Many Christians are dealing with huge obstacles in their lives: job loss, a stressful marriage, sickness, children struggling with faith. They think, “I can’t see past this mountain in front of me. If I don’t have a breakthrough, it’s over!”
No matter how bleak the circumstances of your life, God is right in the midst of things. He loves to show his care and provision to those who love him and put their trust in him. A perfect example of this is found in the miracle of Elisha and the poor widow who was destitute and desperate. In those times, when you could not meet your obligations, the creditors took your children as well as your belongings.
“A certain woman … cried out to Elisha, saying, ‘My husband is dead, and you know that your servant feared the Lord. And the creditor is coming to take my two sons to be his slaves’” (2 Kings 4:1). Elisha might have referred her to the temple for assistance but he felt led to go another direction. He was about to reveal God in action in her life.
The woman had only one jar of oil in her house and the prophet instructed her, “Go, borrow vessels from everywhere, from all your neighbors—empty vessels; do not gather just a few” (4:3). In Scripture, oil represents God’s blessing and provision. Elisha instructed her further, “When you have come in, you shall shut the door behind you and your sons; then pour it into all those vessels, and set aside the full ones” (4:4).
The widow obeyed the direction of the prophet and as she poured oil from her own jar, it filled the borrowed jars, one after the other, until they were all full. There was an endless supply of oil!
When God tells us he has our needed supply, it is not just a meager amount. God has everything we need — absolutely everything. The jars in this story represent our capacity for faith; the more “jars” we bring to God the more he will fill us up. This account reminds us to trust him for our supply, whether material, emotional, or spiritual.
Not only was this widow’s need met, but now she had a powerful testimony of an amazing deliverance for her neighbors. Her story can be your story as you trust God for his abundant provision in your life.
Peter was a leading disciple and yet he denied the Lord three times. After the denials, Peter went off into the night weeping. He did not lose his relationship with Jesus in that moment but he did acutely feel the pain of his betrayal and the loss of close fellowship with someone he loved deeply. The Spirit was working in him to bring the pain that leads to repentance and restoration.
Paul warned, “Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God” (Ephesians 4:30). If the Spirit is grieved, he is vexed and sad. Although we know our salvation isn’t lost by our sin, we also become painfully aware that there is a strain in our relationship. Communion with God is affected, and we feel an uncomfortable emptiness. The sun is still there and shining, but we no longer feel its warmth. It is as if a cloud blocks it.
A Christlike life is a mystery. We live the life — it’s our voice, body, and mind — but it’s not really us at all. It’s Christ living in us through the Holy Spirit. John, the same apostle who wrote a letter to encourage believers not to sin, also included one of the best promises in the Bible: “If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:8-9).
A nugget of truth I heard many years ago is the key to being aware of and staying in touch with the Holy Spirit: “To be conscious of the Holy Spirit solves 90 percent of our problems.” We must discipline our minds to stay conscious of the presence of the Holy Spirit.
Christ’s plan was to replace “me” with “him” through the Spirit’s presence. This is somewhat like a “corporate takeover” — but it results in a life filled with peace and joy.
Jim Cymbala began the Brooklyn Tabernacle with less than twenty members in a small, rundown building in a difficult part of the city. A native of Brooklyn, he is a longtime friend of both David and Gary Wilkerson.
How would you feel if you cooked a wonderful meal, invited guests who said they would come, and then, after everything was prepared and ready to be served, no one showed up? Most of us would feel quite rejected and disappointed. Yet, this is what happened in this parable Jesus told his disciples in Luke 14.
“Then [Jesus] said, ‘A certain man gave a great supper and invited many’” (Luke14:16). The narrative goes on to show that when everything was ready, the man’s servant went out to summon the people. But instead of being eager to attend the event, everyone had an excuse and declined to join in.
This parable is important because Jesus is host, the feast being spoken of is the gospel, and the table being spread is the cross. Jesus’ invitation is for everyone: “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28).
Simply put, our Lord is inviting us to intimacy with him. We have been urged to come into his presence to sup with him, to get to know him, to enjoy his company. He says, “Come and find a table spread for you. Everything is ready now and you will find full satisfaction in me.”
Indeed, all our hunger — everything to do with holiness and godliness — is wrapped up in Jesus. “His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue” (2 Peter 1:3). The table has been spread. Dinner is ready!
Many believers find all kinds of reasons to avoid coming into closer fellowship with Jesus. They have plenty of time during the week to constantly go here and there for their family. It may be their children, business pursuits or career ambitions. The list goes on. But when it comes time for the things of the Lord, there is little time left over. This is a dangerous way to live.
As a true lover of Jesus, be protective of your time with him. Consider as an intrusion anything that robs you of precious time in Jesus’ presence.
Without a doubt, the blood of Jesus Christ is the most precious gift our heavenly Father has given to his church. Yet, few Christians understand its value and virtue. They sing about the power of the blood. In fact, the anthem of the Pentecostal church is, “There is power, power, wonder-working power in the precious blood of the Lamb” (Lewis E. Jones). And we constantly “plead the blood” as some sort of mystical formula of protection. But few Christians can explain its great glory and benefits, and seldom enter into its power.
When Christ lifted the cup at the last Passover, he said, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood, which is shed for you” (Luke 22:20). We memorialize his sacrifice every time we have communion. But that is the limit of most Christians’ knowledge of Jesus’ blood. We know about the blood being shed but not about its being sprinkled!
The first biblical reference to the sprinkling of the blood is in Exodus 12:22: “You shall take a bunch of hyssop, dip it in the blood that is in the basin, and strike the lintel and the two door posts with the blood that is in the basin.” As long as the blood was left in the basin, it was of no effect; it had no power against the death angel. It had to be lifted out of the basin and sprinkled on the door to fulfill its purpose of protection.
The blood in Exodus 12 is a type of the blood of Christ that flowed from Calvary. If Christ is Lord of your life, then your door posts — your heart — have been sprinkled by his blood. And this sprinkling is not for forgiveness only but also for our protection.
Jesus sprinkles his own blood on us when, by faith, we receive his finished work at Calvary. And until we truly believe in the power of his sacrifice at Calvary, the blood of Jesus cannot produce any effect upon our souls! “Whom God set forth as a propitiation [reconciliation] by His blood, through faith” (Romans 3:25).
Praise God with high praises for the precious blood of Jesus: “We also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement” (Romans 5:11).
Many good people who consider themselves Christians are convinced they are going to heaven but they are sadly mistaken. Even though they are not indulging in gross sin of any kind and are doing many good deeds, their zeal for good things has pushed aside the things of God.
Becoming so engrossed in building your business, advancing your career, providing for your family can take you away from pursuing the deeper things of the spiritual life. Jesus said, “Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you” (Matthew 6:33). This is not a suggestion, it is a commandment. Jesus was saying, “If you seek the Lord first, he will take care of all the things you’re toiling over. But you must make him your primary focus!”
The apostle Paul said, “Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God” (Colossians 3:2-3). Again, this is not a suggestion but a commandment. The meaning is, “Direct your focus, or interests, on things above. Set your attention and concentration single-mindedly on the things of God — immovable, intractable.”
God does not demand that we sell our possessions, quit our jobs and become like monks, giving ourselves completely to meditation and prayer. But he does require that we choose to spend time in the Word and in prayer. He also says we are to gather together with fellow believers: “Let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching” (Hebrews 10:24-25).
What takes priority in your life? Who does the waiting in your life: your personal endeavors/pleasures or the Lord? This is a personal choice! We must heed the warnings of Scripture lest we become so busy that we neglect the most important thing — time in his presence, seeking his face and growing in him.