For those whom He foreknew He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, in order that He might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those whom He predestined He also called, and those whom He called He also justified, and those whom He justified He also glorified. Romans 8:29-30
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 think that the first, as well as the final, work of the Lord is the forgiving of our many sins and the saving of our souls. Even as we offer our unending thanks for these blood-bought gifts of God, we also recognize there is more to the Lord's work than the forgiving of our sins and granting us our adoption into the family of faith.
In St. Paul's letter to the church at Rome, the apostle tells us the Holy Spirit is constantly bringing us into compliance with the image of God's Son. When I first heard those words, I wondered how any sinner-saint could ever hope to be conformed to Jesus' image.
Then I realized a person can either believe in Jesus, the Savior, or he can believe in Jesus, the religion.
There is a difference between the two.
Faith in a religion can be very well-organized, but it can also be dead. But faith in the risen Redeemer is also a living thing. Faith in Jesus brings repentance, love, joy and faith into our lives, into our hearts, and into our characters.
That means, we should, as much as we are able, be Christ-like in our character. This change of character is not a thing that is begun and completed in the moment we become followers of the Christ. No, even as repentance is an ongoing activity of the saved Christian, so also is living our daily lives in a way that glorifies Jesus and brings us into increasing compliance with our Heavenly Father's wishes.
To that end we pray to be given insight so we may recognize those things in our lives which need to be changed. Little wonder God's Word says when we are in Christ, we are a new creation (see 2 Corinthians 5:17). When the Lord sets His standard before us in this way, inevitably we welcome the opportunity to be transformed and changed because, when Jesus is set as our divine example, everything about us will need to be changed.
THE PRAYER: Father, we pray that You will continue to remake us into proper servants of the Savior. Through Your Holy Spirit may we forsake sin and be transformed into the likeness of our Redeemer Jesus. He is our glorious Servant and humble King, and it is in His Name this prayer is offered. Amen.
Biography of Author: Today's international devotion was authored by Lebanon's Michel Matar. He has experienced an eventful life with his early years being touched by drugs, alcohol and the occult. In Lebanon, Matar is a well-known musician with several CDs to his credit. In 1989, he was touched by the love and forgiveness of Jesus. When he started reading the Word of God on a daily basis, his addiction and perverse lifestyle were over. Since then he has never looked back. After his conversion, he studied all our Bible Correspondence Courses (BCC) and became a close friend of MELM -- Middle East Lutheran Ministry. Today, Matar has dedicated his life, his music, and his talents in the service of the Lord.
Launched in Beirut in 1950, MELM -- also known as LHM-Lebanon -- is deeply committed to helping war-weary refugees from neighboring countries like Syria and Iraq. The widespread issues of conflict and extremist persecution in the Middle East against people of all religions and ethnicities in recent years has created unprecedented challenges -- and opportunities -- for LHM-Lebanon to care for others and share the Gospel with those in dire circumstances. As part of its outreach strategy, this ministry center produces radio broadcasts that reach at least ten Arabic-speaking countries throughout the Middle East, including Egypt, Iraq and Libya. This ministry center also utilizes TV, films, a website, and text-messages to connect with people in need. Vacation Bible schools reach out to Bedouin communities, and other holistic programs make clothing and school supplies available to children, who otherwise would likely do without. Training individuals in everyday witnessing is done through the Equipping the Saints (ETS) program too, with many participants being university students and young adults.
You can read how LHM-Lebanon is providing extensive material and spiritual aid to Assyrian Christians by clicking here and reading its latest blog post, which details its efforts in words and pictures.
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