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EZMONEY
12-01-2009, 08:38 AM
"No Hidden Evidence"

December 1, 2009



If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 1 John 1:8



John Ford, aged 35, is -- as far as authorities can tell -- a bank robber.

It was a couple of weeks ago that Ford walked into a bank, a FirstMerit Bank branch office in Streetsboro, Ohio. He handed a note to a teller. The teller read the note which demanded she hand over the bank's money.

Quite wisely, the teller did as she had been ordered.

She loaded up the cash John had asked for and included, as an extra bonus, a dye pack which would explode, stain, and help identify the stolen money.

Ford scooped up the money, his demand note, and made his getaway. His was not exactly what you would call a "clean" getaway.

It didn't take too long before Ford was pulled over by the police and his vehicle searched. There the police found some interesting evidence:

· For example, they found a 38-caliber pistol in Ford's car.
· They also found a lot of cash in Ford's car, cash which had been stained a bright red.

The one thing that seemed to be missing was Ford's robbery note. They police couldn't find it. In fact, they didn't find it -- not until they reviewed a tape taken from a squad car's dashboard camera.

The tape showed that while policemen were busy searching Ford in front of their vehicle, Ford managed to scarf up a note one of the officers had found on him and tossed on the car's hood. Police noted the paper Ford ate was folded and the same size as the sheet which had been used in the robbery.

It amazes me how far people are willing to go to cover their sins. Adam and Eve tried to hide from God and Ford tried to eat the evidence against him. Most of us prefer to pretend that while we may be sinners, we are small sinners, that is, when compared to others.

Unfortunately for us, God doesn't compare us with other sinners. He compares our sins to His perfection and when that happens, we lose.

To save the losers of this world, meaning all of us, God sent His Son, Jesus. From before the Savior was born, He was destined to be the ransom who would buy our salvation. That He had to come is a sadness; that He was successful in His mission is salvation.

THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, touch us so that we repent of our sins rather than try to cover them. Then, having acknowledged our wrongdoing, let us rejoice in the forgiveness the Savior's sacrifice has won. In Jesus' Name. Amen.



In Christ I remain His servant and yours,



Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries


EZMONEY
12-02-2009, 08:36 AM
"Alone, But Not Alone"

December 2, 2009



He reveals deep and hidden things; He knows what is in the darkness, and the light dwells with Him. To you, O God of my fathers, I give thanks and praise. Daniel 2:22-23



In 1983, Belgian Rom Houben, engineering student and martial arts enthusiast, was in a terrible accident.

It was an accident that left Rom comatose and vegetative state.

Days, months, years, decades passed. Wars were fought; governments changed; technology advanced. Many things were transformed, but for comatose Rom Houben there was no change to his sad and altogether hopeless condition.

Then one day Dr. Steven Laureys of the University of Liege hooked Houben up to some modern, state-of-the-art, brain-scanning equipment.

Dr. Laureys turned on the machinery, and the bells and whistles of his devices lit up like the Fourth of July. The equipment said that Houben was, in fact, not a vegetable; it said he had normal brain function.

It was true. For 23 years, totally helpless, unable to communicate, Houben had heard everything said about him. Houben heard when people talked about him as if were already dead. He also noted how, as the years passed by, his friends gradually stopped coming by.

Rom Houben could understand. After all, everybody had been told he didn't know if they were there or not.

Having read Houben's story, I cannot escape wondering how lonely, how very lonely he must have felt.

Having read Houben's story, I've been thinking about all the Bible passages which might have been a help to him. One of those passages serves as the text for today's Daily Devotion: God "reveals deep and hidden things; He knows what is in the darkness. . . . "

Here is another: "Out of the depths I cry to You, O Lord! O Lord, hear my voice! Let Your ears be attentive to the voice of my pleas for mercy!" (Psalm 130:1-2 ). And, of course, from the book of Romans, there are these classic two verses: "For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord" (8:38-39).

Now I share those passages with you because, at some time or another, sooner or later, almost every one of the readers of the Daily Devotions will share Rom Houben's situation. We may not be in the hospital, and we may not have been diagnosed as brain dead, but we will feel we are alone -- very much alone.

But we're not alone, not really. The risen Lord Jesus has said to His people, "Behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age" (Matthew 20:20b).

THE PRAYER: Dear Lord Jesus for coming to seek and save the lost, for healing the sick, for being a friend to those who are isolated, our deepest thanks. May I, during lonely times, remember You are with me. In Your Name, I ask it. Amen.

In Christ I remain His servant and yours,


Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries

EZMONEY
12-03-2009, 08:36 AM
"Bones in the Basement"

December 3, 2009



(Jesus said) "Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs, which outwardly appear beautiful, but within are full of dead people's bones and all uncleanness." Matthew 23:27



234 Fandal Street

That's the address of a house for sale in Gibson, Louisiana. A house for sale is not news. After all, there are lots of houses for sale all around the country. But this house is special. It's special because I know I'm not going to buy the house at 234 Fanal Street in Gibson, Louisiana.

Let me tell you why.

Recently, Angela Adams, a seller of real estate, took some prospective buyers to look at this home. The visit was going pretty well until they got to the basement. In a dark corner, almost out of sight, was a pile of human bones.

That pile of bones would probably put me off on buying the house at 234 Fanal Street. But you can be sure, if the bones in the basement didn't do the job, the stories told by the neighbors would. There's common agreement in the community that the home's previous residents would often find bones when they were mowing the lawn or doing yard work.

No foul play involved. Most agree the house is probably built on an unmarked Indian burial mound. In short, it's a nice-looking place, but there are bones in the basement.

Does that sound -- just a little bit -- like most of us?

Make-up, makeovers, and plastic surgery form just the tip of the iceberg revealing how far we will go to look good on the outside. Unfortunately, we can't do the same on the inside. We've all got bones in the basement.

Each and every one of us has sins that show up -- sins of the heart, the mind, and the soul. The more obvious of those sins we try to hide away. Yet, no matter what we do, no matter how many bones we put in the basement, more just keep showing up.

This is precisely why we need a Savior. The bones at 234 Fanal Street aren't there anymore. The bones in the basement have been taken away for proper disposal. The same will happen to any bones that show up in the future.

This is a pretty good example of what our Savior has done for us. Jesus' life, His death, and His resurrection have taken away our sins. The Christ has removed our sins, disposed of them, and made it so we can live our lives forgiven and at peace.

Jesus has made it so there are no more bones in our basement.

THE PRAYER: Dear Lord Jesus, today I give thanks You have cleaned up my life, my heart, and my soul. At great cost, You have done for me what I could never have accomplished. May I now live as someone who has been forgiven, someone who has no bones in his basement. In Your Name. Amen.


In Christ I remain His servant and yours,


Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries


EZMONEY
12-04-2009, 08:38 AM
"Piety"

December 4, 2009



In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted. 2 Timothy 3:12



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



Some people perceive Christianity is the magic solution to all their problems and difficulties.

In reality, believers often face tougher circumstances than non-believers. In the apostle Paul's second letter to Timothy, there is an indication Christians will be persecuted.

Surprisingly, this persecution does not impact only those who appear to be godly or pious, but against those whose piety is founded in Jesus Christ. Our text mentions that "everyone" who is a true Christian will suffer persecution. The word everyone indicates that any true Christian must face difficult circumstances.

Paul suffered persecution during his ministry. Having been himself a persecutor of the Church, he later endured mistreatment and abuse for being a part of that same Church. His conversion to Christ did not grant him any magic solution to his problems.

When we confess openly our faith in Jesus we must be prepared to face the consequences. And how does one prepare for such difficulties? Staying close to God's Word is crucial. Paul reminds Timothy of this a little later: "But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it, and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus" (2 Timothy 3:14-15).

Truly, that's wisdom for the ages!

When troubles beat loudly at the door, Christians can confront them with courage and hope, remembering God's promises in the Bible. Believers will be persecuted, but they are not defeated. Jesus took our sure defeats and hopeless battles to the grave with Him, and in that tomb they were buried, even as He rose to life everlasting -- the glorious Son of God.

THE PRAYER: Lord, grant me a pious life, and when problems arise, give me faith well founded on Your Word. Amen.

Biography of Author: Today's devotion from Guatemala was written by Carlos Raúl Sosa Siliézar. At Christ the King Lutheran Church in Guatemala City, he serves as a musician, youth leader, and Sunday school teacher. In Guatemala, Lutheran Hour Ministries operates as Cristo Para Todas Las Naciones ("Christ for All Nations"). Utilizing radio, television, the Internet, and printed materials, LHM-Guatemala creatively shares the Gospel in this country of 14 million people.

EZMONEY
12-05-2009, 09:12 AM
"Keep Your Eyes Fixed"

December 5, 2009



. . . looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. Hebrews 12:2



Blondin.

He's not as famous as he once was, but, even so, some of our Daily Devotion readers will have heard of him.

If the name doesn't ring a bell, let me share this with you: Blondin amused and amazed millions of people by walking over Niagara Falls on a slender rope which had been stretched from shore to shore.

It goes without saying that Blondin's line of work was particularly unforgiving, and his was an effort that did not allow him to falter or fail.

Part of Blondin's secret of success was this: as he made his way along the rope, he kept his eyes fixed on a large silver star which he had hung at the far end of the rope. The star gave him a clear goal as it guided him to the other side.

When I visit with people, I often wonder, "What is their silver star? What is that thing for which they are working?"

For some people that star is success; for others it is family, wealth, fame, friendship, or just to be loved.

There are, after all, many different kinds of goals.

It is my hope your star is to serve the Lord. It is He who has always loved you. It is He who has sent His Son to be the sacrifice, which has saved you.

Understand that serving the Lord is a star allowing for a great deal of flexibility. You can serve the Lord and use the money you make to further His Kingdom. You can serve the Lord in the way you treat your family.

You see how it works?

If you understand, then you're able to answer this question: "What's the star holding your attention?"


From a devotion originally written for "By the Way"



THE PRAYER: Gracious Lord, as I travel through life there will be many distractions. I pray that You will send the Holy Spirit upon me so I may never forget the importance of serving You and the Savior who gave His life for my salvation. May following the Savior be my silver star. In His Name. Amen.



In Christ I remain His servant and yours,


Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries

EZMONEY
12-06-2009, 09:06 AM
"Eyes Of The Heart"

December 6, 2009



But the LORD said to Samuel, "Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the LORD sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the LORD looks on the heart." 1 Samuel 16:7



It was some time ago when I saw a contest that ended up crowning a deaf Miss America.

Those who watched were given an opportunity to rejoice in those blessed and extraordinary people whose courageous spirits allow them to conquer difficulties.

Every generation has such special souls.

A special soul: that would describe Charles William Eliot, who lived from 1834 to 1926 and managed to become the president of Harvard University.

If you had asked the boy Charles Eliot if he would ever attain a position of respect, he would have said, "Absolutely not."

You see, Charles was born with a large, and inoperable mark on his face. That mark greatly bothered him and caused a profound self-consciousness, a spirit of doubt that cut him off from relationships, possible achievements, and future happiness.

After watching her son suffer for a protracted period, Charles' mother gave him a powerful piece of advice. She said, "My son, it is not possible for you to get rid of that hardship . . . But it is possible for you, with God's help, to grow a mind and soul so big that people will forget to look at your face."

Harvard was blessed because Charles, with God's assistance, followed his mother's advice.

Now that you've heard Charles' story, let me ask, "Is there a blemish, a flaw, a problem which is holding you back from being the person the Lord wants you to be." Long ago, the Heavenly Father sent His Son to live, suffer, die, and rise to save you.

That sacrifice of God's Son makes you a very special individual.

Do you see the truth in that? Do you believe it? If not, today let the Holy Spirit minimize your weaknesses so the world may see the Savior's strengths shining through you.


From a devotion originally written for "By the Way"



THE PRAYER:Dear Lord, what a comfort it is to know You see my heart. Thank You for transforming me. Now, let me live as one of Your blessed and forgiven people. Let me live so others may see my Lord and their Savior. In Jesus' Name. Amen.


In Christ I remain His servant and yours,


Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries

EZMONEY
12-07-2009, 08:53 AM
"Bless The Enemy"

December 7, 2009



(Jesus said) "But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you. . . ." Matthew 5:44



If the news in these Daily Devotions doesn't seem as fresh as usual, it's because Pastor Klaus prepared these devotions before he left for Europe. He is in Germany until early next week conducting a seminar with Lutheran military chaplains stationed overseas. He asks your prayers for all who attend and even more prayers for those who cannot.

I know what the Lord said about loving your enemies. I know it is the right thing to do. I know it is the way that would please Him.

I also know it's not the kind of thing done very often.

It was a long time ago when William McKinley was running for Congress. His job was made harder by a journalist whose paper supported McKinley's opposition. Although every article the newspaperman wrote was critical of McKinley, the candidate could not help but be touched by the man's enthusiasm, his inventiveness, his work ethic, and the shrewd way he capitalized on any mistake or obvious error McKinley made.

McKinley admired the newspaperman who, in spite of a having a terrible cold and being poorly paid, still kept going. If McKinley was going to make an appearance, the reporter would be there to cover that appearance.

That's the way it was one cold, rainy night when the candidate rented a carriage to take him to a far away town where he would make a presentation. All was going famously until McKinley heard a familiar cough.

The sick newspaperman was sitting up alongside the driver -- in the rain.

In an instant, McKinley ordered the conveyance stopped and asked the young man to come down and join him in the relative comfort and warmth of the carriage. Before the writer settled in, he said, "I don't think you know me, I'm the guy who has been taking you apart like a clock."

McKinley said, "I do know who you are. But, here, you put on his coat and come inside and get warm, so that you can do a good job when you criticize me next time."

I like that story. I like it because it shows what kind of man McKinley was -- at least that night. I like it because it reminds me of Jesus' story and what kind of Man He was. Jesus didn't complain that His first bed was an animal's feeding trough. He didn't complain when His family had to run from a power-mad king. Jesus didn't complain when He was betrayed, arrested, beaten, spit upon, and crucified.

Even in death, as He hung upon the cross, giving His life to save us, Jesus didn't complain. Instead of cursing those who put Him there, Jesus prayed for them, asking for their forgiveness. It shows what kind of Man He was. It shows what type of divinity He is. Three days later His resurrection would show Him to be the forgiver of dark sins, the Redeemer of lost souls.

THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, when I open my mouth, may it be a tool that praises You and avoids cursing others. This I ask in Jesus' Name. Amen.


In Christ I remain His servant and yours,


Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries

EZMONEY
12-08-2009, 08:36 AM
"Treasure In The Heart"

December 8, 2009



(Jesus said) "Sell your possessions, and give to the needy. Provide yourselves with moneybags that do not grow old, with a treasure in the heavens that does not fail, where no thief approaches and no moth destroys. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also." Luke 12:33-34



If the news in these Daily Devotions doesn't seem as fresh as usual, it's because Pastor Klaus prepared these devotions before he left for Europe. He is in Germany until early next week conducting a seminar with Lutheran military chaplains stationed overseas. He asks your prayers for all who attend and even more prayers for those who cannot.

We live in a society where people like to say, "Things aren't black and white." Rather, everything is supposed to be some shade of gray.

That may be true some of the time, but try as I might, I can't find a lot of gray in an Associated Press story recently carried by the Boston Herald.

The tale begins in front of a Walgreen's in Dover, New Hampshire. There, a Salvation Army bell ringer is trying to raise money for charity. Hour after hour he stands. Sometimes he sings; sometimes he rings; sometimes -- he does both.

Some of the store's customers who pass by respond generously; others look a bit sheepish as they slide through without giving a donation. Then there are those who feel compelled to explain why they're not giving. They'll often say something like this: "I'm sorry. I don't have anything smaller than a $50," or "I gave at another store earlier today."

Every bell ringer I've ever talked to has spoken of those three groups and most admit how they, after they've been working for a while, get pretty good at guessing who is going to give and who isn't. Of course, every now and then some other kind of person shows up.

And that's what happened in Dover.

That day, when the bell ringer stopped ringing and went inside the store to take a washroom break, somebody stole his kettle. Now I've tried to put the best construction on this -- like maybe the thief was desperate, or maybe the thief was going to go out collecting money for charity himself. No matter what excuse or explanation I came up with, stealing a Salvation Army kettle seemed wrong.

Jesus was right on the money when He indicated that your heart is going to be drawn to its treasure. That day in Dover, New Hampshire, there was a person whose heart was dedicated to raising money to help the poor, and there was an individual whose heart was dedicated to stealing from those in need.

Not much gray here, is there? Maybe that's why the Lord has said, ". . . the intention of man's heart is evil from his youth" (Genesis 8:21b). That's another way of saying, "if we bad people are going to be saved, we need a Savior." We need someone who will do what is right all the time, someone who never takes a break, someone who never steps away from the work of saving us.

That person, of course, is Jesus. It is His coming and His sacrifice, which we celebrate at Christmas time. We rejoice that the treasure of His heart was -- and still is -- the salvation of our souls.

THE PRAYER: Dear Lord Jesus, for being all that I could never be, my thanks. For offering Your purity to pay for my sin, for taking my death so I might live -- I am indebted. Now may I, forgiven and saved, show the world that You are the Treasure of my heart. In Your Name. Amen.


In Christ I remain His servant and yours,


Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries

EZMONEY
12-09-2009, 08:43 AM
"Perspective"

December 9, 2009



But Jesus looked at them and said, "With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26



If the news in these Daily Devotions doesn't seem as fresh as usual, it's because Pastor Klaus prepared these devotions before he left for Europe. He is in Germany until early next week conducting a seminar with Lutheran military chaplains stationed overseas. He asks your prayers for all who attend and even more prayers for those who cannot.

Perspective.

Perspective is how you look at life. For example, some people are optimists and see the glass of water as half full; others are pessimists and see the glass of water as half empty. Which are you?

Not so long ago I heard a speaker apply that logic to the story of Goliath. The speaker said the Israelite soldiers were a bunch of pessimists. Looking at the giant they thought he's so big nobody is going to ever knock him down.

Then the speaker said, "David was an optimist. When he gazed upon Goliath, he commented to himself, 'He's so big, I can't miss him. I'll bring him down.'"

It was a beautiful lecture, a wonderful message which had only one, small defect: it was based on a flawed premise.

The speaker had it all wrong. David didn't look at Goliath and think he could match the monster in a show of strength. David wasn't making his calculations of success because he had deliberated on Goliath's surface area.

David did what he did because he was following the Lord's will.

Any person who reads the Bible needs to realize the heroes of faith -- those great men and women of Scripture -- are not great because of some inborn insight or because of some innate ability.

Noah wasn't spared because he was a wonderful ship builder. Jonah didn't survive because he had some unique talent at training big fish. Moses didn't survive and succeed because he had some magical formula that allowed him to manipulate the waters of the Red Sea.

These all managed to make it through the obstacles they faced because they knew those things that were impossible for humans would be child's play for God.

And that reality, my friends, includes our forgiveness and salvation. We are too weak, too incapable of destroying the giants of sin, death, and devil. What we needed was the hand of God, the nail-pierced hands of the Savior to do that which we could not.

What we need is what we have been given in Jesus. It is in His Name that we rejoice.

THE PRAYER: Dear Savior, for coming into this world and destroying those forces that would drag us to ****, we are grateful. Now, when we are confronted by the giants of evil, may we turn to You who has done so much and has promised to do so much more. In Your Name. Amen.


In Christ I remain His servant and yours,


Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries

EZMONEY
12-10-2009, 08:37 AM
"Changing Fears"

December 10, 2009



And the angel said to them, "Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of a great joy that will be for all the people." Luke 2:10



If the news in these Daily Devotions doesn't seem as fresh as usual, it's because Pastor Klaus prepared these devotions before he left for Europe. He is in Germany until early next week conducting a seminar with Lutheran military chaplains stationed overseas. He asks your prayers for all who attend and even more prayers for those who cannot.

Have you ever noticed that angels, especially around Christmas time, sound like a record that is stuck?

When the angel visits with Zacharias, he begins, "Fear not." When Gabriel makes the announcement to Mary, he says the same. Months later when the angels appear to the Bethlehem shepherds, their spokesman begins, "Fear not."

Maybe the angels, having watched over us for millennia, know something about us; maybe they know we sinners spend an awful lot of time being afraid.

Many, many years ago, when I was a child, I was afraid. Probably those fears were very much like yours. Were you petrified of things that go bump in the night, the shadows that move in the twilight, the monsters we thought were hiding in the closet, or under our beds? Thankfully, we all were pretty sure those monsters couldn't get us as long as we were wrapped in our blankets and sheets.

Sadly, there were no such barriers for life's later, ever-morphing fears.

What protection can there be when you are afraid of what your friends might say about the way you dress or what strangers might think about the way you comb your hair? What safety can be found against the fear that says you're not a very good parent, boss, friend, etc.?

And now that I'm older another set of fears have come knocking at my door.

Life's like that, isn't it? You banish one set of fears and another comes in to take their place. Now I'm not suggesting my fears are yours, but I do believe we all have those pet terrors, such as worries about health problems, finances, friends, family, or our spouse.

Those fears are real.

But so are the words of the angel: "Fear not." So those angels could say those words and mean them is why Jesus was born, why He lived, died, and rose. Because of what the Savior has successfully accomplished, our fears -- though real -- will never have the last word.

We no longer have to fear because in Jesus we have good news of great joy! We have a Savior, Christ the Lord.

THE PRAYER: Dear Lord Jesus, I believe, help my unbelief. Through Your victory over sin, death, devil, and human nature, I am redeemed. Now, when my fears start showing up, let the Holy Spirit lift up my eyes, so I can see You -- and not my fears. In Your Name. Amen.



In Christ I remain His servant and yours,


Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries

EZMONEY
12-11-2009, 08:36 AM
"Nothing Special?"

December 11, 2009



. . . give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus. 1 Thessalonians 5:18



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



One weekend, Brasil Lutheran University's music group went to a youth gathering in the city of Santa Catarina. On the way there, the road was clear and traffic was light. The return trip was a different story, however. Traffic was heavy as cars and trucks filled the lanes. That being said, however, nothing special happened. We drove on until we arrived safely at our homes.

And what's so special about this?

Nothing. But, then again, everything.

If there had been an accident and I survived to write this devotion that would have been reason enough to thank the Lord. Right? Isn't the fact we traveled almost 1000 miles with not even a flat tire all the more reason to have hearts of thanksgiving for our Father's care for seven travelers in two cars?

Oddly, it seems we are more ready to give thanks when bad things happen and we are delivered than for all the good God does in our lives. Sometimes -- many times, in fact -- our hectic routines get in the way and we don't even notice His work in our lives.

Still, our Lord Jesus is loving and patient. His presence and care are the signs on our road keeping us safe. Some alert us that repentance is needed ahead, requiring us to stop and think. Others motivate and fuel us to greater faith by reminding us that safety, help, forgiveness, and love are ours and given to us freely -- with a toll. He paid the price by dying in our place, so we can arrive safely.

Nothing special?

Hardly. It's always special. God's protection and guidance as we navigate this world and blessings beyond compare.

THE PRAYER: Dear Father, fill our hearts and mouths with thanksgiving for Your daily care and concern for our lives so we make every day a special one to live under Your love. In Jesus' Name. Amen.

Biography of Author: Pastor Lucas André Albrecht wrote this devotion. He works with youth at Brasil Lutheran University and is involved in Gospel outreach activities utilizing television, radio, and the Internet. In Brazil, Lutheran Hour Ministries operates under the banner of Cristo Para Todas As Nacoes (CPTN), which means "Christ For All Nations." Through booklets, devotionals, and partnerships with Lutheran congregations, CPTN reaches people throughout the country.

EZMONEY
12-12-2009, 08:50 AM
"Reaching For Home"

December 12, 2009



May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope. Romans 15:13



You may have noticed the Cubs didn't make it to the World Series this year.

Knowing I'm a baseball fan, and knowing I regret not watching my team play in the World Series this year (or any year), a friend loaned me a video that had to do with baseball. More specifically, the video shows baseball greats from the past. Watching, I was amazed to find that

· an overly competitive Ty Cobb was thrown out more times trying to steal than any other man in baseball history.

· homerun slugger, Babe Ruth, struck out more times than just about anybody else.

What amazed me most is this: nobody considers these men to be failures. Indeed, few people remember they had any failures at all.

Now it is quite possible you may find those thoughts about baseball a little out of place -- even strange -- on a December morning, a morning when we're far removed from the baseball season.

If so, allow me to explain.

These stories are important, especially to those of us who sometimes, perhaps always, concentrate on our shortcomings rather than our strengths.

Truly, the Lord Jesus has, through His life, His suffering, and His death shown that our Heavenly Father cares about us. The Lord, who knows us better than anyone else, has decided He would prefer to save us rather than throw us onto some spiritual junk pile.

Even so, Scripture assures us that the Holy Spirit has given us some special and unique gifts. These are not inconsequential gifts since they can be used to further the Kingdom and assist others with whom we come into contact.

So, are we failures or successes? With the Lord's help, we can be enabled to look at the things we can do rather than the things we can't. With God's assistance, we can be assured He is going to give us hope to accomplish His purpose for this and every day.

Concentrate on the possibilities and not the failures. That probably would be the advice of Ty Cobb and Babe Ruth. That most certainly is the direction God would have us go.

That's what St. Paul was trying to say when he wrote: "May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace. . . ."


From a devotion originally written for "By the Way"



THE PRAYER: Dear Father, in Jesus You have given us a hope that will endure. May we live every day filled with gratitude for the Savior's sacrifice and the Holy Spirit's gifts. This we pray in Jesus' Name. Amen.


In Christ I remain His servant and yours,


Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries

EZMONEY
12-13-2009, 08:35 AM
"Victory"

December 13, 2009



No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and He will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation He will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it. 1 Corinthians 10:13



It doesn't make any difference how old you are, the temptation to do wrong is always a problem.

This is just another way of saying that as far as I can tell, a person never outgrows the propensity to sin.

You can be as old as me, or maybe as young as the ten-year-old boy who had been instructed by his parents to avoid a certain movie that was playing in town. Not surprisingly, the movie house is exactly where his parents found him on Saturday afternoon.

When they got him home, they asked, "Whatever possessed you to go in that place? You know we told you that you shouldn't go!"

To his mother's question, the boy replied, "Mama, I just couldn't help myself. I smelled that popcorn and it smelled so good that I had to buy some. And then the floor of that movie house was so slick, I just slid inside."

Ever since Adam and Eve chomped down on the forbidden fruit people have been sliding into all kinds of sin. We can't help ourselves. Our sinful human nature leads us to do all kinds of things we know we shouldn't.

For some, the temptation may be drugs, for others alcohol, for others treating family members with disdain. We all have sins into which we slide.

Thankfully, our helplessness is not the last word on the subject.

If you have a personal temptation that is hard to shake and you have not been able to conquer it on your own, help is available. The Lord Jesus wishes, through His love and by His sacrifice, to make you more and better than you ever dreamed possible.

He wants you forgiven, saved, and a soul who has stopped its sinful sliding.

May God bless you today as you become victorious over temptation.


From a devotion originally written for "By the Way"



THE PRAYER: Dear Father, I truly want to be victorious over those things in life that tempt me. Send Your Holy Spirit so I may rely upon my Savior and be empowered to a less slippery life. In Jesus' Name. Amen.


In Christ I remain His servant and yours,


Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries

EZMONEY
12-14-2009, 08:42 AM
"A Dirty Iron"

December 14, 2009



. . . And behold, the LORD passed by, and a great and strong wind tore the mountains and broke in pieces the rocks before the LORD, but the LORD was not in the wind. And after the wind an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake. And after the earthquake a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire. And after the fire the sound of a low whisper. 1 Kings 19:11b-12



Pastor Klaus wrote this devotion before he left to lead a seminar in Germany. He prays God's blessings upon your Advent and requests your prayers for his safe return.

Mary Jo Coady of Massachusetts has had a tough time of things lately. All kinds of personal problems have rocked her world.

Maybe that's why when Mary Jo saw something that reminded her of Jesus' face on an iron at her daughter's apartment, she felt comforted. Me, I've seen pictures of the iron and, well, it's possible the pictures weren't that good. Even if I don't see Jesus' face, I'm glad Mary Jo felt the Lord was watching over her. He is.

Now that would normally be the end of the story. It would have been except for the fact that some writers at the Portland Humanist Examiner, reporting on the story said, "Only religious delusion could offer one comfort in such circumstances."

What a lousy attitude!

First, they try to put Mary Jo in her place: her religion has made her delusional. Next, they want to take away the hope that has come from her faith. When that is done, they want Mary Jo to accept their joyless reality and see things as darkly and dismally as they do.

What a lousy attitude!

Now, I'm not saying Jesus' face is on that iron, but I am willing to say the Lord does show up in places where most people wouldn't expect Him. He can be present in a pillar of cloud or fire; He can speak to a disciple from a burning bush; He can come to a prophet in a low whisper rather than appearing in a strong wind, a great earthquake, or a brilliant fire.

He can also be seen wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in an animal's feed trough.

No doubt the paper would say the shepherds were delusional when they heard the angel talk about the good news of great joy for all people. Maybe those shepherds were even on something when they saw the multitude of the heavenly host.

Or maybe, just maybe, according to prophecy, God's Son was born and through Him the world is changed, our sins are forgiven, and all who believe have hope.

THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, the fool has said in his heart there is no God. There are still a lot of fools out there. Father, if it be possible, send Your Holy Spirit to touch these hearts and open their eyes so they may see the joy that comes in Jesus. In His Name, I pray. Amen.


In Christ I remain His servant and yours,


Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries

EZMONEY
12-15-2009, 08:41 AM
"What's Needed"

December 15, 2009



But the Lord answered her, "Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her." Luke 10:41-42



Pastor Klaus wrote this devotion before he left to lead a seminar in Germany. He prays God's blessings upon your Advent and requests your prayers for his safe return.

Do you remember the song, "All I want for Christmas is. . . ."?

If you're of age, I don't have to go any further. You've already finished the line. You can't help yourself. If you are younger and can't figure out how the line ends, don't feel bad, it's a cute song, but that's about it.

"All I want for Christmas is. . . ."

This year a lot of buyers for a lot of retail stores are doing their best to try and anticipate the answer to that question. These purchasers may not gaze into a crystal ball to get their answers, but if one were handy, many of them just might sneak a peek.

They want to know -- they need to know -- what people want for Christmas. If they order 100,000 of an item nobody wants, the boss isn't going to be pleased to have a warehouse filled with useless merchandise. If the buyers order 100 of some gift everybody just has to have, the lack of product to sell isn't going to improve the souring disposition of the higher-ups.
What will people want for Christmas?

Dallas-based Neiman Marcus is hoping they have found the right answer. Recognizing there are some folks who don't know a recession is going on, the store is selling a cupcake-shaped electric car for kids. Then, there's the charity dinner with some best-selling authors. (That one is selling for $200,000.) There is also a Neiman Marcus Jaguar priced a little over $100,000, and the store is offering the world's fastest electric motorcycle.

What will people want for Christmas? Naturally, Neiman Marcus recognizes some folks can't afford such gifts. One of the vice-presidents has assured buyers that 40 percent of the catalogue has items selling for less than $250.

What do you want for Christmas? How about a gift that is free? At least it's free to you. With all the buying and hoopla, it is right we remember God's gift to us is His Son. Jesus came into this world to be our Savior, our Redeemer, our Substitute, and our Friend.

And although we, because of our sinful natures, cannot say, "He is what I want," by the Holy Spirit's power, we most definitely can be given a faith which says, "Jesus is exactly who we need."

THE PRAYER: Dear Heavenly Father, my salvation has cost the life of Your Son. May I always appreciate the suffering He has felt, and the sacrifice He made so I might be saved. Living in His blood-bought forgiveness may I always be certain that Jesus is what I need. In His Name. Amen.

In Christ I remain His servant and yours,


Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries

EZMONEY
12-16-2009, 08:20 AM
"Come And Worship"

December 16, 2009



And he (King Herod) sent them to Bethlehem, saying, "Go and search diligently for the child, and when you have found Him, bring me word, that I too may come and worship Him." Matthew 2:8



Pastor Klaus wrote this devotion before he left to lead a seminar in Germany. He prays God's blessings upon your Advent and requests your prayers for his safe return.

Look in on Herod's audience with the wise men. It's a study in contrasts.

You have the magi who had traveled a long distance to find the Savior and a king who simply couldn't be bothered. There are men who wish to worship the Christ Child and a king who wanted to kill Him. The list of dissimilarities goes on and on.

People have always reacted differently to the Savior and to His birth. At our house, the crèche is left up year round and in July Christmas carols are played on the stereo. Of course, we know it's not that way for everyone.

Some years ago, a survey asked people if they were looking forward to Christmas. While most answered, "Yes," far too many said, "No."

When pressed for an explanation, the "no" folks said things like this:

· "Christmas reminds us of things that ought to be, but are not."
· "Christmas is a time of love, but we feel very unloved."
· "Christmas is a time of giving, but we don't want to give, or can't afford to give."
· "Christmas is a family time, but there is anger and hostility within our family circles."

There is no question that those folks have some serious reasons for their sadness. On the other hand, it just might be they've been let down because the celebration of the Savior's birth has been moved down on their priority list.

If these folks looked for the Savior first -- if they saw the forgiveness He wins and the joy He bestows -- it just might be they would find the rest of the items on their list.

That is not just wishful thinking on my part.

Those who know Jesus find many things in their lives have been modified. They know they are loved; they see God's gifts, and the family time of Christmas is made larger by their new family of faith.

THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, this year among all the wishes and prayers, I ask this to be added to the list: may people be brought to see the Savior who changes the world, our lives, and our celebrations. May they see the Babe of Bethlehem, the Christ of the cross, and the Savior of the empty tomb. May they see and believe. In Jesus' Name. Amen.



In Christ I remain His servant and yours,



Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries

EZMONEY
12-17-2009, 08:42 AM
"Hope"

December 17, 2009



May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope. Romans 15:13



Pastor Klaus wrote this devotion before he left to lead a seminar in Germany. He prays God's blessings upon your Advent and requests your prayers for his safe return.

My chess career can be summed up in four words:

I lost. A lot.

It was about a year ago that a pastor from Canada sent me the story from which this Daily Devotion is derived. It begins with a chess champion looking intently at an art gallery painting.

The champion was interested because the theme of the painting was (you guessed it) chess. More specifically, the painting showed a chess match between a young man and the devil. It seems the two were playing for the man's soul.

If the faces in the picture could be believed, the man was in a panic as the devil makes his final move.

The title of the painting was "Checkmate."

The chess champion looked at the picture for a solid minute, then two, then five. Finally, he turned to the curator of the art institute and said, "I've got some good news for the man in the picture. He still has a move to make."

From what I've seen, there are a lot of people who feel life is a hopeless thing. They feel afraid, discouraged, alone. The devil has convinced them there's no more moves to be made.

But that is not so.

The grand and long-anticipated birth of the Savior in Bethlehem says the devil doesn't get the last move. Indeed, the crucifixion and resurrection of the Savior say the devil has already lost.

Of course, some folks don't believe it, and the devil's certainly not going to come clean and get honest. He's not going to confess he's lost.

That's our job. To invite the world to go and see this thing which has come to pass which the Lord has told us about.

They're out there, you know -- the lost. Won't you invite them? The worst they can do is say, "Mind your own business."

THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, we know Satan is the father of lies. Why then do we listen so carefully when he tells us we've lost? Why do we believe the doubters and the discouragers and the cynics? Please, I ask, shore up my faith when it gets shaky and allow me to witness clearly to the wonders of Your Love. In Jesus' Name. Amen.


In Christ I remain His servant and yours,


Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries

EZMONEY
12-18-2009, 08:32 AM
December 18, 2009



(Jesus said) "Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven; give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you." Luke 6:37-38



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



As a teenager I remember having a strong sense of justice -- so much so that I became a police officer. Some said I wanted to help people find justice for the unjust things others did to them. But for me it was really more about preventing others from doing wrong. My motto was, "If I am not allowed to break the law, then neither are you."

But, in my many years as a police officer, I often felt the justice system was letting victims down and allowing criminals to get away. Justice in the world is often not fair. Like so many people, I often judged others while letting myself slide.

Then I became a pastor. In some ways it became even worse. Now I no longer had the power to arrest, and I could not go around handing out justice when and where I thought it was needed. Still, in other ways, things have gotten a lot better though because now I know God's justice far surpasses our feeble human attempt at it.

God's justice is different from what I wanted. I wanted those who broke the law to be punished. If that meant I had to punish them, then so be it. I wanted the speeding taxi, the dishonest businessman, and the guy who had parked his car illegally to be caught and punished each and every time. I wanted swift and complete justice for any and all offenders.

God, however, wants those who have broken His Law to be forgiven. He does not excuse the sinner's behavior, nor will they get away with their sins. All sins have to be paid for, but He does not want sinners to pay for their sins with their lives. Jesus, the Son of God, died on the cross to pay for our sins and was raised again to show that this payment was accepted. God's justice is different from ours. His is all about grace, about wanting the best for the sinner. Our justice is all about the law and wanting the best for us.

Today, I sincerely try to measure out justice to others in the same way God has done with me. He has given me grace, forgiven my sins, and turned my heart to see that the measure I should use with all people is the Gospel. Out of love He has saved me and His desire is that all be saved.

THE PRAYER: Heavenly Father, thank You for the forgiveness -- and not the judgment - we have through what Jesus has done for us. Help us to share that love with others. Amen.

Biography of Author: Pastor Josef Henning wrote this devotion. In 2002 he became pastor at the English Lutheran Fellowship of Randburg, South Africa. He and his wife, Birgit, have three children. Lutheran Hour Ministries-South Africa with its office in Johannesburg utilizes Equipping the Saints (ETS), Bible Correspondence Courses (BCC), and a performing arts program to reach others with the Gospel of Jesus Christ.


To learn more about our International Ministries, click here or visit www.lhmint.org.

EZMONEY
12-19-2009, 08:42 AM
"Our Hope"

December 19, 2009



. . . Hope in God; for I shall again praise Him, my salvation and my God. Psalm 42:5b



For many people, Christmas is a wonderful time.

But there are others for whom the celebration of the Savior's birth is filled with plans uncompleted and intentions unrealized. That's the way it was the first year Christmas was celebrated in the Western Hemisphere.

Christopher Columbus, having rediscovered the New World, planned a festive Christmas celebration for his three ships.

Those plans were set aside when the Santa Maria was wrecked off the coast of Haiti. Rather than celebrating, Columbus and his men were forced to build a fort for the 40 men who could not be taken back to Spain aboard his two smaller ships.

They called the fort: "La Natividad," the Spanish word for nativity.

The best the men could do was pause a moment in their emergency work to utter a Christmas prayer and a word of thanks.

Columbus returned from Spain in the fall of 1493. His first order of business was to find La Natividad and the men he had left behind. Sadly, they had all disappeared without a trace, and all that was left of the fort were a few timbers.

All of us at Lutheran Hour Ministries and the Klaus Haus pray that this Christmas will be a most blessed one for you. It is our hope your celebration of the Savior's birth will not be marked or marred by the unpleasantries, which sin -- and Satan -- like to inflict.

Still, we know there are those who will -- because of financial situations, health problems, family difficulties, and for a host of other causes -- find their Christmas plans changed.

If that describes your situation or your Christmas this year, please remember this: 2,000 years ago the Lord Jesus was born into an imperfect world, a world of sadness, sorrow, and sin. Jesus came into the midst of our mess to change it, reclaim it, and save us.

Jesus comes to the midst of our messes, and He can transform those messes. He can bring good out of bad and hope out of sadness.


From a devotion originally written for "By the Way"



THE PRAYER: Dear precious Lord, because of Your birth, Your life, Your death, and Your resurrection our sins are forgiven and our sadness and sorrow can be transformed. Today I pray for those whose Christmas has been touched by the wretchedness of the world. Send Your Holy Spirit to watch over and strengthen these folks. For them I pray, doing so in Your Name. Amen.


In Christ I remain His servant and yours,


Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries

EZMONEY
12-20-2009, 08:36 AM
"Christmas Celebrations"

December 20, 2009



But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of woman, born under the Law, to redeem those who were under the Law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. Galatians 4:4-5



Back in the early 1700s, when the United States wasn't, and what was, was known as "the colonies," the settlers in Williamsburg, Virginia, celebrated Christmas.

But they did their festivities without many of the customs you and I take for granted.
So, what were some of the things they were missing?

First, there was no Santa, sleigh, reindeer, or elves. That's because Santa was primarily and, note I say, primarily, a Dutch tradition.

The settlers didn't decorate their Christmas trees because they didn't have them. Christmas trees, a German custom, hadn't yet shown up in that community.

The colonists set out no nativity manger scene -- a tradition that originates in Italy -- and the idea of hanging your stockings by the chimney with care -- well, that's an American idea that would come much later.

So what did those settlers from long ago do to celebrate Christmas? Simple, they set off fireworks and shot off cannons. Their Christmas may not have looked like your Christmas, but nobody -- and I mean nobody -- would have been able to miss the celebration.

This coming Christmas Day, as you look around your neighborhood, you will see many different ways of celebrating the birth of the Savior.

Some folks will make merry by hanging a multitude of lights on their house; others will mark Christmas with family visits, and yet others will have an un-celebration filled with untoward and improper partying.

In all probability your merriment will not involve the use of fireworks and cannons, although I am sure, somewhere that form of festivity is still commonplace.

No matter how you celebrate this week, I pray the Savior's birth is the central focus of your festivities. After all, it is His birth we remember. It is His life, which was given as the ransom necessary to save ours. Please, give thanks for the birth of the Babe of Bethlehem, the Christ of the cross, and the Savior of the empty tomb.


From a devotion originally written for "By the Way"



THE PRAYER: Dear Lord Jesus, may the celebration of Your birth include You. Your earthly ministry is that which saves our souls. Beginning in Bethlehem, Your work took You to a cross and empty tomb. May we give thanks for You -- You who are God's great and gracious Gift. In Your Name. Amen.

In Christ I remain His servant and yours,


Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries

EZMONEY
12-21-2009, 08:43 AM
"Bah Humbug #1"

December 21, 2009



Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. 1 Thessalonians 5:18



SPOILER ALERT - Parents with small children may wish to evaluate this devotion before sharing it with all age groups.

The beginning part of this week we're looking at some folks who seem to have missed both the secular and the Christian spirit of the Savior's birth.

Carole Slotterback, professor of psychology at the University of Scranton, is not one of those people. On the other hand, her habit of reading letters has introduced her to some who are.

You see, Slotterback reads letters that have been sent to Santa. For five years she read and analyzed 1,200 letters written to the jolly old saint.

The letters were composed on all types of paper, written and printed in all colors of ink and crayon. Some of the children decorated their letters with pictures, and many gave Santa information he really didn't need. As a precaution, let me say this: parents, if your children write to Santa, you ought to make sure they don't send addresses, photographs, cell phone, and home phone numbers.

As to the results, Slotterback says she was touched by many of the letters. I think most of us would have joined her in shedding a tear after reading the request that asked Santa to bring a mommy to a family.

In her study, Slotterback also noted there were some themes that ran through many of the letters from the little ones.

Some of those themes come as no surprise to most adults. I don't think many of you would be terribly shocked to find most of the children were definite in saying that Santa should not bring them any clothes!

There is another theme; however, another trait running through many of these letters. High on that list would be this: most of the children aren't as polite as they ought to be. As Slotterback puts it, "you'd think if you were asking for a lot of presents, you would throw in a 'please' or a 'thank you.'"

Slotterback is right. The children ought to be thankful.

Of course, it's not just children who are sometimes remiss in offering proper thanksgiving for God's manifold gifts. That sin is definitely part of human nature and the fallen human condition.

Now you know where this devotion is going, don't you? Even so, I encourage you to remind the children and grandchildren to say thanks for all they have been given. Let us encourage each other to give thanks for God's greatest gift: the Savior Christ the Lord.

And the greatest and easiest way to show that thanks is to worship the Christ. In our hymns, in our feasting, in our presents, in our prayers, in our church attendance, let's show the children and the unbelieving world the thanksgiving we have for a Redeemer who was born to give His life as a ransom -- a ransom to rescue us.

THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, although I ask it always, especially this Christmas week, I pray You will create a thankful heart within me. Grateful for Your grace as delivered in the person of Your Son, may I show to all, especially the children, the impact of the salvation that is given in Jesus' Name. Amen.


In Christ I remain His servant and yours,


Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries

EZMONEY
12-22-2009, 09:10 AM
"Bah Humbug #2"

December 22, 2009



Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. Romans 12:17-18



The beginning part of this week we're looking at some of those sorry folks who have developed a Scrooged attitude toward Christmas.

One such person was the fellow who pushed down an unemployed Salvation Army bell ringer in Ohio.

Do you think that's bad? Wait! There's more. When he pushed her down, the man said, "I can't stand you and your bell-ringing. I hate Christmas!"

Hang on. The story's not over.

The man showed just how much he hated Christmas and bell ringers. Yes, it's true. His hatred was so strong he took the woman's kettle, threw it in the back of a stolen pickup truck, and drove away.

A quick-thinking observer recorded the pickup's license of the man who hated bell ringers.

The next day police arrested Shawn Krieger of Toledo and charged him with robbery. Apparently, the man who hated bell ringers didn't hate their money. The kettle which was estimated to have somewhere between $500 and $700 when taken, was now absolutely -- totally -- empty.

I'd love to say this man is unique. He isn't.

There are many people (I'm speaking of some retailers here) who don't like Jesus, who don't believe in Him, who refuse the salvation He has won for them, who actually hate the Savior and all He has done. No, they can't stand Jesus and Christmas.

But they have no problem taking money from those who love the Savior and wish to celebrate His birth.

So, what can we do for those folks?

Various suggestions have been put forth. Some say, ignore these contemporary Scrooges, or picket their stores, or boycott their products, or throw a scathing "Merry Christmas" at them if we have to buy from them.

Me? I'm of the opinion the best thing we can do is pray for these folks. We should set an example of Christian kindness for those who refuse to see the compassion of the Christ and the sacrifice the Savior has made for their salvation.

We should pray for them, asking the Holy Spirit to keep trying to win them. Why? Because -- because just as Krieger will have his day in court, these people will someday stand before the divine Judge. On that day we want them going the right way; we want them to have faith in Jesus.

THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, I give thanks that this Christmas week the Holy Spirit has brought me to the manger to see the Savior who is good news of great joy. Now I pray that others -- the doubters, the deniers, and the skeptics -- may join me there to see the Savior whose life is given to win our salvation. In Jesus' Name. Amen.


In Christ I remain His servant and yours,



Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries

EZMONEY
12-23-2009, 08:27 AM
"Bah, Humbug #3"

December 23, 2009



(Jesus said) "Remember the word that I said to you: 'A servant is not greater than his master.' If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you. If they kept My Word, they will also keep yours. But all these things they will do to you on account of My Name, because they do not know Him who sent Me." John 15:20-21



There is any number of Scrooge-like candidates we could include in our devotions this week. We could point to the Chinese government, which has shut down some of the largest underground house churches in the country. We could refer to the leadership of various chain stores who limit the responses their staff can make to a customer's, "Merry Christmas!"

The subject of this devotion is the principal of Bellview Elementary School in Ashland, Oregon. Although the Supreme Court allows Christmas trees, the principal believes Christmas trees and Santas are religious symbols and must be banished from the corridors and rooms of her school.

The logic goes like this: Somebody might look at the Christmas tree or Santa Claus and they may consider these things religious and possibly be offended.

Wow! That's a lot of mights and mays and possiblys.

In the spirit of being consistent, I wonder if the principal is going to banish Valentine's Day or Martin Luther King, Jr. Day (Martin Luther King was a preacher, you know). She has to get rid of Halloween, which is holy to the Wiccans. What is the principal going to do with Thanksgiving Day? There's no point in having Thanksgiving Day if you've got nobody to be thankful to.

I wonder if the principal is going to show up for work on December 25th. Consistency demands the national holiday Christmas not be celebrated and, as long as the principal is showing up, there had better be a rule saying the teachers and students should show up, too. Don't want to give anybody the wrong impression by celebrating Christmas.

There is no doubt in my mind the principal is trying to do the right thing, the proper thing, and the politically correct thing. Sadly, it's the wrong thing to do.

Far better to join the shepherds, to join us at the Bethlehem manger and see this thing, which has come to pass, which the Lord has told us about -- far better to see the Savior, Christ the Lord.

If the principal looks, if she really looks with the eyes of faith given by the Holy Spirit, she will see the greatness of God's grace, the joy that comes in seeing the Savior who will give Himself so we could be saved.

If that day comes, Jesus will not be banished; He will be welcomed as the Redeemer.

THE PRAYER: Dear Lord I pray the Holy Spirit will be especially active in the lives of those who think they're doing the right thing when they, in the name of political correctness, try to banish the Savior. May they see the Christ, trust Him, and be brought to faith in Him. This I ask in the Name of my Savior, Jesus. Amen.


In Christ I remain His servant and yours,


Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries

EZMONEY
12-24-2009, 08:50 AM
"Was It Worth It?"

December 24, 2009



(Jesus said) . . . "even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many." Matthew 20:28



Jennifer Lee and her husband, Keith, went into the mountains of Oregon to cut down a Christmas tree for their family.

They went prepared. They had a GPS, an all-wheel drive Subaru, and they had their phones.

They were prepared for almost anything, except for running into a snowdrift that just about buried their vehicle. When Keith tried to rock the car out of the ditch, he failed. Every time he rocked the vehicle, it moved closer to a cliff.

Out of cell phone range and not being able to get their car free, Jennifer and Keith became concerned. Nobody knew exactly where to find them. Nobody knew where to begin looking.

For days, Keith and Jennifer Lee waited and hoped for rescue. Finally, Keith had a new idea and freed the vehicle. In a short time, he and his wife were reunited with the kids. Speaking about her ordeal, Jennifer said, "What were we thinking? $30 for a Christmas tree? Just pay the $30 and be done with it."

She concluded, "$30 wasn't worth our life."

I would agree with Jennifer's evaluation of her value. She is worth more than $30 -- the price of a Christmas tree.

Having said that, I would also agree the life of Jesus Christ was worth more, far more than the 30 pieces of silver Judas got from the religious authorities.

"How much more?" Is that what I hear you asking? How much more was Jesus worth?

I don't know. Look into the manger and see the Son of God. Listen to Him as He preaches; watch as He does His miracles. Stand and watch as He was betrayed by one of His disciples; watch as He was beaten, railroaded to His death. What is that worth to you? What is it worth that Jesus carried your sins, that Jesus died so you might live, that He rose from the dead to show all who would see the grave had been defeated.

What is that worth? Look into the manger and see how much God loves you.

THE PRAYER: Dear Lord Jesus, You left Your home so I might have a heavenly mansion. You carried my sin so I might be declared innocent; You gave Your life so I might live forever. I cannot put a value on such love. All I can do is offer thanks that Christ the Savior has been born. In His Name. Amen.



In Christ I remain His servant and yours,


Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries

carolr3639
12-24-2009, 01:21 PM
EZ in John 3 it say, Ye must be born again. How did that happen to you?

EZMONEY
12-25-2009, 09:43 AM
"A Bond Of Love"

December 25, 2009



To You, O LORD, I cry; and to the Lord I plead for mercy. Psalm 30:8



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



When a child needs food or drink, or even just a hug, he turns to his parents. He has total confidence his mother or father will take care of him. There is a love bond that unites them.

What do you do when you need something? You probably ask someone for it. Is there anyone in whom you have total confidence to fulfill your requests?

Our Heavenly Father created us with a bond of love. Though we were separated from Him as a result of our sin, He sent His Son, Jesus, to bring us back. This Christmas Day let us remember the riches of God's grace toward fallen man at the expense of His beloved Son. Though we were dead in our sins, completely corrupt and at enmity with God, He ransomed us and, through His Spirit, makes us into new creations. Through Jesus' death and resurrection we have assurance of God's love for us, and we can respond by sharing that love with others.

That bond of love gives us confidence to know that God hears us when we call out to Him. He responds to our urgent requests and our desperate pleas for mercy. He holds us in His hands, and He will never let us go.

THE PRAYER: Thank You, Heavenly Father, for the precious gift of Your Son, our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Amen.

Biography of Author: Danila Ines Sturtz wrote this devotion. In Paraguay, she is coordinator of a Bible school, a leader of confirmands, and serves as secretary of the ladies league. Lutheran Hour Ministries-Paraguay operates as Cristo Para Todas Las Naciones within this South American country and is active in radio programming, door-to-door ministry, and Bible Correspondence Courses (BCC) designed for both children and adults.


To learn more about our International Ministries, click here or visit www.lhmint.org.




Pastor Klaus returns
again tomorrow.

EZMONEY
12-25-2009, 10:41 AM
EZ in John 3 it say, Ye must be born again. How did that happen to you?

Indeed it does CAROL :)

I was "born again" by the power of God's Word and promise, through the washing of regeneration and renewal in the Holy Spirt made possible by the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

As you can see...I didn't do anything...God did it all for me :carrot:

EZMONEY
12-26-2009, 08:54 AM
"A Loyal Friend"

December 26, 2009



A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother. Proverbs 18:24



Friends and family move away, pass away, and a few just forget us.

Indeed, it's a rare individual who has a friend so close their loyalty is a given and faithfulness something which can be counted on.

Such a loyal, faithful friend was Hachi.

Let me tell you about Hachi. Hachi was a dog that lived in Japan and went to the railroad station with his master each morning and then greeted him each evening.

That's the way things remained until one night in 1925 when Hachi's master died while he was away in another town. Still, his owner's passing didn't stop Hachi.

Every night, for more than 10 years, Hachi went to the train station. There he would wait for an hour and then, slowly, sadly, he would return home.

Hachi's loyalty impressed the nation of Japan. The government erected a statue of the dog on the spot where Hachi had waited. It also sent small statues of the dog to all the schools in the country.

This the government did because it knew Hachi's kind of loyalty is a hard thing to come by.

Indeed, a person can go his entire life without ever finding a friend so faithful.

Of course, as a Christian, you don't have to look very far, do you? Yesterday, we celebrated the birth of God's Son, our Savior. Jesus' Bethlehem arrival was the beginning of an earthy ministry that would take the Christ to betrayal, rejection, misunderstanding, false arrest, and crucifixion. All this Jesus would endure so we might be forgiven and saved.

Now, today, the risen Lord continues to show His faithfulness to His people. He stands at the ready -- ready to hear our prayers -- ready to carry our burdens -- ready to take us home when our lives are over. Jesus continues to keep His promise to be with us always.

It's something worth remembering the day after Christmas.


From a devotion originally written for "By the Way"



THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, for being there, for watching, protecting, guiding, loving, saving, You have my gratitude. May I go forward in faith and tell the world of my Savior. In Jesus' Name. Amen.


In Christ I remain His servant and yours,


Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries

EZMONEY
12-27-2009, 08:49 AM
"A Different Mommy"

December 27, 2009



Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you. 1 Peter 5:7



On a cold Chicago night, four-year-old Barbara climbed onto her father's lap and asked, "Daddy, why isn't my Mommy just like everybody else's mommy?"

Bob May stole a glance across his shabby two-room apartment. On the couch lay his wife, Evelyn, racked with cancer. For two years she had been bedridden and all Bob's income had gone to paying for her treatment.

How do you explain cancer, poverty, and differences to a child?

A copywriter for Montgomery Ward, Bob was deep in debt and depressed. Even so, that night he held his daughter near. Then, before he began, Bob prayed, he asked God to give him the words to answer his little girl's question. God gave Bob those words. This is how they came:

"Once upon a time there was a reindeer named Rudolph, the only reindeer in the world that had a big red nose. Naturally, people called him, Rudolph, the Red Nosed Reindeer."

As Bob went on, he tried to share with little Barbara the knowledge that, even though some people and things are different, God has a purpose for them.

Bob's story continued: Rudolph and his family were embarrassed by his condition, and others laughed at him. Even so, the time came when Rudolph was called upon to be the point-reindeer for Santa's sleigh. And so it happened Rudolph became the most famous and beloved of all the reindeer.

When Bob was finished, his daughter laughed. Every night Barbara asked for the story to be retold and every night the father repeated the tale of Rudolph.

Eventually, Bob's wife died. And once again, Bob turned to God for help. Sitting at his desk in his lonely apartment he worked on "Rudolph." Through his tears, he worked at making the story into a poem, a Christmas gift for his daughter.

Barbara loved that story. So did the folks at Montgomery Ward. In 1938 Bob was asked to an employee's Christmas party. He took his poem and read it. And the rest, as they say, is history.

Just thought you might want to know how the Lord brought about one of our non-Biblical Christmas traditions.


From a devotion originally written for "By the Way"



THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, for those who are in pain, may the Savior bring peace. For those who are lost, may He bestow direction and guidance. For all needs may You provide the proper and appropriate answer. In Jesus' Name. Amen.



In Christ I remain His servant and yours,



Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries

EZMONEY
12-28-2009, 09:41 AM
Just in case anyone comes here....I have not forgotten to post the Daily Devotion...the site is just down at the moment...

Blessings for all....

EZMONEY
12-29-2009, 08:48 AM
"The Baby Not The Bathwater"

December 29, 2009



And the angel said to them, "Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of a great joy which will be for all the people." Luke 2:10



Christmas is over and atheists can breathe a sigh of relief.

According to an article carried by the Associated Press, during the days after Christmas atheists give out a communal sigh of satisfaction.

Once again they have managed to survive the Savior's birth.

· No longer do they feel the Christian world is out to get them.

· No longer do they stuff cotton in their ears to deaden the endless carols being played over the department store public address systems.

· No longer do they have to explain why they celebrate heathen customs like the
winter solstice rather than the Savior's birth.

· No longer do they have to boycott stores that encourage sales personnel to say,
"Merry Christmas!"

· No longer do they have to look for Christmas cards with no reference to Christ.

Now, please understand it's not that the atheists in the AP story are completely against Christmas. They're not. As one of them said, "Food, we like. Presents, we like. Seeing family, we like." Another said, "People (atheists) shouldn't cave in to the notion Christmas belongs to Christians. Baby Jesus is just an excuse for a lot of people to party, anyway."

Now this devotion is not going to try and explain that if a person celebrates heathen customs, he's not an atheist but that he's just being anti-Christian and is against established mainstream religion. On the other hand, I would like to point out that enjoying food, presents, and family without knowing the Savior is not just throwing the baby out with the bathwater, it's throwing the baby out and keeping the bathwater.

Even more, I'd like to say throwing out this baby is a dangerous thing. Oh, yes, Jesus, the babe of Bethlehem, is cute and cuddly. But Jesus is also the Christ of the cross and the Savior of the empty tomb. Jesus' story of salvation -- His life, His death, His resurrection, are all cut from the same cloth.

As is the fact that this child in the manger will someday return to be our judge.

So, for those atheists who are feeling more relaxed, I'd like to say, please, use these days to relax, but also use them to take a serious look at the Savior who gave His life for your salvation.

Put aside your tinsel and glitter; put aside your prejudice and take a look. Ask some questions; find out that God is answering. You won't regret it.

THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, I give thanks the Savior is my reality and my Redeemer. Now I pray for those who have rejected Him. While there is still time may they be turned from self-satisfaction and intellectual unbelief and be brought to see the Savior. This I pray in Jesus' Name. Amen

In Christ I remain His servant and yours,



Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries

EZMONEY
12-30-2009, 08:07 AM
"A Stolen Body"

December 30, 2009



Jesus said to her, "Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?" Supposing Him to be the gardener, she said to Him, "Sir, if you have carried Him away, tell me where you have laid Him, and I will take Him away." Jesus said to her, "Mary." . . . John 20:15-16a



It was the kind of story that didn't seem appropriate to use during Advent. It was also the kind of story that couldn't be ignored.

The headline read, "Ex-Cyprus President Tassos Papadopoulos' body has been stolen from its grave."

Mr. Papadopoulos had been dead less than a year when grave robbers removed a marble slab and dug down to the casket and stole the body.

There were numerous reactions to the desecration. Police and pathologists looked for clues; the current leaders of the country called for its citizens to stay calm, and the ex-friends and foes of the deceased president were outraged at the sacrilege.

Everybody wanted to know where the body had been taken.

Like Mary, people cried at the idea that Papadopoulos' body had been moved or stolen.

Of course, there are some considerable and consequential differences between the story of a Cypriot ex-president and the account of the Christ. Most of those differences can be summed up this way: Jesus physically has risen from the dead, while the corpse of Tassos Papadopoulos awaits the Day of Judgment before his body and soul will be brought back together.

In truth, no one is predicting or expecting Mr. Papadopoulos will show up and pay a visit upon his old friends. Nobody has reported a visitation where the president sat down with them, conversed with them, ate with them, breathed on them, or blessed them.

Mr. Papadopoulos may have been a famous man -- even a great man to some -- but his abilities do not include the conquest of death. That is a power reserved for the person of God's Son.

As He promised, Jesus rose from the dead and showed Himself to many who had once mourned Him. In so doing, He showed the completeness of His sacrifice, the faithfulness of His Word, and gave birth to our hope of resurrection. Now, even today, a living Lord continues to keep His promise to be with us always.

And that, as we approach a New Year, is a comfort.

THE PRAYER: Dear Lord Jesus, I give thanks for Your glorious resurrection. Not only am I assured You have conquered death, I also know Your promises are to be trusted. Now, grant me this grace in the New Year to draw me closer to You. This I pray in Your Name. Amen.


In Christ I remain His servant and yours,


Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries

EZMONEY
12-31-2009, 08:51 AM
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En Español

"A New Year"

December 31, 2009



For the LORD is good and His love endures forever; His faithfulness continues through all generations. Psalm 100:5



The clock is ticking. You only have a few short hours to make your New Year's resolutions.

If you're drawing a blank as to what you should be resolving, this Daily Devotion may be of some help. On the next lines, according to those who say they know, are 2010's ten top resolutions:

1. Stop smoking.
2. Get fit.
3. Lose weight.
4. Enjoy life more.
5. Quit drinking.
6. Get organized.
7. Learn something new.
8. Get out of debt.
9. Spend more time with family.
10. Help others.

Now, if you don't smoke, you've already made resolution #1 and are off to a good start on the list. Keep it up!

As for me, if God wills, I'm going to keep writing the Daily Devotions. To that end, I'm resolving not to do a devotion on Tiger Wood's infidelities. Further, I shall abstain from any and all writing that could touch upon the antics of Paris Hilton, Lindsay Lohan, Madonna, and Britney Spears. Finally, I shall not speak about anything that has to do with Michael Jackson, or Brad and Angelina.

And lest you think that is an easy decision on my part, you should know these people account for about half the news stories appearing on television.

There is one other thing these devotions are resolving to do. We will, on a daily basis, point to Jesus Christ as the world's Savior.

No matter what the days may hold, whether the news is good or bad, we will still do our best to show the Savior and how He continues to touch our moments and minutes, our days and our decades.

In spite of governments and individuals doing their best to push the risen Lord back into His tomb, we will proclaim He lives and is with His saved people.

So, without being blessed with the gift of prophecy and not knowing what the coming year will bring, I shall endeavor to remind you, and myself, that the Lord is good; His steadfast love endures forever, and His faithfulness extends to all generations.

To that end, I wish a most blessed New Year to you and those who are around you. May the Christ always be by your side.

THE PRAYER: Dear Heavenly Father, be with us in the New Year. May the Holy Spirit bring us into a closer relationship with our living Savior. Grant me the wisdom and grace in this New Year to witness where I can, to whom I can, whenever I can. This I pray in the Name of the Savior who gave His life so I might be forgiven and saved. In Jesus' most holy Name. Amen.


In Christ I remain His servant and yours,



Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries