Pastor Schreiber's Devotions

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"God's Law"- Psalm 19:1–9

For me, as a pastor, it always troubled me that many people think of the law of God as simply being a list of prohibitions. It seems, to many folks, that this term is simply a list of things people should do or not do:

“Thou shall have no other gods.”

“Thou shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain.”

” Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy.”

“Honor your father and your mother.”

“Thou shall not commit adultery.”

“Thou shall not kill.”

“Thou shall not steal.”

“Thou shall not bear false witness against thy neighbor.”

“You shall not covet.”

Such a view would be correct, if that were all there was to God’s Law. There is also that portion of God’s Law where God binds Himself. That is, according to the Psalmist King David:

“The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul; the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple; the precepts of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes; the fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever; the rules of the Lord are true, and righteous altogether.” (Ps 19: 7-9)

Jesus put it this way when He spoke with the Pharisee Nicodemus:

"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.” (Jn. 3:16-18)

This is how Jesus summarized God’s obligation toward sinner like ourselves. God has given all people a way out from their sins, their sinfulness, and their impending condemnation in hell! Jesus said to one of His disciples: "I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6)

So, it was that King David knew and understood this. In the beginning of this week’s Psalm he said:

“The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork. Day to day pours out speech, and night to night reveals knowledge. There is no speech, nor are there words, whose voice is not heard. Their measuring line goes out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world. In them he has set a tent for the sun, which comes out like a bridegroom leaving his chamber, and, like a strong man, runs its course with joy. Its rising is from the end of the heavens, and its circuit to the end of them, and there is nothing hidden from its heat.” (Ps. 19:1-6)

For me, and I pray for you too, this Law of God (the Good News of Jesus Christ), is limitless! It is ours by God’s grace.

We pray: O give thanks to the Lord, for He is good, and His mercy endures forever in Jesus Christ! Amen.

"Too Soon Old"- Psalm 22:23–31

Perhaps you have heard or perhaps even used the adage, “Too soon old, too late smart.” If so, welcome to the club! I have used the adage of myself. There have been too many times when I acted or spoke in haste, only to regret it at a later time. Hence, too soon old, too late smart.

Sometimes, I hear people suggest that this adage means that people should be afraid of God and His well-deserved anger and punishment for sins committed). TV preachers, for example, might suggest that people should literally be afraid of God, to cringe in abject fear of Him because of sins they may have committed. Well-deserved punishment for sin should cause people to be afraid of God’s wrath. So, the threat of punishment seems to resonate with the impression many people have of God and His sense of justice. In our reading, however, Psalm 22:23, we read that if we fear God, we should praise Him! Nothing about being afraid of God or His threatened punishment for sin committed.

Here is why: “For he has not despised or abhorred the affliction of the afflicted, and he has not hidden his face from him, but has heard, when he cried to him.” (Psalm 22:24) The proof of this is the Gospel message of John 3. There 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)

 God has not despised us! He treasures us! This is why He sent Jesus to live, suffer and die, and then rise victorious from His grave on that first Easter morning. So, with the Psalmist may we also proclaim:

From you comes my praise in the great congregation; my vows I will perform before those who fear him. The afflicted shall eat and be satisfied; those who seek him shall praise the Lord! May your hearts live forever!  All the ends of the earth shall remember and turn to the Lord, and all the families of the nations shall worship before you.  (Psalm 22: 25-27)

"Why Lent?"- Psalm 25:1–10

If you (like me) ever wondered why many churches observe the Lenten season, perhaps Psalm 25 will provide some answers. (At least it did for me!)

It seems like the world is to the point of self-destruction, absolute confusion, abject despair, and utter misery. Politics is a nasty business, at best.  The economy is tottering on collapse. Health care and well-being seem to be vestiges of a distant past. Pessimists seem to be saying or at least thinking that things will only get worse. Even optimists seem to be thinking that the only real hope for improvement lies in a swift return of our Lord and the reestablishment of His powerful rule.

So, we turn to God’s Word for guidance, help, hope, and strength.

In verse four of Psalm 25 there is a prayer for divine blessing. The Psalmist wrote: “Make me to know your ways, O Lord; teach me your paths.  [5] Lead me in your truth and teach me, for you are the God of my salvation….” (Ps.25:4-5a) Human reason and skills, life experiences and expertise, physical or mental or emotional strength will carry people only so far. We humans are limited and often incapable. Because we are sinners, we tend to mess things up so much, even without trying. So, I believe this would seem to be a very good place to begin our observance of the Lenten season.

Verse 5 reads: “Lead me in your truth and teach me, for you are the God of my salvation.” The Psalmist’s hope and confidence is in God. When all else fails, God can and will still be there for those who love and trust in Him!

Also, and especially, remember the great sacrifice our Lord Jesus made for us and our salvation. He didn’t want to experience the agony and pain of the cross, but He submitted Himself to His Father’s will so that sinners like ourselves could escape damnation and doom. This is God’s way of salvation for us. There is no other name under heaven by which we may be saved! The Psalmist prayed “Remember your mercy, O Lord, and your steadfast love, for they have been from of old. Remember not the sins of my youth or my transgressions; according to your steadfast love remember me, for the sake of your goodness, O Lord!” (Ps. 25: 6-7) This is our prayer as well!

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