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Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Darkness or Light

October 31

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

What Prosperity?

October 30

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

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

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

Monday, October 29, 2018

Come Home

October 29

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

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

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

Sunday, October 28, 2018

No Middle Class

October 28

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

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

Saturday, October 27, 2018

Walking Among Sinners

October 27

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

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

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

Friday, October 26, 2018

The Four “C’s”

October 26

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, October 25, 2018

An Event and a Process

October 25

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

(Philippians 3:7-15 NIV) “But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. {8} What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ {9} and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ--the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith. {10} I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, {11} and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead. {12} Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. {13} Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, {14} I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. {15} All of us who are mature should take such a view of things.”

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

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Unequally Yoked

October 24

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

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

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Greater Wisdom = Fewer Mistakes

October 23

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

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

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

Monday, October 22, 2018

The Only True Life Saver

October 22

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

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

Sunday, October 21, 2018

Forgetting God

October 21

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

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

Saturday, October 20, 2018

Pray and Work

October 20

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

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

Friday, October 19, 2018

Chasing the Wind

October 19

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

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

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

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Can You Imagine?

October 18

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

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

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Going Godless

October 17

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

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

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Grace When We Fall Short

October 16

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

(Romans 3:21-23 NIV) “But now a righteousness from God, apart from law, has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. {22} This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference, {23} for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, {24} and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.”

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

Monday, October 15, 2018

Sending It On Ahead

October 15

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

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

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

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

Sunday, October 14, 2018

A Very Short Sermon

October 14

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

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

Saturday, October 13, 2018

Answer the Call

October 13

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

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

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

Friday, October 12, 2018

Honor God in Life

October 12

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

(Colossians 3:1-17 NIV) “Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. {2} Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. {3} For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. {4} When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. {5} Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. {6} Because of these, the wrath of God is coming. {7} You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived. {8} But now you must rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. {9} Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices {10} and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator. {11} Here there is no Greek or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all. {12} Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. {13} Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. {14} And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. {15} Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. {16} Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God. {17} And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”

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

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Calling on the Name of the Lord

October 11

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

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

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

A Legacy of Faith

October 10

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

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

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

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Growing Patience

October 9

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

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

Monday, October 8, 2018

Troubled by Life - Positioned by God

October 8

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

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

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