The Weekly PowerBreak – “What are you thinking?”

One of the marks of the Bible being the inspired word of God is the fact that if man could have written the Bible, he wouldn’t have written it. Of course, if man would have written the Bible, there are enough facts, prophesies, etc. that there is no way man could have written the Bible. On the subject that if man could have, he wouldn’t have written it, I like to note the lack of commentary on narratives. How many times have you read something in the Bible and wanted to say, “What were you thinking?” Case in point is Samson blessed by God in the defeating 1000 Philistines with the jawbone of a donkey as he defended his people, and then turning in complaint that God was going to let him die of thirst.

“Come on Samson, what are you thinking?”

Judges 15:14–20 (ESV) — 14 When he came to Lehi, the Philistines came shouting to meet him. Then the Spirit of the Lord rushed upon him, and the ropes that were on his arms became as flax that has caught fire, and his bonds melted off his hands. 15 And he found a fresh jawbone of a donkey, and put out his hand and took it, and with it he struck 1,000 men. 16 And Samson said, “With the jawbone of a donkey, heaps upon heaps, with the jawbone of a donkey have I struck down a thousand men.” 17 As soon as he had finished speaking, he threw away the jawbone out of his hand. And that place was called Ramath-lehi. 18 And he was very thirsty, and he called upon the Lord and said, “You have granted this great salvation by the hand of your servant, and shall I now die of thirst and fall into the hands of the uncircumcised?” 19 And God split open the hollow place that is at Lehi, and water came out from it. And when he drank, his spirit returned, and he revived. Therefore, the name of it was called En-hakkore; it is at Lehi to this day. 20 And he judged Israel in the days of the Philistines twenty years.

Of course, God took care of Samson in providing water for him, just like He cares for us when we think all hope is gone. But have you ever doubted or allowed your doubts to mount into complaint? We all have, even though the Scriptures are full of examples of God’s hand of deliverance. Here’s one:

Romans 8:31–32 (ESV) — 31 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?

What are we thinking? If God has gone to all the trouble to save us from our sin by not sparing the very best – His Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, then what makes us think He will leave us or forsake us when troubles come? If we reason things out, then we have nowhere to doubt or complain.

Nevertheless, God is so merciful that He has inspired the writers of His word to include times of doubt and even complaints of His people, so we can connect the realities of our lives with the realness of people in the Bible and see the gracious way God dealt with their shortcomings – even their doubts and complaints.

Peter, what were you thinking?

Matthew 14:22–33 (ESV) — 22 Immediately he made the disciples get into the boat and go before him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowds. 23 And after he had dismissed the crowds, he went up on the mountain by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone, 24 but the boat by this time was a long way from the land, beaten by the waves, for the wind was against them. 25 And in the fourth watch of the night he came to them, walking on the sea. 26 But when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were terrified, and said, “It is a ghost!” and they cried out in fear. 27 But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, “Take heart; it is I. Do not be afraid.” 28 And Peter answered him, “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.” 29 He said, “Come.” So, Peter got out of the boat and walked on the water and came to Jesus. 30 But when he saw the wind, he was afraid, and beginning to sink he cried out, “Lord, save me.” 31 Jesus immediately reached out his hand and took hold of him, saying to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” 32 And when they got into the boat, the wind ceased. 33 And those in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.”

How merciful and kind Jesus is to Peter when he bravely takes a step on the water but begins to sink and cries for help. Was there a reason to doubt? Not when he focused on Jesus who said, “Come.” Yet Jesus came to his rescue and reached out and delivered him from drowning.

What are you thinking today? Is there really a reason to doubt and complain? Not when you consider all the ways God has delivered you in the past and His promises to care for you. Nevertheless, God is merciful and kind enough to not turn us away when we call for help but come to our rescue time after time.

As you look at situations in the Bible and ask, “What were you thinking?” perhaps it would be good to look at your life and ask yourself the same question, “What are you thinking? Is there really a cause to doubt and complain?”


Bob Brubaker

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