It is so easy to let yourself be defined by your circumstances. And then to allow them to control you. To make yourself a victim. Yet we have been called to rise above our circumstances – to keep our eyes fixed on Jesus and to focus on things that are good.
In what is probably my favorite book of the Bible, Paul writes to the Philippian church from jail where he is soon to die. Oh, and did I mention that he has been there for a long time. Despite his circumstances, or is it maybe even because of them, this letter is full of light and hope and joy. In the upside way that so many of the priorities on the Kingdom of God seem to be, Paul writes
Above all, you must live as citizens of heaven, conducting yourselves in a manner worthy of the Good News about Christ. Then, whether I come and see you again or only hear about you, I will know that you are standing together with one spirit and one purpose, fighting together for the faith, which is the Good News. Don’t be intimidated in any way by your enemies. This will be a sign to them that they are going to be destroyed, but that you are going to be saved, even by God himself. For you have been given not only the privilege of trusting in Christ but also the privilege of suffering for him.
Did you catch that? He says it is a privilege to suffer for Christ. And that we should always conduct ourselves in a manner worthy of the Good News. No matter what the circumstances!
Sold Into Freedom
by Carole Towriss
Series: Planting Faith #1
Published by Four Diamonds Publishing
Publication Date December 12, 2019
Genres: Biblical Fiction, Christian Fiction, Action/Adventure, Clean Romance
Setting: The Roman Empire Roman Empire - 32BC - 1461 AD
Written for: Adults
Taught to hear messages from the goddess from a young age, Elantia’s life is shattered when she is captured from her home in southwest Britannia and sold as a slave in Macedonia. She wants nothing more than to escape and return home—after she kills the man who took the only good thing left in her life.
Tossed aside by the Empire, wounded tribune Quintus Valerius ends up in sleepy Philippi to retire. Manipulated into becoming the prison keeper, he vows to return to Rome as soon as possible to reclaim his reputation and his life. He is intrigued by the quiet Jewish teacher who speaks of truth and peace, but is convinced he can never have either.
When Elantia’s shocking actions shake up the town and her life is threatened, Quintus risks what little he has left to save her—only to put Paulos and his friends in even greater danger.
I would like to thank Carole Towriss for giving me this copy of the book. This gift did not influence my opinion or review.
Elantia sought revenge. After watching the destruction of her village and the murder of her family, and being sold as a slave, she was probably justified in thinking that way. At least by the standards of the world. Being as beautiful as she is, the one thing that protects her from the evil desires of her master is the thought that she needs to remain pure to be able to use her “gift”.
I love the way that author Carole Towriss writes such well-researched Biblical fiction and takes a few chapters and fills in details, making the events come alive. And she weaves so much scripture into the story! Being as this story takes place in Philippi when Paulos is there, he has more than a minor role here, and so much of what he speaks is directly from the letters he wrote.
The events in the story play out differently than what I have pictured, especially regarding the timeline – reading this story had me wanting to open my Bible to re-read the events in Acts 16 to see – could this have taken place over a longer period of time? (And yes, I did do this!) I also appreciated the way so many of the people Paul mentions in his letter show up here.
Though this is the story of a captive, a slave, it is also the story of freedom in Christ. And a story of forgiveness. Not just God’s forgiveness toward us but also our need to forgive others.
While there is some violence in it, it is necessary and not overdone. And not everything gets wrapped up in a nice, neat happy ending. Hmm, kind of like our life here on earth. But to quote Goldilocks, it was “just right”.