"From War to More"
August 13, 2017
Matthew 25:35 - (Jesus said) "For I was hungry and you gave Me food, I was thirsty and you gave Me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed Me."
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
Many refugees are innocent human beings forced to flee their homes and country. Facing physical, mental, and emotional trauma, refugees can confront many obstacles in their escape from persecution and war.
The civil war in Syria forced more than 1.5 million Syrians to seek the safety of Lebanon.
These refugees live in tents in camps, which lack basic infrastructure. Anyone approaching the camps of the Syrian refugees in the Bekaa Valley cannot miss them. In summer, the smell of garbage and sewage is noticed from a distance, and filthy trash is all around. Even in winter, the snow-covered landscape in areas is stained brown from open sewage and human waste.
It is hard to imagine someone is living here.
Our ministry was touched by this suffering and started to provide holistic gifts to some of the people. This gave us the opportunity to become a trusted friend to Ahmed and many others. Our time with them then helped us build personal relationships, which allowed us to share our faith. What follows is the story of Ahmed, and many others.
Ahmed has managed to survive a war and hold his family together. He has lost most everything else. He says, "We did not have much before, but we had a normal, happy life. Everything was nice before the war."
He is 34, but his hair is marked with gray.
"After two years of living in a tent, I look older," he says, with a weak smile and a sad face. Ahmed continued, "I have noticed that you have provided our camp with food two different times and you do not request anything in return. You always speak about Christ's love and that you support us for the sake of Christ. I have read your pamphlet The Good Shepherd, which was in one of the packages and would like to learn more about the miracles, healings, forgiveness, and love of Christ."
Ahmed's request was easily answered as we gave him a New Testament. When we gave the volume to him, we said, "'Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every Word that comes from the mouth of God.' Read it so that you may have a genuine relationship with God through Christ who died on the cross for our sake." (See Matthew 4:4.)
The next time we visited Ahmed he had a long list of questions.
He wanted to know more about redemption, grace, and salvation. He said, "I was very happy to receive the New Testament and, to be honest, my joy led me to read it every day because there is nothing better than lifting our souls to God."
The cruelty and many atrocities of ISIS shocked Ahmed and led him to seek the loving forgiveness and compassion shown by Christians.
Ahmed told me, "From you I learned that God loves me. I thank you for restoring my trust in the world. I have learned a lot about Jesus Christ from your love. Help me to learn more about His teaching and grow deeper in knowledge."
Our hearts were filled with happiness when we saw Ahmed's positive response and his awareness that Jesus is the true bread, and His Words are life to his soul. It was like water that refreshed our souls and gave us a push to continue ministering with enthusiasm.
We are fulfilling our mission by helping the refugees and by spreading the Good News among them. Our ministry takes its responsibility seriously and is helping to feed their body with food and to feed their souls with the message of God's salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, may You encourage us to tell the truth in affection to those who are lost and in need. Help us to show them the Savior who is the way to You so they might witness Your love and peace that surpasses all understanding. This I ask in Jesus Name. Amen.
Biography of Author: Today's international devotion was written by Mr. Fadi Khairallah. Mr. Khairallah serves as director for Middle East Lutheran Ministry (MELM) in Lebanon, a position he has held since December 2001. He joined the ministry in 1999. Mr. Khairallah was born in a Christian family in Baabda, Lebanon. He is currently preparing the thesis for his master's degree in Islamic studies. Mr. Khairallah is married to Lara. They have two boys and live in Beirut, Lebanon.
This ministry center's aim is to share the message of "peace and reconciliation" in the Middle East through different media tools such as the internet, television, and radio programs, which are produced weekly in the Arabic language. The programs are Christ centered and based on the Word of God. They deal with social and religious issues, providing help and spiritual guidance for the listeners who are often youth and young adults. The office also uses Bible Correspondence Courses (BCC), topical booklets, text messages, social media, video specials (DVDs) and spiritual hymns to strengthen the faith of participants. Holistic aid is given to many Muslim families and Bedouin communities through vacation Bible schools and programs that deliver clothing and school supplies to children. Emergency care is also given to Syrian and Iraqi families who have come to Lebanon from their countries, as they flee various conflicts in their homelands.
Be sure to check out LHM's International Ministries' blog page. You can find it by clicking here.
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries