Thursday, December 14, 2017

Dial Daily Bread: In Thanks, What Will You Do for Him?

Dear Friends of “Dial Daily Bread,”

That divine cry of dereliction on Christ's cross, "My God. Why have You forsaken Me?" is the world's moment of truth. In becoming the Son of man, the Son of God became our second Adam, the new corporate Head of the human race.

When the first Adam sinned in Eden, "we" sinned in him, because each of us is "adam"--that is our name. Each of us is his fallen descendant; he could do nothing other than pass on to us his fallen, sinful nature in alienation from his Creator, destined to "perish" eternally.

From Christ's birth in Bethlehem, He lived in the sunshine of oneness with God. "Unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given: and the government [of the world and of the universe] shall be upon His shoulder" (Isa. 9:6, KJV). But He took on His sinless nature our sinful nature that He might meet the awful problem of sin in our flesh, sin's last lair; God sent Him "unto us" "in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, [He] condemned sin in the flesh" (Rom. 8:3). As our second Adam, Christ won the awful battle.

But now as Head of the human race He enters into the darkness of hell on His cross, dying our death, doing what in John 3:16 He says He doesn't want us to do--He tastes what it means to "perish." It's terrible beyond any words. We can't grasp it unless we understand Galatians 3:13: "Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written [quoting Moses], Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree" (cf. Deut. 21:22, 23).

Thus He was "made to be sin for us, who knew no sin" (2 Cor. 5:21). For you personally, intimately, not only instead of you but as you, He dies your second death. Now in thanks what will you do for Him?

--Robert J. Wieland

From the "Dial Daily Bread" Archive: February 17, 2005.
Copyright © 2017 by "Dial Daily Bread."

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Dial Daily Bread: "Knocking at the Door"

Dear Friends of “Dial Daily Bread,”

Have you ever been despised and rejected by someone important in your life, whom you deeply loved? You remember the pain was wrenching.

Can we conceive of Jesus Christ experiencing that? On an infinitely grander scale? For millennia our human souls have been concerned for our own salvation; in my youth I remember sincere, grey-haired ordained elders declaring to me that the most important issue in life is the salvation of our own souls. This is almost universally accepted as the essence of orthodoxy. "Evangelism" is crafted on that premise. But there's a more important issue.

In undertaking the salvation of this world, Jesus took our humanity upon Himself; He knows how we can love; the “one” so deeply loved by Him as His bride-to-be is His church.

Has He known the bitterness of unrequited love, as we can know it--only on a cosmic scale? Can the companionship of multitudes of holy angels compensate for what His heart yearns for in the absence of His church's response to His love?

The pain of Calvary was for only a few hours (we think); indeed, it was intense. But the Hosea-like pain of extended nuptial alienation is Calvary's pain extended.

Christ declares Himself as endlessly "knocking on the door" of His Beloved (Rev. 3:20), waiting for a "certain one" (tis, Gr.) to respond as a satisfaction to His own lonely divine-human soul. He is still the One "despised and rejected." He wants to be with His people on earth, even though earth rejected and expelled Him; heaven is simply no longer "home" for Him.

On this grand Day of Atonement, a change has come: the most important question in life is now for us to honor and vindicate Him. He deserves His reward; it is He who must be "crowned," no longer we who seek that honor.

 —Robert J. Wieland

From the "Dial Daily Bread" Archive: August 15, 2006.
Copyright © 2017 by “Dial Daily Bread.”

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Dial Daily Bread: God’s Richest Blessing May Be in the Disappointment We Suffer

Dear Friends of “Dial Daily Bread,”

Many times we tell stories to the children about wonderful answers to prayer. We tell them about Daniel in the lions' den, of David fighting Goliath, of Peter saved from prison, and of course many modern stories of people's marvelous answers to prayer.

That's all good, and I do not doubt the truth of those stories. But I am concerned about something else--sometimes there are children who have prayed for something but did not get it. I knew one little boy whose grandmother was very sick, and he prayed that she might get well; but she did not get well. She died. When children ask the Lord for something, but don't get it, then hear all these wonderful stories, they wonder what's wrong with them. Why doesn't the Lord answer their prayers too?

Well, we must think about this. We must be honest. Not all prayers get a marvelous “Yes” answer. If you don't get what you asked for, that does not mean that God does not love you, or that He did not hear your prayer. He said “No” instead of “Yes.” And often His “No” is more loving toward us than a “Yes” would be. If a young child asks for a sharp knife, a loving father or mother will say “No.”

God's richest blessing may be in the disappointment that we suffer. If God is like a Santa Claus to Christians, giving them everything they ask for, many people would join the church who are not at all converted, and that would not be good at all.

God's people suffer in this world along with those who are not His people. When they suffer, God suffers with them. He never forsakes them. We must remember Jesus on His cross--He prayed to the Father but He says God did not hear Him (that's in Psalm 22). Jesus felt that His Father had turned His back on Him, because He prayed, "My God, why have You forsaken Me?" (Matt. 27:46). There are many people in the world who have to suffer, not because God doesn't love them, but because they are faithful servants of Jesus, who honor Him by enduring their suffering.

The Good News is that God will never forsake you; He does hear every prayer you pray; and He will give you what is best for you and what is best for others. Even the little boy's grandmother who died--someday we will know why the Lord permitted that--and we will love the Lord more because we will know that His answer was because He loves us. We can trust Him, because He died for us on His cross.

--Robert J. Wieland

From the "Dial Daily Bread" Archive: 1994 Phone Message.
Copyright © 2017 by "Dial Daily Bread."

Monday, December 11, 2017

Dial Daily Bread: "Grafting" Back Into the Vine

Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"

The world is in turmoil. Fear of terrorism is everywhere. And what's the main root cause of this terrible fear? Basically, America's fervent support of the state of Israel. This has been encouraged, almost dictated, by Protestant Christians who believe that the Bible teaches that God's promises to Abraham will be fulfilled by His blessings on a literal, political modern Israel.

Such a vision encouraged President Truman's initial endorsement. That state must eventually recover the boundaries of ancient Israel in the time of Kings David and Solomon, yes, achieve world domination. Theology, true or false, has immense consequences.

But for many centuries Bible-reading Christians also have believed that Abraham's true descendants have always been (and still are) those who have his faith, not just his DNA. They see in the Bible how ancient national Israel rejected their political nationhood when they rejected their true Messiah. "We have no king but Caesar!" they proclaimed officially (John 19:15).

God's New Covenant promises to Israel will be fulfilled by "grafting" individuals back into the Vine, along with believing Gentiles who are "grafted" in--all by faith in Christ, who is the true Vine. "And so," in this way, "all Israel will be saved" (Rom. 11:1-26).

Just now, on this grand cosmic Day of Atonement, the Holy Spirit is working diligently "grafting in" repentant sinners from the ranks of literal Jews and from the myriads of "Gentiles" everywhere. "Therefore consider," says Paul, "the goodness and severity of God" (vs. 22). Let the Holy Spirit "graft" you in; don't "resist Him in His office work."

--Robert J. Wieland

From the "Dial Daily Bread" Archive: March 14, 2003.
Copyright © 2017 by "Dial Daily Bread."

Saturday, December 09, 2017

Dial Daily Bread: Can We Find Some Good News in the Southern California Fires?

Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"

[This "Dial Daily Bread" was written during the October 2007 wildfires in Southern California, so evacuation numbers are for 2007 (if interested, you may find details at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/October_2007_California_wildfires

Similar weather conditions were in place then as with the current situation in Southern California. This "DDB" seems relevant today.]

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This daily mini-Bible study likes to concentrate on happy subjects, and find good things to say about discouraging topics. But we're struggling to find something good to say about the calamity in Southern California.

Imagine--over 350,000 people evacuated from their homes! Imagine what "evacuation" means--how do you "evacuate" without getting on the freeway to get out, and can you imagine 350,000 people clogging the freeways? They can be one vast parking lot.

I used to live in the San Diego area; I never dreamed I would see things like this before the Bible's "seven last plagues" of Revelation 16. Can we find some good news? Yes:

(1) Innumerable acts of kindness are being done by people, even strangers; the Holy Spirit has not yet been withdrawn completely from the earth!

(2) There is evidence that the love of God is still active; in wrath He has remembered mercy (Hab. 3:2).

(3) In the disasters described by the prophet Ezekiel his "woes" usually ended with the promise, "you shall know that I am the Lord" (35:9, for example).

(4) It's always, yes always, good news to learn to "know the Lord." Even the final "lake of fire" at the end of the millennium (the 1000 years of Revelation 20:11-15) demonstrates the mercy of the Lord. The lost will say "Thank You" for that "Lake" rather than exist forever in tortured consciousness of their own utter self-condemnation. They will "welcome destruction," says a very wise writer.

(5) Is God sending these terrible disasters? Is Southern California more wicked than any place else, thus deserves them? This same question was asked Jesus after a local disaster: "Do you suppose that these Galileans were worse sinners than all other Galileans, because they suffered such things?" He answered: "I tell you, no; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish" (Luke 13:2). Jesus didn't bring that disaster but He brought good out of it, for all the world to learn.

(6) There is precious good news in this remark of Jesus: it's possible for all of us to "repent" because repentance is a universal gift that the Holy Spirit tries to give us (if we will believe and receive the gift; John 16:8).

(7) This painful disaster, with world news coverage, educates us all in a happy lesson about Reality; it's another proof of God's love: "We brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out [when we "evacuate" we probably won't even carry our important personal papers with us]. And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content" (1 Tim 6:7, 8). Precious contentment! Enjoy it today.

--Robert J. Wieland

From the "Dial Daily Bread" Archive: October 23, 2007.
Copyright © 2017 by "Dial Daily Bread."

Thursday, December 07, 2017

Dial Daily Bread: What God Wants More Than Anything to Give You

Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"

When we read Matthew 24 or Luke 21, the conviction is overwhelming that we're living in what Daniel says is "the time of the end" (Dan. 11:35; 12:4).

At the same time, the conviction overwhelms us that the last message Revelation says must "lighten the earth with glory" will be the lifting up of Christ on His cross (18:1-4; John 12:32, 33). God has honest-hearted people all over the world. Lifting up their Savior on the cross will "draw" them all to Him.

"The Lord will make a short work upon the earth" (Rom. 9:28). It won't take a long time for the Lord to "finish the work" once He has a people whose hearts are moved and melted by His agape-love seen at the cross.

That "short work" will accomplish not only the proclamation of "the truth of the gospel" to all the world in one generation (Gal. 2:5; Matt. 24:34), what we have thought must take decades or even centuries to prepare God's people to meet Christ when He returns. First Thessalonians 4:16, 17 will be completely fulfilled. God's people will get ready to be "translated" as Hebrews 11:5 describes Enoch's experience. All done in "a short work"!

Now is the time when the Lord's "beatitude" is being fulfilled: "Blessed [happy] are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled" (Matt. 5:6).

Are you hungry and thirsty? There's nothing the God of heaven wants more than to give you that hunger and thirst. Ask for it!

--Robert J. Wieland

From the "Dial Daily Bread" Archive: November 4, 2004.
Copyright © 2017 by "Dial Daily Bread."

Tuesday, December 05, 2017

Dial Daily Bread: The Ancient Struggle Between Esau and Isaac

Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"

When the Titanic plowed into the jagged edge of an iceberg, everybody on board suddenly realized his corporate involvement in the ship. No little group or individual could go on feasting and partying to the jazz music; a common fate now faced everyone.

What the captain and crew had done intimately involved everyone--captain, crew, millionaire and steerage passenger. Flooded compartments below deck meant your first class stateroom would soon be flooded. The lights were going out.

Some of us live in lands of peace and prosperity. Can we go on partying while the Middle East is locked in a human struggle that involves an "old covenant" bondage universal in principle? Abraham's family was in reality the human race, for in an "everlasting covenant" God gave him the whole world as "an everlasting possession" (Rom. 4:13; Gen. 17:8, 7).

The Israelis and Arabs epitomize the ancient struggle between Esau and Isaac, both sons of Abraham--one by "the flesh," the other by "promise." But fleshly Jews or Arabs are not Abraham's true "seed": "Those who are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God: but the children of the promise are counted as the seed" (Rom 9:8).

"If you are Christ's, then you are Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise [covenant]" (Gal. 3:29). That is: neither fleshly "Isaac" nor "Esau" has a divine advantage over the other. The Israelis and Arabs contend for a land and a Temple Mount too small for both; their conflict points to the universal struggle for the domination of this planet. Of the common father both claim, Acts 7:5 says, "God gave him no inheritance in [Canaan], not even enough to set his foot on."

If the Lord and Master of us all had also "nowhere to lay His head" (Matt. 8:20), it's time we should each realize that by right we don't "own" even a "foot" of this present earth. Real security is only "in Christ," "the Savior of the world" (John 4:42). Below decks are already flooded; don't set your heart on a stateroom.

--Robert J. Wieland

From the "Dial Daily Bread" Archive: October 21, 2000.
Copyright © 2017 by "Dial Daily Bread."