Ezra 3:1-4:23 ~ 1 Corinthians 2:6-3:4 ~ Psalm 28:1-9 ~ Proverbs 20:24-25
Today is the 6th day of August. I was going to say July and as you know, I often mess up my months, especially at the beginning of new month. And I was going to do it. I’m confessing. It’s the 6th day of August. Welcome to the Daily Audio Bible. Here we are at the threshold of a brand new, shiny, sparkly, new week, a week that we will be made new again in, moment by moment, a week that is out in front of us and we consecrated to God in advance. It’s going to be a great week. And one of the things that we do as a community here that helps that rhythm stay true in our lives is that we come to the scriptures each day. So, it’s a brand-new week. And we’ll read from the Good News translation this week. And we can pick up where we left. Ezra, chapter 3 verse 1 through 4 verse 23. And what we’re talking about here, because we have had sort of a list of names, sort of like, oh, are we still back kind of in the Chronicles and all that? No, I mean, we had a list of names, kind of written down, as people came into exile, this a attempt to remember, to not forget who they were. And then we get into Ezra and we have this list of people going back, people returning from exile. And it’s the returning exiled people, it’s their story that we’re in now. So, Ezra chapter 3 verse 1 through 4:23.
OK. So, yesterday as we really, kind of, begin to sink into this Letter to the Corinthians, Paul’ talking about nonsense. He’s saying that this gospel, this message, this good news, seems like nonsense to people who are completely unaware of it. It just looks like something crazy, something nonsense, because it can’t be proved by any means that people have devised to measure such things. You can’t put spirituality on an excel spreadsheet. You can’t describe the movement of God’s Spirit in the world and in our own lives on some sort of grid or into some sort of foolproof recipe that, if you just follow these steps exactly, then you will always find God’s movement. We have the bible to show us that God moves how He moves and how He moves is right and correct and just and true and loving and kind because that’s who He is. But how He moves is how He moves. It’s going to be right. But whether we understand it or can put it on a grid or can scientifically measure it or not is not important to Him. So, Paul’s saying, it looks like nonsense to lots of people but that does not make it any less wisdom. We’re talking about the wisdom of God here. So, are we going to say that the wisdom of God is actually true wisdom or are we going to say that the wisdom of man is actually true wisdom? And if we’re going to say that the wisdom of God is actually true wisdom then we have to acknowledge that our own wisdom, our own methods of dealing and coping with the world, are probably backward. And Paul uses the people of Jesus’ time as an example that this wisdom was in the world. It was in the world in the person of Jesus himself, God in the flesh, the human God speaking God’s wisdom from His own mouth. And none of the rulers of this world knew this wisdom, Paul says. Because if they had, they never would have crucified the Lord of Glory. Fair enough. Point taken. But this wisdom from the Spirit of God is available. And Paul talks about the Spirit. It’s like, only your Spirit really understands the complexities and depths of who you really are. No one else gets to go that deep within you. And only the Spirit of God fully understands the depths and complexities and beauty of who God is. But we haven’t received this worlds spirit, instead we have received the Spirit of God. I mean, can that sink in for a second? God’s Spirit within us does understand the complexities of who we are, everything about us, even more about us than we know about ourselves. And He has allowed His Spirit to reside in us so that we also have access to what He’s thinking about things in this world, how He wants to involve himself in humanity, how He wants to collaborate in our lives personally. We don’t have to sort this all out, segregated from God. It’s not us and then God somewhere else hopefully whispering something in our ear that we can then process and make decisions about. It’s much more integrated than that. The way that Paul boils it down is a very good way - we; however have the mind of Christ. Which means that we have the mind of God, if Christ is God, if Jesus is God. And he is. That means we have access to the mind of God on anything and everything as long as we understand that we are not going to be able to make Him fit our mold, that we’re not going to be able to make Him be crushed into whatever it is that we’re doing so that He can tell us how to do whatever we’re doing. It’s the opposite of that. We surrender everything that we’re doing. We surrender everything that we are, everything we think we know, everything that we will ever hope for. And we begin to live our lives with God in this world only to realize this is what we were created to be. This is how it’s supposed to be. This is how it was always supposed to be. It’s a way, way, way bigger story then we’ve been living in. And basically, Paul says, don’t believe me? You don’t believe me? I mean, you think this is working for you? When there is jealousy among you and you quarrel with one another, doesn’t this prove that you still belong to this world, that you’re still living by its standards and measures and grids and recipes? And where we end today is not the end of what Paul is saying about this but where we end the day is an example. Paul’s saying, some of say, I follow Paul and others of you say, I follow Apollos and isn’t that just acting like worldly people? Aren’t you just throwing heroes of the charts again? That is not how this works. You will not find yourself comparing yourself to somebody else. You will not find your identity by saying I follow this particular person or I like this particular person or I stay away from that guy. I wouldn’t even listen to what they have to say because so many of these other people say they’re a heretic. And I won’t listen to that woman because of this or that and the other and it’s like we’re lost in the weeds here. We have the mind of Christ and we’re trying to use the mind of Christ to live by the world’s system of things and they were never meant to go together. It’s almost opposite, the way that we should be living. And this is straight from Jesus. Go read the Sermon on the Mount and find that it’s backward, the way that this world works. But we don’t have to. We don’t have to work that way. We don’t have to live that way. That’s exactly what’s being described when we are told to be in this world but not of this world. So often, I mean my whole-life, I’ve thought, OK I am in this world, but my home is somewhere else. I’m supposed to be somewhere else. I’m not of this world. When actually, I am a human being made for this world. At least for right now, I’m supposed to be here. And I’m not just supposed to be here waiting for something that isn’t going to happen. I am supposed to be here, intertwined with the God, having the mind of Christ, allowing God’s wisdom to envelop and overwhelm everything else that’s going on and to live with clarity and purpose in relationship with God, being with God, collaborating with God in His work and in this world. That’s a big story. That’s a huge story. That’s the invitation of the gospel. That’s the good news. May we continue to wake up. That has become such a rallying cry to me, that I will continue to wake up. And I hope it’s the same for you because the world is at stake here and we have a role to play. Our humanity, our species, our brothers and sisters of the human race, this is at stake and we have a role to play.
Father we want to fit perfectly into that role. We want to be people who look like Jesus, who do what Jesus did, who operate in this world as human beings like You modeled for us, and like You created us to be. And that requires that we disengage from the world’s system of measurement and that we disengage from finding our identity in comparison. If we could just do those two things, radical shifts would happen within us. And we’re inviting your Holy Spirit to guide us in that so that the day does come that we have become sanctified to the point that we’re really not moved by the world’s systems and what it considers valuable. That we have lost ourselves in a relationship with you and everything else is in its proper context and that we no longer look to each other, fighting against one another to try to find an identity. Our identity is wrapped up in relationship with You. There is nothing else for us. There is no other way that we’re going to get it. There will always be a hole and it will always empty out until You have filled us. And, so, fill us Holy Spirit. Come, indwell us. Be within us, collaborating in this life. We surrender to You. We want you to guide us. Come Jesus we pray in your precious name. Amen.
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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 Prayers and Praise Reports:
Hi, my name is Debbie. I am in California. I walked with the Lord for a while and then turned my back on Him. And now I have been diagnosed with cancer. And I would like to receive prayer so I can walk with Him again and he can give me strength to get through what I need to get through. I just found out and I logged on to listen to the bible and this is the first station I went to. I really enjoyed the readings and the people that were talking after. So, I ask if you can please, please pray for me for strength to walk with Him again, to believe, to guide, to have stronger faith. Thank you so much. I will listen every day and I just appreciate prayer. Thank you.
Hi. My name is Betty from Southern California. I’ve been a listener for many years and this is the first time I’ve called. I’m calling for prayer for my daughter, who had a minor surgery, a laparoscopic surgery, but they punctured the bowel. She’s been in intensive care for over six weeks and it’s going to be a very difficult recovery. Please pray for her, that she can recover, that she can heal. And I just ask just this in Jesus’ name. Amen.
Hi. My name is Jason. I called a while back in regards to my marriage and it had gotten…my marriage had been destroyed…and recently…about maybe thirteen months ago…my wife and I reunited. We reunited our kids. And listened to a brother on the call today, today is August 2nd. And he was just pouring out his heart about his walk with God that had diminished and he lost his family. I just want to tell you, hold on brother. Things may look grim and impossible right now but we serve a God that can make the impossible a stepping stone into greatness. Hold on, don’t give up. No matter what, do not give up. Keep fighting. I promise you it will be worth it in the end. God, bless you. And thank you Brian and your wife for this wonderful, wonderful moment that you’ve created for people to share and to give their testimony. God, bless everybody.
Hi. This is RC and the first time I’ve called in. But I heard someone call in. It was on yesterday’s program and he was just distraught over bitterness and feeling like God had let him down…and…man…I’ve been there…and I just want you to know…my heart was breaking for you. It’s such a struggle to try to figure out…ya know…what is our part….what is God’s part…which promises can we claim and things like that. And…my brother…I just…my heart aches for you. I’m praying for you. I love you and I can empathize. Ya know…we feel like we do a lot of things to deserve God’s grace and one thing I think I’m kind of learning is, God loves us. He will never leave us. But on this earth, there will be struggles and there are things that we must do. We must cling to Him. We must stay close to Him. When things are going well we can’t turn our back on Him. I’m not saying that’s anything you’ve done but I will be praying for you. I just had to call as quickly as possible and just let you know I’m with you and I love you and I’m praying for your family. Cling to Him no matter what and I love you. And please pray for me and my family. We’re going through a business loss and tremendous financial loss and trying to figure out handle all that in a Godly way…and the debt that’s left and those kind of things. I appreciate all of you and pray for many of you. Bye.