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11-02-2009, 08:46 AM
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"What's The Point?"

November 2, 2009

Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. . . . Or what portion does a believer share with an unbeliever? 2 Corinthians 6:14a; 15b

Over the years I have had the opportunity to visit with, work with, and travel with some honorable men who followed the tenets of Islam.

It has been an interesting experience visiting with these fellows, sharing their perspectives on life, listening to their positions on religion in general and, Christianity, in particular.

We found there were things we shared in common. We both wanted our children to be well educated. We wanted our grandchildren to grow up in a world of peace. We prayed our days would be reasonably healthy and our endings swift and painless.

There were many matters of the heart and mind that brought us together.

And there was the matter of faith that kept us apart.

We didn't hate each other; we didn't despise each other; we didn't even put each other down.

On the contrary, we respected each other and the sincerity of our individual beliefs. But there
came that time, there always came that time, when we disagreed. We disagreed completely and totally on how we were to be saved.

I believed I was saved by Jesus' sacrifice; they believed they were saved by their compliance to the Koran, the prophet, and the tenets of Islam.

This is why I was amazed to read this year some Christians celebrated Ramadan -- the time when Muslims refrain from food and drink during daylight hours. I was surprised to hear these Christians considered this a gesture of solidarity that would deepen respective faiths and send a message about finding peace and common ground.

It's an interesting philosophy but if I'm reading the above Scripture correctly, it's not an accurate one. The truth is that while Christianity believes God's Son, Jesus Christ, has paid the ransom to save us, Islam does not. The truth is we believe we are saved by grace through faith in the Christ and Islam does not.

Somebody is right in what they believe, and somebody is wrong.

Now understand, I believing in respecting the faith of others; I believe in dialoguing with them and sharing with them and witnessing to them of the Savior who saves. But I can't pretend there is common ground when there isn't. I can't pretend there's more than one way to heaven when there is not.

THE PRAYER: Dear Lord Jesus, for Your sacrifice, Your suffering, and Your death that saves, I am most grateful. I pray the Holy Spirit will keep me and those around me in the faith. But I also pray for those who are still in darkness. May they see the wonders of Your love and the power of Your grace. In Your Name. Amen.

In Christ I remain His servant and yours,

Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker of The Lutheran HourŪ
Lutheran Hour Ministries

11-03-2009, 08:41 AM

November 3, 2009

For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery. Galatians 5:1

One of the most surprising things Pam and I found during out travels to Israel was the special Sabbath elevators.

All day long they go from the bottom floor to the top floor, from the top floor to the bottom floor. And they open up and stop at every floor in between.

When we first got on such an elevator, we thought some young child had gotten on and pushed all the buttons.

Then we figured out the rule. The Jewish law, halacha, says it is work to push a button on the Sabbath. People are not supposed to work on the Sabbath, so no button pushing is allowed. Those who need an elevator to get back to their condo or apartment have to take the stairs, or wait for someone to push the button for them, or . . . well, there was no other choice. Not until the fellow invented the elevator that stopped on every floor.

Problem solved.

Until recently. Last month a rabbinical ruling came down which said these self-running elevators were also a violation of the law because the weight of the passengers increases the amount of electricity needed to power the lift.

Ninety-nine-year-old Rabbi Yosef Shalom Elyashiv is the scholar who made the controversial decision about elevators. It was not his last. Last September he decreed Jews could not wear Crocs (the shoes) on the Day of Atonement because they were too comfy for this serious day of fasting.

Now I share this not to criticize or disparage. Indeed, on one level I greatly respect any group of people who are so deeply concerned with following their faith and doing right.

On the other hand, I rejoice in the freedom the Savior has given to me and all those who follow Him. Jesus' fulfilling of the laws we have broken has set us free from the condemnation of those laws.

Now, in thanksgiving to the Savior, we are forgiven and saved and freed to live a life of thanksgiving and appreciation.

In short, our lives are no longer lived fulfilling ongoing obligations; they are filled with heartfelt gratitude for our blood-bought, God-given liberty.

THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, once we were under sin's rule and conviction. Now, because of Jesus' perfect life, we have been set free. May the Holy Spirit direct our gladdened hearts to live our days in gratitude and thanks for this divine gift. In Jesus' Name. Amen.

In Christ I remain His servant and yours,

Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker of The Lutheran HourŪ
Lutheran Hour Ministries

11-04-2009, 08:51 AM
"Maybe Some Of Scripture?"

November 4, 2009

All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness. 2 Timothy 3:16

What language does God speak?

That question was the beginning of a joke that was going around long ago, back when I was in seminary. According to the joke, one old farmer said, "God speaks German." When the farmer was asked how he knew, he took out his Bible and pointed to Genesis 3:9 where it says God went looking for the hiding Adam and asked, "Adam, wo bist du?" ("Adam, where are you?")

I didn't say it was a funny joke.

Now here's something even unfunnier. On Halloween, a North Carolina pastor brought his congregation, Amazing Grace Baptist Church, together to burn heretical books.

Sadly, Pastor Mark Grizzard put many versions of the Bible at the top of the banned book list.

According to Pastor Grizzard, the King James Version of the Bible is the only true Word of God and all other versions are perverted and satanic. Indeed, he believes only the King James Version is God's preserved, inspired, inerrant, infallible Word of God for English-speaking people.

Now I like the King James as much as the next person. It was from the KJV I memorized Scripture, and it will be part of me until I die. Even more, there are verses -- like those of Psalm 23 -- which feel comfortable only when I say them in the King James Version.

Still, we need to be careful.

Personal preference for a translation is a long way from claiming one-of-a-kind divine verbal inspiration for that translation.

Rather than making the news for the burning of the Bible, I would prefer to see Pastor Grizzard, along with all of God's people, claim the headlines because they were living the Word.

Before you write to me, let me say, "Yes, I know, we don't do good so we can get recognition from the world. We don't." On the other hand, if the Savior's redeemed people spent an entire day showing their appreciation for the Savior's sacrifice, I have to think the world would take notice. I pray they would.

THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, fill our hearts with an appreciation of the Savior's sacrifice and a desire to share His story with the lost. May our witness avoid the burning of the Word and include lifting high Jesus' cross. This I ask in Jesus' Name. Amen.

In Christ I remain His servant and yours,

Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker of The Lutheran HourŪ
Lutheran Hour Ministries

11-05-2009, 08:52 AM

November 5, 2009

Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. James 4:7

I'm not exactly sure where Eve -- you know, the Eve from the book of Genesis -- came from.

I'm pretty sure she didn't hale from Council Bluffs, Iowa.

If Eve had come from that town, the world's history might read differently.

Let me explain: We all know the passage from James that says, "Resist the devil, and he will flee from you." Sadly, not too many people, including the original Eve, do much devil resisting.

In contrast to Eve, we have the story of the 26-year-old lady from Council Bluffs. She was taking a bath on Wednesday evening when she noticed her cat had come into the bathroom. Coming near water was something her cat never did.

The lady got dressed and went out to investigate. When she went into the living room, she saw a man, a strange man, standing over her four-year-old son who was sleeping in the recliner.

The lady yelled. Then she threatened to call 911.

For her outrage and threats the burglar hit her in the head. Now if this was a movie, the lady would have cringed in the corner, or would have passed out, or would have run for help. But this was not a movie, and this young lady knew how to resist evil.

She grabbed her son's plastic baseball bat and started clobbering the burglar with it. She clobbered him fast, and she clobbered him furious. She clobbered him with such intensity he decided it was in his best interest to get out of the house.

Now if Eve had clobbered that snake and Satan when he first began to make his suggestions to sin, I think we'd be in a better place today. Of course, as I said, Eve wasn't from Council Bluffs, Iowa.

Still, we who have been redeemed and who have seen the Savior's bravery are blessed to have God's encouragement to take a serious stand against the world's evil and against Satan's sinful urgings.

God is sort of encouraging us to be like that lady from Council Bluffs, Iowa. How? Like her, our resistance to evil shouldn't be part time, pathetic, or sporadic. When we say "no!" to the devil, we need to say if fiercely, firmly, and finally.

THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, forgive the times when our resistance to the devil and his encouragements are pathetic. Send the Holy Spirit to empower us to take a stand for the Savior who gave His life so we might be forgiven and saved. In Jesus' Name. Amen.

In Christ I remain His servant and yours,

Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker of The Lutheran HourŪ
Lutheran Hour Ministries

11-05-2009, 08:55 AM
I think I will try to say NO! more often and more FIERCELY! today.

11-06-2009, 08:53 AM
"Jesus Is Our Hope"

November 6, 2009

Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in Me will never die. Do you believe this?" John 11:25-26

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 of The Lutheran Hour

Before the time of Christ, life was very difficult and people searched for something in which to place their hope. They had the Law, but that only came with accusation. No one could fulfill the Law, and the result was death.

This crisis covered all aspects of life: politics, economics, health, even spiritual life. This is similar to the situation today, with one exception: Jesus has brought us the hope of forgiveness and eternal life. Through His death on the cross, He took the condemnation of our sins upon Himself. Through His resurrection from the dead, He gives us complete forgiveness.

The world we live in is ruled by a physical law. Decay is a natural ending to any living thing. But scientists are trying to prolong human life by developing cryogen systems and clone technology, spending huge amounts of money on rich people who are afraid of death and are hoping to avoid it.

There is, however, something very simple - and remarkable -- that gives us hope. Whether you have money or not, faith in Jesus Christ alone provides hope. The apostle John wrote, "I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life" (1 John 5:13).

But, how can one believe if they have not heard? This is where God uses us -- to tell others about what He has done through Jesus Christ!

THE PRAYER: Thank You for the love and life You have given us through the death and resurrection of Your Son, Jesus. Give us the opportunities and words to share Your Good News with others. Amen.

Biography of Author:
Igor Savich, director of Lutheran Hour Ministries' Russian office, wrote this devotion. In this enormous country spanning ten time zones, LHM-Russia connects with people through a variety of Gospel-centered programs, such as LHM's Bible Correspondence Courses (BCC) that Savich and his staff are now organizing. Such mission work gives people in distant villages a wonderful opportunity to access the Bible and hear the message of Christ as their Savior.

11-07-2009, 09:39 AM

November 7, 2009

For I the LORD do not change; therefore you, O children of Jacob, are not consumed. Malachi 3:6

Have you noticed that when people change the name of an item, they often change its value as well?

For example, I've noticed that a store that sells "footwear" charges more for their products than a store that sells "shoes." A "journal" is usually more expensive than a "magazine." And a business that has "clientele" is often a lot more expensive than a shop that has "customers."

When I mentioned those examples to one of my friends at Lutheran Hour Ministries' headquarters, he immediately added, "Don't forget, a trip to a men's "hair salon" will set you back three times as much as a visit to a "barber."

That same principle probably applies to people, too. I wonder if a "prison guard" makes less than a "security officer," or if a "garbage man" is less appreciated than a "sanitation engineer." Is a "rat catcher" of less value than a "rodent exterminator"?

Of course, there are some things that simply don't change. You know, things like the proverbial death and taxes.

Here's another item that can be added to the list of unchangeables: most of us carry around sins and shortcomings, pains and problems.

This is why we need that one other thing which doesn't change: the forgiveness that comes to us through the Savior's blood-bought salvation.

Because of Jesus' sacrifice, we know there is nothing that can separate believers from the love of God. Not nothing, no how.

From a devotion originally written for "By the Way"

THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, we thank You that You are changeless. Because of Your unchanging love we are forgiven of past sins and the condemnation that once awaited us. Thank You for Your unconditional love, which comes to us through Jesus and in whose Name, we pray. Amen.

In Christ I remain His servant and yours,

Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker of The Lutheran HourŪ
Lutheran Hour Ministries

11-08-2009, 09:32 AM
"Being Me"

November 8, 2009

But God shows His love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:8

Did you ever think your life might be easier if you were somebody different, somebody else?

If so, you might learn a lesson from an experiment conducted by a 19-year-old college student. What he tried to do was find out how people would react to him if he lived and acted like the most remarkable of saints: Francis of Assisi.

Like St. Francis, the college student went begging for food; he washed with melted snow; he dressed in a simple brown robe, talked to the animals, and the like.

What he discovered was this: people whispered behind his back, they called the police, and they stared at him as if he were a nut -- pretty much the same way St. Francis' contemporaries had treated him in the 11th century.

The animals weren't much better. "I tried to talk to some birds," said the student. "They flew away."

No matter how desirable or advantageous we might think it would be to be like somebody else, we don't have the ability to make ourselves into somebody different.

We have to be ourselves with all our sins and shortcomings. But that's not any kind of revelation, is it? What might be surprising is this: in spite of our sins and shortcomings, the Lord still loves us and wants to save us.

That's why Jesus was born into this world. It is why He lived for us, why He resisted temptations to sin, why He sacrificed Himself for us. It is why He rose on the third day.

Now, all who believe in Him find that they have indeed become somebody different. In Jesus, they are forgiven and saved.

And that's a person worth being.

From a devotion originally written for "By the Way"

THE PRAYER: Dear Savior, for loving me as a sinner, I thank You. For giving Yourself so I might be changed and saved, You have my eternal gratitude. May I, this day, reflect Your grace to others who don't know how You can transform them. In Your Name. Amen.

In Christ I remain His servant and yours,

Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker of The Lutheran HourŪ
Lutheran Hour Ministries

11-09-2009, 08:52 AM
"The Not-So-Good Samaritan"

November 9, 2009

But a Samaritan, as He journeyed, came to where He was, and when He saw him, He had compassion. Luke 10:33

Good Samaritans and entrepreneurs -- those are two titles you don't often see together.

Maybe so, but 41-year-old Christopher Walls of Johnson City, Tennessee, qualifies as a Good Samaritan and an entrepreneur.

Well, sort of.

Let me explain. It's easier if I start with the Good Samaritan part. You should know Mr. Walls is a mechanic, a mechanic of some talent. Even though he wasn't at his shop or on official mechanic duty, there are a number of people in his hometown who can verify that when their cars unexpectedly broke down, Mr. Walls very courteously came forward and used his skills to help.

Yes, he charged them, but they were grateful a mechanic was nearby when their cars broke down.

Now, let me explain about Mr. Walls' entrepreneurial side. Apparently, business hasn't been very good at the shop where he works as a mechanic. Now a regular person might sit around and lament his fate, but not Mr. Walls. He is an entrepreneur and he took his fate into his own hands.

Mr. Walls went out to restaurant parking lots and used his mechanical skills to disable cars. Then, when the cars' owners came out of the restaurant, Mr. Walls -- entrepreneur that he is -- would come forward and volunteer, for a small fee, to fix the vehicle that he had previously . . . unfixed.

The police department of Johnson City, Tennessee, has arrested Mr. Walls on two counts of thievery. So far only two people have come forward to accuse him, but the police are sure more victims will join the list and make the world know Mr. Walls isn't a Good Samaritan after all.

Now there are a lot of ways this story can be used in a Daily Devotion. We could talk about the corruption of human hearts, or we could zero in on how there is help for difficult times. We might even use the story to warn Christians to be on guard against those who would deceive.
But we're not going to go those routes.

Instead, let us think upon Jesus, the ultimate Good Samaritan. Looking on our lost condition, Jesus came into this world to fix that which our transgressions had broken. Freely, willingly, unilaterally, Jesus gave His life to mend the bridge between earth and heaven, to mend the bridge our sins had torn down. We don't have enough money to pay Him for His sacrifice and, if we did, He wouldn't take it, but we can say, "thank you" to our Savior who gave Himself to save us.

THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, there are a lot of fakes, charlatans, and con men out there. Sometimes I'm not sure who I can trust. Today I give thanks for Jesus who has, without my asking, without any payment, done everything necessary for my salvation. In Jesus' Name, I give thanks. Amen.

In Christ I remain His servant and yours,

Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker of The Lutheran HourŪ
Lutheran Hour Ministries

11-10-2009, 08:51 AM
"Something's Wrong Here"

November 10, 2009

Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the Church and gave Himself up for her. Ephesians 5:25

Being speaker for The Lutheran Hour has forced me to broaden my perspective on life.

Even so, I have to admit I have problems with the story of Ahmed Mohamed Dhore. Mr. Dhore who claims to be 112 years old, has recently "realized his dream by marrying a girl aged just 17." He says he "didn't force her but used his experience to convince her of his love."

The girl's family blessed the union, as did Mr. Dhore's eighteen children and his two (out of five) surviving wives.

The story continues. Mr. Dhore says he has wanted to be married to the young lady (her name is Safiya) for years, but has patiently waited for her to grow up before proposing. I should share that since Somalia's government collapsed in 1991, Islamic Sharia law is in effect in many places. That religious law allows polygamy for men and marriage from the age of puberty for girls.

So that's the story, except for this fact: after the wedding Mr. Dhore said, "Today, God has helped me realize my dream."

It was that comment, more than any other, which bothered me about that story.

You see, it's difficult for me to believe that my God would approve of such a union. Nowhere do I see anything in Mr. Dhore's thinking process that says he is going to love his wife as Christ loved the Church. Nowhere do I see him willing to sacrifice himself for her happiness or her good.

Of course, Mr. Dhore's god is not my God, and no matter what the free thinkers of this world may say, all gods are not the same.

When I look at my Savior, I see someone who was unique. In Jesus I see the Son of God who gave and gave and then gave some more. From cradle to cross Jesus gave Himself so you and I and all who believe on Him would be forgiven and saved.

But that isn't the only difference.

While I shall most certainly wish Mr. Dhore and his newest bride a peaceful life, I am eager to give thanks for my blessed Savior whose sacrifice has given me a religion, a faith in which "there is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus" (Galatians 3:28).

Such a world is part of the dream of the Triune God. His is a dream for which I am most appreciative, and His is a cause I am most proud to proclaim.

THE PRAYER: Dear Jesus, for Your sacrifice, for Your death and resurrection that frees men and women of their sins, I give thanks. Now may I be bold in witnessing to the wonder of what You have done and Your gift that gives joy in this world and hope for the next. In Your Name. Amen.

In Christ I remain His servant and yours,

Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker of The Lutheran HourŪ
Lutheran Hour Ministries

11-11-2009, 09:23 AM
"Easy To Spot"

November 11, 2009

Greater love has no one than this, that someone lays down his life for his friends. John 15:13

Forty-seven-year-old Sara Gaspar of Granger, Indiana, is a caterer who works hard for her money.

Even so, she had to be surprised when Notre Dame University gave her a check for $28,387. It was a bit more than the $29.87 she had been expecting.

While many people might have thought the university was being incredibly generous, Sara took the more conservative route. Thinking a clerical or computer error had been made, Sara said she called the university to report the overpayment. Her call wasn't returned.

Sara says she called again, and her call wasn't returned again.

She called again, and her call . . . well, you get the idea.

Finally, figuring the university didn't want or need the money, Sara went out and bought a 2002 Volkswagen Jetta.

It was about then that Notre Dame caught its mistake and asked Sara if she would please return their money.

Of course, by then Sara no longer had all of the money. To make a long story short, Notre Dame and Sara ended up in court. The university and the caterer eventually agreed Sara would pay back $50 a month -- $50 a month for the next 28 years.

Sara will be 75 when her payments stop.

Now that may be the law, and justice may have been served, but it still seems like quite a penalty for Sara to have to pay.

Of course, Sara's fine is nothing compared to that of our Savior.

Consider these points:

· Jesus did nothing wrong, yet He carried the sins of all humankind.

· He committed no sin, yet He was declared guilty so we might be forgiven.

· He was (and is) the eternal Son of God, yet He died on the cross so we might live forever.

Was it unfair? It was the most unfair event in the unfair history of this unfair world. Still, Jesus suffered all this so we might be forgiven and reconciled to our Heavenly Father.

It's as He said: Greater love has no one than this, that someone lays down his life for his friends.

THE PRAYER: Dear Lord Jesus, for showing a love I cannot begin to understand or properly acknowledge, I offer my thanks. You were found guilty so I might be declared innocent of all wrongdoing. For this I shall be eternally grateful. In Your Name. Amen.

In Christ I remain His servant and yours,

Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker of The Lutheran HourŪ
Lutheran Hour Ministries

11-12-2009, 09:03 AM
"Just Walk Away"

November 12, 2009

Then Peter came up and said to Him, "Lord, how often will my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times?" Jesus said to him, "I do not say to you seven times, but seventy times seven." Matthew 18:21-22

The story was headlined, "MOBILE PHONES: DANGEROUS"

I almost skipped the story. That's not news. All of us have seen motorists doing strange things, dangerous things, because their attention was on their cell-phone conversation and not on the road.

But that wasn't the story. Not at all. This story told how one man, by mistake, called a wrong number. Apparently, the wrong number didn't like being called by mistake and he texted an insult to the first man. The first man texted the second man back with an equally insulting message.

In no time at all, the two met in a parking lot to settle the matter.

I guess they settled it.

One of the men was arrested by the Savannah Police Department for aggravated assault and the other fellow was taken to the hospital in serious condition.

That's where you take someone who has been shot.

Can you believe it? Because of a wrong number one man has lost his freedom and another man almost lost his life?

Whatever happened to the concept of forgiveness? And remember, we're not talking about forgiving seventy times seven times; we're not even talking about forgiving seven times.

These guys couldn't forgive somebody -- not even once.

Of course, honesty compels most of us to admit we have a tough time following Peter's standard of forgiveness. Can you imagine forgiving somebody once, and then having to forgive that person all over for committing the same sin, and then having to offer your forgiveness all over again, and then doing it yet one more time?

Sound like a lot? My friend, at this point, you're barely at the halfway point for Peter's suggested number, and you haven't begun to make a dent in the proposal of the Savior.

And if you're wondering who can forgive seventy times seven? I have an equally honest answer: Jesus can. Jesus does. Look at Scripture and you'll find Jesus healing those who had physical needs, and forgiving those with spiritual burdens. Look at Scripture and you will see the crucified Christ forgiving the fellows who had put Him on the cross.

And if you don't have a Bible handy, then look closer to home. How many sins have you not committed again and again? Is Jesus keeping a tally of those sins? I think not. His sacrifice, His suffering, death, and resurrection say those sins have been taken care of.

THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, forgive me all the times when I thought I could take care of myself by myself. I can't. That is especially true when I get angry or feel laughed at or slighted. Help me curb my temper and make a solid witness to You and Your love. In Jesus' Name. Amen.

In Christ I remain His servant and yours,

Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker of The Lutheran HourŪ
Lutheran Hour Ministries

11-15-2009, 08:43 AM
"God's Warming Hand"

November 15, 2009

For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts. Isaiah 55:9

Not being the handiest of people, I'm always amazed by the miracles of technology.

Understand, I'm not just talking about the big stuff like nuclear reactors and space telescopes. No, I'm referring to little things like Velcro and instant cake mixes. Recently, a Japanese magazine entered the long list of things that amaze me.

This magazine had a picture of a butterfly on one of its pages. The butterfly was a dull gray until you placed your hand on it. When the picture was warmed by a person's hand, the special inks on the page changed and the dull gray butterfly was transformed into a flashing rainbow of color.

I'd say that this is a miracle of technology, but it isn't.

There is a perfectly logical explanation as to why the picture changed, and I'm sure many people understand it, but I don't.

Just as I don't understand how God can love a sinner like me. I don't understand why He would do that, but because of Jesus I know He has and does. Like the butterfly picture it is a mystery, but I can see the very obvious results.

Because of Jesus, because of His sacrifice, all who believe on Him find their lives aren't a dull gray any more. They don't just put in the hours to bring home a paycheck or despair over events that seem gloomy and dark.

Because of Jesus, for those who believe, this day is special. Because of the peace that comes from the forgiveness won by Jesus' nail-pierced hands, this day can be filled with beautiful colors of joy and gladness in the Lord.

From a devotion originally written for "By the Way"

THE PRAYER: Dear Lord Jesus, I am so grateful Your hand is always extended to me, a sinner. Because of Your sacrifice I am blessed with the gift of salvation. You have truly placed Your hand on my life, and for that I thank You. In Your Name. Amen.

In Christ I remain His servant and yours,

Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker of The Lutheran HourŪ
Lutheran Hour Ministries

11-16-2009, 09:54 AM

November 16, 2009

One who is faithful in a very little is also faithful in much, but one who is dishonest in a very little is also dishonest in much. Luke 16:10

If you look up the word "commitment" in the dictionary, you will find a picture of 68-year-old Cha Sa-Soon of South Korea.

Well, that's not really true. Although Sa-Soon is committed, her picture won't be in the dictionary. Saying that it would be was a writer's exaggeration on my part.

Even so, Sa-Soon is dedicated. How dedicated is she? Well, here are the statistics:

· She has spent $4,200 on the application fees to pass her driver's test.

· She has been trying to pass the 50-question written test on road regulations and car maintenance since April 13th of 2005.

· She has had to take the written part of the test 950 times before she managed to get the 60 percent needed to pass. Now Sa-Soon only needs to pass the practical or driving part of the test, and she will have her license.

Can you imagine 950 tries at passing a test? Me, I would have given up long ago. But not Sa-Soon who says, "I believe you can achieve your goal if you persistently pursue it, so don't give up your dream. Be strong and do your best."

What a special lady! What grit! What pluck! What determination! I like the attitude Sa-Soon has.

Sadly, there are areas of our lives where a gritty attitude just doesn't work. There are things we can't achieve no matter how hard we work for them, no matter how long we stick to them, no matter how sincerely we believe or dream.

Need an example? Here's one: we are sinners and as sinners we are stuck in our nasty situation.

A person can dream of being able to get rid of this sin; he can work day and night to get rid of his sin; he can be persistent in pursuing a new, sin-free life and be dedicated to keeping things perfectly.

These are things a sinner can do, but that sinner is still going to fail. If we want to be saved, John shows us how in the third chapter of his Gospel. There it reads in verse 16, "For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life."

That's it. We are saved by God's love and grace, not by what, or how hard, or how long, or how intensely we work and dream.

THE PRAYER: Dear Jesus, without Your sacrifice, I would be lost. My dreams, my work, my dedication would never have won my forgiveness or salvation. This, You have done and because You have made the sacrifice on Calvary's cross and defeated death with Your resurrection, I am saved. For all this, I give thanks. In Your Name. Amen.

In Christ I remain His servant and yours,

Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker of The Lutheran HourŪ
Lutheran Hour Ministries

11-17-2009, 09:28 AM
"An Honest Confession"

November 17, 2009

If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His Word is not in us. 1 John 1:9-10

Although historians say it probably didn't happen, the story about George Washington and the chopping down of his father's cherry tree has a certain appeal.

You remember how the tale goes. George's father roars, "And who chopped down my cherry tree?" That's when young George comes forward and boldly says, "Father, I cannot tell a lie. I am the one who chopped down your cherry tree."

I've often wondered, if I had been George's father, how I would have reacted to that kind of confession. I probably would have praised the honesty, but I'm almost positive I would have punished the chopping.

That's the way I felt about Mary Strey of Neillsville, Wisc.

Not so long ago, Mary called the 911 dispatcher and said, "I want to report a drunken driver." The dispatcher asked, "Are you driving behind them (meaning the drunken driver) now?"

Mary replied, "I am them."

Mary followed the dispatcher's orders. She pulled over to the side of the road. She turned on her hazard lights and she waited.

That's the way the police found her. She was cited for misdemeanor drunken driving. She goes to court on December 10th.

What's going to happen? There will probably be praise for the confession, punishment for the sin.

Confession. If the Church had a list of ideas that might be put on an endangered species list, confession would be at the top. Sure, there's general confession on Sunday mornings . . . maybe -- but individual confession for a specific sin? Well, those critters are getting mighty scarce.

Still, the apostle John does encourage us to confess our sins. That's because God wants us to acknowledge our sinful shortcomings, our terrible transgressions. When we do, we also end up admitting how much we need a Savior and how much we need the forgiveness Jesus has won for us with His life, death, and resurrection.

It's a strange thing: we sin, Jesus gets punished; we confess; Jesus forgives. Yes, it's a strange thing, but what a wonderfully strange thing it is.

THE PRAYER: Dear Jesus, for Your sacrifice, for Your death and resurrection that frees men and women of their sins, I give thanks. Now may I be bold in witnessing to the wonders of what You have done and Your gift which gives joy in this world and hope for the next. In Your Name. Amen.

In Christ I remain His servant and yours,

Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker of The Lutheran HourŪ
Lutheran Hour Ministries

11-18-2009, 08:55 AM
"No Pets Allowed"

November 18, 2009

And he said to her, "Let the children be fed first, for it is not right to take the children's bread and throw it to the dogs." But she answered him, "Yes, Lord; yet even the dogs under the table eat the children's crumbs." Mark 7:27-28

Pastor Thomas Eggebeen is interim pastor at Covenant Presbyterian Church in Los Angeles, Calif.

When Pastor Eggebeen started in that church three years ago, he was saddened to see membership was sliding and the faithful who still attended church all seemed to be sporting a lot of gray hair.

Not so long afterwards, a figurative light bulb came on over Eggebeen's head and he was given an idea on how he could save the church. He would turn God's house into a doghouse.

Yes, you heard that right. The church would have 30-minute services, individual doggie beds, canine prayers, and an offering of doggy treats. Pastor Eggebeen is not alone in espousing pet worship. Apparently, he is at the front of a spreading movement that believes in pet evangelism.

Now if it sounds like I'm a bit amused by all this, I have to confess, I am.

Pet church adds a whole new -- and very strange -- dimension to religion. Now I have no problem with St. Francis, or anyone else, if he wants to bless animals or talk to them. On the other hand, red warning flags pop up when I hear Pastor Eggebeen say, "When we love a dog and a dog loves us, that's a part of God and God is a part of that." Pastor, that's not in the Bible.

I get concerned when Laura Hobgood-Oster, a religion professor at Southwestern University in Georgetown, Texas, says, "More and more people in mainline Christianity are considering them (pets) to have some kind of soul."

I get concerned because the idea of doggies and kitties and hamsters, etc. with souls are not only not in the Bible, such a belief is a contradiction of Genesis 2:7. There it says man is unique because he is made and because God breathed a living soul into him.

To both pastor and professor I would say, you can't change dogma because you love your dog. (Really sorry about that line, but I couldn't resist.)

Call me "old-fashioned," but the bottom line is simple. God's grace sent His Son to save sinful humanity from damnation. So we might be forgiven, cleansed, reconciled, and redeemed, Jesus lived, suffered, died, and rose. And while I love all pets, it's asking a lot of God to have Him send His Son to suffer and die to save Fluffy and Spot.

THE PRAYER: Heavenly Father, I thank You for "All things bright and beautiful, All creatures great and small, All things wise and wonderful, The Lord God made them all."* For the wonders of this world, including pets, I am grateful, but most of all, I am awed You sent Your Son to save me. In Jesus' Name, I offer my appreciation. Amen.

(*Taken from the poem by Cecil Frances Alexander)

In Christ I remain His servant and yours,

Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker of The Lutheran HourŪ
Lutheran Hour Ministries

11-19-2009, 08:59 AM
"Walking In The Truth"

November 19, 2009

For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men. 1 Corinthians 1:22-25

The European Court of Human Rights.

Before last week I had never heard of the Strasbourg-based European Court of Human Rights. Even so, but my ignorance didn't stop that court from deciding Italy has to pay a fine of $7,390 to a mother who wanted crucifixes removed from her children's public school classrooms.

The court rejected the Italian government's argument that the crucifix is a national symbol of culture, history, identity, tolerance, and secularism. The court preferred to embrace the position that maintained the crucifix could easily be disturbing to non-Christian or atheist students.

The court's decision has not gone without a challenge.

Reverend Frederico Lombardi, spokesman for the Vatican said the court got it all wrong. The crucifix is a sign of the importance of religious values in Italian history and culture and therefore is a symbol of unity and welcoming for all humanity. It most certainly is not, Lombardi said, a symbol of exclusion.

What? This is nuts! If I'm hearing things correctly, the Church is declaring the cross and crucifix are just an all-inclusive, non-offensive cultural and historical symbol, while the secular court is maintaining the cross and crucifix send a powerful message of Jesus' suffering and death -- a message which the unbelieving world will find offensive.

It's a strange world when the Church minimizes the impact of Christ's cross and the secular court emphasizes the power of what happened on Calvary.

As for me, I think Paul had it right when he wrote to the Corinthian church. Those words of the apostle, which serve as the basis of today's devotion, tell it the way it is: the cross of Jesus, when coupled with the Savior's victorious resurrection from the dead, will always be insulting and offensive, foolishness and folly to the unbelievers of the world.

At the same time, for believers the cross and the empty tomb are the greatest proof we have of God's gracious intent to save us, and the power, which has made the Lord's intent into reality.

And although it may mean losing the case, I'd sure encourage the Church to say it the way it is: Jesus' cross is offensive to some, foolishness to others, and salvation to all who believe.

THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, how strange it is the unbelieving world often recognizes the power and importance of the Savior's cross and empty tomb better than Christians do. Please, send Your Holy Spirit upon our churches so we may proclaim the power of Christ crucified and risen. In Jesus' Name. Amen.

In Christ I remain His servant and yours,

Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker of The Lutheran HourŪ
Lutheran Hour Ministries

11-20-2009, 08:58 AM
"Christ, My Caretaker"

November 20, 2009

Therefore don't be anxious about tomorrow . . . . Matthew 6:34a

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 of The Lutheran Hour

Every creature in this world longs for love in the form of safety and security. We all have the power to love and care for others. But in this world there is a definite failure in loving and caring, which creates problems like depression, tension, and worry.

People are negatively impacted everyday from the weight of their sorrows and worries. Our anxieties take us very close to the graveyard. No tablets, pills, or injections can remedy our sorrows. Since worries and anxieties are related to our mind and heart, only a person who knows our mind and heart can cure our sorrows.

In our spiritual life, worries make us doubt the love of God and the protection He promised to offer. Our anxiousness can even weaken our faith and our desire to trust in God.

What shall we do? Let's turn to the voice of Jesus Christ. He says, "Don't be anxious about tomorrow." These words urge us to be confident of His gracious caring and loving. We do not know what the future will bring. Only God knows. Therefore, He calls us to think about today rather than tomorrow.

We are not to worry about food, clothing, or housing for God knows our needs and will supply them. The apostle Paul knew this concept well: "Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God" (Philippians 4:6).

THE PRAYER: Heavenly Father, take away our worries and fears. Fill us with the comfort of Your Holy Spirit. Amen.

Biography of Author: This devotion was provided by Rev. E. Eben Titus, a Lutheran pastor serving India for more than 25 years. There, Lutheran Hour Ministries-India broadcasts the Gospel in both Tamil and Hindu to citizens in this country of more than one billion people. Additionally, LHM staff utilizes cassette tapes, printed materials, and Bible Correspondence Courses (BCC) to share God's love and the redemption He offers through His Son, Jesus Christ.

11-21-2009, 09:34 AM
"Beauty Within"

November 21, 2009

Have mercy on me, O God, according to Your steadfast love; according to Your abundant mercy blot out my transgressions. Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin! Psalm 51:1-2

Many of the ladies listening to me have pearl earrings, a pearl pin, or a pearl ring.

Have you ever considered how a pearl is the product of pain?

Those who know such things tell me that when a foreign substance -- an irritant, usually a grain of sand -- gets into the oyster's shell, it causes pain. That's when the oyster coats the grain of sand with a substance called nacre; layer after layer coats the irritant.

The end result is the formation of a beautiful pearl.

The custom, I've noticed, is not confined to pearls. Some of the wonderful people I am blessed to know have done much the same thing in their lives.

Somehow, somewhere, sin and Satan managed to introduce an irritant into their lives. It may be something small or it can be something terrible and tragic.

Now these people could allow the irritant to destroy them. They could, but they don't. Instead of giving in to despair, they go to the Lord. Through His Word and Sacrament, through the ministrations of the Holy Spirit, these suffering souls are given hope with their trouble and peace for their hearts.

Truly, the Lord gives them layer after layer of His help so their pain is covered and they can be at ease once more.

But God provides a better benefit that the mere disappearance of pain.

These people, having conquered their problem by God's grace, often find a beautiful pearl has been produced inside them, and their lives take on a value they didn't have before.

And they know God has given them something wonderful, beautiful, and valuable.

From a devotion originally written for "By the Way"

THE PRAYER: Dear gracious and merciful Lord, I give thanks in Your steadfast love You have removed my sins; that You have through Jesus' blood, washed me from my transgressions. Now I ask You for Your help in conquering the remaining irritants in my life. Make of my life a beautiful witness to Jesus, my Savior. In His Name. Amen.

In Christ I remain His servant and yours,

Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker of The Lutheran HourŪ
Lutheran Hour Ministries

11-22-2009, 09:07 AM

November 22, 2009

He who planted the ear, does He not hear? He who formed the eye, does He not see? He who disciplines the nations, does He not rebuke? He who teaches man knowledge -- the LORD -- knows the thoughts of man, that they are but a breath. Psalm 94:9-11

There are times when my wife tells me she's talking, but I'm not listening.

It is at such times that the story of King Alfonso of Spain comes in very handy. Alfonso, who ruled that grand nation from 1866 to 1931, had many admirable qualities.

Music appreciation, however, was not one of those qualities.

The truth is Alfonso was so tone-deaf that he hired an individual who became known as the "anthem man." This man's job description consisted of one thing: he was supposed to call the king to attention whenever Spain's national anthem was played.

Because of Alfonso's disability, it was impossible for the monarch to recognize the tune.

Now I've noticed many other people seem to have a similar complaint. No, not when it comes to music. Music people remember. Trivia people remember. TV shows people remember.

People seem to have their greatest difficulty in listening to the Lord. In His Word He speaks to us, but many prefer to ignore, deny, and disregard what He says.

This is just one more reason I give thanks for the greatness of our God. The Psalmist said it well: "He who planted the ear, does he not hear?"

The Lord does hear and His hearing is not based on how much we listen to Him. No, the Lord is glad to hear the pleas of our hearts; He listens to the words on our tongue. He knows the requests we are thinking, even before those thoughts are fully formed.

He who has made us, who sent His Son to be sacrificed so we might be saved, stands ready to listen to everything -- anything -- we have to say.

So, if I might play the part of the anthem man for just a moment . . . if you have up to this point in time, been tone deaf to the words of the Lord -- it may be time to start paying attention.

God has something to say, and if you really do listen, you may realize God has given you good news of great joy: you have a Savior who loves you very much.

From a devotion originally written for "By the Way"

THE PRAYER: Dear Heavenly Father, I am grateful You hear my cries, my laughter, my joys, and my tears. Now may I, in gratitude for all my Savior has done, be just as ready to listen to You. May I appreciate and cherish the wonderful good news that comes in my crucified and risen Savior. In His Name. Amen.

In Christ I remain His servant and yours,

Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker of The Lutheran HourŪ
Lutheran Hour Ministries

11-23-2009, 09:01 AM
"Perfect is 100 Percent"

November 23, 2009

He committed no sin, neither was deceit found in His mouth. When He was reviled, He did not revile in return; when He suffered, He did not threaten, but continued entrusting Himself to Him who judges justly. He himself bore our sins in His body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By His wounds you have been healed. 1 Peter 2:22-24


There are 87 countries around the world dealing with the problem of undetonated landmines.

Because of those mines, countless animals are crippled and fertile fields are left uncultivated and unproductive. Far, far worse, every year, tens of thousands of people are murdered and maimed by those hidden explosives.

So, what to do?

Over the years, alternatives have been proposed to replace individuals being used to de-mine a field. That list includes -- but is not limited to -- mine-sniffing rats; giant pieces of machinery, which flail the ground with chains; and bombs, whose detonation has the ability to set off an entire field of mines.

Of course, there's always the nagging question, "Suppose we missed a mine?" Before any of us go out into a field, we'll want to know that field is 100 percent mine free.

Thankfully, there is a new product which some say will help. The BBC reports science has come up with bacteria, which turns green when it is near a mine. Amazing! Mix the bacteria in a solution, spray it on a field, and in a few hours, wherever there is a mine, the bacteria will glow a bright green.

That's what the story says. What I want to know is this: Who is going to be the first person to walk across that field? Who is going to gamble his life believing the bacteria got 100 percent of the mines?

As for me, while I think those bacteria may be really, really good at their job, I simply don't think they'll get every one of those mines -- every single time.

The only person we can trust that completely is the Savior. Because His life was 100 percent sin free, because He resisted Satan's temptations 100 percent of the time, because He carried 100 percent of our sins to the cross -- we can believe in Him as our Savior.

Jesus isn't a partway, half-time Savior. When He gave up the ghost, He was 100 percent dead and in His resurrection He is absolutely alive. This makes Him the Redeemer who can be relied upon 100 percent of the time.

THE PRAYER: Dear Lord Jesus, how wonderful it is to be able to trust You. In this world there are many dangers, many difficulties and fears. The horrors of this world seem almost invincible. This is why I give thanks You have won the victory for me. Through Your perfect work, I am saved and will be brought through the minefields of this world. I give You thanks. Amen.

In Christ I remain His servant and yours,

Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker of The Lutheran HourŪ
Lutheran Hour Ministries

11-24-2009, 09:38 AM

November 24, 2009

For one will scarcely die for a righteous person -- though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die -- but God shows His love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:7-8

On October 20th, the terrorist, dressed in lady's clothing, approached the women's campus of Islamabad's International Islamic University.

His loose-fitting robes concealed the explosives, which had been wrapped in layers of ball bearings. It was the kind of device that would produce a high body count when detonated inside a cafeteria filled with hundreds of college-age students.

The terrorist shot the guard and prepared to enter the dining hall.

That was when Pervaiz Masih, a custodian for the school, stepped into the doorway.

Masih told the poorly disguised man he couldn't go in. The man insisted, but Masih stood firm.

The terrorist detonated his bomb. Three students were killed -- far less than what might have happened if Masih had not sacrificed himself.

That's the story, except for these details: Masih had been working at the school for less than a week, working at a job that paid $60 a month.

Masih is considered a hero by the girls, but his grave is unmarked and his family is behind in their apartment rent.

Oh, there is one other thing you should know: Masih was a Christian.

So I ask you this: What would motivate an impoverished man to sacrifice himself for a lot of kids who were from a different faith?

I can think of no answer to that question other than this: Pervaiz Masih had stood at the foot of Jesus' cross. There Masih had seen His Savior sacrifice Himself so that 2000 years later custodians -- and all who believe -- might be assured that terrorists and devils and death don't have the final word.

I mourn for the six other members of Masih family who continue to live in a one-room apartment, but I rejoice in the sacrifice this custodian made in the Savior's Name.

THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, upon the cross You changed the destiny, the salvation of all who believe. We give thanks for Your gift of grace even as we rejoice in the witness that was made by a Christian custodian. May the world see how Christians, empowered by the Holy Spirit, can love one another. In Your Name. Amen.

In Christ I remain His servant and yours,

Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker of The Lutheran HourŪ
Lutheran Hour Ministries

11-25-2009, 09:51 AM
"Looking Good"

November 25, 2009

And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat. Genesis 3:6

Thanksgiving, for United States' folk, is coming.

Then come the holidays . . . and the parties . . . and the baking . . . and the sweets . . . and the . . . .

Before we know it, we will be looking at New Year's resolutions and many of us will climb on the scale, look down at the numbers and say, "That's not good. I'm going to have to lose weight in the New Year."

The same thing happens every year. Why? The bottom line is this: we're just not very good with temptation. Look at the verse that began this devotion. Eve saw something that looked real good to eat, and she ate, and her husband . . . he thought it looked pretty good, too. And he ate.

You see, we're not very good with temptation.

If that's your story, this devotion is coming to the rescue. We're giving all you chocolate lovers the news you've been hoping would arrive.

There is a chocolate sale going on that helps you lose weight. It's called Lola chocs. The stuff is 100 percent natural and tastes like normal chocolate (or so I've been told). It's got extra ingredients that help a person feel full. Two Lola chocs before a meal and you won't feel like eating very much.

Now I haven't tasted the stuff so I can't recommend it, but I do have to say the chocolate, because of the microscopic algae they use in processing it, is an interesting shade of green. See, it's working; you don't feel nearly as hungry, do you?

Maybe Lola chocs can help us with the eating temptation, but what are we going to do with the millions of other temptations the devil and the world dump before us? I doubt if there's a chocolate that can help with all those.

The truth is we're not very good with temptations. Oh, as Christians we resist, but we still slip, stumble, and fall. This is precisely why we sinners need to approach the Lord and say, "Be merciful." It is why we need to be so very thankful for the birth of the Savior who is good news of great joy for the world . . . for us . . . and for everyone who isn't very good with temptation.

Salvation over temptation -- that is something for which to be most thankful.

THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, we humans aren't very good with temptation. We try to avoid the wrong, and we often end up doing it anyway. Today we give thanks for the Savior who has managed to avoid the temptations that trip us up. May we give thanks for Him this day and always. In Jesus' Name. Amen.

In Christ I remain His servant and yours,

Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker of The Lutheran HourŪ
Lutheran Hour Ministries

11-26-2009, 09:31 AM

November 26, 2009

Save us, O Lord our God, and gather us from among the nations, that we may give thanks to Your holy name and glory in Your praise. Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel, from everlasting to everlasting! And let all the people say, "Amen!" Praise the Lord! Psalm 106:47-48

It was only a short time ago an Army reservist found himself getting mugged in Milwaukee.

The police report says he was forced to the ground with a gun to his neck. He had to lie there helplessly as the four thieves took his wallet, his keys, his cell phone, and $16.

When one of the hoods saw the man's Army ID in his wallet, he ordered his fellow thieves to return all they had stolen. When that was done the leader told the reservist just how much they all respected the military. He continued by thanking the soldier for all he was doing and then, fading into the darkness, he apologized for the inconvenience.

In a few moments, the reservist got up giving thanks for all which could have happened -- but didn't.

That story reminds me of an old tale about Matthew Henry, the famous Bible scholar.

Reverend Henry, like the reservist, was also robbed and left unhurt. That night, before he went to bed, he wrote in his diary these lines:

"Dear Lord, Let me be thankful:
First because I was never robbed before;
Second, although they took my wallet, they did not take my life;
Third, because although they took my all, it was not much;
And Fourth, because it was I who was robbed and not I who robbed."

As the United States celebrates Thanksgiving Day, I wonder if we all couldn't say a prayer like that.

THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, many of us have had some difficult times, but they weren't impossible times. We have been through lonely moments, but those moments were countered by the presence of our ever-living Savior. We have carried crosses, but with Jesus by our side, those crosses did not break us. Lord, we give thanks for the pains we never felt, the hurts that never came, the losses that never happened. And we give thanks for Your gracious bounty and freedom from spiritual and earthly tyranny. In Jesus' Name, we give thanks. Amen.

In Christ I remain His servant and yours,

Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker of The Lutheran HourŪ
Lutheran Hour Ministries

11-27-2009, 09:55 AM
"The Special Gift"

November 27, 2009

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith-and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God-not by works, so that no one can boast. Ephesians 2:8-9

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 of The Lutheran Hour

At the end of July 2000, a Vietnamese newspaper carried the following article:

"A young prisoner had been assigned a position in a tower to watch the fields surrounding the prison. Early in the morning, he noticed water rising up and beginning to flood the area. From the tower he could see a small cottage outside the borders of the prison. Eleven people were gathered on the roof as the water crept up the sides of the home. The young man jumped out of the tower and swam toward the cottage. After struggling with the flood for quite a while, he managed to bring all eleven people safely to the tower."

The article reported the rulers of Vietnam decided to release the young prisoner as a reward for his good deed.

We have been released from a prison, too, the prison of Satan. Not by our own good works but by God's grace. He sent His Son, Jesus Christ, into the world to pay the penalty for sin. We cannot do anything to save ourselves from the slavery of sin. "For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith-and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God-not by works, so that no one can boast," today's Scripture says.

If God had required us to do good works for our salvation, we would surely be lost. Oh, what a wonderful gift He has given us!

The rulers of Vietnam forgave the prisoner because of his good work. But the King of kings forgives us unconditionally. He requires nothing, for it is His gift!

THE PRAYER: Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for giving us the gift which is Your only Son, Jesus Christ, who saved us from the flood of sin by His precious blood. There is nothing in all the earth equal to the value of Your gift and love. Please remind us of all the people who are still sinking in the flood of sin and motivate us to bring Jesus Christ, Your special gift, to the nations. We pray in the Name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

Biography of Author: Doan Thanh Truc, the director of Lutheran Hour Ministries' Vietnam office in Ho Chi Minh City for the last ten years, wrote today's devotion. Using puppets, conducting musical performances, and utilizing Bible Correspondence Courses (BCC), LHM-Vietnam spreads the Good News of Christ's salvation in this country of nearly 90 million.

11-28-2009, 10:14 AM
"Heavenly Shove"

November 28, 2009

Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand. Isaiah 41:10

Yesterday, while standing in line at the bank, I struck up a conversation with a soldier.

During our talk, he told me he was a paratrooper. Impressed because I have a deep respect for heights, I asked him how many times he had jumped.

With a smile, he responded, "Pastor, I've never jumped. Not even once. But I can tell you I've been pushed more than 40 times."

Later on, I thought this fellow has given me a pretty good explanation of life.

Left to ourselves, most of us would be content to stay right where we are. Scientifically speaking, "We, objects of rest, tend to stay at rest."

Of course, there are people who have made it their lives' work to give us a shove.

· Moms gave us a shove when they taught us manners and housebroke us.
· Teachers pushed us when helping us learn.
· Coaches drove us to improve our athletic skills.
· Employers motivated us to increase sales and production.
· Everybody is pushing, including the Lord.

Now before you get upset with God's pushing, remember He is the one who made you. He is the one who sent His only Son to save you from your sins; He is the one who has continued to love us when we were, quite frankly, unlovable.

If anyone has the right to push us, it's God.

There's a wonderful thing about God's pushing; it is always and absolutely for our good.
To paraphrase the army: He wants us to be all that we can be.

So, if today you feel a heavenly shove from behind, don't fight it or get angry. It just may be God giving you a push for your own good.

From a devotion originally written for "By the Way"

THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, through Your Son's sacrifice I am saved. Because You have done so much for me, I will trust Your nudges and pushes, even when I don't understand them or appreciate them. To that end, I pray, Your will be done. In Jesus' Name. Amen.

In Christ I remain His servant and yours,

Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker of The Lutheran HourŪ
Lutheran Hour Ministrie

11-29-2009, 10:01 AM

November 29, 2009

Humble yourselves before the Lord, and He will exalt you. James 4:10

I enjoy telling stories and, as a result, many people enjoy telling their stories to me. They usually begin, "Hey, Pastor, have you ever heard the story about _____? If you have, just say so and I'll stop."

Of course, I never stop them. I not only enjoy telling stories, I love listening to them, too.

Recently, I received a story in a letter from a lady who, along with being a full-time mother, also works as a nurse.

Her tale centered on her young son.

Lest you misunderstand, I want you to know something: she loves that boy. She loves him dearly.

Even so, that love was stretched a bit when she discovered her son's red crayon had melted in the clothes dryer.

Her snow-white uniforms, along with all of dad's underwear, had taken on an unacceptably blotchy pink hue.

Junior was called to the laundry. Mom held up dad's pinkest briefs and began her message, which she hoped would end in her son being given a repentant heart. She started, "I would like you to see what your crayon has. . . . "

But just then, junior interrupted and said, "It's okay, mom. Don't worry. I've got another red crayon."

There are a lot of grown-up people who, like that little boy, think the world revolves around them. Things are important only if something touches them.

They watch out for number one.

As I look at the Savior's birth, His life, His suffering, death, and resurrection, I am convinced Jesus never looked out for number one. If He had, our forgiveness would be non-existent and our eternity would have been unbearable.

That's right. Jesus did not look out for Himself. His heart remained focused on the work of His Father and centered on the salvation of our souls. You might say that Jesus watched out for everybody else instead.

And because He did, all who believe on Him are saved and are given a thankful heart.

From a devotion originally written for "By the Way"

THE PRAYER: Dear Lord Jesus, for sacrificing Yourself so the story of my life might be changed I will eternally be in Your debt. Now may I do all I can so those around me see that we, as Christians, reflect Your grace with others. In Your Name. Amen.

In Christ I remain His servant and yours,

Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker of The Lutheran HourŪ
Lutheran Hour Ministries

11-30-2009, 09:34 AM
"A Unique Name"

November 30, 2009

And she shall bring forth a Son, and thou shalt call His name Jesus: for He shall save His people from their sins. Matthew 1:21

Tony and Samantha are a couple who live in Parkside, England.

They are, according to all who know them, a happy couple. They are also a couple who were going to have a baby.

The plans had all been made for their little girl's entry into the world.

Mom and dad knew their little girl was going to be born at the hospital in Poole, England. The parents knew the route they were going to take to get to the hospital. They had everything, including the name of their little girl. They were going to call her Tilly. That's a nice English name: Tilly.

Yes, they had everything figured out -- everything, that is, except for how quickly Tilly would arrive.

In truth, Tilly arrived in this world before Tony and Samantha arrived at the hospital.

Maybe I should say Tilly arrived in Tony and Samantha's vehicle, a seven-seat Korean-made Kia.

Gazing at little Tilly, Tony and Samantha concluded their little girl didn't look like a Tilly. Throwing out the name Tilly they decided on a new name. Tilly would be called . . . you guessed it, Kia.

It could have been worse. Tony and Samantha could have been driving a Toyota4Runner, or an Avalanche, or a Beetle, a Boxter, a Crown Victoria, a Diablo, a Gremlin, a Range Rover or even a Viper.

It would have been hard for that little girl to grow up with a name like Diablo or Viper.

Yes, those names would have been hard, but they would have been nothing compared to living up to the name of Jesus. That name which means "Savior" and "Jehovah is Salvation" is unique. It is so unique only one man in the world's history has ever been able to carry it perfectly.

You know, of course, who that person is.

Especially during this Advent season, we remember Jesus, the Savior, the sinless Son of God who, according to prophecy and promise, came into this world as one of us to give His life as a ransom for all of us. It is appropriate in remembering Him we repent of all we have done wrong and give thanks for all -- for everything -- Jesus has done right.

THE PRAYER: Dear Jesus. I am a sinner and I am heartily sorry for those sins. With a contrite heart, I repent of that which I have done wrong and pray that I may, as Your redeemed servant, be worthy of the name "Christian." In Your Name, I pray it. Amen.

In Christ I remain His servant and yours,

Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker of The Lutheran HourŪ
Lutheran Hour Ministries