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Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Sitting In It

February 20

(Deuteronomy 5:33 NIV) “Walk in all the way that the Lord your God has commanded you, so that you may live and prosper and prolong your days in the land that you will possess.”

(Psalm 128:1 NIV) “Blessed are all who fear the Lord, who walk in his ways.”

(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.””

Where we walk is important. It’s important because when we walk in the wrong places, sin can catch our eye and the next thing we know, we’re no longer walking. We are now standing. And as we stand and gaze upon sin, we may soon discover that we are no longer just standing and looking, we are now sitting in it. We are soaking in it. Our walk has become a wallow. Walk, stand, sit - the downward spiral into the pit of sin. Are you walking where you should not be walking? Are you standing where you should not be standing? Turn around and leave before you end up sitting in something that you have no business sitting in. It will be a mess and it won’t be nearly as much fun as it promised it would be. In fact, it could cost you everything you love. Walk with the Lord and you will not end up where you should not be. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Monday, February 19, 2018

Refiner’s Fire

February 19

(Proverbs 17:3 NIV) “The crucible for silver and the furnace for gold, but the Lord tests the heart.”

(Isaiah 48:10 NIV) “See, I have refined you, though not as silver; I have tested you in the furnace of affliction.”

(1 Peter 1:6-7 NIV) “… for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. {7} These have come so that your faith--of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire--may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.”

(Romans 5:3-4 NIV) “… we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; {4} perseverance, character; and character, hope.”

Sometimes we reach a place where our back is against the wall and from all appearances there is no help on the way. During these times, it can be difficult to maintain faith. We may find ourselves thinking, “If God is real and God is good, then why am I here in this situation where I feel completely abandoned?” Why is this happening?” Doubting friends may even ask, “Where’s your God now?” Many times we don’t have an answer, because frankly, we’re asking the same question in our heart of hearts. We forget that the strongest steel and the purest gold must pass through the refiner’s fire. It’s not a fire that consumes -- it’s a fire that purifies and strengthens. It produces the finest product. All of us have impurities that must be burned off if we are to be pure and strong. Let the fire do its job. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Sunday, February 18, 2018

The Right Team

February 18

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

When Jesus picked his team, he chose a half coward, half hero named Peter; a thunderous blowhard named John; an arrogant, Christian hating convert named Paul; and his own antagonistic and envious half-brother, James. Were these really the best guys for the job? With the entire world to choose from, were these the best guys Jesus could come up with? We can argue and debate that question, but what we do know is they were the RIGHT guys for the job. We know that because they got the job done. Through them, and some other “every day, ordinary, run of the mill” people, God set about confounding the highest powers on the face of the Earth. The Lord used a motley crew of redeemed sinners to change the world. He’s still doing that today. You don’t need a Bible degree or a pedigree to be a great witness and world-changer. You just need to be available. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Choosing to be Chosen

February 17

(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."

(Matthew 19:16-23 NIV) “Now a man came up to Jesus and asked, "Teacher, what good thing must I do to get eternal life?" {17} "Why do you ask me about what is good?" Jesus replied. "There is only One who is good. If you want to enter life, obey the commandments." {18} "Which ones?" the man inquired. Jesus replied, " 'Do not murder, do not commit adultery, do not steal, do not give false testimony, {19} honor your father and mother,' and 'love your neighbor as yourself.' " {20} "All these I have kept," the young man said. "What do I still lack?" {21} Jesus answered, "If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me." {22} When the young man heard this, he went away sad, because he had great wealth. {23} Then Jesus said to his disciples, "I tell you the truth, it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven.”

After being “called out”, there comes a time when we’re asked to “sell out”. It’s one thing to accept the mercy of Christ at the foot of the cross -- it’s another thing to take up the cross and lay down your life for Jesus. This is the proverbial fork in the road where we must choose between following the Lord, or drifting back into our old way of life. We must decide if being chosen by God is worth abandoning our most treasured possessions. The question becomes, “Will you surrender your life completely?” This is our “Joshua Moment”: that moment when the Lord says, “Choose for yourself this day who you’re going to serve.” We either declare along with Joshua that we will serve the Lord wholeheartedly, or we walk away like the rich young ruler did, because what we’re holding onto is more precious to us than even Jesus. Idolatry is an addiction. Kick the habit. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Friday, February 16, 2018

Trust and Anxiety

February 16

(Romans 8:24-28 NIV) “Who hopes for what he already has? {25} But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently. {26} In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. {27} And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God's will. {28} And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”

Anxiety and doubt are usually based in poor theology. We develop a faulty concept of God and live with a misconception of what we deserve. We expect things from God Scripture never actually promises. We develop grandiose dreams of blessings. Then, when we struggle against circumstances beyond our control and God doesn’t quickly deliver us, we feel abandoned and angry. As we endure what St. John of the Cross described as “the dark night of the soul” and John Bunyan called “the slough of despond”, bitterness can set in. Hope can be smothered. But God is working for our good, even when we cannot see it. There will probably be some sleepless nights as God does a work in our life. But in His time, and in His way, God will move on our behalf. The wise believer will continue trusting God and waiting upon the Lord. Remember, hope can also be reborn. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Cleaning House

February 15

(Matthew 12:43-45 NIV) "When an evil spirit comes out of a man, it goes through arid places seeking rest and does not find it. {44} Then it says, 'I will return to the house I left.' When it arrives, it finds the house unoccupied, swept clean and put in order. { 45}Then it goes and takes with it seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in and live there. And the final condition of that man is worse than the first.”

When Jesus comes into our lives He wants us to clean house from top to bottom; every room. Then we must fill those empty rooms with God stuff, or we can end up in worse shape than before the cleaning was done. If we do not fill our house, our old house guests can move back in -- and when they do, they bring company. In addiction circles it’s called “relapse”. In church circles it’s called “backsliding”. Relapse is a much better term, because it involves a choice and puts the responsibility on our shoulders. Backsliding sounds almost accidental. But very few of us ever slide into sin. Instead, we wade into it… with eyes wide open and a smile on our face. Don’t leave room for the enemy to return with friends. It will make your condition worse than before! Let Jesus help you clean every room of your “spiritual house” and then fill the rooms with things of God. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Banner of Love

February 14

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

(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.”

As believers in Christ and lovers of Jesus, we have come "under his banner" in our lives, including with our marriage partners. We will be patient and kind. We will not be rude or think of ourselves first. We should be slow to anger. We will refuse to “keep score”, marking down every wrong in our book of reminders. We will regularly forgive. We should give as the Lord has given to us. Whenever it is kind and loving to do so, we will always tell the truth to those we love. We will protect them and shelter them. We will trust them. We will never lose hope, nor will we give up on them. This is what it means to inhabit the banquet hall of love. This is what it means to fly the banner of love. We will not be able to accomplish this on our own. We do not have that power in us. We desperately need God’s Spirit to help us. Let God’s love fill you. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

The Impolite Gospel

February 13

(Matthew 3:1-2,8-10 NIV) “In those days John the Baptist came, preaching in the Desert of Judea {2} and saying, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near." {8} Produce fruit in keeping with repentance. {10} The ax is already at the root of the trees, and every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire.

(Matthew 4:17 NIV) ““From that time on Jesus began to preach, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.””

(Luke 5:31-32 NIV) ““Jesus answered them, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. {32} I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.””

The message of John the Baptist and Jesus Christ was simple and direct: “The kingdom of heaven is near. Repent, or face God’s judgment.” Their message seems so out of fashion today. Like many in their time, we don’t want to hear this kind of preaching. We’re into “polite”. We’re “seeker-sensitive”. We preach nice stuff. We wouldn’t want to offend anyone or cram our religion down anyone’s throat. God forbid we impose our morality on anyone! Let’s soften up God’s message a bit. Let’s tone it down. Christians, we’ve been called to speak the truth even if it means unpopularity, or even our demise. John spoke prophetic words of conviction and was beheaded. Jesus preached truth and ended up on a cross. They refused to water down the message. They were definitely on to something. Maybe we should be on to the same “something”. Stick with the truth, Christian. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Monday, February 12, 2018

The Foolishness of Later

February 12

(Luke 12:16-21 NIV) “And he told them this parable: "The ground of a certain rich man produced a good crop. {17} He thought to himself, 'What shall I do? I have no place to store my crops.' {18} "Then he said, 'This is what I'll do. I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods.{19} And I'll say to myself, "You have plenty of good things laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry." {20} "But God said to him, 'You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?' {21} "This is how it will be with anyone who stores up things for himself but is not rich toward God."

Many people today put things off and think, “I’ll do something about that later.” But “later” never seems to arrive. The truth is, “later” is the domain of fools. The road to hell is paved with procrastination. Life and death wait for no one. They just keep happening. Time keeps moving even as we are waiting. We have no guarantee of tomorrow. We must seize the opportunity when the star rises. We must make our move when the angel speaks. We must stand up and follow Jesus when He passes by. We must hear Him and respond to Him… in His time, not ours. We are foolish to think we can take our time in coming to Christ or following Him. Time does not belong to us. Our times are in His hands. Our days are numbered on His calendar. Today is the day. Now is the time to give yourself and all you have to God. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Dying Saints

February 11

(Psalm 116:14-17 NIV) “I will fulfill my vows to the Lord in the presence of all his people. {15} Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints. {16} O Lord, truly I am your servant; I am your servant, the son of your maidservant; you have freed me from my chains. {17} I will sacrifice a thank offering to you and call on the name of the Lord.”

(John 14:1-3 NIV) “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. {2} In my Father's house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. {3} And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.”

Scripture says the death of God’s saints is precious in His sight. It seems a bit ironic that God would call the death of his saints “precious”. What’s precious about death? Have you ever thought of death as “precious”? It is important that we remember God has a different view of life and death than we do. Our view is narrow and stuck in what we call “time”. God’s view is panoramic and eternal. Time has no meaning when you live in eternity. So while we cling to our time-addicted and doomed bodies, Jesus implores us not to let our hearts be troubled. He went through the portal of death and came out the other side alive and well. He assures us that there are plenty of great rooms on the other side in the eternal mansion he is building for us. And he says he is coming back for us! We are indeed precious to him. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Saturday, February 10, 2018

Past or Present

February 10

(Isaiah 6:5-7 NIV) “Woe to me!" I cried. "I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the LORD Almighty." {6} Then one of the seraphs flew to me with a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with tongs from the altar. {7} With it he touched my mouth and said, "See, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away and your sin atoned for."

(Isaiah 43:18 NIV) "Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past.

Many Christians seem to be continually asking God for the power to forgive themselves for who they were. That’s a waste of precious prayer time. Perhaps it’s time to ask God for the power to change who you are. Instead of continuously lamenting the past, ask God to help you live well in the present. The past only has power over us when we foolishly gaze into its eyes for too long. Quit looking back. When we look back too much, we just run into stuff. You cannot make much forward progress when you spend most of your time looking back. Be encouraged today. Have hope for tomorrow. Victorious Christian living is about attitude as much as morality. It’s about direction as much as destination. You can’t change yesterday. Don’t let it change you! Don’t allow it to dominate your today and contaminate your tomorrow. Bury it. It’s dead and gone and can only come back if you resurrect it. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Friday, February 9, 2018

Living with Death

February 9

(Romans 7:24-25 NIV) “What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? {25} Thanks be to God--through Jesus Christ our Lord!”

(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.”

Even though it represents only a single moment in life, most of humanity sees death as their biggest problem. But what comes after death is really man’s biggest problem, because it lasts for more than just a moment - it lasts for eternity. The true source of death, both physical and spiritual, is sin. It is more deadly than any other disease on the face of the Earth. Not only does sin cause us to die, it can also prevent us from really living. You’ve probably heard the expression “living in sin”. That phrase is a misnomer, because living in sin is not really living - it’s dying. We ought to be saying, “They are dying in sin”, not “living in sin”. This is why Jesus came to Earth; that we may live life to its fullest - on both sides of eternity. Let Him rescue you from your body of death. Let Him give you life. As long as you’re breathing, it’s not too late. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Thursday, February 8, 2018

A Good First Prayer

February 8

(Luke 18:10-14 NIV) "Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. {11} The Pharisee stood up and prayed about himself: 'God, I thank you that I am not like other men--robbers, evildoers, adulterers--or even like this tax collector. {12} I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.' {13} "But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, 'God, have mercy on me, a sinner.' {14} "I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted."

The Pharisee’s prayer failed to connect with God, but the tax collector’s unsophisticated prayer did connect. The prayer that takes us to God must be more than a prayer for forgiveness. It must be a prayer of repentance. Praying for forgiveness is usually about relieving guilt. We want the burden lifted, but just getting rid of guilt will not change your life. Changing your life requires a change in your direction, and at the heart of repentance is a willingness to turn around and go the other way. Repentance is about more than just being sorry. It’s about being sorry enough to quit; quit doing what you’ve been doing, quit living the way you’re currently living. If you are ready to reverse course, a simple and sincere prayer like the tax collector prayed in Luke 18, is an excellent way to get started. Stop running, turn around, face God, and pray for mercy. Repent! -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

God Has No Grandchildren

February 7

(Psalm 78:5-7 NIV) “He decreed statutes for Jacob and established the law in Israel, which he commanded our forefathers to teach their children, {6} so the next generation would know them, even the children yet to be born, and they in turn would tell their children. {7} Then they would put their trust in God and would not forget his deeds but would keep his commands.”

(Judges 2:10 NIV) “After that whole generation had been gathered to their fathers, another generation grew up, who knew neither the Lord nor what he had done for Israel.”

(1 Samuel 8:1-3 NIV) “When Samuel grew old, he appointed his sons as judges for Israel. {2} The name of his firstborn was Joel and the name of his second was Abijah, and they served at Beersheba. {3} But his sons did not walk in his ways. They turned aside after dishonest gain and accepted bribes and perverted justice.”

There’s an old saying worth remembering: “God has no grandchildren.” God can be our Father, but never our “grandfather”. This means our parents cannot choose Christ for us. They can model the faith. They can urge us to follow Jesus. They can witness to God’s redeeming grace in their lives. But each and every person must make a conscious decision to become a child of God. Genetics can only go so far in the saving of souls. We do not receive Christ through osmosis or through our heredity. We must be born again. Each of us must be personally born again and become a new creation. As an individual, we must choose Jesus for ourselves. This means that at any given time, Christianity is only one generation away from extinction. Are you a child of God? Remember, God has no grandchildren. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Muzzling the Message

February 6

(Hebrews 12:1-4 NIV) “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. {2} Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. {3} Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. {4} In your struggle against sin, you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood.”

(1 Thessalonians 2:2 NIV) “We had previously suffered and been insulted in Philippi, as you know, but with the help of our God we dared to tell you his gospel in spite of strong opposition.”

People turn to God when Christ is shared with compassion and conviction. Perhaps that’s why the gospel and God’s people face so much resistance. In America, where our national motto once was “In God We Trust”, we’ve swallowed the Kool-Aid called “separation of church and state”. Christians are told, “Keep Jesus in your churches and private places of worship. We do not want to hear about Him. In fact, mentioning His name in public is unconstitutional.” As Christians meekly accept their muzzles in the public square, our culture continues its slide down into chaos, crime, and sin. The deterioration since God’s name, God’s word, and God’s commandments were officially removed from our courthouses, schools, media, and conversations is measurable. It’s difficult to believe there is no connection. It’s time to shed the muzzles. Live well and speak up, Christian. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Monday, February 5, 2018

A Love That Shows

February 5

(James 2:18 NIV) But someone will say, "You have faith; I have deeds." Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by what I do.

(1 Corinthians 13:4 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. {8} Love never fails.”

How long has it been since you showed the Lord in some tangible way, that you love Him and are devoted to Him? How long has it been since you declared, "Lord, I love you and I'm going to prove it by doing this?” In our “saved by grace through faith”, church culture, we can often forget that genuine love involves a way of living, as well as a way of thinking. Love is always acted upon in some visible way. It requires active participation. Faith is something we do as well as something we believe. Even though we are not saved by our deeds, we should love and serve God through them. How long has it been since you demonstrated your love and faith for Jesus in a way that actually cost you something? Love God today with some sacrificial giving and some sacrificial living. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Sunday, February 4, 2018

Getting into the Word

February 4

(1 Thessalonians 2:13 NIV) “… when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men, but as it actually is, the word of God, which is at work in you who believe.”

(Hebrews 4:12 NIV) “For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.”

(2 Timothy 3:16 NIV) “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness…”

Many Christians complain that they cannot hear God. They ask, “Why is He silent?” But when you ask them if they are spending time daily in God’s word, they usually say no. Listen! If you are waiting on God to speak to you out of the sky, you are waiting in vain. God has already spoken and continues to speak daily through the living and active word of God. If you really want to hear God speak, get into His word. Neglecting your Bible is like plugging your ears to the voice of God. No wonder you can’t hear Him. You’re not tuning into the right station! Rediscover the word. God is speaking today. But even more important than finding the word of the Lord, is finding the Lord of the word. Without the Lord of the word, scripture makes no sense. Rediscover the Word. Rediscover the Lord of the word. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Saturday, February 3, 2018

Make a Decision

February 3

(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."

(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.

Christ confronts humanity with His truth and we are forced to make a choice. Jesus said He was the way to God and that no one could come to the Father except through Him. That’s still true today. There is no other way to God and eternal life. Will you believe Jesus and God’s word? Or will you buy into the majority opinion of man? This is the most crucial question you will ever answer. It makes a difference in how we live, a difference in how we die, a difference in how we share our faith, and a difference in where we spend eternity. We have so many choices. There are so many lights vying for our attention; so many gurus calling us to follow their way. We must make a choice. And if we decide not to decide, we have decided. Choose whom you will serve. The best choice is Jesus, but it is really up to you. Make a decision. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Friday, February 2, 2018

The God of Evolution

February 2

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

(Colossians 1:16 NIV)  "For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him."

Many today who consider themselves enlightened, scoff at the idea of a creator. The pride of academia today is Evolution. Darwin’s theory has some truth in it, but it has mutated into “the whole truth and nothing but the truth”. Any thought that God spoke the heavens and the earth into existence has been relegated to the status of fable and myth. The idea that man and woman were created by God is met with sarcasm and derision. Darwinism is now a full blown religion with its own set of immutable doctrines. Anyone challenging those doctrines will be censored or burned at the stake for heresy. Evolution has become the Holy Grail of humanism, described by some as “the unifying theory of science”, as if all scientific knowledge would come apart without it. Meanwhile, our Creator weeps at the arrogance and ignorance of His creation. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Thursday, February 1, 2018

Living with God

February 1

(Colossians 2:6-7 NIV) “So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in him, {7} rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.”

(Galatians 2:20 NIV) “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”

There is more to life than just our physical body. We are much more than just flesh and bone. We are spirit. Our bodies will eventually die and return to dust, but our soul, that part of us which makes us unique and special, will live on forever somewhere. And that eternal “somewhere” is not determined by how good we are or by what religion we adhere to, but by our relationship with God through Jesus Christ. Who we spend eternity with is who we spend our life with here on Earth. Are you living with Jesus today? Is he living in you? Are you rooted in Christ? Have you been crucified with Christ? Are you living by faith in the Son of God? This is what determines your eternal destiny. We didn’t choose to be born and live here on earth, but we can choose where we will live for eternity. Live with God now and you can live with God forever. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Peace or Chaos

January 31

(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.”

(Philippians 4:7 NIV) “And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

Chaos is like a drug. It is sold on every street corner in life. We become addicted quickly, and then chaos reigns in our lives. We get so strung out, that peace and order become like intruders that threaten our habit. We suffer withdrawal and are compelled to inject another dose of chaos into our life, just so we can feel “normal” again. As we shoot up, serenity is shot down and the cycle of chaos continues. It will reign until we allow Jesus to come and bring His peace into our lives. He came to bring us peace. Just like He did at creation, Christ speaks order into the formless chaos of our universe. And though it is beyond our understanding, when we come to Christ and remain in Christ, He sets a guard at the doors to our heart and mind. Nothing can get by this guard unless we tell him to leave his post. Kick the chaos habit. Don’t chase the guard away. Soak in the serenity. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Enough Faith

January 30

(Luke 17:5-6 NIV) “The apostles said to the Lord, "Increase our faith!" {6} He replied, "If you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree, 'Be uprooted and planted in the sea,' and it will obey you.”

Occasionally, you will hear some well meaning but misguided believer say, “If you had enough faith, God could do that miracle in your life.” The implication is that miracles won’t happen if your faith is too small. So it’s your fault that you haven’t been healed, or that prodigal child hasn’t come home, or that drunken husband has not sobered up, or that money hasn’t come in. If you had enough faith, it would happen. But this is really bad theology. Jesus said that faith the size of a mustard seed could uproot trees and move mountains. Most miracles in Scripture didn’t depend on the faith of the people needing them -- they depended on the power and will of God. Where the size of your faith really matters is when the miracle doesn’t come. That’s when a larger faith is required. It takes a heroic faith to continue believing when we don’t get what we want. Have faith. Let it grow. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Monday, January 29, 2018

Miracles or Faith

January 29

(Psalm 78:11-17 NIV) “They forgot what he had done, the wonders he had shown them. {12} He did miracles in the sight of their ancestors in the land of Egypt, in the region of Zoan. {13} He divided the sea and led them through; he made the water stand up like a wall. {14} He guided them with the cloud by day and with light from the fire all night. {15} He split the rocks in the wilderness and gave them water as abundant as the seas; {16} he brought streams out of a rocky crag and made water flow down like rivers. {17} But they continued to sin against him, rebelling in the wilderness against the Most High.”

Sometimes people say, “If I could just see a miracle or receive a miracle from God, then I would believe and serve Him.” But that’s not true. Miracles happen every day and people just don’t have the eyes to see them or the hearts to believe. Seeing miracles didn’t save the generation of Moses who died in the desert. Thousands of people in Scripture witnessed miracles, but failed to follow or honor the Lord who performed them. Jesus once healed ten lepers. Nine of them took the miracle and never even looked back;  no “Thank you”; no “I will follow you”. Only one out of the ten, a "tithe" of the group, returned to express appreciation and faith. This man, Jesus pronounced “well”. Miracles may heal us, but they won’t save us. Healing may make us feel better, but it doesn’t make us well. Only grace brings us to Jesus. Only faith makes us well. Only Jesus saves. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Sunday, January 28, 2018

Faith and Free Will

January 28

(Numbers 14:29-32 NIV) “In this desert your bodies will fall--every one of you twenty years old or more who was counted in the census and who has grumbled against me. {30} Not one of you will enter the land I swore with uplifted hand to make your home, except Caleb son of Jephunneh and Joshua son of Nun. {31} As for your children that you said would be taken as plunder, I will bring them in to enjoy the land you have rejected. {32} But you--your bodies will fall in this desert.”

Free will can be both a blessing and a curse. It can easily be persuaded to vote for immediate self interest rather than long term good. We see this happen often. Foolishness often multiplies as the crowd grows larger. The wise Christian will abandon the worship of popular opinion, for large groups make as many mistakes as individuals. Never forget, the majority picked Barabbas over Jesus. And in a classic example of democratic malpractice, Israel’s leaders voted ten to two against entering the Promised Land. It was one of the worst leadership decisions ever made. Instead of having the faith to claim what God had promised, the general consensus was to stay where they were. And stay they did, until their entire generation died off, wandering in the desert. Their families suffered for forty years because faith took a back seat to fear. Believe God! Have faith! -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Saturday, January 27, 2018

Swing Away

January 27

(Hebrews 12:1 NIV) “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.”

Think about this for a moment: the greatest batters in Major League Baseball only get a hit about one-third of the time. That means two-thirds of the time, they fail. They fail twice as much as they succeed. One of the keys to being a champion is learning how to play through failure. Champions fail, but they spend more time learning from it than they do lamenting it. They don’t give up. They get better. They keep trying. The apostle Peter made a lot of mistakes, but he didn’t quit. He failed, but he did more things right than he did wrong. And God used him in a mighty way. God is looking for some people like that -- people who will press on through their mistakes; people who will get up, get out of their pews and swing away at life, even if they miss the ball two thirds of the time. This is what makes champions. Don’t hold back, Christian. Swing away. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Friday, January 26, 2018

Step into the Light

January 26

(John 3:20-21 NIV) “Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. {21} But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God."

Light shines. It cannot help itself. That is its nature. And when light shines, it illumines. That can be good and that can be bad. We appreciate light when it shows us the way in darkness and keeps us from stumbling. We despise the light when it exposes our flaws and illumines our personal dark places. We will often attempt to change the lighting, instead of ourselves. We avoid God’s light. We hide in the darkness because we don’t want Him to see us.  But God does not call us into His light so He can inspect our dingy lives. God already knows about our filthy rags. Instead, God calls us into the light so we can see the dirt. We may not like what we see, but God does us a service by exposing our sins. Only then can we see ourselves for who we really are and be convinced that we need to change our ways. This is a good day to step into the Light. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Thursday, January 25, 2018

The Full Gospel

January 25

(1 Samuel 10:6 NIV) “The Spirit of the Lord will come upon you in power, and you will prophesy with them; and you will be changed into a different person.”

Paul was converted by a face to face meeting with the resurrected Jesus. We know he was converted, because he reversed course and changed the way he lived. That is the essence of repentance. He became an advocate for the Jesus he had despised. He became a servant of the gospel he had hated. He became a life-giving evangelist for the church he had tried to destroy. He proved his repentance by his deeds. This is the real “full gospel”. It’s not just about being forgiven. It’s about being changed. It’s not just about receiving gifts, it’s about bearing fruit. This is good news for many, but not for those who want just a little religion. It’s not good news for those who want just enough of Jesus to ease their troubled conscience, but not enough to change their life. The question for today is this: Is this full gospel good news for you? -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Killing Creation

January 24

(Romans 8:5-6, 19-21 NIV) “Those who live according to the sinful nature have their minds set on what that nature desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. {6} The mind of sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace… {19} The creation waits in eager expectation for the sons of God to be revealed. {20} For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope {21} that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God.”

We were all created in God’s image, so it’s in our nature to be creative. Sin is destructive to that creative nature. When we pursue darkness instead of glorifying God, what was created for good mutates into something that degrades us. We end up using our creative nature to glorify sin and make it attractive. This struggle between our divinely given desire to create and our tendency to embrace destructive behavior is universal. We see it play out in the headlines on a regular basis. When we fail to grasp God’s glory and habitually refuse His mercy, our destructive nature prevails. But if we allow Christ to recreate us in his image, we can break out of the downward death spiral and become genuinely creative again. It’s a life or death issue. Choose life and live to create. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Put On The New Self

January 23

(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.”

Only God is eternal. That’s good news because it means habits don’t have to be forever. Old habits die hard, but they can be killed off. One of the things that can help with breaking bad habits is “Replacement Therapy”. Replacement Therapy involves establishing two or three new and healthy habits to take the place of that old, discarded bad habit. We don’t just subtract the old, we fill your life with something new. New places and new people can often lead to new attitudes, which can help in producing a new self. The idea is to overwhelm the old with the new; to drown the old in the new. Where we are is usually the result of wanting something enough to seek after it. So ask God to help you want to change and to change what you want. If you want something new and seek something new, eventually you will have something new. Do the work! -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Monday, January 22, 2018

Put Off Your Old Self

January 22

(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.”

Once a bad habit is established, it takes a serious and concerted effort to break it. As ex-smokers, ex-drinkers, and ex-users will tell you, it takes more than a just a New Year’s resolution and a little will power. It takes a complete realignment of routines and priorities. It takes a genuine disgust with the way things have been, and a sincere desire to change. It requires a brutal divorce from old buddies and old haunts, for part of an addiction’s power lies in our environment. People and places are not only suppliers, but are also triggers for the gnawing need to relapse. This divorce will cause some pain as we suffer through the physical and emotional withdrawal. But here’s the good news: it is doable and many have succeeded. If they did it, so can you. Break free this year! -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Sunday, January 21, 2018

The Fragrance of Life

January 21

(2 Corinthians 2:14-16 NIV) “But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumphal procession in Christ and through us spreads everywhere the fragrance of the knowledge of him. {15} For we are to God the aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing. {16} To the one we are the smell of death; to the other, the fragrance of life.”

When we come to Christ, He gives us a new heart. But even after we get a new heart, we must deal with the residue of our old life. When we come to Jesus, our transgressions are removed from God’s sight, but here on earth, our sin still reeks. It takes some time to get the smell out of our house while we nurse our spirits back to health and rid our life of the stench of death. Don’t be discouraged that the unpleasant odor doesn’t dissipate right away. The smell of the old life will continue to get weaker every day after you have stopped contributing to it, and slowly a new scent will begin to rise up from your life. A transformation is happening. You are in the process of becoming the sweet aroma of Christ. And even though you may get an occasional whiff of the “old” man when things go wrong, keep breathing in Life. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Saturday, January 20, 2018

Trust and Obey

January 20

(Numbers 14:21-23 NIV) “Nevertheless, as surely as I live and as surely as the glory of the LORD fills the whole earth, {22} not one of the men who saw my glory and the miraculous signs I performed in Egypt and in the desert but who disobeyed me and tested me ten times-- {23} not one of them will ever see the land I promised on oath to their forefathers. No one who has treated me with contempt will ever see it.”

The people God delivered out of Egypt never entered the Promised Land. They witnessed miracle after miracle of God’s deliverance, but died in the desert because they were consistently faithless and fearful. They walked through a parted Red Sea on dry ground, but balked at crossing the narrow Jordan River. Because of disobedience, not even Moses entered the Promised Land. God takes faith and obedience seriously. Both are like muscles. They increase in strength when exercised to the point of pain through believing God in impossible situations. We may not like it, but faith grows best under stress. When we are forced to trust in God’s power, instead of our own, our faith and obedience grow stronger. Stress pushes us toward a fork in the road where we must choose either strength or sin; either faith or failure. It’s your choice. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

P.S. - Happy Golden Wedding Anniversary Sweetpea!

Friday, January 19, 2018

Dress the Part

January 19

(Colossians 3:9-10 NIV) "Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices {10} and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator."

Living a second life, whether in fantasy or reality, occupies the time of many in our population today. It’s one of the more common ways people lie to each other. We pretend to be one person, when actually, we are someone else. We end up living with two personalities: our Christian persona, and our everyday, real life persona. We become spiritual schizophrenics - two faced hypocrites. Of course, God’s desire is that we be single minded; that we take off the old self and put on the new self - permanently. He wants us to be the same person on Friday night that we are on Sunday morning. So we are called to clothe ourselves in Christ and wear our new clothing all day, every day, all the time. Is it easy? No. But it is certainly possible. Many Christians do this on a consistent basis and you can too. You don’t have to “put on” anymore. Dress the part, Christian. Live the faith. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Golden Idols

January 18

(1 Timothy 6:10 NIV) “For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.”

We may not make idols out of gold today, but gold can still be our idol. When making money, or holding onto it, begins to come ahead of our devotion and service to God, we have become idolaters. It can happen to the best of Christians. Anything can become an idol when we make serving it more important than serving God. Idols will always demand attention. They must be protected at all costs. We can reach the point where we will literally put our lives at risk for stuff that does not last; stuff made by man that has no eternal value.  We can begin to chase wealth as though it provided meaning in life - as though it was the solution to all of life’s problems. When we become intoxicated with acquiring gold, all we end up with is a bad habit and a hangover. Somebody else always ends up with our money. We cannot serve both God and Money. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

More Than This World

January 17

(1 Corinthians 15:17-19 NIV)  “… if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins.{18} Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ are lost. {19} If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are to be pitied more than all men.”

Jesus was so much more than just a good teacher. If all your religion does is make you a better and wiser person here on earth, you’ve been shortchanged. A couple of decent motivational seminars can help you be a better person. Watching Oprah faithfully could make you a better person. Christianity is about a lot more than that. Christianity is about what happens after the “better person” dies. Like it or not, this life is like a fleeting shadow. It’s like the breath we breathe out on a frigid morning. We see it for a moment, and then it’s gone forever. Jesus came to prepare us for what comes next, and what comes next is eternity. And the truth about eternity is that it never ends. Where we end up is permanent. The gospel is about what comes next. Are you ready for what comes next? Jesus has the Answer. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

In the Face of Opposition

January 16

(1 Thessalonians 2:2 NIV) “We had previously suffered and been treated outrageously in Philippi, as you know, but with the help of our God we dared to tell you his gospel in the face of strong opposition.”

Paul the apostle preached all around the Mediterranean, starting new churches, arguing with skeptics, healing the sick, and raising the dead. God’s blessing on him was consistent. But the other constant in his life was opposition. Paul always had opposition… sometimes to the point of his life being in danger. Prophets always face opposition. Jesus faced opposition. All the apostles faced opposition. It will be the same for us. When we preach the Christ of the gospels and witness for the Lord Jesus, we will always face opposition of some kind. If there is no opposition, perhaps our message has been watered down to the point of being impotent and totally harmless to the darkness. And if our message is impotent, if it challenges no one to change, if it no longer challenges the darkness, then we are no longer preaching the gospel. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Monday, January 15, 2018

True Freedom

January 15

(Psalm 116:3-9,16 NIV) “The cords of death entangled me, the anguish of the grave came upon me; I was overcome by trouble and sorrow. {4} Then I called on the name of the Lord: "O Lord, save me!" {5} The Lord is gracious and righteous; our God is full of compassion. {6} The Lord protects the simplehearted; when I was in great need, he saved me. {7} Be at rest once more, O my soul, for the Lord has been good to you. {8} For you, O Lord, have delivered my soul from death, my eyes from tears, my feet from stumbling, {9} that I may walk before the Lord in the land of the living… {16} you have freed me from my chains.”

There are two sides to deliverance and salvation. One is the delivery of our soul from death. God cancels the penalty for our sin and saves our soul from hell. It is a finished work… a done deal. We cannot earn this. It is the gift of God. The other side of deliverance is the process of learning to live free in this lifetime. God delivers us from the things that cause us to stumble. He shows his compassion "in the land of the living". He frees us “from our chains”. What do your chains look like today? Are they physical, emotional, or mental? Frankly, their nature matters not. What matters is if you are weary of being in bondage. Are you sick and tired of being sick and tired? Are you ready to let God bring genuine change in your life? Are you willing to become someone new and different? If so, you are ready to pursue true freedom. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Killing the Old Man

January 14

(Colossians 3:2-3,5,7-8 NIV) “Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. {3} For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. {5} Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature{7} You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived. {8} But now you must rid yourselves of all such things as these…”

Twelve Step people have a saying: “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.” Growing as a Christian is just the opposite. Growing as a Christian means doing things differently. We let go of the old life, so a new life can thrive. We cooperate in killing the “old” man so the “new” man can live. If we continue feeding the “old” man, the “new” man will become malnourished and fade away. Perhaps it will help to remember that it was the “old” man who brought us down. It was the “old” man who walked down the road to perdition. Seriously, if the old life was so great, why did we end up at the foot of the cross, begging for a second chance and forgiveness? There really is only one explanation for hanging on to the very things that caused us pain and brought us to our knees: Insanity! -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day 

Saturday, January 13, 2018

A New Song

January 13

(Psalms 40:2-3 NIV)  “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.”

God creates each of us with a song to sing and gives us the stage of life to sing upon. But, as time passes, the strings of our life can get stretched, even broken. Our melodies can go flat as our lives slide down into the “slimy pit”. We try to sing from the “mud and the mire”, but our mouths are filled with something else. Our songs no longer ring true. Our praise songs become protest songs and we end up alone, singing dissonance rather than harmony. We’re out of tune with God. Then Jesus comes. In mercy, he re-tunes our life and puts a new song in our mouth. Our new song helps us get back into harmony with God and we can once again make music that glorifies God; music that draws people in to hear our songs of joy. Others can now listen and hear the beautiful songs of God. So no more songs from the pit; let your life sing to the Lord. And may your song be sweet. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Friday, January 12, 2018

Up Close and Personal

January 12

(Philippians 3:8-10 NIV) “I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ {9} and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ--the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith. {10} I want to know Christ…” 

Christianity encourages us to have a relationship with its founder. Christ is alive and well and wants us to know Him. He calls us to believe Him and to trust in His mercy and grace. Indeed, we should become more like Christ as we live out our days here on earth, but that’s not what saves us. Actually, it’s not a “what” at all; it’s a “who”. His name is Jesus and through his life, his death, and his resurrection, we can be saved by grace through faith. This is not like any other religion. We can know and relate to God, as a wife knows her husband, as a child relates to their father. With this God, we can get up close and personal. God wants that relationship, but will not force us to love Him. He loves us and wants us to love Him back; a love freely given from both sides. This is God’s desire for us. He wants to get up close and personal. Say yes today. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day