Search This Blog

Monday, February 27, 2017

Scripture Lite

February 27

(Proverbs 2:1-9 NIV) "My son, if you accept my words and store up my commands within you, {2} turning your ear to wisdom and applying your heart to understanding, {3} and if you call out for insight and cry aloud for understanding, {4} and if you look for it as for silver and search for it as for hidden treasure, {5} then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God. {6} For the Lord gives wisdom, and from his mouth come knowledge and understanding. {7} He holds victory in store for the upright, he is a shield to those whose walk is blameless, {8} for he guards the course of the just and protects the way of his faithful ones. {9} Then you will understand what is right and just and fair--every good path."

(Psalm 119:105 NIV) "Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path."

One of the great weaknesses of the modern church is illiterate Christians. It’s not that we cannot read -- it’s that we won’t read... at least not the scriptures. We watch TV. We go to movies. We listen to the radio. We read newspapers and magazines. But we spend very little time reading from the book of life. The bible is more available than ever before in history, but scripture reading and knowledge are at historic lows. Most bibles in American homes gather more dust than they do readers. If Christians spent as much time in the word of God as they spend on Facebook, Twitter, or the morning newspaper, this nation would be filled with spiritual giants. But, for some reason, many Christians today are trying to live on “Scripture Lite”. We try to put our lives together without reading the Manufacturer’s Instruction Manual. Wise up Christian. Make God’s word, a priority. Get into it today! -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Model Imitators

February 26

(1 Thessalonians 1:6-9 NIV) "You became imitators of us and of the Lord; in spite of severe suffering, you welcomed the message with the joy given by the Holy Spirit. {7} And so you became a model to all the believers in Macedonia and Achaia. {8} The Lord's message rang out from you not only in Macedonia and Achaia--your faith in God has become known everywhere. Therefore we do not need to say anything about it, {9} for they themselves report what kind of reception you gave us. They tell how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God,"

(1 Thessalonians 2:14 NIV) "For you, brothers, became imitators of God's churches in Judea, which are in Christ Jesus: You suffered from your own countrymen the same things those churches suffered from the Jews,"

(Ephesians 5:1 NIV) "Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children"

When the gospel invades and conquers our life, something observable happens. Jesus reboots our system, and the evidence of that reboot becomes visible on the screens of our lives. “Invisible Christian” is an oxymoron. Shining lights cannot be invisible. Before Christ, we mimicked the foolishness of the world in a highly visible way, but following conversion we are to become imitators of Christ. We read the gospels, we believe them, and we begin to live them out. We observe seasoned brothers and sisters, and imitate them. We seek out mentors and they influence the way we live. Christian, someone is watching you, and they should be. The question is… what are they seeing? When people observe you and imitate your behavior, will they be doing what Jesus did? Will they be imitating Jesus if they imitate you? Live like you are following Jesus today. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day 

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Hope That Endures

February 25

(1 Thessalonians 1:3 NIV) "We continually remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ."

(Romans 4:18 NIV) "Against all hope, Abraham in hope believed and so became the father of many nations, just as it had been said to him, "So shall your offspring be.""

(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?"

Hope is always about the future. We do not need hope for what has already happened, or for what we already have. We only need hope for what is not yet ours… for that which lies in front of us. A pessimistic view of the future brings despair. Hopeless people will always struggle to endure. But those with hope often do extraordinary things simply because they do not give up. When we struggle with our past mistakes or with our present circumstances, hope is what keeps us going. Hope produces an optimism that helps us envision a better future. It fuels perseverance, inspiring greater endurance in the present. This makes hope one of the main ingredients in victorious living. You cannot live as an overcomer unless you learn to maintain hope. The past is gone! It cannot return unless you reach back and drag it into today. Don’t do that! Instead, choose to look ahead with hope. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Friday, February 24, 2017

Love That Labors

February 24

(1 Thessalonians 1:3 NIV) "We continually remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ."

(Ephesians 5:2 NIV) "and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God."

(1 John 3:16 NIV) "This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers."

Modern culture has devalued and cheapened the word “love”. It once meant something deep and enduring -- something that grew over a lifetime. Today, “love” has been dumbed-down and is used to describe an infatuation or an act of passion. Love has been trivialized as a feeling that comes and goes. Gone are the expectations of a lifelong commitment. We now use terms like “falling in love” and “making love”, with the main emphasis on the “falling” and the “making”. But if we really do “fall in love”, we can just as easily fall out of it. And these days, if love stops being “fun” it is abandoned like a cheap trinket. But God says love is more like labor. It lays down its life for another. It perseveres, even in pain. It keeps on going when feeling has diminished. This kind of love you don’t fall in and out of it. You wade through it and you walk in it… even if it’s uphill both ways. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Faith That Works

February 23

(1 Thessalonians 1:3 NIV) "We continually remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ."

(Galatians 5:6 NIV) "For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision has any value. The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love."

(James 2:26 NIV) "As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead."

We cannot be saved by works, but we also cannot be saved by a faith that doesn’t work. Faith is more than just an intellectual exercise. It moves us to action of some kind, or it is not genuine faith. It expresses itself in works of faith, or it is counterfeit. This truth is what prompted James to say that if faith has no accompanying deeds, it is dead. Scriptural faith always follows Jesus Christ. It testifies to the truth. It loves the unlovable. It drives out demons. It moves mountains. It heals the sick. It gives sacrificially. It gets out of the boat and walks on the stormy waters. It raises the dead. It goes the extra mile. It carries the cross. It takes a stand against evil. It is faithful unto death and trusts for a resurrection. It works in quiet ways and mighty ways, but it works. If it doesn’t, it is not biblical faith. Perhaps your faith needs a resurrection. Perhaps it just needs to get back to work. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day  

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Rejoice in Suffering

February 22

(Romans 5:1-4 NIV) "Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, {2} through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. {3} Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; {4} perseverance, character; and character, hope."

(Isaiah 40:29-31 NIV) "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."

Most people assume that suffering drains the hope out of us. That’s why they assume that God would never allow it. But God knows that hardship can actually work to fill us with hope. When suffering comes we have a choice to make. We can either wilt, or persevere. We can either slink away, or we stand strong. Scripture teaches that if we choose perseverance and faith during these times, our character grows stronger. We begin to buff up more than we fold up. We get better at holding out, instead of giving out. Then as character is strengthened, hope grows and becomes a standard feature in our life. God can use pain, hardship, and suffering to produce a hopeful person. This is why scripture encourages us to rejoice in our sufferings. This is not some strange masochistic spirituality. It is flight training for eagles who were created to soar. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

The Three R’s of Eternity - Relationship

February 21

(Genesis 3:7-10 NIV) "Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves. {8} Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the Lord God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the Lord God among the trees of the garden. {9} But the Lord God called to the man, "Where are you?" {10} He answered, "I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid.""

(Matthew 7:22-23 NIV) "Many will say to me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?' {23} Then I will tell them plainly, 'I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!'"

The first two “R’s” of eternity, Rejection and Religion, do not satisfy the soul. But there is a third alternative. The third “R” is Relationship. God desires to have a relationship with us. This was God’s original plan for us at creation. He wants us to know Him personally and intimately as a father knows a child… as a husband knows a wife. He wants to walk with us and talk with us. Some will spend their entire life running from God, because in a relationship this significant we must surrender our absolute autonomy, and this seems like too high a price to pay. So we hide from God in all kinds of different things. But eventually, we all run out of places to hide. Give up the hiding and let Him love you. Establish and cultivate a genuine relationship with God through Jesus Christ. That’s why He came. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day 

Monday, February 20, 2017

The Three R’s of Eternity - Rejection and Religion

February 20

(Romans 1:21-22 NIV) "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… {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."

(Matthew 15:9 NIV) "They worship me in vain; their teachings are but rules taught by men."

There are three ways people respond when confronted with Christ and their mortality. You could call them the "Three R's of Eternity". The first two are “Rejection” and “Religion”. Many people today reject God, openly or subtly. They live independently from God, with no universal code for life, nor any real hope in death. It’s survival of the fittest. They live in chaos and die in fear. Others turn to religion. Religion looks outside ourselves and believes in some kind of god or guru. This god can be demanding and harsh, or loving and lax... you choose -- after all, it’s your god. Religious people usually do “good stuff” to please these gods, but they can never be sure they have done enough. Religion can help with life, but not with death. We still die in anxiety and fear. There has to be a better way. We'll talk about that way tomorrow. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day   

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Sweet Song or Sour Notes

February 19

(Psalm 40:1-4 NIV) "I waited patiently for the Lord; he turned to me and heard my cry. {2} He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. {3} 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. {4} Blessed is the man who makes the Lord his trust, who does not look to the proud, to those who turn aside to false gods."

(Psalm 98:1-9 NIV) "Sing to the Lord a new song, for he has done marvelous things; his right hand and his holy arm have worked salvation for him. {2} The Lord has made his salvation known and revealed his righteousness to the nations. {3} He has remembered his love and his faithfulness to the house of Israel; all the ends of the earth have seen the salvation of our God. {4} Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth, burst into jubilant song with music; {5} make music to the Lord with the harp, with the harp and the sound of singing, {6} with trumpets and the blast of the ram's horn-- shout for joy before the Lord, the King. {7} Let the sea resound, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it. {8} Let the rivers clap their hands, let the mountains sing together for joy; {9} let them sing before the Lord, for he comes to judge the earth. He will judge the world in righteousness and the peoples with equity."

We can proclaim our allegiance to Jesus all day long in the sanctuary, and sing God’s praises to our heart’s content inside the church building, but the song that most people hear from us is performed Monday through Saturday. How’s your singing during the week? The evidence that Jesus is Lord of our life is seen clearly “out there” in the world where we work and play. We should not be singing a different tune “out there”. Hypocritical singers do severe damage to the witness of the church. The true priorities of our heart are declared at high decibel levels by how we live our daily lives. “Out there” is where our walk will be judged as either genuine or phony. Are you walking with wisdom and integrity “out there”? Are you singing the new song that God put into your mouth, or are you singing a different tune in the world than you sing in church? Get your act together! -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Every Walk Takes You Somewhere

February 18

(Psalm 1:1-3 NIV) "Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers. {2} But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night. {3} He is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever he does prospers."

(Isaiah 30:21 NIV) "Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, "This is the way; walk in it.""

(John 14:5-6 NIV) ""Thomas said to him, "Lord, we don't know where you are going, so how can we know the way?" {6} Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.""

Where we walk makes a difference. Our walk is always taking us somewhere. The very definition of walking includes both movement and direction. Our walk not only determines the course of our life, it determines our final destination. Where you are right now is the result of where you were headed yesterday. Where we walk today will determine where we end up tomorrow. This is not rocket science -- it is common sense. We seldom arrive at the wrong place by accident. Instead, it usually happens as the result of persistent negligence. Our problem is not a lack of direction -- it is our refusal to follow the directions we already have. The road may be narrow, but it has been well marked and well lit for centuries. God has given us clear instructions. It’s up to us to follow the map and watch where we walk. We have no legitimate excuse for remaining lost. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Friday, February 17, 2017

Watch Who You Hang With

February 17

(1 Corinthians 15:33 NIV) "Do not be misled: "Bad company corrupts good character.""

(Psalm 1:1-6 NIV) "Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers. {2} But his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night. {3} He is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever he does prospers. {4} Not so the wicked! They are like chaff that the wind blows away. {5} Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the assembly of the righteous. {6} For the LORD watches over the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will perish."

(Psalm 23:1-3 NIV) "The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not be in want. {2} He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, {3} he restores my soul. He guides me in paths of righteousness for his name's sake."

When we hang around with ungodly people, who consistently give ungodly advice, we eventually end up in ungodly places, living ungodly lives. It is profoundly foolish for Christians to think they can flirt with the darkness because of their great spiritual strength, or their secure status in the Lord. Sin may come to us disguised as “freedom” or “fun”, but make no mistake about it, it is like quicksand. As we walk through the swamp of sin, all appears well until suddenly, the ground gives way. Once we begin sinking, escape from the consequences of folly is very rare. Wise up! Stay out of the swamp! Stop skirting the edges of chaos and peril. Change where you walk and who you walk with. Bad company will eventually lead to bad decisions with bad outcomes. No one is exempt from this biblical principle. Find some new people to hang with… and by the way, Jesus is available. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day   

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Watch Where You Walk

February 16

(Psalm 43:3 NIV) "Send forth your light and your truth, let them guide me; let them bring me to your holy mountain, to the place where you dwell."

(Psalm 56:13 NIV) "For you have delivered me from death and my feet from stumbling, that I may walk before God in the light of life."

(Psalm 89:15 NIV) "Blessed are those who have learned to acclaim you, who walk in the light of your presence, O Lord."

(Psalm 119:133 NIV) "Direct my footsteps according to your word; let no sin rule over me."

Life can sometimes be like a walk through a corral filled with cattle. The wise man will watch where he walks or he will very likely end up in a smelly situation. God gives us plenty of advice for life, but if we choose to ignore it and charge through the corral with our eyes closed, we shouldn’t be surprised that life stinks so much of the time. It’s really not God’s fault when we step in it -- it’s our fault. He has called us out of darkness and into light. It’s our responsibility to walk in that light, keep our eyes open, and avoid the messes. But if we don’t, the blame for being smelly is on us, not the Lord. God has spoken. If we would listen to His wisdom and heed His word, we could avoid “stepping in it” over and over again. Only the fool ignores His guidance. God gives us eyes, ears, minds, and hearts. Use them for His glory, and watch where you walk. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

The Love Test

February 15

(1 Corinthians 13:4-7 NIV)  "Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. {5} It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. {6} Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. {7} It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres."

In 1st Corinthians 13:4-7 we find “God’s Fifteen Point Love Test”. It’s simple and reliable. Read the verses and try to place your name wherever the word “love” or the word “it” are used. If your name is Tim, it would look like this: “Tim is patient. Tim is kind. Tim does not envy. Tim does not boast. Tim is not proud. Tim is not rude. Tim is not self-seeking. Tim is not easily angered. Tim keeps no record of wrongs. Tim does not delight in evil. Tim rejoices with the truth. Tim always protects. Tim always trusts. Tim always hopes. Tim always perseveres.” Try replacing the words “love” and “it” with your name. Wherever you can do that with integrity, you are a great and godly lover. Wherever you cannot do so, some growth is needed. Be honest with yourself. Do you need some work? All of us do. Excel in your strengths. Grow in your weak areas. Love away! -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

H.E.A.R.T. of the Matter - Truthfully Yours

February 14

(Ephesians 4:15 NIV)  "Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ."

(Ephesians 4:25-32 NIV)  "Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to his neighbor, for we are all members of one body. {26} "In your anger do not sin": Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, {27} and do not give the devil a foothold. {28} He who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with his own hands, that he may have something to share with those in need. {29} Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. {30} And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. {31} Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. {32} Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you."

The “T” in H.E.A.R.T. stands for TRUTH. “Speaking the truth in love” is the biblical gold standard of relational speech. Without truth, love is flimsy and fragile. Without truth, love crumbles and collapses. When we speak, it should be the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. If we don’t speak the truth when we should… if we withhold the truth… it can be as harmful as lying. When we do speak the truth, it should be spoken in love. Gossip and slander may be true, but are spoken to injure, not to love, and so they are out of bounds. Truth may be harsh, but it should never be cruel. “Speaking the truth in love” calls for discernment. We will need God’s help. It will be difficult unless the King of truth and love lives in your heart. Pray and ask God to help you “speak the truth in love.” -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Monday, February 13, 2017

H.E.A.R.T. of the Matter - Romance

February 13

(Song of Songs 1:2-3 NIV) "Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth-- for your love is more delightful than wine. {3} Pleasing is the fragrance of your perfumes; your name is like perfume poured out. No wonder the maidens love you!"

(Song of Songs 1:13 NIV) "My lover is to me a sachet of myrrh resting between my breasts."

(Song of Songs 1:15-16 NIV) "How beautiful you are, my darling! Oh, how beautiful! Your eyes are doves. {16} How handsome you are, my lover! Oh, how charming! And our bed is verdant."

The “R” in H.E.A.R.T stands for ROMANCE. Other than our relationship with Jesus, the relationship between husband and wife is our most important connection on earth. Tomorrow is Valentine’s Day, a day dedicated to romance. Even we who are romantically challenged should be able to find some way to express our love to that special someone. God is our model. He loved us so much that “He gave His only Son.” It was a lavish display of love, as God opened His heart to us. So this Valentine’s Day, forget being practical and think romantically. In romance it’s often the little things that count. Little notes, small gifts of love, a short glance, a single rose… these things can go a long way in promoting romance in marriage. Put your love into action. Show it off tomorrow with the one you love. Think romance. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Sunday, February 12, 2017

H.E.A.R.T. of the Matter - True Devotion

February 12

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

(Romans 12:10 NIV) "Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves."

The “A” in H.E.A.R.T. is for ACCOUNTABILITY. Another word to describe this key ingredient of love would be “devotion”. True and lasting relationships require a willingness to be devoted and accountable. The idea that love never asks any questions is a ludicrous myth pushed by media and pop culture. Their concept of more autonomous, less restrictive, “open” marriages, where one can meet their personal needs in whatever way necessary, has been a disaster for our culture. This is the opposite of the biblical model, and is a formula for failure, not success. All it takes to discredit this moronic philosophy is to look at its dismal track record in the area of relational longevity. In pop culture today, the term “committed relationship” has become an oxymoron. God’s plan works so much better. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Saturday, February 11, 2017

H.E.A.R.T. of the Matter - Encouraging Words

February 11

(Romans 14:19 NIV) "Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification."

(1 Thessalonians 5:11 NIV) "Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing."

(Hebrews 10:25 NIV) "Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another--and all the more as you see the Day approaching."

(1 Corinthians 14:12 NIV) "So it is with you. Since you are eager to have spiritual gifts, try to excel in gifts that build up the church."

The “E” in H.E.A.R.T. stands for Edification. Love is more than a feeling. It is an action. It is a determined commitment. Godly lovers work at ways to build one another up. Words spoken at the right moment… notes left in special places… cards received in the mail… flowers just for fun. Actions like these can help us feel loved, wanted, and needed. Don’t worry about giving your lover “a big head”. There is enough negative junk in this cruel world to keep the best of us drained out and humble. Encouraging words are in such short supply. What we all need is that special someone who will refill our emotional tanks. What we need is someone who will build us up, not tear us down. Let that someone be you. Edify the people you love. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Friday, February 10, 2017

H.E.A.R.T. of the Matter - Making Harmony

February 10

(1 Peter 3:8-9 NIV) "Finally, all of you, live in harmony with one another; be sympathetic, love as brothers, be compassionate and humble. {9} Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult, but with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing."

There are three basic note structures in music: UNISON, where all voices or players move together and play the exact same note; HARMONY, where notes are played with various degrees of space between them; and DISSONANCE, where notes are played so close together that they conflict with one another. Unison can be powerful, but soon gets boring. Dissonance is grating to the ear. It is harmony that makes good music and brings auditory joy. It’s the same with relationships. The couple who endures has learned to harmonize. They don’t live in boring unison or grating dissonance. They harmonize as they make relational music. They keep the right amount of space between them as they move together. The “H” in H.E.A.R.T. stands for Harmony. Work at it. Pray for it. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Thursday, February 9, 2017

H.E.A.R.T. of the Matter - Staying On Track

February 9

(Song of Songs 2:4 NIV) "He has taken me to the banquet hall, and his banner over me is love."

(Philippians 2:2 NIV) "Make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose."

The basic unit of civilization is the family. Marriage is foundational to the welfare of our nation. Neglect the foundation, and eventually the house will fall… the nation will crumble. Marriage is also like a train. It runs on two tracks -- commitment and communication. Remove either track and you get a train wreck. Without commitment, love remains lightweight and flighty. “I’m out of here” will be heard more often than, “I’m here to stay.” Without communication, relationships can get side-tracked and come off the rails as we listen to competing messages and go in different directions. Don’t let your marriage be derailed. Stay committed and stay in communication. Both tracks must continue to go in the same direction if we want to end up at a common destination. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Back Against the Wall

February 8

(Exodus 14:15-22 NIV) "Then the Lord said to Moses, "Why are you crying out to me? Tell the Israelites to move on. {16} Raise your staff and stretch out your hand over the sea to divide the water so that the Israelites can go through the sea on dry ground. {17} I will harden the hearts of the Egyptians so that they will go in after them. And I will gain glory through Pharaoh and all his army, through his chariots and his horsemen. {18} The Egyptians will know that I am the Lord when I gain glory through Pharaoh, his chariots and his horsemen." {19} Then the angel of God, who had been traveling in front of Israel's army, withdrew and went behind them. The pillar of cloud also moved from in front and stood behind them, {20} coming between the armies of Egypt and Israel. Throughout the night the cloud brought darkness to the one side and light to the other side; so neither went near the other all night long. {21} Then Moses stretched out his hand over the sea, and all that night the Lord drove the sea back with a strong east wind and turned it into dry land. The waters were divided, {22} and the Israelites went through the sea on dry ground, with a wall of water on their right and on their left."

When Pharaoh’s army trapped the Israelites against the Red Sea, it was just as much a part of God’s plan as their passing through the waters on dry ground. It works the same with us. Desperate times will breed either agnosticism or faith. When our backs are against the wall, we will either curse God, or we will trust the Lord to deliver us. We will either turn away from God, or He will become very significant and real to us. When we trust God to deliver us, He will move on our behalf in His time and in His way. But the problem is just as big a part of God’s blessing as the solution. When placed in God’s hands, an impossible predicament can morph into a passageway through the sea of despair. Having our backs against the wall can bring us face-to-face with Christ and His power to transform situations as well as people. So today, why not consider thanking God for your predicaments as well as for the solutions. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Chosen to Choose

February 7

(Judges 10:14 NIV) "Go and cry out to the gods you have chosen. Let them save you when you are in trouble!""

(Joshua 24:15 NIV) "But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your forefathers served beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.""

(Mark 10:21-22 NIV) "Jesus looked at him and loved him. "One thing you lack," he said. "Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me." {22} At this the man's face fell. He went away sad, because he had great wealth."

Nothing we do can qualify us to be chosen by God, but don’t buy into the lie that says there is nothing for us to do. We are chosen to bear fruit and be transformed by Christ. We don’t change so we can be chosen… we change because we have been chosen. Too many today want to be known as disciples of Jesus, without actually following Him. We have been chosen to become stronger, wiser, and more mature, but we often refuse to live as chosen people. When we clutch our sin in the hand hidden behind our back and refuse to give it up, we have a problem. Make no mistake, eventually we will be forced to choose between Jesus and the sins we hoard. We cannot hold onto both indefinitely. They go in different directions. Don’t stagger into the darkness lurking ahead. Let go of the sin and follow Jesus. Choose wisely, chosen one. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day 

Monday, February 6, 2017

Chosen - Humbled by Selection

February 6

(John 15:16 NIV) "You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit--fruit that will last. Then the Father will give you whatever you ask in my name."

(Acts 9:15-16 NIV) ""But the Lord said to Ananias, "Go! This man is my chosen instrument to carry my name before the Gentiles and their kings and before the people of Israel. {16} I will show him how much he must suffer for my name.""

(Colossians 3:12 NIV) "Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience."

Some Christians think the teaching that we’ve been “chosen” by God will cause believers to become prideful. That’s certainly a possibility. All great blessings from God can cause pride. But the opposite thinking can be even worse. Believing that we do all the choosing can lead to an even more prideful spirit. So, there is danger to be found on both sides of this theological debate. But being “chosen” should bring humility rather than pride. The apostles knew they had been chosen, but not because they were superior. They realized they had been chosen to suffer for the sake of the gospel. This did not make them prideful -- it humbled them and made them powerful as they laid their lives down for Jesus. They clothed themselves with “compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.” This is the garb of the truly chosen. What are you wearing today, chosen one? -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Chosen - God’s Call

February 5

(1 Corinthians 1:26-27 NIV) "Brothers, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. {27} But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong."

(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."

Christian, you have been chosen by God to be on His team. Your name will be on His roster for eternity. He won’t bench you permanently for blowing a play -- He will continue training you and make you a better player. He won’t trade you for someone younger when you get old. God is not into cutting players -- He’s into team building. You have what it takes or God would not have chosen you in the first place, so stop thinking about quitting. God’s only team rule is that we learn to play like chosen people. To do so, we must go to practice on a regular basis and get into a training program. Strive to be a good team player instead of a prima donna. Kick those bad habits and scrap the rotten attitude. Be honest with your teammates. Give one hundred percent. And quit whining about it being too hard... it’s unbecoming of one who has been chosen by God to be a winner. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Things Are Tough All Over

February 4

(1 Chronicles 29:11-16 NIV) "Yours, O Lord, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the majesty and the splendor, for everything in heaven and earth is yours. Yours, O Lord, is the kingdom; you are exalted as head over all. {12} Wealth and honor come from you; you are the ruler of all things. In your hands are strength and power to exalt and give strength to all. {13} Now, our God, we give you thanks, and praise your glorious name. {14} "But who am I, and who are my people, that we should be able to give as generously as this? Everything comes from you, and we have given you only what comes from your hand. {15} We are aliens and strangers in your sight, as were all our forefathers. Our days on earth are like a shadow, without hope. {16} O Lord our God, as for all this abundance that we have provided for building you a temple for your Holy Name, it comes from your hand, and all of it belongs to you."

(Malachi 3:8-10 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.""

(Mark 12:42-44 NIV) ""But a poor widow came and put in two very small copper coins, worth only a fraction of a penny. {43} Calling his disciples to him, Jesus said, "I tell you the truth, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. {44} They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything--all she had to live on.""

Many times when people are asked to give to the church, their reply is, “I just don’t have any more to go around.” That excuse won’t cut it with God as long as we are spending money on dining out, sporting events, fancy coffee, candy bars, huge soft drinks, hunting, fishing, beer, cigarettes, lottery tickets, and overpriced movies. As long we are still forking it over for the “fun” stuff, we have no credibility with Jesus when we try to get by on the cheap in regards to His Bride, the church. In actuality, our giving to the Lord seldom has anything to do with the economic times we live in -- it has to do with the priorities of our heart and our attitude toward money. The big question is, “Whose money is it -- mine, or God’s?” Consider moving God up a notch in your budgeted giving, because frankly, He belongs clear at the top. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Friday, February 3, 2017

Risen With Scars - What Now?

February 3

(Psalms 147:1-3 NIV) "Praise the Lord. How good it is to sing praises to our God, how pleasant and fitting to praise him! {2} The Lord builds up Jerusalem; he gathers the exiles of Israel. {3} He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds."

(Galatians 6:17 NIV) "Finally, let no one cause me trouble, for I bear on my body the marks of Jesus."

When Jesus rose from the dead, He bore the scars of this world. It will be the same for His disciples. God will bind up our wounds, but not remove our scars. They will remain to bring glory to the Savior. Maybe it’s time to stop asking for God to heal and remove your scars. They can be a great asset to the Kingdom. Instead of complaining about them, start praying for the power to overcome them, and then use them for the glory of God. While we work at that, we must also guard against idolizing our scars. We can easily begin to focus on the scars, rather than the Savior. Our scars should never become the dominant theme of our conversation. They should complement our testimony, not co-opt it. They are footnotes in our history, not the main story. Jesus, the Healer of our past, and our bright Hope for tomorrow, should be the dominant theme of our present witness. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Thursday, February 2, 2017

By His Wounds

February 2

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

(1 Peter 2:24 NIV) “He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed.”

Sometimes our wounds and scars come from an illicit affair with the world -- sometimes they come from our battles with God. Like Jacob of old, many of us walk with a limp because of a past wrestling match with the Lord -- a match we are destined to always lose. Our limp can be a bitter reminder of loss, or a sweet memento of mercy, depending upon our spiritual attitude. Instead of being lasting symbols of shame, God can change our scars into trophies of victory. The scars that we bear are not marks of God’s failure, but memorials to His grace. Let that limp remind you to continue walking closely with God. Like our Lord Jesus, we who believe are “risen with scars”. The wounds on His head, His hands, and His feet, are the means of our healing. Accept it. Embrace it. Testify to it. Glory in it! And by all means, limp on boldly in faith until that day when we all fly away. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Redeeming Our Past

February 1

(Lamentations 3:58 NIV) "O Lord, you took up my case; you redeemed my life."

(Job 33:28 NIV) "He redeemed my soul from going down to the pit, and I will live to enjoy the light."

(Romans 3:23-24 NIV) "For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, {24} and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus."

(Ephesians 1:7 NIV) "In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God's grace"

Jesus is not in the scar removal business -- He is in the scar redemption business. Redemption is one of God’s most marvelous gifts. Like the virtually worthless paper coupon that we can “redeem” at a store, God’s redemption can take a life of little worth and make it into something of great value. Those “worthless” scars that we scorn and lament can be redeemed and used for the glory of God. What looks ugly to us can become something of great beauty when placed into the hands of Jesus. The wounds that caused us pain can be used to bring comfort to other wounded people. The trauma that caused us sleepless nights can bring hope to those in need of rest. Our scars, the constant reminders of damage done, can become instruments of healing. God wastes no experience. Give your scars to the Lord. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day