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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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Responding to the Call

While the morning was quiet and my green tea was steeping in the french press, God began to speak:

“The Word of the Lord came to me, saying, ‘Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart, I appointed you as a prophet to the nations’.” Jeremiah 1:4-5

I have a call to be His voice to the nations. This call is one I’ve known ever since I was a young girl. In my life, I’d journey to other continents in a quest to fulfill this mission that is deeply embedded in my heart.

The truth is that we all have a call. Because God is extremely purposeful and wise, He intends for each of us to live a life of purpose with Him at the center of our gaze. Regardless of your particular occupation, we should always work with the following three commands in mind:

1. “Jesus replied: ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” Matthew 22:37-40

2. “But first be concerned about God’s kingdom and his righteousness, and all of these things will be provided for you as well.” Matthew 6:33 ISV

3. “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Matthew 28:19-20

This is about you and Jesus. And living the most incredible, purposeful life while here on earth.

A couple of nights ago, Keith and I were browsing the TV guide and saw that a movie about Jeremiah was on. Out of curiosity, we turned to the channel, and within minutes my heart was captivated. You see, the Lord has consistently brought me to both Isaiah and Jeremiah as tools of training for my call and to emphasize that I was hearing Him correctly. And He will do the same for you, beloved. 

God will always use His word (because it doesn’t fade like emotions) when preparing and confirming your purpose in life.

After the movie, I opened His Word and began reading the first few chapters of Jeremiah and was struck by three important lessons. The story begins with an everyday man responding to a high call and obeying His Lord.

1. “The Word of the Lord came to me, saying, ‘Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart, I appointed you as a prophet to the nations’.” Jeremiah 1:4-5

This passage confirms God’s sovereignty over our lives. Each of us (every person from every nation) is created in God’s image and has a call to fulfill once we enter this world. We are created on purpose for a purpose. Yet, we must seek God (with our free will) to find what He is calling us to, and then we must allow Him to faithfully direct us along the way.

 2. “Ah Sovereign Lord’, I said, ‘I do not know how to speak; I am only a child’.” Jeremiah 1:6

Pay attention to this response of Jeremiah. First he refers to God as “Sovereign” (all-knowing, all-powerful, owning all things). Then he adds, “I do not know how…” This contradicts his initial description of God as sovereign, because he is attempting to limit God’s call with Jeremiah’s own inabilities. Finally, Jeremiah (a grown man at this point) closes his statement by saying he is “only a child.”

Is this not what we do as humans? We say “That’s nice Lord and thanks for thinking of me, but I’m not qualified to do that (I’m in too much debt, I don’t have that particular skill set, or I have a set agenda and that really isn’t apart of it). While we’re prone to focus on our own inadequacies, we forget that the very One who is calling us is more than adequate.

We as humans will never accomplish the will of God through mortal strength. If we could, we wouldn’t need God. A supernatural challenge requires a supernatural response. That is why we can do all things, but only through Christ who strengthens us. We must depend on God. We must take our eyes off of us and puts them on Jesus. This is where intimacy is built.

 3. “But the Lord said to me. ‘Do not say , ‘I am only a child.’ You must go to everyone I send you to and say whatever I command you. Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you and will rescue you’, declares the Lord.” Jeremiah 1:7-8

Look at how God responds to Jeremiah here. He wants us to focus on Him instead of our inadequacies and environment. This is where many of us (including myself) often stumble. We pray for God’s will in our lives, but when the time comes, we’re more focused on the will of man. Allow me to elaborate. Jeremiah was afraid of what people would say or think of him once he actually went through with what God’s calling on him. He didn’t just feel inadequate; he also desired the approval of man. If we are to obey God in this life and walk closely to Him, we must forsake the desire to please man. And the fear of God must reign over the fear of man. May your heart be encouraged with His truth today.

“Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.” 2 Timothy 2:15

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The Value of a Strong Mental Diet (Part1)

Often times we’re quick to discuss what we consume on a daily basis, well, food that is. Whether we need a quick detox to boost our immunity and clear our minds, or to shed a few pounds, evaluating our dietary consumption is pretty normal these days.

But, what about our mental diet and the countless messages (whether verbal or visual) that we consume each day? Does the Bible not encourage us to carefully assess our thought patterns and that which comes out of our mouths (a direct byproduct of our thought life), in order to live holy lives for the glory of our Maker?

“And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him. Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect..” Romans 12:1-2 NLT

“But I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members.” Romans 7:23 ESV

Set a guard, O Lord, over my mouth; keep watch over the door of my lips!” Psalm 141:3 ESV

I’ve asked myself, and now I’m asking you, how important is your mental diet? And are you aware of what you are actually consuming? Similar to how calorie-counting can shed some pounds and clear our mind, so monitoring what we watch, read, listen to, and think upon, can free us of damaging clutter that creates toxic behaviors and attitudes.

“My child, listen and be wise: Keep your heart on the right course.” Proverbs 23:19 NLT

Allow me to preface this post before I begin. 

I deeply believe it is the active role of the Holy Spirit, not mankind, to convict a person’s heart concerning any destructive behaviors present in one’s life. The Bible clearly expresses what is right and good, and what is sinful and harmful for the lives of mankind. For example, the Bible states “do not murder”, so we know that murder is wrong. But, many other decisions are more ambiguous, such as: should I no longer watch this TV show?

“But I tell you the truth: It is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Counselor will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you. When he comes, he will convict the world of guilt in regard to sin and righteousness and judgment: in regard to sin, because men do not believe in me; in regard to righteousness, because I am going to the Father, where you can see me no longer. ” John 16:7-10 NIV

When the Holy Spirit convicts, and the person responds to the conviction by turning away from the behavior, joy, peace, and freedom are fully expressed, because the person has obeyed God.

However, when humans dictate what others should do for the cause of being holy (such as making dietary laws, or imposing their own personal convictions on another), then a person may temporarily oblige, but resentment and contempt for the person will soon follow. This is why forced religion (perhaps in the form of legalism) generates fear of man versus God, and a lackluster approach to knowing and worshipping the Creator God. Avoid this approach at all cost.

I share this with you, because I have absolutely no interest in condemning or trying to play the role of the Holy Spirit in convicting you of certain behaviors in your life. Ultimately, what you choose to fill your mind with, must be between you and the Almighty. However, let me encourage you in ways to fill your minds with positive influences, in order to produce a harvest of good fruit (while simultaneously glorifying your Creator) in your own lives.

Just as the saying “we are what we eat” is proven to be true, “we are what we think” is also highly valid. How high or low you think of yourself has huge implications on how you present yourself to others and what you achieve in this life. As my pastor likes to say, “We will never rise above the level of our thinking”. You must see yourself as you truly are in Christ. So, how exactly do we do this?

Join me tomorrow as I share four specific ways you can transform your thought-life (through the power of the Holy Spirit) by a practical, biblical focus on the positive in order to live a better life and glorify God.

Thank you for choosing His Daily Dose! Are you currently a subscriber? If not, we would love to have you! Click HERE to begin receiving daily, encouraging posts sent straight to your inbox each morning. Thank you! To God be the glory!

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