Unenlightened

“Buddhism is more than 2,500 years old, but it came to widespread prominence in Europe and the U.S. only about 50 years ago. Since then, Buddhist thought has become deeply rooted in American popular culture through music, books and films. Many American’s encounter the teachings of Buddhism’s founder, Siddhartha Gautama, when seeking a way to empty themselves of desire and attachment while embracing peace of mind through meditation.

Gautama is called the Buddha (enlightened one) by his followers. The simple response God’s Word gives to the notion of human enlightenment is that our Lord Jesus Christ is the true light and life. Without Him, there is only darkness and death (see John 1: 1-13).

How enlightening is Buddhism? Having been a witness for Christ in Buddhist contexts both overseas and here in the U.S. for more than 20 years, I have come to view the Buddhism practices in the U.S. as a trick or illusion that contains just enough truth to provide false hope. Rather than offering its adherents truth with the power to save or set them free, it merely helps them marginally reduce the stress that overwhelms their peers who have succumbed to this world’s strivings and vanity. Jesus sets us free for eternity.

While Buddhism in the West is darkness masquerading as light, a very different kind of Buddhism is widely practiced in parts of Nepal and throughout Tibet. The spiritist Buddhism in the part of the world where Gautama was born is not disguised as false light –it openly reveals itself as the blackest darkness. There, Buddhists work to appease spirits whom they know to be evil.

When those of us who have served among Nepali and Tibetan Buddhists describe them as intentionally serving evil spirts and seeking to be filled with their power, it may sound to some as if we are overstating the religion’s dangers. Sadly, however, out description is no exaggeration, and millions of lost Buddhists remain enslaved to evil throughout Nepal and Tibet.

People in the U.S., including Christians, are also astonished when we describe the persecution of Christians in these countries by Buddhists. But it is important understand that children in these areas are forced to leave their families and enter Buddhist monasteries, that young adults who come to faith in Christ are disowned by their Buddhist parents, and that Christian families are driven from their home in Buddhist areas. All of this is done explicitly to appease and court favor with evil spirits we know to be demons — the fallen angels who, like their master, work only to steal, kill and destroy (John 10:10).

The stories in this magazine help us to understand the dark side of this supposedly “enlightened” belief system. And we hope they will encourage you to pray for our Christian brothers and sisters who are willing to pay the price to see Buddhists set free by the gospel’s power.

Source: Cole Richards, President —The Voice of the Martyrs

Report: ‘Tremendous Progress’ Ahead for Religious Freedom Worldwide | News & Reporting | Christianity Today

Report: ‘Tremendous Progress’ Ahead for Religious Freedom Worldwide | News & Reporting | Christianity Today
— Read on www.christianitytoday.com/news/2020/april/uscirf-tony-perkins-international-religious-freedom-2020.html

A Former Muslim Shares The Cost of Leaving Islam


Leaving Islam meant death, meaning I would face death penalty, and not just from my own family, whenever they see me again, [but] the Islamic government, if I ever lived under, but also from any Muslim around the world. The apostasy law still applies on me today as I’m speaking, meaning once a Muslim finds out that I used to be a Muslim, that means he or she has the right to kill me. It would be easy, of course, for them to do it in a Muslim country rather than a Western country, because, according to Sharia law, they would get away with it! They are honoring Islam! They are doing away with the apostate. That is why when I share the gospel with a Muslim seeker, that he is really close and he wants to follow Christ, I must share with him or her the cost of following Christ. There is a sense of mourning. There is a sense of loss and loneliness and pain to follow Christ, all in the process of making that decision. That’s why it is so critical for the body of Christ, the church, to step in and help the converts who came out of Islam through this difficult time of transition and time of loss. The church must become his or her new family because they lost the family that they came with and the identity they had all their lives.—Elijah Abraham (founder and executive director of Living Oasis Ministries)

From Berean Call

Andrew Brunson: US ‘increasingly hostile’ to Christianity; following Jesus will come at personal risk – The Christian Post

— Read on www.christianpost.com/news/andrew-brunson-us-increasingly-hostile-to-christianity-following-jesus-will-come-at-personal-risk.html

The Insanity of Sacrifice

“Coming out of an environment of debilitating persecution and death in the Horn of Africa, we set out to visit other believers in similar settings to discover for ourselves if Jesus was trustworthy. Is Jesus able to accomplish in the Somalias, the Afghanistans, and the Syrias (and in every other place!) of today what He did among the Roman Empire of His day? Was His resurrection simply an isolated historical event –or is that same resurrection power available to those who walk with this Living Jesus today?

Within a brief time, we were given the opportunity to travel the world and learn from brother and sisters in Christ who had survived —and who were continuing to survive—in settings of severe persecution. Over the next decade, we visited more than seventy-two countries, and interviewed more than six hundred followers of Jesus who live in environments of persecution and the possibility of imminent death. Much to our amazement, we discovered that these fellow followers of Jesus were not merely surviving —they were thriving in their faith. And God was blessing them in remarkable and startling ways.

What we learned were life lessons from believers living in persecution, who are living out the resurrection —even today. Our search through countries revealed dramatic testimonies of believers who have come to know God intimately as a faithful friend —a friend who calls us to a life of sacrifice modeled after His own.

This matter of sacrifice is a challenge for all of us. And we will be wise to approach any conversation about it with a spirit of humility and prayer. It is our sincere hope that, through the stories contained in these devotions, God will change all of us. It is our prayer that God will give you a heart for the world. It is our desire that you will embrace the privilege of sacrificing for His glory.

God, we are so thankful for Your sacrifice that allows us to know You as Father, Savior, and Lord. God, we recognize that You have sacrificed Your Son for us. And we wonder if maybe that sacrifice should be the end of the story.

But You invite us to join You in sacrifice.

Why is our sacrifice still needed? Following You is so much harder than simply studying about You. Please give us courage as You call us forward.”

Excerpt from The Insanity of Sacrifice, A 90 Day Devotional by Nik Ripken with Barry Stricker, p. 6 – 7

Other recommended books by Nik Ripken:

The Insanity of God

The Insanity of Obedience

Please pray for an abundance of God’s grace and the comfort of the Holy Spirit to be with those suffering persecution and the possibility of imminent death, in many nations today, for the cause of Christ. Do not forget them. May God fulfill every desire for good works that are in your heart and the desire for resurrection power.

Carl

Communist China Church Update

As you are probably aware, the communist government is ravaging the Christian church in China. Many pastors have been beaten and imprisoned, church buildings destroyed or converted to secular use, church members beaten and some imprisoned, a rewrite of the Holy Bible to make it “pro-communist”, youth forbidden to attend church, and other suppressing tactics.

Yesterday at church I spoke with a sister-in-Christ who had done much gospel work in Communist China over the years. I asked her what her contacts were saying about the current outbreak of persecution. She said that some are saying it is really bad.

Others said they had been praying for persecution to return because the Christian church in Communist China was becoming too much like the church in America and it needed persecution to purify it.

Think about that for a moment.

Please pray that the Chinese Church will go “on in the fear of the Lord and the comfort of the Holy Spirit (Acts: 9:31). That the true believers would be “…all filled with the Holy Spirit and ” begin “to speak the word of God with boldness (Acts 4:31)”.

“Remember the prisoners, as though in prison with them, and those who are ill-treated, since you yourselves also are in the body. “. Hebrew 13:3

Carl