Let this be recorded for a generation to come, so that a people yet to be created may praise the LORD: that He looked down from His holy height; from heaven the LORD looked at the earth, to hear the groans of the prisoners, to set free those who were doomed to die. Psalm 102:18-20
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 common people of Kazakhstan have a rather pessimistic expression which says, "Beggary and prison are ills from which none can be safe."
Tragically, that was true for Yevgeniya Poverina.
Ms. Poverina had grown up as an obedient girl who was good in her studies. Then she reached that so-called "awkward age." During her teens Poverina was transformed into a rebellious, ungovernable teenager who refused to obey her mother or the family's Jehovah Witness morality.
Like many others in her generation, Poverina dropped out of school, associated with a bad crowd, and ended up in prison. There she spent her days blaming everyone for her situation ... everyone other than herself.
The prisons of Kazakhstan are not nice places. There are too many times when, rather than being reformed, the convicted learn from other, more seasoned, criminals. It doesn't take too much for a person to become bitter and lost.
But thanks be to God, the Holy Spirit can find the Lord's lost sheep, even in places like a Kazakhstan prison.
The Gospel of Jesus Christ found Poverina in her place of imprisonment. He was revealed to her as the immeasurably loving and forgiving Lord and Savior. She was delighted to be brought to faith in the Redeemer, who forgave her for being a sinner, who forgave her for being a criminal. By God's calling she was glad to know the Savior, who was unjustly imprisoned and murdered so all who believe might be freed from sin's consequences.
Eventually, Poverina was given her freedom.
That doesn't, however, mean her life became easy. An unbelieving husband, who had a quick-trigger temper and an unloving character, made things difficult. The only comfort she found were in her little son, whom she loved very much, and the strength she continued to receive from the newest member of her family: the living Lord Jesus Christ!
Jesus' love and forgiveness helped Poverina to love and forgive her husband.
Every day was spent in prayer as she asked the Lord to show her husband that his family was composed of four members, not three.
Our Lutheran Hour Ministries office was pleased that we could help Poverina in her spiritual walk by providing her with Bible Correspondence Courses. Living in the home she did, you can easily understand how she welcomed and appreciated the Scriptures -- and our office -- which provides her with spiritual and prayer support.
THE PRAYER: Lord Jesus, Your love and forgiveness have no limits, nor conditions! We thank You that You go and find those who have trespassed every law of God and man. Help us always remember that we are sinners, worthy of the hardest judgment and the harshest sentence. May Your love, forgiveness and mercy, which has been won for us by Jesus, always inspire and direct our earthly paths. In Jesus' Name I ask it. Amen.
Biography of Author: Today's international devotion was authored by the Lutheran Hour Ministries office in Kazakhstan. Every year that office receives thousands of responses from people who wish to learn more about Christ. Currently, the office produces a topical radio program and a 25-minute weekly TV program, which airs in all the major cities. The office publishes booklets, sends out medical team volunteers, and has developed youth programs called "Love is Kind" and "Labyrinth." Both programs use Scripture to encourage young people to lead a God-pleasing lifestyle. The ministry center in Kazakhstan has also developed and distributes Bible Correspondence Courses (BCC) for all ages.
In Kazakhstan the Gospel is shared effectively through the Internet, where YouTube videos and social media sites reach a largely unchurched audience. Youth outreach is a strong focus of this ministry center, with videos produced monthly for its "In Focus" series. Ongoing Scriptural training is done through LHM-Kazakhstan's BCC program, which benefits adults and children in their faith-walk. It also offers Equipping the Saints (ETS) workshops that foster outreach and help develop stronger connections among believers.
Read about LHM-Kazakhstan's efforts doing youth outreach in the town of Tonkeris 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