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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

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Learning to Shut Up

January 11

(Psalm 46:10 NIV)  “Be still and know that I am God.”

We were born with two ears and one mouth. One of the greatest spiritual disciplines we can perfect is the art of listening more than we talk. Stilling our tongues will benefit us with both God and people. It is not an easy task because we live in a culture of almost constant noise. We’ve become addicted to chatter and allergic to silence.  And it’s not just the spoken word. Many today are “twittering” their lives away. Hearing God will require that we quiet our hearts and lips. This can happen in prayer when we listen more than we talk. It can happen in bible study when we seek God’s opinion more than we offer ours. It can come through soaking in the lyrics of music that lifts up God's name. It can happen when we have meaningful conversations with friends about more than just sports and work and kids. Take the challenge. As coaches often say, “Huddle up, shut up, and listen up.” -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Religion or Relationship

January 10

(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.”

When it comes to our relationship with God, many Christians get things switched around. We try to put the cart before the horse. We work hard for Jesus and hope God notices us. God would rather we notice Him as Jesus works in us. The Lord wants to work through us more than He wants us working for Him. Working hard for God and letting God work through us are two different things. One is about religion. The other is about relationship. While it’s true that God wants us to help him change the world, the Lord is even more interested in changing us. And in a genuine relationship with Jesus, we are the ones who change, not God. Perhaps that is why the majority of people living today seem to prefer religion over relationship. We can change religions, but relationships change us. So we hide, even some in the church. It seems we’d rather die than change. Don’t go that route. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Merciful God

January 9

(Titus 3:3-5 NIV) “At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. {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.”

Salvation by grace through faith saturates Scripture. Adam sinned, but was shown mercy. God provided him a covering. Abraham wasn’t always honest, but believed God and became “the father of faith”. Jacob was a cheater, but had a great nation named after him. Moses balked at serving, yet God set a nation free through his obedient service. David sinned greatly, but received great mercy. Isaiah was a man of unclean lips, so God touched his mouth and made him a great prophet. Peter publicly denied Christ. God made him the public face of the church. Paul hunted Christians down until God hunted him down. After that he started new churches and spoke out for grace. The list of imperfect people is long. It includes your name. When you were in great need, the God of grace saved you. Now, let God use you greatly. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Monday, January 8, 2018

911 Prayer

January 8

(Philippians 4:6-7 NIV) “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. {7} And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

God hears all kinds of prayer, but 911 prayers are perhaps the most numerous. It is amazing how many of us develop faith in God at crunch time. Before we complain about how slow God seems in answering our 911 prayers, maybe we should consider how long it took us to get into our current mess. It’s unlikely that it happened overnight. Why then, would we assume that our relief should come overnight? Rather than continuing to rescue us from the same mess again and again, perhaps God would prefer that we learn to avoid the messes. Unfortunately, sometimes learning requires pain. That’s why being stupid hurts so much - so we’ll stop. And don’t forget, God is into providing peace in the storm, just as much as He is into providing a way out of the storm. God hears our prayers. He may not give us what we want, when we want it, but He will give us what we need. Pray away. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Sunday, January 7, 2018

Blending In

January 7

(Acts 4:7-13 NIV) "They had Peter and John brought before them and began to question them: "By what power or what name did you do this?" {8} Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them: "Rulers and elders of the people! {9} If we are being called to account today for an act of kindness shown to a cripple and are asked how he was healed, {10} then know this, you and all the people of Israel: It is by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified but whom God raised from the dead, that this man stands before you healed. {11} He is "'the stone you builders rejected, which has become the capstone.' {12} Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved." {13} 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."

Many Christians ask God for the impossible. They pray to be more like Jesus, but they also want to blend in with the world around them. They want to live for Christ, but live like everyone else. They want to be disciples and remain invisible. They want to be a witness for Jesus, but never speak up for Him. That’s simply not possible. You cannot blend in with the world when you live for the Lord. You cannot walk closely with Christ and not walk differently. You cannot be a light in the darkness and not be noticed. The more like Jesus you become, the more different from the world you will be. “Invisible disciple” is not a term you find in Scripture. It’s impossible to “blend in” when you are standing up for Jesus. You will always stand out when you are standing with the Lord. So give up on “blending in”. Be glad when people “take note” that you have been with Jesus. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Saturday, January 6, 2018

To Know Him is to Love Him

January 6

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

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

God wants a relationship with you. Christ wants you to love Him, trust Him, and know Him. This is one of the things which makes Christianity unique. Religion tries to secure and retain God’s favor by “right” actions. It gives detailed legal guidance about how to accomplish this. Even some misguided Christians try this route. However, Christianity teaches we cannot get right with God through human effort. God is holy; we are not, and nothing we can humanly do will make us holy enough. We can never stand in front of God based on our deeds. We are all law breakers and wholly unable to save ourselves. Someone else must stand for us and stand with us. Someone else must get us back into a right relationship with God. His name is Jesus. He is the Way. God has provided only this Savior. There is no other way. There is no other name but Jesus that can save us. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day 

Friday, January 5, 2018

At a Distance

January 5

(Mark 14:53-72 NIV)  "They took Jesus to the high priest, and all the chief priests, elders and teachers of the law came together. {54} Peter followed him at a distance, right into the courtyard of the high priest. There he sat with the guards and warmed himself at the fire. {55} The chief priests and the whole Sanhedrin were looking for evidence against Jesus so that they could put him to death, but they did not find any. {56} Many testified falsely against him, but their statements did not agree. {57} Then some stood up and gave this false testimony against him: {58} "We heard him say, 'I will destroy this man-made temple and in three days will build another, not made by man.'" {59} Yet even then their testimony did not agree. {60} Then the high priest stood up before them and asked Jesus, "Are you not going to answer? What is this testimony that these men are bringing against you?" {61} But Jesus remained silent and gave no answer. Again the high priest asked him, "Are you the Christ, the Son of the Blessed One?" {62} "I am," said Jesus. "And you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven." {63} The high priest tore his clothes. "Why do we need any more witnesses?" he asked. {64} "You have heard the blasphemy. What do you think?" They all condemned him as worthy of death. {65} Then some began to spit at him; they blindfolded him, struck him with their fists, and said, "Prophesy!" And the guards took him and beat him. {66} While Peter was below in the courtyard, one of the servant girls of the high priest came by. {67} When she saw Peter warming himself, she looked closely at him. "You also were with that Nazarene, Jesus," she said. {68} But he denied it. "I don't know or understand what you're talking about," he said, and went out into the entryway. {69} When the servant girl saw him there, she said again to those standing around, "This fellow is one of them." {70} Again he denied it. After a little while, those standing near said to Peter, "Surely you are one of them, for you are a Galilean." {71} He began to call down curses on himself, and he swore to them, "I don't know this man you're talking about." {72} Immediately the rooster crowed the second time. Then Peter remembered the word Jesus had spoken to him: "Before the rooster crows twice you will disown me three times." And he broke down and wept."

We cannot follow Jesus and keep our distance from Him at the same time. Trying to follow Christ at a distance causes a roller coaster life, filled with so many ups and downs that it sickens us. Peter’s up and down life is illustrative. One minute he steps out onto the water and walks toward Jesus in faith. A few seconds later he's sinking down in doubt, gasping for air beneath the stormy waves. At one point we hear him swearing he’s ready to die for Jesus. Not all that much later, he's swearing to God he doesn't even know Him. When we try to follow Christ at a distance, our fate will be similar. We will behave like schizophrenic Christians, never knowing what personality will show up today. And when Christ followers find themselves at a distance from God, they can be assured of one thing: it’s not God who moved. He promises to remain near us. We are the runners. Stay near. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Good or Godly

January 4

(Matthew 7:21-23 NIV) "Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. {22} Many will say to me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?' {23} Then I will tell them plainly, 'I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!'"

Sometimes we try to worship God without really knowing Him. We are “good people”, but not necessarily godly people. We know the letter of the Law, but not the love of the Lawgiver. We follow the rules, but avoid the Rule Maker. We keep the commandments, even as we keep our distance from the Commander. We appear to be close to God, but our hearts are far from Him. We know the scriptures, but apply them to the world more than to ourselves. We hear the call to follow Jesus, but want another way. Following one Lord is too confining and narrows our options. We hear the call to take up the cross, but hesitate because crosses and nails require total surrender and self sacrifice and we know little of either. If something doesn’t change, we can end up being a stranger to a God we never really knew. This is tragic and unnecessary. Embrace Jesus. Get to know Him. Love Him. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Done With Darkness

January 3

(John 12:46 NIV) “I have come into the world as a light, so that no one who believes in me should stay in darkness.”

(Matthew 5:14-16 NIV)  ""You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. {15} Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. {16} In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven."

When we encounter the light of Christ we either repent, or we run. We either see the light, or we flee the light. When we truly repent, we are done with darkness. Once a blind man can see, he has no desire to return to his former blindness. He is done with groping around in the dark. God’s light brings with it a calling to be light in this world. If we walk in the Light and live as children of Light, we will reflect His Light. We do not shine to bring notice to ourselves. We shine to glorify God. We shine to make Christ visible to others. We shine because it’s our new nature. The Light now lives in us and shines forth from us. One note of caution: we must not worship just any light. Some worship the sun, the moon, the stars, and the earth. But creation must never be worshipped in place of the Creator. Our God is above His creation. That’s why we look up in worship, not around. This world is not our home. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

The Unholy Trinity

January 2

(Matthew 7:7-8 NIV) “They worship me in vain; their teachings are but rules taught by men. {8} You have let go of the commands of God and are holding on to the traditions of men."

Many Christians today subscribe to an “unholy trinity” of church sayings:
1) "We've never done it that way before." 
2) "We tried that once and it didn't work."
3) “We've always done it this way."

Traditional practices can become enshrined and seen as the only way God would do it. Things like what a church building should look like, or what worship music should sound like, or what church people should look like, can become like commandments from God. Those who differ are often viewed like heretics who want to change the very word of God. It must puzzle God that when He wants to do a new thing, the very people who ought to be cheering the loudest, are often the ones booing and throwing stones. And that’s why this “unholy trinity” of church sayings can actually end up being the opening lines of a church’s obituary. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Monday, January 1, 2018

The Eternal Now

January 1

(Matthew 4:18-22 NIV) "As Jesus was walking beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon called Peter and his brother Andrew. They were casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. {19} "Come, follow me," Jesus said, "and I will make you fishers of men." {20} At once they left their nets and followed him. {21} Going on from there, he saw two other brothers, James son of Zebedee and his brother John. They were in a boat with their father Zebedee, preparing their nets. Jesus called them, {22} and immediately they left the boat and their father and followed him."

(2 Corinthians 6:2 NIV) "For he says, "In the time of my favor I heard you, and in the day of salvation I helped you." I tell you, now is the time of God's favor, now is the day of salvation."

With God, there is no “Happy New Year”. God doesn’t dwell in time. God lives in the eternal now. We too, should be “now” oriented. Many people think, “I’ll do something about Jesus later”, but “later” never seems to arrive. We must seize the opportunity when we see the star rise and we hear the angel speak. We must make our move when Jesus passes by. We must respond when we hear the Lord call our name. “Immediately” was the word used to describe the disciples’ response in our scripture for today. We must obey Christ in His time, not ours. Thinking we can “take our time” when it comes to things of God is foolish, because time does not really belong to us. It belongs to the Lord. Time is a creation of God. He owns it and controls it. It is not ours to squander. Our times are in his hands. The old proverb says, “Don’t put off until tomorrow, what you can do today.” Believe it! -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day