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Sunday, September 30, 2018

God is Looking for You

September 30

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

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

Saturday, September 29, 2018

Repentance: A Message for All Time

September 29

(Matthew 3:1-2 NIV)  "In those days John the Baptist came, preaching in the Desert of Judea {2} and saying, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near.""

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

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

Friday, September 28, 2018

The Way You Used to Live

September 28

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

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

Thursday, September 27, 2018

Living for God

September 27

(Mark 1:4 NIV) “And so John came, baptizing in the desert region and preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.”

(Matthew 11:7-11 NIV) “As John's disciples were leaving, Jesus began to speak to the crowd about John: "What did you go out into the desert to see? A reed swayed by the wind? {8} If not, what did you go out to see? A man dressed in fine clothes? No, those who wear fine clothes are in kings' palaces. {9} Then what did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet. {10} This is the one about whom it is written: " 'I will send my messenger ahead of you, who will prepare your way before you.' {11} I tell you the truth: Among those born of women there has not risen anyone greater than John the Baptist; yet he who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.”

Living for God will almost always take us out of the mainstream philosophies of the world and into some kind of “desert region” - which is exactly where we need to be for a time. It’s where God wants us to be. The one who is least in the kingdom of heaven can then end up leading a life that is greater than that of John the Baptist. That may sound arrogant and overwhelming, but it’s what Jesus said could happen. The question is: Are you willing to go there? The phenomenal growth of the early church happened because the early believers left the rat race of this world. They lived in the word and lived out the word. They lived for God in every arena of life. They believed the Scriptures and the teachings of Christ enough to put them into practice at great risk to their lives, and in doing so, they changed the world. Christians, this is still our calling. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Up and Down Living

September 26

(Exodus 19:20 NIV)  "The Lord descended to the top of Mount Sinai and called Moses to the top of the mountain. So Moses went up…"

(Exodus 32:1-7 NIV)  "When the people saw that Moses was so long in coming down from the mountain, they gathered around Aaron and said, "Come, make us gods who will go before us. As for this fellow Moses who brought us up out of Egypt, we don't know what has happened to him." {2} Aaron answered them, "Take off the gold earrings that your wives, your sons and your daughters are wearing, and bring them to me." {3} So all the people took off their earrings and brought them to Aaron. {4} He took what they handed him and made it into an idol cast in the shape of a calf, fashioning it with a tool. Then they said, "These are your gods, O Israel, who brought you up out of Egypt." {5} When Aaron saw this, he built an altar in front of the calf and announced, "Tomorrow there will be a festival to the Lord." {6} So the next day the people rose early and sacrificed burnt offerings and presented fellowship offerings. Afterward they sat down to eat and drink and got up to indulge in revelry. {7} Then the Lord said to Moses, "Go down, because your people, whom you brought up out of Egypt, have become corrupt."

Moses went up the mountain to meet with God and receive the Commandments. He became one of a select few who have seen God’s glory, but he was brought down by the sins of his people. Moses went up as a mediator between God and the people, and Moses came down as a mediator between the people and God. For if God Himself had come down -- if the people would have had to face God -- they would have all been transformed into chimney soot. So Moses was destined to lead this up and down life -- up to face a holy God, down to face a sinning people. It will be the same with us at times. We prefer the mountaintop, where we are near the face of God, but we are regularly brought down by the sin of those we face daily. Unfortunately, the face that brings us down most often is the face we see in the mirror. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

A God We Can See

September 25

(Exodus 20:4-5, 23 NIV) "You shall not make for yourself an idol in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. {5} You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God{23} Do not make any gods to be alongside me; do not make for yourselves gods of silver or gods of gold."

(Exodus 32:1-7 NIV) "When the people saw that Moses was so long in coming down from the mountain, they gathered around Aaron and said, "Come, make us gods who will go before us. As for this fellow Moses who brought us up out of Egypt, we don't know what has happened to him." {2} Aaron answered them, "Take off the gold earrings that your wives, your sons and your daughters are wearing, and bring them to me." {3} So all the people took off their earrings and brought them to Aaron. {4} He took what they handed him and made it into an idol cast in the shape of a calf, fashioning it with a tool. Then they said, "These are your gods, O Israel, who brought you up out of Egypt." {5} When Aaron saw this, he built an altar in front of the calf and announced, "Tomorrow there will be a festival to the Lord." {6} So the next day the people rose early and sacrificed burnt offerings and presented fellowship offerings. Afterward they sat down to eat and drink and got up to indulge in revelry. {7} Then the Lord said to Moses, "Go down, because your people, whom you brought up out of Egypt, have become corrupt."

When they were in the desert, God’s people resorted to idolatry. Even though the Lord specifically told them not to make gods of silver or gold, that’s what they did. They said they wanted a god they could see… but they already had a God they could see. They just didn’t always like what they saw. God had shown himself to them in many places, at many times, in many ways. They had seen miracle after miracle. They had seen the pillar of smoke in the daytime and the pillar of fire at night. What they really wanted was a kinder, gentler god… one that looked better to them. What they really wanted was a god they could control. What they got was a god who controlled them. It’s always that way with idolatry. Idols always become addictive and degrade us. We manufacture idols we think we can control, but end up with gods that control us. Don’t go there! -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Monday, September 24, 2018

We All Follow Someone

September 24

(Matthew 4:19 NIV) "Come, follow me," Jesus said, "and I will make you fishers of men."

(Matthew 10:37-39 NIV)  "Anyone who loves his father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves his son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; {38} and anyone who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. {39} Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it."

(Joshua 24:15 NIV) "But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your forefathers served beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord."

None of us are ever as independent as we think we are. We may think of ourselves as rugged individualists, but we all end up following someone or something. We all end up emulating someone or something in the way we live. One of the most important decisions we will make in our lives is about who that someone or something is. Unfortunately, in the words of Don Henley, many of us “… wind up following the wrong gods home.” Jesus sees us groping around for truth like blind men being led by other blind men and He calls out to us, "Come follow me. I am the Light. Listen to me. I am Truth. Come to me. I am the Way. Walk with me. I am Peace.” So now that you’ve heard Christ’s call, make a decision.  As Joshua so aptly put it, “Choose this day whom you will serve.” -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day   

Sunday, September 23, 2018

Do Mercy

September 23

(Joel 2:13 NIV)  “Rend your heart and not your garments. Return to the LORD your God, for he is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love, and he relents from sending calamity.”

(2 Thessalonians 3:10 NIV) "When we were with you, we gave you this rule: "If a man will not work, he shall not eat."

God is described in Scripture as “slow to anger and abounding in love”. There is a vast difference between what we deserve from God and what we get from God. So if we err as Christians, let it be on the side of mercy. Do mercy more than judgment. But mercy is not just letting people do whatever they want and always forgiving them or fixing it for them. That’s not a healthy mercy. That’s co-dependency. We end up participating in and prolonging another person’s problem, addiction, or habit. We don't have to cover up for a user or accept their abuse to be merciful. Sometimes love must be tough. Sometimes mercy must be severe. Sometimes the most merciful thing we can do is to allow a person to reap what they have sown. We cripple them if we cover for all their mistakes. That is not mercy. That is foolishness. Do mercy more than judgment. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Saturday, September 22, 2018

No One Was Saved

September 22

(Acts 2:41-47 NIV) “Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand were added to their number that day. {42} They devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. {43} Everyone was filled with awe, and many wonders and miraculous signs were done by the apostles. {44} All the believers were together and had everything in common. {45} Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need. {46} Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, {47} praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.”

(Acts 20:20-24 NIV) “You know that I have not hesitated to preach anything that would be helpful to you but have taught you publicly and from house to house. {21} I have declared to both Jews and Greeks that they must turn to God in repentance and have faith in our Lord Jesus. {22} "And now, compelled by the Spirit, I am going to Jerusalem, not knowing what will happen to me there. {23} I only know that in every city the Holy Spirit warns me that prison and hardships are facing me. {24} However, I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me--the task of testifying to the gospel of God's grace."

Many churches today belong to the "Eleanor Rigby" denomination. When it comes to marrying and burying, they look just like all churches should. But when it comes to saving, they consistently bat zero. But that’s OK, because everyone is comfortable. So the Beatles speak the truth when they write of: “Father McKenzie, wiping the dirt from his hands as he walks from the grave. No one was saved." Churches can get good at doing everything except what counts for eternity. We run programs that rival the YMCA and the Boy Scouts, yet when we fail to call people to repentance and lift up the cup of salvation, we fall short, perhaps even to the point of spiritual malpractice. The church has been called to be more than just a sanctified version of a country club. It’s called to be a rescue shack. Our annual report should never say: “No one was saved.” -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Friday, September 21, 2018

Ungodly Counsel

September 21

(Psalm 1 NIV) “Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers. {2} But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night. {3} He is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever he does prospers. {4} Not so the wicked! They are like chaff that the wind blows away. {5} Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the assembly of the righteous. {6} For the LORD watches over the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will perish.”

What does it mean to “walk in the counsel of the wicked”, or as some translations say, “the counsel of the ungodly”? Anytime someone encourages us to act in a way contrary to God’s plan, we have been in the counsel of the ungodly. Sometimes it’s subtle, sometimes it’s blatant. Much of the advertising we are inundated with today brings no glory to God. The sewer pipe flowing from Hollywood directly into our cities and homes is someone’s counsel. Books, TV, music, and art are all promoting somebody’s philosophy… and most of the time it is not a godly philosophy. When we watch that show, read that book, or listen to that song, we are walking in someone’s counsel. We need to be aware of whose counsel we are receiving, for walking in the counsel of the ungodly is not the way to blessing. Maybe it’s time to change channels and get some new counsel. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Thursday, September 20, 2018

The Authority of the Gospel and the Word

September 20

(Romans 1:16) “I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile.”

(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.”

(Colossians 2:9-10) “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.”

Christians, this gospel that we carry around in our hearts has authority. It is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes. Jesus said that. Do you believe Him? Do you have faith in His word? When we have this faith, we are not ashamed of the gospel… unless of course, we don’t believe Him. We believe that we have the words of life… unless we don’t have faith in what He said. We know we possess a power that can change lives… unless we don’t believe Him. We believe we have the authority to overcome evil in His name… unless we don’t really have faith in the word of Jesus. The One we say we believe in lives in us. Let Him out. Spread His name. Be His witness. Do your part to change this world… unless of course, you don’t actually believe Him. Let us behave as a people who believe. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

We Can Do All Things

September 19

(Philippians 4:13 NIV)  “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me."

(1 Corinthians 15:10 NIV)  "But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace to me was not without effect. No, I worked harder than all of them--yet not I, but the grace of God that was with me."

God promises to take care of us and provide for us, but that does not mean there is nothing for us to do. It does not mean we sit on our duffs and wait for the checks to arrive. God is not the federal government. If you are waiting for God to take care of all your problems, you are going to be waiting for a long time. You see, God does not work for us; we work for Him. In His sovereignty, God has chosen to work with us, not for us. So if you are waiting for some money from God, you had best be looking in the “Help Wanted” ads. If you are waiting on God to take away that drinking or smoking habit, you will need to stop buying beer and cigarettes. If you are asking God to help you lose some weight, but still eating the same old junk food, you’d better just go out and buy some bigger clothes. The verse says, “I can do all things through Christ.” Don’t miss the “I can do” part. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day   

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

God Knows

September 18

(Psalms 139:1-6 NIV) “O LORD, you have searched me and you know me. {2} You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. {3} You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways. {4} Before a word is on my tongue you know it completely, O LORD. {5} You hem me in--behind and before; you have laid your hand upon me. {6} Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain."

(Matthew 11:21,23 NIV)  "Woe to you, Korazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! If the miracles that were performed in you had been performed in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes....  {23} And you, Capernaum, will you be lifted up to the skies? No, you will go down to the depths. If the miracles that were performed in you had been performed in Sodom, it would have remained to this day."

One of God’s great attributes is His omniscience. God knows all things… ALL THINGS! God knows your sorrows. God knows your shortcomings. God knows your situation. God knows your scheming. God knows your searching. God knows your selfishness. God knows your sickness. God knows your strife. God knows your stress. God knows your service. God knows your song. God knows your story. God knows your soul. God knows your sin. God knows every other “S” word you can possibly name. In fact, he knows everything from A to Z about us -- and yet He still loves us. He knows it all and he still cares for us. God knows -- give him glory! Quit whining, cursing and doubting God’s love, because God knows. And you can stop trying to hide your dirty stuff in the closet of that little side room, because God knows. Repent! Come home. God knows! -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Monday, September 17, 2018

Been to Damascus?

September 17

(Acts 9:1-19 NIV)  "Meanwhile, Saul was still breathing out murderous threats against the Lord's disciples. He went to the high priest {2} and asked him for letters to the synagogues in Damascus, so that if he found any there who belonged to the Way, whether men or women, he might take them as prisoners to Jerusalem. {3} As he neared Damascus on his journey, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him. {4} He fell to the ground and heard a voice say to him, "Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?" {5} "Who are you, Lord?" Saul asked. "I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting," he replied. {6} "Now get up and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do." {7} The men traveling with Saul stood there speechless; they heard the sound but did not see anyone. {8} Saul got up from the ground, but when he opened his eyes he could see nothing. So they led him by the hand into Damascus. {9} For three days he was blind, and did not eat or drink anything. {10} In Damascus there was a disciple named Ananias. The Lord called to him in a vision, "Ananias!" "Yes, Lord," he answered. {11} The Lord told him, "Go to the house of Judas on Straight Street and ask for a man from Tarsus named Saul, for he is praying. {12} In a vision he has seen a man named Ananias come and place his hands on him to restore his sight." {13} "Lord," Ananias answered, "I have heard many reports about this man and all the harm he has done to your saints in Jerusalem. {14} And he has come here with authority from the chief priests to arrest all who call on your name." {15} But the Lord said to Ananias, "Go! This man is my chosen instrument to carry my name before the Gentiles and their kings and before the people of Israel. {16} I will show him how much he must suffer for my name." {17} Then Ananias went to the house and entered it. Placing his hands on Saul, he said, "Brother Saul, the Lord--Jesus, who appeared to you on the road as you were coming here--has sent me so that you may see again and be filled with the Holy Spirit." {18} Immediately, something like scales fell from Saul's eyes, and he could see again. He got up and was baptized, {19} and after taking some food, he regained his strength. Saul spent several days with the disciples in Damascus."

Some people come to Christ at an early age, and that is a great thing. But for the majority of us, it takes a Damascus road experience. God must flatten us as we traverse the crooked road to wrong doing. The Lord has to knock us down before He can lift us up. Paul was certainly on the road to wrong when Jesus made him right. This process may hurt, but Christ does it out of love. We all need that time when our legs go out from under us and we find ourselves helpless on the ground. We need that time when we are blinded by the light of God’s glory and our eyes can never see things the same way again. We need an experience that shakes our tree so hard that the fruit of sin can never again grow there unimpeded. We all need to experience a conversion. If you’re still standing up, shaking your fist at God, you probably have not met the living Christ yet. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Sunday, September 16, 2018

Hire the Mechanic

September 16

(Malachi 2:10-16)  "Have we not all one Father? Did not one God create us? Why do we profane the covenant of our fathers by breaking faith with one another? {11} Judah has broken faith. A detestable thing has been committed in Israel and in Jerusalem: Judah has desecrated the sanctuary the Lord loves, by marrying the daughter of a foreign god. {12} As for the man who does this, whoever he may be, may the Lord cut him off from the tents of Jacob --even though he brings offerings to the Lord Almighty. {13} Another thing you do: You flood the Lord's altar with tears. You weep and wail because he no longer pays attention to your offerings or accepts them with pleasure from your hands. {14} You ask, "Why?" It is because the Lord is acting as the witness between you and the wife of your youth, because you have broken faith with her, though she is your partner, the wife of your marriage covenant. {15} Has not the Lord made them one? In flesh and spirit they are his. And why one? Because he was seeking godly offspring. So guard yourself in your spirit, and do not break faith with the wife of your youth. {16} "I hate divorce," says the Lord God of Israel, "and I hate a man's covering himself with violence as well as with his garment," says the Lord Almighty. So guard yourself in your spirit, and do not break faith."

(Ephesians 5:22-33 NIV)  "Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord. {23} For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. {24} Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything. {25} Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her {26} to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, {27} and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. {28} In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. {29} After all, no one ever hated his own body, but he feeds and cares for it, just as Christ does the church-- {30} for we are members of his body. {31} "For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh." {32} This is a profound mystery--but I am talking about Christ and the church. {33} However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband."

Marriages can often break down like cars on the highway. When that happens, the vehicle is not junk, it’s just broken, and needs to be towed and repaired. So we seek help in getting the marriage fixed rather than walking away and abandoning it for dead, simply because it broke down. It will always cost you more for that new car than it costs to fix the old one. It works the same with marriage. There is no magic wand when it comes to relationships. We all struggle with our “me first” sin nature. Keeping the covenant takes hard work and sacrifice. But if we bail, we usually take the same issues into our next relationship and in a few years we have the same breakdown with a different partner. Hire the mechanic and fix the marriage you have now! Fight for it, not against it. Fight like your life depended on it, because in a very real sense, your life does depend on it. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Saturday, September 15, 2018

Deliverance: More than Absolution

September 15

(Joel 2:32 NIV) "… on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem there will be deliverance.

(Psalm 116:7-9 NIV) “Be at rest once more, O my soul, for the Lord has been good to you. {8} For you, O Lord, have delivered my soul from death, my eyes from tears, my feet from stumbling, {9} that I may walk before the Lord in the land of the living.”

(Mark 8:34 NIV) “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me."

Jesus is the great Deliverer. Many come to Christ seeking absolution, but not deliverance. The word “save” and the word “deliver” both imply being saved or delivered from something. If a drowning man cries out for help and is rescued from deep water, but then jumps right back into that same water, we would have some genuine doubts about whether or not he truly wanted to be saved. Deliverance means being saved from somewhere and delivered to somewhere else. We have to choose it. Jesus wants to deliver us from our “demons”, whatever they may be, but if we continue to live where they live, chances are slim we will be delivered. Jesus says, “If you want to be a disciple, you must be ready to deny yourself, carry a cross, and follow me. Notice the gigantic word: “IF”. “IF” means we choose. Deliverance is possible through Christ, but it’s a choice. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Friday, September 14, 2018

The Doorway to Salvation

September 14

(Joel 2:12-13 NIV)  "'Even now,' declares the Lord, 'return to me with all your heart, with fasting and weeping and mourning.' {13} Rend your heart and not your garments. Return to the Lord your God, for he is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love, and he relents from sending calamity."

(Hebrews 9:27-28 NIV)  "Just as man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment, {28} so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many people; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him."

(Romans 3:22-24 NIV) “This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference, {23} for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, {24} and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.”

In Scripture, the guarantee that we will all stand in front of God for judgment is coupled with God’s plan for salvation, deliverance, and hope. God is holy, but God is also merciful. The preaching of repentance and faith in Christ are at the doorway to salvation. If we don’t know we are sinners, we will not likely see a need for God’s forgiveness. If “I’m OK and you’re OK”, there is no reason for us to seek the mercy of God. The Lord expects that our repentance will be wholehearted and life changing. God is not interested in the touchy-feely surface stuff that inhabits so much of “spirituality” today. If we are never told what to do about being sinners, we are doomed to a life on the wrong side of God. This is why Jesus commissioned us as believers to go as his witnesses and to share the gospel with everyone, everywhere. Will you comply? -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Faith and Giants

September 13

(1 Samuel 17:22-37 NIV)  "David left his things with the keeper of supplies, ran to the battle lines and greeted his brothers. {23} As he was talking with them, Goliath, the Philistine champion from Gath, stepped out from his lines and shouted his usual defiance, and David heard it. {24} When the Israelites saw the man, they all ran from him in great fear. {25} Now the Israelites had been saying, "Do you see how this man keeps coming out? He comes out to defy Israel. The king will give great wealth to the man who kills him. He will also give him his daughter in marriage and will exempt his father's family from taxes in Israel." {26} David asked the men standing near him, "What will be done for the man who kills this Philistine and removes this disgrace from Israel? Who is this uncircumcised Philistine that he should defy the armies of the living God?" {27} They repeated to him what they had been saying and told him, "This is what will be done for the man who kills him." {28} When Eliab, David's oldest brother, heard him speaking with the men, he burned with anger at him and asked, "Why have you come down here? And with whom did you leave those few sheep in the desert? I know how conceited you are and how wicked your heart is; you came down only to watch the battle." {29} "Now what have I done?" said David. "Can't I even speak?" {30} He then turned away to someone else and brought up the same matter, and the men answered him as before. {31} What David said was overheard and reported to Saul, and Saul sent for him. {32} David said to Saul, "Let no one lose heart on account of this Philistine; your servant will go and fight him." {33} Saul replied, "You are not able to go out against this Philistine and fight him; you are only a boy, and he has been a fighting man from his youth." {34} But David said to Saul, "Your servant has been keeping his father's sheep. When a lion or a bear came and carried off a sheep from the flock, {35} I went after it, struck it and rescued the sheep from its mouth. When it turned on me, I seized it by its hair, struck it and killed it. {36} Your servant has killed both the lion and the bear; this uncircumcised Philistine will be like one of them, because he has defied the armies of the living God. {37} The LORD who delivered me from the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine." Saul said to David, "Go, and the LORD be with you.""

The best response to a crisis is faith in God. He is bigger than any giant we will ever face. Only God can take down the Goliaths in our lives. But David had to deal with more than just a giant. There were critics among those who should have been allies. When we begin to talk of defeating our giants with God’s help, the naysayers will come out in force. If we aspire to do anything worthwhile for God, we will endure criticism. But David’s critics would not take on the giant. That’s how critics operate. They spend their time mouthing off, obsessing on the trivial, believing the worst about us, while doing little or nothing to solve the actual problem. David recognized the cowardice of his critics and disregarded their discouraging words. The rest is history. Tell the “do nothing” critics to put up or shut up! Don’t disregard your calling, disregard them! And like David, you too can make history. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Public and Private Grieving

September 12

(Matthew 14:6-13 NIV)  "On Herod's birthday the daughter of Herodias danced for them and pleased Herod so much {7} that he promised with an oath to give her whatever she asked. {8} Prompted by her mother, she said, "Give me here on a platter the head of John the Baptist." {9} The king was distressed, but because of his oaths and his dinner guests, he ordered that her request be granted {10} and had John beheaded in the prison. {11} His head was brought in on a platter and given to the girl, who carried it to her mother. {12} John's disciples came and took his body and buried it. Then they went and told Jesus. {13} When Jesus heard what had happened, he withdrew by boat privately to a solitary place. Hearing of this, the crowds followed him on foot from the towns."

(John 11:33-36 NIV) “When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled. {34} “Where have you laid him?” he asked. “Come and see, Lord,” they replied. {35} Jesus wept. {36} Then the Jews said, “See how he loved him!”

When we lose someone we love, there is a process of grieving here on Earth. There is no grief in heaven, but here, where we live and breathe as mortals, grief is a natural reaction to death and loss. But we must be careful -- grief can isolate and separate us from those we need most for healing. We often mistake tears for weakness, so we hesitate to talk about our loss with the most important people. We say, “I don't want to remind them or make them feel bad.” But mostly, we hold back because it reminds us. It makes us feel bad. It makes us feel helpless. It makes us feel angry. It would appear that even our silence can be self centered. There is a certain amount of privacy needed for healthy grieving, but the grief stricken also need a certain amount of communal time to process the pain. Both private and public grieving are a part of God’s healing process. Do not neglect either. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

All the Days Ordained

September 11

(Psalms 139:13-16 NIV)  "For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb. {14} I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. {15} My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, {16} your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be."

(Luke 18:16-17 NIV) "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. {17} I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it."

Death seems especially cruel when it comes to the child or the infant. Some even say, “A God who is truly good would not allow a life to be cut short like this.” But think about it... what's the difference between two months and seventy five years when compared to eternity? Are we now measuring God’s goodness by the time we live here on this sin filled planet? Jesus once said of the children, “The kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” If he spoke the truth, then who are we to be angry at the One with whom they now stand glorified, whole, and eternal? Who are we to curse their going home in their Creator’s time? "All the days ordained” can seem to go by in a blink, even if we live what this world considers a long life. So on this day of your life, take some of your ordained time to praise God from whom all blessings flow and do what you were ordained to do with all your days. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Monday, September 10, 2018

The Elephant in the Room

September 10

(Genesis 2:7 NIV) “The Lord God formed the man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.”

(Genesis 3:19 NIV) “By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food until you return to the ground, since from it you were taken; for dust you are and to dust you will return.”

(Hebrews 9:27-28 NIV)  "Just as man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment, {28} so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many people; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him."

In most circles, the topic of death is taboo. It’s like the proverbial elephant in the room. Perhaps we think if we don’t talk about it, we just might avoid it. But death is an eventual and universal certainty for each of us. No one cheats death indefinitely. Good people, bad people, all die on some day in time. Even though God has provided a way to circumvent death, He often bears the brunt of our anger and blame when it occurs. We say stuff like, “How could God let this happen?” But God has been honest with us. He has declared that all the days ordained for us have been written in His book. He has told us that when those ordained days have run their course, we will return to the dust from which we came. We are destined to die once. God has told us the truth. We don’t have to like the truth, but the wise man will prepare for life’s inevitable end. Trust in Jesus! - Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Sunday, September 9, 2018

Self Pleaser or God Pleaser?

September 9

(Malachi 1:8-14 NIV) ““When you bring blind animals for sacrifice, is that not wrong? When you sacrifice crippled or diseased animals, is that not wrong? Try offering them to your governor! Would he be pleased with you? Would he accept you?" says the Lord Almighty. {9} "Now implore God to be gracious to us. With such offerings from your hands, will he accept you?"--says the Lord Almighty. {10} "Oh, that one of you would shut the temple doors, so that you would not light useless fires on my altar! I am not pleased with you," says the Lord Almighty, "and I will accept no offering from your hands. {11} My name will be great among the nations, from the rising to the setting of the sun. In every place incense and pure offerings will be brought to my name, because my name will be great among the nations," says the Lord Almighty. {12} "But you profane it by saying of the Lord's table, 'It is defiled,' and of its food, 'It is contemptible.' {13} And you say, 'What a burden!' and you sniff at it contemptuously," says the Lord Almighty. "When you bring injured, crippled or diseased animals and offer them as sacrifices, should I accept them from your hands?" says the Lord. {14} "Cursed is the cheat who has an acceptable male in his flock and vows to give it, but then sacrifices a blemished animal to the Lord. For I am a great King," says the Lord Almighty, "and my name is to be feared among the nations.””

(Romans 12:1-2 NIV) “Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship. {2} Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.”

There are two kinds of people in this world: self pleasers and God pleasers. Self pleasers are interested in personal pleasure. God pleasers are interested in experiencing God’s pleasure. The Christ follower knows that sometimes pleasing God brings pleasure; sometimes it brings pain and suffering. Still, genuine God pleasers do what it takes to please their Lord. The Old Testament prophets were God pleasers. They spoke hard truths to people; words that needed to be said. Many in the audiences of their day didn’t like what they heard. The prophets preached it anyway. Through these bold spokesmen, God addressed a culture that was being unfaithful to Him and to their calling. They made covenants, but broke them. They gave God only lip service. They offered God their third best. These two groups still exist today. Which group do you belong to? -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Saturday, September 8, 2018

Night or Light?

September 8

(John 12:36 & 46 NIV)  "Put your trust in the light while you have it, so that you may become sons of light. {46} I have come into the world as a light, so that no one who believes in me should stay in darkness."   

(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.”

There is a great song in the Phantom of the Opera entitled “The Music of the Night”. It describes the seductive power of darkness and how it slowly lures us to places where we will live under its influence. Think about your life, and if you’re honest, it’s likely that most of the stuff you regret doing, you did at night. Not all, but a large portion of our sinning is done under cover of darkness. Most crime happens at night. There is something about living in darkness that brings out the worst in us. Whenever the sun is absent, our propensity for sin seems to increase. Whenever the Son is absent, the tendency toward evil gets stronger. Maybe that’s why Scripture calls us to come out of the darkness and into the light. Maybe that’s why we’re called to “walk in the light”. Maybe that’s why Jesus calls us to become “sons of the light”. Night or Light? Your choice… but it can’t be both. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Friday, September 7, 2018

Who Do You Trust?

September 7

(Psalms 46:1-7 NIV)  "God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. {2} Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, {3} though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging. {4} There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy place where the Most High dwells. {5} God is within her, she will not fall; God will help her at break of day. {6} Nations are in uproar, kingdoms fall; he lifts his voice, the earth melts. {7} The LORD Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress."

(Psalm 62:5-8 NIV) “My soul, find rest in God; my hope comes from him. {6} Truly he is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will not be shaken. {7} My salvation and my honor depend on God; he is my mighty rock, my refuge. {8} Trust in him at all times, you people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge.”

Putting our trust in people will always lead to disappointment. Instead of lifting us up, those we trust will often let us down. It’s not that they don’t try, or that they don’t have good intentions; it’s just that they are flesh, like we are. They are sometimes weak, just like we are. They are prone to put their interests above ours, just like we are. People simply cannot give us all that we need to survive in this world of disappointment, trial, and pain. So while it’s true that God works through people, we would be wise to find a more dependable source of hope and strength. We will be better off if we fix our eyes upon Jesus instead of those around us. When the sun goes away… when the world around you collapses… when disaster strikes… put your hope in God. He is our refuge and strength. He is our fortress. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Thursday, September 6, 2018

Losing Hope

September 6

(Matthew 26:31-35 NIV)  "Then Jesus told them, "This very night you will all fall away on account of me, for it is written: "'I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock will be scattered.' {32} But after I have risen, I will go ahead of you into Galilee." {33} Peter replied, "Even if all fall away on account of you, I never will." {34} "I tell you the truth," Jesus answered, "this very night, before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times." {35} But Peter declared, "Even if I have to die with you, I will never disown you." And all the other disciples said the same."

(Luke 22:31-32 NIV)  ""Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift you as wheat. {32} But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers."

Jesus prophesied that Peter would be sifted by Satan and prayed his faith would not fail. When the sifting occurred, Peter crumbled. He felt shameful and faithless. But Peter had not lost his faith; he had lost his hope. Losing hope can cause us to become frightened, powerless disciples. Jesus prayed that when Peter turned back, he would become a source of strength to his brothers. Eventually, Peter became a leader and the chief public spokesman for the infant church. He preached the first sermon after Pentecost and 3,000 people were saved. For the rest of his life, Peter did his best to bring glory to Christ. On the night Jesus was arrested, Peter didn’t appear to have any rock-like qualities. But with the forgiveness of Jesus and the power of the Holy Spirit, formerly hopeless Peter, in faith, became the rock of the church. You can become a rock too. Give your fears to Jesus. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day