Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Dial Daily Bread

Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"

We read of Jesus that “He is despised and rejected of men” (Isa. 53:3).

We might say, “Oh, He was the Son of God and He knew that all heaven was His, so it didn’t bother Him!” But we can forget that when He came to earth to be incarnate, He became one of us truly, fully, and He laid aside all the prerogatives of His divinity. He never laid aside His divinity, no; but He laid aside all the benefits that His divinity could give Him.

So, when He experienced being “despised and rejected” it hurt Him just as much as the experience hurts us. What makes rejection especially painful to endure is when you know that this bitter hatred you now must endure was once love; it’s love that has gone sour, curdled as it were.

Think of the people of Nazareth; once upon a time they loved Jesus as Mary’s Baby and as a Child, not knowing of course who He was or is; but the women would coo over Him as a Baby, and admired Him as a Teenager, etc., but when He went back one time to visit them and to preach in their Sabbath worship hour, all that human neighborly love they had once felt for Him turned sour and bitter, and they tried to throw Him over a cliff and kill Him (see Luke 4:16-29).

What was once love had turned to become bitter hatred! Divorcees probably know something of this experience; the Lord never intended that it should be ours. But if you have tasted it even a tiny bit, you can sympathize with Jesus in the pain He has had to feel.

Instead of spending your time praying that you might become happy, spend some time praying that the Lord Jesus may be rewarded soon for the pain He has had to endure.

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

Monday, December 29, 2008

Dial Daily Bread

Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"

King Solomon was the wisest, most knowledgeable man of his generation (maybe of all time)! The Lord had richly endowed him with this wisdom that surpassed all of his day.

Yet underneath was a solid foundation of pure humility that made it possible for the Lord to bless him as He did. When the Lord offered him (as King David’s descendant) anything he might ask for, he was wise to ask for the right things: “O LORD my God, Thou hast made [me] Thy servant king instead of David my father: and I am but a little child: I know not how to go out or come in. ... Give therefore Thy servant an understanding heart ... that I may discern between good and bad” (1 Kings 3:7-9).

The Lord commended him because he had not asked for riches, or fame, or power: “And the speech pleased the Lord, that Solomon had asked this thing.”

Therefore the Lord gave him what he had asked for, but besides that, the Lord gave him wealth and power and fame beyond estimate: “I have also given thee that which thou hast not asked, both riches and honour” (vss. 12, 13).

Have you ever felt like you don’t know how to go in or come out, as if you didn’t know how to live this new day? Blessed are you, if you confess this reality before the Lord, and simply ask Him to direct your steps, to keep you from making any stupid mistake, to save you from yourself, and to enable you to live for the One who died for you.

The Lord still hears such a prayer!

Pray it.

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

Friday, December 26, 2008

Dial Daily Bread

Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"

In telling us the story of the birth of Jesus, Luke tells how when Joseph and Mary (great with Child) came to the inn in Bethlehem, the innkeeper told them there was “no room in the inn.” (If the Innkeeper had known, he could have given them his room and gone down in history as the greatest Innkeeper of all time!)

(a) We never know what marvelous opportunity has come to us at any moment each new day; only if we are moment by moment connected with the Holy Spirit by faith can we be prepared.

(b) There is never any “room” for Jesus anywhere in this sinful earth. Jesus was the target of violence more than any other children, for He was hated when He was a Baby. King Herod sent soldiers to kill all the babies in the environs of Bethlehem in his hatred of the one Baby ... Jesus (Matt. 2:16-18).

(c) Paul reminds us that “the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be” (Rom. 8:7).

(d) We don’t like that word “carnal mind,” but we all have it by nature.

(e) We inherited it from our fallen father Adam; it is our nature to be at “enmity” with God, and therefore at enmity with the Lord Jesus.

(f) But thank God, we can be converted, and we can receive a new “mind,” for Paul says, “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 2:5).

(g) Paul would never say “Let this or that be,” unless it were possible for it to be!

(h) And this “new mind” is not something we have to work for or attain to, for Paul says, “Let” it be; don’t stop the Holy Spirit from giving you this “new mind.”

(i) There is nothing He wants to do greater than that!

(j) On your knees, ask Him for it.

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

Dial Daily Bread

Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"

Has anyone thought about the poor innkeeper in Bethlehem who said he had “no room” in his inn for Joseph and Mary and the Baby Jesus?

“I couldn’t help it! I didn’t know who Joseph and Mary were or who the Baby expected was!” he may wail.

Ah yes, Innkeeper; but you could have given them your room!

If you had done so, you would have gone down in history as the most blessed innkeeper ever.

The Innkeeper in fact is we; we never know from one day to the next what opportunity may be ours suddenly.

The Lord Jesus teaches us the significance of the most lowly opportunity that may confront us when we least expect something important. He says, “Inasmuch as ye have done it [anything good or bad] unto the least of these My brethren, ye have done it unto Me” (Matt. 25:40).

The Lord is not trying to compile a list of all the bad things we have done or said in an effort to make a case against our entering His kingdom; He wants to amass a host of good things so that He can say to us individually and sincerely, in the presence of the universe, “Well done! Good and faithful servant! Enter into the joy of thy Lord!” (cf. Matt. 25:21).

There is nothing that gives the Lord Jesus so much fun as saying this to humble people who feel like they don’t deserve any honor in God’s kingdom.

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

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Dial Daily Bread

Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"

No baby has ever come into the world more feared and hated than was Baby Jesus.

Herod the king sent his soldiers out to scour the countryside around Bethlehem to kill every male child two years old or younger (Matt. 2:16-18). What hatred against our Baby!

This demonic hatred of Jesus points to the attitude which the whole world shows to the Savior; the apostle Paul says that “the carnal mind is enmity against God” (Rom. 8:7).

John says that Jesus “came unto His own, and His own received Him not” (1:11). He “was in the world, and the world was made by Him, and the world knew Him not” (1:10).

Thanks to our fallen father Adam, his long arm has reached down to where we are 6000 years later and has imbued us with what this Adam-given “enmity against God” implies. None of us can claim exemption from this Adam-given inheritance.

We can easily test ourselves: we say that “we love Jesus,” but do we love His word, the Bible?

None of us can truly love Jesus more than we love the Bible. If we have a few moments of leisure, what do we turn to for amusement, for interest?

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

Dial Daily Bread

Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"

The Lord has never commanded us to observe any day in remembrance of the birth of Jesus. The Lord Himself instituted the Lord’s Supper as a remembrance of His death, but He gave us no date for His birth.

All we know according to the Bible is that no date in December could be the date of His birth because in that month shepherds could not be camping outdoors “keeping watch over their flock by night” (cf. Luke 2:8), because Bethlehem is in the Northern Hemisphere and it’s cold and rainy there in December making camping outdoors impossible. This is an example of how far from truth “Babylon” has strayed.

But do we mean to suggest that any observance of Christmas is evil? No, the holiday cannot be ignored, if for no other reason, for the sake of the children.

We can tell them the truth (and we should!) about the observance of December 25, and make clear to them the divinely appointed memorial of Christ’s birth (baptism by immersion), and seek to present to the children the gospel truths that will deliver them from acquisitiveness and will enable them to practice that “it’s more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35).

Thus the popular year-end festivities can be employed to teach soul-saving truth.

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

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Dial Daily Bread

Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"

I confess that I am one of those who have been estranged from the Apostle Paul. Of course, I live in a generation long after his time; but Paul’s Letters in the New Testament have been over my head, as it were.

The Gospel of Mark, for example, has been easy reading; but Paul has not been bedtime reading for me!

And I confess that this has not been good for me spiritually, for the dear Lord is the One who has seen fit to include Paul’s great “Letters” in our New Testament.

The Apostle Peter was long ago aware of my problem for he mentions it in his Second Epistle chapter 3:

“Our beloved brother Paul ... in all of his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood” (2 Peter 3:15, 16).

Peter was in no way an opponent of Paul’s writings; but he frankly recognizes the problems some of us have had with trying to read Paul. And he upholds Paul in that he calls him “our beloved brother.”

But the way the KJV translates Peter here the impression can be gained that dear brother Paul was not an efficient communicator. Anyone who writes or preaches the Gospel of Jesus must make it clear and plain; confusing the Lord’s Gospel and failing to set the feeding trough low enough for us “little ones” to reach it would be almost an unforgivable offense. The last thing you as a preacher or a teacher want to hear from someone it that what you are saying is unintelligible. How would “our beloved brother Paul” feel if he were to read Peter’s comment? Would he feel rebuked?

Well, let’s look at exactly what Peter is saying: the word he uses is “dusnoetos,” which does not mean unclear or over our heads; it means “misperceived.” And it may in no way be a fault on the part of “Brother Paul.” The misconception may be entirely on our part.

Take for example Paul’s Romans chapter 5:15-21:

Paul’s idea is simply that the “much more abounding grace” of Christ is immeasurably beyond the extent of our sin against Him. Paul is obsessed with this “grace,” and happy will we be when we let Paul light our snuffed out tapers with a heart appreciation of that immeasurable “grace.”

Think about it on your knees alone, your door “shut” and worldly things laid aside; you will have the happiest moments of your life.

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

Around the world this week millions have been studying about the “Atonement,” especially as it is taught in the New Testament.

The word is not of Latin origin; it’s a plain old Saxon word that means to “be at-one-with” someone from whom you have been alienated. It’s always a sweet experience to become “at-one-with” a friend or relative from whom you have been alienated, but no words can describe the sheer joy that becomes ours when we are at last “at-one-with” the Lord--so there is no alienation between us. Our natural state as fallen humans is to be alienated from Him: “The carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be” (Rom. 8:7).

“At-one-ment” means to be restored to the intimate closeness with the Lord that was ours as humans before our first parents yielded to the deceptive claims of the fallen Lucifer in the Garden of Eden. Ever since, as humans we have been at odds with the Lord; it’s our nature; it’s something passed on down to us through our fallen father, Adam. “The carnal [natural] mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.” And no one can claim that he is better than all the other fallen sons or daughters of Adam and claim that he doesn’t have that problem. We are all in the same boat.

No one can claim that he/she does not need the divine human Saviour who gave Himself for us.

The very story of Jesus moves us toward salvation if we will but listen and believe it; there is redemption in the story itself.

(a) Our fallen father Adam passed on to us in our nature the lostness that became his.

(b) Christ has fired him from his job of being our “father,” and Himself has become our “second” or “last Adam,” reversing the judicial condemnation that sin has brought on all of us.

(c) Therefore as our “last Adam,” the Lord Jesus Christ has given to the human race another probation: Christ has erased the judicial condemnation that was against us “in Adam” and has given us, not merely offered us, a judicial verdict of acquittal. Let’s read it in Romans 5:

(d) “It was through one man that sin entered the world, and through sin death, and thus death pervaded the whole human race. ... But God’s act of grace is out of all proportion to Adam’s wrongdoing. For if the wrongdoing of that one man brought death upon so many, it’s effect is vastly exceeded by the grace of God and the gift that came to so many by the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ. And again, the gift of God is not to be compared in its effect with that one man’s sin; for the judicial action, following on the one offense, resulted in a verdict of condemnation; but the act of grace, following on so many misdeeds, resulted in a verdict of acquittal ... It follows, then, that as the result of one misdeed was condemnation for all people, so the result of one righteous act is acquittal and life for all” (Rom. 5:12-18, REB). What does this say?

(e) The Father has not merely offered to give Jesus to us; He has given Him to us!

(f) Since the world began, only one “righteous act” has ever been performed--the sacrifice of Jesus.

(g) The Father gave Him and He gave Himself for us, each one individually, going to hell and giving Himself forever, to save us each individually.

(h) Kneel and think about it, your eyes closed, your radio and TV off, until you can begin to appreciate it.

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

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Dial Daily Bread

Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"

The story of Jesus is the greatest story ever told. It is moving: that is, the story itself will propel you toward salvation of your soul if you will simply let it be told, let it speak, and listen to it:

(a) When Jesus was to be born, there was no room for Mary in the inn; and that tells us that there is no room for Jesus ever in this dark world of sin. We are all by nature the “innkeeper.”

(b) Our hearts are by nature like the heart of the innkeeper in the story; we must repent even at the very beginning of our contact with Jesus.

(c) Romans 8:7 says our natural human hearts everywhere are “enmity against God”; no one on earth by nature has room for Jesus—He is the Unwelcome One everywhere.

(d) Not one of us fallen humans has ever sought after Jesus; “there is none that seeketh after God. They are all gone out of the way, ... no, not one” (Rom. 3:10-12).

(e) But we are lost apart from Him for only He is the Source of life (“In Him was life; and the life was the [only] light of men” (John 1:4).

(f) Therefore Jesus as the Son of God has taken the initiative to seek after us.

(g) That is because He alone is love [agape]; for agape is the love that does not wait for us to seek it (we would never seek Him!) but He humbles Himself to be the Seeker of our souls.

(h) Jesus represents Himself as standing at the door of our hearts, knocking; our job is to listen to His knocking: “Behold, I stand at the door, and knock,” He says (Rev. 3:20).

(i) If you check the margin of the old KJV Bibles, you will see that it directs you to the Song of Solomon 5:2, for that is where the “knocking” is quoted from; the story of Jesus is a love story of disappointed, rejected love. Its import cannot be grasped apart from the pain that the One who “knocks” must feel when being thrust outside.

(j) Such love as His is a quiet love—the Suitor cannot force His way in; but in the end, the Suitor with His unrequited love will win in the drama; long despised and rejected, He will at last become Judge because “God is agape” (1 John 4:8), and the Judge of the vast Universe must do what is right.

(k) His love speaks now with a quiet voice; but in Revelation 20:11-14 that love will speak like thunder and lightning to the rejecters of His much more abounding grace: “I saw a great white throne, and Him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away... and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books.”

(l) Those who have spent their lives rejecting the Lord’s much more abounding grace will want to jump into the lake of fire; since “God is love” He will give each man what he really wants.

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

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Dial Daily Bread

Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"

In His special prayer to His Father in John 17, Jesus said, “Thy word is truth” (vs. 17). And He elaborated on the idea when He added that it’s the “word” that sanctifies us. God’s “word” is in the Bible.

And the Bible is a Book—it’s not a TV set.

It’s not DVDs. In His infinite wisdom the dear Lord has permitted the Bible to be translated and reproduced so that all may have it.

It’s a Book that we are to read and study; you cannot honestly say that you love the Lord Jesus any more than you love this Book, the Bible; if you neglect reading and studying it, your professions of love for Jesus are in vain.

“But I can’t understand all the Elizabethan English of ‘thous’ and ‘thees’!”

Very well, get a modern version; but beware that you do not neglect reading the Bible for this reason!

The Bible is like a CD or a DVD: you cannot hear the music that is imprisoned within it unless you play it on a machine built to reproduce it; so within the Bible is the voice of the Lord Jesus but we need the Holy Spirit to “play” what is imprisoned in the Bible. He is more than willing to grant that prayer!

Don’t imagine that just going to the mountains, or the seashore, for recreation is a valid substitute for old-fashioned reading of the Holy Book.

Before you open the Holy Book, pause, get on your knees, humble your proud heart, and pray a request that your Father in heaven grant you the gift of His Holy Spirit; He cannot fail to grant that prayer.

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

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Dial Daily Bread

Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"

Millions around the world this week are giving special study to the Biblical idea of “United to Christ.”

This fascinating study raises several questions in our minds.

Whose idea is it to be “united to Christ”? Is it something that we fallen humans have thought of?

Can we fallen humans take credit for the idea of being “united to Christ”? Do we fallen humans sense or realize our need of being “united to Christ”? Or is it an idea that only the Lord Jesus Himself could have thought of?

Romans answers the questions for us: “There is none righteous, no not one: there is none ... that seeketh after God. ... There is none that doeth good, no, not one” (3:10-12).

We fallen humans should have been the ones to think of seeking a Savor; but no, it was His idea to go seeking for us.

When we understand this correctly, we will see that there is soul-saving power in this truth: it magnifies the love of Christ so that when we grasp it, “the love (agape) of Christ constraineth us” to live “henceforth ... but unto Him who died for us and rose again” (2 Cor. 5:14, 15).

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

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Dial Daily Bread

Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"

Could you walk through a mall and be content without having bought anything—even if you were a millionaire? If you’re 90+ years old, maybe the answer could be yes. But what if you’re 30, or younger?

If you’re a normal human being less than 90, there would probably be all kinds of things in the shops in the mall that would entangle you in desire. We used to call a Sears Roebuck catalog the “Wish Book.” We go through life wishing we had this or that, things that money could buy. And we are discontented to live without those things.

Jesus was in His early 30’s, yet He was content to have those two things Paul speaks of in 1 Tim. 6:8: food and raiment. And Jesus was truly human. He had to have decent clothes to wear (His seamless robe was probably of good quality), and He had to have food to eat, all this just as you and I need. But it appears that He was not burdened with the heavy load that we have to bear of idle wishing for things. That’s why He could say, “Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man’s life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth” (Luke 12:15).

December is the “covetousness month” of the American year. We’re so busy shopping and partying and decorating that we find but little time for prayer and study of the Bible. A few chapters later, Luke reports that Jesus told us another “take heed,” and He very likely had reference to our month of December,” lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting [face it, that means eating rich food and too much good food], and drunkenness and cares of this life [keeping up with the world can make you spiritually drunk because Babylon is drunk!], and so that day [of judgment] come upon you unawares” (21:34).

The Good News is that God will have a people who do “take heed,” who will keep their heads and hearts while the world all around them is wild with materialism and selfish pleasure.

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

Monday, December 15, 2008

Dial Daily Bread

Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"

Little children learn for their lifetime the lessons they learn in early childhood. “Christmas” is an important chapter.

Blessed is the child who learns the true story of Jesus when He said that it is more blessed to give than to receive.

The usual promotion of “Christmas” engenders a powerful motivation of acquisitiveness that is not lost on the little ones. This acquisitiveness becomes mingled deeply with the stories of Jesus, and sets our chart for life as being fundamentally self-seeking unless the much more abounding grace of the Lord can get through into our consciousness.

We do not serve Jesus because of a hope for reward; neither is our motivation a fear of being lost in hell; but these motivations are heavily promoted in “Babylon.”

In this time of the cleansing of the heavenly sanctuary (“unto 2300 days [years]; then shall the sanctuary be cleansed,” Dan. 8:14) the Holy Spirit wants to purify our motives and deliver us from self-seeking. We are often counseled by sincere people to “seek” Real Estate in heaven; acquisitiveness becomes the motivation mingled into Christian experience.

Jesus was not motivated by acquisitiveness, although it may be easy to understand Hebrews 12:2 as saying that He was so motivated because it says that “for the joy that was set before Him [He] endured the cross, etc.”; but the original language can also be understood as saying that INSTEAD OF THE JOY SET BEFORE HIM He endured the cross.

As a young man of 33-1/2 years of age He was the divine Son of God but He was also incarnate, He had taken upon Himself our humanity fully; at that age a young man has just left his youth and as a full fledged adult he is facing his life—so did Jesus experience our young manhood. It was evident that He was marvelously gifted—a very bright future lay before Him. The story of Jesus’ temptation in the wilderness is clear (Matt. 4:1-11) —Satan offered Him the wealth and the plaudits and the praise of the world if He would only accept the principle of acquisitiveness for His life.

The original suggests that it was not “for the joy set before Him” but “instead of the earthly joy set before Him” that He “endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God” (Heb. 12:2).

People who say that we must let “Christ” into “Christmas” speak wisdom they do not realize.

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

Dial Daily Bread

Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"

I have discovered that my laundry lady is a child of God. At some time in her life she responded to what she heard in her soul as the call of God, and she gave her heart to the Savior.

He heard her prayer of commitment and gave her the assurance that the Savior of the world had died for her also; she never mastered all the fine print of stratospheric theology, but she knew in her soul the truth of what Christ accomplished for the world, not merely offered to us; He had taken upon Himself her sins and had paid the penalty of her sins. Her response from then on was deep heartfelt thanksgiving.

She shares with the Virgin Mary the conviction that her lot in life is a “low estate” (see Luke 1:48). But there is a blessing therein—anybody who is willing to humble his/her soul and confess that his deserved place in God’s kingdom is a “low estate,” will share the blessing that the Virgin Mary received when she confessed that humbling truth: the Lord “regarded” her “low estate” and He will “regard” yours, too. That means that He will add His blessings of happiness to your “low estate.”

The Virgin Mary confessed her “low estate,” but her Son, the world’s Savior, shared our corporate “low estate” with us. In becoming one of us, incarnate, He laid aside the prerogatives of His divinity and took upon Himself our fallen, sinful flesh. That does not mean that He became a sinner—a billion times no! He lived a life of perfect righteousness “in the likeness of [our] sinful flesh” (Rom. 8:3, 4) and demonstrated to the world and to the universe that for a human to “have” sinful flesh does not mean that he/she must give in to its clamors.

The Lord, before He gave up His last breath on Calvary, could see and understand that someday He will have “144,000” (not a literal but symbolic number) of people on earth who will honor Him before the world and the universe by living a life of righteousness in that same fallen, sinful flesh.

This will be the successful victory of “the great controversy between Christ and Satan.” My laundry lady is one who shares the joy of Christ’s victory.

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

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Dial Daily Bread

Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"

Mark tells the story of the “rich young man” who came to Jesus, sensing his spiritual emptiness (10:17ff).

The Lord Jesus saw in him a potential “Apostle Paul,” to-be, and yearned for his soul. Jesus extended to him an official invitation to “come, take up the cross, and follow Me.” What a wonderful life could have been his! And what wonderful books he might have written.

But when the young man turned down the invitation, the Lord Jesus did not rain down on him fire and brimstone; He simply let the young man go away and have what he wanted, and enjoy his wealth (as much as he could with a guilty conscience).

Jesus does not force anyone to follow Him; and neither did Jesus seek to entice the young man or beg him or run after him; the Lord simply backed off and let him have what he wanted.

You who read this may not have “great possessions” (although I would be happy if someone rich could read this and give himself to Christ!), but you have what you have and you have your life; Christ’s invitation to the “rich young man” is extended to you; if you respond with what is appropriate—a total consecration of yourself and all you have, He will marvelously bless your commitment.

God’s promises to Abraham in Genesis 12:2, 3, will be fulfilled to you: He will “make of [you] a great nation” (that is, your life will be important in the cause of God); He will “make [your] name great,” that is, you will be someone important all your life; He will “bless thee,” that is, make you happy truly; and He will “make you to be a blessing” wherever you go throughout the earth.

Big deal!

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

Dial Daily Bread

Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"

The Virgin Mary made a confession that has in it some Good News for our encouragement. It’s in Luke 1:48 where she says that the Lord “hath regarded the low estate of His handmaiden.”

No one likes to be in a “low estate.” We want to be in a higher “estate.”

But the Good News is that if we confess the truth of our “low estate,” the Lord makes a response:

He “regards” it.

The Lord responded to her humble confession by lifting her to the highest “estate” that any woman could envisage—to be the mother of the world’s Redeemer!

If you and I can humble our souls and confess the truth of our “low estate,” the dear Lord will “regard” it, that is, think about it, and He will plan for our better future.

“For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil ...” (Jer. 29:11). The Lord thinks of each of us as though we were the only person in the world; and His “thoughts” about us and for us are always “good,” in that His plans for us are always bright and prosperous in our circumstances.

He “thinks” about each of us individually; He knows all about our history, even from our days as a fetus in the womb of our mother; and because of the sacrifice of Christ when He saved the world by His cross, the Father individually ponders and thinks about us.

Even if we have sinned grievously, the “thoughts” that the Father has towards us are always thoughts of His much more abounding grace; this is because of the sacrifice of His Son, Jesus.

The Father is not planning vengeance or punishment toward us—no! Even if we deserve such; His “thoughts” or His planning are of His much more abounding grace.

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

Friday, December 12, 2008

Dial Daily Bread

Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"

In the Bible story of the birth of Jesus, the Lord has demonstrated His love for the lowly and humble of earth.

(a) It was two lowly shepherds camping out in the fields, watching over their flocks by night to protect them from lions and other predatory animals, that the angels appeared.

(b) Doubtless the brilliant light and the loud singing of the angels may have frightened the humble creatures—although as soon as I say that I think that the Lord would not want to frighten these creatures with His presence. Lambs are a symbol of Christ, “the Lamb of God” (John 1:29).

(c) And the holy angels did not want to intrude upon the lowly shepherds, for we read that they were discussing the prophecies of the Bible that predicted the coming of the world’s Savior.

(d) Doubtless some of them wondered, “Wouldn’t it be great if that world’s Savior should be born now? The prophecies of Daniel (9:24-27) tell us of His coming; and the time has come!”

(e) The angels of the Lord come only when they are welcomed, and these humble shepherds welcomed them through their love of the Bible prophecies!

(f) And the Virgin Mary herself proclaimed her humility in life when she said of herself, “[The Lord] hath regarded the low estate of His handmaiden” (Luke 1:48).

(g) Well did the Lord speak of the Reality of humility: “Thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy; I dwell in the high and holy place, with him [or her] also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones” (Isa. 57:15).

(h) There are some crumbs of truth there even for us to enjoy at this late date.

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

Dial Daily Bread

Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"

Have you learned to appreciate, to enjoy, to welcome, the holy Sabbath day each week? If so, you have also begun to appreciate the Lord Jesus Christ, because His presence is in the holy Sabbath. And that’s Good News!

To love the Sabbath, not only because it is a day of physical rest from the week’s hard work and stress, but because—well, let’s look at a beautiful hymn that crystallizes the joy of the Sabbath: “O day of rest and gladness, O day of joy and light.” Ah yes, one day in the hectic week of cares, of pure joy!

“O balm of care and sadness, most beautiful, most bright.” Here we have a metaphor,—the Sabbath is like soothing ointment for a wound.

“Thou art a port protected from storms that round us rise.” Have you ever been in a wild storm at sea with the ship tossing dangerously, and then felt the unutterable joy of gliding into a quiet harbor? “Thou art ... a garden intersected with streams of paradise,” says the poet Christopher Wordsworth, further.

And then, “Thou art a cooling fountain in life’s dry, dreary sand; [and] from thee, like Pisgah’s mountain, we view our promised land.” That’s a reference to the lofty top of what is also spoken of in the Bible as Mt. Nebo, where the Lord led Moses to view the glories of the Promised Land before he went to sleep in the arms of God. From Mt. Pisgah today you can see far south to the Dead Sea as far as En-geddi, to the north as far as the snow-covered peak of Mt. Hermon, and to the west to encompass what was in Moses’ day the land the Lord gave to Israel.

And so, on each holy Sabbath day it is yours and my privilege to catch a glimpse of brighter scenes to come, another poet says, to feel the thrill deep in our souls of a joyous eternal life “in Christ” our Life-giver. Don’t miss out on this joy; it’s free, just for the believing. “Remember” it all through the week!

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

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Dial Daily Bread

Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"

When the Bible says that “God is love,” the word in the original is AGAPE. A different idea than what we think of when we think of “love.”

Our natural idea of love is to love nice people, beautiful people, people who are good to us.

The idea of loving a bad person, ugly, mean, even an enemy, is foreign to our thinking; it seems to be impossible, and in fact, such love is indeed impossible for us humans to experience.

We would never have known about it, never imagined its existence, until God made it known to us.

All through the Old Testament, this love (agape) was revealed for the Lord never kept it away from us; but its real revelation came when God’s own people, the Jews, grabbed His only Son, Jesus, and took Him to a place where they made a cross and nailed Him onto it to kill Him; thus they hated Him.

We may say, “Oh, I have nothing to do with that; I would never have joined them in killing God’s only Son! I am a better person than to have done that!”

But we don’t know ourselves; we think that we are righteous, but the Bible says that “There is none righteous, no, not one; there is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. They are all gone out of the way, ... there is none that doeth good, no, not one” (Rom. 3:10-12).

“The carnal mind is enmity against God” (Rom. 8:7), and the word “carnal” means natural, of the flesh, the kind of mind that we all have by nature. It may be dressed up in good clothes and we may make it seem like we’re good, but our natural self is at odds with God.

None of us can say, “I wasn’t there when they killed God’s only Son. I had nothing to do with it.”

In a corporate sense, we were ALL there; the carnality of our human mind that we all have by nature is basic enmity against God and against His righteousness. Don’t ever say that you are too good to have taken part in the crucifixion of Christ, for you don’t know your own self. Someone very wise has said that “the books of heaven record the sins that we would commit if we had the opportunity.”

The crucifixion of Christ is the sin of the whole world; and we have not even begun to repent until we include that sin in our personal guilt.

But this is not Bad News; it is Good News to confess this truth, because the Son of God pleaded with His Father while they were driving spikes in His wristbones and anklebones, “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34).

John says, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9, 10).

But please note: if we don’t confess our sin in the crucifixion of Christ, we lose the joy of that forgiveness and cleansing!

That’s why confessing the truth of our involvement in the crucifixion of Christ is Good News.

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

Dial Daily Bread

Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"

Have you ever lost your temper in a momentary trial of your patience? Well, poor Moses did. And it wasn’t when he was a young man. The tragic mistake came in his old age. Now Moses may not have felt “old age” like people do today for we read that at the time of his death at the age of 120 “his eye was not dim, nor his natural force abated” (Deut. 34:7).

But it was at the end, not the beginning, of Israel’s 40 years of wandering for their unbelief that Moses’ patience gave way. Maybe his physical and mental stamina was a bit weakened by then. The “straw that broke the camel’s back” in his case was the cynical cry of the rebellious people, blaming him for lack of water. “Listen, you rebels!” he cried out. “Must we fetch you water out of this rock?” (Num. 20:10). Then in his fit of temper, he struck the rock twice with his rod instead of once, thus destroying the accuracy of the ceremony which symbolized the death of Christ.

What Moses had done was to teach that Christ must die twice for the sins of the world, and he took to himself (Moses did) the glory for producing water out of a dry rock. God loved Moses; the man was very special. But his public sin of losing his temper made it impossible for Moses to lead Israel at last into their Promised Land. “Because ye believed me not, ... ye shall not bring this congregation into the land which I have given them” (vss. 10-12).

It’s not only old people, but young people too have this same test of impatience. It seems severe for the Lord to sentence Moses to die for such an apparently “innocent” sin of momentary impatience. But Moses must be a teacher for succeeding generations as well; no matter how high we have been in the favor of God, a sin of impatience is serious. But the root of their sin was not merely being angry (even God sometimes is angry, and several times Moses experienced “righteous indignation”). The problem, said the Lord, was Moses’ unbelief. “Because ye believed Me not, to sanctify Me in the eyes of the children of Israel, ...” the Lord said to both Moses and Aaron.

It is impossible for you and me to lose our temper so long as we believe the word of the Lord! Whatever the trial that tempts you to impatience, a choice to believe the promises of God will every time deliver you from sin.

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

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Dial Daily Bread

Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"

We could make a long list of the good works that we could do for Jesus (and which we should do for Him!); but there would be not an iota of merit in all those “good works.”

We are not saved nor are we benefited by any “good works” that we might be able to do; “our beloved brother Paul” has told us that it’s only “by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God” (2 Peter 3:15; Eph. 2:8).

It’s not by anything “good” that we might be able to do (actually, “there is none righteous, no, not one,” Rom. 3:10), but it’s by the good things that Jesus has already done for us that any of us are benefited or saved. Let’s concentrate for a moment on what the Lord has already done for us:

He “hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ” (Eph. 1:3). Past tense and also present tense! God, who sees things that “be not as though they were” (Rom. 4:17), sees us as though were already safely settled in the grand new earth that He will create in the future.

He also, thanks to the cross of Christ, sees us as though we had never sinned! Yes, Romans 5:15-21 says: “God’s act of grace [the cross!] is out of all proportion to Adam’s wrongdoing” [in the Garden of Eden]. “For if the wrongdoing of that one man brought death upon so many [all of us!], its effect is vastly exceeded by the grace of God and the gift that came to so many by the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ” (REV). The idea is that the grace of Christ is far greater than our sin!

“And again, the gift of God is not to be compared in its effect with that one man’s [Adam’s] sin; for the judicial action, following on the one offense, resulted in a verdict of condemnation [which has come down upon all of us!]; but the act of grace, following on so many misdeeds, resulted in a [judicial] verdict of acquittal” for all of us, even the most sinful (vss. 15, 16).

Therefore the heavenly Father is now free to treat every person as though he/she had never sinned! That is the meaning of the “much more abounding grace” of the Lord (cf. Rom. 5:20).

Does this mean that God will take very person into heaven, even against his own will? No, for it is possible for us to resist and reject this “much more abounding grace” of our Savior!

Oh, may the dear Lord save us from ourselves!

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

Dial Daily Bread

Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"

Mary, the mother of Jesus, says something that is of great encouragement to us.

When the angel Gabriel announced to her that she would become the mother of the Lord Jesus, she said that God had “regarded the low estate of His handmaiden” (Luke 1:48).

When we consider our true “estate” in the eyes of the Lord, we too are constrained to confess that we are in a “low estate” (the Greek word means humble).

But as soon as we become willing to confess that precious truth of the reality of our humble place, we have this encouragement: the Lord “regards” our “low estate”! The word “regards” means He notices it, and He will lift us up.

He will raise us up from that “low estate.” In the case of Mary, she was raised up to where she said, “from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed.”

We may not be raised up to that very highly exalted place, but for sure we will be “raised up” to the highest level of honor that we can endure without becoming inordinately proud (which would ruin everything!).

The Lord God is Almighty, yes; we know that. But He also is in need: there are some things that even He cannot do. There is some soul in the world somewhere that even the Holy Spirit cannot reach without our help. When young Isaiah was in the Temple of the Lord, He heard the Lord’s voice describe the desperate condition of His people, “a people of unclean lips.”

But the Lord confessed how much even He needed someone’s cooperation:

The Lord Himself asked, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?”

Even the great and mighty Holy Spirit needed someone to “go,” someone to “send”!

Young Isaiah said, “Here am I: send me” (cf. Isa. 6:1-8).

Please—you be willing also! The Holy Spirit is calling again today for someone to “go.”

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

Monday, December 08, 2008

Dial Daily Bread

Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"

What Solomon says sounds almost like a put-down for youth: “Rejoice, O young man [and of course, young woman], in the days of thy youth; and let thy heart cheer thee in the days of thy youth, and walk in the ways of thine heart, and in the sight of thine eyes: but know thou, that for all these things God will being thee into judgment” (Eccl. 11:9). In other words, enjoy yourself in your pride, but—judgment is coming. The Good News Bible renders it, “enjoy your youth. ... Do what you want to do.”

Youth is when we make decisions that last for all our lives, even for eternity. There’s many an old man, feeble long before his age, in nursing homes who was a great star in his “rejoicing” youth. He did what he “wanted to do.” The thought of judgment didn’t cross his mind.

And there are many old women in the same places, shriveled in body and in spirit (the last is what’s important!) who were beauty queens in their youth. They did what they “wanted to do.” They also never thought they would ever get old.

And we’re all the same: proud of what God gave us which somebody else doesn’t have. We strut about, displaying ourselves. (“All” of course means both sexes, equally.) Is there a remedy?

Youth are just as ready to believe the only remedy, if only they can learn what it is. Isaac Watts summed it up nicely: “When I survey the wondrous cross / On which the Prince of glory died, / My richest gain I count but loss, / And pour contempt on all my pride.” Is it possible that YOUTH can do that?

God Himself would never humiliate anyone before others. Our natural human pride (which all of us inherit) has its own way of turning what we cherish into ashes. Blessed beyond measure is the youth, boy or girl, who has been privileged to SEE what happened on that cross.

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

A mystery comes unraveled as we compare Hebrews with Exodus. The problem has been to find out what God actually said to Israel when they were at Mount Sinai in Exodus 19. The scholars have wrestled over this for centuries. Now it comes clear, with the help of that New Testament book.

In that confrontation just before God wrote the Ten Commandments on stone, He made a generous proposition to His people. But the King James Version makes it sound like He told them, “If you will first get a perfect record in obedience to all My commandments, then I’ll bless you.” And of course, the people wanted that blessing, so they promised, “All that the Lord hath spoken we will do” (vss. 4-8). The bottom line idea that many have had is that the Lord Himself was to blame for starting the Old Covenant with all the misery and ruin it brought on ancient Israel.

But now, investigation reveals that God had nothing to do with forming the Old Covenant. It was the people’s idea 100 percent. The mysterious word translated “obey” in verse 5 is SHAMEA in the original language, but it doesn’t mean “obey” as its primary meaning. It means, “listen to My voice” (the word “voice” gives it away, so “we” should have seen this centuries ago).

Here’s where the New Testament Hebrews comes in to help us. Now we see where and why the Old Covenant was a failure from the word go: “the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it” (4:2). It was useless hearing, without faith “mixed in”!

This insight makes the Hebrew verb SHAMEA in Exodus 19 come alive: what God proposed to Israel at Sinai was, “If you will listen to My voice and not at the same time brace yourselves against what I am saying, if you will listen with faith ‘mixed in’ with your listening, I promise you that you will be the most wonderful people on earth, etc., etc.”

Thus it is clear that what the Lord was wanting to do at Mount Sinai was to renew to Israel the same NEW Covenant He had promised to Abraham! He listened to God’s “voice” with faith “mixed in.” The legalism problem was all Israel’s fault from beginning to end.

And the Good News to you and me is this: if we are struggling with sin and selfishness (who isn’t?), the remedy is to LISTEN to what the Lord says and stop at the same time resisting what He says. Listen with faith. Listen and believe. Then will come all the obedience we’re so concerned about.

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

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"

It would be nice if we could celebrate the birth of Jesus at a time of year more appropriate to the time when He was born in Bethlehem. December is the one month of the year when it would not be appropriate because the Bible record says that “there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night” (Luke 2:8).

It’s cold and rainy in Bethlehem in December, so it would be impossible for shepherds to “abide” [camp] in the field” overnight. Bethlehem is in the Northern Hemisphere; December is winter.

Then why and how did a date in December become accepted as the date of Jesus’ birth?

The answer is interesting:

The early church “left [their] first love,” says the record in Revelation 2 under the symbol of the first “church” of the seven great epochs of the church throughout history, “Ephesus.” It was in that first era of the church that the enemy of righteousness sought to pervert the pure and simple truths of the gospel by introducing compromising ideas from paganism.

One of those extra-biblical ideas was the observance of Sunday in place of the biblical seventh day of the week as the church’s day of rest and worship. (In God’s holy law of ten commandments, the Lord Himself wrote in tables of stone that “the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God ... ,” Ex. 20:8-11).

The Roman Empire was engrossed in sun worship in the time of the early church. Some critics unwisely decided that keeping the Lord’s holy day the seventh, smacked of Judaism; and thinking that they could attract more supposed “converts” to the church by abandoning observing the biblical Sabbath, they welcomed the “day of the sun,” the first day of the week, and their so-called “Christian sabbath.”

Now we have come to the last days of earth’s history; now is the time for us to prepare for the second coming of Christ, when He shall come in the clouds of heaven (Acts 1:9-11).

The Lord commands us to “come out of her [Babylon], My people” (so that not a trace of Babylon’s false teachings are left). That is why worldwide a great movement is taking place when literally millions are abandoning “the day of the sun” and restoring the true Sabbath of the Lord, the seventh-day.

Come and join them!

They also realize that the Lord Jesus never told us to try to remember His birth by keeping any day for its observance; let Him be born anew in us—that’s what He wants to happen!

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

Dial Daily Bread

Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"

Someone says that whenever we preach about Esau selling his birthright and then weeping tears forever after; she is afraid.

We should not be afraid of Satan, for he is a defeated enemy. And fear is not the motivation by which we come to Christ; it’s His love that draws us, not craven fear. We come to Him because our shriveled up little selfish hearts are stretched outsize with an appreciation for Him, appreciation of what He has done for us in dying our second death. He went to hell to find us and to save us! And He gave Himself to that second death for us, which is hell itself.

But there is someone we should be afraid of—and that is self.

We cannot trust self; it is our nature to be at “enmity against God” (Rom. 8:7). That means that if we were left to ourselves without a Savior, that’s what we would do: sell our precious birthright.

So, yes, we should be afraid!

Life today is much the same as life was for young Moses in Egypt long ago. He had a “birthright” but being just as human as we are, he was tempted to “sell” it in exchange for what Hebrews calls “the pleasures of sin for a season” (11:25).

“The pleasures of sin” are always only “for a season.” They are always to be feared!

Moses was given a special resurrection so he could join Enoch and Elijah in heaven (who were both translated without seeing death; see Gen. 5:24; 2 Kings 2:11; Jude 9).

But Moses firmly decided that he would not sell his birthright. Even from a boy, Moses settled in his mind his choice to be true to God. Through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, Moses stood firm like a rock in the midst of enormous temptations in wicked Egypt.

Temptations today attract the young as they appealed to young Moses; but he said “No!” to them.

The little book of Titus is our lifeline to sanity and overcoming: “The grace of God [not craven fear!] brings salvation to all men, teaching us to deny ungodliness and worldly lusts.” It teaches us how to live “soberly, righteously, and godly in this present world” which is wicked as was ancient Crete where Titus lived and ministered.

But Paul cannot teach obedience to the law of God without presenting the sacrifice of Christ “who gave Himself for us” (2:11-14). Contemplating and appreciating that sacrifice saves us from selling our precious birthright today!

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

Friday, December 05, 2008

Dial Daily Bread

Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"

A lady asked me about her grown son who is estranged from God spiritually.

“I’m so mad at Him,” the young man says, “that I feel like punching Him.”

I felt a little tinge of encouragement: perhaps we have here another “Saul of Tarsus” in-the-making.

God actually prefers the out-and-out opposition of someone rather than the indecisive, “lukewarm” attitude of hypocrisy of so many.

I suggested to this lady that she not write to her angry son by using the word “God,” but speak of “your heavenly Father.”

I did not know if this young man’s filial relationship to his earthly father was a good one, or vice versa; but we know that in either case, our concept of God must be that of being a child of a heavenly Father. I know that because Jesus Himself has taught us all to pray, “Our Father, which art in heaven ... ”

Even for the young man who had a bad filial relationship to his earthly father, deep in his heart there is a hunger for the love of a good Father, and that good Father is the Lord Himself. All the while he feels like punching “God” in his anger against Him, deep in his soul is that unrequited longing for the real “Father.”

The apostle Paul, wise in the knowledge of human hearts, says that we have “received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father ... ” (Rom. 8:15).

Oh, what Good News! The heavenly Father has already given each of us the assurance of our being “adopted” into His family, whether we are worthy or not (well, none of us is really worthy!). Jesus gives every human being, even the vilest sinner, the privilege of praying the Lord’s Prayer: this is His “much more abounding grace” in actual operation!

Because of Christ’s sacrifice and what He has already done for us, the Father treats every human being kindly, even the wicked, as though he has never sinned.

“Come unto Me,” says Jesus (Matt.11:28); come!

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