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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.

Luther's "Christian Guide for Each Day"

Friday 31 January 2014 at 06:00 am

31 January

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,

Pr. EMH

Luther's "Christian Guide for Each Day"

Thursday 30 January 2014 at 06:00 am

30 January

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,

Elmer H.

Luther's "Christian Guide for Each Day"

Wednesday 29 January 2014 at 06:00 am

29 January

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? 

In Christ,

Elmer H.

Luther's "Christian Guide for Each Day"

Tuesday 28 January 2014 at 11:41 am

26 March

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,

Elmer H.

Luther's "Christian Guide for Each Day"

Tuesday 28 January 2014 at 06:00 am

28 January

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.

In Christ,

Elmer H.

Luther's "Christian Guide for Each Day"

Monday 27 January 2014 at 06:00 am

27 January

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,

Elmer H.

Luther's "Christian Guide for Each Day"

Sunday 26 January 2014 at 06:00 am

26 January

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!

Elmer H.

Luther's "Christian Guide for Each Day"

Saturday 25 January 2014 at 06:00 am

25 January

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.

In Christ,

Elmer H.

Luther's "Christian Guide for Each Day"

Friday 24 January 2014 at 06:00 am

24 January

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).

In Christ,

Elmer H.

Luther's "Christian Guide for Each Day"

Thursday 23 January 2014 at 06:00 am

23 January

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!

In Christ,

Elmer H.

Luther's "Christian Guide for Each Day"

Wednesday 22 January 2014 at 06:00 am

22 January

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. 

In Christ,

Elmer H.

Luther's "Christian Guide for Each Day"

Tuesday 21 January 2014 at 06:00 am

21 January

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.

In Christ,

Elmer H.

Luther's "Christian Guide for Each Day"

Saturday 18 January 2014 at 06:00 am

18 January

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,

Elmer H.

Luther's "Christian Guide for Each Day"

Friday 17 January 2014 at 06:00 am

17 January

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,

Elmer H.

Luther's "Christian Guide for Each Day"

Thursday 16 January 2014 at 06:00 am

16 January

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!

In Christ,

Elmer H.