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
Pastor Casey revisits a scripture from a few weeks back, Psalm 84:6a “As they pass through the Valley of Baca, they make it a spring;” He goes back to verse 1 and begins to walk through this psalm for us today. In the first verse he points out that we are the house of God. What is on the inside of us makes us lovely, being filled with the glory of God. As he moves on to verse 2, he takes some time to develop the thought process of how our soul (mind, will and emotions) yearns to be near God. More amazing, is the idea of how can our flesh cry out for God, when Galatians tells us that flesh is at enmity with God?
We see in Galatians 5:16-18, that if we are led by the Spirit we will not fulfill the lusts of the flesh and we are not under the law. Pastor Casey points out that we are under the law of the Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus not the law of sin and death as noted in Romans 8. Our flesh desiring God begins with an act of will-then a choice to walk toward God-our flesh follows. So yes, (v.2) my soul and my flesh, can cry out for God. We do have a choice based on our will to serve God, or not.
Pastor continues moving through verses three through six, elaborating on the young, the altars, dwelling, praising, strength, pilgrimage and finally wells. He encourages us to live as near the altar as we can get; bring forth the young/next generation to follow God; dwell in God; know that God is our strength; set our hearts to be near; and build the wells that bring refreshing. When we find ourselves in the Valley of Baca, we can sit and weep, or dig a well.
Pastor Casey begins by sharing that a cut down tree often appears dead yet the scripture says at the scent of water, it could sprout again. Casey reminds us that often in the scripture water is symbolic of the Holy Spirit. The Spirit may speak to us in different ways/languages, as water comes in different forms-dew; mist; oceans; rivers; wells… When we think God only speaks to us one way, we may be missing or not recognizing where we are or what God is speaking to us. We love it when God pours out His Spirit in our lives, but we can’t just chase and live under rain clouds. We may be in the Valley of Baca, Psalm 84:6, a place of weeping or bitterness, a hard place- a place we want to get out of- but it is a place to dig a well and bring forth water.
A well is not seasonal water, it is consistent, reliable. We need wells for the dry dusty seasons. Each of us needs to make our life a well. Pastor Casey encourages us to dig deep in God. Digging a well is hard work; removing dirt-digging things our of our life like misguided ideas. We must use faith to dig for water, to believe something is there when we cannot see it. Much of the digging is done in the dark, in the places that no one sees. Yet, it makes a great difference in our lives and our families when we dig deep in God.
Symbolically wells are generational blessings. We see this in the Old Testament as wells were passed down to sons and grandsons and on and on. Will our children inherit the same old enemies we never bothered to defeat (struggle in the valleys in which we never dug a well,) or rejoice in the victories/refreshing wells that we labored over? In the end, we see Job didn’t have the whole picture. In the New Testament we see God’s promise of our old life passing away, dying in Christ, becoming new in Christ and finally in Ephesians 3:14-21, we must be rooted and grounded in God’s love.
As you grow in a relationship with Jesus you will begin to recognize when God speaks to you. This is not an audible manner like we read about in some stories of the Bible, rather it is often an idea, an impression, or something like a strong urging from within that causes you to stop and consider something that you know must be from God. In the book of James, James wrote that every good and perfect thing comes from above. Jesus said that the Devil comes to steal, kill and destroy and that the demonic realm will never urge anyone to do something that is clearly revealed as good and right in God’s word as presented in the Scriptures. Jesus also said that after he ascended to Heaven, he would send the Holy Spirit to remind us of all the things Jesus taught. There’s an expectation that God the Holy Spirit will communicate with Christians as we grow in Christian maturity and that these communications will never oppose or violate what God has already revealed. Learning to hear the Holy Spirit speak to you is a practice of learning what God has already said and learning to discern your own earthly desires from heavenly ones (desires that God says are good to have).
In an extra Sunday morning message, Sherry shared a recent encounter with the Holy Spirit and talked about how she responded to what the Spirit prompted.