Daily Topic for July 19, 2006

2 Tim. 1:7
"For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love, and of self-discipline."

What a beautiful description of the inheritance received by God’s people, including those taking the good news of Christ into new cultural groups! “Power, love, and self-discipline.” Those who will establish new churches must know the power of God to overcome both spiritual and cultural barriers of understanding and acceptance. They must share the love which God has for other peoples-peoples different from themselves. They must exercise the control and discipline of God’s Spirit to accomplish difficult work.

Pray that today’s pioneer missionaries will exercise the power, love, and self-discipline of the Holy Spirit in their lives and ministries.

Buddhist Arakanese People of Myanmar and Bangladesh

The sweet aroma of perfume fills the air. Lines of devout Arakanese people wind their way through the paths of villages carrying statues on their way to Buddhist monasteries. The procession is solemn, but there is anticipation in the fragrant air.

Different cultures have traditions that usher in a new year, and the Arakanese people are no exception. The name of their annual festival, “Than Gram” means “period of transition,” and it is celebrated all over Myanmar with water as the most important ingredient. Just before the last three days of the old year, Arakanese people visit Buddhist monasteries and bathe their many statues of Buddha in perfumed water to cleanse them.

After this, the fun begins. Everyone throws water at each other. Unmarried men throw water at girls they like. Women’s water-games societies and men’s water-throwing clubs participate in the festivities. Dance shows with decorated floats as well as musical performances appeal to Buddhist observers. Everyone forgets their problems. It is indeed a time when the people feel happy.

Learn more at joshuaproject.net

Pray that when everyday life returns, God will enable Christians to invite many Arakanese Buddhists to accept the blood sacrifice of Jesus that washes away their sins and ensures eternal happiness with Him.-MC

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