Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. ... Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. ... Since, therefore, we have now been justified by His blood, much more shall we be saved by Him from the wrath of God. Romans 5:1, 3-6, 9
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
My name is Hannah, and I am a junior in the Hati Suci School in Jakarta, Indonesia.
The story, my story, which I am going to tell you, is not pretty. On the other hand, it is honest as it speaks of how the Lord has given me a faith that has changed my eternity and my view of things.
Over the years I did not have a good relationship with my father. In truth, I hated him because of his bad behavior, his rudeness, and because he had no idea on how to be a loving husband and father. Is that an exaggeration? You must decide that. I can tell you that he deserted us; he loved to hit us, abuse us, and was rarely at home when my family gathered together.
On the other hand, my mother always tried to be strong and counter all the physical and spiritual torment father gave. When I was little, she protected and defended me. As my family fell apart, she became my hero. True, there were times when I felt she should have been stronger and other times when I felt pity and sympathy for her, but she tried.
As for me, I became pretty unstable. I was always suspicious of others, refused to make friends, and kept my distance from everyone. My feelings of distrust about people's intentions made it very difficult for me to be close to or accept others. I did this all because I did not want to be hurt by anyone. I also grew up without ideals or any clear goals for the future.
And as for a faith?
Well, I did not even know the Lord. For me God never existed. Yes, I heard people say, "The Lord was full of love, that Jesus was always reliable and wished to be a Friend for everyone." Me, I wanted to know where is the proof that would explain how a God of love would allow my family to fall apart and rob me of pleasure and peace. I seriously wondered if Jesus was God ... or that He was with anybody.
As I said, this devotion speaks of how the Lord changed me. He did.
During the academic year, our school had a three-day retreat. The main purpose of this event is to help the students see their abilities and talents. It is hoped they will then know how to organize their future, as well as prepare themselves to enter the "real world."
The speakers at the retreat came from Anchor of Life, which you would know as Lutheran Hour Ministries-Indonesia. During those three days we were given materials that were based on the Bible. The Lutheran Hour Ministries team showed us many proofs of Jesus' love, of His compassion to humans, including me!
I was embarrassed at how ignorant I had been. I was shocked to realize the devil had blinded me to the Savior and the forgiveness He had won for me on the cross and at His empty tomb. At that time I realized that God has many ways of working with His children. If something bad happens in somebody's life that doesn't mean God should be blamed. On the contrary, the Lord always has good intentions for us.
Since those days my heart and my eyes have been opened to the knowledge that I am -- with all my strengths and shortcomings -- still loved by the Lord. Forgiven by God, I eventually accepted myself, my family, and forgave my father, even though none of us know where he is.
Daily I give thanks there are many people who love me and care for me. Now I have a plan to organize my future and continue with higher education. Then, if God grants me the opportunity, I hope to work with Lutheran Hour Ministries people and share the story of God's love with others, including you.
I especially would like to share a passage the Lord used to touch me. It is a verse which has given me strength and hope. Maybe it will do the same for you.
The verse comes from Romans 5. There it says, "But we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us."
By God's grace may you know, as I do, that God loves you.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, I give thanks for Your love. I especially give thanks for my Savior and the sacrifice He made to save me. Now may the Holy Spirit reach others and let them know they can have forgiveness, hope and eternal life through Jesus, the Savior. In His Name I pray. Amen.
Biography of Author: Today's international devotion was written by Hannah. Hannah is an Indonesian high school student who was raised in a dysfunctional home. She was brought to faith in her Savior because of the witness made by our Lutheran Hour Ministries people in her country. It is her desire to share the Savior with others, and with you. Indonesia is an archipelago of islands in Southeast Asia made up of more than 13,400 islands; it is home to 250-plus million people. The ministry center of Lutheran Hour Ministries-Indonesia, known locally as Anchor of Life, has its ministry center in Jakarta. It utilizes radio and TV broadcasting, mobile device messaging, print resources, children's and adult programs, and evangelism training as it takes the Gospel to this part of the world. Using staff and trained volunteers in making connections to Indonesian communities, it puts on puppet shows, works with Sunday school teacher training, holds local sporting events, and offers topical school programs -- all as a means to move the Gospel forward. Bible Correspondence Courses (BCC) and Equipping the Saints (ETS) workshops educate Indonesians on the Scriptures and train them to share the Good News of God's grace and love, as found in Jesus Christ, with their family and friends. To read more about what's going on in Indonesia, you can click here to visit its blog.
To learn more about our International Ministries, click here or visit www.lhmint.org.
Check out Lutheran Hour Ministries' video sermon series, "Footsteps of Paul." Click here!
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries