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Monday, December 31, 2018

Doing What We Know

December 31

(Matthew 7:24-27 NIV) "Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. {25} The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. {26} But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. {27} The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash."

(James 1:22 NIV) “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.”

We are flirting with disaster when knowing God’s word becomes more important than doing God’s word. It really doesn’t matter how much Scripture we memorize if it doesn’t move us to action. Most Christians know a lot about God’s word, but putting it into practice seems to trip us up. It might be a moral issue, a forgiveness issue, a marriage issue, a money issue, or a call to ministry; but when God speaks and we ignore him, we’re in danger of losing his signal altogether. When we don’t obey God, His voice begins to fade. Why would God communicate new truth to us when we won’t act on what we already know? So, if you haven’t heard from God lately, maybe it’s because you haven’t done what he clearly told you to do last year. Put what you already know into practice. Then God knows you are ready for something more. Give Him good reason to speak to you in this coming year. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Sunday, December 30, 2018

Captain Crunch Religion

December 30

(Psalm 116:1-4 NIV) “I love the Lord, for he heard my voice; he heard my cry for mercy. {2} Because he turned his ear to me, I will call on him as long as I live. {3} 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!””

(Proverbs 13:18-29 NIV) “He who ignores discipline comes to poverty and shame, but whoever heeds correction is honored. {19} A longing fulfilled is sweet to the soul, but fools detest turning from evil. {20} He who walks with the wise grows wise, but a companion of fools suffers harm.”

Today’s world is full of Captain Crunch Religion. When crunch time comes, it seems everyone “finds God" for a little while. We keep our little god in our little box and dig him out like a cheap prize whenever we are in big enough trouble. We treat God like our personal genie and only rub our magic lamp when we get in over our heads and are desperate. It’s amazing how many people become religious when disaster strikes or death threatens. The trouble with Captain Crunch Religion is that it assumes we have a KwikShop God. It ain’t so. The God of Scripture would rather be a God of relationship than a God of rescue. He does indeed rescue, but does so to establish a relationship. The wise man will not wait for a storm to develop that relationship. In fact, the relationship will often eliminate the need to be continuously rescued. Get into a relationship with Jesus today. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Saturday, December 29, 2018

Jesus is Coming Again

December 29

(Malachi 3:1-5 NIV) "See, I will send my messenger, who will prepare the way before me. Then suddenly the Lord you are seeking will come to his temple; the messenger of the covenant, whom you desire, will come," says the LORD Almighty. {2} But who can endure the day of his coming? Who can stand when he appears? For he will be like a refiner's fire or a launderer's soap. {3} He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver; he will purify the Levites and refine them like gold and silver. Then the LORD will have men who will bring offerings in righteousness, {4} and the offerings of Judah and Jerusalem will be acceptable to the LORD, as in days gone by, as in former years. {5} "So I will come near to you for judgment. I will be quick to testify against sorcerers, adulterers and perjurers, against those who defraud laborers of their wages, who oppress the widows and the fatherless, and deprive aliens of justice, but do not fear me," says the LORD Almighty.

(Matthew 24:30-31 NIV)  ""At that time the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and all the nations of the earth will mourn. They will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky, with power and great glory. {31} And he will send his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other."

(Revelation 20:11-15 NIV)  "Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. Earth and sky fled from his presence, and there was no place for them. {12} And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Another book was opened, which is the book of life. The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books. {13} The sea gave up the dead that were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead that were in them, and each person was judged according to what he had done. {14} Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. The lake of fire is the second death. {15} If anyone's name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire."

Christians call Christmas the First Advent. God came as Savior of the world… but Jesus is coming again. There will be a Second Advent -- Christ’s Second Coming. This time He will not come as Savior, but as Judge. This time He will not come as a baby, but as a Conquering King. He will not come in weakness, but in power. He will not be born in a manger, but ride in on the clouds in glory. He will not be coming to die, but to judge the living and the dead. He will not come to spread His gospel all over the world, but to gather from all over the world, those who have believed Him. Their names will have been written in the “book of life”. On that day, it will be too late for repentance. The day for repentance is today. Today is the day of salvation. Today is the day to call on His name. Today is a gift of God. Use it to add your name to the book. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Friday, December 28, 2018

A Sign Spoken Against

December 28

(Luke 2:34-40 NIV) “Then Simeon blessed them and said to Mary, his mother: "This child is destined to cause the falling and rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be spoken against, {35} so that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your own soul too." {36} There was also a prophetess, Anna, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was very old; she had lived with her husband seven years after her marriage, {37} and then was a widow until she was eighty-four. She never left the temple but worshiped night and day, fasting and praying. {38} Coming up to them at that very moment, she gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem. {39} When Joseph and Mary had done everything required by the Law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee to their own town of Nazareth. {40} And the child grew and became strong; he was filled with wisdom, and the grace of God was upon him.”

When Joseph and Mary took Jesus to the Temple for dedication, they received a mixed bag of news. Even as an infant, Jesus was seen by Simeon as someone who would be spoken against. Imagine that -- having a prophet say of your baby, “Many will speak against your Son and you will be pierced with pain to your very soul.” But the Christ child was also seen by the prophetess Anna as the one who would bring redemption to Jerusalem. Jesus did grow and become strong. He was filled with the wisdom and grace of God. Yet the world hated Him because His light revealed the thoughts of their dark hearts. So it will be with us. As we grow and become stronger, grace and wisdom will come. But many will hate us and speak against us because God’s light reveals the darkness of their hearts. Don’t be deterred. Lift up the redemption of Jesus Christ in this coming year. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Thursday, December 27, 2018

Weeping for Our Children

December 27

(Matthew 2:13-18 NIV) “When they had gone, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream. "Get up," he said, "take the child and his mother and escape to Egypt. Stay there until I tell you, for Herod is going to search for the child to kill him." {14} So he got up, took the child and his mother during the night and left for Egypt, {15} where he stayed until the death of Herod. And so was fulfilled what the Lord had said through the prophet: "Out of Egypt I called my son." {16} When Herod realized that he had been outwitted by the Magi, he was furious, and he gave orders to kill all the boys in Bethlehem and its vicinity who were two years old and under, in accordance with the time he had learned from the Magi. {17} Then what was said through the prophet Jeremiah was fulfilled: {18} "A voice is heard in Ramah, weeping and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children and refusing to be comforted, because they are no more.”

A child is born, a Son is given, and almost immediately, evil rears its ugly head to kill Him. The Light of the world graces mankind and darkness scurries to snuff it out. Hope comes to Bethlehem and the little town becomes a killing fields. Peace and joy are replaced with murder and mayhem. The sounds of Silent Night, Holy Night are pierced by cries of weeping and wailing. This is the violent world that greeted the Christ child after the Magi went home. Romantic stories and Christmas carols cannot cover up the brutality of Herod’s paranoia. We've come a long way since the Butcher of Bethlehem did his thing. But we have not become all that much kinder. We are simply more proficient and sophisticated in the way we kill babies today. We abort them, bomb them, starve them, drug them, and mow them down in their schools. By the millions we steal their lives. And Jesus wept. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day   

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

A King is Born

December 26

(Matthew 2:1-2 NIV) ““After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem {2} and asked, "Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star in the east and have come to worship him. {3} When King Herod heard this he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him. {4} When he had called together all the people’s chief priests and teachers of the law, he asked them where the Messiah was to be born. {5} “In Bethlehem in Judea,” they replied, “for this is what the prophet has written: {6} “‘But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for out of you will come a ruler who will shepherd my people Israel.’” {7} Then Herod called the Magi secretly and found out from them the exact time the star had appeared. {8} He sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and search carefully for the child. As soon as you find him, report to me, so that I too may go and worship him.”

When the Magi showed up wanting to know where they could find the one “born King of the Jews”, it sent chills down Herod’s spine. They were not talking about him. Herod realized he had a competitor. There can be only one king, and he wasn’t ready to step down yet. This new King could not be tolerated. The child born in Bethlehem would need to be eliminated. Herod’s spirit lives in our hearts today. Chills go down our spines too, as we feel threatened by this “King of kings”. We know there can be only one King and we don’t want to give up our thrones. So we set about to eliminate Jesus by whatever means possible. No other King will be tolerated. We mock His name. We ban His name. We ridicule His Church. We kill off His followers, verbally, socially, even physically. But Jesus won’t be eliminated. We can’t kill Him. He just keeps coming back to life. Surrender today! -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Tuesday, December 25, 2018

Joy to the World

December 25

(Luke 2:8-14 NIV) ““And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. {9} An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. {10} But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. {11} Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. {12} This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger." {13} Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, {14} “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.””

Today we celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ. Merry Christmas! We could also say, “Joyful Christmas!” The angels brought “good news” to bring “great joy” to “all people”. God’s coming to our planet was intended to bring joy to the world. Joy to the world, our Lord has come. Joy to the world, a Savior has been born to us. Joy to the world, Christ has come for all people. Joy to the world, we no longer need to fear God’s presence. Joy to the world, the peace of God is available to everyone. Joy is the byproduct of believing the truth of Christmas. It comes with accepting that the baby born in the manger is Christ the Lord and that He came to save us from our sins. All the other gobbledygook surrounding this day is just window dressing. Our Light has come. Christ, our Savior, is born. Joy to the world! -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Monday, December 24, 2018

O Holy Night

December 24

(John 1:14 NIV) “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.”

(Colossians 2:8-10 NIV) “See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ. {9} For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, {10} and you have been given fullness in Christ, who is the head over every power and authority.”

(Ephesians 3:14-19 NIV) “For this reason I kneel before the Father, {15} from whom his whole family in heaven and on earth derives its name. {16} I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, {17} so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, {18} may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, {19} and to know this love that surpasses knowledge--that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.”

(1 Timothy 1:15-17 NIV) “Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners--of whom I am the worst. {16} But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his unlimited patience as an example for those who would believe on him and receive eternal life. {17} Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory for ever and ever. Amen.”

This night we celebrate God coming to live among us. God’s love, grace, and mercy were embodied in a baby; the Christ child. What a great gift from the Creator to His undeserving creation! The Light of the world has come. It illumines hearts of faith, just as it lit up the skies of Bethlehem. As we kneel silently around the humble manger, where Shepherds gather, and Wise Men come bearing gifts, we are reminded once again of God’s infinite love; the widest, longest, deepest, and highest love that can be imagined. It is a love that far exceeds all human knowledge. We simply cannot grasp it. We can only believe in faith. The fullness of the Lord has come to earth in the body of the baby Jesus. God has lowered himself to save us from our sin. Christ has come so far down to show His love for the world. Come to Bethlehem and see! -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Sunday, December 23, 2018

The Virgin Will Be With Child

December 23

(Matthew 1:21-23 NIV) ““She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins." {22} All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: {23} "The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel"--which means, "God with us.””

(Luke 1:26-27 NIV) “In the sixth month, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, {27} to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin's name was Mary.”

The virgin birth is absolutely essential for the forgiveness of sin. The virgin birth is also inextricably linked to the deity of Christ. For Jesus to be “Emmanuel: God with us”, God had to be the Father of Mary’s baby. This is crucial, because if Jesus was not “Emmanuel: God with us”, then His blood cannot atone for our sins. If God’s Spirit did not “overshadow” Mary and cause her to be “with child”, we who believe are still lost sinners. If Mary was not a virgin; if Jesus had a human father, then he was born in sin with a sin nature. If Mary was not a virgin, the words of the angel cannot be true -- Jesus cannot “save his people from their sins.” If Mary was not a virgin, Christ cannot be the spotless Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. This is why the forces of darkness go after this doctrine of the Church. Believe the miracle this Christmas. Receive the Truth. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Saturday, December 22, 2018

A Child of Faith

December 22

(Luke 1:31-38 NIV) “You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus. {32} He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, {33} and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever; his kingdom will never end." {34} "How will this be," Mary asked the angel, "since I am a virgin?" {35} “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God. {36} Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be barren is in her sixth month. {37} For nothing is impossible with God." {38} "I am the Lord's servant," Mary answered. "May it be to me as you have said.”

Jesus was born the Son of God, but He was also a child of faith: Mary’s faith. Mary struggled with the idea of being pregnant. She didn’t refuse to believe, she just asked “How can this be?” Mary’s faith struggled with seeing how God’s plan could be accomplished through her, but in the end she essentially said, “Your will, not mine; may it be.” When God asks you to go to the wall for him at a cost that seems way too high, can you say what Mary said? God knows we will struggle at times to believe what seems impossible. Frankly, it’s not really hard to believe God for the little stuff. We can manipulate that into happening. If there’s never any struggle to believe, we’re probably not believing God for very much. Mary believed and loved God enough to die to herself in order to bring him glory. Do you? Jesus would be a child of faith. Will you? -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Friday, December 21, 2018

Embracing God’s Will

December 21

(Luke 1:26-38 NIV) “In the sixth month, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, {27} to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin's name was Mary. {28} The angel went to her and said, "Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you." {29} Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. {30} But the angel said to her, "Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favor with God. {31} You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus. {32} He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, {33} and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever; his kingdom will never end." {34} "How will this be," Mary asked the angel, "since I am a virgin?" {35} The angel answered, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God. {36} Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be barren is in her sixth month. {37} For nothing is impossible with God." {38} "I am the Lord's servant," Mary answered. "May it be to me as you have said." Then the angel left her.”

(Luke 1:46-55 NIV) “And Mary said: "My soul glorifies the Lord {47} and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, {48} for he has been mindful of the humble state of his servant. From now on all generations will call me blessed, {49} for the Mighty One has done great things for me-- holy is his name. {50} His mercy extends to those who fear him, from generation to generation. {51} He has performed mighty deeds with his arm; he has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts. {52} He has brought down rulers from their thrones but has lifted up the humble. {53} He has filled the hungry with good things but has sent the rich away empty. {54} He has helped his servant Israel, remembering to be merciful {55} to Abraham and his descendants forever, even as he said to our fathers.”

Mary “found favor with God” because she lived a life that invited God’s favor. She believed God and had a faith that embraced His will more than hers. She praised God, even though, in earthly terms, her circumstances were not that good. She believed God enough to see beyond her immediate distress, into a future glory. Can we say that? Can we say it when the doctor’s report is not good, or the healing doesn’t come? Can we say it when God doesn’t seem to calm the storm? Do you believe it is impossible for God to use your present circumstances to bring glory to his name? Does the phrase, “nothing is impossible with God”, only apply to stuff we see as favorable to us -- stuff we want? Persevering in the Christian walk is about learning to receive with joy what God wants us to have. It’s not about getting what we want… it’s about learning to want what we get. Merry Christmas! -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Thursday, December 20, 2018

The Rabble Spread the Word

December 20

(Luke 2:15-20 NIV) “{10} But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. {11} Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord…. {15} When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, "Let's go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about." {16} So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. {17} When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, {18} and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. {19} But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. {20} The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.”

(Luke 19:10 NIV) “… the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost.”

(1 Timothy 1:15 NIV) “Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners--of whom I am the worst.”

Shepherds were the transient, minimum wage workers of their day. They were considered “unclean” by the religious elite. They were the "rabble" -- unwelcome in the best of churches. They were the “deplorables” -- looked down upon by the elite of their day. But God went to them first with the good news of Christ’s birth. They were the first to hear the good news. In fact, the angel told them that Jesus had come for them. A Savior had been born to them. They responded in faith and went to Jesus. This “rabble” became Christ’s first witnesses. Then these unclean, unshaven, un-showered new “converts” went out and told everyone what they had experienced. They told their story. They went public with the truth. In these days of “privatized faith” we need more witnesses like this. Jesus came to save sinners; to seek and save what was lost. That would be you and me. Jesus came for us. He did His part. Now do yours. Spread the word. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Christmas Faith

December 19

(Luke 2:8-16 NIV) “And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. {9} An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. {10} But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. {11} Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. {12} This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger." {13} Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, {14} "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests." {15} When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, "Let's go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about." {16} So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger.”

When the Bible speaks of "believing God", it means more than just "believing in God". Believing God produces actions of faith. Genuine faith changes the direction of our life. On that first Christmas Eve, the shepherds believed God. They believed God enough to leave where they were and hurry to find Jesus. They believed a Savior had come to them and so they went to Bethlehem to see. We should do the same. The Bible teaches that we are “saved by grace through faith”. God called the shepherds… that’s grace. They went to find him… that’s faith. Grace and faith are God’s dynamic duo - His salvation combination. In the spirit of Christmas, believe God and move toward Jesus. If you have not found Him yet, hurry to do so. Come to Him. That’s what the shepherds did. We should follow their example. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Defining Moment

December 18

(Matthew 1:18-25 NIV) “This is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be with child through the Holy Spirit. {19} Because Joseph her husband was a righteous man and did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly. {20} But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, "Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. {21} She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins." {22} All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: {23} "The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel"--which means, "God with us." {24} When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife. {25} But he had no union with her until she gave birth to a son. And he gave him the name Jesus.”

Christmas was Joseph’s defining moment; the spiritual test of a lifetime. He had decided to divorce Mary quietly, sparing her public shame. But God spoke to him, confirming Mary’s story. Joseph would have been within his religious rights to ignore the angel. He was not the father of this baby. He would have been viewed as more pious and righteous had he divorced her. He was probably ridiculed for his decision to keep Mary. He was likely the butt of jokes in the local taverns and market places. And it got worse! He became a refugee following Christ’s birth. He had to leave his business behind and flee to Egypt -- not the reward one would expect for sacrificing to obey God. Joseph gave himself fully to God’s will. He said “yes” to God and his life was never the same. So it will be with us. Say “yes” anyway. It’s still the best choice. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Monday, December 17, 2018

Prince of Peace

December 17

(Isaiah 9:6 NIV) “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”

(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.”

(Luke 2:14 NIV) “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.”

Since the dawn of time, peace has been a scarce commodity in this world. Whether globally or deep inside the human heart, peace remains the elusive butterfly. Peace gets a lot of attention at Christmas time, but is impossible without accepting all of who Jesus is. Peace is a package deal. Mighty God and Everlasting Father came to Earth along with the Prince of Peace. Jesus came to bring peace with God. Peace that quells our rebellion against the Lord. Jesus came to bring us peace with others. Peace, as in the absence of strife. And Jesus also came to bring us the peace of God. Peace as in peace of mind, or serenity. Genuine world peace will never happen until the peace of Christ lives within every human being. The Prince of Peace calls us, “Come to Bethlehem and see.” Come to Jesus. “Sleep in heavenly peace.” -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Sunday, December 16, 2018

Everlasting Father

December 16

(Isaiah 9:6 NIV) “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”

(John 1:1 NIV) “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. {2} He was with God in the beginning. {3} Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. {4} In him was life, and that life was the light of men.”

(John 10:30 NIV) “I and the Father are one.”

Isaiah prophesied that the coming Son would be more than just a baby. He would be the Everlasting Father. The apostle John said the Word (Christ) was with God from the beginning. Jesus is everlasting; eternal. Christ is Creator of all things. He is Lord. Jesus said that He and the Father were one. He meant more than just “of one mind”, or “one in spirit”. He meant He and the Father were one in essence; one and the same. Christ and God cannot be separated. They are of one nature: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. This means that Yahweh was born in that manger in Bethlehem. Those shepherds saw El Shaddai in the flesh that first Christmas eve. Those Magi brought gifts to Jehovah. The Everlasting Father came to Earth in the Eternal Son on that holy night in Bethlehem. Jesus is the Everlasting God. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Saturday, December 15, 2018

Mighty God

December 15

(Isaiah 9:6 NIV) “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”

(Luke 1:46-55 NIV) ““And Mary said: "My soul glorifies the Lord {47} and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, {48} for he has been mindful of the humble state of his servant. From now on all generations will call me blessed, {49} for the Mighty One has done great things for me-- holy is his name. {50} His mercy extends to those who fear him, from generation to generation. {51} He has performed mighty deeds with his arm; he has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts. {52} He has brought down rulers from their thrones but has lifted up the humble. {53} He has filled the hungry with good things but has sent the rich away empty. {54} He has helped his servant Israel, remembering to be merciful {55} to Abraham and his descendants forever, even as he said to our fathers.””

One of the earliest creeds of the church was "Jesus is Lord". Christ was so much more than just a “great moral teacher”. Jesus was and is, Mighty God. By His mighty word, the universe was spoken into existence. He appeared as just another helpless baby in Bethlehem, but the shepherds bowed and the Magi hailed Him as King. When crucified, He appeared weak when unable to free Himself from the cross. But it was by His mighty power that he stayed there to purchase our forgiveness. Later, by His mighty power, He arose from the dead. Jesus came to Earth as the Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world. But He will return as the Lion of the tribe of Judah; His mighty power on display for all to see. Jesus is the Mighty Lord who will judge the living and the dead. One day, every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus is Mighty God. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Friday, December 14, 2018

Wonderful Counselor

December 14

(Isaiah 9:6 NIV) “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”

(John 14:15-21 NIV) "If you love me, you will obey what I command. {16} And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever-- {17} the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. {18} I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. {19} Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. {20} On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you. {21} Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me. He who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love him and show myself to him."

Isaiah 9:6 will be home base for a few days. Consider memorizing this great verse. Isaiah calls the coming Son, “Wonderful Counselor”. As he looked into Christmas Future, he saw one who would walk with His disciples and give them wonderful counsel, directly from God. We all need counsel and direction. How can we do better than counsel from God? Christ’s wonderful counsel comes through His life, and His commands. If we walk like Him and obey Him, we have accepted His counsel. If we marginalize Him, we have rejected His counsel. God counsels us today through the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Truth. When the Son went home to be with the Father, He sent another Counselor to those who love Him. He is not the world’s counselor. They do not know Him. But He lives in those with faith to believe, and He is our Wonderful Counselor. Merry Christmas! -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Thursday, December 13, 2018

Christmas Magic

December 13

(Matthew 2:1-12 NIV) ““After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem {2} and asked, "Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star in the east and have come to worship him." {3} When King Herod heard this he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him. {4} When he had called together all the people's chief priests and teachers of the law, he asked them where the Christ was to be born. {5} "In Bethlehem in Judea," they replied, "for this is what the prophet has written: {6} "'But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for out of you will come a ruler who will be the shepherd of my people Israel.'" {7} Then Herod called the Magi secretly and found out from them the exact time the star had appeared. {8} He sent them to Bethlehem and said, "Go and make a careful search for the child. As soon as you find him, report to me, so that I too may go and worship him." {9} After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen in the east went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. {10} When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. {11} On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold and of incense and of myrrh. {12} And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route.””

The Magi were seekers with a purpose. They sought out Jesus to worship Him. They were persistent in their search and when they found Jesus, they joyfully bowed down and lavished gifts on Him. They were interested in what they could give, not in what they could get. They were spiritually sensitive, carefully watching for the signs of the coming King. Are you watching this Christmas? The bright lights of advertisers and the glitter of merchandise can easily blind us to the Star of Bethlehem. But if we will watch and listen, we too can find Jesus. Like the Magi, let us be a persistent and seeking people. Let us be spiritually sensitive and follow the light of Christ wherever it leads. Let us find the Lord and bow down to Him in joyous worship. Let us lay our lives down before Him as an offering. And let us be very generous as we honor and adore the King of kings. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Do Not Be Afraid

December 12

(Genesis 15:1 NIV) ““After this, the word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision: "Do not be afraid, Abram. I am your shield, your very great reward.””

(Luke 1:30 NIV) ““But the angel said to her, "Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favor with God.””

(Luke 2:8-11 NIV) ““And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. {9} An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. {10} But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. {11} Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord.””

It seems like everyone who encounters the glory of God is initially frightened. God's light takes our breath away and our legs get wobbly. In God’s light, we sense our darkness. In the glory of His holiness, we realize our wretchedness. God's glory "lights up" our sinfulness and we are terrified. But God doesn't want us to be fearful. The first words the shepherds heard from the angels on Christmas night were, “Do not be afraid, I bring you good news of great joy.” God wants us to come near to Him, not hide from Him. God wants us to follow Him, not fear Him. God wants us to be joyful, not fearful. The Lord wants to attract us, not repel us. Once we are born again, we no longer need to hide in the dark and avoid God's glory. We now live in the Light of His glory. We now walk hand in hand with the Light of the world. Do not be afraid. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

No Room

December 11

(Luke 2:7 NIV) "She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn."

(Matthew 8:20 NIV) "Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head."

(John 1:10 NIV) "He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him."

That first Christmas, God came to earth, but there was no room in the inn. Think about that. No room for God. The King of Kings had no bed! The Lord of Lords had no clothes! He was wrapped in rags to keep him warm. God in rags! He was cradled in a feed trough where animals slobbered as they ate. God came into this world and only a few noticed. Christ’s birth, the turning point in history, went by unnoticed by the vast majority. For most, it was business as usual. No room for God. Things never really got a whole lot better for Jesus. Thirty years later, He still had no place to lay His head. The world had no room in their heart for God. Today, “no room at the inn” has been replaced by “no room at the mall”, “no room on public property”, “no room in our schools”, “no room in our schedules”, “no room in our budgets”. Christ is still in the world, but the world will not recognize Him. Will you? -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Monday, December 10, 2018

Governments and God

December 10

(Luke 2:1-7 NIV) “In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. {2} (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) {3} And everyone went to his own town to register. {4} So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. {5} He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. {6} While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, {7} and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son.”

(Isaiah 9:6-7 NIV) “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. {7} Of the increase of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David's throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the Lord Almighty will accomplish this.”

Governments, kings, and rulers have always tried to use God to accomplish their agendas. God is trotted out when convenient, but kept under wraps until His blessing is needed. What a surprise for governors, presidents, and premiers to learn that they can’t really use God. Instead, God uses them. God used government to get Joseph and Mary to Bethlehem, so prophecy concerning the Messiah’s birth could be fulfilled. Caesar, Quirinius, and Herod thought they were in charge, but God was working out His plan to introduce the real King. God placed the government of man on Christ’s shoulders. He is Lord over the Caesar’s and the Herod’s of this world, and He is Lord over us. Our times are in His hands. Will you recognize Jesus as Lord and Ruler or are you still under the illusion that politicians run the planet? Christ is born. The zeal of God has accomplished this. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Sunday, December 9, 2018

The Light of the World

December 9

(Isaiah 9:2 NIV) “The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned.”

(John 1:4 NIV)  "In him was life, and that life was the light of men."

(John 9:5 NIV) “I am the light of the world.”

(1 John 1:5 NIV) “God is light; in him there is no darkness at all.”

As Creator of all things, the first thing Christ spoke into existence was light. Light is God’s signature, His stamp, on all things. It is no wonder then, that when God chose to come to Earth as a man, His birth would be accompanied by a light so bright it could be followed by the Magi right to the place where Christ was born. God is light and Jesus is the light of the world. But even as the Magi followed the light, others ignored it, or were blind to it. So it is today. Some “see the light”, while many others remain in darkness, stumbling around, feeling their way through life with no sense of direction. Many even get a glimpse of the light, but flee because they love their darkness. Don’t be foolish. When the light of Christ dawns on you, don’t return to the darkness. Jesus came to be the “light of men”. Move toward the Light. Walk in His light. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day  

Saturday, December 8, 2018

Creator and Sustainer

December 8

(John 1:3-4 NIV)  "Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. {4} In him was life, and that life was the light of men."

(Hebrews 1:1-2 NIV) “In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways, {2} but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom he made the universe. {3} The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word.”

When Jesus came to Earth, the Creator of the universe stepped down into His creation. Christ spoke everything we see into existence. All things were made through Him and by Him. Our Lord said, “Let there be light.”, and there was light. He spoke a word, and the cosmos came into being. But Christ is not just the Creator -- He is the Sustainer of all things. The Son sustains all things by his powerful word and one day He will speak a word and the cosmos as we know it will come to an end. Without His sustaining word, chaos ensues. What is true of the cosmos is true of our lives. God creates us. He speaks a word and we are born again. He sustains us. His word holds our life together. When we, as individuals and a culture, forsake His word, chaos ensues. If you want proof, just watch the latest newscast. Hold on to Jesus! -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Friday, December 7, 2018

Eternal Lord

December 7

(John 1:1-2 NIV)  "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. {2} He was with God in the beginning."

(John 8:58 NIV) “I tell you the truth,” Jesus answered, “before Abraham was born, I am!”

(1 John 5:11NIV) “And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son.”

John wanted to make sure we grasped the theological significance of the first Christmas. Jesus was born into our timeline and lived for a while among us, but he is also the eternal God of Adam, Abraham, and Moses. Christ was with God in the beginning because He is God. He and the great “I Am” are one and the same. Jesus is not a created being like the angels. He is the Creator. His life supersedes the confines of time because He created time. You can kill a man like this, but He won’t stay dead. Jesus had a human birthday and a time of death, but because He is eternal, He rose again. On that first Christmas night, eternity stepped into the confines of time and Jesus made Himself subject to aging and even to death. Those who follow Him receive this same eternal life. Merry Christmas! -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day 

Thursday, December 6, 2018

Jesus: God Incarnate

December 6

(John 1:1 NIV)  "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God."

(John 5:18 NIV) “For this reason the Jews tried all the harder to kill him; not only was he breaking the Sabbath, but he was even calling God his own Father, making himself equal with God.”

(John 10:30 NIV) “I and the Father are one.”

(John 14:9 NIV) ““Jesus answered: “Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father.””

As we warm ourselves in nostalgia, family, and friends this Christmas, let’s take some time to meditate on the significance of the event. John’s Nativity story is unique. Rather than simple narrative, it is wrapped in the poetic and saturated with theological truth. First truth: Jesus is God. Along with the Father and the Holy Spirit, Jesus is God the Son. Christ, who is “the Word” in the first verse of John’s gospel, was God incarnate. God became man and was born a baby. Jesus is God in the flesh. Jesus and God are one and the same. This is the doctrine of the Trinity. God is one, but is also three. The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit comprise one God. This is a crucial concept to our salvation. Only God could pay the price for the sin of the world. If Jesus is not God, his birth, death, and resurrection are merely symbolic, and Christmas really is just about nostalgia, family and friends. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Getting Ready for Christmas

December 5

(Luke 2:1-7 NIV) “In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. {2} (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) {3} And everyone went to his own town to register. {4} So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. {5} He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. {6} While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, {7} and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.”

(Revelation 18:1-5 NIV) “After this I saw another angel coming down from heaven. He had great authority, and the earth was illuminated by his splendor. {2} With a mighty voice he shouted: "Fallen! Fallen is Babylon the Great! She has become a home for demons and a haunt for every evil spirit, a haunt for every unclean and detestable bird. {3} For all the nations have drunk the maddening wine of her adulteries. The kings of the earth committed adultery with her, and the merchants of the earth grew rich from her excessive luxuries." {4} Then I heard another voice from heaven say: "Come out of her, my people, so that you will not share in her sins, so that you will not receive any of her plagues; {5} for her sins are piled up to heaven, and God has remembered her crimes.”

“Are you ready for Christmas?” is no longer a spiritual query. It is now a warning from the gods of X-mas. It is an interrogation as to whether or not we have completed our sacrifices to the sacred cash cows of Commerce. The season should be about Christ coming to Earth, but like the majority of those in Bethlehem when Jesus came, we are easily distracted by the business of the day. We are like a people in the desert, crying out for water, even as we gorge ourselves on the sand of “door busters” and “blue light specials”. Merchants covet the money of Christians, yet substitute Christ’s name with “Happy Holidays”. They are rewarded because believers look the other way for the sake of a bargain. “Getting ready for Christmas” should be about more than buying and selling. It should be saturated with Christ, the unmentionable syllable in the old name of this “Happy Holiday”. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Prophetic Voices

December 4

(Matthew 3:1-3 NIV) ““In those days John the Baptist came, preaching in the Desert of Judea {2} and saying, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near." {3} This is he who was spoken of through the prophet Isaiah: "A voice of one calling in the desert, 'Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for him.’”

God sent many prophets ahead of Jesus to “prepare the way for the Lord.” God’s one and only Son was coming and the Father didn’t want anyone to miss Him. The voice closest to Christ’s coming was John the Baptist. John lived at the same time as Christ and saw the Messiah with his own eyes. He preached repentance and being prepared for God’s coming. John was the “voice in the desert” spoken of by the great prophet Isaiah. Just like Isaiah, John’s job was to get people ready for the coming of Jesus. His job was to get people ready for Christmas. This prophetic duty now belongs to those who call themselves Christians. We are now the “voice of one calling in the desert”. Jesus is coming again. Our task is to “prepare the way for the Lord”. Each Christmas we have an opportunity to tell the story. Speak out, you prophets of the Lord! -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Monday, December 3, 2018

Christmas Future

December 3

(Isaiah 9:6-7 NIV) “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. {7} Of the increase of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David's throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the Lord Almighty will accomplish this.”

(Isaiah 40:5 NIV) “And the glory of the Lord will be revealed, and all mankind together will see it. For the mouth of the Lord has spoken.”

Isaiah looked into Christmas Future and saw the arrival of the Messiah. He would not ride in on a white horse with sword in hand to kill all sinners. He would be born a baby, and His birth would go virtually unnoticed. But He would grow to be a great Comforter and Wonderful Counselor for the confused. The Most High and Mighty God would touch down on our planet. The Prince of Peace would come to this war zone called Earth. Isaiah saw the glory of the Everlasting Father revealed. He would not be born to royalty in a king’s palace, but to working class parents in a small village called Bethlehem. He would not be wrapped in expensive purple cloth, but in rags. He would grow up to live as a transient and die penniless with thieves, but He would change the world forever. O holy night, the Light of the God comes, “and all mankind together will see it. For the mouth of the Lord has spoken.” -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day