Read His Words Before Ours!
On one trip to the mountainside in South Korea,
we met up with my husband’s extended family for lunch at their family restaurant.
We were welcomed by the sour-est faced elderly grandma sitting in the back corner,
sulking for no apparent reason.
As lunch was served, I discovered she was my auntie-in-law and we were sitting at the entrance to one of the oldest Buddhist temples in the country.
She was a firm follower of Buddhism and wore her sufferings plainly for all to see.
Her faith permeated every facet of her life, yet she looked so hopeless.
The daily goal of Buddhism is to find an end to suffering through a constant recycling of life by re-incarnation. That is, after death, a soul is “reincarnated” or “comes back to life” as a different life form.
Good works are cornerstone in having any hope of coming back as anything better. The ultimate goal, however, is enlightenment (also known as nirvana); an experience saved only for monks and nuns.
Publically demonstrating sufferings followed by an outward display of good actions becomes an easy way to convince yourself there’s a good chance of returning as a monk/nun in the next life.
There is no thought that any choice you make in this life has the power to improve, change or even alter your current life, only the one to come.
Many Buddhist friends believe the bad things that happen to them are the result of karma. They presume they must’ve done something bad in their previous life and, in hopes of improving their next life, must simply buckle down, grin, and bear it without grumbling.
My auntie passed away last year thinking she had done a sufficient job of enduring the difficulties of her life. She passionately believed that she would come back to life as something better than a female human.
The very sad reality is that she died without knowing the hope found in a relationship with Jesus.
We all cling to something as truth, praying it will stand up under fire.
Matthew 27:45-28:10 vividly records the account of Jesus’ death and resurrection.
We see Jesus holding ultimate power over death with the ability to break the chains of sin and bondage.
This is an important truth of Christianity for your Buddhist friend!
There IS something we can do to change not only our current life,
but also our eternal one!
Accepting, believing and confessing Jesus as Lord brings instant hope into one’s life, forever changing the trajectory of our lives.
Most Buddhists do not recognize Jesus as God’s son, co-equal with God the Father in deity. Before they will understand the truth of God’s Word, we must PRAY.
Pray, pray, and then pray again.
Prayer is the most important work to be done in cross-cultural sharing of the Gospel.
We need to rely heavily on the Holy Spirit to lead us as we share truth.
We need Him to guide us to engage with those who are ready to listen, those who have an open heart, and who will respond in faith to the hope we share from Scripture.
Because Buddhist people do not believe there is a God, or that God has any power to influence their life, studying Scripture about the character of God is useful.
Psalm 86:5-10 highlights several aspects of God’s character. Dig into these truths and be prepared to share about the character of our great God!
Forgiving. Good. Abounding in love. Ready to answer. Almighty. Doer of mighty deeds. Father.
In the muck of life when all seems lost, these are truths we, as followers of Jesus, claim and cling to. Truth of God’s character build hope within our hearts, providing solid assurance and calming our fears in the middle of real suffering.
We have hope, Sisters!
Hope that our Buddhist friends have yet to experience.
When your friend watches you navigate the messiness of your life circumstances, seeing you cling to the truth of Jesus and Scripture, they will begin to wonder, “how is it possible to actually find joy in this difficulty” rather than just endure the situation.
Faithfulness to Scriptural truth and actually living it out daily, coupled with intentionally inviting your Buddhist friends into everyday life with you, will influence your friends in a mighty way for eternity!
Buddhist, Zen, or New Age people are our neighbors, our baristas, our librarians, sports’ coaches, teachers, and friends.
Find the ones in your community!
Pray for them to be open to the solid hope the Gospel offers.
Tell them of the power, authority, and victorious freedom of the cross of Jesus.
Explain the character of God and allow them to see firsthand in your life who He is and how He can impact their daily life.
Hold tightly to the truth of Scripture while sharing His love letter with them, remembering He is a God of grace and truth and He expects us to share His forever hope with gracious love and respect!
In doing so, you can help others be
forever free from this heavy weight of hopelessness!
Embracing God’s fullness in our lives is rooted in scripture and memorizing His word is vital to our continued growth and depth with Jesus. Tap and hold from your mobile device to download this week’s verse and make it your phone’s lockscreen!