Captives Set Free

By Curtis Rittenour | Posted December 15, 2014

"His ideology is just so strong and so powerful that it clouds his vision for common sense and objectiveness.” Unwilling to wait any longer, police finally stormed a café in Sydney, Australia, to free a dozen hostages, ending a 16-hour standoff with a lone gunman.

It came to a dramatic end. There was no warning. After hours of tense waiting, gunfire and screaming erupted. Hostages suddenly ran from the building. Stun grenades were thrown and, after flashes and loud explosions, officers bravely ran inside the darkened café. At least three people died in the skirmish, two innocent civilians and the armed gunman.

Man Haron Monis, an Iranian refugee and self-proclaimed “spiritual healer,” held more than a dozen hostage in the Lindt Chocolate Café in Sydney, Australia. Soon after entering the café around 10:00am on Monday, he forced some hostages to hold up a jihadist black flag in the café’s window.

The gunman made demands and claimed to have planted bombs throughout the city. No devices have been found. His former lawyer explains,

“This is a one-off random individual. It's not a concerted terrorism event or act. It's a damaged goods individual who's done something outrageous. … His ideology is just so strong and so powerful that it clouds his vision for common sense and objectiveness.” [1]

In some ways, we each live as a hostage in a world terrorized by evil. When Adam and Eve chose to disobey God in Eden, they handed over their dominion of our world to Satan. This enemy was once a perfect angel who stood next to the throne of God in heaven. But he became proud and jealous of the Son of God, clouding his vision for common sense and objectiveness.

When the devil was cast out of heaven, he came to this earth with part of the heavenly host. Satan disguised himself and tempted Eve to eat the forbidden fruit. When she and then Adam fell into his trap, they became hostages to a life of sin. Like the hostages in Australia, in their own power, they could not escape. They needed outside intervention.

Jesus came to set us all free from the clutches of evil. Though we were destined to die for our sins, Christ died in our place. He now lives to empower us to break loose from the enemy’s grip and walk in freedom. “If the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed” (John 8:36).

You might not be locked in a café with a mad gunman pointing a weapon at you, but you might be trapped in a life of sin. You’d like to escape his bondage but fear you’ll never make it. The Bible assures you, “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear” (Psalm 46:1, 2). You can be set free, even when there is evil all around you.

If you struggle to believe that God can truly set you free, read some of these stories of changed lives by clicking here.

Curtis Rittenour
Curtis J. Rittenour is the senior writer at Amazing Facts International. He pastored for 25 years and has authored books, magazine articles, blogs, and seminars.

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