Amos 4:1-6:14, Rev 2:18-3:6, Ps 130:1-8, Pr 29:21-22
Today is the 11th day of December, welcome to the Daily Audio Bible. I am Brian, it is great to be here with you today as we step through the threshold into a brand-new, shiny, sparkly week. It’s all out in front of us like it always is, like it always has been, it’s a bit of a hectic time of year. So, it’s nice for us to know that there is a reset here, a brand-new week, and this happens to be the third Sunday in the season of Advent. Advent being a season on the Christian calendar, it’s not in the Bible, it’s just a season on the Christian calendar, a season that is intended to prepare our hearts and allow us to consider the arrival, which is what Advent means, the arrival of the Savior into the world. And what a monumental shift it was for His arrival. Nothing has been the same since then. So, we…we certainly observed that and pay attention to that. This is the week where the joy candle would be lit, like if you have an Advent calendar, not calendar. I said that last week. Advent candle wreath at your church and you’re lighting the Advent calendar, candles, or if you have an Advent candle wreath at your house and you’re lighting those, then this would be the third one. This week represents joy. Joy to the world and we focus on the joy of the arrival of the Savior as we contemplate this…this week. So, that’s where we are in the year. There are only four Sundays in this season of Advent, and this is the third one. So, I guess we kind of know where we are in the trajectory here. But we are in a new week and this week we will read from the English Standard Version and obviously we will do what we always and only do, we’ll pick up right where we left off. It’s been our mission to read every book, every chapter, every verse, every word in the Bible and so we’re picking up where we left off, we’re not skipping anything. And that that we’ll lead us back into the book of Amos, today chapters four, five and six.
Father, we thank You for Your word. Thank You for a brand-new week. Thank You for the season that we are in, the season of Advent and this third Sunday of joy and it is our intention to focus upon joy this week, bring the joy of Your Holy Spirit into our lives. May we experience joy to the world, goodwill toward men. And even as we continue our journey through the different books that we will encounter this week, we ask for Your wisdom, Your direction, Your guidance, Your instruction, Your leadership. We pray this in the name of Jesus. Amen.
Prayer and Encouragements:
Hi, this is Delights in Me. And I’m calling in response to People on the Water. I want you to know that I will be praying for you. I remember what it was like being in college, my, I went for a year and a half and then I quit. My mom had passed away so, that was hard for me. That was a very hard time for me. But I remember also it being a very, when you’re a young adult, it’s easy to feel very lost because all of a sudden, you’re able to make these decisions for yourself and when you’re in high school and years before that, everyone’s got a routine for you. But I want to encourage you that you will find your right path. I was thinking about it, it’s kind of like hiking. I like to hike; I don’t know if you do. But sometimes you get traveling down the wrong trail, you lose the markers, but you have to just go back to where you, where you find the markers again. And I think for you, that’s going home. And even when you get lost and you lose those markers, God is with you and he’s gently telling you go this way. And I think He’s telling you right now, go home. And that’s good. I believe you’re hearing from God. And you will find your way. Just because you’re not doing what other people are doing by going to college, it’s just that God has a different path for you. So, hand in there. You’re not lost. Okay. Love you. Bye.
Hello People on the Water in Indiana. This is Right Where I’m Supposed to Be in St. Louis. When your father’s request for you played yesterday, on December 6th, I prayed for you. Because I know that being new in college, it’s a hard time in life in trying to figure out what’s going on. I work at a college, I work with lots of college students, particularly 1st year college students. And many of them are confused and aren’t sure what they’re gonna do and what they’re gonna study. But the one thing I keep telling them and this is what I’m gonna continue to tell, I’m gonna tell you and I’m praying for you. I pray that you have the courage to keep moving forward. Keep moving forward, not only with your relationship with God and reading your Bible and staying apart of the DAB but also keep forward, keep moving forward in what you’re doing. That might mean keep moving forward in college. Maybe you stay in college, and I know in my story while I did not end up doing the thing that I studied in college, it opened all kinds of doors and opportunities for me to lead me to where I am today. I don’t have time to tell you my whole story but keep moving forward. I pray that you have the courage to do that. I also know that the mental anguish can be strong and can be overwhelming and I think the one of the things that is gonna get you through that is to keep moving forward. Keep your eyes on Jesus.
Brian and family, DAB listeners, thank you for your ministry over the last couple months. This is the Road Toad. I have a reading to share with you. I wrote to my wife; it’s called The Garden. I’ve been listening to the word, getting real with God and He with me. I’m ugly. When we married, God gave me a brand-new garden to nurture and care for. I was to keep the weeds down, trim off the dead branches, and keep undesirable vegetation out so my garden could flourish. You know the result. My self-pity, low self-esteem, doubts, fears and weaknesses brought the weeds and undesirables in. I failed to tend the garden given to me. Crushed the flowers, trampled the fruit, allowed the weeds in, I did not water. My most precious flower has wilted, and my garden is suffering. I have failed. I am sorry, I am ashamed. I ask forgiveness for failing. I ask that I be allowed to remain in this garden and to work to be bring back beauty. I promise, I’ll rely on the master Gardner for his help. When I shared this her, she said, now maybe healing can begin. I messed up a time or two since, but I ask for your prayers, and I ask for the Lord’s intervention for much beauty can come out of this relationship. Thank you.
Hello, this is Mike from South Dakota. Just calling in on the December 8th broadcast. Duane from Wisconsin called in and said that his son, who he hadn’t heard from in about a year, said he heard from him. Said he was doing good. You know, Duane, you’ve prayed for our kids and us a lot and I appreciate it. And I’ve been praying for your kids. I’m glad to hear they’re doing good. My… my adult children are doing real well. And I thank God for that. Something that I would like to have everybody pray for, my mom, she is 94. She had a full-time caretaker. But that person is no longer able to take care of her. So, my sister is gonna move her into a very nice, very good, very expensive rest home. But she has enough money left that she can afford to live there. So, praise God for that. So, just pray that everything all goes well. Everything I’ve asked you folks to pray for is all resolved very well. And I’ve sure prayed for all of you, all these years, many, many years. I thank God for this ministry; it has been a life-giving thing to my wife and I. I love ya’ll. Praying for Blind Tony and all of the people that come on very often and offer so much. I don’t come on very much. But I love ya’ll. Adios.
Okay, so as we go through the book of Revelation, it’s important that we try to keep our place and that we try to approach with new ears and what I mean by that is the book of Revelation has a lot swirling around it. A lot of people think of it as the scary book of the Bible because it has to do with the end and its full of symbolism. People try to make that symbolism a lot of things. And so, there’s incredibly diverse interpretation. So, we need to try to keep track. So, basically where we are, is that John is on the island of Patmos. And he hears a trumpet call, and he turns around and there is seven golden lampstands with Jesus in the middle of them, holding seven stars. And Jesus tells John to write down what he hears, what he sees. And we learn that these lampstands represent seven specific churches, not churches that are symbols, actual real churches that exist at this time. So, as John is basically taking this dictation from Jesus and writing the words that he has to say to these churches down, we see that these little notes or letters to the individual churches are addressed to the angel of that church. Although there are several interpretations, we think these Angels of the church are the leaders of the church, churches because the letters are specific to what’s going on in the church. And yesterday, we read the three different letters to the first of the three churches: Ephesus, Smyrna and Pergamum. Today we read the letters to Thyatira and Sardis. And then tomorrow we’ll read the last remaining two letters, to the last two remaining churches. And so, to the church at Thyatira Jesus encourages them that He knows, He knows their works, what they’re doing. He knows their love; He knows their faithfulness and service and even their endurance and He says that their last works are greater than their first. So, in other words, they’re growing in this, they’re living into it. They’re doing better now than they were when they started, which is an incredible complement. But Jesus does have a problem with the church at Thyatira and it’s basically the same problem with the church at Pergamum, they’re holding onto the faith, and they have no problem engaging the culture, but that has led to the problem that they are too engaged, and things are seeping back into the church that shouldn’t be there. Jesus describes that by saying you tolerate the woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess and teaches and deceives my slaves to commit sexual immorality and eat meat sacrificed to idols. So, we don’t know if there is actually a woman named Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess in this church or if Jesus is simply talking about the behavior of Jezebel found in the Old Testament stories about her. Because Jezebel led…led God’s people away into Bale worship, which also led them into sexual immorality. But anyway, there’s someone or some people who are following this someone that are in the church and this kind of behavior is being tolerated. Thyatira was an economic hub at the time and was a working city and there were trade workers. There were many trades to keep a city and region going. These trade workers would collect themselves together in guilds and these guilds would be communities of people who did the same kind of work. So, people knew each other and live together in community. These guilds would have their own customs. For example, there would be like a patron God or deity of the Guild. So, if the trade was iron working, for example, then there would be a God that would overlook that whole process. And so, no matter what other gods might be worshiped in the home, these people would worship that God, the God of the Guild. And if you refused to do that, then you can see how quickly you could be ostracized and economically impacted, blacklisted. And so, people would assimilate, they would belong to the church and worship Jesus, but then go to their guild and worship that God because it was required in the culture and then maybe they would visit other temples and feasts and do all kinds of rituals and things and then show up for church and worship day. And so, we can see it was…it was just as hard, if not harder for them to be in the world but not of it as it is for us and they’re trying to figure this all out. But some churches are taking this too far. So, we’ve seen references to Balam, to the Nicolaitan, to this Jezebel prophetess person or people and it stems from a teaching that this world is passing away, and our human experience in it, in exchange for a new world and a new glorified body and the family of God. And so, while that’s being awaited it’s a free-for-all and the cultic practices of the culture are seeping their way back into the church in the guise of freedom in Christ. So, this was going on in Pergamum. This is also going on in Thyatira by the wording of the letter, it looks like it was going on longer in Thyatira than it had been in Pergamum, because in the letter to Thyatira Jesus talking about judgment and He is saying time is past. Specifically, He says I gave her time to repent, but she does not want to repent of her sexual immorality. So, she’s going to get sick and those who commit adultery with her are going to fall in the tribulation, and it’s not going to go well. So, Jesus is calling out a specific group of people in the church that are…that are living this way and then he closes the letter by talking to everyone else. Those who are not by telling them that there is no additional burden for them. In other words, there’s nothing else you’re doing it right. Well done. And that brings us to the letter to the church in Sardis. And the thing going on in Sardis seems to be similar to what is going on in Ephesus, the light or the witness of the gospel of Jesus is going out and Jesus is fairly frank with them. I know your works, you have a reputation for being alive, but your dead, so wake up. Be vigilant, be alert, strengthen what you’ve got left because it is about to die and you haven’t finished your mission, repent. Remember what you heard in the beginning. Remember what you received and heard and keep it and repent. Cause if you don’t wake up, if you’re not alert, I’ll come like a thief, and you have no idea when, when that will be. And in this letter, Jesus says you have no idea, you have no idea at what hour I will come against you. With the church in Ephesus, Jesus said, if he has to do that, He’ll remove the lampstand. In other words, the light will go out. So, we can probably assume that what Jesus is saying to the church in Sardis is similar. So, we’ve gone through five little letters, to five different churches and there are different things that are going on in these churches and they all seem to boil back to the question, how do I be in the world and not of it. In the case of some of these churches, they’re true, there holding very, very true, but because of the marginalization of the culture that they’re in, they aren’t able to shape and shift the culture. They’re not how in the world showing a better way. They’re getting every conceivable opposition and it’s making them grow smaller and quieter. They’re being true, but they’re also basically being invisible. And then the other side of that, you have churches that are out and engaging, and kind of showing that hey, we Christians we’re people too, we can do all things you can do, we’re just part of this, we just have a different way of looking at things. But the end result is rather than shaping culture and being a positive influence in showing a better way, the opposite is happening, and they’re being shaped and it’s seeping back into the church. So, Sardis is one of the churches that is growing smaller and invisible, and they have a lot of pressure. The Jews are very vocal about denouncing the Christian faith, very, very much about the business of trying to differentiate Christianity with Judaism, and the Jewish community in Sardis was large and influential, one of the most important in the entire region. And so, they have cultural opposition and then they have spiritual or religious opposition, as well. And they’re finding it easier just to keep their mouth shut and be together, rather than to shine bright and be a light in the darkness because that will likely only amp up the opposition, and that could lead to death, persecution, marginalization, blacklisting all of the things that would bring suffering. So, we still have two more letters to two more churches to read but we’re getting a pretty good overview of what’s going on in these churches and we see that these are still issues that we have to face today. How can I be in this world but not of it? And the picture that we’re getting from Jesus is that remaining true is very, very important, critical, crucial but also crucial is the outflow of that. We are the salt of the earth, the light of the world, we’re not just here to stay true and wait for the world to change. We’re here to stay true and change the world. And those are different things. So, Father, we bring that question to you. How are we being in the world but not of the world. What is shaping us and what are we shaping? And what is out of balance? And we acknowledge that this is different for each one of us. We are in an individual relationship with You walking with You and this is different for each of us were in all kinds of cultures and in all kinds of contexts, but it does boil down to what we are allowing to shape us and what we are vigilantly trying to shape. And we invite You into the that question. Holy Spirit, speak to us we ask in Jesus name. Amen.