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Saturday, November 17, 2018

More than Once a Year

November 17

(Psalm 147:1-20 NIV) “Praise the Lord. How good it is to sing praises to our God, how pleasant and fitting to praise him! {2} The Lord builds up Jerusalem; he gathers the exiles of Israel. {3} He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. {4} He determines the number of the stars and calls them each by name. {5} Great is our Lord and mighty in power; his understanding has no limit. {6} The Lord sustains the humble but casts the wicked to the ground. {7} Sing to the Lord with thanksgiving; make music to our God on the harp. {8} He covers the sky with clouds; he supplies the earth with rain and makes grass grow on the hills. {9} He provides food for the cattle and for the young ravens when they call. {10} His pleasure is not in the strength of the horse, nor his delight in the legs of a man; {11} the Lord delights in those who fear him, who put their hope in his unfailing love. {12} Extol the Lord, O Jerusalem; praise your God, O Zion, {13} for he strengthens the bars of your gates and blesses your people within you. {14} He grants peace to your borders and satisfies you with the finest of wheat. {15} He sends his command to the earth; his word runs swiftly. {16} He spreads the snow like wool and scatters the frost like ashes. {17} He hurls down his hail like pebbles. Who can withstand his icy blast? {18} He sends his word and melts them; he stirs up his breezes, and the waters flow. {19} He has revealed his word to Jacob, his laws and decrees to Israel. {20} He has done this for no other nation; they do not know his laws. Praise the Lord.”

Sometimes we take the basic things of life for granted: our sight, our hearing, our health, our family, even life itself. Most often we do not thank God for the things we take for granted. Then we lose them… or we watch someone else suffer loss… and all of a sudden we realize how important they are. We realize what a gift they were. Most of us have more blessings than we can count. We are surrounded by affluence and have it pretty good. Even in periods of economic downturn, we have more than most of the world can ever dream of obtaining. We enjoy so much, but we express thanksgiving so little. Let’s break the habit of ingratitude and start a new habit of being thankful on a regular basis. Set a time and keep your thankfulness appointment daily. Thanksgiving really should come more than once a year. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Friday, November 16, 2018

Commanded to be Thankful

November 16

(Psalm 100:4 NIV) "Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name."

(1 Thessalonians 5:18 NIV) "Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus."

God doesn’t suggest that we be thankful -- He commands it. Most of us don’t like being ordered around, but make no mistake about it: giving thanks is a command of God. Not many of us enjoy being thankful “in all circumstances.” In fact, most of us have a lot more experience at complaining about our circumstances. But in the end, it doesn’t matter if we like the commands of God. He speaks. We should obey. If we are going to say we believe God’s word, we had better get to work at showing gratitude. Whether we like being thankful or not has nothing to do with its importance to our lives and to our relationship with God. The command is to express gratitude for what we have, in spite of our losses, our diseases, or our disasters. And if we’re honest, we all have something to be thankful for, even in the worst of times. So let’s obey the Lord. Be thankful. Start today. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Firstfruits or Leftovers

November 15

(Exodus 23:19 NIV) “Bring the best of the firstfruits of your soil to the house of the Lord your God.”

(Deuteronomy 12:6 NIV)  "…bring your burnt offerings and sacrifices, your tithes and special gifts, what you have vowed to give and your freewill offerings, and the firstborn of your herds and flocks."

(2 Chronicles 31:5 NIV)  "… the Israelites generously gave the firstfruits of their grain, new wine, oil and honey and all that the fields produced. They brought a great amount, a tithe of everything."

(Proverbs 3:9 NIV)  "Honor the Lord with your wealth, with the firstfruits of all your crops;"

Giving to the Lord is a matter of faith. There is a direct connection between strong faith and generous giving. It took great faith for God’s people to give their firstfruits and their firstborn animals because they were not guaranteed more crops and more animals. They gave in faith that God would honor their tithe and provide what they needed. When Israel honored God they always seemed to have enough. When they put their full faith in God, He never let them down. Recent surveys show that less than 10% of Christians give a tithe of their firstfruits to the Lord. Instead, they give if they have anything left over. They take care of themselves first. Christian giving hovers around 3% of income while giving among non-Christians to charities of their choice runs at nearly the same level. Something is wrong with this picture. Let’s fix it. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Testing God

November 14

(Malachi 3:10-12 NIV)  "Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this," says the Lord Almighty, "and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it. {11} I will prevent pests from devouring your crops, and the vines in your fields will not cast their fruit," says the Lord Almighty. {12} "Then all the nations will call you blessed, for yours will be a delightful land," says the Lord Almighty."

Throughout Scripture God says it is unwise to presume upon him or to test him in matters of life and faith. But in the area of giving, God calls on His people to test Him. God said he would pour out blessings upon us. He said He would prevent pests from devouring the Israelite’s crops. Their vines would bear more fruit. In today’s world, God’s provision could come in the form of things being held together long after they should have fallen apart. God may save us money on repairs rather than giving us cash. His blessing can come in the form of healed relationships or in other answers to prayer. But in the end, God honors the trust and commitment we demonstrate in our giving to Him. Accept God’s offer. Take the test. You may never be wealthy, but bring generous offerings into God’s house. You’ll be glad you did. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Respect in Giving

November 13

(Malachi 1:6-7 NIV)  ""A son honors his father, and a servant his master. If I am a father, where is the honor due me? If I am a master, where is the respect due me?" says the LORD Almighty. "It is you, O priests, who show contempt for my name. "But you ask, 'How have we shown contempt for your name?' {7} "You place defiled food on my altar."

(Malachi 3:6-12 NIV)  ""I the Lord do not change. So you, O descendants of Jacob, are not destroyed. {7} Ever since the time of your forefathers you have turned away from my decrees and have not kept them. Return to me, and I will return to you," says the Lord Almighty. "But you ask, 'How are we to return?' {8} "Will a man rob God? Yet you rob me. "But you ask, 'How do we rob you?' "In tithes and offerings. {9} You are under a curse--the whole nation of you--because you are robbing me. {10} Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this," says the Lord Almighty, "and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it. {11} I will prevent pests from devouring your crops, and the vines in your fields will not cast their fruit," says the Lord Almighty. {12} "Then all the nations will call you blessed, for yours will be a delightful land," says the Lord Almighty."

Giving is as important to our spiritual life as truthfulness, honest, or sexual morality. Most people who feel the church talks about money too much, never really want to talk about money at all. Only generous people enjoy talking about giving. A living church will always need money. We ought to thank God that our church is alive and in need. The only church that has no needs is a dead church. Giving to the Lord and His Bride the Church is a matter of respect. God deserves our best, not our table scraps. When we give the Church our leftovers we dishonor him and disobey him. We can say we worship God, but when we do not give generously our offerings cannot be called true worship. Worship is respect and respect is a package deal. We cannot respect God in just one or two areas and disrespect Him in others. Respect God in your giving. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Monday, November 12, 2018

Who’s Your Master?

November 12

(Matthew 6:19-21,24 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. {24}No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money."

Some ministers preach about money too much. Most ministers don’t preach about money enough. Jesus taught about money more than he taught about heaven and hell. About a third of the verses in the gospels have something to do with money or possessions. Jesus knew that wherever our treasures go, our hearts always follow. We cannot serve two masters and Money easily masters us. We are often secretive about our money and giving. It is an idol we don't want anyone messing with. Many Christians would be embarrassed if others found out what they give to Jesus and His church. We would do well to make ourselves accountable to others in this area of giving. Maybe we need an organization like A.A. or N.A. for stingy Christians. We could call it M.A. -- Money Anonymous. Why wouldn’t we want accountability for the way we spend God’s money?  I think you know the answer. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Sunday, November 11, 2018

Surrendered Heart = Surrendered Purse

November 11

(2 Corinthians 8:5 NIV)  "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."

(2 Corinthians 9:11-13 NIV)  "...your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God. {12} This service that you perform ... is also overflowing in many expressions of thanks to God. {13}... men will praise God for the obedience that accompanies your confession of the gospel of Christ..."

Great givers are contagious creatures. They inspire others to examine themselves and to be more generous. Generous giving glorifies God and inspires others. When new Christians see what mature believers give to the Lord, they will be blessed and challenged. Would what you give to God challenge others? Does what you give really glorify God? Generous giving springs from a surrendered heart. It begins when we realize how much God has given us. It grows stronger when we truly grasp the extent of Christ’s sacrifice for us. Before we can be truly great givers, our hearts must first be fully surrendered to Jesus. Is that true in your life? Have you really given your whole life to Jesus? Holding back part of your heart will cause you to hold back in your giving. It’s a simple equation: surrendered heart = surrendered purse. You can take that to the bank. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Saturday, November 10, 2018

More, More, More!

November 10

(Isaiah 2:6-12 NIV) "You have abandoned your people, the house of Jacob. They are full of superstitions from the East; they practice divination like the Philistines and clasp hands with pagans. {7} Their land is full of silver and gold; there is no end to their treasures. Their land is full of horses; there is no end to their chariots. {8} Their land is full of idols; they bow down to the work of their hands, to what their fingers have made. {9} So man will be brought low and mankind humbled-- do not forgive them. {10} Go into the rocks, hide in the ground from dread of the Lord and the splendor of his majesty! {11} The eyes of the arrogant man will be humbled and the pride of men brought low; the Lord alone will be exalted in that day. {12} The Lord Almighty has a day in store for all the proud and lofty, for all that is exalted (and they will be humbled).”

When we prosper, we often begin to think it’s because we are smart. Our wealth draws us away from God and we become addicted to the good life. We begin to trust in our stuff for happiness and contentment. We can reach a point where we trust in our wealth more than we trust in God. Americans today live in the richest, most prosperous nation on Earth and still, most of us want more. Enough is never enough. As long as our charge cards hold out we gorge ourselves on things that will soon be obsolete, unwanted junk. This weekend’s garage sales items were Wal-Mart inventory not that long ago. Our spare closets could clothe several Third World nations. Our shelves are overstocked. Our bodies are overweight. Our credit is over-stretched. Our lives are overindulgent. The heart cry of a generation is MORE! We’ve officially gone godless. There’s only way back. Repent! -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Friday, November 9, 2018

Seeking God in His Word

November 9

(Luke 8:19-21 NIV) “Now Jesus' mother and brothers came to see him, but they were not able to get near him because of the crowd. {20} Someone told him, "Your mother and brothers are standing outside, wanting to see you." {21} He replied, "My mother and brothers are those who hear God's word and put it into practice.””

(Luke 11:23-28 NIV) "He who is not with me is against me, and he who does not gather with me, scatters. {24} "When an evil spirit comes out of a man, it goes through arid places seeking rest and does not find it. Then it says, 'I will return to the house I left.' {25} When it arrives, it finds the house swept clean and put in order. {26} Then it goes and takes seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in and live there. And the final condition of that man is worse than the first." {27} As Jesus was saying these things, a woman in the crowd called out, "Blessed is the mother who gave you birth and nursed you." {28} He replied, "Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it."

All believers can know the will of God, but it is our responsibility to seek after it. God’s word speaks loudly and clearly, but we must search it as we would search for silver or gold. We cannot habitually ignore Scripture and honestly say we love God, because loving involves a relationship with two-way communication. Love and listening go together. They are a package deal. Are you listening for God in His word? Are you doing what He says? Walking in faith brings with it a love for Jesus and for His word. We can say we believe God, but if we do not seek His will and then do what He says, we will end up with a dysfunctional relationship -- and the dysfunction is on our end of the equation. We can easily end up loving ourselves more than we love God. Hear God’s word. Do God’s word. Live in it. Live it out. Know Him. Obey Him. Love Him. That’s the will of God. Now you know God’s will. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Thursday, November 8, 2018

Walk by Faith

November 8

(2 Corinthians 5:7-10 NIV) “We live by faith, not by sight. {8} We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord. {9} So we make it our goal to please him, whether we are at home in the body or away from it. {10} For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive what is due him for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad.”

(Philippians 4:11-13 NIV) “I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. {12} I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. {13} I can do everything through him who gives me strength.”

(1 Timothy 6:6-10 NIV) “… godliness with contentment is great gain. {7} For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. {8} But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. {9} People who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge men into ruin and destruction. {10} 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.”

“The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence”. “Your eyes are bigger than our stomach.” These old folk proverbs are based in the principles of Scripture, and if we’re attentive, they can teach us a spiritual lesson. We have a nasty habit of always wanting what we don’t have. We need to break that habit. If we don’t, contentment will remain an elusive butterfly. What looks best to our eyes is not always best for our life. The things we crave are often detrimental to body and soul. What we covet can often lead to our demise. Attractive things can be deadly things. How many different ways can we say it? This is why God calls us to walk by faith, not by sight. Our human cravings and our lust filled eyes will perish with our dying bodies. But faith will sustain us for eternity. Live by faith. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Keep Coming Back

November 7

(Psalm 40:1-3 NIV) “I waited patiently for the Lord; he turned to me and heard my cry. {2} He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. {3} He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God.”

(Isaiah 44:22 NIV) “I have swept away your offenses like a cloud, your sins like the morning mist. Return to me, for I have redeemed you.”

(1 John 1:9 NIV) “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.

We always pay a price of some kind for disobedience to God. Our sins will not only find us out, they will cost us dearly -- they will beat us down. But God will not desert us, because we are of great worth. To say otherwise is to call God a liar. God has chosen mercy for us. He has paid off our debt. When we make a mess of our life, God perseveres with us through the pain and lifts us out of the slimy pit. Jesus is the Faithful One. There’s a saying in 12 Step circles: “Keep coming back - it works.” That’s also the formula for accomplishing great things for God. Keep coming back to Jesus. We stumble… He picks us up. We fall short… He redeems our failures. We sin… He pours out grace. When we keep coming back, we get stronger and He begins to use us more and more. The longer we walk with Jesus, the more He can be glorified in our lives. Keep coming back. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Toxic Compromise

November 6

(Deuteronomy 17:14-20 NIV) “When you enter the land the Lord your God is giving you and have taken possession of it and settled in it, and you say, "Let us set a king over us like all the nations around us," {15} be sure to appoint over you the king the Lord your God chooses. He must be from among your own brothers. Do not place a foreigner over you, one who is not a brother Israelite. {16} The king, moreover, must not acquire great numbers of horses for himself or make the people return to Egypt to get more of them, for the Lord has told you, "You are not to go back that way again." {17} He must not take many wives, or his heart will be led astray. He must not accumulate large amounts of silver and gold. {18} When he takes the throne of his kingdom, he is to write for himself on a scroll a copy of this law, taken from that of the priests, who are Levites. {19} It is to be with him, and he is to read it all the days of his life so that he may learn to revere the Lord his God and follow carefully all the words of this law and these decrees {20} and not consider himself better than his brothers and turn from the law to the right or to the left. Then he and his descendants will reign a long time over his kingdom in Israel.”

(1 Kings 11:1-6 NIV) “King Solomon, however, loved many foreign women besides Pharaoh's daughter--Moabites, Ammonites, Edomites, Sidonians and Hittites. {2} They were from nations about which the Lord had told the Israelites, "You must not intermarry with them, because they will surely turn your hearts after their gods." Nevertheless, Solomon held fast to them in love. {3} He had seven hundred wives of royal birth and three hundred concubines, and his wives led him astray. {4} As Solomon grew old, his wives turned his heart after other gods, and his heart was not fully devoted to the Lord his God, as the heart of David his father had been. {5} He followed Ashtoreth the goddess of the Sidonians, and Molech the detestable god of the Ammonites. {6} So Solomon did evil in the eyes of the Lord; he did not follow the Lord completely, as David his father had done.”

In the political realm, compromise is often necessary as it may be the only way forward. But in the spiritual and moral realm, compromise leads to disaster. Moral compromise is usually also a spiritual compromise because it violates some command of God. It promises happiness, but it delivers death; death to people, death to relationships, even death to the soul. It leads to calamity, chaos, and the collapse of culture. Moral compromise is toxic. It can seem right, but causes pain that far outweighs the joy. It hardly ever comes in big bites. Instead, it nibbles at us; a little bit here, a little bit there, until it consumes our character. Moral compromise may often be legal and even accepted by society. But what is legal and acceptable does not always line up with what is godly and right. Believers are citizens of a different Kingdom. Avoid compromise at all costs. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Monday, November 5, 2018

The End of the Rope

November 5

(2 Corinthians 4:8-11 NIV) “We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; {9} persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. {10} We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. {11} For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus' sake, so that his life may be revealed in our mortal body.”

(2 Corinthians 11:23-27 NIV) “I have worked much harder, been in prison more frequently, been flogged more severely, and been exposed to death again and again. {24} Five times I received from the Jews the forty lashes minus one. {25} Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned, three times I was shipwrecked, I spent a night and a day in the open sea, {26} I have been constantly on the move. I have been in danger from rivers, in danger from bandits, in danger from my own countrymen, in danger from Gentiles; in danger in the city, in danger in the country, in danger at sea; and in danger from false brothers. {27} I have labored and toiled and have often gone without sleep; I have known hunger and thirst and have often gone without food; I have been cold and naked.”

(2 Corinthians 12:7-10 NIV) “To keep me from becoming conceited because of these surpassingly great revelations, there was given me a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. {8} Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. {9} But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me. {10} That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”

Paul reached a point in life where he thought, "This is the end of the rope, the final curtain, the last hurrah.” Hope had slipped out the back door. All strength was gone. Despair loomed like a six-headed monster. There were no walls to lean against, no fine religious clich├ęs to recite… no water left in the well, no place left to hide, no shade to be found, no relief in sight… only the ugly face of death and defeat. Perhaps this is where you are. Maybe these could be your words. This might sound strange, but you may be exactly where God wants you. Jesus can use any situation for His glory, if we give it (and ourselves) to Him. Sometimes we have to be flattened before we will fall on our face before the Lord. Sometimes God must take our legs out from under us before they can be strengthened enough to run the race for Him with stamina. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Sunday, November 4, 2018

Head Up the Mountain

November 4

(Numbers 27:12-14 NIV) ““Then the LORD said to Moses, "Go up this mountain in the Abarim range and see the land I have given the Israelites. {13} After you have seen it, you too will be gathered to your people, as your brother Aaron was, {14} for when the community rebelled at the waters in the Desert of Zin, both of you disobeyed my command to honor me as holy before their eyes.””

(Luke 9:28-31 NIV) “About eight days after Jesus said this, he took Peter, John and James with him and went up onto a mountain to pray. {29} As he was praying, the appearance of his face changed, and his clothes became as bright as a flash of lightning. {30} Two men, Moses and Elijah, {31} appeared in glorious splendor, talking with Jesus. They spoke about his departure, which he was about to bring to fulfillment at Jerusalem.”

Moses made a big mistake and it cost him a trip into the Promised Land. He remained with the “faithless generation” until the last one died off in the desert. Then God took His people back to the edge of the Promised Land and once more, Moses made a trip up a mountain. But this would be his last climb. He would see the Promised Land, but not enter it. God had something better in mind. Compared to what Moses was about to inherit, the land of milk and honey was a ghetto. Centuries later we see Moses on another mountain. He had come to encourage Jesus. Moses had walked up a hill to face death, as Jesus soon would. Now Moses lived face to face with God in glory, as Jesus soon would. A day is coming when we will climb that mountain to our earthly end. Fear not! At the top, our mistakes will be remembered no more. So head on up! Glory is waiting there. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Saturday, November 3, 2018

Changing Our Focus

November 3

(Proverbs 4:18-27 NIV) “The path of the righteous is like the first gleam of dawn, shining ever brighter till the full light of day. {19} But the way of the wicked is like deep darkness; they do not know what makes them stumble. {20} My son, pay attention to what I say; listen closely to my words. {21} Do not let them out of your sight, keep them within your heart; {22} for they are life to those who find them and health to a man's whole body. {23} Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life. {24} Put away perversity from your mouth; keep corrupt talk far from your lips. {25} Let your eyes look straight ahead, fix your gaze directly before you. {26} Make level paths for your feet and take only ways that are firm. {27} Do not swerve to the right or the left; keep your foot from evil.”

(Luke 11:33-36 NIV) “No one lights a lamp and puts it in a place where it will be hidden, or under a bowl. Instead he puts it on its stand, so that those who come in may see the light. {34} Your eye is the lamp of your body. When your eyes are good, your whole body also is full of light. But when they are bad, your body also is full of darkness. {35} See to it, then, that the light within you is not darkness. {36} Therefore, if your whole body is full of light, and no part of it dark, it will be completely lighted, as when the light of a lamp shines on you.”

Isn’t it amazing how we just can’t seem to get our eyes off ourselves? We constantly look into the mirror, rather than to God. We look for reasons to stay where we’ve always been, think like we’ve always thought, and do what we’ve always done. Our love of the status quo becomes an obsession… an addiction. Change becomes a dirty word. We balk at doing God’s will because it means taking a risk, or it might make us look foolish to others. We procrastinate in obedience, because believing God and doing what He says will be inconvenient. It will interrupt our life. But the Son of God interrupted His life for us. He gave up eternity for mortality. He came to Earth and tolerated our abuse to show us a better way. He entered time to change how we live and how we see. Get your eyes off of yourself, fix them upon Jesus, and keep them there. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Friday, November 2, 2018

Get Off the Pot

November 2

(Matthew 16:1-4 NIV) “The Pharisees and Sadducees came to Jesus and tested him by asking him to show them a sign from heaven. {2} He replied, "When evening comes, you say, 'It will be fair weather, for the sky is red,' {3} and in the morning, 'Today it will be stormy, for the sky is red and overcast.' You know how to interpret the appearance of the sky, but you cannot interpret the signs of the times. {4} A wicked and adulterous generation looks for a miraculous sign, but none will be given it except the sign of Jonah." Jesus then left them and went away.”

(James 1:22-25 NIV) “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. {23} Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror {24} and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. {25} But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it--he will be blessed in what he does.”

When we question and demand answers, God will usually respond in a gracious way. But sometimes His answer is, “Get off the pot and get busy.” Don’t miss the fact that “pot” can have more than one meaning in today’s culture. When we finally get around to doing what God wants, it’s often the same thing he told us to do years before, but we wasted a significant part of our life waiting on “confirmation” through a sign. In the church today, we have leaders who won’t lead, followers who won’t follow, workers who won’t work, and missionaries who won’t go… all because they’re waiting for some kind of sign. We have discovered that if we ask for enough signs, we can eventually get the answer we really want. It’s amazing what we can find when we look intently for reasons not to obey. So ask yourself this when looking for a sign: Am I looking for a way, or am I looking for a way out. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Thursday, November 1, 2018

Loving God

November 1

(Mark 12:30 NIV) “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.”

(Ephesians 5:1-2 NIV) “ Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children {2} and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.”

(1 John 4:10,19 NIV) “This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. {19} We love because he first loved us.”

Jesus loved God more than He loved himself or His life. In obedience, He surrendered His life, and He lives with God today. Godly obedience doesn’t produce salvation -- it flows from salvation -- from a genuine relationship with God.  We can never be good enough to earn heaven, but when we realize that God has given us heaven, we become obedient. Think of it this way: we do not earn a father here on earth by doing good. We cannot make someone our parent by working for them. We love and obey parents because we were born or adopted into their family. They loved us before we loved them. They loved us when we were unlovable. They cared for us before we cared for ourselves. Our heavenly Father loved us before we ever loved Him. He cared for us before we cared for ourselves. He loved us even when we were unlovable. That’s why we love and obey God.-- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Darkness or Light

October 31

(Genesis 1:1-4 NIV) “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. {2} Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters. {3} And God said, "Let there be light," and there was light. {4} God saw that the light was good, and he separated the light from the darkness.”

(Ephesians 5:8-11 NIV) “For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light {9} (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) {10} and find out what pleases the Lord. {11} Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them.”

(Colossians 1:13-14 NIV) “For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, {14} in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.”

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

God’s first recorded words were: “Let there be light.” These significant words speak to the nature and the priorities of God. Light and God go together. When God shows up, light happens. God is light, as much as God is love. Without God, darkness prevails -- in our world and in our lives. This is why the darkness resists the light, both in the world and in our lives. Light brings death to darkness. Wherever light goes, darkness is obliterated. It does not want to submit, but it must. Darkness can only thrive in the absence of light. It can only deceive us into thinking that it is better. Darkness, which frightened us as children, can become a dear friend of our sin. Like an addiction, we can grow to love darkness more than we love God. So on this evening which celebrates darkness, treat someone by sharing the Light of God with them. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

What Prosperity?

October 30

(Hebrews 11:35-40 NIV) “Others were tortured and refused to be released, so that they might gain a better resurrection. {36} Some faced jeers and flogging, while still others were chained and put in prison. {37} They were stoned; they were sawed in two; they were put to death by the sword. They went about in sheepskins and goatskins, destitute, persecuted and mistreated-- {38} the world was not worthy of them. They wandered in deserts and mountains, and in caves and holes in the ground. {39} These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised. {40} God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect.”

(2 Corinthians 4:7-18 NIV) “But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. {8} We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; {9} persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. {10} We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. {11} For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus' sake, so that his life may be revealed in our mortal body. {12} So then, death is at work in us, but life is at work in you. {13} It is written: "I believed; therefore I have spoken." With that same spirit of faith we also believe and therefore speak, {14} because we know that the one who raised the Lord Jesus from the dead will also raise us with Jesus and present us with you in his presence. {15} All this is for your benefit, so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God. {16} Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. {17} For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. {18} So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”

The “prosperity gospel” denies not only the history of the church, but the reality for much of the church today. Down through the ages Christians have suffered for their faith as much, or more, than they have prospered for their faith. Nero the Roman emperor dipped Christians in tar and used them as human torches in his courtyard. Their crucified bodies lined the roads into Rome. Hebrews chapter 11 speaks of faithful believers being tortured, beaten, cut into pieces, put in chains, and confined to dungeons of horror. They often lived in abject poverty. They certainly didn’t “prosper”. Was it because they didn’t have enough faith? No! While God does bless those who are faithful, good times and wealth are not always a part of His blessing. In fact, the more obedient you become to Christ, the more likely it is that you will be tested by earthly trials. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Monday, October 29, 2018

Come Home

October 29

(Isaiah 40:1-5 NIV) “Comfort, comfort my people, says your God. {2} Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, and proclaim to her that her hard service has been completed, that her sin has been paid for, that she has received from the Lord’s hand double for all her sins. {3} A voice of one calling: "In the desert prepare the way for the Lord; make straight in the wilderness a highway for our God. {4} Every valley shall be raised up, every mountain and hill made low; the rough ground shall become level, the rugged places a plain. {5} And the glory of the Lord will be revealed, and all mankind together will see it. For the mouth of the Lord has spoken.”

(Luke 15:11-24 NIV) ““Jesus continued: "There was a man who had two sons. {12} The younger one said to his father, 'Father, give me my share of the estate.' So he divided his property between them. {13} "Not long after that, the younger son got together all he had, set off for a distant country and there squandered his wealth in wild living. {14} After he had spent everything, there was a severe famine in that whole country, and he began to be in need. {15}So he went and hired himself out to a citizen of that country, who sent him to his fields to feed pigs. {16} He longed to fill his stomach with the pods that the pigs were eating, but no one gave him anything. {17} "When he came to his senses, he said, 'How many of my father's hired men have food to spare, and here I am starving to death! {18} I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. {19} I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired men.' {20} So he got up and went to his father. "But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him. {21} "The son said to him, 'Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son. ' {22} "But the father said to his servants, 'Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. {23} Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let's have a feast and celebrate. {24} For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.' So they began to celebrate.””

If you’re looking for some comfort… come home today. If you’re weary and weak and need some strength… come home. If you want to soar with the eagles, quit hanging around with turkeys and head for home. If you need your sins forgiven, come home to Jesus. If you’re weary, let His hope renew your strength. If you’re weak, let Him give you power. If you need healing, cry out for His touch. Allow God to level out the highs and lows in your life. Allow him to raise your valleys and lower your mountains. Come home. If you’re tired of being stuck on the crooked back roads of life, God offers us a straight highway. Get up, get on it, and head toward home. Accept His payment for your sin. Hear His tender words. Let God speak into your life. Your hard service has been completed. Put your hope in the Lord, and the glory of the Lord will be revealed to you and in you. God knows… so come home. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Sunday, October 28, 2018

No Middle Class

October 28

(Matthew 25:31-46 NIV) "When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his throne in heavenly glory. {32} All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. {33} He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left. {34} "Then the King will say to those on his right, 'Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. {35} For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, {36} I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.' {37} "Then the righteous will answer him, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? {38} When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? {39} When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?' {40} "The King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.' {41} "Then he will say to those on his left, 'Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. {42} For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, {43} I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.' {44} "They also will answer, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?' {45} "He will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.' {46} "Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life."

There is no average middle class with God. One is either part of the upper class, the going to heaven group of saved sheep, or one is part of the lower class, the going to hell group of lost goats. There is no third group. There is no middle ground, middle of the road, or middle class. It’s either sheep or goat, bad or good, in or out, black or white, yes or no, up or down, lost or found, heaven or hell. There is no fog of ambiguity, grey area, or fuzzy math with the Lord. There is no “pretty good” or “almost saved”. God allows us to choose which class we live in for eternity, but make no mistake about it… there is no waffling on His part once that choice has been made and we pass from this life to the next. There will be no “changing lanes” on God’s highway. So make a decision today and live it out. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Saturday, October 27, 2018

Walking Among Sinners

October 27

(Luke 15:1-7 NIV) “Now the tax collectors and "sinners" were all gathering around to hear him. {2} But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law muttered, "This man welcomes sinners and eats with them." {3} Then Jesus told them this parable: {4} "Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Does he not leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? {5} And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders {6} and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, 'Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.' {7} I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent.”

(Matthew 21:28-32 NIV) “There was a man who had two sons. He went to the first and said, 'Son, go and work today in the vineyard.' {29} " 'I will not,' he answered, but later he changed his mind and went. {30} "Then the father went to the other son and said the same thing. He answered, 'I will, sir,' but he did not go. {31} "Which of the two did what his father wanted?" "The first," they answered. Jesus said to them, "I tell you the truth, the tax collectors and the prostitutes are entering the kingdom of God ahead of you. {32} For John came to you to show you the way of righteousness, and you did not believe him, but the tax collectors and the prostitutes did. And even after you saw this, you did not repent and believe him.”

When Jesus walked this Earth He hung around with prostitutes and tax collectors. Christ even seemed to prefer their company over that of religious people. Maybe that’s because the hookers and heathens knew they were a long way from God. They knew they needed saving. The Great Physician can do miraculous healing in those who will confess their sickness, but cannot save those who refuse to acknowledge their sin. The religious crowd was obsessed with the sins of others. They had no time for someone who told them to look inside themselves. When Jesus walked among sinners and showed them the love of God, they often responded fully and quickly. He also knew they would share their stories of grace with others. Redeemed sinners understand just how much they owe a Savior who would come to them and die for their sin. Let's make sure we do too. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Friday, October 26, 2018

The Four “C’s”

October 26

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

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

(1 Timothy 1:5 NIV) “The goal of this command is love, which comes from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith.”

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

Four “C” words point to the existence of God: Creation, Conscience, Christ, and Church. That’s why Satan works so hard to undermine and discredit them as irrelevant. Creation is attacked as religious myth and replaced with the “Origin of the Species”. Darwinism has become the dominant religion. Christ’s name is now unmentionable in public, unless used in a profane manner. Say His name in a serious way and you’ll be escorted from public property. The Church is denigrated; its flaws spotlighted. Its people are ridiculed and lampooned in the media. The Conscience is infected with relativism at an early age and often damaged beyond repair. Right and wrong and truth are no longer definite. But the Creation story, Christ, and his Church will not die. Every child is still born with a Conscience. God won’t be mocked. Man’s derision cannot diminish God’s reality. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Thursday, October 25, 2018

An Event and a Process

October 25

(Acts 22:4-11 NIV) “I persecuted the followers of this Way to their death, arresting both men and women and throwing them into prison, {5} as also the high priest and all the Council can testify. I even obtained letters from them to their brothers in Damascus, and went there to bring these people as prisoners to Jerusalem to be punished. {6} "About noon as I came near Damascus, suddenly a bright light from heaven flashed around me. {7} I fell to the ground and heard a voice say to me, 'Saul! Saul! Why do you persecute me?' {8} " 'Who are you, Lord?' I asked. " 'I am Jesus of Nazareth, whom you are persecuting,' he replied. {9} My companions saw the light, but they did not understand the voice of him who was speaking to me. {10} " 'What shall I do, Lord?' I asked. " 'Get up,' the Lord said, 'and go into Damascus. There you will be told all that you have been assigned to do.' {11} My companions led me by the hand into Damascus, because the brilliance of the light had blinded me.”

(Philippians 3:7-15 NIV) “But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. {8} What is more, 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 and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, {11} and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead. {12} Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. {13} Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, {14} I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. {15} All of us who are mature should take such a view of things.”

Salvation is both an event and a process. Knowing God requires a first meeting and an ongoing relationship. We hear God through His word and are born again. We grow and come to a place where we can honestly say we know and follow God. We kneel in prayer and stand in strength. We no longer crawl around in the dirt of infantile sin. This is discipleship. It is also the difference between religion and relationship. Religion knows the rules. Relationship knows the ruler. Religion loves the Law. Relationship loves the Lord. God wants us to do more than just toe the line. He wants to hold our hand. He wants to change our heart. Jesus wants more than just our service and obedience. He wants us to know him intimately. Have you met Him? Have you believed Him? Do you know Him? Are you walking with Him? Make Christ a vital part of your life. Love Him with all your heart. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day  

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Unequally Yoked

October 24

(2 Corinthians 6:14-18 NIV) “Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness? {15} What harmony is there between Christ and Belial? What does a believer have in common with an unbeliever? {16} What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols? For we are the temple of the living God. As God has said: "I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be my people." {17} "Therefore come out from them and be separate, says the Lord. Touch no unclean thing, and I will receive you." {18} "I will be a Father to you, and you will be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty."

Scripture warns Christians against being “yoked together with unbelievers.” Righteousness cannot be mixed with wickedness and remain righteous. Darkness and light cannot exist together in the same space. If we want to fully partner with Jesus, we cannot partner with unbelief. Unfortunately, many Christians violate this principle on a consistent basis in the realms of marriage and business and eventually end up with “buyer’s remorse” in the land of apostasy and pain. If we are knowingly disobedient in this, it certainly takes gall to complain to God when we have problems. The best preventative is avoiding the unequal yoke in the first place. We must consider more than feelings, passion, or expedience when choosing our partners in this world. Many believers have paid a high price for ignoring God’s word in this area. What could possibly lead us to think we are the exception? -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Greater Wisdom = Fewer Mistakes

October 23

(Matthew 11:19 NIV) “But wisdom is proved right by her actions."

(Luke 7:35 NIV) "But wisdom is proved right by all her children."

People often say, “We learn more from our mistakes than our successes”, and “Failure is a great teacher.” It sounds good, but is that really the formula we want to follow for the rest of our lives? Making mistakes can indeed produce wisdom, but mistakes can also cause lots of pain. Is that really the best method of learning? Jesus said, "Wisdom is proved right by her actions and by her children.” Jesus was saying that the evidence of wisdom is wise behavior. The fruit of wisdom is fewer mistakes. Mistakes can certainly help us become wiser, but as we grow in Jesus, we should grow in wisdom -- and as we grow in wisdom, we should make fewer and fewer mistakes. Christians should eventually reach a point where they are learning more from their Master than from their mistakes. So here’s a new formula for life. More Jesus = more wisdom. More wisdom = fewer mistakes.  -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day  

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