Pastor Schreiber's Devotions

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"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.

"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.

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