Isaiah 6:1-7:25, 2 Corinthians 11:16-33, Psalm 54:1-7, Proverbs 23:1-3
Today is the 10th day of September, welcome to the Daily Audio Bible, I am Brian. It is wonderful to be here with you today as we gather together around this Global Campfire, find our place, take a deep breath and let everything else go and just relax into this space that we create together each and every day. An oasis of serenity, a protected place where the world and all of its pressures and cares, yeah we can drag them in here but this is a safe place. We can pick them all back up at the door if we want when we walkout, but this is our place. Just focus on the Scriptures allow them to wash over us, allow them to speak to us, allow them to carry us forward, and so, let’s dive in. We are still moving into the book of Isaiah because were about 10% through the book of Isaiah and so let’s continue our journey. Isaiah chapters 6 and 7 today.
Okay so, in the second letter to the Corinthians today we get to the…to the boasting part right where Pauls like, having to defend himself by boasting back against the super apostles or the great emissaries who have come in behind him, to the churches that he planted and are teaching nuances that he’s not teaching and they are bringing credibility like that they are associated with the actual apostles of Jesus. Paul can’t do that. So now he has to kind of state his credentials, essentially in a boasting fashion so I quote Paul “are they are Hebrews so am I, are they are true Israelites so am I, are they are the descendants of Abraham so am I, are they the servants to the anointed one, the liberating King I am even more so. I can’t believe how foolish I sound. I have worked harder for God’s kingdom, taken more beatings, been dragged in and out of prisons and have been eye to eye with death. Five times I withstood 39 lashes from Jewish authorities. Three times I was battered with rods, once I was almost stoned to death, three times I was shipwrecked and I spent one day and night adrift on the sea. I have been on many journeys and face the most extreme circumstances, perilous rivers, violent thieves and threats by my own people and by the Gentile outsiders alike. I have faced dangers in the city in the wilderness and at sea and danger from spies among our brothers and sisters. I have survived toil and hardships, sleepless nights, hunger and thirst without a crumb insight, bear to the cold. As if these external trials weren’t enough, there is the daily stress I feel and anxiety I carry for all the churches under my care.” Okay so, that’s Paul’s boasting his saying this is my pedigree. These are my credentials in the face of these super apostles. So, it’s safe to say that Paul faced a lot and that should indeed give him credibility among the people where he’s planted churches indeed. But beyond that, if he went through all of that stuff as the church is information at this early impetus of the church and its growth than what we need to understand is that resistance and hardship and difficulty and challenge have always, always been a part of the story and those challenging hardships are not easy, they weren’t easy then and they’re just hard now. It’s always been really, really hard. Our brothers and sisters who have carried this story forward to us today, did it through difficulty and hardship, just like we do and so often what we think is that somehow that’s not supposed to be the case. Somehow it’s supposed to be easy for us. Jesus is the easy maker not the way maker. He’s the way maker and he makes a way through the wilderness and rivers in the desert through the difficult times and we’re all going through them. We all will go through them. And when some of our brothers and sisters are going through really, really tremendous and peaceful times. Others of us are going through tremendous and difficult times and we help each other through these times together step-by-step. So, we can think of our challenges, things that we’re facing, things that are not letting us have enough sleep. Things that are keeping it difficult for us to fall asleep, things that we find ourselves staring out the window daydreaming thinking about, mulling over, chewing on trying to find solutions for. We need to know that this is part of it. Resistance in our lives is something that strengthens us. And it’s important that we become strong because we are revealing a kingdom. So, there are times where we feel like we can’t even put another foot in front of the other, we’re just burned out, we’re just absolutely exhausted. We have…life has just knocked us flat on our back, we’re just staring up at the sky, trying to figure out you if we even have the strength to stand back up. I know, I know what that feels like too. We all know what that feels like because we all face this. Jesus the anointed one, faced this. The apostle Paul, as we’re seeing in this letter, faced this. So, if there’s nothing more that I really could say to make it better. And there’s not. It’s just you are not alone. You are not the only one. And, at least in my experience, we can cave, we can buckle, we can throw in the towel, we can throw up our hands, we can walk away, but people have survived insurmountable odds when they believe, when they believe in what they’re doing, when they believe in what it means. People can endure just about anything. And we are the light of the world. We are the salt of the earth, we’re holding things together. If we could stop fighting each other, we could really, really do some damage to the darkness. If we would stop looking at our hardships and then looking at another brother and sister and going, why don’t they have to face…why aren’t they going through this thing? We just need to remember Jesus words at the very end of the gospel of John. What is that to you? You follow me. And so be encouraged. You can keep going. There is strength that you didn’t know about, that you can’t find until you get to the end of your own.
And so, Father, Holy Spirit come we’re very weary. Some of us are very, very weary and it’s been a hard season or a hard year or a hard life and we don’t have the strength to go on. We need Your strength and yet we look back into the Scriptures and see that this is the story. This is how the story goes. Everyone who’s ever stepped up to carry the light of the world forward has faced opposition and so we can take some comfort in that, doesn’t make it easier, but it lets us know we are a part of something that’s been going on a long time, and if we would come to the end of ourselves and surrender You would help us navigate. And maybe the circumstances aren’t going to change, but our perspective can radically shift so that the circumstances don’t have the power over us that they once did. Come Holy Spirit, help us to know that we’re becoming stronger and that we’re taking part in a process that has been going on since the very beginning. We pray this in the name of Jesus. Amen.