Daniel 9:1-11:1, 1 John 2:18-3:6, Psalms 121:1-8, Proverbs 28:27-28
Today is the second day of December. Welcome to the Daily Audio Bible. I am Brian. It’s great to be here with you today as we close down another week, which means that tomorrow will begin the first full week of December and today would’ve been my father’s birthday. He’s been experiencing shalom, wholeness, rest, and health for 16 years now, but I always remember his birthday. I don’t always say it, but I always remember his birthday because his influence in my life is so profound. He’s the most influential man I’ve ever known and he gave me the foundation that my life is built around and was the first person to teach me the Bible as a pastor. So, today would’ve been his birthday. And what a more fitting thing to do than to take the next step forward in the Scriptures. We have been reading from the Contemporary English Version all of this week, which we’ll do today. Daniel chapter 9 verse 1 through 11 verse 1.
Okay. So, have you ever dealt with doubt in your faith? I mean, that’s a bit of a rhetorical question because at one point or another we probably all have for various reasons. And if we’re honest, a good majority, a generous majority of that comes from God not doing what we want Him to do. We’ll actually talk about that a little bit in tomorrow’s reading, but doubt and walking away from the faith has a lot to do with what we read today. So, let’s take a little look out why that was happening, what was happening, and the solution that leads us right back to the original leap of faith we took in the first place, when we believed. So, let’s dive into this a little bit. John says, ‘it’s the last hour and as you’ve heard the enemy of Christ is coming.’ Right? So, the anti-Christ is coming ‘and there’s a lot of enemies, antichrists, that have already come and that’s how we know it’s the last hour. They went out from us, but they were not of us, for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us, but they went out, and it might become plain that they all are not of us.’ So, pretty long sentence that basically says, if they had been with us for real they would’ve never left in the first place, but they did. And why did they doubt? And why were they willing to walk away? And not just walk away, but become an enemy of Christ? And what does that even mean? So, we’re going to have to peel this back like an onion. So, several days ago we talked about the worldview of the early believers and their expectation that the return of Christ was imminent and that the new world that they were expecting was upon them. And this is known as an apocalyptic worldview that, in many ways, we share even today. So, we see this in first John, right off the bat, in our reading today. It is the last hour and as you have heard, enemies of Christ are coming. Even now many antichrists have come. Therefore, we know that it is the last hour. So, this is how we know, kind of, what they’re thinking or specifically what John’s thinking. And from there, he talks about people who have doubted and walked away, and even become anti-Christ or an enemy of Christ. But, why would someone doubt like that and completely turn their back and walk away? Well, in part, it’s because what they thought was immediate and imminent didn’t happen that way, which eventually compelled some people to deny their faith and walk away. And in some cases, not just walk away, but become an enemy of the faith. And John basically is saying they we’re…it was never real…they were never with us from the beginning. And if we go one layer below that we can surmise that these people were signing up to be a part of this new world. They didn’t want to miss out on this imminent change and they wanted to have a place in this new thing, but when it wasn’t delivered in the time period they were expecting, right, so, when they didn’t get what they wanted when they wanted it, they fell away and became antagonistic. Because rather than getting this new world and a place in it, they were getting ridicule, marginalization, and persecution. So, what were these people saying that made them anti-Christ or the enemy of Christ? John tells us. ‘He who denies the Father and the Son is the enemy of Christ.’ Now, we can read past that and just go dah, but John is referring to something that is specifically happening in the stew that was the early formation of the church. Many things were being thought and said about Jesus and the implications of Jesus and they were coming from a lot of different perspectives. So, for example, Jewish people had no problem acknowledging God, but they had a much more difficult time acknowledging Jesus as being one with the Father. And from the Gentile side you had a culture of philosophy and a pantheon of gods, largely influenced by Greek culture, which could and did lead to conclusions of its own. So, John denounces this. He says, ‘a liar is anyone who says that Jesus isn’t truly Christ. Anyone who says this is an enemy of Christ and rejects both the Father and the Son. If we reject the Son, we reject the Father, but if we say that we accept the Son then we have the Father.’ So, he’s refuting specific things that are going around. And then he offers counsel and instruction for those who have decided to remain true to Jesus. ‘Keep thinking about the message you first heard and you will always be one in your heart with the Son and with the Father. It is the Son who has promised us eternal life. And, so, I’m writing to warn you about these people who are misleading you. But Christ has blessed you with the Holy Spirit. Now the Spirit stays in you and you don’t need any teachers. The Spirit is truthful and teaches you everything. So, stay one in your heart with Christ just as the Spirit has taught you to do.’ So, John isn’t saying, don’t ask questions of your faith, don’t continue to grow deeper in your understanding of it, or anything like that. He’s specifically saying, anything that denies that Jesus is the Christ or anything that separates Jesus from the Father isn’t true. That is the bedrock of the faith and when you encounter this all you have to do is go back to the beginning. This is what you were told from the beginning. Go back to that place. And this is supremely good advice for all of us who believe, especially when we’re going through a patch where we can’t remember why. Go back to the beginning and you will remember.
Father, we believe that and we thank You for the gift of your Son, we thank You for the presence of the Holy Spirit in our lives, leading us deeper into You, into collaboration and union with You. And, so, we go back. We go back to the beginning, to the moment that we met You, we think about that moment when our hearts awakened to the truth, to what’s really going on here. And we invite your Holy Spirit to remind us of what we know is true. We ask this in Jesus’ name. Amen.
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Tomorrow, as we start a new week, we begin the season of Advent. Tomorrow is the first Sunday in Advent and many of you already know that and some of you are like, yeah, I’ve heard of it, I don’t really participate in anything like that, which is fine, but it’s a beautiful tradition that’s ancient in the faith and its intentions are to simply point our hearts in a very busy time toward what’s really going on here - the longing for the Savior to come. In the Christmas story, this puts us in the place where we are waiting for God to move in this way, but we also acknowledge that we are still longing, we are waiting for the second Advent, Advent meaning arrival, coming. We are waiting for Christ’s return. So, tomorrow, when you get your Daily Audio Bible, there will be a second program available. And to inaugurate the Advent season, I’ve grabbed chapter 1 of the audio addition of my book Sneezing Jesus, which is called Advent, to move our hearts toward this and help us focus on the reason for this season. So, look for that tomorrow and use it to set your hearts posture.
And, of course, there are some of the things going on.
The More Gathering for women, our annual women’s conference is open for early registration. It will take place in the mountains of Georgia, just outside of Atlanta, in April. And it’s certainly a good thing to look forward to and makes for a very unique and life-changing gift. So, you can find out all about that at dailyaudiobible.com. Just find the initiatives section and everything that you would want or need to know is there.
And then the Daily Audio Bible Christmas Box that we do every year and try to pack it full of resources, some that you’ll want to keep, some that you’ll want to give away is also available at dailyaudiobible.com in the Daily Audio Bible shop. And as is always the case, they’re going fast. So, check that out.
Also in the shop, and a great gift idea, is the Daily Audio Bible Journal, paired with any of the writing utensils and paraphernalia that we have in the shop, a great way to plan to Journal your way through your life next year and chronicle your way through the Bible. We’ve always encouraged journaling around here because it becomes invaluable when things get misty. It’s good to be able to look back over the years and see where you’ve come from. So, all of that is available in the Daily Audio Bible shop as well.
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And that’s it for today. I’m Brian I love you. Happy birthday dad. I’ll be waiting for all of us here tomorrow.
Community Prayer Requests and Praise Reports:
Hi there. This message is for Gloria. And Gloria, I just wanted to say, regarding your mom, I think you might have listened to the Daily Audio Bible for this last community prayer. So, you can reach out to me. But I’m going to pray for a sign for you. God is in this. And I think the community will too. So, what I would say is this, we search the dark side of the soul and that’s a period of time where it feels like God is not in our life, but He is, and He’s working powerfully. When do you know that it’s ended? And that is that you receive an abundance of blessings that come. I will say I’ve been through it before and more than once that has been the case. So, trust that the Lord is with your mom even in dementia. And too, I would say this is about your brother, that the Lord goes to the end of the world to save every soul and I believe He will be using this to save him. And if your mother knew this is what it was all about, would she not agree to it? Would she not agree to it? And would you not too, if in the end it will mean peace between you and him and that you would rejoice in him making it to heaven? So, just know that I’m glad you’re reaching out so we can pray for you. God bless. Bye. And for your brother. Yes. And for your mother. Amen. God bless.
Hi this is Kristi and God just impressed upon my heart to call because I have three little kids and I love them to death but…you know…as a mom with three little kids under the age of 6, sometimes you just lose your cool and yell. And I’ve just been easily…just been quick to anger lately. And So, God is really convicting me about that and my life group’s praying for me at church, but just to share it here, too, so I can have more people praying. And then I just wanted to offer a prayer to all the other moms like me who are struggling too. And just say, God I thank You that anger isn’t something we have to experience in order to be able to handle __ and I pray that You will help us do it well and that we will help our children and be slow to anger and patient and gentle teachers. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
Hi family, it’s Sally from Massachusetts. I want to thank everyone for their prayers. I know people are praying for me. I can feel it and God is parting waters for me. I want to pray for everyone who listens to the Daily Audio Bible. Please pray with me. Holy Spirit, please fill us with Your presence. Intervene for us on our behalf as we pray for every single person that listens to the Daily Audio Bible and visits the prayer wall and does not call in and for everyone who calls in with a prayer request. Lord, You know our struggles. You know those of us that are suffering with a loss of a loved one, those of us who are waiting for the impending death of a loved one, You know those of us with financial struggles, You know those of us who are trying to pass a class, You know those of us who are waiting for promotions at work, You know those of us who are waiting for You to open doors to find a job, You know the struggles of those of us who are sick, You know the struggle of us those of us who are facing the holidays alone and want so much to be a part of something. Father God, we come to You because we believe in You. We believe in the power of prayer. Please, God, answer our prayer. Comfort us, love us, Lord. Open doors for us, close doors for us, help us recognize when a door is closed on something that we want it’s because you have something far more than we could ever ask. Please help us trust in You. In the name of Jesus Christ our Savior. Amen.
Hi Daily Audio Bible people. This is Elaine from Victoria and it’s November 27th and God is so merciful and kind and loving. I was on my knees yesterday, Sunday, asking for God’s mercy through this trial of family. And I had a mission. I wanted to go to Shoppers Drug Mart to get a special Christmas card for a friend in prison and as I entered the door of Shoppers, I was met with a lady from the cosmetic counter remarking on what a beautiful day - the sun was going through the window. And she said, it’s a beautiful day to go to church. And I said, yes, that’s what I’m doing today. We shared our plights with each…we had children…saving Lords…we shared with each other and I asked her name. Her name was Bonnie and told her my name and she just hugged me…hugged me…a sister…because she belonged to __ Pentecostal church and I belong to ___ church. So, she just hugged me. She said…oh sweetheart…it was a God divined, appointed meeting of two sisters wanting to share the love of Jesus. Now I want to…He’s given me such peace in this trial. So, Lord God, just be with all my brothers and sisters at Daily Audio Bible. Let them enjoy Your presence. Just get into the Word people, get into the Word. He meets you there. He does meet you there.
Hi this is Drew from the bay area again, calling back. This is for Gloria. Gloria and those like Gloria; Sharon and Shannon and Lee, Chris, Kerry, Rebecca, Rhombi. My sisters, I love you and my brothers that are going through the same thing, Jordan. And this is for myself. This goes to Psalm 40, I believe it is, but I would ask you to close your eyes and imagine that you’re little eaglet’s and you’ve just been blown out of a high nest in a serious storm and you’re falling, falling, falling, bouncing off the edge of a cliff and then you stop and you grab on, you just fall on a ledge, you grab on mercy and you’re stuck there in this storm. Imagine yourself, cold and wet, and you call out to the Lord. You call out to the Lord and you don’t think He hears you. The storm is roaring, there’s rain and lightning, you’re alone, and you’re certain that you’re going to fall off the cliff and die, but You call out and you call out and then the storm breaks. The sun opens up through the cliff, you can see, you can the sun, and you feel it’s warmth, and you’re still scared and shivering. But you’re an eaglet. God has opened up the skies for you. And you’ve called out to him and he’s answered. And you’re an eaglet. You’re not a chicken or turkey. You’re an eaglet. And God has giving you everything you need to be and eagle.