They Call Her Sweet Face- Update

2 weeks ago I shared about a 15 month old baby girl who had been abused and badly burned in my post- They Call Her Sweet Face.

The update I received is that she is stable and recovering. She gets a lot of love and attention from the nurses. No placement decision has been made yet.

Please continue to pray for her recovery to be beyond what anyone could have imagined and for a loving Christian family to adopt her. Also please pray for her birth parents who abused her to be brought to justice.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

They Call Her Sweet Face

I had coffee with a young couple from Bosnia. The wife is studying to become a forensic nurse and currently doing practicums. She is currently working in a burn unit in a specialized burn unit in my city.

Over coffee, she shared a heartbreaking story with me about a 15 month baby girl who as abused by her parents. The baby girl was dipped in scalding hot water suffering severe burns over her little body. There were other signs of abuse as well.

The baby was left in front of the ER at the hospital and taken to the burn unit. They do not know the baby’s name. Treating burn victims involves painful procedures.

The police have not identified the parents yet. The baby is Jane Doe for now. In the burn unit they call her sweet face. The whole burn unit has a special place in their hearts for this baby girl.

Please pray for Sweet Face for healing for her body. Please also pray for the parents to be found and justice to be done for Sweet Face. Please also pray for loving adoptive parents to be found for Sweet Face.

January 11th- National Human Trafficking Awareness Day

Today is National Human Trafficking Awareness Day in the U.S. Tragically, it is estimated over 40 Million people are victims of human trafficking and many of them children.

Sex trafficking is a big part of human trafficking. It is SO tragic and EVIL that anyone would traffic children and young women for the sex trade.

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One organization I support is Love Justice. They intercept and rescue trafficking victims in several countries. They also have groups homes and a school for the children who cannot return home or don’t have a home to return to.

This is a link for the National Human Trafficking Awareness Day website.

The book I am writing is about a young woman freed from sex trafficking and what happens after she is rescued. This is an issue that is important to me. When my book is published, proceeds from the sales will go to fighting human trafficking.

Please join me today in praying for God to bring about justice in the perpetrators, healing for the victims, and raise up people to do the work of showing God’s love to the victims.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

When Hopeless Meets Real Hope

So many times in my life the situation looked hopeless from a human perspective.

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There was growing up with an alcoholic father and a mother with an untreated mental illness who was highly manipulative.

There was the experience of getting sick and almost dying.

There was the process of having to rebuild my life after my 3 years of being sick and recovering.

So many other examples from my life that would cause others to think at many times in my life that things looked hopeless.

BUT

With Jesus there is always hope.

1 Peter 1 says:

“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead”

With Jesus, we can have a living hope because he defeated death. Think of it. He conquered death. If he can conquer death, he can help in any situation. There is always hope for us with Jesus.

Ali of mynotsopoeticstories.wordpress.com is a new blogger I follow. She shared in her first post about how Jesus came to her and brought her hope in a beautiful post- Amazing Grace. It is an excellent post to read and be encouraged by.

I know how it feels to feel there is no hope. I also know what it is like to meet Jesus and have him change my life. I know what it is like to have Jesus do the seemingly impossible in my life.

Whatever situation we are in, whatever problem we face, Jesus can and will work in our lives. He is hope because he defeated death for us and he invites us to come to him. n Matthew 11 he said:

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.”

His invitation is for ALL. No one is excluded from his invitation. His arms are open wide.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Story Time- A Tiny X-Ray Tech Had to Catch Me

This is a picture of me when I was about 20 years old. I weighed about 200 pounds due to working out with weights a lot.

One day I started feeling sick and had a fever. It wasn’t the normal flu type sick, so I ended up going to the ER. The ER doctor called a surgeon who ordered x-rays of my stomach. A nurse came in with a wheelchair. She was about 5′ 2″ and weighed maybe 110 pounds. Being the young prideful man I was, I didn’t want a petite woman pushing me in a wheelchair. I told her I could walk.

I had to lay down, stand up, lay down and stand up for the x-rays. The last time I stood up, I began to faint. The poor x-ray tech who was also a petite woman had to try to catch me and guide me to the wheelchair.

When the nurse came back. I swallowed my pride and agreed to be pushed back to the ER room in the wheelchair. I ended up having my appendix out that night.

I am grateful that Jesus has all power. God created the universe. Nothing is impossible for God. Jesus is more than able to catch us when we falter. I often think about what Jesus said in Matthew 11:

“All things have been committed to me by my Father. No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.”

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

Jesus has all power but he is gentle of heart. He invites us to come to him. If we struggle with depression, anxiety, chronic illness, addiction, family problems, or financial problems, he invites us to come to him. His invitation is for ALL. No one is excluded from his invitation.

The only thing preventing us from coming to Jesus is our own pride just like my pride got in the way in the ER that night.

Thank you for reading. God Bless. 🙂

Defend Others/Show Christ’s Love

Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves,
    for the rights of all who are destitute.
 Speak up and judge fairly;
    defend the rights of the poor and needy.

This quote is from Proverbs 31, Yes as in Proverbs 31 we hear quoted often by women saying they want to be a Proverbs 31 woman. Interestingly Proverbs 31 starts as an exhortation from a mother to her son about what kind of King to be and the quote is at the heart of her wisdom and advice- speak up for and defend the poor and helpless..

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This quote is one of the most inspirational for me as I serve, teach, and help refugees and immigrants. I have heard their stories. I have listened as they cried. I have tried to advocate for them whenever I can.

My home church recently experienced a transition to a new lead pastor. I am not a key person in the church. Since I am not an important nor influential person for my home church, I tried to stay in the background during the transition and pray.

But I have to share what CAUGHT my attention above and beyond anything else. As a family our new pastor, his wife and children accepted into their family and adopted an infant who was born to a meth addict. My first thought was this family lives out their faith and love for God.

There are so many issues in our culture and world today as sin increasingly ravages victims. As Christians, we represent the Savior of the World and the King of Kings. We can be a voice for the helpless. We can speak up for children. We can foster children. We can speak up for and help women who are victims of domestic violence. There are so many ways that we can be the hands of Jesus caring for the helpless.

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A little known historical fact is that in the days of the early church, during the brutality of the Roman Empire, if a father rejected a baby for whatever reason, the baby would be out in the street. Christians would take the babies in as their own. That is a sliver of the heritage we 21st Century Christians have to live up to.

A few examples of speaking up for and defending the defenseless:

A new blogger who really caught my attention is Rayna who writes her blog The Youth Advocate at youth-advocate.org. In her blog she gives a voice to defenseless children who are victims of crimes. I highly recommend checking out her blog and following here.

Love Justice is a ministry/organization that works to intercept children and young woman being sex trafficked. Please check out their website at Love Justice.

Dear Reader, please prayerfully consider how you can be a Proverbs 31 person and speak up for the destitute and defend the rights of the poor and needy. It is not the “social gospel’. It is in the bible.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Music Mondays- Rescue by Lauren Daigle

You are not hidden
There’s never been a moment
You were forgotten
You are not hopeless
Though you have been broken
Your innocence stolen

I hear you whisper underneath your breath
I hear your SOS, your SOS

I will send out an army to find you
In the middle of the darkest night
It’s true,

I will rescue you

When I first heard Rescue by Lauren Daigle, so may thoughts flooded in my mind. I related to the song in so many ways.

As the son of an alcoholic father and mentally ill mother, the lyric-“Your innocence stolen” spoke to me. For those of us who have experienced abuse of any kind, our innocence is stolen from us.

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As someone who lives with chronic illness and depression, the lyric-“Though you have been broken” speak to me. Anyone who struggles with depression, anxiety, or any other mental health issue understand feeling hopeless. Anyone who live with chronic illness certainly understands feeling broken.

I love the lyric- “I hear you whisper underneath your breath. I hear you SOS.” I will never forget the times I could barely whisper a prayer and how Jesus came to me.

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I love this song because the focus is not on being broken and staying broken. The focus is on how Jesus will come to us. He will do whatever needs to be done to reach us. He will come to us. He will send his angels. He will rescue us.

Think about it. If Jesus loved us so much that he left heaven to come die for us, certainly he will pursue us to rescue us. 🙂

Why Love Compels Me

“For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died”

That passage in 2 Corinthians 5 expresses much to me about why it is important to me to share Christ’s love with refugees and anyone who has suffered in life.

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But there is a backstory to it all that I rarely share.

I occasionally listen to a song from the 1990s Runaway Train by Soul Asylum. It was originally not only a hit single but also used to raise awareness about the plight of runaway youth in the U.S.

The song still resonates with me. I was one of those youth for about a year. I was the son of an alcoholic father and a mother who had mental illness. I never knew a moment of feeling safe when I was a child. My response to it all was to explode in anger one day as a teen which led to me leaving the house. I stayed with a friend’s family and crashed on couches of other friends. At times I slept on a park bench,

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Never knowing peace as a child and teen, as a young man I only cared about making money until one day I ran into the presence of Jesus. His presence was so powerful and full of love that I gave my life to him in July 1989.

Experiencing illness to the point of losing memory and losing everything in my life led me to not knowing what would happen next. God led me step by step.

Having been rescued from darkness by Jesus, my hope is to participate with Jesus to rescue others from darkness.

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When Jesus led me to reach out to refugees, I understood how they feel. I knew how it felt to not feel safe and to wonder what would happen next. That is the experience of refugees. They flee because they are not safe and they wonder what will happen next.

When I experienced the love of Jesus, it compelled me to share his love with others. As 1st John 4 says:

“We love because he first loved us”

Knowing what it is like to be forgiven of so much, to be received despite my cold heart, causes me to desire for others to experience the depths of God’s love.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Dealing with Toxic People

Sunday afternoon in my Life Group we discussed toxic people. As someone who grew up in a family with toxic relationships with parents, I understand what it is like to deal with such situations. I love what Romans 16 says.

“I urge you, brothers and sisters, to watch out for those who cause divisions and put obstacles in your way that are contrary to the teaching you have learned. Keep away from them.  For such people are not serving our Lord Christ, but their own appetites. By smooth talk and flattery they deceive the minds of naive people.” Romans 16

Dealing with toxic people in our lives can be quite troublesome. We can feel at odds with ourselves torn between our desire to be like Jesus and our need to watch out for ourselves and our welfare.

People can be toxic for a variety of reasons such as being abusive; whether physically, emotionally or mentally, or because of personality traits like being narcissistic. Family can be especially difficult if toxic because what do we do with family?

As Christians we can mistake letting ourselves be doormats and walked over with what it means to be loving. However, we are not called to be naive. We are called to be wise yet innocent, but not naive.

There are principles in the passage from Romans cited above. Notice that Paul writing under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit wrote of divisive people- “Keep away from them.” Yes that is in context of the church, but there is a principle to take note of.

There may be times that we need to keep away from toxic people. We need to set boundaries.

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Yes we are to love them, but that might look more like continuing to pray for them while keeping away from them.

Dear reader if you have been abused, have been victimized by a game player who will not change, or any other situation that is toxic, you do not need to be a doormat. Pray for them yes. Forgive and give them to God yes. But you do not have to be a doormat. It is okay to set boundaries and if those boundaries mean keeping your distance, then it is okay.

I felt I should share these thoughts because I do have followers of my blog who have been victimized, who deal with anxiety and depression, who have been abused.

Sometimes seeking counseling to help with setting boundaries can be beneficial. It can also help to have a few trusted friends to keep you accountable in maintaining boundaries.

I write this as a former doormat who learned to not be a doormat. I hope this post helps others who are dealing with toxic people. I want to leave you with a thought from a book that struck me and freed me up when I read it a long time ago. The book is Released From Shame:

“God knows it is not your fault”

Thank you for reading. God Bless.