11 NIV)  "Now we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands. {2} Meanwhile we groan, longing to be clothed with our heavenly dwelling, {3} because when we are clothed, we will not be found naked. {4} For while we are in this tent, we groan and are burdened, because we do not wish to be unclothed but to be clothed with our heavenly dwelling, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. {5} Now it is God who has made us for this very purpose and has given us the Spirit as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come. {6} Therefore we are always confident and know that as long as we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord. {7} We live by faith, not by sight. {8} We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord. {9} So we make it our goal to please him, whether we are at home in the body or away from it. {10} For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive what is due him for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad. {11} Since, then, we know what it is to fear the Lord, we try to persuade men. What we are is plain to God, and I hope it is also plain to your conscience."

God makes it clear to us that our lives on this planet will not last forever. We live in temporary tents, not permanent buildings. Deep inside, we know we are transients. We spend much of our life inwardly groaning, longing for our heavenly dwelling. Instinctively, we know that this world is not our home. But many are blinded by the darkness inside their tents and can no longer see out. They begin to think that this world is all there is. They spend their lives groping and grasping for stuff -- stuff that will ultimately belong to someone else. How foolish! How futile! God’s call is to walk in the light, not live in the darkness -- to live by faith, not by sight. All that we can see with our eyes of flesh is temporary. Believe God and receive new eyes. Only with eyes of faith can we see beyond our tent flaps and catch a glimpse of eternity. Only by faith can we move into our permanent home with Christ. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day 

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Jars of Clay

July 25

(Genesis 2:7 NIV) "The Lord God formed the man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being."

(Genesis 3:19 NIV)  "By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food until you return to the ground, since from it you were taken; for dust you are and to dust you will return.""

(2 Corinthians 4:7-9, 16-18 NIV) "But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. {8} We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; {9} persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed… {16} Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. {17} For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. {18} So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal."

Jars made of clay are not particularly strong or beautiful, but they are extremely useful for storing many items like water, sugar, and flour. They are not valuable for how they look… they are valuable for what they can contain. Paul the apostle taught that we are like jars of clay, made to contain God’s Spirit for a season. We were not created just to be beautiful -- we were created to be functional. Our jar of clay is not all that valuable, but what’s inside our jar is priceless -- so valuable that Jesus would give His life for it. If we worship our jars of clay, we are worshipping the created rather than the Creator. We are placing a higher value on the container than on the contents. Jesus did not die on the cross so that our jar of clay would never crack, break, or crumble. Jesus died so that when our jar returns to the dust from which it came, the contents can live forever with God. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Monday, July 24, 2017

Redemptive Pain - Sharing Our Burdens

July 24

(2 Corinthians 9:12-15 NIV) "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!"

(Psalms 55:22 NIV)  "Cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous fall."

(Galatians 6:2 NIV)  "Carry each other's burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ."

Pain strips us of our pat answers and destroys our Pop Religion. It breaks us down and squeezes the pride right out of us. Pain also squeezes the tears out of us. We should not be ashamed of them. Tears have watered some of the greatest things ever grown in the Kingdom of God. They are a touch of warm sincerity in a cold and plastic world. Pain can be redemptive. It prepares us to comfort others and teaches us to rely on God. We cannot see it in the short view, but only after we have been emptied of our pride can God fill us with His compassion and empathy. Finally, pain demands that we learn to share our burdens. We share them with God, but also with other believers. Shared pain is diminished pain, and eventually it can even become shared praise as we give glory to God for pain’s redemption. Share a burden today. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Learning to Lean - Redemptive Pain 

July 23

(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."

(Psalm 23:1-6 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. {5} You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. {6} Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever."

(2 Corinthians 1:3-7 NIV) "Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, {4} who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. {5} For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows. {6} If we are distressed, it is for your comfort and salvation; if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which produces in you patient endurance of the same sufferings we suffer. {7} And our hope for you is firm, because we know that just as you share in our sufferings, so also you share in our comfort."

When life comes apart at the seams, those people who have been through the storm often excel at coming alongside of us. Those who have endured life's crushing blows often become the best healers. Those who’ve walked through the fire become God’s greatest comforters -- people whose mere presence on the scene gives peace and hope. God never wastes an experience, but instead, redeems our darkest moments, changing them into light giving wisdom and empathy. Tough times also force us to rely on God. God seldom takes us around the valley of the shadow of death. Instead, He walks us right through the middle of it. He is with us, but we have to do the walking. When we finally come to the end of ourselves, we can finally come to the beginning of God. And when we hit what feels like the bottom, we have more than likely landed right in the palm of God's hand. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Saturday, July 22, 2017

It Hurts So Bad

July 22

(2 Corinthians 1:3-11 NIV) "Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, {4} who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. {5} For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows. {6} If we are distressed, it is for your comfort and salvation; if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which produces in you patient endurance of the same sufferings we suffer. {7} And our hope for you is firm, because we know that just as you share in our sufferings, so also you share in our comfort. {8} We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about the hardships we suffered in the province of Asia. We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired even of life. {9} Indeed, in our hearts we felt the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead. {10} He has delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us. On him we have set our hope that he will continue to deliver us, {11} as you help us by your prayers. Then many will give thanks on our behalf for the gracious favor granted us in answer to the prayers of many."

(Matthew 11:28-29 NIV) "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. {29} Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls."

Little Anthony and the Imperials had a hit song in the 1960’s called, "Hurt So Bad." Some people today could honestly say that it has been their life’s theme song. Christianity is a breeze when things go well. But when the sun goes away and won’t come back, faith gets a lot tougher. When we despair for our life, or for the life of a loved one, none of our religious clich├ęs work anymore. When our marriage is going down the tubes, and none of our prayers seem to connect, darkness and despair can take over in our lives. When pain is our "live-in”, our "housemate" by day, and our "bed partner" by night, we need a “parakaleo” -- someone who will come alongside of us and hold us up when our knees buckle. These are times we need the “Comforter”. His name is Jesus. Call for Him. Reach out to Him. Seek Him with all the strength you have left, and you will find rest for your soul. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Friday, July 21, 2017

The Big Two - Keeping It Simple

July 21

(Deuteronomy 6:4-5 NIV) "Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. {5} Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength."

(Leviticus 19:18 NIV) "Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against one of your people, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the LORD."

(Mark 12:28-31 NIV) "One of the teachers of the law came and heard them debating. Noticing that Jesus had given them a good answer, he asked him, "Of all the commandments, which is the most important?" {29} "The most important one," answered Jesus, "is this: 'Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. {30} Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.' {31} The second is this: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' There is no commandment greater than these.""

Jesus said that all the commandments could be summed up in two major commandments. The first and greatest Commandment is to love God with all your heart, mind, soul, and strength. The second greatest Commandment is to love your neighbor as yourself. We need to keep these two commandments in the order they were given. Many today have turned the order around and made “loving your neighbor” the main thing. They see “loving their neighbors” as proof that they love God… perhaps even as an avenue to loving God. This is backwards thinking and borders on “works righteousness”. God should always come first. We cannot ignore what Jesus said was number one by centering our theology on what Jesus said was number two. Doing the first and greatest Commandment is the way to truly obey the second greatest Commandment. God is first. Do both, but get the order right. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Thursday, July 20, 2017

The Tenth Commandment - Last, But Certainly Not Least

July 20

(Exodus 20:17 NIV) "You shall not covet your neighbor's house. You shall not covet your neighbor's wife, or his manservant or maidservant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor."

(Philippians 4:11-12 NIV) "I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. {12} I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want."

(1 Timothy 6:6-8 NIV) "But godliness with contentment is great gain. {7} For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. {8} But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that."

(Hebrews 13:5 NIV) "Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, "Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.""

(James 4:1-2 NIV) "What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don't they come from your desires that battle within you? {2} You want something but don't get it. You kill and covet, but you cannot have what you want. You quarrel and fight. You do not have, because you do not ask God."

Covetousness is a sin as old as the Garden of Eden. It means to desire something that belongs to another. Coveting is dangerous because it’s at the root of so many other sins. When other Commandments are broken, coveting likely happened first. Like a cancer, coveting and its two first cousins, greed and envy, can ruin our lives. The only antidote for covetousness is contentment. Covetousness and contentment are competing mindsets that constantly battle for territory in our lives. Coveting comes naturally to us. We are born wanting and demanding what we do not have. Contentment is a learned behavior that comes with maturity. It is an offshoot of several of the fruits of the Spirit. It grows in us, as God’s Spirit grows in our life. Learn to be content with what you have. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

The Ninth Commandment - Liar, Liar, Pants on Fire

July 19

(Exodus 20:16 NIV) ""You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor."

(Proverbs 6:16-19 NIV) "There are six things the Lord hates, seven that are detestable to him: {17} haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, {18} a heart that devises wicked schemes, feet that are quick to rush into evil, {19} a false witness who pours out lies and a man who stirs up dissension among brothers."

(John 8:44 NIV) "You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father's desire. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies."

(1 Samuel 15:29 NIV) "He who is the Glory of Israel does not lie or change his mind; for he is not a man, that he should change his mind.""

We have become a nation of liars. Exaggeration, half truth, slander, deceptive advertising, and innuendo have become normal practice for many politicians, journalists, corporate leaders, educational leaders, and religious leaders. We have perfected the art of deception. We lie when we say untrue things (and “half true” things) in an insincere or harmful way. We lie when we infer something bad about another person without actually saying it. We lie when we create false impressions about people or situations. A half truth is a half lie, and in God's eyes there is no such thing as a “half lie”, just like there is no such thing as a “half sin”. False testimony can be given in what we say when we shouldn’t, or in what we don’t say when we should. Lord, may Truth come to live in us, and rule in our lives. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

The Eighth Commandment - Stop Thief!

July 18

(Exodus 20:15 NIV) ""You shall not steal."

(Ephesians 4:28 NIV) "He who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with his own hands, that he may have something to share with those in need."

(Malachi 3:8 NIV) ""Will a man rob God? Yet you rob me. "But you ask, 'How do we rob you?' "In tithes and offerings."

Stealing has become a way of life for many today. We steal time from employers when we don’t work the hours we clock and don’t produce as much as we could. Some take advantage of people by overcharging them. They cash in on another’s plight, which is commonly known as price gouging. We steal when we don’t repay what we owe others. We steal when we spend more than we make, and then fail to make our payments. We steal another’s reputation when we pass on that bit of juicy gossip. But perhaps the most common kind of theft happens every Sunday when the offering plate is passed and Christians fail to give what they actually could. We want more for ourselves, and so we hold out on God. Many believers today rob God in tithes and offerings on a weekly basis and never bat an eye. Lord, have mercy! -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Monday, July 17, 2017

The Seventh Commandment - Adultery: High Cost Pleasure

July 17

(Genesis 2:24 NIV) "For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh."

(Exodus 20:14 NIV) "You shall not commit adultery."

(Proverbs 6:28-29 NIV) "Can a man walk on hot coals without his feet being scorched? {29} So is he who sleeps with another man's wife; no one who touches her will go unpunished."

(Malachi 2:14-15 NIV) "You ask, "Why?" It is because the Lord is acting as the witness between you and the wife of your youth, because you have broken faith with her, though she is your partner, the wife of your marriage covenant. {15} Has not the Lord made them one? In flesh and spirit they are his. And why one? Because he was seeking godly offspring. So guard yourself in your spirit, and do not break faith with the wife of your youth."

(Matthew 5:27 NIV) ""You have heard that it was said, 'Do not commit adultery.'"

(Hebrews 13:4 NIV) "Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral."

Before marriage became a legal commitment regulated by the state, it was a spiritual commitment, regulated by God -- a covenant between a man and a woman and the Lord. Without God, marriage loses its heart and becomes just another contract to be litigated when broken. Without God, there is no basis for saying adultery is wrong, for it is God who calls for faithfulness in marriage. God's plan is one man and one woman, committed physically, emotionally, and spiritually, for the duration of their lives. Frankly, if adultery were a business deal, none of us would seriously consider it. The cost-to-benefit ratio is just too high. The chance for profit is slim to none. The pleasure lasts for a moment. The sorrow and the regret last for a lifetime. Avoid this transaction at all costs! -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Sunday, July 16, 2017

The Sixth Commandment - The Average Murderer

July 16

(Exodus 20:13 NIV)  ""You shall not murder."

(Matthew 5:21-22 NIV)  ""You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, 'Do not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.' {22} But I tell you that anyone who is angry with his brother will be subject to judgment. Again, anyone who says to his brother, 'Raca, ' is answerable to the Sanhedrin. But anyone who says, 'You fool!' will be in danger of the fire of hell."

(Romans 13:9 NIV)  "The commandments, "Do not commit adultery," "Do not murder," "Do not steal," "Do not covet," and whatever other commandment there may be, are summed up in this one rule: "Love your neighbor as yourself.""

God is the Author of life -- the Father of all humanity. Therefore life is a sacred gift from God. We were all created in God’s image. Since life begins with God, the ending of life must also be left to him. It is His to give, and it is His to take. When we murder another human being, we usurp God’s creative authority. Murder is an affront to the Lord of life. It is the ultimate idolatry as we put ourselves in the seat of God.  Jesus took this commandment and broadened it. He taught that we can also murder with our tongues. Our words can kill. When we express disdain for others and diminish them through gossip and slander, our tongues become lethal weapons. So be careful when you shoot off your mouth… someone could be fatally wounded. The world would be a safer place if someone would invent a trigger lock for tongues. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Saturday, July 15, 2017

The Fifth Commandment - With All Due Respect

July 15          

(Exodus 20:12 NIV) "Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you."

(Proverbs 6:20 NIV) "My son, keep your father's commands and do not forsake your mother's teaching."

(Proverbs 23:22 NIV) "Listen to your father, who gave you life, and do not despise your mother when she is old."

(1 Timothy 5:8 NIV) "If anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for his immediate family, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever."

God’s Commandment to “Honor your father and mother” comes with a stated benefit -- "So that you may live long in the land". Blessing will come when we obey this Commandment. Parents are so important! The family is one of God's primary institutions for the betterment of mankind. When families are dysfunctional and weak, chaos and disorder gain strength. Our mental image of God is often influenced more by our parents than by Scripture. Parents, if we desire honor, we must behave honorably. After we become adults, honoring our parents means something different than obedience. At this stage of life, "honor" means loving care. The time when we are responsible to obey our parents will have come to an end -- but the time for honoring our parents never ends. So with all due respect, honor your father and mother. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Friday, July 14, 2017

The Fourth Commandment - A Discarded Commandment

July 14

(Exodus 20:8-11 NIV) "Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. {9} Six days you shall labor and do all your work, {10} but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your manservant or maidservant, nor your animals, nor the alien within your gates. {11} For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy."

(Genesis 2:2-3 NIV) "By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work. {3} And God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done."

The Fourth Commandment is not only the longest Commandment… it is generally the most ignored. It is the “Discarded Commandment”, taken out of the deck and thrown away by many believers today. But the Ten Commandments are not a deck of cards. They are God’s word. If the Fourth Commandment no longer has significance, neither do the rest. It should alarm us that something seen as essential by our eternal Father is now seen as outdated and optional by his followers. There’s a significant principle here. Our work will hardly ever be finished when the Sabbath comes. But, we must learn to be content with what we have done, and to trust God with what is unfinished. Perhaps keeping the Sabbath Day is really more about Faith than Law. We have to trust that when we rest in His commands, He will take care of us. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Thursday, July 13, 2017

The Third Commandment - Honoring the Family Name

July 13

(Exodus 20:7 NIV) "You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God, for the Lord will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name."

(Isaiah 48:1 NIV) "Listen to this, O house of Jacob, you who are called by the name of Israel and come from the line of Judah, you who take oaths in the name of the Lord and invoke the God of Israel-- but not in truth or righteousness--"

(Luke 6:46 NIV) "Why do you call me, 'Lord, Lord,' and do not do what I say?"

When we call Jesus, “Lord”, but live as if He isn’t, we “misuse” His name. When we call ourselves by His name, (Christian), but live like the unbelievers around us, we are taking His name in vain. God says, “Give!” -- we keep. God says, “Witness!” -- we remain silent. God says, “Forgive!” -- we hold grudges. God says, “Pray!” -- we ignore Him. God says, “Serve me!” -- we fill our schedules up with stuff that will not matter one iota in eternity. God says, “Give me your best!” -- we give him our leftovers and table scraps. God says, “Be faithful!” -- we chase other gods. God says, “Love me with all your heart!” -- we go to seminars on how to love ourselves more.  When it comes to “misusing the name of the Lord”, the quiet hypocrisy of the Church is often far worse than the vulgar profanity of the street or the screen. Repent! -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

The Second Commandment - Idol Creep

July 12

(2 Kings 17:41 NIV) "Even while these people were worshiping the Lord, they were serving their idols. To this day their children and grandchildren continue to do as their fathers did."

(Jeremiah 2:5 NIV) "This is what the Lord says: "What fault did your fathers find in me, that they strayed so far from me? They followed worthless idols and became worthless themselves."

(Jonah 2:8 NIV) "Those who cling to worthless idols forfeit the grace that could be theirs."

(Psalms 33:12 NIV) "Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord, the people he chose for his inheritance."

Idolatry has sociological implications. What we believe as individuals ripples out into the larger culture. We never hurt just ourselves when we believe wrongly about God. Idolatry is like the swine flu. It attacks the individual, but it also quietly infects and weakens the family and the nation. This is why God strongly warns us against idolatry. Our idols don’t threaten or depreciate God -- they threaten and depreciate us. Idols are like silly trinkets to God, but to us, they are toxic and lethal. They hardly ever possess the traits of the holy God of the Bible, and almost always represent a god who winks at our carnality and blesses our self interests. The god that many people believe in today bears little resemblance to the holy and righteous God of Scripture. Lord, please show us our idols. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

The Second Commandment - Idolatrous Imaginations

July 11

(Exodus 20:4-6 NIV) "You shall not make for yourself an idol in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. {5} You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, {6} but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments."

(2 Kings 17:15-16 NIV) "They rejected his decrees and the covenant he had made with their fathers and the warnings he had given them. They followed worthless idols and themselves became worthless. They imitated the nations around them although the Lord had ordered them, "Do not do as they do," and they did the things the Lord had forbidden them to do. {16} They forsook all the commands of the Lord their God and made for themselves two idols cast in the shape of calves, and an Asherah pole. They bowed down to all the starry hosts, and they worshiped Baal."

(Romans 1:22-23 NIV) "Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools {23} and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles."

The First Commandment forbids idolatry in principle. The Second Commandment forbids idolatry in practice. The root word for imagine is “image”. When we begin to construct images of God, our imaginations will always betray us, because God’s form is unimaginable. The God of Scripture cannot be properly pictured, produced, or packaged, because our human tendency is always to scale God down, making Him more like us. Our images and idols will usually look like us or something lower than us, allowing us to manage them, rather than be managed by them. We all struggle with this Second Commandment. We may never build a golden calf, but we all have these idolatrous imaginations that can stand between us and the true God. We must rid our life of them, and worship only the God of Scripture. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Monday, July 10, 2017

The First Commandment - Get Out of My Face

July 10

(Exodus 20:1-3 NIV) "And God spoke all these words: {2} "I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery. {3} "You shall have no other gods before me."

(Deuteronomy 6:5 NIV) "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength."

People often say, “We don’t need church, we just go by the Ten Commandments.” But the truth is, we can’t even get by the first one -- "You shall have no other gods before me."  It sounds simple - God doesn't want other gods to come ahead of Him, or be more important than Him. But it’s more than that. God doesn’t just want to be our number one God… He wants to be our only God. The Lord is not saying, "You can have other gods as long as I am your favorite." He is saying, “You are not to have any other gods at all. None! So get your other gods out of my face." The first commandment is not about superiority, it is about exclusivity. We are commanded to eliminate all other competitors, and to love the Lord with all of our heart, mind, soul, and strength. This can prove to be difficult, but keep at it. Keep eliminating the competition. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Sunday, July 9, 2017

God's Top 10 List - Knowing the Commander

July 9

(Exodus 20:1-2 NIV) "And God spoke all these words: {2} "I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery."

(Matthew 5:17-19 NIV) "Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. {18} I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished. {19} Anyone who breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven."

(1 John 5:3 NIV) "This is love for God: to obey his commands. And his commands are not burdensome,"

(2 John 1:6 NIV) "And this is love: that we walk in obedience to his commands. As you have heard from the beginning, his command is that you walk in love."

Aside from the gospel of grace, the Ten Commandments may be the most important words in Scripture. God gives us a simple ten point plan for living together with Him, our neighbors, and ourselves. If everyone followed this plan, it would literally transform the world. You could call them God’s Top 10 list. They are actually theological statements -- they tell us about God. And because God is eternal and unchanging, they are eternal and unchanging. They also tell us about ourselves -- about who we should be, and what we should do. For every “do not”, there is a corresponding “do”. To live out the Commandments, we need to know the Commander. In fact, knowing the Commander is even more important than knowing the Commandments. Do you really know the Lord? -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Saturday, July 8, 2017

Responding to an Awesome God

July 8

(Psalm 139:17-24 NIV) "How precious to me are your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them! {18} Were I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand. When I awake, I am still with you. {19} If only you would slay the wicked, O God! Away from me, you bloodthirsty men! {20} They speak of you with evil intent; your adversaries misuse your name. {21} Do I not hate those who hate you, O Lord, and abhor those who rise up against you? {22} I have nothing but hatred for them; I count them my enemies. {23} Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. {24} See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting."

(Matthew 22:37-38 NIV) "Jesus replied: "'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' {38} This is the first and greatest commandment."

The proper response to an awesome God is worship. In true worship, we ask God to search us, know us, test us, correct us, and lead us. Correction is where faith gets difficult, and we are often tempted to pull away from God. We stop reading the Bible because we don’t like what it says. We stop attending church because the preacher critiques our lifestyle. We avoid brothers and sisters who would hold us accountable. We begin to cherish our sin more than we cherish our Savior. We will always struggle with genuine worship when we cling to sin, for it puts us in direct violation of the first commandment. We are putting something or someone ahead of the Lord. But when we worship God alone, and work to glorify the Lord in our daily living, the transforming power of the Holy Spirit can change who we are and what we want. And that is an awesome thing! -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Friday, July 7, 2017

God the AWESOME

July 7

(Psalms 139:1-16 NIV) "O Lord, you have searched me and you know me. {2} You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. {3} You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways. {4} Before a word is on my tongue you know it completely, O Lord. {5} You hem me in--behind and before; you have laid your hand upon me. {6} Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain. {7} Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? {8} If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. {9} If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, {10} even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast. {11} If I say, "Surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me," {12} even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you. {13} For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb. {14} I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. {15} My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, {16} your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be."

Our God is Awesome! Nothing is hidden from His sight. He is omniscient. He knows our every thought. This truth can be both comforting and terrifying. Like Adam and Eve in the Garden, many of us try to hide from God, but He knows where we are. We are never out of His sight. The Lord sees all because He is omnipresent -- present everywhere. No matter how lost we may feel… God is with us. He knit us together in our mother's womb and will follow our lives until the day we die. God is omnipotent. He has unlimited power over all matters in the universe, including life and death. Our Lord is eternal. He had no beginning and He will have no end. We mortals came from dust and will return to dust, but the Lord lives forever and will reign in eternity as King of kings. This God loves us, and in Jesus He has provided a way for us to spend eternity with Him. God is indeed the Awesome One. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Thursday, July 6, 2017

God the UNITER

July 6

(Ephesians 2:12-14 NIV) "Remember that at that time you were separate from Christ, excluded from citizenship in Israel and foreigners to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God in the world. {13} But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near through the blood of Christ. {14} For he himself is our peace, who has made the two one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility,"

(Ephesians 4:4-6 NIV) "There is one body and one Spirit-- just as you were called to one hope when you were called-- {5} one Lord, one faith, one baptism; {6} one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all."

(Romans 8:35-39 NIV) "Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? {36} As it is written: "For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered." {37} No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. {38} For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, {39} neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord."

(Romans 6:5 NIV) "If we have been united with him like this in his death, we will certainly also be united with him in his resurrection."

When God separates, He separates some unto himself. Paradoxically, the great Separator is also the great Uniter. He separates in order to unify. We who have believed have one hope, one faith and one baptism. We gather around one throne. We are members of one body. We are one in the Spirit. We are one flock, one people, one Church. We sing one song. We belong to one Kingdom. We bow to one King: the King of Kings. We serve one Lord and Savior: His name is Jesus. We are one with Christ. It's an eternal union. Nothing can separate us. Nothing can separate what God has joined together. He will never leave us or forsake us. We belong to Him for eternity. Even today, Jesus, the great Uniter, is calling people out of darkness and into His light. He is calling people to become one with Him. Say yes! -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

God the SEPARATOR

July 5

(Genesis 1:4 NIV) "God saw that the light was good, and he separated the light from the darkness."

(Exodus 14:21 NIV) "Then Moses stretched out his hand over the sea, and all that night the Lord drove the sea back with a strong east wind and turned it into dry land. The waters were divided,"

(Luke 12:52-53 NIV) "From now on there will be five in one family divided against each other, three against two and two against three. {53} They will be divided, father against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law."

(2 Corinthians 6:17 NIV) "Therefore come out from them and be separate, says the Lord. Touch no unclean thing, and I will receive you."

Many today worship a "Huggy Bear" god. This god brings the whole world together in one big happy family. But, this is not the God of Scripture. God is a Separator. He divides as much as He unifies. He separated darkness from light. He separated the waters of the Red Sea. Jesus declared that He would separate families and made no apology for it. He didn't come to unite the religions of earth under one big tent. He came to separate false religions from the true faith. He came to separate the pagans from the genuinely faithful. Jesus will eventually separate all people, as a shepherd separates sheep from goats. One group will go to heaven -- the other group will go to hell. Jesus is the Great Separator. But this separation is not arbitrary. We get to choose whether to believe God, or to reject the Savior. Choose wisely. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Born Again in the USA

July 4

(Luke 4:18 NIV) "The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed,"

(John 8:32 NIV) "Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free."

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

(2 Corinthians 3:17 NIV) "Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom."

(Galatians 5:13 NIV) "You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature; rather, serve one another in love."

(Psalms 118:5 NIV) "In my anguish I cried to the Lord, and he answered by setting me free."

We were created to be free, but we must never mistake being free for having no boundaries or restrictions. True freedom cannot exist without some restraint. Freedom without boundaries is anarchy. Freedom must be responsible or it won't be freedom for very long. Freedom also brings with it the real possibility of failure. Freedom cannot survive when people demand equal outcomes in spite of meager efforts. If it becomes impossible to fail, we are no longer free. One of the worst crimes we can commit against freedom is to continuously remove the consequences from the bad choices that people make. Finally, freedom is never actually “free”. It always costs something. Many times the price is high and includes the shedding of blood. For the Christian, it was the blood of Jesus, God’s only Son. Our freedom cost God the life of His Son. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Monday, July 3, 2017

God the WARNER

July 3

(Luke 21:34 NIV) "Be careful, or your hearts will be weighed down with dissipation, drunkenness and the anxieties of life, and that day will close on you unexpectedly like a trap."

(Mark 4:18-19 NIV) "Still others, like seed sown among thorns, hear the word; {19} but the worries of this life, the deceitfulness of wealth and the desires for other things come in and choke the word, making it unfruitful."

Our heavenly Father is so wise. He is God the Warner. Those who had competent and caring parents can remember their many warnings: “Don’t go so fast! Stay away from that crowd! Don’t stay out too late!” Most of us figured it was just a plot by old people to prevent us from having any fun. But when we became adults, we realized (many times tragically) that the old folks were right, and many times we issued the same warnings to our children. The dangers that Jesus warns us about are usually relationship killers: addiction in any form, constant anxiety, chasing after wealth, and dissipation, which is constant busyness and lack of focus. Many today are drowning in their habits, their worries, their jobs, and their schedules. Will we listen to God the Warner and take steps to avoid these destructive behaviors, or will we just blow Him off? Choose wisely. Consider this a Warning. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Sunday, July 2, 2017

God the GIVER

July 2

(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 5:11 NIV) "And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son."

(2 Corinthians 9:14-15 NIV) "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!"

Scripture says, “God so loved the world that he gave.” As we consider the attributes of God, we must not forget that God is giving. God the Giver overwhelms us with His love. If one considers who God is, and then ponders who we are, the extent of His generosity to us is staggering. God gives us wisdom, strength, light, victory, blessing, rest, grace, mercy, and life eternal. Best of all, He gives us Jesus and His Holy Spirit. God the Giver does not just give us gifts for this world. He gives us gifts that are out of this world -- gifts that will last for eternity. We can never out-give God. Jesus is truly, "The Gift that keeps on giving". What a great God we have. Have you received God’s gift of forgiveness and salvation? Have you received Jesus as your Lord and Savior? No one in their right mind would turn down a Gift like this. Believe and receive! -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Saturday, July 1, 2017

God the CHANGER

July 1

(1 Samuel 10:6 NIV) "The Spirit of the Lord will come upon you in power, and you will prophesy with them; and you will be changed into a different person."

(Mark 1:17 NIV) ""Come, follow me," Jesus said, "and I will make you fishers of men.""

(Matthew 18:3 NIV) "And he said: "I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven."

(2 Peter 3:18 NIV) "But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever! Amen."

God is the Great Changer. Change is one of the coolest things about life, but it is also one of the most uncomfortable things. Very few of us relish change. In fact, some of us are downright resistant to it. We say, "God loves me just the way I am." That is true, but God also loves us far too much to leave us the way He found us. God changes us because God is the Changer. God's intent beyond salvation is transformation. He wants us to become less childish, while becoming more childlike, and there is a big difference between the two. Jesus called fishermen and changed them into “fishers of men.” They had fished for survival, but now they would fish for souls. They had fished for a living, but now they would fish for the Lord. The Lord’s intentions have not changed. If God is not changing you, it is not God that you are serving. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day