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Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Scars - The Great Reminder

January 31

(John 20:27 NIV) ""Then he said to Thomas, "Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.""
(Isaiah 53:5 NIV) "But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed."
After His death, the resurrected Christ showed the disciples His scars. He didn’t lament them -- He lauded them and displayed them. They were symbols of His victory. If Jesus lives in victory with scars, so can we. We all come to Christ wounded. If we weren’t wounded, we probably wouldn’t come to Christ. In His mercy, Jesus stops the bleeding and saves our life, but the scars from those wounds remain. We may see our scars as a curse, but they are actually powerful statements about God’s healing power. They are a testimony to the trauma we survived by the grace of God. They speak of His healing and redeeming power. They remind us of who we were before Christ, and offer great incentive not to return to the “old days”. Our scars speak volumes about God’s great love for us and His power to heal, forgive, and restore. Thank God for your scars today. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Monday, January 30, 2017

Scarred for His Glory

January 30

(Luke 24:36-40 NIV) "While they were still talking about this, Jesus himself stood among them and said to them, "Peace be with you." {37} They were startled and frightened, thinking they saw a ghost. {38} He said to them, "Why are you troubled, and why do doubts rise in your minds? {39} Look at my hands and my feet. It is I myself! Touch me and see; a ghost does not have flesh and bones, as you see I have." {40} When he had said this, he showed them his hands and feet."

Thank God for scars. We get them in various ways, but most of us have some. Scars come in all shapes and sizes, but the ones that plague us the most are often internal and invisible. Psychological and emotional scars can mark us and haunt us for life. They are a constant reminder of a past wounding. Jesus knows about scars. He lives with a few of His own. After His resurrection, He showed His scars to the disciples. He used His scars like a badge of honor to glorify God. We can do the same if we walk closely with Jesus, the Scarred One. If we surrender all of our scars to Christ, they can be redeemed and used in some way to glorify God. Even our worst scars can be used of God in a mighty way. Stop trying to hide your scars, and let God use them to help grow his Kingdom. It would even be appropriate to thank God for your scars! -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Sunday, January 29, 2017

4 Ways of “C'ing” God - Church

January 29

(Matthew 16:18 NIV) "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."

(Ephesians 3:10 NIV) "His intent was that now, through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms,"

(Ephesians 5:25-27, 32 NIV) "Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her {26} to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, {27} and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless…. {32} This is a profound mystery--but I am talking about Christ and the church."

The existence of the Church is evidence for the existence of God. Her history is both glorious and horrendous. In spite of her flaws and sins, the Bride of Christ has grown stronger through centuries of relentless persecution. How could such a flawed institution survive in a world so hostile to its existence? Worldwide, billions of people are a part of the living church of God. For 2,000 years the world has been doing its best to kill the Bride of Christ, but she just will not die. If there is no God, how could so many suffer and still maintain the faith? Imprison her people, and she finds a way to remain free and even thrive. Kill her disciples, and more rise up. Destroy her buildings, and just as her Lord did, she comes back to life underground. She is a living miracle and a daily reminder to all her enemies that God exists, and that Jesus is still Lord. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Saturday, January 28, 2017

4 Ways of "C'ing God - Christ

January 28

(Philippians 2:9-11 NIV) "Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, {10} that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, {11} and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father."

(Acts 4:12 NIV) "Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved."

Christ is perhaps the best argument for the existence of God. Otherwise, why would the name of Jesus produce such a strong reaction in people? For many, the name of Jesus represents a threat. They can “cuss” it, but not discuss it. Many in our culture work hard to eliminate His name from all public venues. This high level of Christophobia isn’t really about “taxpayer money promoting religion" -- it’s about “the name”. The name of Jesus has power. It is toxic to unbelief. It really is “the name above all names”. It stands above all others and drips with the very presence of God. So it must be snuffed out. The world tries to bury it, but it rises again, just like the One who originally bore it. Jesus -- there’s just something about that name. One day, every knee will bow at His name. That day will go much better for us if we have practiced bowing before His name on this side of eternity. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Friday, January 27, 2017

4 Ways of “C’ing” God - Conscience

January 27

(Acts 24:16 NIV) "So I strive always to keep my conscience clear before God and man."

(1 Timothy 4:1-2 NIV) "The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons. {2} Such teachings come through hypocritical liars, whose consciences have been seared as with a hot iron."

(Titus 1:15-16 NIV) "To the pure, all things are pure, but to those who are corrupted and do not believe, nothing is pure. In fact, both their minds and consciences are corrupted. {16} They claim to know God, but by their actions they deny him. They are detestable, disobedient and unfit for doing anything good."

The innate sense that certain things are right or wrong is called our conscience. This God implanted moral compass is a gift from our Creator. It is not a product of evolution. In fact, it runs counter to the Darwinist thinking of many today, and does not fit well with the “survival of the fittest” dogma. Conscience is programmed into us by our Creator. It’s the signature of God. A guilty conscience can be very loud. It shouts at us, eats at us, and gnaws at us. Some choose to ignore it, violate it, harden it, or sear it. Many spend big money trying to soothe it, or even to drown it. When we begin to perceive our conscience as an enemy, God is assigned to the back of the bus, or kicked off the bus altogether. Loss of conscience is a self inflicted malady that will require divine healing. Listen for your conscience. It is an echo of the voice of God. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day 

Thursday, January 26, 2017

4 Ways of “C’ing” God - Creation

January 26

(Psalms 19:1-4 NIV) "The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. {2} Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge. {3} There is no speech or language where their voice is not heard. {4} Their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world. In the heavens he has pitched a tent for the sun,"

(Romans 1:18-25 NIV) "The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness, {19} since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. {20} For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities--his eternal power and divine nature--have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse. {21} For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. {22} Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools {23} and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles. {24} Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. {25} They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator--who is forever praised. Amen."

Godlessness does not always involve murder, mayhem, sex, drugs, or rock & roll. Sometimes it comes in a suit and tie and has impeccable academic credentials. It can appear very sophisticated and intelligent as it goes about suppressing and maligning the truth of God. It kidnaps our young and brainwashes them for years on end. Many who consider themselves progressive and enlightened scoff at the idea of a Creator. But, God is not mocked. The Lord is not impressed with the musings and rants of highly educated agnostics. The Creator has humbled people who were much more intelligent and sophisticated. Through the wonder of creation, God’s Spirit continuously speaks to those who have ears to hear. The Lord's grand design is plainly seen by those who have eyes to see. Open your eyes and open your mind to the God of creation. There is no valid excuse for unbelief. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Clothed with Goodness

January 25

(Mark 10:18 NIV) ""Why do you call me good?" Jesus answered. "No one is good--except God alone.""

(Galatians 3:27 NIV) "for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ."

(Galatians 5:22-23 NIV) "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, {23} gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law."

Our culture has watered down the definition of "good" so much that almost anyone can be pronounced "good" today. When we compare ourselves with other people, we can always find someone worse than us, and usually end up feeling pretty good. But Jesus placed the bar much higher than that, and “good” is not ultimately defined by the bar that humanity sets. It is defined by the Author of good, the Lord and Creator of all things. Jesus declared that God is the definition and the standard for “good”, and that when compared with our holy God, no human being qualifies as “good”. This is why we desperately need God’s grace. When we come to Christ, God clothes us with his goodness and we spend the rest of our lives growing into our new clothes. As we are growing, God’s grace covers us when our new apparel doesn’t seem to fit right. Let God do his work of alteration. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Two, Not Many

January 24

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

(John 14:6 NIV) ""Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.""

A majority of Christians today don’t believe that Jesus is the only way to eternal life with God. They say they are uncomfortable with only one way, as if comfort was a requirement for the truth of the gospel. But, our Lord Jesus spoke of only two roads: the narrow road to life, and the broad road to destruction. He said only one road leads to life. Jesus spoke of only two crowds: the “many” on the broad road, and the “few” on the narrow road. Jesus never mentioned another group. Jesus spoke of only two gates: the wide gate… and the narrow gate. Only one gate is the entrance to the Kingdom. Not once did Christ indicate there was a third or fourth gate. Jesus spoke of only two final destinations: heaven or hell. There are no other places in between for those who die. Two roads, two crowds, two gates, two destinations… the decision may be difficult, but it’s certainly not complicated. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Monday, January 23, 2017

All the Days Ordained

January 23

(Psalm 139:15-16 NIV) "My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, {16} your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be."

(Matthew 5:4 NIV) "Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted."

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

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

Sometimes life punches us in the gut and leaves us gasping for air. Tragedy strikes and we find ourselves in the grip of grief and despair. Grief is a rough road, full of potholes, and strewn with debris. We all travel it at different speeds. Some get stuck in its deep ditches and wallow there, helpless and unable to get out. Some postpone it or deny it, hoping it will go away... but it never does. It just lurks, waiting for an opportunity to pounce out of the darkness and overwhelm us. We can banish it to a dark place, lock the door, and try to ignore it, but it always finds a way out. Like a ghost, it won’t stay dead. It's as near as a song, or a scent, or a sight. Some bottle up the pain, and then look for relief in another bottle. But, medicating pain only postpones its reality. Grief is like an amputation. We don’t ever “get over it”. We can only adjust to it over time by God’s grace, and pray for healing. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Settling for Healing

January 22

(Luke 17:11-19 NIV) ““Now on his way to Jerusalem, Jesus traveled along the border between Samaria and Galilee. {12} As he was going into a village, ten men who had leprosy met him. They stood at a distance {13} and called out in a loud voice, "Jesus, Master, have pity on us!" {14} When he saw them, he said, "Go, show yourselves to the priests." And as they went, they were cleansed. {15} One of them, when he saw he was healed, came back, praising God in a loud voice. {16} He threw himself at Jesus' feet and thanked him--and he was a Samaritan. {17} Jesus asked, "Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine? {18} Was no one found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?" {19} Then he said to him, "Rise and go; your faith has made you well.””

(Matthew 16:24-27 NIV) ““Then Jesus said to his disciples, "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. {25} For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it. {26} What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul? {27} For the Son of Man is going to come in his Father's glory with his angels, and then he will reward each person according to what he has done.””

Ten lepers were cleansed by Jesus -- only one came back to thank Him. Jesus declared that this leper’s faith had made him “well”. Those who are wise will seek more than healing from Jesus -- they will seek wellness. Being healed, and being made well are two different things. One is temporary -- the other is eternal. Healing lasts only until the next illness comes along, and eventually it will. We will all die of something. But wellness lasts for a lifetime, and on into eternity. To be made well, we must seek more than God’s healing touch on our body -- we must allow God to bring wellness to our soul. We must want the Healer more than the healing. We must bow at Christ’s feet, not just take our miracle and head down the road. If you are alive, you have received many healings from God. Seek His wellness too. Jesus died to make us well. Do not settle for just being healed. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Saturday, January 21, 2017

The Rain of Pain

January 21

(Job 16:6 NIV) "Yet if I speak, my pain is not relieved; and if I refrain, it does not go away."

(Job 30:17 NIV) "Night pierces my bones; my gnawing pains never rest."

(Psalm 119:50 NIV) "My comfort in my suffering is this: Your promise preserves my life."

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

It's easy to spout boastful words advertising our faithfulness to God when things are going well. But, when pain moves in with us and won’t go away, our boasting can quickly become groaning. Pain always exposes our human and spiritual frailties. It disturbs our peace and drives a wedge into any cracks in our faith. It screams for attention and stretches our patience until it tears. It dices up the fruit of the Spirit in our life and shatters our smug spirituality. It wipes the smile off our face and replaces it with clenched teeth. Pain can suck the joy out of the best of us. And it doesn’t matter if it’s physical pain or emotional pain. Both are equal opportunity abusers. But, we have a friend in Jesus. He knows about pain. The hammer, the nails, and the cross took care of that forever. He knows. He cares. He endured. So can you! Call on Him to walk through it with you. He understands. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Friday, January 20, 2017

Till Death Do Us Part

January 20

(1 Peter 3:1-7 NIV)  "Wives, in the same way be submissive to your husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives, {2} when they see the purity and reverence of your lives. {3} Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. {4} Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God's sight. {5} For this is the way the holy women of the past who put their hope in God used to make themselves beautiful. They were submissive to their own husbands, {6} like Sarah, who obeyed Abraham and called him her master. You are her daughters if you do what is right and do not give way to fear. {7} Husbands, in the same way be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect as the weaker partner and as heirs with you of the gracious gift of life, so that nothing will hinder your prayers."

(Proverbs 31:10 NIV) "A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies."

(Proverbs 31:25-31 NIV) "She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come. {26} She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue. {27} She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness. {28} Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: {29} "Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all." {30} Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised. {31} Give her the reward she has earned, and let her works bring her praise at the city gate."

One of the major factors in my coming to Christ was the behavior of my wife. While I was living under the influence of the world, she was living under the influence of Jesus. As she lived with strength, and dignity, the reverence of her life melted away my stubborn resistance to the gospel. Great Christian women have an unfading beauty that goes far beyond their outward appearance. They wear their faith with grace, and reflect the light of Jesus. They often stand alone against great opposition. They shine like stars in this dark world as their countenance reflects Christ. Their genuine, enduring love can soften the hardest of hearts. Their gentle, quiet spirits speak volumes as they persist in living out their faith. Their consistently noble character is truly of great worth in God's sight. They deserve all the praise we can rightfully give them. Happy Anniversary Sweetpea! -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Be Still and Know

January 19

(Psalms 46:10 NIV) ""Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.""

(Psalms 23:2 NIV) "He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters,"

(John 14:27 NIV) "Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid."

We live in a world of incessant noise and chatter. It comes at us from all sides, at all hours of the day, from numerous sources such as computers, televisions, iPods, and car stereos. It takes a concerted effort to find a place of peace, serenity, and stillness, but we must make the effort! God often speaks with a small, still voice. Learn to be still. Find ways to withdraw from the chaos. Turn off the noise that smothers the peace of God in your life. Put an end to the endless activity and hectic running here and there. It doesn't make you important -- it makes you impotent. Let the Creator speak peace into your life. Ask the Shepherd to help you lie down in green pastures. Let Him lead you beside quiet waters. Allow the Comforter to calm your anxious heart. Settle into the arms of your Father. Be still and know that He is God. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Ladders and Leaning

January 18

(1 Peter 1:18-19 NIV) "For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your forefathers, {19} but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect."

(John 10:10 NIV) "The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full."

Jackson Browne’s hit song from 1977, “Running on Empty”, has proven to be a prophetic anthem for the “baby boomer” generation. Millions of people have spent their lives “running on empty” and “running blind”, and now, as they move into “senior citizenship”, millions will finish out their lives on an empty tank. They have climbed the ladder of success all the way to the top, only to discover that the ladder was leaning against the wrong building. They have spent their lives filling their houses, garages, and bank accounts, but neglected to fill their hearts. Running on empty has consequences. The good news is that God knows about emptiness. In the beginning, God spoke, and nothing became something. Our empty universe was filled with light and things that matter. This is what the Lord wants to do in your life today. Is your ladder leaning against the wrong building? Are you running on empty? Let Him fill you up. Ask, and you will receive. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Light Me Up

January 17

(1 Thessalonians 5:5 NIV) "You are all sons of the light and sons of the day. We do not belong to the night or to the darkness."

(1 Peter 2:9 NIV) "But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light."

(1 John 1:5-7 NIV) "This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. {6} If we claim to have fellowship with him yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live by the truth. {7} But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin."

Light is one of the most fascinating creations of God. It’s hard to exaggerate how dependent we are upon it. Light literally holds the power of life and death. Christians, both spiritually and physically, we are called to leave the darkness and move into the light of God. This move has to do with our heart, and with our geography. We come out of darkness with our mind, and with our feet. Living in darkness leads to deeds of darkness. Living in the light illumines, cleanses, and elevates us. If you are still flirting with the darkness, or living there part time, end the relationship and move out permanently. Divorce the darkness. It has nothing of eternal value to offer you. If you are a believer, you don’t belong there anymore. Step into the light, walk in the light, and remain in the light. God has brought you to this new place. Let Him light you up. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day 

Monday, January 16, 2017

Let There Be Light

January 16

(Genesis 1:3 NIV) ““And God said, "Let there be light," and there was light.””

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

(Ephesians 5:8 NIV) “For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light”

The very first recorded words of Christ are not found in the Gospels -- they are found in Genesis. When God said, “Let there be light”, Father, Son and Holy Spirit spoke as one voice, and light happened. These four words changed everything. Do not miss their significance. In God’s very first revelation of His nature, He shared with creation the gift of light. God is light, and God is a giver, and when we come into a relationship with Christ, God’s light comes into us. The Light of Life and Creation comes to live within us. Think about this -- the One who spoke light and life into existence wants to live within us. We can have the light that came with the very first words of God. Come out of the darkness, and live as a child of the Light. Just as God’s light filled the infant universe, let His light fill every nook and cranny of your life. Then let His light shine forth from you in this dark world. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Alive to Create

January 15

(Genesis 1:1 NIV) "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth."

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

(Ephesians 2:10 NIV) "For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do."

(Romans 1:25 NIV) "They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator--who is forever praised. Amen."

The Creator created us in His image to be creative. Much of life’s unhappiness comes from the failure to find and fulfill our creative purpose. Creativity can be hindered, even killed, by emotional baggage, psychological scarring, substance abuse, mental anguish, physical pain, and spiritual malnutrition. It’s a vicious circle. Unhappy people often seek cover in drugs and alcohol when they experience difficulty in being creative. In turn, that stifles their creativity, which produces more unhappiness. In the downward spiral, addictive behavior can eventually overwhelm the creative genius. Just ask Janis Joplin, Jimmy Hendrix, Jim Morrison, John Belushi, or a host of other artists and actors who have self-destructed. Their source of comfort eventually consumed their unique and creative natures and took their very lives. Don’t make the same mistake. Draw comfort from your Creator. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Growth Always Brings Change

January 14

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

(Mark 7:9 NIV) "And he said to them: "You have a fine way of setting aside the commands of God in order to observe your own traditions!"

(Romans 12:2 NIV) "Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is--his good, pleasing and perfect will."

Things must grow or they die, and growth always brings change. Change will not always produce growth, but growth will always bring change of some kind. Things just cannot grow without changing. As a result, one of the biggest killers of personal and corporate growth is the unwillingness to change. Let’s face it, we are creatures of habit. There is a feeling of security in routine. We know what to expect. But, we can easily become addicted to comfort, and when change threatens to lower our comfort level, we erect barriers to hinder it. In the church, our comfort zones can easily become danger zones when traditions and practices become “holy ground”. As someone once said, “There's a fine line between being in the groove and being in a rut.” Jesus came to start something new. This year, commit to growing and changing. It’s a matter of life and death. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day 

Friday, January 13, 2017

Things Must Grow or They Die

January 13 

(Ezekiel 17:9 NIV) ““Say to them, 'This is what the Sovereign Lord says: Will it thrive? Will it not be uprooted and stripped of its fruit so that it withers? All its new growth will wither. It will not take a strong arm or many people to pull it up by the roots.”” 

(Philippians 2:12 NIV) “Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed--not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence--continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling,” 

(2 Thessalonians 1:3 NIV) “We ought always to thank God for you, brothers, and rightly so, because your faith is growing more and more, and the love every one of you has for each other is increasing.” 

Things must grow or they die. This is a biological, psychological, corporate, and spiritual truth. The very definition of life includes growth and reproduction of cells. We are either in the process of growing and reproducing new cells or we are in the process of dying. Churches and Christians who settle into just “holding their own”, have begun the dying process. Being content with what we did last year is the kiss of death. Most churches would never confess to resisting growth because it sounds so unbiblical, but actions speak louder than words. Once a Christian or a church decides that protecting the status quo is more important than doing what it takes to continue growing, they have begun that slow trip to the church graveyard. Things must grow or they die. This applies both corporately and personally. We must choose between the two. Grow or die! -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Change What I Want

January 12

(Ephesians 4:22-24 NIV) "You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; {23} to be made new in the attitude of your minds; {24} and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness."

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

Old habits die hard. By now you’ve likely discovered that it takes more than a resolution to change your life. It also takes a genuine change of heart and a change in geography. We must change what we want -- that’s the heart part. It also takes a divorce from old buddies and old haunts -- that’s the geography part. We must change who we want to be, where we want to be, and who we want to be with. We must realign relationships, priorities, and routines. This will likely cause some hard feelings with our old crowd, but if we don’t do it, we are doomed to repeat the same old mistakes we made last year. It will also help to do some replacement therapy. Fill your life with new habits to replace the old ones. Fill your life with some new faces and some new places. Make some new friends. Overwhelm the old with the new. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

More Than Just A Name

January 11

(Mark 7:6-7 NIV) ““He replied, "Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you hypocrites; as it is written: "'These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. {7} They worship me in vain; their teachings are but rules taught by men.””

(Philippians 2:12-15 NIV) “Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed--not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence--continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, {13} for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose. {14} Do everything without complaining or arguing, {15} so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe”

The term “Sunday Christian” didn’t just appear out of nowhere. In scripture, Jesus had another term for it: hypocrite. Leading a double life may work for secret agents, but it doesn’t work for Christians. God did not create us with two faces. Duplicity is not in God’s character or vocabulary. Christianity is meant to be a 24/7/365 gig. We must do more than just call ourselves Christians. You could stick a BMW emblem on an old Ford Pinto and call it a BMW, but it would still be an old Ford Pinto. Just changing the name does not change the product. Likewise, calling yourself a brain surgeon certainly does not qualify you to do brain surgery. It requires more than just a title. There may be indeed be a day when you decide to become a brain surgeon, but actually becoming one takes commitment, preparation, training, and discipline. The same applies to being a Christian. It’s more than just a name. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

A Heart Transplant

January 10

(Ezekiel 18:31 NIV) "Rid yourselves of all the offenses you have committed, and get a new heart and a new spirit. Why will you die, O house of Israel?"

(Ezekiel 36:26 NIV)  "I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh."

Becoming and being a Christian is not just about having a “change of heart” -- it’s about getting a whole new heart. Jesus didn’t come just to fix our old heart -- He came to give us a new one. Christ died so we could have a heart transplant, and the heart we get is His. However, we must first be convinced that our old heart is no longer adequate. Only after we realize that our heart is broken will we turn to the Great Physician for the help we so desperately need. When we are finally ready to die to ourselves, Christ will give us a new heart. Getting a new heart will change us. We will never be the same again. We will need to change our lifestyle. We will need to abandon the habits that damaged our old heart. We will need to change our spiritual diet, and feed on God’s word. This is God’s saving offer to all humanity. Will you take it? Those who are wise will let God do the surgery. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Monday, January 9, 2017

A New Name

January 9

(Genesis 17:5 NIV) "No longer will you be called Abram ; your name will be Abraham, for I have made you a father of many nations."

(Matthew 16:17-18 NIV) "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."

(Revelation 2:17 NIV) "He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes, I will give some of the hidden manna. I will also give him a white stone with a new name written on it, known only to him who receives it."

What's your old name? Not the name your parents gave you, but the name you were given through some behavior or trait. Most of us have a name that we somehow earned before we met Jesus. What was your name? Was it hypocrite, cheat, drunk, user, worrier, adulterer, abuser, manipulator, stingy, heartless, angry, depressed, selfish, phony? Maybe that old name stuck. Maybe it’s still your name. The good news is that God has a new name for you. It's a name that He chose before you were created. It's a name you will recognize, and a name that says something about you and who you will become in Christ. It’s a prophetic name -- a name worth living up to and worth remembering. Will you ask God for your new name, or will you be content with the one you carry now? Ask God for your new name, and then listen for His answer. It will change your life. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Sunday, January 8, 2017

New Covenant

January 8

(Jeremiah 31:31 NIV) ““The time is coming," declares the Lord, "when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah.””

(Luke 22:20 NIV) ““In the same way, after the supper he took the cup, saying, "This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you.””

A covenant is a binding agreement between two parties. In the Old Testament, people lived under the old covenant where the blood of animals was sacrificed for the forgiveness of sin. When Christ died on the cross for our sin, God established a new covenant -- a covenant signed in the blood of His Son. Jesus became the supreme sacrificial Lamb. The Lord has fulfilled His end of the deal. We must now decide whether or not to sign on the dotted line of that new covenant. We may not be required to sign in blood, but it will require our life. It requires that we die to ourselves. In light of what Christ paid, should we expect to give anything less? Call it surrender, call it sacrifice, call it consecration, call it whatever you want, but the bottom line is that we can no longer live just for ourselves. Instead, we must live for the One who died for us. It is a costly covenant for all involved. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Saturday, January 7, 2017

New Wine

January 7

(Luke 5:36-39 NIV) ““He told them this parable: "No one tears a patch from a new garment and sews it on an old one. If he does, he will have torn the new garment, and the patch from the new will not match the old. {37} And no one pours new wine into old wineskins. If he does, the new wine will burst the skins, the wine will run out and the wineskins will be ruined. {38} No, new wine must be poured into new wineskins. {39} And no one after drinking old wine wants the new, for he says, 'The old is better.””

(Ephesians 4:22-24 NIV) “You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; {23} to be made new in the attitude of your minds; {24} and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.”

Jesus taught that His new wine would require a new wineskin. As new wine ferments, it expands. Old wineskins cannot stretch to accommodate that expansion. New wineskins are pliable and won’t burst under pressure. This is why we must do whatever it takes to stay pliable. Growing older in the faith has benefits, but it also has dangers. If we are not careful, we can become self-satisfied and smug in our faith. We can begin to feel so full of biblical knowledge and spiritual truth that we fail to see a need for any more in our life. We can reach a place where we feel like the preacher is usually talking to someone else, and we can likely name that someone. We can catch ourselves thinking, “I wish ‘so and so’ was here, because he needs to hear this.” Get rid of that toxic attitude! When we reach the “it’s for someone else” stage of faith, our wineskin has become old. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Friday, January 6, 2017

Get a Life

January 6

(Romans 6:4 NIV) "We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life."

(Matthew 16:24-25 NIV) "Then Jesus said to his disciples, "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. {25} For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it."

Years ago, the phrase “get a life” became a popular saying. Most people who say “get a life” don’t realize this, but its roots are actually found in scripture. Jesus came so that we could “get a life” -- a new life. Today, many come to Christ wanting forgiveness, but far fewer really want the new life. They want God to fix their situation, they don’t want him to change their ways. They see Jesus as an ER doctor. They want to pay Jesus a quick visit, get some medication and be on their way down the wide road. They want a quick fix not a lasting relationship. But it takes more than a brief visit to God’s ER to make us well -- it takes a lifelong commitment of dying to our old self, and allowing the Holy Spirit to fill us with new life. Jesus had to die to Himself before He could endure the crucifixion that led to our salvation. It works the same with us. To “get a life”, we must be willing to give up our old one. -- Friar Tuck's Word of the Day

Thursday, January 5, 2017

New Birth

January 5

(1 Peter 1:3 NIV) "Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,"

(John 3:1-7 NIV) "Now there was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a member of the Jewish ruling council. {2} He came to Jesus at night and said, "Rabbi, we know you are a teacher who has come from God. For no one could perform the miraculous signs you are doing if God were not with him." {3} In reply Jesus declared, "I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again." {4} "How can a man be born when he is old?" Nicodemus asked. "Surely he cannot enter a second time into his mother's womb to be born!" {5} Jesus answered, "I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit. {6} Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. {7} You should not be surprised at my saying, 'You must be born again.'"

In 1 Peter 1:3, we learn that “new birth” was “given” to us. Don’t miss the significance of the word “given”. New birth, or being “born again”, is a gift from God. We don’t deserve it. We cannot earn it. We can only “accept” or “receive” it. Of course we can also reject it, but that’s not a wise move. We “inherit” this new gift through a spiritual “Father-child” relationship with the living God. Christ actually moves in with us, giving us a new life and a new outlook. This is hard for many to accept. In our pride we want to do something to earn this great gift. But think on this for a moment -- how many of us “earned” our first birth? We did absolutely nothing to earn it or deserve it. It happened because of an intimate relationship. Spiritually it works the same with God. Our new birth comes through an intimate relationship with the grace of God and the love of Jesus Christ. There is no other way. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day 

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

New Song

January 4

(Psalm 40:3 NIV) "He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see and fear and put their trust in the Lord."

(Psalm 108:1 NIV) "My heart is steadfast, O God; I will sing and make music with all my soul."

(Ephesians 5:19-20 NIV) "Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord, {20} always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ."

Music is an amazing gift of God, given to us for His worship, praise, and glory. The musical scale consists of just seven major notes. We learned to sing them in grade school: do, re, mi, fa, so, la ti, do. That’s it! Yet within the framework of this mere seven note scale, music as varied as creation is produced. In just Western culture alone, we have classical, blues, country, jazz, soul, big band, rock & roll, folk, rap, gospel, bluegrass, heavy metal, gospel, barbershop, psychedelic, and more. Worldwide the variety is almost endless. What a great metaphor for humanity. God creates each of us as a unique new song of praise to Him. Even though we are very similar, we are also very different and unique from everyone else on earth. God gives each of us a new song to sing -- a melody of our very own. Make music for the Lord in your heart and in your life today. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

A Forward Look

January 3

(Isaiah 43:18-19 NIV) "Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. {19} See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland."

(Philippians 3:13-14 NIV)  "Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, {14} I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus."

Most of us spend way too much time looking back. We often allow our past to dominate our present and contaminate our future. We claim that we don’t like our past, but we spend so much time there, one would think that we really loved it. Learning from the past is a good thing, but living in the past will cripple you. Constantly looking back in regret prevents us from looking ahead in hope. The truth is this -- God is far more interested in your present and your future than He is in your past. Look ahead more than you look back. Looking back while trying to move forward is like driving with your eyes closed. If you look back too much, you will just run into things. It is difficult to live in the present if you spend the majority of your time living in the past. Say goodbye to yesterday and focus on today. Your tomorrow will be brighter when you release the darkness of the past. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Monday, January 2, 2017

Making Changes

January 2

(Romans 12:1-2 NIV) "Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God--this is your spiritual act of worship. {2} Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is--his good, pleasing and perfect will."

(2 Corinthians 3:17-18 NIV) "Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. {18} And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord's glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit."

Many people make resolutions to start out the New Year. Usually these resolutions pertain to changes they want to see in their lives. But there is a problem -- even though they say they want something “new”, they are seldom willing to give up the “old”. Consequently, the resolution is soon forsaken and forgotten. We cannot embrace the new while clinging to the old. If we are really serious about change, God is in the serious change business. Transformation is engrained in the process of living out our salvation here on earth. However, this takes more than just a day or two. We can begin to change overnight, but finishing the process will take time -- perhaps even the rest of our life. God wants to make “everything new” in our lives, but that takes our cooperation. Lasting change will require consistent daily choices on our part for months and years to come. But if we are willing and persistent, the changes can truly be profound! -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Sunday, January 1, 2017

A New Thing

January 1

(Isaiah 43:19 NIV) "See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland."

(2 Corinthians 5:17 NIV) “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!”

The phrase “Happy New Year” can be purely cliché, or it can be an expression of sincere hope. God loves doing “a new thing”. Being made new is the foundation stone of spiritual growth, but it is not always comfortable. It is the on-ramp to a new way in the wilderness -- IN the wilderness, not out of it. When God does a “new thing”, it often includes a mixture of joy and sorrow, pleasure and pain, happiness and grief. He doesn’t move us onto new things by just doing the same old thing. Being made new is the cup for the stream in the wasteland. We must perceive it and persevere in it. If we don’t, we can never mature spiritually. We will end up stunted and stranded. We will remain spiritual infants, or worse yet, grow into calcified, spiritually senile, religious people who are more interested in protecting old things than growing new things. God forbid! -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day