Pastor Schreiber's Devotions

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"A Shared Heritage"- Psalm 51:10–12

Back in 2008 I made the observation that we cannot overcome original sin or its corruption on our own. Try as we might, we are recidivists (people given to repeat the same thing over and over). To put it bluntly, we are often like dogs that keep going back to sniff and lap at their own vomit. We are sinners who just don’t learn from our faults, foibles, and mistakes.  St. Paul said in Romans 7:19, “For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing.  In a very real sense, we are like small children who claim that they don’t mean to disobey parents or hurt others but keep repeating their past transgressions. And the problem with this is that we all stand corrupted and culpable—we sin in thought, word, and deed and gain for ourselves the wages of sin (which is death).

Sin and its influence corrupt every aspect of our lives. It taints what could and should be good and beautiful. It destroys even what we hope to preserve and celebrate. It is remorseless in its destruction.

Because we are sinners we must, like King David, approach God and simply throw ourselves on His mercy. In Psalm 51 he prayed:

Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from your presence, and take not your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and uphold me with a willing spirit. (Psalm 51:10-12)

We are reminded of God’s mercy and grace in John 3:16-18.

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)

Jesus Christ went to Calvary’s cross to suffer and die for sinners like you and me. He was carried to His tomb because of our sins. He was raised to life again because He won our redemption and everlasting salvation! Jesus Christ was how King David was restored and upheld. Jesus Christ is how we also can and will be forgiven, restored, and upheld!

Jesus Christ is someone we can celebrate and share! He is the Good News we need to hear. He is the Good News we can celebrate!  

Prayer: Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from your presence, and take not your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and uphold me with a willing spirit. Amen.

"Only a Penny"- 1 Corinthians 1:18–31

I once had a valuable coin: a penny. It was valued at well over $100.00 (then)—no small amount for a youngster of eight or nine. But for me, it was only a penny capable of purchasing a piece of candy at the drug store.

I spent that coin on some junk!

It was only a penny, but later I learned how unique and valuable that little coin was—but it was gone.

So, it is with many people. They don’t realize the value and importance of something (or someone) until it is gone. 

Many people receive the Good News of Jesus Christ with joy and thanksgiving. They are received into God’s family through holy Baptism, be instructed in the basics of the Christian faith, and so on. They may even receive Christ’s body and blood in the Lord’s Supper, attend worship, and join in the prayers and hymns, and sit through sermons and instruction. But they may not recognize the true value of what God offers them in this blessed arrangement. They may not perceive the cost to God or the risk they run themselves.

St. Paul said it well in our reading: “For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.  For it is written, ‘I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and the discernment of the discerning I will thwart.’” (1 Co. 1:18-19)

The saving faith that we, by God’s grace, possess is too often like that child’s penny. It seems good only for a little. Its value seems negligible; but while “the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing;” to us who are being saved it is the power of God. It is therefore of greater value than the most expensive coin, brilliant gem stone or highly treasured possession!

Look to your worship. Consider you service to God and others.  It is far too easy to replace genuine worship and service with lip service to God and grudging care for neighbors, friends and family.

But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God. He is the source of your life in Christ Jesus, whom God made our wisdom and our righteousness and sanctification and redemption. Therefore, as it is written, "Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord." (1 Co. 1: 27-31)

Dear friends, praise and thank God for what He offers you in Christ Jesus! It isn’t only a penny!

We pray: Thank you, Lord, for life and salvation in Jesus Christ our Savior! Amen.

"Not a Weatherman"- Psalm 19

I am not a meteorologist (that is, a weatherman), but I am fascinated by how the sky changes from hour by hour, day by day, and location by location. So long as I have a safe place, I love to watch storms roll in, snow come down, and leaves blow away (to mention a few of my personal favorites). I hope you do, too!

That being said, I am drawn to verse one of today’s Psalm. “The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork.

This Psalm verse reminds me of a spiritual song we often sing: How Great Thou Art.  Perhaps you know it, too! (I draw from The Lutheran Service Book, 2006, Concordia Publishing House, Saint Louis, MO, # 801).

1. O Lord my God, when I in awesome wonder

Consider all the works Thy hand hath made,

I see the stars,

I hear the mighty thunder,

Thy pow’r throughout the universe displayed;

 

Then sings my soul, my Savior God, to Thee,

How great Thou art!

How great Thou art!

Then sings my soul, my Savior God, to Thee,

How great Thou art!

How great Thou art!

 

And then, in verse three, we read and sing,

3. But when I think that God,

His Son not sparing,

Sent Him to die,

I scarce can take it in –

That on the cross my burden gladly bearing

He bled and died to take away my sin.

              

This beats the socks off any weather pattern, report, or weather-related experience I can call to mind! God loves us so much that He spent His only Son’s life to win our salvation.

We pray: O give thanks to the Lord, for He is good, for his steadfast love endures forever! Amen.

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