POT OF OIL

2Kings 4:2 And 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.

I love the story of the widow and the pot of oil. The miracle of provision for this mom left in financial need on the death of her prophet husband is beautiful and displays the Lord’s supernatural provision for His own. But there is another side, and even deeper side to this story. This pot of oil is a picture of us, we are the vessels of oil that this story speaks about. As Paul said, “We have this treasure in jars of clay”. The oil, or the treasure, is the Holy Spirit. Just as the oil was the solution to this woman’s dilemma, the Spirit is the solution to all of life’s dilemmas. There is oil in the vessel, this supernatural oil effects every part of our lives. It effects our mind and intellect, it effects our physical well being, it also effects our emotions and makes us emotionally whole. If you have oil in your pot you have all the answer you need. Here is how A.B. Simpson describes this.

“Yes, our very bodies will feel the fullness. The Holy Ghost is a true tonic for physical energy and perfect health. The fullness of the Spirit is the elixir for body and brain and being. To be filled with His blessed life will make our feet spring, our nerves steady, our brain strong, our circulation regular, and our whole being at its best for God and holy service.

•  Then, also, our very circumstances keep time to the blessed fullness of the heart within.

•  Like the widow’s pot of oil that flowed out into every vessel, so the presence of God touches everything that comes into our life, and we find that all things work together for good to us if we love God and fulfill His purpose.

•  Our circumstances will become adjusted to us, or we become adjusted to our circumstances, and the whole of our life, “fitly framed together,” will become vigorous, and full of power and blessing.”

As this widow began to pour out the oil her problems were being solved. Her sons were no longer being taken into slavery and she was not going to lose her house. What saved her from her certain destruction? She had oil in the pot.

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2Kings 6:15-17 ¶ When the servant of the man of God rose early in the morning and went out, behold, an army with horses and chariots was all around the city. And the servant said, “Alas, my master! What shall we do?” He said, “Do not be afraid, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them.” Then Elisha prayed and said, “O LORD, please open his eyes that he may see.” So the LORD opened the eyes of the young man, and he saw, and behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.

Do you believe in angels? How much do you believe in them? Enough to know they are with us helping fulfill the plans of God constantly? Elisha’s disciple was quite disturbed when the enemies’ army was surrounding their city. Elisha seemed to be unaffected nor bothered by the soldiers and the weapons. The disciple was apparently paralyzed with fear. “Open his eyes, Elisha prayed.” Suddenly the disciple saw them, the whole mountain was filled with angels and the chariots of God. “Don’t be afraid, there are more with us than there is with them.”

This story always reminds me of a painting a church member painted years ago at Feed the Multitudes. It showed the crowds of people at the festival and angels with watermelons coming to feed the crowd. The unseen army of the Lord was there amongst us watching over and orchestrating the whole event. So why is this significant? Feed the Multitudes started out of a financial need we had as a congregation. The Lord told us the way out of trouble was to be a blessing to the poor and hurting. As our church began to serve and minister to the afflicted, the angels of God were busy taking care of all the details. The good news about this story is this, the angels of the Lord are always working on our behalf. They are not just involved with big events like Feed the Multitudes, they are involved in the everyday circumstances of our lives. He disperses His angels to those who love Him and belong to Him.

The event that the painting depicted was July 4, 1994. Within the next 2 months our church was swept into an incredible revival that we are still benefitting from today. There are more with us than with our enemies and these angels of the Lord are working to guarantee the success of the kingdom of God.

WHEN DEAD THINGS COME ALIVE

“Ah-choo.”  AH-choo.”  AH-CHOO.”  “AH-CHOO!”  “AHH—CHOOO!”  “AHH-CHOOO!!!”

MERRY MONDAY BY PARRIS BAILEY-

“And when Elisha was come into the house, behold, the child was dead, and laid upon his bed.  He went in therefore, and shut the door upon them twain, and prayed unto the Lord.  And he went up, and lay upon the child, and put his mouth upon his mouth, and his eyes upon his eyes, and his hands upon his hands: and he stretched himself upon the child; and the flesh of the child waxed warm.  Then he returned, and walked in the house to and fro; and went up, and stretched himself upon him: and the child sneezed seven times, and the child opened his eyes.” 2 Kings 4

Redemption is about the recovery of lifeless things: seeing them come back from the dead. The Bible or better yet the gospel is always telling a story of resurrection. Wherever Jesus walked He brought dead things back to life. Withered hands, demon possessed children, throw away lepers, blind eyes, bent backs, crippled legs and broken ailing people all were changed when brought under his mighty anointing. Thank God it didn’t stop at the earthly ministry of Jesus, but He left us the Holy Spirit to do greater works than His. It’s kind of crazy to think that all we need to be is a willing, yielded vessel and Christ’s work continues. Preach CHRIST and His word and people will be changed. It’s really not rocket science.

There is a beautiful passage in 2 Kings about another lifeless person. This time a little boy died and Elijah the prophet got up front and real personal. The boy’s mother had taken her lifeless boy up to the prophet’s chamber and left him there. Today will you take your dead thing to the  secret place? Amazing what can happen in our lives when we allow the power of redemption to work over our dead dreams, broken down hopes and lifeless situations. Are you faced with a debilitating disease? Has someone emptied your bank account? God can and is alive to work a redemption story in your desperate situation. The boy’s mother had made room for this simple prophet to stay at her house or in other words she found her secret place.  Everyday we must choose to seek our secret place, close the door and our Heavenly Father will reward us openly. Just like Elijah of old, God Himself will come and lay over our lifeless souls and breathe over our breathless thoughts. Christ ever lives to make intercession for us to succeed and reign in this life– not to sit back and watch us falter.

I pray you will run to your secret place now and all your tomorrows and see redemption again and again give life to your dead things!  ​“ah-choo.”   “Ah-choo.”  AH-choo.”  AH-CHOO.”  “AH-CHOO!”  “AHH—CHOOO!”  “AHH-CHOOO!!!”  What a sound!  Evidence of another re-creation, another new birth, another resurrection–!

DIVINE INTERVENTION

2Kings 4:30 Then the mother of the child said, “As the LORD lives and as you yourself live, I will not leave you.” So he arose and followed her.

It amazes me that humans actually think they can fix themselves. If we believe what the Bible says; man is dead in his trespasses and his sins. Dead people have no chance of fixing anything. If that is the case, recovery from our dilemmas in life are dependent on intervention, divine intervention. Whether your issue is substance abuse, moral issues, financial problems (fill in the blanks); the source of our problem is internal. It is called the depravity of man. We are all born with an eternally fatal flaw, without divine intervention we are stuck in an endless treadmill of ineffective self help programs, never to find freedom or satisfaction in life. Elisha performed a miracle on a a helpless dead boy. He raised him from the dead. Obviously the boy couldn’t help himself and no other person could help him. It took divine intervention through God’s anointing upon the prophet Elisha. I have come to the conclusion that I am the little boy. Hopefully you will see yourself as this little boy. That is the place miracles begin. The ESV Study Bible has some interesting observations on this passage. Check it out.

“I will not leave you. The woman is not willing to accept Elisha’s plan to resurrect the boy from a distance by means of his staff; she wants his personal attention, which in the end does in fact prove crucial. Only his own prayer and mysterious actions succeed in bringing the boy back to life. Elisha’s actions vividly picture God restoring breath to the child (putting his mouth on his mouth), as well as sight (his eyes) and strength (his hands). As Elisha stretched himself upon him, it portrayed the Spirit of God who, through Elisha, was being imparted to the child to give him life. The giving of life, like the instance with Elijah, prefigures the resurrection of Christ and the life he gives to us through union with him.”

When Peter described the outpouring of the Spirit on the Gentiles gathered in Cornelius’s house he used an interesting concept. He said that the Holy Spirit fell on them just as He fell on the disciples at Pentecost. His phrase “fell on them” makes the ministry of the Spirit very clear. His word (Epipipto) means to fall upon and embrace. It’s the word used for the Father embracing his prodigal son. The Holy Spirit falls on us like Elisha fell on this dead boy. Face to face, mouth to mouth, The Lord is breathing His RESURRECTION life into us. We were dead and helpless, when Christ falls on us we come alive. This is divine intervention. This is our only solution. This is the place our life begins. Today is a good day to start. Go ahead, lay on the floor, turn on some worship music, the rest is up to Him.

MOUTH TO MOUTH

2Kings 4:34 Then he went up and lay on the child, putting his mouth on his mouth, his eyes on his eyes, and his hands on his hands. And as he stretched himself upon him, the flesh of the child became warm.

In May of 1995 Parris and I conducted revival meetings at Cathedral of Praise in Manila Philippines. That week of meetings were some of my favorite meetings of all time. The Lord came down that week suddenly, powerfully, and undeniably. The church was filled with glory daytime and nighttime for the entire week. This began a series of daily meetings that continued for months in that church. The incredible characteristic that we all enjoyed was the nearness of God. He was there with us and in us and upon us. The church people called it the “in your face revival”. They felt that God was so near He was up in there faces. I can relate. I can’t remember the messages I preached that week but one of my favorites from that season was the message of Elisha raising the little boy from the dead. Elisha spread his body on top of the dead young boy. His face on the boy’s face, his hands on the boys hands; you get the picture. This story is a beautiful picture of Christ coming to us, stretching His body on top of our lifeless body, and then breathing resurrection life into us. That is revival. I was dead but now I am alive. Here are some observations by A. B. Simpson on this incredible miracle.
Simpson

“The hand of Gehazi, and even the staff of Elisha, could not heal the lifeless boy. It required the living touch of the prophet’s own divinely quickened flesh to infuse vitality into the cold clay. Lip to lip, hand to hand, heart to heart, he must touch the child before life could thrill his pulseless veins. We must come into personal contact with the risen Savior and have His very life quicken our mortal flesh before we can know the fullness and reality of His healing. This is the most frequent cause of failure. People are often trusting in something that has been done to them, or in something that they have done, or in something that they have believed intellectually. Their spirit, however, has not felt its way to the heart of Christ; they have not drawn His love into their being by the hunger and thirst of love and faith, and so they are not quickened. The greatest need of our souls and bodies is to know Jesus personally, to touch Him constantly, to abide in Him continually. May we this day lay aside all things that could hinder our near approach to Him and walk hand in hand, heart to heart, with Jesus.”

Hand to hand, heart to heart; that is the description of this life we have in Christ. Maybe you feel cold and lifeless today, your problems are bigger than you. Just be still, Christ is here; face to face, heart to heart, His power and life are flowing into you.

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2Kings 6:16-17 He said, “Do not be afraid, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them.” Then Elisha prayed and said, “O LORD, please open his eyes that he may see.” So the LORD opened the eyes of the young man, and he saw, and behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.

Sometimes we can’t see the real picture. Man is stuck looking at the physical circumstances when that doesn’t tell the whole story. Elisha recognized that there was an unseen army at his disposal. He prayed for his disciple Gehazi, “Lord open his eyes”. Suddenly, he saw that the mountain was full of the angels of The Lord. What about today? Is there unseen help for all of us? Absolutely! There are legions of angels working on behalf of all of God’s children. Here is a quote from Charles Spurgeon about the unseen help of God.

“The adversaries of truth are many, influential, learned, and crafty; and truth fares ill at their hands; and yet the man of God has no cause for trepidation. Agencies, seen and unseen, of the most potent kind, are on the side of righteousness. God has armies in ambush which will reveal themselves in the hour of need. The forces which are on the side of the good and the true far outweigh the powers of evil. Therefore, let us keep our spirits up, and walk with the gait of men who possess a cheering secret, which has lifted them above all fear. We are on the winning side. The battle may be sharp, but we know how it will end. Faith, having God with her, is in a clear majority: “They that be with us are more than they that be with them.”

A number of years ago, spiritual warfare became a huge emphasis in the church. Many became “demon conscious” and were overly fixated on the powers of darkness. One glimpse into the unseen world shows the real truth. There are more with us than with them. At the end of the day all of our enemies are limited. Humans are limited, demons are limited, even the prince of darkness is limited. The only omnipotent One is our God. I have to agree with the Apostle John, “You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.”
So whatever challenges you are facing today, like Gehazi discovered, you are not facing them on your own. If you belong to God and you are involved in His purposes and plans for your life, then you are in a safe place. The Lord cannot be defeated and He will do whatever is necessary to accomplish His plans for your life. So take another look, maybe you will also see the angels and the chariots of fire. There are more with us than with them.

DIP BABY DIP

DIP BABY DIP

2Kings 5:10-11 And Elisha sent a messenger to him, saying, “Go and wash in the Jordan seven times, and your flesh shall be restored to you, and you shall be clean.” But Naaman became furious, and went away and said, “Indeed, I said to myself, ‘He will surely come out to me, and stand and call on the name of the LORD his God, and wave his hand over the place, and heal the leprosy.’

It can be very hard for humans to receive supernatural ministry. You see we have preconceived religious notions about the way we think we should receive. Many of us want God’s help, we just want it our way, a way in which our so called dignity remains secure. The Lord will have none of that, He seems to be unconcerned about human dignity and sometimes engages a frontal attack on our pride. Such was the case with Naaman, the captain of the Syrian army. He had heard of the miracle healing power being seen through Elisha and he wanted to be healed from his leprosy, his only problem, he wanted it done a certain way. He was appalled at the instructions of Elisha, go dip in the disgusting Jordan River seven times. That was absurd, they had much nicer rivers in Syria. No way was he getting in that river, especially seven times. All Naaman could hear coming from Elisha was “Dip, baby, dip”. Keep dipping in the river and your disease will leave. Adam Clarke spoke about this conflict in Naaman’s life, check this out.

“Behold , I thought – God’ s ways are not as our ways; he appoints that mode of cure which he knows to be best. Naaman expected to be treated with great ceremony; and instead of humbling himself before the Lord’ s prophet, he expected the prophet of the Lord to humble himself before him! Behold I thought;”

That was Naaman’s problem, he “thought” too much. This prophet needs to come see me, doesn’t he know who I am? He needs to do a religious ceremony, dip in the muddy Jordan? Absurd! Who does that prophet think he is anyway? I’ll just go to the other prophet, he won’t be so weird. So much for Naaman’s ideas, he was furious. His pride was getting in the way of his ability to receive. Sound familiar? Have you ever been there? Maybe you are there right now. Fortunately, Naaman came to his senses and got into the river. After the seventh dip the leprosy was gone. How about you? Maybe you don’t like the way God’s miracle power is poured out. Maybe you really can’t stand the thought of speaking in tongues. Maybe it’s the falling under the power or the loud singing that sets you off. Or maybe it’s all of the touching associated with those kinds of services. Maybe it’s time to get over your preconceived ideas of how you should receive from God. Maybe it’s time to learn the lesson from Naaman. Maybe it’s time to dip baby dip.

OIL IN THE CUPBOARD

Oil in the Cupboard-Merry Monday by Parris Bailey

“Now 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 neighbors, 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.” 2 KINGS 4:1-7

Sometimes life happens. Unexpectedly we find ourselves jobless, or fighting a terrible disease, or suffering the loss of a loved one. This women in 2 Kings found herself without her husband, and now the creditors were coming to take away her two sons. Her life as she knew it, was changed at the sudden death of her husband and she found herself at the edge of the precipice.
What I like about this story is that she had had that oil in the cupboard all along. There it sat, ever so still and unnoticed, til now. In fact, when her husband was around there was never really ever a reason to go in that cupboard and pull out the oil, He always had taken care of everything. He paid the bills, saw to the repairs at the house and even had taken care of his two sons. They were quite a team, him and her, that is until he died. She found herself spinning out of control. She didn’t see this one coming and was unprepared. How could God do this to her, when her husband had been so faithful? But there sat the oil unnoticed and shut up in the cupboard.
“Tell me, what do you have in the house”? Elisha asked her. Her answer says it all, “Your maidservant has nothing in the house……..but a jar of oil.” That’s how she wrapped up her life. She had nothing left in her to give, nothing left to sell, nothing left to hope for. Even mentioning the jar of oil that was in the cupboard was a second thought, hardly worth mentioning at all, really.
I like to compare this story with the feeding of the 5,000 when Jesus said to Phillip; “You give them something to eat.” The widow and Phillip both had one thing in common, both were looking at what they didn’t have instead of what they had all along.
Phillip and the widow both had seen miracles that Jesus and Eilsha did in their ministry. She never saw the jar of oil for what it was. Phillip had never seen Jesus for what he was.
A.B. Simpson says- “So many have the Holy Ghost confined in a little pot of oil and hidden away on the shelf of a cabinet. God wants us to go out into all the needs of life, and pour that divine fullness into every vessel that comes to us, until our whole life shall be a living embodiment and illustration of the all-sufficiency of Christ.”
It was time for the both of them to pour, and to keep pouring, to take the precious anointing and use it, not just for ourselves, but for the multitudes. “Go borrow vessels for the oil that is multiplied shall not stop as long as there are vessels to receive!”
Like the widow’s pot of oil that flowed out into every vessel, so the presence of God touches everything that comes into our life, and we find that all things work together for good to us if we love God and fulfill His purpose. She opened her cupboard and used the oil to not only meet her needs but she learned the most important lesson of all. God was her source, not her husband, her children nor even Elisha.
Have you looked into your cupboard lately? The jar of oil, the boy’s lunch is just what the Holy Spirit uses to overflow into our lives and others.
What’s in your house?

ELIJAH’S FIERY RIDE

ELIJAH’S FIERY RIDE

As they were going along and talking, behold, there appeared a chariot of fire and horses of fire which separated the two of them. And Elijah went up by a whirlwind to heaven. Elisha saw it and cried out, “My father, my father, the chariots of Israel and its horsemen!” And he saw Elijah no more. He took the mantle of Elijah that fell from him and struck the waters and said, “Where is the LORD, the God of Elijah?” And when he also had struck the waters, they were divided here and there; and Elisha crossed over. 2 Kings 2:11,12,14
I have been thinking about the coming of the Lord more and more recently, wondering what it will be like, who will go, and how to be prepared for that great and terrible day. I think there are some interesting things to take notice of in the life of Elijah during his last days before he was “raptured”. He made some visits to some spiritually significant locations before he was taken up into heaven, each with powerful prophetic significance. First, he went to a town called Gilgal. Gilgal is the place where the children of Israel restored the covenant of Abraham, they circumcised an entire generation, before they stepped into the promised land. What does that say to us? Make a definitive decision in your heart, leave the world behind, dedicate your life totally to the Lord. This is major preparation for the coming of the Lord. The next town Elijah went to was Bethel, the house of God. This is the place of the anointing and the place of accountability, this is where God has chosen to dwell and to reveal Himself. Being connected to the local church is essential for spiritual preparedness. Next, Elijah journeyed to Jericho, the place of fragrance. There is nothing like the beautiful fragrance of Christ, this speaks to us of His beauty and the attractiveness of His nature. Draw near to the Lord, surrender to His allurements, you are receiving final preparations to meet your Lord in the air. The final stop on Elijah’s spiritual journey was the Jordan River. Jordan means the descender, this is where we go lower still. Christ Himself was baptized in the Jordan River. The Lord humbled Himself to be baptized by the prophet John, as He did, He stepped into His anointing for His earthly ministry. Humility is the way into the anointing, humility is the final step in preparing yourself for the world to come, releasing your rights and yielding your all to the Lord. Before he knew it, Elijah was looking into the face of God, swept away by the fiery chariot. Before we know it we will hear the trumpet blast and find ourselves caught up to be with the Lord in the air.

OIL SHORTAGE

OIL SHORTAGE

And Elisha said to her, “What shall I do for you? Tell me; what have you in the house?” And she said, “Your servant has nothing in the house except a jar of oil.
2 Kings 4:2

The tension in the middle east in recent days, has caused us all to think about the possible pending oil crisis which will resort in an out of control economy with global ramifications. The truth is that we have an even greater “oil crisis” in the church, a shortage of the oil of the Spirit. In today’s passage, the poor widow had nothing, at least she thought she had nothing, until Elisha started focusing on the jar of oil. She had no idea how valuable that oil was to her, she saw her need but could not see or recognize the supernatural nature of the oil. That is how it is with us many times. We see our problems alright, but remain unaware of the powerful anointing that is ever present with us. Elisha instructed her to “gather vessels, not a few”. That is when the miracle began to happen, that is when the miracles always happen. It was in the pouring out of the oil that she began to discover the oil’s powerful nature. The oil lasted as long as there were empty vessels to pour into, and then it stopped just as quickly as it started.
This story was a very real historic event that met the need of the prophet’s widow. But there was more to the story than that, this was also a parable about the anointing of the Spirit. What do you have in your house? Maybe you think you have nothing of value left in this world, and then you remember the jar of oil. That oil is the most valuable treasure imaginable, and many people treat it as insignificant. Of course this oil is a picture of the anointing of the Spirit. Do you value the Holy Spirit in your life? Do you look past Him for human remedies to your overwhelming problems in life? Like the widow, many times, we are focused on our own needs. Elijah told her to gather up some vessels and then, begin to pour the oil. Of course this is a picture of ministry. We are to take our eyes off of our lack and gather together “empty vessels”, and begin to pour out the oil. As we pour out the oil, the empty vessels are filled, the anointing begins to bring life to the empty vessels all around us. There are hurting people, empty vessels all around you, start pouring out the oil, and as you do, miracles will begin to flow.
What about your lack? Oh yeah, go sell the rest of the oil and pay off your debt. As we pour out the oil our needs seem to be met as well.