Lamentations 1:1-2:22; Philemon 1:1-25; Psalms 101:1-8; Proverbs 26:2
Today is the 29th day of October, welcome to the Daily Audio Bible. And here we are at the threshold of us sparkly, shiny, new week. And we’ve got some ground to cover this week. Before the week is over, we will enter a new month and we’re going to begin four, that’s right, four books in the Scriptures this week. So, in the Old Testament, we will read through the book of Lamentations, which are about to get to in just a minute, and then begin the book of Ezekiel, and in the New Testament we’ll read Paul’s letter to Philemon, which we will read today, and then move our way into the book of Hebrews. So, we’ve got some ground cover and let’s get to it. We’re going to read from the Good News translation this week and we will begin by beginning the book of Lamentations. And the book of Lamentations is a book that contains five poems and their poems of lament and grief. And this lament is over the fall and destruction of Jerusalem. And we covered some of that territory as we read through Jeremiah’s prophecies. So, in Hebrew this book is called Ica, which means, ‘how could this happen’. And, of course, we know how it could happen. Jeremiah, the prophet, warned over and over - over decades of impending doom if the children of Israel didn’t return from their wicked ways and now the prophecy has come true. And although Lamentations doesn’t claim an author and there’s really no definitive proof, we have church tradition that tells us that the prophet Jeremiah wrote these Lamentations. So, we don’t let for a fact, but he was obviously intimate with this scenario, and in the same time period. So, Lamentations was probably written somewhere in early, 587 BC, as the Babylonians conquered and then completely destroyed Jerusalem in 586. Whether Jeremiah wrote this or not, someone who was an eyewitness probably did. And today in Jewish culture, on the ninth day of Ob, which is July 16th on the western calendar, Lamentations is read on a day of fasting to commemorate the fall of Jerusalem. And as each poem is read it provides a backdrop for personal reflection. Lamenting, that’s never something that we sign up for. Lamenting is never an easy thing. Grief is certainly hard but it also has a way of washing us clean because it strips us away until all that’s left is what is true, what is bedrock, in our lives. And it can be intensely painful, for sure, but it’s also freeing in hindsight. And when we’ve fallen into the depths and there’s no more depths to go to, then we find there’s hope, there’s nowhere to go but up. The euphemism says there is hope for our future. And we can find this in this book of Lamentations much hope in our personal reflection. And, so, we began Lamentations chapter 1 verse 1 through 2 verse 22.
Okay. So, as we enter the New Testament portion of our reading today, we come to the book of Philemon. It’s just a little personal letter from the apostle Paul that we will read today, all in one sitting. And it’s written to a church leader in the church at Colossae, so, the Colossians, and his name was Philemon. So, Philemon was one of the more wealthy and influential churchmen and in a strange twist of divine providence, Philemon had a servant and his name was Onesimus. And Onesimus ran away and probably stealing from Philemon, so stealing from his master in the process. And Onesimus ends up, not in Colossae, but in Rome, where Paul is under house arrest. And, so, this runaway servant Onesimus comes under Paul’s teachings and then becomes a follower of Jesus and becomes, kind of, like the servant of Paul, attends to Paul’s needs. So, Paul’s written a letter to the Colossians. Right? He wrote the letter to the Colossians we have in the New Testament and he’s preparing to send it back with another servant named Tychicus. But then he writes this very short personal letter to go along with the letter to the Colossians, to the church at Colossae. He pens this personal letter to Philemon and then sends Onesimus, the runaway servant, with Tychicus back to Colossae. And the short of this little personal letter is, it packs a punch. It shows us the importance of forgiveness and it shows us that, no matter what our level of authority is over another person, if they are a believer then they are a brother or sister and we’re to treat them like family. And it also shows us a perfect example of how God does, in fact, work all things together for the good of those who love Him. And, so, with that, we read the letter to Philemon.
Okay. So, we’ve already talked quite a bit about the letter and the book that we entered into today. And we can see as we were the first couple of chapters of Lamentations that it’s a gut punch. And it leads us into emotions and territory that are things we try to avoid. And that’s why it’s here. Because we shouldn’t avoid these things. We should invite the Holy Spirit into them and as we read these poems allow the Holy Spirit to move us through lament. Right? And, so, maybe we haven’t, you know, lived in a city with walls that have been torn down and a temple that has been destroyed…like those things…that we have witnessed through Jeremiah and now Lamentations. But we all have regrets. We all have things we’re like, you know, I could’ve done that better, I wish I had done that differently. And, yeah know, now I’m going through what I’m going through because of that, or that sent me into a really hard season. So, a lot of times because it was hard, because it was painful, we try to suppress and repress even going there, like, even thinking about it anymore, like, it is so painful. But the thing is, it’s still inside of us, like, it still inside. It’s still there. Like, it may be shoved up into the attic or down into the basement of our hearts, but it’s still there. And the Holy Spirit uses times of lament to bring us back so that He can heal those places rather than allowing them to continue to seep poison into our lives. And that’s the invitation as we go through books like Lamentations.
And then, obviously, this little short letter to Philemon from the apostle Paul is a treasure to have because we only have a few personal letters and the personal letters are mostly pastoral in nature. And, so, here’s this personal letter to a man who kind of leads a home church. And he’s basically saying, Onesimus is my son in the faith now and he has served me and I would like him to continue to serve me but he is yours so I’m sending it back to you in hopes that you will send him back to me. So, just as little glimpse into some sort of the back story of what’s going on, aside from Paul giving theology and doctrine instruction. This is like a little side personal thing that gives us a glimpse into his existence and his circumstances as he’s imprisoned in Rome.
And then we come to the proverb. And we can’t not talk about that for just a second, Gossip. Gossip is like cancer. I have witnessed this so many times in so many contexts. And gossip takes on many forms but usually always is paired with, married to, assumptions. So, gossip doesn’t become gossip until assumptions are made and the blanks are filled in and the story is formulated and little bits from here and there are collected. Right? And then it’s spoken to somebody else and passed around and the person that’s being referred to isn’t even there to speak. And, so, when they find out that people have been talking about them behind their backs, ok, then there’s a confrontation and there’s quarreling and there’s argument and then there’s separation, then there’s factions, then this whole community that’s involved is divided and you’ve got all kinds of problems. We’ve probably all seen this, maybe participated in it, maybe been on the receiving end of it. But when have you ever seen gossip work out for good? When have you ever seen a gossip, a person who collects all these little pieces of information and then tries to fill in the blanks and start spreading these things around, when have you seen that work out in a good way? It just never does and hasn’t for a long time because we’re reading ancient wisdom here, thousands and thousands of years old, and it didn’t work then. So, we should get a clue that, as juicy as it is in is and as entertaining as it might be, people’s lives aren’t there to entertain you and that division never works out well. The proverb tells us without wood a fire goes out. So, we know that right? You have a bonfire, it’s autumn, you have a bonfire out in the back somewhere, it’s roaring, everybody’s having a good time and then you pull all the logs out of the fire and fire goes out. The proverb says, that’s how it works with gossip. When you don’t have it, because gossip is the fuel, it’s the wood of the bonfire, if you remove it than the division and quarreling will stop. We should remember this. All our words matter. All our words are creating the reality we live in and words spoken as gossip are only adding fuel to a fire that is going to be tremendously destructive in the end.
Father. We acknowledge this. We know this is true, and even in the context of the book of Lamentations, it may be our words, it may be gossip and quarreling and division and divisiveness that we have regrets over that we need to invite You into and that we need to lament over. So much of our story boils back to our words. And, so, we surrender our tongues, our mouths, our thoughts to You, and acknowledge that, without wood a fire goes out and without gossip quarreling stops. Come, Holy Spirit, and lead us forward. We ask in Jesus’ name. Amen.
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And what’s been going on around here for the last few days is the Global Campfire Initiative – a project that’s been going on behind the scenes for quite a while. And all this year has been focused largely on the brand-new Daily Audio Bible app that is coming very soon. Of course, I told this story in detail last week, and you can just scroll back to last Tuesday and listen to the Global Campfire Initiative if you haven’t had a chance. But we’ve been building a platform that is flexible and secure for this community for a long time and now we’ve been building the app that connects to the platform, giving us a home of our own, one in which we can dream of new ways to stay connected to each other. And it’s so much more, and this is only the beginning. But along with this we have an invitation from the Lord to begin to give it all away. And, so, when this app releases it will be a free app. And, so, in order to take that risk and that big step of faith were inviting the entire community of the Daily Audio Bible to get involved in the Global Campfire Initiative through prayer, certainly, and for those of you who feel compelled and can are we’re asking for help in raising the resources that we need to develop further. So, we have created this commemorative poster, and not just any poster, a Hatch Show Print. So many of you have googled that and found out what I’m talking about. Hatch Show Prints are made one at a time, one color at a time, no computer technology used at all. And they’re made here in the rolling hills of Tennessee and have been made here in the rolling hills of Tennessee since 1879. So, we made 500 of these and we’re just asking for 500 of you who are willing and able to give $200 or more toward the Global Campfire Initiative to contribute toward this need. And as a commemorative of this family, this Daily Audio Bible community and all that we have done together, we’ll send you one of these signed and numbered prints. So, you hang it somewhere and always know that you are a part of something that sends the spoken word of God throughout the earth every single day. So, we’re beginning to come to the close of the Global Campfire Initiative. And, I mean, I cannot thank you enough, those of you who have stepped forward and said yes, this means something to me and I want to pass that forward because it can mean so much to so many who don’t even know about it yet. So, thank you for everyone who has stepped forward as we round the corner on this. We still have a few left. And, so, I’m asking any of you who can get involved, please do. You just have to go to dailyaudiobible.com and just scroll down and you’ll find the Global Campfire Initiative. Just click that and off we’ll go. We’ll send you the Hatch Print and then around November 1st-ish, we will be inviting all of those of you who participated in the Global Campfire Initiative to access the app early, give us some feedback, play with it, and start getting to know it. So, we’re excited about that. So, t’s all at dailyaudiobible.com.
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And that’s it for today. I’m Brian I love you and I’ll be waiting for you here tomorrow.
Community Prayers and Praise Reports:
Hi there Daily Audio Bible family. My name is Joselyn and I am calling from Texas. I have never called in before and I have been listening for about two months and I’m actually behind all of you guys. I started the Daily Audio Bible back in January because I needed to start from the beginning and I needed to listen constantly. I’m calling you guys, first of all, to let you know that I am listening. I am now in April for Daily Audio Bible and I am still praying for you guys. So, those of you that have called months and months and months behind, I hear your prayers and I lift you up constantly. So, for those of you that are still struggling with the things you called about months ago, I am still praying. And I know that time is meaningless to God, so, I am praying for all you guys. I called today because my husband, he has told me he wants a divorce. And we’re both Christians and I don’t believe in divorce. I don’t want a divorce. He meets with the attorney’s today. He’s been very threatening to me. He came to my work and stole a diamond necklace off my neck, just ripped it right off my neck. He’s very angry. He blames me for his alcohol problems. He blames me for his unhappiness. He has just been totally attacked and he’s believing all of these lies. And I am just so lost. I’ve moved out of the house, given him his space and I just ask you all to pray. His name is Rubin and he is saved but he’s totally denying God. He’s not taking any accountability for his behavior and I’ve asked him to go to marriage counseling…
Hi, my name is Heather, I live in Chicago with my husband. I am calling today just desperate for hope. I’ve been a believer for most of my life and I grew up in a Christian home but I’m just severely struggling with depression and with anger and with fear. It’s putting a significant strain on my marriage and I just feel very lonely. I want desperately to walk strongly and soundly with the Lord and I’m just finding that each day is just a new challenge. It’s so hard to just make it through one more day. So, I would just love to have the prayers of the wonderful people in this community. And I’m so grateful that there’s something like this out there. Thank you.
Hi Daily Audio Bible. My name is Shirley M. I am a first-time caller and I’ve been listening for probably 8 months and listen to the Bible, read the Bible, for the very first time. I’ve been a Christian, a believer for many, many years. But today I’m calling because I know the power of prayer. And I have a very good mine, that she just received information yesterday that her daughter, that, I believe 25 years old, her name is Regan W. She’s got breast cancer, aggressive breast cancer, and I just want everybody in this community to pray for her and to get a miracle, that they would take this disease away from her. I don’t know if they are saved but I think they believe in God…but I believe that with a miracle like this that they would turn toward and get their strength from God. We’re all praying and I just want to reach out to the large community because I know the power of prayer. And I ask this in Jesus’ name. Amen.
Hello DAB family. This is abiding in him. I’d love to pray for Rayna in Los Angeles. Heavenly Father, we come before You on behalf of our sister Rayna, whose body has turned on her and caused great pain and fatigue and a great deal of pressure on her, pressure that won’t let her do well at her job, that she cannot focus and function, the pressure of being alone. Lord our heart goes out for our sister. We are so thankful that she reached out to the community Lord and we together lift up holy hands over her and stretched out to You, Lord and ___ You to touch our sister. We don’t why she’s going through this suffering. We don’t know why she having to endure this pain. But we do know that You are faithful and true, that You are righteous and pure and that Your love for us knows no boundaries. So, we turn away from the things we don’t understand Lord and we turn our eyes to You and ask that You touch our sister Rayna with a deep and abiding shalom that will exceed all circumstances and from that place of peace You lift her up full, whole, healthy, sane. We ask Your blessings to reign down on her the way that only You can. In the precious name of Jesus. Amen.