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Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Peter: Dealing with a Noisy Rooster

October 31

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

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

Monday, October 30, 2017

Peter: Called Out

October 30

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

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

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Peter: Out in Front

October 29

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

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

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

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

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

Saturday, October 28, 2017

John the Baptizer: Evangelist 

October 28 

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

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

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

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

Friday, October 27, 2017

John the Baptizer: Straddling the Testaments

October 27

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John

October 26

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

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

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

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

John: Apostle of Love

October 25

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

John: Son of Thunder

October 24

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, October 23, 2017

Mark: Growing Up is Showing Up

October 23

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Luke: Physician to the Stars

October 22

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

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

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

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

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Matthew: The Obedient Taxman

October 21

(Matthew 9:9-13 NIV) "As Jesus went on from there, he saw a man named Matthew sitting at the tax collector's booth. "Follow me," he told him, and Matthew got up and followed him. {10} While Jesus was having dinner at Matthew's house, many tax collectors and "sinners" came and ate with him and his disciples. {11} When the Pharisees saw this, they asked his disciples, "Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and 'sinners'?" {12} On hearing this, Jesus said, "It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. {13} But go and learn what this means: 'I desire mercy, not sacrifice.' For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.""

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

Friday, October 20, 2017

Picking Up the Pieces

October 20

(Psalm 34:18 NIV)  "The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit."

(Psalm 147:3 NIV)  "He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds."

Sometimes the unthinkable happens and marriages come apart. Hearts get hard and will not soften, and we end up where we never thought we would be. In these times we need to remember, God hates divorce, but God loves people. The church is called to speak the truth in love, but too often we are long on truth and short on love. To be the restorative community we’re called to be, we must stop shooting our wounded. God’s law is covered with God’s grace. We should assist those stuck in the quicksand of sin, not shove them under. We are the lifeline of grace for those who’ve fallen over the edge. The church should be on everyone’s list of safe places to come when they’ve been decimated by careless living. Instead, it is often a cruel place. This should not be. Jesus didn’t leave the empty cross behind so we could yank it out of the ground and clobber people with it. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Malachi: Breaking Faith

October 19

(Malachi 2:10-16 NIV)  "Have we not all one Father ? Did not one God create us? Why do we profane the covenant of our fathers by breaking faith with one another? {11} Judah has broken faith. A detestable thing has been committed in Israel and in Jerusalem: Judah has desecrated the sanctuary the Lord loves, by marrying the daughter of a foreign god. {12} As for the man who does this, whoever he may be, may the Lord cut him off from the tents of Jacob --even though he brings offerings to the Lord Almighty. {13} Another thing you do: You flood the Lord's altar with tears. You weep and wail because he no longer pays attention to your offerings or accepts them with pleasure from your hands. {14} You ask, "Why?" It is because the Lord is acting as the witness between you and the wife of your youth, because you have broken faith with her, though she is your partner, the wife of your marriage covenant. {15} Has not the Lord made them one? In flesh and spirit they are his. And why one? Because he was seeking godly offspring. So guard yourself in your spirit, and do not break faith with the wife of your youth. {16} "I hate divorce," says the Lord God of Israel, "and I hate a man's covering himself with violence as well as with his garment," says the Lord Almighty. So guard yourself in your spirit, and do not break faith."

Through Malachi, God addressed a culture that would not keep their word. Covenants meant little to them… especially marriage. They had made divorce easy and frequent. Things have not changed much. One of the biggest contributors to our culture of divorce is the stark absence of courting. The leap from first date to bedding down now happens at warp speed. The purpose of dating has changed from getting acquainted to getting laid. We’ve become too quick to commit and too quick to consent. We give our hearts and bodies away like Halloween candy to any Romeo or Juliet who comes along. But that quick hook-up can easily become a lasting hang-up. That Romeo often proves to be a Rambo. Our Juliet can morph into a Jezebel. That moment’s pleasure can leave behind a life-long or life ending disease. Don’t be hasty in giving it up. Wise up and wait up. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Malachi: The Whole Enchilada

October 18

(Malachi 1:6-14 NIV)  ""A son honors his father, and a servant his master. If I am a father, where is the honor due me? If I am a master, where is the respect due me?" says the Lord Almighty. "It is you, O priests, who show contempt for my name. "But you ask, 'How have we shown contempt for your name?' {7} "You place defiled food on my altar. "But you ask, 'How have we defiled you?' "By saying that the Lord's table is contemptible. {8} When you bring blind animals for sacrifice, is that not wrong? When you sacrifice crippled or diseased animals, is that not wrong? Try offering them to your governor! Would he be pleased with you? Would he accept you?" says the Lord Almighty. {9} "Now implore God to be gracious to us. With such offerings from your hands, will he accept you?"--says the Lord Almighty. {10} "Oh, that one of you would shut the temple doors, so that you would not light useless fires on my altar! I am not pleased with you," says the Lord Almighty, "and I will accept no offering from your hands. {11} My name will be great among the nations, from the rising to the setting of the sun. In every place incense and pure offerings will be brought to my name, because my name will be great among the nations," says the Lord Almighty.""

(Malachi 3:6-12 NIV)  ""Will a man rob God? Yet you rob me. "But you ask, 'How do we rob you?' "In tithes and offerings. {9} You are under a curse--the whole nation of you--because you are robbing me. {10} Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this," says the Lord Almighty, "and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it. {11} I will prevent pests from devouring your crops, and the vines in your fields will not cast their fruit," says the Lord Almighty. {12} "Then all the nations will call you blessed, for yours will be a delightful land," says the Lord Almighty.""

God deserves our finest, right? This attitude should be reflected in our giving. We dishonor God when, like a dog under the table, we offer Him our leftovers. It is unacceptable to keep the best for ourselves and offer God our table scraps, or our “crippled sacrifices”.  Our giving will ultimately reflect the value we place on God. Worship is respect, and for our giving to be true worshipful, it must be respectful -- it must be generous and sacrificial. Selfishness and hoarding are disrespectful. We cannot truly worship God, and at the same time rob Him in our offerings. Instead of being just an after-thought, our offerings to the Lord should be a high priority in our budget. There is a direct correlation between our faith and our giving -- they usually rise and fall together. Wise Christians will give God the very best they have, and not try to get by with “crippled sacrifice”. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Malachi: What’s Mine, What’s Yours

October 17

(Malachi 1:6-14 NIV)  ""A son honors his father, and a servant his master. If I am a father, where is the honor due me? If I am a master, where is the respect due me?" says the Lord Almighty. "It is you, O priests, who show contempt for my name. "But you ask, 'How have we shown contempt for your name?' {7} "You place defiled food on my altar. "But you ask, 'How have we defiled you?' "By saying that the Lord's table is contemptible. {8} When you bring blind animals for sacrifice, is that not wrong? When you sacrifice crippled or diseased animals, is that not wrong? Try offering them to your governor! Would he be pleased with you? Would he accept you?" says the Lord Almighty. {9} "Now implore God to be gracious to us. With such offerings from your hands, will he accept you?"--says the Lord Almighty. {10} "Oh, that one of you would shut the temple doors, so that you would not light useless fires on my altar! I am not pleased with you," says the Lord Almighty, "and I will accept no offering from your hands. {11} My name will be great among the nations, from the rising to the setting of the sun. In every place incense and pure offerings will be brought to my name, because my name will be great among the nations," says the Lord Almighty. {12} "But you profane it by saying of the Lord's table, 'It is defiled,' and of its food, 'It is contemptible.' {13} And you say, 'What a burden!' and you sniff at it contemptuously," says the Lord Almighty. "When you bring injured, crippled or diseased animals and offer them as sacrifices, should I accept them from your hands?" says the Lord. {14} "Cursed is the cheat who has an acceptable male in his flock and vows to give it, but then sacrifices a blemished animal to the Lord. For I am a great king," says the Lord Almighty, "and my name is to be feared among the nations."

(Malachi 3:6-12 NIV)  ""I the Lord do not change. So you, O descendants of Jacob, are not destroyed. {7} Ever since the time of your forefathers you have turned away from my decrees and have not kept them. Return to me, and I will return to you," says the Lord Almighty. "But you ask, 'How are we to return?' {8} "Will a man rob God? Yet you rob me. "But you ask, 'How do we rob you?' "In tithes and offerings. {9} You are under a curse--the whole nation of you--because you are robbing me. {10} Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this," says the Lord Almighty, "and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it. {11} I will prevent pests from devouring your crops, and the vines in your fields will not cast their fruit," says the Lord Almighty. {12} "Then all the nations will call you blessed, for yours will be a delightful land," says the Lord Almighty."

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

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

Malachi was a high impact preacher. When he preached, people left church early and didn’t come back. One of Malachi’s high risk themes was the minefield of giving. Giving is a moral issue, so obedience is crucial. Generous people enjoy talking about giving -- tightwads hate it. We must remember that God doesn’t need our money. God needs nothing. If Jesus could make bread out of rocks, and wine out of water, he could make money grow on trees. We are the ones who have the needs. But once we finally accept the truth that everything belongs to God, it changes everything. Nobody likes being told what to do with their stuff -- but if it’s God’s stuff, then God certainly has the right to tell us what to do with it. In the end, giving really boils down to a perception of ownership. Is it yours or God’s? Get this one right, or your faith will be crippled. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Monday, October 16, 2017

Joel: Pouring Out the Spirit

October 16

(Joel 2:28-29 NIV)  "'And afterward, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams, your young men will see visions. {29} Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days."

(Acts 2:1-4 NIV)  "When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. {2} Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. {3} They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. {4} All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them."

(Acts 2:13-18 NIV)  "Some, however, made fun of them and said, "They have had too much wine." {14} Then Peter stood up with the Eleven, raised his voice and addressed the crowd: "Fellow Jews and all of you who live in Jerusalem, let me explain this to you; listen carefully to what I say. {15} These men are not drunk, as you suppose. It's only nine in the morning! {16} No, this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel: {17} "'In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams. {18} Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days, and they will prophesy."

(Ephesians 5:18 NIV)  "Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit."

(Romans 8:9 NIV)  "You, however, are controlled not by the sinful nature but by the Spirit, if the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ."

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

(Galatians 5:25 NIV)  "Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit."

The prophet Joel saw a day coming when God would pour out his Spirit on earth and no longer live in a temple made by human hands. Instead, God would live in the hearts of His people. The Holy Spirit’s coming at Pentecost produced profound, long term effects in those who were filled. This past promise of God was projected into the future and has been realized in our present day. Christians, we have become God’s temple. When the Holy Spirit lives in us, we see differently, hear differently, love differently, give differently, speak differently, and live differently. The “fullness of God” leaves little room for the old varmints of carnality. As we are “filled with the Spirit”, one by one, our self-serving, self-promoting, and self-indulging behaviors are crowded out. There is only room for one God in the temple of God. Let His Holy Spirit fill you. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Joel: What the Locusts Have Eaten

October 15

(Joel 2:25 NIV)  "'I will repay you for the years the locusts have eaten-- the great locust and the young locust, the other locusts and the locust swarm -- my great army that I sent among you."

(Colossians 1:13-14 NIV)  "For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, {14} in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins."

In scripture, locusts were seen as a curse from God. Today they provide a metaphor for those things that have devoured so many of our lives. Many people today live with the feeling that their lives have been wasted. They look back with remorse and hold little hope for the future. But, God says to us, “I’m not finished yet. I will repay you for the years the locusts have eaten.” God doesn’t say He will erase the consequences of our sin -- He says, “I will change the value of the time your sins devoured.” God takes our empty way of life and fills it with meaning. He uses our negative experiences as positive examples. He changes our trials into testimonies. He takes our mess and turns it into a message. He salvages our past and transforms our future. God wants more than just eternal life for you. He also wants to redeem your earthly life. Watch for ways to redeem your past. Let the redemption begin. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Joel: Heart Rending Salvation

October 14

(Joel 2:12-13 NIV)  "'Even now,' declares the Lord, 'return to me with all your heart, with fasting and weeping and mourning.' {13} Rend your heart and not your garments. Return to the Lord your God, for he is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love, and he relents from sending calamity."

(Joel 2:31-32 NIV)  "The sun will be turned to darkness and the moon to blood before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord. {32} And everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved; for on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem there will be deliverance, as the Lord has said, among the survivors whom the Lord calls."

(Joel 3:14 NIV)  "Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision! For the day of the Lord is near in the valley of decision."

Joel is often called a “minor prophet”, but his words are of major importance. Many scholars believe Joel was one of the first of the “writing prophets”. If so, God started a new work with the writings of Joel. He began to prepare people for the end of time. Joel calls this coming event “the day of the Lord”. He uses that term five times in his short book. Joel encourages a heart rending salvation -- a salvation of wholehearted repentance. He lets us know that God is not interested in the surface stuff. He writes of a non-discriminatory salvation: “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord” can be saved. This is a bold statement from a Jewish prophet. Joel also makes it clear that this salvation is a choice: everyone “who calls”. Salvation may be non-discriminatory, but it is not universal. Not everyone will be saved… only those who “call on the name of the Lord”. Call on His name! -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Friday, October 13, 2017

Jonah: A Very Fishy Story

October 13

(Jonah 1:1-17 NIV)  "The word of the Lord came to Jonah son of Amittai: {2} "Go to the great city of Nineveh and preach against it, because its wickedness has come up before me." {3} But Jonah ran away from the Lord and headed for Tarshish. He went down to Joppa, where he found a ship bound for that port. After paying the fare, he went aboard and sailed for Tarshish to flee from the Lord. {4} Then the Lord sent a great wind on the sea, and such a violent storm arose that the ship threatened to break up. {5} All the sailors were afraid and each cried out to his own god. And they threw the cargo into the sea to lighten the ship. But Jonah had gone below deck, where he lay down and fell into a deep sleep. {6} The captain went to him and said, "How can you sleep? Get up and call on your god! Maybe he will take notice of us, and we will not perish." {7} Then the sailors said to each other, "Come, let us cast lots to find out who is responsible for this calamity." They cast lots and the lot fell on Jonah. {8} So they asked him, "Tell us, who is responsible for making all this trouble for us? What do you do? Where do you come from? What is your country? From what people are you?" {9} He answered, "I am a Hebrew and I worship the Lord, the God of heaven, who made the sea and the land." {10} This terrified them and they asked, "What have you done?" (They knew he was running away from the Lord, because he had already told them so.) {11} The sea was getting rougher and rougher. So they asked him, "What should we do to you to make the sea calm down for us?" {12} "Pick me up and throw me into the sea," he replied, "and it will become calm. I know that it is my fault that this great storm has come upon you." {13} Instead, the men did their best to row back to land. But they could not, for the sea grew even wilder than before. {14} Then they cried to the Lord, "O Lord, please do not let us die for taking this man's life. Do not hold us accountable for killing an innocent man, for you, O Lord, have done as you pleased." {15} Then they took Jonah and threw him overboard, and the raging sea grew calm. {16} At this the men greatly feared the Lord, and they offered a sacrifice to the Lord and made vows to him. {17} But the Lord provided a great fish to swallow Jonah, and Jonah was inside the fish three days and three nights."

God told Jonah to go east. Jonah went west. We’ve all done it. Some people are doing it right now. We call it reluctance -- God calls it disobedience. When Jesus calls us and we say, “I’m not sure”, we are really saying, “No thanks.” Our reluctance/disobedience will often bring some kind of storm in life… a storm which can threaten to sink our ship and drown us. As we are going down, we tend to blame God, but most of our storms are manmade. Our decisions put us on the wrong boat, going in the wrong direction, on the wrong sea, with the wrong crew, for the wrong reasons… and we wonder why our life is so stormy. Then, in his mercy, God sends some kind of big fish to get us. If we’re going to tell fishy stories, God will provide the fish. Even in our disobedience, God graciously provides a way for us to do his will. It may appear like judgment, but it is God’s grace. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego: Three Young Men in Holy Defiance

October 12

(Daniel 3:1-29 NIV)  "King Nebuchadnezzar made an image of gold, ninety feet high and nine feet wide, and set it up on the plain of Dura in the province of Babylon. {2} He then summoned the satraps, prefects, governors, advisers, treasurers, judges, magistrates and all the other provincial officials to come to the dedication of the image he had set up. {3} So the satraps, prefects, governors, advisers, treasurers, judges, magistrates and all the other provincial officials assembled for the dedication of the image that King Nebuchadnezzar had set up, and they stood before it. {4} Then the herald loudly proclaimed, "This is what you are commanded to do, O peoples, nations and men of every language: {5} As soon as you hear the sound of the horn, flute, zither, lyre, harp, pipes and all kinds of music, you must fall down and worship the image of gold that King Nebuchadnezzar has set up. {6} Whoever does not fall down and worship will immediately be thrown into a blazing furnace." {7} Therefore, as soon as they heard the sound of the horn, flute, zither, lyre, harp and all kinds of music, all the peoples, nations and men of every language fell down and worshiped the image of gold that King Nebuchadnezzar had set up. {8} At this time some astrologers came forward and denounced the Jews. {9} They said to King Nebuchadnezzar, "O king, live forever! {10} You have issued a decree, O king, that everyone who hears the sound of the horn, flute, zither, lyre, harp, pipes and all kinds of music must fall down and worship the image of gold, {11} and that whoever does not fall down and worship will be thrown into a blazing furnace. {12} But there are some Jews whom you have set over the affairs of the province of Babylon--Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego--who pay no attention to you, O king. They neither serve your gods nor worship the image of gold you have set up." {13} Furious with rage, Nebuchadnezzar summoned Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. So these men were brought before the king, {14} and Nebuchadnezzar said to them, "Is it true, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, that you do not serve my gods or worship the image of gold I have set up? {15} Now when you hear the sound of the horn, flute, zither, lyre, harp, pipes and all kinds of music, if you are ready to fall down and worship the image I made, very good. But if you do not worship it, you will be thrown immediately into a blazing furnace. Then what god will be able to rescue you from my hand?" {16} Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego replied to the king, "O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. {17} If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to save us from it, and he will rescue us from your hand, O king. {18} But even if he does not, we want you to know, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up." {19} Then Nebuchadnezzar was furious with Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, and his attitude toward them changed. He ordered the furnace heated seven times hotter than usual {20} and commanded some of the strongest soldiers in his army to tie up Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego and throw them into the blazing furnace. {21} So these men, wearing their robes, trousers, turbans and other clothes, were bound and thrown into the blazing furnace. {22} The king's command was so urgent and the furnace so hot that the flames of the fire killed the soldiers who took up Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, {23} and these three men, firmly tied, fell into the blazing furnace. {24} Then King Nebuchadnezzar leaped to his feet in amazement and asked his advisers, "Weren't there three men that we tied up and threw into the fire?" They replied, "Certainly, O king." {25} He said, "Look! I see four men walking around in the fire, unbound and unharmed, and the fourth looks like a son of the gods." {26} Nebuchadnezzar then approached the opening of the blazing furnace and shouted, "Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, servants of the Most High God, come out! Come here!" So Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego came out of the fire, {27} and the satraps, prefects, governors and royal advisers crowded around them. They saw that the fire had not harmed their bodies, nor was a hair of their heads singed; their robes were not scorched, and there was no smell of fire on them. {28} Then Nebuchadnezzar said, "Praise be to the God of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, who has sent his angel and rescued his servants! They trusted in him and defied the king's command and were willing to give up their lives rather than serve or worship any god except their own God. {29} Therefore I decree that the people of any nation or language who say anything against the God of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego be cut into pieces and their houses be turned into piles of rubble, for no other god can save in this way.""

Three young men raised the banner of God over their lives and refused to strike their colors. They defied the most powerful man on Earth and refused to bow down to his idolatrous golden image. False gods are always insecure gods -- they cannot tolerate competition. The only way false religion can deal with true Light is by destroying books that speak of it, passing laws that prohibit it, and intimidating or eliminating those who display it. This has occurred throughout history and it is happening today. But false gods can never succeed at extinguishing the Light. They have tried in the past and have failed miserably because the Light is eternal. Jesus always rises again and the Light never stops shining. Let Christ be reflected in your life. When you go through that fire, Jesus will stand beside you. He will be seen in you, and with you, and you will shine like a star. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Daniel: Lord of the Lions

October 11

(Daniel 6:19-22 NIV) "At the first light of dawn, the king got up and hurried to the lions' den. {20} When he came near the den, he called to Daniel in an anguished voice, "Daniel, servant of the living God, has your God, whom you serve continually, been able to rescue you from the lions?" {21} Daniel answered, "O king, live forever! {22} My God sent his angel, and he shut the mouths of the lions. They have not hurt me, because I was found innocent in his sight. Nor have I ever done any wrong before you, O king.""

(Daniel 6:28 NIV) "So Daniel prospered during the reign of Darius and the reign of Cyrus the Persian."

(Hebrews 11:35-40 NIV) "Women received back their dead, raised to life again. Others were tortured and refused to be released, so that they might gain a better resurrection. {36} Some faced jeers and flogging, while still others were chained and put in prison. {37} They were stoned ; they were sawed in two; they were put to death by the sword. They went about in sheepskins and goatskins, destitute, persecuted and mistreated-- {38} the world was not worthy of them. They wandered in deserts and mountains, and in caves and holes in the ground. {39} These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised. {40} God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect."

There is a strand of Christianity that latches onto stories like this and teaches that all things go well for those who believe. It has been called “the prosperity gospel”. But they miss the most obvious lesson of Daniel. Our God is a rescuing God… a God who saves. However, the Lord doesn’t save us from the lion’s den -- He delivers us while we are in the lion’s den. God doesn’t remove the lions -- He closes their mouths. Lion power is no match for God’s power. Jesus doesn’t save us from going through times of trial -- He stands beside us as we go through them. God doesn’t transport us around the valley of the shadow of death -- He walks us through it. We were born to glorify God. That seems to happen more often when we are forced to spend time in the lion’s dens of life. While we are there, let us remember that the Lord of the universe is also Lord of the lions. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Daniel: Withstanding the Pressure

October 10

(Daniel 1:3-20 NIV)  "Then the king ordered Ashpenaz, chief of his court officials, to bring in some of the Israelites from the royal family and the nobility-- {4} young men without any physical defect, handsome, showing aptitude for every kind of learning, well informed, quick to understand, and qualified to serve in the king's palace. He was to teach them the language and literature of the Babylonians. {5} The king assigned them a daily amount of food and wine from the king's table. They were to be trained for three years, and after that they were to enter the king's service. {6} Among these were some from Judah: Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah. {7} The chief official gave them new names: to Daniel, the name Belteshazzar; to Hananiah, Shadrach; to Mishael, Meshach; and to Azariah, Abednego. {8} But Daniel resolved not to defile himself with the royal food and wine, and he asked the chief official for permission not to defile himself this way. {9} Now God had caused the official to show favor and sympathy to Daniel, {10} but the official told Daniel, "I am afraid of my lord the king, who has assigned your food and drink. Why should he see you looking worse than the other young men your age? The king would then have my head because of you." {11} Daniel then said to the guard whom the chief official had appointed over Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah, {12} "Please test your servants for ten days: Give us nothing but vegetables to eat and water to drink. {13} Then compare our appearance with that of the young men who eat the royal food, and treat your servants in accordance with what you see." {14} So he agreed to this and tested them for ten days. {15} At the end of the ten days they looked healthier and better nourished than any of the young men who ate the royal food. {16} So the guard took away their choice food and the wine they were to drink and gave them vegetables instead. {17} To these four young men God gave knowledge and understanding of all kinds of literature and learning. And Daniel could understand visions and dreams of all kinds. {18} At the end of the time set by the king to bring them in, the chief official presented them to Nebuchadnezzar. {19} The king talked with them, and he found none equal to Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah; so they entered the king's service. {20} In every matter of wisdom and understanding about which the king questioned them, he found them ten times better than all the magicians and enchanters in his whole kingdom."

(Daniel 2:1-6 NIV)  "In the second year of his reign, Nebuchadnezzar had dreams; his mind was troubled and he could not sleep. {2} So the king summoned the magicians, enchanters, sorcerers and astrologers to tell him what he had dreamed. When they came in and stood before the king, {3} he said to them, "I have had a dream that troubles me and I want to know what it means." {4} Then the astrologers answered the king in Aramaic, "O king, live forever! Tell your servants the dream, and we will interpret it." {5} The king replied to the astrologers, "This is what I have firmly decided: If you do not tell me what my dream was and interpret it, I will have you cut into pieces and your houses turned into piles of rubble. {6} But if you tell me the dream and explain it, you will receive from me gifts and rewards and great honor. So tell me the dream and interpret it for me.""

(Daniel 2:47-48 NIV)  "The king said to Daniel, "Surely your God is the God of gods and the Lord of kings and a revealer of mysteries, for you were able to reveal this mystery." {48} Then the king placed Daniel in a high position and lavished many gifts on him. He made him ruler over the entire province of Babylon and placed him in charge of all its wise men."

(Daniel 6:3-4 NIV)  "Now Daniel so distinguished himself among the administrators and the satraps by his exceptional qualities that the king planned to set him over the whole kingdom. {4} At this, the administrators and the satraps tried to find grounds for charges against Daniel in his conduct of government affairs, but they were unable to do so. They could find no corruption in him, because he was trustworthy and neither corrupt nor negligent."

Daniel and his friends lived under pressure that is hard for us to comprehend, but they were determined not to be assimilated by the Borg of Babylon. Withstanding intense pressure to compromise our beliefs can be a difficult and lonely business. Still, we are called to be exceptional people. In Scripture, we find many who would not bow to false gods. They lived as free men, even while in slavery. They refused to be assimilated by the cultures they were forced to inhabit. They were faithful, even when thrown to the lions. They prayed when prayer was banned. They shame those of us today whose greatest dilemma seems to be, “Will it offend anyone if I pray in restaurants?” Being faithful should never be contingent upon being free. When we cease being faithful so we can remain free, we have begun to worship freedom more than the One who set us free. Be exceptional. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Monday, October 9, 2017

Jeremiah: A Plan for Us

October 9

(Jeremiah 29:11-14 NIV) "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. {12} Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. {13} You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. {14} I will be found by you," declares the Lord, "and will bring you back from captivity. I will gather you from all the nations and places where I have banished you," declares the Lord, "and will bring you back to the place from which I carried you into exile.""

God has a plan for our lives. That plan was in place before we were born. Part of God’s plan is that we are free to choose whether or not to follow His plan. When our choices ignore God’s ways, it’s really easy to get lost in life. God gives good directions, but we don’t always read or follow His map. We keep taking all these unnecessary detours. It’s like we prefer the dusty back roads over God’s highway. That’s why so many of us are habitually late in getting home. Ironically, when that road gets bumpy and we end up lost, we often complain. We wonder out loud why God didn’t make our road smoother. But our choices, not God’s, took us down that road to nowhere. Life is more about choices than accidents -- it’s about the roads we choose to travel on. God has a plan for you… a plan to prosper you, not harm you. Where will you get a better offer than that? Follow the map! -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Jeremiah: Down at the Crossroads

October 8

(Jeremiah 1:14-16 NIV)  "The Lord said to me, "From the north disaster will be poured out on all who live in the land. {15} I am about to summon all the peoples of the northern kingdoms," declares the Lord. "Their kings will come and set up their thrones in the entrance of the gates of Jerusalem; they will come against all her surrounding walls and against all the towns of Judah. {16} I will pronounce my judgments on my people because of their wickedness in forsaking me, in burning incense to other gods and in worshiping what their hands have made."

(Jeremiah 6:16 NIV)  "This is what the Lord says: "Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls. But you said, 'We will not walk in it.'"

(Jeremiah 15:16-19 NIV)  "When your words came, I ate them; they were my joy and my heart's delight, for I bear your name, O Lord God Almighty. {17} I never sat in the company of revelers, never made merry with them; I sat alone because your hand was on me and you had filled me with indignation. {18} Why is my pain unending and my wound grievous and incurable? Will you be to me like a deceptive brook, like a spring that fails? {19} Therefore this is what the Lord says: "If you repent, I will restore you that you may serve me; if you utter worthy, not worthless, words, you will be my spokesman. Let this people turn to you, but you must not turn to them."

In this day of popular preachers with millions of followers, it’s hard to imagine a great prophet of God delivering an almost unanimously unpopular message. But that’s Jeremiah’s story. God sent him to confront his people because they had become spiritual prostitutes. Jeremiah was assigned to preach a message that no one wanted to hear. The people hated him for it. He had no fan club encouraging him. Christians, stop looking for gratitude when speaking God’s difficult truths. You are not the cowboy with the white hat, riding into town to save it. You will likely hear a lot more boos and hisses, than you will hear cheers. That’s because God’s truth rattles the gates of hell and most people don’t like the sound. Stop expecting pats on the back and nods of approval. Just deliver the message. God will take care of the rest. The applause will probably have to wait until heaven. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Jeremiah: No More Excuses

October 7

(Jeremiah 1:2-10 NIV)  "The word of the Lord came to him in the thirteenth year of the reign of Josiah son of Amon king of Judah, {3} and through the reign of Jehoiakim son of Josiah king of Judah, down to the fifth month of the eleventh year of Zedekiah son of Josiah king of Judah, when the people of Jerusalem went into exile. {4} The word of the Lord came to me, saying, {5} "Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations." {6} "Ah, Sovereign Lord," I said, "I do not know how to speak; I am only a child." {7} But the Lord said to me, "Do not say, 'I am only a child.' You must go to everyone I send you to and say whatever I command you. {8} Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you and will rescue you," declares the Lord. {9} Then the Lord reached out his hand and touched my mouth and said to me, "Now, I have put my words in your mouth. {10} See, today I appoint you over nations and kingdoms to uproot and tear down, to destroy and overthrow, to build and to plant.""

(Jeremiah 1:17-19 NIV)  ""Get yourself ready! Stand up and say to them whatever I command you. Do not be terrified by them, or I will terrify you before them. {18} Today I have made you a fortified city, an iron pillar and a bronze wall to stand against the whole land--against the kings of Judah, its officials, its priests and the people of the land. {19} They will fight against you but will not overcome you, for I am with you and will rescue you," declares the Lord."

For most of his life, Jeremiah preached with a broken heart and earned the title, “weeping prophet”. God called Jeremiah to go and preach the word -- he made excuses. But God doesn’t take excuses, so Jeremiah went. He preached for forty years before going into captivity with his people. The vast majority of those who heard him did not believe him, nor did they repent or change their ways. But God doesn’t evaluate prophets based on the number of people who respond -- that’s the world’s measuring stick. God evaluates prophets based on their faithfulness to His word and their obedience to His call. Whether or not people listen, has never been the measure of a godly preacher. Maybe you’ve been called. God still doesn’t take excuses! Nor has His standard of measurement changed. So enough with the excuses! Go do what God has called you to do. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Friday, October 6, 2017

Isaiah: God Knows, Come Home

October 6

(Isaiah 40:27-28 NIV)  "Why do you say, O Jacob, and complain, O Israel, "My way is hidden from the LORD; my cause is disregarded by my God"? {28} Do you not know? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom."

(Luke 15:17-24 NIV)  ""When he came to his senses, he said, 'How many of my father's hired men have food to spare, and here I am starving to death! {18} I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. {19} I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired men.' {20} So he got up and went to his father. "But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him. {21} "The son said to him, 'Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.' {22} "But the father said to his servants, 'Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. {23} Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let's have a feast and celebrate. {24} For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.' So they began to celebrate."

In Isaiah’s day people were saying, “Where is God? Doesn’t He know what’s happening to us? He must not be watching over us like He promised. Why did this happen?” Sound familiar? Many today are saying exactly the same thing. But God knew then, and He knows now. Actually, God knows a lot more than we would like Him to know. God knows where you are and how long you’ve been there. Worse yet, God knows how you got there, and why you’re still there. He knows! And in our spirit, we know too. We know He warned us time and time again not to play in the street. But we made it our personal playground, and life ran us over. Sin did a hit and run on us. And so we need to stop acting like God is the stupid one. He was not negligent -- He gave us instructions. We just didn’t listen and were disobedient. God knows, and He still loves you. So come on home. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Isaiah: Who is Really Lord?

October 5

(Isaiah 40:1-31 NIV)  "Comfort, comfort my people, says your God. {2} Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, and proclaim to her that her hard service has been completed, that her sin has been paid for, that she has received from the Lord's hand double for all her sins. {3} A voice of one calling: "In the desert prepare the way for the Lord; make straight in the wilderness a highway for our God. {4} Every valley shall be raised up, every mountain and hill made low; the rough ground shall become level, the rugged places a plain. {5} And the glory of the Lord will be revealed, and all mankind together will see it. For the mouth of the Lord has spoken." {6} A voice says, "Cry out." And I said, "What shall I cry?" "All men are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field. {7} The grass withers and the flowers fall, because the breath of the Lord blows on them. Surely the people are grass. {8} The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of our God stands forever." {9} You who bring good tidings to Zion, go up on a high mountain. You who bring good tidings to Jerusalem, lift up your voice with a shout, lift it up, do not be afraid; say to the towns of Judah, "Here is your God!" {10} See, the Sovereign Lord comes with power, and his arm rules for him. See, his reward is with him, and his recompense accompanies him. {11} He tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart; he gently leads those that have young. {12} Who has measured the waters in the hollow of his hand, or with the breadth of his hand marked off the heavens? Who has held the dust of the earth in a basket, or weighed the mountains on the scales and the hills in a balance? {13} Who has understood the mind of the Lord, or instructed him as his counselor? {14} Whom did the Lord consult to enlighten him, and who taught him the right way? Who was it that taught him knowledge or showed him the path of understanding? {15} Surely the nations are like a drop in a bucket; they are regarded as dust on the scales; he weighs the islands as though they were fine dust. {16} Lebanon is not sufficient for altar fires, nor its animals enough for burnt offerings. {17} Before him all the nations are as nothing; they are regarded by him as worthless and less than nothing. {18} To whom, then, will you compare God? What image will you compare him to? {19} As for an idol, a craftsman casts it, and a goldsmith overlays it with gold and fashions silver chains for it. {20} A man too poor to present such an offering selects wood that will not rot. He looks for a skilled craftsman to set up an idol that will not topple. {21} Do you not know? Have you not heard? Has it not been told you from the beginning? Have you not understood since the earth was founded? {22} He sits enthroned above the circle of the earth, and its people are like grasshoppers. He stretches out the heavens like a canopy, and spreads them out like a tent to live in. {23} He brings princes to naught and reduces the rulers of this world to nothing. {24} No sooner are they planted, no sooner are they sown, no sooner do they take root in the ground, than he blows on them and they wither, and a whirlwind sweeps them away like chaff. {25} "To whom will you compare me? Or who is my equal?" says the Holy One. {26} Lift your eyes and look to the heavens: Who created all these? He who brings out the starry host one by one, and calls them each by name. Because of his great power and mighty strength, not one of them is missing. {27} Why do you say, O Jacob, and complain, O Israel, "My way is hidden from the Lord; my cause is disregarded by my God"? {28} Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom. {29} He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. {30} Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; {31} but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint."

Isaiah 40 is one of the greatest chapters of scripture ever written. The prophet definitely grasps the glory of God, and finds a way to express it in words. He humbles us with his truth and exhortation. One of the fundamental lessons that Isaiah teaches is this: “There is a God and it ain’t me.” Many in our world need to relearn this truth. God puts us in our place, but we just can’t seem to stay there. Why do we keep going back to the old ways and the old gods? We mouth the words, “I know I’m not God”, but our lives betray our hearts. We live as though we were royalty. We habitually reinstall ourselves as kings and queens. Christians, we can’t keep climbing back up onto the throne and still say, “Jesus is Lord.” If we do, we are either ignorant of the truth, or we are arrogant in our disregard of it. You just can’t have it both ways. Jesus is Lord or He isn’t. What will it be? -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day