Ezra 7:1-8:20, 1 Corinthians 4:1-21 , Psalms 30:1-12 , Proverbs 20:28-30
Today is the 8th day of August. Welcome to the Daily Audio Bible. I’m Brian. It is an honor and a pleasure to be here with you today and every day because every day that we get together we take a step forward as we move through the Scriptures. And this is why we are here. So we’ll take that next step by picking up where we left off yesterday, kind of one foot in front of the other. Ezra 7:1-8:20 today. And we’re reading from the English Standard Version this week.
Okay. So when we’re reading from 1 Corinthians yesterday, we considered how we try to get spiritual identity based on who we follow or what tribe we belong to. And as we’re attempting to do this, we often elevate our leaders to higher places of authority in our lives, which isn’t sinful or wrong or bad in any way. Leaders deserve honor. But we can place unrealistic expectations by presuming them to be our only conduit to God. Cause its easier to let someone else do the heavy lifting and so we get our identity this way. And when we do this, we’re absolving ourselves of the responsibility of actually walking with God on our own. So in our reading from 1 Corinthians 4 today, Paul continued with the theme. And he said, If you pay attention to what I’ve quoted from the Scriptures, you won’t be proud of one of your leaders at the expense of another, for what gives you the right to make that kind of a judgement? What do you have that hasn’t been given to you as a gift? So this is obviously striking a nerve for Paul and for good reason. Paul knew what was behind the curtain, right? So people were following certain leaders. Some were following Paul, some were following Apollos, some were following Peter. But Paul knew that what they all wanted was for people to follow Jesus. So Paul knew that spiritual leaders are simply servants of God’s people and it’s hard enough to do that job without being ranked or excluded. And it’s a lot less glamorous when the curtain’s pulled back. And Paul said as much. He said, I sometimes think God has put us apostles on display like prisoners of war at a victorer’s parade. We’re condemned to die, we’ve become a spectacle to the entire world, to people and angels alike. Our dedication to Christ makes us look like fools. But you claim to be so wise. We are weak, but you are so powerful. You are honored but we are ridiculed. Even now, we go hungry and thirsty. We don’t have enough clothes to keep warm. We’re often beaten and have no home. We work wearily with our own hands to earn our living. We bless those who curse us. We are patient with those who abuse us. We appeal gently when evil things are said about us. We’re treated like the world’s garbage. Like everybody’s trash, right up till now. So Paul’s trying to pull back the curtain and say, hey, this isn’t so easy, and you following one of us is not what you’re supposed to be doing. You’re supposed to be following Jesus. So since Paul pulled the curtain back, we should leave it pulled back for ourselves as we consider the leaders that we follow. And we should realize what a difficult calling it is for our pastors and priests to carry this burden of caring for our souls. So rather than putting them on a pedestal we should pray for them. Rather than ranking them as our favorites, we should honor them. Rather than expecting them to be perfect and super human people with all the right answers, I mean, we should understand that they don’t have anything that we don’t possess also. And that is the Holy Spirit and permission to come into God’s presence as sons and daughters. So our leaders are a gift, but they’re human. And they can lead us to God but they can’t be in a relationship with God on our behalf. So let’s remember this. Let’s remember our leaders today as we go through the day. And see them as the gift that they are.
Father, we thank You. We thank You for all of those who have answered the call to step down into servanthood, to serve Your people on this earth, be Your hands and feet in communities all around the world. It is a difficult task that often goes unnoticed and so we’re noticing now. We ask, God, for strength, discernment, wisdom, grace and mercy in the lives of those who lead Your people. Come Holy Spirit, we pray, with a fresh wind of purpose and vision, new strength and wisdom to lead. We ask this in Jesus 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 Prayer and Praise:
Hi DAB family. This is Marla from Albuquerque, a.k.a. Forgiven by the Savior. And this time I actually do have an urgent prayer request. For the past, I don’t know, few weeks I have been plagued with urges to harm myself, cut myself. I started cutting myself when I was in high school when I was 16 years old and this went on pretty much throughout my whole life. And I didn’t stop. I was living in New York City and I cut myself. I wasn’t trying to kill myself but I cut myself so bad that I was rushed to the emergency room because I cut a little too deep then they in turn sent me to a psychiatric hospital for a few days and I made sure that they kept my mom in the loop. And it was after this that she decided that moving back to New Mexico was my only option so that she could be near me. And it’s kind of funny because when she moved me into my new apartment she basically told me I could have no flatware. So she bought me all plastic cups and plastic…plastic everything basically. And I haven’t had for, I don’t know, maybe 10 years I haven’t had the urge to cut but over the past few weeks it’s been getting more and more. It started off like just once in a while I think about it but lately, like maybe the past week, I’ve been thinking about it more and more. I haven’t done it but would you please pray for me that, you know, that these thoughts stop plaguing me basically. I would really appreciate it. I love you all and God bless you.
Hi. My name is Sue and I am a first time caller. I have been listening to the Daily Audio Bible since the start of this year, I think, and every day I listen to it. And I just want to ask for prayer for my son. He’s in severe pain from sciatica and __ type I. And his…I don’t know what to do anymore. God is my only hope and please I need somebody to pray for him. Thank you so very much. His name is Charles and I’m his mother. Thank you.
Hi this is Renée from Florida. This is my first time calling. I’ve been listening since January of 2017 and the first year I just listened and wanted to get to the Bible, which I did and I’m so grateful for that. And now starting this year I started listening all the way to the end and realized, hey, there’s a bunch of good stuff at the end. And, so, I’ve enjoyed listening to peoples call ins and hearing their struggles but knowing that you’re not alone struggling but it’s even more comforting is to hear the response of the community to people’s requests. And, so, I’m very grateful for that. I’m calling today for that same reason. I feel like I’m stuck in a hard place. My mother who’s widowed for four years lost the love of her life. And she doesn’t live with us but visits frequently and has a strong personality. It’s not the easiest to get along with. And the struggle is with trying to respect and submit to my husband’s wishes while also at the same time honoring my mother. So, if you could just help me pray for that, asking for guidance, and being able to say the right words, and to convey the right message when I’m talking to either one, that it comes through with love and respect. So, if you could just help me with that I would greatly appreciate it. So thankful for this community and God bless you all.
Hi dear DAB family. This is Sonja calling from Tampa. I can’t believe Ezekiel is six years old. How time flies. I remember all the challenges that Brian and Jill faced but I thank God that we came together as a family and prayed them through. I may not call often but my prayers of fervent and I continue to pray for Justin and so many of our DAB families who face loss, brokenness, cancer and other medical issues. I pray for Scott’s son and his entire family. I can’t even fathom what kind of pain they’re facing. So, I cry out to God every day for mercy and complete healing. I command the __ to disappear and for his body to be aligned with the word of God, that by His stripes his is healed and made whole in the name of Jesus. I call upon the angels of God to wage war against every attack of our DAB family and to encamp all around them. I command our bodies to be aligned with the word of God that by His stripes we are healed and made whole again and that brokenness be turned to joy and shalom peace be restored. I command the angels of God to watch over Brian, Jill, China, Ezekiel and over every other person that contributes to this ministry, to be blessed beyond measure. Thank you Brian and Jill and China for all your unspoken sacrifices. May God open the windows of heaven and pour out his blessing upon you and your family.