Pastor Schreiber's Devotions

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"Dad"- Romans 8:12–17

“Dad!”

This word is a sometimes call that most fathers will discover can produce a plethora of emotions.

Sometimes it is a most welcome call; but sometimes it isn’t. A new and excited father probably welcomes it for what it is—a way to celebrate the gift of life and fatherhood in a newborn baby. But when a teenager calls with news that he has had an accident, or a young family man calls to inform Grandpa there has been some tragedy or emergency in the younger household it can bring other emotions.

When Saint Paul wrote “Abba, Father” he was actually saying, “Dad!” When we call out to our God—in joy and thanksgiving, in celebration, or in desperation and need—we do the same because we know and love His only begotten Son Jesus Christ.

Jesus purchased and won us from the power of sin and the threat of death. In Jesus we are freed from the threats of Satan and hell itself. Jesus suffered and died on Calvary’s cross in perfect payment for our sins. The Holy Spirit, through Word and Sacraments, emboldens us to stand steadfast and faithful to God in good times and evil because He reminds us of the cross-bought salvation bought and paid for through Jesus Christ and His suffering and death. The Spirit also assures us of Jesus’ resurrection and glorious ascension into heaven. There Jesus is now preparing everlasting homes for all who love and trust in Him for life and salvation. This is exactly what Paul wrote about in our reading: “The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.     

So, we pray: Lord God Almighty—Dad—give us faith to know and do Your will, believe and obey Your Word of promise , and trust Your gracious promises always. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

"I Couldn't Help It"- Romans 7:14–25

I tried this rather lame excuse to a state trooper once.

I was traveling to a large regional hospital to make a visit with a congregational member who was recovering from surgery. My speedometer read “55” so I assumed that I was traveling at the posted speed limit. I was wrong! I had new tires installed on my car the day before, and they were of a different size than my original tires. I was making really good time on the road until I saw the flashing lights in my mirror. 

That officer clocked me at ten miles over the posted speed limit, and so he had me stop. He had clocked me at “65” in a “55” zone. He wrote me up and gave me the only ticket I have ever receiver.

He also did a speed check on my car. I learned that at “45” on my speedometer I was actually traveling at “55.” I thanked the officer, and proceeded on my way at the legal speed.

That event made me think of what Saint Paul wrote in out reading for today: “I find it to be a law that when I want to do right, evil lies close at hand. For I delight in the law of God, in my inner being, but I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members.” That is, even if we know better, we still manage to mess things up. We still sin. This means that we still need Jesus and His cross-bought merits and the salvation that comes from God by grace!

Even though Paul felt “wretched” at his sinfulness and his sin. He realized rightly that even if he sinned (and he did) he still had a Savior in Jesus Christ. So do we!

No excuses, please, just a Savior! This is what we know and celebrate as Christians.

We pray: Lord God Almighty—Father, Son, and Spirit—we thank You for the bloody salvation bought and paid for by Jesus in His suffering and death, and won in His resurrection from the grave. Help us to always remember this act of grace; and enable us to live in it always! In Jesus’ name. Amen.

"Blissful Ignorance"- Romans 7:1–13

Just today a good friend sent me a message. I had been hacked, and she wanted me to know.

I had been operating in what I call “blissful ignorance.” That is, I wasn’t intentionally doing anything wrong or anything like that, but I was extending a potentially damaging intrusion into other folks’ affairs. I was operating in blissful ignorance with my computer. It had a virus and I didn’t realize it.

Ignorance was essentially what Saint Paul was confronting in our reading for today. Blissful ignorance was and is a favorite Satanic tactic. As a father, a husband, and as a pastor I have often heard or used this excuse in defense of some thing or another, but it seldom works. A transgression is still committed or a hurt is given or experienced. As I work on this devotion, I don’t know the circumstance behind Paul’s writing, but it must have been serious. 

Saint Paul’s response was serious, too. In verse 13 we read: “Did that which is good, then, bring death to me? By no means! It was sin, producing death in me through what is good, in order that sin might be shown to be sin, and through the commandment might become sinful beyond measure.” Paul was making the point that the law is to show sinners their need for the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

This is where we are today. We need the Good News of Jesus Christ, who was born, lived, died, and raised back to life for us and our salvation! This need will never go away.

We pray: Lord God Almighty—Father, Son, and Spirit—we thank You for showing us our need and our Savior. Help us to always love and trust in Him for full and free forgiveness and salvation. In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.

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