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Yesterday I taught a Bible study on one of my favorite passages, Acts 16:6-9. I love this passage so much, because God uses it every time I study it to remind me of a couple of things. This is the story of Paul and his companions trying to take the gospel into western Asia, but the Holy Spirit kept putting obstacles in the way. I wonder about those obstacles . . . it's not like they were going through border checkpoints, but they KNEW that those obstacles came from God.

 

They finally went to Troas, an artificial harbor, to figure out where to go next. In a vision, Paul was asked by a Macedonian man to come there to "help" him. The word for "help" there was more like an SOS. It was an urgent plea for help. Paul and his companions were "convinced" this was God's leading and they "immediately" left for Macedonia (northeastern Greece today). I love that feeling of urgency and response and obedience and of not looking back, but of only going forward––even into the unknown.

 

When they arrived in Macedonia, landing in Neopolis, they walked the 10 miles to Philippi because that was the major city in the area. If it had been me, I would have been looking for the "Macedonian Man" who had called us there.

 

In Philippi, Paul and his companions went to the river outside of town for worship since there was no synagogue in the city. There they met a group of women and sat down to preach. In time, Lydia, already a worshipper of God, accepted Christ and asked to be baptized. 

 

So why does this passage resonate with me so completely?

 

Because I've run into so many obstacles in my life when I thought I was doing what God wanted me to do. And yet, each time He has redirected me, he has led me into something I could never have imagined for myself.

 

Because I tend to see things literally. If I had been with Paul, I would have been tempted to pass over seeing the women as part of what God was calling us to do . . . I would still have been looking for that "Macedonian Man." It's a good reminder to me that my expectations of what God is doing are often wrong.

 

Lydia not only took Paul and his companions into her home, but her home became the gathering place for believers in Philippi (see Acts 16:40). And it's obvious from Paul's letter to the Philippians that the church there was loving and generous and open to those in the community.

 

So God's reminder to me, again, is to look at the obstacles in my life to see how He is redirecting me, and to not get so literal in my expectations that I miss what God is leading me to do, to see, to meet.

 

Have you seen obstacles that were God's way of redirecting you? What have you learned through the process?


Margie Williamson

Community Manager 

 

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One Nation Under God

April 19 1775, “the shot heard round the world" was fired and the fight for freedom in this country began. It was during this war that the Declaration of Independence was adopted by the Colonial Congress on July 4 1776, ultimately making the colonies of America “One Nation Under God.” So called, because this country's forefathers made the Bible the very center of their lives.

The great patriot Patrick Henry, who's famous "Give me liberty or give me death" speech was delivered in a Virginia Church in 1775, wrote; "The Bible is a book worth more than all the other books that were ever printed." The famous educator Noah Webster (Webster's Dictionary 1806), wrote; "The Bible is the chief moral cause of all that is good, & the best corrector of all that is evil in human society." That is how central the Bible was to the lives of our forefathers. On Sept 6 1774, the 1st Colonial Congress, in their very first meeting together, prayed for three hours and did a Bible study on Psalm 35, all of which is clearly recorded in the Records of Congress.

Jump to 1776. Where 24 of the 56 signers of the Declaration of Independence had full seminary degrees! Nearly one-half of the signers of our Declaration of Independence were ordained Ministers. Many of the concepts they used for the Declaration of Independence came from a writing by John Locke called "Two Treatises of Government," in which the Bible is mentioned no less than 1500 times. As soon as the Declaration of Independence was signed, one of the signers, Benjamin Rush, started the 1st Bible Society in this country. Within 8 years the same men who signed our Declaration of Independence had started 121 Bible Societies, for the sole purpose of getting the Bible into the hands of the people of this new country.

Jump to 1781 and the end of the American Revolution. In that same year a plan was advanced in Congress, to print and distribute America's first English language Bible, printed by congress, with tax money. On Sept 12 1782 the full Congress approved this Bible, and the Records of Congress state, regarding this Bible; It is a needed addition of the Holy Scriptures, for the use of our schools. Imagine that, a government who would state that the Bible was needed IN our schools.

Jump to 1787 and the Constitutional Convention, where a new government document was created; The United States Constitution. During a difficult time at that convention, on June 28 1787, Benjamin Franklin, generally considered one of the least religious of our founding fathers, addressed the president of the convention, George Washington, with these words; "In the beginning of the contest with Great Britain . . . we had daily prayer in this room for the Divine Protection. Our prayers were heard, and they were graciously answered . . . And have we now forgotten this powerful Friend? or do we imagine we no longer need His assistance? . . . We have been assured in the Sacred writings, that unless the Lord build a house, they labor in vain that build it . . . I therefore beg leave to move, that henceforth prayers imploring the assistance of Heaven and its blessings on our deliberation, be held in this assembly every morning before we proceed to business." And that was the institution of Congressional prayer before each session, which still stands (barely) today.

Our founding fathers established this country as ONE NATION UNDER GOD. Founding father John Adams wrote; "The general principles on which the Fathers achieved independence were the general principles of Christianity. Now I will avow that I then believed and now believe, that those general principals of Christianity are as eternal & immutable as the existence and attributes of God." Gouverneur Morris, signer of the Constitution, and its actual penman, said; "Religion is the only solid basis of good morals. Therefore, education should teach the precepts of religion and the duties of man toward God." James Wilson, signer of the Constitution, and our first Supreme Court Justice said; "Human law must rest its authority ultimately upon the authority of that law which is divine. Far from being rivals or enemies, religion and law are twin sisters, friends, and mutual assistants." That is a quote from our first appointed Supreme Court Justice.

These quotes don’t sound much like the “Separation of Church and State” we hear today. But did you know, the phrase "Separation of Church & State" appears nowhere in the Constitution, or the 1st Amendment, or any other original governing document of this nation. The phrase first appeared in a private letter by our 3rd president, Thomas Jefferson. He was writing to a group of Baptist churches and reassuring them that the Government would never interfere with their public religious expressions, like the church of England had. In fact, when Thomas Jefferson was in charge of the Washington D.C. schools, he required only two books must be used in the public schools - The Bible & the Watts Hymnal. Yet, the courts have now taken that little phrase from a private letter by Jefferson, insuring the government would never stop public expression of religion, and they have used it to try to stop public expression of religion. Which is exactly opposite of the purpose for which it was written.

Here’s a quote we really need to hear from Thomas Jefferson himself in 1782; "Can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction on the minds of the people that these liberties are the gift of God? That they are not to be violated but with His wrath? Indeed, I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just; that His justice cannot sleep forever"

This country has been the greatest country in the world because we have been “One Nation Under God.” We must uphold the righteousness of God that this country was built on. Let's do all we can to call this nation back to its Godly heritage.

WALLBUILDERS.COM provided the concept and information for this article, please visit their website for more information. If you like the way Pastor Dave writes, you can get his weekly sermons on CD mailed to you FREE. Simply request them at www.wordbymail.com.
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GOD-CONSCIOUSNESS

Jacob went out from Beersheba and traveled toward Haran. He came to a certain place and stayed the night there, because the sun had set. He took a stone from the place, put it under his head and lay down there to sleep. He dreamt that there before him was a ladder resting on the ground with its top reaching to heaven, and the angels of ADONAI were going up and down on it. Then suddently ADONAI was standing there next to him...Jacob awoke from his sleep and said, “Truly, ADONAI is in this place – and I didn't know it!” (Gen 28:10-13a, 16)

 

I am sure many of us can relate with Jacob. We go about our daily routine focusing on the job at hand or we can travel to distant places but we are rarely ever aware of GOD in our midst. There are too many voices clamoring for our attention. We are too busy with work and when we get off, we get too busy having fun. Even on weekends, we work or we go out shopping or drive somewhere for a change. Almost everything that we do is for little ME. In our estimation, self is the biggest person in the universe and we must feed him continuously with new toys, new tastes, new experiences, new everything!

 

Jacob thought he could put one over his brother, Esau, without reaping the consequence. He cheated him out of his birthright and then even fooled his father, Isaac, and cheated Esau out of his blessing. But soon he found that feeding only his ego will ultimately lead to a downfall. Jacob had heard about ADONAI from his father, Isaac, but he didn't take the stories seriously. There were so many gods around; why only worship one? After all, his neighbors worship different gods for different needs and occasions. This practice sounds more logical and convenient. Sounds familiar? After all, his grandfather, Abraham, used to be a moon worshiper out of Ur, until he had an encounter with EL SHADDAI. But Jacob did not know EL SHADDAI personally.

 

The other peoples never related with their gods personally. In fact, the idea is strange to them. Men are mortal while gods were considered immortal who inhabited a different dimension and are endowed with great power and must be appeased so that they will grant them favor. They never thought that their gods were omnipresent nor omnipotent or omniscient. It was thought that sometimes they would come down to earth to make sport of men and sometimes impregnated women. They often go to battle against each other and were extremely capricious and temperamental. The gods were to be feared.

 

YHWH appeared to Jacob in a dream and his life was never the same. YHWH introduced himself as the GOD of Abraham and Isaac and at that moment, Jacob realized that the stories he was told since he was a little boy around campfires were true. YHWH reiterated the covenant he made with Abraham and Isaac and told Jacob that he and his descendants will expand to the west, to the east, to the north and to the south but the greatest promise was, “I will be with you, I will guard you wherever you go, and I will bring you back into the land, because I won't leave you until I have done what I have promised you.” (Gen 28:14-15) Until that time, Jacob was unaware of YHWH, but after that we can see the blessing of ADONAI on his life.

 

Are you conscious of GOD's presence in your life? If you are a believer, you had an encounter with the LORD YESHUA, just like Jacob, or did you? If you are a believer, you would live your life with the mark of the LORD YESHUA and you would be undergoing a transformation from day to day. You would be so hungry for His presence, your day would be characterized with secret consultations, burst of creative inspirations, light-bulb situations and challenges that would threaten your security but instead strengthen your trust in YESHUA. Sometimes, the LORD allows extreme trials that would test your resolve but are designed to build up your endurance and character.

 

Once upon a time, my business partner and I had an opportunity to earn more than a hundred million from a series of transactions with the government but in so doing, we had to give in to demands of paying kickback to government officials. We would be corrupting people as we corrupt ourselves also. It would have been easy to justify our situation by saying, it was the usual acceptable way to do business with government and everybody was doing it anyway. But we were not “everybody”, we were sons of the living GOD. So we abandoned the transaction.

 

I never forgot that lesson. The presence of ADONAI in my life is so real and means so much to me, I can't exchange it for any amount of money or anything or anyone. My relationship with my GOD is non-negotiable. I cannot be who I am not. My GOD defines who I am.

 

May ADONAI bless you as I am blessed! Shalom!

 

ἄγγελος

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ALONG THE WAY... EVERYDAY!!??

No, no, not meeting with the Lord although I confess it is sometimes more hurried or later in the day than I like. I'm talking about blogging. All because a friend passed along a couple of blogs by someone who's trying to post daily.

Why in the world would you want to do that? Well, the statistics that they'd already gathered about visitors to their blogs, etc was pretty interesting. Definitely up, the experiment may still be too new to say whether or not those numbers will stay up.

Think about the Apostles. Which one of them would embrace blogging? Which one would blog daily? Would you..?

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We Are Vulnerable to Sin

Yesterday, I taught on David's escalating sin with Bathsheba. It's one of the better known stories in the Old Testament. I love it when God gives new insight (at least to me) as I study a passage I thought I knew well. I thought I'd share some of the insights from yesterday's study.

 

I've always read that the whole "affair" started because David was in the wrong place at the wrong time. That it was the spring, "the time when kings go off to war", but he hadn't gone (2 Sam. 11:1). A commentary I read this week pointed out that since Rabbah was under seige, David wasn't due at the battle field yet. He would have been there in time to lead his troops in capturing the city.

 

When David went out of the roof and spotted Bathsheba taking a bath, he hadn't started out to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. He was just "up on the roof". But his mistake was that he acted on the lust he had for Bathsheba.

 

David sent a messenger to find out who she was and discovered her military lineage: Her father Eliam was a member of David's elite troops, her grandfather Ahithophel was one of David's advisors, and her husband Uriah was a high-ranking soldier in David's army. David could have walked away, but he still wanted her.

 

David sent several messengers to bring her to him. She obviously didn't want to come, but he persisted. He took what he wanted and his sin escalated as he acted upon his desires. Even knowing who she was and that several people now knew what was going on, David allowed his desires to push his actions. He committed adultery.

 

The sin led to consequences. Bathsheba became pregnant, so David tried to create an elaborate coverup. However, Uriah was an honorable man and didn't play along. In his panic, David's sin escalated again, this time taking the life of another.

 

It's a common story, isn't it? How many times have we read of someone who did something unthinkable who always says, "I didn't mean for it to go that far." I wonder how many times I have said that to myself about my own actions?

 

2 Sam. 11:27 records that what David did had "displeased" the Lord. The word in Hebrew means "to tremble or quiver". I get "displeased" with my 7-year-old grandson when he pitches a fit. I've always felt better about using that word than saying the kid is driving me crazy. But I think our English understanding of the word discounts the passionate response God had to David's sin. God loved David. David "had the heart of God." God must have felt deep disappointment and betrayal at watching David's escalating sin. 

 

David could have walked away at any time and stopped the escalating desires and actions. But he didn't. He kept acting on them until he did what should have been unthinkable.

 

Eugene Peterson wrote a precious little book in 1987 entitled Working the Angles: The Shape of Pastoral Integrity. In the book, he points out that three pastoral or ministerial acts are so important, so critical, so basic, that these acts determine the shape of everything in our lives. These acts (which he describes as the angles of a triangle)––praying, reading Scriptures, and searching for spiritual direction––are quiet acts that do not call attention to themselves and are often left undone. Each is an act of attention before God. Pray is the act of bring ourselves to attention before God. Reading Scriptures is the act of giving God attention through speech and action. Spiritual direction is the act of giving attention to what God is doing in our lives and in the lives of any persons who happen to be before us at any given time. Picture a triangle. We see the triangle in it's full structure, but the angles are what makes the triangle what it really is.

 

In a nutshell, these acts keep us focused on God. The more we can focus our attention on Him, the less likely we will be to allow our focus to take us into sin that escalates beyond our control. Peterson's reminder for all of us is that if we work these three angles, the rest of the structure of our lives will be solid. But if the angles are left unattended, our lives can easily become a three-legged stool with a broken leg. We can become total unbalanced, unfocused, and whobbly in our faith.

 

The final insight from this lesson was that our vulnerability to sin impacts everyone around us . . . not only is the sin against God, but it will hurt our families, our friends, our faith communities. In David's case, it even placed the holy nation of Israel into civil war. What we do matters to God. It's that simple.

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ALONG THE WAY... LEMMINGS HURRYING PAST

Lemmings have been on my mind lately. It seems that I use to hear more about lemmings years ago. I remember my favorite teacher, Mr. T.F. Davies, telling us not to be like lemmings, blindly following a leader to our own peril and death. I could digress here and dwell on lemmings but that's not really where my mind is at this morning, it's on lemming like behavior and Joshua (1:8), another of my favorite teachers.

 

I've been making my way through the gospels this month and picked up at Mark 8 today. No BIG message here this morning, just a couple of passages (Mark 9:23, 24 and 9:32) that required some application of Joshua 1:8. Because Joshua 1:8 takes time I don't know yet what the Lord will "say to me" about how they apply to my life but they did get me thinking about lemmings. Or rather, the process of meditating on God's Word, got me onto lemmings... Ok, ok, where am I going with this?

 

The thought that, I could skip all this meditation stuff, I could just use one of the many tools available today (an app, a web site, a broadcast message, etc.) or I could just wait until my pastor preaches on it. And, that's when I thought of lemmings streaming by. Not blindly exactly, but unknowingly following the herd, and the herd somewhere ahead following a "leader". Then, as Mr Davies told us many times, it's over the cliff and drowning in the sea. A great image, one that motivated me for years to not follow the crowd. But the reality of lemming behaviour is an even more important lesson.

 

It seems that lemmings aren't going willy-nilly over the cliff to their deaths. Researchers now think that lemmings know they're heading into, entering, deep water. The problem is that they are strong swimmers but don't know how long they'll have to swim, how strongly they'll have to swim... It isn't getting into the water that's the problem, it's not being able to individually weigh and evaluate what getting in the water means.

 

And, finally, I'm back at Joshua 1:8 and why it reminds me of lemmings hurrying past. It's easy and quick to let someone else lead us to an understanding of what God is saying, how it applies to our lives. It takes time and effort to meditate on our "book of the law" so that we can "be careful to do according to all that is written in it." It's only when we find those "what do you mean?" messages and aren't afraid to apply Joshua 1:8 that we avoid being led into more than we have the ability to safely swim through. The disciples could have personally asked Christ to help them understand (Mk 9:32), we can too.

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ALONG THE WAY... TO BE OR NOT TO BE?

So, there I was in Mark, Chapter 4 this morning, all nice and comfortable - smug even because unlike the disciples I knew what the parables meant - even as I was about to move on to Chapter 5 I was still feeling a little superior because I could answer the question. You know the one, "Who then is this? Even the wind and sea obey him!" (Mk 4:41). Silly disciples, isn't it obvious that this is God's Son with all the power and authority of God.

 

But then, this little voice is going, "That's not the question Ray, that's not the question, Ray, that's..." You get the idea. What is the question in Mark 4? It's "Am I cowardly? Do I still not have faith?" Because at first that answer seems obvious, of course I have faith, faith in Chist as my Lord and Saviour. But, the voice kept asking.

 

So here's the question: Was Christ asking whether they had faith enough to trust that they'd get through the storm or was he asking why they didn't have faith enough to do what he'd just done and command the storm? To be or not to be? That is always the question.

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Pleasantly Surprised

Acts 3:1-12 (NIV)
 


1 One day Peter and John were going up to the temple at the time of prayer--at three in the afternoon. 2 Now a man crippled from birth was being carried to the temple gate called Beautiful, where he was put every day to beg from those going into the temple courts. 3 When he saw Peter and John about to enter, he asked them for money. 4 Peter looked straight at him, as did John. Then Peter said, "Look at us!" 5 So the man gave them his attention, expecting to get something from them. 6 Then Peter said, "Silver or gold I do not have, but what I have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk." 7 Taking him by the right hand, he helped him up, and instantly the man's feet and ankles became strong. 8 He jumped to his feet and began to walk. Then he went with them into the temple courts, walking and jumping, and praising God. 9 When all the people saw him walking and praising God, 10 they recognized him as the same man who used to sit begging at the temple gate called Beautiful, and they were filled with wonder and amazement at what had happened to him. 11 While the beggar held on to Peter and John, all the people were astonished and came running to them in the place called Solomon's Colonnade. 12 When Peter saw this, he said to them: "Men of Israel, why does this surprise you? Why do you stare at us as if by our own power or godliness we had made this man walk?
 
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Well, today marks the end of a long journey for me.  Today I had my final checkup after several months of recovery and healing from eye surgery.  No more lying completely still, face down.  No more eye drops several times a day.  The healing process is declared complete.  The doctor was "pleasantly surprised" at how well everything healed.  He was "surprised" at the quality of vision I have in the repaired eye.  My vision in that eye without glasses is "better than expected."
 
For my wife, Lynne, it raised some questions, like, "What did you expect?"  But for me, I could only smile because I knew God had touched me and therein lies the "unexpected" result.  I had so many dear friends go to the throne God to ask for full restoration of sight.  Thank you so much.
 
What did I expect?  I think my answer would be, "Something unique."  I have learned in the last few years that it is not about me.  It really wasn't about my eyesight.  Rather it was about how God would display Himself.  How would He be glorified?
 
Was I surprised?  No, I don't think that is the word for it.  I don't really have a word for it.  I know that once again, today, I was touched by God.  Today, He touched my spirit.
  
Ephesians 3:20-21 (NASB)


20 Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, 21 to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen.

--
Posted By Blogger to Gary's Devos at 3/31/2011 08:15:00 PM
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ALONG THE WAY... TO-BE LIST

As my to-do list was screaming at me for attention this morning I got to thinking about how and why its voice has gotten so loud in my life. No, no, I know that at my age I should be doing a little less and shouldn't have a to-do list. But, I'm not slowing down and it often seems more gets added to the list than gets cleared from it.

 

None of that changes the fact that the thing was screaming for attention. Then I noticed a mind-map I'd been doodling the other week and saw that I'd written down TO-BE LIST. I don't even remember thinking about that at the time I was mapping, no idea why or where that idea came from. Well, of course I know, if I didn't you wouldn't be seeing this post here now would you? But, I had just jotted it down and hadn't done anything with it. Until this morning...

 

Suddenly my screaming to-do list got real quite, kind of a 'if I just shut up for a while he'll move off that idea and we can get back to work" type of quite. Like a rabbit beside the trail, waiting, silent and still to see which way you're going to move. Poor to-do list, I've moved the wrong way and trapped it. Now it's squirming and fighting to get loose so it can run its merry course. Oh, don't worry, I'm not going to kill or harm it - it is after all full of important and worthwhile things that need to get done. It just needs a little taming and the TO-BE list is just the one to do it. So now the to-do must serve the to-be's and I'll be leaving the blotter with the mind-map on top of the desk to remind me that the priority is to-be and the to-do's must serve that purpose. There's another great day ahead!

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I've known Dr. Rick Morton as a fellow student (we did much of our Ph.D. studies together) and a fellow colleague from my seminary days. Later, I prayed as he and his wife Denise moved through the process of adopting a child from the Ukraine. Rick and Dr. Tony Merida have written a book that explores the theology of adoption and the Christian response to it. I've been thrilled to work on the study curriculum that NavPress will debut on April 4th that goes with their book, Orphanology. As a part of that, Rick agreed to an interview to introduce the book to our DiscipleshipNetwork members.

 

As you read this first part of the interview which deals with the social and global issues of adoption, please pray for those who will be reading the book and using the curriculum that God will use this work to help Christians and churches consider how they can respond to this tremendous need.

 

After you've read it, let me know what you think. How can the church make a difference in the lives of the orphans of the world?

 

Margie Williamson

Community Manager

 

 

What is the problem of orphans in the world? Approximately how many orphans are there around the globe; and if unadopted, how is their life experience, generally?

 

The statistics regarding the number of orphans in today’s world are staggering. UNICEF estimates that there are between 143 and 210 million orphans worldwide. Most likely, these estimates are low. UNICEF defines an orphan as a child who has lost one or both parents to the death but fails to account for “social orphans” who are abandoned as a result of causes like addiction, poverty, or neglect. The UNICEF figures also fail to account for nations who fail to report their orphan populations such as many Middle Eastern nations.

 

Only a small fraction of the world’s orphans actually live in orphanages (approximately 10 million). The rest live with extended family or many are relegated to life on the streets. In all, these children are a voiceless mass. They are defenseless, and in most societies, they are seen as no more than a social problem. Most of these children live life without hope of a future that ends well. They are vulnerable to those who would prey on them for profit or those who would try to hurt them or rid society of them as a nuisance. These are the children for whom Robert Raikes began the Sunday School almost two centuries ago. In the forgotten street children who were a social blight to most of the world, Raikes saw value because he recognized that they were created in the image of God and made to know the gospel.

 

What do many orphans experience going from an orphanage into the wider world. What does life look like for them after the orphanage?

 

In general, the institutional environment poorly serves children. Research has demonstrated that orphans who graduate from orphanages are more likely to become engaged in antisocial behavior in later life. They are more susceptible to suicide, drugs, and falling into a life of crime. Many of them are vulnerable to falling pray to human trafficking, particularly sex slavery.  While the orphanage may meet the basic needs of a child’s life (food, clothing, and shelter), often the institution fails to nurture and prepare the child to be ready to live independently. In Orphanololgy, we deal with how the church can be involved in changing this trend. We highlight ministries that people and churches can engage that will make a real difference in the lives of institutionalized kids. Certainly, we believe that every child would best be served by having a family, but that is not always possible. In lieu of that, we must actively engage in ministries to orphanages and workers who care for children in orphanages.

 

What is the tie between orphans and child trafficking?

 

As I stated earlier, orphans are among the most marginalized and voiceless people on the planet. Often, when they run away, no one goes to find them. When they graduate from the orphanage and go missing, no one notices. They are easy prey for those who would traffic children. Some are abducted to serve as slaves in factories working long hours for little or no pay. Others are lured with the promise of modeling jobs or au pair positions in foreign positions only to discover that they are being taken to become sex slaves. Regardless, they have no one to call for help, so they are defenseless. Approximately 300,000 to 400,000 children are trafficked across international boarders each year, and a significant percentage of them are orphaned children. If the church is to live out James 1;27, we must become active in the war against human trafficking.

 

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Stopping Modern-Day Slavery?

Bob and I attended a conference Saturday morning in New Orleans that was designed to raise awareness of the human trafficking problems in the United States. My daughter is involved in this ministry in New Orleans, so I thought I understood the problems of human trafficking through our conversations. Not so! I learned alot in the conference.

  1. I learned that women and children (and to a smaller number young boys and men) are being pulled into slavery to drug sellers and sex pushers through intimidation and threats. Some are even sold into slavery by a parent who needs the money or by being orphaned.
  2. I learned that human trafficking is real and flourishing in the United States, even though it's seldom given any press.
  3. I learned that in almost every case, those who are in the sex industry especially should be seen as victims instead of labeled with names like prostitutes.
  4. I learned that most every city in the U.S. has problems with human trafficking.
  5. I learned that Christians, sometimes through their churches and sometimes by themselves, are making a difference by educating children, building self-esteem to offset the promises of those who would lie to them, and building relationships with those in the industries to help them know about God's grace.

The movie Amazing Grace tells the story of William Wilberforce, a conservative, evangelical Christian, who used his position in parliament to help bring about the abolition of slavery in 18th century England. I can't help but wonder if this is a time for Christians to step up in numbers to help abolish this form of slavery as well.

 

Please, tell me what you think. How should we as Christians respond to this treatment of those who can't respond themselves? What's being done in your community to eradicate this form of slavery? Is your church involved? Should the church be involved?

 

I walked away from that conference with so many questions . . . I would love to hear your thoughts!!

 

Margie Williamson

Community Manager

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