Daily Topic for July 18, 2006

1 Tim. 6:20
"Timothy, guard what has been entrusted to your care."

Each of us has received a “trust” from God; that is, a deposit of knowledge, resources, and gifts. God expects us to exercise responsible stewardship of this “trust,” both to maintain it and to invest it so as to accomplish His purposes. This is the essence of stewardship: using resources to fulfill responsibilities. God entrusted to Abraham a “blessing” which he was to use to “bless the other families of the earth.” Each of us has received a similar “deposit” from the Lord. What kind of stewardship are you exercising?

Lord, help me to be a faithful steward of all that You have given me, using it to bring Your salvation to those who still need to hear.

Buddhist Shan People of Myanmar

Do the Shan people of northern Myanmar have religious freedom? Since the 5th century, 99 percent of them have been Buddhist. Thus for centuries, they and their ancestors have chosen Buddhism. It would be unacceptable for anyone to switch allegiance to another religion. 

The Shan people actually practice a combination of Buddhist philosophy, folk practices and animism within a Theravada Buddhist framework. A good Buddhist who does many good deeds does not fear death. He mistakenly believes that death means passing from one life to a better reincarnation. 

But their worldview is centered on the animistic idea of “power protection” of various spirits. The spirits of Buddha and Buddhist monks offer them the most protection. Spirits of villages, fields, households, and forests offer a smaller degree of protective power.

Many Shan farmers choose to raise rice for a cash crop and food for their families. Additional crops include soybeans, peanuts, garlic, onions, pineapples, bananas, coconuts, and betel nuts. But they also grow as much as one half of the world’s illegal opium, according to one estimate.

Learn more at joshuaproject.net

Pray that God will guide and send missionaries and the relatively few Shan believers to challenge Shan Buddhists to put their faith in Jesus alone. Pray that the Shans will see the unsurpassed glory of Christ.-MC

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