Thursday, August 14, 2014
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Well, as usual, during our summers with Native Americans, we had a memorable time with some of our ministry team on the Navajo Reservation in Arizona and New Mexico that particular year. We had a very busy time of reaching people. We did have one break, so we packed as many of us into a van as we could and drove to see this spectacular canyon.
Now, as we were leaving, it was approaching dark, and we thought, "Well, there are two ways back. And we've got to get up early tomorrow morning for a meeting." One was long but paved; the other was short but unpaved and went across the mountain. We decided we would take the short road, and even though it was a little bumpy, we'd go over the mountain. I started out driving, and then my wife took over driving. All of a sudden we felt this lurching, and she went, "Oh, no! I think we're out of gas. I can't believe it!"
Well, someone had mentioned briefly that there was a problem with the fuel gauge before we left, and I glanced at it before we left home. It said three quarters of a tank. Now, it would have been a good idea to fill up before we left civilization. I didn't. As a result, here we sat in the dark on a lonely back road, 40 miles from the nearest town, praying like crazy. Well, thank God, He sent us a Good Samaritan, who went 40 miles for gas. So, Ron, what did you learn?
I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Leaving Without a Fill-Up."
Our word for today from the Word of God comes from Luke 24. I'll begin reading at verse 47, where God is preparing His people to get ready to do a great work for Him. Here's what He said to His disciples. "Repentance and forgiveness of sins will be preached in His name to all nations beginning at Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things. I am going to send you what My Father has promised, (That was to be the Holy Spirit.) but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high."
So, God has great things in store for you guys; great things that He'd like you to accomplish for Him through your life. Can you imagine the disciples going, "Well, let's get to work! We've got a lot to do." They're ready to run out the door and start doing. He says, "No, wait! Stay. Wait. Wait for the power first."
I wonder if that's why so many of us have flopped when we've tried to do something for the Lord? We ran off to do it before we got the power to do it. Like a certain radio host I know very well, who set off on this trip without filling up with fuel. And he ended up stranded in the middle of his trip.
Maybe you've had days like that spiritually when you're trying to work for the Lord. You've started off your day, but you were in too big a hurry to be with the Lord for very long. You didn't wait for His power. Or you're involved in a work for the Lord and you plunged right in. You're working hard to get it right and get it down. There was so much to do, but you ran out of gas right in the middle. It didn't work did it?
Again, you didn't do what Jesus said here, "Stay, and wait until you have been clothed with power from on high." Jesus likened it to getting dressed. He said, "Don't go out unclothed. Don't run out in your spiritual unmentionables to live for the Lord or to try to serve the Lord." We've got to take time to get prayed up before we start running for Jesus. The prayer meeting has got to precede any other meeting. We've got to be in His Book every day looking for His personal guidance. We've got to get on our knees; get on our face and re-surrender to Him for that day; that work. We need to come to the point of seeing that we are unworthy and powerless when it comes to doing anything for Jesus. And at that point of self-emptying, of brokenness, you let the power of Almighty God take over.
My reservation drive wasn't the first trip where I left without a fill-up, because spiritually, I've done that too many times. Maybe you have too. Right now, would you slow down and just pull over to God's great fuel tank? You're not going to finish your journey if you don't take the time to fill up before you go.