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.

Roots

It happens all the time. When I attend a function where there are other WELS members, I introduce myself as Pastor Michael Zarling. Invariably, I will have someone ask me, “Are you related to …?”

There are a number of Zarlings who are retired pastors in our Wisconsin Synod. Professor Mark Zarling is the President of Martin Luther College, the worker training school for the WELS.

We share the same last name, but I’m not very closely related to all those other Zarlings.

The roots of our family history go back to 1856, when my great-great-great grandparents,

Inseparable

Divide and conquer is a great military strategy. An army will try to cut off a battalion from its supply force. Without ammunition, food, or reinforcements, the army will not be able to hold out long while under constant bombardment.

Divide and conquer is a great attack strategy. Three or four wolves don’t try to take on a herd all at once. They separate one or two from the rest and get their meal that way.

It is a time-tested and proven strategy.

Chosen

Have you ever heard about a little company called Foxconn? I don’t know if it’s been in the news much lately.

Foxconn Technology Group is a multinational electronics contract manufacturing company based in Taiwan. It is the world’s largest contract electronics manufacturer.

And, it is looking for a place to build its newest manufacturing plant.

Battling

Saul hated Jesus. He was intoxicated with hatred for followers of the Way (Acts 22:4). He pursued and captured followers of the Way to put them in prison. He forced them to blaspheme Jesus (Acts 26:11). He persecuted Christians to their death (Acts 22:4).

Buried

A while ago, a grandmother of one of our Lutheran grade schoolers brought an issue to me. Her fourth-grade grandson had been in our school about 3 years. There he learned about sin, forgiveness, and Jesus. He had come from a troubled background, but he seemed to really grow and blossom in our school as he learned about Jesus every day in every subject.

However, this student started getting into more and more trouble, both at school and at home, over the course of his fourth-grade year.

Reversal

“They came to a place called Golgotha (which means ‘the place of the skull’)” (Matthew 27:33; Mark 15:22; Luke 23:33). Golgotha was just outside the city gates of Jerusalem (John 19:20), so there would have been plenty of people walking by and gawking at the sight of crucifixions on that bloody hill. “Golgotha” is Aramaic for “skull.”

We often interchange the name “Golgotha” for “Mt. Calvary” – and rightly so. “Calvary” means “skull” in Latin. Both terms are literally translated as “Skull Place” or “Place of the Skull.”

Reconciled

It was years ago, when a small-town newspaper ran an article about the city council. The owner of the paper, upset by some recent events, had written an editorial which, in big, bold type, proclaimed, “Half the City Council Are Crooks!” While the editor expected some people would demand a retraction, he never thought people would begin to cancel their subscription to his newspaper.

Atonement

Growing up on a farm, I had plenty of animals to take care of – beef cattle, a flock of sheep, a handful of pigs, a horse, several hundred chickens, plus an assortment of dogs and cats. We didn’t have these animals around for fun. The cats caught mice. The dogs chased away the wild critters. The horse was used for riding. But, the rest of the animals were raised for food.