The Weekly PowerBreak – “What are you really saying?”

Is there a consistency of what you are portraying on Sunday mornings with what happens in your life the rest of the week? A pastor voiced concern recently about some of the people who sing on stage on the Lord’s Day and their Facebook posts through the week. The old saying that what you are doing speaks so loudly I can’t hear what you are saying is quite applicable. Isn’t it amazing how the appearance of anonymity of social media makes it think there is no connection to who we really are. But wait! Here’s what Jesus had to say:

Matthew 7:15–20 (ESV) — 15 “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. 16 You will recognize them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? 17 So, every healthy tree bears good fruit, but the diseased tree bears bad fruit. 18 A healthy tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a diseased tree bear good fruit. 19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 Thus you will recognize them by their fruits.”

It’s apparent that inconsistency is the norm today as there seems to be a plethora of examples from all walks of life of saying one thing and living life on the opposite pole. What can you do to fight against the inconsistency?

1 Thessalonians 4:1–8 (ESV) — 1 Finally, then, brothers, we ask and urge you in the Lord Jesus, that as you received from us how you ought to walk and to please God, just as you are doing, that you do so more and more. 2 For you know what instructions we gave you through the Lord Jesus. 3 For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from sexual immorality; 4 that each one of you know how to control his own body in holiness and honor, 5 not in the passion of lust like the Gentiles who do not know God; 6 that no one transgress and wrong his brother in this matter, because the Lord is an avenger in all these things, as we told you beforehand and solemnly warned you. 7 For God has not called us for impurity, but in holiness. 8 Therefore whoever disregards this, disregards not man but God, who gives his Holy Spirit to you.

1 Thessalonians 5:22 (ESV) — 22 Abstain from every form of evil.

1 Thessalonians 5:22 (KJV) — 22 Abstain from all appearance of evil.

1 Peter 2:11 (ESV) — 11 Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul.

Notice the words above that indicate a disciple in one’s life which leads to consistency. Discipline in following the instructions from God’s word. Discipline in abstaining from what God has clearly said is wrong, even so much as what may appear to be inconsistent.

Knowing your consistency matters to God and to your testimony in the world, it’s time to be look at possible areas of inconsistency such as where you find your pleasure in life, what you post on social media, and what comes out of your mouth through the week. Does it match what you say, sing, and imply on Sunday? If it doesn’t maybe it’s time to be concerned.

Matthew 7:21–23 (ESV) — 21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ 23 And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’

Godspeed,

Bob Brubaker

The Weekly PowerBreak – “Where’s your integrity?”

Proverbs 2:6–8 (ESV) — 6 For the Lord gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding; 7 he stores up sound wisdom for the upright; he is a shield to those who walk in integrity, 8 guarding the paths of justice and watching over the way of his saints.

Have you ever asked, “Where’s the integrity today?”  It’s commonplace to see famous people on television make excuses for not keeping their word.  Sadly, the epidemic has spread.  It’s hard to find people who keep their word and are on time for appointments rather than keep people waiting, and actually do what they say they will do.

In the scripture text above from Proverbs, Solomon points out that God notices our integrity and is quick to reward it with wisdom, understanding, and protection. Of course, you could say that all integrity comes from God as we rely upon Him and live to please Him.

Psalm 1:1–2 (ESV) — 1 Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; 2 but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night.

The integrity of a person’s life is really a heart issue.  People who continue to overcommit themselves, so they are always late for appointments have a heart problem. They are taking on more than they can handle to fill the void in their lives or they are so wrapped up with themselves they care little about the other people involved in the appointment.  People who make commitments and don’t live up to them also have a heart issue.  There’s a lack of respect for truth  which is really a lack of respect for God and His Word.

The integrity described in Psalm 1 is an outflow of a focus upon God and His Word. If you have a problem keeping your word in appointments kept and promises made, perhaps you should look at what you really think of God. Are you aware that He sees your heart?  Are you aware that He knows every promise you have made and not kept?  Are you aware that every misrepresentation of truth is a slap in His face?

Now, we all recognize that outside things happen that keep us from being on time or delivering on a promise at a given time.  Wouldn’t you agree that in this day of instant communication, there is no excuse not to let people know and take responsibility?

Proverbs 10:9 (ESV) — 9 Whoever walks in integrity walks securely, but he who makes his ways crooked will be found out.

 Proverbs 11:2–3 (ESV) — 2 When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with the humble is wisdom. 3 The integrity of the upright guides them, but the crookedness of the treacherous destroys them.

 Proverbs 19:1 (ESV) — 1 Better is a poor person who walks in his integrity than one who is crooked in speech and is a fool.

The person who lives with integrity is blessed because they live according to a higher standard than most people. There is no fear of being tested by God because decisions are made with the witness of God in mind.

Job 31:6 (ESV) — 6 (Let me be weighed in a just balance, and let God know my integrity!)

 Psalm 26:1–3 (ESV) — 1 Vindicate me, O Lord, for I have walked in my integrity, and I have trusted in the Lord without wavering. 2 Prove me, O Lord, and try me; test my heart and my mind. 3 For your steadfast love is before my eyes, and I walk in your faithfulness.

Integrity comes from dependency.

As we depend upon God to live with integrity we find the prompting of the Holy Spirit, the wisdom from God, and the grace to fulfill promises we have made. In fact, without that dependency, we are doomed to fail.

1 Corinthians 10:12 (ESV) — 12 Therefore let anyone who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall.

How’s your integrity?  Can others count on what you say and what you promise? Are you living up to promises made before God and others?  What about your marriage vows?  What about your church membership vows?

God expects us to be people of integrity, that rely upon Him, that fear Him, that live by His Word. In doing so there is great reward.

Psalm 19:7–11 (ESV) — 7 The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul; the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple; 8 the precepts of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes; 9 the fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever; the rules of the Lord are true, and righteous altogether. 10 More to be desired are they than gold, even much fine gold; sweeter also than honey and drippings of the honeycomb. 11 Moreover, by them is your servant warned; in keeping them there is great reward.

Godspeed,

Bob Brubaker

The weekly PowerBreak – “What should I do?”

Seeking to find God’s will in any given situation is not meant to be as much a mystery as people make it out to be. The journey does begin with a spirit of humility.  King Jehoshaphat expressed humility when the country was surrounded by enemies, so the king called for a nationwide time of fasting and gathering to pray.

2 Chronicles 20:5–12 (ESV) — 5 And Jehoshaphat stood in the assembly of Judah and Jerusalem, in the house of the Lord, before the new court, 6 and said, “O Lord, God of our fathers, are you not God in heaven? You rule over all the kingdoms of the nations. In your hand are power and might, so that none is able to withstand you. 7 Did you not, our God, drive out the inhabitants of this land before your people Israel, and give it forever to the descendants of Abraham your friend? 8 And they have lived in it and have built for you in it a sanctuary for your name, saying, 9 ‘If disaster comes upon us, the sword, judgment, or pestilence, or famine, we will stand before this house and before you—for your name is in this house—and cry out to you in our affliction, and you will hear and save.’ 10 And now behold, the men of Ammon and Moab and Mount Seir, whom you would not let Israel invade when they came from the land of Egypt, and whom they avoided and did not destroy— 11 behold, they reward us by coming to drive us out of your possession, which you have given us to inherit. 12 O our God, will you not execute judgment on them? For we are powerless against this great horde that is coming against us. We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you.”

Notice that last phrase: “we don’t know what to do, but our eyes are on you.” That is the attitude of a person who is ready to receive direction from God, a person who is trusting in the Lord and leaning not upon their own understanding as we are directed in Proverbs.

Proverbs 3:5–6 (ESV) — 5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. 6 In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.

God has promised to direct us and give us wisdom in making decisions if we will but ask; but in asking we must believe He will answer by providing the wisdom in applying God’s word (His revealed wisdom) to our situation.

James 1:5–8 (ESV) — 5 If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. 6 But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. 7 For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; 8 he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.

 Hebrews 11:6 (ESV) — 6 And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.

Finding God’s will in any situation is not just groping in the dark trying to find the mystery door, rather it’s a process of humbling ourselves before Him, asking and believing He will direct us realizing He has given us His word, His Holy Spirit, and a mind to reason and understand.

2 Timothy 1:7 (KJV) — 7 For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.

Let’s take then your circumstance in which you are trying to make a decision as you are seeking the will of God. First, humble yourself before God through dedicated times of prayer to seek Him. Secondly, make seeking His known will through the study of the Scriptures a priority. The study time is not using the word of God as a crystal ball looking for some sign, rather it’s gaining knowledge of what is and what isn’t God’s will from precept and example. Third, as you seek God for wisdom in applying His word to your circumstance do your research in looking at the options, taking note of the pros and cons of each choice in the matter as you spread it all out before Him. As you apply these principles God will make known the right choice by the peace He provides.

James 3:17 (ESV) — 17 But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere.

Notice how this peace He provides in directing your path is in the pathway of wisdom that is pure as He will not be leading you in a way contrary to His word. Then notice the other attributes listed in the way of wisdom from above. In all these steps it’s important to keep copious notes because as James 1:5-8 warns us that when we seek wisdom we must act upon the wisdom He gives, and we know that once we act upon a decision there will be doubts arise. To counter the doubts, we go back to the notes we used in our seeking and reasoning process.

The last step is to thank God through the process for His leading you in all circumstances which has influenced you or caught your attention to gain insight into His will.

1 Thessalonians 5:18 (ESV) — 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

Godspeed,

Bob Brubaker

The Weekly PowerBreak – “God is Watching”

Knowing that God is omniscient (all knowing), may go over our heads until we stop and think about it as it concerns us and our activities. We cannot hide from God! And that means we cannot hide anything from God.

Psalm 139:1–4 (ESV) — 1 O Lord, you have searched me and known me! 2 You know when I sit down and when I rise up; you discern my thoughts from afar. 3 You search out my path and my lying down and are acquainted with all my ways. 4 Even before a word is on my tongue, behold, O Lord, you know it altogether.

Simply stated, God knows our words before we speak them, He knows our thoughts before we think them, and He knows our actions before we do them. And the conclusion of the matter:

Psalm 139:6 (ESV) — 6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high; I cannot attain it.

Of course, as we consider the knowledge of God about every thought, word, and action, we should be fearful to know that our lives are an open book for God to judge and He will as stated in the Scriptures. On the other hand, His knowledge is described as a good thing in the Bible as He watches over us as His special treasure.

Psalm 33:18 (ESV) — 18 Behold, the eye of the Lord is on those who fear him, on those who hope in his steadfast love,

The use of the eye metaphor concerning God is to help us get a handle on how special we are to Him. He is on guard every minute of every day as He notices when we hurt, when we are scared, etc. Look what He assured Moses – He sees, He listens, and He knows our feelings.

Exodus 3:7 (ESV) — 7 Then the Lord said, “I have surely seen the affliction of my people who are in Egypt and have heard their cry because of their taskmasters. I know their sufferings,

God’s people have His eye. In fact, it describes them as the “apple of His eye.”

Deuteronomy 32:9–10 (ESV) — 9 But the Lord’s portion is his people, Jacob his allotted heritage. 10 “He found him in a desert land, and in the howling waste of the wilderness; he encircled him, he cared for him, he kept him as the apple of his eye.

Zechariah 2:8 (ESV) — 8 For thus said the Lord of hosts, after his glory sent me to the nations who plundered you, for he who touches you touches the apple of his eye:

Do you get the sense that God’s watching over those who belong to Him have His special attention? That would be absolutely correct. He is watching, not to catch us doing something wrong so He can punish us – He knew about every sin we would ever commit when He chose us in Christ before the foundation of the world. Therefore, He laid the punishment for every iniquity upon the Lord Jesus Christ. Granted, He watches us as a father who chastens or disciplines His children from time to time in the process of sanctification, making us more and more like Christ in our character. But consider how He watches over us to protect us, care for us, and be there for us. No wonder He is described as a “very present help.”

Psalm 46:1 (ESV) — 1 God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.

There’s another use of the metaphor of the way God is watching and that is the way He watches out to bless us.

2 Chronicles 16:9 (ESV) — 9 For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to give strong support to those whose heart is blameless toward him. You have done foolishly in this, for from now on you will have wars.”

John 4:23 (ESV) — 23 But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him.

God is looking to bless those whose hearts are focused on Him and who worship Him. Are you in that number? Today would be a good time to stop and consider how God is watching.  If you are hiding things from God, even bitterness, it’s best to just come clean with Him because you cannot hide anything from Him. It’s also good to realize how great is His concern for you to know that He sees every trying circumstance you face.  Nothing comes your way but that it is sifted through His hand and is used by Him for His purpose in your sanctification. But also consider how He is watching to bless those who make it their aim to please Him and worship Him, or in other words, live to the glory of God.

Yes, He is watching you.  May you enjoy the blessing of realizing that today.

Godspeed,

Bob Brubaker

The Weekly PowerBreak – “Discontentment Versus Contentment”

Like most spiritual applications to life, we almost always need to think in terms of the opposite of how things are naturally. If we want to mature, we need to be more and more dependent upon God. The way up in life is by humbling ourselves or bowing down to God. The way to find contentment in life is by being discontent about our growth and grace and want more of knowing God and enjoying fellowship with Him. In other words, to enjoy contentment we must be discontent with our spiritual growth and maturity because to be content with that aspect of life will lead to discontentment with our lot in life. Let me explain.

Philippians 3:8–15 (ESV) — 8 Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ 9 and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith— 10 that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, 11 that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead. 12 Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. 13 Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. 15 Let those of us who are mature think this way, and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal that also to you.

Consider the discontentment of Paul’s life. He was not content with relying upon his own “earned righteousness,” although in the world’s standard he would have been considered a very righteous person. Instead, he considered that as rubbish as he found contentment in suffering because he was ever discontent with his own faith and maturity as he strained to know more of Christ. That discontentment led to a contentment that saw him through every condition in life.

Philippians 4:11–13 (ESV) — 11 Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. 12 I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. 13 I can do all things through him who strengthens me.

Notice that contentment in every situation is a learned trait. If we focus upon the situation, rather than upon the One who has promised to be with us in every situation, the Lord Jesus Christ, then we’ll go through life in a state of discontentment. If we, however, take the road of Paul and face every circumstance, relying upon Christ and His strength, never being content with mediocre closeness to Him, then we’ll learn to be content no matter what happens. In other words, contentment doesn’t fall from the sky in our laps nor does it just happen. Rather, it is learned by those who are discontent with the “status quo” of their faith, wanting more of Christ and who follow the inner longing produced by the Holy Spirit to pursue after God.

1 Timothy 6:6–7 (ESV) — 6 But godliness with contentment is great gain, 7 for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world.

When we seek to get more and more of life we end up discontented. When we focus on godliness we find contentment and He has given us all things necessary for that pursuit, even the call to be discontent enough to be diligent about the pursuit.

2 Peter 1:3–10 (ESV) — 3 His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, 4 by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire. 5 For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, 6 and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, 7 and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. 8 For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 For whoever lacks these qualities is so nearsighted that he is blind, having forgotten that he was cleansed from his former sins. 10 Therefore, brothers, be all the more diligent to confirm your calling and election, for if you practice these qualities you will never fall.

Are you experiencing discontentment in life? It is God, Who by His grace is pursuing you to follow that discontentment all the way to your life of faith in Christ, not being satisfied with what you have learned, or your past experiences, but go full into wanting more, being diligent in your pursuit of Him daily and the result will be a contentment that only His chosen know.

Godspeed,

Bob Brubaker