Friday 31 January 2014 at 06:00 am
He who thinks he stands, may well see to it that he doesn't fall. 1 Corinthians 10:12.
Oh, I know very well that annoyances must come, and it's no surprise if a person falls. It however is a wonder if a person gets up from falling and thereafter remains standing. Peter fell, and with that realized that he was a human being. Also these days cedars of Lebanon indeed fall, who with their long peaks reach out to the heavens, and indeed, it is also the case - and this surpasses all wonders/surprises - that an angel in heaven and Adam in Paradise also fell. What is it of a wonder/surprise if the reed gets moved by a stormy wind and it blows out the glimmering wick?
So briefly and concisely Luther makes his point, and my aching body is going to have to call it quits for today ... having an aching back from slipping in the bath room last night - I fall too - but a holy angel caught me and picked me up.
By Your Holy Spirit, O Lord, sustain us in the one true faith
in Christ our Savior,
Thursday 30 January 2014 at 06:00 am
I can do everything through Him Who strengthens me, Christ. Philippians 4:13.
Faith is an almighty thing, its power is immeasurable. From this description it follows that the powerless thing, the world, is not overcome by those who do not have the almighty thing, faith. This faith is not a worthless, lazy, dead thing, which also lies hidden in a dead sinners heart like a light, worthless piece of chaff, or a dead fly in the winter stuck in a crack for as long as it takes for love to come to it and awaken it and bring it back to life; rather, where it otherwise is a righteous, true faith, there then is a certain, confident trust and a heartfelt strong, solid confidence through which one seizes/ grasps hold of Christ. This is the art of all arts and solely the work of the Holy Spirit, known by God-fearing and righteous Christians.
Thanks be to God for a fairly smooth sail-through another translation. It has me singing: "My faith looks up to Thee, Thou Lamb of Calvary, Savior divine,...." Also, "By grace I'm saved, grace free and boundless..." Thank Christ for strengthening my weak mind and body!
In His Name,
Wednesday 29 January 2014 at 06:00 am
Cast all you worries on Him, for He cares for you. 1 Peter 5:7
Don't worry about anything! But if something comes up that causes you to worry, as it must be the case that one does encounter and has to face many obstacles in this world, then position yourself like this: Don't let yourself be overcome with your worry, be what it may, but instead leave the worry behind and with prayer and pleas to God, turn to God and ask Him to bring to pass everything that you had wanted to accomplish with worries. And do this with thanksgiving that you have such a God Who cares for you, and to Whom you may boldly bring all your concerns and requests. But whoever does not position himself thus when something comes to him, but instead wants to first asses it with reason and reign over it with his own council and takes the worry upon himself, he toils himself into much grief, loses peace and joy with God and accomplishes nothing, but instead only grabs old of sand and sinks further into it and never comes out of it, as we do every day with our own and other experiences.
A tough one to translate. I have before me #528 in T L (Paul Gerhardt's twelve verse hymn); here's v. 1:
If God be for me, I may a host defy;
For when I pray, before me My foes confounded fly.
If Christ, my Head and Master, Befriend me from above,
What foe or what disaster Can drive me from His love?
Tuesday 28 January 2014 at 11:41 am
Abstain from fleshly lusts, which strive/fight against the soul. 1 Peter 2:11.
Though a person by faith immediately becomes righteous, he still is not fully free from evil lusts. That's why the soul has the daily duty to tame and dampen the flesh/body, and without ceasing beat it thusly and be careful, so that one does not come off not believing. That's why those deceive themselves, who say they have faith, and yet think that it is sufficient, and that they are in no danger if they at the same time fulfill the fleshly/bodily lusts. Where faith is righteous, there it has to grab hold of the body and hold it with bridle [and bit, i.e, keep it in check], so that it does not do what it desired; yet one must also not weaken and spoil the body. It is good for one to fast, however that means fasting properly, that one not give the body more fodder/chow[food] than it needs to maintain good health, and let it work and watch, so that the old mule not become maliciously wanton and go out dancing on ice and break a leg, instead let it go with bridle and follow the spirit/soul.
My soul now magnifies the Lord Who enabled me to reign in my fleshly desire to smash my computer this morning, and on the third was enabled to bring it all up... Hallelujah! Struggled through another Luther translation. Thank You O Triune God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
The Lord be with you always,
Tuesday 28 January 2014 at 06:00 am
I however want to enter into Your house for Your great kindness and worship in Your holy temple with fear/respectful awe of You. Psalm 5:8. [verse 7 in English Bibles]
In this life one must exercise oneself in two things, in respectful awe and in hope. They are the two water sources that flow as upper and low springs, as it is written in Judges 1:15. The fear/respectful awe comes from seeing the threats and fearful judgments of God, before whose presence there is no one who is pure, is not a sinner, no one is uncondemn-able. The hope is seen here as looking at the kindest mercy of God, as stands written in Psalm 25:6: Lord, remember Your compassion and mercy, which has been in existence before the world, Before this countenance however nobody can be impure, unjust and wretched. One must at all times stay between both of these and never deviate either to the right or to the left, like between the upper and lower millstone.
My pain ridden body (83 later this week) is decaying even more rapidly than my mind .... but may God grant that I finish translating the remaining several weeks I have left of Luther's "Christian GUIDE for every Day!"
By God's grace through faith in Christ, I look forward to entering God's eternal Temple in heaven.
Monday 27 January 2014 at 06:00 am
Abraham believed the Lord, and He counted that to him for righteousness. Genesis 15:6.
If anyone were to ask whether Abraham was also righteous before this time, I would answer: Yes, he was righteous on account of the fact that he believed God. Abraham, as he, upon God's command, forsook his fatherland and dared to go into misery, had a genuine faith, however everyone is not ordered to do such a thing. In such a case this would not have been said: “Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him for righteousness.” However, the Holy Spirit places it here as He is speaking about the heavenly Seed, so that this doctrine be made certain in the church for all times; namely, that all who along with Abraham believe this promise, truly are righteous. For the Holy Spirit wanted to set this verse into this text plain and clearly, since it actually belongs/pertains here that righteousness is nothing other than believing God's promises.
I wish you could all read German so that you would get the full flavor of what Luther wrote for this day's "Christian GUIDE for every Day"... I pray that the above fairly well captures it. It brought to my mind the beauty of God taking us guilty sinners and pounding down the gavel and saying; "I declare you righteous!" Hallelujah! Abraham and all the other Old Testament saints were justified by faith alone, before the Seed of the woman was ever born. (cf. Romans 3:28) So, Sola fides, Sola gratia, Sola Scriptura (we are saved by faith alone, grace alone, Scripture alone)... all would have been impossible had not Christ our Savior been born!
In the name of the Christ Child,
Sunday 26 January 2014 at 06:00 am
Abraham himself built the Lord an altar, Who had appeared to him. Genesis 12:7.
Thus one sees that the holy Patriarch, miserable and foreign as he was, nevertheless on account of the promise, which had been given to him, thinks about a designated place and dwelling; for now he first of all builds for the Lord, Who had appeared to him, an altar, i.e., He prescribed a place in which the church would gather, to hear God's Word, to pray, praise God, to offer up sacrifices, etc. For that's what it means, to build an altar. Abraham did not choose this place to build the altar from his own council, rather the Lord Himself, who had appeared to him, chose it; for the Lord Himself is the First Founder, Who for that very reason allowed Himself to be seen at this place, so that He Himself will be honored and His promise be extolled. Thus, as Jacob, while he was sleeping at this place, saw the angels on the ladder, which reached up to heaven, stepping up and down, he said: Here is God's house and the gate to heaven. Thus the Lord, Who was at this place first and there lets His Word be heard, also Himself properly designates and dedicates the same place, so that it should no longer be an ordinary place and should serve for holy purposes. For through God's Word everything is made holy. But now God's Word at this place shall not be proclaimed by a human being, but by God Himself.
Thank You, God! for enabling my weak mind and pain-ridden body to finish this translation. It has given me some new insights about Genesis 12:7; I pray it may also for those who may read this - another one of my sloppy - translations.
Thy kingdom come!
Saturday 25 January 2014 at 06:00 am
We rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through Whom we now have received reconciliation. Romans 5:11.
The devil frequently exerts himself to catch you in some minor sin, so that he can darken up all the good works that you ever have done in your entire life, so that you don't see anything other than this single, minor sin. That however comes about if you do not engage the devil in a disputation. That's why a Christian never quite completely overcomes such evil thoughts, as if he despises them. For the ostentatious Spirit, the devil, cannot suffer the contempt. But to this there belongs and should be included the Holy Spirit and a diligent exercise of prayer and that one also diligently read the Holy Scriptures; for there is no a human work that can overcome the thoughts and strike them out of one's mind.
Good advice, Luther; I hope my feeble mind adequately captured his German written thoughts into English. I comfort myself with what Paul wrote in the above verse. I'm leaving the key board and will sit in my lazy-boy chair to read some Bible. All of you are in my prayers.
Friday 24 January 2014 at 06:00 am
You fathers do not raise up your children to be angry, rather raise them up with the discipline and admonition of the Lord. Ephesians 6:4.
The parents, if they have nothing else to do, may on their own obtain salvation for their children. At the same time, if they move them right to worship service, they indeed have for themselves both hands full of good works. For what are the hungry, thirsty, naked, imprisoned, sick, strangers compared to your own children's souls? With them God places your home into a poor house and makes you into a poor father, so that they learn to trust, believe and fear God, glorify His name, do not swear or curse, mortify themselves by prayer, fasting, watching, working, wait for the worship and the Word and celebrate the Sabbath, that they learn to despise temporal things, gently bear misfortune and not fear death, not love the life [not have an obsession for this life], etc.
Lord forgive me for where I did not make a good grade as a father; and I thank you for the gift of my wonderful Christian parents, who on Christmas day in 1930 brought me to be Baptized into the Christian faith @ St. Paul Lutheran Church, The Grove, Texas. There I shared in Christ's death and resurrection (cf. Romans 6).
Thursday 23 January 2014 at 06:00 am
But those of us who are strong should bear the weaknesses of the weak and not just please ourselves. Romans 15:1.
One is reluctant to tolerate weaknesses in others, but instead requires of the other that he be perfect. Here they think and talk only about each other, and the one wants to get out here, the other wants to get out there, so that he has peace and quiet from the other one and be exempted from reluctance. However anyone who can, he leaves the others and pushes them away from himself, adorns himself accordingly and says he is doing it for the sake of justice, doesn't want to know and mingle with bad people, but instead only pious and good people like himself. This evil reigns mostly in those who, above all else, think they have more faith and lead a more respectable life than others; they boast and exalt themselves; what is not equal to them has to fall, they judge it, they despise it, and they are the proud, pretty kitten in the house.
WOW! This was grammatically difficult to translate - I hope I got it right. And Luther's thoughts have me reminding myself: ELMER HOHLE, HUMBLE YOURSELF UNDER THE MIGHTY HAND OF GOD! God be merciful to me, a sinner! I am weak, but Jesus is strong. Forgive my sins, Lord!
Wednesday 22 January 2014 at 06:00 am
Jesus saw a man sitting at the customs office, whose name was Matthew, and said to him: Follow Me! And he stood up and followed Him. Matthew 9:9.
This is a precious consolation, that He chose such an unworthy sinner to be an Apostle, so that due to the high office one should not become proud or that not a single sinner should ever place a mistrust in Christ or despair of Him. For who of course are those who sit in the highest choir and with innermost Council of the saints? Indeed, they are the biggest outstanding sinners and tax-collectors, who according to their righteousness rightly should be sitting in the middle of hell. That's why Peter had no reason why he should despise me or could boast against me, even though I am a sinner, for he has cause to recall that he had been in the fellowship of sinners and committed the greatest sins with them.
This now has me singing:
"Chief of sinners though I be, Jesus shed His blood for me.
Died that I might live on High, Lives that I might never die.
As the branch is to the vine, I am His and He is mine."
Now that I looked up the title in my old 1944 confirmation gift from my uncle Edwin (my mother's youngest sibling), it's v. 1 of #342 in T L H.
Tuesday 21 January 2014 at 06:00 am
If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 1 John 1:8.
The Kingdom of Christ is a sinful kingdom, here there will be no saint in it who doesn't have to say: "O Almighty God, I confess that I am a sinner, don't count the old debt." All will have to sing the little song: "Our Father, forgive us our debt, as we forgive our debtors." The pious saints, who know no end to their holiness, actually don't understand any of this and think that the Kingdom of Christ is made up like as if there indeed is no sin in it, that everything in it has to be pure and clean, like the doves would select, wanting the kind of Christian who is totally without sin and holy, yes like Christ Himself is. Not by a long shot! "No way Hose!" - This however is a Christian, the person who is a sinner and admits his sin, it loathes him and stresses him out from the bottom of his heart that he still feels sin. If you however find someone who says: "I am without any sin," he is an anti-Christ, no true Christian, indeed an infernal devil.
To this I smite my chest and say, "God, be merciful to me, a sinner!" We can never thank God enough for sending His one and only Son to Bethlehem's manger, Calvary's cross, Joseph of Arimathea 's tomb, to earn our full and free forgiveness; and from Bethany's "Mt. Ascension" He now sends us to share this good news with everyone.
Saturday 18 January 2014 at 06:00 am
Finally, my brothers, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Ephesians 6:10
If you want to be strong and insurmountable, then let the Lord Christ be your strength. Then get a firm grip and exercise yourself well in Him, so that He is well known by you and you keep His Word purely and learn it with all diligence, go about with it daily and drive it into your heart, thus then God's Word actually becomes a thing in your heart and you are so sure about matters and much more sure than about your own life. If you have that, then you are really strong and solid, so that you indeed can remain immovable and certain, let come the devil or his messengers.
Hallelujah! Thank you, Lord, for me enabling to sail right through this translation... (thank you, Luther for using simple German).
In the Name of Jesus,
Friday 17 January 2014 at 06:00 am
I have not come to send peace, but rather the sword. I have come to set a man against his father and the daughter against her mother and the daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law, and a man's enemies shall be the members of his own household. Matthew 10:34-36.
All the conflicts and wars of the Old Testament have been images of the preaching of the Gospel, this must and should cause disputes, disagreements, quarrels and unrest. Christendom has stood in such circumstances since the time of the Apostles and Martyrs, when it was in its best stance. It is a blessed unrest, uproar and turmoil that the Word of God stirs up. From it there arises true faith, arises again the suffering and persecution and the true essence of Christian people.
And God enabled me to do this translation amidst the arising of some severe physical pains in my body - a sharp 'thorn in the flesh' (cf. 2 Cor. 12:7 ff.) to remind me that God's grace is all-sufficient for me... and may it be all-sufficient for you also.
Saved by grace, free and boundless,
Thursday 16 January 2014 at 06:00 am
Christ has been made for us by God to be our wisdom, righteousness, holiness and salvation. 1 Cor. 1:30
You will immediately understand this [passage], if you recognize that all your wisdom is a damnable foolishness, your righteousness is a damnable unrighteousness, your holiness a damnable impurity, your salvation a wretched condemnation and then feel that before God and all creatures you are a fool, sinner, impure, condemned person, and that not with words, but from the bottom your whole heart, also shown by works, you realize that for you there remains no comfort and healing, other than that which God has given you in Christ, in Whom you should believe and thus also be His joy, realizing that His righteousness alone sustains you.
Wow! Here is Luther's lengthy sentence in English!!! Thank you God for what You have wrought for us sinners through Christ; O Holy Spirit, keep us in this faith!
Wednesday 15 January 2014 at 06:00 am
Faith, if it does not have works, is by itself dead. Show me your faith by your works. James 2:17-18.
How many are there of those who boast in the Gospel, who for the sake of it would now willingly lose a farthing or forsake their greed and avarice? There is of course no peasant or citizen who for the sake of it would give up his corn in the market a penny cheaper, if at the same time he is advised that he could make an expensive florin, he thus would much rather do it, and no peasant, could he sell his Sovereignty for a beer, he then has no conscience about it. Likewise with all trade and crafts, where everyone should work diligently, as he takes advantage of the people over benefits and only covers, covets and does damage. God grant that the Gospel and conscience will remain where it can.
Amen to that last sentence, Luther; may God grant it be so.
In the Name of Jesus,
Monday 13 January 2014 at 06:00 am
God is love, and anyone who lives in the love, he lives in God and God in him. 1 John 4:16.
That's truly a high beginning, love being exquisitely praised and exalted and strongly admonished and tense with the highest and most perfect example. If one lengthily states that love is a precious and perfect virtue, there still is nothing to keep one from saying that God Himself is love, so that if a person wanted to draw/sketch and meet God, he would have to encounter such an image that would be sheer love, as if the divine Nature were nothing but a fiery furnace and flame of such a love which fills the heavens and the earth, and moreover, if one could draw and make such an image, one would have to make an image which is not actually human, indeed neither angelic nor heavenly, but instead it would be God Himself.
Unfortunately my weak mind was incapable of making this one make as much sense in English as Luther has it saying in German. After all is said and done, God's love truly demonstrates itself in Bethlehem's manger, on Calvary's cross, and in Joseph of Arimathea's open tomb! God grant that we live in His love.
Sunday 12 January 2014 at 06:00 am
Christ is the Law's end; anyone who believes in Him, he is righteous. Romans 10:4.
The Law says: You have sin. If I say: "Yes", I then am lost. Say I: "No", I then have to have a strong foundation upon which to stand, so that I can refute the "Yes" and uphold the "No". But how can I say it? It of course is true; the Scriptures testify to it, that I have been born in sin. Where then can I get the "No"? I obviously won't find it in my bosom, but instead in Christ; that's where I must get it, hurl Him before the Law and say: Look, He can say "No" to any and all law; also He has His basic foundation; for He is pure and without sin. He also gives me the "No", so that,(even though when I look at myself I have to say that I am a sinner and cannot reckon with you, but instead feel that there is nothing clean in me and I see God's wrath,)I yet additionally have the fact that His righteousness is mine, so that I am no longer in sin.
Please pardon my ever-more feeble, pea-sized brain for failing to chop apart Luther's long sentences that contain interconnected thoughts. In this Advent season, I find myself looking at Isaiah 40:1 ff. Let's be comforted and with contrite, believing hearts prepare a way for the LORD.
Amen! Come, Lord Jesus!
Saturday 11 January 2014 at 06:00 am
I consider everything as filthy muck in order to win Christ. Phillipians 3:8
In short, I don't want to see or know nothing other than this Christ; He is to be such a dearly beloved treasure to me, so that for His sake I not only don’t let anything else please me but instead also regard it as filthy muck and nasty garbage. He is and should be to me such a Light and Morning Star, so that when I have seized and grasped Him by faith, I will not want to know or unwillingly ask whether in the entire world there still exists any kind of law, sin, righteousness or unrighteousness. For even if everything that is in the skies and on earth were laying heaped on a pile, that would be nothing compared to Jesus Christ, God's Son, my beloved Lord, Who also loved me and gave Himself up for me.
So there you have my sloppy translation. Share as you see fit.
Pr. Elmer Hohle
Friday 10 January 2014 at 06:00 am
I regard everything as feces, in order that I may win Christ. Philippians 3:8.
To sum it up I don't want to see or know anything other than this Christ, He should be for me such a dearly beloved treasure that for His sake nothing else shall please me, but instead be regarded as feces and filth. He shall be for me such a Light and Morning Star, so that when I by faith have seized and grabbed hold of Him, I will not want to know, also be reluctant to ask about it, whether in the entire world there still exists any kind of law, sin, righteousness or unrighteousness. For if everything that is in the heavens and on earth were piled into a heap, what would that be compared to Jesus Christ, God's Son, my beloved Lord, Who loved me so much and offered Himself up for me.
As I finished translating this afternoon I was listening to KFUO on the internet. I just now finished singing bass with the Concordia Seminary chorus singing "Abide with Me." So…
"Where is death's sting? Where, grave thy victory?
I triumph still if Thou abide with me.
Hold Thou Thy cross before my closing eyes;
shine through the gloom and point me to the skies.
Heaven's morning breaks, and earth's vain shadows flee;
in life in death, O Lord, abide with me!"
Friday 10 January 2014 at 06:00 am
The gate is small, and the way is narrow, that leads to life. Matthew 7:14.
A Christian leads such a difficult life, like as if he were going up a small stairway, indeed like on the edge of a knife blade. Thus in this world the devil is among us, without ceasing he snaps at us with his raging, in order to bring us into desperate impatience and murmuring against God. To that end the world opposes us and won't let up in trying to keep us out of heaven. Thus the flesh lies around our neck, so that we are oppressed everywhere. And the way/path itself is so narrow that it would be trouble enough even if there otherwise would be no other dangers or obstacles. Yet we must go through it or else become part of the devil. Therefore think and judge yourself accordingly; if you want to be a Christian, then be one, because nothing other will come of it; you will be unable to make the way wider.
At breakfast this morning I had a "Providential" experience: My son handed me my Feste Burg (2013 daily devotion book), and my German Bible. Feste Burg's readings for today were Habakkuk 2:1-5 [vv. 1-4 in English Bibles] and 1 Peter 1:8-13. So, I put my left thumb on the Bible and opened it...RIGHT ON THE CORRECT PAGE! I read the reading, concluding with (I now translate v. 5 (aka 4 in English Bibles) into English: "...the righteous person will live by his faith." Then I took my thumb further down to open the 1 Peter reading, and again RIGHT ON THE CORRECT PAGE! The devotion was based on vv. 8-9. Then I read a great devotion on receiving the goal of your faith: your eternal salvation! Spiritually nurtured for the day I now press on to my goal with my eyes fixed on Jesus, Who gives me my faith from start to finish. (Heb. 12:2).
Thursday 09 January 2014 at 06:00 am
If you knew Me, you also would know My Father. John 8:19.
Therefore do not start from the back or from the top in order to learn to know the Father; nothing comes of it; instead do it like this: Close your eyes and say: I know nothing about God nor about the Father, instead I come here and listen to what Christ says. For anything apart from this Man's Word, no matter how highly it may be regarded, proclaimed or conceived, it's not the Father's Word, instead it remains blindness, error and the devil himself. If however you know Me, you then also know the Father. For the Father has said that He wants to be known through the Son, and He takes us out of all high schools, out of all wise people's laws, out of all holy people's lives, out of all religious beliefs and teachings and says: Anyone who wants to know Who I, God the Father, am, let him, listen to Christ, the Son.
So then, let us be determined to know Christ and Him crucified (cf. 1 Cor. 2:2). May the Holy Spirit renew and strengthen our Christian faith.
Wednesday 08 January 2014 at 06:00 am
And the tempter came to Him and said: If You are God's Son, then tell these stones to become bread. Matthew 4:3.
Now You tell me You have a God who takes care of You! Where now is Your heavenly Father Who takes care of You? I mean of course that He has nicely left You and forsaken You. So now eat and drink of Your faith! Let's see how satisfied You will be! How fine You are God's Son, how paternally He launched Himself against You, in that He doesn't even send You a crust of bread, leaves You so poor and needy. Do You any longer believe that You are His Son and He is Your Father? With thoughts like these the devil verily stings all of God's children, and Christ mostly certainly felt it; because He was not a stick or stone, although He was and remains pure and without sin, like we are unable to stay.
Amidst all temptations, let's always turn to Christ our Savior for forgiveness and rescue from the clutches of the devil. We sing v. 3 of Luther's hymn based on Psalm 46:
Tho' devils all the world should fill, All eager to devour us,
We tremble not, we fear no ill, They shall not over pow'r us.
This world's prince may still Scowl fierce as he will,
He can harm us none, He's judged; the deed is done;
One little Word can fell him. (T L H #262)
Tuesday 07 January 2014 at 06:00 am
And look, a voice from heaven from heaven said: This is My Son, in Whom I have great delight. Matthew 3:17.
Thus the highest Preacher from the highest and greatest pulpit preaches down from heaven, and the sermon is the sermon above all sermons, to the level which none other can rise, as the almighty, eternal, merciful God speaks about His equally almighty, beloved Son: This is My beloved Son, in Whom I am delighted. The greatest Scholar and Listener of this sermon is the Holy Spirit, Third Person of the divine Majesty. They are the greatest of all preachers, sermons, and listeners, and there can be none greater. Therefore the beloved angels are quiet and do not allow themselves to be heard, instead they themselves listen to the highest, greatest Preacher, God the almighty Father; they listen to what He preaches about his beloved Son, in Whom He has great delight/with Whom He is well-pleased. But here you may say: Of what benefit is that to me? Christ is God's Son and without sin. I however am a poor, miserable sinner, conceived and born in sin; therefore on account of my sin things did not go so well at my Baptism. No, you should never do that, instead with your Baptism you should come into Christ's Baptism, thus then Christ's Baptism is your Baptism and your Baptism is Christ's Baptism and beyond that it's one Baptism.
This one God enabled my weakening mind to translate without even once consulting my German dictionary. It also reminded me to renew my Baptismal covenant, as with contrite repentance we drown the Old Adam and have the new man in Christ come forth (Romans 6). As my son was taking us to noonday Thanksgiving service today, my shoe sole caught on the edge of a carpet coming into the service --- a holy angel kept me from serious injury. And in church Pastor Pohland preached on the 3 verses I read while riding to church - Ps. 107:1-3! His theme was: "The Song of the Redeemed".
God has given us every good gift - for which we can never thank Him enough... especially for His Spirit wrought faith in our Savior.
Thank the Lord because He is good and merciful forever!
Monday 06 January 2014 at 06:00 am
Day of the Epiphany
They presented their treasures and gave Him gold, frankincense and myrrh. Matthew 2:11.
How should we (who are able to) direct gold and goods, so that our Lord Christ's kingdom be maintained and increased and children in their poverty be able to have nourishment? I.e., we should with money and goods help see to it that one has diligent preachers of the good news, fine sacristans and schoolmasters, see to it that the poor, those who because of illness, or on account of other needs are unable to provide food, be provided sustenance. And especially that young lads be reared in sound efficient learning, so that our descendants may also have faithful, upright preachers and administrators of the sacraments. For we in such situations should do what a clever, cautious gardener does, who continuously raises young trees, so that when this year, or in a year or two the old tree departs, there immediately is planted a fruit bearing tree in its place. Anyone who offers up his money like that, gives and offers it just like the wise men did.
So then Lord, out of gratitude for Your gift of forgiveness of sins, life and salvation I now sing v. 5 of T L H hymn #130:
And bid Thy Word within me Shine as the fairest star;
Keep sin and all false doctrine Forever from me far.
Help me confess truly And with Thy Christendom
Here own Thee King forever And in the world to come.
Nun danket alle Gott.... (Now thank we all our God),
Sunday 05 January 2014 at 06:00 am
Elijah was a man just like us, and he prayed a prayer, that it should not rain, and it did not rain on the ground for three years and six months. James 5:17.
It is indeed true that we are not Joshua, who through his prayer told the sun in the sky to stand still, also not Moses, who through his prayer separated the Red Sea, also not Elijah, who through his prayer spread down fire from the sky. We however at the same time are the same people to whom God commanded His Spirit to preach His Word, yes we are such people just as much as Moses, Joshua, Elijah and all the rest of the saints. Because we have the very same Word of God and Spirit, because we are the very same kind of preachers and servants and officers of God, as they were, even though they were more glorious than we, they still had not a higher, better God than we, also they had no better flesh and blood than we. For they were human beings just like we and even human creatures like we. And thus God has to hear our prayer just as well as their prayer; for we are members of His church, i.e., the bride of His beloved Son, Whom He cannot neglect when they earnestly cry out.
For Jesus sake, O Lord, hear our prayers and answer them in keeping with Your good and gracious will. I ask this
In the Name of Jesus,
Saturday 04 January 2014 at 06:00 am
Your name be kept holy. Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Matthew 6:9-10.
When God grants us the first three requests, He keeps His name holy among us, places us in His kingdom and pours His grace into us, which uplifts us to make us pious. The same grace soon begins to uplift us to do God's will; then grace immediately finds a recalcitrant Adam. So the grace in the heart immediately cries out in opposition to the same Adam and says: Your will be done, because a person by himself finds himself heavily laden. As God then hears the outcry, He wants to bring His beloved grace to help and increase His initiated kingdom and with seriousness and power pounces Himself down on the main culprit, the Old Adam, deals him all sort of misfortunes, breaks all his projects, hides and disgraces him over and over again, which happens when he sends us all sort of suffering and adversity. And to that end must serve: evil tongues, evil, unfaithful people and - where there are insufficient people - also the devil, so that our will be killed off with all its evil desires and thus the will of God be done, so that grace possesses the kingdom and only God's praise and glory remain.
And Lord I request that this translation may be helpful, not harmful.
In His Name,
Friday 03 January 2014 at 06:00 am
Our Father in heaven. Matthew 6:9.
Whether I feel comfortable and realize that I unfortunately can't say the Our Father [Lord's Prayer] with my whole heart, just as no person on earth can perfectly say it (otherwise we would by all rights actually be quite blessed), I nevertheless like a little child still try begin to cling to its Father. If I can't sufficiently believe it, I still don't want to let it be fabricated nor say no to it, and even though I cannot correctly play the game, as is His right I should not drive the counter play, because that would even be making Him into a devil, but instead thereupon learn to spell until I learn to repeat such an Our Father and this 'sermon' by Christ, whether I learn it good or badly, with stammering, stuttering, or slurring, just so I somewhat bring about the skill [to pray it].
My mind must be mush - these two sentences by Luther were extremely difficult to 'churn' into English...Lord I pray that it makes sense to you, the reader. Individually and together with our spiritual and material needs we can approach our Father's throne of grace with the Lord's Prayer, for it "covers all the bases"!
Looking forward to being with Our Father in heaven,
Thursday 02 January 2014 at 06:00 am
Open my eyes, so that I may see the wonders of Your Law. Psalm 119:18.
This you should know, that the Holy Scripture is a book which makes the wisdom of all other books foolishness, because no other book than it teaches about eternal life. That's why you should straightaway despair of your mind and reason, and on the other hand kneel down and with true earnest humility pray to God that He would through His beloved Son give you His Holy Spirit Who enlightens, guides and gives you understanding. Secondly, with diligent attention and thoughtful contemplation read what the Holy Spirit thereby means, and guard yourself so that you don't become tired, or think that you have read, heard, or said it once or twice and understand it by reason. For here no clergyman or Christian learns everything. Thirdly, challenge is the true test; it teaches you not only knowledge and understanding, but also experiencing how correct, how true, how sweet, how lovely, how powerful, how comforting God's Word is - Wisdom beyond all wisdom.
Thank God for my osteo-arthritis medications - otherwise I'd be screaming in agony --- but God enabled me to complete another one of Luther's:
Ein Christlichen WEGWEISER für jeden Tag
I pray the Lord will open my eyes to the 'honey-comb sweet, comforting message.
Wednesday 01 January 2014 at 06:00 am
The Day of Naming the Lord
And when eight days had passed away, His name was called Jesus. Luke 2:21.
It is truly right and salutary that He was named Jesus, in German it's: Savior, for in German we call Savior: He who helps, redeems, saves and is healing to anyone; in Hebrew it's called "Jesus" [Y'shuah]. Thus the angel spoke to Joseph in a dream in Matthew 1:21: She will give birth to a Son and you shall call Him Jesus; for He will save His people from their sins. Here the angel himself explains why He is called "Savior, Jesus", namely that He is His people's grace and salvation. What then is our name? Beyond a doubt, just as Christ gives us all that is His, so He also gives us His name. Therefore we name all Christians after Him, all after Jesus, all Savior after Him; and how He is called so also are we, as St. Paul writes in Romans 8:24: You have been saved by hoping for this. See, that's why the Christian stand and honor is not a measure. They are the superfluous wealth of His goodness which He pours out upon us, so that our hearts may become free, happy, peaceful and unafraid and thus willingly and gladly uphold the Law.
Ah yes, let's sing verse 3 of T L H #114:
Jesus! Name of priceless worth
To this fallen sons of earth
For the Promises that it gave,
"Jesus shall His people save."
A blessed New Year to all of you!
In His Name,