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Posts Tagged ‘Healing’

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My whole being will exclaim,
    “Who is like you, Lord?
You rescue the poor from those too strong for them,
    the poor and needy from those who rob them.” – Psalms 35:10

A huge hotbed for child slavery is at Lake Volta in Ghana. The Volta reservoir is one of the largest made-made lakes in the world and where many children are forced into hard labor by the local fishermen there. Fishing is the main economy of many of the communities in the surrounding area. Children (as young as 5 years old) are usually deceived into long hours of very dangerous work with no pay. Many are subjected to intense violence from their “masters” if they don’t keep up with the work. They are either abducted by the fishermen or sold by their families to them for little money out of desperation because they are poor. Many are deceived because they are promised a good wage and meals upfront by the men who recruit them. The work is hard because the fishing nets get caught in the dead trees that are all over the lake. These children struggle to bring up the nets or they drown trying to free the nets from the trees. In the Lake Volta region, 1 in 3 children are labourers and more than 20,000 are considered in slavery today.

Prayer IS the work!

Organizations like IJM (International Justice Mission) seek to rescue these children out of slavery. They work in the communities and with the local authorities to detain and arrest the fishermen responsible for taking these children as slaves. They work with the local lawyers to prosecute these men. They provide a safe house for the children that are rescued so they can heal and rehabilitate and eventually be reconnected with their families.

Ways to pray:

  • Pray for peace rehabilitation, healing, hope, strength, and good health for the rescued children of Ghana.
  • Pray that God would lead the right people to apply for the positions available and that those doing the recruiting and hiring would bring the right people on board.
  • Pray for the upcoming conferences that they would lead to changed hearts and repentance with the local fishermen.
  • Pray for IJM and their offices on the lake. Pray for new satellite offices and their presence in the area. Pray that they reach out to regions where children are still trapped in slavery.

Continue to remember those in prison as if you were together with them in prison, and those who are mistreated as if you yourselves were suffering. – Hebrews 13:3

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CNN Freedom Project recently did a documentary called “Troubled Waters” about the situation at Lake Volta. You can watch it below. (Note – I know there are other reporters out there that say not all the children that work on the lake are in slavery. The point of my post is to raise awareness to the situation and pray about it. Only God knows the details of the situation and will bring justice to where it is needed).

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Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently. But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted. Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.  – Galatians 6:1-2

I’ve been through church crisis one too many times. The longtime head pastor of my church that I grew up in passed away due to cancer. Our popular youth pastor was fired abruptly because the new pastor that came in wanted a whole new staff in place. My good friend became an intern for our church (after just becoming a believer) and had an affair with one of the staff members. He took his life soon after. The accountant at my last church embezzled almost half a million dollars. My current pastor had to resign due to extramarital affairs. Yes… the church experiences death, scandals and affairs just like the real world. I must note that in most of these situations, the church handled them very poorly (something I’ve experienced personally as well).

But how are we doing as Christians in handling these situations? Do we deal with those caught in sin in a loving way? Do we restore them gently back to Christ with the truth of the gospel? Do we act Godly when the media tears into us or do we get defensive and attack back? All I know is Satan loves to attack the church when things are going well. All the situations I described above happened when the particular church I was at was at their peak and experiencing tremendous growth. We forget that when we became Christians that Christ warned us that we would face persecution. One of the things I know is that Christians today do not handle persecution well. Look at the Chick-fil-a and Duck Dynasty situations and see how defensive Christians get when our views are spoken against. I’ve been embarrassed how Christians have reacted in the media about gay marriage and other topics that go against our beliefs. Do we not trust that God will ultimately prevail?

Now those who had been scattered by the persecution that broke out when Stephen was killed traveled as far as Phoenicia, Cyprus and Antioch, spreading the word only among Jews. Some of them, however, men from Cyprus and Cyrene, went to Antioch and began to speak to Greeks also, telling them the good news about the Lord Jesus. The Lord’s hand was with them, and a great number of people believed and turned to the Lord.  –  Acts 11:19-21

God works during times of despair. He redeems and restores and takes these situations and uses them for his glory. The church isn’t perfect and it isn’t about one man or a building. It’s a living organic body of messy believers that come to together to grow and worship our Lord. We treat Pastors like rock stars and put them on a pedestal so high they could never meet the expectations we put on them. Pastors are just messy people being used by God. But God isn’t going to let his church fall. He is still faithful even when we are unfaithful.

What if some were unfaithful? Will their unfaithfulness nullify God’s faithfulness? Not at all! Let God be true, and every human being a liar. As it is written: “So that you may be proved right when you speak and prevail when you judge.”  –  Romans 3:3-4

I have been impressed with my current church and how they have handled our current crisis. They are doing it in a loving biblical way. My last two churches were clueless in dealing with people caught in sin and usually let them leave without any restoration. When I heard the news in church, the first thing I did was look at myself. I took this as a warning sign that I myself am a step away from falling into temptation and sin. I am thankful for my community and that I can come to them about anything that I may be struggling with. I am thankful for my church and that God called me to be here during this crisis so I can see firsthand his redeeming power at work. I remember when my last church was going through its scandal, I was quoted in the paper at that time by saying “God is bigger than this”. My viewpoint is still the same – God has got this and He will prevail.

I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world – John 16:33

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I just wanted to give a little shout out to someone I’ve been getting to know recently. Amber Hunter has been an encourgament to me and for what the Lord is doing in me. She recently just had her first album Freedom Steps funded on Kickstarter.  This weekend she is playing a fundraiser show at 8th Day Coffee & Culture that showcases several artists in the local Phoenix area. She is an amazing woman and I just love her faith and how God is using her through her music.

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Tonight I was at Redemption church and was taking communion and they played this old hymn that brought me back to when I was a kid. My Grandma used to play “The Old Rugged Cross” over and over again on the piano when I was growing up. I love this song – the lyrics are powerful. I would always picture the cross after Christ died stained with blood on a hill. But the cool thing is that old cross has so much healing and power. So when life beats us down we can always look to that cross and what Christ did for us that day.

“He himself bore our sins” in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; “by his wounds you have been healed.”

1 Peter 2:24

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Tonight was a very powerful night for me. Mission Community church held a worship night with both Andy Cherry and David Gungor. They also incorporated many testimonies of brokenness and healing from people of the church. I was in tears during the whole service. God has been doing some amazing stuff in my life. He has brought me a long ways from a painful situation. But in these quiet moments I love spending time with the Lord and letting Him speak to me and reveal my heart to me. I need Jesus. I need Him to continue to guide me and heal me. I need Him to heal the big hole I have in my heart. I know deep down I still hurt. My life hasn’t been easy, but Jesus continues to chase me. He loves me enough to not let me go.

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A bunch of us have been helping out a veteran who had a pacemaker put in and has just been put on dialysis. Our friend  John Maxwell lives in a pretty run down house in Chandler that needs a lot of work. Some of us went in a month ago and cleaned up his yard so he could avoid city fees. After he was put on dialysis, we found out that he was sleeping on a pretty crappy bed. So my friend Simon organized an online donation link for many of us to donate to get him a bed. The money came in within hours and by the end of the week, John had a new bed to lay in as he received his treatments. Today a bunch of us spent time doing electrical work and patching up holes in his house. Afterwards, he took us all to lunch at Rosati’s.

As awesome as all of this is, the cool part of the story is John’s son. He has been taking care of his dad and we found out he is a practicing Buddhist priest. Through all this serving, we have made a connection with. He has been allowing us to pray for him and his dad and really enjoys being around all of us. My prayer is that we can be a shining light to him and that he sees Jesus in all of us.

The new bed

John keeps this next to him for inspiration

Working on John’s house

John’s room

Simon – A humble servant

At Rosati’s – the guy with the beard is John’s son

John’s cane

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