Posts Tagged ‘Preparing for the Overflow’
1st Lady’s Blog – Preparing For The Overflow Or This Light Bread
Wednesday, August 1st, 2012
And the people spake against God, and against Moses, Wherefore have ye brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? for there is no bread, neither is there any water; and our soul loatheth this light bread (Numbers 21:5).
I ran across this scripture one day as I was reading in the book of Numbers. I thought how ungrateful the children of Israel were to God after all He had done for them. After all, He was feeding them with fresh bread from heaven every day. Did they really want to go back to Egypt to be in bondage and to eat leeks and onions? There is no way would anyone in their right mind would want to do that, or so I thought.
Well, I have been on a journey this year that has positioned this scripture in a different light for me. I have found myself loathing this light bread. Of course I am not talking about manna from heaven, but in order for you to understand I must take you back to the beginning of my journey. Back in May, I made a decision that has drastically impacted my life. I embarked upon a journey that has been rewarding, but has also come with great sacrifice. And I use the word journey because I distinguish it from a trip. While they both involve reaching a final destination, a trip has an allotted time frame while a journey does not.
I was at the place where I was no longer happy with my weight and was tired of making excuses. I dreaded shopping for new clothes because my size kept increasing. When I got on my scale and saw a number I had never seen before – not even when I was nine months pregnant – I decided that the time had come to take some drastic measures. After visiting my doctor for a physical back in September 2011, he recommended that I lose about 50 pounds. I was outraged! Sure I needed to lose some weight, but I thought 50 pounds was a little excessive. He used words I have never heard before. He told me that I needed to get out of my family. I gave him an inquisitive look, to which he replied, “the diabetes, high cholesterol, and hypertension family.” Needless to say, his advice resonated with me. So after viewing that horrid number on my scale in May, I decided to take his advice and make some serious changes in my life.
I knew that I could not lose the weight by myself. I felt out of control and I needed help to accomplish this goal. I decided to go with the diet program my doctor recommended. I was very excited and motivated to do it. Once I discovered what the program entailed, however, I realized that it was not going to be an easy undertaking. I would have to deprive my body of the foods it was used to eating – some of which I may never be able to indulge in again. “What have I gotten myself into?” I thought. But I had to press forward, I could not go back. People started to ask me about my weight loss and I felt that since they were watching, I could not let myself or them down.
I am now about 12 weeks into the program and have lost about 26 pounds. I have seen a noticeable difference in clothes which I can no longer fit. I have also noticed that I have more energy and am able to do things I have not done in years. The program requires me to eat foods they call meal replacements; you and I would call it a very light snack. The other day as I was getting ready to bite into yet another meal replacement bar I found myself saying, “I am beginning to loathe this light bread.” As the words crossed my lips my mind went immediately to where I had seen those words before. I was always critical of the children of Israel for saying that about the manna God so graciously provided. This light bread is what sustained them on their journey through the wilderness and prepared them to receive the overflow in a better and wealthier place. Here I was on my journey to a better and healthier me and yet I was complaining about this light bread that was conditioning and preparing me for my overflow. I knew then that it was time for me to change my thinking. While this journey has had its peaks and valleys, it has been rewarding. I feel so much better about myself. I look and feel differently, I have a greater outlook on life and have improved my health dramatically. I am ready for my overflow!
How can one actually prepare for an overflow? The best way is to empty out as much as you can to enormously increase your receiving potential. If you are full, you will not be able to capture as much. I urge you not to loathe this light bread you are experiencing; this is just part of the purging process God has to perform in your life in order for you to achieve your overflow of blessings. As I have been purging my body of junk foods and replacing them with healthier ones, I have found that I no longer crave the fatty ones. In turn, as God purges us from the junk we have been feeding our souls and replaces them with His goodness, we will find that we will no longer miss the junk. In closing, I admonish you to prepare for your overflow and loathe not this light bread.
HTC 2012 Women’s Weekend: “Upgrade Your Life: Preparing For the Overflow!”
Thursday, July 26th, 2012
“Are you excited about this weekend?” I asked. I could tell by her facial expression that excitement was not quite word she would have used. After a small pause, she responded, “I’ll get excited soon. Right now, there’s so much to do.” And with that, she rattled off the rest of her list.
Those are always the moments people never see; when our First Lady assesses her planning options, wrinkles her nose in quiet confusion, and then with an uncertain smile and wavering laugh, revels in optimism. It’s this kind of optimism that grounds the women of our church in the pressurized moments. And for the Holiness Tabernacle Church of God in Christ Women’s Department, there is no greater moment than that of the annual Women’s Weekend.
Since July 2000, the Women’s Department has reserved three days of the year to fellowship with and uplift both our female membership, as well as women from around the community. This year was no different! Planning always begins well in advance, and this year’s Women Weekend, “Upgrade Your Life: Preparing For the Overflow!” kicked off on Friday, July 13 with our annual potluck. The potluck is always a bright moment because it gives our membership, old and new, a chance to spend time alone. We laughed at each other’s stories, talked about the Lord’s providential work in our lives, and fought… over a succulent strawberry cheesecake! Surprisingly, the Lord’s providential work seemed to be going on right in front of our eyes that night, because the Women’s Department seemed closer than in years past. There was an organic lightness in the air, a common fellowship and excitement over what He was doing in each other’s lives, accompanied by a sisterly openness that flowed through like fresh spring water. Beautifully, this was just the beginning of our Women’s Weekend.
The next morning, the HTC women returned bright and early for the highlight of our Women’s Weekend, the Women’s Tea. The sanctuary popped with colorful decorations thanks to Sister Yolinda McCown’s A Time N Place, event planning company. The brisk island-inspired oranges and yellows seemed to glow against their fuchsia backdrops, adding a sensational flair to the sensational event. Women from all over the Metro area and beyond arrived wearing different shades of our theme colors: orange and pink. After all had arrived, guest emcee, Missionary Helen Satterfield, opened the Tea with a song of praise. Our all-female praise team joined in and brought the house to its feet singing in harmonious hallelujahs and songs of excitement. Missionary Satterfield followed this with a word about her excitement to return to our Tea stage once again. “Oh the food!” she smiled, a nod to our Hospitality Department’s history of great cuisine.
This year was not no different because the food was fantastic! Our island colors were only complimented by plates decked out with chicken salad, salmon cakes, wings, deviled eggs, country ham, dips and cucumber salads, as well as an array of desserts. Of course no Tea is complete without…tea! Our thirsts were quenched with cold fruit infused teas and homemade punch concoctions.
After a more than satisfying feast, the women listened to testimonies about this year’s selected women’s health issue: breast cancer. HTC’s own Sis. Lillian DeLardge, a breast cancer survivor, implored women of all ages to be prudent about the seriousness of the disease and to be proactive about having regular check-ups. However, she was not the only walking testimony in the building! Our emcee, First Lady and guest speaker all had survival stories to share, showing each of us the power of God’s common grace in our lives.
Following the presenter, invited guest speaker and First Lady of the First Ecclesiastical Jurisdiction of Virginia, Mother Charletta Thomas, took us back to school with some good-ole teaching. Echoing our theme, “Upgrade Your Life: Preparing for the Overflow,” Mother Thomas spoke candidly about what it takes for godly women to be in leadership and how to effectively support our male leaders.
On Sunday morning, Mother Thomas returned and delivered another stellar message, telling us her life testimony and stressing the importance of serving one’s church. With humor and frankness, Mother Thomas held our attention with real life stories about God’s goodness towards her. Following this, she opened the altar and began to minister to us all. Later that evening, our very own First Lady, Mother Vivian Pruitte, brought an insightful message to the church. Using Deuteronomy 8 and Numbers 21, she spoke about how God used the wilderness experience as a way to cause Israel to hunger for His resources and depend on Him. She explained that God uses “wilderness-type” experiences in our lives today as a way to make us hunger for a deeper relationship with Him. With this truth in hand, we ended our Women’s Weekend in grand fashion – with a deeper desire to hunger like Israel did and with a stronger Women’s Department!
Be sure to read the Women's Weekend special edition newsletter, which includes articles and games that will encourage you to Upgrade Your Life and Prepare for the Overflow! Click to Read.
Calling All Women!!! Calling All Women!!! HTC’s Annual Women’s Weekend Is Here
Friday, June 1st, 2012
Annual Women’s Weekend
Saturday July14, 2012 & Sunday July15, 2012
2012 Theme: “Preparing For The Overflow!”
Ephesians 3:20 & 2 Kings 4:1-7
With Special Guest
Mother Charletta Thomas
Preparing For The Overflow
Tuesday, January 3rd, 2012
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.