The Weekly PowerBreak – “Running On Empty”

Most men will admit to it, some women will, but most all of us have in some way been running on empty.  You know the scene. You are driving and your gas gauge says empty and you look and figure it has a little space to go before it’s really empty so you keep going, right past a gas station. Then you come to another gas station but rather than stop you just continue on.  Why?  Maybe it’s a sense of competition to feel like you can beat the system, maybe it’s a matter of pride in that you want to decide when you need gas and not let some gauge tell you. Regardless, you go on but now it’s apparent that there is not a gas station in sight so you begin to pray and make all kinds of promises to God as you travel on. But then the lights of a gas station appear and you feel like you won. But you haven’t because you may have survived in the car, but inside you feel spent.

Maybe you’ve never participated in such drama but the majority of people I asked over the past couple of weeks describe just about the same scenario. As bizarre as it may seem to try to survive in a car while running on empty so it is even more uncanny that Christians allow their walk with Christ to linger near the empty mark for days. Granted there are those days when you wake up late and are in a rush seemingly all day and as much as you promise yourself that you’ll find some time to spend with God in His word and prayer you never do only to find the day ending. But the problem is that this pattern can easily become the habit and the next thing you know is that your devotional life doesn’t exist. And you wonder why you don’t enjoy the fruit of the Spirit or the fellowship with other believers or times of corporate worship. It’s a matter of trying to run on empty and the only cure is to pull off the road and connect with the source of power.

In case anyone feels they are above such matters, consider the example of the Lord Jesus Christ. Remember that He is God manifest in the flesh, yet He knows the importance of recharging by staying connected.

Mark 6:45–46 (ESV) — 45 Immediately he made his disciples get into the boat and go before him to the other side, to Bethsaida, while he dismissed the crowd. 46 And after he had taken leave of them, he went up on the mountain to pray.

Luke 6:12 (ESV) — 12 In these days he went out to the mountain to pray, and all night he continued in prayer to God.

David, while fleeing from Saul, knew that he needed to stay charged and could not afford to run on empty so he got up really early to worship God.

Psalm 57:7–10 (ESV) — 7 My heart is steadfast, O God, my heart is steadfast! I will sing and make melody! 8 Awake, my glory! Awake, O harp and lyre! I will awake the dawn! 9 I will give thanks to you, O Lord, among the peoples; I will sing praises to you among the nations. 10 For your steadfast love is great to the heavens, your faithfulness to the clouds.

Psalm 63:1 (ESV) — 1 O God, you are my God; earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you; my flesh faints for you, as in a dry and weary land where there is no water.

As Moses considered his need before God, he too, got up early to seek after God.

Psalm 90:14 (ESV) — 14 Satisfy us in the morning with your steadfast love, that we may rejoice and be glad all our days.

As God speaks as the voice of wisdom, He reminds us to seek Him early rather than later as in trying to run on empty.

Proverbs 8:17 (ESV) — 17 I love those who love me, and those who seek me diligently find me.

Let’s remember that anything we get from God is because of His grace in providing for us and it’s not in making ourselves deserving or obligating God, yet we also know that there is a place of discipline. Discipline is not our attempt to make ourselves worthy but to grasp the source of life, knowing that without Him we can do nothing.

John 15:4–5 (ESV) — 4 Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. 5 I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.

Luke 9:23–25 (ESV) — 23 And he said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. 24 For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it. 25 For what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses or forfeits himself?

Jesus is reminding us that trying to survive while running on empty is a useless attempt that only takes us away from the source of life and blessing. It’s best to exercise the daily discipline of spending time with God. For most people it means you need to put it on your daily schedule.

Discipline and diligence are the keys to staying close to the power source otherwise you’ll find yourself running on empty and like the driver who knows it’s time to pull off and fill up but tries to keep going, you too will find yourself feeling spent. And it could all have been avoided if you would just take time with God.

No wonder the apostle Paul talked of his personal discipline in being very forthright and determined in his walk with God because he did not want to fall away due to running on empty.

1 Corinthians 9:24–27 (ESV) — 24 Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it. 25 Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. 26 So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air. 27 But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified.


Bob Brubaker

The Weekly PowerBreak – “Overcoming Weariness”

It’s a phenomenon how Christians take on responsibility and seem to find joy in serving the Lord, no matter how menial the task, then out of the blue they find what they are doing a weariness. It happens in all levels of Christian service, from those who help clean up to those who lead. It’s almost a disease that spreads as people talk of feeling so tired and weary with others, or worse, they notice how few people are involved, or so they think, and they get bitter. Whoa!

Expressions of weariness in serving God, no matter what we are doing, goes much deeper than just feeling tired.

Micah 6:3–5 (ESV) — 3 “O my people, what have I done to you? How have I wearied you? Answer me! 4 For I brought you up from the land of Egypt and redeemed you from the house of slavery, and I sent before you Moses, Aaron, and Miriam. 5 O my people, remember what Balak king of Moab devised, and what Balaam the son of Beor answered him, and what happened from Shittim to Gilgal, that you may know the righteous acts of the Lord.”

Revelation 2:1–5 (ESV) — 1 “To the angel of the church in Ephesus write: ‘The words of him who holds the seven stars in his right hand, who walks among the seven golden lampstands. 2 “‘I know your works, your toil and your patient endurance, and how you cannot bear with those who are evil, but have tested those who call themselves apostles and are not, and found them to be false. 3 I know you are enduring patiently and bearing up for my name’s sake, and you have not grown weary. 4 But I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first. 5 Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent, and do the works you did at first. If not, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place, unless you repent.

When we get weary, we are really saying we have forgotten what God has done for us. Forgetting what God has done for us is forgetting the Gospel and forgetting the Gospel is leaving our “first love.” When a sinner who has been touched by the hand of God to see and feel his/her need of a Savior, hears the Gospel of Jesus Christ dying for sinners and not only brings us into the family of God but gives us victory over sin, Satan, and even death, they are ready to serve the Lord with gladness.  That is a motivating factor of being all in when it comes to serving the Lord Jesus Christ, as Paul in his concluding remarks concerning the resurrection said:

1 Corinthians 15:57–58 (ESV) — 57 But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. 58 Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.

Notice the words, “always abounding” in the work of the Lord. That’s acting out the first love, a love above all other loves, and a love that draws us into serving the Lord with a whole heart, just as was the feeling throughout the children of Israel as they crossed the Red Sea and saw their enemy defeated by God. That is what Jesus said was lacking in the church at Ephesus.  This is also lacking in our own lives whenever we feel a weariness toward the work of the Lord, when we neglect to participate in serving God, or when we grow bitter because we do not see others doing the work.

Galatians 6:9 (ESV) — 9 And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.

Let’s remember we are involved in the work of the Lord and He is the one responsible to bring about the results. So, remember that He has promised that those who do the work will reap if they do not give up. What shall they reap?

2 Corinthians 9:8–11 (ESV) — 8 And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work. 9 As it is written, “He has distributed freely, he has given to the poor; his righteousness endures forever.” 10 He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness. 11 You will be enriched in every way to be generous in every way, which through us will produce thanksgiving to God.

We shall reap what we need to keep going. We shall reap enrichment toward generosity and we shall reap an attitude of gratitude. All of which will keep us from growing weary.

So, the bottom line is when you feel weary and feel like serving God is a drudgery, don’t give into those feelings!  Go back to your first love. You need the Gospel. Often those who have grown weary have stopped listening, forsaking the means of grace in the preaching of the Gospel. Oh, they may be present, but too often they have allowed “busy work” to distract them and their weariness to stop the flow of grace to their hearts, just as was the case in Isaiah’s day.

Isaiah 28:11–13 (ESV) — 11 For by people of strange lips and with a foreign tongue the Lord will speak to this people, 12 to whom he has said, “This is rest; give rest to the weary; and this is repose”; yet they would not hear. 13 And the word of the Lord will be to them precept upon precept, precept upon precept, line upon line, line upon line, here a little, there a little, that they may go, and fall backward, and be broken, and snared, and taken.

Notice it says that God provided rest to the weary, but they would not hear. Maybe the reason you are feeling wearing in doing God’s work is that you are not hearing the clear message from God.

Here’s the message: if you are feeling weary, you don’t have to stay that way. Jesus told the church at Ephesus to remember, repent, and return. Holding on to weariness will turn to bitterness which is sin and will hinder you from enjoying the grace of God.

Hebrews 12:15 (ESV) — 15 See to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God; that no “root of bitterness” springs up and causes trouble, and by it many become defiled.


Bob Brubaker

The Weekly PowerBreak – “Entrusting Everything To God”

As you view the scene of darkness when the Lord Jesus Christ was on the cross, you hear Him cry, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”  However, before He dies, Luke records His words, “Father into Your hands I commit my spirit.”

What a contrast!  Of course, during the time in which He experienced God the Father as judge, judging the One who knew no sin but was made sin for us, He felt forsaken, but His strength to face the uncertainty of death was to commit or entrust His spirit to God. Peter gives us further insight into this entrustment, which took place even before the cross.

1 Peter 2:23 (ESV) — 23 When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly.

This is how Jesus endured great suffering and exactly how we can endure faithfully – by committing our way to the Father, depending upon Him to sustain us and bring about the end that will glorify Him.

What uncertainties are you facing?  Could you not do the same as the Lord Jesus Christ and commit or entrust it to God saying, “into your hands I commit _____” (whatever it is about which you are worrying or suffering.)  It’s more than a mere name it and claim it, it’s turning over whatever to God and entrusting Him with the situation and the outcome.  He is trustworthy, and we are encouraged, yes, even commanded throughout the Scriptures to commit or entrust it all to Him.

Psalm 37:3–5 (ESV) — 3 Trust in the LORD and do good; dwell in the land and befriend faithfulness. 4 Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart. 5 Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him, and he will act.

Proverbs 16:3 (ESV) — 3 Commit your work to the Lord, and your plans will be established.

1 Peter 4:19 (ESV) — 19 Therefore let those who suffer according to God’s will entrust their souls to a faithful Creator while doing good.

As Jesus had perfect confidence committing His way to the Father, so we can have that same confidence committing our future, our marriage, our work, our finances, and our very lives to Him.

Ephesians 3:20–21 (ESV) — 20 Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.

As we think about committing it all to God, consider that which He has committed to us, even the Gospel.

2 Corinthians 5:19 (ESV) — 19 that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation.

2 Timothy 1:12 (ESV) — 12 which is why I suffer as I do. But I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed, and I am convinced that he is able to guard until that Day what has been entrusted to me.

May we seek to be faithful to that which has been committed to us because He Who is faithful in fulfilling His commitments is expecting us to follow His lead.  We will do so as we focus upon Him and depend upon Him – entrusting all to Him.

Luke 16:10–11 (ESV) — 10 One who is faithful in a very little is also faithful in much, and one who is dishonest in a very little is also dishonest in much. 11 If then you have not been faithful in the unrighteous wealth, who will entrust to you the true riches?


Bob Brubaker

The Weekly PowerBreak – “Encouragement for The Encourager”

Do you consider yourself to be an encourager? There are many promises in the Word of God for those who take the time to encourage others.

Proverbs 11:25 (ESV) — 25 Whoever brings blessing will be enriched, and one who waters will himself be watered.

Notice God says the principle is simple: you seek to encourage someone and what you are doing for another seems to come back to fill your need of encouragement. You’ve probably experienced this when you make the effort to visit someone in the hospital. It takes effort because we tend to procrastinate and wonder what we’ll say or if we’ll make the other person feel worse. Unless you went with the attitude expressed by Job’s friends who condemned Job, there’s really no way to blow it if you go to encourage the person. If you are like most people when you do make the effort, you leave the hospital feeling greatly encouraged yourself and wonder, “Why don’t I do this more often?”

Be like Barnabas.

There was a man in the New Testament whose nickname was “Encourager.” Wouldn’t that be a great compliment?  If we want to be an encourager we would do well to take note of some things about this man, Barnabas.

He was a giver not a taker. Encouragers love to give.

Acts 4:34–37 (ESV) — 34 There was not a needy person among them, for as many as were owners of lands or houses sold them and brought the proceeds of what was sold 35 and laid it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to each as any had need. 36 Thus Joseph, who was also called by the apostles Barnabas (which means son of encouragement), a Levite, a native of Cyprus, 37 sold a field that belonged to him and brought the money and laid it at the apostles’ feet.

He stood up for Paul. Encouragers are ready to defend those in need.

Acts 9:26–27 (ESV) — 26 And when he had come to Jerusalem, he attempted to join the disciples. And they were all afraid of him, for they did not believe that he was a disciple. 27 But Barnabas took him and brought him to the apostles and declared to them how on the road he had seen the Lord, who spoke to him, and how at Damascus he had preached boldly in the name of Jesus.

He was chosen to check out something new and different and rather than criticiz; he cheered them on. Encouragers are “good finders” and “fire-lighters.”

(Good finders are those who find the good in others. Fire-lighters are those who fan the flame of enthusiasm rather than fight the fire, “fire-fighter” through criticism.)

Acts 11:19–24 (ESV) — 19 Now those who were scattered because of the persecution that arose over Stephen traveled as far as Phoenicia and Cyprus and Antioch, speaking the word to no one except Jews. 20 But there were some of them, men of Cyprus and Cyrene, who on coming to Antioch spoke to the Hellenists also, preaching the Lord Jesus. 21 And the hand of the Lord was with them, and a great number who believed turned to the Lord. 22 The report of this came to the ears of the church in Jerusalem, and they sent Barnabas to Antioch. 23 When he came and saw the grace of God, he was glad, and he exhorted them all to remain faithful to the Lord with steadfast purpose, 24 for he was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and of faith. And a great many people were added to the Lord.

He was a faithful friend of Paul. Encouragers are people that can be counted upon.

Acts 13:6–7 (ESV) — 6 When they had gone through the whole island as far as Paphos, they came upon a certain magician, a Jewish false prophet named Bar-Jesus. 7 He was with the proconsul, Sergius Paulus, a man of intelligence, who summoned Barnabas and Saul and sought to hear the word of God.

Acts 13:42–43 (ESV) — 42 As they went out, the people begged that these things might be told them the next Sabbath. 43 And after the meeting of the synagogue broke up, many Jews and devout converts to Judaism followed Paul and Barnabas, who, as they spoke with them, urged them to continue in the grace of God.

He was willing to disagree with his friend, Paul, even though it meant separating. Encouragers are faithful friends even when it means bringing a wound.

Acts 15:36–41 (ESV) — 36 And after some days Paul said to Barnabas, “Let us return and visit the brothers in every city where we proclaimed the word of the Lord, and see how they are.” 37 Now Barnabas wanted to take with them John called Mark. 38 But Paul thought best not to take with them one who had withdrawn from them in Pamphylia and had not gone with them to the work. 39 And there arose a sharp disagreement, so that they separated from each other. Barnabas took Mark with him and sailed away to Cyprus, 40 but Paul chose Silas and departed, having been commended by the brothers to the grace of the Lord. 41 And he went through Syria and Cilicia, strengthening the churches.

Proverbs 27:6 (ESV) — 6 Faithful are the wounds of a friend; profuse are the kisses of an enemy.

Paul later realized that Mark was valuable.

2 Timothy 4:11 (ESV) — 11 Luke alone is with me. Get Mark and bring him with you, for he is very useful to me for ministry.

Is it worth all the trouble to be a giver rather than a taker, to stand up for others, to be a good-finder, to be faithful at all cost, and to even be willing to deliver the truth when it may hurt?

Proverbs 11:25 (ESV) — 25 Whoever brings blessing will be enriched, and one who waters will himself be watered.

Such encouragement refreshes and blesses others so God says when you seek to encourage another you will find encouragement coming your way. Your giving becomes an attraction.

Ecclesiastes 11:1 (ESV) — 1 Cast your bread upon the waters, for you will find it after many days.

Find someone to encourage today.


Bob Brubaker

The Weekly PowerBreak – “Stymied By Perfectionism”

You’ve been given a project.  But the more you think of all that is entailed in doing a good job, the bigger the project looks, especially as you focus on how you could do the project like nobody before; but the more you think about it the bigger it gets, so you put it off. That kind of scenario happens to all of us when we are stymied by perfectionism. The perfectionism state of mind hinders us from getting started because we cannot see ourselves performing to the level we think is necessary. Perhaps it’s the peer pressure or boss or someone in authority pressure, more than likely it is self-inflicted pressure as we conger up a perfect case situation which we can never meet.

But wait! Are we not told to be perfect in the Bible?

Matthew 5:48 (ESV) — 48 You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

Jesus says that after teaching the need to love others, including our enemies, and not just people that love us. So, the context is loving with a perfect love, which by the way, none of us can conjure up on our own, it must come from God through us, therefore it’s actually God’s perfect love and not our perfecting love. Nevertheless, Jesus uses the high standard so that we’ll never be “just satisfied” with just a little dose of love and think we have met the standard.

God is the standard because He is perfect and everything He does is perfect.

Deuteronomy 32:3–4 (ESV) — 3 For I will proclaim the name of the Lord; ascribe greatness to our God! 4 “The Rock, his work is perfect, for all his ways are justice. A God of faithfulness and without iniquity, just and upright is he.

2 Samuel 22:31 (ESV) — 31 This God—his way is perfect; the word of the Lord proves true; he is a shield for all those who take refuge in him.

With God and His ways as the standard, we have a high goal for which to shoot which should produce in us a never-ending desire to learn and improve as well as a strong work ethic and desire to always do our best.

Whenever we get into a mindset that we’ll actually achieve perfection, our egos have taken a toll on us to think we could attain excellence. When we fall into that trap we focus on results rather than giving our best, anxiety gets the best of us because we know inside we cannot achieve the standard that we have allowed ourselves to think we can make; therefore, we never celebrate actual milestones along the way, nor the progress others are making. In other words, perfectionism leads to bitterness and a focus upon failure which tends to procrastination because we cannot see how we’ll get to the end. Lack of confidence, impatience, and a focus on what others are saying about us all goes along with being stymied by perfectionism.

Is there help?

Understand that perfection belongs only to God. He is not looking for perfection as far as results in our lives, rather what He refers to as a “perfect heart” which is a heart that is sold out to Him. He takes that person who is “all in” and giving their very best and He works the result to His glory. We enjoy the confidence of simply being clay in the Potter’s hands.

Philippians 3:12–15 (ESV) — 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.

Rather than being stymied by perfectionism, be sold out to the One Who is perfect in all His ways and watch Him work a new and higher standard in you and through you to His glory.


Bob Brubaker