Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Dial Daily Bread: "I Am With You"

Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"

The ancient Israelite sanctuary was a revelation to our dull human senses of the Reality of Christ's ministry as the world's High Priest in His heavenly sanctuary.

The purpose of their building Him a sanctuary was not to bottle Him up inside it, but to make it possible for Him to "dwell among you" (Ex. 25:8). The Lord Jesus loved His people; and love always wants to be near you.

The earthly high priest was everybody's "grandfather," someone sympathetic to each one's need; Jesus is not a heavenly policeman trying to catch you in something wrong, but a heavenly Attorney at court seeking to defend you.

His closing words to His followers were: "'Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen'" (Matt. 28:19, 20). The "amen" means "Yes! It is true! You can believe this!"

"I am with you!" We cannot see Him; for He is physically beyond our sight--which is a great blessing, otherwise only a few could "see" Him physically and the great masses of us would be bereft of His presence.

In order for us to realize that He is "with" us we must "let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus," according to Philippians 2:5-8. Our "minds" must be surrendered to the infilling of the Holy Spirit.

This is an exercise of our souls--to expel our worldly thoughts and cares. "Enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret" (Matt. 6:6). Remember, you are not taking the initiative to "find" the Lord; you are letting Him take the initiative in finding you. The Two of you are together in that prayer--the Father and you. He cares about you; for He is lonely without you. Jesus and the Father are "one" and Jesus now belongs to us--forever. Revel in that thought of truth--on your knees.

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

Dial Daily Bread: A Matter of Unbelief

Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"

As the 1890s were drawing to an end and a merger with the beginning of the 20th century, the State of Michigan was growing and developing. At that time the most progressive printing plant was in the city of Battle Creek--the Review and Herald Publishing Association.

Founded by dedicated members of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, the Review and Herald had been solemnly dedicated to the Lord for the publication of books and articles proclaiming the nearness of the second coming of Christ, and the preparation of heart necessary for us to have in order to be ready for it.

There was no work in the world in progress at that time more important than this. (Even today there is no work being done anywhere as important!)

But some unwise participants in the work embraced the idea that if the Publishing House were to introduce job printing as business, they could make extra money for the institution that would make it possible to print the gospel message more cheaply, and therefore (so the idea went) could make possible a greater distribution of the good truth-filled literature.

So the managers embraced the job-printing idea, and had the typesetters and press operators of necessity seeing and reading this non-Christian literature, some of it downright wildly pagan.

The young people who were the pressmen and proofreaders were forced to see and read this literature promoting paganism!

Ellen White said that the Lord loved those youth too much to allow them to poison their minds by having to read and print this garbage. The Review and Herald Publishing House had been dedicated to the Lord in solemn prayer; this invited Him to enter into the crisis and to act.

Solemn warnings were uttered by the Lord's messenger, and went unheeded.

Finally, the Lord was forced to withdraw His special protection. Someone had left some oily rags used for cleaning the presses in a heap in the basement; they ignited, and the entire building went up in flames. The unbelief of His people forced the Lord to let matters take their course.

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

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Dial Daily Bread: Daniel's "Time of the End" Is NOW

Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"

The only Bible that Jesus had when He was with us 2000 years ago was what we know as the Old Testament.

Of all the books in the Old Testament that Jesus especially urged us to "understand" is the Book of Daniel. He said, of that Book of Daniel: "Whoso readeth, let him understand" (Matt. 24:15).

(a) In the early years of the nineteenth century, sincere Christians in England and America began in a collective sense to realize that Daniel's "time of the end" of 12:4 is NOW.

(b) They were especially attracted to Daniel 8:14 which says, "Unto two thousand three hundred days; then shall the sanctuary be cleansed."

(c) Understanding the prophecies of Daniel 2 (the great image with feet of clay) and Daniel 7 (the "four beasts" that came up out of the sea and the "little horn" that became so prominent and so terrible (vss. 23-25), they were deeply convicted by the Holy Spirit that we are now living in the "time of the end" and that God's call to "come out of Babylon" applies to us (see Rev. 18:1-4).

(d) The 2300 "days" in Bible prophecy they understood to mean 2300 "years" literally.

(e) Thus they came to see that Daniel 8:14 brings us to the year 1844 as the culmination of that long period.

(f) "Then shall the sanctuary be cleansed" engrossed their attention; we are living in the very end of time!

(g) "The sanctuary" is the one in heaven where Christ ministers as the world's High Priest.

(h) Thus 1844 marks the time when He shall commence His final ministry for mankind in preparation for His second coming; He must make a people to be "ready" for His coming!

(i) This calls for seriousness in living--not gloom, no, but solemn joy in appreciating His final ministry in preparing a people worldwide who will be translated at Christ's second coming, as He promised.

More tomorrow the Lord willing!

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

Dial Daily Bread: That "Hunger and Thirst"

Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"

TIME magazine for April 6 reports that the number of people watching TV's prime time shows has dropped from 75% in the 1950s, to the new bottom of 18% (page 62).

This is supposed to be "bad news": but in fact it may be very good news. For sure it would be good news if those 57% of ex-viewers were reading the Bible instead. Maybe some of them really have "grown up" spiritually to where TV shows sicken them (as they should in many cases) and they are turning to the Bible for evening amusement or occupation.

That's not a crazy idea: even for "faithful" Christians, too often plain Bible reading is a boring exercise when the Holy Spirit (He is God) would be delighted if they did "hunger and thirst after righteousness for they shall be filled" (Matt. 5:6).

The Bible is fascinating and excellent bedtime reading!

(a) Ask the dear Lord to show mercy to your soul by giving you (as a gift!) this "hunger and thirst after righteousness."

(b) If we knew who the Lord Jesus is, how close He has come to us, the Reality of His presence, we would hunger for it is impossible to hold Jesus in any higher esteem than we hold His word, the Bible. He is "the Word" (cf. John 1:14).

(c) If you walked into a room where Jesus was seated, would you want to be near Him?

(d) Mary Magdalene loved to sit at His feet and listen to Him talk while her sister Martha busied herself with the clutter of cooking.

(e) To be quite honest, what would you rather be doing if Jesus were in your guest room?

(f) Let me encourage you: there is not a soul on earth more naturally bored with Bible reading than myself; that's true, not only from my own honest confession but from what the Bible says, for it says that "the natural mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be" (Rom. 8:7). And that "natural" or "carnal mind" is what I have by birth and by experience.

(g) But I must also confess: when I have knelt and humbled my proud soul before the Lord Jesus, and begged Him for forgiveness and acceptance, and asked Him to give me that "hunger and thirst," He has begun to do so.

(h) I remember it was in my teenage years at college that I first became deeply convicted that I did not love the Bible and therefore could not say honestly that I love the Lord Jesus; you may think I was crazy, but I chose to humble my soul and fast (yes! I stayed away from the cafeteria) for several meals and stayed on my knees asking the Lord to teach me something directly about loving the Bible!

(i) Did the Lord answer my prayer?

(j) Well, I was nobody special in any way; I would encourage any other teenager to believe that the Lord did indeed notice me, and paid attention to me, and did indeed give me just the faintest beginning of a love for His word, the Bible.

(k) What He gave me, minimal as it was (thank the Lord), I have never lost, all these many years.

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

Monday, April 27, 2009

Dial Daily Bread: "Wine Is a Mocker"

Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"

Today we were privileged to visit a famous wine-producing area. We saw the beautiful homes of the wealthy wine-producing merchants, the exquisitely carved walnut woodwork, the delightful stained glass windows, the impressive gardens. Wine produces wealth!

But I couldn't get out of my mind a verse of Scripture; it kept coming back into focus: "Woe unto him that giveth his neighbour drink,that puttest the bottle to him ..." (Hab. 2:15).

I know and I honor Christian young people who because of that verse of Scripture, youth who need jobs for their education expenses, cannot accept employment in a supermarket because that entails handling the sale of intoxicating beverages.

Why does the prophet of God say "Woe ..." to these people?

The Bible is clear-cut and strong in its denunciation of intoxicating liquor. "Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging: and whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise" (Prov. 20:1). "He who loves wine ... will never grow rich," that is, will never be blessed in his life (Prov. 21:17, NEB).

The use of even mildly intoxicating drink is intensely dangerous because it creates the appetite to come for hard liquor, and it appeals to youth of good moral character who otherwise would not be enticed into evil.

Yes, the wealthy people who built these mansions that we visited today are in the Lord's hands for final judgment (as are we all!); we cannot judge them. But as I visited these palatial homes today I could not resist the deep conviction of a clash in values here: "Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven" (Matt. 5:3). The Bible multiplies blessings pronounced upon the poor. "To this man I will look," saith the Lord, "even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at My word" (Isa. 66:2).

Says the very wise man who wrote portions of the Book of Proverbs: "Two things have I required of Thee [Lord]; deny me them not before I die: remove far from me vanity and lies: give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with food convenient for me, lest I be full, and deny Thee, and say, 'Who is the Lord?' or lest I be poor, and steal, and take the name of my God in vain" (Prov. 30:7-9).

Well, the only word we can think of to say after that, is AMEN!

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

Dial Daily Bread: The Gift of Repentance

Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"

It's fantastic, phenomenal, the wonder of heavenly angels who watch how the great bulk of humanity prefer Bad News to Good. When Someone came into our midst bringing us Good News, "we" were so upset with Him that "we" rose up and crucified Him. (Someone says, Ah yes, but that was 2000 years ago and those were bad people; we are different. We have learned our lesson; we would never do that.)

Here's the root of our problem: the Bible says we are all the same--by nature. The New English Bible renders Romans 3:23 as, "All alike have sinned," and that is clearly what Paul says for in 8:7 he adds, "The carnal mind is enmity against God." That "carnal mind" is standard DNA equipment for "all" of us, none "exempted" from that universal inheritance, not even the Virgin Mary. All humans are born in a state of separation from God; we have to learn how to believe Good News (Mary learned!). We can claim no superiority of virtue over those of 2000 years ago. In a corporate sense, "they" were "we."

We cannot believe what Jesus says unless we believe that His "yoke is easy" and His "burden is light." But for sure, honest common sense tells us that believing that Good News is not "easy." Continually we humans, in the church or outside, slide into that groove of unbelief like the Israel who couldn't "enter into" their Promised Land "because of unbelief" (Heb. 4:6). Unbelief is still our corporate sin. But we don't have to stay in it.

If today, "compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses" after these millennia of history, we choose to go on in it, we shall draw upon ourselves the well-deserved condemnation of the ages (12:1; 6:4-8). We don't have to live in unbelief; we can repent of it, because the Holy Spirit is giving the GIFT of repentance (Acts 5:31). Let's grab it.

When we choose to believe how good is the true Good News, what a burden is lifted from our hearts! "By the adoption of children" the "Father has made us accepted in the Beloved" (Eph. 1:3-6), members of the heavenly family! Don't walk away from it.

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