(Jesus said) "I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in Me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in Me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned." John 15:5-6
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
In Liberia the people tell the story of a family of three who lived one day at a time. They never knew what tomorrow would bring. As a result, they just endured one day and looked with hope for the arrival of tomorrow. With jobs hard to come by, it seemed that things couldn't become much more difficult.
Unfortunately, things did get worse.
One family member was broken down by the pressure and the demands that life had been making on him. Kaffa, the youngest of Garjay's two sons, started to wander away from his roots and managed to lose his Christian identity.
Every fruit he bore was the opposite of the positive fruits of the Spirit, which Jesus talked about.
Now many people, having heard Kaffa's story, will sympathize with this young man's plight. Some will say, "What do you expect him to do? Times are just too hard." Then there are those who will say, "But he has to survive." Yet others will come up with other excuses and rationalizations for the behavior of the young man.
Of course, those are our ideas and not those of the Lord.
Scripture is clear: we should trust that Christ can make a way for us in His own time. To that end we need to remain in Him if we are to bear any fruit at all. That's the point Paul was making in 2 Corinthians 5:17 when he wrote, "If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come."
If we have placed our faith and our future in Jesus, the Holy Spirit will instill in us a new way of thinking and living. By God's grace we will be clothed in the Lord Jesus (see Galatians 3:27).
This is fact, not fiction. The Holy Spirit lives inside every person who has been brought to faith in Jesus. He will always be there, prompting us, encouraging us, guiding us, changing us, maturing us through all the twists and turns of life. When situations challenge us in life, we can ask the Holy Spirit to help us overcome those challenges. This is the way we can remain in Christ and bear the needed fruits he asks of us.
Now we all know from experiences that we cannot completely avoid sin and behave perfectly. That will never happen in this sad and sinful world. But Jesus has the power to free us from the domination of sin (see Romans 7:24-25; 8:1-2).
When that happens, we will outwardly show the world what has taken place within us by God's grace. Each day we will strive to copy the Savior's perfection. Our daily walk and our very attitude and demeanor will all serve as a witness to others that we are devoted to our Lord.
And that will be true no matter what our financial circumstance or condition, which is why I encourage you: remain in Christ and bear a fruit today.
THE PRAYER: My Lord and my God, please continuously remind me to remain in You so that I can bear the necessary fruits that glorify the Redeemer who has given His life to forgive, save and empower me. In Jesus' Name. Amen.
Biography of Author: today's international devotion was written by Abraham Shape. He became a volunteer at our Lutheran Hour Ministries office in Liberia after he had completed our LHM Bible Correspondence Course (BCC). At the present time, Shape works with the ministry's supervisor to help distribute BCC booklets to students in Gardnerville, Liberia.
Based in Monrovia, the capital of Liberia, Lutheran Hour Ministries-Liberia was established in 2013. Emerging from years of civil war, this country of 4.5 million people is served by a ministry center that airs a weekly radio program that invites listeners to sign up for BCC training. This instruction is offered in two languages: Krahn and Bassa. Working with area congregations, LHM-Liberia presents films, outdoor concerts, and dramatic performances as a way to connect with local communities and invite people to know more about Jesus. Ministry partnerships with area congregations help recruit and cultivate volunteers and open doors for scheduling Equipping the Saints (ETS) workshops to train individuals to witness to their faith.
To read and see more about what's going on in Liberia, you can click here to visit 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