Daniel 11:36-12:13, 1 John 4:1-21, Psalms 123:1-4, Proverbs 29:2-4
Today is December 4th. Welcome to the Daily Audio Bible. I’m Brian. It’s great to be here with you today as it always is and as we take the next step forward in the Scriptures. And it won’t be long now before we can start to see the finish line off in the distance out in front of us. We’re getting close, but we still have a ways to go. And today we will finish up the book of Daniel. So, we’re reading from the English Standard Version this week. Daniel 11:36 through 12:13.
Okay. In first John, we reached the climax of the letter and it’s some thoughts on God’s love and what it does and what it is and how it affects us. And in this reading alone, we have three different passages that are very famous, things that are quoted all of the time. Things like ‘greater is He that is in you than he that is in the world’ or ‘beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God’ or ‘there is no fear in love but perfect love casts out fear’. I mean, this is a formidable trifecta of quotations. So, let’s look at them in their context because we learn so much when we understand the context in which these things are said. So, a lot of this letter is dealing with people who have walked away and subsequently become enemies or anti-Christ’s, even though at one time they were a part of the community of faith. And that thought continues into the first part of today’s reading. And John is basically encouraging his readers to test the spirits, to not believe everything that they’re being told. There’s a lot of false teachers that are out there and he gives us a litmus test, ‘by this you know the Spirit of God, every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist.’ And this is actually specific. So, when John says, ‘every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God’, he’s refuting what he’s calling false teachers, false prophets, spirit of the antichrist. There was a lot of trying to figure out how it is that Jesus works. And this is an oversimplification, but there was a lot of debate about whether or not Jesus was an apparition or a true human flesh and blood person. In other words, was he a divine being, that was simply made visible or was he a divine being made flesh? And we don’t have time to go into all of that right now, but we can safely say that that distinction can spin you off in all kinds of different directions and it did. So, John is clarifying. Anything, anyone that says that Jesus didn’t come in the flesh isn’t from God. So, it’s in that context that John says, ‘little children, you are from God and have overcome them’. And ‘them’ that John is talking about is those who have become apostates. Right? Those who have walked away and rejected their faith and become anti-Christ’s. ‘You have overcome them because He who is in you is greater than He who is in the world.’ Then he basically says, people who are of the world listen to those kind of people because they are all of the world. People who are of God listen to us. So, he’s harkening back to this simple gospel, this, that what you were taught to begin with was the right thing and all this other stuff swirling around is not from God. But you can overcome all of this. You don’t have to listen to all this. You don’t have to be in all this. The one who is in you, who is God, is greater than anything in the world. And then he turns to love as the glue that holds the whole thing together with some pretty profound implications. So, he’s saying, test the spirits. The spirit of God is in you the Spirit of God overcomes anything that’s in the world. And nothing that is of the spirit of the anti-Christ or anything or anyone that opposes Christ can’t truthfully confess that Jesus is Lord. And since God is in you, let us love one another, because love is from God. And whoever loves has been born of God and knows God, and anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. Okay, so here’s where it starts to get interesting. John says, ‘in this, the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent His only Son into the world so that we might live through Him.’ So, in other words, Jesus wasn’t an apparition, Jesus was the flesh and blood, Son of God. But what was made visible, what was made manifest in Jesus, was the love of God. So, in Jesus, we actually see the love of God in action. And this didn’t happen because we love God, we’ve been loving God for a long, long time. We didn’t get to see this love of God in action through Jesus because we loved God. We get to see it and experience it because He loved us. And if He loves us like that, then we are to love each other like that. And here’s where it gets huge. So, I’m quoting first John 4:11 and 12 here. ‘Beloved, if God so loved us.’ So, ‘if God loves us like that, we also ought to love one another. No one had ever seen God. But if we love one another, God abides in us and His love is perfected in us.’ So, what John is saying, and this has some pretty big implications, is that when we love one another, we are manifesting the love of God in this world, we are making the love of God visible in this world, just like Jesus did. And this gives us the awesome weight of responsibility in this. God is loving everyone, in part, through his people. And according to John, that’s how we even know that we’re abiding in Him and that He is in us. And I’m quoting John here, ‘by this is love perfected with us so that we may have confidence for the day of judgment, because as He is, so also are we in this world.’ So, no longer is the love of God being demonstrated, manifested through just this one person, who is God’s Son, Jesus, but rather, this Spirit of Christ now indwells all who believe. And this is manifested in the world, this is made visible in the world by our love. And there is no fear in love but perfect love casts out fear. So, it’s perfect love that casts out fear. How do we achieve perfect love? Well, to quote John, ‘no one has ever seen God. If we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us.’ So, in other words, God’s love is perfected in us, and perfect love casts out fear, and God’s love is perfected in us as we love one another, truly. And when you find that place, you’re not afraid, your walls are not up, you are not in a defensive posture all the time, whether it be out in the world or in your workplace or in the walls of your home. And John says that, ultimately, fear is connected to punishment or judgment and if you’re operating out of that space, out of that place, then love hasn’t been perfected in you yet. So, what is our take away - loving one another perfects God’s love in us, and it makes the love of God visible and active in this world. It’s not that we have empathy and compassion and try to love the world, ourselves, it’s that God is doing it through us. And as we practice this it’s becoming more and more perfect in us. And all fear is cast away from us as God’s love is perfect in us. So, we must love one another, which is exactly what Jesus said when He said, I’m giving you a new commandment and that commandment is that you love one another as I have loved you. And John simply shows us what that looks like.
Father, we will never find a loophole. You have commanded us to love one another. And, in fact, it is this act of loving one another that shows us that we are in You and You are in us. And this was put starkly in first John, if anybody says I love God and hates his brother, he’s a liar. For he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. And we’re being told that even though we cannot see You with our physical eyes, Your love in this world can be seen and must be seen and that happens when You love through us. And as we open ourselves to allowing this, Your love is being made perfect in us and casting away all fear. So, we want it. We want that. We embrace this. Come, Holy Spirit, and fill us with Your love and may it spill out onto everyone we encounter today, and not just today. Today is the starting point that we are being conscious of what’s happening here. We want Your love to spill out of us every day that you give us. And the fact that we get to exist today at all is a gift and a demonstration of Your love. And, so, with gratefulness we open our hearts to anyone You want to love through us. Come, Holy Spirit, we pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.
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Early registration for the More Gathering for women that is coming up this April is now open. And Jill was on here the other day just talking about her anticipation, her excitement. And I can tell you that that’s true. I see that in her. She’s thinking about this and praying over it continuously, as is the entire team. Literally, hundreds of hours of prayer and intercession over this event happen each year. And it’s already begun, I mean, it never really stops. So, if over the years that you’ve been around the Daily Bible, you’ve thought, I want to go, I want to go to that but what if something comes up or I’m afraid or I just don’t know what, if I’ll be alone. You won’t. Not only because of the canopy of prayer that goes up over this event. But, let’s be honest, this is the Daily Audio Bible community. The kind of love we were just talking about first John, we demonstrate that for each other in this community. And we don't…I mean…we travel all the time and I never don’t experience it. And it is manifest. Right? It’s made visible at the More Gathering. You’re not going to be alone. You might come alone. You might think you don’t know anyone. But I’m telling you, by the time you get out of your car and take a short walk to registration, that will be over. So, come. Registration is open and this is a fantastic gift idea for your wife or your sister or your loved one. This is a great idea to get some friends together and come. It’s not something that you will go, and that was good, and you’ll forget all about it. It’s something that you will remember fondly. So, you check out the More Gathering for women dailyaudiobible.com in the Initiatives section. Every detail that you would want or need to know can be found there.
And then, the Daily Audio Bible Christmas Box is available now. And they’re going quickly, like they always do. We have lots of goodies in there - things that you will keep for yourself, things that you will pass on and give away. So, we have the Advent CD that I have talked about from our friends at Mission Chattanooga. Of course, yesterday was the first Sunday in the season of Advent. So, these are contemplative songs just written to aim your heart into the contemplation of the mystery of the arrival of the Savior. And there’s some just gorgeous stuff on there. Also with the family Christmas project that I produced and arranged, it’s the Christmas record I always wanted to make with the lush instrumentation and contemplative traditional carols. It’s the kind of thing that you just turn the lights out after a long day and the Christmas lights are on and it’s quiet and you have a cup of coffee or cocoa or tea or whatever and you just listen through and allow the essence of the season to be experienced. So, that’s in the Box as well. Two copies of Sneezing Jesus are in the Box. The Road Back to You, which is a book that my friend Ian wrote. I’ve been able to have great conversations with him because it was just so helpful. And, so, that’s in the box. A Black Wing pencil is in the Box. The Daily Audio Bible Christmas bulb, the annual Christmas bulb that only comes in the Box is in the Box. It’s got our word for the year, ‘Margin’, on it with the year 2017. So, that’s in there. A pack of the Daily Audio Bible Christmas cards for this year, the 2017 edition. So, there’s 20 cards with matching envelopes in the Box. And then, your choice of our DAB blend of fresh roasted coffee that will be roasted at altitude in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado and sent fresh to you or our honey bush and ribose tea, your choice. So, check out the Daily Audio Bible Christmas Box at dailyaudiobible.com in the shop in the Christmas section.
And then I’ve also been reminding us of our brand-new Daily Audio Bible journals and all of the Black Wing pencil goodies that just make for a wonderful writing and journaling environment. We have some great bundles in the shop and they make exquisite Christmas presents. So, you can find those in the Daily Audio Bible shop in the Lifestyle section.
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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 Prayer Requests and Praise Reports:
Hi. This is Dave from North Carolina. I just wanted to share that just last year I took a new job that resulted in a much longer commute – about an hour one way – and there were a lot of good reasons why I took that job and I think that it was something that God wanted me to do for my family and many reasons. But at first what seemed like a negative has turned out to be a positive because…mainly because of this podcast…because I now have the time…I mean…I’ve always had the time…but I’ve struggled with getting into God’s word and taking the time…and this podcast has been so helpful to me, to be in his word. Not every day. I miss some days but I know it’s always there. And also, I want to thank all of you who call into the prayer line because I try to use the time for prayer as well and I know that I should be praying, not just for myself, but for others. And the prayer requests that come in always give me people to pray for. And I also want to throw out one other quick encouragement that I heard my pastor say this last week, that if we don’t know how to pray, just ask the Holy Spirit to pray for you. Because sometimes I feel like I don’t know how to pray. And if any of you feel that way, just remember that the Holy Spirit will pray on your behalf. Thank you and God bless you.
Good morning family. This is Salvation is Mine in San Angelo California. Let’s pray. Dear heavenly Father, we come before You right now just bowing at Your feet for who You are, for the merciful God that You are. We want to thank You for the life You have given us so far and the life You have given us this day. Help us to use it to glorify You in word, action, and deed. Lord God, we just want to say, please protect, keep hold, show Your merciful love to those who do not know You. Help them to find an inkling of hope within their hearts today. Help them to reach out to You, Lord God, and come before You, confessing their sins, Lord God, and asking You to come into their lives, Lord God, and be with them. Minister to their hearts, minister to their minds, minister to their Spirits Lord God. Bring people in their lives that will help facilitate this path that they need to be on, Lord God, that we all need to be on to draw closer to You each and every day. We love you Father God. We thank You so much for the blessing of Your son, Jesus Christ. Every time I think about the sacrifice on the cross it just hurts my soul so much to know that He suffered in such a horrific way just for me, just to save me, someone who wasn’t even thought of yet in the eyes of the world, who didn’t even know would be born in the eyes of the world, Lord God. But you saw fit to extend to all of us, hundreds of millions of years into the future, a Savior, and we thank You and we bless Your holy name for that. In Jesus’ name. Amen. Have a great day family. This is Salvation is Mine. Take care.
Hello sweet Daily Audio Bible family. This is Sheryl in Arizona. I just got done listening to the podcast for the 29th, November 29th. That I just have to say, I am so humbled and I am so grateful for this family. You all are truly priceless. I just am so blessed to Sheila in Massachusetts. Thank you for your beautiful prayer and your words, your kind words. And I want to mention beforehand that all three that I am going to mention, I have also prayed for you and over you, including the community. And Sheila, I heard you say that you have generalized anxiety and that your daughter Annie struggles with bipolar. So, bless you both. Like I said, I have prayed for you. That’s why I called in. And then there was someone, a young man, I didn’t get your name, you called in and you talked about checking my diet and my caffeine and sugar intake. Thar was spot on with the caffeine. Thank you so much and for your prayer. And I’ve also prayed for your coworker who is dealing with cancer and is working multiple jobs with the financial struggle. And then the gentleman who called at the end. Again, I didn’t get your name. I listened twice to make sure I didn’t miss something. What an incredible prayer. I cannot even…I just…words and time don’t allow me to express my gratitude but thank you so much. God bless you all. I love you so much. Thank you so much. Just thank you. I hope that you all have a beautiful day and week and God bless you. Bye-bye.
Hi. This is Kristi from New York. I am so grateful for this new wonderful family that I have, the Daily Audio Bible. I’m pretty new the last couple weeks here and am just amazed by how I am being lifted up in prayer even though you don’t know me. I am calling to pray for Donna in California. Donna, I just want to pray for you. We pray for our sister Donna, who has strongholds. Girl I’ve got strongholds too and we shut down those strong holds by the power of Jesus Christ in His name. By His glory we strike down shame and regret and we bring on Jesus healing in Jesus’ name. And you can be a blessing. Your destiny is all of our destiny. And I have a quick prayer request. Please pray for marriages in general. Mine are too, are, pretty obviously under spiritual attack right now, so, I really could use prayer from strangers. So, love you family. Bye.
Hi Daily Audio Bible. This is Paul from Houston and I just wanted to Pray for Heather from Chicago from October 29th that was asking for prayer for depression and I just wanted to…just…pour out my heart. In some ways, I’ve struggled with depression. Just certain things that I have been challenged with but have found that God…I found my renewed purpose in life is now pouring into the lives of other people. Through opportunities through a men’s group at church, I found ways to pray for other brothers. And I just want to pray that God would present opportunities to you to find His will and that as you seek Him, that He would make Himself known to you and that you would find your purpose and your calling in life. And I ask that God would just go with you, Heather, and that just spend time with Him, and that He would show you how valuable, how much of a daughter of Christ you are, and that he would open up the doors of opportunity to bless other people and to use you to bless others and as you do that you would find joy and fulfillment and the calling that God’s given you. And I just pray that God would stir in your heart those things that would draw you to Him. And I thank You Lord that the depression would leave and any of the anxiety and hurts would go and just thank You Lord for being with Heather. In Jesus’ name.