The idols of the nations are silver and gold, made by human hands. They have mouths, but cannot speak, eyes, but cannot see. They have ears, but cannot hear, nor is there breath in their mouths. Psalm 135:15-17
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ:
The salvation story of Jesus Christ reaches around the world. So that the readers of our Daily Devotion may see the power of the Savior on a global scale, we have asked the volunteers of our International Ministry Centers to write our Friday devotions. We pray that the Spirit may touch your day through their words.
In Christ, I remain, His servant and yours,
Kenneth R. Klaus
Speaker Emeritus of The Lutheran Hour
Known as the "land of smiles," visitors to Thailand are immediately impressed by how polite and gracious the Thai people are. Although Thai people don't forge deep friendships quickly, once a relationship has been developed, it will never be broken.
Because more than 92 percent of the people in Thailand are Buddhists, the influence of the Buddhist religion can be seen in virtually all aspects of Thai culture. The beliefs and values of Buddhism are tightly interwoven throughout Thai society.
Nowhere is this more evident than in the myriad temples and shrines that can be found in every community across the country. Buddha statues, idols and images of other mythical beings are a common part of the décor. Whether made of wood or concrete or carved from stone, many Buddha figures are covered with gold.
It's not unusual to see Thai people kneeling before an image of Buddha or the idols that hold a prominent place in their homes. After placing gifts of food, a glass of water, or flowers on the altar, the Buddhist worshippers often light several incense sticks. With sincerity etched on their faces, they bow and repeat chants and prayers in the hope the smoke rising from the incense will somehow carry their requests to Buddha or their ancestors. At some shrines small pieces of gold leaf can be purchased and then attached to the Buddha figure as a special offering.
As a Christian, I experience conflicting emotions when I observe Buddhist people praying to idols and images made by the hands of people. I feel sadness to see such kind people speaking to figures that have ears, but can't hear, seeking assistance from images that have hands, but can't move. I feel compassion for them, because I know they are doing the only things they know to do.
At the same time, I feel joy and great gratitude I have a God who is alive, who is powerful to help, and who loves me. When I pray, God hears and answers. When I'm in need, He acts on my behalf. With His strong right arm, He guides and protects me. There is no other god like Him.
It's exciting to see how God is using the Lutheran Hour Ministries-Thailand team to share the Gospel with the Thai people through their radio programs, school outreach program, and other ministry activities. It's important for Thai Buddhists to hear from Thai Christians that Christianity is not a Western religion. Jesus died for their sins too.
THE PRAYER: Gracious God, send Your Holy Spirit to work in the hearts, minds and lives of the Thai people, who do not believe in Jesus as their Savior. Reveal Your truth to them. Give them the gift of faith and bring them into Your kingdom. In Jesus' Name. Amen.
Biography of Author: Today's international devotion was written by Dennis Denow, a missionary with The Lutheran Church -- Missouri Synod World Mission and the husband of LHM-Thailand Director Monta Ekwanit Denow. Denow volunteers to teach weekly English classes for the LHM-Thailand staff and occasionally assists with other LHM-Thailand projects. Lutheran Hour Ministries-Thailand focuses on sharing the Gospel and making contacts with local people through various community radio programs, Equipping The Saints (ETS) evangelism training, Bible Correspondence Courses (BCC), print, Internet and Gospel text messaging. The staff also conducts special children's activities and does presentations in government schools.
To learn more about our International Ministries, click here or visit www.lhmint.org.
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries