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Exodus 4:1-17Moses answered, “What if they do not believe me or listen to me and say, ‘The Lord did not appear to you’?” 2 Then the Lord said to him, “What is that in your hand?” “A staff,” he replied. 3 The Lord said, “Throw it on the ground.” Moses threw it on the ground and it became a snake, and he ran from it. 4 Then the Lord said to him, “Reach out your hand and take it by the tail.” So Moses reached out and took hold of the snake and it turned back into a staff in his hand. 5 “This,” said the Lord, “is so that they may believe that the Lord, the God of their fathers—the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob—has appeared to you.” 6 Then the Lord said, “Put your hand inside your cloak.” So Moses put his hand into his cloak, and when he took it out, the skin was leprous – it had become as white as snow. 7 “Now put it back into your cloak,” he said. So Moses put his hand back into his cloak, and when he took it out, it was restored, like the rest of his flesh. 8 Then the Lord said, “If they do not believe you or pay attention to the first sign, they may believe the second. 9 But if they do not believe these two signs or listen to you, take some water from the Nile and pour it on the dry ground. The water you take from the river will become blood on the ground.” 10 Moses said to the Lord, “Pardon your servant, Lord. I have never been eloquent, neither in the past nor since you have spoken to your servant. I am slow of speech and tongue.” 11 The Lord said to him, “Who gave human beings their mouths? Who makes them deaf or mute? Who gives them sight or makes them blind? Is it not I, theLord? 12 Now go; I will help you speak and will teach you what to say.” 13 But Moses said, “Pardon your servant, Lord. Please send someone else.” 14 Then the Lord’s anger burned against Moses and he said, “What about your brother, Aaron the Levite? I know he can speak well. He is already on his way to meet you, and he will be glad to see you. 15 You shall speak to him and put words in his mouth; I will help both of you speak and will teach you what to do.16 He will speak to the people for you, and it will be as if he were your mouthand as if you were God to him. 17 But take this staff in your hand so you can perform the signs with it.”

institute3 (1)Ahhhh….Moses. A man of few words but called anyway to speak to a nation. How terrifying. First, he was sent down a river in a floating basket to escape death from the very people he was found by and sent to live with. He was raised a prince in a palace in a foreign nation with foreign rules and foreign gods. He knew nothing of the Israelites whom “his” country enslaved for nearly 400 years but he had an unbearable need to protect them. Can you imagine his surprise to see Yahweh in a burning bush? But God needed His people, and Moses, to become de-institutionalized!

We are a society of boxes, boxes of all shapes and sizes. The boxes range from long, slim rectangles, big square cubes, even funny shaped octagons, hexagons, and tubes. Each container represents something; be it a way of thinking, a mood or behavior, an addiction, judgments, jails, hospitals, schools, some religions, treatment centers, anonymous rooms, shelters, and even our own minds. Each box shares a name with every other box and that name is “INSTITUTION”. Webster defines “institutionalize” as a way to accustom (a person) so firmly to the care and supervised routine of an institution as to make incapable of managing a life outside. Society has a way of shoving people into tight boxes to make them either fit the “norm” or to get them out of eyesight. What is “normal” anyway? Food for thought.

institute8-e1422921286437Being homeless wasn’t easy OR fun, nor was being institutionalized in various treatment centers, religions, shelters, jails, and the like. I was definitely incapable of managing life. I was always told I had a disease and I was told by some people that I would never get well. I was also told that I wasn’t worth it. Here is an example of being institutionalized: I know people who go back to jail time and time again because it’s comfortable for them. They find ways to mess up (sometimes subconsciously) because in jail there is nothing to worry about; no bills to pay, no mouths to feed, no real worries at all. They are fed everyday like clockwork and have a bed to sleep in. They don’t learn how to work for themselves nor do they feel worthy of anything great. They can’t see the forest for the trees. It was the same for me in treatment centers. I wasn’t there for the right reasons. People in jail and treatment either get it or they don’t. The worst type of institution for me was behind my eyeballs in my own mind. It’s a terrible and terrifying feeling being stuck in the “I Can’t(s)”. Here is the good news…GOD CAN, He will, and He does! We do not have to live in a box designed to keep us sick!

institute6God called me out of my sin and into his glory in Christ and He blessed me. What a good Daddy! He didn’t send His Son to die on the cross for nothing. He sent Him so that I could be set free, so that I could step out of the uncomfortable box and show others the way to their own rights and privileges as a blood bought child of a King. What box do you find yourself in? To what institution do you belong? What mediocre container are you trying to break free from?

God speaks. God moves. Nothing in heaven or on earth can stop His plan for my life! I must be willing to listen, and do whatever is required and I will drink from a fountain that will never run dry!!! I don’t know about you, but I am sick and tired of conforming. I want to be free to worship, free to love, free to live outside of a stinking box of my own making or one that society is trying to shove me in. I am ready for the Holy Spirit to pour out and overflow my container and quite frankly I don’t really care what that looks like to the world.

institute5No more chains, no more oppression, no more bondage, no more boxes, no more institutions. True freedom never looked so good!

Is it always going to be easy? No. Do you think our dear Moses had a small case of “approval addiction”? Yes. Can you empathize with his discouragement regarding his own shortcomings? I sure can. But those God calls, He equips! Are you ready??

You can read Exodus 4-12 about Moses and the 10 plagues and the Passover at www.biblegateway.com. Join in the discussion by posting comments or questions below and let’s do this together!! #ReadtheBible #bgbg2 #BibleGateway #letmypeoplego #Exodus

To further your reading, and to dive a bit deeper, consider this from 2 Corinthians 12:5-10 I will boast about a man like that, but I will not boast about myself, except about my weaknesses. 6 Even if I should choose to boast, I would not be a fool,because I would be speaking the truth. But I refrain, so no one will think more of me than is warranted by what I do or say, 7 or because of these surpassingly great revelations. Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. 8 Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. 9 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 10 That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

Our weaknesses are a basis of the power of Christ! What is the “thorn” in your flesh? What seems to be the one thing that holds you back from your calling? God CAN accomplish His purpose without even removing the one thing we think is our deficiency!

Related Scriptures: 1 Corinthians 2:9-10; John 8:36; Galatians 5:1; 1 Peter 5:6-11; Romans 8:29-30

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