Hi everyone! It's good to be here on a sunny night in Fermanagh - an added blessing! And to be with you again to share God's word. Now, I know tonight is a delicate subject, but I want you to relax - OK? I'm not going to re-traumatise anybody who is here that this subject affects, and yet at the same time we want to deal with it properly, biblically, sensitively, and yet thoroughly so that the Lord might meet you in your need. And I'm very convinced that God is going to touch people tonight, I'm also aware that there are folk who don't think that this is their problem, and you're actually going to find out tonight that it is. God is going to reveal things to you. So we are very very aware of the presence of God, of His ministry, of the desire of the enemy to thwart that and to hinder what God is doing - but Jesus is stronger than Satan, and Satan to Jesus must bow. We're going to practice God's presence right now as we come in prayer - would you do that with me? Will you pray now that God will speak to you, and meet your need. Now, you might think that this night is only applicable to people who have been abused - that is far from the case. So I want you to come and ask the Lord to speak to you tonight in areas that you feel, or the Lord knows, is an issue. Will you do that? Let's pray, and please do pray yourself:
Father, we thank You and we worship You, that You are God over all. You are exalted above all, You are the Creator of the universe, You are the one who breathed life into us and made us living beings. You are the one who knit us together in our mother's wombs. You're the one who has seen us, and willed us, and ordained our days. Lord, we thank You that we can also declare tonight that You are the one who loves us with an everlasting, unconditional love. You have declared that through Your Son Jesus Christ, You have demonstrated in the cross how much You love us. Father, not only that, but You raised Him again from the grave the third day, and He has come to us in the Holy Spirit. We thank You that He is here tonight, we thank You that He is with, in and beside those who know You as Lord and Saviour of their lives. We pray that You will come very near, and even those who perhaps aren't aware of a personal relationship with Jesus, that tonight will be the night when they step out in faith into that relationship. So, Lord, we welcome You to come, we welcome You to come. We invoke and lift up high the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, we plead and appeal the efficacy of the blood of the Lord Jesus. Lord, cover this whole place in the power of the covering of the blood of Jesus, send Your angels, Lord Jesus Christ, to minister to us - that chains will be broken this evening, that shackles will fall off, that grave clothes will wither and the dead will walk forth from those sepulchres that maybe they have been in for years, decades, or all their life. Lord, please come and minister deeply to all of our hearts this evening, in the mighty name of Jesus we pray - and everyone said 'Amen'.
OK, we're going to read just to begin with Matthew 11, just the end verses which are very familiar to most of you. We'll not take any time talking about them just at the moment, but just so that we read Scripture before we begin. Matthew 11 verses 28 through to 30, and these are the words of the Lord Jesus of course. He says: "Come to Me, all you who labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light".
Tonight we're looking at 'Wholeness for the Abused'. If you were to look up several dictionary definitions of the word 'abuse', you would get quite an extensive definition using many words. Some dictionaries define 'abuse' as a wrong use of power. There is no doubt about that, a wrong use of power or position; where someone feels that they have a measure of authority over you and so, as other definitions put it, they take advantage of you because of their power and position over you. Other definitions are 'to violate', or 'to insult'. So we could talk anecdotally tonight, which we're not going to do to any great degree, about the types of abuses there are. We will delineate them, but we will not go into an awful lot of illustration, we don't have time to do that. But, you know, abuse - we immediately think of the worst case scenario when we talk about abuse, yet there are many abuses of power. There are what we might call ranging from insignificant abuses of power. Now, there is no insignificant abuse, but what we're talking about is things like - does this ring a bell with anybody? Office theft, you know, where you take the stapler home, or the Tippex, or the Pritt stick or something like that. Well, effectively what that is is not only stealing - just in case you didn't know - it's thieving off your employer, but it is also an abuse of your position. You feel that because you're working in their employ, and maybe they are taking their pound of flesh, and you feel 'I'm justified in taking this home'. But, of course, we're probably more familiar with the more horrific types of abuse which may affect people even in this room tonight.
When we are abused, we are devalued. The reason why that is is because - and this is the essence, if you want to really know the core and the heart of what abuse is - it is a devaluing by stealing a person's free will. That's it in a nutshell. A person's free will, their volition, their autonomy as a person has been stolen from them. Consequently, there is a loss of honour and dignity because their choice has been taken away. So, the more horrific and serious aspects of abuse are more like this - if you can make that out - the tank steamrolling over the car. There is disrespect. Ultimately stealing a person's will - right, OK, that's bad enough - but it is in order to manipulate the other person to get your way. Have you got it now? So you are violating another person's boundary, their personal boundary of choice and autonomy, by stepping in, robbing them of free will, forcing them to do something - but you're doing it with a motivation, and that is to manipulate that person to get your way at a cost. Sometimes it is at any cost.
Now, it is obvious to say that abuse damages relationships. So that's why, to a large extent, if you take the broad definition of abuse, why there are so many disordered relationships in our society, why there are so many dysfunctional families, why people as individuals struggle on a daily basis with their own self-worth - why? Because they have been devalued, they feel worthless because they have been abused. Now we're going to look first of all kinds of abuse. Some of these may not perhaps have occurred to you initially, but we're going to go down them one by one. There are about six I have here tonight. The first type of abuse is verbal abuse - are you familiar with that? The way we use our words, or misuse, abuse our words. The Bible has an awful lot to say about this. I think I told you before, I have a little key system in my Bible, a colour system, but I've also got a symbol system. Whenever I read about the mouth, or lips, our words, I just put these red lips. It's amazing how many red lips there are right throughout the Bible, how much is said - in fact, from the very beginning in Genesis, God said 'Let there be light'. Now, that shows you right away that there is power in words. You might say, 'Well, those are the words of God', and that is correct - but God has invested in His creative order a certain power inherent within language. Proverbs 12 verse 18 says: 'There is one who speaks like the piercings of a sword'. That's the way our words can be, and the misuse of words is really in order to bring emotional hurt.
So the idea is that you're speaking words that will penetrate the heart, but it's even stronger than that! You know, a lot of Christians are very loose with their words. They think that there is little consequence to the things that we say when, in fact, Proverbs 18:21 says: 'Death and life are in the power of the tongue'. Do you know that you have got power to curse with your mouth? Did you know that? Now I'm not talking about saying bad words, letting out the odd switcher now and again, we're not talking about that type of cursing. We're not even talking about explicit cursing, like saying: 'I curse you'. That's not what we're talking about, although that can happen. We're talking about the heart of your words that express in a certain harshness ill favour toward another, and by doing such the enemy can take those words - even the words of a Christian - and use them against them. We can speak blessing or cursing, James 3 and verse 9 - this is in the New Testament: 'With it', he's talking about the tongue, he says 'With it we bless our God and Father, and with it we curse men who have been made in the similitude of God', in the image of God. He's speaking to Christians, and he saying: 'One minute you can be praying to God, blessing His name, praising Him, worshipping Him; and the next moment you can be cursing your brother out of the same mouth, using the same tongue'. It's remarkable, isn't it?
So words that accuse - by the way, the accuser of the brothers is the devil, so if you're accusing people you're doing his work. Words that condemn, 'There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ', that's the devil's work. Words that criticise; words that perhaps are very despairing or depressive, hopeless; words that mock; words that are slanderous, ungracious - all of those are ways that we can verbally abuse others. I hope that you know, if you're a Christian tonight, from at least a cursory reading of the New Testament, that God invented words to edify - that means to build up, to affirm, to encourage people - not to pull down and destroy. Of course, Scripture reflects this. Proverbs 12 verse 25: 'Anxiety in the heart of a man causes depression, but a good word makes it glad' - singular, just even one good word can dispel depression. That might seem very simplistic, but if it's a word of God, well, it will work; and we are called to speak the words of God. 'The words that I speak unto you', Jesus said, 'they are spirit and they are life'. If we are speaking the word of God to people, we will see change and transformation in their emotional well-being.
Another Scripture, Proverbs again, 16 and 24: 'Pleasant words are as honeycomb: sweet to the soul and healthy to the bones'. What a lie, whoever taught 'Sticks and stones may break my bones, but names will never hurt me'! I was taught that - rubbish, utter rubbish! Words do affect us, and just as good words, wholesome words, are like health to the bones; curse words, abusive words can actually make the body ill. You see, Satan's desire with the tongue is that it should be used to destroy and pull down. Can I say this: silence is not golden either, right? Sometimes it's not what is said that is the problem, but what is left unsaid. Often in relationships, like parent-child relationships, husband-wife relationships, we could go on and on, where there should be affirmation, where there should be encouragement and kindness, there is silence that speaks a thousand words. So you may have had a parent, or a loved one, and it's because they didn't tell you that they loved you, or that you were good at a thing - and there was just this hanging in the air, and that is what actually has damaged you.
So there is verbal abuse, one type of abuse - we could talk about that non-stop. A second type of abuse is emotional abuse. Now, again, just as words stir up emotion, emotional abuse will stir up another person's emotional response in order, primarily, to cause pain and in fact to exert a certain amount of control over another. When we talked about control a couple of months ago, we talked about emotional blackmail - this is a form of emotional abuse, where you use people's feelings to get one over them. We've all had that done to us, I'm sure, and maybe some of us have even done it if we're honest. Now, we saw last time when we looked at anger that God has given us emotions - isn't that correct? Emotions are not bad, it's what we do with them that causes grave consequences at times. God has given us emotions in order to motivate us toward doing right things. So we all have emotional needs, every single one of us. We need to be affirmed, we need to be accepted, we need to be comforted. But when that doesn't happen, and maybe the opposite happens, we become emotionally damaged and effectively abused.
Now some people say: 'Would you wise up! You need to harden up! You need to harden up and don't be so soft and sensitive!'. Do you know that the pain of rejection - and we spoke, I think the first night was on rejection, wasn't it? The pain of rejection actually lights up the same place in the brain as a broken femur, did you know that? It is clinically proven that emotional and physical pain actually activate similar regions of the brain. Pain is pain. I remember hearing a nurse speaking on this on one occasion, and they had a saying when she was training: 'Pain is what the patient feels'. I remember having my appendix out one time - I could go on for long enough on this - emergency appendectomy, and the surgeon, the man across the ward from me was delighted to tell me that they nicknamed him 'the Butcher'! That was very helpful for me! Thankfully he didn't operate, but a locum operated on me - but he was the one who did the rounds, and he wouldn't so much as give me his hand to help me out of bed when I was in so much pain. He delighted in telling me that there were men twice my age that were up and running about quicker than I was - but pain is what the patient feels, OK? So what that 60-year-old feels may not be what I feel. Equally, you might think emotional abuse is something minor in comparison with, say, physical or sexual abuse or something else - but that is not the case whatsoever. It's whatever the impact is that it has had on you, pain is what the patient feels.
The fact of the matter is: Satan wants to destroy your emotional well-being and health through abuse, through verbal and emotional and any other abuse you like. In other words, he wants to break your heart. So there is verbal, emotional, then there is sexual. This is what most people think of now as synonymous with the term 'abuse'. Sexual abuse is using sexual knowledge or power to force another person against their will to sexual activity, or to stimulate another person to inappropriate behaviour against their will. So basically, to define abuse again, it is anything that is without free will choice, where there is forcefulness. Can I say something? There has been a great deal in the last five years or so about abuse, sexual abuse in celebrity ranks, about sexual abuse in the church, and about other institutions - but most abusers are in the family, sexual abusers. Most of them are people who are known to us. They are often respected people in our eyes, and trusted people in our hearts - that's how they actually make their move. You may well have been affected by someone in your family. Of course, we are well aware of the church scandal, and it's not just in the Roman Catholic Church, it's right across the board - but it's not just in churches. In fact, it is in many institutions, some of you may have seen the sign that has been up about the place: 'Were you abused while in an institution?'. Some people have been in children's homes, hospitals, etc etc.
Now, because of immigration and various other things in our modern era, there is human trafficking. We know well about it where I come from in Portadown, there has been a lot of this, where there have been illegal immigrants brought in, sold into slavery, modern day slavery - slavery is stronger today than it has ever being in the history of mankind through sex trafficking. We don't realise this. But sexual abuse can also happen, wait for it, in marriage! We hear so much in the church, correctly so, that God's ideal is that sexual activity should take place in the bounds of marriage, but sometimes people subliminally hear through that that therefore anything that takes place within wedlock is warranted, validated. On the contrary. Even within marriage sexuality can be used to control people, it can be forced on another, there can be perversions within marriage, and sex can even be used as a bargaining chip - a reward or a punishment, withholding sexual activity from a spouse. Now the Bible says that the marriage bed is pure - Hebrews chapter 13:4: 'Marriage is honourable among all, and the bed undefiled; but fornicators and adulterers God will judge'. But that Scripture, like many scriptures, has been used and abused to assert that everything that takes place between a husband and wife is OK if it's in wedlock - far from it. So you need to know tonight that that if you're forced to do anything against your will, that is not godly, that is not godly. God's plan for sexuality is actually the same as words: it is to be giving, it is to be nurturing, it is to be protecting, it is to be affirming, edifying, loving - a mutual and reciprocal giving, rather than a taking. Now, we need to hear this, I know it's uncomfortable to hear about sex, especially in the church context and all the rest, but we need to talk about it from the Bible, because the Bible has an awful lot to say about it. The fact of the matter is that all of us, not just our young people and our kids, but all of us are being conditioned by the spirit of the age - that's where we're getting our sex education from, and it's not good.
Verbal, emotional, sexual abuse. Fourthly: physical abuse. That can be many things of course, it can be harsh, unfair punishment. How many times has that verse 'Spare the rod, spoil the child' been used to abuse a child? I'm not going to enter into the theological ramifications of what that verse means. I believe in discipline between parents and children, even God disciplines His children - but that verse is not a licence to abuse your children, and it has been used in such a way. Some people have been put off God because of the way a Christian father or mother administered discipline. It can be bullying, not just in the schoolyard, it can be bullying in the home, bullying in the workplace - there is a great deal of workplace abuse today. There is also alcohol and drug-related violence in the home. If you've had a drunken father or mother, or a husband or wife etc, you will know exactly what I'm talking about. Often the motivations for physical violence are anger, jealousy, lust, etc etc. The most extreme case of physical violence and abuse that we have seen in our modern era - although it is not modern, but it has come to the West in modern times - is honour killing. You've heard of that, haven't you? Particularly in the Muslim culture, where unfortunately it seems to be women, females, are killed because they have done something dishonourable to dishonour their family - that's in the name of religion. Staggering, isn't it?
Verbal, emotional, sexual, physical. Then fifthly, self-abuse, people who press the self-destruct button. Now that doesn't have to happen in a very demonstrative way, that can happen through self-pronouncements that you make over your life. So maybe your mother or your father, or somebody else that has had a controlling or abusive verbal relationship with you, has said things over your life: 'You're no good, you'll never amount to anything', etc etc, 'You're stupid, you can't sing', all these non-affirming pronouncements; and you actually start to agree with that, and you say it over own life and become self-abusive. So when you make a mistake, you're now saying - it's not just the echo of your mother or someone else - you are now saying: 'You're stupid, you're no good, you're a failure, you'll never amount to anything'. There are inner vows that we can take that are self-abusive. We might say: 'I will never do this', or 'I will never become this', or 'I will never make it at this'. Of course, then there are physical manifestations of abuse where we can misuse or abuse our bodies. These are huge, vast subjects in and of themselves - but eating disorders is really a rejection, at times, of yourself, a dislike of yourself. Maybe it's a sense of shame, and you're trying to purge that out of you, and there can be all sorts of reasons for it - but, effectively, what it is is self abuse. There are people who have burned themselves with cigarettes, there are people who will veer into the area of sexual perversion and not value themselves, think they are worthless, and so they will do anything because they feel like nothing, or they feel that they need to be punished. Or it could be just a negative view of life, pessimism.
It's amazing, I could name you names - but I'm not going to do it - of celebrities, and you can take the ones in particular that go crazy with cosmetic surgery, how they have actually rejected themselves nearly all their lifetime. Self-abuse it really becomes. Have you noticed the explosion of - and this is not a judgement on anybody, OK? But the explosion of body piercing and tattooing in recent times? I believe that that is an expression of self-hatred, I do, partly - there can be other things going on, but that's one of the things, where you devalue the body.
So there is verbal, emotional, sexual, physical, self-abuse. Then, this is the last one I'm going to look up tonight, there is spiritual abuse - it can be physical. 'I am your authority, obey me', that's what the pastor is saying in the picture. Now we looked at this in great detail when we were looking at Jezebel in connection with control, the vast array of different types of control. This is similar, because with spiritual control comes spiritual abuse. In other words, a misuse of spiritual authority and power, harming the sheep. This is the point: people get damaged when spiritual authority and power is misused. But perhaps the most damaging thing out of this particular abuse is that we get a distorted picture of who God really is, we get a skewed vision of the heart of God, we also get a warped concept of God's will for our lives - that God's will is good, that God's will is freedom.
Effectively, what spiritual abuse does through control is: it brings people into captivity rather than freedom. This is what the book of Galatians is all about by the way, and we don't really have time to look into this, but just to say that there were teachers, false teachers coming into the church at Galatia, and they were saying: 'You need to keep the Old Testament law, you need to be circumcised, you need to keep the food laws, the rites and the rituals of Judaism, or you cannot be saved. Yes, Jesus died for your sins, but you need more than that, it's Jesus plus Moses, Jesus plus the law, grace plus law'. Paul comes in, and he pleads with these people, he says: 'You've been bewitched! It's as if a spell has been cast upon you! People are putting you in a straitjacket, they are taking your joy from you, they have crept in to steal your freedom from you!', and he cries to them, 'It is for freedom that you have been set free, stand in that freedom! Be no longer enslaved with the yoke of bondage'. Do you hear him? You can see the power of spiritual abuse here. The Pharisees were experts at this. In Matthew chapter 23, Jesus said to them in verse 4, listen, this is wonderful - what a description of spiritual abuse: 'They bind heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on men's shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers'. Isn't that amazing? Just heaping religious expectations and demands on the ordinary people - they are the spiritual, highbrow boffins, and yet they can't do what they're asking other people to do; in fact, they couldn't even move one of those burdens with their wee finger.
What a depiction of this: this donkey has been given a burden that is too strong for it, and it has just collapsed, probably expired completely and died. Take a good look at that tonight, take a good look at that and listen carefully: that is what religion does to people. Whether it is the evangelical type, the Protestant type, the Roman Catholic type, it's all the same - all religion is the same - the Muslims, the Buddhists, it's all like that: they are burdens that people cannot bear.
Now we have to say that some spiritual abuse can be unintentional, it's not meant. Yet, at the same time, whether it's ignorant or not, it causes great damage. Have you ever seen these signs of spiritual abuse in a church or a religious gathering: where there are threats, where there is intimidation, 'If you don't do this, I will do that'. It mightn't be as explicit as that, but it's put in spiritual terms: 'If you don't do this, there will be a consequence for you spiritually'. Humiliation, often public humiliation, where individuals are being pinpointed in the congregation, and everybody knows who is being talked about. Putting down other ministries or other churches - I have done all these things, by the way. Dogmatic assertions, by asserting your own convictions and not allowing any space for disagreement you're actually setting yourself up as the authority and knocking other people down. I'm not saying we don't have our convictions, but we are to speak the truth in love. There is even, at times, very extensive control over people's private lives. I know of people who have been told: 'You mustn't marry him', 'You must marry her', etc etc - and all sorts of disasters that have taken place because of that. There can be harsh, unfair church discipline as well. There should be church discipline, but it ought not to be harsh. There can be graceless preaching, where it is all law, law, law. There can be extortion for money; soullish praying, where you're praying horizontally against others around you, rather than praying vertically to God. There can be a stimulation of false guilt and shame and condemnation to try to get people to behave a certain way. There can be insensitive counselling on a one-to-one basis. We could go on and on, and on and on, but this whole area of spiritual abuse is vast and it is prevalent within the church. We need to waken up to it!
Now let's talk for a moment or two about the consequences of any of these forms of abuse - verbal, emotional, sexual, physical, self, spiritual. They will cause blots and stains on your personality, on your character and your heart. Here are some of the things abuse of any kind will do to you: it will affect your self-esteem, it will give you poor, low self-esteem; it will dent your confidence - is that the way you feel? It will be, if you have been abused in any form. You will also perhaps have an awkwardness in relationships because of the dysfunction and disorder there has been in the relationships that have been abusive. You will also fear rejection, and because you fear rejection you will not want to enter into any closeness with others. There will be a passivity, perhaps, as well - rather than being active in relationships, because you have had your free will taken away so many times over and over again, you've been worn down, you cease to be active and assertive and you become passive, weak, and vulnerable. Another consequence and effect of any form of abuse - but particularly sexual abuse - is confusion over your identity: 'Who really am I?'. This often affects the sexual identity and sexuality. If a person's sexual awakening has taken place through some kind of abuse, that can have a serious detrimental effect as a consequence upon their sexuality in the future, where they become confused. I don't want to go into that in too much detail, but I hope that you can understand where I'm going with that.
Another form of consequence is emotional damage. We talked about our emotions, and how people seek to use them against us - and some of the more common emotions are fear, where we are intimidated by others, or in a moment of abuse where we are open to trauma. Maybe it's loss, loss of innocence, or loss of childhood. Maybe it's grief, or bereavement. It can be rejection, it can be guilt and shame. This is a very interesting one, because so many people you talk to who have been abused, they talk about a great deal of a sense of filth, a sense that they somehow - how many times have I heard this - that they somehow were to blame. You've got to understand what happens, actually, the logistics at times of abuse. What happens often is there is a transference of guilt that moves from the abuser to the abused - and, in fact, this is one of the things an abuser will work on if given enough time, if it's an ongoing thing they will work on that guilt in order to make that person feel responsible for what's going on - that's part of their control. But you've got to understand (and this is a bit of a digression) you've got to understand who is really guilty for that activity, and the guilt ought to go where it belongs: on the abuser, not the abused. Do you understand? There is a story in the Old Testament, I'm not going to go into it in much detail, but David had a son and a daughter, Tamar and Amnon. They were half brother and sister, different mothers, and Amnon was attracted to Tamar. He caused a ruse that he was ill, for her to come and bring some of her baking wares to his room, he raped her. It says that the hate with which he hated her after that moment was greater than the love with which he loved her, or the attraction that he had. Then she is left broken, and she says these words: 'Where shall I cause my shame to go?'. So the abuse, it was not her fault, but the shame had been transferred onto her - that's a huge struggle.
Anger, of course, is an obvious consequence of any form of abuse. We spent a whole evening last time talking about it, but basically anger is not wrong - but it's often a sign that there is some injustice, something wrong that has taken place that needs to be dealt with deep down. You mustn't deny your anger, but it must be faced and dealt with. There is physical damage that can take place, of course, obviously with abuse. The most obvious is direct injury of physical or other types of abuse, where you are hurt, there is a broken bone or a bruise. But of course there are internal heart and emotional and mental scars that people cannot see, and they are equally as real - but there are also undiagnosable conditions. What I mean by that - and I'm hearing so many people saying this - that they go through tests, they continually are going to doctors and consultants, and they cannot put the finger on what is wrong with them. I'm not saying all those conditions are spiritual, but I believe most of them probably are. Really what we're seeing is the bones or the physical frame is aching because of the ill-health of the spirit. The Bible has talked about it for millennia!
Physical damage, directly and indirectly, then of course there is spiritual damage. I have alluded to it already: crushed, broken spirits. You know that your spirit is where your identity is, that's the real you. Your soul is your mind, your emotion, your will, that reflects the real you, it exhibits. So your thoughts exhibit what is going on deep down in your spirit; your emotions exhibit, your feelings tell us what is going on in the real you; and your actions, your behaviour testifies how you are deep inside - so if you're broken, if you're crushed, if your identity is marred and distorted. But another, and the most serious spiritual consequence and damage is a distorted view of God. We mentioned it earlier where, if there are authority figures in your life who have abused and misused your trust, used their position over you to force you against your will, if it's a father or husband you can very quickly superimpose such an atrocious characteristic upon the Almighty God - because, after all, He is above, I mean He is the greatest authority figure, He is the greatest power, He is the most forceful in the sense of what He can do. Have you seen some of the stuff that He can do? We immediately assume: 'This is someone I ought to be afraid of, this is someone I cannot trust, because I am so vulnerable before Him. Look what happened to me when there were lesser people that I was vulnerable to!'. Are you hearing this?
Another consequence, spiritually, of abuse is demonisation. We're not going to talk much about that, other than to say: just as an open wound attracts bacteria, a wound of the heart, an abusive wound can also attract demonic empowerments, demonic entities. What I'm talking about is: there are demonic spirits that corresponds to many of the issues that we've already mentioned. Take some of the emotional damage like fear, there is a spirit of fear as well, there is a spirit of loss, there are spirits of rejection, there are spirits of false guilt and shame, spirits of anger - we could go on and on. So when this is given way to within our emotional life, it can be an open door for a spiritual empowerment to actually come in and enforce these types of responses.
Some of the consequences. We've looked at the kinds of abuse, we've looked at the consequences - some of them - of abuse; but quickly I want us (and this is the most important thing of all) to look at the cure for abuse, OK? The first and key cure for all types of abuse - now listen - is to see the Father through Jesus. Have you got that? To see the Father through Jesus. Philip asked Jesus on one occasion: 'Show us the Father, and it will suffice us' - which basically, to paraphrase, was saying, I think he was saying in on himself 'We're hearing all these parables, we're hearing all these mysterious sayings of Your teachings, You're doing these miracles that we are expected to interpret; Lord, would You please just be straight plain and clear to us, and show us God! Just show us God, and that will do us!'. Jesus says: 'Philip, have you been so long with Me? Whoever looks at Me sees the Father. He who has seen Me, see the Father'. Do you want to know who God is, what God is like? I've said this so many times, but I'm going to keep saying it until people get it: if you see Him as this great authority figure to be feared - God is to be feared, and He is great - but the greatest, completist, most perfect revelation of God was Jesus, and I can live with that! Can't you? Jesus as your God? Because Jesus displays the heart of God perfectly, and it says in Isaiah 61, and Jesus claimed it in His own home town synagogue in Luke chapter 4. He opened the scroll of Isaiah 61, it was the reading for that particular Sabbath, and it says: 'The Spirit of the LORD God is upon Me, for He has anointed Me to preach the glad tidings to the poor; to heal the brokenhearted, to bring recovery of sight to the blind, to set at liberty the captives; to preach the acceptable year of the LORD' - the year of Jubilee when slaves are released, land is returned, and debts are cancelled. This is the ministry of Jesus, He has come to heal the brokenhearted. If you think God wants to pour salt in your wounds, you've got the wrong God - it's as simple as that. You need to look at Jesus, you need to see how He dealt with the broken. I'm not talking just about lepers, I'm talking about the morally broken, the people who were shamed.
Do you know the story of the woman caught in adultery? You read it when you go home. What happens is, it says - and Scripture is very clear, it's never salacious in its explicit nature, and yet it says she was caught in the very act - that's what it says. The Pharisees caught her in the very act. Now, I have loads of questions about that - how did they catch her in the very act? I would love to know that, if they weren't peeping toms, or if it wasn't a trap for that girl. I don't know, but she was caught in the very act, and they dragged her before Jesus in the precincts of the Temple. They thought they had got Jesus, because He's meant to be a rabbi, a teacher of the law, and the law says such a one should be stoned - that's what they said: 'Doesn't Moses say that she should be stoned?'. But they knew Jesus was getting a reputation as this friend of sinners, and they thought: 'We've got Him between a rock and a hard place! He can't transgress the laws of Moses and not stone her, and yet His new reputation is going to crash and burn if He is the Man to get this woman dead!'. This is masterful: Jesus wrote something on the ground which all the theologians love to debate about. We can't know what He wrote on the ground, because nobody told us - so what's the point in wasting time talking about it? Let's talk about what He did say! What did He say? 'Let whoever among you who has no sin cast the first stone'. That's one of the most misquoted verses in the Bible: 'Let he who is without sin cast the first stone', that's what people say, 'he who is without sin cast the first stone' - that's not what it says. It says 'Let he who is among you without sin cast the first stone', why? Because He was the only one qualified to judge, because He was the only one perfect - do you know that? Yet, He chose not to judge because He had come not to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. What does He do? By saying such a word, it convicted them, and from the eldest to the youngest - because the eldest were the ones with the most skeletons in the cupboard - from the eldest to the youngest they went out one by one, and it's just the adulteress left with Jesus. Probably half clad, with the very scent of adultery still on her, and this is minutes away now - 'Give her six months probation and see how well she does', eh? Minutes away from her sin, He says: 'Where are your accusers? Neither do I condemn you, go and sin no more'. Go, and don't do it again.
Now, why am I sharing this with you? To show that He heals the brokenhearted. If you have been abused, you're not even in that category, because it was against your will. I have a hunch this was against her will anyway, I have a hunch about that. What I want you to see is the heart of God - and not only in issues of moral brokenness, but it says He looked on the great crowds, these were the Jewish people, this was the ancient people of God, the chosen of God; but the Pharisees, their spiritual leaders had let them down. It says Jesus looked upon them as sheep having no shepherd, and He had compassion upon them. Whatever your abuse is tonight, alright, whatever your form of abuse is tonight, I want you to consider something: 'Consider Him who endured such hostility from sinners against Himself, lest you become weary and discouraged in your souls', Hebrews 12:3. Have you ever considered the hostility that Jesus received at the hands of sinful people? I want to say: there was never anybody more abused than Jesus. It doesn't mean He experienced every form of abuse, but there was never anyone abused more than Him. Hebrews 4 and verse 15 consequently says: 'For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tested in every way as we are, yet without sin'.
Now listen carefully to what I'm about to say: Jesus Christ, the Son of God, perfect, sinless, undefiled, separate from all sinful humanity, was stripped naked, hanged upon a cross, and we believe that it was not 20 foot in the air, we believe that in fact crosses were at ground level - that figures with Scripture, 'All you who pass by, is there any sorrow like unto My sorrow'. Actually, what seems to be the case, more than the pictures and portraits we see of the crucifixion, was that the offenders, the criminals who were put to death would be crucified along a pathway, along a thoroughfare at almost eyelevel. So if you imagine the cross maybe only being a foot above ground level along a footpath, as the people are coming to and from the town, they would be passing by, they would be ridiculing, and the shame and humiliation of the victim is palpable. So here you have the Son of God stripped, beaten, bruised, bloody, hanging on the cross as the world passes by. I don't know whether you ever thought about the humiliation of the cross quite like that, but I think God the Holy Spirit wants you to understand tonight that you've got a High Priest who knows, who is cognisant of what it is like to be humiliated, to be abused against His will. Might I add that He did this willingly, He allowed Himself to go to the cross willingly. The Father didn't force Him to do it, in fact the Father was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself - this was an agreement between the Father and the Son that this should happen, in order that all our abuses should be taken upon Him as a sacrifice so that we would be set free. But what you need to know here tonight is that Jesus knows, there mightn't be another living soul in this room, even in your life, who knows what you went through - but Jesus knows, and better than does He know, He understands! Not because He's God, but because He is man and because of what He endured. Have you ever thought about it? How much, how much He endured - have you considered it? Do you hear the word of God to your heart tonight: Jesus knows your hurt, and He feels your pain. If you could believe that, that would revolutionise your life.
The first thing you need to do in order to be cured and healed from abuse is to see the Father through Jesus. The second thing you need to do is to learn to be God's child. Even in this room, I believe tonight, there are many orphans. You might even be a child of God, but you live like an orphan, you come with your begging bowl to God; or you're still living as a slave before God, you haven't got out of the law, you haven't understood that you're actually a son, you're an adopted child of God - and that means you're protected, that means you're loved with an everlasting love! It's a perfect love, and therefore you can trust God. I don't care what your father was like, I don't care what your parental guardian was like, or authority figures in your life, or what your pastor, or minister, or elders were like - whatever, your teacher, whatever: God is a perfect Father, and He's got a perfect love. Here's the good news tonight, some of my favourite verses again of Scripture: you are loved, and there is no fear in love. Perfect love drives out fear - hallelujah! For fear has got to do with judgement, whoever fears has not been made perfect in love. So if you still have got a fear that has been engendered in you because of abusive treatment, you know that there is some healing that still needs to go on, you know that you're not made perfect yet in love, you know that you're not resting in the security and protection of Abba Father's love. That's 1 John 4:18-19 if you want to know.
Another marvellous verse, what a picture, Romans 8:15: 'For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, 'Abba, Father'' - isn't that wonderful? I've told you before, haven't I, that 'Abba' is Aramaic, didn't I tell you that? 'Abba' is Aramaic - maybe I didn't, you're all looking very blank at me - 'Abba' is Aramaic, and it's derived from Aramaic baby speak. You know the way in our culture babies when they start speaking say 'Mama, Dada', in Aramaic they said 'Abba, Imma'. People have a fit if you say it's like a child saying 'Daddy', but - get over it - that is what it means! Now I'm not talking about 'God All-matey', He's 'God Almighty', we've got to reverence Him - but if you've got a problem with the intimacy and the familiarity of what Jesus has done with us, you've got to work that out, because these are scriptures that testify that this is the intimate relationship; like a wee Jewish boy has with his Daddy. That is meant to be my child-Father relationship with God. No fear, no bondage, and if you actually do that as a child of God, it will mean that you don't have to push other people away, you don't have to build walls, but you can actually build networks of trusted friends who know their Father too and understand that they're not accepted because of any of their performance, but they are accepted by grace - that is so liberating! We're all in the same boat, we're all in the same family.
So you need to see Father through Jesus, but you need to learn to be a child of God. Thirdly, you need to forgive and break ungodly ties. One of the greatest problems when people have been abused, obviously, is unforgiveness. You might say: 'Well, this is a tall order. I mean, you can talk about forgiveness with other people, but not abused people - I mean, come off it!'. But listen: forgiveness is only necessary when we are hurt, and if it doesn't hurt to forgive, forgiveness probably isn't necessary - most likely it's not necessary if it's not hurting. So, if there is resentment, as I've said before, holding onto anger is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die - guess what? It doesn't happen! So what you need to stop doing is being a debt collector, do you understand? You need to release that person in order for you to be released. I know you mightn't like that, but that's just the way God has done things - just be thankful God has a way for you to be released. But if you don't do that, in effect here is what is happening: that individual who has abused and misused you is actually still pulling your strings. If you like, they're still on your case, that could be the reason why they are still haunting you in this very present-day. Partly associated with that is you having taken on guilt at times that is not your responsibility, you are not responsible for other people's behaviour, even if you were involved. Now it's important to forgive, it's important to break ungodly ties - that can mean practical things. In other words, don't put yourself in danger, stand up for yourself, resist control, beware of devaluing yourself - but it also means spiritually. If you've been at any of these meetings before, you will know that we will do it in our prayers, where there will be a spiritual bond that takes place - especially in sexual unions, but in any disordered relationship this is a possibility - where there is a hold that a person can have over you in the spiritual, even if the relationship has moved on and you're not having anything to do with each other again. There can be a spiritual hold, so you need to forgive and you need to have the ungodly tie broken.
You also need to deal with old thought patterns. Romans 12:2 says that we are to be transformed by the renewing of our mind. Second Corinthians 10:4-5 says we are to take the authority of Jesus over our thought life. This is one of the problems: we have old thought patterns that need renewal, but we are still walking down those old trackways in our minds, the old way of thinking about what the devil says about us, what others have said over our lives, what consequences have come to us, and the fact that we believe this is just life that stinks. We need to get out of that and start to hear what God says about us, allow our mind to be renewed according to the identity that we now have in Christ, what He says is our new position, and our possessions, and our significance in Him etc.
The final thing we need to do - let me just recap: you need to see the Father through Jesus, you need to learn to beat God's child, you need to forgive and break ungodly ties, you need to deal with old thought patterns. Finally: you need to allow Jesus to heal the deep hurts. Will you tonight, will you - however broken and wounded your heart has been - will you bring that heart to Jesus, and will you place it in His hand? I believe there are people in the gathering tonight, and you have a crushed spirit. Often when I pray with people about a crushed spirit, I see a little shoot of a plant that comes up in the spring - and you start to worry 'Oh, is the frost going to come and kill it, or is the son going to wreck it with the football, or is somebody with a hobnail boot not going to see it and just squash it'. That's the way our little spirits are, especially when we are young, and they can be so easily bruised, broken, and crushed - Jesus wants to heal your broken spirit. Part of that for many people will be the healing of their memories. You can have a box within your heart filled particularly with childhood memories, but not always the case - and a lot of people who struggle with forgiveness, time and time and time again pronounce forgiveness over somebody, but don't seem to ever break through to it in their heart. It is because there needs to be the healing of memories, there are strong powerful memories that still have a grip upon them that need to be healed and redeemed - and Jesus is in the business of doing that, I have seen Him do that so so many times, and break the power of memories and the hold that they've had over people. But you need to come to Jesus with your box - maybe that has been an untouchable box up until now, you feel it's too painful to enter.
Can I assure you tonight, where we started off, listen, this is Jesus speaking to you now, it's not me, it's Jesus: 'Come to Me, all you who labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest' - that's an emphatic statement. 'If you come to Me with your burdens, I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you', so that means take off all those false yokes, those false burdens that other people have put on you of control and even of religion, put them off, 'Take My yoke upon you'. So there needs to be some kind of authority figure in your life, but it ought to be Jesus: 'And learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart'. This yoke - Jesus was the perfect carpenter - this yoke never chafes, it's never too heavy, He takes the weight actually. He takes the weight: 'You will find rest for your souls'. Just pause there: 'Rest for your souls'. How much money would you give for that if it was purchasable? Rest of mind, rest of heart, rest of actions, behaviour, rest in your body - some of you are wound up, you've so much electricity going through your body right now in nervous tension that it could drive a tram up a hill, literally! What would you do for rest? What would you do to be able to put your head on the pillow at night and rest? 'For My yoke is easy and My burden is light'. Do you know something? There is wholeness for the abused, whatever your abuse is, if you come. I mean, look at that, who could say that? Who could say that only the Son of God! Imagine a doctor pronouncing: 'Come to me and I will give you rest for your souls' - eh? Who is going to go to him? A church can't say that, no mere man could say that. Will you come to Him tonight? Let's pray.
Now on the screen I'm going to put this prayer, as I have done. It's not the same one, it's similar - but I'm going to talk through it quickly with you so that you understand before we pray it. The first thing is: 'Lord Jesus, I confess I am in need of a Saviour. I thank You for dying for me, I invite You to be Lord of my life'. If you're not a Christian here tonight, that means - you're not born a Christian, you know, it's a Christian country so-called and all the rest, maybe you've been to church and baptised and all. We're not talking about that, we're talking about a personal relationship with Jesus where your sins are forgiven, you have peace with God, you know that you have eternal life within you - if that has never happened to you, you need to receive that tonight. If you need to know forgiveness of sins, and know Jesus Christ as your Lord - would you pray that? But even if you do, just surrender to the Lordship of Jesus again: 'I thank You that You perfectly revealed the heart of God the Father', who we talked about tonight, 'and I ask You to bring me to the Father and make me His child. I choose to trust You, Father, and I release myself to be under Your protection, and follow Your perfect plan for my life. Thank You that Your plans are not to harm me, but prosper me and give me a hope and a future. Forgive me for blaming You' - sometimes we blame God for what others have done to us - 'I know that You hate what Satan has done in my life'. Some of you might need to release bitterness and resentment that you have toward God. This is the big one: 'I choose to forgive those who have hurt or abused me, and those who failed to protect me. Specifically I forgive', so and so, 'for what they did and how it made me feel', and we will fill those blanks in quietly as we sit. 'Set me free from all the bitterness and resentment, and heal my damaged emotions. I confess that as a result of being hurt, I have allowed myself to sin' - and we've got to admit that. It's not our fault if we've been abused, but often it can precipitate sinful behaviours in our life by maybe attitudes, or thought patterns, or behaviours. 'I repent and ask You to forgive and cleanse me. Forgive me for wrong attitudes, wishing I was dead, harming myself, or making agreements with Satan. I take away from Satan every right to my life, I renounce all agreements made with him, I reject his lies in Jesus' name, and I choose life. Father, I thank You for my emotions, and I accept them as from You. I have not always expressed them, but sometimes I have lived in denial or repressed them. There have also been times I have expressed emotions in ungodly ways, especially anger. As a result, I have hurt others and myself. I repent of hurting, manipulating, or attempting to control others by my anger. Lord, please break any ungodly soul tie with me and.... Separate me, spirit, soul, and body, from them. Restore to me every part of myself which has been wrongly tied to', name them. 'Return to them any part of their being wrongly tied to me in Jesus' name. Thank You Jesus, that You became cursed for me on the cross, that Your blood was shed so that I might be set free. I take my stand with You against all Satan's demons, and I command any spirits that have had control over me to leave me now - in Jesus' name I expel you. I thank You that You understand my pain, and that You will perfect my healing through the power of the Your cross. Thank You Lord Jesus, Amen'.
There is a lot in that prayer, but let me just say to you tonight, listen carefully: we are available for prayer afterwards, OK? If any of you need help even after praying this prayer, we are there for you. But I know that this is a very private thing sometimes, and very delicate in nature, some of the subject matter we have touched on. It would be wonderful if you could deal with these issues now in the presence of God - so will you? Will you engage, will you cooperate with the Holy Spirit now, and pray through some of these things? You might need a little more help afterwards, and we are available, but only God knows what He can do to break bondages in this very moment - and God is here. Can I also say to you: God is wanting to break this stronghold off our land, because abuse, institutional abuse, church-wide abuse, family abuse is rife. You only have to be in prayer ministry for a very short period of time to realise how widespread this is, and it is huge! We can testify, even here, those who are leading The Stables, of the opposition that has been in the spiritual realm even this week and even today - there is a real sense of everything coming against - but Jesus is greater, OK?
This is very painful, I know, for some of you - but it has to be done. It is a true saying: 'No gain without pain', it is true. So, will you pray with me? We will pause at the relevant parts, OK? Let's say it: 'Lord Jesus, I confess I am in need of a Saviour. I thank You for dying for me, I invite You to be Lord of my life. I thank You that You perfectly revealed the heart of God the Father, and I ask You to bring me to the Father and make me His child. I choose to trust You, Father, and I release myself to be under Your protection, and follow Your perfect plan for my life. Thank You that Your plans are not to harm me, but prosper me and give me a hope and a future. Forgive me for blaming You for what others have done to me. I know that You hate what Satan has done in my life. I choose to forgive those who have hurt or abused me, and those who failed to protect me'. Now, in this next moment of prayer you're wanting to name those people - not audibly that somebody beside you will hear, but whisper, take their name on your lips. Please do speak with your lips their name, maybe it is someone who should have protected you and they didn't. Maybe that's who you need to forgive, but let's do it and take our time over it: 'Specifically I forgive', now name the person or people, tell the Lord what they did, tell the Lord how they made you feel and still make you feel if it's still an issue. We're not wanting to drag stuff out of the past that has been dealt with, but stuff that is unresolved if you've never done this before. Tell the Lord the way they made you feel, take your time, you may have a number of people - verbally, physically, sexually, spiritually, emotionally - who have abused you. Let's continue: 'Set me free from all the bitterness and resentment, and heal my damaged emotions. I confess that as a result of being hurt, I have allowed myself to sin by' - now you put the words in, whatever it is. Maybe it's alcohol abuse, maybe it's promiscuity, maybe it's rebellion, maybe it's harshness or violence yourself, or rejection of others. Sometimes abused people become abusers, and maybe you need to confess tonight that you are an abuser. Let's finish: 'I repent and ask You to forgive and cleanse me'. God's Son died so that all sins could be forgiven. The blood of Jesus Christ, God's Son, cleanses all sin. Let's continue: 'Forgive me for wrong attitudes, wishing I was dead, harming myself, or making agreements with Satan. I take away from Satan every right to my life, I renounce all agreements made with him, I reject his lies in Jesus' name, and I choose life. Father, I thank You for my emotions, and I accept them as from You. I have not always expressed them, but sometimes I have lived in denial or repressed them. There have also been times I have expressed emotions in ungodly ways, especially anger. As a result, I have hurt others and myself. I repent of hurting, manipulating, or attempting to control others by my anger. Lord, please break any ungodly soul tie with', you name the people, name the ones who have abused you. Again, you don't have to speak it out, please don't - but just take it on your lips before God, name them, anybody who has had a disordered, dysfunctional, controlling, abusive relationship with you, name them. Let's continue: 'Separate me, spirit, soul, and body, from them. Restore to me every part of myself which has been wrongly tied to', name them. 'Return to them any part of their being wrongfully tied to me in Jesus' name'. Finally: 'Thank You Jesus, that You became cursed for me on the cross, that Your blood was shed so that I might be set free. I take my stand with You against all Satan's demons, and I command any spirits that have had control over me to leave me now - in Jesus' name I expel you. I thank You that You understand my pain, and that You will perfect my healing through the power of the Your cross. Thank You Lord Jesus, Amen'.
Let's pray. Now, if you have prayed that prayer and truly meant it, God will meet with you right here. God's presence is very heavy - do you know that God comes especially near to the broken, to the bruised, to the abused? He's going to come near. Lord, I just pray that You will come closer now, come close now. These people have reached out to You, for some of them very difficult it has been, but they have reached out to You. So, Lord, in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, I pray for Your grace just to descend upon this gathering. I pray for Your mercy, Your love, Your liquid love, Your security, Your sense of being, Your acceptance to just envelop people in this gathering tonight. I thank You that You have recognised the pronouncements of forgiveness that people have made. In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, I declare that people are forgiven not only of their sins, but as they have forgiven others that they have been released of the bondage of bitterness. I declare that those shackles should be broken off right now in the name of Jesus. I declare in Jesus' name that all resentment and bitterness that have caused an opening to tormenting, torturing spirits may be broken off people's lives right now. I command all those spirits of torment to leave, spirits of unforgiveness, bitterness, resentment, I cut the root of bitterness in Jesus' name; and I command that all those wicked spirits leave now in Jesus' name. I pray, Lord, for a deep healing in the heart, a deep healing in the crushed spirit, those spirits that have been crushed through abuse, though spirits and identities that have been malformed or deformed because of what has taken place - that You will come and bring healing now, You will bring restoration, You will cause them to grow up straight before you as a plant out of dry ground - like the image of Jesus, that they will become strong and healthy as You pour Your life into their spirits right now. Lord Jesus, would You do that? I pray, would You take Your nail pierced hands and just envelop their broken spirit. Take the broken pieces, if there are parts of them scattered in different events or traumas, would You bring those broken parts of their spirit, those splinters, and bring them all together. Gather them and make them whole before You. Cause their heart to fear Your name before You tonight. If there is any part of them still stuck with another person, I cut it off in Jesus' name - those people that were named, we cut them off, spirit, soul, and body; we divide them from every abuser, every bully, every person that has taken advantage of them or violated their will - we break off with them. I send away, in Jesus' name, every part of another person that should not be with someone here tonight - I command that they return to their being, whether living or dead, and call back everything that the enemy has stolen. I call it back, and I pray, Lord Jesus, that by the Holy Spirit You will unite those parts with the core being of everybody in this place now. Thank You, Lord Jesus. We cut every tie, every tie with memories, with people, with institutions, with places, with smells, with sights, with sounds - we cut those ties in Jesus' name. They will no longer have a bondage. We pray that You will do a deep healing of the memories, Lord. Now, in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, I command every demonic spirit that has entered through abuse, I command spirits of the abusers and abuse to leave in Jesus' name. Hallelujah, thank You Jesus. Go, every spirit that does not confess Jesus Christ as Lord, I command you to leave the temples of the Holy Spirit now in Jesus' name. The Lord rebuke you. Lord, I pray that You will give revelation to people in this place tonight, oh, revelation, Abba Father, of Your heart for them - and that they would feel that roundabout and underneath are the everlasting arms of the Lord Jesus Christ. This is a pure love, this is a safe love, this is chaste. Some of us don't know what love is, because it has been perverted - this is pure love, pure love, no threat. Oh thank You, Father, for what You're doing. I pray that You will pour Your healing on our land. Lord, even tonight I know there are people from Catholic backgrounds, Protestant backgrounds, all sorts of backgrounds - Lord, I pray that You will do something in this place that actually will be rolled out right across our whole land, where there has been so much abuse. A lot of it, Lord God help us, has been in Your name, or under the cover of Your name. O Lord, forgive us, forgive us as the church, those who bear Your name, for all abuses. We repent, and we ask You to cleanse us and forgive us - we don't deserve it, but send us times of refreshing from the presence of the Lord.
If you have abused at all in the past, you can come to the Lord and find forgiveness. I know that's hard for some people to take in this room, but that's the truth: all manner of sin and blasphemy may be forgiven of men, Jesus said. It doesn't mean there aren't consequences of what you've done, and you may have faced those, or have to face them - but there is forgiveness for the most reprehensible sins, but you must come into the light.
Father, this has been a heavy night in more ways than one, but I thank You that You have been working here this evening. Just as we are still in the attitude of prayer, and I'm about to close, is there anybody here tonight and this has been your night to become a Christian? While heads are bowed and eyes are closed please, it has been your night to become a Christian. You've taken that step already, or you would like to take that step, would you raise your hand just where you are seated if you have become a Christian tonight. Is there anybody? Most of you may be Christians, if not all of you, but we just want to give space for that. Is there anyone? God bless you! Praise the Lord! Thank you, Jesus! Is there anybody else? Any backsliders who have come back to the Lord? Maybe you were angry against God for what happened to you, you blamed Him - is there anybody that has been a prodigal and come home? Anybody? God bless you! Praise the Lord! Anybody else? Just as heads are bowed and eyes are closed again: who really feels that a bondage has been broken over them tonight, and God has done something with something of an abusive nature? Would you be able to testify to that? Nobody knows what it is, we've covered so much ground nobody knows what it is - would you put your hand up to testify to the work of God that He has done in your life tonight? Praise the Lord! Anybody else? God bless! Praise the Lord! Praise God! God bless you!
Father, we thank You for what You have done this evening. We know that a work that You have begun, You will perfect to the glory of Jesus Christ. We thank You that You love us, You love us beyond our wildest dreams. I pray that people's antenna will be right in the air tonight to pick up the signal that is coming from the heart of God, the messages toward us which are more than can be numbered, that are vaster than the sand on the seashore and the stars in the sky, and that we would get the program tuned in of You loving, loving, loving, loving, all of the thoughts that You have toward us. Thank You Jesus, thank You Father, thank You Holy Spirit. Amen.
Preach The Word.
This sermon was delivered at The Stables in Enniskillen by David Legge. It was transcribed from the sixth recording in his 'Deeper Healing' series, entitled "Wholeness For The Abused" - Transcribed by Andrew Watkins, Preach The Word.
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