Pastor Schreiber's Devotions

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"Well Said!"- Romans 11:33–12:8

Paul said it well: “Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways!” He was astounded, amazed, and perhaps even a little befuddled by God’s rich outpouring of gifts and talents and blessing to the Church and to all people. It was because of this amazement that he wrote the next few verses. It is a reminder for us, too!

His appeal was for his brothers (and sisters in the faith of Jesus Christ) to present themselves to God for worship and service. We have differing gifts and talents but we have the same God and Savior! No one is better or worse that another. All people have all been purchased and won from the power of sin, death, and the devil by Jesus Christ and His cross-bought merits, and it is the Christian’s privilege and responsibility to share this message: to go and make disciples of all nations, teaching others about Jesus. So, Paul admonishes his readers (including us) “not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think.” Instead of assuming some misguided sense of superiority, we are to “think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned.

This can be a difficult thing for us, I know! But try! Our humility and sacrifice won’t win any awards or special privileges, but it will show other people our Savior. Jesus humbled Himself and became obedient to death, even death on a Roman cross! Telling others, or showing others how this Gospel has changed our lives is still the strongest witness we can give!    

It is my fervent prayer that we will join ranks and share this message in all we do and say; and if we happen to fail to do this—remember that Jesus came to seek and save sinners like us! What Paul had to say in our reading this week is well said, INDEED!

We pray: Heavenly Father, thank You for sending Jesus to be our Savior. Thank You for giving us of Your Spirit that our faith would grow strong. Help us to share this Good News with others. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

"New Rule"- Romans 11:1–2a, 13–15, 28–30

In our current situation we have almost all had to live with a new set of rules. We can still do some of our old things, but perhaps we now have to do them a little differently. For example, now we are supposed to wear masks outside our homes.  (It isn’t even Halloween!) We are supposed to wash our hands a certain way, too. And the list of does and don’ts just seems to grow longer—but enough of that! Today we consider something else! We consider God’s NEW RULE.

St. Paul was writing about a very special “new rule.” That new rule is the Good News of Jesus Christ—life and salvation for all who believe. It comes from God Almighty, and this NEW RULE is intended for all people, young and old, black, white, red, yellow, male and female. Paul made it abundantly clear that this NEW RULE—this Good News—was and is for the Jew and the non-Jew, too.

Sadly, the various manifestations of this NEW RULE often cause heartache and pain, frustration and anger as it is misapplied and misused. Much like the Pharisees who opposed Jesus during His earthly ministry, we modern-day Christians are tempted to think that people have to do or be such and whatever in order to be granted entry into heaven.

In verse twenty-nine of our reading Saint Paul wrote: “For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable.” In verse thirty he wrote: “Just as you were at one time disobedient to God but now have received mercy because of their disobedience.”

To borrow a favorite phrase from Luther’s Small Catechism, what does this mean?

It means just what Jesus told the Pharisee Nicodemus, that God so loved the world that He gave His Son (see John 3:16–18). It means that even though our genders may be different, our racial heritages different, our citizen status different, we still have one very special commonality. We are all loved by God and are freely offered life and salvation from sin through the blood-bought salvation offered in the GOOD NEWS OF JESUS CHRIST.  All God asks of us is that we believe this GOOD NEWS!

So, we pray: Father in heaven, forgive us our sins for Jesus’ sake. Give us faith to believe it and love to share it with others. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

"God's Truth"- Romans 10:5–17

I’m playing “catch up” this week. I had other things to take care of, so I couldn’t get to this devotion. I apologize for the delay.

This week’s reading from Romans 10 (verses 5-17) is kind of like this. It is a statement of “would have, could have, and should have.”

According to the Law any self-respecting person would, could and should obey that Law—but people are notorious for not obeying that Law. They may plead ignorance, indifference, or supposed independence but these excuses seldom work. I know!

In my first congregation I was making a hospital call to Des Moines, Iowa when I got stopped by a state trooper for speeding. I honestly believed that I was traveling at the posted speed, but in reality, my speedometer was out of whack. I was traveling at more that ten miles over the posted limit. So, I got a ticket, even if I was trying to obey the law. And, I still had to pay the fine.

Now put this in the light of God’s Law and our sinfulness in thought, word, and action. It says very clearly, “The soul that sins shall die.” (Ezekiel 18:4) This isn’t exactly good news, is it? We have all sinned and fall short of the perfection God demands. Each one of us has earned God’s wrath and condemnation to hell.

But in His divine mercy and grace God sent His only begotten son, that whoever would believe in him would receive forgiveness, life and salvation. St. Paul wrote:

"If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved. For the Scripture says, "Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame." For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; the same Lord is Lord of all, bestowing his riches on all who call on him. For "everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved."

This is God’s truth! Honest!

We pray: Heavenly Father, bestow Your grace and mercy on us. Forgive us for Jesus’ sake and bring us into Your everlasting kingdom.  We pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.