Paul, a prisoner of Christ Jesus, and Timothy our brother, To Philemon our dear friend and fellow worker-also to Apphia our sister and Archippus our fellow soldier-and to the church that meets in your home. Philemon 1:1-2 NIV
Crating your dog is supposed to ensure that your pet has a safe place to retreat that is stress free. It also ensures that there are no messes when you come home at night. It is a win-win situation for all involved.
Unfortunately, my pets view crates as more of a challenge. Let’s call it a Houdini cell and they are practicing their disappearing act. It entertains them to somehow exit their so-called prison, leaving nothing behind but a lot of hair to show they were incarcerated. They are quite the team and very accomplished.
Many Christians were imprisoned in the Bible. Paul wrote at least four of his New Testament letters from prison. John was banished by the Romans to the Isle of Patmos where he saw the vision and wrote the last book of the bible, Revelation. In Acts 12, Peter was put into prison by King Herod. The believers were praying and an angel appeared to Peter. His chains miraculously fell off and he walked out of his cell. Acts 16 describes when Paul and Silas were in jail singing and praising God; an earthquake shook the prison and all the doors were opened and the prisoners set free. The list is quite extensive and very impressive.
Like our dogs, the disciples considered imprisonment a challenge. They believed God was in control and thanked him in all circumstances. James 1:2 tells us, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds.”
There are many different types of prisons in the world. Some prisons are of our own making and we are doing our best to be released but freedom is just beyond our reach. We can fashion ourselves after the disciples and thank God in any and all situations. We can pray for release and expect the miracle.
As we wait for God to work and praise him for who he is, we can whittle away on those bars and chains holding us captive. We can chew on the word of God and consider it a challenge. We can pray for deliverance and watch in amazement as our friends and neighbors see our empty cell and know we have been set free in Jesus Christ. Luke 4:18 states, “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good new to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free.”
“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full (John 10:10). It may be a challenge for us but Jesus is ready and willing to set us free as we look to him for our deliverance.