Pastor Schreiber's Devotions

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"In the Sight of God"- Luke 16:1-15

In the final verse of this reading we hear Jesus say: “God knows your hearts. For what is exalted among men is an abomination in the sight of God.” Most important is the fact that God knows our hearts. That is, He knows what we think and say and do. He even knows why we act that way. We are sinners who have earned only God’s wrath and everlasting damnation in hell. We sinners are incapable of even slowing down God's just punishment.

These facts stand in stark contrast with the fact of the Gospel. The Good News of Jesus tells us that despite our sins and sinfulness there is more than a vague hope for better times to come. As Christians we have a real hope and confidence established not on who we are or what we have done. Our hope and confidence is founded upon God’s saving grace.

In the Gospel according to St. John we read:

"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. 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. 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

This is more than the foundation of our faith—it really IS our faith. Anything else and everything else is less important. The GOOD NEWS of Jesus Christ can and will save us from sin, death, and the devil.

When it comes to faithfulness, I would much rather trust God. People may try hard, but only God is always successful at what He sets out to do. Jesus came to seek and save sinners like you and me. He came to do battle with and to defeat the devil. Without Jesus and His cross-bought salvation we might well be like the unjust steward who made plans to save himself through his wiles. Don’t be like the scribes and Pharisees, either.

We pray: Lord Jesus Christ, we give You thanks and praise for coming into this world to be our Savior from sin. We pray that You would give us an extra measure of Your Holy Spirit to create and to strengthen us in that faith until we come at last into Your heavenly home. In Your name we pray. Amen.

"God's Investment"- Luke 15:1-10

Let’s talk about investments, and I don’t mean things that can be measured in dollars and cents, or even time spent. (We often hear people talking or even bragging about the cost of a car, time spent on a project, or energy invested in the pursuit of a dream). I am referring to the divine investment our God has made in each and every human being (and the welfare of their souls).

Jesus put it this way: “For God so loved the world that He gave His One and Only Son; that whosoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life.” (John 3: 16)

Jesus used two illustrations to drive home His point—a shepherd who was missing a sheep, and a woman, a housewife who had lost a gold coin. For such folks such a loss would be no small thing. A shepherd considered a sheep an investment for tomorrow, and a woman would consider a gold coin something to be treasured and used with great care. So, when they were lost (for whatever reason) they would likely pull out all the stops and search until that which was lost was found and recovered.

This is exactly what God did in His pursuit of our forgiveness of sins and eternal salvation. God sent His Son, made of a woman, made under the law, to redeem us sinners (see Galatians 4:4–5.) Through God the Holy Spirit, God brings us into this saving faith and keeps us in that faith!

I will repeat myself: God the Father sent His Son to obtain our salvation. Jesus Christ, God’s only-begotten Son, paid the full redemption price for all sinners.  God the Holy Spirit brings sinners into saving faith through the means of grace: God’s Holy Word and the blessed Sacraments of Baptism and Holy Communion. Because of what God has done and continues to do, there is and will continue to be “joy before the angels of God over one sinner who repents.

We pray: Heavenly Father, we thank You for sending Jesus, giving us Your Spirit, and building saving faith in our hearts! In Jesus’ name. Amen.

"True Saltiness"- Luke 14:25-35

In the final verses of our text, we read, 

[34] "Salt is good, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? [35] It is of no use either for the soil or the manure pile. It is thrown away. He who has ears to hear, let him hear."

A very important question here—and it is the point of Jesus' comments in today's reading. Salt that has lost its flavor or saltiness is worthless, useless. A follower of Jesus who had lost his or her desire to serve Jesus is useless to Him. Jesus doesn't mince words or bridle His tongue. Any would-be follower who refuses to obey Him is equally worthless to Him. His command is clear: go and make disciples. 

A lot could be said at this point, but I will pass on the opportunity. Instead, I would like for you to consider the cost of not following Jesus. Jesus comes first. Everything (and anything) else needs to take a back-seat to whatever assignment Jesus gives. Family responsibilities take second place. Patriotic duties don't measure up. And I won't even go into football games, athletic endeavors, making money for whatever reason, and everything else that can interfere with obedience to Christ Jesus and His commands. The focus and intent of Jesus' followers should always be on Jesus!

So, if you don't measure up to this impossibly high expectation, I have one thing to tell you: Jesus Chrise came to seek and save sinners like us. When we don't measure up to His impossibly high standards, there is still hope for us!

The hope we have is God's grace and mercy: made flesh and blood in Bethlehem's stall, shed on the cross of Calvary, and now ascended into heaven where Jesus prepares everlasting homes for His followers. Otherwise, we are salt that has lost its saltiness.

We pray: Lord Jesus, we confess our need for you and pray for Your mercy. So often we lose sight of You in our busyness and forget what You have done for us. Help us to focus on You throughout our lives. In Your Name we pray. Amen. 

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