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Luther's "Christian Guide for Each Day"

Friday 28 February 2014 at 06:00 am

29 February 

However if we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us all our sins and to wash us clean from all unrighteousness. I John 1:9

That's why the good news of the forgiveness of sins belongs only for true Christians, who properly confess and feel their sin. The other raw people, who do not acknowledge and feel their sin, do not understand this Article about the forgiveness of sins. Even if they already heard sermons about this, it still remains covered up to them. However true Christians, when they feel their sin, have the comfort of believing in the forgiveness of sins: for they are baptized, hear the Gospel, have absolution and the holy sacrament; they believe the very same Word. For God has placed this treasure, namely the forgiveness of sins, into His Word and Sacraments and has ordered that a person should believe it. To that end the preaching of the Gospel, Baptism, Absolution and the Sacrament [of the Altar] all have been instituted so that our faith about the forgiveness of sins be ever more and more strengthened.

Thank you brother Martin for writing a GUIDE for this 'leap year' date that was easy to translate!  I, #1 chief-of-sinners, found it forgiving and faith strengthening! 

Praying you did too,

Elmer MARTIN Hohle 

P. S.  God gave me a good' night of sleep last night!  Not so much pain today either.

Luther's "Christian Guide for Each Day"

Friday 28 February 2014 at 06:00 am

28 February

The kingdom of God does not consist of words, but of power. 1 Corinthians 4:20.

It [the kingdom of God] should not remain in the words of [about] the resurrection and Christ therefore has nothing to do with it that one hear or speak about it, instead it should be perceived [to take place] in our [personal] lives. For what does it help a dead person whether one preaches a lot about life if he does not also become alive from it? Or to a sinner about righteousness, if still remains in sin? Or to one who errs from the truth if he does not let go of error and darkness? So then it is also not only in vain, but also harmful and damnable, to hear about the glorious and blessed comfort of the resurrection, if the heart never experiences such, but instead there only remains the sound in the ears and the foam on the tongue and nothing more comes of it than it does with those who never heard anything about it. 

Please Lord, grant that I with this 'sloppy wire-untangling translation' captured into English what Luther here wrote in German!  Above all else, May He grant that His Holy Spirit transfer the "foam on the tongue" and "the sound in the ears" into people's hearts. The Gospel is God's power (dynamis = Greek word from which we get 'dynamite') to save everyone who believes it! (cf. Rom 1:16).

Joining in being one of Jesus' witnesses,

Elmer H.

Luther's "Christian Guide for Each Day"

Thursday 27 February 2014 at 06:00 am

27 February

Now that we have been declared righteous through faith, we thus have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Romans 5:1.

If I believe that the Lord Christ has overcome my hardship, sin, death and all evil, it is not possible that I could despair and be stupid, no matter how much also sin and death might pressure me. For faith is always there and says: If sin pressures you, if death frightens you, then cast your eyes upon Christ; He died and rose for your sake and has overcome every misfortune and disaster. What then can harm you? Of what then should you be afraid? So also if other misfortunes have been laid around your neck, such as illness or poverty, then cast your eyes away from them, lock up reason, and cast yourself upon Christ and cling to Him, thus you shall be strengthened and comforted. If you look to Christ and believe in Him, there then is no evil that you may encounter which is so big that it could harm you and cause you to despair. That's why it is impossible for this fruit [peace] to remain outside anywhere there is faith, so that peace would not also follow.

After another rough, painful, semi-sleepless night, this daily GUIDE from Luther is most comforting to me.  May it also comfort you about anything the devil has tried to lay around your neck.  And may it also comfort us amidst the 'thorns in the flesh', i.e., my/your osteo-arthritic pains, that God has permitted to assail us. 

Peace to you through our Lord Jesus Christ,

Elmer H.

Luther's "Christian Guide for Each Day"

Wednesday 26 February 2014 at 06:00 am

26 February

But who is the one that overcomes the world, if not the one who believes that Jesus is God's Son!  1 John 5:5.

He who believes that Jesus is God's Son, that is called true victorious faith, it is a supernatural power created in the heart of the Christian by the power of the Holy Spirit; for it is such a sure and certain understanding which does not flap nor gawk according to its own thoughts, instead God comprehends in this Christ His own Son, sent from heaven, through Whom He reveals His own will and heart and helps one from sin and death into grace and new, eternal life. It is also the kind of confidence and trust where one does not rely on one's own merit and worthiness, but rather upon Christ, the Son of God, and upon His power and might to fight against the world and the devil. That's why such a faith is not a cold, lazy, single and idle thought, but instead is also a living and active power. Where it is, there also has to follow fruit, victory and overcoming, or, if it does not follow, there also is no faith and new birth there.  

In the midst of much pain in the wee hours last night, I was grasping for some Scriptural thoughts for comfort; into my mind popped up 2 Cor. 12:9 "My grace is sufficient for you" ...that's all I needed ... I even dropped off for about a half an hour of sleep.  Tonight I'll use the above thoughts from Luther, as I firmly trust in Jesus, the Son of God!

As I thank the Lord for guiding my weak mind and hurting body through another translation, I now pray that the Lord would be with and bless all of you!

Elmer H.

Luther's "Christian Guide for Each Day"

Tuesday 25 February 2014 at 06:00 am

25 February

Therefore He also is not ashamed to call them brothers, and says: I will proclaim Your Name among the brothers. Hebrews 2:11-12.

Even though your own unworthiness pushes against your head to the point where you are praying and thinking: Oh, my sins are too many, and I am worried that I cannot be Christ's brother, then suggest to yourself and defend yourself, as you are able, so that you do not give room to such thoughts; because here you are standing in danger of sinning against the Holy Spirit, and instead just confidently and defiantly say against such entrance by the devil: I well know what I am, and you dare not say nor teach such to me; for it does not behoove you to judge such matters. Therefore go away, you evil, lying spirit; I will not and should not listen to you. Here however is my Lord Christ, God's One and Only Son, Who died for me and rose from the dead and says to me that all my sins are forgotten and He simply wants to only be my Brother and I now shall only be His brother, and He wants me without wavering to believe this from the bottom of my heart. 

Ouch! Made it through another translation.  It comforts me, Luther.  May it also be of comfort to all of you brothers and sisters in Christ.  May the Lord keep you all warm this night, as the holy angels watch over you.

In my Brother - Christ,

Elmer H.

Luther's "Christian Guide for Each Day"

Monday 24 February 2014 at 06:00 am

24 February

I thank you that you humble me and help me. Psalm 118:21.

This is a happy/merry verse and therefore sings with joy: Are You not an eccentric, kindhearted God, Who so eccentrically and kindly reigns over us? When you humble us, you listen to us. If You make us into sinners, you make us righteous. When You shove us into hell, You lead us up to heaven. When you let us become subjected, You give us the victory. When you let us be killed, You made us alive. When You let us mourn, You comforted us. When you let us weep, You let us sing. When we suffered, You made us strong. When You let us become fools, You made us wise. When You sent poverty upon us, You made us rich. When You allowed us to become servants, You made us into lords, and the countless similar miracles that are encompassed by this verse and are lauded by Christianity! 


Hallelujah!  God saves!  Last night I got about 2 hours of sleep - Dr. Rx's didn't alleviate my physical pains nor make me sleepy.  This morning my computer system practically collapses - a kind human fixes my problem, and I am enabled to finish this translation!  Wow! Does it hit home for me personally.  Job suffered more agony than I did last night; and he came up with Job 19:25 ff.  So may this translation do such things for you!

Knowing that my Redeemer lives!

Elmer H.

Luther's "Christian Guide for Each Day"

Sunday 23 February 2014 at 06:00 am

23 February

See to it that you do not make room for the freedom or opportunity of the flesh. Galatians 5:13.

A person has to learn and say, that the old yeast must be swept out and that one is not a Christian nor has faith if one allows the flesh to deliberately remain and continue in it's mischief and especially against one's conscience, which is far more offensive and damnable where one does it in the name of and under the cover of the Gospel and Christian freedom; for thereby the Name of Christ and the Gospel is slandered and despised; that's why such must be an ultimate offense and be driven out, as it can cause a a person's faith and a good conscience to fail.

Ouch! I am hurting physically ... I'm also praying that I correctly untangled this 'long wire' of one sentence by Luther correctly.  In his commentary on Galatians (Vol. 27 - Am. ed. L W) he spends a few pages of commentary on this verse. 

Physically I now have to say "Good Day" - have a good Lord's Day tomorrow.

In the Name of Jesus,

Elmer H.

Luther's "Christian Guide for Each Day"

Saturday 22 February 2014 at 06:00 am

22 February

In Christ we have redemption through His blood, namely the forgiveness of sins. Colossians 1:14

If I wanted to depict or paint a picture of Peter, I above all else would want to write on every hair of his head: Forgiveness of sins. For that's how the Evangelists portray him. No part of the Passion [history] is described with as many words as is the fall of Peter. Everything that happened to Christ is shown with brief words by the Evangelists; but Peter they beat up shamefully, to the point where they can't come up with enough words about his fall; instead the Evangelist John says: The fruit and benefit of Christ's suffering shall be this, that in it you have the forgiveness of sins. (cf. 1 John 1:7 and 9).

So here we have a brief, precious reality.  So I thank the Lord that the Evangelists would also write "Forgiveness of sins" on my BALD HEAD! 

Looking forward to having my sins being publically absolved in church tomorrow, hearing a good Law/Gospel sermon, and then receiving Christ's body and blood in, with and under, and the bread and wine in the Lord's Supper, given and shed for the forgiveness of sins.

In Christ,

Elmer H.

Luther's "Christian Guide for Each Day"

Friday 21 February 2014 at 06:00 am

21 February

I have worked harder than all of them, however not I, rather God's grace, which is within me. 1 Corinthians 15:10.

What I have done, I did in service of the beloved Christians and to honor the One Who sits above, Who every hour does so much good for me, that if I were to diligently work and additionally translate a thousand times more for Him, I still would not have earned the right to live one hour or to have one healthy eye. What I am and have is all by His grace and mercy, indeed it is the merit of His precious blood and sour sweat. Therefore also everything must serve to His glory, with joy and from one's heart. If the enemies revile or mock me, so be it, then the pious Christians along with Christ the Lord shall praise me, and I am all too richly rewarded if just a single Christian recognizes me to be a faithful worker. Of the prior ones I ask for nothing, they are not worthy that they should acknowledge my work, and from the bottom of my heart I would be sorry if they were to praise me. Their blasphemy is my highest praise and honor, I will still be a doctor, yes even also a paragon-doctor, and they shall not take the name from me until Judgment Day. This I indeed know.

So, here you have my 'drop in the ocean' piece of translation in service and honor to Him Who sits above, and to you, His saints here on earth.  As a crippled and lazy old man, I like to watch "Wheel of Fortune" to keep my mind from going dull by solving puzzles.  I also read some of my Luther's Works (the 2nd of his two volumes on Galatians) today - thank God Luther didn't have TV to watch back then!

Before getting out of bed this morning, I had prayed Luther's morning prayer in German...as I was pushing my walker to the breakfast table, I had a bit of a stumble (His holy angel kept me from injuring myself).  So again I commend my body and soul and all things into God's hands.

May His holy angles watch over us!

Elmer H.

Luther's "Christian Guide for Each Day"

Thursday 20 February 2014 at 06:00 am

20 February

The Light is still with you for a little time; walk while you have the Light, so that the darkness does not overtake you. John 12:35

The proclamation of the Gospel is not a forever-lasting, permanent teaching, rather it's like a local moving rain shower that moves about; what it hits, it hits; what it misses, it misses; but it doesn't come back, nor does it stay, instead the sun and heat come after it and lick it up. It is also experienced that in no place on earth does the Gospel remain true and pure beyond a person's remembrance, rather for as long as those who brought it remain, it has stood and increased; when they were there, the Light also was there, followed soon thereafter by corrupted spirits and false teachers. Beloved brethren! Buy while the market is at the door, gather it in while it's shinning and the weather is good. Use God’s grace and Word while it's there. It was with the Jews; but gone is gone, they now have nothing. Paul brought it to Greece; but gone is gone, now they have the Turks. Rome and Italy also had it; gone is gone, they now have the Pope. And you Germans must not think that you will have it forever; because ingratitude, neglect and contempt won't let it remain.   

The above Bible passage and Luther's comments are quite a wake-up call; it has me singing Luther's 3 stanza hymn:  Lord, keep us steadfast in Thy Word ...  #261 in T L H.  If any of you don't have access to it, let me know and I'll have my three fingers type it out for you.

Clinging to Christ - the LIGHT for - and of - my life,

Elmer H.

Luther's "Christian Guide for Each Day"

Thursday 20 February 2014 at 06:00 am

20 January

Because we know that a person is not declared righteous through the works of the Law, rather only through faith in Jesus Christ, so we also believe in Jesus Christ in order that we become justified through faith in Christ and not through the works of the Law.  For by the works of the Law nobody[no flesh]can be declared righteous. Galatians 2:16 

See to it that you do not make a mistake and allow yourself to be led away from faith into works. You have to do good works, however do not build your confidence upon them, instead upon Christ's work and do not encroach upon sin, death and hell with your works, but rather direct them away from us to the justifying Savior, to the King from Zion, Who knows how to deal with sin, death and hell, Who is the Sin-Slayer, the Death-Gagger and the Hell-Gobbler; let Him deal with all such matters and place your works upon your neighbor, so that you thus have a sure sign of faith in the Savior and Sin-Slayer.  

I apologize for not forcing myself to chop up Luther's lengthy second sentence of interconnected thoughts. In German it's like a long string of pearls. I pray that you find it edifying. 

In Christ,

Elmer H.

Luther's "Christian Guide for Each Day"

Wednesday 19 February 2014 at 06:00 am

19 February

This is My Beloved Son, in Whom, in Whom I am delighted; listen to Him. Matthew 17:5.

The holy martyrs were strengthened by the Word alone, without the appearance of angels, so that they then went to death for the sake of Christ's name. Why don't we also cling to the same Word and thereby be at peace? We have clear and beautiful, bright shining appearances  enough, namely like Baptism, the Lord's Supper, the Office of the Keys, Office of Ministry, which are like - indeed far surpass - all appearances of angels, compared to which Abraham had only little droplets and crumbs. That's why I don't watch for angels...For the divine promise is now richly fulfilled and revealed in Christ. He left me His Word, with it I direct and strengthen myself, and I don't have to worry about whether it is so unreliable and fickle that it first brings forth one teaching and then another one. We have God's Word, the Lord's Supper, Baptism, the Ten Commandments, the estate of matrimony, the secular authorities with their ordinances and the household regime. With these alone we will let ourselves be satisfied and exercise ourselves in them until the end of the world.

My arms and hands and knee are causing me much pain ... but as I take respite, God has enabled me to finish another one that was fairly easy to translate; and, let's always listen to Jesus!

In His Name.

Elmer H.

Luther's "Christian Guide for Each Day"

Tuesday 18 February 2014 at 06:00 am

18 February

Be sober and vigilant; for your enemy, the devil, goes about like a roaring lion and looks for someone he might devour. 1 Peter 5:8.

A faithful and earnest warning for pious God-fearing hearts. If I were to still live another hundred years, and had by God's grace not only laid out the prior and current squad of storm winds, but could instead also layout the future ones, I would still see that thereby no descendants would have any peace provided for them, because the devil lives and rules. You, our descendants, also earnestly pray and diligently promote God's Word! Keep burning the lower lantern of God! Be armed and equipped as those who must be on guard at all hours, where the devil may try to knock out a pane or window, rip off a door or roof, extinguish the lights. That's why you should be sober and vigilant! He does not sleep or celebrate; also he does not die before Judgment Day. I and you have to die, and when we are deceased, he at the same time remains whom he has always been, and cannot cease his storming/raging assaults. Christ, our dear Lord, Who has stepped on/crushed his head, come and save us from his raging, storming assaults.     

So, take that, Satan! and 'get thee behind me';  thanks be to God, you were unable to keep Jesus from enabling my crippled, klutzy fingers and frail, feeble mind from grinding out another  translation. While doing this one, there flashed through my memory January 1954 when our St. Louis Seminary Chorus had the joyful privilege of singing Bach's Easter Cantata in Carnegie Hall, New York City, NY; Life and death contended - thanks to Christ, Life won the victory!!!  As we continue to enter into 2014, keep looking to Jesus, Who gives us our faith from start to finish. (Cf. Hebrews 12:2)

In Him, 

Elmer H.

Luther's "Christian Guide for Each Day"

Saturday 15 February 2014 at 06:00 am

15 February

Welcome one another among yourselves, even as Christ has welcomed you to the glory of God. Romans 15:7.

Welcome the messy, stray brothers, and patiently put up with them, and make out of their sins your own. And if you have something good, let it be theirs. If you think you are better, then regard it not as being robbery, as only being yours intrinsically, but instead humble yourself and be like one of them, so that you carry them along. For it is an unfortunate righteousness that doesn't want to carry along and support those who are worse off and one has in mind escape and solitude, when he should have with patience, prayer and example immediately allowed that person to benefit. That's what you call hiding the tithe for the Lord and not giving the fellow servant his portion. If you then are a lily or a rose, then know that your life has to be lived among thorns, however see to it that you through impatience and naughty judgment or secret arrogance and pride you don't become a thorn. The kingdom of Christ is in the midst of His enemies. What then seals you as a center among His friends?

A blessed Happy New Year to all of you.  This was a tough one for me to translate - and here you have my sloppy translation.  I'll let you answer Luther's question at the end.

I went to sleep last night listening to the Cambridge Choir (accompanied by its orchestra) sing Isaac Watts' hymn based on Psalm 90: "Our God, our Help in ages past, Our hope for years to come ..."

May Christ be your Strength and Stay!

Elmer H.

Luther's "Christian Guide for Each Day"

Friday 14 February 2014 at 06:00 am

14 February

So then the last shall be first and the first shall be last. Matthew 20:16. 

The sum of this Gospel is: No person is so high nor will come so high where he won't have to fear that he will be the lowest. On the other hand, nobody lies so fallen or may fall so deep that he can't hope that he may become the highest, because here all merits are taken away and only God's goodness is praised and lauded. By the fact that He says: The first shall be last, He takes all audacity away from you and forbids you to exalt yourself over any harlot, even if you were like Abraham, David, Peter or Paul. However by the fact that He says: The last shall be first, He wards off all doubts from you and forbids you to cast yourself beneath any saint, even if you also were Pilate, Herod, or Sodom and Gomorrah.

So here Luther describes 'both sides of the coin'.  I wish they were all as simple and easy to translate as this one was. It made me realize anew that I'm "chief of sinners" and at the same time that we are all saved by God's grace through faith in Christ Jesus. (Cf. Galatians & Ephesians) What a gift beyond all gifts! 

In Christ,

Elmer H.

Luther's "Christian Guide for Each Day"

Thursday 13 February 2014 at 06:00 am

13 February

If anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ, Who is righteous. 1 John 2:1.

It is the devil's style and true color by which one should recognize him. He is such a villain that he can make big sins small to the point where a person won't see them, and on the other hand can make little sins so big that a  person thereupon bites, martyrs and kills himself. That's why a Christian should learn to not allow the devil to easily cause him a bad conscience, but instead, as he believes in Christ and gladly wants to be pious, strive against sin, he yet realizes that he at times stumbles and fails; here he should not let his stumbling soil his good conscience, but instead say: These errors and stumbling's be gone with my other weaknesses and sins which I have to bring to the Article of faith and to the Fifth Petition: Forgive our debt ... 

Had a good nap - Luther wrote this one simple and plain! For once I race through a translation!

God bless all of you as we sincerely pray "Forgive us our Trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us"!  Guilty sinner Elmer Hohle couldn't ask for a better Attorney before God's Bar of Justice than Jesus Christ!  He pleads for us before the Father: I paid their debts of sin!

In Christ,

Elmer H.

Luther's "Christian Guide for Each Day"

Wednesday 12 February 2014 at 06:00 am

12 February

I am certain/sure that neither death nor life; neither angels nor princedoms nor powers ... can separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus, our Lord. Romans 8:38-39.

God provides faith so that He doesn't have to deal with small things, but rather with such [matters] as death, sin, world and devil in order that whole world may not suffer over such. For the entire world is incapable of such. For the entire world is unable to stand against death, rather it flees from it and is terrified by it and is also overcome by it. However faith stands firm and solid against death - which devours the entire world, and faith wins out and devours the voracious devourer of life. So also the entire world cannot force nor dampen the flesh, rather it rules over all the world, and what it wants must be done, so that the entire world thereby becomes fleshly or carnal. But faith attacks and grabs hold of it and throws it down and bridles it and leads it do that which it must serve. So then also no person can put up with the raving rage, persecution, slander, hatred and envy of the world. Everyone wavers and turns dull; the world lies on top and wins - except against faith; faith mocks them and stomps on them with its feet and turns it into a joy and pleasure.   

Had a pain-ridden night of sleep ... now I attempt to untangle Luther's German [“barb-wire bundle of wires”] into English.  I hope and pray my translation makes some sense.  I now will go sit on my recliner and do some Bible reading.  I leave you with the thoughts my parents taught me in German as a child: 

Jesus blood and righteousness    

My beauty are, my glorious dress;

Arrayed in which before God I'll stand   

When I shall enter the heavenly land.

In the Name of Jesus,

Elmer H.

Luther's "Christian Guide for Each Day"

Tuesday 11 February 2014 at 06:00 am

11 February

This is most certainly true: If we died with Him, we will live with Him; if we endure with Him, we will rule with Him. 2 Timothy 2:11-12. 

If you don't want to die, then die; if you don't want to be captured, then surrender yourself into captivity; if you don't want to come into hell, then go there; if you don't want to be a sinner, then become a sinner; if you want to be free of the cross, then take it upon yourself; if you want to overcome the devil, then let yourself be overcome by him; if you want to force an evil person, then let yourself be forced by him. These puzzling words are explained by the Scriptures in 1 Corinthians 3:18 thusly: He who wants to become wise, let him become a fool.  A true Christian understands this quite well and experiences it daily. The most difficult one is: if you want to overcome the devil, then let yourself be overcome by him. The understanding of it is perhaps this: Let the devil with all his entire cohorts charge upon you, so that it appears as if for the longest you are laid down and he is winning. Then Christ's power, which in such helplessness remains almighty, will still retain the upper hand.

Pains kept me from napping - but God turned it into good - here's another 'sloppy' translation!  This one has me singing Luther's "Ein Feste Burg" hymn! ["A Mighty Fortress"]

In Christ "the kingdom ours remaineth"!

Elmer H.

Luther's "Christian Guide for Each Day"

Monday 10 February 2014 at 06:00 am

10 February

As many of you who have been baptized, have put on Christ. Galatians 3:27.

Baptism is such a water in which God's Son bathes, over which the Holy Spirit hovers, and over which God the Father preaches, and thus a grace enriched water is consecrated and sanctified by God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. We gladly like to hear that Christ is our dress and mediates for us as His dress (i.e., steps before God as our Mediator); however we are very reluctant to suffer it when He wants to clean His dress. If we want to be His dress, we then verily must endure it when He cleans it; He may not and will not go about in unclean clothes. Therefore it's a good sign where He creates much suffering, and also will not let up where there is His dress; He cleans it with all sort of suffering but does not do it where there is not His dress. It does not behoove us to be baptized with one another and live in sin. Whoever also then lives in sin has lost the grace of Baptism.

I rejoice that God enabled my weak mind and three typing fingers to translate another one. This one was a good reminder for me to renew my baptismal covenant into which the Triune God placed me 83 years ago last Wednesday. I now pause to read Romans 6. 

 

Thank You God for Your free gift of forgiveness, life and salvation!

 

In Christ, dead to sin,

 

Elmer H.

Luther's "Christian Guide for Each Day"

Sunday 09 February 2014 at 06:00 am

9 February

I said, while things were going well for me: I will never lie down depressed; for Lord by Your kindness You have made me mountain strong; but when you hid Your face I was terrified. Psalm 30:7

When God gives us a fine faith and we therewith go forth with strong confidence that we through Christ have a gracious God, we are in Paradise. But before we realize it, things can change, where God lets the heart slip, so that we think He wants to rip Christ out of the heart, and thus covers us up, so that we are unable to have any trust in Him, but instead the devil brings back terrifying thoughts into our hearts, so that our conscience feels it has lost Him, and immediately fidgets and is afraid, as if it has earned sheer wrath and disgrace on account of our sins.

Overnight I let this translation lay as a draft in my computer ... translating some of the above phrases didn't work; neither did transliterating them - so I paraphrased them  ... God grant that they fairly well captured Luther's thoughts.  So let's remember that God's kindness is always available to us in His Word and the sacred acts of Baptism and the Lord's Supper.

In Christ no longer terrified,

Elmer H.

Luther's "Christian Guide for Each Day"

Saturday 08 February 2014 at 06:00 am

8 February

The words that I speak are Spirit and life. John 6:63.

It is unfortunate that there are so few, also among those who rightfully should have done it before others, who to Scripture or to a Psalm would for their entire life say from the bottom of their heart: You are my beloved book, you shall be my own Psalm. And of course the greatest plague on earth is that the Holy Scripture is so neglected and despised, even by those who are used to it. All other things, art and books one promotes day and night, there is no end to the work and effort. One only neglects the Holy Scripture as if a person doesn't need it. And those who do it the honor that they even read it just once, they can use all of it immediately, and there never has come to earth any art or book that has trained anyone so soon as the Holy Scripture. Since it of course contains not 'reading' words, like they think it does, but instead it has genuine 'life' words in it, which have been placed in it not for speculation and for sealing them up, rather for life and action.

Thank You Lord for guiding me through this translation (providentially this aged, disabled retiree read his daily Bible reading before pushing myself to this keyboard). So let us always "search the Scriptures" for in them we find The Word-made-flesh on that first Christmas; He provides us with His Life-giving Word. The Scriptures and the sacraments are the 'pipeline' through which the Holy Spirit creates and sustains the faith in our Savior within us. 

Elmer H.

Luther's "Christian Guide for Each Day"

Friday 07 February 2014 at 10:49 am

7 February

Abraham believed that God makes alive the dead and calls that which is not, so that it is/exists. Romans 4:17.

He Who by His Word created the earth and let the light shine forth upon the darkness, is mighty enough to bring forth everything out of nothing, life out of death, righteousness out of sin, the glorious freedom of the children of God out of the slavery to the devil and hell. Just as God calls all the stars in the skies, which He created, by name, so He calls by name all Abraham's seed, which shall be countless as the stars and a splendid army [glorious host] even before the same is there, for with Him, there is neither past nor future time, instead before Him everything that is to happen to us is present time to Him. He says: I can see to it that there is - where there is nothing - sheer joy out of sadness and broken heartedness. I can say: Death and grave, you be life! Hell, you become heaven and salvation. Poison, be expensive medicine and ointment! Devil and world, be the Christian's beneficence of the dear angels and pious saints! For I can and will build my vineyard like that and wait, so that through all kinds of suffering and misfortunes it should only get better.

This was a tough one, and yet it now looks kind of simple; praying that I correctly captured Luther's thoughts. Yesterday my son and my niece saw to it that I got to worship in St. Paul Lutheran Church at The Grove, Texas where stands the limestone carved Baptismal font where I was baptized on Christmas Day in 1930!  It was a true 'Re-birth' day for me!

In Christ, our Savior born for us,

Elmer H.

Luther's "Christian Guide for Each Day"

Thursday 06 February 2014 at 06:00 am

6 February

How often I wanted to gather your children like a hen gathers her little chicks under her wings. Matthew 23:37.

Just look at what a clucking mother hen does so naturally; there is hardly any animal that regards its young little one so preciously. She changes her natural voice and takes on a merciful, lamenting voice. She seeks, scratches and beckons her little chicks. Wherever she finds something, she doesn't eat it. Instead she leaves it for the baby chicks. With complete sincerity she screams and cries out against the vulture and willingly spreads out her wings and lets the chicks under her and stands/squats over them - even though she may have to suffer on account of it. And this is an excellent, beautiful image for you. In the same manner Christ also took on a lamenting voice, mournfully lamented for us and preached repentance - exposing the sin and misery of every person. He is wholeheartedly found in the Scriptures, He beckons us into the Scriptures and lets us eat and spreads His wings over us with all His righteousness, merits and grace. And He graciously tucks us under Himself, warms us with His natural warmth, i.e., with His Holy Spirit - who comes only through Him. He fights for us against the devil in the sky. And He is our Shelter in every need.

With heartache in my clan, I find this a comforting GUIDE for this Christmas Eve.  The Savior has been born for us!  O Christ, be my 'Mother hen'!

In Immanuel (God-with-us),

Elmer H.

Luther's "Christian Guide for Each Day"

Wednesday 05 February 2014 at 06:00 am

5 February

I believe, that's why I speak; I am however very troubled. Psalm 116:10.

If you believe, it then is possible that your heart should be laughing with God, freely, securely and bravely. So then your love breaks forth, does what it can for everyone, proclaims and speaks such truth were it can, casts away and discards everything that is not proclaimed and practiced according to this doctrine. Look, the devil may not hear nor see such, he wants to have his thing before you non-depraved; he depends on you for everything that is great, taught, rich and powerful, as he makes you into a heretic and mad person. So then you see that just like your Lord Christ you come to the cross for the sake of the truth and let your body, life, goods, honor and friends be ravished to the extreme, placing them in harm's way until they drive you out of this life into everlasting life. Yet amidst all of this you have to be happy, gladly enduring all this and regarding it as good; in turn being kind to them, always remembering that before God you previously also were just like they now are.  

"Ouch!" cries out my pain-wracked body; "Ouch! Ouch!" screams out my mentally-wracked meager mind; Some of the phrases above could have been translated 180 degrees in the opposite way - I also chopped up two sentences with: ;'s.      

Have a blessed Christmas!

In Christ,

Elmer H.

Luther's "Christian Guide for Each Day"

Tuesday 04 February 2014 at 06:00 am

4 February

He has given birth to us according to His will by the Word of truth, so that we would be the first and best of His creatures. James 1:18.

The entire human being must crawl into the Gospel and there become completely new, pulling off the old hide or skin, like a snake does; when the snake's hide gets old, it searches for a narrow hole in a rock; there it crawls through and peels the skin off of itself and leaves it outside of the hole. So likewise a human person has to also proceed into the Gospel and God's Word and trustingly follow His promises; God will not deceive. Thus, he pulls off the old skin, leaves outside his light, his darkness, his will, his love, his lust, his speaking, and his actions, and thus becomes a completely different, new person, who from now on views everything completely differently, directs things differently, judges and decides them differently, thinks differently, wants differently, speaks differently, loves differently, desires differently, and works differently than before and thus goes forth.

As I put  this translation into the files, it's Saturday morning before the 4th Sunday of Advent Yesterday I received a letter from Ms. K. S. at GOOD NEWS in which she wrote: "Advent reminds us that we look forward to our Savior's reappearing at the Last Day. What a joy to know that many worldwide, along with you, will also be looking together for that reappearing." ..."allows us to prepare a tool for proclaiming the Good News of a Savior - a Savior who has come in human form, who has conquered sin and death, who has taken us from darkness of sin and brought us into His glorious light, the light that comes with His gift of faith.  May the gift you give help to bring many, many more into this wondrous light of faith."  

Come, Lord Jesus!

Elmer H.

Luther's "Christian Guide for Each Day"

Monday 03 February 2014 at 06:00 am

3 February

God made Him, Who knew no sin, sin for us, so that we through Him would become the righteousness that avails before God. 2 Cor. 5:21. 

I would like to know what makes your soul, whether it at last would finally grow weary of its own righteousness, crave/long for the righteousness of Jesus Christ. You should know that many and even the most nowadays, who want to become righteous and pious by their own strength, know nothing however about the righteousness which avails before God and is abundantly given to us in Christ, instead they seek to do good works until they think they by their own merit and virtue are able to stand before God, which of course is impossible. Since you then have confessed your opinion and error, I also; indeed, yet now I still argue against the fallacy and am still not totally lord. Therefore learn to know Jesus the crucified, learn to despair of yourselves and say: "Lord Jesus, you are my Righteousness, but I am Your sin.Guard yourselves against being so 'pure', to the point where you no longer want to be [called] a sinner. Christ lives nowhere else than with sinners. That's why He came from heaven, where He lived among the righteous, so that He also might live among sinners. Look at this love, thus you will receive and enjoy the sweetest comfort and peace for your soul.

God enabled me to struggle through another one; was encouraged by my friend Ken Hennings' remark about continuing to translate despite the pain ... won't quit till I drop.

Grateful for God's indescribable generous swap,

Elmer H.

Luther's "Christian Guide for Each Day"

Sunday 02 February 2014 at 06:00 am

2 February

The Day of the Presentation of the Lord    

This One shall be set for a fall and raising up of many in Israel. Luke 2:34.

So then the Baby Jesus has a twofold image, one an annoying image, and the other a beautiful, comforting image. One is a fall, like a stick laid on a path over which trips or falls. The other one is a getting up, like a rock in the path upon which one leans and gets up. The proud, arrogant and clever saints run with the head against Him, bounce back, slander and curse Him; but the simpletons, fools and poor sinners get up because of Him and believe in Him. Those who are lying down stand up because of Him; those who stand, fall down because of Him; those who are lost and corrupted, are saved through Him; those who are foolish, become wise; those who are sinful, become righteous and holy. -- Those who now want to advise how to carry this out through human wisdom, will accomplish nothing other than they not only fall and will never again get up, but they will completely fail. For they want to make Christians differently than what God has ordained and established. 

The Lord has enabled me to struggle and do another one - after a night of many dreams.

In Christ,

E M H

Luther's "Christian Guide for Each Day"

Saturday 01 February 2014 at 06:00 am

1 February

As you then have received the Lord Christ Jesus, so then live in Him and be rooted and built up in Him and remain steadfast in the faith. Colossians 2:6-7.

The self-assured false Christians who boast a lot about their faith, might want to see to it that they not betray themselves with such false, fake vainglory: "I am baptized and a Christian, therefore I need nothing, etc." Instead they may need to seek and strive to have their faith be properly rooted and grounded/founded, so that one is able to stand firm and overcome the shocks and the weather. Otherwise your boasting and self-assurance soon will be discarded and disappear like smoke in the air and be of no avail/benefit to you, just so long as you have a tiny spark of grace and faith, that's enough for salvation; instead watch out when you have nothing more than such a spark of faith and you then leave it laying in the ashes, so that the devil isn’t present and pours a bucket full of water over it, so that he extinguishes your faith along with everything else.        

I read through this in German last night and understood it well - but this morning I had a bit of trouble trying to type into English.  As far as the devil is concerned, Luther says it well in his Reformation hymn ("A Mighty Fortress is our God"):  ... one little word can fell him."  v. 3.

Oh, Holy Spirit give us God's grace and faith!

In Christ,

Elmer H.