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Saturday, September 30, 2017

Job: With Friends Like These

September 30

(Job 2:11-13 NIV)  "When Job's three friends, Eliphaz the Temanite, Bildad the Shuhite and Zophar the Naamathite, heard about all the troubles that had come upon him, they set out from their homes and met together by agreement to go and sympathize with him and comfort him. {12} When they saw him from a distance, they could hardly recognize him; they began to weep aloud, and they tore their robes and sprinkled dust on their heads. {13} Then they sat on the ground with him for seven days and seven nights. No one said a word to him, because they saw how great his suffering was."

(Psalms 46:1-11 NIV)  "God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. {2} Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, {3} though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging. Selah {4} There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy place where the Most High dwells. {5} God is within her, she will not fall; God will help her at break of day. {6} Nations are in uproar, kingdoms fall; he lifts his voice, the earth melts. {7} The Lord Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress. Selah {8} Come and see the works of the Lord, the desolations he has brought on the earth. {9} He makes wars cease to the ends of the earth; he breaks the bow and shatters the spear, he burns the shields with fire. {10} "Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth." {11} The Lord Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress."

Job had some friends who came after they heard about his loss. They were shocked by his suffering. For seven days they sat in silence with him. Then they began to talk and things went downhill from there. In times of disaster and crisis, the best gift we can give friends is our presence. The second best gift we can give is often our silence. Words aren’t really necessary in times of great loss. In fact, words often do more harm than good. “Be still and know that I am God”, has more than one application. Sometimes, Christians, we talk too much. We try to defend God by spouting platitudes when horrible things happen. We offer advice when we don’t really have a clue. We try to talk people into feeling better, when what they need is someone to just sit with them, hold their hand, and hurt with them while the pain runs its course. Love often does its best work in silence. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Friday, September 29, 2017

Job: When It Hits the Fan

September 29

(Job 1:1-5 NIV)  "In the land of Uz there lived a man whose name was Job. This man was blameless and upright; he feared God and shunned evil. {2} He had seven sons and three daughters, {3} and he owned seven thousand sheep, three thousand camels, five hundred yoke of oxen and five hundred donkeys, and had a large number of servants. He was the greatest man among all the people of the East. {4} His sons used to take turns holding feasts in their homes, and they would invite their three sisters to eat and drink with them. {5} When a period of feasting had run its course, Job would send and have them purified. Early in the morning he would sacrifice a burnt offering for each of them, thinking, "Perhaps my children have sinned and cursed God in their hearts." This was Job's regular custom."

(Job 1:13-22 NIV)  "One day when Job's sons and daughters were feasting and drinking wine at the oldest brother's house, {14} a messenger came to Job and said, "The oxen were plowing and the donkeys were grazing nearby, {15} and the Sabeans attacked and carried them off. They put the servants to the sword, and I am the only one who has escaped to tell you!" {16} While he was still speaking, another messenger came and said, "The fire of God fell from the sky and burned up the sheep and the servants, and I am the only one who has escaped to tell you!" {17} While he was still speaking, another messenger came and said, "The Chaldeans formed three raiding parties and swept down on your camels and carried them off. They put the servants to the sword, and I am the only one who has escaped to tell you!" {18} While he was still speaking, yet another messenger came and said, "Your sons and daughters were feasting and drinking wine at the oldest brother's house, {19} when suddenly a mighty wind swept in from the desert and struck the four corners of the house. It collapsed on them and they are dead, and I am the only one who has escaped to tell you!" {20} At this, Job got up and tore his robe and shaved his head. Then he fell to the ground in worship {21} and said: "Naked I came from my mother's womb, and naked I will depart. The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised." {22} In all this, Job did not sin by charging God with wrongdoing."

(Job 19:25 NIV)  "I know that my Redeemer lives, and that in the end he will stand upon the earth."

The tragic, yet triumphant story of Job has become an icon for trials and troubles in this world. From it we learn some deeply profound spiritual truths. Bad things happen to good people. Loss comes into the lives of God’s children. We all spend some time in “the valley”, where everything we have considered evidence of “the good life” may be taken from us. When that day comes, God won’t answer all of our questions… perhaps none of them. God’s role is not answering questions, but walking us through times of great loss while He asks the questions. If we come to Jesus thinking He will make life all “hunky-dory” and “peachy-keen”, we will be sorely disappointed. Being believers does not insulate us from pain, tragedy, and suffering. One of the oldest biblical principles in scripture is that God sends his rain on the just and the unjust. You may want to buy an umbrella. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Esther and Mordecai:  For Such a Time as This

September 28

(Esther 4:6-16 NIV)  "So Hathach went out to Mordecai in the open square of the city in front of the king's gate. {7} Mordecai told him everything that had happened to him, including the exact amount of money Haman had promised to pay into the royal treasury for the destruction of the Jews. {8} He also gave him a copy of the text of the edict for their annihilation, which had been published in Susa, to show to Esther and explain it to her, and he told him to urge her to go into the king's presence to beg for mercy and plead with him for her people. {9} Hathach went back and reported to Esther what Mordecai had said. {10} Then she instructed him to say to Mordecai, {11} "All the king's officials and the people of the royal provinces know that for any man or woman who approaches the king in the inner court without being summoned the king has but one law: that he be put to death. The only exception to this is for the king to extend the gold scepter to him and spare his life. But thirty days have passed since I was called to go to the king." {12} When Esther's words were reported to Mordecai, {13} he sent back this answer: "Do not think that because you are in the king's house you alone of all the Jews will escape. {14} For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father's family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to royal position for such a time as this?" {15} Then Esther sent this reply to Mordecai: {16} "Go, gather together all the Jews who are in Susa, and fast for me. Do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. I and my maids will fast as you do. When this is done, I will go to the king, even though it is against the law. And if I perish, I perish.""

Esther was a Jew who was pretending to be someone else. She was so good at it that she ended up being the queen. In every life there are defining moments. Esther’s came when she became aware of a plot to kill all the Jews in Persia, and her uncle Mordecai asked her to intercede with the king on their behalf. At great risk to her life, she said yes. God’s purposes will be accomplished, with or without us. He invites us to rise up and fulfill our calling, but if we don’t step up, another will rise to the occasion and God will be glorified through their faith and obedience. God’s will is going to be done here on Earth by someone. Will you be that someone? Say yes to God’s call and be used of God. Who knows but that you have come to this place in your life, for just such a time as this? Rise up! Answer God’s call. Say, “Yes!” -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Nehemiah: Repairing Broken Walls

September 27

(Nehemiah 1:3-11 NIV)  "They said to me, "Those who survived the exile and are back in the province are in great trouble and disgrace. The wall of Jerusalem is broken down, and its gates have been burned with fire." {4} When I heard these things, I sat down and wept. For some days I mourned and fasted and prayed before the God of heaven. {5} Then I said: "O Lord, God of heaven, the great and awesome God, who keeps his covenant of love with those who love him and obey his commands, {6} let your ear be attentive and your eyes open to hear the prayer your servant is praying before you day and night for your servants, the people of Israel. I confess the sins we Israelites, including myself and my father's house, have committed against you. {7} We have acted very wickedly toward you. We have not obeyed the commands, decrees and laws you gave your servant Moses. {8} "Remember the instruction you gave your servant Moses, saying, 'If you are unfaithful, I will scatter you among the nations, {9} but if you return to me and obey my commands, then even if your exiled people are at the farthest horizon, I will gather them from there and bring them to the place I have chosen as a dwelling for my Name.' {10} "They are your servants and your people, whom you redeemed by your great strength and your mighty hand. {11} O Lord, let your ear be attentive to the prayer of this your servant and to the prayer of your servants who delight in revering your name. Give your servant success today by granting him favor in the presence of this man." I was cupbearer to the king."

(Nehemiah 4:9 NIV)  "But we prayed to our God and posted a guard day and night to meet this threat."

(Nehemiah 6:15-16 NIV)  "So the wall was completed on the twenty-fifth of Elul, in fifty-two days. {16} When all our enemies heard about this, all the surrounding nations were afraid and lost their self-confidence, because they realized that this work had been done with the help of our God."

The walls of Jerusalem lay in ruin. Nehemiah was a man with a burden and a calling. So he got to it. He prayed and worked. He planned and built a team. He would not be deterred and was not afraid to get physical in defense of his calling and mission. And in the end, he became a winner. One man had a calling from God and acted on his vision. One man inspired a people to work together in a way that glorified God. Nehemiah’s formula was “pray and work”. He believed God for protection, but also took steps to protect his people. He had faith, but he also took action. Even today, the walls which protect us spiritually need to be rebuilt from time to time. God will help us when we move in faith. We should not run ahead of God, but we also should not sit on our hands waiting for God to do our work for us. Faith and action walk hand in hand. The Lord calls us to pray and to work. Do both! -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Josiah: Temporary Revival

September 26

(2 Kings 23:1-3 NIV)  "Then the king called together all the elders of Judah and Jerusalem. {2} He went up to the temple of the Lord with the men of Judah, the people of Jerusalem, the priests and the prophets--all the people from the least to the greatest. He read in their hearing all the words of the Book of the Covenant, which had been found in the temple of the Lord. {3} The king stood by the pillar and renewed the covenant in the presence of the Lord--to follow the Lord and keep his commands, regulations and decrees with all his heart and all his soul, thus confirming the words of the covenant written in this book. Then all the people pledged themselves to the covenant."

(2 Kings 23:25 NIV)  "Neither before nor after Josiah was there a king like him who turned to the Lord as he did--with all his heart and with all his soul and with all his strength, in accordance with all the Law of Moses."

King Josiah brought a great revival to Judah during his reign. But, revival is always temporary. The next king and the next generation let it slip away. The nation soon descended back into idol worship and once again prostituted itself to false gods. After that, it wasn’t long before the nation of Judah ceased to exist. There’s an old saying that is worth remembering: “God has no grandchildren.” Each and every generation must make its own choice to follow the Lord, and sometimes we have to do it more than once. Actually, we make that choice one day at a time. God has no grandchildren and neither does revival. All revival is temporary. Still, it is good for us. We need revival like we need food and water… daily. Billy Sunday once said: "They tell me revival is only temporary; so is a bath, but it still does you good." How true. So, grab the soap. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Monday, September 25, 2017

Josiah: Rambo Revival

September 25

(2 Kings 23:1-25 NIV)  "Then the king called together all the elders of Judah and Jerusalem. {2} He went up to the temple of the Lord with the men of Judah, the people of Jerusalem, the priests and the prophets--all the people from the least to the greatest. He read in their hearing all the words of the Book of the Covenant, which had been found in the temple of the Lord. {3} The king stood by the pillar and renewed the covenant in the presence of the Lord -- to follow the Lord and keep his commands, regulations and decrees with all his heart and all his soul, thus confirming the words of the covenant written in this book. Then all the people pledged themselves to the covenant. {4} The king ordered Hilkiah the high priest, the priests next in rank and the doorkeepers to remove from the temple of the Lord all the articles made for Baal and Asherah and all the starry hosts. He burned them outside Jerusalem in the fields of the Kidron Valley and took the ashes to Bethel. {5} He did away with the pagan priests appointed by the kings of Judah to burn incense on the high places of the towns of Judah and on those around Jerusalem--those who burned incense to Baal, to the sun and moon, to the constellations and to all the starry hosts. {6} He took the Asherah pole from the temple of the Lord to the Kidron Valley outside Jerusalem and burned it there. He ground it to powder and scattered the dust over the graves of the common people. {7} He also tore down the quarters of the male shrine prostitutes, which were in the temple of the Lord and where women did weaving for Asherah. {8} Josiah brought all the priests from the towns of Judah and desecrated the high places, from Geba to Beersheba, where the priests had burned incense. He broke down the shrines at the gates--at the entrance to the Gate of Joshua, the city governor, which is on the left of the city gate. {9} Although the priests of the high places did not serve at the altar of the Lord in Jerusalem, they ate unleavened bread with their fellow priests. {10} He desecrated Topheth, which was in the Valley of Ben Hinnom, so no one could use it to sacrifice his son or daughter in the fire to Molech. {11} He removed from the entrance to the temple of the Lord the horses that the kings of Judah had dedicated to the sun. They were in the court near the room of an official named Nathan-Melech. Josiah then burned the chariots dedicated to the sun. {12} He pulled down the altars the kings of Judah had erected on the roof near the upper room of Ahaz, and the altars Manasseh had built in the two courts of the temple of the Lord. He removed them from there, smashed them to pieces and threw the rubble into the Kidron Valley. {13} The king also desecrated the high places that were east of Jerusalem on the south of the Hill of Corruption--the ones Solomon king of Israel had built for Ashtoreth the vile goddess of the Sidonians, for Chemosh the vile god of Moab, and for Molech the detestable god of the people of Ammon. {14} Josiah smashed the sacred stones and cut down the Asherah poles and covered the sites with human bones. {15} Even the altar at Bethel, the high place made by Jeroboam son of Nebat, who had caused Israel to sin--even that altar and high place he demolished. He burned the high place and ground it to powder, and burned the Asherah pole also. {16} Then Josiah looked around, and when he saw the tombs that were there on the hillside, he had the bones removed from them and burned on the altar to defile it, in accordance with the word of the Lord proclaimed by the man of God who foretold these things. {17} The king asked, "What is that tombstone I see?" The men of the city said, "It marks the tomb of the man of God who came from Judah and pronounced against the altar of Bethel the very things you have done to it." {18} "Leave it alone," he said. "Don't let anyone disturb his bones." So they spared his bones and those of the prophet who had come from Samaria. {19} Just as he had done at Bethel, Josiah removed and defiled all the shrines at the high places that the kings of Israel had built in the towns of Samaria that had provoked the Lord to anger. {20} Josiah slaughtered all the priests of those high places on the altars and burned human bones on them. Then he went back to Jerusalem. {21} The king gave this order to all the people: "Celebrate the Passover to the Lord your God, as it is written in this Book of the Covenant." {22} Not since the days of the judges who led Israel, nor throughout the days of the kings of Israel and the kings of Judah, had any such Passover been observed. {23} But in the eighteenth year of King Josiah, this Passover was celebrated to the Lord in Jerusalem. {24} Furthermore, Josiah got rid of the mediums and spiritists, the household gods, the idols and all the other detestable things seen in Judah and Jerusalem. This he did to fulfill the requirements of the law written in the book that Hilkiah the priest had discovered in the temple of the Lord. {25} Neither before nor after Josiah was there a king like him who turned to the Lord as he did--with all his heart and with all his soul and with all his strength, in accordance with all the Law of Moses."

If Josiah were alive today he would likely be nicknamed “The Rambo of Religion”. The revival he brought to Judah was highly destructive. That’s because real revival has consequences. It is always destructive in some way, or it is not genuine revival. It is ruthless in its war on our sins. It is always exclusionary and thorough as it rifles through the files of our lives, eliminating what is ungodly. It shows no mercy towards our shrines and idols. It smashes and destroys all things that hinder Jesus from being Lord of our life. Revival is not like brain surgery -- it’s more like battlefield hospital amputation. It’s not pretty, it’s not painless, but it’s necessary for the survival of the patient. Is there something in your life that needs to be cut out or cut off before it kills you or your relationship with Christ? Abandon timidity. Get out the saw. Bite the bullet. Do the cutting. Revive your soul. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Solomon: Chasing After the Wind

September 24

(Ecclesiastes 1:13 NIV)  "I devoted myself to study and to explore by wisdom all that is done under heaven. What a heavy burden God has laid on men!"

(Ecclesiastes 2:4 NIV)  "I undertook great projects: I built houses for myself and planted vineyards."

(Ecclesiastes 2:8-11 NIV)  "I amassed silver and gold for myself, and the treasure of kings and provinces. I acquired men and women singers, and a harem as well--the delights of the heart of man. {9} I became greater by far than anyone in Jerusalem before me. In all this my wisdom stayed with me. {10} I denied myself nothing my eyes desired; I refused my heart no pleasure. My heart took delight in all my work, and this was the reward for all my labor. {11} Yet when I surveyed all that my hands had done and what I had toiled to achieve, everything was meaningless, a chasing after the wind; nothing was gained under the sun."

Solomon did some great things for God, but he tried to obey God partially. There’s another term for partial obedience: disobedience. We cannot partially obey God any more than we can commit a “little bit” of adultery. Many try to live with God in their kitchen and the devil in their bedroom, but eventually, one or the other has to move out. We cannot shack up with our sins and remain Christ’s faithful Bride. Solomon tried it and it killed his ministry, wrecked his family, and destroyed his kingdom. There is no such thing as an acceptable harem or a harmless false god. They all devolve into possessive psychopaths. If we allow them to sleep in our beds, they will take our hearts hostage and scheme against us. And if they live in our house long enough, eventually they will smother our First Love. Don’t waste your life chasing after the wind. Love God with all your heart. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Solomon: Folly in Wisdom

September 23

(1 Kings 3:1-5 NIV)  "Solomon made an alliance with Pharaoh king of Egypt and married his daughter. He brought her to the City of David until he finished building his palace and the temple of the Lord, and the wall around Jerusalem. {2} The people, however, were still sacrificing at the high places, because a temple had not yet been built for the Name of the Lord. {3} Solomon showed his love for the Lord by walking according to the statutes of his father David, except that he offered sacrifices and burned incense on the high places. {4} The king went to Gibeon to offer sacrifices, for that was the most important high place, and Solomon offered a thousand burnt offerings on that altar. {5} At Gibeon the Lord appeared to Solomon during the night in a dream, and God said, "Ask for whatever you want me to give you.""

(1 Kings 3:9-10 NIV)  "So give your servant a discerning heart to govern your people and to distinguish between right and wrong. For who is able to govern this great people of yours?" {10} The Lord was pleased that Solomon had asked for this."

(1 Kings 4:29 NIV)  "God gave Solomon wisdom and very great insight, and a breadth of understanding as measureless as the sand on the seashore."

(1 Kings 11:9-10 NIV)  "The Lord became angry with Solomon because his heart had turned away from the Lord, the God of Israel, who had appeared to him twice. {10} Although he had forbidden Solomon to follow other gods, Solomon did not keep the Lord's command."

Solomon had it all: wealth, fame, power, wisdom, religious upbringing, the right family line… but in the end, his life went down the tubes because he worshipped and served created things instead of the Creator. When we worship and serve created things, the Creator’s light grows dim in our life. As we systematically yoke ourselves to unbelievers, our ties with God are weakened and we begin the downward slide into futility. The desire for other things leads us away from Jesus. We lose our focus. We forget our priorities, our purpose, and our calling. We lack for nothing, but give our hearts to anything and everything. We become polytheistic polygamists, squandering our lives investing in relationships that have no eternal value. We labor for that which came from dust and will return to dust, until finally, we arrive at our ultimate destination: Meaninglessness. Stop! -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Friday, September 22, 2017

David: The God of Second Chances

September 22

(Psalms 51:1-17 NIV)  "For the director of music. A psalm of David. When the prophet Nathan came to him after David had committed adultery with Bathsheba. Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love; according to your great compassion blot out my transgressions. {2} Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin. {3} For I know my transgressions, and my sin is always before me. {4} Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight, so that you are proved right when you speak and justified when you judge. {5} Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me. {6} Surely you desire truth in the inner parts ; you teach me wisdom in the inmost place. {7} Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow. {8} Let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones you have crushed rejoice. {9} Hide your face from my sins and blot out all my iniquity. {10} Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. {11} Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me. {12} Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me. {13} Then I will teach transgressors your ways, and sinners will turn back to you. {14} Save me from bloodguilt, O God, the God who saves me, and my tongue will sing of your righteousness. {15} O Lord, open my lips, and my mouth will declare your praise. {16} You do not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring it; you do not take pleasure in burnt offerings. {17} The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise."

David sinned and got caught. But he didn't just blow it off and mumble something about no one being perfect. He didn’t blame anyone else for his actions. He was crushed by the weight of his sin. His heart was broken and he repented. Because of what Jesus did on the cross, God will forgive us, no matter what we have done. His mercies are never ending. So, if God has forgiven you, maybe it's time you forgave yourself. When we have been forgiven by God, but refuse to forgive ourselves, we are acting like we know better than the Lord. We are placing ourselves in a higher position than Jesus and occupying His judgment seat. So, if you’ve been forgiven by the Lord, but will not forgive yourself, you have essentially become an idolater -- and you are the idol. Worship God acceptably. Cease and desist from your self-worship. Begin to forgive. Begin with yourself. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Thursday, September 21, 2017

David: Busted

September 21

(2 Samuel 12:1-14 NIV)  "The Lord sent Nathan to David. When he came to him, he said, "There were two men in a certain town, one rich and the other poor. {2} The rich man had a very large number of sheep and cattle, {3} but the poor man had nothing except one little ewe lamb he had bought. He raised it, and it grew up with him and his children. It shared his food, drank from his cup and even slept in his arms. It was like a daughter to him. {4} "Now a traveler came to the rich man, but the rich man refrained from taking one of his own sheep or cattle to prepare a meal for the traveler who had come to him. Instead, he took the ewe lamb that belonged to the poor man and prepared it for the one who had come to him." {5} David burned with anger against the man and said to Nathan, "As surely as the Lord lives, the man who did this deserves to die! {6} He must pay for that lamb four times over, because he did such a thing and had no pity." {7} Then Nathan said to David, "You are the man! This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: 'I anointed you king over Israel, and I delivered you from the hand of Saul. {8} I gave your master's house to you, and your master's wives into your arms. I gave you the house of Israel and Judah. And if all this had been too little, I would have given you even more. {9} Why did you despise the word of the Lord by doing what is evil in his eyes? You struck down Uriah the Hittite with the sword and took his wife to be your own. You killed him with the sword of the Ammonites. {10} Now, therefore, the sword will never depart from your house, because you despised me and took the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be your own.' {11} "This is what the Lord says: 'Out of your own household I am going to bring calamity upon you. Before your very eyes I will take your wives and give them to one who is close to you, and he will lie with your wives in broad daylight. {12} You did it in secret, but I will do this thing in broad daylight before all Israel.'" {13} Then David said to Nathan, "I have sinned against the Lord." Nathan replied, "The Lord has taken away your sin. You are not going to die. {14} But because by doing this you have made the enemies of the Lord show utter contempt, the son born to you will die.""

Sin always bears fruit here on earth. Eventually, the chickens always come home to roost. As that great proverb says, “Stupid should hurt.” And in the end, it always does. There is no such thing as a harmless sin. Repentance can help, but it does not clean up the debris field left behind by our selfish and thoughtless behaviors. Sin always harms something or someone, somewhere in our lives, and we do not get to choose the what, or the who, or the where. Sin is messy. It always splatters on those around us… those closest to us… those we love. Sin cannot be “contained”. It’s like a toxin released into the air on a warm and breezy day. We cannot control its deadly, drifting fumes. We do not decide who succumbs to its lethal residue. Being saved settles our debt with God, but the bills will continue to come due here on Earth. Expect it. Stop whining about it. Deal with it. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

David: The Agony of Defeat

September 20

(2 Samuel 11:1-27 NIV)  "In the spring, at the time when kings go off to war, David sent Joab out with the king's men and the whole Israelite army. They destroyed the Ammonites and besieged Rabbah. But David remained in Jerusalem. {2} One evening David got up from his bed and walked around on the roof of the palace. From the roof he saw a woman bathing. The woman was very beautiful, {3} and David sent someone to find out about her. The man said, "Isn't this Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam and the wife of Uriah the Hittite?" {4} Then David sent messengers to get her. She came to him, and he slept with her. (She had purified herself from her uncleanness.) Then she went back home. {5} The woman conceived and sent word to David, saying, "I am pregnant." {6} So David sent this word to Joab: "Send me Uriah the Hittite." And Joab sent him to David. {7} When Uriah came to him, David asked him how Joab was, how the soldiers were and how the war was going. {8} Then David said to Uriah, "Go down to your house and wash your feet." So Uriah left the palace, and a gift from the king was sent after him. {9} But Uriah slept at the entrance to the palace with all his master's servants and did not go down to his house. {10} When David was told, "Uriah did not go home," he asked him, "Haven't you just come from a distance? Why didn't you go home?" {11} Uriah said to David, "The ark and Israel and Judah are staying in tents, and my master Joab and my lord's men are camped in the open fields. How could I go to my house to eat and drink and lie with my wife? As surely as you live, I will not do such a thing!" {12} Then David said to him, "Stay here one more day, and tomorrow I will send you back." So Uriah remained in Jerusalem that day and the next. {13} At David's invitation, he ate and drank with him, and David made him drunk. But in the evening Uriah went out to sleep on his mat among his master's servants; he did not go home. {14} In the morning David wrote a letter to Joab and sent it with Uriah. {15} In it he wrote, "Put Uriah in the front line where the fighting is fiercest. Then withdraw from him so he will be struck down and die." {16} So while Joab had the city under siege, he put Uriah at a place where he knew the strongest defenders were. {17} When the men of the city came out and fought against Joab, some of the men in David's army fell; moreover, Uriah the Hittite died. {18} Joab sent David a full account of the battle. {19} He instructed the messenger: "When you have finished giving the king this account of the battle, {20} the king's anger may flare up, and he may ask you, 'Why did you get so close to the city to fight? Didn't you know they would shoot arrows from the wall? {21} Who killed Abimelech son of Jerub-Besheth ? Didn't a woman throw an upper millstone on him from the wall, so that he died in Thebez? Why did you get so close to the wall?' If he asks you this, then say to him, 'Also, your servant Uriah the Hittite is dead.'" {22} The messenger set out, and when he arrived he told David everything Joab had sent him to say. {23} The messenger said to David, "The men overpowered us and came out against us in the open, but we drove them back to the entrance to the city gate. {24} Then the archers shot arrows at your servants from the wall, and some of the king's men died. Moreover, your servant Uriah the Hittite is dead." {25} David told the messenger, "Say this to Joab: 'Don't let this upset you; the sword devours one as well as another. Press the attack against the city and destroy it.' Say this to encourage Joab." {26} When Uriah's wife heard that her husband was dead, she mourned for him. {27} After the time of mourning was over, David had her brought to his house, and she became his wife and bore him a son. But the thing David had done displeased the Lord."

In slaying the great giant, David experienced the thrill of victory. But the agony of defeat was just over the horizon. The enemy that eventually conquered David did not have mighty strength or greater numbers. David’s greatest foes did not stand nine feet tall or wear heavy armor. They were as small as his eyes and heart. As the married woman Bathsheba bathed on a rooftop in David’s line of sight, his eyes became focused on something other than his righteousness. His heart succumbed to the desires of his flesh, and he crumbled to the ground like the giant Goliath had done years before… slain by a single stone called Lust. His greatest defeat did not come from Philistines on the battlefield -- it came from philandering in his backyard. He dishonored himself, disgraced his nation, and disrespected his God. Our greatest enemies almost always live within us. Guard you heart! -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

David: The Thrill of Victory

September 19

(1 Samuel 17:40-51 NIV)  "Then he took his staff in his hand, chose five smooth stones from the stream, put them in the pouch of his shepherd's bag and, with his sling in his hand, approached the Philistine. {41} Meanwhile, the Philistine, with his shield bearer in front of him, kept coming closer to David. {42} He looked David over and saw that he was only a boy, ruddy and handsome, and he despised him. {43} He said to David, "Am I a dog, that you come at me with sticks?" And the Philistine cursed David by his gods. {44} "Come here," he said, "and I'll give your flesh to the birds of the air and the beasts of the field!" {45} David said to the Philistine, "You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the Lord Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. {46} This day the Lord will hand you over to me, and I'll strike you down and cut off your head. Today I will give the carcasses of the Philistine army to the birds of the air and the beasts of the earth, and the whole world will know that there is a God in Israel. {47} All those gathered here will know that it is not by sword or spear that the Lord saves; for the battle is the Lord's, and he will give all of you into our hands." {48} As the Philistine moved closer to attack him, David ran quickly toward the battle line to meet him. {49} Reaching into his bag and taking out a stone, he slung it and struck the Philistine on the forehead. The stone sank into his forehead, and he fell facedown on the ground. {50} So David triumphed over the Philistine with a sling and a stone; without a sword in his hand he struck down the Philistine and killed him. {51} David ran and stood over him. He took hold of the Philistine's sword and drew it from the scabbard. After he killed him, he cut off his head with the sword. When the Philistines saw that their hero was dead, they turned and ran."

Talk is cheap, but true faith moves us beyond words to action, and sends us out to do battle with giants. In faith, David stepped out of the cowardly crowd to face the giant Goliath alone. One step of faith and one rock changed the history of a nation, because one young man who believed God refused to be intimidated by the enemy’s size. David felt invincible because he believed that his God was invincible. In faith, he believed that his God could turn giants into bird feed. We can definitely learn something learn from David. Our attitude toward life's giants would change dramatically if we really believed in that same God. The fear we experience today is not because our giants are too big… it’s because our gods are too small. Make Jesus the Rock you reach for when the giants in your life are mouthing off, and you can enjoy the same confidence and the joy of victory. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Monday, September 18, 2017

David: Dealing with Giants

September 18 

(1 Samuel 17:1-51 NIV)  "Now the Philistines gathered their forces for war and assembled at Socoh in Judah. They pitched camp at Ephes Dammim, between Socoh and Azekah. {2} Saul and the Israelites assembled and camped in the Valley of Elah and drew up their battle line to meet the Philistines. {3} The Philistines occupied one hill and the Israelites another, with the valley between them. {4} A champion named Goliath, who was from Gath, came out of the Philistine camp. He was over nine feet tall. {5} He had a bronze helmet on his head and wore a coat of scale armor of bronze weighing five thousand shekels ; {6} on his legs he wore bronze greaves, and a bronze javelin was slung on his back. {7} His spear shaft was like a weaver's rod, and its iron point weighed six hundred shekels. His shield bearer went ahead of him. {8} Goliath stood and shouted to the ranks of Israel, "Why do you come out and line up for battle? Am I not a Philistine, and are you not the servants of Saul? Choose a man and have him come down to me. {9} If he is able to fight and kill me, we will become your subjects; but if I overcome him and kill him, you will become our subjects and serve us." {10} Then the Philistine said, "This day I defy the ranks of Israel! Give me a man and let us fight each other." {11} On hearing the Philistine's words, Saul and all the Israelites were dismayed and terrified. {12} Now David was the son of an Ephrathite named Jesse, who was from Bethlehem in Judah. Jesse had eight sons, and in Saul's time he was old and well advanced in years. {13} Jesse's three oldest sons had followed Saul to the war: The firstborn was Eliab; the second, Abinadab; and the third, Shammah. {14} David was the youngest. The three oldest followed Saul, {15} but David went back and forth from Saul to tend his father's sheep at Bethlehem. {16} For forty days the Philistine came forward every morning and evening and took his stand. {17} Now Jesse said to his son David, "Take this ephah of roasted grain and these ten loaves of bread for your brothers and hurry to their camp. {18} Take along these ten cheeses to the commander of their unit. See how your brothers are and bring back some assurance from them. {19} They are with Saul and all the men of Israel in the Valley of Elah, fighting against the Philistines." {20} Early in the morning David left the flock with a shepherd, loaded up and set out, as Jesse had directed. He reached the camp as the army was going out to its battle positions, shouting the war cry. {21} Israel and the Philistines were drawing up their lines facing each other. {22} David left his things with the keeper of supplies, ran to the battle lines and greeted his brothers. {23} As he was talking with them, Goliath, the Philistine champion from Gath, stepped out from his lines and shouted his usual defiance, and David heard it. {24} When the Israelites saw the man, they all ran from him in great fear. {25} Now the Israelites had been saying, "Do you see how this man keeps coming out? He comes out to defy Israel. The king will give great wealth to the man who kills him. He will also give him his daughter in marriage and will exempt his father's family from taxes in Israel." {26} David asked the men standing near him, "What will be done for the man who kills this Philistine and removes this disgrace from Israel? Who is this uncircumcised Philistine that he should defy the armies of the living God?" {27} They repeated to him what they had been saying and told him, "This is what will be done for the man who kills him." {28} When Eliab, David's oldest brother, heard him speaking with the men, he burned with anger at him and asked, "Why have you come down here? And with whom did you leave those few sheep in the desert? I know how conceited you are and how wicked your heart is; you came down only to watch the battle." {29} "Now what have I done?" said David. "Can't I even speak?" {30} He then turned away to someone else and brought up the same matter, and the men answered him as before. {31} What David said was overheard and reported to Saul, and Saul sent for him. {32} David said to Saul, "Let no one lose heart on account of this Philistine; your servant will go and fight him." {33} Saul replied, "You are not able to go out against this Philistine and fight him; you are only a boy, and he has been a fighting man from his youth." {34} But David said to Saul, "Your servant has been keeping his father's sheep. When a lion or a bear came and carried off a sheep from the flock, {35} I went after it, struck it and rescued the sheep from its mouth. When it turned on me, I seized it by its hair, struck it and killed it. {36} Your servant has killed both the lion and the bear; this uncircumcised Philistine will be like one of them, because he has defied the armies of the living God. {37} The Lord who delivered me from the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine." Saul said to David, "Go, and the Lord be with you." {38} Then Saul dressed David in his own tunic. He put a coat of armor on him and a bronze helmet on his head. {39} David fastened on his sword over the tunic and tried walking around, because he was not used to them. "I cannot go in these," he said to Saul, "because I am not used to them." So he took them off. {40} Then he took his staff in his hand, chose five smooth stones from the stream, put them in the pouch of his shepherd's bag and, with his sling in his hand, approached the Philistine. {41} Meanwhile, the Philistine, with his shield bearer in front of him, kept coming closer to David. {42} He looked David over and saw that he was only a boy, ruddy and handsome, and he despised him. {43} He said to David, "Am I a dog, that you come at me with sticks?" And the Philistine cursed David by his gods. {44} "Come here," he said, "and I'll give your flesh to the birds of the air and the beasts of the field!" {45} David said to the Philistine, "You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the Lord Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. {46} This day the Lord will hand you over to me, and I'll strike you down and cut off your head. Today I will give the carcasses of the Philistine army to the birds of the air and the beasts of the earth, and the whole world will know that there is a God in Israel. {47} All those gathered here will know that it is not by sword or spear that the Lord saves; for the battle is the Lord's, and he will give all of you into our hands." {48} As the Philistine moved closer to attack him, David ran quickly toward the battle line to meet him. {49} Reaching into his bag and taking out a stone, he slung it and struck the Philistine on the forehead. The stone sank into his forehead, and he fell facedown on the ground. {50} So David triumphed over the Philistine with a sling and a stone; without a sword in his hand he struck down the Philistine and killed him. {51} David ran and stood over him. He took hold of the Philistine's sword and drew it from the scabbard. After he killed him, he cut off his head with the sword. When the Philistines saw that their hero was dead, they turned and ran."

When David was just a boy, he faced his first crisis. That crisis was a giant named Goliath. David won his battle and so can we. But a crisis is not like the twenty four hour flu. It doesn’t just sock you in the gut and leave the next day. It hangs around way past its expiration date. It lingers on and causes you pain for way too long. Crisis gets in your face and taunts you. It reminds you of how small and helpless and powerless you are. It doesn’t matter what the crisis consists of, if you don't deal with it, it will deal with you. Procrastination is not a solution that works. It does no good to pretend the crisis is not there. In fact, denial is like steroids to a crisis. A small crisis can grow to monstrous proportions in a short time if it is ignored. It will stalk you and haunt you until you stare it down, and in prayer, drive the sword of faith through its heart. Slay that giant. Don’t put it off. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Samuel: Answer the Call

September 17

(1 Samuel 3:1-10 NIV)  "The boy Samuel ministered before the Lord under Eli. In those days the word of the Lord was rare; there were not many visions. {2} One night Eli, whose eyes were becoming so weak that he could barely see, was lying down in his usual place. {3} The lamp of God had not yet gone out, and Samuel was lying down in the temple of the Lord, where the ark of God was. {4} Then the Lord called Samuel. Samuel answered, "Here I am." {5} And he ran to Eli and said, "Here I am; you called me." But Eli said, "I did not call; go back and lie down." So he went and lay down. {6} Again the Lord called, "Samuel!" And Samuel got up and went to Eli and said, "Here I am; you called me." "My son," Eli said, "I did not call; go back and lie down." {7} Now Samuel did not yet know the Lord: The word of the Lord had not yet been revealed to him. {8} The Lord called Samuel a third time, and Samuel got up and went to Eli and said, "Here I am; you called me." Then Eli realized that the Lord was calling the boy. {9} So Eli told Samuel, "Go and lie down, and if he calls you, say, 'Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening.'" So Samuel went and lay down in his place. {10} The Lord came and stood there, calling as at the other times, "Samuel! Samuel!" Then Samuel said, "Speak, for your servant is listening.""

(1 Samuel 3:21 NIV)  "The Lord continued to appear at Shiloh, and there he revealed himself to Samuel through his word."

(1 Samuel 8:6 NIV)  "But when they said, "Give us a king to lead us," this displeased Samuel; so he prayed to the Lord."

(1 Samuel 8:19 NIV)  "But the people refused to listen to Samuel. "No!" they said. "We want a king over us."

Samuel learned to listen to God. Whether it was the written word or God speaking directly to him at Shiloh, Samuel heard the Lord. We must also learn to listen. God’s call is clear, but many never answer it. He calls us to move out of the confines of the church walls and go into all the world. Some respond by putting Jesus on hold. We use call-waiting and take all other calls ahead of God’s. Some let their answering machine pick up and then never listen to the messages. They essentially ignore God. LISTEN! We are all called to go public with our faith in some way… to get out of the pew and into the population. Instead, we often remain in our holy huddle with our hands over our ears. Beware! If we play deaf for too long, God’s call could be missed forever. When the Lord asks, “Can you hear me now?”… our answer should always be, “Yes, and I’m on the way.” -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Samuel: Can You Hear Me Now?

September 16

(1 Samuel 2:18 NIV)  "But Samuel was ministering before the Lord -- a boy wearing a linen ephod."

(1 Samuel 2:21 NIV)  "And the Lord was gracious to Hannah; she conceived and gave birth to three sons and two daughters. Meanwhile, the boy Samuel grew up in the presence of the Lord."

(1 Samuel 2:26 NIV)  "And the boy Samuel continued to grow in stature and in favor with the Lord and with men."

(1 Samuel 3:4-8 NIV)  "Then the Lord called Samuel. Samuel answered, "Here I am." {5} And he ran to Eli and said, "Here I am; you called me." But Eli said, "I did not call; go back and lie down." So he went and lay down. {6} Again the Lord called, "Samuel!" And Samuel got up and went to Eli and said, "Here I am; you called me." "My son," Eli said, "I did not call; go back and lie down." {7} Now Samuel did not yet know the Lord: The word of the Lord had not yet been revealed to him. {8} The Lord called Samuel a third time, and Samuel got up and went to Eli and said, "Here I am; you called me." Then Eli realized that the Lord was calling the boy."

(1 Samuel 3:19-21 NIV)  "The Lord was with Samuel as he grew up, and he let none of his words fall to the ground. {20} And all Israel from Dan to Beersheba recognized that Samuel was attested as a prophet of the Lord. {21} The Lord continued to appear at Shiloh, and there he revealed himself to Samuel through his word."

The prophet Samuel was called by God when he was just a boy. Calling is what separates authentic prophets from imposters. It’s what distinguishes real disciples from pretenders. Our call can come in an instant, but because we so regularly exceed the noise limits and speed limits of life, hearing it can often take years. It may start as a gentle whisper, but if ignored it can develop into a roar. After we finally hear God’s call, living for self can never satisfy again. Calling brings purpose to life, and compels us to do what we were created to do… sometimes at great loss to ourselves. When we hear God and obey, we become His disciples and witnesses. God then lifts us to positions of visibility where we can bring Him glory, which is our ultimate calling. The foolish will move away from God’s call -- the wise will move toward it. Which way are you moving? -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Friday, September 15, 2017

Hannah: The Sacrifice of Praise

September 15

(1 Samuel 2:1-10 NIV)  "Then Hannah prayed and said: "My heart rejoices in the Lord; in the Lord my horn is lifted high. My mouth boasts over my enemies, for I delight in your deliverance. {2} "There is no one holy like the Lord; there is no one besides you; there is no Rock like our God. {3} "Do not keep talking so proudly or let your mouth speak such arrogance, for the Lord is a God who knows, and by him deeds are weighed. {4} "The bows of the warriors are broken, but those who stumbled are armed with strength. {5} Those who were full hire themselves out for food, but those who were hungry hunger no more. She who was barren has borne seven children, but she who has had many sons pines away. {6} "The Lord brings death and makes alive; he brings down to the grave and raises up. {7} The Lord sends poverty and wealth; he humbles and he exalts. {8} He raises the poor from the dust and lifts the needy from the ash heap; he seats them with princes and has them inherit a throne of honor. "For the foundations of the earth are the Lord's; upon them he has set the world. {9} He will guard the feet of his saints, but the wicked will be silenced in darkness. "It is not by strength that one prevails; {10} those who oppose the Lord will be shattered. He will thunder against them from heaven; the Lord will judge the ends of the earth. "He will give strength to his king and exalt the horn of his anointed.""

(Hebrews 13:15 NIV)  "Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise--the fruit of lips that confess his name."

Hannah let go of Samuel, and then she let go with an anthem of praise that rivals any in Scripture. Her sacrifice brought tears, but it also brought praise and worship in her life. Her words are still potent today. Faith should be deeply personal, but it should also manifest itself in our public life. We have a relationship with Christ in our heart of hearts, but we are also to be faithful and worshipful in the public arena. It’s not an “either/or” situation -- it’s a “both/and”. This will take more than the casual brushing up against the things of God that is so prevalent today. It will take an immersion in Christ that influences the way we live everywhere, every single day. This is the caliber of commitment Jesus seeks from his followers. We are called to lay down our lives on His altar and surrender all that we have to Him. This is how we offer a sacrifice of praise that brings glory to God. Hold nothing back. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Hannah: Faith and Letting Go

September 14

(1 Samuel 1:19-28 NIV)  "Early the next morning they arose and worshiped before the Lord and then went back to their home at Ramah. Elkanah lay with Hannah his wife, and the Lord remembered her. {20} So in the course of time Hannah conceived and gave birth to a son. She named him Samuel, saying, "Because I asked the Lord for him." {21} When the man Elkanah went up with all his family to offer the annual sacrifice to the Lord and to fulfill his vow, {22} Hannah did not go. She said to her husband, "After the boy is weaned, I will take him and present him before the Lord, and he will live there always." {23} "Do what seems best to you," Elkanah her husband told her. "Stay here until you have weaned him; only may the Lord make good his word." So the woman stayed at home and nursed her son until she had weaned him. {24} After he was weaned, she took the boy with her, young as he was, along with a three-year-old bull, an ephah of flour and a skin of wine, and brought him to the house of the Lord at Shiloh. {25} When they had slaughtered the bull, they brought the boy to Eli, {26} and she said to him, "As surely as you live, my lord, I am the woman who stood here beside you praying to the Lord. {27} I prayed for this child, and the Lord has granted me what I asked of him. {28} So now I give him to the Lord. For his whole life he will be given over to the Lord." And he worshiped the Lord there."

(1 Samuel 2:21 NIV)  "And the Lord was gracious to Hannah; she conceived and gave birth to three sons and two daughters. Meanwhile, the boy Samuel grew up in the presence of the Lord."

(1 Samuel 2:26 NIV)  "And the boy Samuel continued to grow in stature and in favor with the Lord and with men."

People of faith are blessed by God when they truly surrender everything to Him. That blessing comes in His time and in His way, and often in a form that is unexpected. Hannah trusted God for a child, and then she trusted God with her child. She modeled faith before Samuel was born, and again after he was born. She had prayed fervently for a child, and she promised to give her firstborn son to God. Hannah kept her promise and offered her son for the Lord’s service. We too must learn to let go and offer up our best to the Lord. At some point, we even have to place our children on the altar, and trust God for their future. It will be better for them, and it will be better for us. We never stop loving them, but we must give up the illusion of control. We must take our hands off the gifts we leave on God’s altar, or they are not truly left on the altar… nor are they genuine gifts. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Hannah: Faith and Prayer

September 13

(1 Samuel 1:1-18 NIV)  "There was a certain man from Ramathaim, a Zuphite from the hill country of Ephraim, whose name was Elkanah son of Jeroham, the son of Elihu, the son of Tohu, the son of Zuph, an Ephraimite. {2} He had two wives; one was called Hannah and the other Peninnah. Peninnah had children, but Hannah had none. {3} Year after year this man went up from his town to worship and sacrifice to the Lord Almighty at Shiloh, where Hophni and Phinehas, the two sons of Eli, were priests of the Lord. {4} Whenever the day came for Elkanah to sacrifice, he would give portions of the meat to his wife Peninnah and to all her sons and daughters. {5} But to Hannah he gave a double portion because he loved her, and the Lord had closed her womb. {6} And because the Lord had closed her womb, her rival kept provoking her in order to irritate her. {7} This went on year after year. Whenever Hannah went up to the house of the Lord, her rival provoked her till she wept and would not eat. {8} Elkanah her husband would say to her, "Hannah, why are you weeping? Why don't you eat? Why are you downhearted? Don't I mean more to you than ten sons?" {9} Once when they had finished eating and drinking in Shiloh, Hannah stood up. Now Eli the priest was sitting on a chair by the doorpost of the Lord's temple. {10} In bitterness of soul Hannah wept much and prayed to the Lord. {11} And she made a vow, saying, "O Lord Almighty, if you will only look upon your servant's misery and remember me, and not forget your servant but give her a son, then I will give him to the Lord for all the days of his life, and no razor will ever be used on his head." {12} As she kept on praying to the Lord, Eli observed her mouth. {13} Hannah was praying in her heart, and her lips were moving but her voice was not heard. Eli thought she was drunk {14} and said to her, "How long will you keep on getting drunk? Get rid of your wine." {15} "Not so, my lord," Hannah replied, "I am a woman who is deeply troubled. I have not been drinking wine or beer; I was pouring out my soul to the Lord. {16} Do not take your servant for a wicked woman; I have been praying here out of my great anguish and grief." {17} Eli answered, "Go in peace, and may the God of Israel grant you what you have asked of him." {18} She said, "May your servant find favor in your eyes." Then she went her way and ate something, and her face was no longer downcast."

People of great faith sometimes endure great trials. That is often what makes them into people of great faith. The fires of tribulation can be a forge that forms a faith as strong as steel. We must understand that Jesus makes life better, but He won’t always make it easier. He told us the road was narrow. He told us people would hate us and that our possessions would be at risk. He promised us that in this world we would have trouble. He warned us that we would be persecuted, even killed for believing Him. The “blessed with riches” Christianity that is so prominent today is a 20th century American invention. The truth is, the more seriously we take our faith, the larger our challenges will probably be. Believing God in the face of negative circumstances is the growth stimulant for both saving faith and sustaining faith. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Boaz: Kinsman Redeemer

September 12

(Ruth 2:20 NIV)  ""The Lord bless him!" Naomi said to her daughter-in-law. "He has not stopped showing his kindness to the living and the dead." She added, "That man is our close relative; he is one of our kinsman-redeemers.""

(Ruth 4:14 NIV)  "The women said to Naomi: "Praise be to the Lord, who this day has not left you without a kinsman-redeemer. May he become famous throughout Israel!"

(Job 19:25-27 NIV)  "I know that my Redeemer lives, and that in the end he will stand upon the earth. {26} And after my skin has been destroyed, yet in my flesh I will see God; {27} I myself will see him with my own eyes--I, and not another. How my heart yearns within me!"

(Isaiah 59:20 NIV)  ""The Redeemer will come to Zion, to those in Jacob who repent of their sins," declares the Lord."

(Psalms 116:6 NIV)  "The Lord protects the simplehearted; when I was in great need, he saved me."

In many ways, we are much like Ruth. We come as undeserving foreigners to the heavenly kingdom. We have no rights or privileges, only needs. We are destitute and desperate for mercy. Disaster and famine have come upon our spirits and we have no means of surviving on our own. We need a protector and a provider who will care for our orphaned, widowed souls -- someone who will sacrifice his reputation to cover us and care for us. God gave Ruth a Kinsman-Redeemer named Boaz. His heart was willing, but Ruth still had to approach him and seek his help. God has also given us a Kinsman Redeemer. His name is Jesus Christ. He has the means to provide shelter for us, and is willing to do so, but like Ruth, we must approach our Redeemer and ask for His help. Ditch the pride and ask Him to help you. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Monday, September 11, 2017

9-11... When Evil Seems to Triumph

September 11

(Psalm 46 NIV) "God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. {2} Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, {3} though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging. Selah {4} There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy place where the Most High dwells. {5} God is within her, she will not fall; God will help her at break of day. {6} Nations are in uproar, kingdoms fall; he lifts his voice, the earth melts. {7} The Lord Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress. Selah {8} Come and see the works of the Lord, the desolations he has brought on the earth. {9} He makes wars cease to the ends of the earth; he breaks the bow and shatters the spear, he burns the shields with fire. {10} "Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth." {11} The Lord Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress."

9-11 is one of those dates that Franklin D. Roosevelt said will “live in infamy”. Almost every generation has a defining moment like this… an event so challenging that it becomes an occasion to rise above. Evil comes crashing into our lives with the speed of a jet plane, changing reality as we know it, and we are reminded that something is very wrong with our world. If this is the best a million years of evolution can produce, there really is no hope for that process. And frankly, if this is the final product of religion, then Karl Marx was right. But, it’s not! It’s a mutation -- an evil twin, masquerading as God. And if we bow to the violence and terror… if we allow hate to rise up within us… then we have joined in the idolatrous sacrifice. In times like these, we fall to our knees. We fall onto the solid ground of our redeeming and sustaining Lord. All other ground is sinking sand. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Boaz: A Real Man of Standing

September 10

(Ruth 2:1-18 NIV)  "Now Naomi had a relative on her husband's side, from the clan of Elimelech, a man of standing, whose name was Boaz. {2} And Ruth the Moabitess said to Naomi, "Let me go to the fields and pick up the leftover grain behind anyone in whose eyes I find favor." Naomi said to her, "Go ahead, my daughter." {3} So she went out and began to glean in the fields behind the harvesters. As it turned out, she found herself working in a field belonging to Boaz, who was from the clan of Elimelech. {4} Just then Boaz arrived from Bethlehem and greeted the harvesters, "The Lord be with you!" "The Lord bless you!" they called back. {5} Boaz asked the foreman of his harvesters, "Whose young woman is that?" {6} The foreman replied, "She is the Moabitess who came back from Moab with Naomi. {7} She said, 'Please let me glean and gather among the sheaves behind the harvesters.' She went into the field and has worked steadily from morning till now, except for a short rest in the shelter." {8} So Boaz said to Ruth, "My daughter, listen to me. Don't go and glean in another field and don't go away from here. Stay here with my servant girls. {9} Watch the field where the men are harvesting, and follow along after the girls. I have told the men not to touch you. And whenever you are thirsty, go and get a drink from the water jars the men have filled." {10} At this, she bowed down with her face to the ground. She exclaimed, "Why have I found such favor in your eyes that you notice me--a foreigner?" {11} Boaz replied, "I've been told all about what you have done for your mother-in-law since the death of your husband--how you left your father and mother and your homeland and came to live with a people you did not know before. {12} May the Lord repay you for what you have done. May you be richly rewarded by the Lord, the God of Israel, under whose wings you have come to take refuge." {13} "May I continue to find favor in your eyes, my lord," she said. "You have given me comfort and have spoken kindly to your servant--though I do not have the standing of one of your servant girls." {14} At mealtime Boaz said to her, "Come over here. Have some bread and dip it in the wine vinegar." When she sat down with the harvesters, he offered her some roasted grain. She ate all she wanted and had some left over. {15} As she got up to glean, Boaz gave orders to his men, "Even if she gathers among the sheaves, don't embarrass her. {16} Rather, pull out some stalks for her from the bundles and leave them for her to pick up, and don't rebuke her." {17} So Ruth gleaned in the field until evening. Then she threshed the barley she had gathered, and it amounted to about an ephah. {18} She carried it back to town, and her mother-in-law saw how much she had gathered. Ruth also brought out and gave her what she had left over after she had eaten enough."

When it comes to character, compassion, and integrity in men, we live in the Dust Bowl days of the depression. But, when we come to Boaz in scripture, we enter a tropical paradise of manhood. The Bible calls him “a man of standing”. That means he had an excellent reputation, and was well respected in his community. He was fair and honest. He kept his word. He was upright and moral. He looked out for the poor. He didn’t cheat people. He wasn’t a drunk or a hypocrite. Boaz also protected Ruth. He could have taken advantage of her situation.  She was extremely vulnerable. But he watched over her in honorable fashion. He was a true “man of standing.” Today, we have men of wealth, influence, power, and fame… but, very few “men of standing”. We have a surplus of macho men, tough guys, and bad dudes, but “men of standing” are a very rare commodity. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Ruth and Naomi: Women of Destiny

September 9

(Ruth 1:16-17 NIV)  "But Ruth replied, "Don't urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God. {17} Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried. May the Lord deal with me, be it ever so severely, if anything but death separates you and me.""

(Ruth 4:13-17 NIV)  "So Boaz took Ruth and she became his wife. Then he went to her, and the Lord enabled her to conceive, and she gave birth to a son. {14} The women said to Naomi: "Praise be to the Lord, who this day has not left you without a kinsman-redeemer. May he become famous throughout Israel! {15} He will renew your life and sustain you in your old age. For your daughter-in-law, who loves you and who is better to you than seven sons, has given him birth." {16} Then Naomi took the child, laid him in her lap and cared for him. {17} The women living there said, "Naomi has a son." And they named him Obed. He was the father of Jesse, the father of David."

Ruth laid down her life for Naomi. Sometimes we have to die to our self before our life can become significant for God. So Ruth went with Naomi back to her old “hometown”… a little insignificant place called Bethlehem. Sometimes God calls us to insignificant places before he makes them into significant places. God has done significant work through insignificant people from insignificant places. Two very significant men rose up from the insignificant little town of Bethlehem: a lowly shepherd and a common carpenter. The shepherd David rose to defeat giants and become the king of Israel. The carpenter Jesus rose to defeat death and become the King of kings. God loves to take people that this world sees as insignificant and do significant things through them. Take heart, whoever and wherever you are today… God has something significant in mind for you. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Friday, September 8, 2017

Ruth and Naomi: Bitter-Sweet

September 8

(Ruth 1:6-22 NIV) "When she heard in Moab that the Lord had come to the aid of his people by providing food for them, Naomi and her daughters-in-law prepared to return home from there. {7} With her two daughters-in-law she left the place where she had been living and set out on the road that would take them back to the land of Judah. {8} Then Naomi said to her two daughters-in-law, "Go back, each of you, to your mother's home. May the Lord show kindness to you, as you have shown to your dead and to me. {9} May the Lord grant that each of you will find rest in the home of another husband." Then she kissed them and they wept aloud {10} and said to her, "We will go back with you to your people." {11} But Naomi said, "Return home, my daughters. Why would you come with me? Am I going to have any more sons, who could become your husbands? {12} Return home, my daughters; I am too old to have another husband. Even if I thought there was still hope for me--even if I had a husband tonight and then gave birth to sons-- {13} would you wait until they grew up? Would you remain unmarried for them? No, my daughters. It is more bitter for me than for you, because the Lord's hand has gone out against me!" {14} At this they wept again. Then Orpah kissed her mother-in-law good-by, but Ruth clung to her. {15} "Look," said Naomi, "your sister-in-law is going back to her people and her gods. Go back with her." {16} But Ruth replied, "Don't urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God. {17} Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried. May the Lord deal with me, be it ever so severely, if anything but death separates you and me." {18} When Naomi realized that Ruth was determined to go with her, she stopped urging her. {19} So the two women went on until they came to Bethlehem. When they arrived in Bethlehem, the whole town was stirred because of them, and the women exclaimed, "Can this be Naomi?" {20} "Don't call me Naomi, " she told them. "Call me Mara, because the Almighty has made my life very bitter. {21} I went away full, but the Lord has brought me back empty. Why call me Naomi? The Lord has afflicted me; the Almighty has brought misfortune upon me." {22} So Naomi returned from Moab accompanied by Ruth the Moabitess, her daughter-in-law, arriving in Bethlehem as the barley harvest was beginning."

One of the things that Naomi and Ruth learned is that what looks like lousy timing here on earth, can often be perfect timing in God’s economy. Tragedies can often become positive turning points in life. It seems like we can only learn this through losing -- like when that miracle doesn't come, when that healing doesn’t happen, when that pain doesn’t go away, or when that marriage falls apart. Sometimes we have to lose everything before we can finally grasp what we really have. When Naomi lost everything, she discovered she had a treasure named Ruth, a jewel who ended up in the line of Christ. Unless we learn to trust in God’s timing, we will very likely become bitter over defeat, trouble, and loss. Our losses can drive our lives into the ground. There’s an old saying that goes like this: “Trouble is like hot weather; it sours milk, but sweetens apples.” So… are you milk or apples? -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Naomi and Ruth: Murphy’s Laws

September 7

(Ruth 1:1-5 NIV)  "In the days when the judges ruled, there was a famine in the land, and a man from Bethlehem in Judah, together with his wife and two sons, went to live for a while in the country of Moab. {2} The man's name was Elimelech, his wife's name Naomi, and the names of his two sons were Mahlon and Kilion. They were Ephrathites from Bethlehem, Judah. And they went to Moab and lived there. {3} Now Elimelech, Naomi's husband, died, and she was left with her two sons. {4} They married Moabite women, one named Orpah and the other Ruth. After they had lived there about ten years, {5} both Mahlon and Kilion also died, and Naomi was left without her two sons and her husband."

(John 16:33 NIV) "I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world."

Most have probably heard of Murphy’s Laws. “If anything can go wrong it will. Nothing is as easy as it looks. Everything takes longer than you think. The other line always moves faster.” There are hundreds, all dripping with pessimism soaked in reality. Naomi epitomized Murphy’s Laws and could have written a few out of her life. One of them could have been: “Sometimes things have to get a lot worse before they can get better.” Naomi’s story starts with a famine. But it got worse. Naomi’s husband died… no life insurance, no death benefits. All she had were her two sons. But it got worse -- both of her sons died. Her earthly security was gone. Sometimes things have to get a lot worse, before they can get any better. But the bright spot in that phrase is that "things can get better". And, eventually, they did. Life is not easy, bad stuff happens, but things can get better. Hold onto that today. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Samson: Dying With the Philistines

September 6           

(Judges 16:21-30 NIV)  "Then the Philistines seized him, gouged out his eyes and took him down to Gaza. Binding him with bronze shackles, they set him to grinding in the prison. {22} But the hair on his head began to grow again after it had been shaved. {23} Now the rulers of the Philistines assembled to offer a great sacrifice to Dagon their god and to celebrate, saying, "Our god has delivered Samson, our enemy, into our hands." {24} When the people saw him, they praised their god, saying, "Our god has delivered our enemy into our hands, the one who laid waste our land and multiplied our slain." {25} While they were in high spirits, they shouted, "Bring out Samson to entertain us." So they called Samson out of the prison, and he performed for them. When they stood him among the pillars, {26} Samson said to the servant who held his hand, "Put me where I can feel the pillars that support the temple, so that I may lean against them." {27} Now the temple was crowded with men and women; all the rulers of the Philistines were there, and on the roof were about three thousand men and women watching Samson perform. {28} Then Samson prayed to the Lord, "O Sovereign Lord, remember me. O God, please strengthen me just once more, and let me with one blow get revenge on the Philistines for my two eyes." {29} Then Samson reached toward the two central pillars on which the temple stood. Bracing himself against them, his right hand on the one and his left hand on the other, {30} Samson said, "Let me die with the Philistines!" Then he pushed with all his might, and down came the temple on the rulers and all the people in it. Thus he killed many more when he died than while he lived."

God called Samson to lead Israel. But God’s directive never overcame Samson’s desires. Eventually, he was taken captive and blinded by his sin. He became a great legend, but he never became a godly leader. Fleshly desires always seemed to take priority over faithful decisions in Samson’s life. God gave him supernatural strength, but his unspiritual addictions sapped his strength and made him weak. In the end, he frittered away God’s great gift. God still gives tremendous strength to flawed individuals. Along with that strength, comes a huge amount of grace. If strength and grace did not come together, our ashes would have been scattered by the wind long ago, for we have all sinned and fallen short. Samson ended up squandering his life. His legacy became: "He killed many more when he died than while he lived.” Let’s pray that our claim to fame is far better than that. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day