"A Country of Opposites"
August 29, 2014
For faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the Word of Christ. Romans 10:17
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
Having served for a while as pastor of San Pablo's Lutheran Church, in Montevideo, Uruguay, I have come to two conclusions: one, my family and I love this country, and two, this is a nation of contradictions.
Allow me to share a few examples of those contradictions. In Uruguay there is a huge prison called "Freedom," and there is mountain named "Flat Hill" (Cerro Chato). The government has decriminalized abortion and marijuana but bans the consumption of mayonnaise in restaurants.
Spiritually there are numerous contradictions. Many people are mystics, have red bows in their cars for protection, and trust horoscopes and amulets. The contradiction? These same people are closed to hearing about the Savior and God's Word.
In the time I have been here I have been shocked to see how God's Word has been progressively banned from media, educational institutions, government, hospitals, family and life. The nation is like the proverbial frog in the pot, which is being slowly heated. By stages they are dying, but they don't notice because it is such a long process.
As a graduate in history and knowing a bit about this issue, I see that our nation is just a few steps "ahead" of most Western countries. Of course, when I say "ahead," I really mean we are -- both morally and ethically -- moving backwards a bit faster than you.
In your country, like in ours, post-modernist colleges and political institutions love to point to historical abuses made by religious denominations. Along with that, they distort and misrepresent the true content of Christ's Gospel. Yes, both of our nations are moving in the same sad and sinful direction.
Thankfully, in this complicated country of contrasts, God provides a response and an answer. He tells us, "faith comes by hearing and hearing comes from the Word of God." As Christians, we know the only channel to engender faith in human hearts is through that Word. All this means we have an opportunity -- an obligation -- to speak to our nations of contrasts while there is still time.
I say this for two reasons:
1. When Scripture speaks of the last times, it tells us in those days the Christians would be few, and they will be persecuted. It warns us that it will be easy for our love to grow cold, and we would find ourselves confronted by false doctrines and false prophets.
2. In those last days especially we are called to do superior work as we testify of Him who called us from darkness to light. We are to point the lost to the cross of Calvary where God's perfect Son substituted life for death for all who believe.
Please understand I share these things not to cause despair, but to encourage you who subscribe to the Daily Devotions to be faithful to Him who has conquered death for us and gives us eternal life. You need to know, in your own land of contrasts there will be difficulties, but if we see things with eyes of faith we will see these problems and pains are nothing compared to the eternity that awaits us (see Roman 8.18). Amen.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, I give thanks You have raised up faithful leaders to tell the world of sin and salvation. May their work be blessed and citizens in our nations be brought to the salvation that was won on Calvary's Cross. This I ask in Jesus' Name. Amen.
Biography of Author: On January 26 of 2013, Pastor André Muller, his wife Maira Muller Reis, and their daughter, little Helena, were called to assist the pastoral work in San Pablo's Lutheran Church in Uruguay. In that capacity they support "Christ for all Nations" (Lutheran Hour Ministries). With extensive past experience in Brazil, Muller was challenged and moved by the Holy Spirit to help and serve in this new work in "the country of opposites." In this South American country where religion is downplayed, LHM-Uruguay (known in-country as Cristo Para Todas Las Naciones) utilizes radio programs like "Focus" (a 30-second spot covering a variety of topics) and "Message of Hope" (60-minute programs speaking about faith and hope). Other outreach efforts include local performances, craft workshops, and special events that celebrate certain days like Children's Day, Mother's Day, and Christmas. Additionally, Project JOEL and other biblically-based resources connect with youth, helping them make sound value judgments and healthy decisions. The homeless and unemployed are also assisted through this ministry center's food distribution program. To learn more about what's going on in Uruguay, you can check out its blog at lhmuruguay.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