Genesis 16:1-18:15 ~ Matthew 6:1-24 ~ Psalm 7:1-17 ~ Proverbs 2:1-5
Today is the 7th day of January. Welcome to the Daily Audio Bible. I’m Brian and it’s a pleasure to be here with you today. Congratulations. This will complete our first week of the year as we settle into this rhythm that is our daily journey through the scriptures this year and 51 weeks from now, which may seem like a long time but it goes by so fast, we’ll be completing this journey, a revolution around the sun in more than one way.
We’ve been reading from the New Living Translation this week and that is what we’ll do today. We’ll switch to something else tomorrow. For today, Genesis chapter 16, verse 1 through 18, verse 15.
In the life of Abram and Sarai a lot of stuff happens today. They get a name change, As God enters into this covenant with Abraham, he changes his name and that of his wife from Sarai to Sarah. God, the Lord, will become known as the God of Abraham. As these descendants that the Lord has promised come into the world, he’ll be known as the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, people that we haven’t gotten to meet yet but we will.
It is an interesting story because God had promised Abram that his coming family would be vast and would have the land that he was in. The promise was given, except there were no offspring, there were no kids, so it is hard to imagine that your descendants will have this land and will be a multitude of people including kings when you don’t have any kids. So in Sarai’s misery and also in this attempt to sort of force the promise since it wasn’t fast coming, Sarai came up with this plan to give her servant Hagar to Abram and have kids that way. Of course, Abram was favorable to this idea, but once Hagar was pregnant, then it all became Abram’s fault. You can imagine the tensions in an arrangement like that, so Hagar had to flee. But God was talking about Abram and Sarai, Abraham and Sarah.
God came for a visit and this meal is prepared and this promise is given. “About this time next year I’ll be back and your wife Sarah will have a son.”
Abraham and Sarah, neither one of them believed this was explicitly true. Sarah laughs in the tent. Abraham says, “may you bless Ishmael.”
And God clarifies. “No, Sarah will have a son about this time next year.”
So here we are, the beginning of the year. What about you? What is it for you? What are you carrying inside that has been a promise? What might God be saying about this time next year for you that you have kind of laughed at or kind of looked for the alternative or found other ways to kind of reason it out?
Or what have you been kind of carrying for a while and you’ve done a number of things to make it happen and it hasn’t worked out right? It could be a dream. It could be some goals. It could be some health things. It could be anything that you’ve been walking with and carrying around inside of you. It could be a baby that you’ve longed for that hasn’t come yet.
The thing about dreams and goals, aspirations and desires and children for that matter is that it is always a process, always. A couple doesn’t sit down and decide to have a baby. I’ve been through this a few times in my life. You don’t just sit down and decide to have a baby. You sit down and decide to do the requisite things that would bring about a child and that may not be instantaneous, but even once the child is conceived, there is a process involved in all of this. We don’t decide to have a baby. The baby decides when to be had. But we certainly had to participate and collaborate in making that happen and be involved in the process of the whole.
And that is all necessary. Because when a baby comes or when you finally achieve or reach that thing, that dream, that God-given word, that has to incubate. That has to grow. That has to move into our lives rather than being dumped on our heads. Because when God gives a dream, well then we have to expand to be able to steward what he’s inviting us into. And that is going to take some time, love, and tenderness. I know, that’s my Michael Bolton reference for the day. Actually, I don’t think I’ve referenced Michael Bolton ever on the Daily Audio Bible, so welcome to a first.
Nevertheless, it is going to take the time for our hearts, our minds, our bodies, our wills to align themselves with exactly what it is God is saying. Abraham and Sarah, they were looking for this to be fulfilled some other way because they couldn’t imagine that it could be filled the way God was actually saying. God’s response to that for Abraham and Sarah was simply this: Is anything too hard for the Lord? That is a big question. I know that the right answer is ‘of course not. God can do anything.’ Do we actually believe that nothing is impossible with God, though? Seriously? Probably if we’re being really honest about this, our knee jerk reaction to a question like ‘is anything too hard for the Lord?’ is ‘of course not,’ but the truth would be somewhere back from that. It would be something like ‘of course not, God can do whatever he wants. He is sovereign. He is the Lord. He is all powerful, but maybe not for me.’ Right?
We get restless in the waiting. We want the baby without all of the expansion necessary to steward that thing that God has placed in our hearts. Maybe we’ve had this kind of Hagar situation where we tried to bring things about that haven’t worked out right and so the dream has gotten faded and we’ve started thinking ‘I didn’t really hear this.’ And ‘this isn’t really true.’ ‘Something has changed. God has changed his mind.’ ‘This has been withdrawn.’ ‘I’ve screwed up.’ And we just talk ourselves right out of all of this. But there is a space of time that we have to carry this thing. There is a margin of time that we have to expand into.
This is all over the Bible. There is this huge promise for this guy named Abram that somehow he, a desert dweller, a Bedouin who is from good fortune and has a good reputation but isn’t exactly king material, it’s not like he is a royal line here, is going to have so many offspring that they are going to be like the sands on the seashore. This promise is going to take centuries before it is fulfilled. Believe it or not, we are participating right now in the future. How we handle our lives, how we steward what we have now is actually going to affect our grandchildren and great grandchildren and generations that we will never get to know but will exist on this planet because of what we do today and now.
So what about you? About this time next year? Invite the Holy Spirit into that.
Then in the New Testament, we’re going through Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount. We come to this incredibly famous portion of scripture known as The Lord’s Prayer. Probably most of you could recite that portion of scripture. Jesus is showing his disciples a posture of heart from which to communicate and collaborate with God. He sets that all up by saying don’t do it like you’ve seen it done where it is done for show but it’s not real. If you’re going to really, really try to commune with God, then that is between you and him. This is an intimate collaboration, an intimate communication. This is not for show. This is between you and God.
And then he shows them this posture of heart through The Lord’s Prayer. It’s what he says immediately after The Lord’s Prayer that is very important. So let’s do this. Say this with me.
Our Father, who art in heaven,hallowed be thy name. Thy Kingdom come.
Thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread.
Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation,but deliver us from the evil one. For thine is the Kingdom, the power, the glory forever. Amen.
We can all say this. What we just said is forgive us of our trespasses, our sins, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And Jesus expands that. If you forgive those who sin against you, your Heavenly Father will forgive you. But if you refuse to forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins.
I can’t expand on that because it is very direct and clear. What it should do, though, is disrupt us on a number of levels. Forgiveness is not optional in the faith journey. It is necessary and required in the faith journey. I realize that can touch some very, very soft and tender places inside of us where we’re like ‘I am not ready for that’ or ‘I cannot do that right now.’ It’s kind of one of these little subtle places where we can get a bit judgmental toward God because we can easily see the command that we have to release, that we have to forgive while also knowing just how deep that pain and injury was and we can look at God and go ‘you just don’t really understand what we’re talking about here.’ The irony is that he does. This Jesus who is speaking these exact words modeled this.
So we haven’t gotten to the first passion narrative, the last days of Jesus’ life, but I’m pretty sure most of you know this. He was nailed to a cross. He was crucified. And what did he say? “Father, forgive them.” He said to forgive the people who were in the process at the moment of killing him. He said forgive them for this. Okay, so he does know what he is talking about and has modeled and lived it.
This year the word that we’re kind of exploring, this margin, is sort of like the space between where we are and the edge, the edge of anything. The space between us and collapse in some sort of way, whether that is a relationship, whether that is a job, whether that is a dream or goal. It doesn’t matter. The space between where we are and the edge. The truth is we live far closer to the edge than we should because there is no margin. One wrong step sends us over the edge to plummet.
Jesus saying what he said about forgiveness is not just a command. It is a gift because it gives us margin in our lives. We are not carrying things that are poison next to our soul anymore. When we forgive, that’s not that we forget the things that have happened. It is that we release the person or the incident or whatever, we release it to God because frankly it is too hot to handle. It is burning us down. It is bringing us toward the edge and that is not shalom. That is not the order and peace and wholeness of God in our lives in all facets. Forgiveness may be a difficult act but it is a huge step toward freedom and spaciousness and shalom.
So there is plenty here on the last day of the first week of the new year for us to consider. Maybe we’ve considered it before, but maybe now it is time to do something about it and finally rid ourselves of the things that we don’t need in our lives anymore and forgiveness is one of those ways.
Father, you haven’t asked us to do something just because it is hard or just because you want to mess with us. Everything that you do is aimed toward our redemption. This whole story that we’ve just begun of taking this journey through the Bible this year is going to reveal nothing but that – that you redeem what you touch and you always redeem. So we invite you into all of this, these dreams that we are carrying around, these things that we’ve kind of laughed off or tried to make happen other ways, these offenses and sins against us that we keep holding onto as if we can be the judge in the situation, we release all of this to you, all of it, all of it. We invite your Holy Spirit to continue to bring up places in us that maybe we’ve even forgotten about that we’re holding onto. We need to rid ourselves of these things and release them to you. So come, Holy Spirit. We ask in Jesus’ name. Amen.
Www.DailyAudioBible.com is the website. It’s where you find out what is going on around here, so be sure to check that out. We’ve kind of gone through all the Daily Audio Bible 101 stuff this week, so I think we’re all on the same page about how to do what. We can buckle in and settle in for the journey of a lifetime through the Bible this year. But www.DailyAudioBible.com, the website is kind of the hub. It is where you find out what is going on, so be sure to check it out and see what people are praying about and maybe even send words of encouragement that way.
If you want to partner with the Daily Audio Bible, you can also do that at www.DailyAudioBible.com. There is a link on the home page. And thank you. The Daily Audio Bible is a community and what we do, we do as a community and when we all do a little bit, then we have this community. So thank you for your partnership. So the link is on the home page. If you use the app, you can push the More button in the lower right-hand corner. Or the mailing address is P.O. Box 1996, Spring Hill, TN 37174.
And, as always, if you have a prayer request or comment, (877) 942-4253 is the number to dial.
And that is it for today. I’m Brian. Well done on the first week. I’ll be waiting for you here tomorrow.
Community Prayer Requests and Praise Reports
Hi Dabbers. This is Jack from Sac. Every New Year’s when we make our resolutions, reading the entire Bible is often on the list and we get busy, much too busy and the simple thing becomes harder and harder. When we think about it, we begin to feel guilty and decide not to think about it and we don’t, until the year turns one more time. We fall into two patterns. The easy pattern: We make it harder than it has to be followed by losing interest in it followed by convincing ourselves it doesn’t need doing. The first step in the insight easy is often good and it is for a higher value to know God through his word. The second pattern is the hard pattern. Most people who don’t listen to the DAB don’t because they don’t like to listen to the Bible and the truth is there are things that are good for us that we just don’t like doing. If we liked it, we would do it. So there are two conclusions I would like to make. First, don’t make it hard. It’s easy. And second, set your goal to always do today’s DAB, not the entire Bible. Don’t ever say I’m behind. Do today’s DAB and let yesterday and tomorrow be. Yes, it is noble to want to do the DAB every day, 365 days and no, you have not failed if you don’t. if you miss a day, you’re not behind. You are on today’s DAB just where God wants you. I love you guys. And stay on today’s DAB. This is Jack from Sac. Take care.
Hey DAB community. It’s Cory up in Southeast Saskatchewan. Here it is December 31st, last day of the year and I’m finally caught up. I started late…well, in about March this year and I was trying to go back from the start, and so just being caught up and live, it’s kind of exciting for me. It’s a big deal for me. So I’m looking forward to that and being in step with everybody now. As I’m thinking here about 2017 and the word margin and how that looks in my life, I don’t want to forget about 2016 and healthy. Man, Brian, the word healthy is very appropriate in my life. I’m a guy that has suffered from severe depression. I was probably close to 400 pounds a couple times in my life. I’ve had chronic weight swings. I’ve had suicidal thoughts in my life. I’ve been in dark places and right now my life is so, so much better. So just unpacking the Bible and figuring out how that looks in my life. I just turned 40 years old yesterday on the 30th of December and so it’s kind of a big deal in a guy’s life. I’ve given a lot of thought to the word healthy in the past year and I’m trying to make that stick. So even as we look forward to margin, I want to make sure that the discipline and everything that goes into being healthy stays and hopefully takes root in my life going forward here. I appreciate those themes and I’m trying to work them into my life. Yeah, I appreciate all you guys as well. Looking forward to 2017. Thanks guys. Bye.
Hi everyone. Happy New Year. This is Dawn from New York calling to say Happy New Year to my beautiful sisters and brothers around the world and welcome, welcome to the new listeners. We’re all so happy you decided to join us this year. Yay! Welcome. You made a great decision to join the Daily Audio Bible community. It is great to listen to scripture together every day and there will be lots of other precious, fun, joyful surprises along the year as you stick with it and listen to the prayer requests and the other special events that happen through the year. Such a blessing. So, so happy you’re joining us. Welcome, welcome new listeners. I want to thank everybody who stood together to pray for the word healthy in our lives this year. It took about five months for me to take some action steps to really have that percolate through my life this past year, but thank God I’m ending the year healthier than I began and I’m really looking forward to margin. That was wonderful to hear that word for this year. Thank you so much. Anyway, I just wish everyone a beautiful new year. Yes, it is spiritual nutrition for us. I loved the Family Christmas program. Thank you, everybody who called in. And the one sister at the end who said that we take our vitamins D, A, B every day, oh, that was great! I loved it. It is so true. So its spiritual nutrition, good for our souls. His mercies are new every morning. Great is his faithfulness. God bless you all. God bless all of us in this new year and may we be encouraged by God and hope and encourage one another. God bless you all. Happy New Year!
I recently got a visit from an old friend who has just been released from jail. He said he wanted to walk in the newness of life, but he had a mindset predestined to fail. He was shocked when he saw that I was now blind, but he was even more shocked when he saw that I really didn’t mind. And then when I told him that I also now have cancer, he was so stunned with unbelief that he couldn’t even answer. I told him that I had taken my old ways and my old life humbly before God and asked him if he would be willing to forgive. And God gave me such a powerful reassurance of his love that I now have a profound contentment while I live. Profound contentment, powerful peace, joy and blessings that continually increase. A life built on giving and service to others. A life in which all men of all races can live life as brothers. The more that I give, the more I receive. The more I read God’s word, the more I believe. And those of you who know me, know I don’t need any validation. My resume has been written across this whole entire nation and if God can change me, he can definitely change you. In fact, God is the only one I know who has the power to make a life new. I guess the question is do you really want change? Do you really want new? Or are you just looking for some new way to make it do what it do? I’m going to tell you, just like I told my friend too. If God can change me, he can most definitely change you too. BlindTony1016@gmail.com. Happy New Year, everybody. I’d like to give a shout-out to Delta Alpha Foxtrot, haven’t heard from you in a while, Brother. Hope you’re still hanging in there. Yeah, David F. And Michelle, it was nice hearing from you. Haven’t heard your voice in a while. Anyway, as usual…
Happy New Year everybody. This is Alicia from Kansas. I called to say welcome to all the new listeners who have just found the Daily Audio Bible. You have found a wonderful, wonderful family of believers who will listen to your prayers. They will pray with you, pray for you. I encourage you to check out the website. I encourage you to check out the Facebook page and the Prayer Wall. It is hard sometimes. I get very uncomfortable calling in, but if you have a prayer need, please call. Please let us know. Please share with us. Do not be frightened. Do not let pride or fear or shame stand in the way. To everybody else who has been listening for the past 11 years, as we go into our 12th year, which is a fantastic number, I just say to everybody shalom. Thank you. Have a blessed year and great day. Bye-bye.
Hello family. Today is January 1st and I’m on my way to find my daughter who is raging. She suffers from borderline personality disorder and she is threatening to kill herself and I know that this will be played long after my crisis is over, but God knows what I need and he knows reaching out is the most important thing I could do. So I just ask, please, that you would help give me the strength to show tough love and please just cover my daughter, Raegan, in your prayers and ask God to come for her because I know that is the only thing that is going to heal her. Thank you, family. I love you. In Jesus’ name. Amen.