Jesus said to him, "If it is My will that he remain until I come, what is that to you? You follow Me!" John 21:22
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
A widow I know provided for her young son by washing and ironing people's clothes.
Both mother and child used to pray every evening before they went to sleep. Their prayers were humble petitions in which they asked God to support and help them. There is one other thing you should know about their prayers: they were always made as they knelt by their bedsides.
In other words, this boy was brought up in prayer and in church.
Sadly, later in his life, bad boys in the village became the friends of our Christian lad. Slowly he began to follow them; slowly he stopped following Jesus. One night as the gang was breaking into a neighbor's home, our boy found himself kneeling as he used a skeleton key on the lock.
It was then he remembered how he used to kneel in prayer. Confronted on how far he had fallen, the boy cried out and ran away into the night. Soon he was back home.
By God's grace, that boy -- now a man -- works with me as a Lutheran Hour Ministries' volunteer.
The story of the boy-who-ran-away-from-Jesus is the story of many believers. It is certainly the story of the apostle Peter. You know his story: how Jesus had called him and his brother away from their nets to a new and different life. In the years that followed they had seen many miracles, heard many wonderful truths being preached.
But then Jesus had allowed Himself to be arrested, tried, tortured and murdered.
Things had not turned out as they had thought they would. Not knowing what the future would hold, Peter went back to his former occupation. "I am going fishing," he had said, and some of the other disciples concurred by volunteering: "We'll go with you" (see John 21:3).
Subsequent events showed to those men that Jesus does not forget, nor does He desert those whom He has called. On the shores of the Sea of Galilee, the risen Redeemer recalled His disciples and set them on a path, which would bring light to those in darkness and the message of salvation to the entire world.
Jesus does the same sort of thing to His modern-day disciples.
Today, the Lord comes to us and asks, "Do you love Me?"
Our answer, like that of Peter, ought to be, "Yes, Lord, You know that I love You" (see John 21:15-10). If that is so, and I pray it is, then know the Savior is trusting you to be His witnesses to those who are still lost. We who became the Savior's followers through water and Word are now reminded of that calling and our responsibility to feed, protect and care for the Savior's beloved lambs and sheep.
Today, give thanks as the Holy Spirit calls and recalls you to bring Christ to the nations.
THE PRAYER: Oh Lord, Your Word reminds us how we were called to faith and encourages us to share that faith with others. May Your Holy Spirit keep and strengthen us so that we, like Your first disciples, may show, "Lord, You know we love You." This I ask in Jesus' Name. Amen.
Biography of Author: Today's international devotion was authored by Pastor William David Zoulder. Reverend Zoulder is a pastor of the Malagasy Lutheran Church. After his graduation from Lomonossov State University in Moscow, he was appointed to the University of Madagascar as a philosophy lecturer. He graduated from the School of Theology of Natal University Pietermaritzburg, South Africa. He is currently a parish pastor and is involved with LHM's radio program as well as working as a translator for our Bible Correspondence Courses (BCC). He is married to Virginia, who is one of our accountants. Together the Zoulders have three children.
In this country of more than 22 million people, LHM-Madagascar (known in-country as Voice of the Gospel) utilizes radio as the most efficient means of reaching the citizens of this island nation. A 30-minute weekly FM radio program addresses cultural, spiritual and emotional topics, offering a Christian perspective to listeners. Through outreach conducted in both French and Malagasy, this ministry center -- established in Antananarivo in 1993 -- connects with rural communities through rallies and film showings, which often draw hundreds. Young people in high school and those serving time in detention centers also benefit from these films. As a way to strengthen believers' ability to share the Gospel, Equipping the Saints (ETS) workshops provide relational tools, material resources, and trained instruction in conveying the Good News of Jesus Christ. More than 5,000 participants are active in its BCC program too.
Check out the brief story and pictures marking the 20th anniversary of a prayer group in a Madagascar hospital 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