COUNT IT ALL JOY: PERSEVERANCE IN SUFFERINGContinue reading
“That’s the same message someone told me in my dream!” *Sue’s Muslim friend, *Masha, exclaimed after Sue shared some verses from Philippians with her.
“Wow,” Masha marveled, “God truly does see everything!”
Sue felt encouraged. Earlier in the week, she had discussed those verses with her house church. One of the questions they always ask is, “Who does the Father want me to share this passage with?” When Sue pondered that question, God brought Masha to her mind.
Sue has known Masha since first moving to her Middle Eastern home. She has shared Bible stories with her and has interceded for her many times. Masha had always been polite but never very interested, so Sue felt a bit nervous to share with her again.
“I thought I was just being obedient,” Sue says, “which is worthwhile, since I want to sow lots of seeds to find people open to the gospel. But this really motivates me to ask the Father with whom He wants me to share.”
Pray for encouragement for our field workers as they seek the Father’s guidance in everything they do. Pray they will be reminded daily that their role is to faithfully obey; God’s role is to bring in the harvest!
Reaching out to Hindus with the love of Jesus requires some understanding of the unique challenges and opportunities they present. Here is some guidance as to things to consider when sharing the gospel with Hindus.
1. Offer Jesus’ forgiveness: Bakht Singh, an evangelist and Indian convert from Hinduism, said, “I have never yet failed to get a hearing if I talk to [Hindus] about forgiveness of sins and peace and rest in your heart.” Since the Hindu system is based on karma, forgiveness is not available to Hindus.
2. Keep God’s personhood in mind: A personal God is able to empathize with and respond to our suffering, something an impersonal ultimate essence (Brahman) is unable to do. Hindus need to know that a personal, fulfilling relationship with a holy and loving God is available to them.
3. Ask and listen: Hinduism is a very tolerant religion because of its widely diverse beliefs, so it is important to listen to your Hindu friend’s particular beliefs about God, sin, salvation and so forth. You will probably hear the word “enlightenment”, the Hindu version of salvation—you may want to discuss with your friend the difference between salvation based on human effort versus that based on God’s grace and forgiveness.
4. Be humble: Because of their sacrificial lifestyle, Hindus often consider themselves spiritually superior to Christians. Humbly share your life with them and let them see the peace and love your relationship with God gives you.
5. Focus on Jesus: Even Mahatma Gandhi said, “I shall say to the Hindus that your lives will be incomplete unless you reverently study the teachings of Jesus.” Encourage your Hindu friend to discover Jesus for themselves, and to read the New Testament, particularly Luke or John.
6. Be aware of differing definitions: Be especially careful of the term “born again”. To a Hindu this means reincarnation, something from which they want to be liberated.
(Adapted from Hinduism: A Religion Profile by International Students, Inc.)
You’ve heard the story of the rich young ruler from Mark 10. North India also has a “rich ruler.” He isn’t young, though, which makes it even harder to “sell everything.” Elders in India have standing. And this man has been a pastor for years!
Recently a young newlywed couple moved into his area, having little or no social standing. But they didn’t let that stop them. They kept talking to the pastor about being disciples of Jesus, really following Him, and teaching others to do the same. The pastor was fascinated by their excitement. They had personal stories of miracles and of whole families getting baptized together!
The “rich old ruler” had a choice to make: keep all he had and walk away, or sell all and follow. He chose to “sell all.” He humbled himself and began learning from the younger couple. The three of them are now a disciple-making team, bearing fruit among the lost. Whole households are giving their allegiance to Jesus. This “rich old ruler” was willing to lose his life for Jesus’ sake, and now he has truly found it.
Pray that new disciples quickly learn to love and obey Jesus, surrendering all, so his living water can flow through them to others.