Wednesday 15 January 2014 at 06:00 am
Faith, if it does not have works, is by itself dead. Show me your faith by your works. James 2:17-18.
How many are there of those who boast in the Gospel, who for the sake of it would now willingly lose a farthing or forsake their greed and avarice? There is of course no peasant or citizen who for the sake of it would give up his corn in the market a penny cheaper, if at the same time he is advised that he could make an expensive florin, he thus would much rather do it, and no peasant, could he sell his Sovereignty for a beer, he then has no conscience about it. Likewise with all trade and crafts, where everyone should work diligently, as he takes advantage of the people over benefits and only covers, covets and does damage. God grant that the Gospel and conscience will remain where it can.
Amen to that last sentence, Luther; may God grant it be so.
In the Name of Jesus,
Monday 13 January 2014 at 06:00 am
God is love, and anyone who lives in the love, he lives in God and God in him. 1 John 4:16.
That's truly a high beginning, love being exquisitely praised and exalted and strongly admonished and tense with the highest and most perfect example. If one lengthily states that love is a precious and perfect virtue, there still is nothing to keep one from saying that God Himself is love, so that if a person wanted to draw/sketch and meet God, he would have to encounter such an image that would be sheer love, as if the divine Nature were nothing but a fiery furnace and flame of such a love which fills the heavens and the earth, and moreover, if one could draw and make such an image, one would have to make an image which is not actually human, indeed neither angelic nor heavenly, but instead it would be God Himself.
Unfortunately my weak mind was incapable of making this one make as much sense in English as Luther has it saying in German. After all is said and done, God's love truly demonstrates itself in Bethlehem's manger, on Calvary's cross, and in Joseph of Arimathea's open tomb! God grant that we live in His love.
Sunday 12 January 2014 at 06:00 am
Christ is the Law's end; anyone who believes in Him, he is righteous. Romans 10:4.
The Law says: You have sin. If I say: "Yes", I then am lost. Say I: "No", I then have to have a strong foundation upon which to stand, so that I can refute the "Yes" and uphold the "No". But how can I say it? It of course is true; the Scriptures testify to it, that I have been born in sin. Where then can I get the "No"? I obviously won't find it in my bosom, but instead in Christ; that's where I must get it, hurl Him before the Law and say: Look, He can say "No" to any and all law; also He has His basic foundation; for He is pure and without sin. He also gives me the "No", so that,(even though when I look at myself I have to say that I am a sinner and cannot reckon with you, but instead feel that there is nothing clean in me and I see God's wrath,)I yet additionally have the fact that His righteousness is mine, so that I am no longer in sin.
Please pardon my ever-more feeble, pea-sized brain for failing to chop apart Luther's long sentences that contain interconnected thoughts. In this Advent season, I find myself looking at Isaiah 40:1 ff. Let's be comforted and with contrite, believing hearts prepare a way for the LORD.
Amen! Come, Lord Jesus!
Saturday 11 January 2014 at 06:00 am
I consider everything as filthy muck in order to win Christ. Phillipians 3:8
In short, I don't want to see or know nothing other than this Christ; He is to be such a dearly beloved treasure to me, so that for His sake I not only don’t let anything else please me but instead also regard it as filthy muck and nasty garbage. He is and should be to me such a Light and Morning Star, so that when I have seized and grasped Him by faith, I will not want to know or unwillingly ask whether in the entire world there still exists any kind of law, sin, righteousness or unrighteousness. For even if everything that is in the skies and on earth were laying heaped on a pile, that would be nothing compared to Jesus Christ, God's Son, my beloved Lord, Who also loved me and gave Himself up for me.
So there you have my sloppy translation. Share as you see fit.
Pr. Elmer Hohle
Friday 10 January 2014 at 06:00 am
I regard everything as feces, in order that I may win Christ. Philippians 3:8.
To sum it up I don't want to see or know anything other than this Christ, He should be for me such a dearly beloved treasure that for His sake nothing else shall please me, but instead be regarded as feces and filth. He shall be for me such a Light and Morning Star, so that when I by faith have seized and grabbed hold of Him, I will not want to know, also be reluctant to ask about it, whether in the entire world there still exists any kind of law, sin, righteousness or unrighteousness. For if everything that is in the heavens and on earth were piled into a heap, what would that be compared to Jesus Christ, God's Son, my beloved Lord, Who loved me so much and offered Himself up for me.
As I finished translating this afternoon I was listening to KFUO on the internet. I just now finished singing bass with the Concordia Seminary chorus singing "Abide with Me." So…
"Where is death's sting? Where, grave thy victory?
I triumph still if Thou abide with me.
Hold Thou Thy cross before my closing eyes;
shine through the gloom and point me to the skies.
Heaven's morning breaks, and earth's vain shadows flee;
in life in death, O Lord, abide with me!"
Friday 10 January 2014 at 06:00 am
The gate is small, and the way is narrow, that leads to life. Matthew 7:14.
A Christian leads such a difficult life, like as if he were going up a small stairway, indeed like on the edge of a knife blade. Thus in this world the devil is among us, without ceasing he snaps at us with his raging, in order to bring us into desperate impatience and murmuring against God. To that end the world opposes us and won't let up in trying to keep us out of heaven. Thus the flesh lies around our neck, so that we are oppressed everywhere. And the way/path itself is so narrow that it would be trouble enough even if there otherwise would be no other dangers or obstacles. Yet we must go through it or else become part of the devil. Therefore think and judge yourself accordingly; if you want to be a Christian, then be one, because nothing other will come of it; you will be unable to make the way wider.
At breakfast this morning I had a "Providential" experience: My son handed me my Feste Burg (2013 daily devotion book), and my German Bible. Feste Burg's readings for today were Habakkuk 2:1-5 [vv. 1-4 in English Bibles] and 1 Peter 1:8-13. So, I put my left thumb on the Bible and opened it...RIGHT ON THE CORRECT PAGE! I read the reading, concluding with (I now translate v. 5 (aka 4 in English Bibles) into English: "...the righteous person will live by his faith." Then I took my thumb further down to open the 1 Peter reading, and again RIGHT ON THE CORRECT PAGE! The devotion was based on vv. 8-9. Then I read a great devotion on receiving the goal of your faith: your eternal salvation! Spiritually nurtured for the day I now press on to my goal with my eyes fixed on Jesus, Who gives me my faith from start to finish. (Heb. 12:2).
Thursday 09 January 2014 at 06:00 am
If you knew Me, you also would know My Father. John 8:19.
Therefore do not start from the back or from the top in order to learn to know the Father; nothing comes of it; instead do it like this: Close your eyes and say: I know nothing about God nor about the Father, instead I come here and listen to what Christ says. For anything apart from this Man's Word, no matter how highly it may be regarded, proclaimed or conceived, it's not the Father's Word, instead it remains blindness, error and the devil himself. If however you know Me, you then also know the Father. For the Father has said that He wants to be known through the Son, and He takes us out of all high schools, out of all wise people's laws, out of all holy people's lives, out of all religious beliefs and teachings and says: Anyone who wants to know Who I, God the Father, am, let him, listen to Christ, the Son.
So then, let us be determined to know Christ and Him crucified (cf. 1 Cor. 2:2). May the Holy Spirit renew and strengthen our Christian faith.
Wednesday 08 January 2014 at 06:00 am
And the tempter came to Him and said: If You are God's Son, then tell these stones to become bread. Matthew 4:3.
Now You tell me You have a God who takes care of You! Where now is Your heavenly Father Who takes care of You? I mean of course that He has nicely left You and forsaken You. So now eat and drink of Your faith! Let's see how satisfied You will be! How fine You are God's Son, how paternally He launched Himself against You, in that He doesn't even send You a crust of bread, leaves You so poor and needy. Do You any longer believe that You are His Son and He is Your Father? With thoughts like these the devil verily stings all of God's children, and Christ mostly certainly felt it; because He was not a stick or stone, although He was and remains pure and without sin, like we are unable to stay.
Amidst all temptations, let's always turn to Christ our Savior for forgiveness and rescue from the clutches of the devil. We sing v. 3 of Luther's hymn based on Psalm 46:
Tho' devils all the world should fill, All eager to devour us,
We tremble not, we fear no ill, They shall not over pow'r us.
This world's prince may still Scowl fierce as he will,
He can harm us none, He's judged; the deed is done;
One little Word can fell him. (T L H #262)
Tuesday 07 January 2014 at 06:00 am
And look, a voice from heaven from heaven said: This is My Son, in Whom I have great delight. Matthew 3:17.
Thus the highest Preacher from the highest and greatest pulpit preaches down from heaven, and the sermon is the sermon above all sermons, to the level which none other can rise, as the almighty, eternal, merciful God speaks about His equally almighty, beloved Son: This is My beloved Son, in Whom I am delighted. The greatest Scholar and Listener of this sermon is the Holy Spirit, Third Person of the divine Majesty. They are the greatest of all preachers, sermons, and listeners, and there can be none greater. Therefore the beloved angels are quiet and do not allow themselves to be heard, instead they themselves listen to the highest, greatest Preacher, God the almighty Father; they listen to what He preaches about his beloved Son, in Whom He has great delight/with Whom He is well-pleased. But here you may say: Of what benefit is that to me? Christ is God's Son and without sin. I however am a poor, miserable sinner, conceived and born in sin; therefore on account of my sin things did not go so well at my Baptism. No, you should never do that, instead with your Baptism you should come into Christ's Baptism, thus then Christ's Baptism is your Baptism and your Baptism is Christ's Baptism and beyond that it's one Baptism.
This one God enabled my weakening mind to translate without even once consulting my German dictionary. It also reminded me to renew my Baptismal covenant, as with contrite repentance we drown the Old Adam and have the new man in Christ come forth (Romans 6). As my son was taking us to noonday Thanksgiving service today, my shoe sole caught on the edge of a carpet coming into the service --- a holy angel kept me from serious injury. And in church Pastor Pohland preached on the 3 verses I read while riding to church - Ps. 107:1-3! His theme was: "The Song of the Redeemed".
God has given us every good gift - for which we can never thank Him enough... especially for His Spirit wrought faith in our Savior.
Thank the Lord because He is good and merciful forever!
Monday 06 January 2014 at 06:00 am
Day of the Epiphany
They presented their treasures and gave Him gold, frankincense and myrrh. Matthew 2:11.
How should we (who are able to) direct gold and goods, so that our Lord Christ's kingdom be maintained and increased and children in their poverty be able to have nourishment? I.e., we should with money and goods help see to it that one has diligent preachers of the good news, fine sacristans and schoolmasters, see to it that the poor, those who because of illness, or on account of other needs are unable to provide food, be provided sustenance. And especially that young lads be reared in sound efficient learning, so that our descendants may also have faithful, upright preachers and administrators of the sacraments. For we in such situations should do what a clever, cautious gardener does, who continuously raises young trees, so that when this year, or in a year or two the old tree departs, there immediately is planted a fruit bearing tree in its place. Anyone who offers up his money like that, gives and offers it just like the wise men did.
So then Lord, out of gratitude for Your gift of forgiveness of sins, life and salvation I now sing v. 5 of T L H hymn #130:
And bid Thy Word within me Shine as the fairest star;
Keep sin and all false doctrine Forever from me far.
Help me confess truly And with Thy Christendom
Here own Thee King forever And in the world to come.
Nun danket alle Gott.... (Now thank we all our God),
Sunday 05 January 2014 at 06:00 am
Elijah was a man just like us, and he prayed a prayer, that it should not rain, and it did not rain on the ground for three years and six months. James 5:17.
It is indeed true that we are not Joshua, who through his prayer told the sun in the sky to stand still, also not Moses, who through his prayer separated the Red Sea, also not Elijah, who through his prayer spread down fire from the sky. We however at the same time are the same people to whom God commanded His Spirit to preach His Word, yes we are such people just as much as Moses, Joshua, Elijah and all the rest of the saints. Because we have the very same Word of God and Spirit, because we are the very same kind of preachers and servants and officers of God, as they were, even though they were more glorious than we, they still had not a higher, better God than we, also they had no better flesh and blood than we. For they were human beings just like we and even human creatures like we. And thus God has to hear our prayer just as well as their prayer; for we are members of His church, i.e., the bride of His beloved Son, Whom He cannot neglect when they earnestly cry out.
For Jesus sake, O Lord, hear our prayers and answer them in keeping with Your good and gracious will. I ask this
In the Name of Jesus,
Saturday 04 January 2014 at 06:00 am
Your name be kept holy. Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Matthew 6:9-10.
When God grants us the first three requests, He keeps His name holy among us, places us in His kingdom and pours His grace into us, which uplifts us to make us pious. The same grace soon begins to uplift us to do God's will; then grace immediately finds a recalcitrant Adam. So the grace in the heart immediately cries out in opposition to the same Adam and says: Your will be done, because a person by himself finds himself heavily laden. As God then hears the outcry, He wants to bring His beloved grace to help and increase His initiated kingdom and with seriousness and power pounces Himself down on the main culprit, the Old Adam, deals him all sort of misfortunes, breaks all his projects, hides and disgraces him over and over again, which happens when he sends us all sort of suffering and adversity. And to that end must serve: evil tongues, evil, unfaithful people and - where there are insufficient people - also the devil, so that our will be killed off with all its evil desires and thus the will of God be done, so that grace possesses the kingdom and only God's praise and glory remain.
And Lord I request that this translation may be helpful, not harmful.
In His Name,
Friday 03 January 2014 at 06:00 am
Our Father in heaven. Matthew 6:9.
Whether I feel comfortable and realize that I unfortunately can't say the Our Father [Lord's Prayer] with my whole heart, just as no person on earth can perfectly say it (otherwise we would by all rights actually be quite blessed), I nevertheless like a little child still try begin to cling to its Father. If I can't sufficiently believe it, I still don't want to let it be fabricated nor say no to it, and even though I cannot correctly play the game, as is His right I should not drive the counter play, because that would even be making Him into a devil, but instead thereupon learn to spell until I learn to repeat such an Our Father and this 'sermon' by Christ, whether I learn it good or badly, with stammering, stuttering, or slurring, just so I somewhat bring about the skill [to pray it].
My mind must be mush - these two sentences by Luther were extremely difficult to 'churn' into English...Lord I pray that it makes sense to you, the reader. Individually and together with our spiritual and material needs we can approach our Father's throne of grace with the Lord's Prayer, for it "covers all the bases"!
Looking forward to being with Our Father in heaven,
Thursday 02 January 2014 at 06:00 am
Open my eyes, so that I may see the wonders of Your Law. Psalm 119:18.
This you should know, that the Holy Scripture is a book which makes the wisdom of all other books foolishness, because no other book than it teaches about eternal life. That's why you should straightaway despair of your mind and reason, and on the other hand kneel down and with true earnest humility pray to God that He would through His beloved Son give you His Holy Spirit Who enlightens, guides and gives you understanding. Secondly, with diligent attention and thoughtful contemplation read what the Holy Spirit thereby means, and guard yourself so that you don't become tired, or think that you have read, heard, or said it once or twice and understand it by reason. For here no clergyman or Christian learns everything. Thirdly, challenge is the true test; it teaches you not only knowledge and understanding, but also experiencing how correct, how true, how sweet, how lovely, how powerful, how comforting God's Word is - Wisdom beyond all wisdom.
Thank God for my osteo-arthritis medications - otherwise I'd be screaming in agony --- but God enabled me to complete another one of Luther's:
Ein Christlichen WEGWEISER für jeden Tag
I pray the Lord will open my eyes to the 'honey-comb sweet, comforting message.
Wednesday 01 January 2014 at 06:00 am
The Day of Naming the Lord
And when eight days had passed away, His name was called Jesus. Luke 2:21.
It is truly right and salutary that He was named Jesus, in German it's: Savior, for in German we call Savior: He who helps, redeems, saves and is healing to anyone; in Hebrew it's called "Jesus" [Y'shuah]. Thus the angel spoke to Joseph in a dream in Matthew 1:21: She will give birth to a Son and you shall call Him Jesus; for He will save His people from their sins. Here the angel himself explains why He is called "Savior, Jesus", namely that He is His people's grace and salvation. What then is our name? Beyond a doubt, just as Christ gives us all that is His, so He also gives us His name. Therefore we name all Christians after Him, all after Jesus, all Savior after Him; and how He is called so also are we, as St. Paul writes in Romans 8:24: You have been saved by hoping for this. See, that's why the Christian stand and honor is not a measure. They are the superfluous wealth of His goodness which He pours out upon us, so that our hearts may become free, happy, peaceful and unafraid and thus willingly and gladly uphold the Law.
Ah yes, let's sing verse 3 of T L H #114:
Jesus! Name of priceless worth
To this fallen sons of earth
For the Promises that it gave,
"Jesus shall His people save."
A blessed New Year to all of you!
In His Name,
Tuesday 31 December 2013 at 06:00 am
Goodness and mercy will follow me all my life, and I will stay in the house of the Lord forever. Psalm 23:6.
Since the devil never ever quits plaguing the believers, inwardly with terror, outwardly with cunning false doctrine and power of tyranny, he[David] here at the end asks with earnestness that God, Who had given him this treasure (the Gospel) wherewith to also uphold/sustain him to the end, and says: Alas, dear God indeed grant me grace, that goodness and mercy follow me for my entire life. He also immediately points to what he means with "goodness and mercy", namely, that he may stay/abide in the house of the Lord forever. It's as if he meant to say: Lord, You started the thing; You have given me Your holy Word and accepted me among those who are Your people, to know You, to praise and glorify You; hence from now on grant me grace, so that I may stay/abide by the Word and never ever depart from Your holy Christendom. He also prays like that in Psalm 27:: One thing I ask of the Lord, this is what I would like, that I may stay in the Lord's house for the rest of my life, to watch the beautiful worship of the Lord and to visit His Temple.
This was one of the easiest and most delightful translations from Luther's "Christian GUIDE [WEGWEISER] for every Day"... for an old - soon to be 83 - old Fogie, this was very comforting.
Waiting for the return of the GOOD SHEPHERD, a blessed New Year to all of you!
Monday 30 December 2013 at 06:00 am
To as many as received Him, He gave them the right to become God's children, who believed in His Name, who were born not from blood nor from the will of the flesh or the will of man, but from God. John 1:12-13.
A Christian is to be such a person who got it from birth. He should not allow himself to be carved or patched up with works like Moses scholars and all work-righteous people do, who with commands want to do things, with a work here and a work there, and yet they accomplish nothing; instead reborn children, who believe in the Name of Christ, i.e., who from the heart cling to the words that God through Christ forgives them their sins and accepts them into grace. Christ speaks here about two kinds of birth: about the fleshly birth from father and mother, and about the spiritual birth out of water and the Spirit. Those who are born of flesh are called people/human beings, have body and soul, reason and senses, eyes, ears and other limbs, which belong to a person. Those who become born spiritually are called Christians and enter into the kingdom of God. He particularly preaches to Nicodemus about the new birth [in Ch. 3] and says: Anyone who wants to be a Christian and enter into the kingdom of God has to have another/different birth, other than the fleshly birth. The old, fleshly birth doesn't do it. Anyone who wants to be a Christian, that person has to actually undress from/take off the Old Adam, seek a new birth and be born anew.
Read all about this in John 1, 3 and Romans 6:1 ff. Am very grateful for the Lord enabling me to translate another one from Luther ... after bodily pain kept me mostly awake from 2:00 a.m. on until I got up praying (in German) Luther's catechetical morning prayer at 6:28 a.m. ... and now also renew my Baptismal covenant established by the Triune God on Christmas Day, 1930; so I renounce the devil and all his wicked works and ways ...Dear God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit: keep me in this state of grace through final, fleeting breath.
Buried and Risen with Christ in my Baptism,
Sunday 29 December 2013 at 06:00 am
Admittedly the blessed mystery of our faith is great: God appeared in the flesh. 1 Timothy 3:16.
To know Christ, that He became man and so deeply humbled Himself that He was to be viewed as the most forsaken and unworthy human being, stricken and smitten by God, and did all that for the sake of our sin, that's the true golden art of Christians and their greatest wisdom. Also, One cannot fight nor do greater harm to the devil than when one teaches, preaches, sings, and speaks about Jesus Christ and His becoming man. That's why it pleases me very much when a person loudly, delicately, and slowly sings in church: Et Homo factus est; et verbum caro factum est (i.e., and He became man, and the Word was flesh). The devil cannot listen to these words, he has to run a few miles away from them; for he feels what they have in themselves. If we were to become as joyfully happy over these words "that the Word became flesh or man" as the devil is scared and terrified by them, things would really be well for us. But the world despises all works and words of God, because they are turned off by such simple, simpleminded words.
Sluggishly, but successfully, struggled through another translation; Soli Deo Gloria! Thank You Jesus for humbly becoming obedient unto death to save us sinners! (Phil. 2:8)
In His Name,
Saturday 28 December 2013 at 06:00 am
The Word became flesh and lived among us, and we saw His glory, a glory of the only-born Son of the Father, full of grace and truth. John 1:14.
Here John expresses who "the Word" is, of which he and Moses spoke of up to now, namely the only Son of God, Who had all the glory that His Father had. That's why he calls Him the single only, Only-born, that he singles Him out above all God's children, who unlike this One are natural children. And therewith once again is shown His true divinity; for if He were not God, He could not before the others have been called the Only-born Son, which is as much as to say: He and none other is God's Son, which cannot be said about the holy angels and people; for none of them are God's Son, but instead they are all brothers and like created creatures, chosen children by grace, not born from nature.
From fluttering heart, feeble mind and aching body I pray that these intermingled phrases of Luther have been translated fairly accurately. And thank You Jesus for becoming flesh among us and bringing us Your saving grace and truth.
In the Name Jesus,
Friday 27 December 2013 at 06:00 am
The Third Day of Christmas
But then appeared the kindness and the affability-towards-people of God and our Savior Jesus Christ. Titus 3:4.
I dare say, that in the entire Holy Scriptures have I ever read more lovely words about God's grace than these two, kindness and affability-towards-people. So see to it then that these two words are spoken to you, so that God's kindness and affability-towards-people are revealed and offered to everyone, and that you build your faith upon these words, daily practice and strengthen yourself with them, and without any doubt maintain that it is so and that God is and wants to be kind and affable to you; thus He will most certainly be that way towards you, you may then petition and request with full confidence whatever you wish, whatever burdens you, whatever you or others need. If you however do not believe this, it would've been far better if you had never heard it; for with unbelief you turn these precious comforting words into a lie, thereby placing yourself into a position where you do not regard them as being truthful, which really is a great big, high misspeaking against God, so that no greater sin could be committed by you before God. However if you believe, then it's not possible that your heart would not therefore laugh for joy before God, and be free, secure and brave.
Luther drove my mind against a brick wall in this one by using words that are not in the German dictionary.
The peace of the Lord be with you as we rejoice in Titus 3:4!
Thursday 26 December 2013 at 06:00 am
Second Christmas Day
When however they had seen this, they spread the Word which had been told them about the Child. Luke 2:17.
When a Christian begins to know Christ as His Lord and Savior, through Whom he has been redeemed from death and has been brought into His reign and legacy, his heart is then actually divinitized to the point where he eagerly wants to help everyone to obtain this[know Christ]. For he has no greater joy than in this treasure, that he knows Christ. That's why he goes out, teaches and admonishes the rest, extols and confesses this to everyone, prays and with groaning sighs longs that they too might obtain such grace. That is a restless mind in the highest peace when it is able to bring God's grace and peace, to the point where it cannot remain silent and idle, but instead with total force struggles and strives, as a person who lives for only one thing...to bring God's glory and praise among all people.
Ouch! Ouch! Morning consumed with Dr. and lab appointments for my one son, and the other son driving us... then home after early Subway stop... sort through junk mail .... unsuccessful nap attempt... struggling through Luther's compound word not found in Dictionaries-(Sprachgefuehl came in handy) ... now it's 2:30 p.m. and my aching body and shriveled mind is going to Lazy-boy read some Revelation from the Bible. Like the shepherd's I shared a copy of GOOD NEWS Journal with a lady in the waiting room - praying the Seed of God's Life -giving Word will sprout and bear fruit...also in me.
Wednesday 25 December 2013 at 06:00 am
And the angel said to them: Don't be afraid; Look, I proclaim to you a great joy that will come to all people, because the Savior, Who is Christ the Lord, was born for you today in the city of David. Luke 2:10-11.
According to the angel's sermon, that this Baby is our Savior, in Whom we are to have all comfort and joy, as being our greatest treasure; where He is, there all the angels and God Himself looks. God does not only lay such Treasure in the lap of His mother, but also in yours and mine and says: He shall be your own; you are to enjoy Him; and, everything He has in heaven and on earth, that's yours. Whoever then hears this, yet has no joy from it, he is worthy for thunder to strike a new measure under the ground for him. Wherefore we should thank God for His grace and ask Him to speak and write this angel's proclamation into our hearts, so that we may truly trust this Savior and through Him conquer death and the devil. Grant this to us dear Lord and Savior. Amen.
Tuesday 24 December 2013 at 06:00 am
The Birth of Christ
And she gave birth to her first born Son and wrapped Him in diapers and laid Him in a crib. Luke 2:7.
I've said it often and yet say it again: Anyone who wants to know God and without danger speculate about Him, let him look into the crib, start from the bottom and first of all learn to recognize the Virgin Mary's Son born in Bethlehem, as the mother lays Him in her lap and nurses Him; thereupon you will learn well who God is. Such then will not be frightful, but instead will be most lovely and comforting. And beware of flying up into the heavens with high fleeting thoughts without this ladder, namely the Lord Christ in His humanity, as the Word so simply and excellently describes Him. Stay with Him and don't let reason divert you away. Thus you properly take hold of God. Since our dear Lord suffered frost, hunger, grief and sorrow, but particularly it went to miserable and mean, as it's stated, when He was born and came into this world; there was neither vessel nor room, neither pillow, diaper nor bed robe; He had to lie in a crib[manger] before cows and oxen; - so then my Cousin, yes also my Brother, the King of the heaven and earth and all creatures therein, how miserably You lie there: Yuck! shame on me, why am I so proud? Why do I want to be so glorious and suffer nothing? If the King of Glory suffers so for me, who am I? Isn't it true that I am a poor, miserable sinner and not worthy of being laid upon a bed of thorns, yet I'm laying on a soft bed, while, my Lord is laying in a crib[aka, cattle feed trough]upon hard straw.
So, amidst pain it's finis to another one. I composed a Christmas carol to a tune from Bautzen, only to discover that the melody was written by my great-grandfather's, pastor: Jan Kilian; whose son was my father's pastor in Serbin, TX (until about WW I). Jan Kilian wrote a Wendish hymn to this melody that I was privileged to sing in Wendish with a Wendish pastor and his wife in St. Paul Lutheran Church, Serbin, TX the fourth Sunday in September in 2012! My body is really hurting now, but I had to get this in.
Monday 23 December 2013 at 06:00 am
Blessed/happy is he who is not offended by Me. Matthew 11:6.
This truly is a strange offense that the world is offended by Christ, Who raised the dead, gave sight to the blind, gave hearing to the deaf and (in spirit) preached the good news to the poor. Anyone who regards such a Savior as devil, what kind of God does he have? But there it is. Just as He wants to give/bestow the kingdom of heaven, so the world wants to have/possess the earthly kingdom. He wants to give/bestow certain, imperishable, eternal, blessed and heavenly goods, while the world wants to have earthly, perishable, from which they get more worry and anxiety than pleasure and joy. Over this they differ, here they are offended. I beg and faithfully admonish each individual devout Christian that they not be offended nor push against the simple speeches and stories which are recorded in the Bible, and not have doubts about them; no matter how bad and silly they always seem to appear, they still most certainly are simple words, works, stories and judgments of the high divine Majesty, Power, and Wisdom. In this Book you find in the diapers and the manger, in which Christ is lying, to which also the angels direct the shepherds. They of course are poor and simple diapers, but precious is the treasure of Christ Who lies in them.
This brings back memories of how God enabled me one Monday morning in Dec. '84 to carve out a woodblock with the baby Jesus in the manger, and print off of it "God in the Straw". God forbid that any of us should ever be offended by Christ our Savior!
Sunday 22 December 2013 at 06:00 am
We preach Christ, the Power of God and the Wisdom of God. 1 Corinthians 1:24.
All wisdom of the world is pure child's work, indeed it's folly when compared to the knowledge of Christ. For what could be more wondrous than to know and recognize that the Son of God, the spitting/very Image of the eternal Father, took upon Himself our human nature and in appearance became like any other human being? This however is the most necessary and essential piece which we as Christians should learn and know with greatest diligence - that the Son of the eternal God lowered/humbled Himself so deeply, let himself be born poor and miserable, and did all that for the sake of our sin, and for so long concealed his majesty for our benefit. Wherefore, whoever wants to rightly seize this Child properly has to remember that there is no greater wisdom than to know Christ, and not return to letting himself be annoyed that the world regards the proclamation about God's Son - Who became man, was crucified and died - to be the greatest folly/foolishness and nuisance, but instead know that for us believers it is a divine Wisdom and Power through which we are saved, over which the beloved angels have pleasure and joy.
Praying that God enabled my weakening mind and three feeble, still functioning fingers to properly translate Luther's lengthy sentences of inter-connected, Scripturally-connected thoughts. ... I'm listening to K F U O playing the St. Louis Seminary chorus singing parts of Bach's Easter Cantata which I had the joy of singing with in Carnegie Hall in January of 1954!
Let's keep on proclaiming Christ crucified, God's Power and God's Wisdom!
Saturday 21 December 2013 at 05:00 am
There has appeared the healing grace of God to all people that disciplines and trains us so that we disavow godless things and worldly lusts, and modestly live righteous and godly in this world. Titus 2; 11-12.
Anyone who wants to modestly live righteous and godly, has to give up all enmity and take up the cross. One should not allow himself to be swayed, even if he were to live like Lot in Sodom and Abraham in Canaan among vanity-filled, drunk, unchaste, unrighteous, false, godless people. It is the world and remains the world; he must empty himself of it and not live for it, but instead punish punish/castigate the secular desires. Note, that means to live sober amidst the bars, chaste amidst the whorehouses, godly amidst the dancehalls, righteous amidst the 'murder mines' [cutthroats]. Such a world then make this life narrow and irksome/morose, so that a person wishes, screams and cries out for death and Judgment Day and waits for it with great longing. Grace has to guide a difficult life such as this. Nature and reason are lost here.
And thank You God of all grace for guiding me through this translation!
In the Name of Jesus,
Friday 20 December 2013 at 06:00 am
God so loved the world that He gave His Only-born Son, so that all who believe in Him, will not be lost, but have eternal life. John 3:16.
This applies to you as well as to St. Peter and Paul, because you are a human being and a part of the world. That's why you should not think: Who knows whether I also am among those for whom the Son was given, and the eternal life that has been promised through Him, because that means making our Lord God into a liar. Therefore, when such thoughts invade your mind, then raise up the cross before you as if the devil himself were there, and don't let such thoughts deceive you; instead say: Why do I ask about whether I am not Peter nor Paul. If God wanted to give this treasure only to them and to those who were worthy of it, He would have given Him to the angels, who are pure and unspotted/immaculate spirits, or to the sun and the moon. But here it is written, He gave Him to the world; it is worthy. Therefore, even though I am not like Peter or Paul, I still will not be excluded from this gift, indeed I will have just as much of it as David and all the Apostles.
My body is 'screaming' with pain - but that's not even 0.0000000000000000000001% of the pain Christ suffered for you and me, so that we have this precious gift of eternal life! I'm grateful that I was able to slide through this 'easy' translation!
Thank You forever, God!
Thursday 19 December 2013 at 06:00 am
She will give birth to a Son, His name you shall call Jesus; because He will save His people from their sins. Matthew 1:21.
There is not a more hostile/malevolent name on earth than precisely Jesus Christ, not that a person can't call on Him or hear Him call. Yes, even the worst and bitterest enemies of His Name probably praise Him the most, in addition to calling themselves the Christian Church and God's people, but they slander and condemn us heretics and most wicked enemies of God. Why? It's because we do not let this Name remain a bad name written with single letters - like mine or yours; instead we believe, preach, and confess that the Person Who is called Jesus Christ, according to His Name is the only Savior of the world, Who saves from sin, the only High Priest, Who reconciles the sinners with/to God, the only Lord and King, who helps one out of all anxiety and need, and that He alone, for those who confess Him as such, saves them from sin and obtains for them grace and everlasting salvation. Dear, don't let me be a bad Dr. of Sacred Scripture, who can correctly call the Name of Jesus Christ.
So by God' grace I was enabled to weakly grind out another one. Ah yes, JESUS = SAVIOR, Hallelujah! He even receives 'Chief of sinners' like me!
In His Name,
Wednesday 18 December 2013 at 06:00 am
This is the name by which one shall call Him: The Lord our Righteousness. Jeremiah 23:6.
Since a person by nature is uncertain and stands in doubt about whether he's able to please God with all his works, he thus can have no true heart towards God, turn himself back to Him and worship Him; instead, he shies away and flees from Him and finally falls into doubt and hatred of God. For when it comes down to the actual battle, where he will have to stand before the judgment, he then feels and sees that he cannot stand before God's wrath with his life and works, but instead will with them sink into the Abyss. If we than have to withstand and overcome in such dire straits, we will have to have a different foundation than our own or the Law's righteousness, namely this eternal Righteousness of Christ, which stands there on the place at the right hand of the Father, where the devil cannot accuse nor overturn God's judgment. Me, the devil can overturn, if he wants to, with all my life and works, by holding before me divine judgment and wrath, and blow it all away like the wind does a feather. However, if I point him away from me and my works to the right hand of the Father, where my Lord Christ is seated, Who grants me the gift of His Righteousness, Him the devil will indeed have to leave unchallenged.
This has me singing "Jesus, The Blood and Righteousness"! (TLH hymn #371)
Cloaked in His righteousness by Spirit-wrought faith,
Tuesday 17 December 2013 at 06:00 am
The poor have the good news preached to them. Matthew 11:5.
Moses' kingdom, is also our Lord God's kingdom, and the proclamation with which He leads is God's Word, so that the secular regime may also be called God's kingdom. It is however only the kingdom of the left hand, where He installs father, mother, emperors, kings, judges, hangmen and puts them in charge of the regime. However His right hand kingdom is where He Himself reigns, where He does not install father, mother, authorities and jailers, rather it's where He Himself reigns and preaches the good news to the poor. Therefore when it reaches the point with you where you realize that your piety can never be of any help, then learn from it that you are to say: I've done what I could. - But where to now, this is not going to help? Here it is urgently necessary that you furthermore say: I have heard that the King, my dear Lord Jesus Christ, has performed six miracles which no one else performed. Among them is one where the poor have the good news preached to them, and that He additionally has been assigned to comfort the terrified/troubled hearts. Consequently you should never despair nor doubt. The divine promise of all grace and truth is offered and presented in Christ and through Christ, that whosoever believes in Him, all sins are forgiven him and the Law is fulfilled for him, the conscience assuaged and redeemed, and finally eternal life will be given him. What more comforting words and promises could a miserable heart and troubled conscience hear? Death, hell, world, and devil and everything evil is despised, when a poor heart receives and believes such a divine promise. The blind receiving their sight and the dead being raised is quite insignificant compared to the poor having the good news preached to them.
Took me a couple of 'hurting' hours - but I feel confident that I got this translated fairly accurately.
Among the rejoicing poor who had the good news, aka, "Gospel" preached to him yesterday by Pastor Selle.
Monday 16 December 2013 at 06:00 am
It is the voice of a preacher in the wilderness: Prepare the way for the Lord; upon the fields prepare a road for our God. Isaiah 40:3.
This now is the preparation for the Way of Christ and the actual office of John [the Baptizer], that he should humble the world and say that they altogether are sinners, lost, condemned, poor, needy, and that no life, no work, no stance appears to be so holy, beautiful or good, that it would not be condemnable where Christ the Lord is not living within, working and converting lives, and everything is done by a faith that simultaneously needs Christ and His grace and with total desire becomes a partaker of this grace. So now you see, where such is preached - that all human works and living is worthless - you then have the true voice of John in the wilderness and the correct, true Christian doctrine in its full truth and purity. That now is truly preparing the way for the Lord, giving Him room and making a place for Him.
Ouch!(physically); Woo! (mentally) --- totally worn out by a DIFFICULT translation... thank you Jesus for seeing me through it! I've been asked to write an Advent devotion ... may not back to translating for a week.
In Jesus' Name,
Sunday 15 December 2013 at 09:44 am
This man welcomes sinners and eats with them. Luke 15:2.
In the lineage or ancestry of Christ it is to be noted that in it the Evangelist lists four women who in the Scriptures are very infamous/notorious, like Tamar, Rahab, Ruth, Bathsheba; whereas the upright like Sarah, Rebecca, Lea and Rachel, are not mentioned. I maintain that this happened because they were 'sinnerettes' [Luther feminizes the German word sinners], and that Christ wanted to be born into the largest ancestry, in which there were whores and villains, thereby to show what a love He has for (penitent) sinners. For true holiness, the holier it is, the closer it draws itself to sinners. If Christ had been a Pharisee, they could not have exalted themselves before Him, indeed they would have had to sink down before Him, and He would have turned up His nose at them; but since He was holy, they would have be counted along with His grandmothers.
O thank You, Jesus for humbling Yourself to the lowest level and for taking upon yourself my sins and the sins of the entire world, dying on the cross to pay our un-payable debt, and then rising from the dead as You snubbed Your nose at Satan, sin, and death.
In the cross of Christ I glory, towering o'er the wrecks of time,
Saturday 14 December 2013 at 06:00 am
And He shall be called: Wonderful, Counselor, Force/Power [Almighty God], everlasting Father,...Isaiah 9:6.
So then Christ is called "Wonderful" because everything that He does for His Christian church is wonderful and strange[unique]. The Christian church has, as I have stated, a wonderful righteousness and holiness that is hidden to all human reason. But when it comes to the cross, there it appears much more wonderful and weird. For a Christian, who is baptized and confesses Christ, in this world has to suffer and be persecuted for the sake of Christ and the gospel. And He shall be called "Counselor", because He is a trustworthy counselor and is able to give good counsel/advice in all stressful circumstances where one needs advice, understanding and consolation. For as He leads and governs His holy Christian church in a wonderful manner, amidst sin, cross, tribulation, distress, shame and persecution, with which she[the church]is covered: He thus leads and governs her also with good, trustworthy counsel, with which he stands beside her comes to her aid amidst all sort of suffering. He is also called "Force/Power" [Almighty God]in that when He allows us to be led into disaster and allows us to be plagued inwardly by the devil outwardly by the world, and in midst of suffering has strengthened us with His royal advice and Holy Word, He also once again will powerfully lead us out of it. Furthermore he is called "Hero" [everlasting Father], i.e. Warrior. We Germans call a giant one who is skilled and strong into battle, who slays and casts down the enemy, one pile here and another pile there. With these names the prophet shows us how this King and Lord conducts Himself against His enemies.
Crippled fingers and demented mind were used by the Lord to grind out another translation; it was a tough one! When I started, the verse had me singing Handel's MESSIAH!
in His Name,
Thursday 12 December 2013 at 06:00 am
The Law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. John 1:17.
If the Law says to your anxious conscience: You have been commanded for this and that; you did not do that; that's why you must hold out here. Amidst such struggling and fear of death it's high time and necessary for faith to man up and with full power break forth, and confront the Law under the eyes and say to it: Ah, dear Law, are you alone God's Word? Isn't the Gospel also God's Word? Does the Promise have an end? Has God's mercy ceased? Therefore, when the Law condemns me, that I am a sinner and my name is written in God's guilt register, I then have to confess that it is true; however the speech of consequence: You therefore are condemned - I must not give room to it, but instead with a strong faith fight back and say: According to the Law I am indeed a poor condemned sinner, however I from the Law make an appeal to the Gospel. For God has yet given a Word over the Law that is called Gospel, which by His grace gives me the forgiveness of sins, righteousness and life.
Couldn't nap today - found stressfully and prayerfully interceding for my daughter, who is afflicted with shingles... phyically hurting much more than her father; but God enabled me to twist out this translation... may it also be a comfort to her.
Wednesday 11 December 2013 at 06:00 am
I will set enmity between you and the woman and between her Seed [Descendant] and your seed [descendants]. He will crush your head, and will stick/bruise Him in the heel. Genesis 3:15.
These words are actually Satan's pronouncement of judgment and in which are contained a solid comfort for all pious people. The devil has the Son of God placed in opposition to him, and on account of this protection the church is secure. But yet Satan does not let up from such gruesome enmity and hatred against the Seed of the woman. As Christ is lying in the cradle/manger, he goes after Him through Herod, so that He has to live in Egypt among the Gentiles. After that he tries everything against Him, until He is finally handed over to the Jews in the Garden [of Gethsemane], who seize Him and finally let Him be brought upon the cross. Such a fierce enmity he brings against the Son of God. Since he now however sees that He is sitting at the right hand of God and all his arrows have been deflected, he now totally engages himself against the poor church. The dear church must probably be troubled if it doesn't want to listen to the enemy of her Lord Jesus Christ. How should she treat the devil differently? This 'heel biter', the devil, just won't quit, nor will he leave alone his Head Crusher. Thus the Head Crusher, our Lord, will not put up with such a 'heel biter'. So you be wise now, and don't let yourself get mixed up in this quarrel, of what use would it be if you were to receive a Separator-person's-wage for this, that Christ condemns you and rips the devil. Therefore let go as it goes, don't let yourself become stuck between the door and the hinge, you will not be able to tolerate both Christ and Belial, the enmity/hostility between them is sworn too resolutely solid. One ultimately has to go down, and the other one remain, nothing other will come of it. It is the world's largest folly if one thinks they can unite Christ and Belial, the pious and the godless/wicked.
OH! What a 180 degree turn around this translation is from the previous page --like trying to untangle Luther's 'barb-wire bundle' of phrases ... Martin, I hope I transferred you thoughts fairly accurately into English. So, Lord, keep us steadfast in Your Word....."
Have a blessed Lord's Day tomorrow!
Tuesday 10 December 2013 at 06:00 am
About this Jesus testify all the Prophets. Acts 10:3.
Therefore, anyone who wants to beneficially read the Scripture, let him see to it that he seeks Christ in it, thus he will most certainly find eternal life. On the other hand if I in the Scripture of Moses and the Prophets do not study and learn that Christ for the sake of my and all mankind's salvation came down from heaven, became Man, suffered, died, was buried, rose from the dead, ascended into heaven, so that I through Him have reconciliation with God, forgiveness of all sins, grace, righteousness, and everlasting life, then my reading of Scripture helps absolutely nothing for salvation. I can of course through the reading and studying of Scripture become a learned man and preach about it to others; but all this of course doesn't help me a bit. For if I do not find nor know Christ, then neither do I find salvation nor [eternal]life, indeed, I find bitter death; for it has been concluded/determined by our beloved God that no other Name has been given men by which to be saved than in the name of Jesus (Acts 4 [v. 13].
HALLELUJAH!!! For once Luther wrote plain ordinary theological words - and the Holy Spirit enabled me to zip write through this translation in about a half an hour! Also: I forgot to mention at the bottom of the 9 December WEGWEISER that this morning I had on Live stream.KFUO, and sang along with a choir singing v. 1 of #463 in T L H on this All Saints Day:
For All the Saints Who from Their Labors Rest
Who Thee by faith before the world confessed,
Thy Name O Jesus, be forever blest.
In His Name,
Monday 09 December 2013 at 06:00 am
Then the King will say to those to His right: Come, you blessed of my Father; inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the beginning of the world! For I was hungry, and you fed me food etc. Matthew 25: 34-35.
Here see to it that you are among those who for Christ's sake here [on earth]are kind and merciful or are suffering, thus you can with joy wait for Judgment Day and not fear the judgment; for He has already pulled you out and ordained you among those who shall stand at His right. For, since we are Christians, we should indeed hope and from the bottom of our heart desire that the Judgment come, as we then also pray about it: Thy kingdom come, and Your will be done, deliver us from evil - so that we may hear the joyful, lovely sentence: Come, you blessed into My Father's kingdom! We wait for this; for indeed we also are Christians in order that this precious hope be pushed first by the devil and our own flesh, which do not want us to believe and rejoice in this hope, thereafter also by the world's tyranny and enmity, and we have to see and hear the mischief which the devil and the world are carrying out in opposition to Gospel, and they promote so much misery on earth, so that we of course should become tired of this life and yell: Come on, dear Lord, come and save us!
Yesterday I sang "A Mighty Fortress" at our supper table in commemoration of the Reformation. God used that to motivate my ever weaker mind and my crippled body to struggle through this translation.... as I also pray: "Even so come quickly, Lord Jesus! Amen!"
Sunday 08 December 2013 at 06:00 am
And then they shall see the Son of Man come in the cloud with great might and glory. Luke 21:27.
Here you may ascribe the power to the hosts of angels, the saints and all other creatures who will come with Christ to the Judgment, which I regard as the correct interpretation, or to the power and strength that this coming of Christ is so more powerful, as much as the first coming was meek and lowly. He here is not only saying that He will come, but rather that they will see Him coming. For He also came after the lovely birth, but was seen by no one. He also daily comes spiritually through the gospel into the hearts of the believers; also nobody sees that. However this coming will take place openly/publically, so that every person will have to see Him and also see that He is none other than the biological man Christ in biological form, as He was born of Mary and lived on earth. For when He says, they shall see the Son of Man, it is clearly expressed. that it is a biological/bodily coming, a biological seeing in biological form, yet [He will come] with great power, a great multitude of angels and with all glory and shall sit on a bright shining cloud and all the saints with Him The Scripture says much about this day and also everything will be judged on that day.
With aching limbs and head I pray that translated this adequately....
All in all, clad with the Robe of Christ's righteousness, I ardently pray: Amen! Come, Lord Jesus!
Also v. 5 of hymn #68 in T L H:
Before the dawning day
Let sin's dark deeds be gone,
The old man all be put away,
The new man all put on.
Saturday 07 December 2013 at 10:24 am
Let those who are ours learn that they should let themselves be found in a position of good works where one needs them so that they are not fruitless. Titus 3:14.
So then it is not a good work when you give alms or pray, rather when you devote yourself to your neighbor and serve him wherever he needs you and you provide for him, be it with alms, prayer, labor, fasting, counseling, comforting, teaching, admonition, chastising, forgiving, clothing, food, finally also by suffering and dying for him. Tell me, where now are there such works in Christendom? Would to God that I here had a voice like a thunder-bolt, so that it would resonate throughout the world, be able from of all mankind to rip good works out of their hearts, mouths, ears, and books or at least give them all a good reason to do so.
A short question sandwiched between two lengthy sentences of interconnected thought... Luther, did I translate you fairly accurately? I conclude with v. 5 of Oh, for a Faith That Will Not Shrink (#396 of T L H):
A Faith that keeps the narrow way
Till life's last spark is fled
And with a pure and heavenly ray
Lights up the dying bed.
The peace of the Lord be with you all,
Elmer Hohle, pastor emeritus
Saturday 07 December 2013 at 06:00 am
Rejoice in the Lord always, and again I say: Rejoice! Philippians 4:4.
This joy is a fruit and result of faith, for it is not possible for a heart which has not first believed in God should rejoice in Him. Where there is no faith, there is sheer fear, flight, shyness and sadness, if just only God could have been thought of and mentioned. Yes, hatred and enmity towards God is in such hearts. That's the reason why the heart finds itself guilty in its conscience, and has no confidence that God is gracious and propitious toward it, in that it knows that God is sin's enemy and gruesomely punishes it. Therefore this epistle is not written to sinners, rather to the saints. For one must first tell the sinners how they can be freed of sin and be taken over by a gracious God; thus the joy follows of itself when it us freed of an evil conscience. See, this is the kind of joy St. Paul is talking about here. Here there is no sin, no fear of death or hell, but instead a joyful confidence towards God and His grace. And once again I tell you: rejoice/be happy. The repetition by the Apostle strengthens his admonition; this is probably also necessary; even though while we likewise at times fall into sin, that we still let the joy in God become stronger, than the sadness about the sins.
Grant that the arthritic pain in by back won't keep me from finishing this little translating project I ask this in Jesus' Name. Amen.