We were privileged to travel to Cambodia and actually visit some private homes. I noticed the homes in the villages each had a small spirit house outside, usually perched on a pedestal, facing the front of the home.
Some of the spirit houses were painted gold with beautifully carved curlicues. Their fronts were open or had large porches where people would offer fresh fruit, rice and flowers. Most had burning candles and incense. We were told the purpose of a spirit house was to protect the home from evil spirits.
Cambodia is 95% Buddhist. Those we met were lovely. They were kind. Yet in talking with some, it seemed there was an underlying fear. Their lives are dictated by their beliefs in reincarnation and karma. We learned about the many superstitions that control them. They seek advice from fortune tellers before every important decision, even purchasing a motorbike. If the stars do not indicate a good marriage match, they don’t marry.
Since Buddhists don’t believe in a personal God, I asked our guide about their many prayers. If they don’t pray to God, then to whom do they pray? He couldn’t give me a direct answer except that they meditate on positive thoughts. Often their prayers go out to the universe, to no particular thing or god. They may pray “that all people be happy or cured or enlightened.” He said it was another approach to Karma: “The positive thoughts toward others will bring positive thoughts to the one praying.”
He said most of the people in Cambodia are poor and suffer hardship. “We believe we were born in Cambodia because we were evil in our previous lives. My own personal goal is to be so very good, that in my next life I’ll be born in America.” He was serious.
These precious people have no assurance of salvation, no Savior from sin and no promise of heaven. Instead, they are trusting their good works and their spirit houses to protect them.
To me it was heartbreaking. I was glad I’d brought along booklets about Jesus, as they were well received. I was just sorry I didn’t bring more.
- People are destined to die once, and after that to face judgment. Hebrews 9:27
- ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” Revelation 21:4
SONG: John 3:16-18 – Music by Kathleen
This life is temporary. This life is short. When this life is over, our bodies will die and become empty shells, but our souls will continue to live forever. Where will the “real you” live? Will you live for all eternity separated from God? Or will you spend eternity in the presence of God in heaven? Learn more so you can make your most important decision: http://www.godlife.com/gospel/ and http://www.godlife.com/en/about-christianity