Wednesday, January 27, 2010

We Traffic Ourselves (2)

As I sat reading the accounts of these young girls (and boys), I was really disgusted by the techniques used to break their spirits to get them to comply to whatever these people wanted them to do. They would threaten to kill their families or throw acid on their siblings. One girl was kept on a leash in a dog kennel for days at a time. The most powerful tool was a simple one. Mockery, putting them down, and undeserved ridicule.

When we treat people (friends, husbands, children) in this way, are we setting them up for something like this? They most likely won't end up being trafficked, but will they end up less than they were meant to be because of our insecurity and insensitivity? What are we setting our children up for? Our husbands? Are we participating on some level in this scheme of the enemy? I wonder if the sex trafficing is lower here because we so readily degrade ourselves and each other. If we submit to abuse sexually or otherwise of our own will, no one will need to abduct us. We're doing it at home.

As I was reading these heinous first hand accounts, I could hear the voice of God rise within my spirit and I started to weep. Now, I do not even want to write on here what I read, but imagine your worst case scenario. Meditate on it for a minute.

"The King will answer and say to them, 'Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them,
you did it to Me.'
-Matthew 25:40

They are doing it to Him. We are doing it to Him. We are assaulting and ridiculing Christ. What will you do to stop it?

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

We Traffic Ourselves

I have been reading quite a bit about sex trafficking lately. I have even been doing it on purpose. This is a really weird thing for me to do for many reasons, but I wanted to think about it alot. I wanted the testimonies to be seared in to my heart so that I would not be dulled to the afflictions of these people who were also hand crafted in the image of God. I must say, I get nauseated most of the time reading the accounts. I cannot forget. I have become desperate to give and to I keep reading the stories.

I was curious how many people in the United States are trafficked each year. They estimate about one hundred thousand. I read that sex trafficking is a 45 billion dollar a year business globally. 45 billion dollars.

I sat there reading this article and I wondered what we traffic in the church. I know, how could I think the church would ever traffic anything? Wake up, people. Fake Jesus is big business. Just peruse the top ten Christian book lists. It's all about us getting the very best of the best for our best. I don't remember that part of the gospel.

I have a question. If you had to explain the gospel to someone, what would you say? Would you use this prayer out of the Purpose Driven Life?

"Wherever you are reading this, I invite you to bow your head and quietly whisper the prayer that will change your eternity. ‘Jesus, I believe in you and I receive you.’ Go ahead. If you sincerely meant that prayer, congratulations! Welcome to the family of God! You are now ready to discover and start living God’s purpose for your life” (pp58-59).

I hate to tell you this, but praying this prayer does not make you a member of the family of God. There is no talk of repentance. Which Jesus is it even directed at? This is not the gospel. If you are doing things and serving at a church that does not proclaim the gospel, you are being trafficked. You are being brought in and sent out for someone else's gain. Anyone can mention the name of Jesus, but to proclaim the narrow gate, hard road gospel is a rarity. It truly is a small crowd. There is alot of money to be made and alot of buildings to be built. Fake Jesus is a cash cow.

Are we selling ourselves out for a better life, better marriage, better car, or bigger church? Are you longing for Jesus or the things you think He should give you?
What gospel is your church preaching?

The largest church in the world claims to be Christian, but it does not preach or teach the true Jesus of the gospel. Who are they working so hard for? Who are you?

"He said to them, "Make every effort to enter through the narrow door, because many, I tell you, will try to enter and will not be able to."
-Luke 13:24

Part Two Tomorrow.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Pastor on Trial

I am sitting in my mom's house. A mile away there is a church. The former pastor was convicted of murdering his wife yesterday. He looked like everybody else. He looked like a normal guy, a pastor. As I sat watching the news last night, I was sad for the church. I was sad for his children and his family. I was dialoguing with the Lord in my head as I listened to this news story.

He had been sexually harassing women for years. Countless accounts were given. He was having an affair with a woman who he convinced to get counseling with him as she was going through a horrible divorce and then he manipulated her into a relationship with him. He later told her that he killed his wife. He told her that
he couldn't divorce his wife because it would kill his career . . . a minister." So he killed her.

Really, God? I sat there wishing I could apologize to the world for this man's example. I wish I could show the real face of Christ in their minds. I wondered if he really loved Jesus. Can you love Jesus and do this kind of heinous act? Can you pastor a church and be under the influence of the demonic? Why didn't any of his church members notice? Did they all lack discernment? Was he a sociopath? God?

Pray for him. If he isn't saved, I pray he finds the real Jesus in prison. Oh God, wake the church up. Let people see the sociopaths and the demonic for what they are. Let them know that this isn't who you are. Heal the broken and the weary. Be a father to this man's fatherless children. I am grieving with you. This is no representation of who God is or what he has called his shepherding pastors to be. Church is not a career. Matt Baker, may you find grace. May God lead you to healing repentance.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Space to Breathe

Have you ever been in a place where you just wished you were like John the disciple? I have. I most envy that when he had a question or needed reassurance, he could physically lay his head onto Jesus' chest. I feel like I have been doing that lately though. God is so gracious to us. When people tell us that we are supposed to be doing certain things or the opposite of they don't have any use for us, God Steps In. He whispers into our spirits and He reminds us that this life and it's difficult circumstances are all in an effort to get us to look at Him. So, I am. I am forgetting what I have seen and I am trusting. . . wherever that may lead me.

I watched A Snoodle's Tale recently. It's a Veggie Tales movie. This little snoodle comes out into the world and he starts going through a backpack that was on him...full of his gifts. As he tried to use them, all the older snoodles would laugh at and ridicule him. They would make ugly paintings of him and put them in the bag where his gifts were. Heavily burdened, He decided to run away up a mountain. There, he enters into a cave weeping and he hears God ask him what is wrong. The young snoodle goes on to tell God how he doesn't understand why he has these gifts because he can't use them. God asks him what gave him this idea and he points to his backpack full of pictures that the other snoodles painted of him that ridiculed him trying to use his gifts. God takes them out and says, "Why, these look nothing like you." Then God paints the young snoodle a picture of how He sees him. Exquisitely handcrafted and brave.

I began to cry at that part. I know that is silly, but life is hard. People place all sorts of ridiculous expectations on you and hurl insults at you. While I do say to always search yourself before you blame someone else, don't let other people's opinions, abuse, or neglect define you.
"These look nothing like you."

"It's not what you're called. It's what you answer to."

He broke the yoke from your neck and tore your shackles away.
-Nahum 1:13

Dug Down Deep by Joshua Harris

"The name for the book was inspired by a parable that Jesus told. Last summer I was on a beach in Florida reading Luke 6 and I came to the familiar story of the two builders. One built his house on sand and it was washed away by a flood. But the other "dug down deep and laid the foundation on rock" (Luke 6:48 NIV). When the torrent struck, his house stood firm."

Joshua Harris' new book is a simple exposition of the doctrine of the Christian faith. I was impressed by the simple way that he was able to convey the truth of doctrine. Other misleading doctrines and theologies are laid out for the reader to see. Several hot button topics in the Christian faith are clearly addressed. It is an excellent read. This is a book everyone should take time for. Many of us have been in the church our entire lives and have no idea what doctrines we hold true or why they are important. They are important because they point people to Jesus. May you find him in these pages.

"The reality of God's grace should never be an excuse to be unconcerned about God's holiness."

This book was provided to me for review by the WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Hermie: Antonio Meets His Match (DVD)

Antonio is the strongest ant in the garden. He comes in number one in all the competitions. The fame of his athletic prowess is lauded in the whole garden. One day a rude and annoying ant shows up and tests Antonio's patience and his status. This is the story of God guiding Antonio to do the right thing and love his annoying neighbor.

I truly enjoy watching Hermie movies with my daughter. This dvd was not as good as the other Hermie dvds we have seen, but it is a good movie none the less. There is a good lesson contained in the story. I find it hard to love annoying and hurtful people myself and this story offers us a poignant reminder to pray for those who persecute us.

This DVD was provided for review by Thomas Nelson.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Come Away, My Beloved

Come Away, My Beloved has long been one of my favorite books. I have read it countless times and even studied it with a dear friend. This year, I started going through the daily devotional with snippets from Frances Roberts works. I am enamored and encouraged. I can't recommend it enough.

Here is today's entry:
"'Yea, the darkness hideth not from Thee.'
-Psalm 139:12

Do not let your heart be discouraged. I am nearer you than in the past. I have brought you up to the place of constancy, and I will hold you firm regardless of what you are feeling.

You do not need always to see my face to know I am near. You may touch My face to know I am near. You may touch My hand by faith in moments when it is too dark to see anything. My Spirit is everywhere . . . even in the darkness."

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Cry Out For Their Release

Congratulations to Shelly Haddock!
You won The One Day Way by Chantel Hobbs.
The Cherry Family was blessed to spend a few beautiful days at Carolina Creek Christian Camp this last week. Denbigh and the band were leading worship for their mid-winter retreat. It was a wonderful time of relaxing with friends. I started Joshua Harris' new book that is due out in stores next week. I have only read half of it and I give it five stars. More to come on that.

Sunday we were taking our time getting home as we went to eat and shopped at Target. When we arrived home, I was behind Denbigh and I heard him start screaming from inside the house. Water was coming down from our ceiling down our wood walls onto our wood floor. So, in the 22 degree temps we shut off the water outside and started cleaning up water. This morning a dear handy friend came to help us and we believe all of our three leak issues are repaired. We didn't spend any money to repair the pipes. A miracle in my mind.

I really didn't get upset about all of this. I knew God was going to help us or use the situation somehow. As I stood downstairs freezing though, I got a bit frustrated. After we did as much as we could, I was in bed reading a story about sex trafficking in South Africa. I cannot even bear to repeat the things I read. It made me think of how insignificant my trials were in that moment.

Do you ever find yourself pleading with God to stop a tragedy? for the world? for your family? in your church? That's where I was last night. It's where I have been for months. I don't want to leave people ensnared in a trap, but all I hear is God saying,
"Trust Me. . . and cry out for their release."

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

The Liturgical Year by Joan Chittister

In The Liturgical Year, Joan opens up for us the Christian calendar and the meaning behind our celebrations. The relationship between the holy days and the depth of their gravity are brought to life before our eyes.

I was mesmerized by Joan's writing. I cannot tell you how many times I read and reread her wording and passages because of their beauty and passion. I often felt like I was looking at a piece of art work. The way she described things made me revel in God's presence and find Him exquisite. Seldom do we find a writer with the eloquence and delivery of A.W Tozer or Andrew Murray. The way she weaves words is a rare gift. It made me yearn for liturgy in the contemporary church. It lent me insight into the heart of the festivity. Beautiful.

I review for Thomas Nelson.

The One Day Way by Chantel Hobbs

Chantel Hobbs teaches you to take on a new life of fitness and faith one day at a time. Her strategy is to take each day as a challenge of it's own instead of setting huge goals of fitness or weight loss. You choose each day to live and eat right. This helps overcome the obstacle of failure and keeps you on track toward your goal one day at a time.

When I saw the book in the queue to be review at Random House, I thought, "Why not?" It's a new year and I could use something to freshen up my routine. I don't have any huge weight loss goal in mind, but I found myself encouraged anyway. Chantel is a Life Coach and it shows in her writing. Her words are empowering and speak victory. I was deeply impressed by her as she set challenges for every day in the stead of a long term goal. It encouraged me in every aspect of my life. Her teaching was completely intertwined with faith and kept the focus on God's ability to give us strength to meet our daily goals. I loved it. It was a great way to start the year. I am completely encouraged to press on with fresh vision in this new year.

"Self-sacrifice can offer something that regular indulgence can never deliver."

This book was provided to me for review by the WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group.

I have a copy of The One Day Way to give away from the publisher. Leave a comment here or on facebook to win! ENTER TO WIN!

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

The Sweet By and By by Sara Evans

Sara Evans novel beautifully captured the angst and acceptance of this life. The book chronicles the life of Jade as she seeks love, healing, and Jesus. Our heroine finds herself quietly accepting forgiveness and in turn offering it to the people who hurt her most.

I will admit, I had no idea what to expect and assumed some shallow encounter with spirituality with this book. The pages, however, set up a picture of forgiveness that most of us refuse to learn. This book gave words to emotions that most people have no words for.

I highly recommend this light and beautiful read. If you have ever felt abandoned by your parents, a spouse, or lived through the horrors of abortion, come to Jesus tucked inside this book and find healing. Four and a half stars!

Sunday, January 03, 2010

Family Vision Statement

I got this idea from a recent newsletter from Voddie Baucham. I made this vision statement and had it printed so that it could always be before us as a reminder. What would be in your family's vision statement?

* I just stumbled upon this:
"Where there is no vision, the people perish..." -Proverbs 29:18

Miscarriage | Infertility | Hope

I encountered Jesus as a young child in a church pew in the balcony of an old country church. Through a lifetime of trial, I knew he was the...