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Monday, October 22, 2018

The Only True Life Saver

October 22

(Titus 3:3-7 NIV) “At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another. {4} But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, {5} he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, {6} whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, {7} so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life.”

Before we came to the Truth, most of us tried just about every god except Jesus. We made love with the booze god, the career god, the recreation god, the success god, the busyness god, the drug god, the sex god, the fantasy god, and a host of other phony deities that vied for our affection. We also looked everywhere but inside ourselves for someone to blame for our problems. But hiding behind puny, powerless gods, and blaming others did not alleviate our pain and emptiness, because our problems ran much deeper. You can’t fix a heart by applying a Band Aid to the skin. Until we got to the root of our sin, life just continued to get rougher and emptier… and then we met Jesus. An amazing calm can come into your life when you finally grab onto the only true Life Saver out there. And unless you have something better, maybe it’s time to look into His eyes and let Him save you. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Sunday, October 21, 2018

Forgetting God

October 21

(Jeremiah 2:1-11, 32 NIV) ““The word of the Lord came to me: {2} "Go and proclaim in the hearing of Jerusalem: " 'I remember the devotion of your youth, how as a bride you loved me and followed me through the desert, through a land not sown. {3} Israel was holy to the Lord, the firstfruits of his harvest; all who devoured her were held guilty, and disaster overtook them,' " declares the Lord. {4} Hear the word of the Lord, O house of Jacob, all you clans of the house of Israel. {5} This is what the Lord says: "What fault did your fathers find in me, that they strayed so far from me? They followed worthless idols and became worthless themselves. {6} They did not ask, 'Where is the Lord, who brought us up out of Egypt and led us through the barren wilderness, through a land of deserts and rifts, a land of drought and darkness, a land where no one travels and no one lives?' {7} I brought you into a fertile land to eat its fruit and rich produce. But you came and defiled my land and made my inheritance detestable. {8} The priests did not ask, 'Where is the Lord?' Those who deal with the law did not know me; the leaders rebelled against me. The prophets prophesied by Baal, following worthless idols. {9} "Therefore I bring charges against you again," declares the Lord. "And I will bring charges against your children's children. {10} Cross over to the coasts of Kittim and look, send to Kedar and observe closely; see if there has ever been anything like this: {11} Has a nation ever changed its gods? (Yet they are not gods at all.) But my people have exchanged their Glory for worthless idols…. {32} Does a maiden forget her jewelry, a bride her wedding ornaments? Yet my people have forgotten me, days without number.””

Several times in Scripture, God’s people had to learn the hard way that forgetting the Lord leads to defeat and disgrace. But before you feel smug in your piety, you need to know that we still do it today. We do it a lot! Whenever a culture realizes they’ve been born with a silver spoon in their mouth, instead of praising God for His provision, their focus in life seems to become keeping the spoon. Just look around. Over time, our purpose for living has mutated from bringing glory to God to bringing glory and pleasure to ourselves. Hoarding and accumulating have become virtues instead of vices. When we begin to treat the Lord like an extra-curricular activity, we will eventually squander our inheritance and damage our legacy. Don’t go down that road. As God’s people learned, it is the road to bondage and enslavement. What’s amazing is that we keep forgetting that lesson. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Saturday, October 20, 2018

Pray and Work

October 20

(Nehemiah 4:6-18 NIV) “So we rebuilt the wall till all of it reached half its height, for the people worked with all their heart. {7} But when Sanballat, Tobiah, the Arabs, the Ammonites and the men of Ashdod heard that the repairs to Jerusalem's walls had gone ahead and that the gaps were being closed, they were very angry. {8} They all plotted together to come and fight against Jerusalem and stir up trouble against it. {9} But we prayed to our God and posted a guard day and night to meet this threat. {10} Meanwhile, the people in Judah said, "The strength of the laborers is giving out, and there is so much rubble that we cannot rebuild the wall." {11} Also our enemies said, "Before they know it or see us, we will be right there among them and will kill them and put an end to the work." {12} Then the Jews who lived near them came and told us ten times over, "Wherever you turn, they will attack us." {13} Therefore I stationed some of the people behind the lowest points of the wall at the exposed places, posting them by families, with their swords, spears and bows. {14} After I looked things over, I stood up and said to the nobles, the officials and the rest of the people, "Don't be afraid of them. Remember the Lord, who is great and awesome, and fight for your brothers, your sons and your daughters, your wives and your homes." {15} When our enemies heard that we were aware of their plot and that God had frustrated it, we all returned to the wall, each to his own work. {16} From that day on, half of my men did the work, while the other half were equipped with spears, shields, bows and armor. The officers posted themselves behind all the people of Judah {17} who were building the wall. Those who carried materials did their work with one hand and held a weapon in the other, {18} and each of the builders wore his sword at his side as he worked.”

Nehemiah saw that the walls around Jerusalem were broken down and in disrepair. God laid it upon his heart to rebuild them. God’s method for accomplishing this was for the people to pray and work. It was a situation of “both/and” not “either/or”. They prayed and worked. Sometimes the walls which protect us spiritually need to be rebuilt. Without boundaries our soul is vulnerable to every attacker that comes along. Our method for accomplishing this should be the same: prayer and work. We pray in faith, believing God for protection, but we also move to “build up our walls”. Prayer and work will move us forward in faith. We should not move without God; we should not run ahead of God; but we should also not be sitting on our hands waiting for God to do our work for us. Faith and action work together to accomplish God’s will. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Friday, October 19, 2018

Chasing the Wind

October 19

(Ecclesiastes 1:12-18 NIV) “I, the Teacher, was king over Israel in Jerusalem. {13} I devoted myself to study and to explore by wisdom all that is done under heaven. What a heavy burden God has laid on men! {14} I have seen all the things that are done under the sun; all of them are meaningless, a chasing after the wind. {15} What is twisted cannot be straightened; what is lacking cannot be counted. {16} I thought to myself, "Look, I have grown and increased in wisdom more than anyone who has ruled over Jerusalem before me; I have experienced much of wisdom and knowledge." {17} Then I applied myself to the understanding of wisdom, and also of madness and folly, but I learned that this, too, is a chasing after the wind. {18} For with much wisdom comes much sorrow; the more knowledge, the more grief.”

(Ecclesiastes 2:4-11 NIV) “I undertook great projects: I built houses for myself and planted vineyards. {5} I made gardens and parks and planted all kinds of fruit trees in them. {6} I made reservoirs to water groves of flourishing trees. {7} I bought male and female slaves and had other slaves who were born in my house. I also owned more herds and flocks than anyone in Jerusalem before me. {8} I amassed silver and gold for myself, and the treasure of kings and provinces. I acquired men and women singers, and a harem as well--the delights of the heart of man. {9} I became greater by far than anyone in Jerusalem before me. In all this my wisdom stayed with me. {10} I denied myself nothing my eyes desired; I refused my heart no pleasure. My heart took delight in all my work, and this was the reward for all my labor. {11} Yet when I surveyed all that my hands had done and what I had toiled to achieve, everything was meaningless, a chasing after the wind; nothing was gained under the sun.”

Getting everything we want often leads to emptiness. At the end of his life, a disenchanted and humbled Solomon wrote that everything he had spent his life chasing after was meaningless -- a “chasing after the wind”. Instead of pursuing the Father, he mistakenly pursued females, fame, and fortune. The more goods he acquired, the less he thought about the Goods Giver. When he was old, Solomon realized we are judged on our relationship with God, not on our personal achievements. The things we cheat others to get and fight others to keep, will all pass away. We will stand before God with nothing. None of us will take a single thing with us into eternity. Be wiser than Solomon. Don’t follow his path of accumulation and indulgence. Don’t waste your life chasing after the wind. Follow the One who is greater than the wind. Follow the Master of the wind. Follow Jesus. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Can You Imagine?

October 18

(Ephesians 2:1-10 NIV) “As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, {2} in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. {3} All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature objects of wrath. {4} But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, {5} made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions--it is by grace you have been saved. {6} And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, {7} in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. {8} For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith--and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God-- {9} not by works, so that no one can boast. {10} For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. "For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do."

We cannot earn our salvation through good works, but true salvation will always produce them. Doing good things cannot save us, but we are saved to do good things. Genuine faith produces good works, or it is not genuine. In our old life, sin crowded out our good works. The good things we did may have outnumbered the bad things, but the bad stuff outweighed the good stuff on God’s scales. Then Jesus gave us a new life. We were saved to live and die for God’s glory. This is the ever elusive purpose of life. It’s why we were created. Can you imagine a world where everyone really lived to glorify God? Think of the changes: no stealing, no vandalism, no murder, no rape, no adultery, no divorce, no locks, no bars, no riots, no looting, no hunger, no cheating, no greed, no addiction, no hate. Can you imagine? Live like you can. Be the change you’d like to see in the world. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Going Godless

October 17

(Romans 1:18-32 NIV) “The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness, {19} since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. {20} For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities--his eternal power and divine nature--have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse. {21} For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. {22} Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools {23} and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles. {24} Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. {25} They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator--who is forever praised. Amen. {26} Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones. {27} In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed indecent acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion. {28} Furthermore, since they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, he gave them over to a depraved mind, to do what ought not to be done. {29} They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, {30} slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; (31} they are senseless, faithless, heartless, ruthless. {32} Although they know God's righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them.”

Going topless is in fashion today. Going godless is also quite the rage. When we go godless, we end up yoked with unbelievers in unwise and unholy relationships. Greed entices us. Murder, deceit, gossip, slander, and envy become rampant. Families disintegrate and youngsters become heartless and ruthless. We sin boldly and approve of others who do the same. Decadence loves company. False religions thrive. We don’t necessarily become atheists -- we become polytheists. We worship and serve created things and careers instead of the Creator. Our idols become gold and silver… sex and drugs… media and movies… ideas and institutions… politics and power… steel and concrete… plastic and microchips. The only antidote for this culturally fatal cocktail is genuine repentance; a turning back to God. Jesus is the Answer. There is no other cure. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Grace When We Fall Short

October 16

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

(Romans 3:21-23 NIV) “But now a righteousness from God, apart from law, has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. {22} This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference, {23} 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.”

God can give great strength, even to flawed individuals. We don't have to be perfect to experience God’s grace and be used by Him. We should strive for the perfection of Christ, but Samson proves we can be used by God even if we fall way short and never fully arrive. That’s good news, for most of us struggle with various temptations and failings. Even though we may never sink to Samson’s degree of sin, our behavior is often disobedient, ungodly, and immoral. Yet we are the recipients of God’s mercy. God has shown us all tremendous grace or we wouldn’t be here. Our ashes would have been scattered by the wind long ago, for we have all sinned and fallen short of God’s glory. At some time, we have all disregarded His will for us. So if you are alive today, it means God’s grace has been freely given to you. Accept it. Rise up to receive it. Honor it in your living. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Monday, October 15, 2018

Sending It On Ahead

October 15

(Job 41:11 NIV)  "Everything under heaven belongs to me.”  

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

(Matthew 6:19-21 NIV) “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. {20} But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. {21} For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

One of God’s great truths is that we don’t really ever own anything. It all belongs to God. We only borrow it and use it while we pass through this world. The old saying is true: “You can’t take it with you.” However, Jesus adds this truth to the end of that phrase: “You can’t take it with you, but you can send it on ahead.” All we get to keep in eternity is what we give away here on Earth. The treasure we use for God and give to God will be added to our accounts on the other side. Those things we hoarded and used only for ourselves will be taken from us and given to another. Christians, if this is true, we had better be more about giving than keeping. We had better be more about generosity than accumulation. We should be the most generous people in the world. Is that what you see when you look around your church? Is that what you see when you look in the mirror? -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day 

Sunday, October 14, 2018

A Very Short Sermon

October 14

(Jonah 3:1-10 NIV) ““Then the word of the LORD came to Jonah a second time: {2} "Go to the great city of Nineveh and proclaim to it the message I give you." {3} Jonah obeyed the word of the LORD and went to Nineveh. Now Nineveh was a very important city--a visit required three days. {4} On the first day, Jonah started into the city. He proclaimed: "Forty more days and Nineveh will be overturned." {5} The Ninevites believed God. They declared a fast, and all of them, from the greatest to the least, put on sackcloth. {6} When the news reached the king of Nineveh, he rose from his throne, took off his royal robes, covered himself with sackcloth and sat down in the dust. {7} Then he issued a proclamation in Nineveh: "By the decree of the king and his nobles: Do not let any man or beast, herd or flock, taste anything; do not let them eat or drink. {8} But let man and beast be covered with sackcloth. Let everyone call urgently on God. Let them give up their evil ways and their violence. {9} Who knows? God may yet relent and with compassion turn from his fierce anger so that we will not perish." {10} When God saw what they did and how they turned from their evil ways, he had compassion and did not bring upon them the destruction he had threatened.””

When Jonah finally got around to obeying God, he went to Nineveh and did what God had called him to do. He preached a sermon consisting of just eight words: "Forty more days and Nineveh will be overturned." That’s it! That’s the message God gave Jonah to preach and that’s the message he delivered. Church got out early on that day. Yet when Jonah spoke the words, the Ninevites were cut to the heart. The whole city repented -- from the king down to the lowliest of peasants. When all was said and done, over 100,000 people had responded to the altar call. So we learn that you don’t have to be a great orator to be used by God. God’s word is still powerful and effective. When we finally get around to being obedient, God moves. Just one verse of Scripture, delivered by one obedient Christian, can change the hearts of thousands. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Saturday, October 13, 2018

Answer the Call

October 13

(Jonah 1:1-3 NIV) “The word of the Lord came to Jonah son of Amittai: {2} "Go to the great city of Nineveh and preach against it, because its wickedness has come up before me." {3} But Jonah ran away from the Lord and headed for Tarshish.”

(1 Timothy 1:12-16 NIV) “I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has given me strength, that he considered me faithful, appointing me to his service. {13} Even though I was once a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent man, I was shown mercy because I acted in ignorance and unbelief. {14} The grace of our Lord was poured out on me abundantly, along with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. {15} Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners--of whom I am the worst. {16} But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his unlimited patience as an example for those who would believe on him and receive eternal life.”

God’s mercy is never ending. That’s good, because we tend to be experts at ignoring God’s call. But God’s calling will not go away. If the Lord called you ten years ago and you’ve been messing around in the land of procrastination, you’re wasting your time. He will outlast you. He has a lot more time than you, so you might as well get to it. On the other hand, if you’re thinking your time has passed and that God couldn’t use anyone as messed up as you, look at some of the characters God used in Scripture. Abraham often behaved faithlessly. Jacob regularly lied and deceived. Moses had a speech impediment. Jonah was directly disobedient. David had a lust problem. Peter was a big talker, but denied Christ. Paul had Christians killed. If God can use these men, God can certainly use you. The Lord is patiently waiting for you to say yes. Answer His call. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Friday, October 12, 2018

Honor God in Life

October 12

(Philippians 1:20-27 NIV) “I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death. {21} For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. {22} If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me. Yet what shall I choose? I do not know! {23} I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far; {24} but it is more necessary for you that I remain in the body. {25} Convinced of this, I know that I will remain, and I will continue with all of you for your progress and joy in the faith, {26} so that through my being with you again your joy in Christ Jesus will overflow on account of me. {27} Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ.”

(Colossians 3:1-17 NIV) “Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. {2} Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. {3} For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. {4} When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. {5} Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. {6} Because of these, the wrath of God is coming. {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: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. {9} 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. {11} Here there is no Greek or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all. {12} Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. {13} Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. {14} And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. {15} Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. {16} Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God. {17} And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”

We are called to exalt Christ in our bodies in life and death. So in the time you have left here on Earth, live with an attitude that glorifies God. Live for Jesus. Jettison bad habits. Life is too short to spend your remaining days in a stupor, surrounded by a cloud of smoke. Terminate those behaviors that shorten your days, bringing disease to you and heartache to those you love. Ditch bitterness and anger over things that are in the past. These attitudes will not exist in eternity. Why practice them here? Besides, life will go better and feel better when you’re not continually ticked off. Do whatever it takes to rid yourself of everything that does not bring glory to God. Engage in fruitful labor, doing something useful in these last days. Let the word of God and the peace of God grow stronger in you day by day. Honor the Lord with your life and your life will bring honor to God when you die. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Calling on the Name of the Lord

October 11

(Genesis 12:1-8 NIV) ““The Lord had said to Abram, "Leave your country, your people and your father's household and go to the land I will show you. {2} "I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. {3} I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you." {4} So Abram left, as the Lord had told him; and Lot went with him. Abram was seventy-five years old when he set out from Haran. {5} He took his wife Sarai, his nephew Lot, all the possessions they had accumulated and the people they had acquired in Haran, and they set out for the land of Canaan, and they arrived there. {6} Abram traveled through the land as far as the site of the great tree of Moreh at Shechem. At that time the Canaanites were in the land. {7} The Lord appeared to Abram and said, "To your offspring I will give this land." So he built an altar there to the Lord, who had appeared to him. {8} From there he went on toward the hills east of Bethel and pitched his tent, with Bethel on the west and Ai on the east. There he built an altar to the Lord and called on the name of the Lord.

Scripture says Abraham “called on the name of the Lord”. This “calling on the name of the Lord” entailed both spiritual and physical aspects. Abraham built an altar. It was a memorial to what God had done in his life; something tangible to honor God’s name. He committed time, energy, and money to a project that people could see and be reminded of God’s glory. The altar he built with his hands spoke of the altar already constructed in his heart. His resources flowed toward the object of his devotion. He identified himself and his life with God's name. We are called to do the same. Today, “calling on the name of the Lord” means building a life that honors and pleases Jesus. Our life is our altar. Use it to do something significant and visible that glorifies the name of Jesus. Build up your altar. Call upon the name of the Lord. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

A Legacy of Faith

October 10

(Genesis 4:25-26 NIV) “Adam lay with his wife again, and she gave birth to a son and named him Seth, saying, "God has granted me another child in place of Abel, since Cain killed him." {26} Seth also had a son, and he named him Enosh. At that time men began to call on the name of the Lord.”

(Deuteronomy 6:1-9 NIV) “These are the commands, decrees and laws the Lord your God directed me to teach you to observe in the land that you are crossing the Jordan to possess, {2} so that you, your children and their children after them may fear the Lord your God as long as you live by keeping all his decrees and commands that I give you, and so that you may enjoy long life. {3} Hear, O Israel, and be careful to obey so that it may go well with you and that you may increase greatly in a land flowing with milk and honey, just as the Lord, the God of your fathers, promised you. {4} Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. {5} Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. {6} These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. {7} Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. {8} Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. {9} Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.”

During Seth’s lifetime “men began to call on the name of the Lord.” How did Seth come to know the Lord? Most likely someone told him about the grace of God that covered all their sin. Someone witnessed to him about the high cost of making bad choices. Someone called on Seth to choose a walk with God. Most likely, that “someone” was his parents, Adam and Eve.  They knew what paradise on earth could be like. They had experienced the high cost of sin. They valued the covering that God’s grace provides. They had watched as Seth’s slain brother, Abel, offered right sacrifices. The line of Seth, which leads directly to Christ, was born out of the repentant faith of his parents. This should give parents and grandparents great hope today. We have a calling to witness in word and deed to our families. It is never too late to call on the name of the Lord. Begin a new legacy of faith. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Growing Patience

October 9

(Galatians 5:16-25 NIV) “So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature. {17} For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature. They are in conflict with each other, so that you do not do what you want. {18} But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under law. {19} The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; {20} idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions {21} and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God. {22} But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, {23} gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. {24} Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. {25} Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.”

Many times Christians can be heard praying, “Lord, give me patience.” That prayer is a waste of time and breath. The truth is this: God has never given patience to anyone, so you might as well stop asking Him for it. Patience is a fruit of the Spirit, not a gift of the Spirit. It has to be grown in us -- and fruit takes time to grow. Patience will never be given to us. It will never be simply deposited into our lives. Patience is like a muscle. It can only grow through exercising it to the point of pain. God’s chosen method of growing patience in us is the passing of time. Patience grows in us when we are forced to wait... and wait… and wait some more. As we wait, either patience will grow, or bitterness will grow. It depends upon whose Spirit fills us and nourishes us. If we live in the flesh, we will grow bitter. If we are living in the Spirit, we will grow patience. You choose. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Monday, October 8, 2018

Troubled by Life - Positioned by God

October 8

(Genesis 50:15-21 NIV) “When Joseph's brothers saw that their father was dead, they said, "What if Joseph holds a grudge against us and pays us back for all the wrongs we did to him?" {16} So they sent word to Joseph, saying, "Your father left these instructions before he died: {17} 'This is what you are to say to Joseph: I ask you to forgive your brothers the sins and the wrongs they committed in treating you so badly.' Now please forgive the sins of the servants of the God of your father." When their message came to him, Joseph wept. {18} His brothers then came and threw themselves down before him. "We are your slaves," they said. {19} But Joseph said to them, "Don't be afraid. Am I in the place of God? {20} You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives. {21} So then, don't be afraid. I will provide for you and your children." And he reassured them and spoke kindly to them.”

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

Sometimes our circumstances can hold us underwater for what seems like way too long. We may begin to think God wants us to drown. Life can simply overwhelm us and we cry out in bitterness to God. This is not how it is supposed to be for a good Christian. We forget that Jesus promised, “In this world you will have trouble.” Not many claim that promise of God. What we must remember is that the worst this world dishes out can ultimately be used by God to accomplish His will. Fear no evil when you walk through the valley of the shadow of death. God is with us. Trust in his sovereign plan. Trouble can sometimes work like G.P.S. - God’s Positioning System. Though you are wounded, He may be sending you ahead, positioning you to help someone else years from now in their time of famine, pain, and strife. It may even be someone you presently consider an enemy. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Sunday, October 7, 2018

Big Time Failure

October 7

(2 Samuel 11:1-18 NIV) “In the spring, at the time when kings go off to war, David sent Joab out with the king's men and the whole Israelite army. They destroyed the Ammonites and besieged Rabbah. But David remained in Jerusalem. {2} One evening David got up from his bed and walked around on the roof of the palace. From the roof he saw a woman bathing. The woman was very beautiful, {3} and David sent someone to find out about her. The man said, "Isn't this Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam and the wife of Uriah the Hittite?" {4} Then David sent messengers to get her. She came to him, and he slept with her. (She had purified herself from her uncleanness.) Then she went back home. {5} The woman conceived and sent word to David, saying, "I am pregnant." {6} So David sent this word to Joab: "Send me Uriah the Hittite." And Joab sent him to David. {7} When Uriah came to him, David asked him how Joab was, how the soldiers were and how the war was going. {8} Then David said to Uriah, "Go down to your house and wash your feet." So Uriah left the palace, and a gift from the king was sent after him. {9} But Uriah slept at the entrance to the palace with all his master's servants and did not go down to his house. {10} When David was told, "Uriah did not go home," he asked him, "Haven't you just come from a distance? Why didn't you go home?" {11} Uriah said to David, "The ark and Israel and Judah are staying in tents, and my master Joab and my lord's men are camped in the open fields. How could I go to my house to eat and drink and lie with my wife? As surely as you live, I will not do such a thing!" {12} Then David said to him, "Stay here one more day, and tomorrow I will send you back." So Uriah remained in Jerusalem that day and the next. {13} At David's invitation, he ate and drank with him, and David made him drunk. But in the evening Uriah went out to sleep on his mat among his master's servants; he did not go home. {14} In the morning David wrote a letter to Joab and sent it with Uriah. {15} In it he wrote, "Put Uriah in the front line where the fighting is fiercest. Then withdraw from him so he will be struck down and die." {16} So while Joab had the city under siege, he put Uriah at a place where he knew the strongest defenders were. {17} When the men of the city came out and fought against Joab, some of the men in David's army fell; moreover, Uriah the Hittite died. {18} Joab sent David a full account of the battle.”

If you want to see what failure looks like, look at David in the Old Testament. He failed utterly and completely. His adulterous romp with Bathsheba, including the murder of her husband, is one of Scripture’s most hideous stories of sin. For a time, the devil had a party in David’s life. David’s lust and pride won out over God’s Spirit for a season. But David found God’s mercy. With God, failure is never final. We have a God of second chances. We can begin again, even after moral failures and having done things we said we’d never do -- even after compromising the last shred of our dignity. With God we can always come home. The earthly price of sin is still high. Sin always splatters -- on us and on those we love. But the eternal price for sin has been paid for in full by the death of Jesus on the cross -- and our lives can be redeemed. With God, failure is never final.-- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Saturday, October 6, 2018

As Much As We Are Able

October 6

(2 Corinthians 8:1-7 NIV) “And now, brothers, we want you to know about the grace that God has given the Macedonian churches. {2} Out of the most severe trial, their overflowing joy and their extreme poverty welled up in rich generosity. {3} For I testify that they gave as much as they were able, and even beyond their ability. Entirely on their own, {4} they urgently pleaded with us for the privilege of sharing in this service to the saints. {5} And they did not do as we expected, but they gave themselves first to the Lord and then to us in keeping with God's will. {6} So we urged Titus, since he had earlier made a beginning, to bring also to completion this act of grace on your part. {7} But just as you excel in everything--in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in complete earnestness and in your love for us--see that you also excel in this grace of giving.”

It’s been said that if you want to know a person's true priorities, there are two places you can look: their datebook and their checkbook. For the Christian, these two little books reveal how seriously we take God’s big book. How we spend our time speaks volumes about the true priorities of our heart. Where our money goes reveals what we truly love and care about. So what do your datebook and your checkbook say about your devotion to God and your relationship with Jesus? Believers are called to excel in giving and generosity. We should give as much as we are able and even go beyond our ability, for that allows God to receive the glory. The truly generous person can often be found pleading for the opportunity to give. How long has it been since anyone in your church begged for the offering to be taken? Become an excellent giver. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Friday, October 5, 2018

Facing Our Giants

October 5

(1 Samuel 17:45-51 NIV) ““David said to the Philistine, "You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the LORD Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. {46} This day the LORD will hand you over to me, and I'll strike you down and cut off your head. Today I will give the carcasses of the Philistine army to the birds of the air and the beasts of the earth, and the whole world will know that there is a God in Israel. {47} All those gathered here will know that it is not by sword or spear that the LORD saves; for the battle is the Lord's, and he will give all of you into our hands." {48} As the Philistine moved closer to attack him, David ran quickly toward the battle line to meet him. {49} Reaching into his bag and taking out a stone, he slung it and struck the Philistine on the forehead. The stone sank into his forehead, and he fell facedown on the ground. {51} David ran and stood over him. When the Philistines saw that their hero was dead, they turned and ran.””

(Romans 8:31 NIV) “What, then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us?”

Young David trusted God as he went out to face the intimidating giant Goliath. The intimidating giants in our lives today have different names, but they can be just as huge. They tower over us and remind us of how small and weak and helpless we are. Today, their names might be Cancer, Addiction, Divorce, Persecution, Bankruptcy, Pornography, Bitterness, Abandonment, or Abuse. But like David, we have a God who can help us stand up to our giants. He cuts them down to size so we can stand over them, look them in the eye, and tell them we will not be intimidated. Do not fear. Take heart and be of strong courage. We still have giants to face, but the Lord is with us. And if God is with us, who can stand against us? Faith in the power of God is still the best weapon for winning victory. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day 

Thursday, October 4, 2018

Born Again Hope

October 4

(Job 8:8-15 NIV) “Ask the former generations and find out what their fathers learned, {9} for we were born only yesterday and know nothing, and our days on earth are but a shadow. {10} Will they not instruct you and tell you? Will they not bring forth words from their understanding? {11} Can papyrus grow tall where there is no marsh? Can reeds thrive without water? {12} While still growing and uncut, they wither more quickly than grass. {13} Such is the destiny of all who forget God; so perishes the hope of the godless. {14} What he trusts in is fragile; what he relies on is a spider's web. {15} He leans on his web, but it gives way; he clings to it, but it does not hold.”

(Ephesians 1:17-19 NIV) “I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. {18} I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, {19} and his incomparably great power for us who believe.”

(Hebrews 10:23-25 NIV) “Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. {24} And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. {25} 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.”

In 1984 Bruce Springsteen released his popular rock anthem, “Born in the USA”. Delivered in the hedonistic spirit of the 1980’s and the protest spirit of the 1960’s, it is often misunderstood as a song of victory. In reality, it laments the national and personal defeat resulting from the Vietnam War. In 1989, Oliver Stone’s movie, “Born on the Fourth of July” was released. Cinematically, it represented the same spirit of despair that Springsteen had written about musically. Both end up in the land of hopelessness, because both leave Jesus out of the mix. It’s as if He never existed -- as if He was completely irrelevant. They grasp the problem: the futility of war and its human cost, but they don’t have an Answer. Jesus is the Answer. He brings hope to the hopeless and peace to the troubled. Our only hope comes from God. Ditch the despair. Be “Born Again”. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

The Name of Jesus

October 3

(Psalm 138:2-3 NIV) “I will bow down toward your holy temple and will praise your name for your love and your faithfulness, for you have exalted above all things your name and your word. {3} When I called, you answered me; you made me bold and stouthearted.”

(John 3:16-18 NIV) “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. {17} For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. {18} Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God's one and only Son.”

(Acts 2:21,37-38 NIV) “And everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved… {37} When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, "Brothers, what shall we do?" {38} Peter replied, "Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins.

(Philippians 2:5-11 NIV) “Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: {6} Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, {7} but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. {8} And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death-- even death on a cross! {9} Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, {10} that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, {11} and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”

This world of sin and death fears the name of Jesus because “there’s just something about that Name.” There is cleansing and life in the name of Jesus. When the Name gets out, hearts are affected, souls are saved, lives are changed, demons tremble, darkness flees, diseases are healed, and death is conquered. Christians, we carry the Name. We live for the sake of His name. We must own it and it must own us. We have become his namesake. Become a “name-dropper”. There is power in the Name of Jesus. This is why the world works so hard to suppress His Name. We cannot “exalt” his name “above all things” if we have not been to the cross, repented, and been saved in His name. Believe in His name today. Call on His name. Praise His name. Glorify His name. Pray in His name. Do everything in His name. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Mercy and Transformation

October 2

(Romans 3:10-24 NIV) “As it is written: "There is no one righteous, not even one; {11} there is no one who understands, no one who seeks God. {12} All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one." {13} "Their throats are open graves; their tongues practice deceit." "The poison of vipers is on their lips." {14} "Their mouths are full of cursing and bitterness." {15} "Their feet are swift to shed blood; {16} ruin and misery mark their ways, {17} and the way of peace they do not know." {18} "There is no fear of God before their eyes." {19} Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be silenced and the whole world held accountable to God. {20} Therefore no one will be declared righteous in his sight by observing the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of sin. {21} But now a righteousness from God, apart from law, has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. {22} This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference, {23} 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.”

The mercy of God does not depend upon the number of our sins, nor the degree of that sin. We all have sinned and fallen short of God’s glory. We have not lived up to His expectations for us. We all stand guilty before the Lord and are desperately in need of His grace. Every one of us helped crucify Jesus. Our sin sent him to that cross. Our darkened hearts drove those nails. We all need grace. We all need His mercy -- from what we might call the “worst of sinners” right through to the “least of sinners”. Realizing God’s grace will always have an effect on us. If grace does not change us, it is likely not God’s grace. It is more likely a clemency that we authored ourselves. The realization that we have received God’s mercy should change us to the core. This means that our God is a God of transformation as well as a God of mercy. To be saved is to be changed. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Monday, October 1, 2018

Fearing God’s Mercy

October 1

(Psalm 145:3-13 NIV) “Great is the Lord and most worthy of praise; his greatness no one can fathom. {4} One generation will commend your works to another; they will tell of your mighty acts. {5} They will speak of the glorious splendor of your majesty, and I will meditate on your wonderful works. {6} They will tell of the power of your awesome works, and I will proclaim your great deeds. {7} They will celebrate your abundant goodness and joyfully sing of your righteousness. {8} The Lord is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love. {9} The Lord is good to all; he has compassion on all he has made. {10} All you have made will praise you, O Lord; your saints will extol you. {11} They will tell of the glory of your kingdom and speak of your might, {12} so that all men may know of your mighty acts and the glorious splendor of your kingdom. {13} Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and your dominion endures through all generations. The Lord is faithful to all his promises and loving toward all he has made.”

(Jonah 4:1-4 NIV) “But Jonah was greatly displeased and became angry. {2} He prayed to the Lord, "O Lord, is this not what I said when I was still at home? That is why I was so quick to flee to Tarshish. I knew that you are a gracious and compassionate God, slow to anger and abounding in love, a God who relents from sending calamity. {3} Now, O Lord, take away my life, for it is better for me to die than to live." {4} But the Lord replied, "Have you any right to be angry?””

The Ninevites were a wicked and despised people who deserved hell. God told Jonah to go to Nineveh and preach repentance. Jonah refused. Jonah’s reluctance was not based on his fear of the people there, but on his dread of God’s mercy. He wasn’t afraid of what the Ninevites might do to him. He was afraid of what God might do for the Ninevites. He wasn’t afraid God would destroy them. He was afraid God would not destroy them. Jonah feared God’s mercy more than God’s judgment. And God’s mercy is what the Ninevites received. The Ninevites believed God, repented, and were forgiven. The poet Robert Frost summed up the lesson of Jonah for us with these words: “After Jonah, you could never trust God not to be merciful again.” How true! God’s mercy really is for everyone, even those you despise. “God so loved the world”. Live like you believe it. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Sunday, September 30, 2018

God is Looking for You

September 30

(Luke 18:35-43 NIV) “As Jesus approached Jericho, a blind man was sitting by the roadside begging. {36} When he heard the crowd going by, he asked what was happening. {37} They told him, "Jesus of Nazareth is passing by." {38} He called out, "Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!" {39} Those who led the way rebuked him and told him to be quiet, but he shouted all the more, "Son of David, have mercy on me!" {40} Jesus stopped and ordered the man to be brought to him. When he came near, Jesus asked him, {41} "What do you want me to do for you?" "Lord, I want to see," he replied. {42} Jesus said to him, "Receive your sight; your faith has healed you." {43} Immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus, praising God. When all the people saw it, they also praised God.”

With the incarnation and the cross, God reached down to save us. In perfect love, God sent His Son. When we finally get around to reaching up to Him, we can finally begin to appropriate God’s grace. Jesus gave His all. Thus, our guilt is taken away, our sin is atoned for, and God’s mercy pours forth like a flood. We cannot do anything to earn this grace, but we can do something to enable it -- we can kneel at the cross and acknowledge our sin. We can cry out to Him and ask for a touch. We don’t need to change so we can find God; we need to find God so we can change. God is not looking for some good people so he can make them better; He is looking for some sinful people so he can make them good. That means He is looking for you. Don’t let Him pass you by. Cry out to Him. Ask for a touch from Jesus. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Saturday, September 29, 2018

Repentance: A Message for All Time

September 29

(Matthew 3:1-2 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.""

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

The preaching of John the Baptist and Jesus Christ echoes through time: “Repent! Judgment is near. Confess your sins to God. Be baptized. Change your life. Live a life consistent with repentance." This is not the message much of the church hears today. The “lovey-dovey, self-affirming, spirituality of relevance”, delivered by so many modern pastor/authors, bears no resemblance to Christ’s confrontational message. The new preaching is carefully crafted so it will not offend the large audience of fans sitting in front of the speaker’s platform. You can’t sell books when you upset the customer base. But Christ’s message has not changed. It remains the same because God does not change. It may cost us our popularity, maybe even our position, but it is still a call to repentance. It is the message of the cross. Hear it. Believe it. Live it. Preach it! -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Friday, September 28, 2018

The Way You Used to Live

September 28

(Ephesians 2:1-10 NIV) “As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, {2} in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. {3} All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature objects of wrath. {4} But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, {5} made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions--it is by grace you have been saved. {6} And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, {7} in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. {8} For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith--and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God-- {9} not by works, so that no one can boast. {10} For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”

We must realize that sin is more than just a state of mind. It is a way of living. Sin starts in the heart, but always works its way out into the way we live. Jesus should do the same. He should work His way out into the way we live. Paul reminded the Ephesians about the way they “used to live” before they began to follow Christ. The phrase, “used to live”, connotes past tense. Their old life was over and done with. They had been born again. When they accepted the grace of God it changed more than just their eternal destination. They had been born into a new way of life. Jesus changed the way they lived. Coming to Christ affects our lifestyle or Jesus is not the Lord of our life. We cannot live in Christ and live in sin indefinitely. The two are incompatible and one will eventually win out. So make a choice. You can’t have it both ways. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day