Sunday, January 31, 2016

Sabbath School Today, Lesson 6, Quarter 1-16

Sabbath School Today

With the 1888 Message Dynamic

Rebellion and Redemption

Lesson 6: Victory in the Wilderness

Christ is the new Head of the entire human race. "All men" are naturally "in Adam" in a very real sense for all are descended from him--the Bible says we are all by nature, by birth, "in Adam." But now, because Christ as the Son of God has fired the first Adam from his job of being head of the human race and taken over as the new Head of the human race, we are all in a real sense "in Christ."

An example is seen in the baptism of Christ. When He came up, dripping wet, out of the River Jordan and the Father said, "This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased," at the same time the Father "embraces humanity." Jesus was putting His arms around the entire human race! "God spoke to Jesus as our representative." [1] You are all like My beloved Son! You are now one family!

This means in plain language that when Christ died on His cross, the broken law of God (which demands death to the transgressor) has no claim upon you, for Christ died for your sins and you were "in Him" when He died. And Paul had the deep insight to sense that what that means is that you died "in Christ." If Christ had not died for you, you would have died. That's the sense in which "all died" when He died.

Jesus had a job description given Him by the Father: Defeat Satan in humanity; deliver the human race from this captivity of sin. Enter the fray where the problem is. Take on His sinless nature (brought with Him from heaven) the same fallen, sinful flesh that all humans have (they have all succumbed to Satan's onslaughts of temptation). And with no "exemption," and with no "bullet-proof vest," Jesus entered into the same battlefield where we have all lost the struggle. And right there He "condemned," defeated, outlawed, conquered, crushed, trampled on sin where it had taken root in human flesh. In our same flesh He won the great controversy with Satan, opened the gates of heaven for believing, repenting sinners, and rejoiced the hearts of all heaven.

Now what will happen because of His victory: "That the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit" (Rom. 8:4). That phrase "righteous requirement" is one word in the original, dikaiomata, which means the righteousness that has its origin in Christ but has been imparted to the believing human being. Here again is the cardinal truth of the 1888 message: it is possible for human beings by the faith of Jesus to overcome sin, to "condemn" it in our fallen flesh, and to be ready in one generation for the second coming of Jesus--something no other group has attained in all past history. God had intended that Christ should return in that 1888 era generation.

But this is not the heresy of "perfectionism." This overcoming victory will not be a work of the flesh, or be motivated by fear or pride, or even a selfish hope of reward. It will be the work of grace which abounds much more than all the sin the devil can invent in these last days.

Hebrews describes how this works: "Inasmuch then as the children [that's we] have partaken of flesh and blood, He Himself likewise shared in the same, that through death He might destroy [Greek, paralyze] him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, and release those who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage. For indeed He does not give aid to angels [who have a sinless nature], but He does give aid to the seed of Abraham" (Heb. 2:14, 15).

We never dare to suggest that Christ had a sinful nature. He had a sinless nature; but He "took" on that sinless nature our sinful nature.

Why? "Therefore, in all things He had to be made like His brethren, that He might be a merciful and faithful High Priest in things pertaining to God, ... for in that He Himself has suffered, being tempted, He is able to aid those who are tempted" (Heb. 4:17-18).

This is the glorious 1888 gospel of hope that many have been hindered from seeing. But the Lord gave it to Seventh-day Adventists, and Ellen White said that "God commanded [it] to be given to the world." [2] It presented a Christ who knows how the sinner is tempted and can save Him from the lowest hell. "We do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin" (Heb. 4:15).

It has been generally assumed that getting serious about overcoming means hard work. But the 1888 message has good news. Here's a sample: "Jesus came to the world, and put Himself in the flesh, just where men are; and met that flesh, just as it is, with all its tendencies and desires; and by the divine power which He brought by faith, He 'conquered sin in the flesh,' and thus brought to all mankind that divine faith which brings the divine power to man to deliver him from the power of the flesh and the law of sin, just where he is, and to give him assured dominion over the flesh, just as it is." [3]

"He who takes God for the portion of his inheritance, has a power working in him for righteousness, as much stronger than the power of inherited tendencies to evil, as our heavenly Father is greater than our earthly parents." [4]

If a people were to receive such a message wholeheartedly, would it not prepare them for translation at the coming of Jesus? (See 1 Thess. 4:16, 17.)

--Paul E. Penno

[1] The Desire of Ages, p. 113.
[2] Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, p. 92, 1896; The Ellen G. White 1888 Materials, vol. 3, p. 1337.
[3] A. T. Jones, "Studies in Galatians. Gal. 5:16-18," Advent Review and Sabbath Herald (Sept. 18, 1900), p. 600.
[4] E. J. Waggoner, The Everlasting Covenant (1900), p. 66.

Note: "Sabbath School Today" and Pastor Paul Penno's video of this lesson are on the Internet at:

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Dial Daily Bread: Two Opposite Views of Righteousness By Faith

Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"

It crops up often--churchgoers who say they have gone to church for decades and heard legalism preached, but now they rejoice that the gospel of "righteousness by faith" is proclaimed. Thank God for any true change for the better!

But are there different kinds of "righteousness by faith"? Revelation 14 presents an "everlasting gospel" that validates itself by raising up people who truly "keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus." They prepare for the literal second coming of Christ (vss. 6-15).

The author of the Book of Revelation also writes a series of warnings against false claims of "righteousness by faith" in which "we lie and do not practice the truth"; "we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us"; "we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us"; "He who says, 'I know Him,' and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him" (1 John 1:6, 8, 10; 2:4, etc.).

Apparently the apostle John wants us to discern any "gospel" that does not produce obedience to all the commandments of God (all ten!). A preacher who says he is proclaiming the "gospel" but himself continues to "break one of the least of these commandments, and teaches men so," says Jesus, could be a highly sophisticated deception, yet not realize who he is (see Matt. 5:19).

There are those who say they belong in Revelation 14, but let themselves be fooled by a counterfeit "righteousness by faith." The true "everlasting gospel" must produce obedience to all those commandments in the one himself who preaches it.

Is this concern a reversal to "legalism"? "The everlasting gospel" of Revelation 14 is not legalism; it is a clearer understanding of the cross of Christ than has ever "lightened the earth with glory" (see its full development in Rev. 18:1-4).

The final crisis will be two opposite views of "righteousness by faith." One will spin the Emperor's New Clothes, multitudes rejoicing in "imputed righteousness" but not noticing it's not imparted. "Covered" by what they assume is a spiritual insurance policy, they will go for "the mark of the beast," which will be the most sophisticated counterfeit of "the everlasting gospel" the world has ever seen.

It's time to seek some "eye salve" that can impart discernment (see Rev. 3:18).

--Robert J. Wieland

From the "Dial Daily Bread" Archive: May 1, 2003.
Copyright © 2016 by "Dial Daily Bread."

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Dial Daily Bread: The Most Subtle and Clever Confusion of All Time

Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"

There's a Bible text that has blessed us for centuries: 2 Corinthians 5:14, "The love of Christ constraineth us." In other words, this powerful motivating "love" has its origin in Christ, a gift from Him.

But there's a modern version that makes the verse say that our love for Christ constrains or motivates us! Thus in a subtle way "the truth of the gospel" is perverted into self-righteousness--it's now "our love," from us, that is so powerful. This is subtle, lethal error.

Lukewarmness is a spiritual disease that afflicts God's professed people worldwide. Like arsenic, a very small dose can paralyze spiritually. "The gospel" that Paul was "not ashamed of" was not mixed with any error from "Babylon" (Rom. 1:16). Being unmitigated, undiluted "truth," it "turned the world upside down" (Acts 17:6). We long to see that again!

In these last days, God's urgent call is, "Come out of her, My people" (Rev. 18:1-4). We may physically remove ourselves from a community where error is taught instead of truth and think we've "come out of Babylon." But we may still have "Babylon" ("confusion") entrenched in our thinking and promulgated in our teaching of "the [supposed] gospel" due to a prevailing corporate pride ("thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing," 3:17). We become blind and numb.

This tiny example of confusion is multiplied many times over among millions of sincere people who don't realize that what they naively assume is "righteousness by faith" is often borrowed from a popular Christianity deeply rooted in apostasy from the truth. This infiltration of soul-defiling confusion can be the most subtle and clever that has plagued God's people in all time.

Good News: we are promised that our heavenly Father will empty heaven of every angel to help even one honest soul who is alert enough to "hunger and thirst after righteousness" (cf. Matt. 5:6). Let that one be you.

--Robert J. Wieland

From the "Dial Daily Bread" Archive: August 14, 2004.
Copyright © 2016 by "Dial Daily Bread."

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Dial Daily Bread: A Good Book for a Cold, Dark Night

Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"

Want a good, fascinating book to curl up with on a cold, dark night? Take Second Chronicles, and follow the narrative all the way through from King Solomon's humble prayer for wisdom in chapter 1 to the cataclysmic extinction of the kingdom which he inherited from David in chapter 36--the most humiliating divine punishment any nation has ever suffered.

Solomon's glory is almost unbelievable; but his abuses of power contributed to the revolt of ten tribes into the Northern Kingdom (Israel; they never at any time were blessed with even one king who was loyal to the Lord!).

Then the story of the southern kingdom (Judah) is one constant see-saw between royal efforts to be loyal to God's calling (like Abijah, Asa, Jehoshaphat, Hezekiah, or Josiah) and the other kings who promptly would lead the spineless people back into the gross idolatry and immorality of the pagan nations. They never learned until Solomon's glorious temple was burned and their 70 years of captivity in Babylon.

You hold your breath as you wonder what can possibly come next. The unknown author provides a running commentary straight from the Lord, praising one king, damning another. It's divine Judgment Day constantly.

You keep wondering, "What could possibly have gone wrong that the one nation that the Lord had chosen to be His soul-winning agency to enlighten the world, Abraham's descendants, could have failed so miserably?"

There are telltale signs that pop up continually. Even in their best glory days their motive for serving the Lord is revealed as always egocentric. Do what's right, and you reap a great reward! It pays to serve Him! (You start feeling uncomfortable, wondering what your motive is!)

Nothing but the Old Covenant which their fathers had chosen to bring upon themselves at Mount Sinai can explain this constant confusion. That mindset governed their relationship to the Lord. Jeremiah said that the coming of the New Covenant was still future in his day (31:31, 32).

--Robert J. Wieland

From the "Dial Daily Bread" Archive: October 29, 2006.
Copyright © 2016 by "Dial Daily Bread."

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Dial Daily Bread: The Lord Does Not Work to Put Us Down

Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"

As we scour the Old Testament for encouraging stories, the one that leaps out at us is the one about young David facing Goliath, that huge giant from Philistia.

Even though Goliath has ridiculed, insulted, and blasphemed the God of Israel, who is also the God of the whole earth, there is no "self" in David's demeanor before the giant. David is not thinking of winning a victory as some young men would do; his heart is deeply touched by the glory of Christ's Being and His divine character. Therefore he forgets "self" in his overwhelming purpose to honor the Lord. Come what may, David devotes himself to the honor, not of Israel, but to the God of Israel. For David, "self" is crucified with Christ.

In a beautiful demonstration of the relation between "faith and works," David selects those five smooth little stones in the brook; it would not be good if David just prays, "O Lord, please defeat that terrible giant!" Let's not denigrate prayer in the least--and yes, we believe in prayer, but sometimes action is also needed.

We probably could never have functioned in this crisis, for we don't know how to use slingshots skillfully. But the Lord used that skillful technique to win a great victory for the gospel. And that is what the Lord asks of each of us: let us consecrate what we have, humble as it may be, to His service. You may think that your level is the same "low estate" that Mary the mother of Jesus spoke of in Luke 1:48. But once you confess your personal "low estate," the Lord works to lift you up, because that is His character.

The Good News is, the Lord does not work to put us down, but to lift us up.

--Robert J. Wieland

From the "Dial Daily Bread" Archive: April 20, 2009.
Copyright © 2016 by "Dial Daily Bread."

Monday, January 25, 2016

Dial Daily Bread: A Kind of Debt That Is Heavy to Bear

Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"

Have you ever been in debt? Signed a promissory note that came due and you couldn't pay it? Day and night the burden rested on you, and you couldn't sleep.

A financial debt hanging over your head is bad enough, but there is another kind of debt that is even heavier to bear--and that is a moral debt. When David committed adultery and murdered Bathsheba's husband, there was a terrible burden on his heart. He says in Psalm 32:4, 5, "Day and night Your hand was heavy upon me. My vitality was turned into the drought of summer. I acknowledge my sin to You, and my iniquity I have not hidden." Such guilt can take all the joy out of life; it can even kill.

In Colossians 2, Paul rejoices in the Good News of a debt paid, but more is involved than someone else paying it. Paul's big idea is that we actually share in what Christ did, not that we contribute anything. We don't contribute even 1 percent, but we identify with Christ in what He did to set us free. Let's read the passage:

"You, being dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He has made alive together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses, having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us, which was contrary to us. And He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross" (vss. 13, 14).

Your debt is paid; your are free. But that doesn't mean that you want to go into debt again. You share in the victory by identifying with Christ, and that means you appreciate what it cost Him to set you free. Forever afterward, as you walk in freedom you also walk in humble obedience.

--Robert J. Wieland

From the "Dial Daily Bread" Archive: 1994 Phone Message.
Copyright © 2016 by "Dial Daily Bread."

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Dial Daily Bread: Why Do We Have Trouble Understanding the Simple Words of God?

Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"

Why do we humans have so much trouble understanding the simple words of God? He says, for example, that He loves us so much that He has given all He can give, so that "whoever desires, let him take the water of [eternal] life freely." He has set the fountain flowing; our job is to drink! (John 3:16; Rev. 22:17).

But what have we done with this? We can't bear to believe "that whoever believes in [Christ] should not perish but have eternal life," so we interpolate all kinds of ideas of duties that we must do. Our problem obviously is understanding what it means to "believe" (which in the original is the same as to have faith).

Because some have the idea that to "believe" is merely to confess head knowledge while we go on reveling in continued sin (and we know that can't be true), we have tried to add "works" to John 3:16, etc. So we say that salvation is by faith plus by works; but immediately we run into a roadblock.

God also says, "By grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God." And then to forestall any attempt on our part to add "works" to the equation, God adds specifically: "Not of works, lest anyone should boast" (Eph. 2:8, 9). So, strictly speaking, the truth is, we are saved by grace--100 percent God's grace in Christ. But that doesn't mean we have nothing to do; the salvation is "through faith." So, we do have a part--to believe.

Let's be patient and let the Lord explain in the Bible what "believe" means. The explanation is in John 3:16: to "believe" is our heart response, to appreciate God's "loving" and His "giving." It is to "behold," to "see," to "comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height--to know the love [agape] of Christ" (Eph. 3:18, 19). It's to "Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!" (John 1:29). More than a hurried glance while our gaze is fixed on worldly cares and pleasure; it's to let our hard, selfish hearts "look," which all the world is invited to do--"Look to Me, and be saved, all you ends of the earth!" (Isa. 45:22).

"Beholding" that love motivates to all the "good works" that even God can think of (see 1 John 3:1-3).

--Robert J. Wieland

From the "Dial Daily Bread" Archive: April 28, 2003.
Copyright © 2016 by "Dial Daily Bread."

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Dial Daily Bread: Two Totally Different Ideas of the Gospel

Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"

When a criminal is judged and found guilty he is often released on probation. His fine or prison sentence is deferred; he doesn't have to pay or go to prison. That means, he will be all right if he doesn't get into trouble again. The human race have sinned. They are on probation; but does that mean that their punishment for sin has only been deferred?

Many people have that idea about the sacrifice of Christ. All He did was to put us on probation, they say, and our punishment for sin has only been deferred. Now it is true that we are on probation during this life--but not because our punishment has only been deferred. The Bible teaches that the full punishment for our human sin was laid on Christ. There was no deferral--He endured the full punishment for our sin. "God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son" (John 3:16); "Christ died for our sins … (1 Cor. 15:3); "The Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all" (Isa. 53:6).

Here is the vast difference between two totally different ideas of the gospel. One says that Christ didn't really pay the penalty for our sins, He only deferred that punishment until our probation is ended; the other says that the total punishment was inflicted on Christ as our Substitute, which means that no one will go into the lake of fire because of his sins. That punishment was indeed inflicted on Christ, and God never puts us in double jeopardy.

Many, sad to say, will suffer the lake of fire, but only because of their unbelief, their rejection of what Christ has already accomplished for them. It's time for us to realize what the Son of God accomplished on His cross! That truth will lighten the earth with glory.

--Robert J. Wieland

From the "Dial Daily Bread" Archive: 1994 Phone Message.
Copyright © 2016 by "Dial Daily Bread."

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Dial Daily Bread: Believing the Same Promises Jesus Did

Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"

How real was Jesus as one of us? What does His name "Immanuel," "God with us," mean (Matt. 1:23)? The biblical answer is that He was both "Son of man" and "Son of God." As the former He was weak as we are and had to perform all of His miracles through faith in His Father. He had laid aside the prerogatives of His divinity while He retained His divinity. His perfect righteousness was not innate in the human flesh, which He "took" or "assumed," but it was by a perfect faith in His Father. That's why the Bible speaks of "the faith of Jesus" (for example, see Gal. 2:20, KJV).

If His righteousness was by faith, how did He manage day-by-day, practical living? Did He really need to pray? Yes! Absolutely! When He was born, did His mind already embrace all the knowledge that is in the Old Testament so that He didn't need to learn to read it? No; He learned to read and He studied the Bible. He said, "Your word I have hidden in My heart, that I might not sin against You" (Psalm 119:11). Through prayer and absorbing the truths of the Bible from the Bible, He became "the Word made flesh" (John 1:14). In this way He is our "Example" as well as our Savior.

Did He need to sleep? The Bible several times says yes; He was human. Was He a busy Person? Yes. We read of Him working until late at night, then "in the morning, having risen a long while before daylight, He went out and departed to a solitary place; and there He prayed" (Mark 1:29-35). We will probably all admit that if we could duplicate that regimen, we'd have a more healthy "Christian experience."

But unless you are totally "retired," how can you do it and still function physically at your job, or at school, or as a busy parent, or pastor?

There are two kinds of "Christian experience"--New Covenant and Old Covenant. The latter is the "under law" regimen motivated by "sanctified" egocentric concern; the former is the most precious gift of a "hunger and thirst for righteousness [by faith, the only kind there is!]" (Matt. 5:6). If you have received that "hunger and thirst" you will "eat" the Bread of life! Nothing can stop you having that living "breakfast," no matter what hour of the day it may be. "Hunger" will drive you.

And how do we get that "hunger and thirst"? From understanding, grasping, and comprehending, how good is the New Covenant Good News, "the truth of the gospel" (Gal. 2:5). Review the New Covenant promises in Genesis 12:2, 3. You're a "child" of Abraham by faith; now choose to believe those promises as Jesus did.

--Robert J. Wieland

From the "Dial Daily Bread" Archive: November 4, 2003.
Copyright © 2016 by "Dial Daily Bread."

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Dial Daily Bread: The Work of the World's Great High Priest

Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"

Here's a good question: In order to become the world's great High Priest, why was it necessary for Christ to take upon His sinless nature our fallen, sinful nature?

No sinless angel could have taken the job of being our high priest because he could never make contact with fallen humanity. In the illustrative sanctuary ministry of ancient Israel, "every high priest taken from among men ... can have compassion on those who are ignorant and going astray, since he himself is also beset by weakness" (Heb. 5:1, 2). A Levitical priest with a sinless nature couldn't help anybody. Only one who has fought the battle with sin and has overcome could relate.

The sacrificial lamb dies in place of the sinner, but that merely pays the penalty of his sin. It's a legal provision; his heart is in no way changed. The priest must minister conversion to the sinner's heart, taking what the lamb accomplished and relating it to him. The death of Christ has provided for us a "title" to heaven, but we must also acquire a "fitness" for heaven, or we could never be happy there. Ministering that "fitness" is the work of the high priest.

That's why it's impossible for us sinners to "overcome even as [Christ] overcame" (Rev. 3:21) unless we "see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels, for the suffering of death, ... that He, by the grace of God, might taste death for everyone. ... As the children have partaken of flesh and blood, He Himself likewise shared in the same. ... In all things He had to be made like His brethren, that He might be a merciful and faithful High Priest ... to make propitiation for the sins of the people."

All this could mean nothing to the sinner unless the High Priest "Himself has suffered, being tempted, ... in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin." Only then could anyone have the courage to "come boldly to the throne of grace ... [to] find grace to help in time of need" (Heb. 2:9-4:16).

The "judicial verdict of acquittal" proclaimed at Calvary's cross for "everyone" must be translated into the experience of "justification by faith," for "whoever believes in Him [shall] not perish but have everlasting life" (John 3:16; Rom. 5:16-18, NEB).

--Robert J. Wieland

From the "Dial Daily Bread" Archive: December 5, 2003.
Copyright © 2016 by "Dial Daily Bread."

Dial Daily Bread: Whenever There's Bad News, There's Good News

Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"

Whenever there's Bad News, there's also some Good News. And the Good News is better than the Bad. How do I know this? Read Romans 5:20: "Where sin abounded, grace abounded much more." Consider how this wicked world is repeating the history of the world before the Flood of Noah: (1) The earth was filled with violence (Gen. 6:11); (2) the earth was corrupt (vss. 11, 12); (3) the people "took wives for themselves of all whom they chose" (vs. 2); (4) they were given to sinful pleasure, "evil continually" (vs. 5), and (5) the wickedness of humanity in general was "great in the earth" (vs. 5).

Jesus said that just before His return, that wickedness would be repeated in the earth: "as in the days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, and ... did not know until the flood came and took them all away, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be" (Matt. 24:38, 39). Striking similarities! Selfish depravity is everywhere. But now, where's the Good News?

In Noah's day, there was an ark provided where anybody who believed the Good News could enter in and be safe. So today, the Lord God has an ark of safety where anybody who believes the Good News can find a refuge. That ark is the fellowship of God's people in His church. You are not left alone; open your eyes of faith--there are others who share your faith in Jesus, who also love the Bible, who respond to God's call to repent; yes, you will find fellowship if your heart humbly seeks the Lord.

--Robert J. Wieland

From the "Dial Daily Bread" Archive: March 26, 1998.
Copyright © 2016 by "Dial Daily Bread."

Monday, January 18, 2016

Dial Daily Bread: Jesus' Good News Promise

Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"

Is Jesus Christ doing anything special now? Or is He doing the same as He has always done since He ascended to heaven nearly two millennia ago?

His work throughout the ages has been preparing people to die--a wonderful work. By His Holy Spirit untold millions are being prepared to come up in the first resurrection so they can inherit a place in His eternal kingdom. Thus they have prayed in their last hour, "Abide with me, ... the darkness deepens, Lord, with me abide." For those who die, nothing can be more important than to be "counted worthy to attain ... the resurrection from the dead," says Jesus (Luke 20:35).

But must sin continue to plague human life on this planet forever? Must the agony of the Middle East continue generation after generation, on and on? Remember that Jesus Himself feels all this misery (Isa. 63:9).

The Good News is that He promises, "I will come again" (John 14:3). For His sake, as well as ours! But He can't come the second time until He prepares a people, not to die as have billions, but to be translated without seeing death (see 1 Thess. 4:15-18; 1 Cor. 15:51-55; Rev. 14:14-16, etc.). What's the difference, if any? This is it: the final tests!

Who are those people? It's not our job to judge anyone. But silently, steadily, the Lord Jesus as our great High Priest in His closing work in the heavenly sanctuary is doing just that--preparing a people to endure the final tests of the mark of the beast by faith to stand unmoved when the Holy Spirit is withdrawn from the earth, to be loyal. They "overcome even as [He] overcame" (Rev. 3:21). Listen!

--Robert J. Wieland

From the "Dial Daily Bread" Archive: June 23, 2002.
Copyright © 2016 by "Dial Daily Bread."

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Dial Daily Bread: What Does the Name of "Jesus" Mean, and Not Mean?

Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"

What does the name of "Jesus" mean? We are told in Acts 4:12 that there is salvation in no other name; Philippians 2:10 says that at last "every knee" shall bow to that name; Acts 3:6 says that name caused the man born lame to walk. Says the poet, "The name of Jesus is so sweet, I love its music to repeat." But isn't it time that we should learn what the name means? It's more than mere emotion or tradition. There is dynamite locked in the very Hebrew name itself.

First, what does it not mean? It does not mean "Jesus would like to save," or "perhaps He will save," and it does not mean "He offers to save." The simple Hebrew meaning within the word is "Jehovah saves." Here's what He is, not what He would like to be: He is a Savior. His proper title was recognized by the believing Samaritans (they got there before the Jews did!): "the Savior of the world" (John 4:42). He gives, not merely offers, His flesh "for the life of the world" (6:51).

Furthermore, He is not a co-Savior, sharing the job with any one else, least of all us. You and I can't share the honor! He "is able to save to the uttermost," that is, not part way and then leaving us to finish the job (Heb. 7:25).

This makes some people nervous; they're afraid that if we say He saves completely that we're going to get lazy and not do "good works." But they don't realize that when one appreciates what it cost the Savior to save us, when the dimensions of His sacrifice are realized, the human heart is so moved, so "constrained" (2 Cor. 5:14, 15), that the result is total dedication to the One "who died for [us] and rose again." There is no end to the "good works" that His agape love will forever "constrain" us to do.

While Jesus saves, we have something to do, but it's better to say we have something to believe. John 3:16 does not mention a part we have to play in effecting our salvation other than to believe, which means "with the heart one believes to righteousness" (Rom 10:10). We let Him save us; we stop resisting Him. You are drowning in the ocean and the lifeguard saves you completely, at the risk of his life. Do you cooperate with him? Yes, otherwise you drown. Do you help save yourself? No. You don't give him a dollar tip and walk off proud of yourself; you thank him for the rest of your life, and you walk humbly ever after.

Not one person eternally saved will talk about his own accomplishment. There is a song the redeemed will sing that we can begin to sing now (Rev. 5:11-13).

--Robert J. Wieland

From the "Dial Daily Bread" Archive: October 26, 1999.
Copyright © 2016 by "Dial Daily Bread."

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Dial Daily Bread: Living in the Closing Hours of "The Time of the End"

Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"

The great theologians may wrangle over what the prophet Daniel meant, but an ordinary person is impressed with the literal fulfillment of one of his prophecies: "[In] the time of the end: many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall increase" (12:4).

Merge into traffic on any city freeway, or visit any electronics store, and consider the intense explosions of travel and scientific "knowledge." Or "visit" the Internet! All the angels in heaven couldn't drum it into your consciousness more vividly: we are living in the closing hours of "the time of the end."

With all this "increase of knowledge" is it reasonable that we should understand more clearly what happened on the cross when the Son of God died for the world? Should the Holy Spirit impart a greater appreciation of what it means to say, "God forbid that I should glory except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world"? Would we be less inclined to think someone a fanatic if he is "determined not to know anything among [his congregation] except Jesus Christ and Him crucified" (Gal. 6:14; 1 Cor. 2:2)?

Luther, Calvin, Arminius, and the Wesleys were great in their day; God was with them. But this "time of the end" is the "hour of [God's] judgment," the world's grand cosmic Day of Atonement. What is due now is not a proud triumphalism to "glory in the cross," but a self-humbling appreciation for the agape love seen there. Now is the time to "comprehend" what Christ accomplished on His cross (Rev. 14:6, 7; Eph. 3:14-21).

--Robert J. Wieland

From the "Dial Daily Bread" Archive: March 2, 2005.
Copyright © 2016 by "Dial Daily Bread."

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Dial Daily Bread: Is the Father Holding Up the Second Coming?

Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"

God has given us the book of Hebrews as a treasure of truth. It's more soul-satisfying to read than the daily news, and if you understand what it's about, more interesting. It connects us directly with our Great High Priest who is just now conducting His closing work of preparing a people to stand through the final scenes of earthly time.

But it frightens some good-hearted people because its theme throughout is being "made perfect." "I don't see how I can ever become perfect," they say. And they turn away.

But wait a moment: think again. The theme of Hebrews is not making yourself "perfect." In fact, that's not your job; that precisely is the work of your Great High Priest. There's been a misunderstanding foisted upon God's people to make them think that the Father is holding up the second coming of Christ until "we" accomplish this impossible goal. The theme is for "us" to let our High Priest make His people perfect; He will do it if they don't resist and hinder Him in what He wants to do.

For example, note Hebrews 7:25: "He is also able to save to the uttermost [completely, perfectly, Amplified Bible] those who come to God through Him, since He ever lives to make intercession for them." Who does it? He; not we. Or, 11:40, the idea is to be "made perfect," not make yourself perfect. And 13:20, 21, the same Father who "brought up our Lord Jesus from the dead, ... through the blood of the everlasting covenant, [will] make you complete [perfect] in every good work to do His will, working in you ..." Who does it? Our Father.

Or, "Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus ..." (Phil. 2:5-8). If you and I will take down the bars that shut the door of our hearts and let the Holy Spirit bring in that "mind," the great High Priest can have His way. The Father's "gifts" are given "for perfecting [KJV] of the saints, ... for the edifying of the body of Christ, till we all come to the unity of the faith ... to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; ... no longer children tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine" (Eph. 4:11-14). Let Him labor on!

The great cosmic controversy between Christ and Satan hinges on whether the great High Priest can demonstrate that His "gospel ... is the power of God to salvation" (Rom. 1:16). Must His people always stumble and fail as did ancient Israel? It's not a crisis of doing "works," but a crisis of faith, believing--which faith then works all the good works motivated by love (agape).

The missing link is stated twice in Hebrews: "Consider the Apostle and High Priest of our confession, Christ Jesus" (3:1), and "Consider Him who endured such hostility from sinners against Himself, ..." (12:3). The word "consider" means a long, contemplative look at His sacrifice on His cross, and His resurrection High Priestly ministry that makes effective what He accomplished on His cross.

Yes, "Behold! The Lamb of God" is the idea (John 1:29).

--Robert J. Wieland

From the "Dial Daily Bread" Archive: August 6, 2003.
Copyright © 2016 by "Dial Daily Bread."


Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Dial Daily Bread: That "Sin in the Heart"

Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"

Suppose you didn't choose to seek temptation by walking on Satan's ground, but suddenly it confronts you. It may come to you from a thousand directions. What Jesus described as "looking" worries you and you wonder about that "sin in the heart".

Here is Good News! That was Joseph's problem in Potiphar's house in Egypt. He wasn't looking for temptation, but it came. At the age of 17 or so, Joseph had committed himself totally to the Lord because he understood the New Covenant promises. He was not in fear, desperately trying to hold on to God's hand--God was holding him by the hand, and the Savior kept him from falling into a sudden, alluring temptation. He ran.

You can prepare ahead of time as he did by giving yourself to the Savior. Don't worry; He won't forget you. His much more abounding grace will "teach [you] to say No!" and run.

Joseph alone in pagan Egypt was surrounded by a constant atmosphere like Sodom and Gomorrah. One wise writer tells us that he was as one who saw and heard not. It wasn't fear; he was living under the New Covenant and the Lord had written His Ten Commandments "law of liberty" on his heart.

Now praise Him that He has done the same for you. Walk softly, be humble, you "need Him every hour." If Christ has saved you from infidelity, you can praise Him throughout eternity, starting now. Thank Him for the mind of Christ. And if you have stumbled and fallen, receive His already-given gift of repentance as David received the gift (Psalm 51). Don't water it down into pious lukewarmness.

Now tell others that He has saved you. That's what it means to "witness" for Him.

As High Priest He is even now sealing His people (Rev. 14:1-5). Don't resist Him in His office work. He has business to do; let Him do it in your heart.

--Robert J. Wieland

From the "Dial Daily Bread" Archive: March 7, 2003.
Copyright © 2016 by "Dial Daily Bread."

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Dial Daily Bread: Lukewarmness--A Problem That MUST Be Solved

Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"

We talk a great deal about the "Great Controversy between Christ and Satan," and we look forward to the final end of the conflict with victory for Christ. (Yes, and for us, too! We don't want to forget that!)

But there is a problem that must be solved--the lukewarmness in the church. That word describes us all. How can such a church be ready for His second coming? Sincere people insist there is no problem--the church has always been that way and it always will be. "Christ will come when He gets ready, and if only a few are prepared to meet Him, that will be the end of the 'Great Controversy.'"

But wait a moment: Jesus says that His church being lukewarm makes Him so sick at His stomach that He feels like throwing up (Rev. 3:16 is clear). How can He come for a church that makes Him feel that way? And secondly, there must be a "marriage of the Lamb" before He can take His people home to glory (see Rev. 19:7-9). How can Jesus come if His Bride "has [not] made herself ready" and makes Him feel like vomiting?

If Jesus cannot solve the problem of lukewarmness, He will forever be embarrassed throughout His great universe. How can He ascend the throne of His people's hearts if He cannot win them from a half-hearted, half-love-the-world/half-love-Him, spiritual paralysis? Can He send disasters, like permitting Babylon to destroy Jerusalem? That would be like a Bridegroom sticking a pistol in his bride's back and telling her, "Say 'I do,' or I'll pull the trigger!" Could a marriage like that endure?

Fear is not the answer. Jesus must somehow win the full heart-devotion of His church, or He can never be honored and glorified before the universe (and the world). There is only one way: reveal to His church His true character as "the Lamb that was slain." Let them see His cross, what His sacrifice amounted to, what it cost Him to save us, how He died our second death. That's why the Book of Revelation focuses on the cross when it features Jesus as "the Lamb" twenty-five times.

--Robert J. Wieland

From the "Dial Daily Bread" Archive: December 4, 2000.
Copyright © 2016 by "Dial Daily Bread."

Monday, January 11, 2016

Dial Daily Bread: An Important Part in the Great Controversy

Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"

He was the best king Israel ever had, next to King David. He did everything right. He followed the Law of Moses minutely. And he was not a legalist--his heart was in it. The grace of the Lord was with him.

King Hezekiah inspired the people of both the Northern and Southern Kingdoms of the divided nation. He engineered the finest celebration of Passover the nation had ever known. But at the height of his glory as the most devout of all Israel's kings, comes this startling detail: "God withdrew from him, in order to test him, that he might know all that was in his heart" (2 Chron. 32:31; didn't the Lord already know it all? This must be for us somehow!).

Then we are directed to Isaiah to get the story. The king had just enjoyed the most glorious defense the Lord gave him against the Assyrian invaders; then the prophet Isaiah told him, the time has come for you to die. But he turned his face to the wall, and sobbed like a child, Not fair!

The dear Lord granted him 15 years more wherein he made a fool of himself and sired the most terrible king Israel ever had--Manasseh (Isa. 38, 39). Hezekiah didn't know what was buried unseen within his heart; unknown sin did him in.

Now fast forward to our day: our great High Priest in His cleansing the heavenly sanctuary will not only enable us to overcome known sin, but do a deeper work also: overcome unknown sin. His much more abounding grace (cf. Rom. 5:20) is sufficient. His Holy Spirit is cooperating with Christ; now let us learn from Hezekiah how to let Him direct our steps.

Instead of dying physically, now we can experience the blessed crucifixion of self "with Christ" (cf. Gal. 2:20). We are not kings, but we have an important part in bringing to a close the Great Controversy between Christ and Satan. Let's join in!

--Robert J. Wieland

From the "Dial Daily Bread" Archive: April 3, 2008.
Copyright © 2016 by "Dial Daily Bread."

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Dial Daily Bread: Can We Humans Do Something to Help God?

Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"

The Lord staked the honor and stability of His throne on one man, Job. In the great cosmic controversy between Christ and Satan, the Evil One challenged God: Your people who serve You are all doing it for selfish reasons, therefore they rightfully belong on my side! "Does Job fear God for nothing?" Take away Your blessings, "and he will surely curse you to Your face" (Job 1:8-11). It wouldn't do for God merely to contradict Satan; He had to prove that He had at least one human who was devoted in the genuine God-like motivation of agape-love--and that one man was Job.

The afflicted man didn't understand what was going on, but he did the best he could in his innocence. He was half right and half wrong: "The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away" (1:21). True, God had given; but it was Satan who "took away."

Job's agape loyalty saved God from terrible embarrassment before the universe; yes, and ruin. Job prepared the way for Christ to come.

All through the incarnation of the Son of God, the Father entrusted Him to the care of humans. The story does not say that angels miraculously protected Him; they impressed humans what to do to protect Him. An angel warned Joseph of King Herod's plot to kill Him; the angel didn't whisk the Baby off to Egypt, Joseph took Him there.

When Jesus was tired, hot, and hungry at Jacob's well in Samaria, humans cared for him. True, "the woman at the well" forgot to give Him His drink, but the disciples went to the Sychar market and bought a tasty feast for Him and "prayed Him, saying, Master, eat!" (John 4:31, KJV). That was the "backward prayer," backward because our prayers are almost always the opposite, Old Covenant, "Master, I'm hungry! Please feed me!" Be sure you save me and my loved ones!

Well and good; that's a proper prayer to pray. But in this cosmic Day of Atonement, when the heavenly sanctuary is to be "cleansed," can His people "grow up" out of their infancy to "the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ" (Eph. 4:13), to "comprehend" the mind and soul-stretching "width and length and depth and height--to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that [we] may be filled with all the fullness of God" (3:18, 19)?

Can we prepare for translation at Christ's coming? Yes! He will have a small but very real number--"144,000." And they, not He, will judge the unbelieving billions of earth.

--Robert J. Wieland

From the "Dial Daily Bread" Archive: July 21, 2007.
Copyright © 2016 by "Dial Daily Bread."

Saturday, January 09, 2016

Dial Daily Bread: The Reality Lesson That the Book of Job Teaches

Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"

The simplest, most common thing you can do for anyone is to pray for him, to get up out of bed when you crave sleep, and pour out your soul for that person, taking the time and trouble to put yourself in that person's place, to think about him, to share his burdens, to realize your corporate oneness with him. That's just a little of what Jesus meant, "Greater love has no man than this, than to lay down one's life for his friends" (John 15:13).

When you pray for someone, does it induce God to do something that otherwise He would not do? Actually, it's not that God would not do it (He is more than willing all along), but it makes it possible for Him to do something that otherwise He could not do.

That's the reality lesson that the Book of Job teaches: God cannot save the world without "[His] servant Job" (1:8; 2:3); He cannot win the struggle of the great controversy between Himself and Satan without that "servant Job" doing something that even God cannot do.

Job was the "servant" that God needed, making a contribution to the divine economy. He had this quintessential part to play in the cosmic war that no angel could have filled, but he himself had no idea who he was. His task was to defend God and be loyal even to the point of enduring the curse of God--yes, going to hell, yet still maintaining his faith in God (cf. 13:15). The book of Job is full of that truth. He anticipated the sacrifice of the cross.

If the Jews had understood Job, they could never have crucified their Messiah; Job was the biblical Atlas bearing the world on his shoulders. Today God has 144,000 modern "servants" like Job, each holding the line in one of 144,000 categories of defense that God needs when and where He is on trial (Rev. 14:6, 7). Each would rather perish eternally than bring shame on Christ. Christ is the real One for whom you get up out of bed to pray (Isa. 50:4, 5).

It's shocking but true: in His incarnation, the Lord Jesus Christ needs help.

--Robert J. Wieland

From the "Dial Daily Bread" Archive: July 20, 2007.
Copyright © 2016 by "Dial Daily Bread."

Thursday, January 07, 2016

Dial Daily Bread: True Bible Forgiveness

Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"

When the Father "so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son," He gave Him to the world--not just to the good people that are in the world. When Jesus was with us on earth, He was famous for something special: "This Man receives sinners!" (Luke 15:2).

He still does. When the dear Holy Spirit (He loves you too, for He is a Person!) convicts you of sin, it is because He loves you and wants you to separate yourself from the sin, so you can be happy living forever in God's eternal kingdom.

True Bible forgiveness is far more than a mere nod of the head, a superficial "pardon" so you can do it again and then come back again and be pardoned again, on and on ad infinitum. The purging of sin must be while we are still conscious and in charge of our soul's destiny; it cannot take place after death.

There is something precious that the Lord Jesus Christ has given (not merely offered!) every human soul on earth--the gift of the power of choice.

You can say NO! to temptation--a big "NO!" in big black letters, the bigger and blacker the better, and the bigger the exclamation point the better. Your will power may be very weak; you may have abused it--but the dear Lord has still given you the power of choice.

And when your choice is in harmony with the choice of Jesus Christ for you, that is, the two of you are in agreement in that choice, all the devils in hell will be helpless to move you, to change you, to defeat you. Your own personal will is in harmony with the will of Christ--now there's a powerful union that is utterly impregnable in this world and in the universe of God. Forever.

--Robert J. Wieland

From the "Dial Daily Bread" Archive: August 19, 2008.
Copyright © 2016 by "Dial Daily Bread."

Wednesday, January 06, 2016

Dial Daily Bread: It's Not Too Late to Stand Alone

Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"

Is it too late in history for God to have men and women who stand loyally for what is right, all alone, in the face of opposition? The Bible tells of many such heroes: Noah, Abraham, Joseph, David hunted by King Saul like a wild beast, Jeremiah, and yes, Jesus Himself ("Have any of the rulers or the Pharisees believed in Him?" John 7:48).

Jeremiah was "shut up" in prison, silenced, tortured, despised by the kings of Judah; but he was right and they were wrong. In the final judgment day, which would you rather be--lonely Jeremiah in his dungeon or King Jehoikim or King Zedekiah on his throne?

There is a story of William Penn, a worldly young man of London who became converted to the most active, self-sacrificing Christlike group of Christians of that day. He published a tract criticizing the Church of England, so that the Bishop of London threw him into the Tower. But God's providence provided for him after his famous and wealthy father's death to "purchase" from the King of England the largest real estate deal then known: the entire tract of land in the New World that is known as Pennsylvania. And he went on to write a wonderful book entitled, No Cross, No Crown. He helped enormously to prepare the way for the establishment of the United States of America as a refuge for persecuted people where they could find religious liberty. In the final judgment, who would you rather be? William Penn, or the lordly Bishop of London?

You may today stand all alone for Christ and for His truth in your school, your office, your home, your neighborhood; but take courage. The dear Savior has promised: "Therefore whoever confesses Me before men, him I will also confess before My Father who is in heaven" (Matt. 10:32). No, it's not too late to stand alone for Him!

--Robert J. Wieland


From the "Dial Daily Bread" Archive: March 13, 1998.
Copyright © 2016 by "Dial Daily Bread."

Tuesday, January 05, 2016

Dial Daily Bread: Does God "Harden" Some People's Hearts?

Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"

Does God "harden" some people's hearts so they cannot believe? Does He "fit" some people for "destruction"? Did He "harden Pharaoh's heart"? There is a text in Romans that some think says so; and unless we understand it, we have a little nagging doubt hidden away in our hearts that is certain to confuse us and discourage us in some sudden moment of temptation.

Speaking of Pharaoh, Paul seems to say that he is an example of people God has "raised up" for the one purpose of destroying them. Our English Bible has misunderstood the Greek that Paul actually wrote: "Hath not the potter power over the clay ... to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour? ... God ... endured ... the vessels of wrath fitted for destruction" (Rom. 9:21, 22). Surely sounds like He has "fitted" some people "for destruction"! Some read that and think of themselves as toys in God's hands that He purposes to break and throw away.

They must not think that way. The key word in the Greek in verse 22 which is translated as "fitted" is a word that grammatically can be understood two different ways: either as a perfect passive (as in our English translation) or as a middle participle which means they "fitted themselves for destruction." According to everything else the Bible says about God's character, that is the proper translation.

Paul says that God has "endured with much longsuffering" this wearisome process that people put themselves through of fitting themselves for destruction. God created them and fitted them for eternal salvation, and He redeemed them; but by unbelief (disbelief) they have resisted His grace and perverted it. Like Pharaoh, the prime example, the more light God shed upon their pathway, the more they hardened their own heart.

There are ten Bible texts that say Pharaoh "hardened his own heart." And there are ten that say "God hardened his heart." Contradiction? No; it's the metaphor of the clay again: the more sunlight shines upon it, the harder it gets. Until we "let" the Holy Spirit give us a "new heart," the more light the Lord shines upon us, the more we harden these poor sinful, selfish hearts.

The Good News? You can pray the prayer that is 100 percent sure to be answered: ask for a tender, melted, broken heart (Psalm 51:10, 17). The answer will come through understanding, appreciating, what happened on Christ's cross.

--Robert J. Wieland

From the "Dial Daily Bread" Archive: October 28,1999.
Copyright © 2011 by "Dial Daily Bread."

Monday, January 04, 2016

Dial Daily Bread: Seeds of Bible Truth

Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"

Psalm 14:1 says that the fool has said in his heart there is no God. And Romans 1:19, 20 says that the invisible God has made Himself visible by the things that He has made so that we can understand His eternal power and Godhead.

There are people everywhere who feel like orphans--they wish they could know God but they have been taught either to doubt His existence or to doubt that He personally loves them and cares for them.

Looking at a simple acorn will help us understand something. Look at that little seed: there is a mighty oak tree wrapped up within it. You cannot see it, it is invisible, but your common sense tells you that it is there. Just plant it in the ground, give it some water, and wait 100 years and see the giant tree that has come from that tiny acorn. The evolutionist says all this evolved mysteriously over millions of years; the Bible says that God created that tree and the mysterious principle of life that makes it possible, and that He made it to be an oak and not an apple tree.

Now for the punch line: Hebrews 4:12 tells us that the words of the Bible are like a living, sprouting acorn, a seed that grows in the human heart and produces the miracle of a new character: "The word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart." And Colossians 3:16 says, "Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly." In other words, don't stop it. Let it get planted in your heart. Don't uproot it.

An oak tree scatters its acorns everywhere, so the Lord, by His Holy Spirit is scattering these seeds of Bible truth. Welcome them, receive them, and they will grow in your heart to transform your character into the likeness of the Creator who is also our Savior, Christ Jesus.

--Robert J. Wieland

From the "Dial Daily Bread" Archive: 1994 Phone Message.
Copyright © 2016 by "Dial Daily Bread."

Sunday, January 03, 2016

Dial Daily Bread: Let Your Speech Be Full of Grace

Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"

There is one thing that most of us do every day, whether we are young or old--we talk to other people. Maybe members of our families, or neighbors, people at work, or just meeting people at the post office or at school.

Here's a word for us today. It's in Colossians 4:6: "Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer each one."

Paul says, "Let your speech, your words, be full of grace." In other words, if you let the Holy Spirit direct you, your spirit will always be gracious. And if your spirit, your inner feeling, is gracious, then for sure your words will be gracious. Grace in our words is like a little salt in bland food.

We don't have to be sharp and "sandpapery" in our words. Why should we hurt people? Everyone has enough trouble, why should we add to people's burdens by speaking bitterly?

Please remember that the Lord Jesus Christ is a Savior--not only when we die, but now, day by day, He will save us from bad habits that we have formed. You can become known as someone whose words are always pleasant to hear, uplifting. You can be a peacemaker, spiritual nurse or doctor bringing healing to people who are wounded spiritually. The Lord has promised to teach you and make you such a person--if you will let Him do so.

--Robert J. Wieland

From the "Dial Daily Bread" Archive: 1994 Phone Message.
Copyright © 2016 by "Dial Daily Bread."

Saturday, January 02, 2016

Dial Daily Bread: Believe God's Promises to You

Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"

New Year's Day is traditionally the time for resolutions. "I will do better in this or that way during this new year!" And in practice, these New Year's resolutions usually fail before February comes around.

A wise writer has said, "Your promises and resolutions are like ropes of sand. ... The knowledge of your broken promises and forfeited pledges weakens your confidence in your own sincerity and causes you to feel that God cannot accept you" (Steps to Christ, p. 47). Such promises and resolutions made to God are the famous Old Covenant. The children of Israel made the Old Covenant at Mount Sinai when they responded to God's promise by saying, "All that the Lord has spoken we will do" (Ex. 19:8).

Sounds good, doesn't it? And some people understand the Lord as approving of their making the Old Covenant when He later said, "I have heard the voice of the words of this people, ... They are right in all that they have spoken" (Deut. 5:28). This is often interpreted as the Lord's enthusiastic approval of their Old Covenant promise.

But those who take this position don't read far enough. In the next verse the Lord sighs, "Oh, that they had such a heart in them that they would fear [reverence] Me and always keep all My commandments, that it might be well with them." Paul says that the Old Covenant "gives birth to bondage" (Gal. 4:24). That "bondage" brings darkness into your soul, even though you try ever so hard to be good.

No, your New Year's resolutions will not bring you victory and happiness. The Lord does not ask you to make promises to Him; He asks only that you believe His promises to you. His promise is the New Covenant; and for us to believe His promise is what makes Him happy. And in the end it makes us happy, too.

--Robert J. Wieland

From the "Dial Daily Bread" Archive: January 2, 1998.
Copyright © 2016 by "Dial Daily Bread."