Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Dial Daily Bread: Children Frightened by War Must Know That Christ Is Stronger Than Satan

Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"

Children are frightened by war, no matter which side their nation is on. The massive violence and destruction are terrifying. War has always unleashed the worst passions of human hearts. Hatred becomes raw. Satan delights in war because it drives people into satanic cruelty and often ushers them into eternity unprepared. Children need to be taught about God:

They must learn that the Heavenly Father feels for the human suffering on both sides of the war. It is more painful for Him to watch than it is for us (Isa. 63:8, 9).

They must be taught that hateful war is the result of sin which human beings, not God, have brought on the world. In rejecting and crucifying Christ, the world has rejected and exiled God. Until the great controversy between Christ and Satan is brought to an end, Satan is still the "prince of the power of the air" (Eph. 2:2). He is "the ruler of this world" (John 16:11), elected so by sinful humanity. But children must know that Christ is stronger than Satan.

They must see that in sending His only begotten Son into this sinful world, God has invaded enemy territory. He has not abandoned the world. His Holy Spirit strives with all of humanity on both sides of war, so that in the midst of the horrors of war, there are some people who show the spirit of Christ. Children need to know that the Holy Spirit is active. God has some good people everywhere; He has not abandoned the world.

Children must be taught to be glad for Psalm 91; to listen to each word, and choose to believe it. They must know that they are safe in the hands of Jesus and that no one can reach them there (John 10:27-30). They can do as Esau did and jump out of His hand (Heb. 12:14-17), so they do have a responsibility of their own; but they must be taught that Christ is faithful to them. Then lead them to choose to be faithful to Him--not with vain Old Covenant promises but with a heart response.

--Robert J. Wieland

From the "Dial Daily Bread" Archive: March 24, 2003.

Copyright © 2015 by "Dial Daily Bread."

Monday, September 28, 2015

Dial Daily Bread: Does God Take Young People Seriously?

Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"

Does the Lord respect the prayerful commitment of a teenager? Or, because he or she is so young, does He trivialize it?

The Lord very seriously noticed the devotion of teenage Abraham in Ur of the Chaldees when the boy insisted on worshipping the one true God, the God who made the moon rather than worship the moon itself, as his father Terah did. It could be that young Abraham was the only teenager in the world at the time who worshipped the one true God (Gen. 11:27-12:3).

When teenage Joseph wept his eyes out the night after he had been sold as a slave to the Midianites, he resolved in solemn prayer to dedicate himself heart and soul to God; his prayer was respected in heaven. Even though great trials of faith followed, the Lord never trivialized Joseph's teenage devotion. He loves to interact with serious-minded teenagers!

Samuel hadn't even reached his teen years when the Lord chose him as the only person in Israel He could entrust with a serous message for Eli (and thus for the nation; 1 Samuel 3). And even as a teen, Samuel's words were not permitted to "fall to the ground" (vs. 19).

David was a teenage shepherd boy when a "lion ... took a lamb out of the flock, and [he] went after it and struck it, ... caught it by its beard, and ... killed it." He also killed a bear! (1 Sam. 17:34-36). Whether David had time to pray during these exploits we do not know; but his devotion to duty was total; God respected him. During his teen years David set his course for life.

Daniel was another teen who committed himself heart and soul to the Lord, and the Lord respected his commitment and the boy grew to be a man "greatly beloved" in heaven (9:23). Wouldn't you like to hear an angel tell you that?

Jesus wasn't quite a teenager when He watched His first Passover. When it dawned on Him that Someone sinless must die for the sins of the world as "the Lamb of God," His young heart thrilled with the resolve that He would surrender himself to be that Lamb. The Father noticed His prayer and took Him seriously.

Teens, you are very important in the economy of God, especially on this cosmic Day of Atonement. The Heavenly Father takes you seriously!

--Robert J. Wieland

From the "Dial Daily Bread" Archive: July 4, 2007.

Copyright © 2015 by "Dial Daily Bread."

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Dial Daily Bread: The Root of All Religious Falsehood

Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"

There is a fascinating story in Daniel 2 which tells how the intelligentsia of ancient Babylon had a modern counterfeit idea of God, held today by millions.

King Nebuchadnezzar understood enough to know that there is somewhere in the universe a true God. He had blindly trusted the religious leaders of his empire, assuming they were in touch with whoever this "God" is. The true God of heaven had given him what we now know was an important prophetic dream. But God also gave the king temporary amnesia so that events could disillusion him. He correctly decided that if the religious leaders of his empire were indeed in touch with "God," whoever He was, they could learn from Him the details of his prophetic vision and explain it.

Good thinking! But they were stumped. The king was in distress; it seemed that the fate of the world depended on his understanding this strange divine revelation (in a way, it did!). He demanded that they earn their salary by demonstrating their "superior" wisdom. Impossible, they said; no one on earth could do what you want "except the gods, whose dwelling is not with flesh" (2:11).

And there lies the root of all religious falsehood, even some so-called "Christian." The Bible says there are "many false prophets" today, as there were in Babylon (Matt. 24:11). Their fundamental idea? The same as the Chaldeans--it "does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh, ... and this is the spirit of the Antichrist" (1 John 4:1, 2).

The Babylonians believed there is a "God," but not one who has taken upon Himself our "flesh," "the likeness of sinful flesh," who has "partaken" of the same fallen "flesh and blood" that all we "children" of the fallen Adam by nature possess. In that same "flesh" that we have, Christ "condemned sin" so that "the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled" in all who will simply have "the faith of Jesus" (see Rom. 8:3, 4; Heb. 2:14-17; Rev. 14:12).

Daniel gave the king Good News. Let's believe it!

--Robert J. Wieland

From the "Dial Daily Bread" Archive: October 8, 2004.

Copyright © 2015 by "Dial Daily Bread."

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Dial Daily Bread: The Greatest Spiritual Earthquake Since the 16th Century

Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"

It's an enormous cataclysm of humanity that has taken place over the past several years. It amounts to the greatest spiritual earthquake since the 16th century, when the Protestant Reformation swept through Europe and dominated the beginnings of the American Revolution. The Founding Forefathers of the United States vowed to establish a government without a king, and to have a church without a pope. George Washington strongly opposed any infiltration of the papacy in the affairs of the new nation.

The only Roman Catholic president ever elected [John F. Kennedy] bent over backwards in his insistence not to mix his religion with his political leadership of the nation; he was heart-dedicated to the American Constitutional principle of religious liberty and separation of church and state. He vowed not to let his church influence his political leadership.

The current outpouring of national adoration for [Pope Francis] has been phenomenal. The once Protestant nation has become overwhelmingly Roman Catholic in public sentiment. It can be safely said that never has any nation in history so reversed itself within one generation. A world wonders.

Meanwhile, beyond all excitement, the words of the Bible quietly speak to those who reverence its message. Never has the book of Revelation spoken more eloquently than now. Note the next cataclysmic event to absorb world attention: the message of that "other angel" of 18:1-4 that must and will "lighten the earth with glory."

--Robert J. Wieland

From the "Dial Daily Bread" Archive: April 5, 2005.

Copyright © 2015 by "Dial Daily Bread."

[A note to readers: This DDB was written shortly after the passing of Pope John Paul II. We thought the sentiment applicable to current events.]

Dial Daily Bread: Everyone on Earth Will Be Drawn Into This Conflict

Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"

If you had been living 2000 years ago, what kind of a life would you have chosen? The world was much like it is today--full of selfish people bent on entertainment and sensual delight. There were the Roman overlords living in their luxurious villas on the Mediterranean, flocking to sports events in the amphitheaters, eating gourmet food, employing poor people to work for them. These "upper crust" people got the most out of life--or did they?

And now here comes that Man from Galilee who had nowhere to lay His head (Matt. 8:20), and He says to you, "Take up your cross and follow Me" (Luke 9:23). Will you do so gladly? Will you turn your back on the pleasures and wealth of the Roman world, and follow Jesus through a life of self-denial and loving labor for others, spreading the news of justification by faith? Will you join His eleven surviving apostles and others?

Of the two ways of this ancient life, which would be the more enjoyable to you? Well, that's exactly where you are today. You have exactly the same choice. Nothing has changed: the same selfish mindset has captured the world today, and the same pure gospel of righteousness by faith offers the same alternative to selfish living.

The Bible teaches clearly that we are today living in the antitypical Day of Atonement, the grand climax to the drama of the ages, the great controversy between Christ and Satan. It's the war of all wars. It's not a matter merely of personal survival or personal happiness: it's the honor of God Himself that is at stake. Unless He has a people on earth who "give glory to Him" in this final battle, He will be embarrassed.

Every one on earth will be drawn into this conflict on one side or the other. I suggest that taking up that cross to follow Jesus is by far the more exciting, more joyous alternative. Do you agree?

--Robert J. Wieland

From the "Dial Daily Bread" Archive: November 6, 1998.

Copyright © 2015 by "Dial Daily Bread."

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Dial Daily Bread: Yom Kippur and the "Cosmic" Day of Atonement

Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"

"What is Jesus doing now?" is a question many believers in Him ask. Since He is the Son of God who suffered unspeakable agony on this planet when He was crucified, it seems only fair that He is entitled to a long "vacation" after such a terrible ordeal. He did His duty heroically; now He can rest, and enjoy the plaudits of the heavenly hosts, and the praise of at least some of earth's inhabitants.

But the Book of Hebrews does not reveal Him as taking an extended rest; He is working 24 hours a day, 365 days a year "continually" as our great High Priest--a full time job for the infinite Son of God. And the Holy Spirit is the grand, authentic "vicar of Christ" who is ministering constantly to millions and billions of human beings who long for salvation. If the Queen of England or the president of the United States deserves a full-time physician on duty, Christ as infinite High Priest is the full time Physician of our souls on duty to minister to every one who has faith in Him, giving His full attention as though there were not another "patient."

Hebrews zeroes in on the two-phase ministry of that heavenly High Priest as symbolized by the two apartments in the earthly sanctuary prototype (Heb. 9:1-14). As there was an annual "day of atonement" (Yom Kippur) in the "earthly" Hebrew sanctuary, so there must be a cosmic or antitypical Day of Atonement in the heavenly sanctuary. The ancient Yom Kippur symbolized the removal of all the sins of Israel from the sanctuary where they had been recorded, and their expulsion as so much trash. Each earthly day of atonement resulted in a full or complete "atonement" for Israel, all sins blotted out and a total reconciliation with God, the scapegoat symbolizing Satan forever banished from the camp of Israel.

Since the heavenly high priestly ministry is the grand antitype, what is the difference between Christ's first-apartment ministry and His second-apartment ministry? Hebrews 9 makes it clear: "It is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment" (vs. 27); this gives us a glimpse of His first-apartment ministry--preparing people to die, ready for "the judgment." This has been His ministry in most of the nearly 2000 years since His sacrifice. But "unto them that look for Him shall He appear the second time without sin unto salvation" (vs. 28). His cosmic Day of Atonement ministry is concentrated on preparing a people for translation at His second coming. But what about those who die during this time? In the ancient service, the first-apartment ministry continued through the final day of atonement; so it is today. We must not forget or frustrate Christ's primary goal for today!

--Robert J. Wieland

From the "Dial Daily Bread" Archive: February 24, 2000.

Copyright © 2015 by "Dial Daily Bread."

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Dial Daily Bread: Does the Lord Need Our Help?

Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"

Does the Lord need humans to do things that He wants done "on earth as it is in heaven"?

When we pray the Lord's prayer, we are confessing that His will be done "on earth as it is in heaven"; but who is to accomplish that? Angels are His "ministering spirits sent forth to minister for those who will inherit salvation" (Heb. 1:14). But their ministry is not to do things that those "who will inherit salvation" should do themselves. The Father's will never will be done "in earth as it is in heaven" until His own people get busy and do it.

A prayer that will always be answered is this, "Father in heaven, what do You want me to do?" It may be a phone call that you have shied away from; to make the call will require laying self aside! It may be a letter that you have been impressed that it is your duty to write; that too will require a denial of self. It may be a personal visit likewise that you need to make.

Welcome to the joyous thrill that is yours when you know you have done what the heavenly Father wants you to do. That means you have become a fellow-laborer with Him!

Can you think of a higher honor you could have but that--as the holy angels all step aside in deep respect as you do what the Father has appointed you to do?

--Robert J. Wieland

From the "Dial Daily Bread" Archive: June 17, 2008.

Copyright © 2015 by "Dial Daily Bread."

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Dial Daily Bread: An Unseen (But Not Unheard) Guest in Our Midst


Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"

We may have an unseen Guest in our midst at any time--unseen, but not unheard. The Lord promised that He will send "us" the prophet Elijah "before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord" (Mal. 4:5, 6). That's now!

Elijah was a serious prophet of the Lord, who did something for him way back then that He will do for those in these last days who "overcome" (cf. Rev. 3:21). He invited the praying man from Gilead to sit with Him on His "throne." Not literally, but the evidence seems clear that the Lord gave Elijah complete freedom to do with Israel what he, the prophet, believed was necessary: that is, bring a famine and drought on the nation.

Sounds mean and cruel? No, it was all in love, true "hard love," the kind so necessary to avoid total ruin. The praying man from Gilead knew that if Israel should go on in their Baal worship, the nation would be totally destroyed. Even more serious: the witness that God had set Israel to be to the world (yes, and to the universe) would be silenced. Something drastic is necessary.

Elijah did not tell King Ahab that there would be no dew or rain until the Lord gives permission; instead he sounds unbelievably arrogant: he tells the king there will be no dew or rain until he, the prophet, gives permission. "There will be neither dew nor rain in the next few years except at my word" (1 Kings 17:1, NIV).

James confirms: "Elijah was a man just like us. He prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the land for three and a half years. Again he prayed, and the heavens gave rain" (5:17, 18, NIV).

Elijah was translated without seeing death (2 Kings 2:9-11); therefore he has a glorified body and can go wherever he wishes as Jesus could after His resurrection (cf. Luke 24:33-37). The Lord has sent him with a special mission: to "turn hearts" in families (Mal. 4:5, 6), the most difficult thing to do in God's great universe.

--Robert J. Wieland

From the "Dial Daily Bread" Archive: February 25, 2008.

Copyright © 2015 by "Dial Daily Bread."

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Dial Daily Bread: Can Satan Force Us to Continue to Sin?

Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"

When Jesus was resurrected, Satan was mortally wounded. Genesis 3:15 was fulfilled: the serpent (Satan) had indeed "bruised" Christ's "heel" through the crucifixion; but Christ "bruised" his "head." When you smash a serpent's head, you've killed it. So, since the resurrection, Satan has been crushed.

But immediately the question arises in thoughtful minds, "Then why 2000 years of continued sin, cruelty, and misery, created by this same 'serpent' who is supposed to be crushed? Why have global dictators flourished, and why do crime and violence plague the world as it was in the days before the Flood of Noah? Why is Paul's prophecy so terribly fulfilled, that 'evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse'"? (2 Tim. 3:13). "Does all this look like the work of a defeated foe?"

Other questions arise: "Why doesn't Jesus come the second time as He promised to do, and put an end to all of Satan's work? Is God indifferent? Is He just procrastinating until He's finally had enough of it and decides to blow the trumpet and ring the curtain down?" We can search the world for an answer, and must come back to what the Bible says: "A man scatters seed in his field. ... When the grain is ripe, the man starts cutting it with his sickle, because harvest time has come" (Mark 4:26-29). God's people must grow up and appreciate--"believe"--what Christ accomplished in His death, burial, and resurrection, that Satan has been defeated.

Hebrews 2:14 says that Satan has been "paralyzed," as when wildlife experts shoot darts into a rhino or a fierce lion and paralyze it so they can examine its teeth. Satan cannot force us to continue to sin unless we willingly choose to permit him to deceive us. The victory of Christ over Satan in His resurrection was wonderful; now, says Revelation 12:11, God's people must also "overcome him by the blood of the Lamb."

Satan still claims that it is impossible for any human being to keep God's law of love, but it's our privilege to share in Christ's glorious victory. That's something worth living for!

--Robert J. Wieland

From the "Dial Daily Bread" Archive: April 14, 1998.

Copyright © 2015 by "Dial Daily Bread."

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Dial Daily Bread: His Cross Constrains Me!

Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"

We hear much about "legalism." In fact, it has become a kind of derogatory label.

Here is the clearest definition of legalism I have ever found. When the Apostle Paul talks about being "under the law" in Romans 6:14, he means that our motive for serving the Lord is a self-centered one. You may feel that you are under a constraint imposed by a sense of "ought"; "I ought to be more faithful, work harder, pay more tithe and offerings, work longer hours." You feel the constant obligation of the law. The threat of being lost hangs over you; and the constant enticement of a great reward in heaven beckons you on to deeds of sacrifice and service. Yes, this is what it means to be "under the law."

But, says Romans 6:14, "You are not under law but under grace." What does it mean to be under grace? Now you feel a new constraint imposed by a deep heart-appreciation of the grace of God revealed in the sacrifice of Christ. Grace imposes on you a new and different kind of obligation.

When you are under the law, you are a slave to an egocentric motivation, although of a spiritual kind. You are working for an eternal reward. You sacrifice the pleasures of sin and of this materialistic world in order to reap this better reward. But when you are under grace, the new constraint imposed by God's agape-love delivers you from all egocentric concern or insecurity. You are no longer serving the Lord because you fear the fires of hell if you don't, nor do you serve Him because you want a great reward in heaven. You serve Him because you appreciate that Christ died in your place. Grace has become your new blessed taskmaster.

Paul explains to us how this mighty motivation works in our hearts: "He died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto Him which died for them, and rose again" (2 Cor. 5:15, KJV). In the original language the idea is clear that those who understand and believe this great truth of grace will "henceforth" find it impossible to live self-centered lives. No more gritting your teeth and clenching your fists and trying to force yourself to work hard for the Lord; it is automatic.

The key word is "love." You cannot truly live under grace unless you appreciate that love revealed at the cross. When the sinner sees that cross, and appreciates that kind of love poured out, all for him, the tears come in his eyes. His heart is melted.

That is true New Testament faith--a heart-appreciation of that tremendous love. That is why we shall keep on learning to glory in the cross of Christ. More and more that "under grace" motivation will crowd out the old self-centered hope-of-reward or fear-of-punishment motivation.

Let us come out of the shadows into the sunshine of living "under grace," and work for Christ because His love "constrains us."

--Robert J. Wieland

From an article, "His Cross Constrains Me!," 1984.

Copyright © 2015 by "Dial Daily Bread."

Monday, September 14, 2015

Dial Daily Bread: Daniel's Prophecies for These Last Days

Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"

Did the apostle Paul preach the prophecies of Daniel? Did Jesus do so in His ministry? We know that the angel told Daniel to "shut up the words, and seal the book until the time of the end" (Dan. 12:4). Why then did Jesus tell His disciples to "read" the prophecies of Daniel and "understand" them (Matt. 24:15) if the book was "sealed"?

And why did Paul remind the believers in Thessalonica of Daniel's prophecies about the great apostasy ("falling away") and the coming of "the man of sin, ... the son of perdition" (2 Thess. 2:3), the "little horn" power of Daniel 7, 8?

Although the full understanding of Daniel's prophecies could not be known until these last days in which we now live, it is clear that the apostolic church understood that Christ's second coming could not take place until Daniel's prophecies of the great "falling away" came first. Jesus knew, and Paul knew, that the church needed that information!

Although Jesus picked out of the Bible the prophecies of that one book of Daniel and emphasized them for Christians to "read" and "understand," most priests, pastors, and teachers never preach or teach about them. The promise that the Lord has made in Daniel 12 is that in the time of the end, "many" will heed the Lord's command and will ponder those prophecies, and will "increase" the "knowledge" of them before the world (vs. 4).

And now to every one living in this tumultuous world comes Jesus' solemn command: "Read, understand!" the prophecies of Daniel. That means, "Study! Read!" Let a hunger and thirst for righteousness crowd out any obsession with this evil world's amusements (cf. Matt. 5:6).

--Robert J. Wieland

From the "Dial Daily Bread" Archive: October 2, 2005.

Copyright © 2015 by "Dial Daily Bread."

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Dial Daily Bread: How to Accept Defeat Graciously

Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"

The Bible tells how to accept defeat graciously. It's a precious achievement! Joseph was "defeated" when his ten brothers sold him as a slave into Egypt. Thoroughly humiliated, brought to near despair by this "providence," he endured with fidelity and honor, and was eventually "reimbursed" by "providence."

David was forced to endure ten long years of being hunted as a wild beast by King Saul. He too was eventually "reimbursed" by "providence."

Jeremiah's humiliation was lifelong. He never was granted any kind of "reimbursement," and had to die in humiliating exile, his entire life apparently a total failure. His bitter cup to drink was never sweetened.

We don't want to make an awkward comparison, but we can't help but think of the One of all time and eternity, the One who suffered the final humiliation of being rejected by His own nation, who had to hear them shout "Crucify Him!" and who had to die with that cry of hatred ringing in His ears. Not a trace of "reimbursement" was His, except a reawakened faith in His own dying heart--that pierced the total darkness of His despair.

For many who wrestle with personal problems, your tension may seem like a lifetime. Find comfort and encouragement in God's Word where help is abundant.

--Robert J. Wieland

From the "Dial Daily Bread" Archive: December 14, 2000.

Copyright © 2015 by "Dial Daily Bread."

Friday, September 11, 2015

Dial Daily Bread: Are We to "Wait and Occupy" until Jesus Comes?

Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"

Let's agree that when the Savior of the world died on His cross and proclaimed "It is finished!" He won the great controversy all by Himself. Yes, He died "instead" of us. Yes, salvation is assured. Yes, He opened the gates of Paradise. Yes, it was all done even before we were born. And yes, we contribute nothing to our own salvation.

But does all that mean that we His people, being "covered" by this celestial Insurance Policy, now have only to "wait" and "occupy until [He] comes"? (cf. Luke 19:13). (That word "occupy" has come to mean make lots of money, enjoy the world, and have fun as though there were no solemn Day of Atonement for us to live in.

Does Christ's dying "instead" of us mean that we have no cross to "share" with Him? Does it mean that He dies 100 percent "instead" of us, and from now on are we simply little entries in the credit column in God's heavenly computer, and we "wait" for the call of the first resurrection? Or is there some serious business before us about getting ready to meet Jesus at His second coming?

Note that there are four glorious "Hallelujah Choruses" in Revelation 19:1-7 that say something must happen that at last makes possible that "the Lord God omnipotent reigns"! And that something, not having happened yet, has delayed His "reign" for many, many years, even though He finished His dying "instead" of us. What finally must happen is that "the Lamb's wife" "make herself ready" for the "marriage of the Lamb."

What happened on the cross was wonderful indeed, but nobody can (or will) be happy in heaven until those Hallelujah Choruses can be sung, proclaiming a hitherto elusive victory.

--Robert J. Wieland

From the "Dial Daily Bread" Archive: March 25, 2005.

Copyright © 2015 by "Dial Daily Bread."

Wednesday, September 09, 2015

Dial Daily Bread: Believe the Preamble

Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"

If you memorize the Ten Commandments but omit the Preamble, you have a stern code of law, Old Covenant in nature. If you permit the Preamble to be where God spoke it, you have a New Covenant set of ten wonderful promises.

The Hebrew scholars tell us that the "Thou shalt nots" are the simple future tense indicatives; believe this and you will never steal. "Adultery is a trap--it catches those with whom the Lord is angry," says the Wise Man (Prov. 22:14, GNB). Believe this Preamble, and you will never fall into that pit, says the Lord. (That is Good News!)

What does the Preamble say (Ex. 20:2)? It's New Testament, New Covenant, Good News:

"I am the Lord …" That holy name of infinite mystery; the Israelites were afraid to say it, but now we know He is "our Father in heaven" (Matt. 6:9), your intimate best Friend who's on your side.

"Your God ..." He's yours; He actually gave Himself to you.

"Who brought [past tense] you out of the land of Egypt ... ," in other words, out of darkness of soul. The Father brought you into the light; the Son has saved you from hell, having taken the darkness of your second death; and the blessed Holy Spirit ministers the sunshine of grace upon your soul 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

"Out of the house of bondage." "Sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace" (Rom. 6:14 sums up the Ten Commandments!). Christ redeemed you before you were born; the Father accepted you then "in Him."

As He gave Esau the birthright, so He has given you the gift of salvation (Heb. 12:16, 17; Gen. 25:34; Rom. 5:15-18). The Holy Spirit is telling your heart about it--don't despise or sell it. Now, believe the Preamble.

--Robert J. Wieland

From the "Dial Daily Bread" Archive: April 25, 2006.

Copyright © 2015 by "Dial Daily Bread.

Dial Daily Bread: The Privilege of Fellowship With Him

Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"

Not only are we living in what we have always said is "the shaking time," but more than that: we are living in the time when everything possible is being shaken furiously. Is there an absolutely necessary truth that must be held onto, even at the cost of life?

The Bible says, Yes! Clearly so, in 1 Corinthians 13: "Though I [or anyone] speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not [the love which is] agape, I have become as sounding brass or a clanging cymbal." A brilliant mind and ready speech may cover a lack of essential truth. This brilliant mind may explain the prophecies: "And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, ... but have not [the love which is agape], I am nothing" (vs. 2).

We have come to the time when 1 Corinthians 13 itself has become a prophecy! Almost overwhelming in its power of deception is the moving of mountains "by [supposed] faith," where there is an alarming lack of faith (vs. 2). And we can "bestow all [our] goods to feed the poor, ... but have not love [agape]"; it's only pride. This agape is deeper than giving "goods." Or even giving physical life.

The apostle John agrees with Paul when he says that "God is love [agape]" (1 John 4:8), and "[anyone] who does not love [with agape] does not know God."

Is there confusion? No, not a trace: this is the solid building block of Bible truth. It's what Paul meant when he told the Corinthians, "I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified" (1 Cor. 2:2). In other words, agape.

Obedience to the law is included, for only "agape is the fulfillment of the law" (Rom. 13:10). So it's not sentimental emotionalism; love is being crucified with Christ, with joy and gratitude for the privilege of fellowship with Him.

--Robert J. Wieland

From the "Dial Daily Bread" Archive: September 17, 2007.

Copyright © 2015 by "Dial Daily Bread."

Monday, September 07, 2015

Dial Daily Bread: Death for Christ Is Not a Tragedy

Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"

There are several Bible characters who chose to be true to right principle in time of great peril. Some were rewarded for their faithfulness, such as Job, who chose to ignore his wife's cynical advice to "curse God and die!"; or Joseph, imprisoned for his refusal to commit adultery (who finally rose to be prime minister of an empire); and Abigail, whose wise counsel saved David from ruining his own career (and who incidentally saved her own husband from his revenge).

Abigail was rewarded well (1 Sam. 25). But there were others who had to suffer for their faithfulness to right principle. Queen Vashti, wife of Ahasuerus the corrupt ruler of the Persian Empire, the lady who refused his foolish command because she would not expose herself to drunken, leering officials in high positions. Vashti passes off the stage of Bible history into obscurity; we read of no vindication granted her; she apparently suffered a kind of martyrdom for upholding a standard of modesty (Esther 1:10-18).

Another person who had to suffer was John the Baptist. He was faithful to God, even while transgressing the rules of political savvy; Herod treated him like a cat treats a mouse, calling him up out of his dungeon to the royal office for conversations as though he was about to release him to freedom, giving John momentary thoughts of hope, only to send him back to his isolated cell. Finally, in a drunken stupor, Herod watches an immodest young woman dance and yields to her grisly request to have the lonely and apparently God-forsaken John beheaded (Matt. 14).

It would be nice if the Bible story instead had John miraculously released and honored, but that's not what happened. God permitted him to suffer alone as an encouragement to millions of faithful people afterward who have had to suffer, apparently forsaken by God. The only reward John gets (so far!) is to be honored posthumously by Jesus, as a prophet of whom there has been none greater (Matt. 11:11). "Be faithful until death," says Jesus, "and I will give you the crown of life" (Rev. 2:10).

But was John forsaken in his lonely dungeon cell? No, the Holy Spirit comforted him, and angels visited him up to the last. More joy than Herod ever had. Death for Christ is not a tragedy!

--Robert J. Wieland

From the "Dial Daily Bread" Archive: April 26, 2001.

Copyright © 2015 by "Dial Daily Bread."

Saturday, September 05, 2015

Dial Daily Bread: A Method of Evangelism We Have Overlooked

Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"

Could it be that there is a method of evangelism that we have "in a great degree" overlooked? Truly successful "evangelism" requires two criteria:

(1) Propagation of an "evangelistic" message by every method available, including TV and state-of-the-art electronic productions.

(2) But the message itself must be correct, faithful to biblical revelation. Paul says that he is "not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes" (Rom. 1:16). The "power" is built-in within the message itself; "the truth of the gospel" is so dynamic that it is virtually self-propagating if it is freed of the confusion that Babylon's "wine" produces.

Jesus' dictum is true: "You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free" (John 8:32). Perhaps we haven't realized how true those words are! The Lord said that if we can break through the clouds of confusion from "Babylon" that envelop His cross, we shall see great success in genuine, lasting soul-winning: "I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all to Myself," He promised (John 12:32).

Consistent with this promise is the prophetic account in Revelation 18--the coming time when the earth is to be "lightened with [the] glory" of the closing message. It will specifically be free of any confusion from "Babylon's" "righteousness by faith" (vs. 3). Once the final message becomes clear, every honest-hearted human soul will heed the call to "come out of her [Babylon], My people" (vs. 4).

It's the gospel that's "the power of God to salvation." Once the humblest soul grasps what it means, his inmost soul becomes that "well of living water" "springing up into everlasting life," refreshing all who come near him (Song of Solomon 4:15; John 4:14; 7:38). The power won't be in the training of literary institutions (though that can glorify God, too). It's easy to say that it will be the Holy Spirit, but that's a "cop-out" if we forget that He "is the Spirit of truth," and if we forget that that truth is "the truth of the gospel" (John 14:17; Gal. 2:5, 14). That's where "the power" is.

What stands in our way? Jesus tells us: our "rich, and increased with goods" evangelism pride (Rev. 3:17, KJV).

--Robert J. Wieland

From the "Dial Daily Bread" Archive: August 13, 2004.

Copyright © 2015 by "Dial Daily Bread."

Thursday, September 03, 2015

Dial Daily Bread: Something Great Must Happen Before Jesus Can Come Again

Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"

Everyone who believes the Bible teaching of the second coming of Jesus must also believe that something great must happen before He can come again: "This gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come" (Matt. 24:14). It is commonly understood that this means huge expenditures of money in public meetings and TV presentations using state-of-the-art electronics. Wonderful work; deserves our offerings. But could it be that the Bible teaches a more effective method of "evangelism," one that we have "in a great degree" overlooked?

It can be summed up in one statement Jesus made near the end of His ministry: "On the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, 'If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said [Song of Solomon 4:12-15], out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.' ... This He spoke concerning the Spirit, whom those believing in Him would receive" (John 7:37-39).

This means that the humblest person who "believes in Jesus" will become "a fountain of gardens, a well of living waters, and streams from Lebanon." Unconsciously, in an unstudied way, he will pour forth the ultimately powerful message. It will be that "the love of Christ constrains us" (2 Cor. 5:14), compels, motivates, empowers, makes effective the agent who cannot help but communicate the message--all with one proviso, that he "believe in Jesus." That's what Jesus said in John 7.

It sounds deceptively simple. For two millennia people have "believed in Jesus," haven't they? Yet in spite of all our best efforts, the task gets bigger all the time. There must be something about what it means to "believe in Jesus" that we haven't yet grasped. If that "well of living water" is not flowing out from within our soul as the ultimate evangelism, it's obvious: we haven't yet learned to "believe" in the sense that Jesus meant when He spoke on that "last day ... of the feast." (More next time.)

--Robert J. Wieland

From the "Dial Daily Bread" Archive: August 12, 2004.

Copyright © 2015 by "Dial Daily Bread."

Wednesday, September 02, 2015

Dial Daily Bread: The Day of Atonement Is NOW!

Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"

The Lord's great cosmic Day of Atonement is NOW. It's the grand fulfillment of what ancient Israel were taught to observe in a typical way once a year when the people were commanded to fast on that one day--"the tenth day of the seventh month." Their high priest risked his life in their behalf by going into the presence of God in the Most Holy part of the ancient sanctuary.

It was the one day of the year when the people were invited--summoned--to lift their thoughts and concerns above their earthly life to enter into the feelings of God on a personal level. Year after year this one great Day was observed, century after century, with the emphasis on personal and national judgment.

It became the most egocentric Day of their year. To only a small extent did they actually enter into the feelings of God and share with Him His concern and His love for a world lost in sin. The "judgment" was a personal final exam; and if at its end they felt they had "passed," great was the rejoicing that their day of atonement was over for another year.

But now since the world has passed the 2300-year prophecy of Daniel 8:14, "then shall the sanctuary be cleansed," we as the world have entered into our great antitypical Day of Atonement. It's beyond our own personal individual salvation. We have reached the time when Revelation 3:20 must reach its fulfillment by sensing a concern for Christ that He receive His reward!

The Lord says, "To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne." That's an invitation to share with Him the government of God, to bring to a close the "great controversy" now raging between Christ and Satan, not perpetuating it for centuries more.

--Robert J. Wieland

From the "Dial Daily Bread" Archive: June 26, 2006.

Copyright © 2015 by "Dial Daily Bread."

Tuesday, September 01, 2015

Dial Daily Bread: A Bright Spot in Witnessing

Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"

Probably all of us have studied about how we should witness more, how it is our duty to do so, and what we must do, possibly resulting in guilt for not doing more.

But there is a bright spot: Christ's death was complete for the whole world--for every human being. As a wise writer has said, "The atonement for a lost world was ... exceedingly abundant to reach every soul that God had created. It could not be restricted so as not to exceed the number who would accept the great Gift. ... There [is] enough and to spare."

Thank God for this truth that Christ accomplished something for every human soul. He died for the world. You can tell anyone, "Christ died for you; He paid the price for your sins; He died your second death; there is no reason under heaven why you must die the second death--He died it for you! What He accomplished is a blessed gift, it's far more than an 'offer' that depends on your goodness."

There are many in the world who will respond when they hear the message clearly and simply so they can understand. The bottleneck right now is our own failure to understand how good the Good News really is!

Jesus made one of His most profound statements when He said that if anyone truly believes in Him, he or she will become a source of the Good News. In His deepest soul will flow a well of living water.

You won't be consuming precious time lamenting how little you have done; or dreading the final judgment day because you haven't done more. The "truth of the gospel" (Gal. 2:5) will captivate your interest and your enthusiasm; it will flow out from you to others without your realizing what's happening.

--Robert J. Wieland

From the "Dial Daily Bread" Archive: September 19, 2004.

Copyright © 2015 by "Dial Daily Bread."