Tag Archives: focus

The Hope Found in Sex Trafficking

“The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me,because the Lord has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners,to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion— to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendor.” Isaiah 61: 1-3

I’m happy that you’re back as we dive right into the second portion of this discussion on slavery: sex trafficking.

May His will be done.

Human Trafficking. Modern Day Slavery. Child Sex Trafficking. Commercial Exploitation of Children. Forced Sex Labor. These terms are all used interchangeably to explain this one issue that undoubtedly crushes the heart of God. I can only imagine thousands upon thousands of voices that are crying out for some type of holy intervention. And the thousands upon thousands of miracles that our God performs on a daily basis that simply go underneath our radar. He is a faithful God that works in very mysterious ways. We must never forget that.

Human trafficking is an injustice that has gripped my heart for years. And it may be one that grips yours as well.

This was how it all started for me….

I was at home one afternoon enjoying an afternoon off from work, drinking coffee and browsing the internet, when I came across a CBS special report covering young Filipino girls that were ‘servicing’ English and American male tourists. As I clicked ‘play’ with a bit of hesitation, I  could not believe what I was seeing.

Here was a young boy of about 10 years old (the age of my nephew) who could barely speak English, conducting a business transaction with a male American tourist (maybe in his late 50’s). He was selling this man a thirty minute “oral fix” performed by a six year old girl (who appeared scared and confused) in a run-down tent with a small twin mattress thrown on the dusty floor. My insides immediately broke out in violent spasms as I gagged at the computer screen. Anger, bewilderment, and sadness overwhelmed my heart as I longed to jump into that scene and rescue that little girl. But, I couldn’t, and I felt helpless.

This is where my story began.

As a missionary years later in Western Australia, the Lord placed me in the red light district of Perth (right next door to a brothel in fact). Every day I  would see the faces of young Southeast Asian girls who had been trafficked (transported by coercion and force) to live lives of sexual servitude for the perverse enjoyment of Australian men. I wanted to march in that brothel with the authority of Jesus Christ and rescue those women, but the Lord only wanted me to observe and pray. Looking back, I’m thankful for His wise leading. It is through prayer that we gain His heart and perspective on an issue. I strongly encourage you beloved, to spend time at His doorsteps before you go reaching out to others.

“Listen to My instruction and be wise; do not ignore it. Blessed is the man who listens to Me, watching daily at My doors, waiting at My doorway. For whoever finds Me finds life and receives favor from the Lord. But whoever fails to find Me harms himself; all who hate Me love death.” Proverbs 8:33-36

A few months later I moved to Mexico City. For the first time,  I encountered girls (as young as 12) and women (18-45) publicly lining the streets and advertising themselves as commodities for sale in an area known as La Merced. Unfortunately, it wasn’t just for the locals (including law enforcement and government officials); tourists also knew where to find these victimized souls. We knew we weren’t welcome.  But, Jesus had other plans. Their traffickers would visibly loom around them, watching every move we made from the “window upstairs”. It was in this place that I first looked into the big, brown eyes of a young Mexican girl who shamefully looked away after five seconds of making eye contact. And I held the tender hands of a young woman who desperately wanted to be held and to know that she was worth more than a “good time.” At any moment, we could have been shot. But, Jesus is bigger than man, and more powerful than the enemy. What God willed was going to take place. So, we marched out in the authority of Christ, passing out roses to remind them of their beauty, giving them Bibles as a source of truth and encouragement, hugging their necks to show them they were worthy of love, and praying for the Lord’s mighty intervention. We saw one woman rescued from the hundreds there. But, it was still one life that Jesus died for and that was substantial. I’m thankful for the Lord’s powerful demonstration of faithfulness: we were never once injured, and He taught me that even darkness is light to Him. He has all authority and power.

“Even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you.” Psalm 139:12

Allow me encourage you with something, beloved.

Jesus is King. There is nothing in history that can ever undo the powerful choice He made when He willingly hung on the cross. He has overcome all evil. Death has no power over Him. And even darkness is light to our King. And do you know what makes His sacrifice so powerful? As dirty and evil as sex trafficking is, Jesus still chose to die for the souls that choose to engage in this very act. Is there anything more revolutionary than God’s love? This right here shows you that love is more powerful than death.

Now that I have shared with you what the Lord has allowed me to experience on the mission field outside of the United States, I want to encourage you in the truth. He is doing a big work here in this nation. Sex trafficking very much exists in this country, and it’s often not out in the open. And as a missionary in the States with Wellspring Living, I have learned a very valuable lesson that I’d like to share:

Focus on Jesus and not the issue at hand. There is a difference between being educated on this issue and meditating on this issue. The havoc and destruction that sex trafficking causes is derived from the most disgusting, evil one: satan himself. Let’s not focus on his temporary work, but instead on the work of Jesus Christ.

Because there is a lot He is doing to rescue, restore, and redeem these precious souls of women and children today and forevermore. I have seen the faces of girls and women who have been delivered, healed, and made completely new through the all-sustaining and ever-consuming power of Jesus Christ. And women are being rescued daily here in Atlanta. Let’s give God the amazing praise He deserves for what He IS doing! He is making what appears impossible to man, possible through Him. To God be the glory for that!

“Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.” Psalm 19:14

“My son, be attentive to my words; incline your ear to my sayings. Let them not escape from your sight; keep them within your heart. For they are life to those who find them, and healing to all their flesh.” Proverbs 4:20-22

“You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.” Isaiah 26:3

If you feel that the Lord is calling you into this area of ministry, or you simply want to learn more about what He’s doing, then check out these incredible organizations (all of which I know personally) that are doing big things through the grace of Jesus Christ.

Wellspring Living  – An organization that works hands-on with women and girls (through the aid of Christ) to restore their broken hearts and empower them for a second chance of living through Jesus. Located in Atlanta, GA.

Check out their website here: Wellspring Living

Out of Darkness – An organization that runs a 24/7 hotline with volunteers trained to answer rescue calls along with a  dedicated team searching the internet to identify the sites where underage children are being sold for sex, the exploiters who are selling them, and the johns who are buying them. This is a great ministry for men that are seeking a place to serve. Located in Atlanta, GA.

Check out their website here: Out of Darkness

Love Made Claim, Inc – An organization committed to building trust and relationships with women in the sex-for-sale industry, including women enslaved in the porn industry.  Located in Denver, CO (but attends national porn conventions).

Check out their website here: Love Made Claim

Photo provided by momslupusmagic.com

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Simple Optimism: Encouragement for the Day

True optimism is not found in a random positive quote from the internet (though some of them are quite good), but by taking a personal inventory of your God-given greatness.

What do you possess that others admire or that God Himself adores about you?

We all have something.

How can I be so sure?

Because His word says that we are fearfully and wonderfully made. And that we are created in His image. If He says it, then it must be true.

“I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.” Psalm 139:14

Try this: list at least five things that you love about yourself.

1.

2.

3.

4.

5.

How did it go? Was this an easy activity for you? Or did you find it a bit challenging?

In all honesty, this took me some time. Not because I don’t love myself, but rather because I don’t think of these specific characteristics often. Yet, this practice of positive thinking is not only biblical but extremely healthy for us. Positive thoughts truly do produce a positive outlook. And the manner in which we carry out our day is ALWAYS driven by an outlook (whether negative or positive).

“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” Philippians 4:8

Focusing on the good within ourselves cultivates a deep desire to practice “self care”. This is both loving and wise.

“The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.” Mark 12:31

So, here goes…..

1. I love my ability to communicate, whether it’s through public speaking or writing a piece of material. And I really enjoy reading my own work.

2. I love my passion towards making a positive difference in other people’s lives.

3. I love my entrepreneurial spirit and my ability to cast vision to others.

4. I love my laugh.

5. I love my deep-embedded interest for foreign travel and cultural experiences.

Now, here’s for another exercise. How about listing 5 things that you would describe as positive in the world that surrounds you. What do you enjoy? What do you appreciate in all of God’s creation? 

1.

2.

3.

4.

5.

Was that exercise a bit easier? For me it was. Now can you see the importance of setting your mind on the things that produce joy, laughter, motivation, and determination in order to retain an optimistic mindset?

“Serve the Lord with gladness! Come into his presence with singing!” Psalm 100:2

“A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.” Proverbs 17:22

Here’s my list from this morning: 

1. I’m thrilled that I get to wake up and enjoy a mug of my hot green/jasmine tea.

2. I really enjoy my garden. I get so tickled every time a new beautiful bud begins to bloom. And the fact that I can cook with my fresh herbs.

3. I really like the idea of having a blank canvas each day, and the fact that it’s completely up to me in how I choose to live my day.

4. To add to point #3, I love that God gives me a dose of totally fresh and new mercies to tap into for whatever I need for the day. It’s just so cool.

5. I love that I can listen to Argentinean tango, cook a good meal, and stare into my husband’s face while catching up on each others lives. It’s just good stuff.

May these two simple exercises spark an appreciation both for the person that God designed you to be and for the world that surrounds you. There is so much treasure that can be found in every single day; we just have to look for it. This search always starts with an optimistic outlook, beloved. 

Feel free to post your comments below, because I’d love to hear from you!

Thank you for choosing His Daily Dose! Are you currently a subscriber? We’d love to have you! Just click HERE and begin receiving daily, encouraging posts sent straight to your inbox.

 

Photo provided by wallpaperswiki.org

 

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Hot tea in hand, I open the Word to Matthew 14:29-33. And something simply delightful catches my eye.

A pattern I hadn’t quite seen in the past. Let’s take a look.

“‘Come,’ he said. Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, ‘Lord, save me!’ Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. ‘You of little faith, he said, ‘why did you doubt?’ And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down. Then those who were in the boat worshiped him, saying, ‘Truly you are the Son of God’.”

Stepping out of the boat. And walking on water.

And no floaties are needed.

The story begins with His voice. He asks us to do something. Not just an ordinary something. A radical something. A something that goes against all logic and rationale. And many times against our own emotions and perceptions.

Start a ministry. Leave your job. Write a book. End the unhealthy dating relationship. Go to counseling. Go to rehab. Make new friends. Pray with your boss. Or even better, just sit still and abide in Him. He asks us to do these things at times.

“My sheep recognize my voice; I know them, and they follow me.” John 10:27 NLT

Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.” Isaiah 30:21 NIV

Look at the example here. Peter understood gravity made no exceptions: you step out onto the water, then you sink. This is logic. And I’m pretty confident everyone in the boat knew it too. Yet, Jesus went against the limitations of the human mind and demonstrated His sovereign power.

And He will do the same for us when we follow after Him. Regardless of what others in our boat are thinking.

“Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.” Galatians 1:10 NIV

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the LORD.” Isaiah 55:8

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.” Proverbs 3:5-6 ESV

Despite the irrationality of the situation (or so it seemed), Peter responds. And asks the Lord for confirmation.

Jesus is faithful. So, he gives Peter the confirmation he’s seeking in one simple word: “Come.”

I interpret this as:  “Yes, you’ve heard me correctly. Do what I am asking of you. Trust me, I am leading you.”

Then the scene shifts.

Peter gets distracted. The wind’s blowing. He’s feeling some opposition. This act of faith becomes more challenging than he thought. And he takes his eyes off of Jesus.

“Let your eyes look straight ahead; fix your gaze directly before you.” Proverbs 4:25 NIV

“You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you.” Isaiah 26:3 NIV

In looking at the waves, Peter begins to sink while Jesus is standing just a few feet away.

“But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.” James 1:6 NIV

Just grasp that for a second.

How many times have we done this? We’re following Jesus in faith in what He’s asked us to do. And “Bam!”, an unforeseen challenge arrives on our doorstep and we begin to doubt. I believe if Peter would have kept his eyes on the Lord, those big waves and that strong, powerful wind would have felt more like a summer breeze. It’s when we focus on our troubles and not on Jesus that we become afraid. And we feel overwhelmed.

“I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” John 16:33 ESV

“Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.” Colossians 3:2 ESV

“But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” Matthew 6:33 ESV

Yet, check out the mercy of Jesus in this situation. In despite of Peter’s mistake, Jesus takes him by the hand, and pierces his soul. “Why do you have such little faith?’, Jesus asked. He didn’t pat Peter on the back and say “Don’t worry, just forget that ever happened.”

Why?

Because He loves us and He knows in order for us to have a life of greatness, we’ll have to live a life of faith. We have to follow Him, completely.

“And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.” Hebrews 11:6 NIV

“Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.” Hebrews 11:1 NIV

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.” Romans 15:3

“And those who know your name put their trust in you, for you, O Lord, have not forsaken those who seek you.” Psalm 9:10

It was Jesus that calmed the storm in Peter’s life. And it’s Jesus who will calm yours as you fix your eyes on Him. Remember with Jesus; no floaties are needed.

Thank you for choosing His Daily Dose today! Are you currently a subscriber? We would love to have you as a part of our family. Just click HERE and begin receiving daily, encouraging emails sent straight to your inbox each morning. Thank you!

Photo courtesy of econews.com.au

When Faith Sustains, No Floaties Are Needed

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
%d bloggers like this: