Wednesday, April 25, 2012

An Overlooked Reality About Sex Trafficking

Hello readers.  Welcome to my heart.  Let's begin.

So I've recently gotten a heavy burden for sex trafficking.  I honestly support the awareness movement because the passion and burden came after I became aware of it.  So amazing how that works.  But I'm not planning on informing you right now about the matter, no statistics.  Nothing like that, this blog is not for that purpose.  I'm here to point at an overlooked reality that I've noticed.  Here's how I reached it.  So every time this horrible matter comes to my mind, I begin to pray about it.  It is such a detestable thought that men are doing this to God's daughters but this thought came to me....

Why won't the girls just leave?

No no, don't run away from that thought.  Just, sit and consider it with me.

Recently, well yesterday to be exact, I asked myself that question, Why won't they just leave?  What's keeping them there?  What's keeping a woman in a place where she is being forced to allow her body to be picked and lusted and used over like she was nothing more than a dollar menu food item.  What's keeping her there to take on abuse and the horrible horrible things that are being forced on her?  What is keeping her there?  The answer, I know you have it.  But keep backing up and looking at this perspective.  This horrible hidden torture chamber and horror story is being initated by men.


So when I first realized this, a thought flooded my brain---and it is exactly what God has been screaming at me for months now.  Men are leaders.  Men are divinely appointed as leaders.  Men lead, women respond and submit.  It's the design of God.  And it's so evident in this example of sex trafficking.  I see the design of God being horribly corrupted and abused in this matter.  And if you're trying to point the blame at God, don't miss the point here.  That's like pointing the blame at the designer of the handgun everytime someone is murdered with one.  Don't do that.  But my heart broke again for the women of this generation.  Here's what I see now.  Allow this rabbit trail please.

I see a world where beauty is being defined by man.  So women dress and eat and lose weight and buy makeup and pamper and primp and buy and shop and dress and all of these things because man IS defining beauty in these things.  I see a culture that is responding to male leadership.  Good or bad, we're responding to male leadership.  I see women's fashion continuing to gear towards showing more skin because men are lusting more than ever, and women are blindly following.  Just convince them that's its cute and comfortable.  Leggings and short shorts are comfortable, yes, that's the sugar coated way of getting you to conform to the real reason, SHOW MORE OF YOUR BODY FOR MEN TO SEE.  Hey ladies, the serpent didn't tell Eve she'd be removed from God's presence, he deceived her, he lied to her, he made her believe that it was okay to do what he was tempting her to do.


Oh, and if you disagree with this then I would love to have a conversation because I would love to find an excuse to take the pressure off of me.  I would love if you could grace me with the looney idea that we're just born like this.  That insecurities and lack of hope and no concept of our worth and brokenness was something we were just born with, and that it wasn't a learned behavior because of good or bad male leadership.  Yes, remove this burden from me, share your heart, confirm it to be wrong for me!

Nothing to say right?  Yeah, I know.  So this burden will eat away at me until I take my last breathe. 

Back to the point.  This thought of sex trafficking just makes me shake my head at me and my gender.  Oh dear God what has happened to your sons?  That we would devalue and mistreat something so valuable and precious to you.  I've had the pleasure or misfortune, whatever, of running into a lot of strong women, meaning women who disagree with the idea of submitting to a man.  Women who will argue and fight with you to their grave about equality and 50/50 and we're just as good as men and I don't need a man to make me happy and I'm independent.  Or the women who feel the need to quarrel with their mouths to show their importance, to affirm their worth, to challenge man to say "Hey, I can go toe to toe with you, with any man, I'm just as good as you!"  I've met them all, and all I see now is God look at what we've done!  We've pushed women into becoming sinful just to protect themselves! Women who have and are right now submitting themselves to men and they're being abused and neglected and dishonored!

Again, I can't let you miss this.

Men, we've pushed women into becoming sinful just to protect themselves! 

The above attitude of the 21st century woman is the product of this.  Women, being trained to hate men.  Women, being trained to devalue men, the same ones God is calling them to submit to.  Women, forced into believing that their value and worth is found in how well they can perform with sex and a dollar amount is placed on them.  Oh, there's a horror of sex trafficking that stretches beyond just the obvious reality.  Men, what else are we trafficking?

Men, we're also beauty traffickers.  We've defiled God's beautiful creation by telling them that they have to have big butts and tight abs and pretty faces to be seen as beautiful.  We've defined beauty for them, and then we rank them by measurables of how pleasing they are to the eyes and if they cause us to get aroused or not.

So the answer to the question I asked earlier, why won't they just leave?  I know you know the answer.  The fear of losing their lives, the fear of their family being harmed, the shame, the self blame, the dirtiness, the hopelessness, the distrust, so many factors----all placed in them by men.  But again, I point to this and just say, wow, look at the response of women when a man is pouring into her fear and dishonor and manipulation and false hope. Look at the response to men aggressive enough to take action, even though its sinful and degrading and detestable.  I'm not giving them credit or props on their actions, I'm pointing to a reality, and here it is. 

Just imagine if a man was to pour into a woman love, grace, encouragment, a secure and true hope?  What if men became agressive in honoring and protecting women? 

Wow.  To be continued......

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Letter To My Daughter

Dear Daughter, 

         Can I open this letter to just say that I love you so very much.  Seriously.  Hey, I hope that when you hear Me say that you don't judge me on your definition of love.  I need you to learn my definition of it.  I never intended for this world to be in the shape its in.  I'm still in control because I've conquered it, but please hear me when I say that I'm sorry that you have to go through all of this.  Whatever it is, please still know that Daddy loves you.  I know what you long for.  You are longing for security because I designed you to submit. And sadly, I've watched you try to find it in so many ways.  You've hardened your heart to love because it hurt you.  You hardened it to secure it, to protect it.  Well love cannot hurt you.  When you harden your heart from love, you hardened it from me.  Please don't do that.  You've also began to long for marriage in an unhealthy way.  When you long for marriage for reasons other than to bring Me glory, you put too much faith in a man to provide that security for you.  You miss out on enjoying being fully intimate with me.  Here's what I want you to know.  You are loved, already.  Let me define it for you.  My son died for you. If that's not enough, I can be whatever you need whenever you need it.  I never sleep.  I'm always watching.  I'm always listening.  Want to know why I am the Great I Am?  Because I AM everything you need.  You need peace? I am that.  You need love? I am that.  You need grace? I am that.  You need security? I am that. Learn my definition of love. And also, I want you to know that you're beautiful.  Let me define it for you.  When you look at the sunsets, do you see Me?  When you look at the stars at night, do you see Me?  When you look at the beach, the beautiful waves of the ocean, do you see Me?  When you look at nature, the canyons and the valleys, the mountains and the skies, the trees and the creation, do you see Me?  Well, when you look in the mirror, just as with those things....see Me.  I designed all of that, and I've also designed you.  See Me in all of MY creation.  You've allowed your beauty to be defined by the filth of man, by the corruption of this world.  Have you not realized yet that this world is sinful and broken?  And you define your worth in it?  Turn it off.  Watch it no more.  Listen to it no more.  Turn to me.  Listen to me.  Hear what I say about you.  You are loved and you are beautiful.  I long for you to know that.  If you come to Me, I will work hard for you to know this.  I've already sent my Son to show you.  But if you need more, I will be that.  I AM MORE. 

I love you.  More than your little mind can imagine.  

Love forever and always.  

Your Dad.

Jesus, Remember Me

"One of the criminals who hung there hurled insults at him: "Aren't you the Christ? Save yourself and us!"  But the other criminal rebuked him. "Don't you fear God," he said, "since you are under the same sentence?  We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong." Then he said, "Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom." Jesus answered him, "I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise." Luke 23:39-43

Hello readers.  Welcome to my heart.  Let's begin.

I had one of my friend's awesome mother ask me about the quote at the top of my blog.  In case you've never noticed it, here it is.  "The mystery of His love has compelled me.  And for this, I have found the keys to life; and I found them shaped like nails."  And my friend's mom asked did I come up with it, and I answered yes.  But then I realized that I haven't explained it to you all, so, this blog is for that reason.
So the above scripture is a story that I've recently fallen in love with.  I feel its the beauty and the basis of true salvation.  Here's my burden.

It pains me.  Like, seriously, it burdens me bad---that some people will miss out on God for silly reasons.  Maybe even you reader, it burdens me that maybe you will miss out on God because you're only focusing on what religion calls you to do.  I remember growing up in church with the knowledge of what was expected from Christians.  Like I knew how they were supposed to act and be and etc.  And I remember even after I got saved, I became this good little Christian boy and started to follow all the rules that the pastor so thoroughly laid out for the church on a regular basis---good Christian boy.  Ata boy.  And I remember so vividly the day when God finally cornered me.  Here's the story.

I had just missed out on the Industrial Design program (long story) and I was somewhat depressed.  And I was upset with God.  Well, more hurt.  Because I was told that if I lived right, God would bless me.  If I did this, God would bless me.  I mean, God was for me right?  Jeremiah 29:11, God wants to prosper me, and give me a hope and a future! So what happened!?  This is the major that I want to do, this is why I came to Auburn, and you didn't help me get in---it was my hope and my future! And I remember being in tears, putting together an entertainment center and upset because I had assembled the thing backwards, crying out to God man what happened!??  Here lies the problem.  Immediately, I looked at my works, or my actions.  For some reason I associated God not working things out my way with me not doing something for God correctly------ let me say it again.

For some reason, I associated God not working things out the way I wanted Him to because of me not doing something for God correctly.

What a stressful Christian walk right?  Is this the freedom Jesus came to give us?  Because this sucks.
These were my thoughts.  I was very focused on my works, and never really recognized it until that moment.  But of course, I continued, rushing in panic and still crying out to God, please God, I'll do anything.  I need Jeremiah 29:11 to work out for me here, I'm struggling, I'm lost, I'm confused, I don't know what to do! And finally God just said SON LOOK AT ME!

And in that moment I had this vision of me scurrying around in front of the throne, eager to be sure God was pleased with my works, being sure He was pleased with how I looked, how I acted, how I dressed, where I was seen, who I was dating, what I was doing alone with this date, all these things and God just said,

Son Just look at me!  Here's my point.

In that above scripture, that thief on the cross didn't have time to get his act together.  He didn't have time to tithe or be early for church or even be a regular attender.  He didn't have time to stop drinking so much or stop having sex or for the actual reason he was actually being punished, stop stealing. 

The thief on the cross just looked at Jesus.  Metaphorically, He just acknowledged Christ and repented of what he had done.  Hanging from the cross, I'm sure the guy had time to think over his deeds.  I'm sure he was tired of the pain physically and the guilt weighing on him as he hung, because repentance is so easy from the place of pain.  So all he did was realized who Jesus was.  This is all he did, please catch this. 

He had faith that Jesus was who He said He was. 

That's huge.  And I'm afraid that so many people miss out on God because they'll focus on the obeying God before the loving Him first.  So many people would rather enter from behind Jesus, thinking we have to get ourselves together before we can face Him.  Hey, look at Him.  Enter through the front door where He's waiting to embrace you.  One thing that helps me understand this visual is to consider that we will see our unholiness when we look at God.  So therefore, when we look at God we see His holiness.  I'll say it this way.

The gospel invites us to come near to Him, where His holiness is pressed onto us.  Which means this...

Stop trying to get to God through your works.

Won't work.  He's already said that.  You can't even get to Him unless you enter through Jesus.  So this relationship with Jesus thing is crucial to your health and growth as a believer.  Without Him, without Jesus, you are not seen as righteous before God.  His payment, His death paid for our sins so we are covered, redeemed, reconciled,  for the glory of God.  All God is asking for you to look at Him and just desire the relationship.  He's wanting you to ask,

Jesus, remember me. 

Jesus, know me.  I want to be invited into fellowship with You.  I want to join You in paradise.  And He's welcoming us into this!  Freely given.  Just like this man on the cross demonstrated!  I'm so glad Jesus saved this man on the cross and put it in our Bible because this is the gospel of Jesus clearly shown.  You're invited in. 

So Jesus, remember me. 

The Dreams of the Writer

Hello readers.  Welcome to my heart.  Let's begin. 

I've decided to share with you all my dreams.  I hear that term a lot on Twitter.  Everyone seems to have dreams of becoming millionaires and corporate bosses and NFL Superstars---not me.  I do my best not to knock anyone's dreams because its truthfully to knock their identity, but whatever, that's an entirely different blog for another day. Let's go. 

My first and perhaps biggest dream is to be a father. 

I know what some of you may be thinking.  "Claude, you should dream bigger."  Well I say back to you that you have no idea the impact a father has on a family, therefore impacting a bloodline, therefore impacting an entire generation.  In my search for understanding of life, Jesus has beautifully walked me through all of my issues and showed me where most of them have stemmed from the lack of a father.  I bet if you sat down and prayed for God to reveal to you your issues, you'll find the same root cause.  Oh, this doesn't mean things like not knowing how to shave, or how to build a car, or fix a car engine or how to shoot a basketball.  Oh no.  It's those hidden affirmations and examples and core training that I didn't have.  I'll mention just a few of them. 

The first major thing is what exactly does love look like?  I've never seen my father love my mother so I paid attention to R&B and figured out it was sex and sex and spell it backwards xes.  Thank you Jesus for releasing me from that.  A result of that was seeing God's daughters as objects, play toys for this game of lust to entertain my "needs" (Yes, that was sarcasm).  Next I didn't know what love felt like from an authority role, so I dishonored it.  I had seen or more so heard enough corrupt police stories to be able to throw all of anybody in an authority role in this category of this theology, "You have to earn my respect."  So I warred against whatever assumed the role and had the ability to tell me what to do. Parents, the principals in our schools, coaches. So many more, but I'll sum this thing up. 

I've begun to feel the weight of a broken family.  Painfully watching my own scars heal and further watching the same chains that I once wore are still binding my own family.  Watching my family battle with insecurities, potentials unreached, a lacking of worship, a lacking of hope, a poor definition of love, unhealthiness, and the list goes on.  But God put this burden on me after revealing to me that sin has entered into the world because of bad male leadership.  Or to make it personal, your life has been affected because of bad male leadership.  Oh, and you'll find the good news of Jesus Christ hits a full circle here.  Great male leadership redeemed the world.  Great male leadership sanctified His wife, the church.  Great male leadership died for His wife, the church.  So Paul says this, "Husbands, love your wives just as Christ loved..." Ephesians 5:25   

Men, we must love like Jesus.  We can't learn that if we don't know Him.  That's how we'll be able to pull of the example of Jesus in our own lives, by knowing Him. Great male leadership loves his family.  Great male leadership not only provides financially for his family, but emotionally, intellectually, graciously, generously, and many many other areas.  And that is a ministry by itself.  I follow some pastors that are involved in this organization called Focus on the Family.  Self explanatory.  But by focusing on the family I prove to the world that I'm capable of leading anything because I've first done it in my home.  You should be able to judge my leadership based on my family.  If I'm not loving my wife, then there's no way I can love you.  If I'm not respecting and honoring her, then just know I more than likely will not respect and honor you. If I'm not serving my family, then I can't serve you. So the weight of a man's value is found in how well he can lead.  Lol. I can't let you miss that.  I will attempt to plant that seed in your heart right now.

The weight of a man's value is found in how well he can lead.

But Claude, there's so many other things----I'm using God's measuring system here.  That's all God is concerned about for men.  K? Let's go into my next dream.   

My next dream is to plant a church.  I love how God has orchestrated this area of my life in the last few years.  I had this vision for A church last year, but I brushed it as nonsense.  But thankfully I clicked the Save As button and put a tag on it that said, "Find this church one day, it sounds pretty cool".  And an internship later and a Switch Campus Youth Pastor later this dream became more of a reality.  God brought it back up one day as "No, that vision wasn't for you to find that church one day, but to build that church one day.


Sometimes God shows us His provision before we even start to believe in ourselves.  Or He's just patient even when we're knuckleheads.  And the leadership surrounding me that's investing their time and efforts in training me and building me up, ALL part of the grooming process for this dream.  But the vision for my own church birthed from a heart of desperation to know what plagues you and me.  I was begging God to maybe give me the answer to why are people so crazy?  Ok, sorry.  I meant to say, "Why are people hurting?"  I have an entire blog for the answer I got from God in this entry---Show Them My Son---.  But after answering that question for me, God also directed me to a Proverb that says, "Above all else, guard your heart.  For it is the wellspring of life."  So God showed me that a lot of people are suffering from heart problems.  EVERYTHING people do is a condition of the heart.  EVERYTHING in the heart is shown in our lives.  Everybody that hates God or ignores God or hates people or with anger problems or insecurities or blows up at you, attitude problems, or whatever---- all heart problems.  So the combination of this proverb and the phrase show them my son, birthed this mission of pointing people to Jesus so they can be healed. 

The Healing Heart Church.

So these are my two dreams.  And if one thing I've learned is that dreams shouldn't be reached for, but worked towards.  Don't just reach for it, become it.  I believe dreams are an outpour of what God is already doing in your world.  These father and church dreams are being worked on right now.  A loving father had to learn how to love before he showed it to his family---so I pursue Jesus.  And a diverse and thriving church cannot be that if the leader isn't---so I freshen my experience with Jesus by exposing myself to everything, different pastors, different types of worship, different kinds of people, different kinds of races, different kinds of ministries, different kinds of music, different kinds of cultures.

All to aid to the progressing of God's kingdom and bringing God glory.  One day God burdened me with this charge, "Son, help me get my children back." Oh, that's the call of us all!  But each and everyone one of us should have this next thing happen to us as we pursue God and begin to ask how can we be of a help.  "And this is how I want YOU to do it."

Find that.  Your life will change.  You'll come alive. 

I have.