Jesus didn’t have blue eyes

I’m sorry if I just offended you, or burst your bubble, but it’s true. Jesus was a Jew, and while it is possible for Aryan Jews from Europe to have blue eyes and white skin, we know that Jesus wasn’t from Europe. He was from The Middle East, Bethlehem born and Nazareth raised.

I once had a vision of Jesus… His eyes specifically. They were the richest brown, and in them they held the fullness of all emotions. They were joyful yet sympathetic and sorrowful and loving and peaceful and caring, more than any human eyes have the capacity to express. I didn’t have to ask, “Whose eyes are these?” His presence was felt and their Owner was evident – Brown eyes that embraced me like no one before or since, that saw past my fears and needs to the very heart of me and spoke intimately to my soul – my Jesus.

I was talking to a guy recently that said he didn’t realize Jesus wasn’t white until he was 18. Wow. Granted growing up overseas and being a minority around tan skinned people in Asia, might have been my saving grace, but still. 18. And what was it that clued him in? Being there, in Iraq and seeing places he had heard about all his life in Bible stories… Pictures he had grown up with of white boys fighting white giants and white Jesus hanging on a cross. It blew his mind. Jesus was dark skinned!

Just last week I was writing a devotion about the woman that anointed Jesus feet. I was reading that intimate moment and putting myself in her place, when the thought entered my mind, “you know his feet weren’t white right?” Okay, honestly that was a ridiculous thought. Of course I knew that, and if it weren’t the feet of my Lord and Saviour I wouldn’t have even wanted to take her place! I don’t do feet as a rule… But His feet are a different story.

I’m in love with Jesus. Have been since I listened to His voice through red letters and glimpsed His grace suffered at the cross. Who doesn’t fall in love with a man that takes all your sin, calls you His, and exchanges the rags and filth of life and sin for His glorious goodness?! Well, obviously there are some. But I’m admittedly smitten. I’m also aware that “there was nothing about Him that would attract man to Him.” He might have had a wide nose, almond eyes, and a unibrow. We don’t know for sure… But I know that he wasn’t depicted as Hollywood Jesus. It wouldn’t matter to me… It’s what He did and Who He is that I’m in love with… His colour and features are of no consequence.

Many might be surprised at that. Many who use derogatory terms like “sand niggers” and “towel heads” might be surprised to know that He could be pointed at and named the same if anonymously walking down the streets. I think it’s good for us to soberly look at that reality. Not in judgement but in widening our narrow thinking and broadening our acceptance of others. Would you point at Jesus and call Him a name? Why would you point out His creation, His people, His beloved and say the same?

My mom woke me up to the reality of what we say about others reflects back to God. When I was in Junior High I had a foul mouth. Seriously. So glad God redeemed me from that! But for whatever reason I got a real thrill from throwing up my middle finger… I didn’t say anything… But the name I was thinking was implied. My mom very seriously said to me, “Leslie, do you know that when you flip off another human being you are doing the same to God?” I was appalled. Not that I thought flipping people off was okay, but that I would ever do it to God was unheard of! I argued with her. She told me, “Where does you finger point?” Ummm. Yeah. She had me. “You don’t point your finger at the person, do you? You point it up God, and the implication is against His creation which is unacceptable for His child!” I was shocked. You can think that was stupid, but it penetrated my heart. I might have done it again 3 more times in my life and even then with such disgust in myself, I didn’t enjoy it.

Racism, hatred, prejudice and judgement has NO place in the hearts of God’s own. We can’t love with our words and roll our eyes. We can’t praise Jesus on Sunday and bad mouth our coworkers on Monday. We can’t despise others without first acknowledging that they too were created in the image of God. You can’t worship a blue-eyed Jesus when He was a dark skinned Jew.

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Whatever It Takes – A Look at Human Sex Trafficking

I know we have all seen the red X’s affixed to profiles in social media. The cry to “end it now”‘is echoed throughout the world. Those who are aware of human trafficking are appalled, overwhelmed, and desperate. We want to do something, but what?

The first thing we have to do is see the reality of it.

One story told by Geoff Moore during a concert recently shook me up. He spoke of a recent trip to Haiti. Almost as soon as he got off the plane a woman ran up to him and started pleading with him. She showed him her young daughter, obviously dressed to impress wearing a most likely very costly beautiful red dress, hair fixed and smile plastered. He smiled at the girl and spoke with her, and the woman became desperate! She wept and pleaded and raised her voice. Feeling a little freaked out, Geoff asked his interpreter what she was saying. The interpreter replied, “I don’t want to tell you.” The woman continued on, the interpreter responded to her, and she left. Geoff later discovered that she was begging him to take her daughter. She didn’t know him, but her desperation to see her daughter live drove her to beg a complete stranger to take her because in her mind he was a rich American and could give her a better life. I couldn’t help but think as I heard the story, “What if he weren’t Geoff Moore, Christian artist and song writer?” And then I wondered, “Did another man get the same plea? And is that young girl in the red dress still smiling?”

Whatever it takes.

It’s sometimes those desperate moments and places that take them there – the desire to see more for them that strips them of their freedom and eventually life.

I heard a story of a homeless woman. She had found shelter and help through The Friendship House in New Orleans. She had taken her young daughter, around 3 years old, out to the park which was just across the street. A man was there and was watching her and her daughter. Then, after commenting on her beauty and no doubt learning a few things about her, casually at first so as not to raise suspicion, he asked, “Could I buy her from you?” The woman was appalled. She grabbed up her baby and ran the distance back to The Friendship House and told the missionary there what had happened. But, what if The Friendship House wasn’t there? What if the mom, instead of finding help through a local ministry was desperate? Where would her daughter be now?

Whatever it takes.

That’s what the predators think, too. They aren’t all randomly walking the streets for desperate souls and pretty faces, many of them start with friendship.

The 18 year old that befriended her on Facebook seemed to legitimately care about her. The more he talked to her the more she could see that her parents really didn’t have time for her or want her around. He promised her hope and love and companionship, something her 16 year old heart desired. He told her he was passing through town and would love to meet. Why wouldn’t she? She was already sharing her heart and emotions, and he could be trusted. Even after he met her and took her phone and got her a tattoo and changed her looks, she still trusted that he was going to take care of her… As long as she gave him what he needed. Luckily, he was wrong. Her parents did care, and they were vigilant, and with the help of law enforcement, they got their daughter back, but she was forever changed.

The second thing we have to do is understand how it happens.

Whatever it takes.

Force.
Fraud.
Coercion.

And there are enough desperate hurting souls out there that get lured in.

Did you know that the homeless are the most at risk? Within 48 hours of being on the streets, they are propositioned for sexual favors and opportunity.

Did you know that the majority of trafficked humans in American are American, and they are also the most trafficked citizens in Mexico, too?

In ten minutes an unobserved and unassuming young boy or girl can be abducted and coerced away from home never to be seen of again.

10 minutes…

Did you know that jons pose as youth group members? Unheard of! Nope. One girl was trafficked for 3 years every Wednesday night all because she trusted a guy in her youth group that was willing to do whatever it took to make money. And she allowed it because she was willing to do whatever it took to protect her family.

It happens. It’s happening. And it’s not just the little Asian or European girls that didn’t know better… It’s our kids. It could be your kid if we don’t wake up.

We are creating a culture that makes it easier and easier. Our jobs keep us from being involved with our teens, from asking them the hard questions, from observing their friends or their classmates. We allow social media to babysit them, and there are many that are counting on you to be unaware and unconcerned.

Until we say “Whatever it takes” it will continue to be an issue, lives will continue to be at risk, and evil will prevail.

Are you aware that this world’s obsession with pornography feeds this sexual atrocity? And yet, even in the church we want to hide it under the rug and use excuses like “every man does it.” Well, it’s not just men obviously… And this sexual human trade relies on you to stay uninvolved or apathetic to its perils. In fact, whenever you pull out your credit card to purchase a movie or look at pictures, your red X statement becomes devoid of meaning because you yourself have helped fund their evil. In fact, most sites are set up to run ads, ads that pay them whether they are clicked on or not, so even if you “look but don’t buy” you have provided money for their crimes. Men? Women? Do you hear this?!

The third thing is we have to be willing to do whatever it takes to get involved and take a stand!

Are you willing? Taking a stand can look very different for many of us, but it is necessary. I’ve involved myself because I have seen the urgency! And, you can join me and many others by doing one or more of the following things: You can support homeless ministries or ministries that aid the broken and desperate in order to save them from slavery. Sponsoring children all over the world for $35 dollars a month, keeps food in their bellies and gives them advantages to keep them from being a desperate commodity to sell or trade. You can fund missionaries who are specifically called to go in and rescue and redeem these lost and misused children of God and show them the pure love of Jesus. You can raise funds to contribute to organizations that work to buy back these squandered souls. You can pray for those who daily find themselves in danger because they are doing what they can to put an end to this billion dollar industry. You can pray for those voices that cry out in anguish because they see no hope. You can become educated so that you can in turn educate others to the pitfalls and warning signs that surround this criminal activity. You can rethink how you view prostitutes and the stereotypical judgments of those in the sex industry. A majority of them are there out of necessity, addiction, or coercion, and I haven’t met one yet that is there and doing the unspeakable because they enjoy it. These are just some suggestions… But they can make a difference. What’s God calling you to do?

“Whatever it takes”
…this is the mentality that has trapped them, and this MUST be our passion to see them freed and to end it now!

Choosing Discipline

Okay, so maybe it wasn’t the smartest thing to do – cycle almost 5 miles in the heat of the day, especially after suffering with side pain, heartburn, and indigestion for over a week. But, at some point I decided that I had to do something for myself, for my health, for my mental well being, and I was tired of giving in to excuses.

I admit my timing could have been better, and it was by the grace of Jesus that I made it all the way back home without A. Passing out, B. Vomiting, C. Cramping up from pain, or D. Passing out while vomiting from cramping up with pain. Literally, in my head because I was afraid if I opened my mouth B. would happen, I begged, “Jesus, get me home. Just get me home.”

I practically tumbled off the bike, groped for the door, clutched my aching body and collapsed in my chair. I needed water, but I was afraid if I moved I would black out and land on our precious dog… For which, I would never forgive myself!

After a few deep breaths and some intense prayers of thankfulness, I thought, “I can’t possibly do that again.”
Then I heard a voice I immediately dismissed, “But you have to.”
Ugh.
So I bartered, “Well, I need to work my way up to that… I didn’t get sick until about the 3rd mile, I’ll just shave down the time.
“Until it’s no time?” Challenged the voice.
Sighh.
The Voice knew me well, and the more it spoke, the better I knew IT. “It’s discipline, Les.”
Oh and now there was no doubt. “Daddy, I think I bit off more than I could feasibly chew. Besides, I’m not sure how well the bike will hold up. It’s only gonna get hotter.”
Excuses.
His response, “I know.”
I stammered back in my heart, “But… But…”
Silence.
What could I say? Another excuse, another one million and ten reasons why I made a commitment and wasn’t going to see it through. I dropped my head in defeat. “I’m gonna fail.”
Then, I felt Him smile. I imagined Him pulling me close and letting me rest my tears on His big, broad shoulders, “It’s not about whether you succeed or fail… It’s that you try again.”
I pouted, “But what if I don’t?”
And the answer came back so tenderly, “Then you let yourself down.”
My lips trembled and my hands went to cover my face in shame.
“Did you hear me, daughter?”
I nodded, “I’ll let you down.”
I swear I heard Him laugh. “Me!? I said you! You will let yourself down! You set this goal for yourself! I want to see you press on and accomplish it because I don’t want you to blame yourself a million days later for failing!”
I stopped, “But you said this was about discipline?”
He pulled me tighter, “It is. Don’t you think, if I wanted to, I could set a passion so deep in your heart for this that to miss even one day would be heartbreaking and unthinkable?”
I really hadn’t thought of that, but nothing with Him was impossible. “Could you?”
Again, I felt Him laugh, “I can. But what satisfaction and accomplishment would you feel?” (Oh this Guy and His riddles.) 🙂 “It boils down to choices, Love. You choose for yourself life or death, blessings or curses.”

And, I got it.

I choose what I do next, and as I challenge myself to move beyond my fears of what is comfortable or what seems possible, my faith grows and my confidence grows and as they grow so does the power He has placed in me! It might seem like no big deal, cycling almost 5 miles, but compared to yesterday my heart is a little stronger, my muscles a little tighter, and my spirit a little lighter. And that is one day… And as for my excuses… They may surface again… And a few days I may succumb, but I will choose to try again. After all, I don’t want to let myself down, and my Daddy has already called my number.

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