A Survey of Modern-Day Slavery

The great emancipator Abraham Lincoln once proclaimed that “those who deny freedom to others deserve it not for themselves.”

Slavery. For generations this topic has gripped the hearts of mankind.

Why? Because it goes against the grain of our innate desire for freedom. It resonates in our hearts by contrasting with the freedoms we enjoy as Americans today.

As a missionary, I have seen the faces  of women and children sold as commodities in a multi-billion dollar industry known as the global slave trade. And it’s not just happening in the third world countries; it’s taking place right in our own backyard. Children are sold for sex and forced labor everyday in this country.  Instead of enslaving an entire race as America did once before (those of African descent who were forced to toil in the land of the South), this spirit of oppression is now enslaving our women and children (who are sources of life and wonder in this world).

But, I’m thankful that Jesus conquers oppression. He stands in victory as the epitome of freedom.

While sitting with the Lord, I was honestly surprised when He told me that He wanted today’s blog to be about slavery. Maybe there are some of you who are hungry for justice in this world and are not yet sure how to go about serving? Or perhaps there are some of you that already know about slavery but need to be refreshed in refocusing your eyes on the true Rescuer and Redeemer?

He alone knows. And because this site serves as a platform for the Lord to speak, I am praying that His will be done in the name of Jesus.

What is slavery? Slavery can be defined as submission to a dominating force; drudgery; severe toil; and the state of one bound in servitude as the property of another. All of these definitions are derived from one spiritual force – oppression by the enemy.

Oppression directly counteracts freedom, which is the very purpose for which Jesus died and rose again. Freedom over darkness, freedom for us from sin, and freedom to enjoy our lives to the fullest through His grace.

Wherever the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.

“Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.” 2 Corinthians 3:17-18

A great example of this can be seen today in the People’s Republic of China. As Christian missionaries are sent to this nation, thousands of Chinese are coming to know Jesus as their Lord and Savior. They are being freed from the yolk of communist oppression and embracing a life filled with joy and peace from the Lord. I would not be surprised if one day China becomes a land overflowing with milk and honey; a source of encouragement for the world to see. Nor would I be surprised to see Chinese missionaries preaching the gospel to our own American youth who’ve been led astray.

What are ways that slavery exists today?

This really is a loaded question because enslavement (bondage) appears on a very broad spectrum. We as human beings can be enslaved by our past, our emotions, our job, and our circumstances. However, in today’s post we are going to focus on modern day slavery in the form of forced labor.

Modern day slavery represents the rawest form of evil produced by the heart of man. Yet we can find powerful demonstrations of His redemption, made possible only by the Lord Jesus Christ. Sounds like the entire theme of the Bible to me.

Let’s get educated.

What is forced labor? According to the International Labor Organization (ILO), it is defined as all involuntary work or service that is exacted from one person under the threat of penalty by another. The U.S. State Department estimates that 27 million people (of all nationalities, and on all continents) are enslaved today. The ILO further estimates the following:

    • 90 percent of victims are exploited by individuals or enterprises, while 10 percent are forced to work by a state, rebel military groups, or in prisons
    • Forced labor exploitation alone makes up 80 percent of all victims, while 20 percent accounts for victims of forced sexual exploitation
    • 55 percent of all victims are women and girls, and 45 percent are men and boys. Children make up around one quarter of all victims

What can you do? Conduct your own online research, and you may be very surprised at which household names are knowingly exploiting the lives of innocent people, all for a small profit gain. The link below is a copy of the report conducted by the U.S. Department of Labor in 2009 titled:  ‘List of Goods Produced by Child Labor or Forced Labor‘.

http://www.dol.gov/ilab/programs/ocft/PDF/2009TVPRA.pdf

Keep this in mind: often when we come across something that is dirt cheap here (clothing or food commodity), it’s likely costing someone else in another part of the world a very dear price. Forced labor requires the person to  work in harsh conditions,  endure extremely long hours, and are give a very limited food, water, and sunlight. This is abuse, beloved, and it should not be acceptable.

Also, if you feel led by the Holy Spirit to get involved in a deeper way, please check out and support the following organization (which I have worked with in the past) as they campaign against forced labor around the globe.

Not For SaleInternational Organization

http://www.free2work.org/

Due to the length of this post, we’ll continue this discussion on slavery (specifically sex-trafficking) with the aid of the Holy Spirit tomorrow morning. And remember that even darkness is light to Jesus since He has overcome it all!

“Even the darkness is not dark to you; the night is bright as the day, for darkness is as light with you.” Psalm 139:12

“The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” John 1:5

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Photo courtesy of stockfreeimages.com

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A Practical Example in Hearing God’s Voice

“So shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.” Isaiah 55:11 ESV

Yesterday, we discussed How to Effectively Hear God’s Voice in Another. However, today I’d like to share a practical example in the form of a dialogue between two believers. May your hearts be encouraged through the grace of Jesus Christ. To God be the glory!

Let’s dive right in…

May these two examples illustrate the need for extreme caution and prudence in communicating a message from the Lord. 

For the first example, simply imagine that a person approaches you with a word from the Lord. Even though this individual is known for being mature and wise in the Lord, their delivery is inappropriate. They don’t ask for permission to share the message, they present it harshly by stating something like “you better listen or else”, or they presume to know more about your life than you yourself do and appear boastful about it.

“Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away.” 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 ESV

How should such a conversation look? In contrast to the above example, it’s always important to ask permission to share, to open in prayer, and for both parties to prayerfully surrender the message to the Lord. Here is a second example of potential dialogue between two believers that may encourage you in this area.

Melissa: Hey Jane. I hope you are doing extremely well. Recently I’ve been sitting in prayer with the Lord and going through scripture concerning a word that I believe the Lord gave me for you. Would you be open to me sharing this with you today or sometime soon?

Jane: Sure. I have time now. What do you believe God was saying to you?

Melissa: Well, before I begin, if you are okay with it. I would really love to commit this conversation to the Lord, so He alone would be glorified. Is that okay with you?

Jane: Sure. Go for it.

Melissa: “Lord Jesus, we come to You in Your name and ask that You would bless this conversation. I pray for a spirit of humility in representing Your voice by sharing the message and scripture that I believe You gave me for this person. Please cover our relationship with a spirit of unity so that it may always glorify you, and may there be no deception, pride, division, or slander, present in this conversation. May You alone guide it, and may You be glorified. We welcome You, Holy Spirit.”

“Jane, before I share, I want to make you aware that I am human just as you, and while I believe this is a word the Lord has given me for you, I ask that you would please bring this back to God. He will be faithful to confirm to you directly if this is in fact from Him, or He will thwart it. I ask your forgiveness in advance if I have misheard Him.”

“Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.” 1 John 4:1 NIV

“Here is the word I believe the Lord wants me to share with you along with the following scriptures to draw you closer to Him……….

Jane: Thank you for sharing. I’ll take this right back to the Lord in my own personal time with Him and pray that He brings clarity and confirmation on this matter. Thank you again!

Melissa:  Thank you for allowing me to be obedient in sharing. Your openness has been most encouraging. May God alone receive the glory.

My prayer is that your hearts are encouraged by this post today. And may it draw you closer to Jesus.

“Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world.” Hebrews 1:1-2 ESV

“My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand.” John 10:27-28 ESV

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How to Effectively Hear God’s Voice in Another

“The Lord GOD has given Me the tongue of disciples, That I may know how to sustain the weary one with a word. He awakens Me morning by morning, He awakens My ear to listen as a disciple.” Isaiah 50:4 NASB 

Have you ever heard someone tell you that they have “A word from the Lord”?

In the past you may have been the recipient or a giver of such a word inspired by the Holy Spirit that was meant to admonish or exhort another. Today I want to encourage you by sharing what I have learned (through His grace) about effectively presenting such words in order to bring God the utmost glory. May you be further equipped to present yourself as an ambassador for Christ when sharing a message with others.

First, I’d like to review a few important prerequisites that you and I should observe in an individual providing a word from the Lord:

1. The messenger should be a God-fearing Christian. They have accepted Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior and believe in the power of the Holy Spirit. It’s extremely wise to ensure that the person providing a word from the Lord is a believer and not a follower of mysticism, new ageism, or any other deceptive form of religion.

“My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand.” John 10:27-28 ESV

2. The messenger should read, know, and believe in the Bible. The word that they are speaking should align with the Word of God. Be wary of a message from anyone who spends more time reading books by Christian authors than the Bible that God Himself has authored.

“For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” Hebrews 4:12 ESV

3. The messenger should live a life worthy of the admonishment given. When we obey God’s commands, there is no room for sin to dominate any area of our lives because Jesus occupies every space. If a person is knee deep in a particular sin and tries to provide exhortation to another in the same area of sin, it can result in confusion about the righteousness and justness of God and apathy towards that sin. For example, I would recommend being wary of any individual that gives you a word about seeking a life of sexual purity who is openly involved in sexual immorality (meaning they refuse to obey by that same admonishment). No one but this person who gives the word is glorified.

“But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.” 1 Peter 2:9 ESV

Next, assuming that all of the above characteristics can be seen in the messenger, here is how the message can be communicated to best glorify the Lord.

1. The messenger must come from a stance of humility. They understand the word is from God and therefore make no attempt to add or remove anything from it, no matter what the associated cost may be in giving the admonishment. The messenger must keep in mind that they are merely a vessel being used by the Almighty, not because they deserve it, nor because they are His favorite (He has no favorites). Only in His great wisdom has He decided to use them, and they have obeyed (which is still by His grace).

“I know the Lord is always with me. I will not be shaken, for he is right beside me.” Psalm 16:8 NLT

2. The messenger must communicate the message in gentleness and in truth. Not only should the word align with Scripture, but it should be gently spoken. Beware of speaking harshly or using coercion to persuade someone to hear what you have to say. Also, beware of using force or manipulation to get the person’s attention. The messenger’s role is not to control the actions of the receiver; that is the pure right and duty of the Holy Spirit. Use extreme caution when speaking on behalf of the Lord. As His ambassador, it is a great privilege, honor, and duty to represent Him well.

“A gentle tongue is a tree of life, but perverseness in it breaks the spirit.” Proverbs 15:4 ESV

“Gracious words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the body.” Proverbs 16:24 ESV

Join me tomorrow as we discuss two more real-life examples to demonstrate how to practically apply today’s teaching. You will not want to miss this. May your hearts be encouraged, and may God’s will be done in each of your lives. To God be the glory!

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