(Jesus said) "Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs, which outwardly appear beautiful, but within are full of dead people's bones and all uncleanness." Matthew 23:27
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
It was 1992 and I was living in St. Petersburg, Russia, where I worked as an engineer at a construction site. My place of employment was right across the Neva River and Alexander Nevsky's Lavra. I think that God, knowing the time when He would touch my heart, placed this spiritual place constantly before my eyes.
It was not a coincidence.
One day, when I was coming out of a construction trailer, my eyes seemed to be directed to the cupolas of the Lavra. It was as if the Lord challenged me with the question, "Do you, Sergei, wish for your children to have the same life as you?"
Then I was shown my true essence. I saw myself not the way others saw me, that is, a person who appears to be lovable, polite, kind, educated, helpful and, generally speaking, a good husband and father. In the eyes of my friends, neighbors and co-workers I was "a pretty good man."
That day God turned me inside out, and I saw this was just a façade. The merciful God took a scalpel of the Law and cut my internal, rotting impurity open and revealed my selfishness, my self-admiration, my love of money, my pride, my evil tongue, and my lack of restraint. I was terrified at the thought my children would also grow up like me: looking good on the outside but filled with dark desires, evil thoughts, and sinful actions. I wondered what would be the end of such lives? Where will we be once we die?
Thinking about these things, I cried out to the living God, "What should I do?"
God wasn't slow to give me an answer. That very moment the Holy Spirit motivated me to take a trolley to the Lavra. For many days and nights after that God kept leading and teaching me, and helping me up when I would fall.
And then one day He brought me to repentance and gave me freedom in Jesus Christ, my Lord and Savior. The Savior, who at Golgotha paid for my sins with His precious blood, touched me. That's how God invited me -- the way I was -- through His great love.
The Lord found me and my wife in this cruel world and gave us a future and hope. My children have grown up in our house of prayer, and this world has not claimed their souls. My daughter has become a Christian, my sons go to church, and they're at the very beginning of their Christian walk.
My wife and I are praying for them constantly in hope the Lord who has begun a good work in them will continue on and bring it to completion. Confident in what He can do, we pray, "To Him, and only Him, may there be thanks and glory!"
THE PRAYER: Oh, Heavenly Father, for the sake of Your Son, Jesus Christ, hear my prayer. Look at me, oh Lord, and help me see this wickedness which is there. Forgive my sins and grant me the inner light of love so that my flesh would not rule over my soul, the soul that was cleansed by Your Son, according to Your mercy and grace. Amen.
Biography of Author: Today's international devotion was written Sergei Gerasimov. His shared biography says, "The snail-mail lessons I received from the Lutheran Hour Ministries' office played a huge role in developing my desire to share the Good News. Seminars, books published by the Foundation, getting to know Igor Savich, a wonderful Christian brother and director of our Russian office, played a huge role in developing my desire to share the Good News. It is through these that God called me to share the Savior with those whose hearts God touches and takes into the light of Christ." With its ministry center in St. Petersburg, LHM-Russia has been sharing the Gospel in this vast country for 20 years. Using radio and TV programming, YouTube, social and print media, CD and DVD productions, dramatic performances, puppet ministry and more, staff and volunteers engage in Gospel outreach with children, young people and adults. Additionally, LHM's Bible Correspondence Courses (BCC) and Equipping the Saints (ETS) workshops train believers to better understand their faith while learning to express it to others.
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