Pastor Schreiber's Devotions

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“What Will You Do?”- Psalm 67

Many younger men today probably wouldn’t think of this, but I do once and again.

My best friend had just received his call to serve in our nation’s military (this was during the time of the Vietnam conflict). As is so often the case, we spent our last night together doing something we really enjoyed (which happened to be crappie fishing). As the evening wound down our conversation turned to more serious things.

He asked me what I wanted to do with my life.

My answer surprised me. I told him, "If it were at all possible, I would like to be involved in helping someone learn about Jesus." I had never given this life’s course much thought until then, but it made sense to me at that time.

The next morning, I shared that conversation with my dad, a long-time Lutheran minister, and things happened! The next Monday I was walking the campus of Concordia College in Milwaukee and talking to the president of that school. That fall I started college prep classes in high school, and two years later I enrolled at Concordia College. Eight years later I graduated from seminary and began my career as a pastor in the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod.

I bring this up because one verse in today’s Psalm spoke to me then, even as it speaks today: “that your way may be known on earth, your saving power among all nations.

I was blessed to have that moment with my friend, before he went to war. I was blessed to have that realization of what I could do with my life (if I had the chance). I was blessed to have parents who saw a dream made real. I was blessed to meet and know many people who would encourage me in this dream. Mostly, I was and am still blessed to have a message to share with others – the message of Jesus Christ and Him crucified, risen and now ascended into heaven!

So, how is it with you? What will you do with your life? I hope and pray that you will also follow the lead of the Psalmist - that God’s way may be known on earth and His saving power made real among all nations!

"When All Seems Lost"- Psalm 18:1-9

Most of us will remember some place or time when all seemed lost or hopeless. Perhaps it was while you sat in a hospital room or sought shelter while on a battlefield. Maybe you woke up to find that you were sitting in a smashed automobile, or you were struggling through a conflict with a loved one. Whatever your situation, I want you to think of how hopeless and helpless we all can be at times. I want you to think on the despair that can threaten to envelope you like a swarming darkness.

The Psalmist (probably David) put it this way: “The cords of death encompassed me; the torrents of destruction assailed me; the cords of Sheol entangled me; the snares of death confronted me.”

He would have seemed correct to assume that destruction was his eventual lot. He had faced wild animals and a man-killing giant, his own king had attempted to kill him on several occasions, and we know that even one of his sons led a rebellion against him in an attempt to usurp the throne.

Instead, the Psalmist sang this song:

I love you, O Lord, my strength. The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. I call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised, and I am saved from my enemies.

Here’s why:

In my distress I called upon the Lord; to my God I cried for help. From his temple he heard my voice, and my cry to him reached his ears. Then the earth reeled and rocked; the foundations also of the mountains trembled and quaked, because he was angry. Smoke went up from his nostrils, and devouring fire from his mouth; glowing coals flamed forth from him. He bowed the heavens and came down; thick darkness was under his feet.

This, friends, in also an apt description of what our God does for us in Jesus Christ! We were not only conceived sinners who deserve God’s rejection; but we are lost and condemned sinners who have rebelled against God in thought, word and deed! But instead of visiting us with His wrath and punishment, God sent Jesus to redeem us from our sins and give us entry into heaven itself! Jesus Himself gave us the promise that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life! (See: John 3:16-18.)

So, when you are visited with those awful memories or present fears, and all seems lost -- look to Jesus Christ. His victory over sin, death and Satan is now our victory!

"God's Commitment to Us!"- Psalm 136:1-9

I once had a church member tell me that she no longer needed to attend worship services. She said that she could worship God anywhere and at any time.

So, as her pastor and friend I asked her if she did worship God at all times and in every circumstance.

She fell silent. Her face became downcast, and she soberly said, “No.” She recognized that try as she might, there were those times when she ignored God, forgot about Him, and even disobeyed Him.

I told that lady that I understood her dilemma. I, too, struggled at times with being what I knew I should be as a pastor, husband, father, citizen, and neighbor.

As we continued our conversation I began to realize something. I realized, by God’s grace, that I am what I am, but God still loves me! This was why He sent Jesus into the world – to bear the burden of my sins to Calvary’s cross. This is why God gave us loving parents to teach us right and wrong, take us to worship, and celebrate the many gifts He has for us.

That lady seemed awestruck to realize the enormity of God’s love for sinners. He sent Jesus to pay for our sins and win for us salvation; and then He gives us His Holy Spirit to work saving faith in Jesus Christ through His Word and the blessed sacraments of Holy Baptism and Holy Communion.

We looked at the words of this Psalm, and they took on fresh and significant meaning:

Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever.

Give thanks to the God of gods, for his steadfast love endures forever.

Give thanks to the Lord of lords, for his steadfast love endures forever;

to him who alone does great wonders, for his steadfast love endures forever;

to him who by understanding made the heavens, for his steadfast love endures forever;

to him who spread out the earth above the waters, for his steadfast love endures forever;

to him who made the great lights, for his steadfast love endures forever;

the sun to rule over the day, for his steadfast love endures forever;

the moon and stars to rule over the night, for his steadfast love endures forever;

This still describes God’s commitment to us!