2 Kings 4:18-5:27, Acts 15:1-31, Psalms 141:1-10, Proverbs 17:23
Today is the 23rd day of June. Welcome to the Daily Audio Bible. I am Brian. And here we are, heading toward the end of another week. And they just keep rolling along. It’s getting steamy here in the rolling hills of Tennessee. Our summers are lush and beautiful and rich and green and lovely and humid and steamy and hot. Went outside the other day to do a little work and it was 101 degrees and like a sauna and I was like, O my gosh. But that’s how our summers are and they are hot but they’re beautiful. And I hope it’s beautiful wherever you are. I know some of you are putting on your winter coats down under and experience wintertime, which is so interesting. But I digress. Let’s dive into the Scriptures today. We’re reading from the Contemporary English Version this week, which is today. 2 Kings 4:18-5:27.
Okay. A couple things we should probably talk about. In the book of 2 Kings, we have the story of Naaman, the Syrian general, the military commander. And it’s an interesting story. He has leprosy, right? The king of Syria sends a letter to the king of Israel who’s freaked out because how’s he gonna cure leprosy? We just read the whole story. What’s interesting about this story is how Naaman responds to Elijah. And for that matter, how Elijah responds to Naaman. When Naaman makes the journey all the way to Elijah’s house, Elijah doesn’t even come out to say hello. He just sends word- here’s what you need to do. Real quick and efficient, you don’t need any incantations, you don’t need any magic spells. Just go wash in the Jordan, dip yourself seven times and your will be healed. Naaman is angry about this, right? So here is a guy that is dying of leprosy very slowly but is also a very powerful man. And he’s been given simple instructions when he was expecting something other than what he got. And, so, he was mad as opposed to thinking, well, this is what the prophet said, this is what this little servant girl said. This is that prophet and this is what he said to do. He’s kind of mad. It’s like, I could have dipped in any of the rivers in Syria. It’s his servants who will bring him back to his right mind. And they say, Listen, if Elijah had told you to do something difficult you would have done it, so why not do the easy thing? That’s when things become a bit of a mirror because we have a tendency to dramatically overcomplicate things in our lives a lot of the time when the simple instructions in the Scripture are to obey and walk with God, right? To be in collaboration with him in our lives. To open ourselves to his presence in everything that we do and say. And sometimes we think it’s about the hoops that we can jump through. How hard can this be? Like the harder I have to work to do something, the more God will notice. The more that I press in, the more that he will notice when he’s not going to really be paying attention to the hoops. He’s going to be paying attention to the heart. So Naaman decided, I’ve come a long way, it’s been a long journey. What do I have to lose by jumping into the Jordan? And what he got was his health back. So, when we think about the hoops that we need to jump through or the flags that we need to wave or the jumping up and down that we need to do to get God’s attention, he already knows. And so maybe the hoops and the jumping up and down are us getting our own attention. And maybe what we need to realize is God’s presence is always available. There is nowhere we can run from God presence according to the book of Psalms. So maybe rather than the anxieties and all the things that we put ourselves through, maybe stillness, maybe slowing down, being still and knowing that He is God and walking with him in the invitation that we have to collaborate in life with him and to be his child and to focus our attention and our affection on him. Maybe it’s easier than we’re making it.
Then we get into the book of Acts. And we see this council that takes place. And this is known as the Jerusalem Council. And it’s really the first recorded council of the church. And the issue was the initiation of a believer. How does a person become accepted into the faith? And the problem was the earliest of early believers felt like faith in Jesus was completely in a Jewish context because it had only ever been in a Jewish context until the Holy Spirit began to flow among the Gentile people. So, this caused a bit of a theological mess. These people had been trying to follow the Mosaic law, that’s what they had been raised in. This is part of their culture, part of their understanding. And even Pharisees like Paul had converted to following Jesus, but they wanted to retain all of what they had always known, specifically the law. The problem was that even those who had been raised under the law and trying to be obedient to the law couldn’t obey the law. So, the question than became how will we even begin to teach the context of all of this to a Gentile person who doesn’t know anything about it at all? Are they really required to essentially convert to the Jewish faith so that they can then put their faith in Jesus? And this is a pretty big deal. Big enough deal to have the first ever church council. And what was decided was that God had begun to pour his Holy Spirit out upon the Gentiles without them having any knowledge of the law, so what’s the point in getting in God’s way? Which sounds nice and easy but is a big deal at this point in time. And we’ve talked about this before and we’ll talk about it again because as we move deeper into the letters of Paul, we’re going to see that not everyone was on board with this. So those with an opposing view would visit some of the churches that had been established by the Apostle Paul and then teach essentially another doctrine, the doctrine that would compel a person to come under the Mosaic law and essentially become of the Jewish faith, convert to the Jewish faith. Paul stands vigorously against this. And it will come up over and over in his letters. And I bring this up when we encounter it just to keep ourselves rooted in what’s really going on and the struggle that the early church has to adapt to this new thing that God was doing in the world. Because we can think of the early church as a handful of believers in an upper room singing Kumbaya and there was a lot more to it than that. They had to deeply wrestle with and struggle through and find God’s leading in the way forward, just like we do.
Father, we thank You for Your Word. We thank You that there’s context and history included so that we can see how things moved and how You moved things along that brought us to where we are today, and we thank You for that. And we understand that we’re still being pulled forward. You are still inviting us forward into the full plan, the complete restoration of all things and have invited us to be a part of that story. And, so, we are grateful. We are grateful for the stories of those who have gone before, and we are grateful for that story that we are telling now. Come, Holy Spirit, we pray. In Jesus name we ask. Amen.
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I’ve been mentioning for a couple of days the upcoming Daily Audio Bible Long Walk. It’s the 11th annual Daily Audio Bible Long Walk. It takes place on the 7th of July. And if you’ve been gone for a few days and you’re like, what’s the long walk, it’s exactly like what its name says. It is a day that as a community we circle on our calendars and do everything that we can to carve out the whole -as much of the day as we can get - and give it to God and go for a long walk. The kind of walk that you go on when you first fall in love. The kind of walk where you can walk for hours and it seems like minutes, like time is standing still. And you feel that intimacy growing in your love. That’s what we’re talking about. Because life is very busy. I bet every single person who’s listening to me right now has a pretty busy life. There’s all kinds of distractions everywhere, and so we don’t ever take the time or make the time, actually consider it a priority, to have that kind of fellowship where we can have a long, extended, uninterrupted conversation. That’s what the long walk’s about. It’s right in the center of the year, so we have the opportunity to reflect back on the first six months of the year, what God has spoken to us through his Word, what he has led us into because of his word, and so we can look back at that, have a long conversation about that. But then we have another half of the year to go. And it’s important to reset, to look at where our hope lies right now. What is our hope in, especially this year of hope. What is it that we have put our hope in and where is that leading us and what adjustments do we need to make as we move forward into the back half of the year? So, circle it on your calendar. July 7, which happens to be a Saturday this year. So, it’s pretty simple. And then make plans. What are you gonna do? People drive hours to beautiful places that are significant. Other people just go walking down the street. Maybe go to the lake. Maybe go to a park. Just go somewhere beautiful. Somewhere where you can actually hear nature speak and look at the extravagant detail of God’s creation and be reminded that we’re part of something big. And then just enter into the silence and then begin to (say) out what you need to say. Take the time to say everything that you’ve needed to say and make space for God to be able to speak back everything that he’s been trying to get your attention about for months. This is that time. So, it’s an individual endeavor for sure and it’ll be happening all over the world for sure, but it’s something that we do together because we’re doing it at the same time on the same day. So, wherever you go, find something beautiful, some place beautiful. And while you’re on your long walk, make sure you take a little video or snap a picture, post it up to the Daily Audio Bible Facebook page, which is facebook.com/dailyaudiobible. And that becomes a beautiful mosaic. All kinds of little windows into each other’s lives. And, so, by the end of the long walk, you’ll scroll back through all of those photos and videos and go all around the world. It’s a remarkable thing that we have as a tradition here. So, make that a part of your plans. July 7th is coming up.
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And that’s it for today. I’m Brian I love you and I’ll be waiting for here is tomorrow.
Community Prayer and Praise:
Good morning guys. This is Jan in SoCal, a.k.a. prayer warrior Princess. I’m calling because today is Tuesday, June 19th and I heard, I Can See, in North Carolina call in with your prayer request. Your daughter has SPD and your husband just returned home from deployment and you are traveling Sunday together to a specialist. And that definitely rang my bell and I’ll be praying for you. Yeah, so that hits close to home. So, as I prayed for you, these things first came up. And, obviously, as I said, I will continue to cover you just as you have not forsaken your daughter in her suffering He, the Lord, your Father, will not forsake you in yours. His truth is your shield and He promises to shelter you under His wings near quiet waters at the table with Him in the presence of your enemies. I bless you with peace and rest, with a quiet heart, and a quiet mind. I bless you with love, with hope, not in resolution to your current circumstance, but in Christ alone. I bless you with the presence of the Lord because He promises that. And I’ll keep praying for you sister. I love you.
Hi everybody. It’s Margo from Australia. I was just really prompted to call in today to share something. I was thinking about the lady who called in a few weeks ago who’s a single mom and not really finding any joy in it. And I thought perhaps a little story of mine might help and perhaps for all the young moms out there. Many years ago, when my children were little we’d been living in Amerland in the very north of Australia and it’s very, very isolated as a regional community. And my husband was flying with the mission aviation on a ship. And we were there as missionaries. And at the time my children were young. So, I was stuck at home with them quite a lot. And I couldn’t get out and do, you know, what I saw as the work of the Lord and be a real proper missionary out there amongst the __ regionals because a lot of my time was spent at home with my children. And one day I was at a little local regional church and we found a room at the back that had been locked up for many years and we decided to open it up and clean it up and use it as a Sunday school room. And I remember I was out in that room and it was an absolute filthy mess and I was sweeping and mopping, and I stood there, and I said to the Lord, gee, this finally feels like I’m doing something really like a proper missionary. I’m getting down and dirty and fixing up this room. And clear is anything, the Lord spoke into my heart, Margo that’s exactly how I feel about you every day as you mop out your children. And that really encouraged me at the time. And I hope that it encourages you young moms out there. And especially the single mom that rang in a few weeks ago. As we mop up our children, that is our mission. It is the most important job in the world and God bless you for doing it. He loves your children and He has given them to you as a very, very special and important mission. I hope that encourages you today. Love you all. Bye.
Good day my Daily Audio Bible family. This is Ozzie J. calling from Japan. I’m not sure how many of you are aware, but on Monday morning at 7:58, Japan time, a 6.1 Richter scale earthquake struck and it was only 11 km away from where I live. Yet, we’re okay. We didn’t suffer too much damage here, just a few things got knocked off some shelves at our house, but fortunately they landed on the soft Khatami floor. So, they didn’t break or anything. So, we’re okay. Unfortunately, closer to the epicenter, five people have been killed certainly that they know of so far. And, yeah, I’ve seen some photos from people I’ve connected with on twitter that live closer to there of some pretty big damage around those areas, closer to the earthquake Center. And, yeah, everybody here is worried about that this might trigger a bigger quake. So, please pray that that doesn’t happen. Please pray for us here in Japan as we recover from this earthquake. Thank you, my Daily Audio Bible.
This is Michael from North Georgia. This is my second time calling in I’ve been listening to the Daily Audio Bible for, this is my second year. And I would first like to say, quickly, just how much this has changed my life, that I know now that I’m not in this alone. And it has, in more than one way, the Daily Audio Bible has completely turned around my entire life. It has changed me, and I will never be the same as I was because of Christ and because of this and the way that ya’ll are just able to reach other and through prayer and able to touch each one of our lives, the way we’re able to pray for each other and help each other and it keeps us connected. And I just thank and praise God every day. I look forward to every reading. I just got done listening to the June 20th, that’s what today is. And the reason I’m calling in, quickly, is my wife has been struggling with something that is wrong with her. She has a physical condition. The doctors have no idea what it is. She’s coughing up and spitting up blood clots. That’s been going on for about eight or nine months now. And they have yet to be able to get to the bottom of what the problem is. She’s in the hospital with pneumonia right now in North Georgia for the second time in three months. And they figured out she has a heart condition that she was born with that no one knew she had until about a month ago. One doctor, the heart doctor says that’s not the reason why she’s coughing up and spitting up blood and getting pneumonia. And the lung doctor is dealing with the heart doctor saying it is the reason and they can’t get on the same page and no one really seems to know is wrong with her. And, so, I’m calling in because I want as many people around the world to pray for her. Her name is Sandy. She loves God. She’s saved. And she’s just such a little humble…