2016-02-06

Seven Miracles in John: Day 6

Miracle 6:  Healing the Blind Man

As Jesus was walking along, He saw a man who had been blind from birth. “Rabbi,” His disciples asked him, “why was this man born blind? Was it because of his own sins or his parents’ sins?” “It was not because of his sins or his parents’ sins,” Jesus answered. “This happened so the power of God could be seen in him. John 9:1-3 (NLT)

How often have we jumped to the wrong conclusion about suffering in our own lives and in others? Continue reading

HumanTrafficking_Awareness

Houston’s Superbowl Sized Problem

It’s been said that Houston has more strip clubs, brothels, and sexually oriented businesses than Las Vegas. Although that seems unfathomable it is actually quite realistic. Free the Captives (FTC) did some excellent research to track prostitution ads on backpage.com, although not every ad is a sex-trafficking victim, the high amount of ads certainly holds victims of exploitation1. This research finding is only one indicator that we have a serious problem in Houston.

You can often spot adult stores, cantinas, strip clubs, etc. simply driving across our highways systems. Those are all signs that we have a problem of demand. If the buyers could be curbed, the industry would have to die down because there would be no business. The traffickers are not so bothered by losing girls, they see them as expendable, and they are always working on new strategies to keep their business hidden; evil will always find a way as long as it is allowed.

As ambassadors for the Kingdom of God we must not allow evil, we are called to be reconcilers on this earth, to redeem and take back what has been stolen. We must begin with coming down on the demand alongside the work of rescuing and creating pathways for victims. It is a both, not either or.

If we no longer want to see girls and women stuck and forced into the cycle of sexually oriented businesses then we have to begin by holding our men accountable. FTC found that backpage.com ads were higher on Monday and Tuesdays, while at first thought one would assume the higher ad days would be the weekend. This indicates that perhaps it is due to a demand from business travelers at the beginning of the work week, especially as many of the locations were near high end hotels, shopping areas, & Hobby airport1. Alongside all of the amazing businesses, diversity, & opportunity in Houston there is a high demand for sex we cannot ignore.

There must be accountability against this in the corporate world, buyers must know that in Houston we will not allow them to get away with participating in sexual exploitation. This happens through advocacy, through recognizing when this scenario is happening and doing something about it. FTC has great ways to get involved in addressing the demand of sex-trafficking in Houston2.

We also have to offer a hopeful journey for at-risk girls. If they have pimps intentionally crossing paths with these girls posing as “boyfriends” why are we not intentionally crossing paths with these girls and showing them Jesus? We must be showing them that they have a future, that they have inherent worth and beauty, and they do not need to have a boyfriend or sell any part of themselves to achieve those things. That is one of the greatest lies of our enemy to vulnerable girls, and we must be leading the charge against it.

Reach out to girls from broken homes, pick a school in a low income area and volunteer regularly (middle school is the most at risk age for exploitation), mentor a teen girl in foster care, help vulnerable girls graduating high school access all the resources available to them to walk into a brighter future rather than fall into a job with quick money that steals their self-worth. These are just a few examples of how we could counteract this great evil. Do something.

And then tell your friends. Don’t keep what you know to yourself. Silence allows evil to go on without a check. Don’t stay quiet.

If you have any questions, or want more info on how to get involved in the fight against sex-trafficking please contact us at missions@wc.org.

1. – Free the Captives Backpage Ad Research: http://www.freethecaptiveshouston.com/wp-content/uploads/Free-the-Captives-Research-Project-on-Backpage.pdfhttp://www.freethecaptiveshouston.com/wp-content/uploads/Free-the-Captives-Research-Project-on-Backpage.pdf

2. –Learn about Free the Captives’ advocacy work: http://www.freethecaptiveshouston.com

2016-02-05

Seven Miracles in John: Day 5

Miracle 5:  Jesus Walks on Water 

That evening Jesus’ disciples went down to the shore to wait for Him. But as darkness fell and Jesus still hadn’t come back, they got into the boat and headed across the lake toward Capernaum. Soon a gale swept down upon them, and the sea grew very rough. They had rowed three or four miles when suddenly they saw Jesus walking on the water toward the boat. They were terrified, but He called out to them, “Don’t be afraid. I am here!” Then they were eager to let Him in the boat, and immediately they arrived at their destination! John 6:16-21 (NLT)

This miracle comes on the heels of feeding the five thousand plus people on the hillside.  The crowds were understandably impressed with both Jesus’ teaching, miracles, and provision! Continue reading

2016-02-04

Seven Miracles in John: Day 4

Miracle 4:  A Miracle Meal for 5,000 Plus!  

Jesus soon saw a huge crowd of people coming to look for Him. Turning to Philip, He asked, “Where can we buy bread to feed all these people?” He was testing Philip, for He already knew what He was going to do. John 6:5-6 (NLT)

Apart from the resurrection of Jesus from the dead, the feeding of the 5,000 is the only miracle recorded in all four gospels.  That alone should say something to us about what God wants us to learn from this supernatural manifestation. Continue reading

2016-02-03

Seven Miracles in John: Day 3

Miracle 3:  Healing at a Pool

Now there is in Jerusalem near the Sheep Gate a pool, which in Aramaic is called Bethesda and which is surrounded by five covered colonnades. Here a great number of disabled people used to lie–the blind, the lame, the paralyzed. One who was there had been an invalid for thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him lying there and learned that he had been in this condition for a long time, he asked him, “Do you want to get well?” John 5:2-6 (NIV)

What an unusual question to ask a man who had been unable to walk for 38 years.  It almost seems cruel, doesn’t it?  Do you want to get well?  I wonder how it must have made the man feel to be asked such a question. Continue reading

2016-02-02

Seven Miracles in John: Day 2

Miracle 2:  Healing a Government Official’s Son 

The official pleaded, “Lord, please come now before my little boy dies.” Then Jesus told him, “Go back home. Your son will live!” And the man believed what Jesus said and started home. John 4:49-50 (NLT)

John records the second “sign miracle” that Jesus performed in Galilee.  Following a Divine Appointment in Samaria where one life change led to an entire Samaritan village coming to Christ, Jesus returns to Cana where He had changed the water into wine.  He was met by a government official in nearby Capernaum whose son was very sick. Continue reading

2016-02-01

Seven Miracles in John: Day 1

Miracle 1: Turning Water into Wine 

When the master of ceremonies tasted the water that was now wine, not knowing where it had come from (though, of course, the servants did), he called the bridegroom over. “This is wonderful stuff!” he said. “You’re different from most. Usually a host uses the best wine first, and afterwards, when everyone is full and doesn’t care, then he brings out the less expensive brands. But you have kept the best for the last!”  John 2:9-10 (TLB)

The Gospel of John records seven specific miracles of Jesus that reveals His glory in undeniable ways and teaches us eternal truths that encourage and enrich our lives still today! Continue reading