Allow God to pour into you His grace, His mercy, and His oil (anointing), so you can pour into someone else. In 2 Kings 4 we see a woman being given a command by the prophet Elisha to gather as many empty vessels from neighbors as she could so she could pour oil into each of them. Originally she didn't have a lot of oil, but when she obeyed Elisha and poured oil into the first pot, and then the second pot, and so on and so forth, until all the vessels she had gathered were full, then the oil stopped "flowing."
There are three things to consider: 1) Understand the power of community. She and her two sons had to ask the neighbors for help with gathering vessels. I know in this day and age some of us hardly talk to our neighbors because we don't really know them like that, but the woman in 2 Kings had to step out on faith and start to have conversations with people she might not have known that well. But in this we see the power of community. When a community of people is willing to help a person with a great need, something truly great can happen.
2) The oil did not stop flowing out of her little jar until she had filled all the vessels she gathered. When you are obedient to the word of God, you can see breakthrough happen in your life! I'm sure she was wondering "how can this little bit of oil I have fill all these large pots?" It's not about how much oil she had, it's about the God who was able to do the impossible because she stepped out on faith to do what she could do in the realm of the possible. What miracles have you been missing out on just because you were so focused on "how things are SUPPOSED to work," instead of on how God is able to work miracles that defy human logic and reasoning? Now the text does not tell us exactly how many vessels she ended up gathering from her neighbors, but when it was all said and done, she had enough oil to pay off a big debt she had and have some extra to sell according to 2 Kings 4:7. A great kindness to someone in need is to not only help them for their present situation, but to also set them up for future success by providing a way to do business with others using their great supply gained from the original help.
3) The woman poured the oil into the vessels behind closed doors. Take care of what God told you to do in private, so when you get to the public scene you can have a testimony ready to share with others who need their faith strengthened.
Many of us at different points in times in our lives, if we are honest with ourselves, have wanted to be someone else who we think "has it all together." But if we were to peel back the layers of another person's life, we'd end up saying "Nevermind, I didn't know it took all of that to be them." ... So be yourself. And I don't mean that in the typical cliché kind of way. I mean rest in your identity in Christ Jesus if you have already placed your faith and trust in Him. Ask Him to show you how to walk as the person He made you to be. Sure you have some things you need to work on, but don't we all? None of us has it all together. You were born an original piece of art by the Divine Designer. Don't die in the midst of the efforts of trying to be a copy of someone else.
God is not looking for us to be "perfect" the way man wants perfection. He wants our progress. God chose you for great things, not in spite of the cracks your "vessel" might have (2 Cor. 4:7), but because of them. God is going to use the things and events in your life that you thought would leave you broken and damaged to get you to develop a strong testimony that is going to bless so many people.
Be encouraged today! Do not fear; the Lord will help you! He might not come when you want Him to, but He is always on time! I know from experience! Jesus wants the best for you, no matter what people say. He wants you to go from death to life, from brokenness to wholeness, from bondage to freedom. Are you willing to trust Jesus with your life? Are you willing to give Him your struggles from which He can deliver you instead of trying to handle everything yourself? Jesus is calling, but you have to choose whether you walk towards Him or not. I hope you choose to walk towards Him, not just today, but everyday.
My fellow believers in Christ, no matter what you might be facing right now, know that the Lord is right there with you. The Lord will NEVER leave you nor will He ever forsake you. The devil wants you to give up, but you have got to keep your eyes on the ultimate prize: hearing Jesus say, "Well done!" Satan can't take your salvation away from you, but he can tempt you to give it up by using horrible circumstances and make it seem like everything is against you. But the devil is a liar. You've got too much to live for, too much to do, and too many people to whom God wants you to be a blessing for you to throw in the towel now. If you give up now, all your efforts and the efforts of those who have helped you get this far will be in vain. .... There are no shortcuts to receive the prize. You've got to finish the whole race (2 Timothy 4:7-8)!
Anytime we open our hands to God, He will fill them with something that is greater than the things we choose to surrender over to Him. If your hands are closed up in fists, and the posture of your heart is that you don't want to give up anything for God because you think you can do good by yourself, God will not bless that or honor that. But when you open your hands to God and the posture of your heart is this: "Lord here I am and here are the things I am surrendering over to You: I surrender my own agenda so I can receive your great plans for my life; I surrender my pride and ego so I can receive the importance of what it means to be humble; I surrender my finances and resources to You so I can receive the grace needed to be a cheerful giver to those who are truly in need, etc" then God will honor that and put in your hands what you need that is way better than whatever you were trying to hold on to that would actually have hurt you in some way in the long run. It's been said, "closed mouths don't get fed and closed hands can't receive." Are your hands closed or open today?
What you say "yes" to when you are young can have an impact on the things you can have and the things you'll have to deal with when you're older. Watch what you say "yes" to. Say "yes" to the right things. Say "yes" to maturity and growth. Say "yes" to learning all you can about a wide range of topics so you will be able to have intelligent conversations with like-minded people. Say "yes" to avoiding foolishness and chaos. Say "yes" to operating in integrity so no one has to worry about what you're doing and not doing when no one is looking. Say "yes" to becoming your best self in Christ. Say "yes" to being kind to others. Say "yes" to forgiveness even when you might feel that "they don't deserve my forgiveness." God forgave you didn't He?
There are plenty of other examples I could use with respect to saying "yes" to the right kinds of things, but the point is this: can you pass the "Say Yes" test?
After hearing Pastor Steven Furtick preach from Mark 6:45-52 and Matthew 14:22-32, I gained a fresh perspective I had not embraced before. I learned that just because the wind is against you in some particular areas of your life, it doesn't mean you are going in the wrong direction. You have Jesus in your life, but it doesn't mean the wind won't try to blow you around a bit when you are trying to get from point A to point B.
Also, as soon as Jesus got into the disciples' boat after He rescued Peter from sinking in the water after he stepped out on faith when Jesus bid him to come to Him after Peter wanted to make sure it was really Jesus who was walking on the water as the disciples were sailing to a place called Bethsaida, THEN the wind died down. For so long I focused on the fact that Peter walked on water like Jesus until he looked around, became afraid because of what he saw, and began to sink. But what I had missed before was that it wasn't until Jesus got into the boat with the disciples that the wind ceased. There was one other occasion where Jesus spoke to the storm and it ceased. In the above passages of Scripture, Jesus did not even have to speak to the wind for it to die down. This shows that Jesus is always in control, no matter what the situation looks like. When you let Jesus get in your boat (invite Him in to get involved with specific situations, because after all, inviting Jesus in is not just a one-time thing for salvation, but it's an everyday-thing), the wind and storms that were raging at you have to cease. Here's another thing, the storms might be raging outside, but don't let the storm get inside of you; your boat does not have to sink!
Let me go back to Peter for a second too. Peter became afraid at what he was seeing around himself WHILE he was temporarily walking on water. Don't let what you SEE going on around you cause you to forget what you have HEARD Jesus say. If Jesus said you can walk on water (walk through your situation), then you can do it! Be encouraged today!
My fellow believers in Christ what happens between getting from one point to another point in life is the process. Trust God in the process bro. Trust God in the process sis. It might not look good and it most likely will not feel good, but I promise you, there is something good about the process. Whatever you are going through now is making you sharper, wiser, and stronger. Proverbs 27:17 (NIV) says, "As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another." As you go through your process of growth, you are going to have to deal with at least one person who God will use in His own special way to challenge you and not make you feel comfortable with where you are. They will question you and do certain things and it might seem like they are trying to try your patience, but it's for your good. You don't have to like it, just take it for what it is.
As for getting wiser, Proverbs 9:10 says, "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding." This is not saying to cower in fear as if you are terrified of the Lord, because you are one of His children. What it is saying is that we need to have a healthy reverence for who He is because He is totally sovereign and as our Creator He has the right to do with us as He pleases to reveal to us the riches of His glory (see Romans 9:20-24). Until we truly reverence God and learn to worship Him in spirit and in truth as we go through our various life processes we will walk around confused and frustrated because it means we have yet to seek His ultimate wisdom we need for righteous living.
For strength, the Apostle Paul writes in Philippians 4:13, "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." Christ gives us the strength we need to be well while dealing with the kinds of things Paul mentioned like being content while being in need or having plenty, while being hungry or fed, and while dealing with any other scenarios that could come up. Paul said in 2 Corinthians 12:9-10 (NIV), "... He (God) said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness.' Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weakness, so that Christ's power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong." We won't make it very far if we think we can rely on only our own strength to get by. That is nothing but pride talking then.
Some people might call you crazy for taking the long route and the hard way while others are taking short-cuts and the easy ways out of situations, but since you are a person of integrity, you are going to stick it out and allow God to transform you and take you higher than you've ever been before because you decided to trust Him through the process. Job declared in Job 23:10, ".... He knows the way that I take; when He has tested me, I will come forth as gold." When you come out the other side of what you are going through now, you will see it was all worth it.
The thing about growth I keep finding out is this: you don't really see it/feel it while it's actually happening. But it is happening! I know you don't see it now, but there is a reason why they let you go from that job, there is a reason why that person left you, there is a reason why you are having to learn the hard way about how finances really work. God has greater opportunities for you! He has a better person in mind for you so you are not unequally yoked to a crazy person. He is showing you the importance of tithing, giving to others and getting your resources in order so you can have enough to be able to be a blessing to someone in need one day. The process of people misunderstanding you is there so you learn to lean into Jesus more and more since He knows every single thing about you. Trust God in the process bro. Trust God in the process sis. Let God have His perfect way as He reveals to you the riches of His glory.
After all I have been through in my life, after all I have witnessed, after all I have learned, no one can tell me that God's love is not real! I know the world seems to be in constant chaos, and a lot of times, it is indeed facing all sorts of trouble, but it doesn't mean God isn't there behind the scenes and in front of the scenes, working everything out for good. The Lord said in Jeremiah 29:13, "You will seek Me and find Me when you seek Me with all your heart." Are we searching for God with ALL of our hearts? Or are we making up excuses for why God couldn't possibly exist, "because after all, if He did, then why does all this bad stuff keep happening?" Yeah, I've heard it all before. The truth is that God's love is there whether you believe it or not. Please put your faith and trust in Jesus today, and everyday afterwards. Man can and oftentimes does let you down, but He, the One who died on the cross for our sins, resurrected in three days, and ascended into heaven to sit at the right hand of the Father and makes intercession for us without ceasing, won't ever let you down. Trusting in Jesus is the best decision you will ever make. I'm not saying it will always be easy, but you can make it if you make the decision to abide in Him and invite Him in to abide in you.
I just want to encourage and inspire as many people as I can for Jesus Christ.