How to Get Out of Prison

“If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed” (John 8:36).

Everyone wants to be free. The freedoms of speech, thought, religion, and press are basic to many societies in the world today. Society has found it necessary to restrict the freedom of lawbreakers, so as to allow others the enjoyment of their rightful freedom. That is why prisons exist. People who break the laws of the land may well find themselves in a literal prison.

Are people really free while enjoying the liberties mentioned, or are many of them in a different kind of prison? The Bible teaches us that people may be in bondage even while they are seeking liberty. A person who tells one lie finds himself in bondage to that lie, and is often led to lie again to cover the first untruth. People who take up smoking, drinking, or drugs find out later, when they wish to quit, that they are unable to do so. Many others have broken marriage vows for the sake of pleasure and found themselves with neither pleasure nor family. These are examples of the bondage that sin brings.

Complete text of: How to Get Out of Prison

Bondage to sin is universal and everyone is born in sin. The Bible tells us, “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God,” and “Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?” (Romans 3:23; 6:16). See also Romans 3:10. While we are still in our sins, we are in a spiritual prison.

How can we be delivered? True freedom, true happiness, freedom from fear, and freedom from guilt and condemnation, can come only when we are at peace with God and our lives are in agreement with his will. Bondage, on the other hand, is the result of reaching out for Satan’s false promise of liberty. Let us turn to the words of our Savior, Jesus Christ, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised” (Luke 4:18).

To be delivered from sin, we must first of all admit that we are sinners and in bondage. We must repent of our sins. Repentance includes sorrow for our sin and turning away from sin. This may seem difficult, or nearly impossible to some. If we make an honest effort, and call on God for help and for forgiveness of sin, the Lord will lead us step by step to a conversion of the heart. We must accept deliverance and forgiveness by the blood of Jesus through faith. We read in the Bible, “In whom [Jesus] we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins” (Colossians 1:14). See also Romans 3:24-25; Romans 5:1; Romans 6:23; Acts 3:19; and John 3:3.

What are the effects of this spiritual freedom? When a person is truly born again as described above, his sins are washed away, and he has a free conscience. He now has power over sinful desires. Instead of yielding to temptations, he now is able to resist the desires of the flesh. He is living a new life in Christ and his aims are different. Instead of living only to please himself, he now seeks to please God and help others. His speech and use of time are different. He rejoices in the challenges of a life that is now filled with purpose and direction. Best of all, this freedom brings an assurance of eternal life in heaven. Even in the confines of a natural prison, this freedom of spirit and heart can be a reality. We read, “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new” (2 Corinthians 5:17). See also Galatians 5:13.

Jesus, I Come

Out of my bondage, sorrow and night,
Jesus, I come, Jesus, I come;
Into Thy freedom, gladness and light,
Jesus, I come to Thee;

Out of my sickness into Thy health,
Out of my want and into Thy wealth,
Out of my sin and into Thyself,
Jesus, I come to Thee.

Out of my shameful failure and loss,
Jesus, I come, Jesus, I come;
Into the glorious gain of Thy cross,
Jesus, I come to Thee;

Out of earth’s sorrows into Thy balm,
Out of life’s storms and into Thy calm,
Out of distress to jubilant psalm,
Jesus, I come to Thee.

William T. Sleeper

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A Friend For You

Jesus Your Friend

Jesus is your friend

I have a friend. He is the best friend I have ever had. He is so kind and true that I would like you to know Him, too. His name is Jesus. The wonderful thing is that He would like to be your friend.

Let me tell you about Him. We read this story in the Bible. The Bible is true. It is God's Word.

God is the one who created the world and everything in it. He is Lord of heaven and earth. He gives life and breath to all things.

Complete text of: A Friend For You

God's creation

Jesus is the Son of God. God sent Him from heaven to this earth to be our very own Savior. God loved the world so much (that means He loved you and me) that He sent his only Son, Jesus, (to die for our sins) that whoever believes in Him would not perish, but have everlasting life (John 3:16).

Jesus came to earth as a tiny baby. His father and mother on earth were Joseph and Mary. He was born in a stable and laid in a manger.

Jesus' birth

Jesus grew up with Joseph and Mary and He obeyed them. He had brothers and sisters to play with. He helped Joseph in his carpenter shop.

Jesus and the lad with food

When Jesus grew to be a man, He taught the people about his Father in heaven. He showed them that God loved them. He healed the sick and comforted those in trouble. He was a friend of the children. He wanted to have the children close to Him. He had time for them. The children loved Jesus and loved to be with Him.

Some people did not love Jesus. They envied Him, and even hated Him. They hated Him so much that they wanted to kill Him. One dreadful day they killed Jesus by nailing Him to a cross. Jesus had done nothing wrong. He had to die in our place because you and I have done wrong.

Jesus on the cross

The story of Jesus does not end with his death. God raised Him from the dead! His followers saw Him. Then one day He went back to heaven.

Today He is able to see and hear you. He knows all about you and cares for you. Just come to Him in prayer. Tell Him all about your troubles. He is ready to help you. You can bow your head and talk to Him, anytime, anywhere.

Someday He is coming again! He will take all those who believe on Him home to heaven.

Jesus listening to a woman pray

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Entertainment, Amusements, Fun-What Does God Say?

One of man's principal goals in life is happiness. Happiness can be elusive. Many are seeking happiness in pleasures and entertainment. They seek to satisfy themselves by doing what "feels good". What feels good may actually be detrimental to one's character and inner spiritual well-being.

Many people have come to believe that happiness can be found in having "more". It is believed that to have more goods and conveniences will satisfy. The hope is that by having more leisure time and more freedom for activities such as hobbies and sports, fulfillment can be found. The commercial system and the media exploit this belief to the fullest. It is suggested that their product or experience will do what others will not. Purchases are made that satisfy for only a short time. Traveling is done in hopes that something more genuinely lasting can be experienced. New vehicles, and more and better sporting equipment are sought and bought, but these invariably fail to bring real peace of mind.

In an effort to find satisfaction people seek something new, something impressive, even something violent or daring. Recreational parks are offering rides and adventures that reach for the limit in thrills and in testing the endurance of body and mind. The entertainment industry has responded to man's appetites with astounding results. Television, movies, radio, the Internet, magazines, and books abound with entertainment that is shameful, to say the least. Through these mediums the lustful and greedy desires of society are served. Many hours are spent watching, reading, and listening to material that is detrimental to the mind, the body, the soul, and consequently, the home.

Often entertainment is used as a means to escape the reality of the emptiness we feel inside. Lonely people seek something to console the inner man. What do we really want? What will really answer to the needs of the soul? Can it be found in these pleasures?

Complete text of: Entertainment, Amusements, Fun-What Does God Say?

Besides the enjoyment we receive from these activities, there is in us an underlying desire to excel. The desire is there to surpass our peers, or the established standard. This desire is driving many to seek a name for themselves. The sports world is demanding, and getting, much money and attention. Men and women give the best part of their lives to this effort.

Many of these entertainments and activities are sought largely for our own pleasure and gratification. We are more concerned with what will benefit us than with what will benefit others. Much of the involvement in sports, other entertainment and activities, is motivated by selfishness. Personal success and pleasure is the unstated drive behind these widely accepted pastimes.

As this selfish drive is pursued the following happens: churches languish, welfare programs are left to governments, and the homeless may be fed but not cared for. Even more tragically, children are not finding the security of a stable home. People become dissatisfied with life which they find meaningless and empty. They find it harder and harder to talk about the things that really do matter. Selfish pleasures become substitutes for, and distractions from, what is missing deep in the inner being. God is left out of the picture.

The Soul Of Man Is Thirsty

Jesus said in John 4:10, 13 and 14, that He has water to give us that will quench our thirst perpetually! The deep need of the soul must be satisfied. The soul is eternal and will only be satisfied with eternal truths.

The Bible teaches that the Christian is a contented, happy person. It teaches that we find happiness only by seeking God's will first. But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you (Matthew 6:33). Men seek happiness through selfish means, but neither fame nor fortune nor pleasure will ever provide more than momentary satisfaction.

Much of our restlessness is the result of uncertainty about our relationship with God. The question of sin, if it is unresolved in our life, affects our peace of mind and causes us to feel guilty. Sins taken to the Lord, whether great or small, can be dealt with permanently.

God has a plan for us whereby we are able to experience fulfillment. God would like to lead us to a complete submission to His will, resulting in a satisfaction and peace which supersedes all earthly enjoyments. The Bible plan, if followed, beautifully fills every need that we have.

The Bible teaches that we can have close fellowship with God. His word can be the meditation of our hearts. Peace can accompany us by day and by night. The Holy Spirit is to be our comfort and constant companion. This spiritual relationship with God is for anyone who is born again and willingly submits himself to Christ's guidance in every area of his life. This close fellowship with God inspires us to a life of service which is very rewarding.

The amusements offered by the world do not foster spiritual life. Activities, entertainment, and even thought patterns that are self-serving, are contrary to life in Christ Jesus. This is why the apostle John emphasizes, Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world (1 John 2:15-16). Paul, in Romans 8:5-7, teaches that the carnal mind is enmity against God. The carnal mind loves the things of the flesh rather than the things of God. The way of pleasure appears so good; however, it will replace the devotion that we need to have for God. We are warned that in the last days men shall be lovers of their own selves...lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God (2 Timothy 3:2-4).

The Bible has the answer for those who are seeking satisfaction in pleasure. Romans 12:1-2 reads, I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. The transforming of the mind and regeneration of the heart are essential if we are to please the Lord and make a right judgment of these matters. When viewed in the light of eternity, many amusements and entertainments are a serious misuse of our resources and lives.

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