Saturday, July 30, 2016

Dial Daily Bread: The "Last Generation"

Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"

The Bible truth of the "last generation" tells a great story of success in God's work. It will include the outpouring of the gift of the Holy Spirit in a full measure the world has not seen since the Day of Pentecost when Christ was ushered into His ministry as the world's High Priest in the heavenly sanctuary.

What did the gift of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost include? Jesus has said that if He goes away, He will not leave us "orphans," but He will send us "another Comforter," whose first work will be to "convict of sin" (John 14:16; 16:8). What sin did the Holy Spirit convict the people of, at Pentecost? The awful, the terrible sin of crucifying the Son of God (Acts 2:36). There is no sin deeper, more horrible.

To the last generation of people on earth, the Lord will send the same Gift in His fullness--bringing a conviction of sin that goes deeper than He has ever gone with a "body" of God's people, since Pentecost. This outpouring of the Holy Spirit will be a fulfillment of Zechariah 12:10-14:

(1) The call to repentance will come first to the leadership of the church, "the house of David, ... the inhabitants of Jerusalem." (2) It will be "the spirit of grace and of supplication." No high-pressure "professional" calls for superficial responses; this will be "grass-roots" in that it will go directly to the lowest layers of consciousness. (3) It will be New Covenant in its spirit for it will be the "Spirit of grace."

(4) This means that it will be an exaltation of "Christ and Him crucified," not by a beautiful video, but by a clear heart-conviction of how contrary our character has been to that of Jesus. (5) Repentance will be the direct result. (6) But the fruit will bring glory to Christ, which will be the most glorious in all time.

May the Lord hasten the day!

--Robert J. Wieland

From the "Dial Daily Bread" Archive: December 8, 2007.
Copyright © 2016 by "Dial Daily Bread."

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Dial Daily Bread: The Only Way Our “Life” Can Be Saved

Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"

When the love of God (agape) is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit given to us, we choose the way of the cross as readily as the Son of God chose it in the heavenly council ages ago, and again as a Boy of twelve in the Jerusalem temple. In each instance, whether in the heart of the Son of God or in the heart of a believing sinner, the results lead to resurrection--which is as much a part of the principle as is the cross. There is Good News! “He who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life” (John 12:25).

There are two crosses: the cross of Christ, and the cross for you and me on which we die with Christ as did the penitent thief.

There was a third cross at Calvary, but there was no redemption for the impenitent thief who died on it. He was caught in a suffering and death to which he never surrendered. Rebellious, he cursed his fate and God unto the bitter end, and perished. Shall we rebel against the principle of the cross and follow him to eternal darkness?

Bearing our cross is made easy through seeing that other cross on which our divine Example died. “My yoke is easy,” the crucified One tells us. Through understanding His cross, we can discern our own and find strength to bear it gladly.

“When I survey the wondrous cross on which the Prince of glory died, my richest gain I count but loss, and pour contempt on all my pride. Were the whole realm of nature mine, that were a tribute far too small; Love so amazing, so divine, demands my life, my soul, my all." [Isaac Watts]

--Robert J. Wieland

From: In Search of the Cross, chapter 5, 1999.
Copyright © 2016 by "Dial Daily Bread."

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Dial Daily Bread: Eternal Life Begins Now

Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"

Unless Christ died for nothing, His followers will shine in this dark world like stars on a black, stormy night. They will be free from the curse of selfishness.

But as we look both about us and in us, we see that often when sin is overcome on lower levels, it subtly reappears on higher levels. Selfishness crops out anew, disguised and refined but nonetheless evil. The pathetic pretensions of "saints" who have forgotten that they are sinners have been the scandal and reproach of much that the world sees as "Christianity." Is it hard to imagine the shame that Christ must often feel?

In Jesus' clear teaching about the cross we find the solution to this problem: "Then He said to them all, 'If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me'" (Luke 9:23). The reason for Jesus' command to take up our cross daily is the fact that the "old man" who was crucified yesterday reappears in a new form today. His true identity is never fully apprehended by the sincere believer.

What we sense as "self" today may be correct, and our experience of renouncing and crucifying self today may be genuine. But each succeeding victory is that of a battle and not the war itself. The "old man" reappears in a higher, more cleverly disguised form daily. Hence the need, as Jesus says, for bearing the cross daily.

Can we ever get beyond bearing the cross? If we say Yes, we make ourselves better than Jesus was, because He had to fight the battle daily throughout His life. "I do not seek My own will," He said of His daily conflict, "but the will of the Father who sent Me" (John 5:30). Jesus would not ask us to follow Him in taking up our cross daily unless He also took up His cross daily. "A disciple is not above his teacher, nor a servant above his master" (Matt. 10:24).

Not only will the cross be carried here in this life daily, but even in heaven's eternity the principle of self‑renunciation symbolized by the cross will motivate the behavior of the redeemed, while the cross of Christ will remain their study. The book of Revelation presents to us that after sin is no more, Christ will still bear His title as the Crucified One—the "Lamb." The temple in the New Jerusalem is the Lamb; and proceeding from the throne of the Lamb is the river of water of life. The throne of God is the throne of the Lamb (Rev. 21:22; 22:1, 3). The love so amply demonstrated on the cross will ever be recognized as the basis of God's government, and will flow out to all the universe in unending streams of light and life and gladness.

Only as the selfless love of Christ on the cross reigns in every heart will it be certain that sin can never appear again. Should the love of self ever arise in any heart in the universe, the very essence of sin would be back again, and the whole sad war in the universe would have to be repeated. Thank God, that will not happen! "Affliction will not rise up a second time" (Nahum 1:9). And in bearing our cross daily now, we are beginning to live out that principle of eternal life. In fact, eternal life begins now.

--Robert J. Wieland

From: In Search of the Cross, chapter 7, 1999.
Copyright © 2016 by "Dial Daily Bread."

Dial Daily Bread: Is Christ Just a Construction Contractor, Building "Mansions"?

Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"

Does the world even care what Jesus is doing now? Many Christians don't seem to. But nothing in heaven or earth is more important! And whatever He is doing requires the understanding and cooperation of those who believe in Him.

The common idea is that He is a Construction Contractor, building palaces or "mansions" for those who arrive in heaven (an immature reading of John 14:2). "Preparing a place for you" is a far bigger idea than celestial construction.

Hebrews 9 and 10 describe His High Priestly ministry as cleansing the hearts of His people, "putting away sin," "purging the conscience," preparing a people to "receive the promise of eternal inheritance," "purifying" hearts and minds and lips, to "make the comers thereunto perfect," to render obsolete any "conscience" or "remembrance of sins," to "take away sins," to "perfect forever them that are sanctified," to write His "laws into their hearts ... [which are] sprinkled from an evil conscience," to "provoke [motivate] unto love and good works," to "believe to the saving of the soul." Big job!

First, He naturally wants His people to understand why what He is doing is so incomparably important, and second, He would appreciate our cooperation because He can accomplish nothing without it. Not that you in any sense become your co-savior, but cooperation means you stop interposing a rebellious will to counteract what He is seeking constantly to do for you!

In other words, through the Holy Spirit, Christ as High Priest is constantly pressing upon His people the conviction of sin buried deeper than they had imagined it to be; and when the conviction is welcomed and the sin is gladly surrendered and put away, the heart is more closely reconciled to Him. This process is called "atonement," or becoming at-one-with God. In Romans 5:11 it is "receiving the atonement" or "reconciliation." Thus the cleansing of the heavenly sanctuary is a "final atonement."

--Robert J. Wieland

From the "Dial Daily Bread" Archive: December 4, 2009.
Copyright © 2016 by "Dial Daily Bread."

Monday, July 25, 2016

Dial Daily Bread: Does God Still "Trust" Us Humans?

Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"

Does God trust us human beings? Really trust us?? For many years people have "wrestled" over this point. They have maintained that in the end God will snatch from His people the task of lighting the earth with the glory of the gospel, and will have angels do the job.

To whom did Jesus give the command, "Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature" (Matt. 28:19, 20; Mark 16:15)? To angels? Or to "us"? Through the centuries, where do we find evidence that He has changed that plan? Yes, angels have helped in the work and blessed, but they have done so when they found some human being who initially could be used. Still, the "burden" has rested upon God's people, His church.

Have God's people through the ages fulfilled this command of Jesus? Some say "Yes" (in pride); others say "No." According to Revelation 3:14-21, it seems that Jesus regards "us" as being slow to act.

But does He still "trust" us humans? As we read that passage addressed "to the angel [the leadership] of the church of the Laodiceans," it would appear that He still is forced to trust us. The Father trusted His only begotten Son to the care of humans when He was born in Bethlehem (the world crucified Him but there were some who cared for Him, thank God!). The honor and vindication of Christ in the great controversy between Himself and Satan require that God's people "repent" and fulfill His gospel commission.

Is it possible that "Laodicea" (or "the angel" thereof) shall repent? Is God's confidence in His people in vain? A wise writer has said that He has staked the honor of His throne on His confidence, that yes, in the end, His people will be honest, and will repent and believe! And so the question remains, Can God trust you?

--Robert J. Wieland

From the "Dial Daily Bread" Archive: May 31, 1998-1.
Copyright © 2016 by "Dial Daily Bread."

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Dial Daily Bread: Does the World Know What Christ Accomplished?

Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"

The towering and "wondrous cross" of Christ is the great truth around which all truths mankind can know are clustered. It validates the prophecies of Daniel, which in turn validate the prophecies of Revelation. All that makes any sense in world history finds its focal point in that cross. Its truth is proclaimed in every seed which is cast into the earth and grows: "Unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it produces much grain. ... This He said signifying by what death He would die" (John 12:24-33).

By His sacrifice in which He "poured out His soul unto death" (Isa. 53:12) Jesus has won the hearts of honest people everywhere. He has ascended His throne not by military conquest but by the power of love (agape). He did the unthinkable: He died the second death, which "every man" has earned for himself (Heb. 2:9; Phil. 2:5-8; Gal. 3:13).

But does the world know about what He accomplished? Two millennia after He demonstrated His love in His life and death, does mankind know and understand? Since "God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son," shouldn't people everywhere know the reality of that truth? They all must have a chance!

The human souls distressed by our innate selfishness, longing for deliverance, for freedom to escape the tyranny of self-love and the allurements that plague this world, cannot despair when they "behold the Lamb of God" enduring the "curse of God" so that we might live. "Pour contempt on [our] pride," yes; but let's not pour contempt on that cross and its divine Sufferer. That would be a sin with the dimensions of eternity--unpardonable.

--Robert J. Wieland

From the "Dial Daily Bread" Archive: January 28, 2005.
Copyright © 2016 by "Dial Daily Bread."

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Dial Daily Bread: An Effective Motivation for Better Living

Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"

Elijah had been the most hated and despised man in Israel; but he ended up the greatest when he faced King Ahab and the nation on Mount Carmel. Now, the Lord has sent him to "us" (Mal. 4:5, 6). The great confrontation of ancient Mount Carmel must be repeated on a world scale. Elijah has work to do.

The reason? The Lord Jesus Christ is coming to fulfill His promise (John 14:1-3), and it's necessary to judge before His coming who will have part in the "blessed" first resurrection (cf. Rev. 20:6), and who will be left to sleep on until the dreaded second resurrection (vs. 5) at the end of the thousand years.

Jesus explained that this judgment (being "accounted worthy") must of necessity precede His second coming. The steps are explained: "We which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord [grab that, by faith; be in that group!] shall not precede [Greek] them which are asleep. ... We which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air; and so [in this way] shall we ever be with the Lord" (1 Thess. 4:15-17, KJV).

But not only must the dead be judged as to who comes up in the first resurrection; Jesus says that those of us living on the earth must also be pre-judged as to who shall be "accounted worthy" to meet Him and be translated, as Elijah was (Luke 21:36; cf. 2 Kings 2:11).

That judgment is going on right now. If you listen to the Holy Spirit He will convict you that life now is solemn. Whether you are young or old, the reality is the same. Our last day on this planet will be the same as our first day in whichever resurrection we shall find ourselves at last.

If entertainment and sinful indolence are our "life," we can't be happy in any resurrection. Jesus adds that if we let the "cares of this life" occupy our time and attention (Luke 21:34), we can't be happy at the end.

Do you want the Holy Spirit to point you to an effective motivation for better living? Behold, ponder, consider, contemplate, think, appreciate, spend quality time, ... at the cross of Jesus; His love will "constrain" you to live "henceforth ... unto Him who died for [you], and rose again (2 Cor. 5:14, 15).

--Robert J. Wieland

From the "Dial Daily Bread" Archive: February 28, 2008.
Copyright © 2016 by "Dial Daily Bread."

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Dial Daily Bread: Does God Love Everybody?

Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"

Does God love everybody? If you believe what John 3:16 says, you have to answer Yes.

But does God admire and respect everybody for what he or she is? Is it possible for God to love someone and at the same time "abhor" him or her? Yes! If God "abhors" someone it doesn't mean He doesn't love that person, but only that He is disgusted with the pride, arrogance, selfishness, willful rebellion, of that person. Yes, God loves and pities a fool, but according to very clear teaching in the Bible He must have a very hard time respecting a fool. And there is nothing in the Bible that even faintly suggests that even though He is "longsuffering," that God's patience with fools is everlasting.

For example: "The great God that formed all things ... rewardeth the fool" (Prov. 26:10). How? "Judgments are prepared for scorners, and stripes for the back of fools" (19:29).

The Bible does not picture God as delighting in hurling lightning bolts at fools: those who "hated knowledge" and "despised" all of God's reproof shall simply "eat of the fruit of their own way, and be filled with their own devices. For the turning away of the simple shall slay them, and the prosperity of fools shall destroy them" (1:29-32).

And there is this insightful gem of divine wisdom: "The mouth of [an immoral woman] is a deep pit: he that is abhorred of the Lord shall fall therein" (22:14). In the eyes of heaven such a person does not have any respect. But let's not forget: God still loves a fool. David was one--he walked right into the "pit" with his eyes wide open. But oh, how he repented! In dust and ashes forever after!

It's a great prayer to pray, "God be merciful to me a sinner!" but maybe it's an even greater one to pray, "God be merciful to me a fool!" The Good News? God hears that prayer.

--Robert J. Wieland

From the "Dial Daily Bread" Archive: March 8, 1999.
Copyright © 2016 by "Dial Daily Bread."

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Dial Daily Bread: A Nation of Spiritual Geniuses

Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"

Did God's people in Old Testament times have to live under the Old Covenant? Was all that horrible apostasy in ancient Israel something necessary because the people were living at the wrong time? Did God withhold something from them that He later on relented, and then gave them the New Covenant? Was He being fair to them?

These are questions that have stirred Christianity. Never can the Christian Church lighten the earth with the glory of a final message of Good News (like Revelation 18:1-4 speaks of) unless this problem of the Old Covenant as it relates to the New Covenant gets cleared up. Confusion can paralyze the finest church on earth.

Lukewarmness, apostasy, and backsliding are impossible for a church that is living in the knowledge and experience of the New Covenant. Too strong to say? Unless this is true, the gospel is forced logically to become a contradiction in terms--confusion, a failure.

The reason is that the New Covenant gospel is "the power of God to salvation" (Rom. 1:16), not a program of failure or backsliding. Backsliding is due to the Old Covenant imported into the heart--nine-tenths New Covenant and one-tenth Old Covenant equals failure.

No, ancient Israel were not programmed to failure. Their beginning was "the father of us all," Abraham (Rom. 4:16). God gave him the New Covenant in those seven promises in Genesis 12:1-3. All his descendants should be "children of faith" as Isaac was. They would become the greatest nation on earth, always the head, never the tail (Deut. 28:13), always "a kingdom of priests," meaning, a nation of spiritual geniuses (Ex. 19:6).

They were to be God's missionary nation through whom "all families of the earth shall be blessed" (Gen. 12:3). They would evangelize the world! But they fastened themselves under the Old Covenant in Exodus 19:3-8. That thinking kept "popping up" forever afterwards in their up-and-down history.

--Robert J. Wieland

From the "Dial Daily Bread" Archive: September 6, 2002.
Copyright © 2016 by "Dial Daily Bread."

Monday, July 18, 2016

Dial Daily Bread: Is Our Motivation Terror-Driven?

Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"

The warnings are coming more and more frequently: Americans are in grave danger of losing their fundamental Constitution-granted liberties. Most people would barter liberty for security in an age of terror. That's a far cry from Patrick Henry's "Give me liberty or give me death!"

In the craven love to live in luxury and pleasure rather than uphold justice and righteousness, we put ourselves in the wrong crowd that Friday morning in Pilate's judgment hall. We vote either that self be "crucified with Christ," or we vote to "Crucify Him!" (John 19:6). That episode before the Roman governor was the world's judgment hour; we all were there.

Quietly, unnoticed as a midnight thief, says Jesus, young people judge themselves for life, setting their course even in their teens. (The Holy Spirit may speak to them again, but He may not!) At the same time we adults judge ourselves for eternity; this is going on right now. In Luke 20 Jesus discusses judgment in respect of those who will come up in the first resurrection from the dead: "Those who are counted worthy to attain ... the resurrection from the dead ... [cannot] die anymore" (vss. 35, 36). But He speaks also of those who will be alive when He returns the second time: "Watch therefore, and pray always, that you may be counted worthy to ... stand before the Son of Man" (21:36).

Obviously, that judgment must precede His second coming because we read that "He will send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they will gather together His elect, ... from one end of heaven to the other" (Matt. 24:31). How else will they know whom to resurrect at this first resurrection, and whom to leave to sleep on until the second resurrection 1000 years later when the lost will arise for their judgment? The judgment must be finished before the angels go on this errand! That means we are living in the time of pre-advent judgment.

"Morning by morning" the Holy Spirit calls us to awaken us to "hear as the learned." Even if we have sinned the day before in neglecting Him, He is not resentful; He tries again with each new day (Isa. 50:4, 5).

Our motivation for listening is not terror-driven. No, a higher motivation possesses God's people in these last days: the honest, sincere desire to honor Christ; to witness on His behalf. That's what it means to have a humble part in crowning Him King of kings and Lord of glory.

--Robert J. Wieland

From the "Dial Daily Bread" Archive: November 24, 2006.
Copyright © 2016 by "Dial Daily Bread."

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Dial Daily Bread: The Only Way the Earth Can Be "Lightened With His Glory"

Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"

The time is coming soon when the Good News of Christ's salvation is to be proclaimed to all ethnic branches of humanity (Matt. 24:14). The climax is Revelation 18: "another angel" is to "come down from heaven, having great authority, and the earth [will be lightened] with his glory" (vs. 1).

Jesus explained how this is to be, in John 12:32, 33: "'And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all peoples to Myself.' This He said, signifying by what death He would die." That if is pivotal. The blessed work of "lightening the earth with glory" is the same as lifting Christ up as the crucified One. Proclaiming Him on His cross is the only way that the earth can be lightened!

The great Protestant Reformation of the 16th century came close to doing it, but it fell short, woefully so. By and large the Reformers embraced the pagan/papal doctrine of the natural immortality of the human soul. The truth is not a trivial theological quirk; if one embraces the idea of natural immortality his vision of the cross is clouded with confusion, no matter how many crucifixes he looks at. He cannot comprehend the kind of death the Son of God experienced; in fact, he cannot believe that Christ truly died. The cross is robbed of its genuine reality, which is that Christ "tasted death for everyone" (Heb. 2:9), that is, the second death.

And then as a natural result, the one who believes in natural immortality is prevented from "comprehending" the "width and length and depth and height … [of] the love of Christ which passes knowledge" (agape; Eph. 3:17-19). The false doctrine of the nature of man has vitiated the sacrifice of the Savior and prevents His being "lifted up" so as to "draw all people to" Himself.

The Lord in His great mercy has sent to His people a most precious truth that reveals Christ uplifted on His cross in all His glory. It's not a psychological gimmick acquired by mastering techniques of "soul-winning." We cannot "evangelize" unless self is "crucified with Christ," "buried with Him" (Rom. 6:3-6). A wise writer once said that there will be great humbling of hearts before God on the part of every one who remains faithful and true to the end.

--Robert J. Wieland

From the "Dial Daily Bread" Archive: September 24, 2003.
Copyright © 2016 by "Dial Daily Bread."

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Dial Daily Bread: Why the Terrible Outburst of God's Wrath

Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"

The Bible speaks clearly about “seven last plagues” in which "the wrath of God is complete" (Rev. 15:1). They are “poured out” by “seven angels” who declare that “true and righteous are Your judgments,” “Lord God Almighty” (16:7). They are “the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out full strength into the cup of His indignation," because each recipient will “worship the beast and his image, and ... receive the mark of his name” (14:10, 11).

Why this terrible outburst of God’s wrath?  All through the millennia of history, the “wrath of God” has been tempered, diluted, softened, “mixed” with His mercy. But when those final plagues are poured out, it is full strength.  Why the abrupt change?

Has God at that time changed His character? Up until now He has made “His sun [to] rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust” (Matt. 5:45). By virtue of Christ’s sacrifice on His cross He has treated every man as though he had not sinned. That is “mercy,” the “justification of life” that Paul says is Christ’s “gift” to “all men” from His cross (Rom. 5:15-18). Does He then no longer “love the world” for whom He “gave His only Son”?

Yes, He still loves the wicked, but they have now corporately, finally, totally rejected that love. When “the world” crucified Christ (not just the Jews and Romans, 3:19), He forgave them. That’s why He can send “His sun” and “rain” on all of us alike.

When a terrible tornado totally destroys a city, does that mean that those people “were worse sinners than all other[s] … because they suffered such things”?  Jesus answered that question in Luke 13:1-5 with a negative answer. All the world is corporately guilty of crucifying Him and must repent. The whole world will suffer in the end, but only when it repeats the crucifixion of Christ in wanting to murder God’s people, enforcing the universal decree that all who “would not worship the image of the beast to be killed” (Rev. 13:15). For that final universal sin there will at last be no forgiveness, only the “full strength" wrath of God.

Thank God that in all the devil’s present-day “plagues,” such as AIDS, the Zika virus, and on and on, there is mixed the “mercy” of God. Rejoice in it; but let’s not dare presume upon it.

--Robert J. Wieland

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

Dial Daily Bread: Paul Clears Up Something That's Been Confusing for Two Millennia

Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"

Can the Holy Spirit help us understand confusing teachings of the Bible? If the answer is No, we're in deep trouble! Jesus prayed that we might "be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You" (John 17:21). A wise writer once said that those who proclaim the message that will eventually "lighten the earth with His glory" (Rev. 18:1-4) will be in perfect theological harmony. Great Good News!

In the Apostle Paul's Letter to the Ephesians he clears up something that's been confusing for two millennia--the relation between faith and works. He knelt on his knees and asked the Father to help us (3:14-21); now may his prayer be answered! In chapter 2:8, 9 Paul says it as clearly as one could hope for: "By grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast." Can we understand him?

(1) Salvation is totally a gift; no earning it is possible.

(2) It is the gift of grace; that means it is given freely to everyone. Grace wouldn't be grace if it were limited in any way; it is given "freely" (cf. Rom. 3:23, 24). The same writer mentioned above said this grace is as real as the air we breathe, as universal as "the rain and sunshine." Apparently then, convicts on Death Row receive it as much as any of us!

(3) The grace is given to everyone, but is received and appreciated "through faith." No one can boast, "I have salvation because I have faith!" No, even the faith is "the gift of God"! All this is another way of repeating what Paul said in Ephesians 1:11--you are "predestined" to be saved; God has given you the gift; from beginning to end your salvation has been due to His initiative (2 Cor. 5:17, 18). It follows that we'd be foolish to resist and reject what He has given us! (But that's exactly what the lost will have done, and they'll be in number as "the sand of the sea," Rev. 20:8.)

(4) Paul nails down the truth in Ephesians 2:9: all this is specifically not of works, lest anyone think it's due to his own initiative.

(5) Lastly, that "faith" which receives and appreciates the "grace" given, "works by love" and gladly yields obedience to all of God's commandments (Gal. 5:6). So, in the end there's no egocentric motivation left; "the love of Christ constrains us" to "follow the Lamb wherever He goes" (2 Cor. 5:14, 15; Rev. 14:4). Let's not receive the grace of God in vain! (2 Cor. 6:1).

--Robert J. Wieland

From the "Dial Daily Bread" Archive: March 21, 2001.
Copyright © 2016 by "Dial Daily Bread."

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Dial Daily Bread: God's Parting Word on the Last Page of His Book

Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"

Can you know for sure that God has chosen you to be saved? Many sincere Christians believe that He has chosen some to be saved and left others to be lost. What does He say to us in the Bible?

On its very last page, He makes it clear that no one has been left out of God's gift of eternal life, so He says once more as His parting word, just to be doubly sure: "The Spirit and the bride say, 'Come!' And let him who hears say, 'Come!' And let him who thirsts come. And whoever desires, let him take the water of life freely" (Rev. 22:17). And then immediately the Holy Spirit warns us not to "add" to what He has just said, nor lessen in any degree that "whoever desires" invitation (vss. 18, 19).

If we have even an ounce of common sense, we must get the message: "God [is] our Savior, who desires all men to be saved" (1 Tim. 2:3, 4). The only ones therefore who can possibly be lost will be those who "desire" not to be saved; they have chosen not to "thirst"; they have resisted everyone who has ever said to them, "Come," maybe thousands of times.

Each new morning that the sun arose gave them a new opportunity to say "Yes," and "come." They have made a deliberate choice to reject that invitation written on the last page of God's Book, and furthermore, because the Holy Spirit is so persistent in pressing the invitation upon us each new sunrise, they have reiterated that fateful choice, all the way from childhood to the last bitter days of life. They have chosen "darkness rather than light" so often that at last they have grown to "love" it (John 3:19).

Jesus explains the entire phenomenon with one simple, single word: unbelief, which is disbelief, a perverse refusal to appreciate the truth of God's love (agape) (vs. 18). Does God tell them at last, "I don't like you; I don't want you in heaven; I'm locking the gate against you"? A wise writer has said, "It is no arbitrary decree on the part of God that excludes the wicked from heaven; they are shut out by their own unfitness for its companionship." They'd be miserable there, so God in love gives them what they have always wanted--darkness forever.

Because "let him who hears say, 'Come!'" Dial Daily Bread is a tiny voice that says, "Believe." Please "hear," and tell someone else to "come."

--Robert J. Wieland

From the "Dial Daily Bread" Archive: October 27, 1999.
Copyright © 2016 by "Dial Daily Bread."

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Dial Daily Bread: Does God Tell Anybody Bad News?

Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"

This is shocking to many people, but it is true: God never tells anybody Bad News, only Good News, or if He can't tell you Good News, He keeps still. You may object, "Well, didn't He tell King Saul Bad News just before his death?" (1 Samuel 28). No, the one who told Saul the Bad News that discouraged the apostate king and drove him to suicide was Satan, not God. "Well, didn't God tell Bad News to the people destroyed in the Flood in the time of Noah? Or to King Pharaoh of Egypt? Or to Achan, who was stoned? Or to Korah, Dathan, and Abiram?" (Genesis 6; Exodus 4-14; Numbers 16; Joshua 7, etc.).

If you will read the stories carefully you will see that in each instance, God gave those people opportunity to repent; He never wanted to discourage anyone, or drive anyone to suicide. Did Jesus drive Judas Iscariot to suicide? No, not at all; when Judas betrayed Him, He called him "Friend" (Matt. 26:50), but never said another word to him.

When we come to the New Testament, again an angel says to the world, "I bring you good tidings of great joy" (Luke 2:10), and Paul says for all the apostles, "We declare to you glad tidings" (Acts 13:32). The last message God will send to the world will be "the everlasting gospel [Good News]" (Rev. 14:6-12).

Since sin came into the world, God has been in the business night and day, with never a holiday, of being a Savior. As of this moment, even though you may have sinned grievously, He always has a message of hope for you, and as long as you have ears to hear it, He will declare it to you in some way, even if you are facing prison execution.

Even if you must die, there is a whisper of Good News as you draw your last breath--please repent, He says; believe My love, appreciate My sacrifice for you, My gift of justification, receive My gift of forgiveness, My eternal life that I share with you. You only "sleep in Jesus" until the "morning" of the resurrection.

From where you stand at this moment, there is a path of hope, of Good News, for you. Respond to that Good News; believe it!

--Robert J. Wieland

From the "Dial Daily Bread" Archive: April 3, 2003.
Copyright © 2016 by "Dial Daily Bread."

Monday, July 11, 2016

Dial Daily Bread: Christ's Last Work as High Priest

Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"

Jesus Christ has been resurrected from the dead, and has ascended to heaven where He now functions as a great High Priest. Does He have work to do? If so, does He always have success? And is it possible that there are people on earth who can hinder His work?

We read in the book of Daniel about one of the mightiest of the angels of heaven who was hindered in what he was doing: "the prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me twenty-one days, ... and behold, Michael [another name for Christ], one of the chief princes, came to help me" (10:13).

Christ's work as High Priest is a ministry on the hearts of people. Yes, they can resist Him! He does not force anyone. The king of Persia in Daniel's time is an example; he was working against God, but through the Holy Spirit Christ persuaded him to stop resisting and let God's people go free and return to their homeland.

It could well be that Christ as the world's great High Priest has been pleading with your heart to stop resisting Him, and to let Him lead you to get ready for His second coming. The Lord told Saul of Tarsus that "it is hard for you to kick against the goads" (Acts 26:14). Continual resistance of the Holy Spirit is terribly hard!

Fighting against God wears a person down! We read in Galatians 5:17 that the Holy Spirit "[strives] against the flesh," another name for our sinful nature. Thank God He does! If He leaves us alone, we are lost. Our sinful nature "strives" against the Spirit--true; but it's good news that the Spirit is stronger than the flesh. How do we know that? "Where sin abounded, grace abounded much more" (Rom. 5:20).

What is Jesus Christ doing today? A work which the Bible calls "the cleansing of the sanctuary" (Dan. 8:14), the last work He will do as High Priest before He comes again as "King of kings and Lord of lords." Now is the great cosmic Day of Atonement. That work is His last great effort of grace to woo us away from worldliness and win our hearts to be ready for His coming. He has a big job to do! He's at it 24/7. Don't hinder Him.

--Robert J. Wieland

From the "Dial Daily Bread" Archive: October 22, 2004.
Copyright © 2016 by "Dial Daily Bread."

Saturday, July 09, 2016

Dial Daily Bread: Why Does a Good God Permit Terrible Things to Happen?

Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"

Again the cry goes up to Heaven--why does a good God permit terrible things to happen? The tragic story is continuous and the horrors always heart-wrenching. Behold what the evil heart of man can do!

And then we can look back in history to the unending tale of evil that has plagued this fallen planet into which 2000 years ago the Son of God stepped to become our Prince of Peace. But why hasn't He brought peace?

The Bible is the gospel record of history. What can it tell us? Is there some Good News somewhere?

The world rejected their Prince of Peace whom God gave them and they crucified Him, expelled Him from this planet (John 1:11; Acts 3:14, 15; 1 Cor. 2:8). By so doing, the world elected Satan to be their "ruler of this world" (John 12:31; 14:30). Thus, in all fairness, God cannot be blamed for what the world does. The world refused to let God have jurisdiction over them.

However, God still loved the world; there are people called "the remnant" who believed in the Son of God and wanted Him to be the Ruler of the world. For their sake He has intervened by appointing four angels to hold in check the winds of horrible human passion until the Holy Spirit can "seal the servants of our God in their foreheads," says Revelation 7:1-4.

So, as one inspired writer wrote in the midst of even more terrible carnage and mayhem than we know today, "Through the Lord's mercies we are not [all] consumed, because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness" (Lamentations of Jeremiah 3:22, 23). Yes, there is still some Good News!

--Robert J. Wieland

From the "Dial Daily Bread" Archive: August 9, 1998.
Copyright © 2016 by "Dial Daily Bread."

Thursday, July 07, 2016

Dial Daily Bread: A Vivid Picture of What's Happening Behind the Scenes

Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"

The Bible speaks of the great battle of Armageddon in Revelation 16; also, it speaks of a time of trouble coming on the world like the world has never seen before (see Daniel 12).

Please note: it is not God who brings that trouble on the earth, and it is not God who provokes the battle of Armageddon. God does not bring disaster--wicked people bring such troubles on the earth. Seeds of rebellion and hatred have been sown in all the world, and it is this spiritual rebellion against the law of God that will eventually lead the world into the time of trouble and the battle of Armageddon.

But in the meantime, there is another spiritual power at work in the world to bring peace and harmony, to make life livable. That is the power of the gospel, the good news of Christ. Whenever and wherever it is permitted to be proclaimed, there come the peaceable fruits of righteousness, and nations are blessed.

In Revelation 7:1-4 we see a vivid picture of what is happening behind the scenes--the news behind the headlines. Four terrible winds of human passion are about to burst loose like a wild tornado, but God sends four special angels to hold back those four winds until a special work is performed among mankind. Another angel is seen with the seal of God, and God tells the four angels, Hold those terrible four winds until we have sealed the servants of God in their foreheads. That seal of God is what prepares sinners like us to be ready for the second coming of Christ, to be ready to stand for the Lord through earth's last time of trouble.

That sealing work is going forward today. A vast number from every nation, kindred, tongue, and people will gladly receive the seal of God, and they will refuse the mark of the beast. You are invited to be one of them!

--Robert J. Wieland

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

Dial Daily Bread: God's Biblical Formula for His Blessed Day of Atonement Work

Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"

The span of history of U. S. Presidents who have served in wars since 1812 [1] nearly parallels that of the biblical grand Day of Atonement. It was a veteran of the War of 1812 who discovered in the Bible that the 2300 year prophecy of Daniel 8:14 was due to begin fulfillment in 1844. “Atonement” means reconciliation, and this final era of judgment is the call to the world to “fear God, and give glory to Him, for the hour of His judgment has come” (Rev. 14:6, 7).

This final prophetic period has witnessed the unanticipated rise of the thirteen colonies of England to the leadership of the world (the second nation with “two horns like a lamb” of Rev. 13:11). This nation has made possible a world missionary movement. But before it could lead, it had to throw off the moral curse of slavery; hence the horribly severe Civil War which Lincoln recognized as a divine punishment.

Thoughtful people have recognized also that it could not have been God’s primary will that the unspeakably terrible disasters of World Wars I and II should subject humanity to such nearly universal agony. To accomplish God’s blessed work of final atonement did not require such human agony to be endured by millions.

God has expressed in the Bible a formula how such disasters need not be necessary to His blessed work of the Day of Atonement: let God’s church proclaim to the world the “sealing message” that prepares a people to stand before the throne of God “without fault,” and be ready to meet the Son of God personally when He comes the second time (see Rev. 14:1-6; 14, 15; and 7:1-4). God loves the whole world, and His church must learn to cooperate with Him and reveal His character to the world.

--Robert J. Wieland

[1] From an article published in U. S. News and World Report.

From the "Dial Daily Bread" Archive: January 24, 2006.
Copyright © 2016 by "Dial Daily Bread."

Tuesday, July 05, 2016

Dial Daily Bread: What Made Repentance in the Church at Corinth Possible?

Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"

When Paul rebuked the church in Corinth for tolerating sexual immorality, how did they respond? And what happened to the "Christian" man who was more immoral than even the pagans, according to Paul? (See 1 Cor. 5.)

When Paul wrote a letter to the church at Galatia, we have no biblical evidence that they responded. But we do have, for Corinth. They repented. Second Corinthians tells us so (7:9-11). Even the man who had done wrong repented so deeply in humility that Paul had to urge the people now not to crush him (2:6, 7). If anybody tries to tell you that it's impossible for a church as a body to repent, or it's impossible for a person addicted to sexual immorality to repent, remind him of this.

But what made this glorious repentance possible? It is so rare today that we need to know what was this unusual factor. We seldom see a church that repents as a body.

The unique factor present in Corinth? Paul had proclaimed to these people what he did not proclaim in Athens. He proclaimed the cross of Christ. He says, "When I came to you, ... I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified" (1 Cor. 2:1, 2). In other words, he proclaimed the atonement.

He doubtless preached to them his favorite sermon recorded in Philippians 2:5-8 where he traces step by step the condescension of the Son of God from His exalted place of "equality with God" to "the death of the cross" wherein He suffered "the curse" of God (Gal. 3:13). With such a foundation for their faith, the Corinthian church found it possible to repent.

If you, or someone you know, are within the possibility of repentance, you can sing the Hallelujah chorus forever. Wouldn't that be Good News?

Robert J. Wieland

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

Sunday, July 03, 2016

Dial Daily Bread: The Most Unlikely Way to Find Happiness

Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"

The American Declaration of Independence (1776) recognizes that every human being deserves "the pursuit of happiness." And then Jesus Christ astounds us by telling us the most unlikely way to find that happiness: it's by being "poor in spirit." We find that in Matthew 5:3: "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven."

That word "blessed" is an old English word that evokes dim cathedral aisles or pictures of unhappy canonized saints in stained glass windows. But it really means simply to be "happy." But the idea of being "poor in spirit" portrays the opposite idea; it makes one think of being sad, or discouraged. But Jesus says that being poor in spirit is the path to really being happy. How so?

When you realize the truth that if it were not for Jesus the Savior, you would be dead, that He is in truth "the Savior of the world," you are enabled to contrast your own sinfulness with His glorious righteousness. And then to realize that His righteousness is yours through His grace--this immediately gives you happiness.

You sense that your happiness is blood-bought; that it is not something innately yours because of your own merits, but it is a gift. In yourself, of yourself, you are indeed "poor," but in Christ you are eternally wealthy. To be "poor in spirit" is simply to recognize that reality.

When finally you get your feet on this solid Rock of reality, you see each new day as an unexpected dividend, a gift of happiness; you feel the joy of being redeemed from the grave, from a death-sentence, like someone long on death row who gets a last-minute reprieve from the governor. That's the meaning of Romans 6:13: you gladly yield yourself to the Lord "as being alive from the dead." Happiness? Yes! That's it!

--Robert J. Wieland

From the "Dial Daily Bread" Archive: April 11, 1998.
Copyright © 2016 by "Dial Daily Bread."

Saturday, July 02, 2016

Dial Daily Bread: Something Missing From America's Independence Day Celebration

Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"

As America celebrates its Independence Day on July 4, something is missing in the media: what the Book of Revelation says about the future of this nation. In the 1776 era, Protestant Bible students recognized Revelation 12 and 13. They saw that a day is a symbol of a year, so that the 1260 years of terrible papal persecution were finished (12:6,14; 13:5). Jesus had said that "those days will be shortened," or no believers would be left (Matt. 24:22).

The first beast was the persecuting power of Revelation 13--clearly the historic papacy that oppressed Bible-believing Christians in the Dark Ages. The second beast the Founding Fathers were not too sure of, but time soon made the fulfillment crystal clear: it was the rising of the young American nation.

The "shortening" that Jesus mentioned was greatly helped by the Declaration of Independence, July 4, 1776. History records no martyrdoms for faith in Europe after that date! Many European nations were encouraged to assert their God-given rights; the thirteen Colonies led the world in a revolution of freedom. The Founding Fathers wisely provided for the separation of church and state--a nation without a king, and a church without a pope. They did not intend to squelch religion; but the churches should proclaim the Word of God, the kind of true religion that alone can enable a nation blessed of God.

All went well for a few decades and the young nation prospered. Then came a disaster that Revelation 14 (speaking of the same era) had also foretold: the fall of "Babylon" (vs. 6; 18:1-4). This is a prophecy that explains why since the 1840s the Protestant churches have lost the spiritual power that they had in the early days of this Republic when true Christianity influenced the nation. But when the Protestant church loses its spiritual power, then it turns to the state to support its moral teachings. And then history comes full circle: persecution will be the result.

Many Americans are worried about the moral decline of this nation: the source of the problem is the fall of "Babylon." The solution is not uniting church and state, but genuine reformation within the church! The men and women comprising the executive, legislative, and judicial branches of this government need to understand Revelation 12 and 13. America has been wonderfully blessed; but it must never abandon the principle of religious liberty that has made it great.

--Robert J. Wieland

From the "Dial Daily Bread" Archive: July 11, 1999.
Copyright © 2016 by "Dial Daily Bread."