Ephesians 3:20 – 20Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us.
II Kings 4:1-7 – 1Now there cried a certain woman of the wives of the sons of the prophets unto Elisha, saying, Thy servant my husband is dead; and thou knowest that thy servant did fear the LORD: and the creditor is come to take unto him my two sons to be bondmen. 2And Elisha said unto her, What shall I do for thee? tell me, what hast thou in the house? And she said, Thine handmaid hath not any thing in the house, save a pot of oil. 3Then he said, Go, borrow thee vessels abroad of all thy neighbours, even empty vessels; borrow not a few. 4And when thou art come in, thou shalt shut the door upon thee and upon thy sons, and shalt pour out into all those vessels, and thou shalt set aside that which is full.5 So she went from him, and shut the door upon her and upon her sons, who brought the vessels to her; and she poured out. 6And it came to pass, when the vessels were full, that she said unto her son, Bring me yet a vessel. And he said unto her, There is not a vessel more. And the oil stayed. 7Then she came and told the man of God. And he said, Go, sell the oil, and pay thy debt, and live thou and thy children of the rest.
Preparing For The Overflow
Let me begin by wishing all of you a Happy New Year!! In some ways I hate to see 2011 go – for my family and I it was a great year. In fact, for the Holiness Tabernacle family it was a tremendous year. We saw God keep His promise and He performed some pretty awesome feats through our Church. From our expanded Food Distribution ministry, to our record setting Turkey Give Away, to our contributions to the Jurisdictional Missions Department and our support for National Lay Member Rally, God tremendously blessed us. However, during Early Morning Prayer last week, the Lord seized my attention and pointed me in the direction of the theme He wants us to focus on this year.
The Lord reminded me that Holiness Tabernacle experienced a record setting year in 2011. Despite the never ending reports of the effects of the ongoing recession, we experienced growth. We witnessed membership growth, financial growth and ministry growth. The saints testified of new jobs, advances in their careers, graduation with advanced degrees, increases in their pay and the purchase of new homes. We even had a member testify she was given a brand new car by her daughter without even asking. I testified that the Lord healed my mother from dementia! Yes He is awesome. Through these and other examples, the Lord impressed upon me the importance of getting and keeping our minds focused on what His Word declares and not what people say around us.
Stop and consider how much negativity is spoken into us each day of our lives – with little effort, it creeps into our sub-conscious and we accept it as the gospel. For example, late each autumn we begin to hear it is cold and flu season. Pretty soon we begin to expect to catch a cold. We even go to the pharmacy and purchase cold and flu medicines to “prepare” for an oncoming sickness because we were told to expect a sickness. The media or marketers tell us this person is good or this style is what everyone should have – and we believe it. However, God ordained us to live at a different level than the world. That’s why He called and ordained for us to be: peculiar people, of a royal priesthood, a chosen generation (I Peter 2:9). God never intended for His people to experience what the world does.
Do you recall when the children of Israel were enslaved by the Egyptians? The Bible records that the first nine plagues sent by God impacted Egypt. However, where the Israelites lived in Goshen, the plagues never touched them. Have you forgotten how God sustained Elijah and the widow during the time of famine? Did not God bless and prosper Egypt (who opened their borders to Israel via Joseph) and keep them during famine? Did not God bless Daniel and the three Hebrew boys because they refused to eat the king’s meat?
I could cite other examples, but I believe you get the point. So why do we submit ourselves to accept what the world dictates to us? Because we are continually bombarded with a message from the world that goes directly against what God says, and we buy into what the world says. Have you ever wondered why young men sag their pants and show their underwear? It’s because they have been told this is a cool style; and they believed it. Have you ever wondered why young women allow young men to call them out of their names and refer to them in a derogatory way? Because someone told them this was how they were supposed to be treated.
God is not bound by our circumstances. He is not controlled by time, distance, weather or an economy. Before you think I have gone mad – I am fully aware that the world economy is in a bad state. I understand that the real estate market, the issues with our automobile manufacturers and our airline industry are all suffering. I understand that the cost of fighting two wars in the Middle East has had a tremendous drain on our nation’s coffers. However, these circumstances do not take precedence over what the Lord said about me. The only thing that can hinder the Lord working for my behalf is me!
My pastor – Bishop Thomas – spoke a word in my life last year. “Brother Pruitte, as I was sitting in your pulpit and looked out the window, the Lord showed me that He was going to give you all of that property around you. He showed you building a larger church and other buildings. The Lord also told me that the only persons that can stop you are you and your wife”.
I cannot tell you the number of times those words came back to my mind last year. It seemed as though every time a major project surfaced, the Lord would open doors and make ways. However, I had to keep my mind in a position to receive.
In the II Kings text referenced above, the widow was in tremendous debt. It was a fact; she was behind in her bills. It was a fact; the creditors were going to take her sons as collateral. It was a fact; if her sons were taken away, she would lose her status in society. Please note, God never told you to ignore facts – but it is also a fact, God’s Word supersedes facts!
Elisha asked her what she needed and she explained her situation. He then told her to go and gather all the pots she could find. Note, she had something to begin with. It’s amazing how we want God to do everything for us, and we offer Him nothing. Can’t we even offer Him praise? Or a holy life? Or a consistent prayer life? Next she instructed her sons to go to the neighbors and borrow all of the pots they would offer. Again, notice how she involved her family in their deliverance. It grieves me to see parents who never involve their children in their salvation. The children are not introduced to Christ at an early age. Even as they get older, our children that live in our homes tell us what they will and won’t do in church.
Next, the Bible says when they had collected all of the pots they could (sounds as if they were aggressive in their quest for deliverance), the widow gathered her sons and the pots in their house and shut the door! What a statement! She decided to keep stuff out of her home that might jeopardize their deliverance. How much further along would we be if we shut some people, activity, thoughts, memories, music and whatever else you could think of out of our lives. Think about how many sources speak negativity and failure into our lives, and the influence it has on us. It affects our faith, our focus on God and our walk with Jesus. We need to shut it out!
By now you know how the story ends. The Lord miraculously fills every empty pot with oil. Soon, she has enough oil to not only pay her creditors, but also enough for her and her sons to live. Did I tell you what the Lord showed me the empty pots represented? An open heart free of junk people deposit in us! The widow prepared for an overflow at the words of the man of God.
My friends, for me this is going to be an even greater year! I am expecting to accomplish even more. You can go ahead and continue to live at the level people told you to. But as for me and my house (the Pruitte household and Holiness Tabernacle), we are preparing for an overflow from God. I pray that you will shut your mind, heart and ears to what those ungodly sources are directing your way, and prepare to receive from a God that delights in blessing His people regardless of the conditions!
I pray you will have a Happy and Blessed 2012 – and I bless you in the name of the Lord!
Eddie B Pruitte, Jr.
Pastor and Founder, Holiness Tabernacle COGIC