Daniel 9:1-11:1, 1 John 2:18-3:6, Psalms 121:1-8, Proverbs 28:27-28
Today is the 2nd day of December welcome to the Daily Audio Bible I am Brian it is fantastic to be here with you today. Today would’ve been my…well…it is my dad’s birthday. He is no longer with us. Today would’ve been his 80th. He only made it to his 58th birthday. And, so, he’s shockingly missed on some days, and this being one of them since it’s his birthday and I’m thinking about him. And I can still hear his voice in my head. It’s been a long long time since we’ve had a conversation. I’m very, very different person than the last time I got to talk to him. But it’s funny. And those of you who lost a parent and you love them very very much and you kinda walk with a limp after you lose them and I lost both my parents and that has been really hard to feel like an orphan on some days. It's…it’s definitely…grief is an interesting thing how it sneaks up on you even after you’ve been doing well for a while. But I..I can hear so many of the things that my father taught me and that he showed me and one of the things he showed me was a love for the Scriptures. Even though I wasn’t paying all that much attention it was sinking in. And I do indeed love the Scriptures and I can still hear his voice in my head, giving plenty of advice that I did follow and plenty of advice that I didn’t but ultimately learned how right he was. And, so, yeah, I could sit here and talk about my dad, but we have some scripture to get to. But it is a happy birthday and a commemoration. I do like to arrive at these days, birthdays and stuff and think back and appreciate the moment that we’re in and appreciate that we got here somehow. And how we got here is on the backs of those who came before us. And, so, I don’t think there could be a Daily Audio Bible without my mom and there could be one without my dad. At least I wouldn’t be involved in it. I wouldn’t be here. And, so, I am grateful to have been escorted into this world by such giants of people who even though their lives have ended on earth, and I can’t text or call them the reverberations of their lives echo around in my heart and mind every single day. So, happy birthday dad. And now let’s dive into Scriptures, something that he would very much have loved to do together with us. And, so, we’ll do it in his honor. We’ve been reading from the book of Daniel as we’ve navigated through the Old Testament at this portion of the year. That’s what we’ll do, and we’re also moving through first John in the New Testament, which is what we’ll do when we get there. But first, Daniel chapter 9 verse 1 through 11 verse 1 today.
Okay. Let’s talk about unmet expectations because that seems to really be at the heart of what John is saying today in first John. So, think about a time when you had an expectation, and it went unmet and you were counting on that. You were counting on that relationship, or you are counting on that money, or you were counting on that opportunity, or whatever and you had kind of put your heart in that direction. You are counting on it and it didn’t happen. The expectation went unmet. Nobody likes that kind of scenario. Everybody tries to reduce those sorts of scenarios in our lives. In fact, like we can go crazy when our expectations are unmet even like with a…with a store. We ordered a product, and it was defective and we had waited or it didn’t work right or it was on that expectation. We can fire off really nasty emails or say were really nasty things to customer service people or whatever when…when our expectations aren’t met. We’ll say things like I’m never shopping at this establishment again, ever. I’ll take my patronage somewhere else. And underneath that we’re questioning the integrity of the establishment of the business or whatever. We’re beginning to doubt that they will deliver our can deliver. Think about how we do this spiritually because so much of the doubt that we can experience on the faith journey really does have its roots and orientation in unmet expectations. We became a Jesus follower and that changed our lives and then we began to learn, and we were taught all kinds of things that we should be expecting. And we were taught how to believe in faith for things and when those expectations go unmet. Then we wonder, does this really work and that can lead to doubt and doubt can lead us into deception until we want to chuck the whole thing, throw it by the wayside and continue walking down the path and leave faith behind, or at least our version of it. But some people don’t just chuck it to the side and walk away from it and say that just didn’t work for me. Some people become antagonistic, antagonistic toward other believers, antagonistic toward Jesus. They become anti-Jesus, they become as the Bible puts it, antichrist, and that’s kind of where we pick up in John’s letter today. And I quote. “My children, this is the final hour. You have heard that the antichrist, the greatest enemy to his kingdom is coming, but in fact many antichrists are already here. This development tells us how late it really is. A group has left us, but they were not part of our family. If they were truly our brothers and sisters, they would’ve remained for the duration with us. When they left, they made it ever so obvious that they were not part of us.” As we look at the story that’s going on behind the story, the con…the contextual story, we begin to understand that unmet expectations play heavily. Our earliest brothers and sisters who came to believe in Jesus also believed that the end was near. And by near that’s like not metaphorically near, its imminent, it’s any moment, it’s any day now. The end is coming, the age is changing. Christ is returning. They will be a part of ushering this all in. They are on the ground floor of the establishment of the kingdom of God in this world and that was the expectation, and it went unmet. They got other things instead. They got persecuted, they got marginalized. They were verbally ridiculed. And maybe they were holding on because this is the ground floor or of the kingdom of God. But then it just didn’t happen that way. And many abandoned their faith returning to traditional Judaism or just kind of disappearing into the woodwork, continuing to follow Jesus, but staying out of the fray. And then as they began to realize that instead that instead of this grand kingdom suffering and endurance were what they were going to need to do. Well…then some got mad because we tend to get mad when we have unmet expectations. John says, “when they left they made it ever so obvious that they were not a part of us.” And in the thick of it while there is marginalization and persecution happening, while there is a verbal abuse happening, while people are being pushed into the margins, while awaiting the arrival of Jesus all kinds of teachings are being said about Jesus. All kinds of different versions and nuances about who Jesus was and how Jesus was and what Jesus was doing began to swirl. What is the true nature of Jesus? Was Jesus a human being or was Jesus a divine being, a God or was He both so? And, so, as people are dealing with unmet expectations they’re hearing some of these other teachings and beginning to wonder, is what we were told the truth? Did these apostles tell us the truth? Do we believe the truth or a lie? And John is stepping into the middle of that with this letter. And, so, I quote. “You have been given an anointing a special touch from the Holy One. You know the truth. I am not writing to you because you do not know the truth but because you do know it. You know that no lie belongs to the truth. The liar is the one who says Jesus is not really the Anointed One. This is the antichrist, the one denying both the Father and the Son. Anyone who denies the Son does not know the Father. The one affirming the Son enjoys an intimate relationship with the Father as well.” And then he goes on to say. “I also am writing to warn you about some who are attempting to deceive you. You have an anointing. You received it from Him, and His anointing remains on you. You do not need any other teacher. But as His anointing instructs you and all the essentials, all the truth uncontaminated by darkness and lies, it teaches you this, remain connected to Him.” So, John is aware of what is going on and he is speaking to what is going on. He is watching this swirl and the confusion that is going on and he’s saying, look, what you were told from the get go is the gospel. You were told the truth from the beginning. Nothing has changed. No matter who comes and tells you totally different stories, nothing is changed. And then that becomes the lesson for us. We’ve all experienced unmet expectations. We don’t like it. We react in all kinds of ways when it happens to us but then when we look spiritually at unmet expectations, we realize that we may have bitterness that just lives inside of us. We may have all kinds of stuff swirling around, all kinds of doubt, all kinds of questions because it’s not the way we thought it was supposed to be. We were going to pay our tithes and get a hundredfold back. It was just gonna be nonstop. Like this is gonna be awesome and now…and instead…instead we’re suffering, we’re enduring, and we’re questioning everything. And believe me, questions aren’t the problem. Asking questions of our faith, that like…that’s part of the faith tradition from the very very beginning - wondering learning, growing, stretching, asking. That’s just fine. But when we do that with the spirit of bitterness, then it’s the bitterness it’s doing the talking basically. It’s the unmet expectations that are usually guiding the way here. What we need to remember, first of all is, that it’s been 2000 years. This was going on a long time ago. But the truth of what John is saying hasn’t changed. The gospel is still the same. The truth is still the same. We talked about this when we were moving to the letters of Peter, the same unlet expectations. People expected the eminent arrival of Jesus, and it didn’t happen, and they were having to endure. And Peter is like, is God delaying or are we being impatient? And that opens up so many things that we talked about then, like the patients of the Lord and our endurance is collaborating with God. He doesn’t want to lose anybody. When we have these unmet expectations in our spiritual journey John is essentially warning us that the story hasn’t changed, the truth hasn’t changed and if we fall into a swirl of deception, we could very easily find ourselves abandoning our faith and becoming anti-Christ. And I doubt that that’s any of our goal.
Father, we invite You into that. We invite You into the idea of unmet expectations. We…we’re in a fallen and broken human world and there are plenty of unmet expectations but when we apply those to You as if You have withheld from us or that You’re not even aware of us we see how quickly, how easily we can go spinning off into all kinds of deception. Holy Spirit, come. We’re asking what we have asked so many times this year, to lead us into all truth. We believe that is Your desire for us and we believe that that is what we need, the truth, that You would lead us into the truth and not lead us to the threshold of the truth and then abandon us, that that You would lead us continually on the pathways of truth on the pathways of righteousness and that we would not become weary with unmet expectations. May we hold onto You. You have certainly held on to us even when we did not deserve it at all. Yu haven’t stopped hoping for us. You haven’t stopped believing in us. May we hold on to You for dear life following the examples of our brothers and sisters who have gone before us. We pray this in the mighty name of Jesus. Amen.
dailyaudiobible.com is home base, it is the website, it’s where you find out what is going on around here unless, of course, you’re using the Daily Audio Bible app. And that would put everything in the palm of your hand. It is Christmas time around here. So, there are a couple Christmas things going on.
We are preparing for our annual Daily Audio Bible family Christmas party that we have each year. One of my most heartwarming Christmas traditions since…since the Daily Audio Bible began. And, so, how this works is you get to call in your holiday greetings and holiday wishes to the community that you’ve been step-by-step day by day with all year. And the way that you do that is either hit the Hotline button in the top or dial 877-942-4253. And all of those instructions may sound familiar, because yes, that is the prayer request and encouragement lines that we use each and every day. Right now, they’re doubling also as a way for us to gather all of the holiday greetings that come in each year. And, so, two rules about it. One, do not call in a holiday greeting combined with a prayer request or encouragement in the same call. Call in your holiday greeting and then if you have a prayer request or encouragement call that in separately. Make them separate. It’s one of the only times that we can do that. And then the second rule is just…just call in one holiday greeting. Like, don’t call in 10 of them or five of them or whatever. Just call in one holiday greeting. It is a large large production but it is also a lengthy party that we have. It’s beautiful. I love it. I can’t wait for it. And, so, very much looking forward to it. So, call in.
The other thing is…the other Christmas related thing is that the Daily Audio Bible family Christmas Box for 2022 is available and it is packed full of resources for the journey that we are on. Some resources you’ll want to keep. Maybe some you’ll want to give away as gifts. But you can check it all out at dailyaudiobible.com in the Shop or using the app by pushing the little icon in the upper left-hand corner and then going into the Shop and you’ll find a Christmas section there and you’ll find the Christmas Box in the Christmas section. And, so, check that out.
And if you want to partner with the Daily Audio Bible, thank you. If by what’s happening around the Global Campfire is life-giving then thank you humbly for your partnership here at the end of the year. There is 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 the mailing address is PO Box 1996 Spring Hill Tennessee 37174. And if you have a prayer request or encouragement or holiday greeting you can hit Hotline button in the app or you can dial 877-942-4253.
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: