Isaiah 55:10-11 - (The Lord said) "For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven and do not return there but water the earth, making it bring forth and sprout, giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater, so shall My Word be that goes out from My mouth; it shall not return to Me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it."
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 Sunday 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 this world, there are few guarantees.
However, if you are visiting Panama, you can almost be sure you will see rain. This results in some of the most lush and beautiful flora and vegetation in the entire world. After a rain, you can practically see Isaiah's words coming to fruition as new life comes forth.
What comfort the prophet Isaiah's words must have been to the people living during the Babylonian captivity.
In a land of strange customs, different food, and hostility, God's people had little to hold onto except the Word of God. The promise that, as they saw the rain and snow fall to earth and do something, so His Word would also do the same.
In truth, God's Word never returns empty.
The exiles received a more complete understanding of God's faithfulness when they were set free by Cyrus, the king of Persia. Their liberation was just one more proof of God's ongoing care for them -- a caring that stretched from the promise the Lord first made to Abraham to the fulfillment of that promise in the Person of the Redeemer.
Although I cannot say how it is around the world, I do know for children in Panama, school can be a place of strange customs, different experiences, and hostility.
Lutheran Hour Ministries-Panama responds to those pains, problems, and possibilities with a program called Project JOEL. Project JOEL is a ministry where the Lutheran Hour staff visits schools, bringing to the students the Word of God and the love of Jesus. This they do through songs and dramas.
I wish you could see how in the faces of these children we see the fulfillment of God's promise given to Isaiah. I wish you could be there and watch how the story and sacrifice of God's Son touches souls and accomplishes God's plan of salvation.
Where there was once sin, brokenness, and death, Jesus brings forgiveness, healing, and life. Moreover, into the baptismal font, Jesus pours life-giving water, not for sprouts and seeds, but for faith.
As surely as the rain brings new life in Panama, the Holy Spirit is using the Word shared by the Lutheran Hour staff to bring new life into the children of Panama's schools.
THE PRAYER: Almighty God, You are ever faithful to Your promises. You fulfill them in Your time, according to Your will. Thank You for sending Your Son into this world to bring forgiveness, life, and salvation. By the power of the Holy Spirit, help faith spring up wherever and whenever Your Word is heard. May this happen so souls may be saved and Your church may grow. This I ask through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.
Biography of Author: Today's international devotion was written by the Rev. Brian Gauthier, who is an LCMS missionary to Panama working in the area of theological education. In Panama, Lutheran Hour Ministries is called Cristo Para Todas Las Naciones. Our ministry shares the Savior through radio programs, TV spots, newspaper ads, Bible Correspondence Courses (BCC), visitation teams, Project JOEL, and Equipping the Saints (ETS) workshops.
With its ministry center in Panama City since 1995, Lutheran Hour Ministries-Panama makes Gospel connections with others through printed materials, live events, mass media and the internet, holistic outreach, and other means. Using BCCs, individuals are instructed in the basic tenets of the Christian faith and how to put them into operation in their lives. Through ETS workshops, laypeople are instructed in sharing their faith with others, in order to build bridges via the Gospel. Helping young people make healthy lifestyle choices is the role of Project JOEL, a program teaching faith-based values that has been successfully integrated into the curricula of public schools, giving teachers a valuable resource to help them foster and promote positive values. Ministry center volunteers play an important part in LHM-Panama's outreach efforts as well, supporting ministry staff and telling others about Jesus in this Central American country of nearly four million people.
Be sure to check out LHM's International Ministries' blog page. You can find it by clicking here.
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries
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