“STRETCH BEFORE ENLARGEMENT”

To ‘stretch’ means to lengthen, extend, or spread; to make demands on one’s capacity or resources, or to make the maximum use of something.

When God is in the stretch, the stretch makes room for the miracle:

“Enlarge the place of your tent, and let them stretch out the curtains of your dwellings; do not spare; lengthen your cords, and strengthen your stakes. For you shall expand to the right and to the left…’ (Isaiah 54:2-3a)

There are things that only become possible when we stretch and make room for enlargement. These include personal growth, provision, new people, transformation and new levels.

I believe God is speaking to those of you who are facing, or who have been in, a season of stretching. You may feel as though you are being extended as far as you can go. Hear your Father saying:

“As you are faithful to allow the stretching at My word, know that you are not going to break. You will see the miracle of enlargement.”
1. The Stretch Shifts You out of the Comfort Zone.

In Matthew 14 we read of a time Jesus sent His disciples out in their boat, where they would face a storm:

‘…The boat was in the middle of the sea, tossed by the waves, for the wind was contrary. Shortly before dawn Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. “It’s a ghost,” they said, and cried out in fear. But Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.”’ (Matt 14:24-29)

Comfort zones in our lives are like Peter’s boat—small, familiar and comfortable places that we can handle ourselves until a storm arises and shakes us out of our complacency.
So long as we are in the comfort zone, we do not need the anointing of the Holy Spirit. We can work and live in our own strength.

However, God has a way of positioning His purpose for our lives outside of the comfort zone.

2. The Miracle is in the Stretch when the Stretch is at God’s Word.

“Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.” “Come,” he said.
Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. (Matt 14:28-29)

The miracle is in the stretch when we get out of our comfort zone and into the obedience zone.

What does saying ‘yes’ to Jesus look like to you right now? Is the Holy Spirit bringing something to mind?

3. Saying ‘Yes’ to the Stretch Requires Faith

Peter jumped out of the boat because in that moment, he saw himself in his mind’s eye, walking on the water with Jesus.

A God-sized stretch requires faith—because there is no natural way we could do what God says.

There is an element of impossibility.

In the same way that something has been stretched and does not go back to its former condition, God says “There is a new normal for you.”
You have attempted new things. Your faith has grown.
The miracle is in the stretch. You have experienced it and you will experience it again.
4. There is Grace in the Stretch

‘But when [Peter] saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!” Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?”'(Matt 14:25-29)
Sometimes, we are filled with faith. At other times, we are tempted to take more notice of the difficulties surrounding us, than we do of Jesus. Like Peter did, we can waiver.

When you falter and fall—you can receive the embrace of grace.

I love the story of Bruce Marchiano, the actor who played the part of Jesus in The Visual Bible—Matthew movie.

The scene when Peter walked towards Jesus on the water was one that dramatically impacted Marchiano. As he watched the actor who was playing Peter walk toward him, a deep love rose up in his heart. He later said,
“He looked so clumsy in such a good way… He was trying so hard to be good. When Jesus said, “You of little faith,” can’t you read between the lines and hear Him say, “O you of little faith – you lovable and beautiful man!?” I believe Jesus was thinking, ‘What a pleasure to have this man love Me so much!’” [2]

Consequently, in the movie scene, when Peter gets distracted, looks at the wind and waves and begins to sink, Jesus picks Peter up, laughs and embraces him.

Bruce Marchiano’s depiction of Jesus reminds us that even when we get straight off the starter’s block of obedience to Jesus, and get distracted, or fail and fall flat on our face–Jesus is still there to pick us up, dust us off and rejoice that we still want to stay on  and be with Him.
5. There is a Revelation of who God is (to you) that you will only Receive in the Stretch!

When Jesus sent the disciples out in the boat to face a storm, God was engineering circumstances to bring them a deeper revelation of Who Jesus is.

By the end of this story, the disciples are worshiping, acknowledging that Jesus is the Son of God!

There is a revelation of God that you will receive in the stretch that you could not receive any other way.
Jesus desires to reveal Himself to you—His nature, His faithfulness, His power and His intimate love for you.

It is time to say ‘Yes’ to the stretch.

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