The Saints Coming Out of the Tribulation

St. John receives a revelation from Jesus Christ. In a portion of that revelation, St. John sees a mighty army at rest. He hears a grand choir in song. He sees and hears what you and I can only see and hear with the eyes and ears of faith – a mighty throng, a faithful crowd, a noble people gathered before our God and the Lamb. This is a vast multitude of saints – God’s faithful believers who have died and entered the glory that Jesus reserved for them. They are being gathered from the four corners of the earth by God’s harvesting angels. These saints are streaming into glory from every nation, tribe, people, and language. These are the beloved saints of old, of today, and tomorrow.

A Mighty Fortress is Our God

Growing up on our farm, as the oldest child, I would often have to go out late at night to feed the animals. With only a single light pole by the barn, it was pretty dark and kind of spooky. Plus, I always had to keep my head on a swivel. We had a mean, white rooster with long spurs on his legs. He liked to hide in the rafters of the barn and dive-bomb at my head.

Longing

In 1996, the glitz and glamour of Hollywood received a heavy dose of perspective … if only for a moment. It was the 68th Annual Academy Awards. As usual, the pre-ceremony buzz was all about who would receive Oscars. Would Susan Sarandon win for Best Actress or Meryl Streep? Would Nicolas Cage beat out Richard Dreyfuss for Best Actor? Would Braveheart or Apollo 13 win for Best Picture? Or, could Babe pull the big upset?

Freedom

Some of you may remember exclusively using the King James Version of the Bible and pages 5 and 15 in The Lutheran Hymnal for worship. Now, we typically use a rotation of four different worship services and have been using three different Bible translations as we examine their accuracy and readability. Which way of doing worship is better?

It’s OK to Be an OK Parent

A typical week in the Zarling home is four to five weeknights of soccer practices and cross country meets. This is followed by a weekend of my wife and I doing the divide and conquer technique for soccer games and high school activities. Somewhere in there, we need to squeeze in violin practices, Homecoming pictures, and Shoreland football and soccer games.

What I’m describing as being typical for our family, is probably also typical for your family.

Love

You may have noticed that recently there has been a little kerfuffle at NFL games. There have been football players who have decided to sit or kneel or link arms or stay in the tunnel during the singing of the National Anthem.

I’m sure you have an opinion on their actions. Everyone does. With my grandfather fighting in the Battle of the Bulge and one of my daughters wanting to go into the military, I find the players actions disrespectful. The National Anthem and the American flag honors those who have fought and continue to fight for our American freedoms.

The Word of the Angels

If you ask just about anyone to draw a picture of an angel, about 99% of those angels would be sporting wings. Our modern concept of angels is that they must have wings. The only times we’ll allow for wing-less angels is if it is Michael Langdon’s character in “Highway to Heaven” or the characters in “Touched by an Angel” or Clarence working to get his wings in “It’s a Wonderful Life.”

Otherwise, our angels must have wings.

Sacrifice

If you’ve ever attempted to read the Bible from cover to cover, chances are you made it through Genesis and maybe Exodus. Somewhere in Leviticus, I’m guessing, your head began to spin. You became bogged down with the deluge of details about sacrifices.

In the liturgy of Israel, sacrifice was the divinely ordered Means of Grace by which God gave blessings to His people. The Israelites sacrificed cows, sheep, goats, turtledoves, pigeons, wheats and grains. They offered burnt sacrifices, sin sacrifices, guilt sacrifices, peace sacrifices and meal sacrifices.

Awe

Twenty trillion gallons of water fell on Texas from Hurricane Harvey. Several dozen people have been killed. Over thirty thousand people have been displaced from their homes. Houses have been destroyed. Businesses are closed. Houston is under water.

And, many are probably asking the question, “Why?”

Some have taken to social media to say this was a result of global warming. Some have used the tragedy to score political points. Some have said that it was God’s judgment on America.

What is the real answer? We want to know the reason. We demand an answer.