Leviticus 19:1-20:21, Mark 8:11-38, Psalms 42:1-11, Proverbs 10:17
Today is the 26th day of February, welcome to the Daily Audio Bible I’m Brian it’s great to be here with you. Coming to you today back on the Mediterranean coast. We began our journey, our pilgrimage to the land of the Bible on the Mediterranean coast quite a way’s south from where we are now, but we’ve made a big circle and we’re back on the coast to the north. And we’ll talk about all of that. We spent yesterday kind of in the Jezreel Valley and before this day’s over we’ll find ourselves finally arriving in Jerusalem, which is a very, very different experience than any of the places that we visited so far. So, we are continuing to move forward in this pilgrimage. Thank you for your continued prayers. Talk a little bit more about what we’re doing at the end but we’ve come here for one thing in particular and that is to hear the word of God and allow it to become a part of our day and to wash into our hearts and plant good seeds in the soil that’s there. So, we’re reading from the Christian Standard Bible this week. Leviticus chapter 19 verse 1 through 20 verse 21 today.
Okay. In the Gospel of Mark today Jesus lays out some criteria about what it might look like if you want to follow after him, if you want to follow the way that He is illuminating and kind of hidden in plain sight in this little dialogue is something that we…we really need to think about and get a discerning heart about. So, first, let’s just kind of look at what Jesus is saying, like a disciple, a follower, like what…what they would look like. He said, “if anyone wants to follow after Me, let him deny himself, take up his cross and follow Me.” Basically, Jesus is saying if you want to follow Me then follow me by doing what I do. And then He goes on to say, “whoever wants to save His life will lose it, but whoever loses His life because of me and the gospel will save it. For what does it benefit someone to gain the whole world and yet lose His life. What can anyone give in exchange for his life?” Okay. So, we could say that those are some characteristics of a disciple of Jesus Christ, someone willing to deny themselves and carry the burden of the gospel when following Jesus forward in the face of the darkness, to be the light in the darkness, knowing that darkness hates the light because the light exposes what’s in the dark, knowing that going in and knowing that it will be difficult, a difficult road, that it will be costly, but knowing that this would be living as the apostle Paul said, “as a living sacrifice” that “it’s no longer we who live, but Christ who lives within us so that we are as Christ in this world”, right? So, the converse will be true. The person that…that only embellishes themselves and their ego and their identity, they won’t deny themselves, they aren’t self-sacrificial in any way whatsoever and will not carry any burden of the gospel or bringing light into the dark, they just try to protect themselves and save themselves and save their lives and save their identities, they’re gonna lose it. But whoever knows on the front end that these things, these entanglements, these attachments, these hang-ups will lead them in no way closer to Jesus. Those who know that are willing to lose that life in order to find actual life. Okay. So, you can be like, “okay. that’s a…that’s a…that’s a really good way of unpacking that so that it makes sense but I’ve kinda heard this about a thousand times in my life. I kinda get that. Well if you get it, is it what your life looks like? But let’s take this way, way deeper. It’s often that I hear people tell me or I hear stories of people saying what kind of attack they are under. Like, so I hear it all the time, “my family is under great attack right now” or “we’ve been in a season. It seems like all the dark forces are coming against us.” This is a…this is a pretty common thing to hear, especially if you’re in ministry, but by what definition are we saying these things. In other words, how is it that we’ve verified that we are under attack from the evil one who has spent special attention on us today or this week or this season and is somehow getting away with it? These things only happen when we’re facing hardship or difficulty or pressure, that the life that we want to live or the life that we’re trying to live is being thwarted and is only because we’re not getting what we think we deserve or want or desire then…then we are being…then we have come under attack. Now, I’m not saying this is not possible. I’m saying, when we find ourselves in a position, we find ourselves at a crossroads. And what we have heard from the Scripture is that at that crossroads wisdom will be there and we need a discerning heart at that crossroads. Here’s why. When we face hardship, when we face seasons of challenge and they can be deep challenges, they can be brutal at times, we all know that…like, I’m not saying anything we don’t know, life has its difficulties and challenges. This is a promise. This isn’t a surprise. This is something that we’ve been told like in black-and-white, like clear clear, clear, from the Bible. So, if we have our wits about us and we’re going into a season and we’re feeling a season like, “man the unexpected is happening and it just feels like the bottom is dropping out.” I just had a season like that last summer. I sat down on my couch one day and I said, “Jill, have you noticed that nothing…nothing is going smooth. Like everything is hard right now. Like nothing is going smooth.” I’m sure that’s been…I’m sure you’ve experienced this at times. And, so, if we have our wits about us and we understand the words of Jesus then we understand, “okay. What I’m facing here is an opportunity to deny myself and take up my cross and endure and keep walking forward, because whatever life I think I’m losing in this is life I’m going to find, it’s false. I’m going to find what’s true. The truth…the truth is that…that that would be the appropriate posture, but often these things, they will work as an attack. They work because we let them work. We let it estrange us from God because somehow, He didn’t come through. But what if He was saying, “yeah, I am coming through for you. You have no idea what I’m freeing you of through this fire. You’re gonna come out on the other side pure as gold”, right? Well, if we think God is letting us down and this whole attack thing has taking us out, then the opportunity for wisdom and growth was there but we fell for the bait and we’re estranged from God. But can we also acknowledge that the…the flipside of that coin can also be true. What if all hardship, all challenge, all difficulty that is currently in your life were removed and massive amounts of financial blessing came into your life suddenly? And your cares, because now you have…you have your feet under you and you have some power and now your cares are floating away, would you ever say to a friend, “I am really under attack from the evil one right now?” Probably not right. We would say, “no. The evidence of God’s blessing’s pouring down from the sky are all around me.” And yet, wouldn’t that be an equal crossroads, where we would look for wisdom and discernment? For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and lose his soul? So, if we think about the times that we have faced challenge in our lives…I mean aren’t those the times usually that we go running for God and the times where we feel like we’re in control that we drift away from God? So, what is a greater deception? What is a greater seduction? Perhaps when we find ourselves at a crossroads, either one that is challenging or one that is looking like the wind will be at our back for a while and we’ll be coasting, these are crossroads. We need discernment. When the evil one tempted Jesus, when he said, “you can have all of this. I’ll give all of this to you. You can have it all if you bow down and worship me”, right? That was the tactic, not worship me or I will have you killed. We need discernment about the challenges we face in life and we need discernment about the seasons where the challenge goes away because we can be seduced away from God either way, it’s not one or the other. We need wisdom and discernment. What Jesus told us is to deny ourselves and take up our cross and follow Him. Let’s allow that to be something that we meditate on today. What does that look like for us?
Holy Spirit we invite You into this. There's…there’s plenty to think about here because it’s true, we base our judgment or blessing or cursing or good or evil, kind of based on the…on how our culture informs us. And, so if it’s pleasurable then it’s good and if it's…if it’s challenging and it’s something to be endured, then it’s bad, which is simply not the case and simply not supported in the Scriptures. So, give us wisdom so that we might understand, at every crossroads the narrow path that leads to life and that we would stop blaming You for things You had nothing to do with or giving credit to the forces of evil for things You have done in our lives to free us. Come Holy Spirit we pray into all of this in the name of Jesus, we ask. Amen.
Okay. So, here in the land of the Bible where we are continuing our journey, a journey inward, a journey outward, a journey in the land, all kinds of journeying is happening within us as we move about.
We left the Galilee yesterday and we made one more stop on the way out, Cursee on the northeast side of the lake, land of the Gerasene’s. There’s a story of Jesus throwing a legion of demons into a herd of swine. And, so, there is an ancient Byzantine monastery, the oldest one in Israel as I understand it there to commemorate the spot. And we just took some time there to reflect on that story. And the reality that when the people on that side of the lake saw this man who had been possessed and untamed, basically, in his right mind and swine floating in the Dead Sea, like it was deeply confusing. And obviously something significant had happened but they asked Jesus to leave. And we just kind of thought about the ways that we…we follow in those footsteps.
And, so, when we left there, we drove along the east side of the lake southward and then away from the Sea of Galilee, south to an ancient Roman Decapolis city called Beit Shean. Amazing, amazing ruins from the Roman Empire and earlier and later. And we went into the amphitheater and took some seats to kind of look out over the city and we opened the Scriptures and spoke about the death of Saul because this city, Beit Shean is named in that story. So, King Saul the first King we haven’t gotten to this as we’re going through the Scriptures this year, but we will. He went to battle with the Philistines and ended up being killed. He and his three sons were killed on Mount Gilboa. And when…when the…the next day after the battle and everybody’s coming…coming to kind of take the loot off the bodies and stuff they found Saul and they cut off his head and sent his armor away and celebrated their great victory delivered to them by their gods and the took Paul…or Saul’s body and hung it from the walls Beit Shean. And, so, some of those ancient walls exist. And, so, we just rooted ourselves there before exploring. It’s probably one of the greatest Roman era ruins in Israel.
And then we started working our way across the Jezreel Valley passing by Megiddo…Har…Megiddo…Mount Megiddo…Har Megiddo…Armageddon. And then we drove by there and then up to lunch. And then up onto the top of Mount caramel we’re you can really see a wide panorama of the Jezreel Valley and we just opened the Scriptures, again considering the story of Elijah and the prophets of Baal and the show down and the fire on the mountain and the execution of Jezebel’s prophets and then Jezebel’s threat that sent Elijah on the run back into the wilderness only for God to come to him and ask, “what are you doing here back in the wilderness?” And this is really poignant when your kind of making this journey because we’ve been in the wilderness. We know what the wilderness is like, not only in our lives. We spent plenty of time reflecting on that but what it’s actually like to go through it because we just did it several days ago. So, just kind of considering that and applying it to our lives and understanding that Elijah was invited to come meet with God but it wasn’t in the wind on the mountain, it wasn’t in the fire, it just…it wasn’t in the grand display of power on the mountain. It was in the still small voice. And, so, we kinda put that in our hearts to consider as we moved down off the mountain and back to the Mediterranean coast.
And the coastal city, Roman era city of Caesarea Maritima and it’s pretty spectacular right on the coast. More than pretty, it's…it’s very spectacular just to see it, understanding the apostle Paul was arrested and carried Caesarea Maritima away from Jerusalem and held there for a couple of years and eventually making an appeal to the Emperor. As a Roman citizen he had that right. And, so, from Caesarea he sailed to Rome. So, we had a touch a bit of that story before then moving to our hotel for the evening. And a long day and ready for a good night’s sleep.
And today we will…we will be off from here and heading into the interior a little bit while making our way down toward Jerusalem and we’ll talk about that tomorrow.
Thank you for your continued prayers, especially over stamina and fatigue. It’s just kinda starts to set in and there’s a lot going on every day. And, so, we just need the energy to finish well and have open hearts to all that God has yet in store for us as we continue the journey.
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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 and Praise:
Hello Daily Audio Bible this is Steve. I’m calling to request prayer for my son Santiago. Where currently at the hospital. He went through surgery yesterday because he fell on his bike and started puking blood but we found a perforation. The doctor closed the hole and now we just need prayer for recovery. We estimate for two weeks but, you know, we pray for God to, you know, shorten the recovery time. So, DAB family this is Steve from Texas. Please pray for my son Santiago. Thank you. God bless you.
Harold from St. Louis. Oh, welcome brother welcome. This is Heather in Atlanta, February 17th still wet, soggy, soggy, just dreary day. You brought so much sunshine, so much sunshine. I am so glad. I’m on the side of the road just bawling my eyes out. Welcome, welcome, welcome, welcome, welcome. I want you to know that the day that I heard your call back in January was the day that I stopped living in fear and for the first time in five years, I asked for help, I begged for help through this family, the DAB family. You were the one who I don’t know why I just something about your story made me…if this man and not even knowing Christ can pick up this phone and just communicate with someone Heather what is stopping you. And Harold thank you so much and welcome so much just welcome. There are great things in store for you. I wish I could come watch you run. Oh, Harold welcome son. Welcome. I just want to tell you I love you and thank you for everything and how wonderful it is to hear you encouraging people to call in and I look forward to the day that I get to see your face one day Harold. Welcome, welcome love. Everybody else, I continue to cover us all in prayer and I just want to say I love you. Brian and the entire Hardin family I continue to cover you in prayer throughout our journey through the holy land. I love each and every one of you. Oh Harold, oh thank you sir. Thank you. I’m gonna jump back on I 75 back north y’all. I love you everyone have a wonderful …
Hi this is Rachel from Pennsylvania let’s pray. Dear Lord, I want to lift up to You those who are struggling with sickness, those who have contracted the coronavirus and the flu virus. I just want to pray that You be with them and with their families. I pray that the viruses are contained and don’t spread to other caregivers and other family members. I just pray that You will, for those who are infected, that You will protect them and give them strength and energy, keep their fevers down. And we just pray that they do not end up needing to be hospitalized and if they are hospitalized that You’re there with them in their…in their hospital rooms watching over them. I just pray that…that…that they have quick recovery and that…that those family members that are there and exposed or the caregivers that You just protect them and that they don’t contract the virus. And we also want to lift up, I think it was El, I couldn’t understand exactly the…the full name but of child called into pray for himself and his family who contracted a cold or a virus and also his grandmother who had an injured leg. So, I want to pray for that child and his family. And I just want to lift them up to You Lord. Please heal them quickly and swiftly and completely in Your name I pray. Amen.
Hi Daily Audio Bible family this is Dorothy. I posted on the Prayer Wall a couple times and I just wanted to give a praise report. Thank you so, so, so much for praying for me. God heard your prayers. I’m healed I mean of that medical…I see it as a general medical issue, it was possible immunodeficiency disorder that was I a genetic thing and I was supposed to get the diagnosis today to start immunoglobulin treatment monthly, which is very, very expensive, which most people cannot afford. And I’ve been crying every day and just…but anyway long story short the doctor told me today that I can make antibodies and that my immune system is like everybody else’s. And he really didn’t have an answer. And pretty much told me last month that adults don’t heal. So, I’m healed. I asked him, “can I go around licking doorknobs now” and he’s like, “ahh no. Let’s wait six…” So, they’re going to pull the antibiotics and monitor me for six months to check if I get sick but according to the blood test I’m healed. I’m a normal person and not to say…there’s a lot of things wrong with me but thank you. And I just wanted to encourage you that prayer works. And thank you so much for those that did. I love you guys. I was suicidal when dealing with this and your guy’s love for each other is…made…gave me the community I needed and kept me going. So, thank you. I love you guys so much. Bye.
Hi there, DABbers this is Vonnie in Northern California calling on let’s see Wednesday, February 19th and I just heard Harold call in. I am jumping for joy Harold and you can’t imagine how the angels in heaven are dancing and singing over you and welcome to the family brother. We’ve all been praying for you and we’ve been inspired by your calls. And thank you so much for calling in and letting us know. We will just keep on praying for you and for others who are listening to the program and, like you said, are afraid to call in. Oh Lord, please bless Harold and take care of the others who are in such need right now Lord, all the ones that you’ve laid upon our hearts to pray for. Thank you, God for intercessory prayer for the ability to bring our needs before you. We love you God and we are so grateful for the family of God. All right have a blessed day everybody.
I was just listening to Harold the marathon runner come in and call in and tell about hearing so many people praying for him. I haven’t called in about it, but I have been praying for you ever since I heard that. And I just knew that you were going to be saved and I’m praising the Lord for your salvation. Thank you, Jesus. I love you Harold.
Hey is Kim in Las Vegas. Harold I just heard your prayer request that you accepted Christ and I’m in tears. It’s good to have you and the family. You know, it was…it’s good news to hear this morning. I needed to hear it. And God I just thank You for bringing our brother into Your fold Lord, that he’s part of our family Lord. We were pulling him in and drawing him in and You were drawing him further Lord to You and into this family. And I pray that he would lean on You Lord and he would know that he has thousands and thousands of family members around the world praying for him always Lord and I just thank You for this victory. It’s in Your son’s name I…