Today, I share one of my daddy’s writings.
It is an excerpt from an April 1998 sermon. coffin

Let me share with you a story I recently read in one of the history books in my library. It was about a man named William Knibbs and how on July 3l, 1838, on the Island of Jamaica, he gathered 10,000 slaves for a great praise gathering. They were celebrating the New Emancipation Proclamation Act that would abolish slavery on the island.

They had built an immense coffin and into it were placed whips, branding irons, chains, fetters of all kinds, slave garments and all the things that represented the terrible slavery system that was now coming to a welcomed end.

At the first stroke of the midnight bell, Knibbs shouted out, “The monster is dying.” At each stroke of the bell that followed this cry was repeated and the great crowd began to join in the cry. At the twelfth stoke 10,000 voices cried out, “The monster is dead, the monster is dead; let us bury him.”

They then nailed the coffin lid down and lowered it into a huge grave and covered it up. That night, every heart rejoiced and 10,000 voices grew hoarse, shouting and crying with joy. Once they were in bondage to slavery, but now they were free.

There is a tragic side to this story.

While many rejoiced in their new liberty and freedom, there were some slaves that lived in remote areas of the island that did not know they had legally been set free. Because they didn’t know, for many years after the Emancipation Proclamation had been made a law, they still continued to serve their slave masters. Their former masters successfully kept the news from them as long as they could. By law they had been declared free men and did not have to live as slaves any longer. However, ignorance of the truth kept them in bondage.

Let me tell you an even sadder story.

If we heard a story like this happening today, we’d be shocked, sympathetic and even angered. But the same thing IS happening in our day. Jesus Christ, because of his victory against sin on the cross, has issued an Emancipation Proclamation of liberty and freedom from sin to everyone on this earth. But like some of the Jamaicans, there are those that don’t understand they no longer have to live as slaves to sin; and the devil tries to keep them in that mindset.

The message of the cross is this:

Satan has been defeated and sin’s penalty has been paid. We no longer have to surrender to sin or be controlled by Satan. We can belong to Jesus and live to please God. I am thankful that I have been set free by the Emancipation Proclamation of the cross.

The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because I am marked out by him to give good news to the poor; he has sent me to make well those who are broken-hearted; to say that the prisoners will be let go, and the blind will see, and to make the wounded free from their chains…” Luke 4:18




I hesitated as I stood to my feet; I looked around to see if anyone was watching. With deliberate slowness I walked toward the man who could have easily been mistaken for George Clooney’s brother.  As our eyes locked, I questioned whether I was doing the right thing. His arms reached out to embrace me and  whispered, “This will be a night to remember.” Hand in hand, we walked toward a corridor lined with empty rooms.

He opened the door to one of the rooms and I heard him ask someone to bring me a drink. I fumbled nervously with my purse and found a seat next to the window. I welcomed the cold drink and gulped it down in a matter of seconds. What in the world was I thinking when I told my friend I would attend this conference. I never expected to find myself in a room with a total stranger. This was so unlike me.

Yet, at some point during the conference I had let down my guard. And now I was alone in a room with a man I didn’t know.  I wondered if he had a family like me. But before I could inquire, he asked me to kneel down next to my chair and close my eyes. Little did I know a life-changing moment was about to ensue.  Something that would change the dynamics of my marriage, my family; and impact my future in ways never imagined.

And then, I heard a door open and a familiar voice rung out, “Please, pastor, don’t start without me. I want to be a part of this life-changing moment.” It was the voice of my friend, the one who had invited me to attend the conference. She threw her arms around me and joyfully shouted, “I am so happy for you. I know this was a difficult decision, but life is too short to not have a love affair with Jesus.”

With my friend next to me, I prayed the sinner’s prayer and asked Jesus into my heart. It has been a love affair ever since.

I am forever grateful for the pastor who ushered me into that quiet room to share the gospel of Christ. When our eyes locked that day, he knew I was about to enter into a love affair with Jesus, the King of Kings. He was just one of the many pastors who had volunteered to work the Christian conference and counsel those who wanted to know Jesus. 

And for the record, the pastor is happily married with three kids and continues to reach out and embrace anyone who wants to have a love affair with Jesus. He is a true man of God.

SIDEBAR: This devotional story is shared based on events as told by a third-party.