Stretching 2 be all you can be
Allowing God to stretch us is walking in faith to do something that in our own strength we feel inadequate. As we allow the Lord to stretch us He will fill us with more of Him.
PS 81:10 Psalm 81:10
10I am the LORD thy God, which brought thee out of the land of Egypt: open thy mouth wide, and I will fill it.
1 Corinthians 12:8-10
8For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit;
9To another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit;
10To another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues:
23Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;)
31What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?
32He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things? 33Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God's elect? It is God that justifieth.
34Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us.
35Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?
36As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. 37Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.
38For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come,
39Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Perhaps one of the simplest illustrations of this is when Peter was standing in the boat on Sea of Galilee. He saw Jesus walking on the water and he said, “Well, Lord if it is really you, then I want to walk,” and Jesus gave him a stretching exercise—did he not. He gave Peter a one word sentence. Jesus spoke and said, “Come.” Now, does Peter have the Word of the Lord? Absolutely he does. Now, it is up to Peter to decide whether or not to obey. Do you think Peter might have been uncomfortable? I think that it was possible that he was uncomfortable, but he obeyed. He stepped out of the boat. Was that a stretch of faith? Certainly it was. That is a very good example of what I am trying to say here.
Jesus gave him the word, “Come,” which means—you can do it. Peter stretched, and he is the only other man that ever, as far as it is recorded in Scripture, walked on water.
Let me ask you this question. What happens to a muscle when it is regularly stretched? Could we say that it becomes flexible, versatile, efficient, strong, and growing?— Would you like those applied to your spiritual life? I would; especially, when I consider the antonyms—weak, brittle, and inflexible.
What happens to a muscle when it is not regularly stretched? Does it stay the same? No, it shrinks from disuse. I am very sad to say that I know literally thousands of people whose faith has shrunk because they had not been stretching their faith muscles in obedience to the written Word of God.
When I say that God is going to stretch you, I do not mean that you are human taffy. I mean that He is going to ask you to do something, and you will have to decide whether to stretch in faith. You will see it at every instance in the Bible that when you stretch, you will touch the hand of the God.
Have you ever heard of a comfort zone?
Well, I want you to think about your comfort zones as you are reading this transcription.I do not know about you, but I have a lot of comfort zones.
First, I want you to think about what we might call your spiritual comfort zones; in other words, do you need to stretch in
• your prayer life,
• your speaking in tongues life,
• your interpretation of tongues life,
• your prophecy life,
• your ministering healing life,
• your witnessing life, or your financial giving life,
Let me ask you this. Were you uncomfortable the first time that you ever prayed out loud in front of someone? Chances are that you might have been, but are you uncomfortable now? If the answer is no, what happened?
This happened because you kept stretching, and you got more flexible. Your comfort zone has now expanded.
Were you uncomfortable the first time that you ever spoke in tongues?
A lot of people were, but are you uncomfortable when you speak in tongues now? If you are not, your comfort zone has expanded.
If you are still uncomfortable, then you are not stretching enough. If you stretch enough, your comfort zone will expand.
In 1 Kings 17:17 we are going to see the same principle. This is about the man named Elijah a prophet who moonlighted as a weatherman.
One night, he was giving the weather forecast to King Ahab (who was not a nice guy). Elijah said, “Look, it ain’t gonna rain no more no more until I say so!”
Now I doubt if Ahab freaked out at that moment and tried to grab Elijah. He just probably thought Elijah was a nut, but some months later, not a drop of rain had fallen. A severe famine gripped the land, and Ahab was looking for Elijah; in fact, he had an “All Points Bulletin” out on Elijah. Elijah was hiding out at a place called Zerephath with a widow woman. A terrible tragedy took place there.
1 Kings 17:17
Some time later the son of the woman who owned the house became ill. He grew worse and worse, and finally stopped breathing.
Now, God forbid that you even know anyone who loses a child, but think about this; do not just let this be words on a page. Look carefully at verse 18 because I am going to assert that from my experience, most Christians cannot accurately explain this verse. Look what she said to Elijah:
1 Kings 17:18
She said to Elijah, “What do you have against me, man of God? Did you come to remind me of my sin and kill my son?”
Think about this. Elijah has been staying there. She has been feeding him from the little food that she has. Now, she says, “Nice, I feed you, and you kill my kid.” Why did the widow woman attribute the death of her son to God? We are going to see in a couple of verses later that Elijah also attributes the death of the boy to God.
1 Kings 17:19 and 20 19And he said unto her, Give me thy son. And he took him out of her bosom, and carried him up into a loft, where he abode, and laid him upon his own bed.
20And he cried unto the LORD, and said, O LORD my God, hast thou also brought evil upon the widow with whom I sojourn, by slaying her son?
21And he stretched himself upon the child three times, and cried unto the LORD, and said, O LORD my God, I pray thee, let this child's soul come into him again.
22And the LORD heard the voice of Elijah; and the soul of the child came into him again, and he revived.
23And Elijah took the child, and brought him down out of the chamber into the house, and delivered him unto his mother: and Elijah said, See, thy son liveth.
24And the woman said to Elijah, Now by this I know that thou art a man of God, and that the word of the LORD in thy mouth is truth.
1 Kings 17:21 and 22
(21) Then he stretched himself out on the boy three times and cried to the LORD, “O LORD my God, let this boy's life return to him!”
(22) The LORD heard Elijah's cry, and the boy's life returned to him, and he lived.
I do know that the first time that Elijah stretched himself out on the boy nothing happened. Would you say that possibly Elijah may have been uncomfortable? He stretched himself again and nothing happened. Would you say that possibly Elijah may have been more uncomfortable? I think that he was. This is the next question: What if he had allowed his discomfort to stop him from stretching the third time? They would have had a funeral instead of party, but despite his discomfort, Elijah stretched himself one more time on the boy, and the child’s life came into him. Think about what happened in Elijah’s heart. Elijah said, “Wow!” He then took the boy down and said, “Hey momma check this out, dah-dah!” When you stretch in response to the Word of God, you will touch the hand of God.
John 21:18 (NKJ)…you will stretch out your hands, and another will gird you and carry you where you do not wish.”
Is this not a turning point? Yes, it is. This is what Jesus is saying, “Peter, up until now, you have done your own thing, like when you chopped off the guy’s ear. That was unbelievable, but in the future, shortly, when you are older, or down the road, you will stretch and someone else will gird you and take you places that you had never even thought about going.” Jesus is talking about what? He is speaking about the one-size fits all expando holy spirit that Peter was about to receive. What is Jesus telling him? He is telling Peter, “your capacity to stretch is about to be supernaturally enlarged.” John It [carry] is the same word which happens to be from the root word phero and is the same word that you will find in 2 Peter 1:21[moved].
1 Peter 4:8
Above all, love each other deeply [fervently—ekteino—stretchingly], because love covers over a multitude of sins.
God is going to ask you to stretch. The Lord Jesus is going to ask you to stretch as he stretched when he lived on this earth. They will always be clear about the stretching exercise. They will never ask you to stretch farther than you can stretch, but they will ask you to stretch as far as you can stretch. That is going to often mean that you are going to be uncomfortable, but if you will refuse to allow your discomfort, how about calling it fear, if you will have no fear that you allow to stop you from obeying God, and if you stretch, you will touch the power of God. That is what happened to you the first time that you opened your mouth to speak in tongues. You had to stretch in faith, and when you did, the words were there. If you do not step out of the boat, you will never walk on the water. If you step out of the boat, if the Lord told you to do it, then you will walk on the water, and your faith will grow.
The prophets needed to stretch. The school was too small…
II Kings 6
• Went to Master (leader)
• Behold (Look agree with us)
• Let’s get busy
• Prayed that the Master go with them
• They got busy (working as unto God)
• Integrity (it was borrowed, be sure to do right thing)
• Went to master
• Master gave instructions
• Miracles came