Pastor Schreiber's Devotions

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"Jesus—What We Truly Need"- Luke 11:11-19

How strong is your God? A strong man, and an even stronger God says in Luke 11:22: “When one stronger than he attacks him and overcomes him, he takes away his armor in which he trusted and divides his spoil.” Jesus was talking about God—His Father and our Creator. This fact was something Jesus’ enemies couldn’t tolerate or accept.

Things haven’t changed. Jesus’ enemies still deny Him, disavow Him, and hate Him. They lay false charges before the Father and claim to know a better way of pleasing God and winning His favor. And they are still wrong!

In John 14:6, Jesus said to Thomas and the other disciples: “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”

To the Pharisee, Nicodemus, Jesus declared:

"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. [17] For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. [18] Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.” John 3:16-18

In Jesus, God the Father gave us not what we wanted or asked for. He gave us what we truly need! Consider again the opening words of our text: “What father among you, if his son asks for a fish, will instead of a fish give him a serpent; [12] or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? [13] If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!"

We pray: Heavenly Father, we thank and praise you for giving us not just what we wanted in our Savior Jesus Christ—You gave us what we truly need! Praise be to Your holy name! Amen.

"It Could Be Worse"- Luke 17:1-10

It's a question many of us have asked: “What could be worse?” In times of stress or danger we are tempted to ask this question. Sometimes it comes from frustration, and sometimes it is fear, but in today’s lesson it's all that and more because it reminds us of Jesus’ omniscience and wisdom.

Jesus knew that trouble would come to His followers and His Church. We have witnessed troubles in our own church body, our families, our communities, and wherever we find people. Troubles seem to follow us. In this incident Jesus gives us a view into what we should do and be as His servants and as servants to each other. We still find it difficult to obey these commands.

It was a Pharisee who asked Jesus which was the greatest commandment. In reply, Jesus said, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Matthew 22:37-39 Nothing has changed. God still makes these demands of each of us.

We need this reminder because we often fail to perceive this ideal of servanthood (or we may choose to ignore it). Deep down inside each of us is the child who enjoys being the center of attention or the master or mistress of all that is seen. Here Jesus gives us a godly and God-pleasing alternative to such selfishness.

His commands are impossible for us to obey perfectly in thought, word, or deed. If we aren’t able to obey God, there are only two things left for us to do—throw ourselves on God’s mercy and seek His forgiveness for Jesus’ sake. There is nothing else to be done. Anything and everything else are worse.

We pray: O God, give us the wisdom and clarity of mind and heart to know and believe that Jesus Christ is our only Savior from sin. Give us an extra measure of the Holy Spirit and His gifts. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

"Nothing More"- Luke 16:19-31

Way back, when I was just a wee little tyke, my Mom and Dad would often scold me for not paying attention to what I was doing. As a result, I would make mistakes, do the wrong things at the wrong times, or otherwise make life miserable for them (and myself). In a way, this is what Jesus was warning against in our reading—doing the wrong things at the wrong times for the wrong reasons. That is, our Lord wanted His hearers (and us) to pay attention to what Moses and the Prophets have to say. 

People still fail to heed what Moses and the Prophets have to say. They still fail to understand what the Law of God says or doesn’t say. People often fail to listen to the words of admonition and guidance from the Prophets. Instead, they assume that they know all the answers even as they ignore or fail to recognize and understand the problems.

The greatest problem is still sin. People still sin in thought, word, and deed—what they do and in what they fail to do. Sin is often in the attitude of people, and this often leads them to act contrary to God’s Word and will. I know that this is far too often the case with me in my life, and I suspect that you could say the same.

In this week’s parable Jesus tells of two men—a wealthy man and a pauper. They both die, and one is committed to hell fire and damnation while the other is raised to everlasting comfort and bliss in heaven. We know who gets what: the rich man is sent to hell and the poor man comforted in heaven.

Jesus capped this whole segment of teaching with a comment in chapter 17 (verse 10): “So you also, when you have done all that you were commanded, say, 'We are unworthy servants; we have only done what was our duty.'"

We can say nothing more.

We pray: Heavenly Father, we pray for an extra measure of You Spirit, a stronger faith, and a greater commitment to Your service. We pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.