Today I was ministering at Long Bay Gaol here in Sydney. The chapel was full to overflowing – 30 men crowded into the tiny chapel, standing room only! The chaplain said it was the best-attended chapel service in two years!
As I led the guys in worship,I could sense that God was going to do something special, and boy did He come through! I shared with the guys a dream I had a few nights ago.
Here’s some of what I shared…
“Let me explain the nature of prophecy very briefly – many people have the idea that a prophet is someone who foretells the future, or has an understanding of future events, and this is true, but there is another aspect of prophecy – to tell forth the Heart of God on a matter – in other words to bring out what God wants to reveal or to do in a given situation. God releases prophecy not just to foretell, but to tell forth His heart.
I would like to share with you a prophetic dream that I had a couple of nights ago, and it was I believe given to me for a purpose – for someone here today that God wants to bring healing and freedom to. In fact there may be a number of people that this will be for.
I said it was a prophetic dream, but in reality it was for the most part a nightmare. It seemed to go for hours and hours, and when I woke up the next morning I was exhausted.
It started off innocently enough, I had the sense that I was much younger than I am today, and it seemed to be set in the late 70’s or early 80’s. I had been in a pub somewhere and I had met up with a group of people there and become friends with them.
When we were leaving the pub, they invited me along with them – “Hey John, why don’t you come and hang out with us for a while?” And they had one of those old VW Kombi vans.
So there were 5 or 6 of us piled into this Kombi van, all heading off for a party somewhere, and all of a sudden this guy in the seat in front of me turned around, and his face had become one of absolute malice and evil, and he grabbed me by the arms and would not let me go.
Immediately I was aware that I had made a huge mistake, and it became clearer and clearer to me that I was in big trouble.
The funny thing was the reaction of the other people in the van – they seemed fully aware of what was happening, but powerless to stop it, and they had an air of resignation about them. This person (who was really a demon) who had grabbed hold of me was on some level a friend of theirs. He had accompanied them for years, they knew him well, but they had no control over him.
They had come to accept that he would always be with them, and in many ways he had control over them.
So we set off in this van, and I am struggling to get away from the grip of this tormentor, but he would not let go, and I could not do anything without him there, hanging on to me and trying to drag me in this direction or that direction.
The dream began to move through different scenes, stretching out over a number of years, and in each scene I had an increasing sense of desperation, because I was moving through this life bound to this evil being who I could not control.
One scene in particular in this dream stood out above all others.
I was travelling with my friends along a road that ran along the top of a hill, and when I looked down it was into a valley of extraordinary beauty, breathtaking beauty. The sun shone down into this valley in such a way that it seemed to be a place of perfection, almost a Garden of Eden.
But I could not enjoy it, because every time I looked at the scene this demon would grab hold of me, leering at me and dragging my attention away.
Throughout the dream, on many occasions, my friends tried to help me get away from this demon, but they had no idea of how to go about it, and any time I thought I was getting away it would come after me and grab hold of me again.
That’s how the dream ended, with me trying to get away, and failing every time.
I woke up exhausted, disoriented, completely worn out from my struggle, and over the last couple of days I have prayed and thought about the meaning of this dream. You see I know what it’s like to be in that struggle with something you cannot control, to have the circumstances in your life constantly poisoned.
In my case it was the demon of addiction, years of my life lost to heroin and cocaine.
But I knew that this dream I had was not about me, because it ended with me still struggling to get away, and I want to tell you that my struggle with the demon has ended – in freedom.
Like the dream, I was powerless over my addiction, like the dream my friends wanted to help but couldn’t, but in real life it has ended very differently, and the reason for that can be summed up in one word – Jesus.
Let me explain why.
I would like you to imagine your life for a moment as taking place in a kingdom. There is an absolute ruler in this kingdom.
He has absolute power and authority over everything and everyone in it, but He only exercises that authority when He is invited to.
He is the most powerful being in the universe and any universe beyond the one we live in, but He gives us the choice as to whether we allow him to lead and guide our lives.
He looks down on us here today, and He sees your struggles, your pain, your addictions, the brokenness that you hide from those around you, and He has such compassion for you and what you have gone through that He takes off His kingly crown, He sets aside his position as absolute king, and He allows Himself to be brutally humiliated, tortured and put to death.
Why does he do this? Because He knows that in His perfection the grave cannot hold Him, that the evil of this world has no authority over perfect love, and that by laying down His life He can purchase your freedom.
This is the story of Jesus, who physically rose from the grave 2000 years ago, and in the power of that resurrection lies the power for your restoration.
All you have to do is surrender to Him.”
At this time I gave an altar call, clearly explaining what it means to give your life to Jesus, surrendering every part of your life to Him. I asked the guys to raise their hands if they were prepared to commit their lives to him, and fully half of the men present raised their hands, and followed me in the Sinner’s Prayer.
What an awesome God!!!!