Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
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
The theme text for our devotion tells us that we ought to thank God in all circumstances. Indeed, thankfulness should naturally flow from our hearts and mouths.
By digging into Scripture more deeply, we can understand the reason why we should be grateful to God in many different circumstances. Psalm 136:1 says, "Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good. His love endures forever." God's constant goodness and His steadfast love are two reasons to give thanks to the Lord.
When we recognize our depravity and that we are deserving of punishment, we must rejoice that Jesus has come to give us life and give it to us abundantly (see John 10:10). That the Lord has sent His Son to save us gives us cause for rejoicing. That's what King David did in Psalm 30 where he wrote: "I will extol You, O LORD, for You have drawn me up and have not let my foes rejoice over me. O LORD my God, I cried to You for help, and You have healed me. O LORD, You have brought up my soul from Sheol; You restored me to life from among those who go down to the pit" (Psalm 30:1-3). This psalm of praise shows David's thanks to God following obviously difficult circumstances.
Notice King David not only praises God for the present moment but also for God's past faithfulness.
We dare not forget that King David not only gives thanks for past problems which have been conquered, in Psalm 28, the monarch shows his gratitude, even in the midst of difficult times. There he writes: "Blessed be the LORD! For He has heard the voice of my pleas for mercy. The LORD is my strength and my shield; in Him my heart trusts, and I am helped; my heart exults, and with my song I give thanks to Him. The LORD is the strength of His people; He is the saving refuge of His anointed. Oh, save Your people and bless Your heritage! Be their shepherd and carry them forever" (Psalm 28 6-9).
There are examples of believers' thankfulness in the New Testament as well. Paul was heavily persecuted, but he wrote, "But thanks be to God, who in Christ always leads us in triumphal procession, and through us spreads the fragrance of the knowledge of Him everywhere" (2 Corinthians 2:14).
Truly, we should be thankful because God is worthy of our praise. When we are thankful, our focus moves off selfish desires and the pain of current circumstances. Expressing thankfulness helps us remember that God is in control.
Thankfulness, then, is not only appropriate, it is actually healthy and beneficial to us. It reminds us of the bigger picture, that we belong to God, and that we have been blessed with every spiritual blessing.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, send Your Holy Spirit so that we may be truly thankful for our Savior and Your ongoing support, blessings and forgiveness. In Jesus' Name I pray. Amen.
Biography of Author: Today's international devotion was written by Rev. Vannarith Chhim. Married to Dalis, a Christian education consultant, they have two daughters. Pastor Chhim lives in Phnom Penh, the capital of Cambodia. There he serves as president of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Cambodia (ELCC) and as the speaker on The Lutheran Hour sponsored Law and Gospel program: The Answer to Life. In Cambodia, Lutheran Hour Ministries ministers through broadcasts, musical events, films, Bible Correspondence Courses, and Equipping the Saints. Lutheran Hour Ministries also provides clothing and other supplies to school-aged children.
Since its establishment in 2000, the ministry center staff and volunteers at LHM-Cambodia have used programs like Equipping the Saints (ETS) and Bible Correspondence Courses (BCC) to communicate the message of God's eternal love in this Southeast Asian country of more than 15 million people. The ministry center also cooperates with churches in reaching the lost through puppet shows, music events, and youth programs.
In country, LHM-Cambodia is known as Cambodia Christian Media Center. It's headquartered in Phnom Penh City. In addition to utilizing BCC and ETS workshops, this ministry center is active in evangelism training and educating this county's citizens in Christian teachings. Using a values-based education program, young people are taught the benefit of making healthy lifestyle choices.
Read the stories and see the pictures that show how LHM-Cambodia is using films and puppet performances to share the Good News in this predominately Buddhist nation. You can check the blog out by clicking here.
To learn more about our International Ministries, click here or visit www.lhm.org/international.
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries