Luke 2:12 - And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.
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
The verse for this devotion is one that we usually hear only at Christmas.
The shepherds were told by the angels that Christ the Savior had been born in nearby Bethlehem. We can assume there was any number of babies in Bethlehem at that time so, in order to avoid the possibility of error, they were given a sign: this baby would be found in a manger.
If God sent you a sign, would you recognize it?
Or perhaps a better question is this: does God still communicate to us with signs? Angela would say that He does. Angela is a retired art teacher who lives with her husband in an apartment in Santiago, not far from the Lutheran Hour Ministries' office. In spite of the signs on the building, it never occurred to her to go in.
Angela has not had an easy life.
Married at a young age then abandoned by her first husband with two small children, she was left to scratch and claw and make a life for her family on her own. In later years, it was her great joy to see her younger daughter get married and have a child. Tragically, her son-in-law and grandchild both died in an accident. Years later, that same daughter was diagnosed with cancer who died after fighting the disease for three years.
Angela was inconsolable.
In her time of grief, some Jehovah's Witnesses came to her door and offered to help her understand the Bible. As she studied with them each week, Angela began to have doubts about whether or not their explanation of the Bible was true. She decided to buy a Bible of her own and start researching it for herself.
That's when she saw the sign: a regular, 8 ½ by 11-inch paper sign taped to the outside of the Lutheran Hour office.
The sign read: "Large-Print Bibles Available, Hardcover, 5,000 Pesos." Without hesitation, Angela entered the office and purchased her Bible. As we conversed with her, we learned about her desire to better understand God's Word, and invited her to attend a Bible course called "Hacia Una Nueva Vida" ("Towards a New Life").
I taught that class and had the great joy of watching Angela be brought to a living faith in Christ through the power of the Word and Spirit. Today, both Angela and her husband Jorge are active members of the Lutheran church in Santiago.
Does God still work through signs? He has in the past, and we ask your prayers that He do so again and again in the future.
THE PRAYER: Lord, Your Word brings life! It is a treasure to all beyond comparing. Help us to put that treasure out in the open for all to see, so that many more people would come to know Your saving grace, which is ours through the sacrifice of our Savior in whose Name we pray. Amen.
Biography of Author: Today's international devotion was written by the Rev. Dr. James Tino. Dr. Tino is the director of Global Lutheran Outreach and serves as a missionary with the Confessional Lutheran Church of Chile. He lives in Santiago and volunteers as an evangelist and Bible teacher with Lutheran Hour Ministries.
Our center is known in Chile as Cristo Para Todas Las Naciones-Chile. The Lutheran Hour Ministries has a ministry office in Santiago, from which it conducts evangelistic and outreach activities throughout the country. One fruitful strategy has been to sponsor workshops or talleres, which are led by volunteers: music workshops, conferences, lectures, English classes, and even a class to learn German! This ministry center also uses the Equipping the Saints (ETS), and brochures about social topics.
In this South American country of nearly 18 million people, Lutheran Hour Ministries-Chile serves as the primary evangelism partner of the new Evangelical Lutheran Church of Chile (IELCHI). Conducting ETS workshops and distributing outreach literature and topical booklets in places like public health clinics, this ministry center works in conjunction with affiliated IELCHI congregations and mission starts. Additional LHM-Chile activities include youth music programs, elder care programs, holistic women's workshops, and drug abuse prevention programs.
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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