February 27, 2018

Ridge Reading Challenge: Devotional Acts 12

As I read through Acts chapter 12 this week, a question occurred to me.  

Do you know what it is like to be in prison? I know people who have been in prison. I once picked up a guy up that was being released from prison after six months. I will never forget the joy and gratefulness I saw in his eyes as he breathed the fresh air of freedom for the first time in six months. The road must have been dusty that day because he had some man tears in his eyes as we drove.    

While most of us have never spent time behind the walls of a real prison, a lot of us have spent time behind the walls of other prisons. Because of a lot of dysfunctionality in my upbringing, I spent the better part of 20 years in the prison of anger. I had a bad temper and I had very little use for talk once I became angry.    

It wasn’t until my early 30’s that God revealed to me that I could be released from that prison. He helped me see that I was the one who held the key to my freedom. For me, the key was forgiveness. I had to forgive an abusive, alcoholic, absent father. Forgiveness was for me, not him. There are still days I have to forgive him.     

The vast majority of us have scars from the shackles of our past. I am sure Peter bore the scars from his unjust imprisonment for the rest of his life. Like Peter, we have a choice. We can either allow those scars to define us or we can see them as tools in the Father’s hands being used to refine us. Nothing…let me repeat that…NOTHING has touched me that didn’t first pass through my loving Father’s hands, even before I knew Him.    

From what area of your life do you need freedom? Is it something in your past? Is it a toxic relationship? Is it the shackles of an unhealthy lifestyle? Alcohol? Food? Laziness?  

God wants us to be free of those things that weigh us down. He wants to help us. He will release you. Don’t be like those that were gathered at Mary’s house who were praying but were not really convinced that God would answer. God desperately wants to step into your circumstances. Pray with expectancy that He will show you the pathway to your freedom.