Saturday, November 24, 2012


Captives Set Free
The cold metal gave its distinctive clicking clang as the cell door locked in place.  Funny how that sound gave Jim comfort these days.  Prison frightened him—not that one could ever admit it.  Inside his own cell, he could let his mind think and his heart feel just a little bit. Just a little, mind you.  Jim had walls in his life that were not crossed by anyone! There was just too much pain in some places—pain he had felt, pain he had caused.  Walls Jim set for himself were as comfortable as the click of the cell door.
Jim felt the tension of rules.  All his life, Jim had set his own rules, keeping people and things within the lines he drew.  It was a matter of survival and Jim did his best to do the right thing.  He just wanted to be left alone to do his thing.  The problem that landed him in this prison was other people had rules too--including the ones in power.  Jim longed for a day when he would not have to worry about rules.  Different sets of rules were a real problem here in prison.   Everyone had their own rules and crossing lines could cost your life. 
Something that chaplain said kept poking at his mind.  He kept talking about James and a law of freedom.  Picking up the Bible the church people had given him, Jim found the table of contents.  James…it was an easy name for him to remember.  Where was that verse?  

But if you look carefully into the perfect law that sets you free, and if you do what it says and don't forget what you heard, then God will bless you for doing it.

That preacher had said that some King named Jesus was the one had that as the rule for His kingdom.  Jim knew it was what he wanted, rules kept getting him in trouble.  Wouldn’t that be something if he could find freedom in prison?  He wanted to know what it said.  He wanted to tell his kids about it.  Some blessings sure would be nice.

 Readers, that is why Prison Fellowship exists; helping people find the freedom only Jesus can give.  It is the reason Jesus came: to set captives free.  Earthly prisons exist to punish wrong-doers, but they also open doors to a harvest field that extends itself into the community.  Prisoners of sin live within—and without—the concrete and steel walls of penitentiaries.  James, like all prisoners, needs that law of liberty.  Doing time gives prisoners a chance to learn that the Law of Freedom does not give freedom to sin but freedom from sin.  Self-created prisons are sometimes more inpenetrable than the steel bars of a 'real' prison.  Time is precious and short for reaching souls with the Gospel.  Families of prisoners are part of the harvest field Prison Fellowship ministers to through Angel Tree. 

As Christians, we are set free from our chains so that we can bring others to the Freedom-Giver.  Prison Fellowship and Angel Tree are vehicles we can use to take us to the ones who need to meet Jesus!


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