Stiff boots echoed off cold walls and stone floors like thunder off a damp dark sky. I could smell the fear permeate from within the cell I was caged in, yet it wasn’t my fear I was smelling.
My brothers and I were arrested days earlier for preaching the Word of God. Our testimony of the Lord, Christ Jesus, and our requests for the populace to repent of their sins, repulsed the local town's people and the authorities heeded their outcry. They came for us in the dead of night and we were herded up; like sheep going off to slaughter.
One stomp . . . two stomp . . . three stomp . . . the guards continued their march toward our cells, stopping at each one before continuing to the next.
Just the other night my brothers and I were reading from the writings of our beloved brother in Christ, Paul, who had penned from his own prison cell, a message encouraging us to take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit to all of God's people. He spoke from his own experiences and reassured us that our weaknesses, persecutions, and hardships would make us strong in our Lord, Christ Jesus. His words gave us the boldness to speak the Word of God fearlessly and without thought of our own lives.
One stomp . . . two stomp . . . three stomp . . . Every time I heard the stomping end it was followed by the swoosh of a sword being drawn and then of a thud on the floor.
I crouched in the corner of my small cell, my head bowed in prayer, my fingers wrapped around the crucifix that I wore. Sweat was dripping from my brow, but not from terror, they were beads of confidence, for I knew our almighty God had us in the shadow of His hand.
Months earlier God told us we were to take His Word and use it to divide and conquer the souls and spirits of our neighbors. We knew His Word would be like a powerful sharp sword, piercing and penetrating the hearts and minds of the heathens that lived among us, so they would be able to discern for themselves the graveness of their helplessness and their need to find the Christ, whom they have buried in their own unrighteousness.
One stomp . . . two stomp . . . three stomp . . . The sound of their boots were getting closer to my cell, I stood and stared at the cell door waiting for the guard to appear. I held my hands high in the air and began to sing how wonderful, faithful, and loving my God was. As the key rattled in the door, I closed my eyes, giving praise to my Lord, Christ Jesus for His love and mercy.
Swoosh. . . . thud.
I slowly opened my eyes and standing before me was an angel and next to him was the guard, dead on the floor. My prison door opened and as I looked down the dark hall, I saw each of my brothers standing with an angel next to them and a lifeless prison guard on the cold pavement beneath their feet.
We ran to each other praising and thanking God for delivering us from the hands of death. As we looked back, we saw the guards one after one in front of the empty cells lying in pools of blood. Then the angels of the Lord came towards us, each with what appeared to be a sword in their hands, they lifted their arms towards the heavens and as they brought them down, they placed into our hands the weapons they had used on the guards.
To our amazement, the weapons were not weapons at all, but were scrolls with the Word of God written upon each one. We stood in wonder as we looked at the words on the scrolls, "For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart."
To God be the glory!
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