Breaking Barriers

[Share the Word] / / CC BY

Months of praying, planning, working and building relationships have come to fruition and ended in the greatest blessing I could have ever imagined. It is difficult to carry quietly in your heart the greatest message the world has ever known, a message of freedom and hope, and to remain shackled by the barriers that keep you from relaying this important message.

To cross seas and continents into the unknown, to face such uncertainty and possible risk, to daily love the enslaved you would set free, but to know that you are incapable of presenting your message or revealing to these beloved the hope that is so close to where they live is a great hardship. To know these beautiful women live in a hopeless shadow of darkness, a circle that repeats and continues again and again in their lives and the lives of their children, when Hope’s light shines less than a mile away and to remain without the ability to convey this truth or the knowledge of whether or not the opportunity will ever arise, is draining to say the least.

Yet, the simplest solution was found. We invited the girls whom we have developed relationships with in the main three pool bars to a ‘goodbye’ luncheon since Rachel and I will be returning home shortly. We had no idea how many would come or if any of the girls from the GoGo bars would come. Often in Thailand, when people do not want to offend, they say they will be there although they never actually intend to come. Many of the girls would not be able to come because they are working and the bar fee they have to pay to miss work is 500 Thai Bot ($17).

So the day of the party we spent the early morning helping Ann and the girls prepare food for the possible guests and then we ventured out to the pool bars to meet our friends. We paid 11 girls bar fines and 17 came to the party. Each of our close friends from the bars came. Each girl was told by the house mother or by the Thai girls living in the home what Beginnings was about. They learned that at Beginnings they would be offered a different lifestyle, education, a free home, and even a stipend to send to their families or to do whatever they want with while living under the Beginnings roof to make up for the money they would no longer be making in the bars. Now each of these girls has been introduced to Beginnings.

The party was such a success. Visitors from distant lands (US, Russia, Israel…) just happened to be at Beginnings on this crazy day. One made a ton of balloon hats, dogs, bikes and flowers for the girls. They paraded around and posed for tons of photos. They ate the free and delicious food and enjoyed Thai tea and other drinks. Then we spent hours painting each other’s nails. We even painted some of their toenails, which in Thai cultures would be demeaning for the person doing it. The feet are considered the most unclean part of the body and to lift one’s heel to another is the ultimate insult. So to get down on the floor and paint another’s toenails would show not only humility but strong friendship, love and honor.

It was nothing to me to paint my friends toenails, but it meant everything to her. I wonder what it was like for Christ the day he washed his disciple’s feet. I wonder if it was so easy for him to do because of his love for them. To them, it was unthinkable and Peter even tried to stop him from lowering himself in such a way. I bet to Christ it was nothing to love another so much—especially considering he lived and died for his disciples, even the one who betrayed him, and for the entire world.

Two of the women, very close friends of ours, stayed with us until dinner that night. They picked out the Eclipse DVD to watch and after seeing this sequel they desired also to watch the first movie, Twilight. I was amazed by the way they inhaled the love from the screen. I saw the craving in their eyes for such a love to exist in their own lives. It is expected for men here to cheat on their wives. It is common for a man to have a minor wife, which means a mistress. It is not even looked down upon. I cannot imagine living with the knowledge and expectation that my future spouse, the man I would love more than my own life and desire to give everything I have and am to, would be unfaithful and untrue to me—that he would have many women and I would simply raise his children and be nothing more to him than the woman who bore and raised his children.

Many times during this trip I was approached with different repulsive offers from men. But sex here is more like a commodity; it is just something that is done, not something that is personal or private. The truth: this is common all across the world. This great gift we have been given to be so intimate with another that our souls become one has been disgraced and turned from a great gift into an indifferent mediocre activity.

Despite this, I saw that in the depths of these women’s heart, they had a longing for a deep and unquenchable love that no fire or time could ever destroy or even begin to touch. I saw a pining in their lives they have tried to fill, a void that leaves an empty hole of agony in their hearts. Are they any different from the rest of us? We all have moments when we wonder: what is life about? What is the struggle and hardship for? Why do we endure day after day? Isn’t there more than this?

The answer: YES, there is more and it is found when Christ fills the void in our lives. He is the only one who can. No love of man can satisfy the fire that longs for the undeserving, unearned and unconditional love of THEE God who created us for a relationship with Him. No earthly man or thing will ever fill the void or erase the pain; only through a relationship with Christ can we find peace and be made whole again.

For these girls I do not know what the future holds. All I know is they have been loved by us and they are even more loved by God. Who knows what will happen in the future or what would bring them to change their course and live at Beginnings? But now they know hope exists and in their darkest hour they know they have a place to turn. Now they can tell others, any who would leave the lifestyle yet feel trapped and without alternatives.

Our purpose in coming to Thailand has been fulfilled. I praise God that He brought all this to fruition. I know that all I can do now is thank Him for the opportunity He blessed me with to come to this place, to learn much from and in this different culture, and to share His love and hope with these girls. I leave them in His capable hands. He is the savior. I am just the messenger and how the message is received does not matter so long as the message is delivered. Only God can change and heal the heart of man and it begins with this simple message of the love and grace of Christ.

Diggin’ up the Bible (The Bible and Archeology)

uair01 / / CC BY

“The Bible isn’t a history book, it’s a theological book,” a famous talk show host recently stated in a matter of fact manner while mocking a comment a man had sent to his email. I shouldn’t have been surprised, because even though this man claims to be a Christian many of his beliefs are contrary to the Bible. Sadly, he is only one among millions who have claimed to be a Christian yet have carried beliefs contrary to Scripture. Like this talk show host, many individuals professing Christianity believe the Bible is only a theological book, not a historical book.

This host was correct in the first part of his statement, the Bible is a theological book, but he is wrong in his belief that it is not historically accurate. His ignorance, professed on a national platform, frustrated me for days. How can someone pick and choose what parts of the Bible are accurate and what parts are not? How can the Bible be a theological book inspired by God, yet fail to be historically accurate?

As this comment was made, my mind traveled back to a Bible class I sat in many years earlier at Dallas Baptist University. My professor was pointing out how thousands of supposed “biblical errors and historical inaccuracies” had been eliminated one by one due to archeological finds until, at that time, there were only a few hundred left. His argument was—after thousands of supposed historical errors were proven false—why were these biblical critics still adamant against the possibility of the remaining supposed errors being false as well?

So how are we “Diggin’ up the Bible?” With the release of movies like Raiders of the Lost Ark, most Americans have become more familiar with the historical science of archeology—the hunt for and study of ancient cultures. Like Indiana Jones, the hero of Raiders of the Lost Ark, an archeologist’s job is to carefully dig up relics and clues of the past in an attempt to reconstruct how ancient people lived, and although most Americans know what archeology is, many are unaware of what pushed this historical science to the forefront of this modern era. You see, archeology has been around for centuries, but it didn’t become a serious science until the 19th century, and regretfully, its main stimulant was to discover evidence in support of Darwin’s theory. Although archeology was thrust to the forefront with the purpose of proving Darwin’s theory true, many of its findings actually call the theory into question, and rather than digging up the missing link, one by one many of the biblical critics’ supposed errors and myths in the Bible are being eliminated.

It is also important to note that there are several rules that always apply when studying works of antiquity, and one of these rules is that the writing is always considered accurate until proven false. Yet when studying the Bible, this rule is not only eliminated, it is reversed. Everything within its pages are considered false until proven accurate. My question is, “Why is the Bible singled out and studied differently from any other ancient work, especially after so many of the people, places and events recorded within its pages have been verified?”

In the coming weeks I plan on writing about some of these supposed biblical errors and mythology that have been proven to be actual historical fact.

Ruins: Slave Trafficking in Thailand

[phil h] / / CC BY-NC-ND

Everywhere I turn ruins surround me: broken homes, broken families, broken people and broken lives. Even the buildings and towering architecture, once the pride and glory of man, reflect the ruined state of this country.

Ashes sift in the wind from the burnt buildings, and just as quickly as the flames consumed this security of man so too the flames destroy the hope of man. Even so, brightly, for one brief moment burns the flame, then it fades into oblivion and the ravished are left to grope in darkness.

Reality sets in as I gaze around me into chaos and disorder. People are just people, in every nation, country or tongue — we are the same. Each has his struggle, weakness, misery, secret, joy, happiness, dream and hope.

Atlas has shrugged and left the weight of the world to rest on our weary shoulders. Each of us has paused under the weight, the heavy pressure that would crush and consume us.

Each day as I walk down the road, I witness the struggle of those who bear this heavy burden that I no longer carry. I see the men God created to be strong and tall reduced by the greed and cruel desires of others, often family, and by so many being forced into what people call Lady-Boys.

Maybe their family had no daughters, but still wanted to have the motorcycle or the flat screen television the neighbors can afford now that they have sent one or two of their daughters to the big city to sell the one possession they have. So the family chose the most feminine looking of their sons or the least valued and placed him on female hormones for a few years before getting him the surgery and sending him to the city as a Lady-Boy to sell himself. Or maybe after years of abuse and rape by men in his life, often temple monks, the wounded young man followed a horrific path never meant for him to more pain and wounds.

Truly, many of these Lady-Boys who flash smiles at me before resuming the dance of shame under a vacant mask are more delicate and beautiful than I could ever dream of being. Yet, never would I envy the ruins in which they live.

Nite is my favorite Lady-Boy of all. She smiles so brightly as we embrace and chat each day. She sometimes holds my hand and she loves posing for pictures. She is obsessed with beauty and dreams of being light skinned and having light eyes. She tells me I am so beautiful and pulls one of my curls. She smiles, laughs and beats me at pool every time I play her. The other girls fuss just as much over this Lady-Boy as any other member of their bar family. She is one of them and for the first time in her life, she is accepted and belongs — to a certain extent.

In the most horrible circumstances my friends live. With smiles, soft voices, laughter, humor and a ton of makeup they so diligently wear their masks and try to hide their bruises, wounds and pain. To show emotion, especially pain, is a shameful weakness, unacceptable culturally.

In their minds, the ruins in which they live were built by their own hand alone and no one else’s. When they are choked, it is because they talk too much and when they are beat it is only bad karma they earned from a previous life.

The ruins surround and overwhelm me. Where is civilization? Yet just as the Phoenix rises from the ashes, so too do I glimpse a glittering glimmer of hope through the ashes for once my life was a ruin and I too carried the burdens of the world which were crushing my spirit. But another took my burden and from the ruins of my fallen life He made me into His own beautiful image with love and tender hands.

How I wish my beautiful friends would meet my Savior and be forever freed from the crushing weight of the world they carry on their shoulders and from the masks they are forced to wear. How I wish they would meet my Lord.

Sunday, June 27, 2013

Is There Evidence of Noah’s Catastrophic Flood?

Does history validate the Scriptures . . .

It's Hard to Drain the Swamp When Yer up to Yer Ears in Alligators!

elmada / Foter / CC BY-NC-SA

Second Peter 3:3-6 teaches that in the end time man would intentionally deny special creation by the spoken Word of God, as well as Noah’s global flood. Why? Why would man feel the need to deny there having once been a global flood? I can easily understand why he would deny special creation, but why would he deny the story of Noah’s deluge? Why would it matter whether or not there was once a global catastrophic flood that destroyed the whole face of the earth?

Really, the answer is quite simple. If such an awesome catastrophic event is history, then billions of plants and animals would have been rapidly and randomly buried with water, mud, and pressure, immediately beneath the earth’s surface, causing billions and billions of fossils mixed without order or cause. And that’s the problem. If a global flood did produce these…

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God’s Providential Care Revisited

Lel4nd / / CC BY

I recently shared with you the story about how God’s providential care was seen in the lives of eighteen members of the West Side Baptist Church in Beatrice, Nebraska—a real story originally told by Paul Harvey years ago.

While thinking about this church’s story, I recalled one of my own. A few years back my eldest son had a grapefruit-sized tumor removed from his stomach. In most cases this would have been no big deal, except my son has type O+ blood. The individual with type O+ blood can give their blood to anyone, but they can only receive blood from other type O+ individuals. Since the hospital where the surgery was performed stores all types of blood in its blood bank, they failed to do the “type of blood test” on my son until right before surgery began. Two hours into the surgery they received word back that his type O+ blood had two natural antibiotics in it which meant he couldn’t use just any type O+ blood, he had to have O+ blood that did not contain these antibiotics. The nearest blood that fit this requirement was over four hours away, which was an extremely serious mistake since this type of surgery usually requires the need for a good amount of blood replacement.

Where can God’s providential care be seen in this mistake? My son bled so little that the doctors didn’t need to use any additional blood, which was certainly God’s care since he could easily have bled to death before the right type of blood arrived.

What a great God we serve!




Creation Versus Evolution: A Biblical and Scientific Study for Youth

Please remember…if you homeschool or teach a high school Bible class my youth Creation Versus Evolution course if free today through the 13th. The link is below.

Eye of the Storm

Stuck in Customs / / CC BY-NC-SA

Lighting rolls across the sky as thunder roars on this dark starless night. In the very heart and eye of the storm there is peace to be found. In this age, and in every age before and hence, tragedy, injustice, strife and turmoil ripple across the land.

Today, I witnessed tragedy in the eyes of a young prostitute as she wept before Buddha, begging health for her family who sent her to work the streets and forgiveness for her wretched state and cursed life. Society looks down upon her and even her family despises her. But this life is payment to Buddha for the bad karma earned in her previous life. She believes—because Buddhism teaches—that everything that happens to her has been earned by her own hand and is deserved. There is no such thing as mercy, only debt. In her mind, the only chance for peace and redemption lay in selling the one possession she has, her body, to take care of her family. Buddhism places little value on women and teaches the ultimate good a woman can do is to care for her family at any cost.

If she were born a boy, serving in the temple as a Monk for a few weeks would earn enough good karma to outweigh a lifetime of bad and would bring unfathomable honor to the family. But, as a woman, in a family that is either poor or simply wants more wealth and prestige, duty, honor and Buddha require the ultimate sacrifice, a life of abuse and slavery to provide for those very ones who are so demanding and yet so ashamed of her existence.

Or, maybe she is a wife whose husband wants more money, so each day she slaves to take care of her family and each night she is dropped off by her husband to work the street. It is not the status of the girl in a family that determines her fate, it is the desires of others and the status of a gender Buddha did not consider worthy of value or honor.

Today I witnessed tragedy, as a woman, oppressed and scorned by the world, prayed and worshipped the very deity which enslaved her.

Yesterday I witnessed injustice as a hundred voices raised prayers to ears that do not hear and petitions to eyes that cannot see.

Barefoot, before the most elaborate statue of Buddha, I stood in the greatest and wealthiest temple in all Thailand. The voices required me to pay homage to their great god, the idol made by the hands of man–standing for an unjust law created in the deceptive heart of man–to bow before him on bended knee and lift up my pleas. No sacrifice or respect will I grant to that false god enslaving billions and leading them astray.

Quickly I fled the temple, my only sacrifice is the tears I weep for this people who reject the Alpha and Omega for a tottering statue decorated by the creative mind of man. I smiled as I saw the foundations of the temple were cracked and God’s nature was peeking through, eager to overtake and pull down the lies and schemes of man. All this will pass away. Every lie will be exposed. Every idol built up by man, especially those built on the sweat and blood of others, will fall.

Is there a distinction between the strife of the poor, the blind, the deaf, the cripple and the turmoil that rages in the hearts of nations? Their cries echo in my ears as their seemingly hopeless plight reflects strange and horrible lights from their still vacant eyes.

One day every knee will bow and every tongue will confess who is Lord and it will not be Buddha. Only One name will endure and it will not be his. One day tragedy, injustice, strife and turmoil will be no more, nor shall we weep ever again. Truth will reveal every lie and each falsehood will be destroyed. The innocent, weak, and poor will be oppressed no longer. No deformity will exist among men and there will be no more beggars for all will find healing and answered prayers at the One True Temple.

Until that time, love is the greatest gift we have to reach the lost, wearied and hopeless souls in this world. One day Justice will reign, but until that day both the oppressed and the oppressor need the love and grace of Christ for both are enslaved.

Peace is found in the eye of the storm, for Christ is the center of all things. In Him all is and all is held together. As the rain pours down on this dark night, I pray it is the tears of Christ washing and renewing this desolate land.

June 22, 2010