I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Romans 12:1
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
There are countries in the world, including Madagascar, where people believe and rely on the blessings that come from the spirits of their dead ancestors.
Some of these people, in their desire to receive a positive response from the spirit-world, enter into a pact or make an offering. Some offer candies. Others give coins, while others bring honey and spread it on the site where they believe they can meet with these spirits.
Of course, there are those who sacrifice living animals such as chickens, black ducks, and sometimes an entire cow. Always blood is shed in order to show the believer's trust in the gods and to receive the favors of the spirits.
It is not so with those who practice the Christian faith. As St. Paul wrote in his epistle to the Romans, the Lord asks followers of the Savior to show their thanks and appreciation by offering their living bodies in the place of a dead offering.
We don't have to make those kinds of sacrifices anymore because the greatest Offering of all became ours when the Lord Jesus gave Himself up to die on the cross. By sacrificing Himself He brought salvation to the entire world. Now, because of the Savior's life, death and resurrection, whoever is given this salvation receives the benediction, that is, he or she is adopted into God's household of faith.
When a person receives faith through the washing of Holy Baptism, a new life begins. It is a life which can never be spoiled by sin, Satan or death.
And when somebody asks, as they sometimes do, why does the Lord want us to make a living sacrifice, we have an answer at the ready. We tell them that a person who is saved by Jesus can live for Jesus.
A forgiven and saved soul is blessed with the opportunity to serve, to do good works for the Lord, and be a tool the Holy Spirit will use to continue His work.
So, today, my friends, the Lord invites you to offer your life to Him. It is my prayer you will be a good child of the Lord and offer yourself as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God! May the Lord strengthen your faith!
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, I give thanks that Jesus is the Sacrifice who has done all that was necessary to save me. Now may I present my life as a thank-offering to Him. In His Name. Amen.
Biography of Author: Today's international devotion was written by Pastor Randriamanantena Simon of the Malagasy Lutheran Church. He is currently serving four parishes in the northwestern area of Madagascar, around 100 km from the capital city. In this island nation of 22 million people, LHM's efforts have been fruitful, providing topical booklets and Bible Correspondence Courses (BCC) in both French and Malagasy to a population where quite 75 percent of the people live before the poverty line. A weekly FM radio program spreads the Gospel through two main cities, while the Internet reaches out through social organizations and blogs. Additionally, LHM-Madagascar, known locally as Voice of the Gospel, uses Equipping the Saints (ETS) workshops to provide outreach tools for effective witnessing.
To learn more about our International Ministries, click here or visit www.lhmint.org.
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries