For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. 1 Corinthians 1:18
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 of The Lutheran Hour
During our recent trip to Thailand we would often find ourselves walking through the little souvenir shops that lined the streets or the open area around a popular Thai attraction. As we admired the workmanship of the beautiful Thai silks, carved wooden objects, colorful gem pendants, and polished stone figurines, we soon concluded many of the items in these shops were either in the shape of elephants or were decorated with pictures of elephants. Later, we learned from our tour guide that elephants were very important to Thai culture. Elephants in Thailand have long been a symbol of both power and peace. Several centuries ago, they were used by kings to lead armies to win wars and therefore restore peace among the people.
While looking through these same souvenir shops, we discovered most of these shops did not display anything with the shape of a cross. With only 1.6 percent of the population claiming to be Christian, this is not a surprising discovery. The cross, a symbol of power and peace for Christians around the world, reminds believers of God's sacrificial love. It was on a cross that God allowed His Son, Jesus Christ, to die for the sins of the world. The powerful death and resurrection of Jesus Christ gives victory, hope, and the promise of eternal peace to all believers.
A large cross is fastened to the front of the Lutheran Hour Ministries Thailand building in Bangkok. During our first few days in the city, that cross became the image we sought. As we made our way through the unfamiliar streets of Bangkok congested with people, scented with unfamiliar smells, and displayed with unfamiliar words, the cross on this building brought us a powerful sense of security and peace. The cross identifies this building as a place where Christ is present -- both in the work being done and within the people who daily carry out His tasks. As Lutheran Hour Ministries reaches out to others through their countless ministries, we pray that 1.6 percent of the population (Christians) will be blessed and strengthened and 98.4 percent of the population (non-Christians) will hear the message of Christ, and no longer consider it foolishness, but as a means of hope.
Though our trip to Thailand quickly came to an end, it will long impact our hearts and lives. Like most tourists, we brought home a collection of souvenirs to remember our visit. This collection includes some beautiful silk scarves, tasty cashews, and even a few items with elephants on them. One item, though, will always be treasured as a rare find in Thailand: it is a hand-painted ceramic cross -- given to us by Lutheran Hour Ministries Thailand.
THE PRAYER: O God, we thank You for sending Your Son Jesus Christ to suffer and die on the cross so that we might know the power of the forgiveness of sins and the peace of eternal life. Open the doors of faith to non-believers so they might also enjoy the power and peace that can only come from You. In Christ's Name we pray. Amen.
Biography of Authors: Pastor Doug Chinberg is senior pastor of King of Kings Lutheran Church in Chesterfield, Mo. He and his wife, Kathy, went to Thailand with the Pastoral Leadership Institute where they led men and women's seminars and shared messages in various Lutheran churches in Thailand. Since 1991, the LHM-Thailand office in Bangkok, known locally as Journey Into Light (JIL), has used community radio programs, Equipping the Saints (ETS), Bible Correspondence Courses (BCC), print, Internet, and Gospel text messaging to share the good news of Jesus Christ in this country of 65 million people.
To learn more about our International Ministries, click here or visit www.lhmint.org.