Backpacking foIMG_0507r six weeks in Asia brings deep insights into the struggles of humanity. But I think a belief system in a higher power can comfort even the most abject poverty! I too, wanted to rest inside the temples….


Did you know that all young men must serve as monks for at least two weeks in their life? Here’s a picture of young monks chanting prayers in return for a meal from the restaurant we frequented.


Without money, they depend on the kindness of others for shelter and sustenance and their faith matures. I love going inside the temples.


Vibrant color, the abundance of gold plated and painted intricate surfaces,


and the aroma of incense drifting in the air permeates everything.

Fruit and delicacies are left at the altars as free-will gifts of pleasure.


The Buddhist belief seems to be that real abundance can be attained in the heart if one focuses on the true values in life. I’m so impressed with their faith…


I wrote about this same topic years ago when travelling in Mexico. It’s on page 283 in Chapter 14–Developing Spiritual Maturity, in my book The Celestial Proposal. (See reviews on Here’s the excerpt:


“I believe this conception of spirituality can happen in any culture and any country, and under any standard of living. The ability to believe in a God Source of the highest power does not rely on being of any one religion. All spires point upward!

There is no advantage to being educated or wealthy. Actually, we in the modern nations sometimes seem to struggle more with spiritual development because of our dependence on monetary definitions of success.

A Christian family I met in rural Mexico once taught me something profound. In broken Spanish, I told them I would continue to pray for relief from their situation of poverty and physical need. They told me they would continue to pray for me as well, that I might resist the temptation of personal decadence that was my country’s moral deprivation! The struggles people face may be individual, but they are all designed to teach us to rely on God.

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Imagine trying to raise a family in a poverty-stricken third-world country. Trials in such places are never-ending, and a person’s sole drive is to stay alive. Compare this reality to our convenient living and self-indulgence. Which would more easily influence us to call on God and desire an alliance with him for empowerment? Which one would motivate us more to develop our spiritual maturity?


The populations of the third world have such great faith because there is so little access to any other source of power. In these nations, survival depends on a very strong belief system, and that type of character development is most important to the Great Ones.


From a celestial viewpoint, that is the priority purpose of the game of life. Only the godly characteristics we are able to acquire in this world have true eternal value.”