TAKING BACK TERRITORY:
I have to write this. I don’t know if people will understand or not, but it feels like God is doing something big, something I never expected and never saw coming. A few weeks before we left on our adventure, I saw Shan Newton at Jerry’s Burgers. He told me of a friend of his who always prays, “God, where do You want me to go, and what do You want me to say?” This resonated in my spirit. From that moment on, I set my heart to try to pray this prayer. It is not what I do, but what I say. Where do I go, and what do I say? This is HUGE to me right now because everything God is doing in my life has to do with words.
Then when we started this RV journey over a month ago, my friend Annabeth Martin started telling me that our trip was prophetic. Dolores, Colorado. Dolores River. Dolores means pain and sorrow. I anointed the river and prayed. Annabeth says that what we are doing is taking back what has been lost or stolen. Redeeming the land. I just looked up the meaning of redeem. It means to compensate for the faults or bad aspects of something; to do something that compensates for poor past performance or behavior; to atone or make amends for error or evil; to gain or regain possession of something in exchange for payment; to fulfill or carry out a pledge or promise. Jesus did this for us. Now it feels like He wants me to pray over the land so that He can redeem it, too. I don’t know if this is right, but I know that what I am praying is from the heart of God, so I prayed, and I anointed. Then after we left the Badlands, Annabeth said, “Call that which is bad, good.” That opportunity was gone. I just don’t think like this, but I started to pay attention.
On the way to Lee’s Ferry, we went through a little town called Bitter Springs. I stopped, took off my shoes and prayed and anointed the ground. I called forth the bitter to become sweet. I cried, “HOLY!” Then we hiked Cathedral Wash. We hiked the upper and the lower part of the wash. On the way out of town, I made my husband stop. Again I took off my shoes, anointed the ground with oil, and cried, “HOLY!” Cathedral. Wash. God, wash your church by the water of Your Word. It is not what man does. It is what You do. Forgive us for worshiping the work of our own hands. Forgive us for defiling Your temple. Cleanse us, LORD. Make holy that which is unholy. Spirit come. Idols fall. Sprinkle us with clean water so that we can be clean. Pour Your Spirit into us. Make us a well-watered garden and a fortified city for Your glory. I am asking this in the Mighty Name of Jesus!
Then we entered Utah. We camped at Mount Carmel. Mount Carmel. I knew this was in the Bible, so I googled it. This is the “highest” place of Baal worship. It is the place where Elijah had his showdown with the 450 prophets of Baal to show which god should be served. (1 Kings 18) Read this story. It is fascinating. Elijah stood up in front of all of Israel and said, “How much longer will you waver, hobbling between two opinions? If the LORD is God, follow Him! But if Baal is god, then follow him.” But the people were silent. They didn’t know. They sat back and watched as all of the prophets of Baal shouted and danced and cried and cut themselves to call on their god to bring fire. After all of their attempts failed, Elijah rebuilt the altar, poured water over the sacrifice and prayed, “O LORD, God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, prove today that You are God in Israel and that I am Your servant. Prove that I have done all this at Your command. O LORD, answer me! ANSWER ME SO THESE PEOPLE WILL KNOW THAT YOU, O LORD, ARE GOD AND THAT YOU HAVE BROUGHT THEM BACK TO YOURSELF.” Immediately the fire of the LORD flashed down from heaven and burned up the young bull, the wood, the stones, and the dust. And when all the people saw it, they fell face down on the ground and cried out, “The LORD - He is God!” We are at a point in history where everyone is watching. God, what are you going to do? My heart is shaking because I think we are all going to see fire fall! So I anointed the ground and I prayed.
I also found out from google that Mount Carmel is also well known for its lush beauty and variety of plants. The city of Carmel, near Hebron, was given to the tribe of Judah as part of their inheritance (Joshua 15:55). At the time I prayed, I did not know about this place being the inheritance of Judah (that’s the tribe that Jesus is from - our inheritance) or that it was lush. I have to go back to Mount Carmel, take off my shoes, and pray again. Take back that which was lost or stolen. Redeem.
Then there is Zion! Zion is near and dear to my heart because I know that this is the Holy Mountain of God. “On the HOLY MOUNTAIN stands the city founded by the LORD. He loves the city of Jerusalem more than any other city in Israel. O city of God, what glorious things are said of you! I will count Egypt and Babylon among those who know Me - also Philistia and Tyre, and even distant Ethiopia. They have all become citizens of Jerusalem! The people will play flutes and sing, ‘The source of My life springs from Jerusalem!’” (Psalm 87). “Who may climb the mountain of the LORD? Who may stand in His holy place? Only those whose hands and hearts are pure, who do not worship idols and never tell lies. They will receive the LORD’s blessing and have a right relationship with God their Savior. Such people may seek You and worship in Your presence O God of Jacob.” (Psalm 24:3-6). Then the LORD talks about us as being the city of God (Jerusalem) and the mountain of God (Zion) - His holy Temple in Isaiah 60:13-14. “The glory of Lebanon will be yours - the forests of cypress, fir, and pine - to beautify My sanctuary. My Temple (that’s us) will be glorious! The descendants of your tormentors will come and bow before you. Those who despised you will kiss your feet. They will call you the City of the LORD, and Zion of the Holy One of Israel.” He goes on to say, “I will make you beautiful forever, a joy to all generations (vs 15); I will make peace your leader and righteousness your ruler. Violence will disappear from your land (heart); the desolation and destruction of war will end. Salvation will surround you like city walls, and praise will be on the lips of all who enter there. No longer will you need the sun to shine by day, nor the moon to give its light by night, for the LORD your God will be your everlasting light, and your God will be your glory. Your sun will never set; your moon will not go down. For the LORD will be your everlasting light. Your days of mourning will come to an end. All your people will be righteous. They will possess their land forever, for I will plant them there with My own hands in order to bring Myself glory. The smallest family will become a thousand people, and the tiniest group will become a mighty nation. At the right time, I, the LORD, will make it happen.” (Isaiah 60:17-22)
“Wake up, wake up, O Zion! Clothe yourself with strength. Put on your beautiful clothes, O holy city of Jerusalem, for unclean and godless people will enter your gates no longer. Rise from the dust, O Jerusalem. Sit in the place of honor. Remove the chains of slavery (sin) from your neck, O captive daughter of Zion. For this is what the LORD says, “When I sold you into exile, I received no payment. Now I can redeem you without having to pay for you.” This is what the Sovereign LORD says, “Long ago My people chose to live in Egypt. Now they are oppressed by Assyria. What is this?” asks the LORD. “Why are My people enslaved again? Those who rule them shout in exultation. My name is blasphemed all day long. But I will reveal My name to My people, and they will come to know its power. Then at last they will recognize that I am the One who speaks to them.” (Isaiah 52:1-4)
So you can tell that Zion - HOLY MOUNTAIN - is important to me. So we enter Zion National Park, and there is a tunnel that runs through a mountain that is 1.1 miles long. The tunnel is called Zion/Mt Carmel tunnel. Oh my goodness! This tunnel runs through the heart of all that we know and believe and desire. The heart of both mountains. So every time we travel through the mountain, I pray and I anoint. LORD, redeem the land. Buy back that which has been lost or stolen. Let the earth produce again. Let the mountains tremble. Let the rain come. Let the earth receive. Let plants appear. Let springtime come. Plant! Water! Till! Harvest! Dry bones, hear the Word of the LORD. Breath O four winds on these slain that they may live. Graves, open wide. LORD, rend the heavens and pour out righteousness. Earth, open wide and receive. Let righteousness and salvation spring up together. Send light, LORD. Send truth. Send unfailing love. I say to those who are in darkness, “Come into the light.” And I say to those who are in bondage, “Come out in freedom.” Light and love. Mercy and grace. LORD, redeem that which has been stolen or lost. Heal that which is sick. Mend that which has been broken. Comfort those who mourn. Send life. Send hope. Breathe. Wash. Make whole. Make holy. Forgive. Set free. Open up you gates, you everlasting doors and let the King of Glory in - the LORD mighty in battle, the LORD of Heaven’s Armies - the Sovereign LORD. Breathe O four winds. Breathe. In Jesus’ name.
If we only knew what God wants to do for us, we would come running hard toward His open arms. Hebrews gives us a glimpse of what He wants for us. “You have not come to a physical mountain, to a place of flaming fire, darkness, gloom, and whirlwind, as the Israelites did at Mount Sinai. For they heard an awesome trumpet blast and a voice so terrible that they begged God to stop speaking. They staggered back under God’s command: ‘If even an animal touches the mountain, it must be stoned to death. Moses himself was so frightened at the sight that he said, ‘I am terrified and trembling.’” (Hebrews 12:18-21). This is the mountain that we come to when we try to follow the law, when we try to get to heaven on our own works. It is scary, and it doesn’t work. But listen to what happens when we come to Jesus and let Him have our hopes and our dreams, our past and our future, our successes and our failures, our worries and our fears, our DESIRES! Look what happens when we let Him forgive us.
“No, you have come to Mount Zion, to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to countless thousands of angels in joyful gathering. You have come to the assembly of God’s firstborn children, whose names are written in heaven. You have come to God, Himself, who is the judge over all things. You have come to the spirits of the righteous ones in heaven who have now been made perfect. You have come to JESUS, the One who mediates the new covenant between God and people, and to the sprinkled blood, which speaks of forgiveness instead of crying out for vengeance like the blood of Able.” (Hebrews 12:22-24). FORGIVENESS! We are forgiven, so we forgive. We are loved, so we love. We are honored, so we honor. If we could only see. God, give us all eyes to see and ears to hear and hearts to understand what the Spirit is saying. A glorious, joyful assembly of the redeemed. ZION!
Whew! This is a lot, isn’t it. I am still trying to process. Then when we get to Zion, my husband and I both want to hike THE NARROWS. It is a pretty difficult hike. There are stumbling blocks everywhere. Large boulders. Rocks of all sizes that have to be crossed. Water. There are places where it is hard to see what is under the water. It is hard walking upstream against the current. It made me think of Matthew 7 where it said, “Do to others whatever you would like them to do to you. This is the essence of all that is taught in the law and the prophets. You can enter God’s Kingdom only through the narrow gate. The highway to hell is broad, and its gate is wide for the many who choose that way. But the gateway to life (to treat others like you would want to be treated) is very narrow and the road is difficult, and only a few ever find it.” The narrow way is love - treating others like you want to be treated. So I took off my shoes, anointed the river, and I cried, “HOLY!” LORD, teach us how to love one another - really love. Teach us to see others like You see them, fearfully and wonderfully made in the image of the Most High God. Teach us to stop judging and criticizing one another. Let mockery be far from us. Please forgive us where we have failed in these areas. Now teach us to honor one another. Teach us to lift each other up in our hearts with respect. All people. Place a guard our hearts and our mouths. Do not let fresh water and salty water come from the same fountain. Give us patience and kindness. Let us not keep any record of being wronged. Let forgiveness come quickly. Teach us how to love those who hate us, bless those who curse us, and pray for those who spitefully use us. Let us never repay evil for evil, but instead, let us repay good. LORD, teach us to be thankful for all people. Teach us to intercede for all people. Teach us to help all people. Help us to cover each other’s nakedness instead of exposing. LOVE. LORD, train us to be like You. It does not come easy. Help us. In Jesus’ name.
So it took us 8 hours to hike 6 miles yesterday, and we are both so sore. But today as the LORD was teaching me, I realized that what I am doing is speaking life over the land, redeeming the curse. So we hiked all the way up to what is called the Subway. The canyon splits. We took the canyon on the right, but this morning I found out that the canyon that was to the left is called Wall Street. It is another two miles upstream, and my heart wants to go. I don’t know if my body is able, but the spirit is willing. I want to anoint that which has been lost or stolen. What we do with money. Corruption. Greed. Pride. Power. I want God to redeem that which was lost or stolen. To compensate for past performance or behavior. I want to take off my shoes and cry, “HOLY!”
So is all of this going to make a difference? I don’t know. All I know is that God is now moving me to pray. He has not done that in a while. I know that my heart is reaching out to touch God’s heart. It is exciting to think that God is not only redeeming man, but redeeming the land, too. Both have been under a curse for so long, and now it feels like God is breaking the curse. Hallelujah, thank you Jesus.
So for my praying friends, will you join me in my prayers, and will you, too, start paying attention. Will you begin to call those things that are not as though they are. Will you begin to speak life and health and hope over people and over the earth. I really do believe that every place our feet touch is ground God has given us. Let’s take back what the enemy has stolen.
Blessings to you.