prison bars with hands Most of the time when we hear of someone being sentenced to prison because of their faith in Christ, we do not respond with the words, “Praise God!”

There is a natural instinct inside of us that cries out at the injustice.

I am sure the people in Philippi were not happy to hear that Paul was in prison.  I am sure that they were praying for his release.

But listen to what Paul had to say about his situation in Phil 1:12,

Now I want you to know, brothers and sisters, that what has happened to me has actually served to advance the gospel.

Paul looked through his prison bars and saw those on the outside not as enemies but as men needing the Hope of Jesus Christ.

Paul looked at his tiny cell and didn’t see confinement and hopelessness.  He saw a new opportunity to evangelize.

So many times, I feel bondage in my life either from my grief or from the stress of teaching full-time.  Thoughts of hopelessness and confinement easily overtake my mind and soul.

I don’t always handle my heartache well.

I don’t always handle working full-time well.

In my simple human mind, I convince myself that if I had never experienced loss and if I didn’t have a full-time career than I could be such a better Christian witness.  I would be happier.  I would be freer. I would have more time to write, to be a better friend, to love more deeply.

But you know what?

I really don’t think that’s true.

Deep inside I know, even though it hurts to type this truth, that “what has happened to me has actually served to advance the gospel.”

Losing Nick and Adrienne has catapulted me into a deeper faith.  The pain of loss has inspired me to be a more passionate Christian, unafraid to put all my Hope in Heaven and share it with the world!

Being a teacher has provided me with an audience of starving children who want more than a lesson plan filled with the appropriate Kentucky Standards and Core Content.

Today, as I celebrate the freedom of America, I want to look deep inside and proclaim the freedom I have in Christ in spite of the “prison bars” I sometimes feel in this world.

The devil longs to have us focus on the black metal beams that may be looming around us from our past failures, mistakes, or tragedies or from our present life situations.  But Jesus is the light shining in between those beams, and He makes a way for us out of our bondage……..

if we will just allow Him to work!

I love the words of II Cor. 10:5.  This is a verse I memorized and say to myself over and over again as I struggle with negative thinking.

We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ

If you find yourself feeling as if the situation you are in today is one of hopelessness or captivity, I am praying that, like Paul in the book of Philippians, you can look past the metal bars and see the light of Jesus shining through………in that light you will find peace, Hope, and ways to share Him with others!

prison bars

I love you all deeply,