A Passion For Christ Ministries

Vol. 11, No. 1 (October 2009)
P.O. Box 498525 , Chicago, IL 60649
2253 E. 71 st Street, Chicago, IL 60649
(773) 324-6899
mailto:passions@apassionforchrist.org

 

Reverend Beverly D. Thomas
Pastor
http://www.apassionforchrist.org

Television Program: “The Light Still Shines” – WJYS-62 – First Three Saturdays of the month, 5:00 a.m.

"And the multitude of them that believed were of one heart and of one soul" Acts 4:32


EMANCIPATION, Chapter 1
“…the act of setting free from the power of another…”

BORN A SLAVE!

Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage (Galatians 5:1).

 

Rise and Shine

It will soon be three a.m., time again to “rise and shine,” and return to the tea and sugar plantations of Uganda. How many will try and escape today, I wonder? How many will be caught and killed. Like hunted animals, running with chains, running to their deaths. Day in and day out, it’s the same old scenario. I have helped so many reach freedom and I can’t stop now. I will give my life so that others can be free. So many people are bound; having never tasted freedom. They believe that “slavery and bondage” are all that encompasses life but there is more … so much more. Every man, woman, boy and girl can and should be free.

I am Boaz

I am Boaz, a free man. I have been traveling throughout Uganda and Rwanda. I speak several languages, including English, Luganda, and Swahili. I’ve traveled all over the world contending for the freedom of my brothers and sisters. I’ve watched them live in fear and die in dread. I’ve seen hundreds come and go. Etched in their faces like carefully sketched cartoon characters, anguish and fear are constant companions -- no hope; so many settle for bondage, slavery, and dread. Some once embarked with a fight, a hunger to be free that could not be quenched but over time, they too would settle for slavery and bondage. It hurts to have the reality that all men can be free but they don’t want to be rescued. I’ve been beaten so badly until I couldn’t see, torn ligaments drenched my almost dead body but I wouldn’t die. I wouldn’t grant death its request. I had to live. People must know that they too can be emancipated.

Watching the people suffer with no will to live, no will to be free takes my mind back to Moses and his tireless efforts to redeem a weary, tired, and beaten down people who could not grasp what was happening to them.

I Know

And the LORD said, I have surely seen the affliction of my people which are in Egypt, and have heard their cry by reason of their taskmasters; for I know their sorrows; And I am come downto deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians, and to bring them up out of that land unto a good land and a large, unto a land flowing with milk and honey; unto the place of the Canaanites, and the Hittites, and the Amorites, and the Perizzites, and the Hivites, and the Jebusites. Now therefore, behold, the cry of the children of Israel is come unto me: and I have also seen the oppression wherewith the Egyptians oppress them.

 Come now therefore, and I will send thee unto Pharaoh, that thou mayest bring forth my people the children of Israel out of Egypt. And Moses said unto God, Who am I, that I should go unto Pharaoh, and that I should bring forth the children of Israel out of Egypt? And he said, Certainly I will be with thee; and this shall be a token unto thee, that I have sent thee: When thou hast brought forth the people out of Egypt, ye shall serve God upon this mountain (Exodus 3:7-12).

 400 Years

The children of Israel had suffered for over 400 years and soon they would be delivered. They would taste freedom. How many of those people were made witnesses to the death of loved ones? How many saw their brothers, sisters, wives, uncles, friends, and even children crushed beneath the taskmaster’s grinding wheels? Soon there would be deliverance. Whenever honest-hearted people cry out to God, He listens, and is moved with compassion. When His hands are untied, He will move.

I will hearken unto you...

Jeremiah 29:11-14 For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end. Then shall ye call upon me, and ye shall go and pray unto me, and I will hearken unto you. And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart. And I will be found of you, saith the Lord: and I will turn away your captivity, and I will gather you from all the nations, and from all the places whither I have driven you, saith the Lord; and I will bring you again into the place whence I caused you to be carried away captive.

A Slave is a Slave … No Matter

My father was free and my mother was a slave which meant I was born free. I have family, close family who are slaves. They are so many souls who have made themselves comfortable with nothing; they say they are blessed to be in the slave master’s house; that he takes good care of them. They say the beatings and denial of food are apart of love … an act of discipline needed to keep them submissive. What kind of love is that? A slave is a slave no matter who the master is. One could be in the barn, the yard or even the master’s house; you still a slave if you ain’t free! So many have become satisfied with being a slave and fuss, complain and even rise up against those who speak of freedom and a new way of life. Many of the battered slaves simply chalk it up as dreaming of something that would never, never take place.

Born free…I decided

I was born free but decided live in bondage; I decided to become a prisoner for my people; a people who had no freedom; a people who needed to experience deliverance. You see there was no other way. There was no other way.I had to become a slave so that they could be free … if they chose. I had to auction myself into slavery so that others could be free. I had to live among them and allow myself to be treated unfairly, enduring many days in the dark, betrayed by brethren and nearly beaten to death, countless times, only in an effort to spread the concept of freedom. So many that are free don’t care about the others, only thinking of themselves. How can a free man say he is free when either his son, daughter, mother, father or neighbor is bound? Makes no sense to me.

Uganda

Uganda has been called the Pearl of Africa. It is a landlocked country in East Africa. It is bordered on the east by Kenya, on the north by Sundan, on the west by the Democratic Republic of Congo, on the southwest by Rwanda, and on the south by Tanzania. The southern part of the country includes a substantial portion of Lake Victoria, within which it shares borders with Kenya and Tanzania.*

Uganda is home to many different ethnic groups, none of whom form a majority of the population. Uganda has been dealing with a “strange” disease lurking about. People are just “dropping dead.” No one knows what’s going on. It ravishes the person’s immune system and they never seem to recover. One of our neighbors, Rwanda, it seems that death is imminent for so many, many there. You can smell death in the air.

Dead Bodies Everywhere

Some residents have been plagued with dreams of mass murder. Who knows if anything will come of it? People regard what is told them by the “elders” or old folks. Many of them lived close to God and would serve as a compass for the others. They recited dreams of dead bodies everywhere. Maybe a plague is on the horizon. God help us all!

The Republic of Uganda takes its name from the Buganda kingdom, encompassed a portion of the south of the country including the capital Kamala.*

The crimes here have been horrific. There are many tales to tell. One freedom fighter that I travelled with years ago told me this astounding story. It is the story of a wild boy, about fourteen years old, who had to be physically restrained. He terrified the people in Jinja, Uganda, East Africa. He was jerking back and forward; it was an awful case. People were trying to hold him and keep him still. Night and day, they couldn’t do anything with him. Some evil spirits had possessed the child completely. As my friend continued his horrific story, I was moved at the thought of how so many must be living in such bondage. I was told that something strange had happened to him when he was only three. From then until the age of fourteen, he was a wild child.

The Father … a Witch Doctor

The terror of the mother. It was incredible, even as I listened on. The father had been a witch doctor. The father believed that since the evil forces had controlled his life, they no doubt, took control of his son. The father had to admit that at one time he knew the Lord but left His protection, opening the way to all of this evil to come upon his son. He and his son were slaves to the greatest evil on earth.

There was another elaborate tale told by another freedom fighter. He told me how mothers were told by witch doctors to slay one of their children when twins were born. How horrible. With so much darkness hovering here, there must be someone to stand in the gap … that person is me, Boaz.

Afraid of What “Might” Be

That’s what happened in Moses’ day. The Pharaoh was afraid of what might happen if the people discovered they could be free. What a master he was. Pharaoh’s whip was as sharp and cruel as the grave. Some, exhausted by torture, even begged for death. I have seen and heard all of this. Just the thought of freedom ignited memories of lashes, as many as 100 at one time. With the remembrance of a torn, ravished back, many throw the thought of freedom out along with the dung of farm animals. How hard it must have been to watch a wife, a son, or daughter whipped almost to death. Some have even died as early as 10 years old from the master’s lashes! Many plantation owners viewed lashing as a way to control the behavior of slaves. All men can be free.

Exodus 1:8-12 Now there arose up a new king over Egypt, which knew not Joseph. And he said unto his people, Behold, the people of the children of Israel are more and mightier than we: Come on, let us deal wisely with them; lest they multiply, and it come to pass, that, when there falleth out any war, they join also unto our enemies, and fight against us, and so get them up out of the land. Therefore they did set over them taskmasters to afflict them with their burdens. And they built for Pharaoh treasure cities, Pithom and Raamses. But the more they afflicted them, the more they multiplied and grew. And they were grieved because of the children of Israel.

 Hard Bondage

And the Egyptians made the children of Israel to serve with rigour: And they made their lives bitter with hard bondage, in morter, and in brick, and in all manner of service in the field: all their service, wherein they made them serve, was with rigour. And the king of Egypt spake to the Hebrew midwives, of which the name of the one was Shiphrah, and the name of the other Puah: And he said, When ye do the office of a midwife to the Hebrew women, and see them upon the stools; if it be a son, then ye shall kill him: but if it be a daughter, then she shall live. But the midwives feared God, and did not as the king of Egypt commanded them, but saved the men children alive (Exodus 1:13-17).

 A Constant Companion

I am grateful for my constant companion, Chernin. He has nursed me back from oblivion more times than I care to recollect. Once, his master was mad about the food being too hot and meant to throw an iron rod at the door but hit Chernin instead. He has not been the same since. Chernin has poor vision and often has seizures. I remember once he ran right up to another person, thinking them to have been me. We often laughed about that; just the thought makes me chuckle. Chernin knows what it means to be free. I risked my life to save him. One night there was uproar at one of the houses that provided me refuge. Chernin, while in the midst of cooking, fell to the floor as if suddenly struck my lightening. The master of that house just left him be. If he died he died. If Chernin lived, well that was good too. No one waited around to see his outcome and that’s when I took him. I laid him across my back and out into the thick darkness we went. I carried him as one would carry a cross … his entire burden was laid upon me … I didn’t mind. He was mine and I now belonged to him. Chernin was out for what seemed liked days and when he came to and realized he was no longer in that house, Chernin sobbed for many hours. I just held him while echoing countless stories of freedom.

Trained and Untrained

In the beginning of our travels together, please understand I had no choice; I had to pull my weapon out on Chernin because he wanted to live in fear. I had to teach him what it really meant to be free. He had known no other way of life … all those years of living in the master’s house, now he was free. Chernin couldn’t handle such a revelation. It was hard to receive. He wasn’t use to being a free man; he had to be untrained and retraineduntrainedand retrained. I had to convince Chernin that he was truly free and if he didn’t go forward I would shoot him right there on the spot. He soon relinquished his fear of freedom. He is loyal and trustworthy. Chernin now relishes in the fact that he is a free man. Complaints never spill for from his mouth, even when he is very ill, he is glad to be free. Some people are resentful when you speak of freedom. It reminds them of their cowardliness and their lack to fight for freedom. Freedom is available if you are willing to fight for it!

No Graves in Egypt

And when Pharaoh drew nigh, the children of Israel lifted up their eyes, and, behold, the Egyptians marched after them; and they were sore afraid: and the children of Israel cried out unto the LORD.
And they said unto Moses, Because there were no graves in Egypt, hast thou taken us away to die in the wilderness? wherefore hast thou dealt thus with us, to carry us forth out of Egypt? Is not this the word that we did tell thee in Egypt, saying, Let us alone, that we may serve the Egyptians? For it had been better for us to serve the Egyptians, than that we should die in the wilderness
(Exodus 14:10-12).

Hope is but a Corpse

I have a great burden for those who find themselves slaves. It’s horrible to have never tasted freedom. You only read about it in books or sing of its hopeful outcome in song while the sun beats upon your battered back as you toil and toil in the master’s field. For many, hope is but a corpse, buried so early in life; fear has taken the place of joy. It is a fitting garment. Oh what torment. I know how they feel. You see these are my people. They have been such a part of me since I knew my purpose – the plan for my life is the plan for their lives. We all have a purpose … like a three-act play; it is all laid out for each one.

It’s horrible what the heat can do to a soul. Some will never understand, until in living reality they are thrusted into the sun to bring forth profit for someone else and nothing for themselves; working for the master … the master of fear, dread and despair… death.

He came unto his own, and his own received him not. But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God (John 1:11-13).

Oh, Child of God, how precious you are to your Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ. Why not repeat this simple prayer with me, asking Jesus into your heart:

 Oh, God! I have sinned against you. I am so sorry! I have come home, and I’m going to serve you, Lord, the rest of my life. I do believe that you are able to deliver me and cleanse me from all unrighteousness and fear. I believe that the blood of your Son, Jesus Christ can make me clean, whole and free. I want the impossible to be made possible in my life. Come on into my heart and help me. Help me, Lord. I trust and believe that through the blood, I can make it. Oh, Lord, I want your help. Save my soul. Love me, Jesus. I must have your love. Love me, Jesus. I will answer your call to salvation today. Come on into my heart, Jesus! Come in!

Join me in the next issue and see what becomes of Boaz! God Bless You.

*Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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