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Friday, April 16, 2021

A Familiar Pattern

April 16

(Acts 9:4-5 NIV) ““As he neared Damascus on his journey, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him. {4} He fell to the ground and heard a voice say to him, "Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?" {5} "Who are you, Lord?" Saul asked. "I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting," he replied.””

(Acts 9:8 NIV) “Saul got up from the ground, but when he opened his eyes he could see nothing. So they led him by the hand into Damascus.”

(John 9:24-39 NIV) ““A second time they summoned the man who had been blind. "Give glory to God, " they said. "We know this man is a sinner." {25} He replied, "Whether he is a sinner or not, I don't know. One thing I do know. I was blind but now I see!" {26} Then they asked him, "What did he do to you? How did he open your eyes?" {27} He answered, "I have told you already and you did not listen. Why do you want to hear it again? Do you want to become his disciples, too?" {28} Then they hurled insults at him and said, "You are this fellow's disciple! We are disciples of Moses! {29} We know that God spoke to Moses, but as for this fellow, we don't even know where he comes from." {30} The man answered, "Now that is remarkable! You don't know where he comes from, yet he opened my eyes. {31} We know that God does not listen to sinners. He listens to the godly man who does his will. {32} Nobody has ever heard of opening the eyes of a man born blind. {33} If this man were not from God, he could do nothing." {34} To this they replied, "You were steeped in sin at birth; how dare you lecture us!" And they threw him out. {35} Jesus heard that they had thrown him out, and when he found him, he said, "Do you believe in the Son of Man?" {36} "Who is he, sir?" the man asked. "Tell me so that I may believe in him." {37} Jesus said, "You have now seen him; in fact, he is the one speaking with you." {38} Then the man said, "Lord, I believe," and he worshiped him. {39} Jesus said, "For judgment I have come into this world, so that the blind will see and those who see will become blind.””

There is a common pattern in the salvation stories of those who come to the Lord later in life. Many, like Saul, start out cursing Jesus and His church. We’re blind to God’s grace. But then something happens in life. We are knocked to the ground and realize our blindness. As we lay there in the dust of our sin, we have two choices: we can remain face down in the dirt, cursing God; or we can look up, and be open to something different. If we choose the latter, we begin to hear God. Our friends may not hear anything, but we do. It’s our time. Jesus is calling our name. We ask, “Who are you?” and realize that it is the Lord. When we hear God, we have another choice -- remain where we are, or get up and do what God says. Saul chose the latter… we should too. Leave that desert road of indecision! Make the walk into your Damascus, and you too can be healed and saved. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day  

Thursday, April 15, 2021

Whacked and Commanded

April 15

(Acts 9:6-7 NIV) ““Now get up and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do." {7} The men traveling with Saul stood there speechless; they heard the sound but did not see anyone. {8} Saul got up from the ground, but when he opened his eyes he could see nothing. So they led him by the hand into Damascus. {9} For three days he was blind, and did not eat or drink anything.””

(Luke 9:23-26 NIV) ““Then he said to them all: "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. {24} For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will save it. {25} What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit his very self? {26} If anyone is ashamed of me and my words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of him when he comes in his glory and in the glory of the Father and of the holy angels.””

(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.”

On the road to Damascus, Jesus whacked Saul upside the head. If that image bothers you, try to come up with a better phrase for being knocked to the ground and made blind. While Christ had Saul’s attention, He issued a command: “Go into the city and wait.” Saul obeyed. Being knocked down and blinded promotes obedience. Along with all the correct teaching today about the love of Jesus, we must not forget that our Lord has an infinite amount of power. Sometimes God is gentle with us. On other occasions, for reasons known only to Him, He takes a firmer hand. Saul experienced the awesome power of God -- not a gentle breeze or a still small voice, but a whack upside the head from God Almighty. The road to Damascus is never smooth, and it will always humble us. It is populated with proud and stubborn people, who often take some mighty convincing. Never fear -- Jesus is up to the task. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Wednesday, April 14, 2021

The Damascus Road Experience

April 14

(Acts 9:3-5 NIV) ““As he neared Damascus on his journey, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him. {4} He fell to the ground and heard a voice say to him, "Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?" {5} "Who are you, Lord?" Saul asked. "I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting," he replied.””

(Acts 26:9-15 NIV) ““I too was convinced that I ought to do all that was possible to oppose the name of Jesus of Nazareth. {10} And that is just what I did in Jerusalem. On the authority of the chief priests I put many of the saints in prison, and when they were put to death, I cast my vote against them. {11} Many a time I went from one synagogue to another to have them punished, and I tried to force them to blaspheme. In my obsession against them, I even went to foreign cities to persecute them. {12} "On one of these journeys I was going to Damascus with the authority and commission of the chief priests. {13} About noon, O king, as I was on the road, I saw a light from heaven, brighter than the sun, blazing around me and my companions. {14} We all fell to the ground, and I heard a voice saying to me in Aramaic, 'Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me? It is hard for you to kick against the goads.' {15} "Then I asked, 'Who are you, Lord?' "'I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting,' the Lord replied.””

Saul had been busy beating up on the Bride of Christ, but as he headed down that desert road to Damascus, he met the Groom -- and the Groom was not happy. He knocked Saul to the ground, giving him a taste of his own medicine. Saul had the good sense to address this forceful light as “Lord”, asking “Lord, who are you?” His heart skipped a beat, and his breath left him, as he heard a voice say, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting.” Saul was not only leveled that day, he was humbled. He not only ended up eating dust -- he ended up eating his words. He certainly must have feared for his life. Jesus had Saul’s attention, and Saul was now listening. What will it take to get your attention? Will it take a Damascus Road Experience? Will you have to be knocked flat on your back before you look up and finally listen? Maybe today, God is saying to you, “Don’t make me come down there.” Listen! -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day  

Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Misdirected Zeal

April 13

(Acts 9:1-3 NIV) "Meanwhile, Saul was still breathing out murderous threats against the Lord's disciples. He went to the high priest {2} and asked him for letters to the synagogues in Damascus, so that if he found any there who belonged to the Way, whether men or women, he might take them as prisoners to Jerusalem.”

(Philippians 3:4-6 NIV) "If anyone else thinks he has reasons to put confidence in the flesh, I have more: {5} circumcised on the eighth day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; in regard to the law, a Pharisee; {6} as for zeal, persecuting the church; as for legalistic righteousness, faultless."

Saul was one of the most religious men in Israel. He was a Pharisee. He believed in a holy and righteous God -- a God so holy that He would never lower himself to become a man as these “Jesus people” were claiming. Saul’s beliefs drove him to try to eradicate this little sect of believers called “The Way”, and to stop their gospel from spreading. He oversaw them being beaten up, imprisoned, and even killed. When Saul heard that some of them had fled to Damascus, he put a team of thugs together and headed that way. What Saul didn’t know was that he was about to get a wakeup call. In his zeal for God, he had actually become an enemy of God. That can happen to us too. We can become so zealous for our particular brand of faith that we discount, criticize, and fight against others who don’t do things like us. Be careful, or like Saul, you can end up fighting against God. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Monday, April 12, 2021

Obedience and the Miraculous

April 12

(Acts 8:39-40 NIV) “When they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord suddenly took Philip away, and the eunuch did not see him again, but went on his way rejoicing. {40} Philip, however, appeared at Azotus and traveled about, preaching the gospel in all the towns until he reached Caesarea.”

(Jeremiah 32:18-20 NIV) “You show love to thousands but bring the punishment for the fathers' sins into the laps of their children after them. O great and powerful God, whose name is the Lord Almighty, {19} great are your purposes and mighty are your deeds. Your eyes are open to all the ways of men; you reward everyone according to his conduct and as his deeds deserve. {20} You performed miraculous signs and wonders in Egypt and have continued them to this day, both in Israel and among all mankind, and have gained the renown that is still yours.”

Obedience is a portal for miracles from God. Philip was obedient and went to a desert road, and the Ethiopian was miraculously converted. Philip was then miraculously transported to another place where he continued his obedient service to God. It’s cyclical -- obedience promotes the miraculous, and the miraculous promotes obedience. The one converted was a miracle promoted by obedience. The Ethiopian had traveled a great distance to worship God and was miraculously saved. Don’t forget who he was. He was the Secretary of the Treasury for Ethiopia -- a man of prominence. He probably took news of this miracle back to his queen and his nation. Very likely, God used him to spread the gospel throughout Ethiopia. God wants to use believers in the same way today. When we walk in obedience, God can work miracles in us, around us, and through us. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Sunday, April 11, 2021

A Seeker is Saved

April 11

(Acts 8:32-38 NIV) ““The eunuch was reading this passage of Scripture: "He was led like a sheep to the slaughter, and as a lamb before the shearer is silent, so he did not open his mouth. {33} In his humiliation he was deprived of justice. Who can speak of his descendants? For his life was taken from the earth." {34} The eunuch asked Philip, "Tell me, please, who is the prophet talking about, himself or someone else?" {35} Then Philip began with that very passage of Scripture and told him the good news about Jesus. {36} As they traveled along the road, they came to some water and the eunuch said, "Look, here is water. Why shouldn't I be baptized?" {37} “If you believe with all your heart, you may”. The eunuch answered, “I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God”. {38} And he gave orders to stop the chariot. Then both Philip and the eunuch went down into the water and Philip baptized him.””

(Romans 10:8-15 NIV) ““But what does it say? "The word is near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart," that is, the word of faith we are proclaiming: {9} That if you confess with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord," and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. {10} For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved. {11} As the Scripture says, "Anyone who trusts in him will never be put to shame." {12} For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile--the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him, {13} for, "Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved." {14} How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? {15} And how can they preach unless they are sent? As it is written, "How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!””

As the Ethiopian rode in his chariot, he was reading from the prophet Isaiah, but didn’t fully understand it. He asked Philip to explain it, and Philip began with the verses in question and shared the gospel with the Ethiopian. The Ethiopian believed and was baptized, and entered the ranks of those whose names are written in the Book of Life. But it all started with the Scriptures. Christians, we should know how to lead people to Jesus using the Scriptures. The Holy Spirit will put the hunger in their heart, but we should have the knowledge to help them across the line. Philip had obviously studied the Scriptures -- we should too. We have no excuse for not doing so. We have at our fingertips what some have been willing to die for: the Bible. Read it, study it, and use it -- not to condemn people, but to lead seekers to salvation through a knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day    

Saturday, April 10, 2021

Getting Close Enough to Listen

April 10

(Acts 8:29-30 NIV) “The Spirit told Philip, "Go to that chariot and stay near it." {30} Then Philip ran up to the chariot and heard the man reading Isaiah the prophet.”

(John 15:13 NIV) “Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.”

(Proverbs 18:24 NIV) “A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.”

God wanted the Ethiopian to hear about Jesus, so he told Philip to stay near the man’s chariot. Philip had to get close enough to listen. When he got close, he heard the Ethiopian reading about Jesus from the book of Isaiah. He also heard the questions of the Ethiopian’s heart. Philip now had a bridge to share Christ with the man. That could not have happened if Philip hadn’t gotten close enough to listen. We have to get close enough to people to listen to them. Too many Christians today are busy answering questions that no one is asking. We spend more time lecturing than listening. We stand at a safe distance and spout directions, when what people need is someone who will draw near to them and listen to their heart. If we’re going to be effective at introducing others to the best thing that ever happened in our lives, we will have to get close enough to listen. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Friday, April 9, 2021

Lost Believers

April 9

(Acts 8:27-28 NIV) “…he met an Ethiopian eunuch, an important official in charge of all the treasury of Candace, queen of the Ethiopians. This man had gone to Jerusalem to worship, {28} and on his way home was sitting in his chariot reading the book of Isaiah the prophet.”

(Acts 8:30-31 NIV) ““Then Philip ran up to the chariot and heard the man reading Isaiah the prophet. "Do you understand what you are reading?" Philip asked. {31} "How can I," he said, "unless someone explains it to me?””

(Acts 8:34 NIV) ““The eunuch asked Philip, "Tell me, please, who is the prophet talking about, himself or someone else?””

(James 2:19 NIV) “You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that--and shudder.”

God sent Philip to an Ethiopian who worshipped the God of the Jews, but who hadn’t met the King of the Jews. He believed in God, but didn’t know Christ. He was a “lost believer”. Otherwise, God would not have sent Philip. Believing in God does not save people -- only faith in Christ can save people. People can worship God, but not know Jesus. This means that your neighbor, who is surrounded by churches, could be just as lost as that remote tribe in Brazil. It doesn’t matter how religious people are -- what matters is if they know Jesus. A lost person is a lost person whether they live in the 10-40 window, or in the house across the street. It doesn’t matter if we believe in the God of Moses or worship cows, until we meet Jesus we are all destined for the same godless eternity. That’s why God placed Philip on that road to Gaza, and that’s why God has you where you are. Share Jesus. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Thursday, April 8, 2021

Obedience to the Spirit

April 8

(Acts 8:26-30 NIV) ““Now an angel of the Lord said to Philip, "Go south to the road--the desert road--that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza." {27} So he started out, and on his way he met an Ethiopian eunuch, an important official in charge of all the treasury of Candace, queen of the Ethiopians. This man had gone to Jerusalem to worship, {28} and on his way home was sitting in his chariot reading the book of Isaiah the prophet. {29} The Spirit told Philip, "Go to that chariot and stay near it." {30} Then Philip ran up to the chariot…””

(2 Corinthians 9:13 NIV) “Because of the service by which you have proved yourselves, men will praise God for the obedience that accompanies your confession of the gospel of Christ, and for your generosity in sharing with them and with everyone else.”

(2 John 1:6 NIV) “And this is love: that we walk in obedience to his commands. As you have heard from the beginning, his command is that you walk in love.”

It pays to be obedient to the Spirit of God. Philip was committed to undying obedience, and so when the call came for Philip to go south to a desert road, he went. He didn’t know where he would end up, he just went. He didn’t know everything that might lie ahead, but he went anyway. That’s obedience. And when the call got more specific, (stay near that chariot), that’s what Philip did. The angel told Philip to go up to a stranger and stay close. He obeyed, and it changed someone’s eternity. We should do the same. Listen for God -- and when God speaks, there’s only one correct answer: “Yes”. We don’t give our children medals for obeying us just 60% of the time! With God, “selective obedience” is an oxymoron. The Lord can do amazing things through us when we obey. Our work can last for eternity when we listen and obey. Souls are at stake. Be obedient to the Spirit. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Wednesday, April 7, 2021

Right Before God

April 7

(Acts 8:21-24 NIV) ““Peter answered: "May your money perish with you, because you thought you could buy the gift of God with money! {21} You have no part or share in this ministry, because your heart is not right before God. {22} Repent of this wickedness and pray to the Lord. Perhaps he will forgive you for having such a thought in your heart. {23} For I see that you are full of bitterness and captive to sin." {24} Then Simon answered, "Pray to the Lord for me so that nothing you have said may happen to me.””

(Luke 16:13-15 NIV) ““No servant 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." {14} The Pharisees, who loved money, heard all this and were sneering at Jesus. {15} He said to them, "You are the ones who justify yourselves in the eyes of men, but God knows your hearts. What is highly valued among men is detestable in God's sight.””

Simon the sorcerer had believed and had been baptized, but his heart was not right before God. He had impure motives as he tried to buy the gift of God. He wanted God’s power so that he could be popular and wealthy. Glorifying the Lord had not crossed his mind. Peter chastised Simon, warning him that such disrespect could end in his death. Peter looked into Simon’s heart and saw a man who was still captive to his sin, and full of bitterness. This goes to show that we can believe, but still be really messed up in our thinking about God. We can believe, but still have wicked thoughts. We can believe, but still be bitter. We can believe, but still be captive to sin, and ill prepared for ministry. We are saved to bring glory to God. Is that your life’s purpose? The self-centered, self-serving disciple is no disciple at all. Beware of Money’s power, and work at keeping your heart right before God. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Tuesday, April 6, 2021

Trying to Buy God

April 6

(Acts 8:18-24 NIV) “When Simon saw that the Spirit was given at the laying on of the apostles' hands, he offered them money {19} and said, "Give me also this ability so that everyone on whom I lay my hands may receive the Holy Spirit." {20} Peter answered: "May your money perish with you, because you thought you could buy the gift of God with money!”

(Micah 3:7-12 NIV) ““The seers will be ashamed and the diviners disgraced. They will all cover their faces because there is no answer from God." {8} But as for me, I am filled with power, with the Spirit of the Lord, and with justice and might, to declare to Jacob his transgression, to Israel his sin. {9} Hear this, you leaders of the house of Jacob, you rulers of the house of Israel, who despise justice and distort all that is right; {10} who build Zion with bloodshed, and Jerusalem with wickedness. {11} Her leaders judge for a bribe, her priests teach for a price, and her prophets tell fortunes for money. Yet they lean upon the Lord and say, "Is not the Lord among us? No disaster will come upon us." {12} Therefore because of you, Zion will be plowed like a field, Jerusalem will become a heap of rubble, the temple hill a mound overgrown with thickets.””

(1 Timothy 6:10-11 NIV) "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. {11} But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness."

Simon tried to buy God. He could make a lot of money with the kind of power the apostles had -- and so he offered Peter money for it. Simon had a baptized head, but a worldly heart, and it came close to costing him his life. He tried to buy God, but God is not for sale. What Simon got instead was a dose of prophetic ministry. Peter was not in his “seeker friendly” mode. He called Simon out and told him that his life was in danger. We can make the same mistake as Simon. We can come to God for the “goodies”, but fail to give him all our goods. We can have an “experience”, but never gain spiritual understanding. Our theology can become skewed. Many believers today study the owner’s manual for their car and their big screen TV, more than they study the owner’s manual for their soul… the Bible. We need to get back to the basics. Don’t try to buy God -- instead, sell out to him. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Monday, April 5, 2021

A Savior for Samaria

April 5

(Acts 8:14-15, 25 NIV) “When the apostles in Jerusalem heard that Samaria had accepted the word of God, they sent Peter and John to them. {15} When they arrived, they prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit, {16} because the Holy Spirit had not yet come upon any of them; they had simply been baptized into the name of the Lord Jesus. {17} Then Peter and John placed their hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit. - {25} When they had testified and proclaimed the word of the Lord, Peter and John returned to Jerusalem, preaching the gospel in many Samaritan villages.”

(John 4:3-10 NIV) ““When the Lord learned of this, he left Judea and went back once more to Galilee. {4} Now he had to go through Samaria. {5} So he came to a town in Samaria called Sychar, near the plot of ground Jacob had given to his son Joseph. {6} Jacob's well was there, and Jesus, tired as he was from the journey, sat down by the well. It was about the sixth hour. {7} When a Samaritan woman came to draw water, Jesus said to her, "Will you give me a drink?" {8} (His disciples had gone into the town to buy food.) {9} 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.””

(1 Timothy 2:1-4 NIV) “I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone-- {2} for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. {3} This is good, and pleases God our Savior, {4} who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.”

News of what Philip was doing in Samaria reached Jerusalem, and Peter and John went to see what was happening. It wasn’t the miracles that impressed them; it was where the miracles were happening. The Jews looked down on Samaritans and considered them second-class citizens. Along with lepers and harlots, they were the “undesirables”, unacceptable to those in good and proper Christian society. They were certainly undeserving of God’s grace. But the Holy Spirit was working powerfully among them. The Lord was making it known that Christ is a Savior for all people. God so loved the world! The Lord has not changed His mind. Jesus wants all people “to be saved and come to a knowledge of the truth.” Churches that install filters on their front doors (visible or invisible) are not walking in God’s will. The gospel is for all people. Find your “Samaria” and go there. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day 

Sunday, April 4, 2021

Apostle Meets Huckster

April 4

(Acts 8:9-13 NIV) ““Now for some time a man named Simon had practiced sorcery in the city and amazed all the people of Samaria. He boasted that he was someone great, {10} and all the people, both high and low, gave him their attention and exclaimed, "This man is the divine power known as the Great Power." {11} They followed him because he had amazed them for a long time with his magic. {12} But when they believed Philip as he preached the good news of the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women. {13} Simon himself believed and was baptized. And he followed Philip everywhere, astonished by the great signs and miracles he saw.””

(2 Corinthians 11:12-15 NIV) "And I will keep on doing what I am doing in order to cut the ground from under those who want an opportunity to be considered equal with us in the things they boast about. {13} For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, masquerading as apostles of Christ. {14} And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light. {15} It is not surprising, then, if his servants masquerade as servants of righteousness. Their end will be what their actions deserve."

(2 Peter 2:1-3 NIV) "But there were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign Lord who bought them--bringing swift destruction on themselves. {2} Many will follow their shameful ways and will bring the way of truth into disrepute. {3} In their greed these teachers will exploit you with stories they have made up. Their condemnation has long been hanging over them, and their destruction has not been sleeping."

As Philip preached in Samaria, he ran into a man named Simon. Simon was a guru/charlatan -- a religious huckster. He did magic and sorcery and was quite a celebrity in Samaria. People even said he had the Great Power, and treated him like a god. Simon ate it up, and boasted of his greatness to all who would listen. But when Philip came to town, Simon saw genuine power, and he was attracted. He “believed and was baptized”, but for the wrong reasons. He was more interested in the miracles than in the Messiah. Every generation has gurus, shysters, and charlatans, whose followers swoon over their power and charisma. The cash flows in, as people buy their books, diets, and videos. How do you tell the difference between a religious huckster and an apostle? The genuine apostle will never offer you a bag of tricks -- they will offer you a cross. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Saturday, April 3, 2021

Portable Joy

April 3

(Acts 8:8 NIV) “So there was great joy in that city."

(1 Peter 1:8-9 NIV) “Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, {9} for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls.”

(Galatians 5:22-23 NIV) “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, {23} gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.”

When persecution scattered the early church, the disciples took the joy of the Lord with them wherever they went. As Philip moved through Samaria, joy followed in his wake. One would expect bitterness to dominate the spirit of a people who were driven from their homes. But joy followed those who had been displaced because of Jesus, and as more and more came to faith in Christ, Saul and his henchmen could not stifle this fruit of the Holy Spirit. That’s what you call “living beyond your means”. Christians, Jesus expects us to do more than just what we can do on our own. If we only do what we can do on our own, where is the glory for God in that kind of living? We are called to live in a way that brings positive attention to Jesus. With faith and hope, we are called to embody the joy of the Lord as we walk through persecution and opposition. What city will you bring joy to today? -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Friday, April 2, 2021

Philip: the Antidote for Saul

April 2

(Acts 8:5-7 NIV) “Philip went down to a city in Samaria and proclaimed the Christ there. {6} When the crowds heard Philip and saw the miraculous signs he did, they all paid close attention to what he said. {7} With shrieks, evil spirits came out of many, and many paralytics and cripples were healed.”

(Romans 12:21 NIV) “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”

For every Saul, there is a Philip. Saul was into destruction -- Philip was into deliverance. Saul was into mayhem -- Philip was into miracles. Saul was into hurting people -- Philip was into healing people. Saul was into persecuting Christians -- Philip was into preaching Christ. For every tyrant like Saul, there is a saint like Philip. For every Christian intimidated into silence, there are others who will speak up for Jesus. They will confront evil, heal the sick, and take the gospel to the “Samaritans” of this world. You can kill these “Philips”, but more will rise up to take their place. The Jesus “genie” is out of the bottle, and the “Sauls” of this world cannot put Him back in. The only question left is, “Will you be a Philip?” Will you take God’s power with you, wherever the trials of life send you, and help people receive healing and freedom? For every Saul there is a Philip. Will you be a Philip? -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Thursday, April 1, 2021

Amplifying the Gospel

April 1

(Acts 8:4-5 NIV) “Those who had been scattered preached the word wherever they went. {5} Philip went down to a city in Samaria and proclaimed the Christ there.”

(Joshua 1:9 NIV) “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”

When the church was scattered under the persecution of Saul, it was as if the volume knob of the gospel had been turned all the way up. Many who could never hear before, could now listen to the greatest story ever told. The scattered believers became a “road show” for Jesus. Wherever they went, the call to be His witnesses remained strong. Their salvation became more important than their survival. Their calling became more important than their comfort. Their Lord became more important than their lives. We should be challenged by their courage and stamina. As the circumstances of life scatter us, let us be among those enduring disciples who share our faith with vigor. As we step out of our church doors each week, may the volume of the gospel increase. And when we stand before God, may it be said of us, “They preached the word wherever they went!” -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day