There’s a well nearby. You’ve probably seen it. It’s in a dusty abandoned town. You wonder who used to live here and why they all left.

Many people have traveled by this well on their journeys through life, but either didn’t notice it, decided not to check it out, or tried it but left for some reason. It doesn’t appear that the well has been used in a long time. You are not even sure if the water is good. The top of the water looks unappetizing . . . . disgusting actually – covered in dust, dirt, germs, bugs and grime. Who would even want to use this well or drink its water? You dip your finger in to just taste it anyways as you realize how thirsty you are, but you only taste the stuff on top. Yuck. You’re not drinking that! But your thirst remains.

You decide to move on. . . . to find something more appealing . . . more appetizing . . . more eye-catching and tasty. You heard there was something better down the road. So you turn your back to the well and head off.

I urge you to come back.

Things are not always what they seem.

There is more to this well than the casual observer and wanderer will ever know.

Let me help you draw up the DEEP water from the well. That is where the best water resides – where the cooler, refreshing, life-giving water is. It is not tainted by the dirt, dust, germs or bugs on top of the water. Nothing has touched this deep water except the bucket and cisterns that are allowed to draw deep into it.

Are you that kind of cistern or vessel?

Are you ready to go deep?

Friday, February 5, 2010

Are you IMMUNE to ARREST?!

Hello there! I hope you are doing well! I've missed sharing with you for the past few weeks. I've been trying to get caught up with alot of household things - reorganizing, simplifying, etc! But I've missed you!

I just wanted to share some thoughts with you today about what I am reading in Exodus. No - this will not be boring! :) Yes - it looks long . . .but trust me . . . it's easy to read -and well worth it! :) Take a chance! What do you have to lose? 10 minutes out of your day? :)

Great! I'm glad you are joining me for this journey! I love having company! :)

(ps - please excuse any problems with fonts, sizes, etc. . . I was having issues after copying and pasting from a word doc. Thanks!)

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Exodus 15:3“The Lord is a warrior; the Lord is his name.”

*This was part of the song that Moses and the Israelites sang after God delivered them at the Red Sea. I love it! Go Mighty Warrior! :)

Exodus 15: 8“By the blast of your nostrils the waters piled up. The surging waters stood firm like a wall; the deep waters congealed in the heart of the sea.”

Exodus 15:10-12 “But you blew with your breath, and the sea covered them. They sank like lead in the mighty waters. Who among the gods is like you, O Lord? Who is like you – majestic in holiness, awesome in glory, working wonders? You stretched out your right hand and the earth swallowed them.”

*Again – more of the song that was sung after God performed a miracle. What amazed me was the simplicity and ease of what God did versus the outcome that happened. He “blew out his breath” from a “blast from his nostrils” and then He “stretched out” his “right hand”. Stretching and breathing. Not too difficult. But the power that comes from God breathing and stretching – killed a whole army of Egyptians and saved hundreds of thousands (or a million+) Jews!! AWESOME!! I love knowing that God can do that for me as well! Keep breathing and stretching God! :)

Exodus 15:13 &17 – “In your unfailing love you will lead the people you have redeemed. In your strength you will guide them to your holy dwelling. . . . You will bring them in and plant them on the mountain of your inheritance – the place, O Lord, you made for your dwelling, the sanctuary, O Lord, your hands established.”

Wow! God doesn’t just redeem us and that’s it. He wants to lead us, guide us, bring us in and PLANT us ON “the mountain of (His) inheritance”!! HIS PLACE! His temple! His sanctuary – that HE made – HE built, HE established with His own hands. He doesn’t want to leave us in the desert after freeing us and redeeming us from captivity – He has a better place for us to go to . . . HIS place! And it’s not just going to heaven when we die. It’s here – it’s now.

What is His sanctuary? What is His mountain of inheritance? For the Israelites – it was Mount Zion. It was a literal place – a place where the temple was built – where God “resided” – where Jerusalem was. But Mt. Zion (or Zion) is more than just a physical place in history for the Jews. It is a spiritual place – in the present and in the future – for all of God’s children! It is the promised land that He has for each of us – designed and built with His own hands. (Jer. 29:11 – “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord. “Plans to prosper you and not to harm you – to give you a hope and a future.”) He has GREAT plans and a wonderful “promised land” for each and every one of His kids (that includes YOU . . . if you are one of His kids)! Don’t you want to go there?! :)

To be planted is not just temporary. It’s (usually) permanent. God isn’t just taking us to His house to show us around – He wants us to live there –to grow there, to flourish and remain there! He has built a “sanctuary” for us! Webster’s Dictionary defines sanctuary as this:

  1. a. A sacred place, such as a church, temple, or mosque. b. The holiest part of a sacred place, as the part of a Christian church around the altar.
  1. a. A sacred place, such as a church, in which fugitives formerly were immune to arrest.

b. Immunity to arrest afforded by a sanctuary.

3. A place of refuge or asylum.

4. A reserved area in which birds and other animals, especially wild animals, are protected from hunting or molestation.

WOW!! Isn’t that cool?! He’s not just taking us to some stuffy old church or boring religion . . . He’s taking us –first of all – to HIS place – to the most holy and sacred of places – the most intimate of places. And what is the most holy, sacred and intimate place you can think of? Being in a close and intimate relationship! He is bringing us in – holding us close – AND . . . PROTECTING US! Don’t you love that part of the definition? He is bringing us to a place where we are IMMUNE to ARREST! We are protected from “hunting or molestation”! It’s a place of peace. It’s a place where we cannot be touched by the enemy -who is still out to steal, kill and destroy us . . . and would LOVE to arrest us if he could!

He unfortunately convinces many people that they are still under arrest – that they do still need to be in chains or handcuffs – that they are not really free. Yes – they may be walking around the streets “free”, but their hands are cuffed, they are dragging chains behind them – attached to all sorts of things that weigh them down, that keep them from going very far – that keep them attached to what is behind them.

If you are one of those people - I need to say this . . . . STOP IT!! You ARE FREE!!!!

You do NOT have to walk around with those chains or handcuffs anymore. Jesus went to your trial for you! HE took on your crimes. You were exonerated – your record doesn’t show that you’ve been cleared of previously convicted or committed crimes . . . your record shows . . . (get this!) . . . NOTHING!!!

That’s was “justification” means . . . it means just-as-if-I’d never sinned!! So you got to walk out of that courtroom – FREE, while Jesus stayed behind, cuffed and in chains and ready to stand trial for all that you’ve ever done. You look behind as you are walking out and you see his face. It’s not sad. It’s one of peace and love. He is happy to do it for you. He wants you to be free. Don’t be sad. Be HAPPY! He wants you to be HAPPY – to be free! The last thing – no not even the last thing – he NEVER wants you to even touch those handcuffs or chains again! They are not yours! They are His! So STOP IT! Stop putting them on. STOP wearing them. STOP dragging them around. They are NOT yours!! (Do you hear me?!)

ACCEPT the freedom that Jesus bought for you! It is not spiritual or religious to go around dragging your chains and feeling like you are “paying” for your sins. Your sins have already been paid for!! End of story! No questions asked! It’s a done deal! Can you accept that deal? Can you accept that awesome gift?? Just imagine!

Imagine that you were in Jesus’ shoes. You decided to take the place for someone – maybe your son or daughter, a friend or relative. You decided to have their record totally cleared and erased, and YOU would take on all their guilt and punishment. You did it because you love them so much – because you want them to have a better life – you want them to go out of the courtroom – FREE – and enjoy the life they are being given.

What if you saw them leave, but as they left, they picked up a set of handcuffs and chains? What if you saw them outside the window of the courtroom and they had already put on the handcuffs when they ran into an old friend. People around them started saying to them - “Hey – didn’t you commit this crime? Why aren’t you in chains? You should be. I can’t imagine having the audacity to walk around as if you hadn’t committed that crime! Who do you think you are?? You’re not anyone special. You are a criminal. In fact – maybe I need to take you back into the authorities and have you arrested. You don’t have the right to be walking free.”

What if you saw your loved one agreeing with them – falling for the lies that they were saying (because – it did make sense – it was logical and rational)? I know it would break my heart! I would want to scream at the top of my lungs through the windows for them to hear . . . “Run fast!! Don’t listen to them! Drop those chains and handcuffs! They are NOT YOURS!! I have yours on! Don’t you see?! Don’t you remember?! I HAVE YOUR CHAINS AND HANDCUFFS ON!!!”

Then your loved one walks away. He/she walks down the street and gets into the car – with difficulty – having to slowly drag the chains behind them, then load them into the car. It takes so long and is so heavy that they later decide, it’s just too hard to go anywhere.

“It’s too hard to go outside – not only because of the heavy chains – but because of what people will say. There will be those that knew me before – who knew the “real” me – and will see the chains and think nothing about it. They were used to seeing me in chains. In fact – they accept them because they have a lot of their own. They help me add some more links to my chains, add on some heavy balls to weigh it down even more . . . just for the fun of it. ‘Let’s see who can carry around the most weight!’ It’s as if it’s a game to them. But I don’t find it fun. I don’t find it enjoyable any more. I used to – when I didn’t know anything else. But I don’t anymore. I got a taste of freedom. I felt the lightness in my step, the ease at which I could walk, the freedom to go anywhere I wanted, as fast as I wanted, without a care in the world. I could smell the sweet aromas in the air – and follow them to their source. I could feel and enjoy the warmth of the sun, without wanting to curse it because it was making me all the more hot and sweaty as I struggled to drag my chains. It actually warmed me as I ran in the cool breezes. I knew what that was like. So now – this “game” is not so fun. But I am stuck. I don’t know how to get out of these chains now. I don’t know that I will ever be able to get outside and enjoy life again. I also don’t like going out with my chains, because there are those that know I’ve been set free – and now they are looking at my chains – judging me for still having them. Some of them are totally free – and I’m jealous – envious – wondering why I didn’t stay that way. Then there are some that “say” they are free – but I still see the handcuffs – I still see some small and even large chains. Those people seem so hypocritical. Though, some of those people are nice to me. Some of them really do want to help me – but I just think they all want to judge me and send me back to jail. So why bother. How can I really tell which ones really want to help me anyways? And forget about going to church. I can’t go back in there now. What if the people there see my chains?”

Your heart breaks as you see what your loved one is going through. This isn’t what you signed up for. This wasn’t the plan! Why doesn’t your loved one just drop the chains?! They are not really permanently attached – he/she only thinks they are! It’s a lie. It’s a scam! They are really FREE! You ask for a phone call – to be able to talk to your loved one. You dial the number – but no one answers. On the other end, your loved one sees it’s you calling. They are too ashamed to pick up the phone and talk with you. They don’t want you to know that they are not really enjoying this life you paid for them to have. Sometimes you call and they don’t even hear the phone ring. They’ve put the phone away – turned it off possibly – because they just can’t bear any more guilt and shame in knowing that they let you down – that they just “couldn’t” grasp hold and continue to hold onto that life of freedom that you gave them. They occasionally keep trying to come back to the courtroom – to another court – to be tried again for their crimes. The police keep telling your loved one that that’s a good idea –“yes – you should turn yourself in and pay for your crimes.” But each time they bring you before the judge – He looks at your record as says “Why are you here? I don’t understand why you think you need to be here, to be in chains, or to pay for any crimes. You don’t have a record. So take off those chains and handcuffs and leave them here in the courtroom. They are not yours and you do not need them.” The police seemed shocked and surprised – but they encourage you to take off the chains and handcuffs. But you don’t. You choose not to. You just don’t believe that the judge knows what He is talking about.

How long will you keep doing this?

How long will you continue to walk in unbelief and be weighed down by your chains?

Would you like to see your record?

Let me show you.

Romans 5:6-11 "You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. 7Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. 8But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

9Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God's wrath through him! 10For if, when we were God's enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life! 11Not only is this so, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation."

Romans 3:21-26 "But now a righteousness from God, apart from law, has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. 22This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to ALL who believe. There is NO DIFFERENCE, 23for ALL have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24and are JUSTIFIED FREELY by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. 25God presented him as a sacrifice of atonement, through faith in his blood. He did this to demonstrate HIS justice, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished— 26he did it to demonstrate HIS justice at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus.”

YOU (yes YOU!) have been “JUSTIFIED FREELY”! Remember – justified means “just as if I’d never sinned”! No record!! BUT – to attain that freedom – to have those chains fall and stay off – you have to have FAITH – BELIEVE – which means . . . you have a CHOICE! Do you keep the chains on . . . or will you let them go – and believe (no matter what if “feels” like or what people tell you) that you don’t HAVE to wear those chains anymore. They are Jesus’ chains! Let Him have them and carry them. He’s strong enough! In actuality . . . . He already carried them . . . then threw them in the face of the jailer – the one who wants to keep you in chains!!! (Satan)

So – Are you ready to go to Mount Zion today? Are you ready to “be” like Mount Zion today? Make a choice today!

Psalms 125:1&2 -"Those who trust in the LORD are like Mount Zion, which CANNOT be SHAKEN but endures forever. As the mountains surround Jerusalem, so the LORD surrounds his people both now and forevermore."

Hebrews 12:22-24 - "But you have come to Mount Zion, to the heavenly Jerusalem, the city of the living God. You have come to thousands upon thousands of angels in joyful assembly, 23to the church of the firstborn, whose names are written in heaven. You have come to God, the judge of all men, to the spirits of righteous men made perfect, 24to Jesus the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel.”

Make a choice today – Go deeper (& Higher!) You won't regret it!

L :)


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