February 12, 2011
The Lord is my strength and my defense; He has become my salvation. Psalm 118:14
Today is Lincoln's birthday, so a story about the great president is not out of line.
This anecdote begins when the president was visited by a state delegation composed of unhappy people. The displeased representatives were protesting the character of their senator, a man by the name of Baker, a man who was a close personal friend of the president.
Lincoln patiently listened to the delegation; then he read their document which summed up their disagreements and disappointments with the man.
When he had finished, Lincoln looked up and asked, "Is this paper, does this paper -- the one which you have presented -- belong to me?"
They assured him it did.
Then Lincoln asked, "I can do with this paper as I wish?"
"Certainly, Mr. President," replied the leader of the group. Lincoln, listening to his conscience, placed the paper on the fireplace coals, turned to the group and said, "Good day, gentlemen."
Lincoln did much the same kind of thing that God does for us.
When our sins were lined up, protesting our admission into heaven, the Father decided He would dismiss those charges.
This He did not because we were His friends. How could He? We hadn't been His friends.
No, God dismissed the charges against us because of Jesus who had given His life to take those sins away.
Because of Jesus' sacrifice, God was able to discharge all accusations made against us and bring us into His circle of forgiven friends and family.
It is a practice we should copy. Today we may also be given the opportunity to stand up for others. If we do, we need to make sure we ignore rumors, plug our ears to wagging tongues and, wherever possible, put the best construction on everything.
If we do, we'll be a friend like Lincoln was to Baker and we'll be bringing honor to Jesus, our best and truest Friend and Savior.
From a devotion originally written for "By the Way"
THE PRAYER: Gracious Father, thank You for the example of men like Lincoln who defended his friend from the wrath of others. Thank You for Your Son, Jesus, who has saved us and continues to defend us from the accusations of Satan. In the Savior's Name. Amen.
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries