In it to End It!

Hey y’all… how’s your mama and ’em?

IMG_2285I guess for years I lived life blind to the fact that human trafficking exists in this world we live in today.  I did not realize how much of an issue it is until the 2008 Liam Neeson blockbuster “Taken” tackled the theme.  I remember seeing previews for “Taken” that drew me in and made me want to watch the movie.  As someone whose heart has been touched by childhood sexual abuse cases, I still couldn’t bring myself to watch the movie.  Eventually curiosity and friends reviews gave way.  I watched the movie.   When it ended, my heart was crushed.

A myriad of questions crossed my mind.  Don’t we live in the 21st century?  How could anyone be capable of allowing such a thing to happen?  Haven’t humans evolved? Don’t we understand right from wrong?  When it comes to human trafficking, how could the lines ever be blurred?  Why isn’t anyone talking about this?  Why did it take a movie to bring awareness to the issue?  What can I do in Smalltown, USA to make any difference at all?

Most of these questions remain unanswered.

I do know that the key to any revolution begins with education.  We must educate ourselves on the facts of human trafficking.  Facts like – there are 30 million sex slaves around the world today.  Facts like – this is happening in our own backyards (yes, even in Smalltown, USA!).  Facts like – for it to end, we have to care enough to get involved.

So how do we get involved?

▪Learn more about the issue.  This goes back to educating yourself.

▪Be aware of your surroundings.  If something doesn’t seem right, ask more questions.

▪Don’t be afraid to do the right thing.

▪Partner with an organization that is already established to bring awareness to this cause.

▪Use your talents – write, draw, speak, etc….  Whatever you do, use it to shine the light on this topic.

3adb62458565e775daf44731fabf2b92Today is SHINE A LIGHT ON SLAVERY DAY.  Today a simple way to bring attention to this issue is to draw a red “X” on your hand.  When someone asks what it is for, share the facts of human trafficking with them.  Help make others aware and together we can put an end to the sex slave trade.

For more information on human trafficking or to learn how you can make a difference, visit these websites: www.hopeforjustice.org or www.freeinternational.org.

Don’t be guilty of being the person who says, “Someone should do something about that.”  Be the person that says, “Whatever it takes, I’m going to do something.”  Matthew 25:36-40 reads, “For I was hungry, and you fed me. I was thirsty, and you gave me a drink. I was a stranger, and you invited me into your home.  I was naked, and you gave me clothing. I was sick, and you cared for me. I was in prison, and you visited me.’ “Then these righteous ones will reply, ‘Lord, when did we ever see you hungry and feed you? Or thirsty and give you something to drink? Or a stranger and show you hospitality? Or naked and give you clothing? When did we ever see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ “And the King will say, ‘I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!”

Have a blessed week, y’all!

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Serenading God

Hey y’all… how’s your mama and ’em?

There aint nothing I wouldnt do...Lots of nights when I am having difficulty falling asleep, my loving husband will stroke my hair and begin singing to me. His song of choice is usually “To Make You Feel My Love”  by Garth Brooks.  As he sings it I feel admired, adored, at peace, and am calmed. Most nights I am soothed to sleep. I know the words he sings are true. Tommy would go to any depth to show his love for me.

This is what praise and worship is to God. It shows Him our love and admiration. It shows Him our heart and our heart’s desire.  Jesus said in John 4:23, “Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks.”

Webster’s defines the word “worship” as:  “A feeling or expression of reverence and/or adoration.”  When we worship our Lord and Creator, we are showing honor for Him. When we worship together in church, even though it is heart felt, it is to a degree expected because it is part of the service.  When we choose to worship God even though life seems to be caving in around us, even when we are worn and tired, or even when we feel we cannot go on another minute, it becomes sacrifice.  It is in those times that our worship truly comes from our heart and it brings God honor as we express our love to Him.

Of course, worship is not always defined by the songs we sing or even music in general.  There are many other ways to worship God.  We worship God when we tend to the needs of others, when we pray, when we are obedient to God, and when we spend time basking in the glory of His presence.  Mary of Bethany knew what it meant to worship.  She delighted in sitting and listening to Jesus, and she wasn’t afraid of making a spectacle of herself when she washed His feet with her tears and dried them with her hair.  Mary-Washes-Jesus-s-Feet-jesus-11078625-500-354

Christ expressed His love for us by dying on the cross for our sins. We should live daily to express our love for Him through our actions, through our words, and in our lives. When we do this worshipping God becomes meaningful.  Praising Him becomes a lifestyle. The songs we sing become more than pretty words. They become our heart-felt response to His love for us.

Have a blessed week, y’all!

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I Ship it Like Fed-ex

Hey y’all… how’s your mama and ’em?

Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love.“Love is a feeling you feel when you’re feeling a feeling you’ve never felt before.”  That was the definition of love given to me as a child by the late Mrs. Tommie Griffin.  As a child, the catchy phrase satisfied my desire to understand love.  As a teenager, I learned  feelings tend to be based more on infatuation than deep, abiding love.  And as an adult, I have come to understand that love has little at all to do with feelings, but instead, is a choice you must continually make to put another’s well being before your own.

St. Valentine understood that.  When an edict was issued banning marriage in an attempt to keep soldier’s minds focused on war rather than family, St. Valentine married lovers in secret.  He believed so strongly in Christian marriage that he was willing to lose his life to protect it.  Legend is told that while in jail awaiting execution, St. Valentine prayed for the healing of the blind daughter of a jailer.  Upon being healed, the two exchanged correspondence.  In his last letter to the jailer’s daughter,  the note was signed, “From Your Valentine”.  To remember the legacy of St. Valentine, Valentine’s Day is now observed.

Loving the people we like is an easy enough task, but what about those people who are “thorns in our flesh”?  Jesus said it doesn’t matter.  “If you love only those who love you, why should you get credit for that? Even sinners love those who love them! And if you do good only to those who do good to you, why should you get credit? Even sinners do that much!  Love your enemies! Do good to them. Lend to them without expecting to be repaid.”  (Luke 6:32-33, 35a NLT)  How then do we love?  1 Corinthians 13:4-7 gives us a good reference.  “Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.”  27849627_10154925536741511_1963260277_n

Love without sacrifice is not really love.  Love will always cost you something, but it will always be worth it.  St. Valentine lived what he believed, and it cost him everything.  He lived out 1 John 3:18 that reads, “Dear children, let’s not merely say that we love each other; let us show the truth by our actions.”  Actions speak louder than words.  We need to make sure our actions communicate love to everyone we come in contact.

Have a blessed and love-filled week, y’all!

 

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Jesus and Germs

img_2028Hey y’all… how’s your mama and ’em? “Wash your hands and say your prayers, ‘cause Jesus and germs are everywhere!” We washed and we prayed, but like so many others, our family was not spared from the awful strain of flu quickly making its way around the entire nation. For the past seven days, the six of us have taken turns being patient and nurse. We’ve Tamiflued and Theraflued, and y’all, we’re tired of the flu.

The flu has reached epidemic proportions this year. Currently schools have closed in eight states as officials scramble to keep the sickness from spreading more. It got me thinking… wouldn’t it be nice if happiness could spread like germs? What if we picked it up at the grocery store from the cashier who smiled at us or at the post office by the stranger whistling an upbeat tune? We’d probably not be able to know exactly who or where we got it from, but we wouldn’t mind having it. No doctors office, shots, or medicine needed.

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Can you imagine such an outbreak? Even people shopping in Wal-Mart would be walking around looking like they are happy to be there. Proverbs tells us that a joyful heart is like medicine. In a world where so many are hurting, we need to be busy spreading joy, spreading kindness, sharing smiles, sharing love.

If you’re sick, stay home. Drink lots of fluids. Keep your germs to yourself. But if you are well, do your part to spread some joy to someone who might need your smile today!

Have a blessed and flu-free week, y’all!

 

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