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Old 12-01-2009, 08:38 AM   #1
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Default DECEMBER ~ Daily Devotion

"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
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Old 12-02-2009, 08:36 AM   #2
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"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
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Old 12-03-2009, 08:36 AM   #3
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"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
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Old 12-04-2009, 08:38 AM   #4
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"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.
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Old 12-05-2009, 09:12 AM   #5
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"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
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Old 12-06-2009, 09:06 AM   #6
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"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 PRAYERear 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
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Old 12-07-2009, 08:53 AM   #7
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"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
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Old 12-08-2009, 08:36 AM   #8
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"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
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Old 12-09-2009, 08:43 AM   #9
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"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
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Old 12-10-2009, 08:37 AM   #10
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"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
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Old 12-11-2009, 08:36 AM   #11
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"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.
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Old 12-12-2009, 08:50 AM   #12
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"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
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Old 12-13-2009, 08:35 AM   #13
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"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
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Old 12-14-2009, 08:42 AM   #14
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"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
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Old 12-15-2009, 08:41 AM   #15
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"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
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