Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Dial Daily Bread: The Final Unfolding of History

Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"

The final unfolding of history will be the disclosure of the world's guilt so that all can see it at last. When the world unites to exterminate the people of God in the final decree, this unconscious mind of evil will be fully manifest. No longer will the Holy Spirit restrain it. And their hated of God's people will be in reality hatred of Christ--a fresh and complete display of the same unconscious hatred manifested at Calvary, that "all the world may become guilty [out in the open] before God" (Rom. 3:19).

The painful truth disclosed in the True Witness's message to the "angel of the church of the Laodiceans" is that a related guilt is our real sin today. And it is holding up the Latter Rain. Beneath the surface there is a "carnal mind" which "is enmity against God." All through the decades this unconscious enmity against God has frustrated our best conscious efforts to hasten the coming of the Lord.

Obviously, only the "blotting out of sins" accomplished in the Day of Atonement can avail to cleanse this deeper level of unknown sin. When this work is done, the mysterious phrase, "the final atonement," will be better appreciated. No magical process will do the work. The now unknown sins will be brought fully to consciousness and forthwith repented of.

But this will not be possible unless side by side with the abounding awareness of our sin there is a "more abounding" awareness of what grace really means. Hence the necessity for a clearer understanding of the gospel than we have ever known before--righteousness by faith. The "enmity" fully healed, the "atonement" becomes fully effective or "final." It is, in fact, a final reconciliation.

--Robert J. Wieland

From: The Knocking at the Door, 1983.
Copyright © 2016 by "Dial Daily Bread."

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Dial Daily Bread: A Galaxy of New Covenant Promises

Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"

When you begin to appreciate that the Ten Commandments have become ten promises, life becomes a constant springtime, a mountain-peak experience. Yes, it means you will never fall into sin.

It means that the Good Shepherd has found you, the lost sheep, and is bearing you (present tense) on His shoulder back home (Luke 15:3-6). It means that the Lord Jesus will hold you by your "right hand," telling you over and over "Don't be afraid!" (Isa. 41:13).

It means that on the unknown pathway of life "Your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, 'This is the way, walk in it,' whenever you turn to the right hand or whenever you turn to the left" (Isa. 30:21). That "word" won't necessarily be an audible Voice; it's a "word" that the ears of your soul will hear distinctly. Talk about a new Navigation System! Believe that truth in the Preamble to the Ten and you have that system built-in to your soul from now on.

If you're a teen, that's a huge burden lifted from your heart; you wonder what you're going to do in life, or who you're going to marry: your Navigation System will guide your every step.

If you're an elderly person, you can look back and sing Hallelujah that the dear Lord has already held you by the hand and saved you from innumerable pitfalls, the most horrible of which is the "dominion" of sin (Rom. 6:14).

A galaxy of New Covenant promises is in Ezekiel 36: "You shall be clean ... from all your idols," you are given "a new heart," there's "a new spirit" installed within you, the old "heart of stone" that has plagued you all your life, removed, the Holy Spirit is placed "within you," and your greatest joy becomes "walking in [the Lord's] statutes" (vss. 25-27).

--Robert J. Wieland

From the "Dial Daily Bread" Archive: April 27, 2006.
Copyright © 2016 by "Dial Daily Bread."

Monday, August 29, 2016

Dial Daily Bread: Two Bible Books to Encourage Workers of the Lord in the Last Days

Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"

When a Laodicean reads the two books of Ezra and Nehemiah as a narrative story, strange comparisons pop up. The Laodicean is already conscious of the Lord's rebuke in his life today, for He says, "Be zealous and repent" (Rev. 3:19). Now in reading these books, he re-lives the painful struggle of these Israelites to return from the 70-year captivity in Babylon.

As they try in spite of their enemies ridiculing them, the people of God under Nehemiah's direction manfully work to rebuild the walls of old Jerusalem, walls broken down by the Babylonians some 70 years before. Everything seems to go against them. It's not that the Lord Himself works against them, but He does permit their enemies to harass them.

Sanballat and Tobiah, for example, rise against the Jews continually. Their principal weapon is ridicule; they despise their efforts to rebuild the walls, saying that if a fox were to walk over their rebuilt wall it would fall down (Neh. 4:3).

So difficult is their work that with one hand the workers hold a sword or a spear and work with the other hand on the wall (4:17). It was a labor of repentance; the people of God were humiliated, yet they pressed on until the heavy task was completed.

It was the Lord's intention over a century ago that His people go forth with the most precious message that with His blessing should lighten the whole earth with glory; but modern "Sanballats" and "Tobiahs" rose up to oppose the work.

Now the consecration and devotion of the Lord's servants will be tried; we have come to the time when we must "gather warmth from the coldness of others." Faith in the Lord begets courage in the Lord; our task is not laying stones on stones to build a wall; our task is proclaiming truths on truths, demonstrating to the world that "the third angel's message in verity" is the truth that will lighten the earth; it will bring to a glorious triumph "the great controversy between Christ and Satan."

The books of Ezra and Nehemiah are often neglected, but they have an honored place in the Bible: to encourage the hard-pressed workers of the Lord in these last days.

--Robert J. Wieland

From the "Dial Daily Bread" Archive: April 25, 2008.
Copyright © 2016 by "Dial Daily Bread."

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Dial Daily Bread: Christ's Full-time Job

Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"

Was Christ tempted only as the sinless Adam was tempted? Or was He tempted as we, the sinful descendants of Adam? Hebrews reiterates the answer: "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. 4:14, 15).

No matter how deep or how strong our temptation may be, Christ was tempted that same way, "yet without sin." And that's not all! A powerful "therefore" follows verse 15: "Let us therefore come boldly … and find grace to help in time of need." His "likeness of sinful flesh" gave Him perfect entrance to condemn that very sin--judge it, pronounce sentence on it, kill it. Be "bold" in Him; you deserve to receive the victory. Don't hang back timidly as though you are doomed to defeat. Step out and believe.

There are wonderful, highly respected people who tell us, no, this cannot be. Christ could not have been tempted as we are, for there were no TVs in His day, no vodka, no Maserati luxury cars, etc. But that idea fails to appreciate what the Bible says.

Every temptation to sin that we can experience is directed at our primal love of self; and Christ knows every avenue of that appeal. Knowing how strong the temptation is, He sympathizes with us, but even that is not all. Mere sympathy and pity would not help. You can sympathize with your injured dog and pity him. But Christ "succors" us. His full-time job is saving us from yielding to temptation. We "come boldly," not timidly, in a prayer of faith to "obtain" that help.

Note the clear insistence that although Christ came close to us, taking our sinful nature, He was "yet without sin." Not even by a thought would He yield to the tempter. "The ruler of this world is coming, and he has nothing in Me," He said (John 14:30). He always remained "that Holy One" (Luke 1:35). The struggle against sinful temptation was so fierce and so dangerous that He sweat drops of blood in His agony (Heb. 5:7; 12:3, 4). That was a more terrible ordeal than any of us have known.

The struggle to yield our will to be "crucified with Him" may seem painful, but it is easier than our being crucified alone. Don't forget that Savior "nigh at hand." And living the life of resultant resurrection "with Him" is surely easier than wearing oneself out continuing to fight against the Holy Spirit.

--Robert J. Wieland

From: Grace on Trial, 2001.
Copyright © 2016 by "Dial Daily Bread."

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Dial Daily Bread: Where Are the Daniels of Our Day?

Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"

The time for the final deliverance of God's people from this world of sin is just before us! Where are the Daniels of our day who are earnestly searching the Scriptures with fasting and humiliation, seeking God for light and guidance? Those who follow Daniel's example will be taught of God through His Word, and by His Spirit. You are called to be among them.

We too are living in a time when it seems that the church of Christ is thwarted and baffled on every side, as the Jews were troubled during their captivity in Babylon. It will not help for us to begin to accuse one another, "to beat" our fellow servants (Matt. 24:48-50) in fault-finding. Better let us do as Daniel did: though he was a man with whom even his enemies could find no fault, he took the sins of Israel upon himself, as it were, and confessed them as his sins. "We" have sinned, he says. "We" have committed iniquity; "we" have rebelled (Dan. 9:4, 5).

We are told: "Bear one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ" (Gal. 6:2). By taking his people's sins upon himself, Daniel was experiencing a repentance for the sins of others, as though they were his sins (he had not joined in their apostasy!). This is the kind of repentance that Jesus experienced in our behalf. When He came to John the Baptist requesting baptism, John refused Him, for he knew that Jesus was sinless. But Jesus had to explain to him that He has come as "the Lamb of God" taking upon Himself the sins of the entire human race. "He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us" (2 Cor. 5:21).

John was not permitted to baptize anyone except "for repentance." This repentance that Jesus experienced in our behalf was a corporate repentance--repenting for the sins of others, putting Himself in our place. As soon as we begin confessing "our" sin as Daniel did, realizing that the sin of others would be our sin but for the grace of Christ, revival and refreshing of the Holy Spirit will sweep through God's people.

In Daniel 9:23 we note that "at the beginning" of his supplication the angel was sent to help him. Likewise, at the beginning of a heart-broken prayer of humble confession on our part, help will be sent to us.

--Robert J. Wieland

From: The Gospel in Daniel, 2004.
Copyright © 2016 by "Dial Daily Bread."

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Dial Daily Bread: Where are the Shadrachs, Meshachs, and Abednegos of Today?

Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"

Isn't it encouraging to us how the three Hebrew boys in Daniel 3 had faith and courage (see vss. 13-18)? Their secret is this: when they were first brought to Babylon, they refused to compromise their faith in any little particular (see chapter 1:11-16). They knew that one compromise of evil leads to another downward step. Because of their faithfulness in enduring the smaller test, they became prepared to endure the greatest test. May God help us never to compromise in the first step with sin and with evil!

The book of Revelation unfolds to us the story of a similar test which some shall endure. There will be an "image of the beast" which will be set up on the earth, when all living upon the earth will be commanded to give to it either willing or unwilling worship by obedience to man-made religious laws. As in the days of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, death will be decreed for all who refuse to obey false religion. As it was on the plains of Dura, the vast majority will bow before the decrees of Satan. This test will come to us and to the entire world.

Who will choose “rather to suffer affliction with the people of God than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin”? (Heb. 11:25, 26). Where are the Shadrachs, Meshachs, and Abednegos of today who are now obeying the truth from their hearts? Where are those who obey God daily in the smaller tests that come in our home life, in our school life, and in business? Who will be able to stand in that decisive day which is yet to come?

For those who have truly bowed their knees before the great God of heaven, it will not be hard to make the right choice. They cannot, will not, be afraid of any man’s threats. Fellowship with Christ in His sufferings is better to them than any earthly reward could be. The most precious message of Christ’s righteousness is even now preparing multitudes to stand firm for the Savior.

The same God who delivered Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego will work mightily for His people who stand for what is right. The One who walked with the Hebrews in the fiery furnace will be with you wherever you go in His service. His presence will comfort you and sustain you. Satan with a million evil angels cannot harm even one of the weakest of God’s saints.

--Robert J. Wieland

From: The Gospel in Daniel, 2004.
Copyright © 2016 by "Dial Daily Bread."

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Dial Daily Bread: The Cross "Equation" With a Built-in Power Pack

Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"

The cross "equation" comes with a built-in power pack: "The love of Christ constrains [motivates] us" (2 Cor. 5:14). Therefore, following our Lord is no longer forcing ourselves to try to do what is right, punishing ourselves, pushing ourselves against our will to do what we don't want to do in order to get to heaven or to avoid being lost.

No one who has seen Christ crucified, and who believes what he sees, can again be plagued with those vague feelings of remorse and self-hate for doing what he knows he shouldn't. The nagging sense of "ought," like low-hanging clouds shadowing the soul, is lifted. While it might be wrong to say that it becomes easy to do right (following Christ is never coasting downhill), it is true that the love of Christ seen and believed is a power plant that propels one on the upward path. Temptation obstacles flatten out before the power of this new "constraint." Decisions that have been agonizingly difficult for us become simple when Paul's equation is remembered: One died for me, otherwise I wouldn't be here at this moment. How can my life be my own? Christ's love has bought me. How can I possibly withhold myself from Him?

The lapse of 2,000 years since Paul's day makes no difference in the power of the equation. None of the tempting allurements we face today can in any way stand up against it. Even if the devil had another thousand years to invent more subtle temptations to ensnare us, this simple truth we "see" at Calvary would nullify them all because it shorts out the circuit of our self-centeredness.

This is how the cross shifts the focus of our viewpoint. In fact, vision just begins when our self-centered complex is overcome. We can begin to look at things through the eyes of Christ. We are able to perceive something impossible to see otherwise. It is this:

He has a need today that is greater than at any time in the past since the Father entrusted Him to us. Jesus is still hungry; and the hunger He knows is the unsatisfied, unrequited love of a Bridegroom hungering for His bride to yield Him her wholehearted, entire love. We are enabled to sense that He deserves a reward, not we! He deserves a human-heart response to the "travail of His soul" that has not as yet been yielded Him.

With respect to His bride-to-be, Christ endures disappointment beyond description because of our human indifference. Are we hiding ourselves from Him, making Him sad and disappointed? Must it ever be so? Where is our heart response worthy of His love? Would it not be the cruelty of the ages for us to continue holding Him at a distance, keeping Him waiting, unsatisfied, divinely hungry?

What can we say to Him? Is there some word of appreciation? "Master, … !

--Robert J. Wieland

From: The Backward Prayer, 2001.
Copyright © 2016 by "Dial Daily Bread."

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Dial Daily Bread: He Gives Us Our Wings--We Cannot Crash!

Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"

If we make the right choices, we "walk in the Spirit." We "let" Christ's "mind" be in us, in the sense of motivation. It's like using power steering to drive a huge truck. No way can you turn those front wheels yourself; but if the engine is running, your choice to turn right or left is all that is needed—the slightest pressure on the steering wheel activates the power-steering pump to do all the work.

Paul didn't have power steering in his day, but he understood the secret of sanctification by faith: "So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature. For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit [desires] what is contrary to the sinful nature. They are in conflict with each other, so that you do not [cannot] do what you want" (Gal. 5:16, 17, NIV).

So, it's "good news" again! The "power source" is the Holy Spirit. Give Him your will, make your choice to walk in His way, and (according to Paul's Greek) you cannot be overcome by the desires of your "sinful nature," however strong they may be or however long you have walked in evil habits. The reason is simple enough: the Holy Spirit is stronger than the flesh, just as light is stronger than darkness and love is stronger than hate.

It seems hard for us humans to grasp the truth that we have such a Savior! He is real! We are not left on our own! He gives us our wings, and if we believe with New Testament faith, we cannot crash!

--Robert J. Wieland

From: Gold Tried In the Fire, 1983.
Copyright © 2016 by "Dial Daily Bread."

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Dial Daily Bread: It's Impossible to Believe in Jesus and Not Believe in Miracles

Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"

Have you ever walked on water? I am sure not. In all the history of the world, only two people have ever walked on water--set their foot on it and walked on water as though it were concrete. Those two were Jesus Christ, and His disciple, Simon Peter.

But Peter didn't succeed very long--only long enough to show that it could be done. Probably his success was something like that of Orville Wright when he managed to fly his airplane for a few seconds at Kitty Hawk. Orville conquered gravity by flying in the air for a few seconds; Peter succeeded in walking on water for a few seconds (you can read his story in Matthew 14:22-33).

Jesus came walking on the surface of the Sea of Galilee to the disciples who were in a storm-tossed boat late in the night. They had listened to Judas Iscariot who planted seeds of doubt and resentment in their hearts, and now the storm had made them wish that Jesus were with them. When they saw Him walking on the water, they thought He was a ghost. Peter recognized Him, and said, "Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water." Foolish request! But Jesus said, "OK, come." And Peter climbed out of the boat and actually walked toward Jesus.

Then Peter saw that the wind was "boisterous" and his faith gave way and down he started to go like a stone. Terrified, he cried out, "Lord, save me!" And Jesus grabbed him by the hand and pulled him up and took him to the boat.

It was a miracle. But you know something--it's impossible to believe in Jesus and not believe in miracles! You may think the problems in your life are so discouraging that to solve them would be like walking on water. Keep Jesus in your sight, and believe Him.

--Robert J. Wieland

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

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Dial Daily Bread: The "Marriage of the Lamb"--What Can We Do About It?

Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"

If "the marriage of the Lamb" has been delayed because "His wife has [not] made herself ready" (Rev. 19:7), what can we do about it? If "the Lamb's wife" is the New Jerusalem, the Holy City in heaven (21:9, 10), how can we make it "ready"? It's beyond us, so forget it, go back to sleep.

When the angel told John, "Come, I will show you the bride, the Lamb's wife," he gave him a panoramic view of the city. It had "a great and high wall with twelve gates, ... twelve foundations, ... the city was pure gold, ... the twelve gates were twelve pearls, ... the street of the city was pure gold" (21:9-21). Even for angel architects and heavenly construction workers, "making" such a "city" "ready" would be a big job. Paving Main Street with gold, for example, must take time. Is that what has delayed the coming of Christ?

The "city" is real, very real; and its material construction was probably completed long, long ago. But what is the real "city"? Why is it called the "New Jerusalem"? The "Jerusalem" that crucified Jesus was the old one. When He addressed the old "city," sobbing like His heart would break, "O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the one who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! ... Your house is left to you desolate" (Matt. 23:37, 38), was He speaking to the cobblestones in the pavement, the timber in the gates, or was He addressing the people, the inhabitants of the city?

The inhabitants of the New Jerusalem are described in Revelation 14:1-5 as "the ones who follow [not rebel against] the Lamb wherever He goes. ... They are without fault before the throne of God." These same "ones" have "washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb" (7:14). This is character-cleansing--accomplished by grace through the faith of Jesus.

When He died on His cross and cried out, "It is finished!" Satan was forever defeated, the great controversy won. But after 2000 years Jesus must also say that His seventh of the seven churches is "The one" of all history that doesn't know it is "wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked" (3:17). Yes, she has something to do to "make herself ready for the marriage of the Lamb." We must wake up.

--Robert J. Wieland

From the "Dial Daily Bread" Archive: April 29, 2004.
Copyright © 2016 by "Dial Daily Bread."

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Dial Daily Bread: Why Did God Permit Daniel to Confess Guilt for Which He Was Innocent?

Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"

No court of law will permit a person to confess guilt which is not a fact. But here in Daniel 9 we have a man confessing guilt in enormous sins for which he is utterly innocent! And God righteously let him do it!

He painfully enumerates the sins of his people, the Jews, and calls it "My confession" (vs. 4), "We have sinned and committed iniquity, we have done wickedly and rebelled, even by departing from Your precepts." He goes back in history and assumes guilt for the sins of "our kings, our princes, and our fathers," and of "all Israel." He even confesses that "we" deserve "the curse" that has "been poured out on us" (vss. 4-11).

Yet Daniel did not take part in any of these sins that led to the captivity in Babylon. The Bible records no sin against him. Why then did he make this abject confession, and why did the Lord let him make it if it wasn't true in fact?

This was the same kind of "confession" that Jesus Christ made when He asked John the Baptist to baptize Him; John refused for he was authorized to baptize no one except sinners, and he knew that Christ was sinless. Christ was innocently taking the sins of the world on Himself, numbering Himself with the transgressors where He didn't belong. Daniel was so close to Christ that he was voluntarily partaking of the corporate repentance that Christ experienced for the world.

In the end of time there will be "144,000" people who also will voluntarily confess the sins of the world as their sins but for the grace of a Savior who has saved them from those sins. They will fully realize the truth that "in [their] flesh nothing good dwells" (Rom. 7:18). They will finally understand "the message of Christ's righteousness."

--Robert J. Wieland

From the "Dial Daily Bread" Archive: December 13, 2004.
Copyright © 2016 by "Dial Daily Bread."

Dial Daily Bread: A Wiser Way

Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"

Wouldn't it be nice if the telephone would ring, and when you say Hello, there is the voice of God telling you that He loves you personally, individually, and how your prayers are answered, etc. Many people say they would believe if only God would do that for them!

If that were the way God speaks to us, phones all over the world would be ringing 24 hours a day. All the phone service providers in the world would not be able to handle any other calls.

God has chosen a wiser way to tell you that He loves you and is answering your prayers--in His word, the Bible, ministered individually and personally to your heart by the Holy Spirit. That is all that Jesus had; He had to depend on the Old Testament, and yet He was the divine Son of God. Now you also have the New Testament--so you have far more evidence of God's love for you personally than even Jesus had!

The Jews in Jesus' time didn't want to accept Him as the Messiah because they wanted a miracle to prove it to them. That's why Jesus told them the parable of the rich man and Lazarus in Luke 16:19-31. The miracle of someone rising from the dead didn't help them to believe! Jesus said, "If they do not hear Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded though One rose from the dead" (vs. 31).

Listen to Moses and the prophets, that is, the Bible itself. Believe the Good News it has for you. You must not despise this greatest of all evidence that God loves you personally and individually. Read the Bible on your knees, pleading for God's forgiveness for our unbelief.

--Robert J. Wieland

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

Monday, August 15, 2016

Dial Daily Bread: The Book That Contains Your Page

Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"

Psalm 139 is one of the most "Good News" chapters in the Bible! It tells you that the infinite Lord and Creator took a direct, personal interest in your formation when you were an embryo in your mother's womb. The Septuagint (that is, the Greek translation of the Old Testament that Christ and the apostles used) renders the message of Psalm 139, "all men shall be written in Thy Book." That Book contains your page! The Infinite Father took a personal interest in your formation as though you were earth's only inhabitant.

Jesus tells us that the Holy Spirit, in His infinitude, notices when a little sparrow falls in the forest: "Are not two sparrows sold for a copper coin? And not one of them falls to the ground apart from your Father's will" (Matt. 10:29). "Do not fear therefore," He assures us, "you are of more value than many sparrows" (vs. 31).

The Father respects you highly; there are things that in particular you can do that no one else can do as well. The Father actually needs you!

Satan doesn't want us to understand this. He wants us to think of ourselves as being unimportant in God's creation; but in fact we are divinely called to be co-workers with the Lord Himself. There is someone on earth who cannot be reached with a living witness of the gospel except through you. The Lord needs you; He Himself alone cannot function in this case without you.

What He can't do is reach an alienated human heart without your help. When you tell what the Lord Jesus has done for you personally (if you can tell it in a humble way!), this reaches that alienated heart. It makes the Bible come alive. You can touch that secret, buried spot in someone's heart. Possibly you won't realize what you've done, but angels will rejoice at the accomplishment.

Hold your head high. Unworthy as you are, you are important in God's plan of salvation for the world. Kneel, and wait before Him; "wait on the Lord; be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart; wait, I say, on the Lord," says David (Psalm 27:14).

You kneel and say not a word, maybe in the dark. You have "shut your door" (Matt. 6:6), and you are shut in with the Lord of heaven and earth, your Creator and Savior. His Son has programmed this intimate appointment just for the Father and you. You may object--"but there's selfishness and sin in my heart!" Okay, but let Him cleanse it out. He will!

--Robert J. Wieland

From the "Dial Daily Bread" Archive: September 27, 2008.
Copyright © 2016 by "Dial Daily Bread."

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Dial Daily Bread: "Closer Than a Brother"

Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"

We thank the dear Lord for inspiring His apostle to write for us that precious Book of Hebrews. No other book in the Bible so clearly reveals Jesus Christ as our “Brother” in human flesh--the divine One closest to us, “sticking closer” to us than even the best of our human brothers: “There is a Friend who sticks closer than a brother” (Prov. 18:24). Jesus is that Friend. That’s the One that Hebrews describes.

You must know how close He is. It’s a heavenly family that Ephesians says you have already been “adopted” into (1:3-7). If your lonely heart cries out “Father!” Heaven looks upon you as already adopted into the family (see Rom. 8:14-17). He respects your heart-choice. I can’t begin to describe what it means to be an “heir of God and joint heir with Christ.” But that’s what you are by virtue of Christ’s sacrifice, the One who “gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works” (Titus 2:13, 14).

He did all this before we could say yes or no; it was already true before we were born, but He can’t force Himself on us: He did the giving of Himself, but He also gave us the freedom of choice--we can refuse the adoption.

The love of God (agape) is what God says He is (1 John 4:8); it is high and holy, divine; it has to be “perfect” for “God is agape,” but John also says an almost unbelievable truth: that agape is “perfected in us”--in us who are weak and sinful (vs. 12). Ten thousand angels playing their harps and singing praise to God do not bring Him as much honor as does one lowly, hopeless sinner who opens his heart and permits that agape to transform him into the likeness of Christ in character. God is agape but the circuit is completed in us.

You will enter the New Jerusalem not as a convict barely forgiven but as someone highly honored, “in Christ”! Say “yes!” to Him today.

--Robert J. Wieland

From the "Dial Daily Bread" Archive: March 20, 2008.
Copyright © 2016 by "Dial Daily Bread."

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Dial Daily Bread: The Truth of Agape

Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"

From almost the very beginning of the New Testament story of Jesus, there were counterfeit "gospels." They arrayed themselves under the condemnation of the apostle John who said, "Do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God. ... Every spirit that does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is not of God. And this is the spirit of the Antichrist which you have heard was coming, and is now already in the world" (1 John 4:1-3).

Many contemporary books and films professedly based on the Bible are a revival of those non-inspired "independent gospels." Simple curiosity may lead sincere people to want to "test" these "spirits" to see how they compare with the New Testament story. But you need to be sure you have read the New Testament first, or you may find yourself drifting helplessly in an ocean of lethal conjecture.

The solid rock truth is of course John 3:16--"God so loved the world that He gave [not lent] His only begotten Son ..." But right there is where the "falling away" began that has distorted and perverted the truth: the apostasy first attacked the word "love" that Jesus used there--agape. This was the initial step that led to the monstrous falling away that ate out the very soul of Christian faith and left only a helpless shell of professed Christianity that has succumbed to the revival of paganism. And Islam could never have succeeded in turning a billion-plus people against the New Testament had not this apostasy within the church triumphed first.

The truth of agape is the demonstration of a love willing to go to hell in its devotion to the salvation of a lost world. Paul tells the Romans that he could "wish that I myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren" (Rom. 9:3), that is, he would sacrifice his eternal salvation if only he could save them. That is agape-love, a different idea totally from the egocentric motivation that professes to be Christian love. Moses knew agape: he begged the Lord to blot his name out of the book of life if God could not save errant Israel (Ex. 32:32, 33).

The Lord Jesus Christ "poured out His soul unto death" (Isa. 53:12), "emptied Himself" totally (Phil. 2:5, 6, NASB), accepted the "curse" of God that meant the darkness of hell forever (Gal. 3:13; Deut. 21:23). His resurrection three days later does not negate the totality of His consecration--He died our death, which is the second death. That is agape, the commitment of every ounce of His divine-human soul poured out, emptied, to save a lost world.

--Robert J. Wieland

From the "Dial Daily Bread" Archive: March 30, 2006.
Copyright © 2016 by "Dial Daily Bread."

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Dial Daily Bread: A Prayer to Pray Endlessly

Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"

Of all the advice that the apostle Paul has given us, Romans 12:3 is a prayer to pray endlessly: "I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure [metron, Gr.] of faith."

We can pray the first half easily--"not to think of [myself] more highly than [I] ought to think." No problem. The answer is easy: I am the "chief of sinners" (1 Tim. 1:15), "less than the least of all the saints" (Eph. 3:8), an "unprofitable servant" (Luke 17:10), etc.

But it's the second half of the verse that's confusing--what does it mean to "think soberly" about myself? What "measure of faith" is a "sober" measure?

Well, it is some faith; no person in the world can say in the final judgment that God forgot to give him or her that "measure."

Now, our "job" from henceforth is to exercise that "measure of faith" which He has already given us, and it will be fully sufficient to take us all the way, hand in hand with the Savior, into His eternal kingdom. No person's faith is weak; God gave it to him or her.

Paul's counsel is not to humiliate us into the dust; we have been given that "measure of faith" that enables us to hold our head high in the world, and yes, high in the Lord's church, too. A healthy, even vigorous, self-respect is the gift that "faith" gives us here and now.

--Robert J. Wieland

From the "Dial Daily Bread" Archive: August 10, 2006.
Copyright © 2016 by "Dial Daily Bread."

Tuesday, August 09, 2016

Dial Daily Bread: The Time of the End--Does God Want to Catch Us Unaware?

Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"

The year-day prophecies of Daniel and Revelation are fantastic in the accuracy of their fulfillment. They coincide perfectly with the great end-time prophecy of Jesus in Matthew 24 and Luke 21. The Bible recognizes that the God of heaven has foretold events before they happened, and that He wants us to know when "the time of the end" has come and what are the "signs" of Jesus' second coming and of the "end of the age" (cf. Matt. 24:3).

Paul says it is not God's will for His people to be "in darkness, that this Day should overtake you as a thief. ... Let us watch and be sober" (1 Thess. 5:4-6). How could Jesus warn us, "It [that day] will come as a snare on all who dwell on the face of the whole earth" without His word giving us guidance as to when that day is near? (Luke 21:35). If it is true that "God is love," then it must follow that He would not want to catch us unaware. Hence we conclude that the time prophecies of Daniel and Revelation are very serious reading and deserve our close attention just now.

It is also true, if God indeed is "love," then He does not want to perpetuate pain and suffering on this planet due to the ravages of sin. Jesus wants to come a second time, not primarily to punish wrong-doing or take vengeance on His enemies, but to rescue people who suffer, and to establish His kingdom of peace and happiness for all. "The Ancient of Days came, and judgment was made in favor of the saints of the Most High, and the time came for the saints to possess the kingdom, ... an everlasting kingdom" (Dan. 7:22, 27).

However, we can be sure that His enemy, Satan, wants to try to prove His prophecies wrong. "Son of man, what is that proverb that you people have about the land of Israel, which says, 'The days are prolonged, and every vision fails'?" (Eze. 12:22). A good answer is in Habakkuk 2:3: "At the end [the vision] will speak, and it will not lie. Though it tarries, wait for it; because it will surely come, it will not tarry."

There may appear to be a "tarrying time," and those who have faith in the prophecies may think the vision "fails," and suffer disappointment, yet in immediate context comes the assurance of righteousness by faith: "The just shall live by His faith" (vs. 4).

In the Great Disappointment experience in the 1840s, what held the faithful remnant was not so much mathematical calculations of time prophecies (they were true!), but their confidence that the Holy Spirit had worked in the Midnight Cry movement. God's true love was evident.

--Robert J. Wieland

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

Monday, August 08, 2016

Dial Daily Bread: The Core Issue of the Great Controversy

Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"

Daniel is the one Old Testament book that Jesus specifically singles out as urgently requiring our attention (Matt. 24:15); and Revelation is the one New Testament book that Jesus likewise singles out (Rev. 1:1-3). We can't understand what's going on in the world around us without this "light" focused from heaven in these two special books!

The two are complementary, each explains the other. It's amazing how hundreds of millions of Christians blithely disregard both! But both are easy to understand--user-friendly, so much so that youth can understand with only a little careful thinking.

Both describe in detail how a great "falling away" (apostasy) would seek to hijack the world Christian church with an enormous counterfeit religious organization that "opposes and exalts [itself] above all that is called God or that is worshiped, so that he sits as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God. ... The mystery of lawlessness ... with all power, signs, and lying wonders, and with all unrighteous deception among those who ... did not receive the love of the truth, ... strong delusion, that they should believe the lie" (2 Thess. 2:3-12). It's the core issue of the great cosmic controversy.

The identity of this massive deception is not cloaked in foggy uncertainty: the Holy Spirit is clear and unequivocal in pinpointing this church power in history as the grand religious successor of the paganism of the ancient Roman Empire (Dan. 7:7, 8, 20-25)--the Papacy. Revelation 18 pictures its coming total exposé. "Come out of [Babylon], My people" (vs. 4). Be alert.

--Robert J. Wieland

From the "Dial Daily Bread" Archive: July 3, 2005.
Copyright © 2016 by "Dial Daily Bread."

Dial Daily Bread: Mary's Prototype Demonstration of Righteousness by Faith

Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"

There is a strange group of people brought to view in Revelation 7 and 14. They “follow the Lamb wherever He goes” and they “are without fault” before the throne of God. A special angel places "the seal of God” upon them while four other angels perform the difficult task of holding back the horrible hurricane winds of human passion that threaten to involve the world in the end-time war of wars.

This is the only group of people in the Bible to be designated as “without fault.” The placing of the seal of God on them while earth’s final war threatens, makes clear their appearance is near the end of time.

For sure, they are not legalists. Their being “without fault” is not a self-help kind of egocentric righteousness; what they do is totally unique. They have learned how to “follow the Lamb,” the crucified Christ. In other words, it is clear that their being “without fault” implies that like all humans they are sinners by nature. In following the crucified Christ means that they have had the same battle with temptation that all humans have. What sets them aside as special is that they have “overcome … as [Christ] also overcame” (Rev. 3:20).

They will be the first to acknowledge that they are “the chiefs of sinners,” “less than the least of all saints.” They will be praying the constant prayer, “God be merciful to me a sinner.” Not the slightest whisper of a claim to holiness will be heard escaping their lips.

They share a special relationship to that one person of all time who enjoyed the highest praise Jesus ever bestowed on anyone--Mary Magdalene. He defended her against the religious leaders of the day (the Twelve apostles!), and said she “has done [all] she could.” Jesus died our death--the second; but before He drew His last breath, He could behold by faith that Mary’s prototype demonstration of righteousness by faith would be duplicated in those “144,000” people at the end of time.

In her humility of soul Mary probably thought that she was useless. But in truth she was very important! So are you. You have an important place in God’s last work.

--Robert J. Wieland

From the "Dial Daily Bread" Archive: June 12, 2004.
Copyright © 2016 by "Dial Daily Bread."

Saturday, August 06, 2016

Dial Daily Bread: What Frustrates the Lord

Dear Friends of “Dial Daily Bread,”

One of God's servants declared that God didn't want a single Israelite to lose his life in the conquest of their Promised Land after their exodus from Egypt. This bold statement was rather shocking, because a whole generation of the children of Israel perished in the wilderness after Kadesh-Barnea, never getting to set foot in the land, and their descendants met with intense opposition for centuries. Two tribes were finally exiled to Babylon, and ten tribes simply disappeared. It was national disaster of terrible proportions. It's in Exodus 23:20-33, which says:

(1) God promised to send "an Angel" before them--obviously Christ Himself.

(2) He would "prepare" the way.

(3) He would be "an enemy to your enemies and an adversary to your adversaries." In other words, that "Angel" would fight their battles for them.

(4) He would bring Israel into the Promised Land and would "cut off" any opposition.

(5) "He will bless your bread and your water," in other words, wonderfully prosper them economically.

(6) The "Angel" would "take sickness away from the midst of you," in other words, make Israel a world example of healthful living.

(7) Their population would increase marvelously, indicating that it was not God's will that any cruel or oppressive world empire should arise such as Assyria, Babylon, Greece, or Rome. "I will send My fear before you, I will cause confusion [“destroy all,” KJV] among all the people to whom you come." All their enemies will "turn their backs to you."

(8) God would "send hornets before you" which would drive out the pagans from the land.

(9) God's people would be “increased, and … inherit the land" (the apostle Paul correctly understood it meant to be "heir of the world," Rom. 4:13). "I will deliver the inhabitants of the land into your hand."

To a pitifully small extent, these divine promises met some fulfillment; but what frustrated the Lord was the people's constant "unbelief" (Heb. 3:12-19). Throughout their history, they rejected God's New Covenant, and cherished their own Old Covenant--right up to the final scene at Calvary. Isn't it time now for us to believe His New Covenant?

--Robert J. Wieland

From the "Dial Daily Bread" Archive: February 24, 2002.
Copyright © 2016 by “Dial Daily Bread.”

Thursday, August 04, 2016

Dial Daily Bread: The Sabbath--A Day Free From Fear

Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"

Most human beings know what fear is; if you don't, it's not "normal." The world is reeling with it today. What Luke says (21:25, 26) is so true right now: "On the earth distress of nations, with perplexity, ... men's hearts failing them from fear and the expectation of those things which are coming on the earth."

You can't escape this anxiety unless you live on the planet Mars. But you can escape the fear by observing the Sabbath, a day free from fear. It's a day of heaven come down to earth. God's presence is in the Sabbath day. He Himself set it apart, sanctified it, and blessed it. In the Sabbath you draw nearer, Sabbath after Sabbath, to Him. Because His presence is in the Sabbath, your heart becomes filled with peace and the fear is expelled.

You may say, "That's only for one day; as soon as the sun goes down at the end of the Sabbath, here comes all the fear again as we hear the daily news!"

No, that's not true; the peace of the Sabbath calms you and remains with you by faith as you go through the new week, until the next Sabbath. The commandment says, "Remember the Sabbath day ..." You start remembering the next Sabbath as soon as the sun goes down Sabbath evening. And because of the joy of Sabbath-keeping you can sing, "Therefore we will not fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; though its waters roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with its swelling. There is a river whose streams shall make glad the city of God" (Psalm 46:2-4).

--Robert J. Wieland

From the "Dial Daily Bread" Archive: November 16, 1997.
Copyright © 2016 by "Dial Daily Bread."

Dial Daily Bread: Heaven's Secret Service Agents

Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"

What are "guardian angels"? Does everybody have one? Do they protect some people and not others, and if so, why? It's good for us to ask those questions. We need to know about those angels sent forth to serve us. They are more efficient than armed bodyguards or Secret Service agents. Please note:

(1) We live in Enemy-controlled territory, his majesty the devil being "the ruler of this world" (John 14:30).

(2) It is coming increasingly under his control, "defiled under its inhabitants; because they have transgressed the laws, changed the ordinance, broken the everlasting covenant. Therefore the curse has devoured the earth," not merely in a physical sense but also morally (Isa. 24:5, 6). When "the rulers of this age" expelled Christ from the world (1 Cor. 2:8) they chose a murderer in His place, and crucified Him (Acts 3:14, 15). Jesus is therefore persona non grata in this wicked world (cf. 1 John 5:19).

(3) But although He is in exile from this earth, He has sent His vicar, the Holy Spirit, to be with those who believe in Him (John 14:16, 17; 16:7-13). His presence with God's people is equivalent to Jesus personally being with them (14:18). For centuries, the Holy Spirit has not only "comforted" Christ's loyal believers, He has also exercised a restraining power on the evil in the world (Rev 7:1-4).

(4) Guardian angels are to be "ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for those who will inherit salvation"--Heaven's Secret Service agents sent to protect "royalty," who by faith have become members of the "family of God" (Heb. 1:14; Eph. 3:15; 1 Peter 2:9).

(5) Common sense sees that those thus protected must be people whose lives are dedicated to "the King's business," to Jesus.

(6) We cannot hazard a guess about others, why they apparently didn't have angelic protection; good sense would tell us that when we pray "in the name of Jesus" we must sincerely be living for Him.

Ask for an angel guard; that is, "pray without ceasing," as families. Then--let us not fear but believe that "the angel of the Lord encamps all around those who fear [reverence] Him, and delivers them" (Psalm 34:7).

If you can read this, that means you have their protection thus far!

--Robert J. Wieland

From the "Dial Daily Bread" Archive: August 6, 1999.
Copyright © 2016 by "Dial Daily Bread."

Tuesday, August 02, 2016

Dial Daily Bread: Light Someone's Path Today

Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"

As the sun rises for another day, it looks down upon billions of people, each created in the image of God, each redeemed by the blood of the Son of God, but so few who understand His great sacrifice. The world is dark with misapprehension of God. And the statistics tell us that the percentage of Christians to world population is steadily shrinking. People wonder how the gospel can ever be effectively proclaimed to these billions.

But as surely as the sun rises upon the earth this morning, so does "the Sun of righteousness … arise with healing in His wings," says Malachi (4:2). That is, to those who "fear [His] name," and they are many. Christ is "the light [that] shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it [does not overcome it]" (John 1:5). He is "the true Light which gives light to every person who comes into the world" (vs. 9).

We feel a burden for these billions who misapprehend God, but how much more did the apostle Paul feel the same burden. "How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach unless they are sent?" (Rom. 10:14,15).

Great questions! But Paul says there is a soul-winning ministry going on that we don't know about: "Have they not heard? Yes indeed" (vs. 18). Then Paul quotes Psalm 19:4 where David directly compares the sunrise with the light of the gospel that shines--no, that's not the word--"reflected" is better (vs. 6). Everyone who will look, who "fears His name," can find today some evidence of the love of God for lost souls.

We are not headlights; but we can be like the reflectors on bicycles that glow in the dark when even a little light shines on them. And you, one of earth's billions, can light someone's path today with that reflected light from the Sun of righteousness. Then when evening comes you can be happy!

--Robert J. Wieland

From the "Dial Daily Bread" Archive: March 22, 1998.
Copyright © 2016 by "Dial Daily Bread."