Ezekiel 40:28-41:26, James 4:1-17, Psalms 118:19-29, Proverbs 28:3-5
Today is the 20th day of November. Welcome to the Daily Audio Bible. I am Brian. It’s great to be here with you today, back in the rolling hills of Tennessee. And we had a great time in Louisiana yesterday. Thanks for everyone coming out and saying hello. It was so good, so good to see some of you again and so good to meet so many of you for the first time. So, we’re diving into our brand-new work week . We’re reading from the New International Version this week and continuing our journey through the book of Ezekiel and the Letter of James in the New Testament. But first, Ezekiel chapter 40 verse 28 through 41 verse 26.
Alright. In the book of James, we had a short reading but still packs a punch and can be a swift kick in the pants because James is super direct and clear about what he’s saying. But what he’s saying can be a challenge to our postures and behaviors. So, let’s just take a quick look. We begin with a question: What causes fights and quarrels among you? Right? What causes that tension within you that erupts into conflict? And James says, doesn’t that come from the desires that are at war within yourself? Right? Doesn’t it basically boil down to that you are not getting what you want or that you think you deserve? So, you use domination tactics to take it by force. And this isn’t like stealing or pilfering or robbing or looting. This is how you are trying to obtain what you think is missing inside yourself. And, oh, opening up that door is so complicated. Ironically, it’s not quite as complicated for James. James is basically saying, you’re not going to get what you think you need out of somebody else. Like, what is missing inside of you isn’t something you can force someone else to give you or be for you. James says, you do not have because you do not ask God. And when you do ask God you don’t get what you’re looking for because you’re asking with the wrong motives. And this becomes an interesting opportunity for us to examine the terrain of our own inner hearts. And it quickly exposes the ways in which we are living self-absorbed. And this happens because we’re taking our cues from the world. Or in other words, we’re trying to get our identity, we’re following the way the culture works. And, according to James, this puts us at enmity with God. And enmity is like opposition or hostility. And, so, the net-net is that, when we’re looking to other people to fill a void or to provide something to us that we think that we want or need or deserve, and are putting the burden on someone else to provide what only God can give, then we’ve got it so backwards that were at odds with God because He has put his Spirit within us to dwell in us. And we’re basically saying, that’s not going to cut it, that’s not enough for us, and we’re turning elsewhere, which makes Him jealous, in the same way that if you were to come home today and tell your spouse you are not enough for me, so I am receiving identity and pleasure from someone else, which will only cause fights and quarrels. And James is saying, this is where that emotional and spiritual conflict comes from. So, James offers instructions for getting out of that vortex that’s only going to just keep spinning us but never going to get us anywhere. And those instructions are, ‘submit yourself to God and resist the devil and he will flee from you’. If you will simply come near to God, and His Spirit is within you too, so He’s incredibly close, come near to that and He will come near to you. And that’s a very popular verse. And we quote it to each other all of the time. It’s very, very encouraging, but that’s not all James is saying, which is so often the case with very encouraging promise versus. That’s not all that he’s saying. He’s saying, to make that shift, to do that kind of turn, requires a very humble awareness. And that humble awareness will bring you to a place of repentance where you’re actually feeling the weightiness of what you’re doing. So, to give the whole thought in context, James says, submit yourselves then to God, resist the devil and he will flee from you, come near to God and he will come near to you, wash your hands you sinners and purify your hearts you double minded, grieve, mourn and wail, change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom, humble yourselves before the Lord and He will lift you up. So, James is saying, you’ve got to see what’s happening here, and you’ve got to own it, and you’ve got to let it be what it is, and grieve it, and repent, and change. Humble yourself before the Lord and He will lift you up. And that is the first priority to orienting things properly. And then James continues on in this idea of conflict between each other. ‘Brothers and sisters do not slander one another’, which is essentially to say, do not skew the truth about someone in order to damage them or to cut them down. And this includes our spouses by the way. And James has some strong language for that kind of behavior. ‘There is only one lawgiver and judge’, James says. And that is the one who is able to save and destroy and that’s not you. Or to quote James, ‘you, who are you to judge your neighbor’. So, James is, very directly, discussing conflict in the things that like keep us all twisted up inside of ourselves and the ways in which we look to other people to fill voids or other circumstances or positions that we can get ourselves into, to fill those things, when they can only be filled by God. And God has been gracious enough to put his Spirit within us and we’re ignoring it. And, of course, that’s going to cause conflict. And then James turns to another thing that causes these kinds of conflicts, this adoption of the world’s system, he turns to our plans. So, he’s like, when you say, ‘today or tomorrow we’ll go to the city or that, like, we’ll make our plans, and we’ll go there, we’ll make some money, and we’ll do some business’, as a way of fulfilling something that is missing, filling something is missing within us, that is causing conflict, then we’re missing the point again. And we can see that James is touching everything - thoughts, words, and deeds. Right? The things about us. And in regards to all of our well laid plans, James says, you don’t even know what’s going to happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, if it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that. So, James is saying, you know, making all these plans without acknowledging God in it all is simply you blustering and boasting in your own strength and it won’t work. Or to quote James again, ‘As it is you boast in your arrogant schemes and all such boasting is evil. If anyone, then knows the good they ought to do and doesn’t do it then it is sin for them’. Alight. So it’s a short reading, like I said, but there’s a lot packed in there, a lot for us to consider, a big mirror that’s full-length in front of us for us to examine ourselves. And what is being described is a posture of heart that is humble enough to understand that what is broken and what is missing inside of us can only be filled by God. And we must acknowledge God and include God and collaborate with God in everything. And that has to be the first reaction in all things. That is the first place that we go before we say that thing that we shouldn’t say that’s degrading or that’s going to cut down our spouse or somebody else that we’re after. Right? Now, that we’re in conflict with? The first order of business is to submit ourselves to God and understand that His Holy Spirit indwells us and move in collaboration with the Holy Spirit rather than causing more conflict that is ultimately only about the things we find as shortcomings in ourselves or the other places that we run, to all of our plans and schemes without acknowledging God first and inviting his counsel and collaboration, His Spirit within us, speaking and leading us into all truth. And James brings these things to the surface because we can think we’re going along just fine and then we encounter something like what’s written in James and go, ah, not so much. Like, I’m involved in a lot of this stuff and the Scriptures are making it clear to me that that’s not going to work. And, so, I have a fork in the road, which way am I going to go? And the grace of God in all of this is that we have a choice at all. We don’t have to continue in this vortex. It’s just going to keep spinning us inside and out. But we have the Spirit of God within us to lead us and guide us in all things.
Father we come into Your presence with that in mind because the truth is, we’re guilty of everything that’s written about in James today. And this leads us to a place of repentance, a place of us actually sitting with and owning and naming what we’re doing that is putting us at enmity with You, that is putting us in conflict with You. And if we’re in conflict with You, there is no way out of that. It is contrary to how we were made. So, come Holy Spirit and allow us to sit with these things, bring these conversations that shouldn’t have happened to mind and give us the courage to ask for forgiveness. Bring to mind the roads and paths that we wandered down inviting You to come with us, but you were never leading us there in the first place. All our schemes and plans that didn’t work out and that we blamed You for, You were never leading us there in the first place. There’s much to repent of as we consider this and we invite Your Holy Spirit into this and we take it soberly because we want to change. We don’t want this anymore. And here you are, speaking us to Your word saying, here is the way, walk in it. And, so, we grab Your hand and ask You to lead us forward. We ask this in the name of Jesus. Amen.
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Community Prayers and Praise Reports
Hello Daily Audio Bible family. This is John calling from Bethlehem Pennsylvania. I hope you guys are all doing well. I just wanted to respond to a prayer request that had come in on the 11/15 podcast, today. The woman didn’t leave her name but she was, you were, asking for prayer over your husband. You talked about the loss of your two daughters to gun violence and now that your husband has been diagnosed with cancer. You talked about the anxiety and the pain you’re feeling, understandably, but that you called, because God led you to call the Daily Audio Bible and ask for prayer. So, I wanted to let you know that I’m lifting you up in prayer. Family, pray with me, please. God, You know this person and who they are and what they’ve been through and you haven’t done this to them, Lord. These are things that happen to us in our lives because life is temporary, life is a test, and it’s about our trust. It’s about trust in You, heavenly Father, in Your son, Jesus, and the promise that You have for us. Lord, God, we ask You to show Your tender mercy, and Your outstretched, caring, loving hand over this family, to lift them up and encourage them. Heavenly Father, nothing is impossible with You. You are a supernatural healer and a supernatural God. This family has been through so much. We ask that you heal John. We know that you can perform a miracle for this family and we thank You for that. We come to You humbly, Father God, for this healing and for reconciliation, for full restoration for John and for…
Hello. My name is Linda and I’m calling from Spokane Washington. I just really wanted to ask for prayer for my daughter Maddison. She’s 18 and…just…ya…she…I just pray that God would just come to her and speak to her clearly and allow her to know that she can’t do things on her own Lord, that she just can’t do things on her own. And to stop rebelling so much and admit that…you know…she needs help. And I believe she’s saved, she’s just going through a really rough time. And for me as well to…ya…everything that goes with that. I also would like prayer for James. He struggles with addiction and he is in rehabilitation but I would just pray that God would do mighty work in that as well and for direction for me in both of those circumstances. Ya, I just know that there’s so many prayers out there. But I just thank you for listening. And thanks again.
His this is Toni Nichols from Germany, the Lords Facilitator in Health. And l wanted to say, I have a praise report. I called, not long ago, talking about how we are persecuted and how when you’re a strong Christian there is a power force. So, to give you a little more information, I’ve been under a strong spiritual attack for 6-½ years in the workplace. And I wanted to say that even though I was just sharing information about the counterforce, Satan being the counterforce, I know you guys pray. There are people out there in our DAB community that prayed. Why do I say that? Because today, 6-½ years later, the Lord redeemed me using one of his strong warriors. And so, I want you to know that the only thing that changed was that I reached out to you just to talk a little bit about it. I just made reference to it. And I know that there are people who prayed. So, it’s just such a major thing and I want to thank you. I will say, I want you to know too, that in these 6-½ years I will tell you I always try to do the right thing and I leaned on the Lord. And He redeemed. And He redeemed me. And I say that very humbly because any time we say that is humbling. God bless you. Bye.
Hi family. It’s Drew from the Bay Area, as you know me. You know I used to be Andrew from the Bay Area but the Holy Spirit has led me to call for Jill, Jill Parr. Your music came on and I was praying for you this morning and thinking how you support this ministry behind the scenes and how the Holy Spirit wants us to pray for you. And we know that God deserves all the glory and that He’s given you your powerful, beautiful voice, Spirit filled. But you don’t get enough credit for what you do for Brian and Zeki or maybe you do. But family, I just think we should pray for Jill. And if you don’t have her music, you’re missing out. But let me just say, you can call me uncle Drew. I have nieces and nephews - Laura and Casey and Garett – and I love them dearly. And I have been a great uncle as I could be because there is Southern California, but for all you young ladies and even older ladies, my Shari from Canada, I’m uncle Drew and I give you a big hug. And Jill, I give you a big brotherly hug and say thank you. Thank you for taking care of your family and our family behind the scenes. And all those others that the do the work behind the scenes. We love you. We really, really love you and we appreciate all you do. Okay. Bye for now.