... the tested genuineness of your faith -- more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire -- may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. Though you have not seen Him, you love Him. Though you do not now see Him, you believe in Him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory. 1 Peter 1:7-8
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
Faith is an essential part of the human condition.
It is faith which makes us believe in the labels affixed to the products we buy. It is faith in the author and the publisher that makes us believe the information recorded in our textbooks. It is faith which has us accept the things our teachers say to us.
Understandably, some of this information can be verified. For example, we can examine the chemical makeup of the ingredients, which are listed on the label of a food product. Sometimes we can check the material presented in a textbook against other credible observers. Yes, we can check, but in most cases, such comprehensive examination is done only in very special circumstances.
That's because most people are more ready to believe what they hear, read, and are told than they are to doubt. That is why we believe the television and radio ads, which bombard us. We believe the wisdom of our doctors and follow the prescriptions, which they give us. We believe in the predictions of our weather forecasters, even though they have often shown themselves to be repeatedly wrong.
Yes, we are believers ... and sometimes that can be a mistake.
Believing is a mistake when something we have just always accepted is proven to be questionable or downright wrong. Not far from my house is a store that sells all kinds of things made of gold. The store has salesmen out on the sidewalk encouraging people to come in and buy something, anything.
Sometimes that's not too hard a sell. Gold has always been a symbol of prosperity, well-being and, to some extent, safety. A person who has a large pile of gold believes himself to be secure. In contrast to conventional truth, the Bible tells us it is useless to store up treasures on earth, where thieves can break in and steal, and where moth and rust can destroy it, and gold will lose its value. (See Matthew 6:19-21.)
The apostle Peter adds that our faith is more precious than gold.
So where shall we put our faith? To help people find an answer, Lutheran Hour Ministries in Russia has created a website: www.gtgold.ru. Please feel free to visit the site. Do a right-mouse-button click, and you can have the site translated, so you can read it.
The name of the website comes from the phrase in 1 Peter 1:7 -- Greater Than Gold -- which we have abbreviated. Truly our faith is greater, and more valuable, than gold! By God's grace it does great things: through Jesus' life, death and resurrection, it gives salvation and hope of eternal life. That is why our website on the www.gtgold.ru is focused on the video course called Basics of Christian Faith.
Faith in the right thing is important. Faith in the only Savior is paramount. That kind of faith is reflected in our closing prayer. The words are found in the songbook of the Lutheran Church of Ingria.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, "How great and wonderful, O God, is the world created by You, But there is nothing in the whole Universe more valuable than You, Lord. Unworthy, I bow down before the mystery of faith, And in hope I rely on Your immeasurable love." In Jesus' Name. Amen.
Biography of Author: Today's international devotion was authored by Igor Savich. Dr. Savich was born in Kazakhstan in 1950. He graduated from Kazakh State University in 1972 and received his doctorate from the Bach Institute of Biochemistry in 1992. In that same year he became a Christian. In 2007 he moved with his family to St. Petersburg, where he worked as vice rector of St. Petersburg Christian University. In 2008 he joined Lutheran Hour Ministries and is director of the Concordia Foundation, which is the official name of Lutheran Hour Ministries in Russia.
In this vast country, LHM-Russia makes good use of the Internet and social media vehicles to broadcast spiritual content. It also uses radio and television programming, print media, music, and drama and puppet performances to get the Word out. Staff and volunteers also focus on youth and prison ministry opportunities. Since the beginning of March, three well-attended Equipping the Saints (ETS) workshops were held in partnership with area churches. Bible Correspondence Courses (BCC) are popular across the board too, with a high rate of graduation among people of all ages. Recently, a Russian social network, Vkontakte, was employed to invite non-believers and the unchurched to take advantage of the Bible course, Conversations about the Christian Faith. In addition to online invites, some 32,000 flyers were distributed by hand to subway commuters and passersby in May!
You can read about LHM-Russia's street side efforts to invite people to its Bible course by clicking here and reading its blog.
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