Time Travel

ICYMI this morning, I posit that time travel is actually possible and can be found in the Church!

The True Man

Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.
Galatians 5:24

There are some great stories about time travel.

The classic The Time Machine by H.G. Wells. There’s also one of my favorites, The Door Into Summer by Robert A. Heinlein.

Of course, the Back to the Future movie trilogy has to be one of the most popular time travel stories of all time.

Alas, time travel is not possible. At least not yet.

Or is it?

Actually, the Christian Church has the closest thing to time travel that I’ve seen so far.

It is the Sacrament of Holy Baptism.

Yes, you read that right. The Sacrament of Holy Baptism is spiritual time travel!

Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death…

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Time Travel

Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.
Galatians 5:24

There are some great stories about time travel.

The classic The Time Machine by H.G. Wells. There’s also one of my favorites, The Door Into Summer by Robert A. Heinlein.

Of course, the Back to the Future movie trilogy has to be one of the most popular time travel stories of all time.

Alas, time travel is not possible. At least not yet.

Or is it?

Actually, the Christian Church has the closest thing to time travel that I’ve seen so far.

It is the Sacrament of Holy Baptism.

Yes, you read that right. The Sacrament of Holy Baptism is spiritual time travel!

Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.
Romans 6:3-4

When I was baptized, I traveled back in time – spiritually – to Jesus’ cross. I was crucified along with Jesus. I was buried along with Jesus. I was resurrected along with Jesus.

Everyone who is baptized by water in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit experiences this spiritual time travel.

We are crucified with Christ. Jesus Christ took all our sins (and all the sins of all people) on himself and paid the penalty for them on the cross.

Our sinful nature was then buried with Christ in the tomb.

But when Christ was raised from the dead, we were raised with a new nature. Instead of sin, through Baptism we have the righteousness of Christ!

Our sinful human nature rears its ugly head from the grave every day. We are tempted to sin by the devil, the world, and our sinful human nature.

By the power of the Holy Spirit working through the Means of Grace we can overcome these tempters!

But if we don’t overcome them, if we choose to live accord to the sinful human nature, according to what Lutherans have believed, taught, and confessed for nearly 500 years, “Those who walk according to the flesh retain neither faith nor righteousness” (Apology of the Augsburg Confession Article V Love and Fulfilling the Law, quoted from Concordia: The Lutheran Confessions, copyright © 2005, 2006 by Concordia Publishing House, p 135).

When we were baptized, we traveled back in time to Christ’s death and resurrection in the First Century AD.

But every day we must, by contrition and repentance, drown that old sinful human nature and walk by faith!

Again, as Lutherans have believed, taught, and confessed for nearly 500 years: “Faith must be the mother and source of works that are truly good and well pleasing to God, which God will reward in this world and in the world to come” (Formula of Concord – Solid Declaration Article IV, quoted from Concordia: The Lutheran Confessions, copyright © 2005, 2006 by Concordia Publishing House, p 548).

We can do this! By the power of the Holy Spirit! We can walk in the righteousness of God! We do not have to give in to our flesh’s passion and desires.

I realize that this is the exact opposite of what the culture has been telling us for generations now.

But really, who do you want to listen to? The culture that is going more insane by the minute? Or God who clearly loves you and wants what’s best for you?

Crucify your sinful human flesh – not literally, but spiritually – by using the Means of Grace.

It is possible and it is the best way to live!

I implore you, O Lord, in your kindness to show me your great mercy that I may be set free from my sins and rescued from the punishments that I rightly deserve; through Jesus Christ, my Lord. Amen.

©2017 True Men Ministries

______________________________________

Read past devotions at the True Man Blog here.

Contribute to True Men Ministries here to help keep this devotional going.

Listen to the True Man Podcast here.

Subscribe to In My Father’s Footsteps here.

Qualified

In case you missed it earlier today.

The True Man

Giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light.
Colossians 1:12

I’ve been told I have a good voice – speaking and singing.

I’ve also been told I have a face for radio, but at least my voice is also qualified for radio!

I never thought about being a radio announcer until an opportunity to do just that opened up in the fall of 1987.

I was a first-year student at Concordia Seminary. I had a part-time job as an accessioner at Concordia Historical Institute. It was an okay job, one which could feed my love of history.

But I found that while I was qualified for the job – it wasn’t because of my love of history. I could simply write a number in a book and affix that number on a piece of paper. That’s what an accessioner…

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Qualified

Giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light.
Colossians 1:12

I’ve been told I have a good voice – speaking and singing.

I’ve also been told I have a face for radio, but at least my voice is also qualified for radio!

I never thought about being a radio announcer until an opportunity to do just that opened up in the fall of 1987.

I was a first-year student at Concordia Seminary. I had a part-time job as an accessioner at Concordia Historical Institute. It was an okay job, one which could feed my love of history.

But I found that while I was qualified for the job – it wasn’t because of my love of history. I could simply write a number in a book and affix that number on a piece of paper. That’s what an accessioner does – inventorying and recording historical documents that come into the Institute’s collection. I had a little room, dusty and musty, that was kept at a cool 68 degrees. There was one window high on the wall where I could see whether it was daytime or night but that was about it.

The pay was okay, but the work soon became dull. I started looking for another position. I walked down to the studios of KFUO AM/FM radio that was on the campus. I asked to see the program director. I told him who I was and what I was looking for.

He hired me on the spot and a couple of days later I was hosting the weekend afternoon slot on the AM side.

Like a duck takes to water, I felt right at home behind the control board and microphone of the radio studio.

My voice qualified me for the job! My voice that I readily acknowledge is a gift given to me by God (through my mom and dad).

The word “qualified’ shows up in today’s devotional text. But not exactly in the same context as my radio career.

It has been said that “God doesn’t call the qualified, he qualifies the called.”

I think that is very true!

While my voice qualified me for radio, what is in me doesn’t qualify me “to share in the inheritance of the saints in light.” Instead, God qualifies me.

God qualifies all of us through the blood of his Son, Jesus Christ. To share with the saints in light is to live forever in God’s Kingdom of Glory – heaven!

We can only be qualified by God himself. We bring nothing to this party on our own!

And while the Kingdom of Glory is the end result of our inheritance, there are things we do before we go there!

God calls us to be his own children through the Means of Grace. Typically, this is first through Holy Baptism. And through the other Means of Grace – God’s Holy Word and the Sacrament of Holy Communion – we are continually qualified to fill God’s calling of us.

Our calling here in the Kingdom of Grace – our life in this world – is to tell others the Good News about Jesus!

I realize that there are many Christians who feel less than qualified to do this. But I contend that this isn’t true at all. God wouldn’t call us to do it and then not qualify us to do it.

As the hymn writer says:

If you cannot preach like Peter,
If you cannot pray like Paul,
You can tell the love of Jesus
And say He died for all.
stanza 3 of the hymn There Is a Balm in Gilead

You are qualified because you are called by God!

Almighty and ever-living God, you make me both to will and to do those things that are good and acceptable in your sight. Let your fatherly hand ever guide me and your Holy Spirit ever be with me to direct me in the knowledge and obedience of your Word that I may obtain everlasting life; through Jesus Christ, my Lord. Amen.

©2017 True Men Ministries

______________________________________

Read past devotions at the True Man Blog here.

Contribute to True Men Ministries here to help keep this devotional going.

Listen to the True Man Podcast here.

Subscribe to In My Father’s Footsteps here.

The Sickle

In case you missed it this morning. You can also see a video synopsis of this devotion here: https://www.facebook.com/ed.blonski

The True Man

And another angel came out of the temple, calling with a loud voice to him who sat on the cloud, “Put in your sickle, and reap, for the hour to reap has come, for the harvest of the earth is fully ripe.”
Revelation 14:15

The garage at my grandparents’ house in Ingleside, Illinois was a place of wonder and adventure for me as a young boy.

It had been a car garage since the turn of the century – the 19th to the 20th, that is – and on the outside was the name “Wear.” This house and property were originally the summer home of the Wear family – where my grandmother spent her summers as a young girl.

Over the ensuing 75 years, no car resided in that garage as it accumulated that side of our family’s “stuff.”

I would explore in there in the spring…

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The Sickle

And another angel came out of the temple, calling with a loud voice to him who sat on the cloud, “Put in your sickle, and reap, for the hour to reap has come, for the harvest of the earth is fully ripe.”
Revelation 14:15

The garage at my grandparents’ house in Ingleside, Illinois was a place of wonder and adventure for me as a young boy.

It had been a car garage since the turn of the century – the 19th to the 20th, that is – and on the outside was the name “Wear.” This house and property were originally the summer home of the Wear family – where my grandmother spent her summers as a young girl.

Over the ensuing 75 years, no car resided in that garage as it accumulated that side of our family’s “stuff.”

I would explore in there in the spring time – as that was when it was coolest, without being freezing, and no wasps and hornets had built their nests.

One year I came across something I had never seen before.

It was shaped sort of like a hockey stick, but the blade was rotated 90 degrees and serrated on both edges.

I found out later that it was a sickle.

It was a garden sickle and it was used to cut long grass and weeds before there were such things as powered lawnmowers and weed-wackers.

All you did was swing it back and forth through the grass and weeds and it would cut them down to size.

Farmers used larger – and sharper – sickles to harvest grain and barley back before the combine harvester was invented.

This is the picture painted in Revelation 14 of the Last Day.

Jesus had used the parable and analogy of seeds and harvests throughout his ministry. So it is not surprising that this picture would be used here in the last book of the Bible.

It is just a picture – there won’t be a literal reaping of people by Jesus wielding a sickle. But it is a picture that strikes to the heart of each person. Unfortunately, Satan has influenced the picture by inciting someone’s imagination to see this as The Grim Reaper.

But that isn’t the picture painted in Revelation at all!

Jesus has a sharp sickle and this is a picture of the harvesting of the “elect” – those who remain in their Holy Spirit-given faith (through the Means of Grace). This harvest is swift and complete – that’s the picture of the sickle.

There will be no more suffering or waiting on our part. When Christ comes back, our waiting will have finally come to an end and our suffering will be over forever.

This will be followed immediately by another harvest, that done by an angel (or angels), of those who reject Christ. That harvest will also be swift and complete but will not bring an end to suffering but rather be the beginning of eternal torment and separation from God.

The ultimate harvest by Christ is our glorious future and we look forward to it with longing.

But in the meantime, we are to be at work in God’s Kingdom sharing the Gospel so that others will also long for this last harvest!

Almighty and gracious God, you want all to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. Magnify the power of the Gospel in the hearts of your faithful people that your Church may spread the good news of salvation. Protect, encourage, and bless all missionaries who proclaim the saving cross that Christ, being lifted up, may draw all people to himself, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

©2017 True Men Ministries

______________________________________

Read past devotions at the True Man Blog here.

Contribute to True Men Ministries here to help keep this devotional going.

Listen to the True Man Podcast here.

Subscribe to In My Father’s Footsteps here.

Far Outweighs

In case you missed it this morning, I tell the story of Minnie who has MS but didn’t let that stop her from sharing the love of Christ!

The True Man

For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.
Romans 8:18

I first met Minnie in September of 1997. She was a resident at what used to be called a “nursing home” but today they are known better as “extended care facilities.”

Minnie had lived in that home for over fifteen years when I first met her.

During the day she was confined to a wheel chair. She had multiple sclerosis, initially diagnosed in her late 50’s.

I visited Minnie regularly, sat with her, read scripture to her, and gave her the Sacrament of Holy Communion.

Minnie was always cheerful and talkative. She made every effort to be prim and proper in her dress and comportment.

But as I soon discovered, Minnie was constantly in moderate to severe chronic pain due to her MS.

She…

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