Thursday, February 18, 2010

Recognizing Abuse

Recognizing Abuse
Alice Smith

It’s difficult to believe that anyone will live their entire life and not suffer mistreatment at some point. We are not alone when it comes to struggles. But what we do with our hurts affects our ultimate physical and spiritual health.

Everyone hits bumps in the road of life from time to time, but a person with a victim mentality will hit them on a regular basis. They may chalk it up to "bad luck" but there is often more to it than that. Because of the repetitive cycles of abuse the victim begins to assume abuse is normal, and will in time even attempt to justify and protect the abusers.

Perhaps the saddest victims are the innocent infants, toddlers, and young children? In the year 2004, for instance, 879,000 children in the U.S. were victims of child mistreatment. The mistreatment was the result of --

· Neglect ~ 63%

· Physical ~ 19%

· Sexual ~ 10%
· Psychological ~ 8%

Victimization rates decline as a child's age increases. Except for victims of sexual abuse, rates were similar for male and female victimization. The rate of sexual abuse of girls was almost four times that of boys, however boys (and men) often decline to tell others of their abuse. Source: US Dept of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children & Families, National Clearinghouse on Child Abuse and Neglect, 2000.

Did you know that between 30 and 40 percent of all reported incest cases involve an alcoholic parent? Source: CASA Survey of Child Welfare Professionals 1997-1998 Almost daily we see on television or read in the newspaper about children who’ve suffered the vilest mistreatment. The abuser is typically someone who had been charged with caring for the child. Others are exploited as teenagers and young adults. Did you know that in the United States, a rape is reported about once every five minutes. FBI Uniform Crime Report

Still rape is called "the most underreported violent crime in America." In a large national survey of American women, only 16% of the rapes (approximately one out of every six) had ever been reported to the police. Rape in America: A Report to the Nation, National Victim Center, 1992

In a study conducted by the Department of Justice and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, researchers interviewed 8,000 women and 8,000 men and found that 1 in 6 women had experienced an attempted rape or a completed rape.

At the time they were raped:

· 22% were under the age of twelve

· 54% were under the age of eighteen
· 83% were under the age of twenty-five
Prevalence, Incidence, and Consequences of Violence Against Women, Department of Justice, 2006

In the Rape in America study, 60% of the women who reported being raped were under 18 years old:29.3% were less than 11 years old; 32.3% were between 11 and 17; 22.2% were between 18 and 24; 7.1% were between 25 and 29; 6.1% were older than 29; 3.0% age was not available. Rape in America: A Report to the Nation, National Victim Center, 1992

Date rape is pandemic on America's college campuses. In the Rape in America study, 80% of the girls and women who were raped were victimized by someone they knew. Rape in America: A Report to the Nation National Victim Center, 2000

Sexual abuse isn't the only subject I will be talking about at the FREEDOM conference. There is also domestic violence, greed, dishonor, betrayal, abandonment, poverty, stalking and many other forms of abusive victimization. Once the door has been opened in our lives through a traumatic experience, how do we diagnose what is happening? Come and learn how a life-altering experience can impact your life of victory with Christ. Let our ministry team help you slam the door of your yesterdays, and begin to walk with a new victory in Christ today.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

The Father Prunes

The Father Prunes
By Dudley Hall

Every branch of mine that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. John 15:2 (ESV)

As Jesus describes our relationship with him as branches on the vine, we are thrilled to know that the pruning will be done by the Father. It is good to know that it is not some hired man more concerned with getting the job done and receiving his wages than for the benefit of the branches. In the latter case, some branches might be needlessly be cut off and some unproductive ones left. But since the Father is the vinedresser, we can be assured that love and sovereignty will dictate what happens.

Of course, some prefer to embrace a gospel that does not allow for pruning. In their muddled mindset of mushy love, they contend for a universal good feeling for all who will buy their wares. Yet the vinedresser is interested in the whole vine and its productivity. He is compassionate, but determined that the vine will be healthy even if some of the branches must be removed.

This was the case with Jesus' disciples. Judas was one of his men who was removed because he would not stay with Jesus. Peter's incorrectly placed self-confidence was cut away in his personal failure and subsequent encounter with Jesus. He was not thrown away, but he was cleansed so he could produce true fruit. Thomas's tendency toward doubt was exposed and dealt with so he could be of use in this new people of God. In fact, all who follow Jesus will have wrong and needless concepts exposed and cut away. Those who profess to know him but don't exhibit the fruit of his life will be exposed like Judas, and they will abandon their profession.

What a privilege to be a branch connected to the true vine. We can expect his life to flow through us and his fruit to be displayed in us. Because we love the Vine, we are more concerned with the quality of the fruit than our own comfort. So we yield to the pruning decisions of the vinedresser. He is our Father.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Dust Your Feet

Dust Your Feet

Sometimes the road you have to walk in life is dirty and dusty says the Lord. Life is full of struggles and conflicts. It is also full of people that will challenge you and frustrate you. Each time that you come into contact with people that oppose you or have a spirit that is not of me, it is like walking that dusty road.

After some time you feel contaminated. You feel contaminated with their bitterness, hurt and their anger. Suddenly you find that you cannot come into my presence any longer. You sit and dwell on the things that they said and did to you and it seems that you only get covered over more with that dirt.

All is not lost my child, because I have a solution for you just as I did for my servant Peter. As I came to wash their feet, I cleansed them of the dust they had collected that day. This is a picture for you too.

Even though the dust and the dirt seems so much, all you need is a moment in my presence to wash away the dirt from your feet. Submit yourself to me and let go of those people that have frustrated you.

Do not be party to their sin or join in with their negative feelings and judgments. Rather run to me and let me wash you! Let me remove the curses and contamination from you. Instead of being angry, respond with love!

This can only happen if you run to me to be cleansed. Confess your sin to me and give me all of your struggles. Then ask me for my wisdom and for my love and I will not hold anything back from you!

However if you insist on trying to push through in your own strength, you will find yourself even further along that dusty road and into a pit the enemy has dug for you.

So escape! Flee from evil thoughts and from things that are not of me. Flee into my presence and let me wash you clean and give you the strength to go on. Then you can step out once again with confidence on the road that is ahead of you. Knowing that I will not allow your foot to slip says the Lord.