bob brubaker https://bobbrubaker.com One Breath From Death Mon, 29 Apr 2019 09:23:12 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.2 From the Bottom to the Top https://bobbrubaker.com/from-the-bottom-to-the-top/ Mon, 13 May 2019 09:20:07 +0000 https://bobbrubaker.com/?p=5697 From the Bottom to the Top Read More »

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We all face circumstances in which we feel like we’ve hit the bottom. That’s a reality of life. Wouldn’t it be great to have a way to get out of the pit and find a way to the top? There are no instant cures, but the Bible is very clear about a way that takes a person from the pit of despair and sets that same person on the road to great hope. This pathway is called “lament.”

 

I know what you are thinking as I did when I first thought on the subject. The very word “lament” congers up thoughts of pain or agony but there is more, much more. Consider this: One third of the Psalms are actually laments and of the other two-thirds, you’ll find portions of those psalms that are expressions of lamenting. No wonder we go to the Psalms as we look for answers in life. But what about this lament stuff?

 

Psalm 38:1–4 (ESV) — 1 O Lord, rebuke me not in your anger, nor discipline me in your wrath! 2 For your arrows have sunk into me, and your hand has come down on me. 3 There is no soundness in my flesh because of your indignation; there is no health in my bones because of my sin. 4 For my iniquities have gone over my head; like a heavy burden, they are too heavy for me.

 

Psalm 38:8–9 (ESV) — 8 I am feeble and crushed; I groan because of the tumult of my heart. 9 O Lord, all my longing is before you; my sighing is not hidden from you.

 

Psalm 38:21–22 (ESV) — 21 Do not forsake me, O Lord! O my God, be not far from me! 22 Make haste to help me, O Lord, my salvation!

 

A lament can be a defined as a loud cry, a howl, a passionate expression of grief, or a complaint that is made to God. A lament is more than sorrow or expressions of sadness and is much more than walking through the stages of grief, although all the above may be found in the lament. A lament expresses a belief in God’s mercy, redemption, and recognition of His sovereignty which is the very thing that leads a person to lament because it’s out of trusting that God is good and sovereign that the lament is voiced in a petition to God. A rule of thumb to follow in deciphering laments in the Bible is to notice four key parts: there is a specific address of God, there are elements of complaint to God, you’ll find a request, and finally a word of trust in the Lord, not necessarily in that order.

 

On Sunday, May 5th I preached a message on Psalm 38 “a lament of a sick man.”  The Psalm contains the four elements of a lament. In fact, the entire Psalm is meant to be sung in a minor key and really gives hope to those who feel themselves in like manner to be in the pit of life. A Christian needs a place to vent but venting can quickly turn to bitterness which not only is a sin but also robs a person from enjoying God’s grace.

 

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 of defiled;

 

Here’s where a lament comes in to take us from the bottom of the pit to the heights of hope. It’s not just complaining, it’s coming before the covenant keeping sovereign Lord, who does all things by His purpose and grace. So, you come before Him and honestly tell Him your woes and unload your burden.  Don’t stop with complaining, but turn that complaint into a request, as if He said to you, OK you are not happy with things, what would you like? Your lament is then complete when you express your trust in God. Just like David expresses it above.

 

Understanding the lament feature of God’s word is an important part of living in a fallen world where there will be at times in the pit of life. Lifting yourself out of the pit is not an option because you can only come out by His grace. While in the pit, rather than allowing bitterness to cover you over and rob you of further joys, lamenting gives you the means by which you can express in full your feelings to God without disrespecting Him or simply having a pity party. Lamenting is a Christian’s way of grieving to the glory of God. Lamenting opens the pathway of healing grace and gives us the opportunity to use what we receive to minister to others.

2 Corinthians 1:3–5 (ESV) — 3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, 4 who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. 5 For as we share abundantly in Christ’s sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too.

 

Lamenting is a means to enjoy the top of hope even when you find yourself in the bottom of the pit. If God saw fit for a third of the Psalms to be sung in the minor key as laments, He must have had a reason and one such reason is that we all face times in life that are most grievous and we need to express our deepest grief to Him. Lamenting allows us to be open and honest with Him, while still being faithful to His calling us to live by faith.

 

Godspeed,

Bob Brubaker

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The Struggle With Having To Wait Is Waiting https://bobbrubaker.com/the-struggle-with-having-to-wait-is-waiting/ Mon, 06 May 2019 08:50:58 +0000 https://bobbrubaker.com/?p=5660 The Struggle With Having To Wait Is Waiting Read More »

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As much as everyone seems to be in a hurry today, waiting has become a way of life. The week before a big race, the days after a presentation, or the struggles of finding direction all involve the hard part of life – WAITING.

Waiting can be a positive or negative experience, depending on how the time is spent. For some it’s filled with frustration, like the guy in a traffic jam that works to change from one lane and then to the other while venting his frustration through gestures to other motorists. For others, the time spent waiting is a time spent in renewal and refocus, or productivity instead of mere idleness.

Isaiah 40:28-31 (ESV) 28 Have you not known? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable. 29 He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might he increases strength. 30 Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted; 31 but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.

Take note of what that says about God. He has been present forever. He has a plan and He will carry it out in just the right time. It goes on to say that He does not faint or grow weary. He is not impatient and He promises to help when we grow weary in waiting.

If we look at any time of waiting: be it the slow-moving line at a fast food restaurant, a need for direction or intervention, or the moments prior to a big event, waiting can be a good time to remind ourselves about who is really in control – God. We may get a little frazzled about the lack of movement or activity when we feel in control, but God is not upset or tired nor even impatient. In fact, the more that we turn our focus to Him and His attributes in times of waiting, the more energized we’ll be when the time comes.

Lamentations 3:25 (ESV) The Lord is good to those who wait for him, to the soul who seeks him.

It’s not a matter of “fake it ‘til you make it,” rather it’s a matter of focusing on God, His promises, and His past blessings in your life. It’s a matter of talking with Him and being open and receptive to Him to speak to you.

Habakkuk 2:1–4 (ESV) — 1 I will take my stand at my watchpost and station myself on the tower, and look out to see what he will say to me, and what I will answer concerning my complaint. 2 And the Lord answered me: “Write the vision; make it plain on tablets, so he may run who reads it. 3 For still the vision awaits its appointed time; it hastens to the end—it will not lie. If it seems slow, wait for it; it will surely come; it will not delay. 4 “Behold, his soul is puffed up; it is not upright within him, but the righteous shall live by his faith.

The prophet had what seemed to be just cause for impatience. He was laying out his complaint before God and expecting God to do something. God, however, Who is never in a hurry because everything is happening in His time, assures Habakkuk that the vision is coming but he must wait for it. He even assures him that there will not be a delay in the vision arriving because it’s for an appointed time. So God tells the prophet to prepare. How? Verse four says, “the righteous shall live by his faith,” which is another way of reminding him to trust God and just do what He says.

Are you trusting God and doing what He says? Remember that when we come upon times of waiting, it is God reminding us to stop and be still which means He knows we need to be reminded of Who He is and be ready for what He is about to do in our lives.

Psalms 46:10 (ESV) “Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!”

Exodus 14:13 (ESV) And Moses said to the people, “Fear not, stand firm, and see the salvation of the Lord, which he will work for you today. For the Egyptians whom you see today, you shall never see again.

We rarely choose to stand still or to be still. Waiting is a reminder that God is in the stillness of the moment as much as He is in the fullness of activity. The difference is that we tend to be more aware of His presence in the stillness than in the commotion. Here’s a great illustration from the life of Elijah:

1 Kings 19:11-13 (ESV) 11 And he said, “Go out and stand on the mount before the Lord.” And behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind tore the mountains and broke in pieces the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. And after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. 12 And after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire the sound of a low whisper. 13 And when Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in his cloak and went out and stood at the entrance of the cave. And behold, there came a voice to him and said, “What are you doing here, Elijah?”

As you face the next period being called to just wait, and we all will, instead of focusing on what appears to be the lack of forward progress, treat the wait as a time to hear from God. Treat the wait as a time to be renewed and re-energized by Him, as you are reminded that God is in control and you are not. Although we may become weary in the wait, He never does.

I saw an article once that said it’s easier to wait if you have prepared to wait. It went on to recommend leaving early for appointments with enough time to compensate for times of waiting to avoid the frustration of stopped traffic. It also suggested always having material available to listen and learn, whether it be audio presentations in the car or printed material to read when you are not driving. It’s amazing how when you are prepared to wait how quickly the time flows, which indicates you are simply making the best use of your time.

Ephesians 5:15–17 (ESV) — 15 Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, 16 making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. 17 Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.

Godspeed,

Bob Brubaker

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How Is Your Attitude? https://bobbrubaker.com/how-is-your-attitude/ Mon, 29 Apr 2019 09:23:09 +0000 https://bobbrubaker.com/?p=3926 How Is Your Attitude? Read More »

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Defeated or triumphant, that is the question. It’s easy to focus on what is wrong and on the negative things in life which leaves us living a life of settling for the defeated mode. For the Christian, to live triumphantly is not a matter of forcing oneself into a positive mental attitude that may be ungrounded, rather it’s a matter of trusting God and the promises in His word. This means instead of dwelling on the ANTS – (automatic negative thoughts that come to mind), you bring your thought life into captivity to obey Christ and His word.

1 John 4:4 (ESV) — 4 Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.

Here’s what His word reminds us in 1st John 4:4:

1st) We are from God. If you are a Christian, you have been chosen, purchased, and called effectually by God. The Bible uses some great theological terms like election, predestination, justification, adoption, and sanctification which all indicate the very important truth that if you love God – He loved you first. (1John 4:19) Therefore, John reminds his readers that “you are from God.”

2nd) 1John 4:4 reminds us that we are overcomers, not because we are so skilled or strong in our own strength or wisdom but “greater is He who is in you that he who is in the world.”

Who is in us, you may ask? The Holy Spirit dwells in us. The same Holy Spirit that gives us new life, who causes us to believe, who is the guarantee of our inheritance in Christ, and who, by the way, brings us the same power in life that brought Jesus up from the grave. Wow!

1 Corinthians 3:16 (ESV) — 16 Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you?

Romans 8:9 (ESV) — 9 You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him.

Ephesians 1:13–14 (ESV) — 13 In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, 14 who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.

Ephesians 1:19–20 (ESV) — 19 and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might 20 that he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places,

Just focusing on those two facts in 1John 4:4 will pick you up from a state of defeated to the triumphal state of “overcoming,” which is exactly where the book of Revelation takes us repeatedly.

Revelation 5:5 (ESV) — 5 And one of the elders said to me, “Weep no more; behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has conquered, so that he can open the scroll and its seven seals.”

Revelation 12:10–11 (ESV) — 10 And I heard a loud voice in heaven, saying, “Now the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God and the authority of his Christ have come, for the accuser of our brothers has been thrown down, who accuses them day and night before our God. 11 And they have conquered him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, for they loved not their lives even unto death.

Which is better – Defeated or triumphant overcoming?

“But wait!”  you say, “you don’t know my circumstances. Things are really tough and it’s hard to feel triumphant when everything seems to be going wrong.”

Life can be tough, and the Bible doesn’t promise the followers of the Lord Jesus Christ an easy pathway. On the contrary, Jesus said the pathway of following Him is filled with hardships, and He even described it as much tribulation. The difference however, is His promised presence through the Holy Spirit so you are not alone, the knowledge that He is in complete control so He has a purpose for you in the difficulties of life, and He has promised a glorious future that is so good it is beyond compare.

Matthew 7:13–14 (ESV) — 13 “Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. 14 For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.

John 16:33 (ESV) — 33 I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”

Hebrews 13:5–6 (ESV) — 5 Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” 6 So we can confidently say, “The Lord is my helper; I will not fear; what can man do to me?”

Romans 8:18 (ESV) — 18 For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.

1 Corinthians 2:9 (ESV) — 9 But, as it is written, “What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him”—

Here’s my challenge. Read through this article again and meditate upon each of the scripture passages. Then consider the difficulty you are facing that causes you to feel defeated and put it up against the word of God. Which one wins? It’s best to dwell on God’s word and live triumphantly as an overcomer than to allow the world and all that is in the world to rob you by keeping you in the pit of “defeated.”

How’s your attitude?

Godspeed,

Bob Brubaker

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The Courage Quotient https://bobbrubaker.com/the-courage-quotient/ Mon, 22 Apr 2019 09:17:14 +0000 https://bobbrubaker.com/?p=3903 The Courage Quotient Read More »

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It takes great courage to be locked in to doing the right thing in life. Let’s face it, it’s easy to go with the flow of society and be turned from side to side when it comes to morals and standards. It’s interesting to inspect the times that God calls for courage in the Bible. We immediately go to courage in the face of danger or challenge.  Upon further examination we’ll see that the call for courage has more to do in holding fast to God’s word and doing the right thing and, as a result, there will be confidence in the face of the challenges of life.

Joshua 1:7–9 (ESV) — 7 Only be strong and very courageous, being careful to do according to all the law that Moses my servant commanded you. Do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may have good success wherever you go. 8 This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success. 9 Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”

The dictionary defines courage as the ability to do something when frightened or challenged by pain or grief. Courage is that inner push to keep going when circumstances say give up. In the text above, Joshua, the new leader in Israel after Moses’ death was about to lead the people into the Promised Land. God’s command to be strong and very courageous was an important command. Can you image a leader of over a million people being weak or timid when it comes to challenges? In fact, Joshua and Caleb were the two spies who 40 years earlier had gone through the Promised Land on a reconnaissance mission. Ten spies drew the conclusion that it was impossible to take the land because the people of the land were so strong. They even said they saw themselves as “grasshoppers” before the people of the land.  Consequently they disturbed the people of Israel. However, Joshua and Caleb saw the land as easy picking for God and tried to convince the people to believe God and not the bad report from the ten. Sadly, the majority ruled even though the majority was wrong and the result was God allowed the people of Israel to wonder in the wilderness for a season.

Numbers 14:6–10 (ESV) — 6 And Joshua the son of Nun and Caleb the son of Jephunneh, who were among those who had spied out the land, tore their clothes 7 and said to all the congregation of the people of Israel, “The land, which we passed through to spy it out, is an exceedingly good land. 8 If the Lord delights in us, he will bring us into this land and give it to us, a land that flows with milk and honey. 9 Only do not rebel against the Lord. And do not fear the people of the land, for they are bread for us. Their protection is removed from them, and the Lord is with us; do not fear them.” 10 Then all the congregation said to stone them with stones. But the glory of the Lord appeared at the tent of meeting to all the people of Israel.

Notice that Joshua and Caleb were confident with great courage to do the right thing before God even though the crowd was against them. This courage to do the right thing played out in strong inner strength to go forward in the battle before them.

How is your courage when it comes to doing the right thing? It’s easy to appear to be a person of “inner drive” to accomplish great things or face incredible odds, but at the same time be a person of weakness when it comes to holding on to what is right. When you seek to follow God and His word, there may be times when you are called to confront yourself or others in a call to repentance. There may be times when your trusting God is as unpopular as Joshua and Caleb’s but that is the courage that will also sustain you to face the trials of life. It begins with taking God at His word and relying upon Him for the grace to display courage in trusting Him while remaining faithful to His word.

Led by God, David gave Solomon a similar admonition as he embarked in the construction of the temple:

1 Chronicles 28:20 (ESV) — 20 Then David said to Solomon his son, “Be strong and courageous and do it. Do not be afraid and do not be dismayed, for the Lord God, even my God, is with you. He will not leave you or forsake you, until all the work for the service of the house of the Lord is finished.

Think about it. God had a design for the temple that Solomon was to carry out to the “T” but like any building project there would be many opinions expressed and the opportunity to cut corners or compromise on one thing or another. Therefore, David warned Solomon that he needed courage. Of course, he would need courage to face the naysayers and critics, but even greater courage to stay the course outlined by God.

Likewise, you and I need courage in life to face the challenges that everyday life brings.  We also need courage to hold fast to God and His word even when it’s hard or difficult to do the right thing.

How is your courage factor? Like everyone we need His power and strength to remain faithful and to be courageous. May we be humble enough to pray for the needed courage and strength to be faithful today.

Godspeed,

Bob Brubaker

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Half Baked https://bobbrubaker.com/half-baked/ Mon, 15 Apr 2019 08:41:37 +0000 https://bobbrubaker.com/?p=3881 Half Baked Read More »

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There is a sense in which we try to hurry things along, or we get impatient in waiting, or we simply stop a concentrated effort too soon. You might say we tend to present things in a half-baked way. Can you imagine pulling a cake from the oven after only half the baking time then serving it? You can consequently think of the response of your guests. OK, with that in mind, how often have you cut off what you are offering to God before it’s finished curing? How often have you rushed through your time of prayer? Have you really devoted uninterrupted moments to reading and studying the Bible or have you rushed through a couple of verses and called it a day? How about your fellowship with other believers? We all know how vital it is in our own spiritual growth and maturity, but we often blow off time with others because there are so many things calling for our attention. No wonder God calls us to offer ourselves as a burnt offering that was totally consumed by the flame of God. No wonder Jesus calls us to take up our cross daily as we follow Him all the way instead of offering something “half-baked.”

Romans 12:1–2 (ESV) — 1 I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. 2 Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

Luke 9:23 (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.

It’s a matter of choice in following the Lord Jesus Christ “all the way” instead of cutting things off. Too often when God is sanctifying us through times of affliction, instead of rejoicing that He is working in us to conform us to the image of Christ as He promised, we look for a quick way out as in pulling the cake from the oven too soon. The problem is that when we flee times of trial and suffering, we often find ourselves back in a similar situation because God is not done with us. He has promised to sanctify us as He matures and grows us.

Another fault that often comes out when we seek to avoid the discomfort of sanctification is that we turn to idols as in relying upon the strength of the flesh, or we find our comfort in something other than God. In doing so we become much like the Northern Kingdom of Israel often referred to as the capitol city, Ephraim:

Hosea 7:8 (ESV) — 8 Ephraim mixes himself with the peoples; Ephraim is a cake not turned. 

The people had looked to other people for strength and deliverance when things got rough instead of turning to God. In doing so, God compared them to a half-baked cake as in baked to the place of burning on one side while the other side remained uneatable. In other words, when we try to find satisfaction and comfort in things other than God we are committing idolatry and that will not only cause us to offer something “half-baked” to God but also cause us to be burned in the process and the result: God allows us to reap what we sow.

Hosea 4:17 (ESV) — 17 Ephraim is joined to idols; leave him alone.

Galatians 6:7–9 (ESV) — 7 Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap. 8 For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. 9 And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.

And there is how we avoid the half-baked syndrome. Do what you do in service to the Lord Jesus Christ with passion, consistency, and steadfastness because God will accept such sacrifices from the heart as in a beautiful cake that is fully baked.

Hebrews 13:15–16 (ESV) — 15 Through him then let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that acknowledge his name. 16 Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.

Godspeed,

Bob Brubaker

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Don’t Forget To Remember https://bobbrubaker.com/dont-forget-to-remember/ Mon, 08 Apr 2019 09:58:49 +0000 https://bobbrubaker.com/?p=3851 Don’t Forget To Remember Read More »

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Celebration as we remember events and blessings is a part of life that we too often neglect. Prior to my one breath from death experience in 2005, I tended to walk over celebration times in my haste to keep going toward a bigger goal. What happens, as I found, is we arrive at a point which we have marked as a goal for ourselves, our family, our business, or even our church and we lose something important when we neglect to reflect and to celebrate.  We think we are doing ourselves a favor by just passing over the reason to celebrate, but the more we lessen the importance of the mark, the more our mind tends to lessen the importance of new goals set. 

God gives us a number of examples in the Bible where He makes the point of making sure His people didn’t forget to remember and celebrate. In the book of Exodus, God established the Passover celebration so the people would not forget their past nor His great deliverance from slavery.

Deuteronomy 16:1 (ESV) “Observe the month of Abib and keep the Passover to the Lord your God, for in the month of Abib the Lord your God brought you out of Egypt by night.

As they entered the promise land, God instructed them to erect 12 stones from the Jordon River so they could remember how God had taken them through the wilderness and brought them into the land of promise.

Joshua 4:4-7 (ESV) 4 Then Joshua called the twelve men from the people of Israel, whom he had appointed, a man from each tribe. 5 And Joshua said to them, “Pass on before the ark of the Lord your God into the midst of the Jordan, and take up each of you a stone upon his shoulder, according to the number of the tribes of the people of Israel, 6 that this may be a sign among you. When your children ask in time to come, ‘What do those stones mean to you?’ 7 then you shall tell them that the waters of the Jordan were cut off before the ark of the covenant of the Lord. When it passed over the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan were cut off. So these stones shall be to the people of Israel a memorial forever.”

Of course, the one thing the Bible is clear on making sure we don’t forget is the death of the Lord Jesus Christ. In the institution of the Lord’s Supper are the words, “do this in remembrance of me.”

1 Corinthians 11:23-26 (ESV) 23 For I received from the Lord what I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took bread, 24 and when he had given thanks, he broke it, and said, “This is my body which is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” 25 In the same way also he took the cup, after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.” 26 For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.

Pausing to remember in your pursuit to go forward is important. It’s important to remind yourself what God has done in the past, so you’ll be encouraged as you face the future.

It’s that time of year when Jan and I really reflect on things that happened to us in Denver 2005, when I was sick and getting closer by the day to death and finally my life was saved as I took my last breath on April 6, 2005. Wow! It was 14 years this past Saturday.  My current doctor likes to point out that with the disease I have I should be dead, that my lung function should be decreasing. I am thankful that, despite my lung function at 75% of a normal person, I am still able to exercise and even compete. God has been gracious to me as I marked 14 years. I was one breath from death but look what God can do! (The story is on the website and the full story in book form is available in the publications page on the website.)

Psalm 111:4 (ESV) — 4 He has caused his wondrous works to be remembered; the Lord is gracious and merciful.

I am sure He’s been good to you too, as well as to your family, to your business, to your church – so take time to mark it and celebrate lest you forget to remember.

Godspeed,

Bob Brubaker

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An Antidote To Discouragement https://bobbrubaker.com/an-antidote-to-discouragement/ Mon, 01 Apr 2019 09:09:36 +0000 https://bobbrubaker.com/?p=3779 An Antidote To Discouragement Read More »

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Everyone faces times of discouragement. Even the most positive person on the face of the earth faces discouraging times. Remember Jesus warned us about such?

John 16:33 (ESV) — 33 I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”

Well let’s look at a real-life example and how God provides an antidote to discouragement.

Revelation 1:9–11 (ESV) — 9 I, John, your brother and partner in the tribulation and the kingdom and the patient endurance that are in Jesus, was on the island called Patmos on account of the word of God and the testimony of Jesus. 10 I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day, and I heard behind me a loud voice like a trumpet 11 saying, “Write what you see in a book and send it to the seven churches, to Ephesus and to Smyrna and to Pergamum and to Thyatira and to Sardis and to Philadelphia and to Laodicea.”

Let’s think about John for a moment. John had ministered to the seven churches described above and for his faithfulness he was banished to what would be worse than a concentration camp on the Island of Patmos. Would you be discouraged if you were in his shoes? I reckon so! So what does John do? He worships, he remembers the Lord’s Day, and he is open to the ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ and the word of God.

OK – discouragement comes to all of us but what are you going to do? Remember Job? After losing it all…

Job 1:20–21 (ESV) — 20 Then Job arose and tore his robe and shaved his head and fell on the ground and worshiped. 21 And he said, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return. The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.”

John takes it even a step further as he says in Revelation 1:10 that he was “in the Spirit.” What does the Holy Spirit do in our lives?

He brings us assurance, helps us pray, leads us to exalt the Lord Jesus Christ, brings us assurance, enables us to serve, and the list could go on. Without the working of the Holy Spirit we can’t produce anything, but by His power we can glorify God.

Romans 8:8–11 (ESV) — 8 Those who are in the flesh cannot please God. 9

You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him. 10 But if Christ is in you, although the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness. 11 If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you.

Romans 8:14–17 (ESV) — 14 For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. 15 For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” 16 The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, 17 and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.

John 14:26 (ESV) — 26 But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.

John did not sit around and have a pity party. He followed the leading of the Spirit and was worshipping God. But there’s more. He was conscious of the fact that it was Sunday, the Lord’s Day, so he was focused by the very remembrance that it was a day set aside to God and the remembrance of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. That in itself, setting aside a day for the Lord, is honoring to Him and the day being Sunday, the first day of the week, the day in which Christ was resurrected from the dead, makes it even more special. It is John, demonstrating His faith in believing the Bible to be true and the hope of the resurrection to be part of his life. How about you? How do you honor the Lord’s day? Putting these first two points together – worshipping God in the Spirit and honoring God on the Lord’s day, opens the door for what happened next for John and the wiping out of all discouragement.

Revelation 1:12–18 (ESV) — 12 Then I turned to see the voice that was speaking to me, and on turning I saw seven golden lampstands, 13 and in the midst of the lampstands one like a son of man, clothed with a long robe and with a golden sash around his chest. 14 The hairs of his head were white, like white wool, like snow. His eyes were like a flame of fire, 15 his feet were like burnished bronze, refined in a furnace, and his voice was like the roar of many waters. 16 In his right hand he held seven stars, from his mouth came a sharp two-edged sword, and his face was like the sun shining in full strength. 17 When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. But he laid his right hand on me, saying, “Fear not, I am the first and the last, 18 and the living one. I died, and behold I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of Death and Hades.

Jesus came to John, comforted him, touched him, and encouraged him. Much could be said about the things which John saw in the vision but suffice it to say John is seeing the importance of recognition that Jesus is in complete control and nothing, not even John’s banishment to Patmos is outside His sovereign power and authority.

May we take this same encouragement from the Lord Jesus Christ and may we take heed to the lesson of the antidote to discouragement by placing ourselves in the place to receive encouragement from God. Namely: by following the leading of the Holy Spirit in worship, honoring the Lord on His day, and being ready to receive the word of God. No wonder we find these words in Hebrews:

Hebrews 10:24–25 (ESV) — 24 And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, 25 not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.

Godspeed,

Bob Brubaker

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REJECTED https://bobbrubaker.com/rejected/ Mon, 25 Mar 2019 11:24:21 +0000 https://bobbrubaker.com/?p=3757 REJECTED Read More »

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Nothing seems to be a harder blow than to feel rejected. There’s something in all of us that wants to feel acceptance and to feel recognized.   When a friend, associate, or people you think would show you some consideration don’t – it really makes you feel rejected.

Sometimes the feeling of rejection seems to mount. People you would think would remember your birthday don’t; the job you applied for that looked promising and seemed to be a perfect fit for you only turned out to be another rejection; then as you looked for someone with whom you could share your feelings of rejection there seemed to be nobody interested.

We’ve all been there, maybe not in the exact scenario but similar circumstances where we feel like giving up as a result of feeling rejected. There was a man in Jesus’ day who was rejected and his rejection resulted because of the good thing that happened to him – his blind eyes were made to see.

John 9:1-7 (ESV) 1 As he passed by, he saw a man blind from birth. 2 And his disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” 3 Jesus answered, “It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him. 4 We must work the works of him who sent me while it is day; night is coming, when no one can work. 5 As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” 6 Having said these things, he spat on the ground and made mud with the saliva. Then he anointed the man’s eyes with the mud 7 and said to him, “Go, wash in the pool of Siloam” (which means Sent). So he went and washed and came back seeing.

You would think this would be the greatest day of his life – born blind and now having full sight, but it was the beginning of trouble. The religious leaders threatened everyone.  His own family had the opportunity to stick up for him, but they backed down because they were too scared of the religious leaders who eventually threw him out of the local synagogue. Rejected and cast off, the man who was born blind, now able to see, was left alone until Jesus arrived.

John 9:35 (ESV) Jesus heard that they had cast him out, and having found him he said, “Do you believe in the Son of Man?”

Jesus, the one who would be despised and rejected seems to look for those who are feeling the same.

Isaiah 53:3-5 (ESV) 3 He was despised and rejected by men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief; and as one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not. 4 Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. 5 But he was wounded for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his stripes we are healed.

Years before the experience of the man born blind, David made an important declaration in the book of Psalms that is applicable to all who feel rejected:

Psalms 27:10 (ESV) For my father and my mother have forsaken me, but the Lord will take me in.

Jesus left his disciples with this promise that is applicable to us today and everyday whenever we feel abandoned and rejected:

John 14:18 (ESV) I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.

His arms are opened to us and His heart is touched with empathy for our feeling of rejection, so run to Him and find help and comfort to pick up the pieces and stay in the race of life. And notice the further promise to all who look to Him:

Hebrews 13:5–6 (ESV) — 5 Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” 6 So we can confidently say, “The Lord is my helper; I will not fear; what can man do to me?”

Those words, “never leave you nor forsake you” are His promise to never let you feel rejected. Never, never, never! And remember His promises are “yes and Amen” because it is impossible for God to lie.

2 Corinthians 1:20 (ESV) — 20 For all the promises of God find their Yes in him.

That is why it is through him that we utter our Amen to God for his glory.

Hebrews 6:17–19 (ESV) — 17 So when God desired to show more convincingly to the heirs of the promise the unchangeable character of his purpose, he guaranteed it with an oath, 18 so that by two unchangeable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled for refuge might have strong encouragement to hold fast to the hope set before us. 19 We have this as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul, a hope that enters into the inner place behind the curtain,

Godspeed,

Bob Brubaker

Check out the PowerBreak Podcast wherever you download podcast or from www.bobbrubaker.com

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Getting Beyond The Wall https://bobbrubaker.com/getting-beyond-the-wall/ Mon, 18 Mar 2019 22:27:14 +0000 https://bobbrubaker.com/?p=3715 Getting Beyond The Wall Read More »

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Marathon runners call it “hitting the wall,” writers call it “writers block,” but call it what you will, it’s a mental block that leads you to stop what you are doing as if there is a literal obstacle in your way. It should be recognized that it could be other physical or mental influences that cause you to hit the wall, but going through the mental block and getting back in the race of life is always pretty much the same.

Before we look at some practical steps on getting beyond “the wall,” the place where you feel you cannot proceed any further, let’s take a peek at what Jesus had to say about such an occasion.

Luke 17:5–10 (ESV) — 5 The apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith!” 6 And the Lord said, “If you had faith like a grain of mustard seed, you could say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you. 7 “Will any one of you who has a servant plowing or keeping sheep say to him when he has come in from the field, ‘Come at once and recline at table’? 8 Will he not rather say to him, ‘Prepare supper for me, and dress properly, and serve me while I eat and drink, and afterward you will eat and drink’? 9 Does he thank the servant because he did what was commanded? 10 So you also, when you have done all that you were commanded, say, ‘We are unworthy servants; we have only done what was our duty.’”

You will notice the apostles recognized a need for increased faith in life. Who doesn’t? The Bible is clear that faith is a gift from God, without faith it’s impossible to please God, everything that we do or offer to God must be by faith otherwise it’s rejected. Our faith grows through difficulty, and our faith will get us past any obstacle life puts into our pathway, including those “mental blocks.”

Ephesians 2:8–9 (ESV) — 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast.
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.
Hebrews 11:4 (ESV) — 4 By faith Abel offered to God a more acceptable sacrifice than Cain, through which he was commended as righteous, God commending him by accepting his gifts. And through his faith, though he died, he still speaks.
1 Peter 1:6–7 (ESV) — 6 In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, 7 so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.

So please notice Luke 17:5&6 above. Jesus responds with some serious motivation to go along with the disciples’ request. They requested He grant them more faith, probably as a “poof more faith” type of an act. Instead, He is going to give them a simple principle He taught that faith grows in faithfulness in verses 7-10. In order to get them to listen, He gives them additional motivation that includes getting beyond any and every obstacle that would stop them in the way in verse 6.
And the Lord said, “If you had faith like a grain of mustard seed, you could say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you.

Jesus is certainly not advocating changing the physical world around the apostles. He is saying that anything that pops up that appears to be an obstacle to hinder their progress can be overcome by faith. Hold on to that thought as we look at Jesus’ principle for increasing faith as He next gives an illustration of a servant coming in from the field. The master of the servant does not set the servant down and serve him, rather the servant serves and realizes after he has served he has done that which he’s supposed to do, “serve.” The lesson then in increasing faith is to be faithful to God in the small things, the mundane things, the hard things, and all things. God is looking for faithfulness and as one is faithful one is growing in their faith and ready to face any obstacle, mental block, or wall that life can give.

Let’s return to the runner who hit the wall and the writer who is blocked. What is recommended? Going back to the basics. For the runner, it means forcing himself to put one foot in front of the other in a slow walk. Once momentum has begun, then it’s a matter of picking up the pace again. For the writer, it means taking time to review, maybe do a little research, but like the runner it means getting back in the swing of things a little at a time. Just like the words from Jesus regarding faith which grows through faithfulness, so getting past obstacles in life that stop you means you go back to some basics to get the momentum going. Faith is the key. If you have faith even as small as a grain of mustard seed, said Jesus, then you can keep going no matter what the obstacle.

Luke 16:10 (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.

The question is whether you are being faithful in the little things. Jesus pointed out that faithfulness is the key to a growing faith that will overcome all obstacles and the principle is the same to be faithful even in the minutest principles in life because that will get you through times of hitting the wall or the stagnation of writer’s block.

Godspeed,
Bob Brubaker

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Preparing For The Unexpected https://bobbrubaker.com/preparing-for-the-unexpected/ Mon, 11 Mar 2019 09:24:24 +0000 https://bobbrubaker.com/?p=3683 Preparing For The Unexpected Read More »

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As athletes prepare for competition, good coaches will also help their teams or clients prepare for the unexpected. Too many times a team or an athlete will prepare a certain way for a game or competition only to find the opponent has completely changed his game plan or something out of the ordinary happens during the race and left the team or competitor devastated. You can see this all the time in both team and individual efforts where some people or teams seem unphased by the unexpected and others are totally thrown off course. What makes the difference? Preparation!

Life is much like a competition in that we train and prepare for daily happenings and challenges. However, unless we give some thought to the unexpected, we’ll live in disappointment when “things happen,” especially those things that are out of our control. How do we keep from falling in the ditch when things don’t go our way? Prepare for the unexpected!

Philippians 4:10–13 (ESV) — 10 I rejoiced in the Lord greatly that now at length you have revived your concern for me. You were indeed concerned for me, but you had no opportunity. 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.

We’ll notice how the apostle Paul considered the blessing of receiving support from the Philippian church. He was most grateful but as he considered their responsibility, he was quick to point out that it was not a manipulation scheme by making them feel sorry for him. Instead, he pointed out a valuable lesson for facing the unexpected – he learned to be content. There is the key phrase when the unexpected happens. Instead of focusing on what is wrong or what is not happening we learn to “go with the flow.” Easier said than done, right?  Notice the context of verse 13. He states the fact that he had learned (underline the word “learned”) to be content. Contentment does not come naturally. It must be learned. He goes on to say that in any circumstance he learned the secret which is, “I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.”

Let’s bring that into your prayer life. You are praying about a situation and are trying your best to be confident in your faith that God will grant you that request. You are claiming the promises of God and are beginning to grow weary because your prayer appears to not be answered. Wait a minute! Could it be God is giving us the “unexpected” because our expectations are our plans which may not be His plans?

Isaiah 55:8–9 (ESV) — 8 For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. 9 For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.

Trusting God as we pray means we unload our burdens upon Him because He cares for us (1 Peter 5:7) but also means we trust Him to do what is best for us on His timetable and in His way. In other words, to prepare for the unexpected is to learn to be content with Him being in control instead of us. How do you that?

Philippians 4:13 (ESV) — I can do all things through him who strengthens me.

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.

As you study the life and ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ, you’ll find Him doing the unexpected, including the way He took His disciples through “learning situations” so they would learn to trust Him, finding their contentment in Him and not in things happening just as they would have expected. Case in point: one of the times they were in a storm on the water.

Mark 4:35–41 (ESV) — 35 On that day, when evening had come, he said to them, “Let us go across to the other side.” 36 And leaving the crowd, they took him with them in the boat, just as he was. And other boats were with him. 37 And a great windstorm arose, and the waves were breaking into the boat, so that the boat was already filling. 38 But he was in the stern, asleep on the cushion. And they woke him and said to him, “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?” 39 And he awoke and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, “Peace! Be still!” And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. 40 He said to them, “Why are you so afraid? Have you still no faith?” 41 And they were filled with great fear and said to one another, “Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?”

How could Jesus have allowed the “unexpected storm?” (Unexpected to the disciples but not to Jesus.) He did so because it was a way to make sure they learned the valuable lesson that He is in complete control and He cares for them enough to keep them safe and to strengthen their faith to trust Him down the road. In other words, to be content when the unexpected happens by finding that contentment in Him.

What is God allowing you to experience that seems “unexpected” or “disappointing?” May you go back and prepare for those moments by learning the lesson of contentment by relying upon the strength that is promised in trusting Him.

Godspeed,

Bob Brubaker

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