2 Samuel 22:5-7 - For the waves of death encompassed me, the torrents of destruction assailed me; the cords of Sheol entangled me; the snares of death confronted me. "In my distress I called upon the LORD; to my God I called. From His temple He heard my voice, and my cry came to His ears."
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 December 2016, a few days before the end of the year, the people of Uruguay were in a panic.
You see, our small country of nearly 3.5 million inhabitants, had been all wrapped up in preparing for our New Year and Christmas celebrations. Like many Christian nations, we were concentrating on presents and parties and all kinds of things that kept our focus off the Savior and the wonderful changes His coming has made in our lives.
Then, at the very height of our celebration, came an event which no one could have imagined. During the last weeks of December, our nation was hit by a strong storm which did its worst damage on our country's seashore. Some people were killed, and many more lost their possessions.
The media showed us that it was often the most disadvantaged and remote communities which suffered the worst. Without the economic resources to cope with a climatic catastrophe, many individuals were left without hope. There were others, however, who -- like Samuel -- said, "In my distress I called upon the Lord, to my God I called."
If you had listened carefully to the individual on the street, the common question endlessly repeated was "If God exists, why do these things happen?"
Our ministry center shared two different answers to that question.
The first answer was this: "Maybe you ought to forget the bitterness of your question and instead consider how much worse things would be if the Lord did not stop, reduce, control, or redirect so many catastrophes and tragedies. Without His staying hand, everything would be infinitely worse, and our nation would be in absolute chaos."
Like so many believers of Scripture, we were given the faith to see the wonderful hand of God working in our lives, the confidence to know He never abandons us.
The second thing we shared was this: "In these moments of distress and confusion, God showed Himself through the ministrations of His people. Even as the media showed the pain of the sufferers, it also revealed how Christians had been motivated to go out and share words of comfort and encouragement."
Crying with those who were crying, we shared Christian charity and the Good News of a living-and-ever-present Savior. In the midst of so much pain and bitterness, we conveyed words of hope and restoration from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, in a sinful world, troubles will descend upon people without warning. Grant that these troubles be used to turn us to You for assistance rather than away from You in bitterness. Let us put our trust in the Savior whose life, death, and resurrection give us hope not just for the next world, but also for this. In Jesus' Name I pray. Amen.
Biography of Author: Today's international devotion was written by Sheila Baptista who serves on the staff of Cristo Para Todas Las Naciones-Uruguay. She is in charge of social networks and daily communication with our "virtual" friends on the internet. The web offers us a great opportunity, as we are able to reach folks in remote communities as well as large cities in the sharing of the Gospel message.
Since 2001, working out of the capital city of Montevideo, Cristo Para Todas Las Naciones (CPTLN) shares the message of the Gospel in this most secular of South American countries. Our staff, which consists of three gifted women, does outreach through the distribution of biblical reading materials and Bible studies.
In this South American country where religion is downplayed, LHM-Uruguay utilizes radio programs like "Focus" (a 30-second spot covering a variety of topics) and "Message of Hope" (60-minute programs speaking about faith and hope). Other outreach efforts include local performances, craft workshops, and special events that celebrate certain days like Children's Day, Mother's Day, and Christmas. Additionally, Project JOEL and other Bible-based resources connect with youth, helping them make sound value judgments and healthy decisions. The homeless and unemployed are also assisted through this ministry center's food distribution program.
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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