Pastor Schreiber's Devotions

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"The Purpose"- Ephesians 3:1-12

As we observe the celebration of Epiphany with the coming of the wise men, I think it is most appropriate to remember not just who brought them to see and gift the Infant, but to keep in mind why He did this. So, we turn to the final three verses of our text, where we read:             

to bring to light for everyone what is the plan of the mystery hidden for ages in God who created all things, [10] so that through the church the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places. [11] This was according to the eternal purpose that he has realized in Christ Jesus our Lord, [12] in whom we have boldness and access with confidence through our faith in him.

Paul readily acknowledged that his salvation had a deeper purpose – to bring others to salvation through the Holy Spirit’s power.  In this insight Paul found a purpose in life, a true reason for living. In this purpose Paul discovered the ability to endure hardship, shipwreck, imprisonment, and eventual martyrdom.  It equipped Paul with “boldness and access with confidence through (his) faith” in Christ.

We, friends, are the direct beneficiaries of Paul’s boldness and confidence. No matter of our national heritage, ethnic background, sex or sexual orientation, age, or level of education we share this in common. We are the ones for whom Jesus Christ was born, lived, died, and rose from the dead. We are now the generation given the job of declaring Christ to the nations. We are now the ones “to bring to light for everyone what is the plan of the mystery hidden for ages in God who created all things, so that through the church the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places”

So, we pray: “Lord Jesus, send us your Spirit so that we may with boldness and confidence share the news of life and salvation through Your holy name. Amen.”

"Christmas Gifts"- Galatians 3:23-29

For many of us, this is a time when we get to wear new clothes. As Christmas gifts I received winter vests, blue jeans, caramel corn and candy, a puzzle book, and improved health – to name a few of the gifts I received.

Christmas gifts and new clothes have become a part of our seasonal tradition, but what now?

St. Paul, in verse 27, gives us a clue. No, more than a clue – it is a direction! “For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ.” Besides the new clothes and extra pounds there is something even better to put on and wear with pride and thankfulness – Jesus Christ Himself!

How do we accomplish this? By living, acting and doing as Jesus would – loving God above all things and even our enemies as ourselves. Even when Jesus humanly didn’t want to make the sacrifice of His body and blood on Calvary’s cross, He submitted Himself to His Father’s will. He became obedient even unto death so that those who would believe in Him would receive everlasting life with Him in heaven! To put on Christ, as St Paul said in our text, means to become Christlike in what we think, say and do.

When we fail to do this and are less than Christlike in all we say and do and think we have the Advocate Himself, the Holy Spirit, speaking up for us to His Father in heaven. This is, ultimately, why Jesus came into our sin-sickened world. He came to seek and save the lost. Jesus came to save US from our sins so that we could join Him in heaven.

In our reading St. Paul said, “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you are Christ's, then you are Abraham's offspring, heirs according to promise.” These are our new clothes! Wear them with pride and thankfulness. Jesus is the ultimate Christmas gift for you and me.

We pray:  Lord Jesus Christ, we are wear sinners saved from damnation only through Your death and resurrection. Forgive us all our sins, and keep us mindful of Your sacrifice and victory for all sinners. As we close the holiday season and begin the New Year enable us to our new clothes of life and salvation with joy and confidence! In Your gracious name we pray. Amen.

 

"Are You Listening?"- Jude 20-25

Having raised four sons, having worked with many different people over the years, having faced reluctance and disobedience and indifference, I have to admit that there have been times when I have asked (at least to myself) if anyone was paying attention to what I was trying to tell them. Today’s title question comes quickly to mind. “Are You Listening?”

This is a question we would all do well to consider as we close out another liturgical year. We have had wonderful opportunities to hear God’s Word and rehears in our hearts and minds God’s work to provide salvation from sin and deliverance from everlasting damnation for sinners like ourselves. (Are You Listening?”) Jude concludes our text with a resounding word of praise to God for whom He is and what He has done and will continue to do.

Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy, to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen.

I will be taking a few weeks off as I deal with some health issues, but as God gives me strength and healing, I hope to return to this post and to writing these devotions. Until then please pray for me, and attend your church!

Are You Listening?”

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