SHACKLED BUT FREE
by denise watson-smith
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SHACKLED YET FREE
I was thinking about the Apostle Paul and all of the letters that he wrote. The majority of his letters that were written were written while he was in prison. In the book of Acts, chapter 16, in verse 25, it reads, ďAnd at midnight, Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises unto God; and the prisoners heard them.Ē I know it is more to the story, but I want to just stop there. In prison, yet praising, shackled but free. That sounds like a contradiction doesnít it, but it is not. Just because there are four walls that keep your body bound, there is a Jesus who meets you within those four walls who can set your spirit man free. Free to worship, free to praise, and free to glorify God. So many people are bound by circumstance, but are free to praise anyhow. People are walking around with man made chains and God given freedom. Often many folks wonder, how can someone praise God like that, with all that they are going through? Wondering how can they praise God and they have been incarcerated, or on a home monitoring device. What others fail to realize, you can imprison the body, but you can not imprison the mind. You can imprison the man or the woman, but you can not imprison the spirit within them that God has set free. Many a time, the people that are in prison are freer to praise than those within the churches. Sometimes when you have never been there, when you have never had certain kinds of struggles, we fail to often realize just what GOD can do. There are many people who are bound from within and find it difficult to praise. I am not saying everyone, but some.
I have been on both ends of the spectrum. There was a time that I was so bound up on the inside, that I just could not praise God, but then there was a time when I was bound in the body, I spent 15 weekends in jail, and right now, I am completing the last few weeks of being on home monitoring, but through it all, I finally became free to PRAISE. God could speak, but I would not listen, God could send someone to speak on His behalf, but I turned a deaf ear, but it was when I was spending a weekend in jail, and could not go anywhere, being quiet (which is hard for me to do), and just listen. Oh my, when God began to speak, His words were so loud and clear, and then I finally began to understand this walk with Jesus. Once I sat down and listened, I began to be free, to worship, to praise, to rejoice in His goodness. And then I watched how God began to use me to witness to others during my weekends. I went from being ashamed of who I was to thanking God for who He was molding me to be. I was shackled, yet I was free.
These past few months have been a trying one to me. Satan has thrown all kinds of obstacles at me, to the point I thought I was losing my mind. I found not one but two lumps within my breast area, one just last week, I began to doubt my husband, I began to doubt myself an I could feel the walls closing in around me. Man is about to free my body, but I had began to imprison my mind, and I felt my praise slipping away. Isnít that how Satan is, determined to keep you bound at all cost. But a few friends came my way, prayed with me and for me, and ever since Monday (03-13-06), I began to hear God again. I kept telling God, I am tired, and I felt like just giving up, but I remembered a song by Kurt Carr entitled, I Almost Let Go, and then another song came to my mind, This Test is Your Storm. I started to praise God, I began to write again, to breath again, to live again. I think about all of the great characters of the Bible that were sent to prison, John the Baptist, Paul and Silas, Peter and even our Savior, our Redeemer, Jesus the Christ. I am so far from being any of them. I am just Dee Dee Watson-Smith, shackled but free.
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Paul's imprisonment and his being set free at the midnight hours is a sign that whatever shackles that bind us in life and keeps us in bondage,we can be set free once we take the Lord seriously and call upon His Name to loosen the shackles.