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Thursday, August 31, 2017

Joshua: The Next Generation

August 31

(Joshua 1:1-9 NIV)  "After the death of Moses the servant of the Lord, the Lord said to Joshua son of Nun, Moses' aide: {2} "Moses my servant is dead. Now then, you and all these people, get ready to cross the Jordan River into the land I am about to give to them--to the Israelites. {3} I will give you every place where you set your foot, as I promised Moses. {4} Your territory will extend from the desert to Lebanon, and from the great river, the Euphrates--all the Hittite country--to the Great Sea on the west. {5} No one will be able to stand up against you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you. {6} "Be strong and courageous, because you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to their forefathers to give them. {7} Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go. {8} Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. {9} Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.""

(Joshua 24:14-15 NIV)  ""Now fear the Lord and serve him with all faithfulness. Throw away the gods your forefathers worshiped beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve the Lord. {15} But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your forefathers served beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.""

Joshua was a man of great courage who followed the Lord wholeheartedly. He boldly led God’s people into a land filled with giants to do battle with enemies who seemed too large and ferocious to conquer. But conquer they did. Joshua led an army that never lost a battle as long as they followed the Lord… an army that could truly say, “God is on our side”. God’s people still face giants today -- giants that are big and dangerous. Sometimes they have faces, sometimes they don’t. Sometimes they are ideas and philosophies. Sometimes they are attitudes or addictions. We live in a dangerous and hostile world – a world that often devours those who live in it. But we must not withdraw or hide. We must face our giants, stand up to them, and defeat them… or we will stumble through life in fear and bondage. Wholeheartedly follow the Lord. Be strong and courageous! -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day 

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Nadab and Abihu: Playing with Fire

August 30

(Exodus 24:9-10 NIV)  "Moses and Aaron, Nadab and Abihu, and the seventy elders of Israel went up {10} and saw the God of Israel. Under his feet was something like a pavement made of sapphire, clear as the sky itself."

(Leviticus 10:1-11 NIV)  "Aaron's sons Nadab and Abihu took their censers, put fire in them and added incense; and they offered unauthorized fire before the Lord, contrary to his command. {2} So fire came out from the presence of the Lord and consumed them, and they died before the Lord. {3} Moses then said to Aaron, "This is what the Lord spoke of when he said: "'Among those who approach me I will show myself holy; in the sight of all the people I will be honored.'" Aaron remained silent. {4} Moses summoned Mishael and Elzaphan, sons of Aaron's uncle Uzziel, and said to them, "Come here; carry your cousins outside the camp, away from the front of the sanctuary." {5} So they came and carried them, still in their tunics, outside the camp, as Moses ordered. {6} Then Moses said to Aaron and his sons Eleazar and Ithamar, "Do not let your hair become unkempt, and do not tear your clothes, or you will die and the Lord will be angry with the whole community. But your relatives, all the house of Israel, may mourn for those the Lord has destroyed by fire. {7} Do not leave the entrance to the Tent of Meeting or you will die, because the Lord's anointing oil is on you." So they did as Moses said. {8} Then the Lord said to Aaron, {9} "You and your sons are not to drink wine or other fermented drink whenever you go into the Tent of Meeting, or you will die. This is a lasting ordinance for the generations to come. {10} You must distinguish between the holy and the common, between the unclean and the clean, {11} and you must teach the Israelites all the decrees the Lord has given them through Moses.""

In the heart of Leviticus lies the tragic story of Nadab and Abihu, struck down by God for offering up “unauthorized fire”. They were well aware of God’s power and God’s law. They had seen God’s Glory! But they crossed a line and paid the ultimate price. If we think God was too harsh, it simply means we do not understand the holiness of God, or man’s proper place. Being chosen and anointed by God is not a fireproof antidote for disobedience. Neither is it a license to sin. Subsequent verses infer that Nadab and Abihu may have behaved foolishly because they were drunk. Drinking and foolish behavior regularly go together. We who complain about living with the fruit of our sins may want to take a look at Nadab and Abihu, and thank God we live in an age of grace. God expects our “fire” to be holy fire… pure and under His authority. And the greatest “fire” we have to offer God is our life. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Moses: One Last Mountaintop

August 29

(Deuteronomy 32:48-52 NIV)  "On that same day the Lord told Moses, {49} "Go up into the Abarim Range to Mount Nebo in Moab, across from Jericho, and view Canaan, the land I am giving the Israelites as their own possession. {50} There on the mountain that you have climbed you will die and be gathered to your people, just as your brother Aaron died on Mount Hor and was gathered to his people. {51} This is because both of you broke faith with me in the presence of the Israelites at the waters of Meribah Kadesh in the Desert of Zin and because you did not uphold my holiness among the Israelites. {52} Therefore, you will see the land only from a distance; you will not enter the land I am giving to the people of Israel.""

(Matthew 17:1-3 NIV)  "After six days Jesus took with him Peter, James and John the brother of James, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. {2} There he was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as the light. {3} Just then there appeared before them Moses and Elijah, talking with Jesus."

(Luke 9:30-31 NIV)  "Two men, Moses and Elijah, {31} appeared in glorious splendor, talking with Jesus. They spoke about his departure, which he was about to bring to fulfillment at Jerusalem."

When the last of the unfaithful generation had died, Moses led their children back to the edge of the Promised Land. It was his last duty -- he would not be leading them in. Moses then made one last trip up the mountain to meet the Lord. He had made mistakes, but faced God as a repentant, faithful, and obedient man. This may seem sad, but our greatest rewards are not found here on Earth. Compared to what Moses was about to inherit, the Promised Land was peanuts. Moses did not inherit land here on earth, but his inheritance in heaven was great. Almost 1,500 years later, we see Moses, very much alive, on another mountain comforting Jesus as He was preparing to head up Mt. Calvary to face death -- Moses had “been there, done that.” A day is coming when we too will face death. Are you ready? With Jesus, we can ascend that last mountain with confidence. – Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Monday, August 28, 2017

Moses: Uh Oh, Big Mistake

August 28

(Numbers 20:2-12 NIV)  "Now there was no water for the community, and the people gathered in opposition to Moses and Aaron. {3} They quarreled with Moses and said, "If only we had died when our brothers fell dead before the Lord! {4} Why did you bring the Lord's community into this desert, that we and our livestock should die here? {5} Why did you bring us up out of Egypt to this terrible place? It has no grain or figs, grapevines or pomegranates. And there is no water to drink!" {6} Moses and Aaron went from the assembly to the entrance to the Tent of Meeting and fell facedown, and the glory of the Lord appeared to them. {7} The Lord said to Moses, {8} "Take the staff, and you and your brother Aaron gather the assembly together. Speak to that rock before their eyes and it will pour out its water. You will bring water out of the rock for the community so they and their livestock can drink." {9} So Moses took the staff from the Lord's presence, just as he commanded him. {10} He and Aaron gathered the assembly together in front of the rock and Moses said to them, "Listen, you rebels, must we bring you water out of this rock?" {11} Then Moses raised his arm and struck the rock twice with his staff. Water gushed out, and the community and their livestock drank. {12} But the Lord said to Moses and Aaron, "Because you did not trust in me enough to honor me as holy in the sight of the Israelites, you will not bring this community into the land I give them.""

Moses took God’s people right up to the edge of the Promised Land, but they refused to enter. He was frustrated with their whining and made the biggest mistake of his life. God told Moses to command a rock to give water to the people, but instead of speaking to the rock, Moses whacked it twice with his staff. He directly disobeyed God, and consequently was not allowed to enter the Promised Land. That penalty may seem severe, but this was a man who had stood in the very presence of God. More than once he had seen the results of disobeying the Lord. God makes a statement here. When leaders violate the direct commands of God, they jeopardize their future. Sin is sin, even if one is a great prophet. Obey the Lord. Do whatever it takes to do what He commands. Stop complaining about those who will not listen to God. Focus on yourself. And don’t be whacking on any rocks! – Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Moses: The Tipping Point

August 27

(Numbers 13:1-2 NIV)  "The Lord said to Moses, {2} "Send some men to explore the land of Canaan, which I am giving to the Israelites. From each ancestral tribe send one of its leaders.""

(Numbers 13:17-33 NIV)  "When Moses sent them to explore Canaan, he said, "Go up through the Negev and on into the hill country. {18} See what the land is like and whether the people who live there are strong or weak, few or many. {19} What kind of land do they live in? Is it good or bad? What kind of towns do they live in? Are they unwalled or fortified? {20} How is the soil? Is it fertile or poor? Are there trees on it or not? Do your best to bring back some of the fruit of the land." (It was the season for the first ripe grapes.) {21} So they went up and explored the land from the Desert of Zin as far as Rehob, toward Lebo Hamath. {22} They went up through the Negev and came to Hebron, where Ahiman, Sheshai and Talmai, the descendants of Anak, lived. (Hebron had been built seven years before Zoan in Egypt.) {23} When they reached the Valley of Eshcol, they cut off a branch bearing a single cluster of grapes. Two of them carried it on a pole between them, along with some pomegranates and figs. {24} That place was called the Valley of Eshcol because of the cluster of grapes the Israelites cut off there. {25} At the end of forty days they returned from exploring the land. {26} They came back to Moses and Aaron and the whole Israelite community at Kadesh in the Desert of Paran. There they reported to them and to the whole assembly and showed them the fruit of the land. {27} They gave Moses this account: "We went into the land to which you sent us, and it does flow with milk and honey! Here is its fruit. {28} But the people who live there are powerful, and the cities are fortified and very large. We even saw descendants of Anak there. {29} The Amalekites live in the Negev; the Hittites, Jebusites and Amorites live in the hill country; and the Canaanites live near the sea and along the Jordan." {30} Then Caleb silenced the people before Moses and said, "We should go up and take possession of the land, for we can certainly do it." {31} But the men who had gone up with him said, "We can't attack those people; they are stronger than we are." {32} And they spread among the Israelites a bad report about the land they had explored. They said, "The land we explored devours those living in it. All the people we saw there are of great size. {33} We saw the Nephilim there (the descendants of Anak come from the Nephilim). We seemed like grasshoppers in our own eyes, and we looked the same to them.""

God led His people right up to the edge of the Promised Land. They had reached the tipping point… the point of no return. It was the defining moment for a generation… but they failed the test. They forgot the power of God. They were filled with fear and doubt, instead of with faith and determination. Their enemy appeared to be gigantic and they felt small. They decided that they could not win, and refused to move forward. They tipped the wrong way. They behaved as unbelievers, and so God said, “You will die as unbelievers.” God accepted their decision to live faithless lives, and as a consequence, that generation wandered in the desert until every single one of them perished. Many of us today still have giants in our lives. They intimidate us, threaten us, and frighten us. Faith is trusting God to overcome our giants as we believe His promises. Lack of faith still leads to slow death. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Moses: Called Up

August 26

(Exodus 19:20 NIV)  "The Lord descended to the top of Mount Sinai and called Moses to the top of the mountain. So Moses went up"

(Psalms 61:2 NIV)  "From the ends of the earth I call to you, I call as my heart grows faint; lead me to the rock that is higher than I."

(Matthew 10:38 NIV)  "anyone who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me."

God came down to give the Commandments to Moses on Mount Sinai. It was a divine visitation. But Moses had to go up to the top of that mountain to meet with God. And so we learn that even when God descends, it’s still a big step up for us to commune with Him. When God came down to Earth in Christ, the disciples quickly realized that they would have to raise the level of their living in order to truly follow him. It’s still that way. God came down to us, and He takes us right where we are. But He loves us far too much to leave us there. When Jesus calls us to follow Him, He calls us upward to His higher way. “The Word was made flesh, and dwelt for a while among us”. But we must still rise up to with him. So, let us cry out along with the Psalm writer, “Lead me to the Rock that is higher than I.” We have a higher calling. Elevate your life, Christian. Step up to follow Him. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Friday, August 25, 2017

Moses: God’s Miracle Man

August 25

(Exodus 14:21-31 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, {22} and the Israelites went through the sea on dry ground, with a wall of water on their right and on their left. {23} The Egyptians pursued them, and all Pharaoh's horses and chariots and horsemen followed them into the sea. {24} During the last watch of the night the Lord looked down from the pillar of fire and cloud at the Egyptian army and threw it into confusion. {25} He made the wheels of their chariots come off so that they had difficulty driving. And the Egyptians said, "Let's get away from the Israelites! The Lord is fighting for them against Egypt." {26} Then the Lord said to Moses, "Stretch out your hand over the sea so that the waters may flow back over the Egyptians and their chariots and horsemen." {27} Moses stretched out his hand over the sea, and at daybreak the sea went back to its place. The Egyptians were fleeing toward it, and the Lord swept them into the sea. {28} The water flowed back and covered the chariots and horsemen--the entire army of Pharaoh that had followed the Israelites into the sea. Not one of them survived. {29} But the Israelites went through the sea on dry ground, with a wall of water on their right and on their left. {30} That day the Lord saved Israel from the hands of the Egyptians, and Israel saw the Egyptians lying dead on the shore. {31} And when the Israelites saw the great power the Lord displayed against the Egyptians, the people feared the Lord and put their trust in him and in Moses his servant."

God did many miracles through Moses, but one of the greatest was the rescue of His people from Pharaoh’s army via a narrow way through the parted Red Sea. God’s people came to a place where they saw no other way to be saved but God’s way, and so they took it. No one likely complained that day that it was the only way, or that the way was too narrow. When death looms on the horizon, not many will gripe about a way of escape that is being offered. The way to life is still the narrow way. It is provided by God through the cross of Christ, and only the cross of Christ. Jesus did not suffer and die on the cross so that we could choose from door one, two, or three. His death and resurrection did not increase our variety of options. There is but one way through the sea of death. God provides us with one miraculous narrow way to be saved. Stop whining and take it! -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Moses: God’s Main Man

August 24

(Exodus 3:1-15 NIV)  "Now Moses was tending the flock of Jethro his father-in-law, the priest of Midian, and he led the flock to the far side of the desert and came to Horeb, the mountain of God. {2} There the angel of the Lord appeared to him in flames of fire from within a bush. Moses saw that though the bush was on fire it did not burn up. {3} So Moses thought, "I will go over and see this strange sight--why the bush does not burn up." {4} When the Lord saw that he had gone over to look, God called to him from within the bush, "Moses! Moses!" And Moses said, "Here I am." {5} "Do not come any closer," God said. "Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy ground." {6} Then he said, "I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob." At this, Moses hid his face, because he was afraid to look at God. {7} The Lord said, "I have indeed seen the misery of my people in Egypt. I have heard them crying out because of their slave drivers, and I am concerned about their suffering. {8} So I have come down to rescue them from the hand of the Egyptians and to bring them up out of that land into a good and spacious land, a land flowing with milk and honey--the home of the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites. {9} And now the cry of the Israelites has reached me, and I have seen the way the Egyptians are oppressing them. {10} So now, go. I am sending you to Pharaoh to bring my people the Israelites out of Egypt." {11} But Moses said to God, "Who am I, that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?" {12} And God said, "I will be with you. And this will be the sign to you that it is I who have sent you: When you have brought the people out of Egypt, you will worship God on this mountain." {13} 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."

We all have a call of some kind on our life. God uses a wide variety of methods to communicate His call. The Lord used a burning bush to call Moses back to Egypt to free His people. We all have some kind of “burning bush” experience. We will all hear God’s call in some way, and we will do one of two things: we will cover our ears and eyes, make excuses, and stay where we are -- or we will listen, head for our “Egypt”, and do what God sent us there to do. Our “Egypt” may not be very far away. It may not be across the ocean -- it might be just across the street. Going back to Egypt was inconvenient and dangerous for Moses, but he could not stay where he was and still say that he loved God. Neither can we! Genuine love is accompanied by obedience. God’s call will seldom allow us to remain cozy and comfortable right where we are. We best get ready to move. God is calling! -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Joseph: A Dreamer’s Life Speaks

August 23

(Genesis 45:5-8 NIV)  "And now, do not be distressed and do not be angry with yourselves for selling me here, because it was to save lives that God sent me ahead of you. {6} For two years now there has been famine in the land, and for the next five years there will not be plowing and reaping. {7} But God sent me ahead of you to preserve for you a remnant on earth and to save your lives by a great deliverance. {8} "So then, it was not you who sent me here, but God. He made me father to Pharaoh, lord of his entire household and ruler of all Egypt."

(Genesis 50:19-21 NIV)  "But Joseph said to them, "Don't be afraid. Am I in the place of God? {20} You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives. {21} So then, don't be afraid. I will provide for you and your children." And he reassured them and spoke kindly to them."

(Romans 8:28 NIV)  "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose."

There are some important lessons to be learned from the life of Joseph. God plans further ahead than we do... in some cases, centuries ahead. We are such near sighted creatures. We can only see about as far as the edge of our comfort zone. We must learn to trust God, even when we are outside that zone. God’s plan is much bigger than our plan. It’s also more important. We must accept that tough times may be part of God’s plan for us. Sometimes God walks with us into the “valley of the shadow of death”, so he can walk us through it. He may seem to take his time getting us through, but if we constantly balk at entering those valleys… if we only seek after “blessing”, we will end up working against God’s plan for our life and we will be regularly disappointed with God. No one can do anything to us that cannot be used by God to accomplish His plan. Our times are in His hands. Trust God! – Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Joseph: Little Brother Who Saves

August 22

(Genesis 37 NIV)  "Jacob lived in the land where his father had stayed, the land of Canaan. {2} This is the account of Jacob. Joseph, a young man of seventeen, was tending the flocks with his brothers, the sons of Bilhah and the sons of Zilpah, his father's wives, and he brought their father a bad report about them. {3} Now Israel loved Joseph more than any of his other sons, because he had been born to him in his old age; and he made a richly ornamented robe for him. {4} When his brothers saw that their father loved him more than any of them, they hated him and could not speak a kind word to him. {5} Joseph had a dream, and when he told it to his brothers, they hated him all the more. {6} He said to them, "Listen to this dream I had: {7} We were binding sheaves of grain out in the field when suddenly my sheaf rose and stood upright, while your sheaves gathered around mine and bowed down to it." {8} His brothers said to him, "Do you intend to reign over us? Will you actually rule us?" And they hated him all the more because of his dream and what he had said. {9} Then he had another dream, and he told it to his brothers. "Listen," he said, "I had another dream, and this time the sun and moon and eleven stars were bowing down to me." {10} When he told his father as well as his brothers, his father rebuked him and said, "What is this dream you had? Will your mother and I and your brothers actually come and bow down to the ground before you?" {11} His brothers were jealous of him, but his father kept the matter in mind. {12} Now his brothers had gone to graze their father's flocks near Shechem, {13} and Israel said to Joseph, "As you know, your brothers are grazing the flocks near Shechem. Come, I am going to send you to them." "Very well," he replied. {14} So he said to him, "Go and see if all is well with your brothers and with the flocks, and bring word back to me." Then he sent him off from the Valley of Hebron. When Joseph arrived at Shechem, {15} a man found him wandering around in the fields and asked him, "What are you looking for?" {16} He replied, "I'm looking for my brothers. Can you tell me where they are grazing their flocks?" {17} "They have moved on from here," the man answered. "I heard them say, 'Let's go to Dothan.'" So Joseph went after his brothers and found them near Dothan. {18} But they saw him in the distance, and before he reached them, they plotted to kill him. {19} "Here comes that dreamer!" they said to each other. {20} "Come now, let's kill him and throw him into one of these cisterns and say that a ferocious animal devoured him. Then we'll see what comes of his dreams." {21} When Reuben heard this, he tried to rescue him from their hands. "Let's not take his life," he said. {22} "Don't shed any blood. Throw him into this cistern here in the desert, but don't lay a hand on him." Reuben said this to rescue him from them and take him back to his father. {23} So when Joseph came to his brothers, they stripped him of his robe--the richly ornamented robe he was wearing-- {24} and they took him and threw him into the cistern. Now the cistern was empty; there was no water in it. {25} As they sat down to eat their meal, they looked up and saw a caravan of Ishmaelites coming from Gilead. Their camels were loaded with spices, balm and myrrh, and they were on their way to take them down to Egypt. {26} Judah said to his brothers, "What will we gain if we kill our brother and cover up his blood? {27} Come, let's sell him to the Ishmaelites and not lay our hands on him; after all, he is our brother, our own flesh and blood." His brothers agreed. {28} So when the Midianite merchants came by, his brothers pulled Joseph up out of the cistern and sold him for twenty shekels of silver to the Ishmaelites, who took him to Egypt. {29} When Reuben returned to the cistern and saw that Joseph was not there, he tore his clothes. {30} He went back to his brothers and said, "The boy isn't there! Where can I turn now?" {31} Then they got Joseph's robe, slaughtered a goat and dipped the robe in the blood. {32} They took the ornamented robe back to their father and said, "We found this. Examine it to see whether it is your son's robe." {33} He recognized it and said, "It is my son's robe! Some ferocious animal has devoured him. Joseph has surely been torn to pieces." {34} Then Jacob tore his clothes, put on sackcloth and mourned for his son many days. {35} All his sons and daughters came to comfort him, but he refused to be comforted. "No," he said, "in mourning will I go down to the grave to my son." So his father wept for him. {36} Meanwhile, the Midianites sold Joseph in Egypt to Potiphar, one of Pharaoh's officials, the captain of the guard."

(Genesis 39:2-3 NIV)  "The Lord was with Joseph and he prospered, and he lived in the house of his Egyptian master. {3} When his master saw that the Lord was with him and that the Lord gave him success in everything he did,"

Joseph was hated by his brothers because he was “Daddy’s favorite”. He was a spoiled rotten tattle-tale and snitch. His brothers eventually beat him up and sold him to some slave traders going down to Egypt. After years in prison there, Joseph rose to become a high government official and was able to save his family from starvation. The brothers who had hated him, now bowed down to him. This is one of the greatest rags to riches stories ever written, but it took decades to play out. In the end, Joseph recognized God’s sovereign hand in his trials and realized that he had ended up right where God wanted him to be. He was sold down the river, but remained sold out to God. He surrendered his will to God’s will, and the Lord “gave him success in everything he did.” He became a savior for his family. God’s ways are truly higher than our ways. Trust God today. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Monday, August 21, 2017

Judah: A Life Redeemed

August 21

(Genesis 38:1-26 NIV)  "At that time, Judah left his brothers and went down to stay with a man of Adullam named Hirah. {2} There Judah met the daughter of a Canaanite man named Shua. He married her and lay with her; {3} she became pregnant and gave birth to a son, who was named Er. {4} She conceived again and gave birth to a son and named him Onan. {5} She gave birth to still another son and named him Shelah. It was at Kezib that she gave birth to him. {6} Judah got a wife for Er, his firstborn, and her name was Tamar. {7} But Er, Judah's firstborn, was wicked in the Lord's sight; so the Lord put him to death. {8} Then Judah said to Onan, "Lie with your brother's wife and fulfill your duty to her as a brother-in-law to produce offspring for your brother." {9} But Onan knew that the offspring would not be his; so whenever he lay with his brother's wife, he spilled his semen on the ground to keep from producing offspring for his brother. {10} What he did was wicked in the Lord's sight; so he put him to death also. {11} Judah then said to his daughter-in-law Tamar, "Live as a widow in your father's house until my son Shelah grows up." For he thought, "He may die too, just like his brothers." So Tamar went to live in her father's house. {12} After a long time Judah's wife, the daughter of Shua, died. When Judah had recovered from his grief, he went up to Timnah, to the men who were shearing his sheep, and his friend Hirah the Adullamite went with him. {13} When Tamar was told, "Your father-in-law is on his way to Timnah to shear his sheep," {14} she took off her widow's clothes, covered herself with a veil to disguise herself, and then sat down at the entrance to Enaim, which is on the road to Timnah. For she saw that, though Shelah had now grown up, she had not been given to him as his wife. {15} When Judah saw her, he thought she was a prostitute, for she had covered her face. {16} Not realizing that she was his daughter-in-law, he went over to her by the roadside and said, "Come now, let me sleep with you." "And what will you give me to sleep with you?" she asked. {17} "I'll send you a young goat from my flock," he said. "Will you give me something as a pledge until you send it?" she asked. {18} He said, "What pledge should I give you?" "Your seal and its cord, and the staff in your hand," she answered. So he gave them to her and slept with her, and she became pregnant by him. {19} After she left, she took off her veil and put on her widow's clothes again. {20} Meanwhile Judah sent the young goat by his friend the Adullamite in order to get his pledge back from the woman, but he did not find her. {21} He asked the men who lived there, "Where is the shrine prostitute who was beside the road at Enaim?" "There hasn't been any shrine prostitute here," they said. {22} So he went back to Judah and said, "I didn't find her. Besides, the men who lived there said, 'There hasn't been any shrine prostitute here.'" {23} Then Judah said, "Let her keep what she has, or we will become a laughingstock. After all, I did send her this young goat, but you didn't find her." {24} About three months later Judah was told, "Your daughter-in-law Tamar is guilty of prostitution, and as a result she is now pregnant." Judah said, "Bring her out and have her burned to death!" {25} As she was being brought out, she sent a message to her father-in-law. "I am pregnant by the man who owns these," she said. And she added, "See if you recognize whose seal and cord and staff these are." {26} Judah recognized them and said, "She is more righteous than I, since I wouldn't give her to my son Shelah." And he did not sleep with her again."

(Genesis 43:8-9 NIV)  "Then Judah said to Israel his father, "Send the boy along with me and we will go at once, so that we and you and our children may live and not die. {9} I myself will guarantee his safety; you can hold me personally responsible for him. If I do not bring him back to you and set him here before you, I will bear the blame before you all my life."

(Genesis 44:33 NIV)  ""Now then, please let your servant remain here as my lord's slave in place of the boy, and let the boy return with his brothers."

(Revelation 5:5 NIV)  "Then one of the elders said to me, "Do not weep! See, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has triumphed. He is able to open the scroll and its seven seals.""

Judah sinned, but eventually, he repented of his sins. He admitted his guilt and changed both his mind and his direction. He was convicted in his heart, and it worked its way out into his way of living. He left the land of sin, returned home, and became a leader in his family. He was older, and wiser, and more responsible. He became less self-centered and more sacrificial. He was willing to lay down his life for his brothers, and in a way, became a savior to them. As time passed, Judah was destined to be identified with something even greater. God used him and his family line in one of the greatest rescue missions ever to be undertaken. From Judah’s line came “The Lion of the Tribe of Judah”. His name was Jesus, and He came to save us. And so we learn that if we leave the land of sin and return home to God, we can be used greatly by God. If it happened with Judah, it can happen with you. – Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Judah and Tamar: Big Mistake

August 20

(Genesis 38:1-2 NIV)  "At that time, Judah left his brothers and went down to stay with a man of Adullam named Hirah. {2} There Judah met the daughter of a Canaanite man named Shua. He married her and lay with her;"

(2 Corinthians 6:14-18 NIV)  "Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness? {15} What harmony is there between Christ and Belial ? What does a believer have in common with an unbeliever? {16} What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols? For we are the temple of the living God. As God has said: "I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be my people." {17} "Therefore come out from them and be separate, says the Lord. Touch no unclean thing, and I will receive you." {18} "I will be a Father to you, and you will be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty.""

Judah, son of Jacob, grandson of Isaac, and great-grandson of Abraham, had quite a spiritual legacy. But in keeping with his family tree, Judah was far from perfect. He left home and went “down” to live in pagan territory. His walk with God deteriorated rapidly after that. Moving away from God’s family and God’s will is always a step “down”. Judah married an unbelieving Canaanite woman and fathered a family filled with chaos. The Canaanites were a people of many gods, and in the end, a people of many gods are people without the Lord. A culture can be very religious and still be very godless. If faith really matters to us, it ought to matter greatly in marriage. God’s admonition not to be yoked together with unbelievers should be taken seriously. You can mess around with God on this one if you want to, but when we mess with God, we eventually end up in a mess. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Saturday, August 19, 2017

A Lot of Mercy

August 19

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

Lot lived most of his life on the wrong side of God, but he ended up on the right side. God declared him righteous. That’s a Lot of mercy. This means that we must accept this truth: God is sovereign and will have mercy on whom He chooses to have mercy. God does not need our approval or our permission to declare someone forgiven. Frankly, our opinion is irrelevant. That may come as a shock, because from where we sit, some people look guilty as sin, and seem like ideal candidates for hell. But then Jesus comes along and says to us, "Excuse me, but you’re sitting in my seat”. We are then forced to get up, step down, and join those we’ve been declaring deficient. How many people are on your "written off" list? How did they get there? Did God put them there, or did you? We would be wise to stay off the judgment seat. It is already taken. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Friday, August 18, 2017

A Lot of Foolishness

August 18

(Genesis 13:5-13 NIV)  "Now Lot, who was moving about with Abram, also had flocks and herds and tents. {6} But the land could not support them while they stayed together, for their possessions were so great that they were not able to stay together. {7} And quarreling arose between Abram's herdsmen and the herdsmen of Lot. The Canaanites and Perizzites were also living in the land at that time. {8} So Abram said to Lot, "Let's not have any quarreling between you and me, or between your herdsmen and mine, for we are brothers. {9} Is not the whole land before you? Let's part company. If you go to the left, I'll go to the right; if you go to the right, I'll go to the left." {10} Lot looked up and saw that the whole plain of the Jordan was well watered, like the garden of the Lord, like the land of Egypt, toward Zoar. (This was before the Lord destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah.) {11} So Lot chose for himself the whole plain of the Jordan and set out toward the east. The two men parted company: {12} Abram lived in the land of Canaan, while Lot lived among the cities of the plain and pitched his tents near Sodom. {13} Now the men of Sodom were wicked and were sinning greatly against the Lord."

Lot’s life is proof positive that what looks the best to our eyes is not always what’s best for our soul. Lot saw prosperity and moved toward Sodom. It turned out to be a disastrous hell-hole. When our decisions are based on sight, rather than on faith, we will always fall short of God’s best for us. The direction we travel determines our destination. Where we pitch our tent determines our destiny. The people we surround ourselves with make a difference. Who we believe and what we believe matters to our soul. Our children don’t just live with our genes -- they live with our choices. Too often, they pay the price for our foolishness. When we sow the wind, someone always reaps the whirlwind. Sin always has a price, even if the bill comes due years later. Change your direction and you can change your final destination. As long as you live and breathe, there is still time to change. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Esau: Fatal Flaws

August 17

(Genesis 33:4 NIV)  "But Esau ran to meet Jacob and embraced him; he threw his arms around his neck and kissed him. And they wept."

(Romans 9:13 NIV)  "Just as it is written: "Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.""

(Hebrews 12:14-17 NIV)  "Make every effort to live in peace with all men and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord. {15} See to it that no one misses the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many. {16} See that no one is sexually immoral, or is godless like Esau, who for a single meal sold his inheritance rights as the oldest son. {17} Afterward, as you know, when he wanted to inherit this blessing, he was rejected. He could bring about no change of mind, though he sought the blessing with tears."

Esau had a fatal flaw that only God could see. The flaw was so bad that God said he “hated” Esau. How does one reach the point where they end up being hated by the One who “so loved the world”? Esau took God’s blessing for granted. He despised his birthright and squandered his inheritance. He lived his life as if God did not exist, but yet he presumed upon God’s mercy. He may have been considered a good man by many around him, but he was not a godly man. His priorities were upside down. His sensual desires took precedence over his spiritual decisions. He lived in the flesh, not in the Spirit. He allowed his bitterness over losses in life to contaminate his thinking. When bitterness takes root and grows in us, it causes trouble and “defiles many”. Bitterness is like the addict who shares dirty needles -- we keep giving our disease to others. Get rid of the dirty needle! -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Esau: Squandering Our Inheritance

August 16

(Genesis 25:22-34 NIV) "The babies jostled each other within her, and she said, "Why is this happening to me?" So she went to inquire of the Lord. {23} The Lord said to her, "Two nations are in your womb, and two peoples from within you will be separated; one people will be stronger than the other, and the older will serve the younger." {24} When the time came for her to give birth, there were twin boys in her womb. {25} The first to come out was red, and his whole body was like a hairy garment; so they named him Esau. {26} After this, his brother came out, with his hand grasping Esau's heel; so he was named Jacob. Isaac was sixty years old when Rebekah gave birth to them. {27} The boys grew up, and Esau became a skillful hunter, a man of the open country, while Jacob was a quiet man, staying among the tents. {28} Isaac, who had a taste for wild game, loved Esau, but Rebekah loved Jacob. {29} Once when Jacob was cooking some stew, Esau came in from the open country, famished. {30} He said to Jacob, "Quick, let me have some of that red stew! I'm famished!" (That is why he was also called Edom.) {31} Jacob replied, "First sell me your birthright." {32} "Look, I am about to die," Esau said. "What good is the birthright to me?" {33} But Jacob said, "Swear to me first." So he swore an oath to him, selling his birthright to Jacob. {34} Then Jacob gave Esau some bread and some lentil stew. He ate and drank, and then got up and left. So Esau despised his birthright."

(Genesis 26:34-35 NIV) "When Esau was forty years old, he married Judith daughter of Beeri the Hittite, and also Basemath daughter of Elon the Hittite. {35} They were a source of grief to Isaac and Rebekah."

(Genesis 27:34-41 NIV) "When Esau heard his father's words, he burst out with a loud and bitter cry and said to his father, "Bless me--me too, my father!" {35} But he said, "Your brother came deceitfully and took your blessing." {36} Esau said, "Isn't he rightly named Jacob ? He has deceived me these two times: He took my birthright, and now he's taken my blessing!" Then he asked, "Haven't you reserved any blessing for me?" {37} Isaac answered Esau, "I have made him lord over you and have made all his relatives his servants, and I have sustained him with grain and new wine. So what can I possibly do for you, my son?" {38} Esau said to his father, "Do you have only one blessing, my father? Bless me too, my father!" Then Esau wept aloud. {39} His father Isaac answered him, "Your dwelling will be away from the earth's richness, away from the dew of heaven above. {40} You will live by the sword and you will serve your brother. But when you grow restless, you will throw his yoke from off your neck." {41} Esau held a grudge against Jacob because of the blessing his father had given him. He said to himself, "The days of mourning for my father are near; then I will kill my brother Jacob.""

Two words could sum up Esau’s life: “excessive living”. Esau allowed his physical desires to control his destiny. If he had lived today, his theme song would probably have been Foreigner’s classic rock hit, “Urgent”. He squandered his inheritance and his future blessing on satisfying his immediate desires. He habitually made bad choices that guaranteed a negative outcome. He took no responsibility for his actions, and demonstrated no genuine remorse for his mistakes. He wept only because he could not have the very thing that he had given away like a cheap trinket. He cried only for himself. He sabotaged himself and then bitterly blamed it all on someone else. He became the consummate blame shifter and the classic sore loser. It’s not a pretty picture, but it’s a portrait of many people who live today... even some Christians. We all have a bit of Esau in us. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Jacob: Flawed Hero

August 15

(1 John 3:2 NIV) "Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when he appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is."

(1 Peter 2:5 NIV) "you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ."

Perhaps the greatest indicator of the Bible’s integrity is the “no holds barred” way it treats its heroes. Scripture is brutally honest. Consider the life of Jacob. His father favored his brother. He was spoiled rotten by his mother. His mom and dad struggled in their marriage. His brother grew to hate him. His uncle cheated him. His marriages were a mess. His wives fought constantly. His in-laws grew to despise him. His children grew hostile toward one another. He had a son who slept with his wife. His daughter was raped. He lost a son and for over twenty years thought he was dead. He lost his land and fortune in a drought. He had to leave his home and move to a foreign land in his old age. He never saw God’s greatest promise to him come to be. Other than those small minor details, Jacob had a pretty good life, and God used him. And if God can use Jacob, God can use you. – Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Monday, August 14, 2017

Jacob: All Star Wrestling

August 14

(Genesis 32:24-31 NIV) "So Jacob was left alone, and a man wrestled with him till daybreak. {25} When the man saw that he could not overpower him, he touched the socket of Jacob's hip so that his hip was wrenched as he wrestled with the man. {26} Then the man said, "Let me go, for it is daybreak." But Jacob replied, "I will not let you go unless you bless me." {27} The man asked him, "What is your name?" "Jacob," he answered. {28} Then the man said, "Your name will no longer be Jacob, but Israel, because you have struggled with God and with men and have overcome." {29} Jacob said, "Please tell me your name." But he replied, "Why do you ask my name?" Then he blessed him there. {30} So Jacob called the place Peniel, saying, "It is because I saw God face to face, and yet my life was spared." {31} The sun rose above him as he passed Peniel, and he was limping because of his hip."

Jacob literally wrestled with God. Talk about your All-Star Wrestling! Wrestling with God is always done one on one. That’s why so many resist being alone with God. Wrestling with God requires persistence. You can’t finish the match in a five minute devotional. Wrestling with God always brings a wounding. After grappling with the King of Kings, we will never be the same. Like Jacob, we will walk with a permanent limp. Wrestling with God requires honesty. Eventually, we must tell Him our real name. Only then can God change our name and give us a new identity. We never forget wrestling with God. If you don’t remember it, you haven’t done it yet. Wrestling with God has a season… and the shorter the better. Wrestling with God is never easy, and eventually we will all lose. But take heart, when we lose, we win! -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Jacob: Deceiver Extraordinaire

August 13

(Genesis 25:21 NIV) "Isaac prayed to the Lord on behalf of his wife, because she was barren. The Lord answered his prayer, and his wife Rebekah became pregnant."

(Genesis 25:24-26 NIV) "When the time came for her to give birth, there were twin boys in her womb. {25} The first to come out was red, and his whole body was like a hairy garment; so they named him Esau. {26} After this, his brother came out, with his hand grasping Esau's heel; so he was named Jacob. Isaac was sixty years old when Rebekah gave birth to them."

(Genesis 27:36 NIV) "Esau said, "Isn't he rightly named Jacob? He has deceived me these two times: He took my birthright, and now he's taken my blessing!" Then he asked, "Haven't you reserved any blessing for me?""

Jacob was born marked to become a great man of God, but like many of us, he took the long way around. Jacob inherited a legacy of faith from his grandfather, Abraham, and his father, Isaac. He also inherited a name that means “he deceives”. Jacob spent much of his life living down to his name. He was a liar and a manipulator. Before he became an old man, he had deceived just about everyone significant in his life at least once or twice. Let’s not sugarcoat this -- deception is just a polite term for lying. It may be an asset in times of war, but it is not conducive to healthy relationships. Lies and deception are like dead fish in a pond. They will always rise to the surface and they will always stink. Jacob ended up in some very “smelly” situations during his lifetime. The lesson for us today is this: no one enjoys being around someone who smells like dead fish. Stop lying! – Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Isaac: The Fruit of Submission

August 12

(1 Corinthians 1:27 NIV)  "But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong."

(2 Corinthians 12:10 NIV)  "That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong."

(Ephesians 5:21 NIV)  "Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ."

The best word to describe Isaac is submission. Submission doesn’t receive good press today. It’s seen as an archaic concept. It is often distorted and misused by people seeking to dominate others, but that doesn’t void the truth of the biblical principle. We are called to be submissive, rather than combative. We shouldn’t always have to get our way, or have the upper hand. If you strive to manipulate and control others, stop!  It’s an addiction. It causes more pain than pleasure, and it is disobedience to God. It is sin. Of course, there are boundaries to submission. It must be abandoned if it becomes destructive or abusive. Submission should never be confused with bondage or co-dependence. It requires prayer, discernment, and godly counsel, but the majority of our decisions are usually clear. Our main problem is that our rebel hearts just don’t like to submit. – Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Friday, August 11, 2017

Isaac: Manly Submission

August 11

(Genesis 22:2 NIV) "Then God said, "Take your son, your only son, Isaac, whom you love, and go to the region of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains I will tell you about.""

(Genesis 22:9 NIV) "When they reached the place God had told him about, Abraham built an altar there and arranged the wood on it. He bound his son Isaac and laid him on the altar, on top of the wood."

(Genesis 26:19-28 NIV) "Isaac's servants dug in the valley and discovered a well of fresh water there. {20} But the herdsmen of Gerar quarreled with Isaac's herdsmen and said, "The water is ours!" So he named the well Esek, because they disputed with him. {21} Then they dug another well, but they quarreled over that one also; so he named it Sitnah. {22} He moved on from there and dug another well, and no one quarreled over it. He named it Rehoboth, saying, "Now the Lord has given us room and we will flourish in the land." {23} From there he went up to Beersheba. {24} That night the Lord appeared to him and said, "I am the God of your father Abraham. Do not be afraid, for I am with you; I will bless you and will increase the number of your descendants for the sake of my servant Abraham." {25} Isaac built an altar there and called on the name of the Lord. There he pitched his tent, and there his servants dug a well. {26} Meanwhile, Abimelech had come to him from Gerar, with Ahuzzath his personal adviser and Phicol the commander of his forces. {27} Isaac asked them, "Why have you come to me, since you were hostile to me and sent me away?" {28} They answered, "We saw clearly that the Lord was with you; so we said, 'There ought to be a sworn agreement between us'--between us and you. Let us make a treaty with you"

Isaac’s greatest attribute and strength was submission. Submission is not considered an asset by most of the people in our “dog eat dog” world today. In fact, it is almost a dirty word in our culture. But consider this: no nation has ever won a war without brave soldiers who were willing to submit and follow orders. No business can succeed without workers who will do what their bosses tell them to do. Submission can be a great asset when we submit to the right authority. In the life of Isaac, it was his submission that glorified God and made him usable to God. His submission demonstrated great faith, not weakness or capitulation. In the Christian walk, obedience is necessary for victory. However, we cannot obey unless we are willing to submit. No church can prosper without a people who will submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. Your church is no exception to this rule, and neither are you. – Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Isaac: The Invisible Patriarch

August 10

(Genesis 21:9-10 NIV) "But Sarah saw that the son whom Hagar the Egyptian had borne to Abraham was mocking, {10} and she said to Abraham, "Get rid of that slave woman and her son, for that slave woman's son will never share in the inheritance with my son Isaac.""

(Galatians 4:28-29 NIV) "Now you, brothers, like Isaac, are children of promise. {29} At that time the son born in the ordinary way persecuted the son born by the power of the Spirit. It is the same now."

Many Christians would struggle to describe Isaac. His dad, Abraham, was known as the Father of Faith. Isaac’s son, Jacob, was notorious for his deceit, and famous for his wrestling match with God. But sandwiched in between these two rock stars of the faith is this nondescript, unknown quantity of a man named Isaac. Isaac was certainly God’s man but he didn’t always function like a man of God. He lacked discernment in many areas of his life. He was an only child born to older parents, so it’s safe to say he was pampered, spoiled, and over-protected. Isaac also grew up in a home full of jealousy, bitterness, and strife. His step-brother hated him and bullied him. It doesn’t really matter what made Isaac the way he was -- in the end, he had to own his mistakes, pay the price, and get on with his life. The same is true in our lives today. We’d best get on with it. – Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Waiting on God

August 9

(Genesis 17:15-16 NIV) ""God also said to Abraham, "As for Sarai your wife, you are no longer to call her Sarai; her name will be Sarah. {16} I will bless her and will surely give you a son by her. I will bless her so that she will be the mother of nations; kings of peoples will come from her.""

(Genesis 21:1 NIV) "Now the Lord was gracious to Sarah as he had said, and the Lord did for Sarah what he had promised."

(Hebrews 11:11 NIV) "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."

Accepting God’s timing is usually difficult. But the reality is that God’s timing is always perfect. God does not make mistakes. Waiting on God stretches our faith, and that can be painful. Maybe that’s why most of us do our best to avoid waiting. Like Sarah did, we wiggle, and squirm, and connive, and manipulate to get our way. We pray that God will give us patience, but He will never give it to us. Patience is a fruit of the Spirit, not a gift of the Spirit. It must be grown in us, and it grows through the discipline of waiting. Sarah struggled with waiting on God, and we will too. Hopefully, we can learn from the many crashes in our lives – crashes that happened because we ran ahead of God, alone in the darkness, and without His light. Sarah’s story proves that God can accomplish His plan, even through people with major flaws. That’s good news for us. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Sarah: Compromise Breeds Chaos

August 8

(Genesis 16:1-5 NIV) "Now Sarai, Abram's wife, had borne him no children. But she had an Egyptian maidservant named Hagar; {2} so she said to Abram, "The Lord has kept me from having children. Go, sleep with my maidservant; perhaps I can build a family through her." Abram agreed to what Sarai said. {3} So after Abram had been living in Canaan ten years, Sarai his wife took her Egyptian maidservant Hagar and gave her to her husband to be his wife. {4} He slept with Hagar, and she conceived. When she knew she was pregnant, she began to despise her mistress. {5} Then Sarai said to Abram, "You are responsible for the wrong I am suffering. I put my servant in your arms, and now that she knows she is pregnant, she despises me. May the Lord judge between you and me.""

(Genesis 17:15-16 NIV) "God also said to Abraham, "As for Sarai your wife, you are no longer to call her Sarai; her name will be Sarah. {16} I will bless her and will surely give you a son by her. I will bless her so that she will be the mother of nations; kings of peoples will come from her.""

(Genesis 21:1-6 NIV) "Now the Lord was gracious to Sarah as he had said, and the Lord did for Sarah what he had promised. {2} Sarah became pregnant and bore a son to Abraham in his old age, at the very time God had promised him. {3} Abraham gave the name Isaac to the son Sarah bore him. {4} When his son Isaac was eight days old, Abraham circumcised him, as God commanded him. {5} Abraham was a hundred years old when his son Isaac was born to him. {6} Sarah said, "God has brought me laughter, and everyone who hears about this will laugh with me.""

God told Abraham that Sarah would become the mother of nations. Her offspring would include kings, and eventually lead to the King of Kings. But Sarah could not conceive a child and this led to a crisis of faith. Sarah doubted God’s word and she compromised. She tried to build a family through another woman, but her plan ended up a total disaster. Instead of happiness, Sarah got jealousy, envy, bitterness, strife, and tears. Compromise almost always ends in chaos. She tried the blame-shifting game -- she blamed God, then Abraham, and then Hagar, but in the end she was responsible for the fiasco. God’s grace and God’s will eventually prevailed as God kept His promise. In her old age, Sarah conceived and bore a son of her own. Even our compromises cannot thwart God’s sovereign plan, for in His time, nothing is impossible with God. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Monday, August 7, 2017

Down to Egypt

August 7

(Genesis 12:10-20 NIV) "Now there was a famine in the land, and Abram went down to Egypt to live there for a while because the famine was severe. {11} As he was about to enter Egypt, he said to his wife Sarai, "I know what a beautiful woman you are. {12} When the Egyptians see you, they will say, 'This is his wife.' Then they will kill me but will let you live. {13} Say you are my sister, so that I will be treated well for your sake and my life will be spared because of you." {14} When Abram came to Egypt, the Egyptians saw that she was a very beautiful woman. {15} And when Pharaoh's officials saw her, they praised her to Pharaoh, and she was taken into his palace. {16} He treated Abram well for her sake, and Abram acquired sheep and cattle, male and female donkeys, menservants and maidservants, and camels. {17} But the Lord inflicted serious diseases on Pharaoh and his household because of Abram's wife Sarai. {18} So Pharaoh summoned Abram. "What have you done to me?" he said. "Why didn't you tell me she was your wife? {19} Why did you say, 'She is my sister,' so that I took her to be my wife? Now then, here is your wife. Take her and go!" {20} Then Pharaoh gave orders about Abram to his men, and they sent him on his way, with his wife and everything he had."

When God told Abraham to go, Abraham went -- even though he didn't know for sure where he was going. That’s faith! But then Abraham messed up. When the “blessing” didn’t show up as soon as he thought it should, Abraham doubted God and panicked. When the “land of milk and honey” didn’t prove to be as sweet as he wanted, the “Father of Faith” got cold feet, and flesh prevailed over spirit. When Abraham ran out of food, he ran out of faith, and he went “down to Egypt”. Don’t miss the word “down”. Egypt was always a step down for God’s people. Abraham moved to a place where he wasn’t supposed to be. He was out of God’s will and when we deviate from God’s plan, we always go “down”. Predictably, he crashed there. Are you on the road of fear, headed down to Egypt? Turn around. Take the road of faith back home. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Father Abraham

(Genesis 12:1-8 NIV) "The Lord had said to Abram, "Leave your country, your people and your father's household and go to the land I will show you. {2} "I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. {3} I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you." {4} So Abram left, as the Lord had told him; and Lot went with him. Abram was seventy-five years old when he set out from Haran. {5} He took his wife Sarai, his nephew Lot, all the possessions they had accumulated and the people they had acquired in Haran, and they set out for the land of Canaan, and they arrived there. {6} Abram traveled through the land as far as the site of the great tree of Moreh at Shechem. At that time the Canaanites were in the land. {7} The Lord appeared to Abram and said, "To your offspring I will give this land." So he built an altar there to the Lord, who had appeared to him. {8} From there he went on toward the hills east of Bethel and pitched his tent, with Bethel on the west and Ai on the east. There he built an altar to the Lord and called on the name of the Lord."

(Hebrews 11:8-17 NIV) "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,"

(Romans 4:3 NIV) "What does the Scripture say? "Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.""

Abraham is called “the Father of Faith” because he “believed God”. He didn’t just believe “in” God… he “believed God”, and it was “credited to him as righteousness”. How do we know that Abraham believed God? His faith produced action. He did what God called him to do! If our faith does not move us to action, it is not biblical faith. First, Abraham believed God, and then in faith he went where God told him to go. Abraham selected one of the most prominent centers of pagan religion, and boldly built an altar to the Lord right in the midst of it. In contemporary terms, Abraham planted a church in the heart of Satan’s territory. He also “called on the name of the Lord”, which means that he witnessed and preached the word there. That is courageous, in-your-face, faith stuff. We are called to the same faith. Believe God today, and plant his flag wherever He sends you. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Noah: The Only Way to Float

August 5

(Genesis 6:5-22 NIV) "The Lord saw how great man's wickedness on the earth had become, and that every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil all the time. {6} The Lord was grieved that he had made man on the earth, and his heart was filled with pain. {7} So the Lord said, "I will wipe mankind, whom I have created, from the face of the earth--men and animals, and creatures that move along the ground, and birds of the air--for I am grieved that I have made them." {8} But Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord. {9} This is the account of Noah. Noah was a righteous man, blameless among the people of his time, and he walked with God. {10} Noah had three sons: Shem, Ham and Japheth. {11} Now the earth was corrupt in God's sight and was full of violence. {12} God saw how corrupt the earth had become, for all the people on earth had corrupted their ways. {13} So God said to Noah, "I am going to put an end to all people, for the earth is filled with violence because of them. I am surely going to destroy both them and the earth. {14} So make yourself an ark of cypress wood; make rooms in it and coat it with pitch inside and out. {15} This is how you are to build it: The ark is to be 450 feet long, 75 feet wide and 45 feet high. {16} Make a roof for it and finish the ark to within 18 inches of the top. Put a door in the side of the ark and make lower, middle and upper decks. {17} I am going to bring floodwaters on the earth to destroy all life under the heavens, every creature that has the breath of life in it. Everything on earth will perish. {18} But I will establish my covenant with you, and you will enter the ark--you and your sons and your wife and your sons' wives with you. {19} You are to bring into the ark two of all living creatures, male and female, to keep them alive with you. {20} Two of every kind of bird, of every kind of animal and of every kind of creature that moves along the ground will come to you to be kept alive. {21} You are to take every kind of food that is to be eaten and store it away as food for you and for them." {22} Noah did everything just as God commanded him."

(Genesis 7:21-23 NIV) "Every living thing that moved on the earth perished--birds, livestock, wild animals, all the creatures that swarm over the earth, and all mankind. {22} Everything on dry land that had the breath of life in its nostrils died. {23} Every living thing on the face of the earth was wiped out; men and animals and the creatures that move along the ground and the birds of the air were wiped from the earth. Only Noah was left, and those with him in the ark."

(Hebrews 11:7 NIV) "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."

Early in the biblical history of mankind, humans became so corrupt and perverted that God decided to start over. The Lord would save Noah, his family, and a host of animals, but the rest of the world would be swept away. Noah’s Ark is a picture of salvation. It’s God’s idea, and by grace, He calls us to its safety. A judgment is coming. There is no other survival plan offered by God. There is only one ark, with one door, and it will be open until God shuts it. Noah’s Ark is seen by many as a harsh fairy tale, because post-modern intellectuals have done away with the concept of God as Holy Judge. This conveniently dispenses with the need for a Savior. Jesus is trivialized as a “good teacher”, and culture grows deaf to the true gospel. But Jesus died to become the one and only door on God’s ark of salvation. If there was no flood -- if there is no Holy Judge… Christ died in vain. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day