And when Jesus entered Peter's house, He saw his mother-in-law lying sick with a fever. He touched her hand, and the fever left her, and she rose and began to serve Him. Matthew 8:14-15
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
Many people in Thailand earn their living by running a small shop along the street or in a local market.
They start their business with very little capital and usually have a very small profit margin. It's not unusual for them to earn only enough money to provide for their families on a day-by-day basis. That explains why, when they open their businesses each day, they hope they'll have good luck and be able to make a great many profitable sales.
When someone buys an item from these vendors early in the morning, it's common to see those shopkeepers touch all of their merchandise with that money. That gesture is made because many of them believe it's very good luck for them to make a sale to the first customer of the day. They think starting the day with a sale sets the tone for the rest of the day.
In other words, a successful first sale means they will have good karma.
They believe this good karma will give them success as they sell their wares throughout the rest of the day. It is their hope that in touching the other items in their shops with the lucky money, they will spread the good fortune throughout their shop.
They are convinced that a "lucky touch" will make the difference between a slow day and a profitable day.
If you were to visit some of these shops, you might be surprised to see a small altar upon which sit a few special idols. In front of the idols will be some offerings of food and drink, which are for the benefit of the spirits who are supposed to inhabit that place. Making peace with those spirits and praying to the idols are also thought to bring good luck to the shop owner.
In the daily struggle of trying to take care of their families, the shop owners look for any advantage they can find.
As Christians, we don't need to place our hope in the touch of lucky money or any other lucky charms. In Luther's day, he fought against relics and indulgences. In Thailand, we fight against the belief that people have to pray to images of wood or stone. We rely on the gentle touch of our loving Savior who has promised to bless us and protect us. We trust in Him who has saved us by faith alone, in God's grace alone, as revealed in His Word alone.
Just as the touch of Jesus healed Peter's mother-in-law, so we can also experience God's power in our lives. We know He hears our prayers, that the Savior who lived, died and rose for our salvation is alive and that He is with us at all times and in all situations.
As God's saved people, we need never fear God's power or judgment.
Because of the blood of Jesus, we have confidence we stand in God's presence, and He is always ready to hear all of our cares and concerns, which are brought to Him. The touch of His mighty arm is always loving and gentle. We can rest comfortably in His strong arms as He protects us and guides us each day. He is our "Mighty Fortress," our "trusty Shield and Weapon."
THE PRAYER: Dear Jesus, thank You for the gentle touch of Your nail-pierced hands and for holding me close to Your heart. I know I can face the challenges each day brings because You are with me always guiding and protecting me. In Your Name I give thanks. Amen.
Biography of Author: The author of this Reformation Day international devotion is Dennis Denow, who works as an LCMS missionary in Thailand and serves as the Asia Pacific Region education consultant. Denow is the husband of LHM-Thailand Director Monta Ekwanit Denow. He teaches English classes for the LHM-Thailand staff and occasionally assists with other LHMT projects. About our office in Thailand: LHM-Thailand focuses on sharing the Gospel and making contacts with local people through the Internet, Gospel text-messaging, various community radio programs, Equipping the Saints (ETS) evangelism training, and evangelistic outreach programs. Bible Correspondence Courses (BCC), music CDs, animated VCDs, and print materials are used to encourage and help strengthen the faith of Thai Christians. The staff also conducts special children's activities and does presentations in many government schools. Known in Thailand as Journey Into Light (JIL), LHM's ministry center in Bangkok was established in 1991 and serves many individuals in this country of nearly 67 million.
To read how LHM-Thailand staff helped to lead a Christian camp in that country, click here to visit its blog.
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
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