Tag Archives: hope

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

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Part II – Casting the Seed: The Difference Between Spiritual Poverty and Abundance

“Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.” Proverbs 4:23

Yesterday, we introduced two people from the story of ‘The Sower’ found in Matthew 13. One individual either rejects the Gospel (an atheist) or has never been exposed to God’s truth. The other receives Jesus, but bases the relationship on emotions rather than biblical truth. In both situations, roots aren’t established and fruit isn’t produced.

The most significant factor in determining whether God’s seed will take root, flourish, and produce a crop (without being snatched away from the enemy) is the very foundation to which the seed is cast.

And that foundation is our hearts. Through this passage, I believe God the Father is challenging us to take a much deeper look into the true condition of our hearts.

Will you accept that challenge?

Let’s continue the story.

In Matthew 13:22, Jesus introduces another individual in His teaching: “The one who received the seed that fell among the thorns is the man who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke it, making it unfruitful.”

This is the third person of the story.

Personally, I believe this is where many Christians are today, and please hear me out on this. First, this individual is in a much better place to receive God’s word. The foundation of their heart isn’t rock, where only shallow plants can grow, but it is actually soil. This person is not only a believer of Jesus Christ, but they also carry a desire to heed to His instruction (as he receives the seed and hears the Word).  Yet, there’s another seed that’s been cast onto this same heart, and over time this foreign seed produced a bundle of thorns.

Thorns hurt. They prick us and slow us down. When they aren’t uprooted, they will indefinitely choke the very fruit we are trying to produce through the Word of God (the seed cast by Jesus).

What’s happening here?

The enemy cast his own seed onto the heart of this believer, and it unfortunately sprouted into a bushel of death. Thorns are strongholds. They are lies that we believe about ourselves that prevent us from becoming the men and women God has called us to be.

“For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 6:23

Every sin in mankind can always be traced to a seed sown by the enemy that has taken root in the heart. This is why an individual can attend a wonderful church service and feel on fire for God, but still struggle with alcoholism or a porn addiction. This is also why an individual can desire God’s truth, but still idolize money and the approval of man by splurging on excessively expensive items that aren’t true needs.

“You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.” Ephesians 4:22-24

Thorns are what keep us from reaching our highest potential through Christ.

And in one single prayer to the Most High God, those harmful thorns can be completely obliterated. It’s all a choice. And it’s ours to make.

“Seek the LORD while he may be found; call on him while he is near.” Isaiah 55:6

“In your unfailing love, silence my enemies; destroy all my foes, for I am your servant.” Psalm 143:12

“I am the LORD, the God of all mankind. Is anything too hard for me?” Jeremiah 32:27

“Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” James 4:7

In closing, this last individual discussed in Matthew 13:23 is living the life God intended for him, which is where we all want to be.

“But the one who received the seed that fell on good soil is the man who hears the word and understands it. He produces a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty, or thirty times what was sown.”

Through the grace of Jesus, we all can yield an abundant crop lasting well into eternity.

Will you allow Him to purge your heart so His seed can grow, producing a harvest of righteousness in you?

“For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.” Ephesians 2:8-9

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How to Overcome Obstacles

“And we pray this in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please Him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to His glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and joyfully giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the kingdom of light.”
                                                                                                Colossians 1:10-12

Obstacles.

For as long as I can remember, encountering obstacles would make me crumple up in despair. Without attempting to overcome the blockade, I would remain trapped back where my dream originally began.

Not very productive, I know. 

So yesterday, while strolling along the Chattachoochee river and sipping on Haitian coffee, I wasn’t at all surprised when the Lord began to speak to me about this specific issue – my inability to consistently overcome obstacles. Instead of shying away from this holy and paternal insight on my life, I chose to meet Him with enthusiasm and wonder. I wanted to discover how this behavior could be overcome. No longer did I want to regret my yet unrealized dreams.

And this is where it all begins, beloved. With the desire to change.

What is an obstacle?

According to Websters, obstacles are defined as something that impedes (delays) progress or achievement; a barrier, a hindrance, or a blocking.

Even this definition alone makes me annoyed.

But, I challenge you to take a look at what some of our world’s greatest leaders have said concerning this issue of overcoming obstacles.

 “In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity.” – Albert Einstein
 
“The true measure of a man is not how he behaves in moments of comfort and convenience but how he stands at times of controversy and challenges.” – Martin Luther King, Jr.
 
“History has demonstrated that the most notable winners usually encountered heartbreaking obstacles before they triumphed. They won because they refused to become discouraged by their defeats.” – B.C. Forbes
 
“Every worthwhile accomplishment, big or little, has its stages of drudgery and triumph; a beginning, a struggle and a victory.” – Mahatma Gandhi

These leaders were great because they did great things. And they did great things because they simply overcame their obstacles. I want to do this, too.

How about you?

I want to be great through Christ. I want to own a successful company. I want to publish books. I want to speak more languages. I want to impact nations for Christ. I want to be a submissive wife. I  want to earn my PhD. I want a Bed ‘n’ Breakfast on a farm to host missionaries.  I want to learn to sail. I want an incredible marriage. I want to touch thousands upon thousands of lives (through His grace).

Deep within my core, I know these dreams will require much more than just a vision and good intentions to be realized. I will have to mature in overcoming obstacles in order to experience a life of greatness. And so will you, my friend.

What unrealized dreams do you have waiting at the doorstep of your heart?

Here are three ideas the Lord spoke into my mind yesterday afternoon:

1. Set your eyes on the goal, but don’t overlook the journey. I am a visionary, which means I naturally focus most of my attention on the expected outcome (the goal). Because so much detail and planning goes into the actual vision of the end result, I become incredibly distraught when things don’t go according to plan. Which leads me to the next point…

“And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.” Galatians 6:9

2. Remain flexible and seek alternate solutions. This statement is synonymous with two simple but important words: “problem-solver.” And this is not my forte. The idea of picking myself up (with the aid of Christ), contemplating a myriad of alternate solutions, and failing countless times before encountering success seems noble (yet daunting). But it’d be much easier to just cry and postpone the goal till a more “fit season,” delaying the gratification for another time. Many refer to this more candidly as “procrastination.” However, through the strength of Jesus Christ, we can persevere. The notion is simple: Don’t give up until you find the best solution to meet your goal.

“Seek the Lord and his strength; seek his presence continually!” 1 Chronicles 16:11

3. Expect obstacles before reaching the goal. If we ever set out to change our reality by pursuing a dream or a goal, we must expect obstacles. Along with accepting that our plans may need to adapt along the way. Once we confront the obstacle, slow down, and begin problem-solving, then we can then truly determine if the goal is worth the pursuit. This often fuels a deeper sense of enjoyment and fulfillment once we finally obtain the goal or dream. All great things come at a great cost.

“Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” James 1:2-4

May we press on to reach the goals which are set out before us and may the God Eternal receive all the glory! Know someone who would be encouraged by this article? Please pass it along using any of our social outlets listed below. Thank you for choosing HIs Daily Dose today!

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