He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?" - Romans 8:32

Friday, November 30, 2007 

Once Held Dear


The Thai Sak are choosing to replace fear with faith.

By Jackie Fallis - 2007.07.19

Through the muck of the fields the Thai Sak people trudged, planting rice. The storm charged in around mid-afternoon. The sky faded to black except for crackling and scorching lightning bolts.

“The skies are angry!” one villager yelled.

Everyone scampered for cover to wait out the storm; it wasn’t safe to go home. They were used to these severe storms during the transition from dry season to rainy. This one, so early in the rainy season, surprised them all.

Siyut, his wife, Pian, and their 15-year-old son, Tam, sought refuge in the simple shelter of their field house. They watched the dramatic skies as the storm drew closer. Then a lightning bolt struck the house, instantly killing Pian and Tam. Badly scorched, Siyut was left alone to raise his other three children.

This was only the beginning of heartache and confusion for the village.

Many villagers wanted to follow their fear-based traditions. They would normally bury the bodies of those struck down by a storm right where they fell. This was to appease the spirits and to keep bad luck from entering the village. Holes are dug so the corpses stand upright in the ground facing their rice fields so the crops will still grow. The field house, now split in two, would be destroyed.

These villagers no longer believe in the spirits, but there is still fear, still the lingering effects from previous beliefs.

American Christians struggle with this too. We don’t believe that money and things will make us happy anymore, but we still chase after the newest thing. Our houses are bigger than ever, families are smaller, and more people own storage places or sheds than before. Our focus is often on the center of American culture – stuff. It is no surprise that the Thai Sak people would still struggle with the center of their culture – fear.

There was much discussion. No one denied the spirits had power. They knew in their heads that God has more power than the spirits, but putting that knowledge and their faith to the test was a difficult decision. What if they were wrong? It could mean disaster for the whole village.

Finally, fear was conquered and tradition was set aside. The bodies were brought back into the village for a regular funeral ceremony.

Old rituals and ceremonies are steadily falling by the wayside and hearts are opening for the sowing of Truth. The villagers are letting go of what they’ve believed and held true for all of their lives, recognizing God’s Word to be the real Truth.

Are there beliefs or things that you still hold dearer than God? By giving them to Him you’ll find more freedom and joy.

Thursday, November 29, 2007 

Advice to Missionary Candidates by A. Judson

To the Foreign Missionary Association of the Hamilton Literary and Theological Institution, N. Y.

DEAR BRETHREN: Yours of November last, from the pen of your Corresponding Secretary, Mr. William Dean, is before me. It is one of the few letters that I feel called upon to answer, for you ask my advice on several important points. There is, also, in the sentiments you express, something so congenial to my own, that I feel my heart knit to the members of your association, and instead of commonplace reply, am desirous of setting down a few items which may be profitable to you in your future course. Brief items they must be, for want of time forbids my expatiating.

In commencing my remarks, I take you as you are. You are contemplating a missionary life.

First, then, let it be a missionary life; that is, come out for life, and not for a limited term. Do not fancy that you have a true missionary spirit, while you are intending all along to leave the heathen soon after acquiring their language. Leave them! for what? To spend the rest of your days in enjoying the ease and plenty of your native land?

Secondly. In choosing a companion for life, have particular regard to a good constitution, and not wantonly, or without good cause, bring a burden on yourselves and the mission.

Thirdly. Be not ravenous to do good on board ship. Missionaries have frequently done more hurt than good, by injudicious zeal, during their passage out.

Fourthly. Take care that the attention you receive at home, the unfavorable circumstances in which you will be placed on board ship, and the unmissionary examples you may possibly meet with at some missionary stations, do not transform you from living missionaries to mere skeletons before you reach the place of your destination. It may be profitable to bear in mind, that a large proportion of those who come out on a mission to the East die within five years after leaving their native land. Walk softly, therefore; death is narrowly watching your steps.

Fifthly. Beware of the reaction which will take place soon after reaching your field of labor. There you will perhaps find native Christians, of whose merits or demerits you can not judge correctly without some familiar acquaintance with their language. Some appearances will combine to disappoint and disgust you. You will meet with disappointments and discouragements, of which it is impossible to form a correct idea from written accounts, and which will lead you, at first, almost to regret that you have embarked in the cause. You will see men and women whom you have been accustomed to view through a telescope some thousands of miles long. Such an instrument is apt to magnify. Beware, therefore, of the reaction you will experience from a combination of all these causes, lest you become disheartened at commencing your work, or take up a prejudice against some persons and places, which will embitter all your future lives.

Sixthly. Beware of the greater reaction which will take place after you have acquired the language, and become fatigued and worn out with preaching the gospel to a disobedient and gainsaying people. You will sometimes long for a quiet retreat, where you can find a respite from the tug of toiling at native work -- the incessant, intolerable friction of the missionary grindstone. And Satan will sympathize with you in this matter; and he will present some chapel of ease, in which to officiate in your native tongue, some government situation, some professorship or editorship, some literary or scientific pursuit, some supernumerary translation, or, at least, some system of schools; anything, in a word, that will help you, without much surrender of character, to slip out of real missionary work. Such a temptation will form the crisis of your disease. If your spiritual constitution can sustain it, you recover; if not, you die.

Seventhly. Beware of pride; not the pride of proud men, but the pride of humble men -- that secret pride which is apt to grow out of the consciousness that we are esteemed by the great and good. This pride sometimes eats out the vitals of religion before its existence is suspected. In order to check its operations, it may be well to remember how we appear in the sight of God, and how we should appear in the sight of our fellow-men, if all were known. Endeavor to let all be known. Confess your faults freely, and as publicly as circumstances will require or admit. When you have done something of which you are ashamed, and by which, perhaps, some person has been injured (and what man is exempt?), be glad not only to make reparation, but improve the opportunity for subduing your pride.

Eighthly. Never lay up money for yourselves or your families. Trust in God from day to day, and verily you shall be fed.

Ninthly. Beware of that indolence which leads to a neglect of bodily exercise. The poor health and premature death of most Europeans in the East must be eminently ascribed to the most wanton neglect of bodily exercise.

Tenthly. Beware of genteel living. Maintain as little intercourse as possible with fashionable European society. The mode of living adopted by many missionaries in the East is quite inconsistent with that familiar intercourse with the natives which is essential to a missionary.

There are many points of self-denial that I should like to touch upon; but a consciousness of my own deficiency constrains me to be silent. I have also left untouched several topics of vital importance, it having been my aim to select such only as appear to me to have been not much noticed or enforced. I hope you will excuse the monitorial style that I have accidentally adopted. I assure you, I mean no harm.

In regard to your inquiries concerning studies, qualifications, etc., nothing occurs that I think would be particularly useful, except the simple remark, that I fear too much stress begins to be laid on what is termed a thorough classical education.

Praying that you may be guided in all your deliberations, and that I may yet have the pleasure of welcoming some of you to these heathen shores, I remain

Your affectionate brother,
Maulmain, June 25, 1832

Wednesday, November 28, 2007 


About me

  • I'm DR
  • From Exiled
My profile


The Bible Challenge

Test your knowledge of the Bible

This Day in History
Powered by Blogger
and Blogger Templates Visit www.esv.org to learn about the ESV Bible 9Marks Ministries
Locations of visitors to this page