Pastor Schreiber's Devotions

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"Transfiguration"- Psalm 50:1–6

We were on a fishing trip on Lake Superior. My wife, my brother, a fishing guide, and I were in an open boat, soaked to the skin from a fierce thunderstorm. Thankful to be alive after the hail, wind, and rain of that sudden downpour, we had beached our boat on a sandbar to dump the water from our boat. Now, as we began to motor across the lake, the sun setting on our day, we looked to the north and saw towering thunderheads illuminated by the internal lightning and the setting sun. We were safe. The boat was afloat. And we were heading for the shore, our vehicle, and supper. It was BEAUTIFUL! (I had even caught some walleyes!)

That event reminded me of something the Psalmist had said so well in our reading.  “The heavens declare his righteousness, for God himself is judge!” (Psalm 50:6) The now glass-calm lake surface, the evening sky, and our own safety reminded me of God’s care and blessing! For me, at least, what God could have done and what He did do were wrapped up in that moment. As the Psalmist confessed in verse one of our reading: “The Mighty One, God the Lord, speaks and summons the earth from the rising of the sun to its setting.” (Psalm 50: 1)

I will carry and cherish the events of that stormy day and its aftermath! The Psalmist said it well:

Out of Zion, the perfection of beauty, God shines forth. Our God comes; he does not keep silence; before him is a devouring fire, around him a mighty tempest. He calls to the heavens above and to the earth, that he may judge his people: "Gather to me my faithful ones, who made a covenant with me by sacrifice!"

On this Transfiguration Sunday we have the opportunity to once again stand in awe of our mighty God, to experience some of His majestic power and might, and consider again why Jesus Christ came into this world. He came to seek and save sinners like you and me. Jesus came to destroy Satan and his power. Jesus came to fulfill His Father’s will for mankind by living a perfectly sinless life, dying an absolutely innocent death, and rising victorious over sin, death and the devil on the third day to assure His followers that they would share in His majesty and glory in heaven!

So, with the Psalmist we say, “Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; and His mercy endures forever!” In Jesus’ name. Amen.

"Praise to God"- Psalm 147:1–11

Perhaps you have heard the phrase, “Give credit where credit is due!” If so, I suspect that you heard it expressed as a gentle criticism. For myself, when I have heard these words, it is usually in response to something I have said or done. (Do you follow me, so far?) Our problem is that far too often this is not what we do, is it? Instead of giving credit to someone else or accepting responsibility for something we might have done or said, we like to lay claim for any good things; and we lay the blame for errors, mistakes, and misdeeds at the feet of other people.

So, when we consider this week’s Psalm, we should admit that it lays the credit for all sorts of good things at God’s feet! Clement weather, bountiful crops, and the fact of His powerful saving actions—these are some of the gracious activities of our Lord. So, consider your life, and think of some things God has done for you, too! Thank God for them! Praise Him by telling others what He has done (or given) for you!

There is more! Consider the final verses of this Psalm. God doesn’t just keep score the way we do. Instead, His score card has just one entry: “Jesus Christ!” The rest simply fades into obscurity. Verses ten and eleven read:

10 He does not delight in the strength of the horse; He takes no pleasure in the legs of a man. 11 The Lord takes pleasure in those who fear Him, In those who hope in His mercy.

We pray: Lord God Almighty, remember Jesus and His cross-bought merits for us, and forgive us of all our sins for His sake. In His name we pray. Amen.