Pastor Schreiber's Devotions

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"Martha, Martha!"- Luke 10:38-42

One of my favorite stories from my first congregation involved a lady of that parish. She was hostess to a larger family celebration. She had busied herself with food and cleaning and so on. Because of all the last-minute preparations, she felt it necessary to skip the worship service. She neglected only one thing—she didn’t anticipate her pastor’s response to her absence.

As the story was told to me, the pastor entered the home of that lady, and the first thing he did was to utter two words—a name repeated twice, exactly. As the pastor entered the house and was greeted by his hostess, he said, “Martha, Martha…” That lady had neglected the most important part of that family celebration—her Lord and His worship. His point was well taken and swiftly understood by that lady.

There are probably times when we have fallen into similar Satanic traps. It is a temptation for us to reason in our minds that once or twice won’t really hurt us. In fact, many of us (myself included) many lay claim to busyness, necessity, or maybe even simple forgetfulness when our relationship with God should always be foremost in our hearts and minds. The First Commandment says that we should have no other gods. There is no substitute. It is Satan who whispering in our ears, “Did God really mean that.”

That fact of the matter is that this is precisely what God meant when He uttered those words. God, as Creator and Preserver and Ruler of all things has the right to demands and expect perfect obedience in thought, word, and deed. Even His Son Jesus Christ was subject to Him in this regard. As a youth Jesus asked His earthly mother, “Didn’t you know I must be about My Father’s business?” (See: Luke 2: 49.)

This is another way of applying that First Commandment. That Commandment does not limit us to refraining from the worship of statues of stone or metal or wood. It goes to the heart of the matter—our sinful hearts. Whenever we discover that someone or something has become more important to us than our relationship with God we sin and are in real danger of hellfire and damnation.

Jesus, in His agony in the Garden of Gethsemane before He was betrayed by Judas, went through such temptations. He even prayed that if it were possible that the cup of His betrayal, suffering, and death might be avoided. Yet He humbled Himself and became obedient even unto death on the cross. Jesus had no other gods. He became the ultimate sacrifice for all sinners of all time, that whoever would believe in Him would not perish, but receive eternal life. (See John 3:16-18.)

I pray that you will choose the good portion—Jesus.

We pray: Give us an extra measure of Your Spirit that we might always choose the good portion. In Your name we pray. Amen.

"He Thought He Knew the Answers"- Luke 10:25-37

He thought that he knew the correct answers. He had been well schooled, held a highly respected position in society, had probably been around a while. He probably believed that he knew everything of importance before he began his quest to trick and entrap Jesus.

He was wrong!

Whether or not we care to admit it, we would probably share in that Jewish lawyer’s pride and prejudice. It isn’t so much that we want to entrap Jesus though. It is more that we take Him and His gifts for granted; and like that lawyer we also want to justify ourselves before God. Our lives, our food and drink, the great and free land in which we live, our families, our health and wealth—we tend to take them for granted, too. If this is so with you, pray God to forgive you of thanklessness and pride (as well as all the other sins you may commit in thought, word, or deed).

Next, clue in on the point Jesus made at the conclusion to this text—SHOW MERCY! Wherever possible, love your neighbors as yourself and God above all things. This begins dealing gently and appropriately with those in need. Food, drink, shelter, transportation—these are some of the things we should be providing for our neighbors and strangers. It is also important to tell others about Jesus as we provide earthly assistance.

Maybe we get busy and don’t think of such things. Perhaps we sell ourselves short and think we are unqualified or unable to tell others about Jesus. It could be that we aren’t sure of the right things to say or do. Whatever our excuse, there is one simple answer. JESUS!

Jesus is the Way and the Truth and the Life. Jesus is God’s sin offering for our redemption. He sacrificed His life for us, and now He is preparing eternal homes for all who believe in Him. His instruction to the lawyer, His disciples, and to us is simple—“You go, and do likewise."

We pray: Lord Jesus, we ask that You would grant us the confidence of Your forgiveness that we might be able to share it with all who need it! In Your name we pray. Amen.

"I Can Do This!"- Luke 10:1-20

As father to four sons, I found it extremely gratifying (and sometimes a little frightening) to see them grow up and try their “wings.” Whether it was their first attempts at riding a bicycle, navigating a car around a parking lot, going away to college, or marrying—it seemed that their attitudes were remarkably similar. Their statement was usually “I can do this!” And they were right. They could do just about anything they set their minds on doing.

I suspect that the disciples in our text were little different from my four sons. They had confidence. They had been well prepared. They understood a lot of things about their Master, their assignments, and themselves. They just needed one more lesson.

Jesus made that final lesson clear in verse twenty of our text: “Nevertheless, do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.” This is a point we all can take to heart. It isn’t so much a matter of what we do that will get us through those heavenly gates. What truly matters is what Jesus Christ has done for us. Jesus is the One who suffered, died, and rose victorious on Easter morning. Jesus is the One who ascended into heaven to prepare heavenly homes for His followers. Jesus is the One  who appoints and empowers His servants to go and make disciples of all nations. Jesus is the One who will declare to His servants, “Well done!”

I remember with pride when my sons declared that they could do something or another. I remember with thanksgiving that Jesus did even more for you and me!

We pray: Lord Jesus, we give thanks to You for all You have done for us and our salvation! By Your Spirit’s aid, help us always to remember with thanksgiving all You have done! In Your name we pray. Amen.