Sunday, October 19, 2008

Lost In The Crowd

[Editor's note: This is one of the devotions that has been translated into Khmer for the girls of Rapha House.]

When the Bible says that God so loved the world, it is easy to feel lost in the crowd. The world is a big place. It’s filled with lots of important and powerful people. Many of them are doing great things for God and show remarkable devotion. It’s easy to imagine that God takes note of their lives. But sometimes it’s hard to believe that He notices or cares for you.

There’s nothing special about you, except maybe all the problems you’ve had and might still be having.

The truth is that in the entire history of the world there has never been a person whom God loves more than you. He loves you not because you’re so lovable but because He’s so loving. The Bible says that God is love (1 John 4:8). And nothing you have done or could do changes that fact. God can’t help Himself. He loves you!

You are the reason Jesus left the courts of heaven. You are the reason He came to earth. You are the reason He went to the cross. You are the reason He rose from the dead. And you are the reason He is returning to earth. He went to heaven to prepare a place for you. And now He is coming back to take you where He is so you can be with Him forever.

When the Bible says that God so loved the world, we tend to make it impersonal and abstract. We tend to get lost in the crowd. Deep in our hearts, we doubt it. We wonder if God could love anyone like us that much. So we quote John 3:16 failing to see ourselves right at the center of this verse. But you are the prized object of God’s extravagant love. You always have been.

John 3:16 not only says something remarkable about God, but it says something remarkable about you. And it’s time to do more than just memorize this verse. It’s time to realize that you’re not lost in the crowd.

For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. —John 3:16

Monday, October 6, 2008

Hard Times and Trafficking

Think like a trafficker for a moment, not with respect to sex but with respect to money. I assume that's why they do what they do. They're in it for the money.

For them human suffering is of little consequence as long as they profit from it. So they exchange innocent children for profit.

When hard economic times comes, traffickers don't say, "Well, the economy is in the dumpers. I guess I better find a real job." Not hardly. Hard times is what probably ushered them into corruption in the first place . Now they have discovered what it feels like to have free flowing money. And free flowing money is a hard habit to break. So in tough economic times, traffickers step up their game. Their greed drives them. And that means more, not less, innocent children will suffer.

Now think like the average person for a moment. When the average woman hears about trafficking, her heart aches. She wants to gather these wounded children under her protective wings and care for them. And the average man is outraged. He wants to hop on a plane and get his hands on a trafficker and make him permanently regret hurting kids. But revenge tours aren't wise. And adoption tours usually aren't feasible. So average people must settle for supporting good works that benefit trafficked children.

When tough economic times come, average people are tempted to take the exact opposite approach of traffickers. Rather than stepping up their efforts, they consider cutting back their support. So in tough economic times, more children suffer.

We must not let this happen. Yes, these are tough times. But tough times call for uncommon courage, uncommon cooperation, and uncommon commitment, especially in the face of growing evil. Refuse to settle for being average. Remember the trafficked children.

The wicked man earns deceptive wages, but he who sows righteousness reaps a sure reward. (Proverbs 11:18)