Thursday, August 16, 2018

Dial Daily Bread: Good News For You Today

Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"

Have you ever thought of the 23rd Psalm as a New Covenant psalm? David is not asking for anything, he is not worried about anything; he is simply declaring how wonderful the Lord is to him. There is no bargaining with the Lord, no attempt to make an agreement with Him.

The Lord is his Shepherd; he will never "want" for anything. As a loving Shepherd, the Lord will make him to lie down in green pastures, will lead him beside "still waters," will heal him, "restore" his soul, and will lead him in "paths of righteousness." In other words, He will lead him in such a way that when life is over and David looks back, he will see that everything that has happened to him was the best, even though at the time he couldn't see how.

That's like the fantastic promises the Lord made to Abraham in Genesis 12:2, 3. (In Galatians 3:15-17 and in Romans 4:13 Paul says that those promises were New Covenant.) Abraham did not bargain with the Lord, strike an agreement with Him, or make a contract. The Lord simply promised Abraham the sky, out and out; no strings attached (read it--it's astonishing). Abraham's "part" was his melted-heart response, "I believe." The lesson is clear; it's what the Bible has been trying to tell us all along: righteousness comes through believing God's promises!

David believed that "even though he walks through the valley of the shadow of death, the Lord is with Him." Even in his last extremity, the Lord "anoints his head with oil and his cup runs over," and therefore "goodness and mercy will follow him all the days of his life." Good News for you today!

--Robert J. Wieland

From the "Dial Daily Bread" Archive: March 22, 2004.
Copyright © 2018 by "Dial Daily Bread."

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Dial Daily Bread: The Soul-Winning Work of the Fourth Angel

Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"

To whom did Jesus preach His Sermon on the Mount--to His disciples or to the multitudes? Many believe that God is not the Father of "all humanity" but only of those who are converted. All the rest are children of the devil. But Matthew 5:1, 2 says that when Jesus saw "the multitudes, He went up on a mountain ... and taught them" about your "Father in heaven," and "in this manner ... pray, Our Father in heaven," etc. (chapter 6).

The Muslim is told that he must make himself pure before he can come to Allah. But Jesus says, Come, and I will make you pure. He became one of us so that He might invite us to regard His Father as our Father. True, there are many who are unconverted; but why? Is it because they have finally, irrevocably, determinedly rejected Christ, or for many is it because they have never understood the gospel? Are they wolves, or could they be lost sheep who haven't been "found" yet?

We know that Jesus said, "Other sheep I have which are not of this fold; them also I must bring, and they will hear My voice; and there will be one flock and one shepherd" (John 10:16). In those words He describes the soul-winning work of that fourth angel who "comes down from heaven, having great power; and the earth [is] lightened with his glory" (Rev. 18:1-4, King James Version). That "voice" will call to those "lost sheep," "Come out of [Babylon], my people, ... lest you receive of her plagues."

A wise writer says that when Jesus was baptized and a Voice was heard from heaven declaring, "This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased" that Voice embraced humanity (Matt. 3:17).

If you have felt like you are an orphan outside the "family," please accept the Good News: The Father has "adopted" you "in Christ" (Eph. 1:5, 6), and He invites you to pray, "Our Father ..." You are as precious as that discouraged woman at Jacob's well when Jesus told her, "True worshippers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him" (John 4:23). Yes, He is seeking you! Come!

--Robert J. Wieland

From the "Dial Daily Bread" Archive: December 6, 1998.
Copyright © 2018 by "Dial Daily Bread."

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Dial Daily Bread: The World's Greatest Days Are Just Ahead

Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"

Our Father in heaven, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, has a way of speaking to the world. He knows how to get the world's attention. And He will when the time comes.

We read how in this special "time of the end" He sends three angels ("messengers sent") with three special messages for "every nation, tribe, tongue, and people" (Rev. 14:6-12). Their task is to prepare His people everywhere to be ready to meet the once-crucified Savior of the world when He returns as King of kings and Lord of lords. The message of the "third angel" is augmented by that of a fourth of 18:1-4, whose message "lightens" the whole earth "with ... glory." It's a message of His "much more abounding grace" (Rom. 5:20).

The story of the two covenants is interwoven with what happens in the Middle East. Abraham himself was entangled in the confusion between the two. He is claimed as "father" by Jews, Muslims, and Christians, but the two covenants are viewed differently by them all. Abraham's own story of unbelief (before his subsequent experience of faith) has spawned the bloody conflicts of his descendants.

God intends that the world itself shall have a lesson on the two covenants, and before the end He will see to it that His four "angels" whom He sends (Rev. 14, 18) shall proclaim His message faithfully. There will be great humbling of hearts before God on the part of all who remain faithful to the end.

The message that will "lighten" the earth with "glory" will be the revelation of the good news of the New Covenant. It will be a message of "Christ and Him crucified" (1 Cor. 2:2), and He will be "lifted up" for all the world to see Him clearly (John 12:32). The world's greatest days are just ahead. Don't leave your refuge "in Him" (Psalm 91:1, 2).

--Robert J. Wieland

From the "Dial Daily Bread" Archive: August 21, 2005.
Copyright © 2018 by "Dial Daily Bread."

Monday, August 13, 2018

Dial Daily Bread: Atonement--Nothing Mysterious or Complicated

Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"

The world's great Day of Atonement is the most exciting, the most joyous period of all the thousands of years of world history. Millions from past ages would have given anything just to live one day during this period of the cleansing of the heavenly sanctuary--what's happening right now. It's the time when the great High Priest, humanity's Savior, prepares the body of His people, His church, to be ready for the climax of the ages--His second coming in glory.

It's the time when the Bethlehem song of the angels at the birth of Jesus is finally realized: "good tidings of great joy ... to all people. ... On earth peace, good will toward men" (Luke 2:10-14). The word "atonement" means very simply "at-one-with." There is nothing mysterious or complicated about it. (To attach the word "eschatological" to it bewilders common people.) To be "at-one-with" is to experience the joy of reconciliation, which is sweeter than honey if you have known the pain of alienation.

It's "at-one-ment" first with God, which every human heart in the world craves. We are born in a state of being alienated, separated from Him. "The carnal mind [it's natural!] is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be" (Rom. 8:7). Imagine the life-long misery of being on the outs with God! You look through the windows into God's house and you see the light, the joy and merriment within and feel yourself thrust into outer darkness. You long to be in on the party, no longer alienated.

The world's Day of Atonement is when the High Priest, the Savior, takes the initiative to bridge that awful gap, to bring you in, to reconcile you. He performed this feat in Himself when on the cross He drank down our bitter cup of alienation, crying, "My God, why have You forsaken Me?"

Finally, on this great Day of Atonement, we learn to appreciate what He accomplished for us. We are at last "one" with Him. Simple! Yet profound.

--Robert J. Wieland

From the "Dial Daily Bread" Archive: May 15, 2002.
Copyright © 2018 by "Dial Daily Bread."

Saturday, August 11, 2018

Dial Daily Bread: How Does the Blood of Christ "Cleanse" and "Purify" Those Who Believe In Him?

Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"

There is a question in the book of Hebrews that Christians ponder: How does the blood of Christ (mentioned more than twenty times) "cleanse" and "purify" those who believe in Him? Note: it's not how does that blood "cover" their sins, or how does that blood provide a mere pardon. The question is: How does that blood cleanse the soul of sin's defilement? How does it change the heart, purify the very springs of character, provide "a clean heart," "cleanse from secret faults," "wash [us] thoroughly" (Psalm 19:12; 51:1-10)? Not just "cover" us with a white robe over dirty clothes--the insurance policy kind of pardon, or the other metaphor, the Judge pays your fine so you go free.

It's a waste of precious time to answer this question of questions with a pat answer that is essentially egocentric in character. It only postpones for another generation getting ready for the second coming of Jesus. The idea of an "insurance policy coverage" is egocentric in nature. Such "cleansing" is merely cosmetic, therefore deceptive. Self still rules the heart, supreme. How can I be sure I will get to heaven? Oh, yes, Lord, remember my loved ones too. The very essence of self-concern is still there.

The Lord Jesus says to many, "Thou knowest not" because they are so immature in their Christian experience that they can conceive of nothing more important than their own individual, personal salvation (Jer. 33:3, King James Version; Rev. 2:17). The great controversy concern is over their heads.

Why is "blood" so pivotal? One little suggestion: if as an ancient Israelite you brought your lamb to the sanctuary, confessing your sin over its head, and you asked the priest, please take the knife and kill the little creature, I can't do it, I can't stand to see blood, he will hand the knife back to you and tell you, I cannot slay the victim for you; you must do it yourself (Lev. 4:29, 33).

When Revelation speaks twenty-five times of "a Lamb as though it had been slain" (5:6), it's we who did it. Yes, we had the hammer and the spikes in our hands when we nailed Him to His cross. In order for the cleansing and purifying to go further than skin-deep, it seems that the full truth must be realized.

--Robert J. Wieland

From the "Dial Daily Bread" Archive: September 5, 2003.
Copyright © 2018 by "Dial Daily Bread."

Thursday, August 09, 2018

Dial Daily Bread: A Truth Worth Living For

Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"

The Samaritans were right when they declared Jesus of Nazareth to be "the Savior of the world" (John 4:42). He is not just the Savior of the Jews. They discerned that it is He who "gives life to the world" (John 6:33).

The Father "laid on Him the iniquity of us all" (Isa. 53:6). He has "tasted death for everyone" (Heb. 2:9). He is a cosmic Savior, "the last Adam" who is the true "Father" of the human race, having taken over the lordship of the world from the first Adam (see 1 Cor. 15:21, 22).

Thus Christ has reversed the evil that the first Adam brought on the entire human race (Rom. 5:15-18). The Samaritans at the village Sychar knew nothing of what Romans and Hebrews were later to declare, but they were dead right in their conclusion about who Jesus is.

If the Samaritans were right (and they were!), then Christ also is the world's great "High Priest" that Hebrews talks about so much (2:17, 3:1, 4:14, etc.), not just the high priest of the Jews or of the professing Christians.

And if so (and it is true!), then the great antitypical Day of Atonement is the world's Day of Atonement! The news should be trumpeted everywhere.

According to Revelation 18:1-4, it will be--when the "earth [is] lightened" with the glory of the Good News. The Enemy cannot succeed forever in keeping that truth of the fourth angel's message from the world. The Lord Christ is to be crowned "King of kings and Lord of lords" (Rev. 19:16) and His "angel" knows how to get the attention of the world.

And all this glorious Good News need not await another century; all the Lord needs is a people who will no longer oppose the message, but whom He will be safe to put on the stage for the intense scrutiny of the world (and of the universe!), a people in whom He and His truth can be glorified, a people who have "grown up" out of their spiritual infancy to become "the Lamb's wife" (Eph. 4:15; Rev. 19:7, 8).

Isn't that a truth worth living for, worth giving your all for?

--Robert J. Wieland

From the "Dial Daily Bread" Archive: June 29, 2007.
Copyright © 2018 by "Dial Daily Bread."

Wednesday, August 08, 2018

Dial Daily Bread: "Evangelize"--A Misunderstood Word

Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"

In the Book of Acts the early Christians did what the modern term calls "evangelize," that is, they told everybody they met about Jesus. That word is often misunderstood today--it's assumed to mean "get people to join your church, increase the numbers of its membership."

No; the word actually means "tell Good News." And the people already in church often need to hear and understand what the Good News means, just as much as people outside (especially youth and teens). And people outside most of the time won't be interested in joining the church unless you can tell them what the Good News is and why the Lord Jesus ever established a "church."

Is it possible to state briefly what the Good News is? (That's all the space we have here!)

(1) As "our Father which art in heaven," God so loved this lost world that He "gave" His only Son to save the human race from the horror of eternal death (John 3:16).

(2) He came, and He did exactly that!

(3) People began to realize who He is: "the Savior of the world" (John 4:42), "the Savior of all men" (1 Tim. 4:10), the One who "abolished death [the second] and brought life and immortality to light through the Good News" (2 Tim. 1:10).

(4) For every human being He "brought life," that is, the life he or she now has, whether or not that person believes or disbelieves. This present life is the purchase of the sacrifice of that beloved Son of God.

(5) For every one who "believes in Him" He has also "brought ... immortality to light through the Good News."

(6) That Son of God is still ministering those "gifts" to all mankind as a present-tense Savior; by the Holy Spirit (His true Vicar!) He is taking every one of us by the hand, saying, "Come, let's enjoy eternal life" (see Isa. 41:10, 13). He "draws" you with "cords ... of love" (Jer. 31:3; Hosea 11:4).

(7) Finally, that "drawing" is so persistent (up to the moment of your last breath) that it is "hard" to resist it (Acts 26:14).

You don't really want to "crucify Him afresh," do you? Then "yield" to that drawing!

--Robert J. Wieland

From the "Dial Daily Bread" Archive: September 10, 2000.
Copyright © 2018 by "Dial Daily Bread."