Category Archives: Christianity

Hope For the Prostitute – Introduction

The American church is often plagued by a horrible disease. It’s a disease that effects how we look at others and how we minister to them. It’s a disease that causes our ministry and personal spiritual lives to suffer. It’s a disease that is deadly and it’s effects have already been seen. What’s this disease? It’s as simple as pride, which leads to self-righteousness and judgmental attitude toward others.
These have all plagued humanity since the fall, but I want to address how it’s present and effecting our current time and culture. In so many Christians, including myself, there is often a focus on how naughty “those people” are. “Those people” that are outside the church and doing “really bad things” that are not usually found inside the church. Those “huge” sins like drug addictions, homosexuality, murder, theft, sexual abuse, and prostitutes.
Now prostitution is never even mentioned in our churches. In almost fourteen years of growing up in a church I’ve never heard it mentioned once. It’s one of those “outside” things that is dirty and we don’t like to touch us. It’s something we may fight against in the form of not wanting strip clubs and such in our neighborhoods, but that’s just about it. We often see prostitution as something “out there” when it’s actually in our neighborhoods and communities, it’s even in the Bible belt! (I have an interesting story about that…)
So how does this go back to the things like pride and self-righteousness?  A prostitute’s sin is blatant and easy to see and recognize, for a self-righteous person, they don’t even think that anything is wrong. It’s so easy to forget that if it wasn’t for the grace of God we would be worse then they.
My main goal for this series is to focus on reaching those we term the lowest of the low with the gospel. But before we do that we need to lay down our pride, self-righteousness, and judgmental attitudes. Now the reason I’m focusing on prostitutes is because it’s something that has been laid so heavily on my heart. God has caused my heart to ache for the women enslaved to sexual sin and selling their bodies. It’s also an ignored subject in the church and as I’ve been studying it, I’ve found that it is often misunderstood, especially by the young people in the church.
The biggest goal for this series is ultimately that God is glorified and the gospel is preached. These men and women need the gospel so badly, just like we do! I was to encourage you to be the hands and feet of Jesus to everyone but especially in our sex driven culture with it’s perversion and sin. From the pregnant teen sitting in our pews to the prostitute on the streets of Las Vegas, it’s our job to proclaim the gospel to them and to love them. That’s why I believe that this is a topic worthy of my time and energy.

{Finally I’m posting the first part to my series entitled Hope For the Prostitute. Big thanks to my friend Josh for being my super duper editor man. Note: I hope to aproach this topic in a way that is clean, pure, and holy while not denying the ugliness, evilness, and sinfulness that surrounds it. In no way will I disguise the truth or try to paint it as a prettier picture but I will not be blunt for the sake of being blunt. Thank you all for your time and (maybe) attention.}

The American church is often plagued by a horrible disease. It’s a disease that effects how we look at others and how we minister to them. It’s a disease that causes our ministry and personal spiritual lives to suffer. It’s a disease that is deadly and it’s effects have already been seen. What’s this disease? It’s as simple as pride, which leads to self-righteousness and judgmental attitude toward others.

These have all plagued humanity since the fall, but I want to address how it’s present and effecting our current time and culture. In so many Christians, including myself, there is often a focus on how naughty “those people” are. “Those people” that are outside the church and doing “really bad things” that are not usually found inside the church. Those “huge” sins like drug addictions, homosexuality, murder, theft, sexual abuse, and prostitution.

Now prostitution is never even mentioned in our churches. In almost fourteen years of growing up in a church I’ve never heard it mentioned once. It’s one of those “outside” things that is dirty and we don’t like to touch us. It’s something we may fight against in the form of not wanting strip clubs and such in our neighborhoods, but that’s just about it. We often see prostitution as something “out there” when it’s actually in our neighborhoods and communities, it’s even in the Bible belt! (I have an interesting story about that…)

So how does this go back to the things like pride and self-righteousness?  A prostitute’s sin is blatant and easy to see and recognize, for a self-righteous person, they don’t even think that anything is wrong. It’s so easy to forget that if it wasn’t for the grace of God we would be worse then they.

My main goal for this series is to focus on reaching those we term the lowest of the low with the gospel. But before we do that we need to lay down our pride, self-righteousness, and judgmental attitudes. Now the reason I’m focusing on prostitutes is because it’s something that has been laid so heavily on my heart. God has caused my heart to ache for the women enslaved to sexual sin and selling their bodies. It’s also an ignored subject in the church and as I’ve been studying it, I’ve found that it is often misunderstood, especially by the young people in the church.

The biggest goal for this series is ultimately that God is glorified and the gospel is preached. These men and women need the gospel so badly, just like we do! I want to encourage you to be the hands and feet of Jesus to everyone but especially in our sex driven culture with it’s perversion and sin. From the pregnant teen sitting in our pews to the prostitute on the streets of Las Vegas, it’s our job to proclaim the gospel to them and to love them. That’s why I believe that this is a topic worthy of my time and energy.

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Filed under Christianity, Faith, Hope for the Prostitute, The Gospel

The Paradox of Freedom

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The Paradox of Freedom

Surrounded by a sea of people celebrating liberty

Little could they see that they are bound in slavery.

In the light of the day

The darkness was still their way.

Decked in red, white, and blue

Holding their favorite brew,

They are enslaved

Not knowing that they need to be saved.

Their bodies are unshackled

Their souls are chained.

Yet they don’t understand.

In the land of the brave and the free

So many are living in captivity.

Those of us who have been released,

Will we stay silent while our brothers decease?

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Filed under Christianity, Everyday Life, Holidays, Monthly Monday Poetry, Slavery, The Gospel

Death is Not Dying

Our life is fragile and easily blown away. But death is not dying.

Today I finally sat down to watch the video of Rachel Barkey speaking to a group of women about the terminal cancer that fills her body and the faith in God that fills her soul. It’s a beautiful address that everyone should hear. It’s just under an hour long but it’s well worth the time out of your day. She is a beautiful inspiration and I believe that through her upcoming death God will work wonders and be glorified. I can not wait to meet her in heaven some day and while it is so sad that she is only 37 and leaving behind a husband, two young children, and other family and friends, she will be in heaven and God will use her life and death for His good and glorious purposes. Now go and watch the video and let her words speak for themselves!

(Picture courtesy Keara Jaelyn.)

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Hope in A Stranger’s Eyes

 

She smiles as she dances to and fro 
Around her do her dresses flow
Her Amma and Pitaa surrounded her with love
Yet in her future was pain undreamed of
In one instance it was all gone
Her parents from this world were withdrawn 
Alone and afraid 
There soon came a promise to be paid
Her grandfather consented
But little did he know the girl’s body would be rented
A promise of work 
Turned into years of hurt
More alone then before
Hope was left at the door
As she was abused time and time again 
She was bound in her mind by chains
Soon all her innocence was taken 
All of what she knew as right was shaken
The light left her once alive eyes
She was now a zombie with no left life inside
The years past in silence and abuse
There was nothing more to lose
No reason to go on 
No sign of a dawn 
Then one day she saw a glimpse of hope
In the eyes of a stranger she found strength to cope
There was something different and something magnificent
About the joy that was seen in the strangers’ existence 
Something about this stranger gave her hope to go on
A hope for a dawn
Soon was coming a way of escape 
In the long day that the brothel was raid 
In the midst of chaos she knew there was hope
Finally released from the surrounding darkness
Finally released from her chains
Yet something deep inside still remained. 
The hurt and guilt and pain
She thought they would never go away
The scars that she had on her young heart
She feared deeply would never part
She was soon brought away
To a place she knew would be safe
Again she saw the stranger and was surprise
And this time she had a chance to ask about that joy inside
In passionate tones the woman explained
About freedom in Christ and the sacrifice He made
About the blood He shed so she could have life
And how for her soul He paid the costliest price 
Wonder struck the girl as she realized the truth in those words
Eagerly she embraced
This God full of mercy
This God full of grace
She let go on her hate and her guilt that clung
To her soul and let it fall 
Unto the shoulders of her risen God 
She became a follower of her Savior body and soul
She finally found a way to be whole
Now many years later she’s back on the street
Sharing her Jesus will all that she meets
Because of one stranger that showed her God’s love
Now she’s become that stranger and is a servant of the Lord above
monthlymondaypoetrysmaller-1
She smiles as she dances to and fro 
Around her do her dresses flow
Her Amma and Pitaa surrounded her with love
Yet in her future was pain undreamed of
In one instance it was all gone
Her parents from this world were withdrawn 
Alone and afraid 
There soon came a promise to be paid
Her grandfather consented
But little did he know the girl’s body would be rented
A promise of work 
Turned into years of hurt
More alone then before
Hope was left at the door
As she was abused time and time again 
She was bound in her mind by chains
Soon all her innocence was taken 
All of what she knew as right was shaken
The light left her once alive eyes
She was now a zombie with no left life inside
The years past in silence and abuse
There was nothing more to lose
No reason to go on 
No sign of a dawn 
Then one day she saw a glimpse of hope
In the eyes of a stranger she found strength to cope
There was something different and something magnificent
About the joy that was seen in the strangers’ existence 
Something about this stranger gave her hope to go on
A hope for a dawn
Soon was coming a way of escape 
In the long day that the brothel was raid 
In the midst of chaos she knew there was hope
Finally released from the surrounding darkness
Finally released from her chains
Yet something deep inside still remained. 
The hurt and guilt and pain
She thought they would never go away
The scars that she had on her young heart
She feared deeply would never part
She was soon brought away
To a place she knew would be safe
Again she saw the stranger and was surprise
And this time she had a chance to ask about that joy inside
In passionate tones the woman explained
About freedom in Christ and the sacrifice He made
About the blood He shed so she could have life
And how for her soul He paid the costliest price 
Wonder struck the girl as she realized the truth in those words
Eagerly she embraced
This God full of mercy
This God full of grace
She let go on her hate and her guilt that clung
To her soul and let it fall 
Unto the shoulders of her risen God 
She became a follower of her Savior body and soul
She finally found a way to be whole
Now many years later she’s back on the street
Sharing her Jesus will all that she meets
Because of one stranger that showed her God’s love
Now she’s become that stranger and is a servant of the Lord above
(Note: there has been quite of WordPress buginess while writing this post so if something is screwed up I appologize. Currently I can not get the paragraphs to work right so again I appologize and I will try to get it working as soon as I can.) 

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Filed under Christianity, Justice, Missions, Monthly Monday Poetry, Passion, Slavery

The Battle Against Blog Views

 This summer will mark a year of blogging for me. May was the month that I first started writing blogpost like articles and started thinking about starting a blog. I’ve gone from having no clue what server to even use to giving opinions to my family members on the pros and cons of Blogger vs WordPress, blogging on both, and starting a blog for my own mother. I even learned how to make a picture link button widget thing! (Though don’t ask me to repeat that…) 

 Blogging, meanwhile, can be both good or bad for our pride (or good or bad for our humility). When you get a comment that says you did an excellent job or that there should be more people like you in the world, your ego rises a few hundred points. When someone shows you catosrophic errors in your reasoning, philosophy, or general writing, (or even no comments at all) it’s easy to get discouraged. It’s the same way with blog stats… oh those condemning or glorifying numbers! 

 Since I’ve started blogging, stats have been one of those things that it’s hard to get past. All along I’ve known in my head that I’m writing for an audience of one, that the number of people it reaches doesn’t mean the amount of impact, and that getting views is no reason to have a blog, but those opposing thoughts keep returning. I keep finding my mind wandering to how I can get more stats and trying to comment on blogs or find ways to get links to my site from other sites just for purposes of views. When I hear of those that have many more hits than I do, I must admit to a pang of jealousy that occurs in my heart. 

 So what is the point of telling you all this? Why should I admit to this struggle with my pride and coveting? Part of it is showing the fact that I am so very human! I know that a close friend of mine who I met through my blog reflected that it wasn’t until we met in person that he realized I was human. I like to show people my good sides, especially on my blog, and I don’t like to express my struggles in life. In reality, pride is my biggest battle everyday. I think that my lack of views may be only helping that battle. 

 When I have a day that the views are high, my pride is soaring as free as an eagle! On the other hand… when I have a day that my views are pathetically low, it’s a reminder that I need to focus on Jesus instead of the people that I’m writing to. It’s easy to think of ways that you can get more blog posts with interesting titles or topics, but that’s not what God has called me to do in my writing. God has called me to write from my heart, sharing my meditations, thoughts, and life in a way that will glorify Him and encourage and inform others. The issue is not popularity, the issue is faithfulness.

  So all you bloggers out there on blogosphere, can you relate? Has blogging become about stats and views rather than the message that you are trying to convey? Has the focused changed from being about glorifying our heavenly Father to getting a good rating from others? Is blogging a way to puff up your pride? I know that my answers to those questions are not what they should be so it’s time to search my heart and let God once again remove my pride and people pleasing.

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A Sluggard? Me?!

 I have never even pretended to be organized and have never acknowledged myself as diligent, diligence has been a lifelong struggle for me. I am that crazy, go-with-the-flow, hippie, free spirited girl that is constantly getting distracted by everything under the sun. But a sluggard? The name sounds so harsh and mean… me? A Sluggard? Isn’t that the guy that wont even bring his food to his mouth(Proverbs 19:24), I mean, I may have my lazy times but I can sure put that chocolate into my mouth! And who would ever want to be anything that sounds like a slug? Not me, that’s for sure.

  The dictionary describes a sluggard as someone who is habitually lazy. How often does that describe most of Americans in the 21st century? How often does that describe ourselves? When looking into my own life I see that far too often I have the character traits of a sluggard. I decided to take a little study of the sluggard as the Bible describes him, these are the “qualifications”:

  • He/she sleeps instead of works: (Proverbs 6:6-11 and 26:14) Sleeping isn’t a bad thing. C.J. Mahaney talks about sleep being a way to keep us humble. Our bodies need sleep and we can not function without it. But when we are lazy about our sleeping is when it becomes sluggardly. Are we sleeping, relaxing, or resting when there is work that needs to be done? If so the Bible says that we will end up poor and in want. 
  • He/she craves and does not receive: (Proverbs 13:4) Obviously some cravings (especially sinful ones) we shouldn’t receive, but here it’s talking about wanting things in general. It says that the sluggard is always in want but he never gets anything. Why is this? Because he doesn’t work for it. He sees something he wants but instead of working for it and pursuing it like the diligent man, he doesn’t do anything and therefor does not get anything.
  • He/she starts something and does not finish: (Proverbs 19:24 and 26:15) I think that this is what the Bible is saying when they say that he buries his hand in the dish but doesn’t put the food in his mouth. We have the thinking part of ideas and plans, the relatively easy part, and maybe even start it, but we do not press on as to actually finish what we started. (This has been a lifelong struggle for me. From craft projects, writing projects, school stuff, ministry ideas, and all sorts of things; I have had a hard time finishing what I’ve started.)
  • He/she doesn’t realize the theory of “consequences”: (Proverbs 20:4 and 21:25) This is similar to point two. He/she does not understand that if they work they do not get food or anything else they desire. In our world of easy entitlements most people think that they deserve all the blessings in life without any (or little) of the work. In truth, if you don’t work hard for something, you may still get it but it wont be as rewarding. Also, if you have something and don’t work to keep it, you will most likely lose it.
  • He/she has lame excuses: (Proverbs 26:13) He cries out that some lion is at the gait and makes it an excuse for being lazy and unproductive. Instead of facing the challenges he faces and getting past them, or even if they can’t be solved, working around them, he does not. Instead he puts things off in order to be lazy or even just for comfort’s sake.

 These are some of the main points I’ve found in Proverbs that mention those that are slothful, lazy, and the sluggard. When looking at these qualifications and looking at my own life, I see far too many resemblances and it frightens me. I want to be the wise woman who is diligent and serves the Lord with ferocity but who I see when I look at my heart and lifestyle is a slothful fool. And that is who I am by myself. I myself am a loathsome, pitiful person not worthy of anything. But God decided to come and give me worth and He desires me to become that wise and diligent woman who can serve Him faithfully. My tool for this task: the very blood of Christ.

 So right now I’m working on attacking the sluggard within my soul for the purpose of serving and glorifying God better. When sharing a big dream I had with my dad a few months ago he pointed me back to the fact that if I want to do that someday I have to start working towards that now in the little ways like school. I am reminded of the story of the servants who were faithful with little and were shown to be faithful over much. I do not want to be that slothful and lazy servant but I want to hear from my Savior that I have served Him well.

 In the next few weeks or so I’ll try to keep you updated about my journey with this as I try to restructure my life to no longer include the sluggard inside. Hopefully this will provide me with accountability as well. How about you that ? Do you see the character qualities of a sluggard in your life? What are you going to do about it? Any ideas and advice from those of you who have attacked this enemy in the past and conquered it?

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“How Deep The Father’s Love For Us”

 Today, Good Friday, I have had a lot of different songs running through my head. Songs reflecting that wonderful cross where blood was shed and my soul was saved. Songs like “In Christ Alone”, “How Beautiful the Blood”, “Above All”, “Glories of Calvary”, “The Wonderful Cross”, and especially “How Deep the Father’s Love For Us”. The songs fits perfectly as we meditate on the amazing grace of Jesus and all He has done for us.

How deep the Father’s love for us
How vast beyond all measure
That He should give His only Son

And make a wretch His treasure
How great the pain
of searing loss
The Father turns His face away
As wounds which mar the Chosen One
Bring many sons to glory

Behold the man upon the cross
My sin upon His shoulder
Ashamed I hear my mocking voice
Call out among the scoffers
It was my sin that held Him there
Until it was accomplished
His dying breath has brought me life
I know that it is finished

I will not boast in anything
No gifts
, no power, no wisdom
But I will boast in Jesus Christ
His death and resurrection

Why should I gain from His reward
I cannot give an answer
But this I know with all my heart
His wounds have paid my ransom

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