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Sunday, May 9, 2021

Religious, But Not Related

May 9

(Acts 10:1-5 NIV) ““At Caesarea there was a man named Cornelius, a centurion in what was known as the Italian Regiment. {2} He and all his family were devout and God-fearing; he gave generously to those in need and prayed to God regularly. {3} One day at about three in the afternoon he had a vision. He distinctly saw an angel of God, who came to him and said, "Cornelius!" {4} Cornelius stared at him in fear. "What is it, Lord?" he asked. The angel answered, "Your prayers and gifts to the poor have come up as a memorial offering before God. {5} Now send men to Joppa to bring back a man named Simon who is called Peter.””

(Matthew 8:5-13 NIV) ““When Jesus had entered Capernaum, a centurion came to him, asking for help. {6} "Lord," he said, "my servant lies at home paralyzed and in terrible suffering." {7} Jesus said to him, "I will go and heal him." {8} The centurion replied, "Lord, I do not deserve to have you come under my roof. But just say the word, and my servant will be healed. {9} For I myself am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. I tell this one, 'Go,' and he goes; and that one, 'Come,' and he comes. I say to my servant, 'Do this,' and he does it." {10} When Jesus heard this, he was astonished and said to those following him, "I tell you the truth, I have not found anyone in Israel with such great faith. {11} I say to you that many will come from the east and the west, and will take their places at the feast with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven. {12} But the subjects of the kingdom will be thrown outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth." {13} Then Jesus said to the centurion, "Go! It will be done just as you believed it would." And his servant was healed at that very hour.””

(Ephesians 2:8-9 NIV) “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith--and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God-- {9} not by works, so that no one can boast.”

Cornelius, a Centurion in the Roman army, was a good man. He was devout and religious, and he had gotten God’s attention because of his generosity and compassion. But he still lacked one vital thing -- he did not yet know Jesus. He was religious, but not yet related. God wanted to see him receive eternal life, but in spite of all his goodness, the Centurion was not ready to face God. He needed more than goodness and religion. The same is true for us. We need more than religion, kindness, generosity, and compassion. We need a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. We can be a good person, go to church, be generous, and treat others with compassion, but we can still die lost if we have never really met the Savior and become a disciple of the Lord Jesus. As we will see, God sent Peter to Cornelius, and Cornelius believed the gospel. We would be wise to do the same. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Saturday, May 8, 2021

Hospitality

May 8

(Acts 9:43 NIV) "Peter stayed in Joppa for some time with a tanner named Simon."

(Romans 12:13 NIV) "Share with God's people who are in need. Practice hospitality."

(Romans 16:23 NIV) "Gaius, whose hospitality I and the whole church here enjoy, sends you his greetings."

(1 Peter 4:8-9 NIV) "Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. {9} Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling."

It would be easy to skip over Acts 9:43 as an insignificant addition to a miraculous story of healing and resurrection. But it’s an important detail. It highlights the hospitality of a common working man named Simon. He was a tanner, and probably good at his trade, but he is not immortalized for excelling at his craft. He is known because he hosted Peter for “some time”. The early apostles depended on hospitality wherever they traveled. The gospel was not a money-making business, and they had no “travel benefits”. It is safe to say that the gospel would not have prospered like it did in those early days had there not been people willing to host those who were fearlessly preaching. Common everyday people, most of them nameless, helped propel the name of Jesus onto the world stage, by sacrificing to practice hospitality. Take a moment today and thank God for their work. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Friday, May 7, 2021

Giving the Miracle a Voice

May 7

(Acts 9:41-42 NIV) “Then he called the believers and the widows and presented her to them alive. {42} This became known all over Joppa, and many people believed in the Lord.”

(1 Thessalonians 5:19 NIV) “Do not quench the Spirit.”

(Psalm 96:3 NIV) “Declare his glory among the nations, his marvelous deeds among all peoples.”

Miracles were not meant to be kept secret. They are granted to glorify God. For that reason, at some point we should give the miracle a voice. When someone repents and turns to Christ, spiritually they have been raised from the dead. The best thing we can do for them after that is to lead them to tell someone. We present them to others alive. Peter did this with Dorcas. He took her out in public and presented her alive to the people. Peter gave the miracle a voice. Jesus does miracles today. Some of those miracles are reading this page right now. Give those miracles a voice. It’s sad that so many of God’s miracles never see the light of day because they are never declared. Thus, they fail to accomplish God’s purpose of glorifying his Son, and the power of the Holy Spirit is quenched by human reluctance. Proclaim the victory. Souls are at stake. Give the miracle a voice. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Thursday, May 6, 2021

Hand’s On Ministry

May 6

(Acts 9:41a NIV) “He took her by the hand and helped her to her feet.”

(Mark 8:22-25 NIV) ““They came to Bethsaida, and some people brought a blind man and begged Jesus to touch him. {23} He took the blind man by the hand and led him outside the village. When he had spit on the man's eyes and put his hands on him, Jesus asked, "Do you see anything?" {24} He looked up and said, "I see people; they look like trees walking around." {25} Once more Jesus put his hands on the man's eyes. Then his eyes were opened, his sight was restored, and he saw everything clearly.””

(Luke 13:10-13 NIV) ““On a Sabbath Jesus was teaching in one of the synagogues, {11} and a woman was there who had been crippled by a spirit for eighteen years. She was bent over and could not straighten up at all. {12} When Jesus saw her, he called her forward and said to her, "Woman, you are set free from your infirmity." {13} Then he put his hands on her, and immediately she straightened up and praised God.””

Praying and speaking words of life are important, but one more thing is often called for in ministry. At some point we are all called to take another’s hand and help them to their feet. If our ministry is indeed a ministry of Christ, it will often become a “hands on” ministry. We are called to intercede in prayer, to speak the words of life, and sometimes to become the hands of Jesus here on Earth. We embrace that grieving parent. We cuddle that child who is in pain. We reach down and offer a hand to those who have fallen. We lay our hands on the sick and ask for their healing. We hold the hands of those who walk through the valley of the shadow of death. We are called to be the healing, holding, and helping hands of Jesus in a world filled with desperate, destitute, and dying people. Never underestimate the power of a touch from Jesus. Reach out and use your hands for God’s glory. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Wednesday, May 5, 2021

Speaking Words of Life

May 5

(Acts 9:40b NIV) “Turning toward the dead woman, he said, "Tabitha, get up." She opened her eyes, and seeing Peter she sat up.”

(Luke 7:11-16 NIV) ““Soon afterward, Jesus went to a town called Nain, and his disciples and a large crowd went along with him. {12} As he approached the town gate, a dead person was being carried out--the only son of his mother, and she was a widow. And a large crowd from the town was with her. {13} When the Lord saw her, his heart went out to her and he said, "Don't cry." {14} Then he went up and touched the coffin, and those carrying it stood still. He said, "Young man, I say to you, get up!" {15} The dead man sat up and began to talk, and Jesus gave him back to his mother. {16} They were all filled with awe and praised God. "A great prophet has appeared among us," they said. "God has come to help his people.””

(John 6:63-68 NIV) ““The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you are spirit and they are life. {64} Yet there are some of you who do not believe." For Jesus had known from the beginning which of them did not believe and who would betray him. {65} He went on to say, "This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless the Father has enabled him." {66} From this time many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him. {67} "You do not want to leave too, do you?" Jesus asked the Twelve. {68} Simon Peter answered him, "Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.””

When Peter confronted death in the house where Tabitha’s body had been placed, he prayed first. But then he spoke words of life to her, telling her to rise up. Prayer should come first, but at some point we are called to speak words of life into those around us. Words of life can be as simple as telling the story of what Jesus has done for you. They can be spoken when we ask another if we can pray for them. They can be shared when we explain the gospel to someone and ask if they would like to receive Jesus. Prayer is a great calling and should never be forsaken, but speaking words of life is of equal importance. One should not replace the other -- they work in tandem. When we fail to speak the words of life, we deny our full calling, and foolishly attempt to defeat the enemy with one hand tied behind our back. Pray, and speak the words of life into those dying around you. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Tuesday, May 4, 2021

The Power of Prayer

May 4

(Acts 9:40a NIV) “Peter sent them all out of the room; then he got down on his knees and prayed.”

(Mark 9:25-29 NIV) ““When Jesus saw that a crowd was running to the scene, he rebuked the evil spirit. "You deaf and mute spirit," he said, "I command you, come out of him and never enter him again." {26} The spirit shrieked, convulsed him violently and came out. The boy looked so much like a corpse that many said, "He's dead." {27} But Jesus took him by the hand and lifted him to his feet, and he stood up. {28} After Jesus had gone indoors, his disciples asked him privately, "Why couldn't we drive it out?" {29} He replied, "This kind can come out only by prayer.””

(John 11:41-44 NIV) ““So they took away the stone. Then Jesus looked up and said, "Father, I thank you that you have heard me. {42} I knew that you always hear me, but I said this for the benefit of the people standing here, that they may believe that you sent me." {43} When he had said this, Jesus called in a loud voice, "Lazarus, come out!" {44} The dead man came out, his hands and feet wrapped with strips of linen, and a cloth around his face. Jesus said to them, "Take off the grave clothes and let him go.””

Before Peter did anything for Dorcas, “he got down on his knees and prayed”. Before he spouted off to God, or asked God for anything, he prayed. He had learned from Jesus that big miracles require prayer. Resurrection and healing take place where people pray -- really pray. The genesis of healing and resurrection in our lives, and in the lives of those we love, is prayer. Have you prayed for a resurrection in the life of that one you love? We cannot defeat death in this world unless we unleash the hounds of heaven on it. Most of us would say that we want our friends, relatives, and neighbors to be saved. Have you prayed for them today? Prayer calls on the Lord of love and power to intervene where we are powerless. It asks God to do things that we could never do by ourselves. Whether death is physical or spiritual, only the power of God can raise the dead. Pray! -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Monday, May 3, 2021

Asking for Help

May 3

(Acts 9:38 NIV) ““Lydda was near Joppa; so when the disciples heard that Peter was in Lydda, they sent two men to him and urged him, "Please come at once!””

(Matthew 15:21-22 NIV) ““Leaving that place, Jesus withdrew to the region of Tyre and Sidon. {22} A Canaanite woman from that vicinity came to him, crying out, "Lord, Son of David, have mercy on me! My daughter is suffering terribly from demon-possession.””

(Matthew 17:14-15 NIV) ““When they came to the crowd, a man approached Jesus and knelt before him. {15} "Lord, have mercy on my son," he said. "He has seizures and is suffering greatly. He often falls into the fire or into the water.””

(Luke 8:40-42 NIV) “Now when Jesus returned, a crowd welcomed him, for they were all expecting him. {41} Then a man named Jairus, a ruler of the synagogue, came and fell at Jesus' feet, pleading with him to come to his house {42} because his only daughter, a girl of about twelve, was dying. As Jesus was on his way, the crowds almost crushed him.”

Tabitha, also known as Dorcas, had some friends who were very wise. When she got sick and died, they appealed to Peter for God’s help. It’s always good to ask God for help. Why then, is that so hard for us to do? Where did our “I can handle it myself” attitude come from? It starts early in life. We hear kids who are barely three years old saying, “I can do it myself.” It is an innate flaw. It is part of our fallen human nature. And it’s a killer. It isolates us from others and weakens us. It also denies others the joy of helping us. So we must fight against our tendency to not ask for help. If we don’t, we set ourselves up to fail, and eventually, we will even push God out of our lives. Tabitha’s friends asked for help. They did the right thing. Be wise and do the same. Learn to ask for help. It will change your life! It may even save your life. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Sunday, May 2, 2021

Good People Die Every Day

May 2

(Acts 9:36-39 NIV) ““In Joppa there was a disciple named Tabitha (which, when translated, is Dorcas ), who was always doing good and helping the poor. {37} About that time she became sick and died, and her body was washed and placed in an upstairs room. {38} Lydda was near Joppa; so when the disciples heard that Peter was in Lydda, they sent two men to him and urged him, "Please come at once!" {39} Peter went with them, and when he arrived he was taken upstairs to the room. All the widows stood around him, crying and showing him the robes and other clothing that Dorcas had made while she was still with them.””

(John 11:23-27 NIV) ““Jesus said to her, "Your brother will rise again." {24} Martha answered, "I know he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day." {25} Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; {26} and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?" {27} "Yes, Lord," she told him, "I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, who was to come into the world.””

(John 11:38-45 NIV)  ““Jesus, once more deeply moved, came to the tomb. It was a cave with a stone laid across the entrance. {39} "Take away the stone," he said. "But, Lord," said Martha, the sister of the dead man, "by this time there is a bad odor, for he has been there four days." {40} Then Jesus said, "Did I not tell you that if you believed, you would see the glory of God?" {41} So they took away the stone. Then Jesus looked up and said, "Father, I thank you that you have heard me. {42} I knew that you always hear me, but I said this for the benefit of the people standing here, that they may believe that you sent me." {43} When he had said this, Jesus called in a loud voice, "Lazarus, come out!" {44} The dead man came out, his hands and feet wrapped with strips of linen, and a cloth around his face. Jesus said to them, "Take off the grave clothes and let him go." {45} Therefore many of the Jews who had come to visit Mary, and had seen what Jesus did, put their faith in him.””

Dorcas and Lazarus were kind and generous people who put others ahead of themselves, but they got sick and died. Good people get sick and die every day. Being sick and dying has little to do with how good you are. Many good people got sick and died while Jesus and his disciples walked this earth. Healing and raising the dead were indeed miraculous, but they were not the high water mark of Christ’s or Peter’s ministries. They were not the end game. There came a day when Dorcas and Lazarus died again, and their decayed bodies await the final resurrection. Their healings were temporary miracles that did not exempt them from eventual death and judgment. The same is true for us. The only lasting miracles are Christ’s resurrection and ascension, and His promised return for those who belong to Him. These miracles top them all, and provide our only real hope for eternal life. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Saturday, May 1, 2021

Miracle Grow

May 1

(Acts 9:34-35 NIV) ““Aeneas," Peter said to him, "Jesus Christ heals you. Get up and take care of your mat." Immediately Aeneas got up. {35} All those who lived in Lydda and Sharon saw him and turned to the Lord.””

(Acts 9:41-42 NIV) “He took her by the hand and helped her to her feet. Then he called the believers and the widows and presented her to them alive. {42} This became known all over Joppa, and many people believed in the Lord.”

(John 10:25 NIV) “I did tell you, but you do not believe. The miracles I do in my Father's name speak for me,”

(John 10:37-38 NIV) “Do not believe me unless I do what my Father does. {38} But if I do it, even though you do not believe me, believe the miracles, that you may know and understand that the Father is in me, and I in the Father.”

The miracles done by the apostles were done to glorify Christ and grow His Kingdom. When we read in Scripture about someone being healed or raised from the dead, the next thing we usually read is that many people believed and turned to the Lord. Miracles demonstrated the Lordship of Jesus. Today, when we see someone healed on a television ministry, the next thing we usually see is a toll-free number where we can send money, or buy some holy trinket that will heal us too -- if we have enough faith. The disciples did miracles that grew God’s Kingdom. Today, miracles are often done to grow someone’s bank account. Miracles done in Christ’s name should glorify His name. That’s something we should remember in this guru- seeking, celebrity-worshipping culture. The miraculous should grow God’s Kingdom, not increase someone’s bottom line. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day