March 1, 2013
I am speaking the truth in Christ -- I am not lying; my conscience bears me witness in the Holy Spirit -- that I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart. Romans 9:1-2
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
St. Paul talks about having anguish in his heart. Have you ever felt pain or hurt like that for the sinners who do not know and do not serve our mighty God?
Although I have no empirical proof, there are times I believe that today there are many Christians who feel no such sorrow or connection. Indeed, I'm fairly sure there are those among us who are secretly pleased when they think about the judgment the unchurched will have to face when Jesus returns.
The apostle Paul described what will lead unbelievers to that judgment. He wrote, "They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts" (Ephesians 4:18).
To be separated from the love of God ... no wonder Paul felt great sorrow because people in his heritage did not have faith in Christ, nor did they know the love of Jesus (see Romans 9: 1-3). Yes, that is what Paul felt. Now let me ask, do you really love the souls which are heading toward hell?
Last August, we had a futsal (futsal = indoor soccer) eight-team competition for the youth in Vinh Long Province. The players played cheerfully and invited their friends to join. Our team from Lutheran Hour Ministries not only wanted to play futsal, we wanted to share the Good News of Jesus with our lost friends.
God blessed us as that day 48 young people were called to faith by the Holy Spirit. God used our Christian players when they showed teamwork and fair play. One of the players, along with the son of the man who owned the field, said, "We now know how Christians live and play sport. We want to know more about your God."
They soon became Christians.
Their story is not unique.
A month later when I made a trip to a nursery school for our milk project, there were many things I delivered on that day to the youngsters, but none was more important than the preaching of the Gospel. Once again the Holy Spirit brought many people to faith in Jesus. Today we keep following up with our new brothers and sisters in Christ, lest they become discouraged and fall back into unbelief.
Truly, these stories are a regular part of our lives, which is why we give thanks for your support and ask that you continually pray for the lost. Ask the Holy Spirit to open their minds, so they may see their dying situation and be brought to saving faith by God's grace. Ask the Lord to bless our outreach so that you and I, along with the angels in heaven, will rejoice because a sinner has been brought to repentance and faith in Jesus.
THE PRAYER: Oh, Lord, please open my heart to think of and pray for lost souls. Bless those who make a witness about the Savior. Let the things they do and say be used to evangelize the lost. This we ask in the Name of Jesus, who told His followers to share His story. Amen.
Biography of Author: Today's international devotion was written by Mr. Dinh Hai Au, the acting director of the Lutheran Hour Ministries' office in Vietnam. He has won numerous awards, including "Teacher of Distinction" and "Teacher of the Year." Working under unusual and difficult circumstances he must be both creative and innovative in his presentations. He shares some of that work today. Vietnam is a country where atheism is the semiofficial religion, and religious work cannot be done off church grounds. As such, creativeness is this ministry center's strong suit. Puppet shows, music evangelism, Bible Correspondence Courses (BCC), and Equipping The Saints (ETS) have all proven successful. In this Southeast Asian country of 90 million people, LHM-Vietnam cooperates with local congregations of Vietnam's officially approved Christian churches, providing programs and resources to assist them in their outreach efforts.
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