... He (Jesus) said to them, "If anyone would come after Me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow Me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the Gospel's will save it. For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul? For what can a man give in return for his soul?" Mark 8:34b-37
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
This passage was misunderstood by Kwame to mean that if one wishes to be yoked to Jesus as a disciple, he must live an austere life without family and friends. With that belief Kwame joined a religious cult, which reflected that misunderstanding.
By the grace of God, Kwame eventually was brought back to the truth by the power of the Holy Spirit. This process began when he read one of our tracts based on Ephesians 2:8-10, "For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith -- and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God -- not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do."
A pastor I've read says, "Have you heard people use the phrase: 'This is my cross to bear'? They'll say, 'I've got an unsaved husband, it's my cross to bear.' Or, 'My kids are rebellious; it's my cross to bear.' Or, 'My arthritis acts up on me; it's my cross to bear.' A tombstone in a cemetery in Scotland contains the following epitaph: 'The children of Israel wanted bread and the Lord sent them manna. Old clerk Wallace wanted a wife, and the devil sent him Anna.' I guess Mr. Wallace thought his late wife was his cross to bear."
That's not what Jesus meant by a cross to bear. He wasn't talking about a situation or a circumstance; the Savior was talking about an attitude.
Our attitude as children of God should center on a faith which is lived in Him. In thanks for the Savior's sacrifice we should make use of the good opportunities the Lord sends our way. Do you see that reflected in Matthew 11:28-30 where Jesus says, "Come to Me, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light"?
The yoke of Jesus' day was a fitted, collar-like frame. It was shaped to rest on the neck and shoulders of two animals. When Jesus is our Savior, He promises to be yoked together with us.
Today, taking up the yoke that links us to Jesus, we walk beside Jesus; we learn from Him and, because He is all-powerful, we rejoice that He has taken our burdens upon Himself.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord Jesus, help me to be yoked together with You. Let me go where You would have me go, doing the work You wish to see accomplished. In Your Name. Amen.
Biography of Author: Today's international devotion was written by Pastor Lawrence Akorli Kwaw. A graduate of the Lutheran Seminary in Obot Idim, Nigeria, he has served as an evangelist in Ghana since 1994. He also serves as pastor of Good Shepherd Lutheran congregation. He is a music teacher at St. Peter's Lutheran School and a speaker for the Lutheran Media Ministry In Touch program. In this West African country of 24 million people, Lutheran Hour Ministries-Ghana, known locally as Lutheran Media Ministry, has its headquarters in Accra and was established in 1993. This ministry center uses Equipping the Saints (ETS) and Bible Correspondence Courses (BCC) to communicate the Gospel and provide training in Scripture and Christian doctrine. A musical group, The Harps, ministers in public through song, while drama and storytelling are used to share the love of Jesus. Additionally, staff and volunteers are active in children's ministries and reach out to the incarcerated with food, Christian literature, and clothing. You can read Ghana's blog at lmmgh.wordpress.com.
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