July 11, 2014
I can do all things through Him who strengthens me. Philippians 4:13
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
Do you have any secrets? Would you like to know some?
Today we live in a world where many "experts" claim to have learned the secrets regular people want to know. These experts certainly have discovered the secret of making money. Books like The Secret to Becoming Rich or The Secret of Being Smart or Ten Rules to Make Many Friends or even The Secret Recipe to Living Longer make a lot of cash for their authors and publishers.
Most of these experts claim they discovered the truth by having made a great many mistakes in their own lives. Even so, the ultimate victory was achieved through the discovery of some little-known or often disregarded fact.
Some of you are familiar with the famous children's story called, The Little Engine That Could. If so, you remember how that little train didn't think it could climb over the mountain because it was too high and difficult.
But then things were changed. That little engine kept saying, "I think I can. I think I can." The more he said those words, the more confident he became. Eventually, he conquered the hill. The power of positive thinking is what allowed him to achieve an unexpected victory.
Not surprisingly, the secret of saying, "I think I can. I think I can" doesn't always work!
It certainly didn't always work for the apostle Paul. In the epistles he often speaks about the tremendous hardships of his life. Along with his unnamed "thorn in the flesh" (see 2 Corinthians 12:7-9), Paul also speaks about having endured shipwreck, imprisonment, torture, and hunger (the book of Acts, 2 Corinthians, et al.).
Of course, Paul was also able to speak about having experienced great blessings.
In Philippians 4:12b Paul said, "... I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want."
Do you know what his secret was?
No, it wasn't positive thinking. Paul's success came because he understood and believed the inspired words which said, "I can do everything through Him who gives me strength." Paul knew the Lord's strength is made perfect in our weakness. He realized the Savior, who gave His life for our forgiveness and the bestowing of heaven, was with us always. Wherever he went, whatever he did, Paul knew the risen Redeemer was also providing direction, assistance and strength.
What a wonderful secret of being joyful in all things! By God's grace we will no longer rely on ourselves or repeatedly be saying, "I think I can." No, our strength is insufficient and ineffective in such matters. Everything we can do is ineffective in such matters.
That is why believers must faithfully say, "I rely on Jesus who gives me strength." In such faith is the secret to our joyful lives.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, on my own I can accomplish nothing, but with You, nothing is impossible. Grant me the faith to believe Your guidance, power and direction for me is ongoing. This I ask in Jesus' Name. Amen.
Lutheran Hour Ministries has always stood for bringing Christ to the Nations, but we also want to share the Savior with those who are close by. If you would like to know more about how you can be prepared to bear witness to the Savior, we are having an outreach conference called SENT, in Detroit, from July 24-July 27. You can learn more at www.lhm.org/conference.
Biography of Author: Today's international devotion was written by Lebanon's Michel Matar. He has experienced an eventful life with his early years being touched by drugs, alcohol and the occult. In Lebanon, Matar is a well-known musician with several CDs to his credit. In 1989, he was called to faith by the love and forgiveness of Jesus. When he started reading the Word of God on a daily basis, his addiction and perverse lifestyle were over. Since then he has never looked back. After his conversion, Matar studied all Lutheran Hour Ministries' Bible Correspondent Courses (BCC) and became a close friend of Middle East Lutheran Ministry (MELM). Today he has dedicated his life, his music, and his talents to the service of the Lord. Launched in 1950 in Beirut, MELM -- also known as LHM-Lebanon -- produces radio broadcasts that reach at least ten Arabic-speaking countries throughout the Middle East. This ministry center also utilizes TV, films, a website, and text-messages to connect with people in need. Vacation Bible schools reach out to Bedouin communities and other holistic programs make clothing and school supplies available to children. Training individuals in everyday witnessing is done through the Equipping the Saints (ETS) program. To learn more about the work being accomplished in Lebanon, you can visit its blog at lhmlebanon.wordpress.com.
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