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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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An Important Tool in Life's Toolbox

*This post will serve as a 3-day post for the long weekend here in the United States. Enjoy it until Tuesday when more fresh and new content will be made available on the site. ________________________________________________________________

As I studied the Word this morning, I came across a passage in Nehemiah that really spoke to my heart about the value and power of God’s word in our own lives. May you be deeply encouraged to use this passage in your own life, and may God alone receive the glory!

Allow me to set up the scene:

All of the Israelites are called together on the first day of the Jewish year for a corporate reading of  God’s law. Nehemiah (who had led reconstruction of Jerusalem’s wall), Ezra (a prophet), and the Levites (priests) publicly read and interpret God’s law as the people begin to mourn. Within three weeks, the masses are so deeply convicted of their sin that Israel experiences a widespread national confession and executes a written covenant with God. Because this rarely happened, it truly was a celebratory mark in history for God’s people.

“On the twenty-fourth day of the same month, the Israelites gathered together, fasting and wearing sackcloth and putting dust on their heads. Those of Israelite descent had separated themselves from all foreigners. They stood in their places and confessed their sins and the sins of their ancestors. They stood where they were and read from the Book of the Law of the Lord their God for a quarter of the day, and spent another quarter in confession and in worshiping the Lord their God.” Nehemiah 9:1-3 NIV

What I find so fascinating is that the people simply read God’s word and receive it as truth,  and that alone is what brings noticeable change (even on a national level).

Here are 3 points that we can extract from this small passage about the value of God’s word:

1. By reading and interpreting God’s word, our own eyes are opened to the sin within our hearts, and we’re prompted to repent and be made right with God again. For me, this makes me think of my husband, Keith. Although he was raised in a predominantly atheist family, he had been exposed to God through his first four years of education in Lutheran and Catholic schools. Even though he carried a vague notion of God’s existence within his heart, his eyes were not opened to the truth until he opened up the Bible and began reading on his own. Keith came to know and accept Jesus Christ solely by reading the Bible, which is just astounding to me. To God be the glory, because His word truly sets us free.

“Open my eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of your law.” Psalm 119:18 ESV

“Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” Psalm 119:105 ESV

“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

2. Reading God’s word teaches us who God actually is instead of merely what we perceive Him to be. For example, let’s look at Nehemiah 9:17-18.

“But you are a forgiving God, gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love. Therefore you did not desert them, even when they cast for themselves an image of a calf and said, ‘This is your god, who brought you up out of Egypt,’ or when they committed awful blasphemies.”

If you ever think that God doesn’t love you, God has left you, or God is so angry with you, then go to scripture and see what God’s word says about Himself. What can we gather from God’s character and nature from this two sentence passage alone?

    • God forgives us, so we must forgive ourselves and refuse to live a life of continual self-martyrdom.
    • God is gracious to us, which means that He is good to us when we don’t deserve it.
    • God is compassionate, meaning that He is moved to help us when He sees our needs. He doesn’t turn His face from us by refusing to help, which would actually be the absence of compassion.
    • God is slow to anger. And even though He may be angry for a moment, He quickly moves on. God doesn’t hold a record of wrongs towards us, because God is love. As His word says, love is not rude, nor does it keep a record of wrongs (1 Corinthians 13).
    • God doesn’t desert us, even when we desert Him. This is what makes Him an impeccably faithful and trustworthy God.

 

 

God’s goodness does not depend on our actions, beloved. 

 3. Reading and applying God’s word improves us and the relationships around us. We all experience pain, disappointment, and challenges because of our own fallen flesh and those around us. But God’s word equips, admonishes, and exhorts us so that we can be ready for every situation, emotion, and thought that we may encounter in this life. The Bible is the greatest resource for learning how God would have us to live. There’s no price tag on this type of treasure, beloved.

“All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.” 2 Timothy 3:16-17 ESV

“So will My word be which goes forth from My mouth; It will not return to Me empty, Without accomplishing what I desire, And without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it.” Isaiah 55:11 NASB

May you be encouraged to read, study, and apply God’s word today. Don’t just skim through the passages that ruffle your feathers and pretend that they don’t exist. If a passage is challenging you, then you more than likely need to seek God’s help to apply its very truth in your life. Walk in freedom, beloved, because Jesus gave His life as the Word made flesh so that we can live in full freedom through His truth.

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” John 1:1 ESV

Let’s be the mature disciples that God has called us to be through the resurrection of His Son Jesus and the power of the Holy Spirit, who equips us for every good work. To God be the glory! 

“This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.” Joshua 1:8 ESV

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Photo provided by newlifect.com.

 

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Let's Talk About Sex

white satin sheets

“Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith, and in purity.” 1 Timothy 4:12

This scripture is jumping off the pages at me today.

And I’m going to be real candid today because I think people need to hear the truth.

Let’s talk about sex.

Not in a churchy fashion, but the reality of what we are faced with day in and day out.

I’m annoyed.

I’m tired of seeing women in low cut blouses flaunting their cleavage for all men to see (probably because I used to be one of them and I know why they do it).  And what’s up with jamming out to songs with lyrics like: “your sex takes me to paradise” and “cause I know he has a wife at home, but I just need one night alone”?

I’m completely over in hearing how men are being convicted of pimping teenage girls on the streets. And why is a Gentleman’s Club advertised for gentlemen? A gentleman is defined as “a man of good family or manners”, not one who is entertained by a naked woman (who has been raped, abused, and sexually violated as a child) dancing on a pole. Let’s walk in truth here beloved and call things as they are.

We all have a sex drive. And despite what many people may think, that sex drive is good. It is a gift from God.

And the enemy knows it. This master of deceit takes the gift and creates a facade of erotic indulgence where there’s no penalty for feeding our sexual appetites. This completely contradicts the truth:

“Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction;the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life.” Galatians 6:7-8

Many of us see sex, think sex, talk about sex, and even dream about sex. But, do we really understand sex? The way it was created to be from the beginning?

Let’s dive a bit deeper.

Sex is POWERFUL. It is the deepest expression of love for one another. The deepest. And that is why it’s reserved for your spouse alone.

“Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.” Genesis 2:24

Sex is a gift. A beautiful and incredible gift that He entrusts to us to steward (manage) well. This sacred gift belongs to the Lord (He gave it to us, so it is His) until the day we are married. Once “the two become one flesh” then we are freely able to bless our spouse with this delightful surprise! Get excited!

“Daughters of Jerusalem, I charge you by the gazelles and by the does of the field: Do not arouse or awaken love until it so desires.” Song of Songs 2:7

Sex is designed to bring pleasure. It’s to be enjoyed. The genitalia contain thousands of nerve endings (12,000 combined in males and females) that run through the spinal cord up to the brain in order to provide incredible sensations during intercourse. I personally think it is brilliant and incredibly loving on His part to create us in this fashion.

“Awake, north wind, and come, south wind! Blow on my garden, that its fragrance may spread abroad. Let my lover come into his garden and taste its choice fruits.” Song of Songs 4:16

He wants us to enjoy sex. Because it’s a good thing when it’s done His way.

None of us are oblivious to the fact that sex is for procreation. But, think about this truth for a second. We as humans are given the opportunity to partner with the Living God to create another mortal being. Mind-blowing. So, it should come as no surprise that that the deepest act of love and affection, we as human beings can share, would be the very means to which this new life was created. Wow.

This is just beautiful. Absolutely beautiful.

Lastly, sex is an act of worship to our Loving Father. I know this may be an interesting (or even weird to a few) paradox, but it’s a conviction that the Holy Spirit has placed on my heart. I think God wants to be welcomed into the marital bedroom. I mean He’s the One who created sex, so why would we sheepishly disconnect Him during these intensely deep and intimate moments?

Sex is a selfless experience of giving oneself away to their beloved spouse in hopes to bring them and the Lord great pleasure. Sex is holy. And it must be treated this way.

I promise you beloved, none of the following will truly fulfill your desire for sex:

  • Pornography
  • Romance Novels
  • Sex-help books (Kama Sutra)
  • Adulterous relationships (extramarital affair)
  • Sexual relationships outside of marriage

They all may temporarily satisfy the physical, but the soul will remain empty. When we step outside of His holy boundaries (protection), we will always end up in a dangerous place.

Beloved, how can we expect Him to bless the very thing in which He speaks against in His Word? We must walk in truth beloved. It is “truth that sets us free.”

Let me encourage in taking a closer look to what God is saying to us about sex and marriage through His Word:

“Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body. Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.” 1 Corinthians 6:18-20

Run far away from sexual temptations. Remember your body is not even your own. It belongs to God as a dwelling place for His Spirit.

“Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled, for God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterous.” Hebrews 13:4

Extramarital affairs are not okay. I would go onto say that if marriage is truly held in honor by you, then any form of entertainment encouraging an adulterous affair needs to be removed from your influence (this includes movies, porn, books, etc). Trust me from personal experience, stay away from anything that could tempt you in this area.

“But since there is so much immorality, each man should have his own wife, and each woman her own husband. The husband should fulfill his marital duty to his wife, and likewise the wife to her husband. The wife’s body does not belong to her alone but also to her husband. In the same way, the husband’s body does not belong to him alone but also to his wife.” 1 Corinthians 7:2-4

Sex is to be enjoyed within the covenant of marriage, eliminating any other options.

“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” Matthew 5:27-28

This is for men and women. It’s not okay to imagine another person in bed, or to wonder what their body looks like without clothing. If anything causes these images to dwell in your mind, I would strongly suggest removing them to protect yourself. Let’s embrace purity. We win on all ends when we follow after the Lord’s heart. He created sex, just as He created marriage and even our genitalia.

Since He is the Creator of it all, I think He knows a thing or two on how sex should be experienced.

 

Photo courtesy of thetrendyhome.com
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