Sitting high above the town, with sheer rock cliffs on three sides, there was only one way into the Edinburgh Castle. When the town was under siege, the Castle became a stronghold. The people would gather inside the walls for protection. Within those walls was a self-contained village. Everything they would need was available.
The Castle was there for the protection of the kingdom.
We too, have a Kingdom prepared for us…a stronghold of protection. And there is only One Way in. Everything we need is within that Kingdom.
Nicky Cruz grew up on the streets. By age 16, he became a member of the notorious Brooklyn street gang known as the Mau Maus. His life consisted of drugs, alcohol and brutal violence. A friend and fellow gang member was horribly stabbed and beaten and died in his arms. Arrested countless times, Nicky was definitely headed to prison or the electric chair.
One day he met a skinny street preacher named David Wilkerson, who showed him love…relentless love. Enraged, Nicky repeatedly beat him up, spit on him and seriously threatened his life. But David’s love remained strong. Finally, having seen the love of Jesus demonstrated, Nicky’s walls of resistance were torn down.
Nicky Cruz entered the Kingdom of God.
Mincaye grew up in the jungles of Ecuador. His tribe had many cruel customs. When a man killed another man, the family of the dead man would hunt for the killer and spear him too. Often parents killed their own children, just because they were tired of taking care of them. Mincaye was taught to kill…not only for food…but for revenge.
One fateful day in 1956, when he was just a teenager, Mincaye was given a job to do. Those five white men on the banks of the river, the ones he had been eating, sleeping and working with…those men had to be killed.
Joining with some friends, a party of ten Huaorani trekked their way through the trees. Arriving at the river, they began to throw their wooden spears. The white men had guns, but never used them. Their bodies were pierced by the wooden spears of Gikita and Nampa and Kimo and Nimonga and Mincaye and Dyuwi.
Three years later, a sister of one of the white men, Rachel Saint, and a widow of another one, Elisabeth Elliot, traveled to Ecuador to live among the Huaorani. With tender love and much patience, they gained the trust of the Indians. Finally, the day came when the story could be told of why the white men had come and why they had not defended themselves. The Huaorani heard the explanation of why the men wanted to make contact. They came to share about Jesus.
Mincaye, and his friends, entered the Kingdom of God.
An unnamed Samaritan woman was living a life of sin. She had been married and divorced five times and was now living with another man. She had come to the well to draw water. And then she met Jesus. He loved her…really loved her. She left her water jug and ran to tell others about Him.
Somewhere in this amazing journey, the Samaritan woman who was never named, entered the Kingdom of God. And many other Samaritans from the village entered the Kingdom, because of her testimony.
I grew up in what was designed to look like a Castle. We had the high cliffs and a wall around us. But the church I attended built barricades to not only keep the world out…but to keep us in. From the inside, my Castle felt more like a dungeon.
But just as all that Nicky knew was how to exist in the street gangs, and Mincaye knew his world in the jungle, I lived as I had been told to…keeping myself separate from the sinners of the world.
But the God that loved Nicky, Mincaye and the Samaritan woman, also loved me. He drew me to Him. And I entered the Kingdom of God.
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