Sunday, November 30, 2014

Dial Daily Bread: Will the Final Work Be a "Noise" or Clearer "Light"?

Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"

The overwhelming majority of people do not care about Jesus and His "everlasting gospel" of Revelation 14. Especially in places where once upon a time the Holy Spirit worked with great power: Germany (where the Reformation was born), Scotland (where John Knox preached), New England (the Great Awakening), yes, England itself where some Anglican churches now stand nearly empty on Sunday mornings.

In comparison with how Luther's message shook Europe or how Paul's message turned his "world upside down" (Acts 17:6), our best endeavors today seem to be pale. Everywhere Paul went, one of two things happened: either a riot or a revival! Well, almost. He preached in the highly intellectual university city of Athens and not much happened (vss. 16-34). But to be fair we must remember that was the one time that Paul failed to preach what later he preached everywhere--"Christ and Him crucified." When he came to Corinth (1 Cor. 2:1-4) he turned the city "upside down" preaching the cross.

How can God judge modern multitudes who have never heard the message, whose prejudices block all efforts to reach them? We try to preach in Europe and sophisticated America, and little happens in comparison. Is God giving up on the "first world"? And will present-day "revivals" in Third World cultures eventually repeat the history of great spiritual movements that have been replaced by pleasure-seeking materialism? Is poverty necessary for the success of the gospel proclamation? If so, it would seem appropriate for the church to pray for another Great Depression.

But wait a moment: history proves that even disasters don't produce permanent revivals! Just one example--World War II.

Revelation 18:1-4 suggests an answer: a Voice from heaven will indeed reach every honest-hearted person in the world when the message is clarified as "light" that can "lighten the earth with glory." The final work will not be so much noise (a "loud cry"), as clearer "light." God grant us to see it.

--Robert J. Wieland

From the "Dial Daily Bread" Archive: December 16, 2001.

Copyright © 2014 by "Dial Daily Bread."

Will the Holy Spirit Be Proven a Failure?

Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"

Is the Holy Spirit our Friend? You say, Yes, of course; but think: Jesus says that His first work is to "convict the world of sin" (John 16:8). Is that pleasant? The doctor does a scientific test and convinces you that you have a lethal disease. You "feel" okay and it hasn't worried you, but he says you must do something drastic. Is the doctor your "friend"? Now suppose he has many, many patients all with a lethal disease they don't want to recognize; and suppose they all reject his counsel to do something, even though he is genuinely their friend. That would make him disappointed, unhappy. Is it possible that a patient is concerned for the reputation or happiness of his physician? Patients are generally concerned with their own health; few make appointments to ask how the doctor is, and give him medical advice. The Good News is that the Holy Spirit is "reproving" or "convicting" "the world of sin." The Bad News is that most who need help (His "patients") reject His reproofs and convictions of sin, so that Satan hopes that in the end the Holy Spirit will be proven a failure. Satan's last hope is that "the people of God" will reject His reproof and be involved in the general ruin coming on the earth.

There's a better reason to listen to the Holy Spirit's conviction of sin. He is Christ's Vicar; His job is to "convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment," the latter because "the ruler of this world is judged [condemned]" (John 16:8-11). In listening, in receiving His reproof, in giving up the sin He convicts you of, you honor Christ in this last battle of the millennia-long great controversy. The Holy Spirit is your Friend; now be a friend to Him also. Thank Him for His work.

--Robert J. Wieland From the "Dial Daily Bread" Archive: November 18, 2001. Copyright © 2014 by "Dial Daily Bread."

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Salvation--100 Percent the Work of Christ

Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"

We insist that salvation is 100 percent the work of Christ, and we can do nothing to help save ourselves. But some say that this will encourage people to be lazy spiritually and expect to be carried to heaven "on a bed of roses." People will conclude that obedience to God's Ten Commandments isn't important. But let's read what the Bible says, clearly.

"By grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast" (Eph. 2:8, 9). The King James Version says, "all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to Himself by Jesus Christ," but the New English Bible renders it, "From first to last this has been the work of God" (2 Cor. 5:18). Several times in Romans 5 Paul says that what Christ accomplished as our Savior was a "gift," and the obvious intent is that the gift is total.

Now, does this encourage a "do-nothing" attitude? The answer is a resounding YES if we don't understand the dimensions of the love (agape) that led Jesus to His cross. And that is the reason so many millions of Christians are lukewarm in their devotion to Him, willing to continue in transgression of the Ten Commandments. The apostasy that Daniel, Revelation, Jesus, and Paul warn us against is a falling away from the idea of love (agape; Rev. 2:4).

Paul prays for us, "that [the Father] would grant you [to be] ... rooted and grounded in agape, ... able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height—to know the agape of Christ which passes knowledge" (Eph. 3:14-19). When selfish human hearts (like ours) can begin to be stretched to "comprehend" that kind of love that went all the way to hell to find us, that died our second death, that "poured out His soul unto death" (Isa. 53:12), our ugly human pride is laid in the dust. Or at least begins to be. It's just a common sense response.

Morbid? Depressing? No, the opposite. We begin to "glory … in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world [with its glamour and self-admiration] has been crucified to me, and I to the world" (Gal. 6:14). At last we are released from our ugly selfishness, and begin to realize that even more than a hundred years of meticulous conformity to legalism is "counted as rubbish [garbage]," "my own righteousness, which is from the law" (Phil. 3:7-9).

--Robert J. Wieland

From the "Dial Daily Bread" Archive: January 7, 2003.

Copyright © 2014 by "Dial Daily Bread."

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Which Is Stronger--the Holy Spirit or Our Sinful Nature?

Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"

Is the Holy Spirit really stronger than our sinful flesh or sinful nature? Suppose that the opposite were true--that our sinful flesh were stronger than the Holy Spirit? What would happen? Well, there would be no salvation from sin. The salvation of any human being depends on the Holy Spirit being stronger than the flesh!

This brings us to the great controversy between Christ and Satan. Who will win? Who is really stronger? If you ask an unconverted person, he or she will tell you that Satan is stronger. Or at least it seems so in this modern evil world. Our sinful nature is so strong! The devil makes it seem so, but it is a lie.

Jesus said: "Be of good cheer, I have overcome the world" (John 16:33). That means that no matter how strong is the temptation to sin that tugs at your heart or mind, the Holy Spirit is stronger. But it does not mean that you have no part in the battle. Your part is to choose to say "No!" to the temptation. Titus 2:11 and 12 in the New International Version are very clear: "The grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. It teaches us to say 'No' to ungodliness and worldly passions, and [it teaches us] to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age."

In Galatians 5:16, we see that we have something to do--go for a walk with the Holy Spirit, and let Him hold you by the hand (cf. Isa. 41:10, 13). God has given us the power of choice; the Holy Spirit is forbidden to control you without your consent! Are you weak in moral power, in will power?

With the weeping father you can make the choice to believe, "Lord, I believe; help my unbelief" (Mark 9:24). And when you make the choice, you invite the Holy Spirit to demonstrate that He is stronger than your sinful flesh. God is free to work! "Taste and see that the Lord is good" (Psalm 34:8).

--Robert J. Wieland

From the "Dial Daily Bread" Archive: June 18, 1998.

Copyright © 2014 by "Dial Daily Bread."

Monday, November 24, 2014

A Conscious Fellowship with Jesus

Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"
On the surface it appears to be bad news when the Bible text says: "We must through many tribulations enter the kingdom of God" (Acts 14:22). It sounds like a contradiction of what Jesus said in Matthew 11:28-30: "Come to Me, ... and I will give you rest. ... My yoke is easy and My burden is light." Why take up a cross of self-denial in order to follow Jesus if you have to endure "many tribulations"?
This apparently difficult statement of Paul does not contradict that of Jesus. If you decline to share with Him His cross of self-denial, you can also have "many tribulations," even more. Jesus didn't come from heaven to this earth to excuse us fallen children of Adam from all troubles; He came to share our troubles and give us the comfort of His presence with us.
But those troubles, which are the lot of all humanity, will be infinitely more difficult to endure if we deprive ourselves of "the fellowship" of Christ in "His sufferings" (Phil. 3:10). Good people and bad people alike suffer accidents, have heart attacks, strokes, break their hips, and yes, die. But the person who responds to Christ's invitation and "takes up [his] cross daily and follows Him" enjoys a most precious uplift. He has a conscious fellowship with the one and only Jesus, the Son of God, who endured the horror of our second death on His cross (which we will never have to endure!).
This text of apparently bad news is like a nut that has a sweet kernel inside that awaits our patience in cracking its hard shell.
--Robert J. Wieland
From the "Dial Daily Bread" Archive: June 2, 2005.
Copyright © 2014 by "Dial Daily Bread."

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Take a New Look at Your Trials

Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"
What do you do when you pray and pray and you don't get an answer? Or the answer is a plain No? Did I hear you say that all your prayers get a Yes answer? If so you are a most unusual person. Many people, especially children, are perplexed when they hear stories of some people always getting an immediate Yes answer; they don't seem to get such answers. Well, neither do I.
Even the apostle Paul had to suffer the disappointment of not getting a Yes answer to his prayers. He tells us about it in 2 Corinthians 12:7-10. He had a painful physical problem, and three times he earnestly prayed, Lord, take this away; am I not serving You? And he probably said, like we do so often, "Don't I deserve something?" The Lord said No to his request: "My grace is sufficient for you," and with it you can endure this pain.
The children need to understand that if the Lord says No, it does not mean He doesn't love us; He does. His "No!" can be a greater proof of His love than if He lets us win the lottery.
We can be sure that He will always give us enough from His store of much more abounding grace that will enable us to bear the trial and endure its pain. That grace is often much better than to have the trial taken away from us. Why? Because His wonderful grace is strongest when you and I are at our weakest: "My strength is made perfect in weakness," He said to Paul (2 Cor. 12:9).
Paul immediately took the hint and capitalized on it: "Therefore most gladly I will rather boast [glory, KJV] in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me." In other words, my trials turn out to be a great bargain!
Take a new look at your trials; you may be missing a bonanza.
--Robert J. Wieland
From the "Dial Daily Bread" Archive: January 29, 2008.
Copyright © 2014 by "Dial Daily Bread."

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Does Your Switch Turn the Lights On, or Off?

Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"
Does your switch turn the lights On, or Off?
Perhaps you have thought that the switch in your house turns the electricity on. Wrong! Your electricity is turned on at the power station, and it is flooding your house through wires running all over, ready to run your lights, computer, and vacuum cleaner 24 hours a day. Your switch turns it off, otherwise your lights would be on all the time!
Likewise, your decision to follow Christ is not what turns His salvation on; He has already given you the gift of His salvation. That's what John 3:16 is saying; it is your unbelief that turns the gift off.
Our salvation is 100 percent due to God's initiative, not to our own in any way. But we let Him save us. By repentance, we stop turning the switch off! "The blessings of salvation are for every soul. Nothing but his own choice can prevent any man from becoming a partaker of the promise in Christ by the gospel" (The Desire of Ages, p. 403).
--Robert J. Wieland
From the "Dial Daily Bread" Archive: September 10, 1999.
Copyright © 2014 by "Dial Daily Bread."

Monday, November 17, 2014

SST #8 | "The Humility of Heavenly Wisdom"

SST #8 | "The Humility of Heavenly Wisdom" | Paul…:

The Savior Needs Your Willing Cooperation

Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"
When you think about it, you marvel: whenever Jesus worked a miracle to give people food or drink, He always needed the willing cooperation of some human beings. At the wedding in Cana of Galilee, He needed the help of the servants to go get the wine jars and fill them with water. Then He chose not to wave His hand and suddenly fill all the guests’ glasses with supernatural wine. Instead, working behind the scenes with the servants, He gave the party wine.
In the two miracles of feeding the thousands, it’s interesting that in each instance He waited for the cooperation of the disciples before He could feed the multitudes. In the case of the “four thousand” (Matt. 15:32-39), when He expressed His compassion on the people being so hungry that they might collapse on their journeys home, He first asked the disciples, “How many loaves do you have?” Apparently they went off to inquire and came back, “Seven, and a few little fish.” Very well, now He can do something; “He took the seven loaves and the fish and gave thanks, broke them, and gave them to the disciples  and the disciples gave to the multitude.”
In feeding the five thousand (Mark 6:30-44; John 6:5-14), again He was dependent on the little boy’s gift of his “five barley loaves and two fishes” (obviously the lunch his mother had made for him; he was so enthralled listening to Jesus he forgot to eat it). The lesson seems clear: although Jesus could “create” bread from nothing as He created the world in the beginning, now the rules in the great controversy require that He be dependent on willing human cooperation for something to begin with!
Astounding as the truth may be, the Savior actually needs you! Perk up, lift up your head; you are important in His great plan for the world.
--Robert J. Wieland
From the "Dial Daily Bread" Archive: May 1, 2005.
Copyright © 2014 by “Dial Daily Bread.”

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Fulfilling "Solomon's Law"

Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"
The story of King Solomon is one of the most fantastic in all sacred history. He starts out apparently perfect with that most rare gift of wisdom. He gets everything added to it. Every year he collects "666 talents of gold" until he has tons of it, he enjoys peace with his prosperity, "and all the earth sought the presence of Solomon to hear his wisdom, which God had put in his heart" (1 Kings 10:14, 24).
Solomon, you have it made! You have brought heaven on earth, better yet, you are fulfilling God's promise to Abraham that "in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed" (Gen. 12:3). And then, Solomon, you blew it; you turned right around and "went after Ashtoreh, the goddess of the Sidonians, and after Milcom, the abomination of the Ammonites." You built temples to pagan gods and set them up in our holy city of Jerusalem (1 Kings 11:1-8)! Why, oh why, would you do this? What made you fall like this?
This almost unbelievable history must have a lesson for us today--it's "Solomon's Law," which must be fulfilled again, more than 3000 years later until the lesson is learned. Add to Solomon's impressive "holy" obedience of his early years (with God's undeniable blessings) the factor of Old Covenant thinking, and the recipe calls for national apostasy to develop. Solomon reverses 500 years of Israel's history, takes them back to the "Egyptian" darkness from which they had been delivered.
Now, in our modern Christian history, if we add to all our "holy" obedience to the law (with God's undeniable blessings) the factor of Old Covenant theology, we also inevitably end up going to "Babylon" to learn methods of worship and patterns of thinking. We again reverse our own history. Those who have been sacredly commissioned to proclaim "Babylon the great is fallen" fulfill "Solomon's Law" by adopting Babylon's theology and worship. Solomon finally had the sense to repent. Lord, grant that same precious gift to us!
--Robert J. Wieland
From the "Dial Daily Bread" Archive: July 26, 2002.
Copyright © 2014 by "Dial Daily Bread."

Thursday, November 13, 2014

What it means to live under the new covenant

Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread," In His infinite wisdom, the dear Lord chose to have the apostle Paul define clearly for us what it means to live under the New Covenant (he wrote his Letters decades before the apostle John wrote his Gospel). God inspired Paul's writing of Galatians, Thessalonians, and Romans; these went everywhere in the young church. Paul defined the idea as God's justification of the world. It's the New Covenant principle of God calling those things which do not exist as though they exist already. It's like telling Abraham that He has already "made [him] a father of many nations" while he is still helplessly childless (see Rom. 4:17). So, Paul says, while all of us in this world are sinful, selfish enemies of God, He has "justified" us! Sounds crazy to people who still love the Old Covenant. It's saying something about us that isn't yet practically true as though it were already true. Ever since Mt. Sinai, God's people have had trouble believing this New Covenant principle. John wraps it all up as "unbelief." "He who believes in [Jesus] is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, ... and this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light ..." (3:18, 19). In other words, they love the Old Covenant more than they love the New. This same unbelief today hinders the wonderful work of lighting the earth with the final Good News message of glory (cf. Rev. 18:1-4). Let's review how Paul says it: "As through one man's offense [Adam's] judgment came to all men, resulting in condemnation [a judicial "verdict of condemnation," NEB], even so through one Man's righteous act [since the world began, there has been only one "righteous act"!] the free gift came to all men, resulting in justification of life" (Rom. 5:18). As Paul has explained in verses 15, 16, "justification of life" is a "judicial" "verdict of acquittal" (NEB) pronounced upon the world while the world is still at enmity with God. It's what makes it possible for God to "make ... His sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and [to] send rain on the just and on the unjust" (Matt. 5:45). Christ has taken the sin of the world upon Himself in His own soul, in His body, "made ... to be sin for us" (2 Cor. 5:21). For the one who believes and appreciates this New Covenant truth, his faith enables him to "become the righteousness of God in Him." --Robert J. Wieland From the "Dial Daily Bread" Archive: November 17, 2006. Copyright © 2014 by "Dial Daily Bread."

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

The Story of a Bitter Old Lady

Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"

One of the most encouraging stories of all time is about the Bitter Lady who held in her heart the success or failure of the great plan of salvation. Her decision to go one way or the other was pivotal for the world. No, it was not the Virgin Mary, for she was never bitter. It was Sarah, the wife of Abraham; she indeed was bitter at one time. She and Abraham were one flesh, as is true of all genuine marriages. It would have been impossible for God's promises to Abraham to be fulfilled if his wife had chosen to block the way through unbelief. (Those promises in Gen. 12:1-3 included the coming of the Messiah through whom "all the families of the earth shall be blessed.")

Both Abraham and Sarah were old and childless, and everybody thought the problem was Sarah. She was incapable bearing a child--a shameful thing for a woman in those days. As the years and decades ground by slowly, Sarah felt the blame keenly. Undoubtedly she had prayed and prayed, yet nothing happened.

When you believe that God is Almighty and you pray and pray about a problem and nothing happens, what do you do? Sarah blamed God. She vented her bitterness on her husband: "See now, the Lord has restrained me from bearing children" (Gen. 16:2). She realizes that she is standing in the way of God's fulfillment of His promises to Abraham, and it's not her fault! God is to blame! The entire affair of Hagar, the slave-girl turned second wife, is programmed by Sarah's bitterness.

Meanwhile, there is no way that "all the families of the earth [can] be blessed" except that Abraham must have a "child of promise." When Hagar bore Ishmael, Sarah's bitterness only got worse. Hagar lorded it over her in subtle ways until Sarah couldn't stand it any longer. She blew up at her husband: "My wrong be upon you! ... The Lord judge between you and me" (vs. 5).

But then the story changes and becomes beautiful. Sarah did some thinking. Hebrews 11:11 says that she reconsidered and "she judged that He who had promised would keep faith," and so "by faith even Sarah herself received strength to conceive, though she was past the age" (New English Bible).

The blessed result: "Therefore from one man, and one as good as dead [Sarah?], there sprang descendants numerous as the stars or as the countless grains of sand on the sea-shore" (vs. 12). Among them: One who "saved the world." It's time for you and me to "judge that He who has promised will keep faith."

--Robert J. Wieland

From the "Dial Daily Bread" Archive: February 28, 2000.

Copyright © 2014 by "Dial Daily Bread."

Monday, November 10, 2014

The Story of "The Crazy Man Who Was Smart"

Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"
Have you heard the story of "The Crazy Man Who Was Smart"? A humble, poor farmer, Ali came home from his hot sweaty work one evening with a strange glint in his eyes. His wife had cooked him a delicious supper but he wouldn't taste it. He grabbed up all his clothes, shoes, everything, and took them down to the thrift shop to sell them. His wife exclaimed, "Ali, are you crazy?" Next he grabbed all her clothes, even the occasional new dress he had been able to buy for her, her shoes, the lot, and took them downtown to sell. She told the kids, "Hide your toys and clothes; papa is on a rampage!" But it was too late. He grabbed their things too, and sold them. Then he sold his faithful donkey, his means of livelihood, and his cart.
His wife called his relatives, "Can't you do something with Ali? He's ruining us!" Next he brought a strange man to the house, and bargained with him, selling him every stick of furniture they owned, until the house was totally emptied of every possession, his wife crying in despair, the neighbors and relatives staring in wonderment.
Then Ali went away. When he came back, he had a look on his face as though he had conquered the world. Waving a sheet of paper in the air, he cried out, "I bought it! It's ours!" "You bought what?" his wife asked. "The land!" "What land?" "The land where I plow, where we have our little garden, the land I have been renting!"
Then he told her, the children, and the relatives, how he had been plowing the afternoon before when his plow struck something wooden deep down under the surface. Seeing no one around watching, he knelt down and scraped away the dirt, uncovering a chest full of gold and silver, pearls, and precious stones. This was rather common in the Middle East when there were no banks. A rich person could safely bury his wealth, and if he went to war or died on a trip somewhere, the box would be lost to anyone's knowledge until someone like Ali finds it. But in order to own the box, Ali must buy the land.
The story is in Matthew 13:44. What is the treasure? A love for the Bible. It will give you more joy now and forever than going to Disneyland every day.
--Robert J. Wieland
From the "Dial Daily Bread" Archive: July 15, 1997.
Copyright © 2014 by "Dial Daily Bread."

Wednesday, November 05, 2014

When Prayers Seem to Go Unanswered

Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread":
What do you do when prayer after prayer seems to go unanswered? Sometimes it seems that the more you pray, the more elusive is the answer you seek. God has foreseen that problem and directs us to His Word, the Bible, to find understanding. That is how the Father spoke to His Son at His baptism in the Jordan River--by quoting two Old Testament texts together, "This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased" (Matt. 3:17; Psalm 2:7; Isa. 42:1). A wise writer has said the words that the Father quoted to Jesus that day are spoken to us as well (The Desire of Ages, p. 113).
Thus, your first step is to believe that you are His "beloved" child in whom He is "well pleased." When you pray, you must believe that (Heb 11:6; James 1:5, 6). Many unanswered prayers are "prayed" in dark unbelief. It's not that the Father is mad at you, no; the problem is that your dark unbelief breaks the connection. You pray "in Jesus' name," don't you? Well, that means that you identify with Him in your praying. You must, no matter how it stretches your faith to believe it, and to say it.
Second, you grasp the truth that Jesus went through the exact experience you have had of seemingly unanswered prayers. It was on His cross--when He cried out, "Why have You forsaken Me?" He said, "The servant is not greater than his lord" (John 13:16). Don't resent tasting of His experience!
Third, you learn as Jesus did, to believe God in total darkness. You may ask, "Why must I learnthat lesson?" The answer: God is preparing you to endure throughout the "time of Jacob's trouble," when the only "light" will be that generated by your own personal faith in God's word, as it was with Christ on His cross. You could never endure that without this special pre-trial training.
Fourth, as you pray for more and more blessings yet to come, you never forget the ones you have already received. The greatest is that He has already saved you from the eternal grave that the second death means. That is an essential part of genuine faith--that constant realization that you are as one "alive from the dead" (Rom. 6:13).
So, you say you feel cold, empty, that your faith is dead? Here is the jump-start cable: thank God He has saved you "in Christ" from the second death. If that doesn't rev you up, nothing under heaven will. You will have new understanding of your seemingly unanswered prayers.
--Robert J. Wieland
From the "Dial Daily Bread" Archive: November 26, 1999.
Copyright © 2014 by "Dial Daily Bread."

Tuesday, November 04, 2014

Jesus' Specialty--Comforting Broken-hearted People

Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"
The Lord Jesus Christ surprised everybody, shocked them, when He said the opposite of what people expected to hear: "Blessed [happy] are the poor in spirit, ... blessed are those who mourn, ... blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake," etc. (Matt. 5:3-12).
His specialty is comforting "broken-hearted" people. "The Lord is near to those who have a broken heart, and saves such as have a contrite spirit" (Psalm 34:18). If you are looking for Jesus, trying to find Him, remember that "the heart of the wise is in the house of mourning, but the heart of fools is in the house of mirth" (Eccl. 7:4).
He has plenty of such people to be "near" to. Like the young people who must die from lethal diseases before they have begun to live--multitudes are "broken hearted." Some, if they are "contrite in spirit," can sense the Lord is "near" them. The Lord Jesus feels for these innocent victims in a special way. He suffered innocently on His cross; He felt "forsaken" of God, crying out, "My God, why have You forsaken Me?" (Read Psalm 22.)
Does Jesus merely pity these distressed people? Or does He actually "comfort" them? He promises, "Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted." When they lie down alone to die, He is near to them. "He gives His beloved sleep" (Psalm 127:2).
Those who believe we are living in the great Day of Atonement (heart-reconciliation) are blessed by the ministry of "Elijah the prophet" who reconciles alien hearts everywhere (Mal. 4:5, 6). Join him in his reconciling ministry! Give someone some Good News.
--Robert J. Wieland
From the "Dial Daily Bread" Archive: April 10, 2006.
Copyright © 2014 by "Dial Daily Bread."

Monday, November 03, 2014

Dial Daily Bread: Putting the “Brakes” on Paul?

Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"
When the Apostle Paul became zealous and wrote his "epistles" to the Romans, the Galatians, the Ephesians, Timothy, and others, was he slipping over the 50/50 line of "balance" between faith and works? Did God raise up the Apostle James to write his "epistle" in an effort to put the "brakes" on Paul?
It's not difficult to understand this problem. If we let James have his say we see that he is in no way opposing Paul. He is simply saying that genuine faith produces works of obedience to God's law (James 2:14). It's not faith AND works. James is exactly in harmony with what Paul says when he writes that what's important is "faith WHICH works" (Gal. 5:6).
Oh, may the dear Lord deliver us from our Old Covenant mindset of self: what's important in these last days is not saving our own poor souls and getting a crown to put on our own heads, but crowning the Son of God to be King of kings and Lord of lords. We are not mere spectators sitting on the bleachers watching the great controversy being fought to a close; we are down in the arena fighting "with Him" (Rev. 17:14).
Yes, we want to be saved, of course; but on this great Day of Atonement we have grown out of our childish concern for the ice cream and cake at the "marriage of the Lamb" and we have grown up to sense the concern of the Bride at the wedding. She is not thinking now of herself as she once did in her childhood, but of her Bridegroom. We can't set the clock back nor can we hinder it telling the time of day.
Faith has come to be seen as a heart-appreciation of His love (agape); the egocentric kind of "faith" is transcended and that love of Christ constrains us "henceforth" to think and to live "unto Him who died for us and rose again," and not unto ourselves (2 Cor. 5:14, 15). At last, self is crucified with Christ (Gal. 2:20; 6:14), and He alone is honored.
--Robert J. Wieland
From the "Dial Daily Bread" Archive: March 15, 2006.
Copyright © 2014 by "Dial Daily Bread."