learn…love…lift in prayer: to make you aware

Sex trafficking is a big business right here in the U.S. This thoughtful post challenges you to increase your human slavery / sex trafficking awareness. (Jeremiah 22:3) http://adivineencounter.com/learn-love-lift-in-prayer-to-make-you-aware

“Thus says the Lord: Do justice and righteousness,

and deliver from the hand of the oppressor him who has been robbed…”

Jeremiah 22:3

Since it’s the 27th of the month, I’m honoring the 27 million slaves in the world today. If you’re new to the blog, I invite you to check out some of the links at the bottom of this post, which will redirect you to some of my previous posts on the subjects of slavery and trafficking.

I’m going to keep making this thing personal.

(Because to each of the 27 million, it can’t get more personal.)

I’m going to keep asking you to get involved.

(Because God asks you to get involved.)

I’m going to keep learning with you. And praying that our learning leads to caring. And that our caring leads to doing.

(Which is where truly caring always leads.)

I’m going to challenge you to commit to doing just one thing to increase your awareness of human trafficking and/or slavery in the next thirty days.

Here are some simple ideas:

1.)Add trafficking issues to your social media feeds. I’m on Facebook pretty frequently, and seeing status updates from groups that deal with human trafficking/slavery has been an excellent way to remind myself of these matters on a regular basis. Here are a few to try:

Women at Risk, International on Facebook

End It Movement on Facebook

Wellspring Living on Facebook

Anti-Slavery International on Facebook

Here’s a great local organization if you’re in central/southwestern Virginia:

Street Ransom on Facebook

If you prefer another social media platform, you can search for and follow organizations that are actively spreading awareness about trafficking and slavery.

2.)Read The White Umbrella by Mary Frances Bowley. I purchased my copy recently after hearing the author speak at a local ministry. She is a devoted advocate for victims of sex trafficking right here in the U.S. - girls who have been exploited and used by criminals, then cast aside by society. She sees the gross injustice of placing these precious victims in detention centers, where they often end up, and has formed a comprehensive ministry called Wellspring Living, which cares for their bodies and their hearts, and shows them the One who can care for their souls. You can watch a video overview of their ministry here. You can get your copy of the book here.

3.)Read through a prayer guide. Prayer guides offer bite-sized pieces of information in the form of prayer requests. And once you know…you just might pray. A Heart for Justice offers several prayer guides you can work through.

4.)Check out the Red Light Blogger, part of the ministry of Women at Risk, International. Then take it a step further and subscribe to receive these posts in your email. You can find Red Light Blogger here.

5.)Get familiar with the CNN Freedom Project. I’m not a supporter of what I consider to be liberal media. But CNN is doing something important here, and God can use them to fulfill His purposes in the world. You can find their blog here.

If one of these options don’t appeal to you, head over to Google and do some searching. If you learn something new or find another great resource, I would love for you to share it by leaving a comment below.

The slaves in the world don’t have the luxury of free time.

Will you take a few moments of yours on their behalf?

~~

Other posts at A Divine Encounter on human trafficking:

Learn…Love…Lift in Prayer the 27 Million - A passionate introduction, where I present an overview of the human trafficking issue.

Learn…Love…Lift in Prayer II – A thorough focus on prayer for the 27 million slaves in the world, offering specific requests to guide your praying and links to other resources on prayer for human trafficking.

Learn…Love…Lift in Prayer III – An informative post presenting information about  the ministry of Women at Risk International, and challenging you to get involved in a simple, painless way.

Learn…Love…Lift in Prayer: Kidnapped Nigerian Girls – An eye-opening post spotlighting the girls kidnapped in Nigeria, making their experience more personal and offering opportunities for prayer.

Learn…Love…Lift in Prayer: Get Local! – An inspiring post offering suggestions for making a difference in human trafficking in your own community.

Learn…Love…Lift in Prayer: Your Footprint - An eye-opening glimpse into labor slavery and your contribution to it.

Sex trafficking is a big business right here in the U.S. This thoughtful post challenges you to increase your human slavery / sex trafficking awareness. (Jeremiah 22:3) http://adivineencounter.com/learn-love-lift-in-prayer-to-make-you-aware

Written by Jennifer Clarke

my husband is a “one another,” too

Great post reveals an important insight about how to treat your spouse, and offers 10 fresh Bible verses for marriage.  (Romans 12:10) http://adivineencounter.com/my-husband-is-a-one-another-too

Will you join me at Satisfaction Through Christ today? I’m offering 10 fresh Bible verses for marriage. Here’s an excerpt:

“Exasperated, I growled at my husband.

Even though he may not have even been around.

Okay, so he nowhere near. Not in the house. Or in the yard. Or even in the neighborhood.

He was at work, plowing away (at a desk, lest you mistake me for a farmer’s wife) to provide for his family. But I just knew my dilemma was all his fault, with his I-don’t-know-what-this-pile-is-but-I’m-tired-of-looking-at-the-mess-so-I’ll-just-trash-it habits.

I fired off an angry text. I don’t remember what it said, but it was probably something like, “I cannot stand it when you throw my stuff away. Just because something’s not important to YOU doesn’t mean it’s NOT IMPORTANT!”…

What had me so irate? And more importantly, what does this reveal about me? Click here to read the whole post.

Great post reveals an important insight about how to treat your spouse, and offers 10 fresh Bible verses for marriage.  (Romans 12:10) http://adivineencounter.com/my-husband-is-a-one-another-too

Written by Jennifer Clarke

when “fearfully and wonderfully” fade

A powerful post revealing the author's experience with gluttony and considering the importance of self control for a Christian testimony. (I Cor. 9:27) http://adivineencounter.com/when-fearfully-and-wonderfully-fade

“How is that even possible?” I think incredulously as I examine my pants.

I don’t know why I’m surprised. I weigh more now than I ever have (apart from those times when I was incubating another human); I shouldn’t be shocked at the worn-thin fabric on the inner thighs of my favorite jeans.

I wish I could tell you that I’m learning to love my body no matter what size it is.

I wish I could tell you that I’m fearfully and wonderfully made, so the extra weight doesn’t matter.

I wish I could tell you that a woman’s inner beauty is all that’s important anyway, so a few pounds isn’t a big deal.

That would be a nice place to be. Plus, those are the posts that get liked and shared and shared and liked until they go viral.

It’s what we like to hear, after all.

But I’ve gotta tell you, it’s just not ringing true.

At least not for me,

and not for now.

Though not for the reasons you might be thinking.

Don’t get me wrong…I don’t like spending money for new clothes while three smaller sizes waste away in my closet. And I don’t like seeing pictures of my puffy new self. And I don’t like the quick!-suck-in-my-belly impulse that haunts me when I walk around in public.

But those things aren’t a really big deal to me right now.

You see, while I agree that I’m fearfully and wonderfully made, I’m all too aware that the “fearfully and wonderfully” can fade.

And it has.

Because of me.

Because rather than choosing to be a faithful steward of the God-given health of my God-given body…

I’ve chosen instead to abuse it.

Through self-indulgence.

Gluttony.

Laziness.

And though I don’t like the extra weight I’m hauling around, what bothers me more than that is the message that comes packaged in thirty-five pounds of fat:

I have a sin problem. I lack self-control.

And what bothers me most of all is the fact that not having self-control can actually cause people to doubt the saving power of my God. It can make onlookers question sincerity of my Christian testimony.

Don’t believe me?

Consider this verse from the apostle Paul:

“But I discipline my body and keep it under control,

lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified.”

1 Corinthians 9:27

Paul knew that despite his persuasive preaching, his faithful perseverance in times of trial, and his diligent training of Christ’s church, all of his efforts would be in vain if his testimony was disqualified by his lack of self-control.

That can really happen. And it is happening.

If you look at any social media status, news article, or blog post that makes a statement against homosexual marriage, you will almost always see comments blasting hypocritical Christians who ignore the numerous Scriptures about gluttony and focus on the relative few verses about homosexuality.

And you know what?

I think they have a valid point.

Regardless of opinions about their motives or agendas or skewed perspectives or eyes blinded to the truth…

I can’t help but wonder whether their eyes will ever be opened to the truth if they don’t encounter Christ-following people living the truth.

The truth that says an end result of God’s Spirit living within me is that I will have control over my appetites (Galatians 5:22-23). The truth that says I am free from the power of sin (Romans 6:18). The truth that says I don’t have to live in bondage anymore (Galatians 5:1).

How can I tell them Jesus will set them free from their sinful lifestyles…

when I haven’t yet claimed freedom from mine?

And so my weight issue is more than a pesky annoyance. It’s more than vanity. More than my health is at stake.

It’s my testimony.

And so is yours.

And you know what? It’s not just about losing weight.

(Here’s where some of you who have this thing “under control” might need to sit up and pay attention.)

My weight hasn’t been stable since I was sixteen years old. I’ve fluctuated within a thirty-five pound range for well over half my life. My cycle goes something like this:

Give in to my fleshly desires and indulge in greed and laziness. (No punches pulled here. I’m talking about myself, after all.)

Gain weight. (duh!)

Get disgusted with myself and my too-tight clothes, and then inspired by vain thoughts of how good I’ll look when I’m thin (brutal honesty here).

Start dieting in some way, shape, or form and exercising in some non-running way, shape, or form, all while staying inspired by more vain thoughts of how good I’ll look, how much better I’ll look than so-and-so, and how impressed so-and-so will be by how good I look.

Oh, how painful that is to write. But it’s the plain, ugly truth…

(bared openly for all the world to see).

Gulp.

Sure, I’ve lost weight this way. But what God has been showing me lately is that this is not me claiming freedom. It’s a cycle of bondage.

The cycle starts with bondage to greed and gluttony. And though the greed and gluttony eventually stop, the bondage doesn’t.

Because instead of casting aside the bondage and claiming the freedom Christ died to secure for me, I choose instead to trade one kind of bondage for another. I trade my bondage to greed and gluttony for bondage to pride and vanity.

I wonder if you can identify…

We trade our chocolate fanaticism for a gym obsession.

We trade our couch potato status for P90X bragging rights.

We exchange our fast food fetish for a detoxing, juicing, no-carbing, lean protein fixation.

We stop worshiping the lust of the flesh only to start bowing to the pride of life.

What would happen if you and I took back our testimonies?

If we paid attention to Jesus’ statement that “to whom much is given much will be required” (Luke 12:48), and realized that our health is included, and decided to take care of it like it’s the sacred trust that it is?

Not for vanity’s sake. But for the sake of our Master, who entrusted us with health in the first place.

To walk in freedom…

in the confident security that accompanies faithful stewardship…

to have a testimony that’s above reproach…

well, I think those are worth the sacrifice of any craving my appetites can concoct.

How about you?

A powerful post revealing the author's experience with gluttony and considering the importance of self control for a Christian testimony. (I Cor. 9:27) http://adivineencounter.com/when-fearfully-and-wonderfully-fade

**Please know that this post is written from my personal experience. If the heart issues I address in this post don’t ring true in your own life, please disregard it! Some large people do not struggle with gluttony. Some small people do. It’s not about size; it’s about our hearts! Beauty does come in many shapes and sizes, and the last thing I want to do is cause any woman to have a negative body image. I simply seek to encourage us all to consider the heart issues that can pertain to this issue.

Written by Jennifer Clarke