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Human Trafficking (poem by me)

She’s my daughter,
She’s her sister,
She’s their friend,
but to others, she’s just a picture
in the end.

She’s a model,
She’s a stripper
She’s more than that—
She’s a victim.

She sells her body
but it takes a toll on her soul
And the money, well she has to hand it over
to her earthly master—
yep, the human trafficker.

The girl was tricked and nabbed
Escaping’s not a possibility
‘cause if she runs or blabs
they will strike her family.

They feed her drugs and lots of gin
Cause she hates all this
And has to fake all this
But buyers are fooled by her sexy grin.

Buyers buy, sell, and facilitate
because they have money to compensate
But would they really if they knew the truth that…
She’s my daughter,
She’s her sister,
She’s their friend
And ultimately, she’s God’s daughter
in the end.

*January is human trafficking awareness month.

**Need help praying for persons who have been exploited, misused, or abused? This and many other focused prayers can be found in Draw Near’s free ebook called Wings Like Eagles: A Prayer Book. Just click HERE to access it.

 

Meet the Poet

Draw Near showcases forty poems by authors with an eye for detail, a talent for capturing beauty, and an amazing ability to communicate appreciation in Blessed Creation: A Christian Poetry Collection. I am pleased to introduce some of these poets…

Bear Jack Gebhardt I’m an old guy living in the foothills of northern Colorado with loving wife of a hundred years. I’ve been a free-lance writer for many decades. I’ve published nine books, two of the latest being, A Wave of Thanks, and Other Human Gestures: 31 Quick Stories and Practicing the Presence of Peace, a contemporary rendering of the 17th Century classic, The Practice of the Presence of God.  I’ve also published hundreds of articles, stories, essays and poems in well-known and little known places.

Bob (Robert) B. Moreland has a doctorate in biochemistry and works in biomedical/clinical research. He has published poems in Borderlands: Texas Poetry Review, Penwood Review, Red Cedar, the South Dakota Review, several anthologies and coauthored two books of poems. Bob resides with his wife Rebecca near Lake Michigan in southeastern Wisconsin.

Christine V Mitchell I am an author (poet), musician, caregiver and administrator, a pastor’s wife, mother of 4 and grandmother of 2. God has blessed me with uplifting poems of praise, comfort and encouragement. My poetry books: Forever Grateful and Comfort & Hope are both available from Amazon. My 3rd book, Candle of Hope is due to be published shortly. I am the UK Ministry Leader and Staff Writer for The Lamp Newsletter of Detroit, USA. Website: expressionspoetry.com, Facebook: christinespoetrycorner, Email: christinemitchellpoetry@gmail.com

Connie Marcum Wong published her first poetry chapbook, Island Creations in 2005. and In 2007, Heart Blossoms. In January 2010, an anthology, A Poetry Bridge to All Nations, was published. Connie created the ‘Constanza’ poetry form in 2007 and ‘Con-Verse’ poetry form in 2010.

Daniel Turner is a retired truck driver who writes poetry as a hobby. He sometimes writes under the name of Poemdog. He lives in Arkansas with his epileptic beagle, Buddy and has an online book entitled, My Life in Three Quarter Time on Amazon.com.

Danny P. Barbare resides in the Upstate of the Carolinas. He is Catholic by faith and has been writing poetry most of his adult life. He has suffered from mental illness most of his life but says he doesn’t like to be labeled like a box. So he just thinks of the opposite.

David Subacchi lives in Wales where he was born of Italian roots. He studied at the University of Liverpool and he has 4 published collections of his English Language poetry First Cut (2012), Hiding in Shadows (2014), Not Really a Stranger (2016) and A Terrible Beauty (2016). His work has also appeared in numerous literary magazines and anthologies.

Eve Roper was born and retired in Texas,  majored in Early Childhood Education and taught in the public schools and catechism in the Catholic Church. She has a love for writing poetry and painting.

E.A. Francis lives, works, and worships in the same community as a Christian mother, grandmother, preschool teacher, and Catholic parishioner in Eldersburg, Maryland. She hopes to publish more of her God-inspired nature and spiritual poetry in her own collection soon under her pen name.

Funom Makama is a practicing medical doctor, trained in Europe and practicing in Nigeria.  He is a passionate writer, written over 1500 articles in 7 blogs and directories and has to his name over 600 poems published online. For more about his poetry, click on this link http://www.poetrysoup.com/poems_poets/poems_by_poet.aspx?ID=27463.

Gordon McConnell has loved poetry for a number of years but in past 12 years has started to write his own. He is 62 , lives in Scotland, and has been happily married for 26 years to Christine. He has been a Christian for over 30 years.

Jenean McBrearty is a graduate of San Diego State University, who taught Political Science and Sociology. Her fiction, poetry, and photographs have been published in over a hundred and fifty print and on-line journals. She lives in Kentucky and writes full-time.

Joanna Daniel currently resides in Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India, along with her parents. She writes poetry for the glory of God. Her father, Mr. K. V. Daniel Raj, is a pastor-teacher involved in various church ministries.

Judy K. Haught, Christian 48 years. She began with short stories, and poetry. She discovered her writings were always ending with Christ as Victorious, showing Him as the “Great I Am.”

Kim Merryman is a wife, mother and grandmother residing in Niceville, Florida. She loves the Lord and enjoys writing poetry that honors Him.

Kim Rodrigues lives in Georgia and has served in the U.S. Navy. She currently works in the library. Kim loves spending time with her grandkids and all her family. Her current passion for poetry was ignited after taking some online classes. Kim’s greatest passion is for the Lord. She has earned a certificate in Christian Ministry through INSTE Bible College. She also loves to travel, dabbles in quilting, enjoys history.

Laura Urbaniak I am a dedicated Christian and am proud of it. The Lord has given me benediction and there is nothing more important to me than His unconditional love. He saved me and my family and I am forever grateful. All glory to the Lord, my personal Savior. God bless you all!

Mercy Susanna I’m a 21 year old girl from India who loves to minister through my writings. My interest is to indite poems, articles, commentary and storytelling. I’m always in awe of the aching beauty of God’s creation. I thank Kim for this opportunity who has let me plumb into the elegance of this nature. All glory to God. Visit my blog to read a new poem, ‘O Death, Where Is Thy Sting?’. Here’s the link: http://orisonbardsuz.blogspot.in/2016/10/blog-post.html.

Molly ~ wound dresser These are desperate days and people are losing hope in record numbers. “People need the LORD” just like the old Steve Green song said. My desire is to bring the gifts God has given me, of encouragement and teaching, to a world dying for hope and searching for the healing, I believe, only Jesus Christ can bring to the wounded heart.

Mr. Ben, famous for his acrostic G.A.N.G.S.T.A.R acrostic, which he construes as Generally Appreciating Notable Genres (by) Stating Their Applicable Relevance, is not only a writer, poet, speaker and a voice-over artiste, he is one whose Christian life is intended to be the Light Bringer in the Christian faith. Having written a number of Christian books, he is passionate about seeing people overcome the challenges they face in life through the power of God in Christ Jesus. Living in Lagos, Nigeria, the published author of over eight books loves to read, travel and communicate good thoughts.

Nicholas Froumis practices optometry in the Bay Area. His writing has appeared in Right Hand Pointing, Dime Show Review, Ground Fresh Thursday, TWJ Magazine, The Society of Classical Poets Journal, Calvary Cross, and Touch: The Journal of Healing. He lives in San Jose, CA with his wife, novelist Stacy Froumis, and their daughter.

Patricia Callan Before becoming a writer Patricia Callan was a choral director and voice coach. She is a member of the Powow River Poets and Pinellas Writers. In collaboration with composer Yoko Nakatani, she wrote “The Adventures of John Manjiro” a suite for piano performed throughout the United States.

Penny Peyser is a writer / actress / documentary filmmaker (Penny Peyser IMDB).

Phyllis McKinley is the author of four books of poems and one children’s book. Her work has won multiple awards and been published in Chicken Soup for the Soul books. Contact: leafybough@hotmail.com

Preston Graham writes poetry as a hobby and creative outlet. As a native of Utah, he enjoys spending time in the mountains and draws much of his inspiration from the beauty of nature. He currently resides in Oklahoma with his wife and two young daughters.

Rachel Lausier has a Bachelor of Arts in English from Kennesaw State University and a Master of Arts in Secondary English from the University of North Georgia. She is a playwright, poet and fiction writer. In 2012, she was a playwright winner in the New Works and Ideas Festival for her play, Risk. Her short fiction, “The Guardian,” was published in the 2015 issue of Dark Gothic Resurrected.

Ramelle T. Lee, author, poet, businesswoman, contributing writer Lamp Newsletter. Founder and President of Touching Your Heart Ministries. Published  over 50 poems. Her third book, “Step into His Greatness,” revised 2015, is available on Amazon.com  Lives in Detroit, MI.

Ruth Asch writes in rare moments when tranquility and inspiration coincide. The rest of her time is spent with her four children and husband, or as a teacher. Her first book of poems ‘Reflections‘ was published in 2009 and pieces in many journals since.

Sally Clark‘s award-winning poems have appeared in numerous Christian and secular magazines, gift books, journals and anthologies, as well as receiving recognition in American Poetry Review and Poetry Magazine. In 2015, WorthyKids published her first children’s lift-the-flap book, Where’s My Hug? Follow her at http://sallyclark.info.

Sandra Haight‘s poems have appeared in publications including Ideals Magazine, Cat Fancy, as well as many other magazines, newspapers, poetry anthologies and journals.  She is a member of Poetry Soup.com. Her favorite forms of poetry include the Sonnet and Iambic Pentameter. She has shared her thoughts in her book of poetry entitled TIDES – Life’s Ebb and Flow, published June 2014, and available on Amazon.com and BarnesandNoble.com.

Sandra Hickman is an Australian author, writer, poet, songwriter, she is an Evangelist – Missionary serving in Africa, India and China, a Church Ministry Leader and Intercessory prayer leader. Sandra graduated from Bible School In 2005, she is the Australian Headquarters Ministry Leader and Staff Writer for the Lamp Newsletter in Detroit, and a Contributing Author to four Christian Publications. She will soon be publishing her first book entitled “THE LETTER”,  Sandra’s contact is : sandrevival@yahoo.com.au   Facebook/sandra.hickman.503

Sandy Loam is the pen name of a work at home mom from the Philippine islands. She has worked on music and science research in the past. She now tends to a garden God lent to nurture and explore.

Sara Chansarkar is a software professional who loves reading and writing poetry. She immigrated to the USA from India twelve years ago. She is passionate about enriching her vocabulary and command over language. Visit her at http://sarasid.blogspot.com.

Simon Cockle is a poet and writer from Hertfordshire, England. He has had poems published in iOTA, the London Progressive Journal, Pantheon Magazine and Poetica Botanica. He teaches English at a local school and plays rhythm guitar to anyone who will listen.

Vince Suzadail is a graduate of Marian Catholic High School (Coaldale, PA) and retired US Navy Chief Boatswain Mate. He has been married 50 years (1966). He worked as a youth counselor, advocate, and mental health tech for kids.

Wanda J. Burnside is a poet, author, writer, playwright, and educator. She also is the founder and publisher of the Lamp Newsletter. Wanda is the founder and president of Write the Vision Ministries and Media Productions, International. She has written and published 14 books and plans to publish three more in 2017.

Call For Submissions

Unfortunately, Draw Near is not accepting new submissions at this time*. Check back often or connect with Draw Near on TwitterFacebook, or Google+ to be notified of new opportunities to glorify God and help others draw near to Christ with your writing talent.

A free ebook called Beseeching Grace: An International Prayer Collection is coming soon!Prayer for Malawi is just one of thirty heartfelt prayers written for thirty different countries around the world by a variety of Christian authors.

*Draw Near is still accepting submissions from authors who pledged to write for a country and have not filled their pledge. The deadline for these prayers is January 31. Submit completed prayers to k.bondofstl@yahoo.com. Thank you for your pledge to lead many readers in prayer for your selected country.

Submission

jam

When Christians hear the word submission, their minds may automatically jump to the controversial subject of submission of wives to their husbands. However, all Christians are called into a lifetime of submission. Christians are called to submit first and foremost to God as stated in James 4: 7 “Submit yourselves, then, to God….”.  Jesus lived in perfect submission to His Father. He never argued with Him about His rights or rebelled against Him. Instead, He yielded to His Father’s will because He trusted Him. He is our example.

We are called to submit to the government and other authorities. Romans 13: 1 states, “Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God.” This means everything from following speed limits to paying taxes. It means we cannot use our own judgment or take what is entitled to us.

Common sense tells us to submit to our bosses, but Christians are called to do even more than submit but to “serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not people…” in Ephesians 6:7. Putting forth our best efforts is a testimony to our boss and coworkers that God is good. If you think you are being treated unfairly, do not seek revenge with poor efforts.

Christian children must obey their parents as it says in Ephesians 6:1 , “Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right.” This basic relationship teaches us to know our place.

Submission is an attitude fortified with humility and obedience. These are characteristics God wants to instill in us because we cannot live in a proper relationship with the Lord unless we are trained in submission. If we cannot submit to earthly authority, how can we submit to God?

Ephesians 5: 22 states, “Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord.” As women’s rights gained prominence, the above verse became increasingly controversial. Some non-Christians think it is demeaning to women. Even some Christians think this is a verse that was meant for the time period it was written in and does not apply to us. I do not think it is demeaning or outdated.

Our Creator gave a masterful order to the universe. He instituted the laws of gravity. Our Father in heaven also established an order in families. Jesus should be the head of every household. Husbands are called to submit to Him, wives should submit to their husbands, and children must obey their parents.

Women have been given the gift of beauty, the ability to bear children, and a powerful influence over their children’s lives. Yet, women are called to submit to husbands. This does not mean wives should become robotically compliant to their husbands. It means they should yield to their husbands.

Husbands should never misuse their authority to control or abuse women. Rather, they should delegate authority to other people in the household. They should seek the opinions of household members before making decisions. In this way, they become a good Christian husband and father.

Christian wives will become unhappy if they must assume a leadership position because a husband is refusing to lead. When both husband and wife struggle for power, households are too argumentative. Christians who feel their household is out of balance should seek their God-given assigned identity in Christ by meditating on Scripture and praying for ways to conform to God’s design for families.

Christians should have an attitude of submission towards God. Our earthly authority provides a great training ground to learn how to submit. When we submit to authority, we humbly obey God as we should. Whether it is the federal government or our boss or a husband, we respect God’s plan for order when we yield to their authority.

But what about when the authority figure or law goes against God’s Word? What then? God is the highest authority in the Christian’s life. Christians should always obey God even when authorities in your life command you to go against what God or His Word is telling you to do.

In the book of Daniel, we read about Daniel’s character. He was faithful to God and submitted to authority. He worked hard and behaved righteously. His qualities earned him a promotion. The jealous officials inspired a decree which forbid Daniel to pray to God. Yet Daniel ignored the decree that lead him away from God and kept on praying! He feared God more than man so God rescued him from the mouth of lions.

Christians must always fear God more than man. Christians should never depend on the law to tell us what is right or wrong, but we should rely on God’s Word. Believers should tell corrupt bosses they will not break the law to help their bottom line. Christian women should not quietly submit to abusive husbands but seek God’s will in their lives. Those are exceptions in which acting righteously and justly according to God’s Word is more important than submitting to authority.

In most circumstances, submission to authority is a useful tool to help us draw near to the Lord. If we love the Lord, we will submit to authority. In doing so, we are a good example and witness to others. Throughout our lives, we must remember our King in heaven is our ultimate authority. Our Father who loves us deserves our undivided loyalty.

PRAYER: Lord, Help us to draw near to You by submitting to authority. Give us the courage to stand firm on the Word when authority leads us astray. Thank You, Lord, that You hear our prayers. In Christ’s Name, Amen.

© 2015 Kim Bond

Draw Near exists to glorify God and help others draw near to Christ by providing free resources. Click here to learn more about God and here to access free Christian ebooks. Thanks for visiting. Stay blessed!

Closet Atheism

JOhn

When non-believers think of Christians, we want them to think of an upstanding man or woman who loves God and exhibits the fruit of the Spirit. We do not want them to think of abortion clinic bombers or funeral picketers. When they project those qualities on us, we want to scream, “NO, I AM NOT LIKE THAT! That’s a misunderstanding.”

Now consider how Christians think of atheists. What’s popping into your mind? Is it someone ridiculing your beliefs? Blaspheming God? Suing governmental institutions to exclude every reference to God? If we do not want to be stereotyped, we should stop stereotyping atheists. After all, there are LOTS of atheists that silently and privately disbelieve in God. This is closet atheism.

In fact, you might be surprised to learn some people you assumed were Christians actually do not believe in God at all. They have not told you or anybody else because they are afraid they will be rejected or be forced to endure a long, one-sided conversion speech. If we regard and respect all of God’s creation, quiet atheists among us will be more likely to voice their opinions about God. Then, your love for them will have opened the door for an intellectual conversation about God and the Bible.

Once the closet atheists in your life feel comfortable enough to confide their lack of belief in God, you may feel privileged to have this information. Yet at the same time, you may feel too intimidated to speak openly about your faith in God. Try this:

*Serve this person. In John 13, Jesus washed the feet of His disciples. If our Savior washed feet, we should never feel too superior to serve another human being. Be ready. Look and pray for opportunities to fill needs in this person’s life.

 *Share your testimony. Wait for an appropriate time in natural conversation to share the story of how God delivered you, healed you, or saved you. If you cannot think of one that applies to yourself, share the true story of what God has done in someone else’s life. Atheists depend on logic to discern whether or not your story adds up so they may explain away the truth in their own mind. That does not matter. The truth of the testimony has an anointing that went forth when you spoke it. Spiritually, Jesus is knocking on their door. It is up to them to answer or not. Just do your part and speak the truth.

 *Discuss God and the Bible. The key word here is “discuss.” In a natural conversation, bring up God and the Bible. Ask them what bothers them about Christianity. Be ready to answer according to the Bible. The fact that your answers are Biblical will not mean much to the atheist since they do not regard it as God’s Word, but you know you are speaking the truth if it is Scripturally founded. Admit you do not know all the answers. Humility is a virtue.

Do not take it personally if an atheist rejects your words. They are rejecting Christ—not you! Do not become discouraged no matter how long this atheist rejects Christ. God may be working emotional healing and/or other Christians to witness of God’s truth into that person’s life. Just keep praying for this person’s faith to be ignited. I pray you will boldly and lovingly communicate God’s invitation into His kingdom to any unbelieving people in your life.

Supposing a non-believer in your life agrees to say the sinner’s prayer with you or answers an alter call while visiting your church or somehow finds faith in God, then what? Go ahead and celebrate! Just don’t abandon them after the celebration. Take the time to disciple them. Encourage the new Christian to: 1) confess their faith publicly and become baptized by showing them what steps are necessary to become baptized, 2) attend church regularly by inviting them, 3) read their Bible by giving them one as a gift, 4) lead a holy life by being a good example.

Consider how much time Jesus spent with His disciples and how He loved them. I pray the Lord gives you the ability to disciple a new Christian in your lifetime with the heart of Jesus. Some of our best opportunities come within our own family. Take the time to disciple new Christians especially if they are your brothers, sisters, cousins, parents, and your very own kids. God bless!

PRAYER: Lord, I pray the atheists in our lives would have the courage to confess their lack of belief. I pray You would inspire us to love them the way You love us. Let them see Your glory and be saved by Christ’s blood. Thank You, Lord, that You are good to all and have compassion on Your creation. In Christ’s Name, Amen.

© 2015 Kim Bond

Draw Near exists to glorify God and help others draw near to Christ by providing free resources. Click here to learn more about God and here to access free Christian ebooks. Thanks for visiting. Stay blessed!

Catholics & Protestants

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We may not agree with everything other Christians say or do, but I hope we can agree on this basic definition of a Christian. A Christian is someone who believes all of the following: 1) Jesus is their Savior, 2) Jesus is the Son of God, 3) Jesus died, 4) His blood paid for the sins of mankind, and 5) Jesus rose from the dead.

Once we have isolated who is a Christian, we could further organize them by details of their belief system. If someone calls themselves a Catholic, it is implied that they follow the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church. They have usually been baptized, confirmed, and received the Eucharist in a Catholic Church. In contrast, a Protestant is any non-Catholic Christian. This includes all denominations (and non-denominational) like Baptist, Charismatic, Methodist, Lutheran, Presbyterian, etc.

The two groups have inspired a great deal of curiosity by both Christians and non-Christians. The comparison between Catholicism and Protestantism could be the contents of a thick book. Yet, even an incredibly long book would still not account for the differences in the beliefs of individuals within each group. In this short passage, we will examine classic opinions toward authority, justification, and salvation. For contrast, we will identify basic principles from the reformation period that are commonly known as the “five solas.”

First, let’s look at sola Scriptura (Scripture alone). Catholics and Protestants agree the Bible is divinely inspired sacred writing. However, Catholics depend on tradition and the Pope’s authority while Protestants trust in the authority of Scripture alone.

Secondly, consider sola fide (faith alone). Both groups will say faith is required for the justification of man to God. Catholics depend on their faith and good works for justification. On the other hand, Protestants emphasize faith alone.

Thirdly, there is sola gratia (grace alone). Protestants and Catholics both confess we are saved by grace. Yet, Catholics state grace is received through sacraments (such as the Eucharist or communion). Protestants stress grace alone.

Next, let’s look at solo Christo (Christ alone). All Christians proclaim Christ as their Savior. Still, Catholics place a higher importance on Mary mother of Jesus and the role of priests while Protestants accentuate Christ alone.

Finally, examine soli Deo gloria (to the glory of God alone). Both Catholics and Protestants believe the faithful ascend to heaven. Catholics have been known to esteem and call on saints in heaven for help. On the contrary, Protestants exalt the glory of God alone.

Jesus says in Matthew 7:16, “By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles?” Catholics and Protestants both have strengths and a history of achievements. By looking at the fruit of each group, we can see how both groups complement each other and how we can benefit from working together for the kingdom of God.

The world is waiting and watching us. With the guidance of the Holy Spirit, I think it is possible for us to love one another in spite of our individual beliefs.

PRAYER: Lord, we invite you into our thoughts and attitudes about our brothers and sisters in Christ. Help us to love one another as You have loved us. In Christ’s Name, Amen.

© 2015 Kim Bond

Draw Near exists to glorify God and help others draw near to Christ by providing free resources. Click here to learn more about God and here to access free Christian ebooks. Thanks for visiting. Stay blessed!