This morning Sherry Benner has a final word to share with the church body. She begins with Hebrews 11:6 But without faith it is impossible to please God… By reminding us that God is totally faithful and trustworthy, we can flourish in our faith. Even in the midst of all our “stuff”, God is faithful. Together we are all on a faith journey.
Sherry really focuses in on, “through faith”. Hebrews 11:32-34 …who through faith subdued kingdoms, worked righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, became valiant in battle… We would like for God to change our circumstances or rescue us from difficulties. God wants to change us into his strong, powerful-in-battle people. We can be people with “through faith”, the kind of faith that takes us through. He does not deliver us from, but brings us through- to become the warriors He has designed us to be.
We often look for a way around, under, over, just not through the problem. Isaiah 43:2-3 When you pass through the water I will be with you, and through the rivers, they shall not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned, nor shall the flame scorch you. Sherry encourages us that although sometimes we may feel we will be overwhelmed by the rivers, or burned by the fires, God says He will be with us as we go “through” these things. God will take us through!
We start in the beginning this morning-well almost, Genesis chapter 2. Pastor Casey points out in verse 18, that after six times God saying it was good; God utters the first, “It is not good…” Remember, this is a perfect world, perfect creation, fresh from God- no sin, sickness, disease or death. God’s creation was good, however the alone-ness of man was not.
Alone means all one–all about me. Like the Dead Sea, everything is flowing in, nothing out. God remedies the situation by bringing forth from Adam, Eve(ezer). The name Eve (ezer), means helper, vital, powerful kind of help. God is referred to as the ezer/helper 16 times in the Bible. Keeping this in mind helps us recognize that Adam and Eve were designed to co-reign in life: which gives us a beautiful picture of God in His fullness. The perfect image of God (God made people in His image) is me connected to others.
Man was made of Spirit and dust; everything he needed was placed within him by God: woman, Eve, was taken out of Adam. When God created each of us, He placed everything we need within us. Whether we are single or married, we have what we need to become who God has called us to be. Singleness is not aloneness, unless we refuse to find connection and community with others. We must submit to God in order for Him to bring His fruitfulness out of us. Just as the image of God was not complete in the al-oneness of man, neither are we complete alone/disconnected from others.
Moving into the New Testament, in John 12, Pastor Casey shares on a very interesting passage where Jesus speaks of being alone or being fruitful. Please listen and consider what God has placed in your life and is desiring to bring out of your submission to Him in fellowship with the Body of Christ.
Scripturereference: Genesis 2:15-18, 21-25; John 12:23-28; Psalm 92:13;
This morning begins with an Old Testament passage from 2 Kings 4:1-7; the widow with the jar of oil. Pastor Casey notes that at times, we can get distracted from what God has called us to because of loss. The widow is definitely struggling with loss- her husband is dead; she is in debt; her sons are headed for slavery. In verse 2, Elisha asks a question that seems odd to us. “What shall I do for you?” What do you have?” Perhaps we need to stop and consider, what do I really need, on what level? And, what do I have?
The widow mentioned she had a jar of oil. Oil speaks of anointing, empowerment for the place we are and the work we are called to do. Pastor Casey notes that God has given us all we need to live where He has placed us. II Peter 1:3 “as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness…”. The widow was told to gather many vessels. As the widow obeyed the prophet, she began to pour the oil into vessel after vessel. The more vessels we show up with, the more anointing is going to flow. God will pour his anointing into our life as we make ourselves available. There is always more!
We can limit what God wants to do in our life based on our experience. But we are not just the product of experience but of grace. There is more! God has more oil than we have vessels. More anointing for our life than we’ve walked in yet. I Corinthians 2:9 “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which god has prepared for those who love Him.”
Pastor, Casey goes on to encourage us from Proverbs 30:16. If we would never say enough, how much more of God could we experience? There is more grace for our husband/wife-more anointing to reach people-more capacity to hold the things of God…
Listen and be encouraged. Wherever you find yourself today, God has more for you.
Scripturereference: II Kings 4:1-7; II Peter 1:3; I Corinthians 2:9; Proverbs 30:16