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Saturday, November 17, 2018

More than Once a Year

November 17

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

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

Friday, November 16, 2018

Commanded to be Thankful

November 16

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

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

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

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Firstfruits or Leftovers

November 15

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Testing God

November 14

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

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

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Respect in Giving

November 13

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

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

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

Monday, November 12, 2018

Who’s Your Master?

November 12

(Matthew 6:19-21,24 NIV) "Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. {20} But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. {21} For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. {24}No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money."

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

Sunday, November 11, 2018

Surrendered Heart = Surrendered Purse

November 11

(2 Corinthians 8:5 NIV)  "And they did not do as we expected, but they gave themselves first to the Lord and then to us in keeping with God's will."

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

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

Saturday, November 10, 2018

More, More, More!

November 10

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

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

Friday, November 9, 2018

Seeking God in His Word

November 9

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

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

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

Thursday, November 8, 2018

Walk by Faith

November 8

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Keep Coming Back

November 7

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Toxic Compromise

November 6

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

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

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

Monday, November 5, 2018

The End of the Rope

November 5

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

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

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

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

Sunday, November 4, 2018

Head Up the Mountain

November 4

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

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

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

Saturday, November 3, 2018

Changing Our Focus

November 3

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

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

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

Friday, November 2, 2018

Get Off the Pot

November 2

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

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

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

Thursday, November 1, 2018

Loving God

November 1

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

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

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

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