Pastor Schreiber's Devotions

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"God Has a Plan"- Ephesians 1:3-14

God has a plan – it may be, however, that we don’t see it.

God’s plan is the salvation of souls. He wants all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. He wants to be worshiped and adored by His people. God wants His people to love and trust Him and each other. God wants to restore lost sinners to a place in heaven.

God has a plan, to be sure; but it was interrupted by Satan. The devil took on the form of a serpent, tempted Adam and Eve to sin (and succeeded), and then later on fought to keep God from reestablishing a state of grace and mercy for humankind.

God has a plan, but we may not see it now. The devil still fights God tooth and nail (so to speak), trying to stymie the work of the Holy Spirit, the Church on earth, and individual Christians so as to hinder the spread and power of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

From this writer’s perspective this is exactly what St. Paul was considering when he wrote the words of our reading from Ephesians. God had a plan, and it is still in play! It still centers around the person and work of Jesus Christ. It is still empowered by the Holy Spirit. It is still blessed by God!

God has a plan, and it includes YOU! As Paul wrote in the concluding portion of today’s Epistle reading:

    [11] In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will, [12] so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory. [13] In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, [14] who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.

"Bragging Rights"- 2 Corinthians 12:1-10

Bragging rights. Most of us have heard and probably held them from time to time. We boast of our accomplishments, our children and other offspring, our favorite teams, our nation and her heroes, and our favorite teams. St. Paul bragged, too! But he bragged about God and what God did.

We could and should learn from Paul in this regard. He said that he must continue boasting – but not in himself. He was fully aware of his lost and contemptible condition. He even stated that God allowed Satan to harass him and keep him from becoming too full of self. God told him, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness."

This point is essential for us to understand and appreciate the Gospel of Jesus Christ!

Back when I was a youth I was vacationing with my family in northern Wisconsin. My sister and I were lounging on the swimming raft at our resort when we noticed another youngster was floundering in the water. I jumped into the water and towed that child back to a safer depth.

Time and again God has done the same for me! Traffic accidents that didn’t happen, wind storms that didn’t materialize, economic disasters that should have taken place, but didn’t. But these all pale when compared to the ultimate disaster of hell. God so loved the world so much that He gave His Son for us sinners. This was more that the establishment of bragging rights. It was and is the only thing worth bragging about- God's love for all of humanity on display in His Son, Jesus Christ.


"Why?"- 2 Corinthians 8:1-9, 13-15

The youngster wailed, “Do I have to?” His was a question born not out of frustration, but out of selfishness, greed, and pride.  Did he have to help a smaller brother? Did he have to assist a sister with a school project? Did he have to obey a babysitter? (You get the idea – I hope.) He asked, “Why?”

People often are like that – they don’t do something unless they want to or they believe there is some benefit in it for them or someone or something they love. They won’t do something unless it is absolutely inevitable, unavoidable, or totally necessary. I know that I often ask this question and deal with this dilemma.

So, at this time I simply challenge you to think about this: What if God had asked the question when it came time for His Son to come into this world? What if Jesus had asked the question?

St. Paul wrote in verse nine of our text: “For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you by his poverty might become rich.” He had to because we were not and could not do it on our own. We were lost and condemned sinners. We earned God’s anger by our sins and disobedience, and we deserved only God’s wrath and punishment.

Jesus prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane. He asked why He had to go through that misery. Jesus asked it again when He hung on that cross. “Why?” The Father’s silence was His reply. Paul said it eloquently: “For your sake he became poor, so that you by his poverty might become rich.

Jesus did not deserve it or earn it; but out of God’s great love for us sinners Jesus chose to submit to His Father’s will, suffer death, endure the grave, and finally arise victorious over sin, death, and the grave on Easter morning.  Did Jesus have to do all this? Yes – and No.