Daniel 8:1-27, 1 John 2:1-17, Psalms 120:1-7, Proverbs 28:25-26
Today is December 1st. Welcome to the Daily Audio Bible. I am Brian and, of course, it is great to be here with you today as we greet this, the final month of the year. So, today is the 335th day of the year 2017 and we just have a short distance to go in time to complete this year, but we have a lot of ground to cover in the Scriptures and we’ll be covering it quickly as we move through the final books of the Bible. So, this week we’ve been reading from the Contemporary English Version, which is what we’ll continue to do. Daniel chapter 8 verses 1 through 27 today.
So, as we begin to explore the second chapter of first John, we see a juxtaposition between our claims and our actions. So, the difference between what we say and what we do. So, basically, John starts out saying, I’m writing this letter, what’s being said here is to help you remember that you do not have to live in sin, but if you do sin, Jesus is an advocate to the Father for us because Jesus sacrifice takes away all sin, all of our sin, and all of the world’s peoples sin. So, basically, he’s saying, if what I’m about to tell you convicts you in your heart and exposes sin in your actions then you know there is forgiveness and a way to move forward. And then he moves into our claims. If we claim to know God and don’t obey God. Right? So, if we say we know God but don’t, through our deeds and thoughts and words, obey him, we’re lying. The truth isn’t in our hearts. It’s an indicator to us that we know God and belong to Him if we obey Him and walk with Him. And if we say we are His then we must follow the example of Christ. In other words, we must be Christ-like, we must be like Christ. So, in other words, this isn’t just something you can say, it’s something that you have to become and it’s something that you have to be. And just because you say it doesn’t mean it’s true. Your life is actually speaking the truth. And then he goes on to say, like, this isn’t a new story, like, I’m not issuing a new commandment here, this is what you’ve been told from the very beginning. And if you will open your eyes to it, you will be able to see that the darkness is fading away around you and the true light is already shining. And if we’re going to claim that we’re walking in that light then you can’t just say that you’re walking in the light and it be so. So, to quote John, ‘if we claim, if we say, that were in the light and hate someone, we’re not in the light, we’re still in the dark. If we love others we’re in the light, but if we live with hate in our heart toward people then we’re in the dark.’ And if we’re in the dark, well, that should explain a lot. We don’t know where we’re going because we can’t see. So, John is bringing important point - talk is cheap. You can say anything, but if your thoughts and deeds do not match your words, then it’s not true. So, what is it that pulls us toward this mismatch? So, there is a dichotomy between the person who says all the right things but doesn’t live them at all and the person who lives what they say. What is it that pulls us toward being false? According to John, it’s the world. And he’s not referring to planet Earth. He’s talking about the world system. So, what are we talking about when we talk about the world system? Are we talking about grocery stores? Are we talking about national governments? Are we talking about the Internet? Are we talking about drive-through windows? It’s bigger than that. Way back at the beginning of the year we read Genesis chapter 3 and the fall of man and separation of God and humanity, a total breaking of how things were always supposed to be. And, so, what we’re talking about here is everything that came next, mankind’s attempt to create for itself an existence on this earth apart from God. So, he’s saying, if you put your faith and hope in that system, a system that was invented to exalt the ingenuity of man and diminish the need for God, then man is at the top of that pyramid, there’s nowhere else to go, and God is not in that. So, to quote John, ‘if you love the world, you cannot love the Father.’ But then he explains it, and in explaining it, he concisely explains pretty much all of our conflicts. ‘Our foolish pride comes from this world’, John says. And how is that? Because without God there is no other place to get identity than from other people and our value is based on how well were doing compared to someone else, which can only lead us to pride. And John says that leads us into all of our selfish desires. Right? So, our self-absorption, our desire to acquire more, to do more, to achieve more. And those things aren’t wrong, but when the underlying motivator, the reason for them, is to give ourselves a sense of progress by rising above others, and shining a light on ourselves, then this comes from the world system and it won’t work. Or our desire to have everything we see. Right? So, to fill our lives with stuff so that we don’t have to deal with the emptiness in the center of our soul. This is the world system and it won’t work. And, so, all the sudden this does really become vivid and clear and with a bit of self-examination it definitely cuts through the clutter and gets down to what is motivating our actions and our words and the things that we think about. According to John, none of this comes from the Father and it will get us nowhere because that whole system is in the process of disappearing and fading away. And if we’re going to live by that system then we’re going to disappear and fade away with it. But, John says, if we obey God, which was his first point, not that we say we belong to God, but that we walk with God, and obey God, and know that we belong to God and are God’s people. If we obey God, John says, we will live forever. So, the pull of culture is no small thing. It influences us in every conceivable way. And we could just denounce the whole cultural system of interaction among people, but that would be throwing the baby out with the bathwater because what we’re talking about here is what is underneath that, the plot behind the story - what motivates us to do the things that we do. It brings us to the ‘why of things’. If we take some time to examine ourselves and our motivations, we find that our deepest insecurities are tied to our attempts to make life work without God. And, so, we react in pride, we react in selfishness. We react by trying to surround ourselves with stuff so that we don’t have to think about the emptiness, the fear of trying to create an identity outside of God. And this gets us in touch with our true self. The whole point John’s trying to make is, hey, if you acknowledge that there’s forgiveness, you don’t have to live like this. You’re invited to be swept up into a dance with eternal life. You’re invited to be given an identity by your Creator and not by people who are ultimately going to let you down, no matter what. You’re invited into a much larger story here. And things are only going to work as they were designed to work and humans were created to be intertwined in relationship with God.
Father, this gives us plenty to think about, and it’s at the core level. It’s at the level of our motivations and the why of what we do. And, so, we invite Your Holy Spirit there because that’s as deep as we can go, that’s at the core of our identity. And this world system has told us a lot of things about ourselves and we’ve believed a lot of things. And in a lot of ways we develop those convictions aside from you, without You. And we see that that’s never going to work. And, so, we throw our hands up in surrender and invite Your Holy Spirit to envelop and indwell us, speaking words of truth about who we really are, and especially who we are to You because what else matters? Your approval, Your smile upon us is so much more valuable that any construct we could make that would give us context and identity. And it would be false anyway. It is You we seek and it is us You seek. So, come, Holy Spirit and speak truth into our lives and keep us here because we also acknowledge that this will get stolen from us if we will let it. Come, Holy Spirit, show us our true identity wrapped up in You and You alone. We pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.
dailyaudiobible.com is the website. It’s home base. It’s where you find out what’s going on around here.
It’s obviously Christmas time around here and everywhere else in the world. So, the annual Daily Audio Bible Christmas Box is available at dailyaudiobible.com in the shop in the Christmas section. And it is chock full of goodies that you get to pick what you’re going to keep and what you’re going to give away. So, check that out.
Early registration for the More Gathering that is coming up this April is happening now. And you can find out all about that, everything that you would want to know about it dailyaudiobible.com in the Initiatives section. And this is a unique and remarkable gift idea. So, check that out.
And just check out the other things that are in the shop. All of our journaling and writing options are in the shop. And if you’re planning to move through the Bible next year, journal your way. We’ve got a number of resources available for that and those bundles make a great gift idea. So, check that out in the Daily Audio Bible shop as well.
If you want to partner with the Daily Audio Bible, you can do that at dailyaudiobible.com. There is a link on the homepage. If you prefer, the mailing address is PO Box 1996 Spring Hill, Tennessee 37174.
And as always, if you have a prayer request or comment 877-942-4253 is the number to dial.
And that’s it for today. I’m Brian I love you and I’ll be waiting for you here tomorrow as we begin the final month of the year.
Community Prayer Requests and Praise Reports:
Hey Daily Audio Bible family. It’s Elbonita from Kentucky, once in Charlotte, now actually in Virginia. So, last time I called I told you my nephew David got hit by a car. I’m happy to report that he’s doing well, he’s healing well. So, thank you all so much for the prayers. I am a month behind in the Daily Audio Bible readings. So, I’m trying to get caught up but I wanted you all to know how he’s doing and how he’s recovering. I got married October 6th to a lovely man named David and so we just moved to Virginia and so if you all could keep us in prayer as we transition to this this new place, 2 becoming the 1. I can’t believe I married a pastor but I did. And, so, I will keep you all posted on our adventures. I hope all is well and talk to you all soon. Love you much. Bye.
Hi, this is a call in for Joyful Noise from Southern California. As I listened to your message I saw a vision of two women around a table and I was there and I put my hands up to pray for the one woman in need and as I did the power of God came into me in such a way that it forced me down to my knees. And, so, I heard your prayer request for your daughter and I’m going to be praying for you because when I heard the word, the command for her soul, my spirit was on fire. So, you know that, sister, that I’ll be praying for your daughter, daily, as I do and God bless you. Be reassured that God’s power is great in this and I’ve never been forced down like that before. So, trust in God and be faithful to Him and you’ll get through this. God bless you.
Hi this message is for Zoey’s mom, Zoey who just turned 21 on November 19th, which is also my birthday. So, that’s part of the reason I called I guess. So, I wanted to call because I have three pieces of…you know…just motivation for you and hopefully this will bring a little more ease. For one thing, when your message played, it was the same day that Brian read Daniel’s asking his friends Meshach, Shadrach, and Abednego, to pray for him to be able to interpret Nebuchadnezzar’s dream and it came through. So, anyway, I thought that was kind of cool. The second thing is, I also have a 20-year-old son who, he’s in New York and I’m in California, and he’s…we are…you know…very similar…he’s not…he’s a great kid…he really is…but needs to…just hasn’t found God and I think he’s…he’s got other issues going on too…and sexually identity and stuff like that that he’s working on. And, you know, he’s just part of this world and the only thing that I’ve been able to do successfully is pray for him. Your message was just wonderful and I’m sure God’s putting on your heart exactly right but you know it’s the thing we have to do for our children, especially when they become adults because God gave us free will…you know…from the day…from the day that Adam and Eve took the apple and we are able to do what we want and turning to God is a choice that we have to make as an adult. And, in fact, that being said, me turning to God didn’t happen until I was 35. In fact, there was a point in time when I even told my grandmother I was a Christian. I stepped away…I am a scientist…I stepped away from God for a long, long, time and one day things just happened that connected and it took me a really…
Hey everybody. Hey, this is Annette from the swamplands of Louisiana. Oh Lord. I have three praise reports I’ve got to tell you guys. You’re not even going to believe this. Okay. First of all, I have had the most awesome trip going across the nation from Oklahoma down to Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama…boy… South Carolina, the beautiful cotton fields of Georgia. I have gone through every back road town in this whole country and I have had an amazing trip and meeting so many wonderful, wonderful people. It actually has restored me faith in this country of how many good and wonderful people there actually are here, despite what the news says…uhhhh. Okay. Praise report number two. I went to go see my brother up in Edgefield South Carolina and when my dad had gone to the bathroom, I like point blank asked my brother Charlie…I said…you know Charlie…I’ve got something on my mind…I’ve got to ask you. And he’s like oh what’s that Netty? And I said…you know…I said…you know…I think about this all the time and…you know…I just got to know that you are square with the Lord. He’s like, you mean have I killed somebody? I go no, no, no man. I was like…you know…if you were to die today do you know with all certainty that you are going to go to heaven? And he goes…like…do you mean do I believe in God and all that stuff? And I was like ya…you know…and you know. And he’s goes…well of course I do…what would make you think I that I don’t?. And I’m just like…he kicked my tail man…it was awesome. He goes…what do think it is that gets me through all these days in this prison?
This is Candice from Oregon. I heard your call Kayla from Nashville and I went back to…actually looking for something else because of a really big and difficult event that’s going on between me and my husband’s family as of yesterday. But it was you I heard again. I know the Lord wanted me to hear you again. Kayla, I have a message for you. Jesus, the Holy Spirit, and God the Father love you so deeply. And the voice that you hear in the morning that says that you’re not loved, that is not from them. So, take every thought captive, lift it up high over your head, and through it crashing to the ground because that is a lie. You are so loved. He has counted every hair on your head. And Kayla, we’re not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, we are of those who believe and are saved. I have been really directed by God through callers to the Daily Audio Bible to reconcile with my sister and it’s unimaginable. I can’t imagine how this is going to take place, but I know I need to move forward on it in any way that I can find. And I’m really motivated now because we got news that my husband’s sister died and I realized that every day is a gift, every day matters. Be loved Kayla.