Friday, November 02, 2007

Dial Daily Bread

Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread":

Untoward circumstances (like the loss of an appropriate map) forced us to take refuge for the night in a casino hotel. Masses of people gambling! We couldn’t wait to get out and get home.

We saw the sad faces of wives who come only to accompany their husbands on their addiction sprees. Some spouses are so addicted that they lose their family bank account, their cars, even their houses. We heard the shouts of triumph when one in a party strikes a win and gets a little something, which then encourages them all to gamble all the more furiously.

In some places houses of gambling are legal, as also are houses of prostitution. People who love the Bible used to call the casinos “gambling hells.” Lots of electric lights; the place is as bright at 2 a.m. as at noonday (but God designed the darkness of night to be a blessing).

Some who would like to help God run His “economy” think it would be good for Him to strike these houses of ill with lightning bolts of His wrath; if this were their sure punishment, the world would learn to be “righteous,” right? Up in our tenth floor room we naturally hoped and prayed that no lightning bolt would strike our sin-loving hotel—that’s not the way God runs things.

Ever since the Son of God died for the sins of the world, He has treated everybody alike, the good and the bad. He holds no chip on His shoulder against anyone, no matter who. “He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust” (Matt. 5:45). All this is the fruit of that great sacrifice of the cross, which reversed the “condemnation” the fallen Adam brought on the world. Our fallen father Adam brought on us a “judicial verdict of “condemnation,” but our Lord Jesus has brought upon us all a “judicial verdict of acquittal” (Rom. 5:15-18, NEB). Those masses who seek selfish, sensual pleasure do not know that they are riding piggy back on the benefits Christ has given the world by virtue of His sacrifice of Himself. “I am come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly” refers not only to the gift (not merely offer) of eternal life He has given the world (but many reject it); “all men” are eternally and infinitely in debt to the Son of God, whether or not they realize it, for their daily temporal benefits of life. (It’s time that we learn to say “Thank You!”)

“The truth of the gospel” (cf. Gal. 2:5, 9) is the good news of that indebtedness; honest hearts will recognize and confess it. The honest gamblers who at last understand will renounce their self-worship and honor their Lord “henceforth” because this “love of Christ” will “constrain” them to do so.

But maybe there’s a secret of an effective appeal from Mt. Sinai that will win more hearts; ... if the Lord wills, tomorrow?

Be sure to check your e-mail for "Dial Daily Bread" again tomorrow.


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