Daniel 2:24-3:30, 1 Peter 4:7-5:14, Psalms 119:81-96, Proverbs 28:15-16
Today is the 26th day of November. Welcome to the Daily Audio Bible. It’s great to be here with you today on my daughter and China’s birthday. So, happy birthday China over on Daily Audio Bible Chronological. China’s first married birthday. So, we’ve got a mark that moment. And now turning our attention toward the Scriptures, we began the book of Daniel yesterday. And, so we will continue forward in that journey today. We’re reading from the New International Version this week. Daniel chapter 2 verse 24 through 3 verse 30.
Alright. So, we concluded first Peter today, the first letter written by Peter. And as we’ve been observing and just kinda mentioning as we’ve moved to this point in the Bible, the theme of endurance starts to really become very apparent in the New Testament and that theme ran all throughout Peter’s first letter. And, so, we’ve discussed this from…from various angles as we’ve moved through these writings, but let’s just recap as we head into a busy season in the year. But…but certainly this theme, this theme of endorphins isn’t gonna let up. So, let’s just understand…understand why. Why…why are all of these people writing these letters encouraging other people to endure? So, basically during the formative years of the church, it wasn’t illegal to be a follower of Jesus or in other words, a Christian in the Roman Empire. The Roman society was a polytheistic society. In other words, they believed in many gods, a pantheon of gods. So, for them, gods were everywhere, and they were involved in everything, all people’s activities. And people could worship whatever gods or goddesses they wanted to worship but there were the gods of the Empire, the ones that…that all the people believed were responsible for creating Rome and making it great. And, so, those gods, the gods of the Empire, they should be worshiped by all citizens and all immigrants inside the Empire. So, Christians wouldn’t do that, which immediately made them visible, immediately made them stand out, immediately brought up a lot of questions about them. Not so unlike what we we’re reading about Shadrach, Meshack, and Abednego, right? And the great statute that they wouldn’t worship in the book of Daniel today. Now Hebrew people wouldn’t worship the gods of the Empire either, but they kinda had a past. Like, they were…they were tolerated because Judaism, the religion of the Hebrew people was a very exclusive, very ancient religion. So, although they were…were fairly marginalized in terms of the Empire, they were tolerated. And that’s what actually made an easier time of it at the beginning of the church because at the beginning of the church, Christianity, which is a term that was coined later was…was perceived as just a sect of the Jewish faith, was in other words, the Hebrew religion but specifically adhering to the teachings of a specific rabbi within that religion. So, for a while, the early believers in Jesus had the same kind of cover that the Hebrew people in general had religiously. But as the Jews continued to denounce Jesus and mount opposition to the teachings and the followers of Jesus and as Gentiles began flooding into the faith, forcing the early church to have this counsel, which fundamentally…fundamentally opened the doors for the Gentiles to come into the faith, but ostracized Christian people from…from Judaism, from the Hebrews. And you’ll remember because we explored this argument many times as we were working through the writings of Paul, right? The earliest Jewish believers had no intention of converting out of Judaism. Jesus was a Jew. He taught the law. He was a rabbi. They never understood Him as creating a new religion, but at the same time the Holy Spirit was falling on the Gentiles in droves. And, so, they couldn’t argue with God on this. So, it made them have to reframe what they thought that they knew. But even as they did a reframe and understood that God was saving the entire world…like anybody in the world could come to Jesus and find righteousness before God. The Hebrew people denounced that. So, all the sudden the Christian people following Jesus and don’t have the cover of this ancient Hebrew religion because the Hebrew people are denouncing them as well. And, so, then it’s expected that these people who are following Jesus…like “worship Jesus all you want but you’ve got to worship the gods of the Empire or it will become clear that you are against”, right, “you are against the Empire. You are anti-Roman if you aren’t willing to worship the gods that made Rome.” Okay. So, that’s the soup, right? Like that’s the cultural soup that we’re talking about here. So, we can see why believers in Jesus are starting to be forced to the margins, we can see why they are being pressured, we can see why they’re being blamed for all kinds of things. They’re like an easy scapegoat. So, we can see why these early writers of letters that have found their way into the New Testament would be encouraging the believers to endure, to stay true, to hold to the name of Jesus until the end, whatever that might mean, and why a letter like first Peter would be treasured in the New Testament. These early brothers and sisters who received this letter were in a struggle. They were being stereotyped. They were being marginalized and there was no voice. So, the only thing that they could do, like the only way they could fight back and resist this was to rise above it all and make sure that their lives were speaking louder than the things that were being said about them. And the kinds of things that were being spread about the early believers, I mean, if we heard those things said about somebody, we would not be eager or excited to go find out what the fuss is about. We would stay away from it. I mean, like, just as just…just as a small example, because believers called themselves brothers and sisters, people who are observing this are like, “how? How? You don’t even know each other. Like, you’re not in the same family, you don’t even know each other, you are not blood related in any way. You call each other brothers and sisters when you just…when you first meet each other.” This was odd in the culture. And because the believers would meet together and share a meal there were all kinds of wacky thoughts about what happens at those meals with this brothers and sisters who just meet each other and then have these incestuous relationships inside their strange cultic practices. Like, this is the kind of stuff that was being spread around. So, you start hearing that enough about a certain people group and you want to stay away from them. And, so, people were staying away from them. They were getting more and more marginalized then they were getting picked on, right? Persecuted. So, that’s why this theme of endurance comes up, and why it has stood the test of time. I mean, because few of us are gonna to have to endure as the early believers did in our lifetimes probably. But if somebody had to stay true…that’s the thing…somebody had to stay true. We may live in a time inside of a culture where we don’t really have to think about this type of persecution or this type of marginalization, but it’s still happening to people, it’s still happening to people all over the world, and it’s still happening…happening to brothers and sisters, believers in Jesus all over the world. And somebody had to stay true. If these letters had been passed around and…and in our earliest brothers and sisters had not stayed true, we probably wouldn’t be here. Like, our faith was handed down to us by the few who chose to stay true, to endure, to overcome by the blood of the lamb and the word of their testimony, their witness. They stayed true and bore witness in the world to the gospel, even though in some cases…in many cases it cost them their lives. That’s why we’re here. That’s how we got here. We’re called to be the same. We’re called to do the same. So, let’s invite the Holy Spirit even as…as we’re moving into a deeper…into a very busy week and beginning a very busy season. Let’s invite God to speak into the areas of life that we’re looking at and the only way through is going to be endurance. I dislike endurance as much as everyone else. I don’t sign up to endure and yet I am learning that the Scriptures are asking of us that we stop labeling it as something that we have to avoid and understand that it’s something that we have to embrace. It’s part of it. It’s part of the process of life. And, so, I know that we’re looking at things in our lives that there…like…we can avoid it as long as possible, but eventually we’re gonna have to dive in and walk through it and endure it because that’s the only way forward. We’re gonna have to remember that we can thrust into it and confused about it the whole time or we can actively participate in it knowing that we will not be abandoned, we will not be left alone. We are in this together. As Peter told us, our brothers and sisters are going through the same kind of things all over the world. We’re in this together. We are not alone. This is not purposeless. This is the path to freedom. What if you found out that the narrow path that leads to life included endurance, that it was a necessary skill to walk that path because it is?
Holy Spirit, we invite You into that. We don’t like to endure and sometimes when we’re forced to, we realize how weak we are. And yet the resistance is what makes us strong. So, we’re moving into some busy days, we’re moving into a busy season. There’s plenty out in front of us, but this team that You bring up for us each year and staying true, of overcoming by the blood of heaven and the word of our testimony of enduring until the end, well, it's…it’s here for a reason and we need to know it and we need to embrace it. So, we invite Your Holy Spirit into this theme, into this idea, into reframing and rewiring what we think about endurance because we’re normally doing everything possible to avoid it, as opposed to embracing as a part of the story. So, come Holy Spirit we pray. Into all of this we ask in the name of Jesus. Amen.
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And I just thought, well, it’s China’s birthday so let’s do this. So, Black Friday, right, is this Friday and I mean…I am getting every…like I wake up in the morning and I’m like oh my gosh…just to dig through all of these emails for Black Friday sales. And I always start with, like, “how did I get on this list?” But okay. So, I’m assuming that that’s what’s happening for you too. And yeah that’s just…it’s been Black November, which is the first time I’ve actually seen that. Nevertheless, every year around this time we gather resources from within the Daily Audio Bible and create a Daily Audio Bible Christmas Box and have a Daily Audio Bible family Christmas. And normally that’s something that we would just announce Friday because it seems like Friday’s the day that the holiday season actually like it’s upon us. The only problem is that that really restricts our cutoff date for international shipments. It is extraordinarily expensive to ship internationally, but we’ve worked out this thing with FedEx where it’s about…it’s roughly the same as domestic. It just takes a lot longer. It can take 21 or more days. So, we’re adding a couple of days and announcing it today. The Daily Audio Bible family Christmas Box for 2019 is available now. They usually go fast but it’s available now. The International Cutoff date is this coming Monday, December 2nd. So…so, get them while…while you can. And this year’s Christmas Box is different…well…they’re all different. This one’s different than any other one ever because we’ve picked some of the most popular items from this new Global Campfire line of resources that we have. So, in this year’s Christmas Box is a copy of this new resource, the God of Your Story that we’ve been talking about. This one is a signed first edition copy. I was out at the warehouse in Colorado a couple weeks ago and set up a table and signed Box after Box full of these and I just remembered how much I love this book. I love how it feels, I love how it looks, I love how it represents who we are as a community to the world. And, so, I enjoyed that time. So, first edition signed copy of the God of Your Story is in the Christmas Box. Also, our new Daily Audio Bible Journal 2.0 is in the Box. Your choice of our Windfarm Daily Audio Bible blend whole bean coffee or our boutique tea, your choice whether you’re a tea or coffee drinker. We also have a pack of 20 Christmas cards, the Daily Audio Bible Christmas cards for 2019 are included in the Christmas Box. And I haven’t talked about those yet. You can also get those separately in the daily audio Bible Shop in the Christmas section. We…we create these, every year. They’re a beautiful touch point, they’re beautiful cards. This year is no different. It’s a beautiful winter Christmas setting. We create these, every year because they’re a great opportunity for you to invite those in your life that you love and care about to take the journey through the Scriptures with you, but they’re not like an advertisement card. It’s a Christmas card. So, it doesn’t advertise the Daily Audio Bible. The only place it says Daily Audio Bible on it is on the very back, like where you would read Hallmark or whatever. But they are beautiful, they come with matching envelopes and they’re five bucks. So, pretty hard to get Christmas cards like that for five bucks, but this is a great opportunity to hand write an invitation and invite your friends and family on the journey with you next year. So, those are in the Christmas Box. Also, the Daily Audio Bible annual Christmas ornament that is only ever in the Christmas Box. 2019’s edition with our word for the year, “Maintain” printed on it is also in the Christmas Box. I am a little early because I have mine on my tree mow. I have all the different years on my tree now and I love that. I…I can, you know, be sitting just kind of winding down for the night, have the Christmas lights on, everything is peaceful and quiet, look at a tree, and see those bulbs and remember all of the faces and voices and all of the life that those bulbs represent. Like, a whole year in the Bible together is what each one of those represents. So, this year’s Christmas bulb is also in the Christmas Box. The very popular Daily Audio Bible candle that we worked really hard with a perfumer to get smelling like a campfire, because it’s a Global Campfire candle is included in the Christmas Box as well as the very popular Daily Audio Bible Global Campfire pop socket for your phone or tablet device. That’s in there as well. A pack of five of the Global Campfire postcards are included and they’re in a nice little plastic container. They’re fantastic for certainly…they’re very, very visual, they’re very colorful. So, they stand out if you leave them somewhere, but they’re also beautiful for framing, which is something I plan to do during the holiday season. So, a pack of those are included, as well as two of the Global Campfire stickers. So, it is a big box, it’s packed all the way full of these resources and for the first hundred and fifty, the first hundred fifty we’ll also be including one of the Daily Audio Bible Black Wing pencils. So, those are a Black Wing pencil with Daily Audio Bible written on the side. We did those last year and we had…we had some left over…about 150 left over. So, we’re gonna put them in this year’s Christmas Box for the..for the early birds. So, that is the Daily Audio Bible family Christmas Box for 2019. It is available now in the Daily Audio Bible Shop. Just go to dailyaudiobible.com and click on Shop at the top or if you’re using the Daily Audio Bible app just push the little Drawer icon in the upper left-hand corner and you can get to the shop from there, and they are available now.
If you want to partner with the Daily Audio Bible as we move our way toward the end of the year then I thank you humbly and profoundly. Words…yeah…sometimes there are things that words can’t say. Like you try and try and try say all kinds of different ways, but the gratitude that is my heart for the fact that we are still here doing what we’re doing every single day as a community around the world, that there are those of us that are hungry for this, there are those of us that are actually looking for deep and fundamental and irreversible transformation in our lives through the Scriptures, ahhhh….that is…that is….yeah…words fail. So, if that has been meaningful to you then thank you for your partnership. There’s a link on the homepage at dailyaudiobible.com. If you’re using the app, you can press the Give button in the upper right-hand corner or, if you prefer, the mailing address is PO Box 1996 Spring Hill Tennessee 37174.
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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.