1. Revolution, Declaration and Freedom
2. Prisoners of War
3. Allies and Enemies
During the first months of the war, the British were cautious in their treatment of prisoners, captured towns and countryside. The British had the challenge of fighting the war while building the allegiance of Loyalists (American colonists who remained loyal to and fought for Britain). They did not damage or destroy buildings, they did not ravage or burn the countryside and they treated prisoners well. They offered freedom to the captured soldiers if they either signed an oath to serve as soldiers for Britain or pledged not to return to battle as an opponent to Britain.
That policy changed as the brutality of war grew. Both sides gained and lost captured cities. The British held only a few places of strength for long, so locations for prisoners were limited. They used at least sixteen obsolete, captured or damaged ships as prisons for thousands of American soldiers and sailors. The conditions on the ships were appalling and many of these prisoners died from neglect; their corpses were often tossed overboard. More soldiers died aboard the infamous prison ships than died in battle. An estimated 25,000 American Revolutionaries died during the war; about 8,000 died in battle, about 7,000 deaths were from disease, and over 10,000 died aboard the prison ships.
There is an enemy on the shores of your life today that has a prison ship waiting for you. Perhaps you are already a prisoner on this ship. Once captured, you are invited to change allegiance from God – the giver of life to join sides with the devil – the destroyer of life. The ships bear the names of Doubt, Discouragement and Depression.
Hopelessness surrounds each prisoner like a heavy chain. Despair and neglect are two of the main guards holding people hostage. More people perish imprisoned on these prison ships than those who die in victory and freedom.
The modes of escape are simple, but bold.
#1 Jump ship. Leave the ship of death and board the ship of life by accepting the free gift of salvation offered by Jesus.
#2 Move from isolation to participation. Go to church every Sunday. Participate in a small group sharing your struggles and supporting others in their struggles.
#3 Eat. Reading the Bible, talking to the Lord, worshiping the Lord by giving your time treasure and talent brings spiritual nourishment to your spirit and soul.
Hebrews 2:14-16 (NIV1984)
14 Since the children have flesh and blood, He too shared in their humanity so that by His death He might destroy him who holds the power of death—that is, the devil — 15 and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death. 16 For surely it is not angels he helps, but Abraham’s descendants.