Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Dial Daily Bread: What Jesus Said About the Unpardonable Sin

Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"

The fear of the unpardonable sin has distressed many sincere people. It discourages some and keeps them away from the joyous eternal life that the Lord wants them to experience.

They are told repeatedly that the unpardonable sin is continued, persistent sinning, to the point that they can no longer hear the Voice of the Holy Spirit. But almost everybody in the world can realize that he or she has indeed sinned in one way or another, persistently, continually.

We must look again at the context of what Jesus Himself said about the unpardonable sin; it's in Matthew 12:22-37: Jesus healed someone demon-possessed. "All the multitudes were amazed" and wondered positively if Jesus might be the long-awaited Messiah (as we today wonder if our long-awaited "Elijah" may have already begun his work of "turning hearts"). But "the Pharisees ... said, 'This fellow ... casts out demons ... by the ruler of the demons,'" Satan himself. They reacted negatively to the utmost.

This had happened earlier, in Matthew 9:34. These leaders of the one true church of that day had already attributed the work of Jesus to Satan (which is the unpardonable sin). Now Jesus has given them another chance to repent, but they have repeated that awful sin. Jesus then goes on to tell the Pharisees that "if I cast out devils by the [Holy] Spirit of God, surely the kingdom of God has come upon you" (12:28) and you didn't know it, or recognize the blessing! The church leaders went on and on in their way until they felt driven to cry out in Pilate's presence "Crucify Him"!

The way Matthew (chapter 12) and Luke (chapter 11) tell the story about the Pharisees, the people would have been willing to believe the truth and repent, but their church leaders hindered them and "in a great degree" blocked the way.

This action of the Pharisees was the Unpardonable Sin. Let's not repeat it. But if you fear and tremble, there's hope! Thank God.

--Robert J. Wieland

From the "Dial Daily Bread" Archive: June 17, 2006.

Copyright © 2015 by "Dial Daily Bread."

Monday, March 30, 2015

Dial Daily Bread: The Man Who Could Have Committed the Unpardonable Sin

Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"

There is a man in the Bible who could have committed the Unpardonable Sin, but thank God he did not. If he had, it would have been a very spectacular one, for it would have reduplicated on earth the "original" sin of Lucifer in heaven--jealousy of Christ.

"Jealousy [is] as cruel as the grave; its flames are flames of fire" (Song of Solomon 8:6); it was the sin of Lucifer against Christ, and it became for Satan the sin against the Holy Spirit (cf. Isa. 14:12-19; Eze. 28:12-19).

The man who was tempted but overcame was, of course, John the Baptist. He had known the thrill of preaching the true message under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit; but then it seemed the bottom fell out and the Holy Spirit left him for somebody else, as he saw the crowds abandon him and go over to the Man from Nazareth.

To make his heart burden more difficult, he found himself captured by Herod and thrust into a dungeon, and the weary days and weeks dragged by with no word from Jesus; it seemed that He had forgotten all about him in the euphoria of His happy ministry in the bright sunshine of success. John was abandoned, it seemed, in gloomy shadows.

He struggled with temptation, and Heaven looked on with concern, but the new "Elijah" stood the test. John's disciples even taunted him, "'Rabbi, He who was with you beyond the Jordan, to whom you have testified--behold, He is baptizing, and all are coming to Him!'" But John replied: '"He who has the bride is the bridegroom: but the friend of the bridegroom, who stands and hears him, rejoices greatly because of the bridegroom's voice. Therefore this joy of mine is fulfilled'" (John 3:26ff.).

Let's say you love a one-and-only woman; but you end up as "best man" and watch her given to another man. How could "self" be more painfully crucified? But John was rewarded by a great report in the Bible; and a day yet to come.

--Robert J. Wieland

From the "Dial Daily Bread" Archive: June 16, 2006.
Copyright © 2015 by "Dial Daily Bread."

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Dial Daily Bread: The Greatest Sign of the Nearness of the End

Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"

Something momentous about the truth of justification by faith developed in the latter years of the 19th century. Fresh insights into this glorious truth came through two young ordained ministers who thought through something that apparently no one else had clearly grasped. They simply combined Paul’s idea of justification by faith with the truth that we are now living in the great final cosmic Day of Atonement. The world’s High Priest, Jesus Christ, had begun His last work of fully reconciling alienated human hearts to God.

It was an antitypical work in the Most Holy Apartment of the heavenly sanctuary that fulfilled the type in the ancient high priest’s work when he entered the second apartment of the earthly tabernacle (see Hebrews 9). Now Christ’s objective was not merely preparing people to die and come up in the first resurrection (Rev. 20:6); now His work prepares a people to meet their Lord in person at His second coming (see 1 Thess. 4:16, 17), and be translated. Now every buried root of enmity against God (Rom. 8:7) is to be cleansed.

Only when the heart is cleansed can we be in total oneness with the Lord. Only then can it be said in all truth that “here are those who keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus” (Rev. 14:12). Christ’s righteousness is not merely legally imputed; now it is fully imparted.

This "most precious message" had within it the promise of fulfilling the prophecy of the message that must “lighten the earth with glory.” The reason was that it brought to parched human hearts what was in fact long-awaited “showers from heaven of the latter rain.” There was power in that message of justification by faith that delivered from the love of self. Those who believed treated their richest gain as loss and poured contempt on all their pride. This was refreshing to see in ministers. It was the greatest sign of the nearness of the end. But, why are we still here?

--Robert J. Wieland

From the "Dial Daily Bread" Archive: March 13, 2005.

Copyright © 2015 by "Dial Daily Bread."


Note to Subscribers:

If you are beginning to study the new Sabbath School quarterly on "The Book of Luke," and would like to learn more about this "most precious message," we would like to invite you to subscribe to Sabbath School Today. You will receive weekly essays via e-mail on the lessons, which will tie in the "dynamics" of the "most precious" 1888 message to the theme of the lesson. Along with other writers, some of the essays are prepared from the writings of Robert J. Wieland, author of "Dial Daily Bread."

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The "Dial Daily Bread" Staff

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Dial Daily Bread: Will God Be Judged by the Universe, or the Other Way Around?

Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"

Will God be judged by the universe, or is "judgment" one-sided with Him arbitrarily judging us? This is a serious issue because a mistaken idea here can influence a person's spiritual experience and motivate him or her to serve "God" because of fear. If such craven fear becomes the deepest motivation of our hearts, then our "Christianity" degenerates to become little more than paganism.

Someone may ask, What difference does it make whether "obedience" is motivated by fear or by love as long as it "obeys the law"? The difference will show up in the final test of the "mark of the beast." All fear-motivation will then program us to accept the mark of the beast rather than the seal of God because the mark of the beast (Rev. 13:13-18; 16:2) will be based entirely on fear, the ultimate root of paganism. We must find a better motivation. And that will require a clearer understanding of the character of God.

God does not want anyone to serve Him because of fear, because such fear would be for Him a hollow victory. Billions of people bowing low before Him because they are afraid of Him and His retributive judgment would bring Him no joy. He wants deep sincerity. Therefore Christ as the Son of God must humble Himself, make Himself vulnerable, become open and transparent, surrender Himself to the judgment of His creatures, in short, die upon a cross apparently forsaken by God, suffer the pangs of hell itself, and drain the last drop of fear in order to disarm and condemn it forever.

According to Revelation 14:6-15, God must submit Himself to the judgment of the universe, "for the hour of His judgment has come." Only thus can Satan, sin, and fear be finally and totally conquered, "because fear involves torment." The universe at last will see that "God is agape," and "agape casts out fear" (1 John 4:8, 18).

You and I can overcome fear only by permitting the Holy Spirit to "shed abroad in our hearts" this "agape of God" (Rom. 5:5, KJV). Each must ask himself, Am I a pagan or a Christian?

--Robert J. Wieland

From the "Dial Daily Bread" Archive: June 27, 2000.

Copyright © 2015 by "Dial Daily Bread."

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Dial Daily Bread: "Be of an Understanding Heart"

Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"

Thank God we can learn something as time goes on! Have you ever noticed how many times we find the word "understand" in the Book of Daniel? And yet it is probably the least understood book in the Bible!

Look first at what Jesus says: "Whosoever reads [Daniel], let him understand," the only Bible book that He singled out for special study (Matt. 24:15). In Daniel 8:16, God Himself commands Gabriel, "Make this man understand the vision." And then Gabriel told the prophet, "Understand, son of man" (vs. 17).

In 9:13 Daniel laments the lack of understanding among his people. In 9:22 the angel says, "I have now come forth to give you skill to understand," and in verse 23 he tells Daniel, "Consider the matter, and understand the vision." In verse 25 he again urges Daniel, "Know therefore and understand." In 10:11 he tells Daniel, "O Daniel, man greatly beloved, understand the words that I speak to you."

In the next verse he assures him that "from the first day that you set your heart to understand … your words [prayers] were heard." And two verses later he's at it again, "I have come to make you understand" (vs. 14). And in 11:33 the angel explains how happy he is that "those of the people who understand shall instruct many" so they can understand too! However, in 12:10, the angel teacher strikes a note in the sad minor key, "None of the wicked shall understand." Apparently there are eternal consequences in this matter of understanding or not understanding Daniel!

But now at last a happy note in the end of the Book of Daniel: "The wise shall understand." Do you understand the Book of Daniel? Can you open its pages and verse-by-verse "instruct" a neighbor, or a teen? Jesus says you must understand! This is not a command to do something difficult, but to open your heart to hear, to see, to learn, to receive truth. "Be of an understanding heart," Jesus says (Prov. 8:5).

--Robert J. Wieland

From the "Dial Daily Bread" Archive: November 22, 2000.

Copyright © 2015 by "Dial Daily Bread."

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Dial Daily Bread: Confused About Conflicting Views? Jesus Has Made Us a Promise!

Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"

A haze of confusion clouded the minds of the Jews in the days of Christ. Their man-made ideas were contradictory and created only spiritual discouragement in the minds of the common people. Jesus cleared it away.

Today there are also man-made ideas that create confusion in the minds of sincere people. They wonder if the time will ever come when God's people can be united in faith and can speak to the world with one voice. Jesus made a promise that's encouraging: "Every plant which My heavenly Father has not planted will be uprooted" (Matt. 15:13), meaning, all false ideas will be "uprooted." What a joy that will be when all of the ministers, teachers, leaders, and theologians see the truth alike in sunlit clarity!

If you are confused about what you can believe of all the conflicting views or ideas you hear or read, take heart. Jesus made another promise that is 100 percent true (sincere Jews didn't know if this upstart young Rabbi from Galilee was right, or whether the venerable elders from the headquarters offices were right): "If anyone wants to do His [the Father's] will, he shall know concerning the doctrine, whether it is from God or whether I speak on My own authority" (John 7:17).

If the common people would follow the leading of the Holy Spirit, saying a willing "amen" to each new ray of light flashed upon their pathway, their thinking would become clear. And there you have the Light flashing on your pathway today! Then another wonderful promise of Jesus will be fulfilled: "I am the good shepherd; and I know My sheep, and am known by My own. ... And other sheep I have which are not of this fold [untold numbers still in "Babylon"]; them also I must bring, and they will hear My voice; and there will be one flock and one shepherd" (John 10:14, 16).

No one will be better than anyone else. It'll be a little heaven on earth for God's people. Come, today, and be a part of Christ's solution, not a part of His problem. Get in full unity with His truth, and you'll be one with Him.

--Robert J. Wieland

From the "Dial Daily Bread" Archive: February 25, 2004.

Copyright © 2015 by "Dial Daily Bread."

Monday, March 23, 2015

Dial Daily Bread: Don't Forget the Flood of Noah

Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"

It's not "news" to you people out there around the world, but for us who live in California, it is good news that we are at last getting a little precipitation. Our State governor has been pleading with the people to conserve water (some of you are doubtless having too much water!).

We are reminded of a precious promise the Lord God made to all of us on Planet Earth after the great flood of Noah: "I will never again curse the ground for man's sake; ... nor will I again destroy every thing living as I have done. While the earth remains, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and winter and summer, and day and night shall not cease" (Gen. 8:21, 22). We take this for granted and think nothing of these common blessings.

But don't forget the flood of Noah. Jesus told us that in the end of time, humanity would again become as sinful as was that race of antediluvians in Noah's day. Our world today has just about reached that divine limit that the Lord has set.

We thank the dear Lord for giving us this promise! No, Planet Earth is not to become waste and deserted. The Lord created it for a purpose: "Thus says the Lord, ... who is God, who formed the earth and made it, ... who did not create it in vain, who formed it to be inhabited" (Isa. 45:18).

Jesus will come again as He promised (John 14:1-3); then the 1000 years of Revelation 20 will begin, at the end of which the Lord will re-create the earth and make it new again, only this time without the possibility of sin ever coming in to pollute it (see Rev. 21:1-5).

Our "beloved brother Paul" says this is our "blessed hope" (Titus 2:13); but he can't bring himself even to say this much without reminding us that Jesus "gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed" (vs. 14). That means that He died our second death--so infinitely great was His love for us!

There is the heart of the "third angel's message" of Revelation 14 that prepares a people to be translated when Jesus returns. Cling to that "blessed hope."

--Robert J. Wieland

From the "Dial Daily Bread" Archive: February 14, 2009.

Copyright © 2015 by "Dial Daily Bread."

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Dial Daily Bread: "Lo, I Am With You Always"

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 building Him a sanctuary was not to bottle Him up inside it, but to make it possible for Him to "dwell among them" (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 doing something wrong, but a heavenly Attorney seeking to defend you at court.

His closing words to His followers were: "'Lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.' Amen" (Matt. 28:19, 20). The "amen" means, "Yes! It is true! You can believe this!" 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" (Phil. 2:5-8). Our "minds" must be surrendered to the infilling of the Holy Spirit.

This is an exercise for 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, KJV). Remember, you are not taking the initiative to "find" the Lord; you are letting Him take the initiative to find 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. Delight in that thought of truth.

--Robert J. Wieland

From the "Dial Daily Bread" Archive: April 2, 2009.

Copyright © 2015 by "Dial Daily Bread."

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Dial Daily Bread: The Lesson of the "Birds' Bones"

Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"

The next time you watch a bird fly, think of the amazing love of its Creator. The Lord made its bones hollow, whereas our bones are solid. Why did the Creator do this for the birds? There is only one answer: to make it easier for them to fly!

The Creator (who by the way is our Savior!) was being kind to these winged creatures to make the burdens they have to carry lighter for them to bear. A good lesson for us: the same Creator who made the birds' bones hollow has made your "burdens" lighter for you to carry!

Instead of complaining because your burdens seem so heavy for you to carry, stop a moment; remember the birds and the Lord's kindness to them, and make a choice to believe that the same Creator who made the birds made you, and is caring for you today. He has made your burdens to be lighter than they would be without His blessing! Now, humble your soul, and thank Him for His mercy!

One of the most precious little morsels of Good News is found in the Lord's seven messages to His seven churches. We can take any bit of Good News and apply it to ourselves. For example, here is the Lord's message to Thyatira--take it to yourself: "I will put on you no other burden" (Rev. 2:24).

If you were a horse or a donkey, the Lord would not overload you; He would reduce the weight of your burden. Today, that's His message to you: He will put upon you "no other burden" heavier than you can carry!

Make your choice to thank Him for the encouraging news from His Word, then believe that He has already "put no other burden on you." Ask Him to forgive you for your unbelief in thinking the burden He has laid on you is too heavy for you to carry! (That promise is a good one to mark in your Bible!)

--Robert J. Wieland

From the "Dial Daily Bread" Archive: April 28, 2009.

Copyright © 2015 by "Dial Daily Bread."

Friday, March 20, 2015

Dial Daily Bread: Not Spectators, but Players on the Field

Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"

When we wake up each new morning, we face bewilderment and confusion all over the earth. We humans seem to cover the earth like little ants running to and fro, and yet we are the family of God. We are created in His image; the glorious Creator of the vast universe left His high and holy place and became one of us. But we are not "ants," we are sons and daughters of God "in Him." We are fellow-saints with Him engaged in the greatest struggle that has ever been waged in the universe--the controversy between Christ and Satan. We are not spectators at the arena; we are players on the field.

What's happening around us is the closing scene of this titanic war between two "spirits"--the One designated in the Bible as "Holy," and "the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience" who is inspired by "the Devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world" (Eph. 2:2; Rev. 12:9).

How can "the whole world" be deceived? Jesus says that so terrible will be the deception that it will come "on all those who dwell on the face of the whole earth" like "a snare" (Luke 21:35). It's happening now. But thank God, not everyone will be deceived.

Think what it was like when Jesus was born; the masses knew the inspired prophecies of the Old Testament or at least had ready access to them if they didn't want to be deceived, yet how many recognized the Messiah when He came as a humble Baby in Bethlehem? Some did, but only a few.

So today; there is for sure "a remnant" (Rom. 9:27), "few who are saved" (Luke 13:23), who have learned the lesson of Bethlehem, who walk "softly" (1 Kings 21:27, KJV), who respond to the "still small voice" (1 Kings 19:12) that calls them in God's word, who choose to believe every truth that the Holy Spirit teaches as "He guides [you] into all truth" (John 16:13), who "follow the Lamb [the crucified Christ] wherever He goes" (Rev. 14:4-6), who are "with Him" as He takes His final stand in the struggle of the nations of earth (Rev. 17:14), who identify with "the Lamb" so closely that they pervade His thinking and His feelings as a bride identifies with her husband's deepest yearnings.

Amid earth's clash of arms and the din of its endless traffic, listen!

--Robert J. Wieland

From the "Dial Daily Bread" Archive: February 14, 2004.

Copyright © 2015 by "Dial Daily Bread."

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Dial Daily Bread: Our Universal Possession

Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"

It was the greatest miscarriage of justice in all of history: the Son of God came to this earth to save us, He became one of us, He became the second Adam (the first had brought a judicial curse upon us). Instead, Jesus, as the second Adam, brought a judicial blessing and judicial acquittal upon everybody. And yet "we" corporately turned upon Him and hated Him and expelled Him from the world by killing Him.

It was the acting out of the truth in Romans 8:7, which says: "the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be." None of us can proudly say, "If I had been there, I would not have joined in doing that to Him!" Our "carnal mind" is our universal possession. Each one of us needs a "new mind."

Philippians 2 can enlighten us: "Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus" (vs. 5). We can have a new mind if we only consent for it to be given to us! If we want it! We can't pick and choose and end up saying we want only 10 percent of it. We must take the entire gift:

"[He took] the form of a servant" (vs. 7). Not one of the twelve disciples humbled his soul enough to get down on his knees and wash the Savior's feet (John 13). Some one might have been willing to do it--but the humiliation before the crowd was too much for their proud hearts. "His mind" chose to wash the disciples' feet.

Let's keep asking Him to give us that "mind." As surely as a new day has come, we will be confronted with the practical choice in some way to "receive" that "mind." Let's say "Yes!"

--Robert J. Wieland

From the "Dial Daily Bread" Archive: August 18, 2008.

Copyright © 2015 by "Dial Daily Bread."

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Dial Daily Bread: Victory Over Envy

Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"

It's true! Temptation is not sin. Luther was wise when he said that you can't keep birds from flying over your head, but you can stop them from making a nest in your hair.

A sinful thought may flit through your head--we live in a sinful world with evil all around us. And it is sin to welcome that thought, to entertain it and cherish it.

The evil act begins with the evil thought played out in the mind, tolerated, maybe enjoyed momentarily. That is the time, the moment, to firmly say "No!" and get rid of it. Command it to depart! A thought of envy or jealousy of someone else is poison to one's own happiness and it also casts a blight on the other person, for it cannot be hidden.

The Lord has thought of all these temptations and He has provided for them. For example, He says, "Rejoice with those who rejoice" (Rom. 12:15). The simple fact that He has commanded us thus is evidence that He gives us the victory over the temptation to be jealous of someone else's success. Along with the joy we experience at the other person's success is our humble prayer for that person that it will not become a snare.

The dear Lord is working through the Holy Spirit, night and day, 24/7, worldwide, to teach and train His people to "bear one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ" (Gal. 6:2). This is the same as His work to call out and to discipline His "144,000" to "follow the Lamb wherever He goes" (Rev. 14:1-5). Thank the Lord that His command is a promise of victory over envy!

--Robert J. Wieland

From the "Dial Daily Bread" Archive: August 4, 2008.

Copyright © 2015 by "Dial Daily Bread."

Monday, March 16, 2015

Dial Daily Bread: Does Jesus Really Need Us?

Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"

Does the Lord Jesus Christ really need us? Is He not the Omnipotent One? So is He not automatically the Victor in His “great controversy" with Satan? Does it really matter to Him if we are loyal or disloyal? And in the long run, won't He win irrespective of our loyalty?

Let’s back up to the Great Event on Calvary’s cross: When Jesus was arrested in Gethsemane we read that “all the disciples forsook Him and fled” (Matt. 26:56). Let us not forget that Jesus, although He was the divine Son of God, had laid aside the prerogatives of His divinity, and He was now the “Son of man.” He was living our life, as One of us, feeling as we feel.

The pain of those spikes driven into His ankles and wrist bones was horrible, but it was nothing compared to the pain of His soul when His chosen ones, the Eleven (Judas had already forsaken Him), turned away from Him. In the horror of the moment, could He have been tempted to fear that His mission might ultimately fail? After all, weren’t these Eleven a prophecy of the ultimate end of His “great controversy" with Satan?

Wouldn’t it have been wonderful if at least one of the Eleven had firmly declared to the Romans, “If you crucify this Man, you crucify me, too!”? But there is no such story in any of the four Gospels; there is no such Hero for any of us to exult in.

Whoever we could be today, the truth is that the Lord Jesus does need us to be loyal to Him; it’s too late for Him to have to feel sad that we too have done what the Eleven did long ago. It’s time for “144,000” of the weakest and most unworthy of earth’s inhabitants to “follow the Lamb wherever He goes” (Rev. 14:4). That’s our glorious opportunity!

--Robert J. Wieland

From the "Dial Daily Bread" Archive: January 15, 2009.

Copyright © 2015 by "Dial Daily Bread."

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Dial Daily Bread: Abiding in the Shadow of the Almighty

Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"

A so-called "gospel" without Good News is a counterfeit. The recurring theme of the apostles' message is "glad tidings" (see Acts 13:32-34). This gave people no false assurance of trusting to their personal experience. The burden of their message was how faithful God is (see Rom. 8:26-39).

Our problem is our alienation from God due to our guilt and distorted view of His character. Troubles and disappointments arouse bad feelings. Why doesn't He do more to help us? Paul pleaded, "Be reconciled to God," believe the truth about His character, let the blood of Christ wash you clean, and let your enmity be healed and your guilt taken away (2 Cor. 5:20). Then faith can go to work, producing mighty works of righteousness in the life.

Now it is time to "come boldly to the throne of grace," where we are sure to find grace to help in time of need, because that need is felt by our Savior (see Heb. 4:14-16). The same temptation that presses you touches Him. His wounds are ever fresh, and He ever lives to make intercession for you.

No matter how much Satan may war against us, assaulting us where the flesh is weakest, we may abide under the shadow of the Almighty, and be filled with the fullness of God's strength.

Why is it that the sun does not slip out of its place? The powerful word of the Savior holds the sun there, and causes it to go on in its course. And that same power holds up the believer in Jesus.

Thus the gospel emphasis is not on what we must do in order to be saved, but on what we must believe. And what must we believe? Always, Good News.

--Robert J. Wieland

Excerpted from: Powerful Good News, by Robert J. Wieland. 

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Dial Daily Bread: The Sweetest Melody That Can Come From Human Lips

Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"

The word "gospel" means "good news," and good news is always interesting. When Jesus proclaimed it, "the common people heard Him gladly" (Mark 12:37). The apostles' preaching was also so powerful and attractive that their enemies confessed that they had "turned the world upside down" (Acts 17:6).

In every age, God's Good News has compelled the attention of mankind. Never does the Holy Spirit compose a tame, lifeless message. The last proclamation of the gospel is communicated by "angels … to those who dwell on the earth--to every nation, tribe, tongue, and people … with a loud voice." Then the message swells "mightily" as it lightens the earth with glory (Rev. 14:6; 18:1-4). The angels symbolize the ministry of God's servants.

This scenario calls for the most powerful and interesting communication that the world has ever heard. Neutrality is an impossible reaction to it. As in the days of the apostles, people will get off the fence and either accept it wholeheartedly or reject it just as decidedly.

Any presentation of the "gospel" that is dull and boring is suspect. The youth who complain that Christianity is not exciting, not positive, not attractive, most likely have never heard that pure gospel message which catalyzes humanity.

The full truth of the New Testament gospel message is the sweetest melody that can come from human lips—justification by faith, and the righteousness of Christ. Imagine a message so joyous and hope-inspiring that the listeners are tempted to think it is too good to be true. That is what people thought when they heard the Apostle Paul proclaim "glad tidings" (Acts 13:32).

--Robert J. Wieland

Excerpted from: Powerful Good News, by Robert J. Wieland.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Dial Daily Bread: That Melted-Heart Repentance Will Come

Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"

The last page of the Bible invites us to come if we are thirsty, and "take the water of life freely" (Rev. 22:17). And Jesus says, "Come to Me" if we're weary and heavy-laden, and He will give us "rest" (Matt. 11:28-30). So, we "come" and we are baptized, and we become members of the church. We are so happy at last to find fellowship in the Lord; heaven on earth.

And we continue to "read the Bible, and pray, and witness" like we're always told to do. And we believe the Bible and say so, but then opposition and controversy arise. We're tempted to wish that we had kept still. So, we are driven to our knees to pray, and we ask the Lord, "Why is this happening? I wanted peace, and now this 'war' has come!"

The Lord has indeed promised, "the one who comes to Me I will by no means cast out"! (John 6:37). As you wait quietly before Him in prayer, He answers your questions faithfully.

If you keep your eyes on Jesus you will see a Man who was cruelly crucified because He told the truth. And He tells us all, "I did not come to bring peace but a sword" (Matt. 10:34). Deny self, take up your cross daily (Luke 9:23). But wait a moment--you never fight a battle alone! This is what you must believe.

He faithfully promises, "I will never leave you nor forsake you." So we may boldly say, "The Lord is my helper; I will not fear. What can man do to me?" (Heb. 13:5, 6). You choose not to be afraid, in the Lord. Then ... you're not afraid.

Even in the church, the Lord's house, where we expect to find heaven on earth, we find conflict and even persecution. That's where the most severe and painful conflicts come! But the Lord still assures you, He won't forsake you.

He loves the church for it is yet to become the Bride of Christ; and it does indeed have severe problems within it, for Jesus tells the leadership of the church today that of all the "seven churches" of world history, you are the one outstandingly "miserable, poor, blind, and naked" (the little Greek word ho is there, the one; Rev. 3:17).

Therefore do not give up on the church, the body of Christ, His Bride-to-be. The final victory in the "great controversy between Christ and Satan" comes at the very end and it requires that the church finally "overcome" and do what He says in Revelation 3:19--repent. It won't at last be fear that motivates her, but a deeper appreciation of what it cost Him to save us. That melted-hearted repentance will come, it has to come; hang on!

--Robert J. Wieland

From the "Dial Daily Bread" Archive: June 5, 2007.

Copyright © 2015 by "Dial Daily Bread."

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

"Living by Faith"

Sabbath School Lesson 11 | "Living by Faith" | Pastor Paul Penno: https://youtu.be/tj1TTvozRVg

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Dial Daily Bread: Encouragement From the Book of Revelation

Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"

The Book of Revelation encourages us that from the vast activity on the earth, fruitage springs up--the raising up of a people worldwide of whom God can honestly say, "Here is the patience of the saints; here are those who keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus" (Rev. 14:12).

In giving His Son for the world, the Father made an infinite investment. Now it will be seen that it pays off. Christ did not make His sacrifice in vain. A people are raised up who deeply appreciate it. The hopes and fears of untold billions of all ages are summed up in that final assurance of atonement effected and realized.

The text assures us that He will have a worldwide body of people who reflect the beauty of His character. Of themselves they will have no innate goodness, but as broken scraps of an otherwise worthless mirror can dazzle one's eyes with the sun's rays, so each believer in Christ will beautifully reflect a facet of His perfect character.

If God "so loved the world that He gave His only Son" two thousand years ago, we can be sure that He still "so loves" the world of today that He will not permit any human soul to miss hearing in some way what the Good News is. The apostle Paul calls it "righteousness by faith," an effective motivation for a change of heart (Gal. 5:5, 6).

The Good News reveals three glorious truths: a God who is a Heavenly Father; a Savior who remains for all eternity a member of the human family, One with us; and a Holy Spirit who is the Spirit of Christ sent to "abide" or to stay with every human soul who welcomes His presence. Christ is closer to us individually than any human being can be because He comes in the presence of the Holy Spirit.

How can anyone be depressed if he or she will believe such Good News?

--Robert J. Wieland

Excerpted from: Powerful Good News, by Robert J. Wieland.

Copyright © 2015 by "Dial Daily Bread."

Monday, March 09, 2015

Dial Daily Bread: A People Will Be Ready!

Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"

Jesus promised in John 14:1-3, "I will come again." And He clearly explained in Matthew 24 that His coming will be personal and literal, and He will resurrect the "dead in Christ." 1 Thessalonians 4:16, 17 tells us that those who will be resurrected are "the dead in Christ" who have chosen to abide in Him. So, the question makes real sense: What kind of special preparation will those people make who go through the final time of trouble, overcome the mark of the beast, stand on the sea of glass "without fault" (Rev. 14:1-5), and actually welcome Christ at His second coming?

The Bible is full of Good News, but here is where it is finally focused in its greatest brilliance. First comes what appears on the surface to be intense bad news--the Holy Spirit will shine that Light into the darkened chambers of the human heart until every secret, previously unknown sin is mercilessly exposed. God's people will be painfully aware of its deep existence that they had never before fully realized. Every last vestige of spiritual pride will be laid in the dust.

The superficial idea that we're "OK" will be shattered by the realization that no one of us is any better or more righteous of ourselves than anybody else in the world. The sin of somebody else will be seen to be our sin, but for the grace of Christ. At last, those who believe in Christ will realize what God said through Isaiah long ago, "Their righteousness is of Me" (54:17), not of themselves.

And what will be the crowning sin in which they at last realize they share guilt? The crucifixion of Christ! Zechariah 12:10 says, "they will look on Me whom they have pierced." Each will see himself or herself at the cross!

Then comes the Good News: "A fountain shall be opened" for cleansing that will flow in unprecedented glory (13:1). Grace will abound "much more," corresponding to the "much more" conviction of sin that God's people will experience. The final negative will be matched by the final Positive. A people will be ready!

--Robert J. Wieland

From the "Dial Daily Bread" Archive: August 30, 1998.

Copyright © 2015 by "Dial Daily Bread."

Dial Daily Bread: Is It a Sin to Be Afraid?

Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"

Is it a sin to be afraid? You say No. Okay. Let me ask another question: can fear deprive you of the protection God would like to give you?

Two men delivered the same God-given message to wicked King Jehoiakim and his court. God protected one man from the death the princes threatened; but He did not intervene to protect the other prophet from being slain by Jehoiakim's sword. Why the difference? Was God showing partiality?

"Urijah the son of Shemaiah" proclaimed the same message faithfully "in the name of the Lord." "When Jehoiakim the king, with all his mighty men and all the princes, heard his words, the king sought to put him to death." Then Urijah did what you and I would feel like doing. "He was afraid and fled, and went to Egypt." Surely God would have wanted to protect him from that murderous hatred; but something made it impossible: Urijah "was afraid" (Jer. 26:20, 21).

In contrast, when Jeremiah proclaimed the same message and the "priests and the prophets [and] princes" threatened to kill him (mind you, these are all God's people, members of His true church!), Jeremiah stood his ground boldly. "The Lord sent me to prophesy against this house and against this city with all the words that you have heard. ... Know for certain that if you put me to death, you will surely bring innocent blood on yourselves, on this city, and on its inhabitants" (vss. 10-15).

Jeremiah's holy boldness made it possible for God to impress the "princes and all the people" to protect Jeremiah (vss. 16-19). Agape is the kind of "love divine, all loves excelling" that casts out fear. The Holy Spirit wants to "pour it out in our hearts" (Rom. 5:5; 1 John 4:18). Let Him do so!

--Robert J. Wieland

From the "Dial Daily Bread" Archive: June 11, 2001.

Copyright © 2015 by "Dial Daily Bread."

Thursday, March 05, 2015

Dial Daily Bread: A Very Personal "Diary" in the Bible

Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"

If you found someone's lost diary (which was anonymous), and you wanted to return it, you would search for clues in the diary that could help you, some little details that could aid in identifying the right author.

Well, we have a very personal "diary" in the Bible that appears to be anonymous. It is intensely personal, revealing secrets that people don't usually divulge to anyone, like secret battles with temptation, or anguish and distress at midnight, or anxieties that get you up before dawn. It seems to be written by a very unusual person.

A clue gives away that the author is a teenager (vs. 9): "How can a young man [na'ar] cleanse his way?" A "na'ar" is someone "from the age of infancy to adolescence," says Strong's concordance, pretty well narrowing down our clue to a teenager. Another clue: this teen, whoever he is, has "more understanding" than all the University professors of his day (vs. 99). Another clue: he even knows more than the Supreme Court justices of his day (vs. 100).

Further, he tells us that he has never set his feet in a path that leads to a sin (vs. 101). I don't know of anyone who could say that except One person.

He is unusual as a boy in that "princes [did] sit and speak against me" (vs. 23). He seemed to have a knack for getting "princes" all stirred up against him (vs. 161).

Young as he was, he had lots of "afflictions" (vss. 67, 75, 107). Boys don't usually cry tears, but this one did--rivers of them (vss. 136, 145). Which must have meant--he was unusually human, as well as whatever else he was.

Rather than the handsome village athlete, he says he was "small and despised" (vs. 141), but people who loved truth seemed attracted to him (vs. 63), so he was never utterly alone until at the very end of his life when everybody forsook him (Isa. 63:3).

Many artists have tried to picture Jesus as a boy; it will do your soul good to ponder this portrait of Him in Psalm 119.

--Robert J. Wieland

From the "Dial Daily Bread" Archive: June 22, 2003.

Copyright © 2015 by "Dial Daily Bread."

Wednesday, March 04, 2015

Dial Daily Bread: What Did the Believing Thief "See"?

Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"

An old poem "glories" in the cross of Christ "towering o'er the wrecks of time." There at His cross all humankind line up under two clearly demarcated categories. We all are defined as "thieves," either (a) the repentant one who begged Jesus, "Lord, remember me when Thou comest into Thy kingdom," or (b) the unrepentant one who refused to believe what his fellow thief had seen--that the One between them was indeed "the Savior of the world." No third person was crucified that day; we are all "there" on His right or left.

What did the believing thief "see"? Don't despise his understanding. The greatest scholars in the world can humble themselves to learn from him. You can learn to "see" a lot of theology in just a few moments when you are crucified side by side with the Son of God--if you will believe. Truth flashed into the mind of that thief: this Man in their midst is "the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world" (John 1:29). He is "the Savior of the world" (John 4:42), Paul's "Savior of all men" (1 Tim. 4:10). He is the second or "last Adam" who has reversed all the condemnation that the first Adam brought on the human race.

Anyone can learn an enormous lot when at last he faces the real thing known as death. The repentant thief "saw" that when Christ took away the "verdict of condemnation" that Adam brought on us all, He gave us instead forgiveness, His "verdict of acquittal" (Rom. 5:15-18, Revised English Bible; Eph. 1:3-7). Don't under-estimate that saved man's knowledge: Jesus gave him an "A+" that morning. His "curse" was transformed into justification. Any theological seminary would be honored to have that repentant thief as a professor.

But if we "see" that Christ has given us all the "gift" of "justification unto life," is that a heresy--being "born justified"? It's not heresy. We are all "born condemned" in Adam; so why can't we be "born justified" in Christ if He is "the Savior of the world," "the Savior of all men"? You believe like the one thief, or you dis-believe like the other.

--Robert J. Wieland

From the "Dial Daily Bread" Archive: June 1, 2003.

Copyright © 2015 by "Dial Daily Bread."

Tuesday, March 03, 2015

Dial Daily Bread: Two Lifestyles--What's the Difference?

Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"

You take your temperature when you think you have a fever, but can you take a self-test to see if you are living under the Old Covenant, or under the New? At Mt. Sinai, ancient Israel voluntarily enslaved themselves under Old Covenant darkness that shadowed their history thereafter until finally they destroyed their nation and crucified their Messiah, the world's Redeemer.

What's the difference between the two lifestyles today?

Old Covenant living is constantly trying to do everything right, motivated by fear of the judgment, concerned because Christ has not already done all of this for you but is waiting for you to do something first that would make it possible for Him to do all this for you.

New Covenant living is believing the promises of God, rejoicing in the salvation already achieved for you, saying Thank You to God for saving you from the second death by the sacrifice of Christ's blood. It's realizing consciously that the bread you ate today is stamped with the cross of Christ, that every breath you draw is a gift of His much more abounding grace, that you're infinitely and eternally in debt to Him. It's reading Ephesians 1 and believing that you have been adopted into the family of God, thanks to something the Savior already did and not what you have ever done.

It's joyously, willingly, happily, surrendering yourself to follow Him in service today, counting not your life dear unto yourself, but gladly consecrating yourself to listen obediently to everything the Holy Spirit says to you, to "comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height--to know the agape-love of Christ, which passes knowledge" (Eph. 3:18, 19), the love that drove Him as far as hell to save you from hell. Yes, it's total obedience motivated by His abounding grace.

--Robert J. Wieland

From the "Dial Daily Bread" Archive: July 24, 2002.

Copyright © 2015 by "Dial Daily Bread."

Monday, March 02, 2015

Dial Daily Bread: "The Mind of Christ"--The Greatest Joy You Can Have

Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"

Some scholars believe that Philippians 2:5-9 was a hymn that the early Christians sang: "Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery [or inappropriate for Him] to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation [people sometimes do anything in order to preserve their reputation!], taking the form of a servant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to death [the only man in all of history who has done that!], even the death of the cross."

If you don't resist the Holy Spirit, He will impart to you "the mind of Christ," the greatest joy you can have--to be totally "at-one" with Him.

Jesus, the Son of God, was at the highest level anyone in the universe could be; but He gave up that honor. When you receive "the mind of Christ," your motive in life will no longer be to climb to the top. You will patiently let the Father, through His providences, lead you and place you where He wants you to be.

This will be especially beautiful if your calling in life is to be a minister or preacher of the gospel, a pastor or evangelist; your very voice will have in it "the echoes of the voice of Christ." Your whole soul will glorify Him.

You will be a manifestation of the Lord's promise to send us "Elijah" (see Mal. 4:5, 6): "Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord." Don't wait for some old man with a long white flowing beard; the grace of the Lord may inspire some teenager to speak the pure true message of Elijah!

--Robert J. Wieland

From the "Dial Daily Bread" Archive: February 11, 2009.

Copyright © 2015 by "Dial Daily Bread."