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Wednesday, June 26, 2019

A Moment of Clarity

June 26

(Psalms 73:1-20 NIV)  “A psalm of Asaph. Surely God is good to Israel, to those who are pure in heart. {2} But as for me, my feet had almost slipped; I had nearly lost my foothold. {3} For I envied the arrogant when I saw the prosperity of the wicked. {4} They have no struggles; their bodies are healthy and strong. {5} They are free from the burdens common to man; they are not plagued by human ills. {6} Therefore pride is their necklace; they clothe themselves with violence. {7} From their callous hearts comes iniquity ; the evil conceits of their minds know no limits. {8} They scoff, and speak with malice; in their arrogance they threaten oppression. {9} Their mouths lay claim to heaven, and their tongues take possession of the earth. {10} Therefore their people turn to them and drink up waters in abundance. {11} They say, "How can God know? Does the Most High have knowledge?" {12} This is what the wicked are like-- always carefree, they increase in wealth. {13} Surely in vain have I kept my heart pure; in vain have I washed my hands in innocence. {14} All day long I have been plagued; I have been punished every morning. {15} If I had said, "I will speak thus," I would have betrayed your children. {16} When I tried to understand all this, it was oppressive to me {17} till I entered the sanctuary of God; then I understood their final destiny. {18} Surely you place them on slippery ground; you cast them down to ruin. {19} How suddenly are they destroyed, completely swept away by terrors! {20} As a dream when one awakes, so when you arise, O Lord, you will despise them as fantasies.”

Sometimes we look at the narrow road of Jesus and wish it was more like the wide road of the world. Our feet can begin to slip off of the path of life. Those who spit in God’s face, live in luxury. Wealth and power come their way. There doesn’t appear to be any justice in this world; no scale on which godliness outweighs sin. We can begin to envy those who have much more than we do. Their lives appear carefree and their possessions increase. The pleasures they prescribe become more attractive by the day. And then, in God’s presence, we have a moment of clarity. The veil is pulled away and we catch a glimpse of the end. We see that they are the ones on slippery ground. Our feet are on the Rock. Their road leads to destruction and oblivion. Our path leads to eternal life and paradise. Stay on the Jesus way. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Prayers for the King

June 25

(Psalms 72:1-20 NIV) "Of Solomon. Endow the king with your justice, O God, the royal son with your righteousness. {2} He will judge your people in righteousness, your afflicted ones with justice. {3} The mountains will bring prosperity to the people, the hills the fruit of righteousness. {4} He will defend the afflicted among the people and save the children of the needy; he will crush the oppressor. {5} He will endure as long as the sun, as long as the moon, through all generations. {6} He will be like rain falling on a mown field, like showers watering the earth. {7} In his days the righteous will flourish; prosperity will abound till the moon is no more. {8} He will rule from sea to sea and from the River to the ends of the earth. {9} The desert tribes will bow before him and his enemies will lick the dust. {10} The kings of Tarshish and of distant shores will bring tribute to him; the kings of Sheba and Seba will present him gifts. {11} All kings will bow down to him and all nations will serve him. {12} For he will deliver the needy who cry out, the afflicted who have no one to help. {13} He will take pity on the weak and the needy and save the needy from death. {14} He will rescue them from oppression and violence, for precious is their blood in his sight. {15} Long may he live! May gold from Sheba be given him. May people ever pray for him and bless him all day long. {16} Let grain abound throughout the land; on the tops of the hills may it sway. Let its fruit flourish like Lebanon; let it thrive like the grass of the field. {17} May his name endure forever; may it continue as long as the sun. All nations will be blessed through him, and they will call him blessed. {18} Praise be to the Lord God, the God of Israel, who alone does marvelous deeds. {19} Praise be to his glorious name forever; may the whole earth be filled with his glory. Amen and Amen. {20} This concludes the prayers of David son of Jesse."

The prayers for the king in this Psalm are like statements of faith regarding our Lord and King. He is the royal Son who will judge the Earth and see that justice is done. His righteousness is the model for all humanity to emulate. He cares for the needy and comforts the afflicted. His compassion is as vast as the oceans. He is marvelous in His love toward us. He is like the gentle rain that falls to water the fields. He blesses the land and it produces abundantly. All nations and all people owe their existence to Him. He rules over them all. His time has no end. He outlasts the sun, the moon, and the stars. He will endure forever. He is King of kings and Lord of lords. So we pray to Him. We put our trust in Him. We bring the finest of offerings to Him. We lay our very lives before Him. We praise His name and serve Him with gladness, and the Earth is filled with His glory. Amen! -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Monday, June 24, 2019

Sky High Righteousness

June 24

(Psalm 71:19-24 NIV) “Your righteousness reaches to the skies, O God, you who have done great things. Who, O God, is like you? {20} Though you have made me see troubles, many and bitter, you will restore my life again; from the depths of the earth you will again bring me up. {21} You will increase my honor and comfort me once again. {22} I will praise you with the harp for your faithfulness, O my God; I will sing praise to you with the lyre, O Holy One of Israel. {23} My lips will shout for joy when I sing praise to you-- I, whom you have redeemed. {24} My tongue will tell of your righteous acts all day long, for those who wanted to harm me have been put to shame and confusion.”

(Isaiah 5:15-16 NIV) “… man will be brought low and mankind humbled, the eyes of the arrogant humbled. But the Lord Almighty will be exalted by his justice, and the holy God will show himself holy by his righteousness.”

(Isaiah 6:3 NIV) “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory.”

God’s love is deep and wide, but His righteousness is “sky high”. There is no other god like the God of Scripture. Holy, holy, holy is our Lord God Almighty! We may endure bitter hardship; we may be brought low and humbled by our own sin, but our righteous God will lift us up and restore us. His love is not only holy, it is eternally faithful. This is why we sing His praises with all our hearts. This is why we shout for joy to the Holy One. This is why we constantly witness to God’s love and righteousness. Our holy God is coming. The righteous One will return with His angels to judge the earth. We who have been made righteous by the blood of the Lamb will rise up to meet Him and the whole Earth will be full of His glory. Worship the Lord today. Praise Him for His “sky high righteousness”! -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Sunday, June 23, 2019

Our Lord from Birth to Death

June 23

(Psalms 71:1-18 NIV) “In you, O Lord, I have taken refuge; let me never be put to shame. {2} Rescue me and deliver me in your righteousness; turn your ear to me and save me. {3} Be my rock of refuge, to which I can always go; give the command to save me, for you are my rock and my fortress. {4} Deliver me, O my God, from the hand of the wicked, from the grasp of evil and cruel men. {5} For you have been my hope, O Sovereign Lord, my confidence since my youth. {6} From birth I have relied on you; you brought me forth from my mother's womb. I will ever praise you. {7} I have become like a portent to many, but you are my strong refuge. {8} My mouth is filled with your praise, declaring your splendor all day long. {9} Do not cast me away when I am old; do not forsake me when my strength is gone. {10} For my enemies speak against me; those who wait to kill me conspire together. {11} They say, "God has forsaken him; pursue him and seize him, for no one will rescue him." {12} Be not far from me, O God; come quickly, O my God, to help me. {13} May my accusers perish in shame; may those who want to harm me be covered with scorn and disgrace. {14} But as for me, I will always have hope; I will praise you more and more. {15} My mouth will tell of your righteousness, of your salvation all day long, though I know not its measure. {16} I will come and proclaim your mighty acts, O Sovereign Lord; I will proclaim your righteousness, yours alone. {17} Since my youth, O God, you have taught me, and to this day I declare your marvelous deeds. {18} Even when I am old and gray, do not forsake me, O God, till I declare your power to the next generation, your might to all who are to come.”

Whether or not we realize it, God has been our source of hope since conception. We have been under the care of our Sovereign Lord since the day of our birth. And He will continue to care for us until we are old and gray -- even until we take our last breath. God is not only the rock on which we stand, He is the rock we have hidden behind. We need His protection, because when our mouths are filled with praise, declaring the splendor of the Lord, we become a target for the wicked. When God shines out of our lives, His light threatens their cover of darkness. When enemies approach us, seeking our demise, the Lord is our deliverer and fortress. We were born with a purpose in life: to tell the next generation of God’s righteousness and power. We are here to declare God’s sovereignty and salvation. We were born for His glory; let us die with his praise on our lips. From birth to death, Jesus is Lord. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Saturday, June 22, 2019

Musical Petition

June 22

(Psalm 70:1-5 NIV) "For the director of music. Of David. A petition. Hasten, O God, to save me; O Lord, come quickly to help me. {2} May those who seek my life be put to shame and confusion; may all who desire my ruin be turned back in disgrace. {3} May those who say to me, "Aha! Aha!" turn back because of their shame. {4} But may all who seek you rejoice and be glad in you; may those who love your salvation always say, "Let God be exalted!" {5} Yet I am poor and needy; come quickly to me, O God. You are my help and my deliverer; O Lord, do not delay."

(Acts 16:19-25 NIV) “When the owners of the slave girl realized that their hope of making money was gone, they seized Paul and Silas and dragged them into the marketplace to face the authorities. {20} They brought them before the magistrates and said, "These men are Jews, and are throwing our city into an uproar {21} by advocating customs unlawful for us Romans to accept or practice." {22} The crowd joined in the attack against Paul and Silas, and the magistrates ordered them to be stripped and beaten. {23} After they had been severely flogged, they were thrown into prison, and the jailer was commanded to guard them carefully. {24} Upon receiving such orders, he put them in the inner cell and fastened their feet in the stocks. {25} About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them.”

Most of us have offered up prayers to God when we were in tough situations. But have you ever put your petitions to music and lifted them up as songs? David did this many times. His life was full of trials, even though he was King of Israel during its golden era. Perhaps singing about his troubles and despair helped him persevere. Perhaps this gifted musician just expressed himself better when writing songs for God. If you look closely at David’s songs, his lyrics include heartfelt expressions of despair, cries for justice, as well as words of praise and confidence in the character and goodness of God. That’s still a good pattern for prayer today. Sung or spoken, it is fitting to petition God when we feel hopeless. It’s proper to cry out for justice in an unfair world. And it’s appropriate to trust in God’s goodness and power, even in the face of evidence to the contrary. This is the essence of genuine faith. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day 

Friday, June 21, 2019

Consuming Zeal

June 21

(Psalms 69:1-20 NIV) "Save me, O God, for the waters have come up to my neck. {2} I sink in the miry depths, where there is no foothold. I have come into the deep waters; the floods engulf me. {3} I am worn out calling for help; my throat is parched. My eyes fail, looking for my God. {4} Those who hate me without reason outnumber the hairs of my head; many are my enemies without cause, those who seek to destroy me. I am forced to restore what I did not steal. {5} You know my folly, O God; my guilt is not hidden from you. {6} May those who hope in you not be disgraced because of me, O Lord, the Lord Almighty; may those who seek you not be put to shame because of me, O God of Israel. {7} For I endure scorn for your sake, and shame covers my face. {8} I am a stranger to my brothers, an alien to my own mother's sons; {9} for zeal for your house consumes me, and the insults of those who insult you fall on me. {10} When I weep and fast, I must endure scorn; {11} when I put on sackcloth, people make sport of me. {12} Those who sit at the gate mock me, and I am the song of the drunkards. {13} But I pray to you, O Lord, in the time of your favor; in your great love, O God, answer me with your sure salvation. {14} Rescue me from the mire, do not let me sink; deliver me from those who hate me, from the deep waters. {15} Do not let the floodwaters engulf me or the depths swallow me up or the pit close its mouth over me. {16} Answer me, O Lord, out of the goodness of your love; in your great mercy turn to me. {17} Do not hide your face from your servant; answer me quickly, for I am in trouble. {18} Come near and rescue me; redeem me because of my foes. {19} You know how I am scorned, disgraced and shamed; all my enemies are before you. {20} Scorn has broken my heart and has left me helpless; I looked for sympathy, but there was none, for comforters, but I found none.”

David’s life was a series of highs and lows, as our lives will be. He experienced great victories, but he also knew days of defeat. He knew times of worshipping and praising God with singing and dancing. He also endured months when he was “worn out calling for help”. There were days when he flew so high, it seemed he could touch the face of God. There were days when he was engulfed by the deep waters of despair -- days when enemies seemed to “outnumber the hairs on his head”. Many despised David because he was king. Even more despised him because of his King. His consuming zeal for God made him the target of mockers and haters, but that consuming zeal also carried him through the deepest of waters and the darkest of days. So it will be with those who follow Jesus. We will be “scorned, disgraced, and shamed”, but our consuming zeal for God will sustain us. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Thursday, June 20, 2019

Strike Up the Band

June 20

(Psalm 68:24-27 NIV) “Your procession has come into view, O God, the procession of my God and King into the sanctuary. {25} In front are the singers, after them the musicians; with them are the maidens playing tambourines. {26} Praise God in the great congregation; praise the Lord in the assembly of Israel. {27} There is the little tribe of Benjamin, leading them, there the great throng of Judah's princes, and there the princes of Zebulun and of Naphtali.”

(Joshua 6:13-16 NIV) “The seven priests carrying the seven trumpets went forward, marching before the ark of the Lord and blowing the trumpets. The armed men went ahead of them and the rear guard followed the ark of the Lord, while the trumpets kept sounding. {14} So on the second day they marched around the city once and returned to the camp. They did this for six days. {15} On the seventh day, they got up at daybreak and marched around the city seven times in the same manner, except that on that day they circled the city seven times. {16} The seventh time around, when the priests sounded the trumpet blast, Joshua commanded the people, "Shout! For the Lord has given you the city!”

(2 Chronicles 5:12-14 NIV) “All the Levites who were musicians--Asaph, Heman, Jeduthun and their sons and relatives--stood on the east side of the altar, dressed in fine linen and playing cymbals, harps and lyres. They were accompanied by 120 priests sounding trumpets. {13} The trumpeters and singers joined in unison, as with one voice, to give praise and thanks to the Lord. Accompanied by trumpets, cymbals and other instruments, they raised their voices in praise to the Lord and sang: "He is good; his love endures forever." Then the temple of the Lord was filled with a cloud, {14} and the priests could not perform their service because of the cloud, for the glory of the Lord filled the temple of God.”

Musicians and the music they make have always played a part in worship of the Lord. In man’s procession toward God, musicians are often “out in front” leading the way. God uses music like armies use artillery. It softens up the beaches of resistance to worship in our stubborn and rebellious hearts. It breaks down the walls we have constructed to keep God out. Music can become idolatrous if we begin to worship it, or the musicians who produce it. If it is used to promote a spirit other than one which brings us to genuine worship, it can easily become an abomination. But when offered to God for His glory, it serves its given purpose and leads us into the presence of the Lord. It helps us gain victory over the enemies of genuine praise to God. Join the procession into the sanctuary. Sing and make music, Christian! -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Daily Burden Bearer

June 19

(Psalm 68:18-20 NIV) “When you ascended on high, you led captives in your train; you received gifts from men, even from the rebellious -- that you, O Lord God, might dwell there. {19} Praise be to the Lord, to God our Savior, who daily bears our burdens. {20} Our God is a God who saves; from the Sovereign Lord comes escape from death.”

(Psalm 55:22 NIV) “Cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous fall.”

(Luke 11:3 NIV) ”Give us each day our daily bread.”

It is amazing that an eternal and self-sufficient God would care for the daily needs of His people. A God who lives on high cares for those who live on Earth. The Lord wants to be our daily burden bearer, but He cannot bear something we do not allow Him to carry. He cannot carry something we refuse to give to Him. The Lord will not only supply our daily bread if we ask Him, He will daily bear our burdens if we will just surrender them to Him. So if your knees are buckling under the weight of everything you are trying to carry, why not give it all to Jesus. If Christ carried the sins of the world on His shoulders when He went to the cross, surely he can carry your daily burdens. The only thing standing in the way of relief is your stubborn refusal to cast your cares upon the Lord who so generously volunteers to carry them. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day   

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Orphans and Widows

June 18

(Psalm 68:5-10 NIV) “A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling. {6} God sets the lonely in families, he leads forth the prisoners with singing; but the rebellious live in a sun-scorched land. {7} When you went out before your people, O God, when you marched through the wasteland, {8} the earth shook, the heavens poured down rain, before God, the One of Sinai, before God, the God of Israel. {9} You gave abundant showers, O God; you refreshed your weary inheritance. {10} Your people settled in it, and from your bounty, O God, you provided for the poor.”

(Exodus 22:22-24 NIV) “Do not take advantage of a widow or an orphan. {23} If you do and they cry out to me, I will certainly hear their cry. {24} My anger will be aroused, and I will kill you with the sword; your wives will become widows and your children fatherless.”

(James 1:27 NIV) ”Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.”

Before Government became the lord and savior of mankind, there was the God of Scripture. Before Social Security and Aid to Dependent Children, there was Psalm 68, Exodus 22, and James 1. God’s concern for orphans and widows is made clear throughout the Bible. His heart goes out to them. He is on their side. The Lord despises, even threatens, those who would take advantage of orphans and widows. His call is not just to refrain from abuse, but to actively look after them and seek their well being. We can do this today through a variety of Christian relief programs that sponsor children, and in turn, assist the mothers who care for them. We can also do it directly through our churches. Orphans and widows number in the millions and are not difficult to find. The Christian who wants to please God will cultivate a religion that cares for orphans and widows in some way. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day    

Monday, June 17, 2019

Prince of Peace - Lord at War

June 17

(Psalms 68:1-4, 11-17, 28-35 NIV) “May God arise, may his enemies be scattered; may his foes flee before him. {2} As smoke is blown away by the wind, may you blow them away; as wax melts before the fire, may the wicked perish before God. {3} But may the righteous be glad and rejoice before God; may they be happy and joyful. {4} Sing to God, sing praise to his name, extol him who rides on the clouds -- his name is the Lord -- and rejoice before him…. {11} The Lord announced the word, and great was the company of those who proclaimed it: {12} "Kings and armies flee in haste; in the camps men divide the plunder. {13} Even while you sleep among the campfires, the wings of my dove are sheathed with silver, its feathers with shining gold." {14} When the Almighty scattered the kings in the land, it was like snow fallen on Zalmon. {15} The mountains of Bashan are majestic mountains; rugged are the mountains of Bashan. {16} Why gaze in envy, O rugged mountains, at the mountain where God chooses to reign, where the Lord himself will dwell forever? {17} The chariots of God are tens of thousands and thousands of thousands; the Lord has come from Sinai into his sanctuary…. {28} Summon your power, O God ; show us your strength, O God, as you have done before. {29} Because of your temple at Jerusalem kings will bring you gifts. {30} Rebuke the beast among the reeds, the herd of bulls among the calves of the nations. Humbled, may it bring bars of silver. Scatter the nations who delight in war. {31} Envoys will come from Egypt; Cush will submit herself to God. {32} Sing to God, O kingdoms of the earth, sing praise to the Lord, {33} to him who rides the ancient skies above, who thunders with mighty voice. {34} Proclaim the power of God, whose majesty is over Israel, whose power is in the skies. {35} You are awesome, O God, in your sanctuary; the God of Israel gives power and strength to his people. Praise be to God!”

We don’t usually think of the Prince of Peace as the Lord at war, but a day is coming when Christ will come on the clouds to confront His enemies. The Lord’s chariots will number in the millions and all the Earth will submit. It will be a day when everything is made right. All injustices will be corrected. The enemies of God will scatter and flee, but there will be no place to hide. All will perish as they are blown away like dust in the wind and melt like wax before fire. But the righteous that have called on His Name and followed Him will sing for joy and rejoice before the King of kings. They will proclaim His awesome power and holy majesty. His coming will not harm them. Instead, they will receive power and strength and will live forever in His presence. Today, we choose our eternal destiny in one of these two camps. We choose by who we follow. Choose wisely. Follow Jesus. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Sunday, June 16, 2019

A Prayer for Today

June 16

(Psalms 67:1-7 NIV)  "May God be gracious to us and bless us and make his face shine upon us, {2} that your ways may be known on earth, your salvation among all nations. {3} May the peoples praise you, O God; may all the peoples praise you. {4} May the nations be glad and sing for joy, for you rule the peoples justly and guide the nations of the earth. {5} May the peoples praise you, O God; may all the peoples praise you. {6} Then the land will yield its harvest, and God, our God, will bless us. {7} God will bless us, and all the ends of the earth will fear him."

(Numbers 14:41-45 NIV) “But Moses said, "Why are you disobeying the Lord's command? This will not succeed! {42} Do not go up, because the Lord is not with you. You will be defeated by your enemies, {43} for the Amalekites and Canaanites will face you there. Because you have turned away from the Lord, he will not be with you and you will fall by the sword." {44} Nevertheless, in their presumption they went up toward the high hill country, though neither Moses nor the ark of the Lord 's covenant moved from the camp. {45} Then the Amalekites and Canaanites who lived in that hill country came down and attacked them and beat them down all the way to Hormah.”

David’s short prayer song is an appeal for God’s blessing. David asks God to shine upon people, so they can bask in His glory. He prays the ways of the Lord will become known all over the Earth and that God’s salvation will be accepted by all nations. He prays that people will fear God and praise Him. He prays that the world will accept God’s just rule and divine guidance. It’s a prayer that needs to be repeated today, but it’s seldom heard. God’s blessing is presumed upon by so many. We assume God will bless us and so we don’t have to ask anymore. We assume that His salvation will be shared among the nations, so we don’t need to go. We assume that the land will yield a harvest, so we no longer pray for it. We assume that people will fear God and learn His ways, so we don’t need to evangelize and teach. But here’s the truth: Presuming upon the Lord never ends well. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day      

Saturday, June 15, 2019

Rejected Prayer and Withheld Love

June 15

(Psalm 66:10-20 NIV) “For you, O God, tested us; you refined us like silver. {11} You brought us into prison and laid burdens on our backs. {12} You let men ride over our heads; we went through fire and water, but you brought us to a place of abundance. {13} I will come to your temple with burnt offerings and fulfill my vows to you-- {14} vows my lips promised and my mouth spoke when I was in trouble. {15} I will sacrifice fat animals to you and an offering of rams; I will offer bulls and goats. {16} Come and listen, all you who fear God; let me tell you what he has done for me. {17} I cried out to him with my mouth; his praise was on my tongue. {18} If I had cherished sin in my heart, the Lord would not have listened; {19} but God has surely listened and heard my voice in prayer. {20} Praise be to God, who has not rejected my prayer or withheld his love from me!”

Sometimes it feels like God has rejected our prayers -- like He is withholding His love for us. Times of testing and refinement are seldom pleasurable. Going through the fire always hurts.  But God is faithful. What we perceive as abandonment is more likely accompaniment. God is with us. However, sometimes trials and trouble are the result of our cherishing sin. God’s Word calls us to holiness, but we ignore it and live in defiance. When we do this, God may simply allow us to reap the fruit of disobedience. He cannot be blamed for the consequences of our foolishness. But God still hears prayer. We can come back to Him. He can return us to a place of abundance. When He does, praise Him publicly, bring offerings of thanksgiving to Him, and testify to what He has done for you. Fulfill your vows to the Lord. It’s the least we can do. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Friday, June 14, 2019

Glorious Praise

June 14

(Psalm 66:1-9 NIV) ““Shout with joy to God, all the earth! {2} Sing the glory of his name; make his praise glorious! {3} Say to God, "How awesome are your deeds! So great is your power that your enemies cringe before you. {4} All the earth bows down to you; they sing praise to you, they sing praise to your name." {5} Come and see what God has done, how awesome his works in man's behalf! {6} He turned the sea into dry land, they passed through the waters on foot-- come, let us rejoice in him. {7} He rules forever by his power, his eyes watch the nations-- let not the rebellious rise up against him. {8} Praise our God, O peoples, let the sound of his praise be heard; {9} he has preserved our lives and kept our feet from slipping.””

(Exodus 14:19-22 NIV) “Then the angel of God, who had been traveling in front of Israel's army, withdrew and went behind them. The pillar of cloud also moved from in front and stood behind them, {20} coming between the armies of Egypt and Israel. Throughout the night the cloud brought darkness to the one side and light to the other side; so neither went near the other all night long. {21} Then Moses stretched out his hand over the sea, and all that night the Lord drove the sea back with a strong east wind and turned it into dry land. The waters were divided, {22} and the Israelites went through the sea on dry ground, with a wall of water on their right and on their left.”

How long has it been since you shouted with joy to the Lord? Unrestrained praise is a rare commodity, but it is just as biblical as many other standard practices of worship. Glorious praise should be the rule, not the exception. After all, we have a great and powerful God who does awesome things on our behalf. The Earth and the sea bow to His authority. He calms the storm and walks on the surface of the water. He parts the sea and His people walk through on dry land. He strikes fear into the hearts of our enemies, causing them to retreat. Only a fool would rebel against a God like this. He saves our life and guards our soul. He makes our footing sure. If we slip, it’s because we stepped off of His path. Nothing is hidden from His sight. He is our eternal King. This is why we worship Him in a way that can be seen and heard. This is why we offer up glorious praise. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Thursday, June 13, 2019

Lord and Creator of the Earth

June 13

(Psalm 65:5-13 NIV) “You answer us with awesome deeds of righteousness, O God our Savior, the hope of all the ends of the earth and of the farthest seas, {6} who formed the mountains by your power, having armed yourself with strength, {7} who stilled the roaring of the seas, the roaring of their waves, and the turmoil of the nations. {8} Those living far away fear your wonders; where morning dawns and evening fades you call forth songs of joy. {9} You care for the land and water it; you enrich it abundantly. The streams of God are filled with water to provide the people with grain, for so you have ordained it. {10} You drench its furrows and level its ridges; you soften it with showers and bless its crops. {11} You crown the year with your bounty, and your carts overflow with abundance. {12} The grasslands of the desert overflow; the hills are clothed with gladness. {13} The meadows are covered with flocks and the valleys are mantled with grain; they shout for joy and sing.”

(Mark 4:35-41 NIV) “That day when evening came, he said to his disciples, "Let us go over to the other side." {36} Leaving the crowd behind, they took him along, just as he was, in the boat. There were also other boats with him. {37} A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped. {38} Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke him and said to him, "Teacher, don't you care if we drown?" {39} He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, "Quiet! Be still!" Then the wind died down and it was completely calm. {40} He said to his disciples, "Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?" {41} They were terrified and asked each other, "Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!””

The Creator and Lord of the heavens, is also the Lord and Creator of Earth. He formed the mountains with His mighty power and can still the roaring seas with a word from His mouth. He brings peace to nations that are in an uproar and serenity to hearts that struggle with chaos. He sends the rain to feed our streams and rivers and they flow from the mountains to the sea. He waters our land, producing abundant crops and ample grain. Our cattle feed on grassland nourished by showers sent from God. If the wind and the waves and the rain obey Him, perhaps we should too. Put your faith in the Lord. He cares for us, and has blessed us with bounty. He provides for both our present and for our eternity. The Lord is our hope for this world and the next. Come to Him with thankful hearts and songs of joy. Praise God from whom all blessings flow. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day 

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Overwhelmed by Sin

June 12

(Psalms 65:1-4 NIV) “Praise awaits you, O God, in Zion; to you our vows will be fulfilled. {2} O you who hear prayer, to you all men will come. {3} When we were overwhelmed by sins, you forgave our transgressions. {4} Blessed are those you choose and bring near to live in your courts! We are filled with the good things of your house, of your holy temple.”

(Luke 24:44-48 NIV) ““He said to them, "This is what I told you while I was still with you: Everything must be fulfilled that is written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms." {45} Then he opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures. {46} He told them, "This is what is written: The Christ will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, {47} and repentance and forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. {48} You are witnesses of these things.””

(Ephesians 1:3-8 NIV) “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. {4} For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love {5} he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will-- {6} to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. {7} In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God's grace {8} that he lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding.”

Most of us do not come to God because our life is peachy keen. No, we come to God when we are broken and struggling under the weight of sin. When our sins overwhelm us, we cry out to God. He comes to us and takes the crushing burden off our backs. He makes it clear that this is why He came to Earth. This was the message of the early church and it is still the true gospel for today: that Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners. In Christ and Christ alone, we find forgiveness of sin. We have been chosen to receive His grace and be adopted as His children. We have been brought near to the place of God and filled with good things from His house. We have been richly blessed. This is why we praise Him. This is why we fulfill our vows to Him. This is why we pray to Him. And this is why we obey His command and preach repentance and forgiveness of sin to all nations. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

The Conspiracy of the Wicked

June 11

(Psalms 64:1-10 NIV) "Hear me, O God, as I voice my complaint; protect my life from the threat of the enemy. {2} Hide me from the conspiracy of the wicked, from that noisy crowd of evildoers. {3} They sharpen their tongues like swords and aim their words like deadly arrows. {4} They shoot from ambush at the innocent man; they shoot at him suddenly, without fear. {5} They encourage each other in evil plans, they talk about hiding their snares; they say, "Who will see them?" {6} They plot injustice and say, "We have devised a perfect plan!" Surely the mind and heart of man are cunning. {7} But God will shoot them with arrows; suddenly they will be struck down. {8} He will turn their own tongues against them and bring them to ruin; all who see them will shake their heads in scorn. {9} All mankind will fear; they will proclaim the works of God and ponder what he has done. {10} Let the righteous rejoice in the Lord and take refuge in him; let all the upright in heart praise him!"

David seems to spend a lot of time in the Psalms asking God for protection from his enemies. It’s not that he is a worrier. It’s that he had a lot of enemies. That’s the world he lived in. When you’re the king and when you openly worship a God that many despise, you’re going to get some arrows coming your way. At times, there really is a conspiracy among the wicked to take down those in godly authority. They accomplish their mission with words and with weapons of steel. They encourage one another in evil. They plan and plot against the righteous and against the God of heaven. But God knows their hearts and they will be struck down. Whether they turn on one another or God intervenes from heaven, the wicked will come to ruin and the righteous will be victorious. The world will take note and the fear of God will once again be a proper thing. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Monday, June 10, 2019

Better Than Life

June 10

(Psalm 63:2-11 NIV) “I have seen you in the sanctuary and beheld your power and your glory. {3} Because your love is better than life, my lips will glorify you. {4} I will praise you as long as I live, and in your name I will lift up my hands. {5} My soul will be satisfied as with the richest of foods; with singing lips my mouth will praise you. {6} On my bed I remember you; I think of you through the watches of the night. {7} Because you are my help, I sing in the shadow of your wings. {8} My soul clings to you; your right hand upholds me. {9} They who seek my life will be destroyed; they will go down to the depths of the earth. {10} They will be given over to the sword and become food for jackals. {11} But the king will rejoice in God; all who swear by God's name will praise him, while the mouths of liars will be silenced.”

(John 3:16 NIV) “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

You’ve probably heard the phrase, “It doesn’t get any better than this.” Something big happens to us, and we think, “Nothing can ever top this.” Well, God says, “Think again.” David says that there is nothing greater or better in this life than God’s love. His love is better than all things. His love is better than life. When we realize the greatness of God’s love, it rocks our world. Unfortunately, this concept has almost become cliché in our Christian culture. For God so loved the world, right? We say it so much that it has almost lost its meaning. God loves you. Fully grasping this truth will cause us to glorify God, praising Him with lifted hands and singing lips. We will think of the Lord when we rise up and when we lie down. We will rejoice in Him and draw our security from Him. Our soul will be satisfied. It really doesn’t get any better than that. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Sunday, June 9, 2019

Thirsty Souls

June 9

(Psalms 63:1 NIV) "O God, you are my God, earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you, my body longs for you, in a dry and weary land where there is no water.”

(Jeremiah 29:11-14 NIV) “For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. {12} Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. {13} You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. {14} I will be found by you," declares the Lord…”

(John 4:9-15 NIV) “The Samaritan woman said to him, "You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink?" (For Jews do not associate with Samaritans.) {10} Jesus answered her, "If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water." {11} "Sir," the woman said, "you have nothing to draw with and the well is deep. Where can you get this living water? {12} Are you greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did also his sons and his flocks and herds?" {13} Jesus answered, "Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, {14} but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life." {15} The woman said to him, "Sir, give me this water so that I won't get thirsty and have to keep coming here to draw water.””

David was in the desert of Judah. It was a dry and weary land and he was hot and thirsty. In this moment of stress, his thoughts turned toward God, who provides us with living water. Thirst can be more than just physical. We can suffer from a deep spiritual thirst. Our souls can become that “dry and weary land where there is no water”. When we thirst spiritually, when we get desperately thirsty, we will seek a source of water, for without it, we will perish. And when we seek earnestly we will find it, for God promises that when we seek Him with all our heart, he will be found by us. He will lead us to streams of living water and we will thirst no more. Is your soul thirsty? Does your body long for a cool drink of living water? Tell the Lord today. He will provide your needs. He has the lasting solution for thirsty souls. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day  

Saturday, June 8, 2019

According to What We Have Done

June 8

(Psalm 62:5-12 NIV) “Find rest, O my soul, in God alone; my hope comes from him. {6} He alone 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, O people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge. Selah {9} Lowborn men are but a breath, the highborn are but a lie; if weighed on a balance, they are nothing; together they are only a breath. {10} Do not trust in extortion or take pride in stolen goods; though your riches increase, do not set your heart on them. {11} One thing God has spoken, two things have I heard: that you, O God, are strong, {12} and that you, O Lord, are loving. Surely you will reward each person according to what he has done.”

(Matthew 16:24-27 NIV) “Then Jesus said to his disciples, "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. {25} For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it. {26} What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul? {27} For the Son of Man is going to come in his Father's glory with his angels, and then he will reward each person according to what he has done.”

(Luke 6:20-23 NIV) ““Looking at his disciples, he said: "Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God. {21} Blessed are you who hunger now, for you will be satisfied. Blessed are you who weep now, for you will laugh. {22} Blessed are you when men hate you, when they exclude you and insult you and reject your name as evil, because of the Son of Man. {23} "Rejoice in that day and leap for joy, because great is your reward in heaven.””

Salvation comes by grace through faith. It is a gift from God, coming to us through the work of Jesus on the cross. We cannot buy it, or earn it through human effort. Our hope for heaven comes from Christ alone. Our salvation depends on Him. But there are some things that we can earn from God. He calls them rewards. Their nature is a mystery, but their existence is a certainty. They are spoken of throughout Scripture. They come in heaven for deeds of honor and faith done here. They are distributed on the other side for godly behavior on this side. Honesty, integrity, generosity, deeds of kindness done in God’s name -- these are all part of life’s ledger. Enduring persecution for godliness also increases our reward. Lifting up the name of Jesus and reflecting His light into this dark world can add to our blessing in heaven. There really is someone keeping track of your deeds of love. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Friday, June 7, 2019

Resting in God Alone

June 7

(Psalms 62:1-5 NIV) “My soul finds rest in God alone; my salvation comes from him. {2} He alone is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will never be shaken. {3} How long will you assault a man? Would all of you throw him down-- this leaning wall, this tottering fence? {4} They fully intend to topple him from his lofty place; they take delight in lies. With their mouths they bless, but in their hearts they curse. {5} Find rest, O my soul, in God alone; my hope comes from him.”

(Acts 4:8-12 NIV) ““Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them: "Rulers and elders of the people! {9} If we are being called to account today for an act of kindness shown to a cripple and are asked how he was healed, {10} then know this, you and all the people of Israel: It is by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified but whom God raised from the dead, that this man stands before you healed. {11} He is "'the stone you builders rejected, which has become the capstone.' {12} Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.””

(Hebrews 4:1-7 NIV) ““Therefore, since the promise of entering his rest still stands, let us be careful that none of you be found to have fallen short of it. {2} For we also have had the gospel preached to us, just as they did; but the message they heard was of no value to them, because those who heard did not combine it with faith. {3} Now we who have believed enter that rest, just as God has said, "So I declared on oath in my anger, 'They shall never enter my rest.' "And yet his work has been finished since the creation of the world. {4} For somewhere he has spoken about the seventh day in these words: "And on the seventh day God rested from all his work." {5} And again in the passage above he says, "They shall never enter my rest." {6} It still remains that some will enter that rest, and those who formerly had the gospel preached to them did not go in, because of their disobedience. {7} Therefore God again set a certain day, calling it Today, when a long time later he spoke through David, as was said before: "Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts.””

In all the chatter today about what God can do for us, we often miss the big idea. Blessing is great, but salvation is greater -- in fact, it is the greatest of all things. It is the main reason Jesus came to Earth. Peace of mind here, and eternal rest in heaven, are found in Christ and Christ alone. He alone is our rock of salvation. We enter God’s rest only by what Jesus did on the cross. You will not find genuine salvation anywhere else. God has given us only this one way -- only this one name -- by which we may be saved. Now we have a choice. We can harden our hearts and complain that there is only one way; we can whine about the lack of options; or we can thank God we even have a choice! We can praise the Lord for giving us a way to enter His rest. We can love Jesus for providing us a way. It’s your choice. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Thursday, June 6, 2019

Strong Tower - Wings of Shelter

June 6

(Psalm 61:3-8 NIV) “For you have been my refuge, a strong tower against the foe. {4} I long to dwell in your tent forever and take refuge in the shelter of your wings. Selah {5} For you have heard my vows, O God; you have given me the heritage of those who fear your name. {6} Increase the days of the king's life, his years for many generations. {7} May he be enthroned in God's presence forever; appoint your love and faithfulness to protect him. {8} Then will I ever sing praise to your name and fulfill my vows day after day."

(Psalm 36:7 NIV) “How priceless is your unfailing love! Both high and low among men find refuge in the shadow of your wings.”

(Proverbs 18:10 NIV) “The name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous run to it and are safe.”

We all need a place of refuge at times. When the disasters and troubles of this life crowd in around us like an unruly mob, we need a place where we can feel safe and secure. Jesus is our refuge. He is a strong tower. The name of the Lord towers over all others. It is the name by which we are saved for eternity. No other name can do that. Our strong tower surrounds us and lifts us above the chaos. No enemy can take our soul when we are in His strong tower. When we live under the shadow of His wings, we are protected by His love and faithfulness. As we fulfill our vows to Him and follow Him, our days are increased. Other gods will fail us -- Jesus will not! He is our strong tower, lifted high for all men to see. Take refuge under the shadow of His wings. Sing praise to His name. Fulfill your vows to Him. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Wednesday, June 5, 2019

One Rock Higher

June 5

(Psalm 61:1-2 NIV) "Hear my cry, O God; listen to my prayer. {2} From the ends of the earth I call to you, I call as my heart grows faint; lead me to the rock that is higher than I.”

(Psalm 40:2 NIV) “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.”

(Isaiah 55:9 NIV) "As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.”

When we come to Jesus, God lifts us out of the slop hole of sin. He lifts us up and plants our feet on a rock that is higher than we were before. But that’s not the end of it. The Lord calls us higher. He calls on us to climb the mountain of God. His ways are always higher. Our walk with God is always upward. The only way we can reach the top of God’s mountain is to put one foot in front of the other. If we focus on the top of the mountain, our daily climb can be discouraging. We cannot get from here to there quickly. But if we just look for the next rock that is higher than where we are now, we can ascend the mountain one rock at a time, one day at a time. One step at a time, we make the climb. And before we know it, a life has been lived, and we are standing at the top with Jesus. One rock higher today, Lord… one rock higher. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Tuesday, June 4, 2019

A Song for the Reject

June 4

(Psalm 60:1-12 NIV) "You have rejected us, O God, and burst forth upon us; you have been angry--now restore us! {2} You have shaken the land and torn it open; mend its fractures, for it is quaking. {3} You have shown your people desperate times; you have given us wine that makes us stagger. {4} But for those who fear you, you have raised a banner to be unfurled against the bow. Selah {5} Save us and help us with your right hand, that those you love may be delivered. {6} God has spoken from his sanctuary: "In triumph I will parcel out Shechem and measure off the Valley of Succoth. {7} Gilead is mine, and Manasseh is mine; Ephraim is my helmet, Judah my scepter. {8} Moab is my washbasin, upon Edom I toss my sandal; over Philistia I shout in triumph." {9} Who will bring me to the fortified city? Who will lead me to Edom? {10} Is it not you, O God, you who have rejected us and no longer go out with our armies? {11} Give us aid against the enemy, for the help of man is worthless. {12} With God we will gain the victory, and he will trample down our enemies."

There are times in the lives of people and nations when God must remove His hand of blessing. We stray so far from God’s path that He simply cannot walk with us any further. The Lord loves us, but because He is holy, He has no other choice but to reject us for our aberrant and abhorrent behavior. God is no respecter of persons or nations. When this happens, our land and our lives are shaken and torn apart, for it is God who holds things together. We stagger, and life has no rhythm or balance. When we come to our senses and realize that God is no longer “going out” with us, we have two options. We can blindly continue on down the lonely road to destruction, or we can turn back toward God and appeal to His mercy. Nations, which are as nothing to God, can be blessed when they repent and raise their banners toward Heaven. This goes for people, too. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day  

Monday, June 3, 2019

Snarling Dogs

June 3

(Psalms 59:1-17 NIV)  "Deliver me from my enemies, O God; protect me from those who rise up against me. {2} Deliver me from evildoers and save me from bloodthirsty men. {3} See how they lie in wait for me! Fierce men conspire against me for no offense or sin of mine, O Lord. {4} I have done no wrong, yet they are ready to attack me. Arise to help me; look on my plight! {5} O Lord God Almighty, the God of Israel, rouse yourself to punish all the nations; show no mercy to wicked traitors. Selah {6} They return at evening, snarling like dogs, and prowl about the city. {7} See what they spew from their mouths-- they spew out swords from their lips, and they say, "Who can hear us?" {8} But you, O Lord, laugh at them; you scoff at all those nations. {9} O my Strength, I watch for you; you, O God, are my fortress, {10} my loving God. God will go before me and will let me gloat over those who slander me. {11} But do not kill them, O Lord our shield, or my people will forget. In your might make them wander about, and bring them down. {12} For the sins of their mouths, for the words of their lips, let them be caught in their pride. For the curses and lies they utter, {13} consume them in wrath, consume them till they are no more. Then it will be known to the ends of the earth that God rules over Jacob. Selah {14} They return at evening, snarling like dogs, and prowl about the city. {15} They wander about for food and howl if not satisfied. {16} But I will sing of your strength, in the morning I will sing of your love; for you are my fortress, my refuge in times of trouble. {17} O my Strength, I sing praise to you; you, O God, are my fortress, my loving God."

David had fierce and bloodthirsty enemies he compared to snarling dogs. They were ferocious and determined to hunt him down. David prayed for their demise. We may wonder how a man after God’s own heart could curse his enemies and wish them harm. We may recoil at David’s calls for God to crush them, eliminate them, punish them and consume them. But until we have walked a mile in his shoes, we had better reserve judgment. Until we have faced the snarling dogs and feared for our lives, we should not be too critical. David appeals to God -- his refuge, his fortress, and his strength. He asks the Lord to look upon his plight and deliver him; to close the mouths of the snarling dogs -- whatever it takes. He wants to live another day so he can sing praise to God. With dogs at our door, our prayers would likely be no different. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Sunday, June 2, 2019

There is a God Who Judges

June 2

(Psalms 58:1-11 NIV) "Do you rulers indeed speak justly? Do you judge uprightly among men? {2} No, in your heart you devise injustice, and your hands mete out violence on the earth. {3} Even from birth the wicked go astray; from the womb they are wayward and speak lies. {4} Their venom is like the venom of a snake, like that of a cobra that has stopped its ears, {5} that will not heed the tune of the charmer, however skillful the enchanter may be. {6} Break the teeth in their mouths, O God; tear out, O Lord, the fangs of the lions! {7} Let them vanish like water that flows away; when they draw the bow, let their arrows be blunted. {8} Like a slug melting away as it moves along, like a stillborn child, may they not see the sun. {9} Before your pots can feel the heat of the thorns-- whether they be green or dry--the wicked will be swept away. {10} The righteous will be glad when they are avenged, when they bathe their feet in the blood of the wicked. {11} Then men will say, "Surely the righteous still are rewarded; surely there is a God who judges the earth.""

Sometimes when we look around in our world, it seems there is no justice. Ruthless dictators starve their own people and murder all who disagree with them. Radical terrorists fly jets into buildings, indiscriminately killing men, women and children. The latest crazed narcissist guns down innocent victims who have the misfortune of being in his path. Forty million babies are aborted each year worldwide just for being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Women are brutalized with abandon; children are abused; the elderly are euthanized. It never seems to stop. But a day is coming when justice will be meted out. A day is coming when all accounts will be settled. A day is coming when all sin will be exposed and punished. The righteous will be avenged and rewarded. The evil will be punished. There is a God who judges, and He is coming. No one will escape His holy gaze. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Saturday, June 1, 2019

Steadfast Hearts

June 1

(Psalm 57:7-11 NIV) “My heart is steadfast, O God, my heart is steadfast; I will sing and make music. {8} Awake, my soul! Awake, harp and lyre! I will awaken the dawn. {9} I will praise you, O Lord, among the nations; I will sing of you among the peoples. {10} For great is your love, reaching to the heavens; your faithfulness reaches to the skies. {11} Be exalted, O God, above the heavens; let your glory be over all the earth.”

(Isaiah 26:1-4 NIV) “In that day this song will be sung in the land of Judah: We have a strong city; God makes salvation its walls and ramparts. {2} Open the gates that the righteous nation may enter, the nation that keeps faith. {3} You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you. {4} Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord, the Lord, is the Rock eternal.”

(1 Peter 5:8-11 NIV) “Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. {9} Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings. {10} And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. {11} To him be the power for ever and ever. Amen.”

In times of trial and testing, a steadfast heart is a great asset. We do not get a heart like this by accident. We get a steadfast heart by knowing and believing God. We know his love reaches to the heavens. We believe his faithfulness reaches to the sky. We trust in God as our shield and rampart; our eternal Rock. Even if we suffer for a season, we will not despair, for we know that the Lord will restore us. With a word from God, we will be strong again. So we praise Him. We exalt His name. We proclaim His glory all over the earth. We sing His songs. We pray that we and our nation will keep the faith. We grow in self control. We resist the devil. We remain alert, keeping our souls awake, so that when He returns, we will not be found sleeping or caught off guard. Is your heart steadfast today? If not, ask God to restore you and change your heart within you. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day  

Friday, May 31, 2019

The Shadow of Your Wings

May 31

(Psalm 57:1-6 NIV) “For the director of music. To the tune of "Do Not Destroy." Of David. A miktam. When he had fled from Saul into the cave. {1} Have mercy on me, O God, have mercy on me, for in you my soul takes refuge. I will take refuge in the shadow of your wings until the disaster has passed. {2} I cry out to God Most High, to God, who fulfills his purpose for me. {3} He sends from heaven and saves me, rebuking those who hotly pursue me; Selah God sends his love and his faithfulness. {4} I am in the midst of lions; I lie among ravenous beasts-- men whose teeth are spears and arrows, whose tongues are sharp swords. {5} Be exalted, O God, above the heavens; let your glory be over all the earth. {6} They spread a net for my feet-- I was bowed down in distress. They dug a pit in my path-- but they have fallen into it themselves.”

The NIV Bible says David wrote this song called “Do Not Destroy” while he was in great distress. We don’t usually think of David as a fearful man. After all, he killed lions and giants with nothing but a slingshot. But one does not run and hide in caves if they are not afraid. His enemies were well-armed and like “ravenous beasts”. We also see here why David would become a great king. As he is hiding, he is praying and singing praise to God. He is “bowed down in distress”, but sings of God’s mercy, love, and faithfulness. In faith, David believes God has a purpose for him that is yet unfulfilled. He asks the Lord to rebuke those who pursue him and they are eventually destroyed by their own devices. David’s lyrics speak of taking refuge in the shadow of God’s wings. Is that where you are today? When you are afraid, what kind of song do you sing? We all need a song like “Do Not Destroy”. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day   

Thursday, May 30, 2019

In God We Trust

May 30

(Psalms 56:1-13 NIV) "Be merciful to me, O God, for men hotly pursue me; all day long they press their attack. {2} My slanderers pursue me all day long; many are attacking me in their pride. {3} When I am afraid, I will trust in you. {4} In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I will not be afraid. What can mortal man do to me? {5} All day long they twist my words; they are always plotting to harm me. {6} They conspire, they lurk, they watch my steps, eager to take my life. {7} On no account let them escape; in your anger, O God, bring down the nations. {8} Record my lament; list my tears on your scroll -- are they not in your record? {9} Then my enemies will turn back when I call for help. By this I will know that God is for me. {10} In God, whose word I praise, in the Lord, whose word I praise-- {11} in God I trust; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me? {12} I am under vows to you, O God; I will present my thank offerings to you. {13} For you have delivered me from death and my feet from stumbling, that I may walk before God in the light of life."

There was a time when we really did trust in God. It was more than a slogan on a coin. But trust in God does not usually thrive during times of great strength -- instead, it rises up during times of weakness. When we are attacked by lurking enemies, or hotly pursued by those who twist our words and conspire against us; when those who seek to ruin us or take our lives seem to be winning -- trusting in God becomes paramount. When we are afraid, God is our source for renewed courage. When we are powerless, God shows himself as powerful and glory flows to Him instead of to us. His strength, not ours, carries the day. This is as it should be. At some point, what man can do to us becomes insignificant. Our eyes are no longer focused on surviving this life, but are fixed on the Giver of life. He will deliver us from death. He has the light of life. Now we can say, “In God we trust.” -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

No Fear of God

May 29

(Psalm 55:19 NIV) “God, who is enthroned forever, will hear them and afflict them -- men who never change their ways and have no fear of God.”

(Isaiah 11:1-3 NIV) “A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse; from his roots a Branch will bear fruit. {2} The Spirit of the Lord will rest on him-- the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding, the Spirit of counsel and of power, the Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord -- {3} and he will delight in the fear of the Lord.”

(Isaiah 33:5-6 NIV) “The Lord is exalted, for he dwells on high; he will fill Zion with justice and righteousness. {6} He will be the sure foundation for your times, a rich store of salvation and wisdom and knowledge; the fear of the Lord is the key to this treasure.”

(Revelation 16:10-11 NIV) “The fifth angel poured out his bowl on the throne of the beast, and his kingdom was plunged into darkness. Men gnawed their tongues in agony {11} and cursed the God of heaven because of their pains and their sores, but they refused to repent of what they had done.”

Not all, but many of the afflictions we endure today are the result of our refusal to fear God and change our ways. This is the healthy fear of God that the Branch of Jesse delighted in; the fear of the Lord that is the key to salvation, wisdom, and knowledge; the fear that brings a deep reverence for God; the fear that produces a burning desire to please Him and a strong reluctance to offend Him. When mankind lives without this fear of God, they begin to see no real need for repentance. Sin is seen as an archaic and oppressive religious construct. Breaking free of God’s restraints is seen as healthy and good. This conviction can grow so deep that we refuse to change our ways -- even when confronted with God’s holy wrath or face to face with His holy love. Learn to love God and to fear the Lord, and do not refuse to repent. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

The Wounds of a Friend

May 28

(Psalm 55:12-21 NIV) “If an enemy were insulting me, I could endure it; if a foe were raising himself against me, I could hide from him. {13} But it is you, a man like myself, my companion, my close friend, {14} with whom I once enjoyed sweet fellowship as we walked with the throng at the house of God. {15} Let death take my enemies by surprise; let them go down alive to the grave, for evil finds lodging among them. {16} But I call to God, and the Lord saves me. {17} Evening, morning and noon I cry out in distress, and he hears my voice. {18} He ransoms me unharmed from the battle waged against me, even though many oppose me. {19} God, who is enthroned forever, will hear them and afflict them -- men who never change their ways and have no fear of God. {20} My companion attacks his friends; he violates his covenant. {21} His speech is smooth as butter, yet war is in his heart; his words are more soothing than oil, yet they are drawn swords.”

Of all the wounds we receive in life, none are more painful than those inflicted by those we thought were friends. When people turn on us -- people we have fellowshipped with and made covenants with -- the pain can be excruciating. Nothing hurts worse than being stabbed and cut down by those we have loved. We expect wounds from enemies. We expect pain when doing battle with those who hate us. We prepare fortresses and hiding places to protect us from the attacks of foes. But nothing can prepare us for the pain that comes when friends betray us. When these times come, turn to the Lord. When friends have forsaken you and become your enemies, cry out to Jesus. He understands the kiss of betrayal. He understands the soothing word that quickly becomes a drawn sword. He understands being forsaken by friends. He understands! And He will hear you. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day     

Monday, May 27, 2019

Casting Our Cares

May 27

(Psalm 55:1-11 NIV) "Listen to my prayer, O God, do not ignore my plea; {2} hear me and answer me. My thoughts trouble me and I am distraught {3} at the voice of the enemy, at the stares of the wicked; for they bring down suffering upon me and revile me in their anger. {4} My heart is in anguish within me; the terrors of death assail me. {5} Fear and trembling have beset me; horror has overwhelmed me. {6} I said, "Oh, that I had the wings of a dove! I would fly away and be at rest-- {7} I would flee far away and stay in the desert; {8} I would hurry to my place of shelter, far from the tempest and storm. {9} Confuse the wicked, O Lord, confound their speech, for I see violence and strife in the city. {10} Day and night they prowl about on its walls; malice and abuse are within it. {11} Destructive forces are at work in the city; threats and lies never leave its streets.”

(Psalm 55:22-23 NIV) “Cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous fall. {23} But you, O God, will bring down the wicked into the pit of corruption; bloodthirsty and deceitful men will not live out half their days. But as for me, I trust in you.”

The world of old was much like our world today. We often have more problems than we can possibly deal with. Our hearts are troubled by a multitude of things. Personal issues overwhelm us. Fear and anxiety haunt us. Terror and intimidation cripple us. Our cities are not safe. The wicked seem to multiply. They threaten, intimidate, abuse, rape, rob, and murder with impunity. Deceit and destruction are rampant. Liars prosper. Immorality sells. Government and law enforcement have become predominantly reactive rather than proactive. Rule of law is no longer respected as we follow the model of our leaders, picking and choosing what statutes to obey. In the end, we have no one but the Lord to call upon. Only God can deliver us from the forces of evil. Only Christ can bring us the security we desire. Cast your cares upon Him. Put your trust in God. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day