December 21, 2012
But now, this is what the Lord says - He who created you, O Jacob; He who formed you, O Israel: Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are Mine. Isaiah 43:1
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
Brothers and sisters in Christ, the Word of God for today gives us guidance that we should not fear when challenges come our way.
Many of us have fear and lose hope when facing problems. In this respect we are not so very different than those who are guilty of a crime and know they must face the judge and receive justice. It is a sad thing that most of the time we forget God is on our side and think we must try to deal with our sinful condition, by using our own solutions.
The Word of God, however, instructs us not to fear.
This passage of Scripture gives us a blood-bought guarantee that God has redeemed us, and we are His. We are redeemed by Jesus, who shed His blood on the cross of Calvary, so we may be saved from the power of the devil, death and sin. This is the redemption that gives us hope for eternal life.
Brothers and sisters in Christ, we need to learn from God's saints of the past. Like us, they also had challenges, but at those times -- by the Holy Spirit's direction -- they ran to God for protection. They looked for salvation from the Lord. In Psalm 121:1-2, King David rightly wrote, "I lift up my eyes to the hills ... my help comes from the Lord who made heaven and earth."
I am reminded of an inmate at the Johannesburg Correctional Centre, named James, who was in the section where I do volunteer work. It was a joy to note that he was always present when we conducted a service. As time went by, I had the opportunity to get to know James. In our conversations he shared he had a lot of fear and anxiety about what was to happen to him.
I encouraged him to be strong and accept whatever outcome would result from his court case.
As it turned out, the ruling went well and his fear was turned to joy.
In the above paragraph I shared how it took me a while to know James. Not so with God. God knows us by name. This means He knows and understands all the challenges we face in this life. He can never be overwhelmed by anything and is in control of everything. Let us, therefore, not fear. Let us do as the apostle Peter urges us to do: "Cast your cares upon the Lord, for He cares for you" (1 Peter 5: 7). Let us always run to Him in times of trouble. Amen.
THE PRAYER: Lord Jesus Christ, thank You for Your love; thank You that you left Your heavenly Kingdom to come and redeem us. Thank You, also, that You remain our Friend in bad times as well as good. In Your Name. Amen.
Biography of Author: Today's international devotion was written by Rev. Mbongeleni John Nkambule. Pastor Nkambule serves at the Naledi and Mohlakeng congregations of the Lutheran Church in Southern Africa. He is married to Thandi, and they have three children. Rev. Nkambule is also a member of the Synodical Council of the LCSA as well as on the board of directors at the Lutheran Theological Seminary (LTS), in Pretoria. He is a prison ministry volunteer and an Equipping the Saints (ETS) facilitator at Lutheran Hour Ministries-South Africa. Established in Johannesburg in 1961, LHM-South Africa employs emerging technologies in its innovative social media and text message ministries. The ministry center there also uses LHM's Bible Correspondence Courses (BCC), dramatics presentations and regularly visits inmates at Johannesburg's prisons.
To learn more about our International Ministries, click here or visit www.lhmint.org.
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries