Pastor Schreiber's Devotions

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"The Fear of the Lord"- Psalm 111

When we look at this Psalm, how do we praise the Lord? And in verse ten, what does the Psalmist mean? Do you know the answer? Do you even care? You should, I think, because it says a lot about God and our relationship with him.

In the last verse of our Psalm, we read that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. What, exactly, does this mean? What is this fear of the Lord? Are we supposed to be afraid of God? How does this praise God?

Some folks would have us believe that this fear is to be terrified of God—to be afraid of him. If this were the case, I sincerely doubt there would be many people who would (or could) worship him in spirit and in truth. They might go through the motions of worship with the pious sounding words and actions, but that would be about it. They wouldn’t be capable of truly loving him and worshipping him, I think. They would be too wrapped up in acts of survival. They would never hear or understand Jesus’ gracious invitation and command to allow the little children to come to him and not forbid them.

A better understanding of “the fear of the Lord” would be more akin to what singer Aretha Franklin sang about in her hit song.  The true fear of the Lord is to know him, honor him, and love him unequivocally (without equal). It is to respect him for who he is, what he does, and what he demands. Or, to put it another way, it means that we love him with nothing held back: with all our heart, soul and mind. No reservations! This adds a new dimension to the concept of fear, love, and trust him above all things. It is very much like looking at the different facets of a cut diamond or other gem stone – seeing the different colors and flashes of light.

With this in mind, for me at least, it becomes possible to better understand and appreciate what the Psalmist wrote in our text. “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; A good understanding have all those who do His commandments. His praise endures forever."

We pray: Lord God Almighty, help us to see you for who you are and to love you for what you have done, especially in your Son Jesus Christ. In His name we pray. Amen.

"Consider"- Psalm 62

Today, I invite you to consider Psalm 62.

This Psalm confesses where we should be and what we should do in our faith-lives. They are true!  In verse one we read: “Truly my soul silently waits for God; From Him comes my salvation.” The problem here is not with this Psalm or what it says – it simply a statement of what we should be and do as God’s people. God should be our hope and salvation, our strength and confidence, our joy! All too often, we try to push God and fit Him into our plans and schemes instead of entrusting ourselves to Him and His care.

This Psalm is a statement of where we should be in our faith-lives. God is our salvation, our hope for eternity, in reality our every day and our every night confidence, joy, and hope, so He should be our hope and salvation, our strength and confidence.  The problem is that because of sin and our inborn sinfulness, this joy and confidence often fail. Instead, we try to push God into doing what we want instead of trusting ourselves to Him and His care.

As Christians we confess that Jesus Christ is our Savior from sin and our Path to an eternity in heaven, and rightly so! Jesus came into the world to seek and save sinners. He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. Furthermore, no one comes to the Father except through Him (John 14:6). In verse two of our Psalm, we read much the same thing: “He only is my rock and my salvation; He is my defense; I shall not be greatly moved.

In our Psalm, verses 3 and 4, the fact of our sin and the world’s contention with God is clearly stated. We read:

How long will you attack a man? You shall be slain, all of you, Like a leaning wall and a tottering fence. They only consult to cast him down from his high position; They delight in lies; They bless with their mouth, But they curse inwardly.

Then, the Psalmist’s faith in God is clearly confessed. In verses five through seven we read:

My soul, wait silently for God alone, For my expectation is from Him.

He only is my rock and my salvation; He is my defense; I shall not be moved.

In God is my salvation and my glory; The rock of my strength, And my refuge, is in God.

And in verse eight we read: “Trust in Him at all times, you people; Pour out your heart before Him; God is a refuge for us.

So, we pray: Lord God Almighty, Father, Son and Spirit, come to us in power and grace and save us! In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

"There Isn't Anything Wrong!"- 1 Cor. 6:12–20

“There isn’t anything wrong with this!” So said the youngster who was asked about what he was doing. It may not have been wrong, but his questioner wondered if perhaps the young man might better spend his time and energy. It wasn’t an outright prohibition, but perhaps the youngster could have better spent his time and energy.

The point made by Saint Paul in our reading was similar. Read the lesson (1 Corinthians 6:12-20).  It wasn’t about prohibitions.

12 All things are lawful for me, but all things are not helpful. All things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any. 13 Foods for the stomach and the stomach for foods, but God will destroy both it and them. Now the body is not for sexual immorality but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body. 14 And God both raised up the Lord and will also raise us up by His power.

15 Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ? Shall I then take the members of Christ and make them members of a harlot? Certainly not! 16 Or do you not know that he who is joined to a harlot is one body with her? For “the two,” He says, “shall become one flesh.” 17 But he who is joined to the Lord is one spirit with Him.

18 Flee sexual immorality. Every sin that a man does is outside the body, but he who commits sexual immorality sins against his own body. 19 Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? 20 For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s. (NKJV)

Paul made the point that there is a better and more God-pleasing way for people to live. Christ’s followers should glorify God in body and spirit. It is a matter of attitude and a matter of actions. This is, I believe, what Jesus meant when He said, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.” (Matt. 22:37-40)

To glorify God in body and in spirit is to obey His commands and love one’s neighbors. It isn’t just filling a seat in worship on Sunday morning but then being indistinguishable from everyone else the rest of the week. What Paul was saying in our reading agrees with this!

When we fail in this, we know where we can go to obtain relief from our guilt. We turn to Jesus for full and free forgiveness and are assured that we are forgiven because Jesus paid IN FULL the price of our redemption.

There is nothing wrong with this!

We pray: Lord God, Almighty, we are your unworthy servant. Forgive us our sins; and enable us to live according to your holy will! In Jesus’ name. Amen.

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