Friday, October 31, 2008

Dial Daily Bread

Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"

Is it possible to e-mail Jesus, to send Him a question and get an answer back?

Some will probably say “No,” implying that He’s too busy running the universe to bother with little e-mail messages from everyone here and there. But it seems to me that what Jesus said in the Bible indicates that the answer has to be Yes. Not that you will use AOL or Yahoo or whatever “server”; but if you wish to ask Jesus a question, and you are willing to think it out reasonably and you are serious as you ask it, He has promised to respond. “Ask and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you”; all this He says (see Matt. 7:7). Sounds encouraging! But I will say again, be serious; no fooling around thoughtlessly.

The problem is not getting His attention; the problem is getting your attention when it comes to His response. If you are playing around like a foolish, fickle little child who doesn’t know what he wants, “let not that person think that he shall receive anything of the Lord” (James 1:7). But if you mean business, He has promised that the Holy Spirit will be sent to you as a “Comforter,” the word meaning literally “One who is called to sit down beside you and never leave you” (John 14:16). And His assignment from Jesus includes answering your questions: “When He, the Spirit of truth, is come, He will guide you into all truth. ... He shall receive of Mine, and shall show it unto you” (16:13, 14).

But let us remember that God has promised specifically that He will answer our questions by directing our attention to what He says in His word, the Bible. He will not by-pass the prophets and apostles whom He sent. The Holy Spirit will direct you to the Bible; He will enlighten your mind to comprehend what it says. For example, suppose you want to send Jesus this e-mail: “Jesus, please tell me—will I be saved eternally or will I be lost?” He will answer: “Our Saviour ... will have all persons to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth” (1 Tim. 2:3, 4). “He hath chosen [you] in Him before the foundation of the world, that [you] should be holy and without blame before Him in agape: having predestined [you] unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to Himself” (Eph. 1:4, 5).

There’s your answer; but now what will you do with it? Are you willing to “come unto the knowledge of the truth,” willing to study and learn; or do you prefer to waste your time on TV? Are you also willing to be “holy and without blame”? Takes effort!

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

Dial Daily Bread

Psalm 130 is the cry of a burdened soul who knows that he is lost eternally and in disgrace, but for the much more abounding grace of the Savior, Jesus Christ.

It is the cry of King David when he was overwhelmed with guilt for his double murder of adultery and murder, when the king cried out in anguish, “Take not Thy Holy Spirit from me!” (Psalm 51:11). David knew he was lost forever, except for that “grace” of Christ. The pain of his guilt was tremendous.

If that anguish has come upon you, do not give up in despair; “the Savior of all men” still loved David, and He still loves you.

No matter how deep is the guilt of the sin that torments you, the Savior has not given up on you and you must not give up on Him.

The Good News in Psalm 130 is in verse 4: “There is forgiveness with Thee, that Thou mayest be feared [reverenced].”

Especially for the one who is in “the depths” is that promise precious!

Perhaps it is only those who have been in “the depths” who can appreciate the heights of that more abounding grace of Christ!

But don’t put the Lord’s grace on trial; don’t abuse it; walk softly, as did the exceedingly wicked King Ahab when he finally repented: “[King] Ahab put sack cloth upon his flesh, and fasted, and lay in sackcloth, and went softly. And the word of the Lord came to Elijah the Tishbite, saying, Seest thou how Ahab humbleth himself before Me?” (1 Kings 21:27-29).

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

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Dial Daily Bread

In a discussion we got hung up on a question about a little unknown boy. His unknown mother had baked him five little barley loaves, and cooked two small fishes, all to be his lunch. Whatever fun outing he had planned for himself that day, he changed his plans and went instead to hear Jesus preach. (That showed some faith, didn’t it?) At the meeting, his interest was such that he came down near the front and apparently mingled with the Twelve. Hungry late in the day, he wanted to eat his lunch as much as anybody else, but he heard Jesus tell the Twelve to feed the people, 5000. He heard the apostles bewail their lack of food, and childlike in his gladsome enthusiasm told Andrew that he would give his lunch to Jesus. (That showed a commendable denial of self for a hungry boy, didn’t it? Was he motivated by the love of Christ? Was he helping Jesus, or only as a 2-year old “helps” you sweep the floor?) See John 6:1-11.

Jesus accepted the little boy’s sacrifice, thanked His Father for the pitifully little gift in His hands, prayed for His blessing upon it, and forthwith fed the 5000 with its multiplied bounty.

Now for the question: did He NEED that little boy’s sacrificial lunch? If the child had refused to give it, could Jesus have fed that multitude?

Thereupon in our discussion, we split. Most said, “Yes, He could have brought manna down from heaven!” I asked, “Suppose we individually refuse to do our duty in telling the world the gospel message, can the Lord use someone else?” “Yes,” was the immediate response; “He’ll use the angels; they’ll finish the work!”

To me that sounded like a dangerous cop-out. Why bother to answer the Holy Spirit’s convictions of duty? Reach for your remote and flip on your TV. The angels will finish the work!

I maintained that the Lord Jesus needed that little boy’s gift of his lunch. Yes, He COULD have brought down manna from heaven, but He WOULD NOT any more than He could change those stones in the wilderness into bread (Matt. 4). I believe that little boy was tremendously important that day. Jesus really did need Him. (The conclusion of course is, He really needs you, too; if you cop out, someone will be lost.) Am I wrong??

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

Dial Daily Bread

Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"

How can you pray, if you don’t know how, and you feel like you’re too unworthy to try?

The disciples of Jesus were far from being perfect, yet they came to Jesus and asked Him, “Lord, teach us to pray” (Luke 11:1).

What followed was “Prayer 101,” and we would like to join the class.

The four Gospels teach us several prayers that we can pray, unworthy as we are, which are guaranteed to be answered with a “Yes!”

(a) The poor sinful publican in Luke 18:13, “standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast saying, God, be merciful to me a sinner” (the original Greek has it, “the sinner,” contrasting himself with the Pharisee supposedly praying next to him). You know that the Lord received that prayer and answered it!

(b) The poor distraught father in Mark 9:24 prayed, “Lord, I believe; help Thou mine unbelief.” You know, that prayer is always answered, no matter how unworthy you may be!

(c) The prayer that Jesus prayed for us all in Luke 23:34, you know has been answered for you and me. When the wicked men were driving the spikes through His hands and ankle bones, He prayed, “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do!” A heart that is thankful for that forgiveness is the heart with which you and I come to Jesus in prayer, unworthy though we surely know we are.

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

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Dial Daily Bread

Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"

The Book of Hebrews is excellent bedtime reading because it is brimful of GOOD News that rejoices hearts. We want to read in the Bible the truth that stretches our minds and hearts to “comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; and to know the love (agape) of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fullness of God” (Eph. 3:16-19). The mental exertion is well worthwhile!

For example, look at this from Hebrews: “The law made nothing perfect, but the bringing in of a better hope did; by the which we draw nigh unto God” (7:19).

That “better hope” makes us “perfect”! Ready for the second coming of Jesus. That’s the “better hope” of the New Covenant—the promises of God rather than our own weak, faulty promises (cf. Steps to Christ, p. 47).

Hebrews is a comment on the story of the 144,000 who stand before God “without fault” (Rev. 14:1-5; a literal number, or it could be a symbolic number; there is room in that wonderful group for you and me because Jesus promised us, “Him that cometh to Me I will in no wise cast out” (John 6:37; that promise is still good today!).

But the Book of Hebrews also has a stern warning for us: ”How shall we escape if we neglect so great salvation ... ?” (2:3). “Neglect” means to forget, to disregard, to pass over thoughtlessly.

TV off, radio off, do what Jesus says: “Shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret” (Matt. 6:6). “I had fainted, unless I had believed to see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living [while I am still alive!]. Wait on the Lord: be of good courage, and He shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the Lord” (Psalm 27:13, 14). All this is within that “shut door,” where you get to know “your Father which is in heaven” intimately.

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

Dial Daily Bread

Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"

Around the world today (the holy Sabbath) millions are studying in the Bible about the “atonement.”

That is not a Latin word; it’s a plain old Anglo-Saxon word that means simply two estranged, alienated people become “one” again. A happy experience.

But think of the heavenly joy that comes to us as we realize that this gulf of alienation from God has been bridged by an “at-onement” with Him again.

In our case, our natural state is estrangement from the Lord, for “the carnal mind is enmity against God” (Rom. 8:7). It’s a condition of never-ending ill-at-ease; it puts you out of synch with the universe itself, which means you are an alien from the blessed kingdom of God.

Atonement 101 is the realization that the bridging of the gulf of alienation is 100 per cent the work of the Lord Jesus; it required His coming close to us. We sinners had nothing to do with the atonement; it was all done outside of us.

That meant that the divine Son of God must step down from His high and holy place to where we are, that He might bring us into one-ness with Himself. As Philippians 2 says He “made Himself of no reputation, and took upon Himself the form of a servant [slave], and was made in the likeness of men” (vs. 7).

Contemplating this, we see the nuts and bolts of the “atonement” taking shape; “made in the likeness of men” means that He took upon Himself the poor fallen nature of humanity, coming as close to us in our fallen state as it was possible for Him to do. If anyone lets himself doubt that Reality, He is frustrating the atonement at its very beginning.

Step number two: “And being found in fashion as a man, He humbled Himself” (vs. 8). It simply means that as the Baby Jesus grew up, He continued to renounce His original exaltation as the Vicegerent of God, and accepted in Himself the subjective judicial verdict of condemnation that the fallen Adam has given to all of us; and in so doing, Christ as the “second” or “last Adam” has transformed that judicial verdict of condemnation into a judicial verdict of acquittal for “every man.”

It was done for you and me before we came along; it is left for us to be thankful for it eternally.

And then the most marvelous something happens in our alienated human hearts: we are reconciled to God and to His law of righteousness; the ill-at-ease alienation is healed and bridged: we are “at-one” with Him and therefore with His great unfallen universe.

Oh sinner, do not “frustrate” this “grace of God.” Paul said he would not do it (Gal. 2:21), and thank God, neither can we if we have begun to appreciate the “breadth, and length, and depth, and height; and to know the agape of Christ, which passeth knowledge” (Eph. 3:17-19).

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

Monday, October 27, 2008

Dial Daily Bread

Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"

It’s a strange but delightful promise the Son of God makes to us—that He will dwell with us, live with us, share our abode with us: He “hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ.” (Eph. 1:3). Imagine living in such “places”!

You and I may live in shacks in Shanty Town—but the Lord Jesus says He will live with us there, share our humble abode, partake of our lowly hospitality as our permanent Guest. His holy presence with us makes our shack become a Palace. It is transformed into a “heavenly place,” the loftiest abode in the universe.

Never again are we to be lonely; life each new day becomes a fresh, glorious adventure, for we never can anticipate the new and unimagined joy that becomes ours, dwelling with Jesus in a divine intimacy.

Even Jesus Himself shares with us the unimaginable joy of living in “heavenly places,” for in verse 20 we read that the Father “raised Him from the dead, and set Him at His own right hand in the [same] heavenly places.”

In the case of Jesus there is a super magnificent heavenly joy involved, for Jesus was “dead,” and no one can ever appreciate life like someone who was “dead”—the only such Man so far is Jesus, and now it’s we also through living faith in Him.

Our brother and fellow-believer in Christ, the beloved apostle Paul, has a glimpse of what it all means. He has a unique insight: he sees us as having been “dead,” but he also sees our present life therefore as being a “resurrection” from death. Interesting insight!

This transforms life for us: it makes our present “boring,” ordinary existence to be transformed into magnificent resurrection life.

If this is a new idea to you—thinking of your present life as a resurrection life already having exited from death—don’t thank me for it; I am nobody, I could never have thought of it—thank the Lord. Your eternal life “in Christ” has already begun; you may yet go to sleep a bit; but if your name is in the Lamb’s Book of Life, nothing can ever take it out (aside from your own choice, which, God forbid!).

“I am come,” says Jesus, “that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly” (John 10:10).

That’s your life today; it transforms your what-you-thought-was-your -mere-existence into the most glorious life in all of the universe—life with Christ, its Creator, its Sustainer, and the Savior of it all.

And there’s no end to it, ever!

Get on your knees, thank Him that it’s true. And then rise, to serve Him gladly forever.

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

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Dial Daily Bread

Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"

The year-day prophecies of Daniel and Revelation are fantastic in the accuracy of their fulfillment. They coincide perfectly with the great end-time prophecy of Jesus in Matthew 24 and Luke 21. The Bible recognizes that the God of heaven has foretold events before they happened, and that He wants us to know when “the time of the end” has come and what are the “signs” of Jesus’ second coming and of the “end of the world” (cf. Matt. 24:3).

Paul says it is not God’s will for His people to be “in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief. ... Let us watch and be sober” (1 Thess. 5:4-6). How could Jesus warn us, “As a snare shall [that day] come upon all them that dwell on the face of the whole earth” without His word giving us guidance as to when that day is near (Luke 21:35)?

If it is true that “God is love,” then it must follow that He would not want to catch us “unaware.” Hence we conclude that the time prophecies of Daniel and Revelation are very serious reading and deserve our close attention just now. It is also true, if God indeed is “love,” then He does not want to perpetuate pain and suffering on this planet due to the ravages of sin. Jesus wants to come a second time, not primarily to punish wrong-doing or take vengeance on His enemies, but to rescue people who suffer, and to establish His kingdom of peace and happiness for all.

“The Ancient of days came, and judgment was given to the saints of the most High; and the time came that the saints possessed the kingdom, ... an everlasting kingdom” (Dan. 7:22, 27). However, we can be sure that His enemy, Satan, wants to try to prove His prophecies wrong. “Son of man, what is that proverb that ye have in the land of Israel, saying, The days are prolonged, and every vision faileth?” (Eze. 12:22). A good answer is in Hab. 2:3: “At the end [the vision] shall speak, and not lie: though it tarry, wait for it; because it will surely come, it will not tarry.”

There may appear to be a “tarrying time,” and those who have faith in the prophecies may think the vision “fails,” and suffer disappointment, yet in immediate context comes the assurance of righteousness by faith: “The just shall live by his faith” (vs. 4). In the Great Disappointment experience in the 1840s, what held the faithful remnant was not so much mathematical calculations of time prophecies (they were true!) but their confidence that the Holy Spirit had worked in the Midnight Cry movement. God’s true love was evident.

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

Friday, October 24, 2008

Dial Daily Bread

Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"

The gospel truth is embedded in these few words (2 Cor. 5:18-20):

“All things are of God.” In other words, from beginning to end it is the work of the Lord to reconcile us alienated humans to Himself. He takes the initiative in this work of healing wounded souls.

He “hath reconciled us to Himself by Jesus Christ, ... and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation” (vss. 18, 19).

But you object, “I have not yet been reconciled! I still have the ‘carnal mind [which] is enmity against God’ (Rom. 8:7). I still love the things of this world. I still would rather watch TV than read the Bible; if the Lord were to take me to heaven today, I am not sure I would be happy there!”

The beginning of our positive response to the Lord’s plan of salvation is honesty of heart; we can sing “I have been redeemed” when in fact we haven’t yet realized it by personal faith.

Scholars would like to describe that as “objective” salvation, although that word is not in the Bible.

They use that word to try to describe the reality of the Lord’s plan of salvation: He is “the Savior of the world,” He has saved us; the Samaritans were right when they declared of Him that He is “the Savior of the world,” even though most people in the world didn’t recognize Him yet as such, still they told the truth.

There are two things that are yet to happen:

(a) The Lord would never dare to descend down the skies in glory at His second coming unless first the people of the world had had the chance to hear the gospel proclaimed in all its powerful beauty. The Lord is fair to all; He must be sure that everyone has an equal chance to hear. His people will one day have to apologize to the world for thus hindering and delaying this message, and thus delaying Christ’s second coming.

(b) Revelation 18:1-4 tells us that before the second coming of Christ the entire world will be “lightened” with the glory of the fourth angel’s message: “And ... I saw another angel come down from heaven, having great power; and the earth was lightened with His glory.”

That mighty angel came down 120 years ago to begin His final work of lighting the earth with glory; but the Lord is such a Gentleman that He will never force entry into anyone’s home unless He is first invited.

He wasn’t. And that’s why we’re still here, and the earth is still in darkness.

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

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"

We think it’s a grand achievement when we can learn to have faith in Jesus; we “have passed from death unto life,” etc.

But what about Jesus Himself having faith in human beings? That’s backward thinking! We trust Him, ah yes! But does He trust us? What is there trustworthy about us? And why would He need to trust us, even if we were trustworthy? He has everything, billions of angels at His beck and call, infinite resources.

In answer, the Bible does say that He believes in us and trusts us, in fact, He has to if He is ever to win the great controversy with Satan. Paul asks, “What if some [Israelites] did not believe? Shall their unbelief [non-faith] make the faith of God without effect?” (Rom. 3:3). When the heavenly Father sent His only begotten Son into the world as a baby, did He not trust human beings to care for Him, especially while He was an infant? Did He not trust the virgin Mary to be a faithful mother to Jesus? Did God not trust friends to care for Jesus during the years that He lived with us on this planet? (Yes, people did crucify Him, but we read of women who prepared food for Him, took care of His laundry, and friends who invited Him to be a Guest in their homes, like Lazarus and Zaccheus of Jericho).

And we read of how “the faith of Jesus” comes into focus in the last days: “Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus” (Rev. 14:12). In fact, it is the “faith of Jesus” that saves us, for He is “the author ... of our faith” (Heb. 12:2). When He died on the cross and He felt forsaken by His Father, His faith triumphed. For at the last just before He cried out, “Father, into Thy hands I commend My Spirit,” He chose to believe and to trust that there would be a multitude of human beings around the world who would respond to the truth of His sacrifice, and who would believe and be loyal to Him: “All the ends of the world shall remember and turn unto the Lord: and all the kindreds of the nations shall worship before Thee. For the kingdom is the Lord’s. ... A seed shall serve Him” (Psalm 22:25-30).

He forgot about His own reward; what made Him happy in those last moments was the confidence that He had won the battle, the contest was decided, and WE will live forever in God’s kingdom now made forever sure. Here was His total emptying of self! When He “tasted death for every man” (Heb. 2:9), it was the real thing; He died our second death. But He was happy in the confidence that He had saved us from it.

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

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Dial Daily Bread

Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"

The prophet Isaiah speaks of “eunuchs.”

They were unfortunates in the culture of ancient Israel, for they had been castrated. The idea that was prevalent there long ago was that the only “future” you had was through your children and descendants. You lived on through them.

So, if you were castrated and therefore had no descendants, poor you; you were done for.

It’s not hard for us to imagine what life was like at that time when you were castrated; we today may not be physically castrated, but we can feel useless as though we have no future; we are not leaving anything behind of eternal value. No one is living spiritually as our contribution.

But Isaiah has good news for us! The Lord has good news and special regard for us who feel useless:

“Thus saith the Lord unto the eunuchs that keep My Sabbaths, and choose the things that please Me, and take hold of My covenant; even unto them will I give in Mine house and within My walls a place and a name better than of sons and of daughters [can you imagine that!]: I will give them an everlasting name, that shall not be cut off” (56:4, 5).

Then the Lord details His blessings for those who embrace His holy Sabbaths: “Also the sons of the stranger, that join themselves to the Lord, to serve Him, and to love the name of the Lord, to be His servants, every one that keepeth the Sabbath from polluting it, and taketh hold of My covenant; even them will I bring to My holy mountain, and make themjoyful in My house of prayer” (vss. 6, 7).

Well, that’s me; I stumbled on the seventh day Sabbath in my Presbyterian Sunday School, and the dear Lord gave me the grace to embrace it, the grace “not to pollute it” any further.

Am I ever thankful to Him!

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

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Dial Daily Bread

Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"

It’s the only book in the Bible that pronounces a special blessing on you when you read it; and if you don’t know how to read, don’t be discouraged! The blessing is still promised you if you simply listen to someone else read the book to you.

It’s the last book in the Holy Bible—“The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto Him, to shew unto His servants things which must shortly come to pass; and He sent and signified it by His angel unto His servant John, who bare record of the word of God, and of the testimony of Jesus Christ, and of all things that he saw. Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein ... ” (1:1-3).

So, step number one is to read those first three verses thoughtfully.

Then I would suggest as step number two, believe that promise!

Then I would suggest, read the last chapter of the book. (I usually read the last page of any new book I start to read—I want to know where the author wants to take me before I start this “journey” with him.)

That very last page of the Book of Revelation is glorious—“The Spirit and the Bride say, Come. And let him that is heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst (that’s you and I) come. And whosever will let him take the water of life freely” (vs. 17). The love of the Lord God is poured out in this Book!

As a beginning, let me suggest: just simply read the Book, the naked Book. The Lord of heaven and earth has promised that He will bless!

That promise does not mean that all of a sudden in a second’s moment you will understand every detail in the Book; of course not: but you will be blessed! The beginning will occur, and that is all that you can endure for a start.

You are praying for an understanding of this precious Book; now demonstrate your sincerity because all the holy angels are watching you to see if you are serious. If there were only one honest-hearted soul in the world and that was you, God would empty heaven in sending angels to be your teacher-guides.

Can I speak a bit from experience?

When I was about 11 or 12, one Sunday afternoon, sitting on our front steps, I tried to read Revelation . At that moment, our wonderful pastor, Dr. Campbell, drove up in his brand new 1926 Buick (the pastor of the big church with its huge Gothic windows and pipe organ). I asked him “Oh, Dr. Campbell, what does this book mean?” He smiled, put his hands on my head, and said, “Robert, don’t read that book; it’s sealed; you read something like the Gospel of Mark.” But I had read too far already, and I knew he was wrong. The Gospel of Mark is great; but Revelation is what Peter says is “present truth” (2 Peter 1:12). I still love the book of Revelation.

I pray that you will, too.

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

Friday, October 10, 2008

Dial Daily Bread

Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"

Around the world, millions of sincere Christians this week are studying Psalm 139, verse by verse.

It’s one of the most “Good News” chapters in the Bible! It tells you that the infinite Lord and Creator took a direct, personal interest in your formation when you were an embryo in your mother’s womb. The Septuagint (that is, the Greek translation of the Old Testament that Christ and the apostles used) renders the message of Psalm 139, “all men shall be written in Thy Book.”

That Book contains your page! The Infinite Father took a personal interest in your formation as though you were earth’s only inhabitant.

Jesus tells us that the Holy Spirit, in His infinitude, notices when a little sparrow falls in the forest (Matt. 10:29: “Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? And one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father [noticing it]” and caring. “Fear not, therefore.” He assures us, “ye are of more value than many sparrows” (vs. 31).

The Father respects you highly; there are things that in particular you can do that no one else can do as well. The Father actually needs you!

Satan doesn’t want us to understand this; he wants us to think of ourselves as mere digits in God’s creation; but in fact we are divinely called to be co-workers with the Lord Himself. There is someone on earth who cannot be reached with a living witness of the Gospel except through you; the Lord needs you; He Himself alone cannot function in this case without you.

Oh yes, the Lord can turn the mountains upside down and drain the ocean without needing you to help Him; but those are “easy” things for Him to do! What He can’t do is to reach an alienated human heart without your help.

When you tell what the Lord Jesus has done for you personally (if you can tell it in a humble way!), this reaches the alienated heart. This makes the Bible come alive; you can touch that secret, buried spot in someone’s heart—and possibly you won’t realize at the moment what you have done. But angels will rejoice at the accomplishment.

Hold your head high—unworthy as you are, you are important in God’s plan of salvation for the world. Kneel, and wait before Him; “wait on the Lord, ... and He shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the Lord,” says David (Psalm 27:14).

You kneel and you say not a word, maybe in the dark; you have “shut thy door” (Matt. 6:6), and you are shut in with the Lord of heaven and earth, your Creator and Savior. His Son has programmed this intimate appointment just for the two—the Father and you.

You may object—“but there’s selfishness and sin in my heart!” Okay, but let Him cleanse it out. He will!

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

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Dial Daily Bread

Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"

Friday evening, as we watched the sun go down in glory, we were deeply thankful that we knew the holy Sabbath day was being ushered in.

It was 80 years ago that I was a pre-teen in Sunday School, listening to our teacher ask us to memorize the ten commandments so we could repeat them next Sunday. I was an obedient child and I did what she told us to do.

But I was struck by the term “the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord.” Looking at the calendar on the wall, I was perplexed; Sunday was obviously the first day of the week!

I asked the teacher next Sunday “Why?” She said she didn’t know; but Dr. Campbell, our pastor who drove that beautiful new 1926 Buick, seemed to think it was all right and all the other churches were coming to church on Sunday—it had to be all right.

That satisfied me for a time.

Then someone told me that the reason why we observe the first day instead of the seventh was that the Roman Catholic Church had changed the day.

That did it for me—when I checked out the evidence, I found it was true.

To this day I thank the dear Lord for giving me the grace to say “Yes!” to the call of the Holy Spirit, to receive the Sabbath truth in my teenage years.

I became the only Sabbath-keeping boy in my public high school; I endured the snickering of my fellow classmates when they saw me walking through town on my way to the dinky little Seventh-day Adventist Church on Saturday morning dressed in my Sunday clothes; and the girl whom I secretly liked who played the piano so beautifully for me when I played Massenet’s Thais on the violin—of course she had no sympathy for “Saturday keeping.”

My trials in teenage Sabbath-keeping were not as severe as some teens have had to endure; but I thank the Lord today for His grace in leading me in my teenage years. My Presbyterian pastor offered to help me financially in college if I would forget this crazy “Saturday business.” In my senior year in high school I was offered two scholarships to universities (having won an academic contest); I turned them down, and went instead to a little tiny Seventh-day Adventist junior college where I began the process of working at 24 jobs to work my way through six years of college, training to be a missionary.

All I can say today is, “Thank the dear Lord for His much more abounding grace” (Rom. 5:20, 21). If any teen reads this, let me encourage you: give your heart and your life to that dear Lord who died for you!

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

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Dial Daily Bread

Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"

We can never forget that the Lord Jesus is one of us; He is the divine Son of God, with all the attributes of divinity; but at the same time He is the Son of man, one with us for eternity. He “took” on His unfallen, divine nature our fallen, sinful nature. He loves us dearly, as His own.

Now, does the Lord Jesus, being divine, have a sense of time as we humans have? Is one of our days like a thousand years to Him, and vice versa? So, could it be that He doesn’t care how much longer time goes on?

Well, He says clearly that there will be an “end of the world”! When His disciples asked Him, “What shall be the sign of Thy coming, and of the end of the world?” (Matt. 24:3), He answered their question directly, thereby making the statement that time will NOT go on and on ad infinitum.

And being one of us, forever human with us as well as divine forever, Jesus shares with us our weariness with the on-and-on passage of sinful, painful time with all the suffering there is in the world. Isaiah 63 describes His feelings, “In all their affliction, He was [is] afflicted.” There is no pain that any of us on earth feel that He does not have to share with us.

YES! A thousand times over, Jesus wants this reign of sin and suffering to end in the glad establishment of His everlasting kingdom on the earth made new.

And there is another reason why He wants the end to come soon: the end of sin and suffering will usher in the glorious “marriage of the Lamb.” As a Bridegroom, He longs for His wedding to come.

The reason? He is in love with the church as a man loves a woman; no one person could be the Bride of the infinite Son of God; but when He left His throne and His status as the infinite Son of God to come down here to save this fallen race of humans, His love for us was more than your love for your pets; when you love your dog, you have not become a dog. But He became one of us whom He loved; He joined our family.

And the reason why we want Him to come soon is not because we are hungry for our “reward” and we have these acquisitive feelings for the joys of heaven; we want the divine Son of God to receive His reward!

Why this special love for Him?

Why does this desire for Him to receive His reward transcend our desire for our own reward? There has to be a special reason why we, so naturally egocentric as we are, to be able to realize this unusually non-egocentric desire for Him:

We have come to realize that when He “poured out His soul unto death” for us (Isa. 53:12), it was the second, not the first that He experienced. It was saying “Goodbye!” to life forever—the embracing of the darkness of hell in His love for us.

There are not enough words to tell it.

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