Thursday, April 27, 2017

Dial Daily Bread: What the Angels of Heaven Are Begging Us to Do

Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"

The angels of heaven are begging the inhabitants of earth to read the book of Revelation (see 1:1-3).

As we come to the end-time, the sounding of "the seventh angel's" trumpet, John the prophet sees "lightnings" and hears "noises ["voices," KJV], and thunderings, and an earthquake, and great hail"--the most awful spiritual "storm" in earth's 6000 years (11:15-19).

Next he sees the panoramic history of God's true church through the ages, focusing on their final witness of truth to the world (12:1-17).

Then he sees the monstrous deception of a counterfeit "christ" and its imitation gospel that leads "all who dwell on the earth" to worship this power except those "whose names are ... written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world" (13:1-8). The world is being catalyzed into two camps.

Next the prophet sees a savage burst of persecuting frenzy wherein multitudes who think themselves following that "Lamb" will repeat the essence of His original unjust crucifixion, on His people (13:11-17).

Then the prophet sees the raising up of a group of "144,000" who share a corporate oneness "in Christ" and bring the world to a final up-or-down vote on identifying the true Christ (14:1-15). It will also involve distinguishing the true Holy Spirit from its extremely clever opposite (18:2, 3). We're just about there. Living now is serious business.

--Robert J. Wieland

From the "Dial Daily Bread" Archive: May 16, 2005.
Copyright © 2017 by "Dial Daily Bread."

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Dial Daily Bread: Listen, World! Listen, Church!

Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"

As the Angel of Revelation 10 (Christ Himself) gives the fanfare to "the voice of the seventh angel, when he shall begin to sound" his trumpet (Rev. 10:1-7), Jesus says, Listen! The message of that seventh angel is electrifying to the whole world: "There should be [time] no longer. ... The mystery of God would be finished, as He declared to His servants, the prophets."

Listen, world! Listen, church! Everything that God has been saying for 6000 years is now being shouted before "many peoples, nations, tongues, and kings" (vs. 11). Finally, something is being "finished"! No more delay! Finally the picture is being focused razor sharp.

But what is this "mystery of God"? Something He wants to hide from us? No, a thousand times no. A "mystery" in the Bible is something God wants to reveal to us. Colossians explains it neatly: "The mystery which has been hidden from ages ... now has been revealed ... which is Christ in you, the hope of glory ... that we may present every [person] perfect in Christ Jesus" (1:26-28).

The seventh angel says that now is the time to be done with all this sin-foolishness; now is the time to "see" Christ as He truly is, free from the foggy misconceptions invented by the "Antichrist" that envelop Him in mist that makes Him seem "far away from us." Now is the time to see how He became one of us, took our fallen, sinful nature, and "condemned sin in the flesh" (Rom. 8:3), our "flesh," so that those who consider Him as He truly is can "overcome ... even as [He] also overcame." (Rev. 3:21, KJV).

Yes, God will have what He has always wanted--"every [person] perfect in Christ Jesus" (that is, every person who believes the Good News). And if you will "listen," you will find it easier to "believe." Impossible?

--Robert J. Wieland

From the "Dial Daily Bread" Archive: June 16, 2001.
Copyright © 2017 by "Dial Daily Bread."

Monday, April 24, 2017

Dial Daily Bread: A Special Angel Calls Us to Be Alert

Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"

Have you been listening? Above the loud noise of our freeways, planes, trains, TVs and radios, and talking on cell phones, something important is sounding: the blowing of a heavenly trumpet.

Most of the world is deaf to this sound of real alarm. It's the reality above and beyond the savvy of our wisest news commentators and philosophers. It's the news in the Book of Revelation, chapter 10, of the seventh angel blowing his trumpet.

A special Angel (Christ Himself) with a rainbow on His head declares solemnly to all the world "that there should be [time] no longer, but in the days of the sounding of the seventh angel, when he is about to sound [his trumpet], the mystery of God would be finished, as He declared to His servants the prophets" (vss. 1-7).

In Revelation chapters 8-11, we are given this glimpse into reality--seven angels blowing seven trumpets of alarm. For centuries, careful, reverent-minded scholars have seen these "trumpets" as spanning the 2000 years since Christ's resurrection.

In this larger picture of cosmic history, they have seen the events under the "fifth" and "sixth trumpets" as portraying the impact of Islam on the world, and the "seventh trumpet" as the time of the final Day of Atonement when the world's Savior completes His work of reconciling humanity to God's plan of salvation. Then "the kingdoms of this world ... become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ" (11:15).

This solemn ministry is going on right now; none know how soon this special ministry of grace will end. The Angel calls us to be alert, to hear what's going on. Listen on your knees.

--Robert J. Wieland

From the "Dial Daily Bread" Archive: June 15, 2001.
Copyright © 2017 by "Dial Daily Bread."

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Dial Daily Bread: "Great and Precious Promises"--God's or Ours?

Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"

It seems like a fantastic idea, but it's like a golden thread throughout both Old and New Testaments of the Bible: proud, sinful, selfish, lustful, wicked human hearts (ours!) are changed by simply believing what the apostle Peter says are "exceedingly great and precious promises" (2 Peter 1:4)!

And they're not man's "promises." They are the Lord's. Can it really be true that there is power in something as simple as believing God's promises (that appear to be so wild and extravagant)? God virtually promised Abraham the sky. And the old man is "the father of us all."

For instance, in the Old Testament we read that He picked up the only monotheist He could find in the ancient world, called him into exile to "a land that [He] would show him," promised it to him "for an everlasting possession." Paul got the idea: it was almost infinitely more than that tiny little strip of land known as Canaan; it meant the whole earth! (Rom 4:13).

And no way could the "possession" be "everlasting" for Abraham unless this "exceedingly great and precious promise" included the gift of eternal life, which Abraham couldn't enjoy as a genetic inheritance for he was born a sinner under condemnation like all of us. And further, no way could he be "the heir of the world" unless it became the "new earth." And again, no way could he be "the heir" of such a new earth unless he was given the gift of "righteousness," for Peter insists that only "righteousness dwells" there (2 Peter 3:13).

So, it all ends up full circle: God's "exceeding great and precious promises" mean the out-and-out gift of "righteousness by faith." And that was the meaning of those seven promises the Lord made to Abraham in Genesis 12:2, 3, and then later swore to in chapter 15--staking His very existence and His eternal throne on His keeping them.

Now, we return to our question: does it make sense that we, sinful selfish people by nature can be changed, converted, purified, transformed, even "sanctified," by believing those "promises"? Believe it or not, that is Peter's idea: "His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, ... exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust" (2 Peter 1:3, 4).

"Escape" is what we desperately need, for we face the second death without it. The "corruption" of lust surrounds us and would permeate us. But it's true: our "escape" is only in believing those "promises." Let's join the father whose son was healed, in our own heart-felt prayer: "Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!" (Mark 9:23, 24). We can never perish if we pray that prayer.

--Robert J. Wieland

From the "Dial Daily Bread" Archive: April 6, 2004.
Copyright © 2017 by "Dial Daily Bread."

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Dial Daily Bread: Young People, Something to Dedicate Your Life For!

Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"

The grand truths of the Bible are becoming more sharply defined worldwide as we come closer to the second coming of Christ. A great Enemy of Christ fights against truth, but "the truth of the gospel" prevails against all opposition:

(1) Christ's love for His church (and for the world) will motivate His personal, literal, and visible second coming to take to Himself His people (John 14:1-3).

(2) A people will respond to "the truth of the gospel" and will "overcome" sin in preparation for translation at His coming (Gal. 2:5; Rev. 3:21).

(3) The motivation that will accomplish this grand demonstration of the gospel will not be egocentric fear (the basic idea of "Babylon"), but a clearer concept of love (agape) that "constrains" to unselfish devotion to Christ (2 Cor. 5:14, 15).

(4) Thus will be fulfilled the prophetic picture of a people that truthfully "keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus" (Rev. 12:17; 14:12; Rom. 13:10).

(5) This takes place in the biblical "time of the end," when "knowledge shall increase" (Dan. 12:4). That time is now.

(6) It is the same as "the hour of [God's] judgment" when He as well as the world is to be "judged" (Rev. 14:6, 7). It is the final victory of the ages, the long "controversy between Christ and Satan."

(7) It is also described as "the cleansing of the heavenly sanctuary," a successful completion of Christ's ministry as the world's great High Priest (Dan. 8:14).

(8) He is not to battle vainly against sin for endless eons yet to come, always doomed to remain "despised and rejected of men." He is to demonstrate a huge success in His plan of salvation, before His second advent (Rev. 14:15; 18:1-4). The world will see it.

(9) Every honest heart around the world will respond to this "revelation of Jesus Christ" (Rev. 15:2).

(10) A significant chapter in this development of "the truth of the gospel" will be the distinction between the counterfeit "holy spirit" of "Babylon" and the genuine "latter rain" to be received by the "remnant church" (Rev. 18:1, 2). Every honest heart worldwide will be undeceived.

Young people: this is something to dedicate your life for!

--Robert J. Wieland

From the "Dial Daily Bread" Archive: April 25, 2007.
Copyright © 2017 by "Dial Daily Bread."

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Dial Daily Bread: Is Theological Harmony in the Church Possible?

Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"

Whatever gift anyone has received from the Giver of gifts, it builds up the church. When you're confused about whether a message you hear or read comes from God or is a counterfeit from the Enemy, just watch and see: does it build up the church?

It is commonly said that theological harmony is impossible in the church until after the second coming of Christ. Theologians must squabble, we think; teachers must disagree; pastors must preach against each other; you're not smart unless you demonstrate where you differ from everyone else.

Paul says no; this "one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one Spirit" (Eph. 4:4, 5) means what it says. We are to "grow up" out of our childishness into "the unity of the faith." Christ is not divided. That means a development of character that brings God's people to the enormously high standard of the Son of God Himself--"a perfect man, ... the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ" (vs. 13).

Someone may ask, "Is that the heresy of perfectionism?" No. "Perfectionism" is indeed a heresy, but this is not it; the heresy part is the idea of perfection of the flesh. The flesh never becomes perfect until Jesus comes. But this is Christlike perfection of character. The Bible does not even claim perfection of Christ's flesh. As a Carpenter, He was a careful workman, but must we say that He never bent a nail or hit His thumb? Hebrews says He learned "perfection" by the "things which He suffered" (5:8, 9).

But let us beware of ridiculing the idea of overcoming sin, because it's what Christ died to accomplish in His people! It's the final fruit of His work as High Priest in the second apartment of His heavenly sanctuary, the time of its ultimate cleansing on this antitypical Day of Atonement. It's His work going forward just now. It's His ministry of the "growing up" of His people that they may no longer be immature, "tossed about" by confusion, but may "grow up" before His coming.

The best good news comes now: the growing up process is going on! "The whole body," the church, is like a human body that grows in perfect symmetry and unity. Paul's idea is that the truest "church growth" is not where specialists come in to cause it, but where the members themselves, filled with agape, are adding new members, and helping those already in the church to grow.

That is the ultimate "evangelism," which will be demonstrated perfectly when that "other angel coming down from heaven, having great authority" illuminates the earth "with his glory," calling every honest-hearted soul to "come out of Babylon" (Rev. 18:1-4). And, praise God! His people still scattered in "Babylon" will heed the Voice and come!

That "other angel" is again a symbol of a people who have the message and are the messengers. The outpouring of the Holy Spirit as "the latter rain" will supply the holy energy. The beginning of that final "gift" was given long ago, but it was not welcomed at the time. But God will not permit His seed to return unto Him void; He is watching over that message, and in His providence it will bear its fruit.

--Robert J. Wieland

From: Ephesians: You've Been "Adopted," 2005.
Copyright © 2017 by "Dial Daily Bread."

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Dial Daily Bread: Have You Ever Been Persecuted?

Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"

Have you ever been persecuted? If honesty forces you to say No, then you have never been fully "blessed." You are deprived! The word "persecution" has come to mean primarily suffering unjust opposition or affliction from religious authorities.

When people who are openly godless attack you, it is easier to bear than when those who profess to be servants of God do it. Jesus says, "Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. Rejoice and be exceedingly glad ... for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you" (Matt. 5:11, 12).

Why is such persecution so painful for sincere people to endure? Church fellowship is like family fellowship, often more intimately so. It's like yanking a plant out of the ground by its roots; it soon withers. Where is Jesus when that happens to you?

We can find the answer in John 9: Jesus had healed the man born blind; the Jewish clergy harassed him, persecuted him, finally "cast him out" of his "church fellowship," the synagogue. "Jesus heard that they had cast him out, and ... He ... found him" (vs. 35). For Jesus to find him and be with him was part of the "blessing" that He promised to those who are persecuted for His sake.

If you have been so "persecuted," but you can be assured of one blessing regardless of the merit of your case. When your heart is aching because of the persecution you are enduring, Jesus finds you. Further, He had a conversation with the man who was born blind, to encourage him (vss. 35-39). And for sure Jesus will have a conversation with you, to encourage you in the way of truth.

Jesus feels especially close to everyone who suffers for the sake of his or her conscience, even if your conscience is "sick," in need of healing. Accept His presence; listen to Him, talk with Him; accept His healing. Your "roots" may have been yanked out of your church fellowship; now let your roots be established in Him. He will not encourage you to be self-righteous or proud, or vindictive or accusing. Instead, He will teach you holy wisdom.

If you are indeed suffering "for righteousness sake," He will encourage you to endure humbly until He vindicates your case as He did David's when he was suffering persecution under "the Lord's anointed," King Saul. Read his Psalms! Walk softly; let Jesus lead you.

--Robert J. Wieland

From the "Dial Daily Bread" Archive: October 22, 1999.
Copyright © 2017 by "Dial Daily Bread."

Monday, April 17, 2017

Dial Daily Bread: If You Are a Teenager ... Think on This

Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"

Joseph was next to the youngest of old Jacob's sons, probably around 17 years old when his life was violently disrupted. His ten older brothers were the true church of that day; they were the "Israel" of the world, God's chosen nation-to-be, but they rejected Joseph and hated him.

Sent on a self-sacrificing mission to help his ten older brothers, Joseph suddenly found himself the object of their bitter feelings of jealousy when they grabbed him and threw him helpless into a pit, lonely, hungry, probably bruised, while they sat down to enjoy the meal from home that Jacob had sent Joseph to bring them. Then his brothers cruelly sold him as a slave to some heathen merchants who came by, thinking of course that they would never see him again.

As would any innocent teenager, Joseph was mystified by this sudden reversal in fortune; to be hated by God's own "Israel, " the "nation" God chose to be a blessing to the world--could any fate be more painful for a sincere teen to endure? (Sorry, Joseph was only the progenitor of a long list of prophets and "messengers" whom the Lord sent to help His people, but who rejected and hated Him through the centuries until they despised and crucified His own Son!)

The inspired historian says, "The Lord God of their fathers sent warnings to them by His messengers, rising up early and sending them, because He had compassion on His people and on His dwelling place. But they mocked the messengers of God, despised His words, and scoffed at His prophets, until the wrath of the Lord arose against His people, till there was no remedy" (2 Chron. 36:15, 16).

If you are a teenager and your world has been turned upside down for any reason, and you are tempted to wonder if there is a God who cares about you, think on this:

(1) As the Ishmaelites from Gilead with their camels on their way to Egypt bore young Joseph away, and he looked for the last time on the hills where his father's tent was, his heart thrilled with a choice not to let himself become bitter, but to consecrate his life to the Lord God.

(2) Sold as a slave to Potiphar in Egypt, Joseph was tempted to think that God had forgotten about him; and often today when things go against us we are tempted likewise to give in to that awful temptation; but choose with Joseph to believe in the Lord your God who is your heavenly Father.

(3) He will never forget you!

--Robert J. Wieland

From the "Dial Daily Bread" Archive: March 24, 2008.
Copyright © 2017 by "Dial Daily Bread."

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Dial Daily Bread: Why Did Jesus Have to Die?

Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"

Why did Jesus have to die? Theologians have argued this question for centuries. And, they have left youth confused.

Some of us have answered glibly, "Our sins made Him die." And you'll get an A+ for that answer; easy to say.

You can argue all night but the simple fact remains--people of flesh and blood killed Him. It wasn't that He had to die--the public couldn't stand to have Him around any more. (Wait a moment: we're not denying that He had to die--the point is that it wasn't the Father who killed Him; and it wasn't the devil, bad as he is. People killed Him. And that's what you and I are, people.)

Nobody would ever have been killed if sin had not come into this planet; sin is what kills people. And Jesus "became" sin, was "made to be sin," gave Himself up to become the embodiment of sin, took the blame for every evil deed that any sin-crazed human has ever committed. God "made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us" (2 Cor. 5:21).

From then on, nature simply took its course. "The wages of sin is death" (Rom. 6:23); and since He "became sin," death had to take over. Every evil, hateful, selfish thought that anyone has ever indulged, He "became" it. It was hateful to Him, yes, but far more hateful than we have imagined. It was all so hateful to him that it killed Him. The Creator, Redeemer of the universe takes this hateful thing called sin into His own bosom, not that He ever loved it but because He loved us.

His death that sin caused was not the "first," which is a mere unconscious state we call sleep. The death that sin brought Him was the second, the one that He could not see through. A wise writer has said, "Hope did not present to Him His coming forth from the grave a conqueror."

It is likened to His drinking a cup of the most bitter substance imaginable; He gulped it all down, right to the last drop. It all meant that His Father had turned His back on Him forever; He was alone in a dark, endless universe, utterly hopeless, sensing He was a total failure forever. No other human soul in all eternity has ever drank that cup down. Utterly lethal. But many youth have tasted it; they know their hours of despair.

Don't wonder that sin killed Him. If sin is what you love, God is not going to beat you senseless in a total divine rage; the sin you love will do the job. What it did to Him, it will do to you.

As sure as the sun rises tomorrow morning, the Holy Spirit will in love bring to your soul a supernatural conviction of sin. Welcome Him; drop everything to listen. What a thousand psychiatrists can't do for us, the Holy Spirit will do in a few moments' time. Turn on your hearing aid!

--Robert J. Wieland

From the "Dial Daily Bread" Archive: April 10, 2004.
Copyright © 2017 by "Dial Daily Bread."

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Dial Daily Bread: Under Law or Under Grace?

Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"

If our understanding of our inheritance in Christ has grown so that we can appreciate Him as our High Priest, we can make an intelligent choice as to where we will stand. Our privilege is as follows: "Sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under the law but under grace" (Rom. 6:14).

To be under the law means to be a slave concerned for one's own security, out of our fear of being lost in the darkness and emptiness of hell. This is still a form of selfishness, although a highly refined one, to be sure.

All egocentric motivation is what Paul meant by his phrase, "under the law." It is being under the constraint imposed by a fear of the punishment that the law can inflict, for "the law brings about wrath" (Rom. 4:15).

But to be under grace is to sense the constraint of a new motivation, a sense of soul-consuming gratitude for redemption, an awesome appreciation of a love that has infinite dimensions of width and length and depth and height, measured by the arms of Christ's cross.

Obedience, loyalty, purity, devotion--these are not goals we work toward; they are gifts we discover in our response to His open arms of love and forgiveness. "Sin shall not have dominion over you." In this new captivity to grace we discover freedom at last.

We want to nudge Paul to move over so we can kneel down beside him: "God forbid that I should boast of anything but the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world is crucified to me and I to the world" (Gal. 6:14, New English Bible). "For me to live is Christ" (Phil. 1:21).

This is the beginning of everlasting life, a new quality of life. You have passed from death unto life. You are a citizen of heaven, a new kind of person in Christ, for you have believed the gospel to be what it is--good news!

--Robert J. Wieland

From: Gold Tried in the Fire, 1983.
Copyright © 2017 by "Dial Daily Bread."

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Dial Daily Bread: A Beautiful Melody of Truth Tucked Away in a Little Bible "Closet"

Dear Friends of “Dial Daily Bread,”

One of the most encouraging passages in the entire Bible is tucked away in a little Bible "closet" where most people miss it completely. The reason is that the "door," the title of the book, seems very discouraging to even look at, like it says, "Don't read me! I'm nothing but bad news!" It's Jeremiah's second volume, "Lamentations of Jeremiah." It makes one wonder why God let it get into the Bible. Who enjoys sad lamentations?

But wait! Right there in the middle of this biblical desert we come across this almost incredibly beautiful melody of truth (forgive me for mixing my metaphors): chapter 3, verses 22-36. "It is of the Lord's mercies that we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is Thy faithfulness" (KJV; right there are the seed thoughts of one of the grandest hymns in the English language).

We read further that most blessed is the person who has known disappointment and sorrow in his or her youth: "It is good that [a person] should both hope and quietly wait for the salvation of the Lord. It is good for [a person] that [he or she] bear the yoke in ... youth." Even being "lonely" turns out to have been a blessing (vss. 26-28). And almost incredibly, biting the dust when you're young becomes a good experience (vs. 29).

Right there in the most humiliating depth of experience the minor key changes to major, and the clouds part as sunshine breaks through: "The Lord will not cast off forever: but though He cause grief, yet will He have compassion according to the multitude of His mercies. For He doth not afflict willingly nor grieve the children of men. ... to turn aside the right of a [person] before the face of the most High, to subvert [one] in his cause, the Lord approveth not" (vss. 31-36).

Painful? Yes, but O the blessed fruit that such "chastening of the Lord" brings! It saves us from the pitiful arrogance and pride that "uneducated" people get in to. If you have been blessed with that disciplinary "education," be very happy!

--Robert J. Wieland

From the "Dial Daily Bread" Archive: February 27, 1999.
Copyright © 2017 by "Dial Daily Bread."

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Dial Daily Bread: Think About That Passover Lamb

Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"

Have you ever heard of the curfew that went into effect at sundown? You'd better be home by that time; and you'd better stay indoors all night. Not going out, even for a moment. This is Passover Night.

Egypt has been oppressing God's people and the night of deliverance has come. Only because of the tenth plague will the government of Egypt finally relent and permit Israel to leave. The Pharaoh, probably Amenhotep II according to history, has defied God to the bitter end. Now an angel of death is going through the entire land, and the firstborn of every home, from the Crown Prince of Egypt, to the firstborn even of the cattle, shall die, except ... :

For those who believe God's plan of salvation, they can take a young lamb "without blemish," kill it, and splash its blood all over the door posts and the lintel. And when the angel of death shall pass by, if he sees the blood, he will not enter that house.

But Pharaoh in his hardhearted unbelief, sacrifices no lamb; and at midnight the angel visited his palace, and the Crown Prince of Egypt dies suddenly, mysteriously. (It's interesting that Egyptian secular history records that Amenhotep's successor on the throne was not the eldest son as would normally be the case, but another son.)

But what about the Crown Prince of heaven? In the Father's great Plan of Salvation, He did die. The sacrificial Passover lamb typified Him and His death on the cross. His death made our life possible, so that the angel of Eternal Death could "pass over" us.

The meaning is so simple that even a child can grasp it: you live today because He died for you. If He had not died for you, you would be dead--eternally. Whether or not you are a Christian, the truth remains solidly true: you are in debt infinitely and eternally to the One who died in your place.

Do you think it is too great a sacrifice to follow Jesus? Think about that Passover lamb.

--Robert J. Wieland

From the "Dial Daily Bread" Archive: January 10, 1999.
Copyright © 2017 by "Dial Daily Bread."

Monday, April 10, 2017

Dial Daily Bread: A Nugget of Pure Gold

Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"

Sometimes you find a nugget of pure gold lying almost on the surface of your Bible reading, a treasure of Good News truth you never saw before.

That's what happened when I decided to check into the meaning of the word "meek" as it is in Numbers 12:3 (KJV). I have always been perplexed the way the word is used there. Verses 1 and 2 tell us of the painful heartache Moses must have felt when his two siblings, Miriam and Aaron turned against him--a cruel blow for him to endure.

Having to contend with Pharaoh, ruler of the world's greatest empire and all his courtiers--that was nothing compared to this heartache. Also, enduring all the trials the unbelieving Israelites heaped upon him on their way to the Promised Land--all that he could endure more easily. But when his own siblings, older than he in his own family, turned on him, that was agony!

Why does the Bible writer then say immediately in parentheses, "Now the man Moses was very meek, above all the men which were upon the face of the earth"? Seems an irrelevant thing to say just then! Did Moses just take it all lying down?

And then I looked up the real meaning of the Hebrew word `anav, which is translated "meek." It does not mean to be a floor-mat, someone who is cowardly. The word has built in to it the meaning of one who has endured many setbacks, many humiliations, many oppositions, many put-downs, and yet has stood firm and said "No!" to discouragement. It is a very active word, not a passive one; not taking what's doled out to you like a weakling, but triumphing over it all.

It's a word that denotes a strong, beautiful character, trusting God when everything seems to be against you. It's the pearl character, having to endure the irritations that have come so close to you and transforming it all into a precious jewel.

Have you met trials and even persecutions, mysterious setbacks? Take heart!

--Robert J. Wieland

From the "Dial Daily Bread" Archive: May 16, 2001.
Copyright © 2017 by "Dial Daily Bread."

Saturday, April 08, 2017

Dial Daily Bread: The Lord Is Willing to Teach Anyone Who Asks Him

Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"

Have you ever read the Book of Daniel all the way through? It's a blessed experience, more so than any novel could possibly be. Jesus Himself urges us to read it, and dig deep into it, in Matthew 24:15: "'Therefore when you see the "abomination of desolation," spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place' (whoever reads, let him understand)."

The Book of Daniel is quoted many times in the New Testament, and is the underlying foundation for understanding the Book of Revelation. And Jesus also pronounces a special blessing on reading and pondering the meaning of that book: "Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written in it; for the time is near" (Rev. 1:3).

You may say, "But those books are difficult to understand!" Think carefully. Jesus urges you to study both books. Do you believe in Jesus? If you do, then trust Him that He will give you understanding.

Ask Him in simple, heart-felt prayer, "Lord, You are urging me to read and understand; I don't know how to begin; please teach me!" He will hear that prayer, for there are many promises in the Bible that the Lord is all too ready and willing to teach anyone who asks Him. If we ask for bread, He has promised never to give us a stone.

Then get busy in the first hour of free time you have. By faith turn off the TV, your computer and other devices, and read Daniel and Revelation so your mind can be uninterrupted. Don't stop, don't let yourself be distracted. You can be sure that Satan will seek to distract you somehow, because he hates to see you reading those Books that Jesus has especially urged you to read!

--Robert J. Wieland

From the "Dial Daily Bread" Archive: April 7, 1998.
Copyright © 2017 by "Dial Daily Bread."

Thursday, April 06, 2017

Dial Daily Bread: Revelation's Seven Blessings

Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"

Rightly understood, the Book of Revelation is Good News, not Bad. Don't let popular "interpreters" scare you with falsehood. Yes, we must be alert and aware of what is coming on the earth, but we must not allow "Babylon's" false doctrine to crowd out the joy the Holy Spirit has built into this last Book of the Bible. Reading it just as it is, all the way through, is hope-inspiring.

Its very first words tell you it is intended to make you happy, not sad: "Happy [Young's Literal Translation] is he who reads and those who hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things that are written in it " (1:3).

There are no less than seven such "blessings," happiness-giving pronouncements here. The "woes" and the "plagues" are the work of Satan, not God. Don't forget the Lord's promises in Psalm 91 to the one who "dwells in the secret place of the Most High": "No evil shall befall you, nor shall any plague come near your dwelling" (vss. 1, 10).

Revelation is what the name suggests--unveiling Christ in all of history from the time of the apostles on down to the end of time. There is a "revelation" in chapter 12--of what's going on behind the scenes--the great controversy between Satan and the Lamb, but the end is clear, the Lamb wins the war.

"Happy is he who watches [stays awake], and keeps he garments, lest he walk naked and they see his shame" (16:15). Priceless advantage in time of trouble!

"Happy are those who are called [have been invited] to the marriage supper of the Lamb" (19:9).

"Happy and holy is he who has part in the first resurrection. Over such the second death has no power" (20:6).

"Happy is he who keeps the words of the prophecy of this book" (22:7; "keep" in the original means to cherish, to guard from loss).

"Happy are those who do His commandments, that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter through the gates into the city" (22:14).

All seven blessings are realized here and now, present tense--even that "right" to enter in through the gates. Believe, and you henceforth hold your head high.

--Robert J. Wieland

From the "Dial Daily Bread" Archive: April 30, 2003.
Copyright © 2017 by "Dial Daily Bread."

Wednesday, April 05, 2017

Dial Daily Bread: Permit the Holy Spirit to “Enlarge Your Heart”

Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"

Those dear contenders of past centuries were not bad people who loved doctrinal strife; each side saw glimpses of truth that they knew were important. It was not their fault that they lived too soon to see the cleansing of the heavenly sanctuary in the cosmic Day of Atonement (see Daniel 8:14).

Calvinists could see: the Bible does teach "predestination" (Rom. 8:29, 30; Eph. 1:5). But they lived too soon to see it's "all men" that He predestinates to salvation!

The Arminians could see: the Bible does teach that God wants "all men" to be saved and calls all to come and to believe. But they couldn't see how He actually makes salvation to be a "gift" given to "all men" as a "judicial verdict of acquittal" that reverses the judicial condemnation that comes upon "all men" "in Adam" (see Rom. 5:15-18, New English Bible). They couldn't see how infinitely grand is Christ's accomplishment; all they could see was that Christ died for everyone and calls everyone, but has not actually saved anyone unless he first believes. Therefore, they thought, our salvation is ultimately due to our own initiative.

The lost will have persistently committed the unpardonable sin of crucifying "the Son of God afresh, and put[ting] Him to an open shame" (Heb. 6:6, KJV). When all gather before the Great White Throne at the end of the 1000 years (Revelation 20) each will see the full consequence of his heart rebellion against the Son of God (vs. 12ff).

Truth will bring them (as one inspired writer puts it) to where "they will welcome destruction," each judging himself in the light of justification by faith, each seeing himself as an unrepentant crucifier of Christ. Each will "welcome" the Lake of Fire.

"The truth of the gospel" (Gal. 2:5, 14) assures us that we have been "chosen," "predestined," "adopted," "accepted in the Beloved," "elected" (Eph. 1:4-6; Rom. 8:33). It's impossible to "comprehend" the grand dimensions of these truths and still remain "lukewarm" in our devotion to the One who (now we understand) died our second death!

If you permit Him, the Holy Spirit will "enlarge [your] heart" (Psalm 119:32) and cause you to "grow up" out of spiritual infancy, to live "in Christ."

--Robert J. Wieland

From the "Dial Daily Bread" Archive: July 25, 2007.
Copyright © 2017 by "Dial Daily Bread."

Tuesday, April 04, 2017

Dial Daily Bread: Agape--The Most Powerful Word in Any Language

Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"

There is no one word that has occasioned more contention and strife through the centuries of the story of God's people than the word for love. Many have misunderstood; they suppose that the word "love" is weak sentimentalism. They want some solid works, not superficial emotion. Someone who wants to preach "love" can be accused of being shallow.

But we must walk softly here, and be careful; the problem is that God says that He Himself is "love" (1 John 4:8). And the last thing anyone wants to do is to despise God Himself! In order to understand, we must look at the original Greek word that is in the text that tells us what God is--it's agape.

It's the most powerful word in any language; it's the core word on which the vast universe of God's creation has been built. The Milky Way is held together by the idea that is in that word.

You and I as human individuals are nothing unless we are acquainted with that word: "Every one who loves [with agape] is born of God, and knows God." But, "He who does not love [with agape] does not know God." And here comes that blockbuster statement: "for God is agape" (1 John 4:7, 8).

Theologians can write their ponderous books, trying to explain it; but one can never understand what agape is until he "behold[s] the Lamb of God" (John 1:29) whose agape led Him to die the death of every person on earth.

"We see Jesus [with the eyes of faith], who was made a little lower than the angels, for the suffering of death" (Heb. 2:9). You and I have been "made" to live forever. He was "made" to die. You can't say that Christ merely went to sleep for "every man." The text says that "He, by the grace of God, might taste death for everyone." That's not sleep! There is only one kind of death that Jesus could die "for every man" who has ever lived on earth: He died our second death.

You may face that ultimate truth today and let "the love of Christ" [His agape] "constrain" you to live "henceforth" (KJV) only unto Him. That will be the beginning of eternal life for you.

Here's how simple it is: "The love of Christ constrains us, because we judge thus: that if One died for all, then all died; and He died for all, that those who live should live no longer for themselves, but for Him who died for them and rose again" (2 Cor. 5:14, 15).

Everything depends on the dimensions of that "love." Make them small and narrow, and your devotion will be small and narrow. It's that simple!

--Robert J. Wieland

From the "Dial Daily Bread" Archive: April 11, 2008.
Copyright © 2017 by "Dial Daily Bread."

Monday, April 03, 2017

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

Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"

The Bible is emphatic: Jesus, Paul, and both Daniel and Revelation, warn us against the dragon's subtle counterfeits of the gospel--especially in our last days. "False christs and false prophets will arise ... so as to deceive, If possible, even the elect." "The man of sin ... sits as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God." "A little horn ... grew up to the host of heaven. ... He even exalted himself as high as the Prince of the host." "And all who dwell on the earth will worship him, whose names have not been written in the Book of Life" (Matt. 24:24; 2 Thess. 2:3, 4; Dan. 8:9-14; Rev. 13:8, etc.). Pretty serious! Could these deceptions go on under our very nose?

A heart warm with sweet emotion is necessary as we face the end time trials; but a perceptive mind alert to doctrinal truth is also needed. The great issue should be simple, but it eludes those nearly "all who dwell on the earth": how do you distinguish between the voice of "the dragon" and the voice of "the Lamb"? The dragon gets "wroth," and loses his temper in the mark of the beast crisis. Likewise the holy Lamb of God will exude a righteous anger when those majority finally re-enact the crucifixion of Christ (or try to) in the person of His saints (Rev. 13:12-17; 14:9-12).

Don't be dismayed by the dragon's roar. All he can do is to scare us. He "shall not prevail against you" (Jer. 1:17-19). Is it a sin to be scared?

--Robert J. Wieland

From the "Dial Daily Bread" Archive: July 18, 2002.
Copyright © 2017 by "Dial Daily Bread."

Sunday, April 02, 2017

Dial Daily Bread: Grab Every Ray of Light That Comes Your Way

Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"

If you are thoroughly human, no doubt you have at times wondered if God has elected you to be saved. You know you need a Savior; and you know that lots of people are going to be lost. There are sincere Christians who actually believe that God elects some to be saved and others to be lost.

A text that appears to support that idea is Acts 13:48. Paul has been preaching the gospel in Antioch. Then Luke says: "As many as were ordained to eternal life believed" (King James Version). The New International Version says the same: "All who were appointed for eternal life believed." Sounds like discouraging Bad News for those who are not so "appointed" or "ordained." Some dear people actually give up in discouragement; they tell themselves, "It's too hard; youth say, temptation is too strong; I am sure God has not 'ordained' me to be saved; He hasn't 'appointed' me." Calvinists actually use this text to support their doctrine of double predestination.

But the Greek verb doesn't say what the KJV and NIV say. It is tetagmenoi, which means that the translation should read, "As many as appointed themselves for eternal life believed." In other words, they heard Paul preach the Good News; they said to themselves, "I want that! Paul's preaching is for me!" Once they made that decision, then immediately their hearts began to be melted; they learned to appreciate the cross of Christ that Paul was preaching, "they believed."

This has to be the correct understanding according to the context. In verse 46 Paul addressed the Jews who chose not to believe: "Seeing you put it from you, and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, lo, we turn to the Gentiles." What they did was the opposite of what the believers did. Same idea, only in reverse. Those who believed were not acting out a preprogrammed agenda determined for them before the foundation of the world (Calvinist "predestination"); they took the truth to themselves, grabbed it, "judged themselves" to be favored of God with the gospel.

So, grab every ray of light that comes your way; don't wait a moment; "I made haste, and delayed not," says David (Psalm 119:60). The idea is not that God preaches the gospel indifferently, or only once in a while; the problem is that your own heart can become dull and unresponsive.

Believe the Good News now; everything that God has promised is for YOU.

--Robert J. Wieland

From the "Dial Daily Bread" Archive: November 17, 1999.
Copyright © 2017 by "Dial Daily Bread."

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Dial Daily Bread: What Keeps This Wicked World From Being Destroyed?

Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"

Why doesn't God destroy our wicked world now? There is an answer in the sanctuary service of Israel:

Two lambs were offered "daily" on the altar of burnt offering, morning and evening, in behalf of everyone within the boundaries of Israel. Strangers and Gentiles were included as the beneficiaries. No repentance was required, no confession; no questions were asked; the lambs were offered continually, whether anybody believed or not (Ex. 29:38-42). All you had to do was to be a human being, and you were under the umbrella of God's abounding grace.

This was the gospel by "moonlight" (Rev. 12:1). As we come to the "sunlight" of the New Testament, the meaning is made clear: "God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself" (2 Cor. 5:19). As a wise writer has said, "God has encircled the world with an atmosphere of grace as real as the air [we breathe]."

The daily service of the two lambs was a ministry for the whole world. When Jesus came to John asking for baptism, John refused. Jesus had to give him a Bible study there in the water, convincing John that He was the antitypical Lamb of the daily service. "Then he allowed Him" (Matt. 3:15).

The next day John introduced Him, saying, "Behold! The Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!" (John 1:29). Not "maybe," "perhaps," or "He would like to be," or "He takes away the sin of a few." Why this universal sacrifice of atonement? "He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world" (1 John 2:2).

The "incense" offered on the altar of incense daily or continually was also a type of a universal ministry of intercession. Only the blood of Jesus continually ministered keeps this wicked world from being destroyed (Rev. 8:3-5).

Thank God He still ministers today in the Most Holy Apartment! You and I can respond today! And that's Good News!

--Robert J. Wieland

From the "Dial Daily Bread" Archive: January 19, 1998.
Copyright © 2017 by "Dial Daily Bread."

Monday, March 27, 2017

Dial Daily Bread: Responding to Christ’s Love

Dear Friends of “Dial Daily Bread,”

If someone gave you a precious gift, your most natural response would be to say a fervent thank you. And, further, according to the value of the gift, your most natural response would be a desire to demonstrate your gratitude to the friend for what he did.

This capacity for glad, thankful response is built into your human nature, a part of the package that is you. It is almost instinctive. Dozens of times a day we will catch ourselves saying thank you for kindnesses done, and as often we find ourselves watching for opportunities to respond.

This simple, unaffected, uncomplicated response of our humanity is all that God has ever asked from anyone. Christ gave Himself for us on the cross. If we don’t see it, or can’t sense how there was any real gift or sacrifice involved, there will naturally be no response of loving sacrifice on our part, only the self-centered desire for our own personal security. Such a halfhearted, lukewarm response is inevitable from anyone’s heart when Satan succeeds in obscuring the reality of what Christ gave for us.

But when we see what happened at Calvary, something does begin to move us. “Through death [the second death]” Christ destroyed “him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, and” thus released “those who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage” (Heb. 2:14, 15).

As we remember the cross, Satan will be defeated continually. Many people all around the world will respond exactly as Paul did:

“We are ruled by the love of Christ, now that we recognize that one Man died for everyone, which means that they all share in His death. He died for all, so that those who live should no longer live for themselves, but only for Him who died and was raised to life for their sake” (2 Cor. 5:14, 15, Good News Bible).

It simply becomes almost impossible for anyone who sees it to live any longer unto himself! Talk about power. This must be what Paul meant when he said, “The message of the cross … is the power of God” (1 Cor. 1:18).

--Robert J. Wieland

From: In Search of the Cross, 1999.
Copyright © 2017 by "Dial Daily Bread."

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Dial Daily Bread: Our Heavenly Father Is True and Faithful

Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"

All through the ages, Satan has tried to shake people's confidence in God's character. One thoughtful writer has said, "The world is dark with misapprehension of God." Such false conceptions of Him are at the root of pagan or heathen religions, and multitudes of professed Christians are suffering various kinds of depression for the same reason. For example, think about the doctrine of God torturing lost people in painful fire for all eternity; that paints Him in darker colors than history's worst dictators.

But even those who seek to live close to God may be tempted to wonder if He is the kind, loving, just Heavenly Father that they want to believe in. Why does He permit injustice? When they pray to Him, begging for a piece of bread, does He give them a stone? Satan is so cruel that he would like to make you think that is God's character!

The answer to that terrible temptation is Jesus. When He became our "second Adam," entering the stream of our humanity to become "Immanuel, ... God with us," He suffered being tempted "in all points ... as we are, yet without sin" (Heb. 4:15). On His cross He cried out, "My God, why have You forsaken Me?"

The Bible is full of examples of people who were tempted to think He gave them a stone instead of bread: Job, Abraham, Jacob, Joseph sold by his brothers as a slave, David fleeing from the king of Israel, Saul "the anointed of the Lord," Jeremiah in his dungeon and his mud hole, John the Baptist dying alone in a dungeon, Paul sick unto death, etc.

Let us build our faith not on transient feelings, but on the solid rock of Bible truth. Our heavenly Father is true and faithful!

--Robert J. Wieland

From the "Dial Daily Bread" Archive: April 6, 2013.
Copyright © 2017 by "Dial Daily Bread."

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Dial Daily Bread: It Will Come, Like a Lost Vein of Gold

Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"

The announcement is yet to be sounded, "The marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready. And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints" (Rev. 19:7, 8). The good news is that these words will come true! The key to fulfillment lies in the repentance that Christ calls for.

Executive committee actions, polished programs, high pressure promotion, can never truly motivate. Truth must be the vehicle, reaching human hearts, for only truth can penetrate the secret recesses of Laodicea's soul. The Lord has in reserve a means of motivation that will be fully effective. Something happened at Pentecost which fueled the early church with a phenomenal spiritual energy. It must and will happen again.

That fantastic motivation flowed naturally out of a unique repentance. No sin in all time was more horrendous than that which those people were guilty of--murdering the Son of God. Mankind's deep-seated "enmity against God" had finally produced its full fruitage (cf. Rom. 8:7). But they were only our surrogates, acting on our behalf. By nature, we are no less guilty simply because by accident we were born many centuries later.

Sin has always been "enmity against God," but no one ever fully understood its dimensions until the Holy Spirit drove the truth home to the hearts of Peter's audience that fiftieth day after the resurrection. The realization of their guilt came over them like a flood. Theirs was no petty seeking for security or reward in heaven, nor was it a craven search to evade punishment. The cross of the ages was towering over them, and their human hearts responded to its reality.

A repentance like that of Pentecost is what Christ calls for from us today. It will come, like a lost vein of gold in the earth that must surface again in another place. Our hazy, indistinct idea of repentance can produce only what we see today--hazy, indistinct devotion, lukewarmness. Like medicine taken in quantity sufficient to produce a concentration in the bloodstream, our repentance must be comprehensive, full-range, in order for the Holy Spirit to do a fully effective work.

--Robert J. Wieland

From: "As Many As I Love ... ," 1986.
Copyright © 2017 by "Dial Daily Bread."

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Dial Daily Bread: What Happens to Someone Who Is "Alienated From the Life of God"?

Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"

What happens to someone who is “alienated from the life of God” (Eph. 4:18)? The resultant “ignorance” produces naturally that “hardening of their heart.” It happens all the time, as it did long ago in Paul’s day. Gentiles went to the games in the amphitheaters to watch men kill each other, and they enjoyed watching Christians, men and women, thrown to the lions. The people loved the excitement and the flirting with death, so they would watch it. Human hearts today have become so hard that they could someday watch Christ being crucified and laugh.

“But you have not so learned Christ, if indeed you have heard Him and have been taught by Him, as the truth is in Jesus: that you put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, and be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in righteousness and true holiness” (Eph. 4:20-24).

Thank God, here comes that wonderful word, “But …” God so loved the world that He sent His Son into this cesspool of iniquity. We “learned Christ” like we learn a new language. It is He Himself who has been teaching us. Like a tree shedding leaves in autumn, we drop these worldly ways one by one as the Holy Spirit convicts us of this and that. Hearts as hard as granite are “renewed” and become human again. The very mind has a new life; you stop and think a moment and you realize, you are a new creation! You discover that “true holiness” is the only way to live a happy life. You repent that you so often shied away from it, and resisted it.

Let’s count up what Paul is asking these people to remember:

1. Stop walking like the other Gentiles do. You have a new heart now.

2. Put off your former conduct, like you put off a worn-out, shabby, last year’s coat. Just put it off! Don’t pull it out of the garbage can again.

3. “Be renewed in the spirit of your mind.” In other words, stop resisting the Holy Spirit as He renews your mind. Constantly He is trying to give you “the mind of Christ” (Phil. 2:5).

4. “Put on the new man which was created according to God, in righteousness and true holiness.” Put off your old, put on the new. Putting on the new is easy once you have put off the old; that’s the only struggle you have. Once you see how “the world” crucifies Christ afresh, you can’t be enticed any longer to follow its ways.

Jesus tells us that He is sending the Holy Spirit to us, each one, individually and personally. The Lord has untold billions of people (and angels) to care about, but no matter, He attends to you as if you were the only one He has on earth. He is infinite; but because He is, He can attend to the finite, which is you.

--Robert J. Wieland

From: Ephesians: You've Been "Adopted," 2005.
Copyright © 2017 by "Dial Daily Bread."

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Invitation From "Dial Daily Bread"

Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"

Next week many of you will begin studying the new Sabbath School quarterly on First and Second Peter: “Feed My Sheep.” For those who are not already receiving "Sabbath School Today" (SST) we would like to invite you to subscribe (SST is free). You will receive weekly essays on the lessons in the context of the "most precious" 1888 message. Some of the essays are prepared from the writings of Robert J. Wieland, author of "Dial Daily Bread."

To begin a new subscription please reply to this e-mail with the words "Subscribe SST" in the body of the e-mail or in the heading. If you are already receiving "Sabbath School Today" THERE IS NO NEED TO RESUBSCRIBE; your subscription will continue.

Sincerely,

The "Dial Daily Bread" Staff

Dial Daily Bread: One of the Most Common-Sense Suggestions in the Bible

Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"

One of the most common-sense suggestions in the Bible is in 1 Corinthians 11. Paul has been discussing the Lord's Supper (vss. 23ff); the bread is a symbol of the body of the Lord Jesus "which is broken for [us]." We are to observe this ordinance "in remembrance of [Him]."

But then he warns us against eating "this bread or [drinking] this cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner," for such careless, thoughtless irreverence makes us "guilty of the body and blood of the Lord," in other words, guilty of crucifying "again" for ourselves "the Son of God, and put[ting] Him to an open shame" (Heb. 6:6).

Then the apostle says "let [someone] examine himself," for "he who eats and drinks in an unworthy manner eats and drinks judgment to himself, not discerning the Lord's body." This guilt can even cause sickness, and "many sleep" (die prematurely). The reason is that the Lord's Supper teaches us that "every meal becomes a sacrament." If we eat our daily food without discerning and recognizing that all we have comes because of the sacrifice of the Son of God we "eat and drink judgment to ourselves."

Then comes the eminent common sense: "If we would judge ourselves, we would not be judged" (vs. 31). Why wait until the final judgment to face judgment? Wouldn't it make sense to do a self-judging process first, and get it over with before the final condemnation?

The Holy Spirit's job is to "convict of sin" (John 16:8), and enable us to do the self-judging now. It's all on a friendly basis, though it feels severe. The primary sin at the bottom of everything is, we do "not believe in" Him (vs. 9).

If we do believe, not only will those "rivers of living water" flow out of our inmost soul, but we will see righteousness in Jesus going to His Father, and we will know that "the ruler of this world" has been cast out of our lives (vs. 11). We will "trample" upon that enemy! (cf. Luke 10:19).

--Robert J. Wieland

From the "Dial Daily Bread" Archive: September 25, 2005.
Copyright © 2017 by "Dial Daily Bread."

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Dial Daily Bread: What Makes the Difference Between “A Pure Heart” and a Heart That Sins?

Dear Friends of “Dial Daily Bread,”

What makes the difference between “a pure heart” and a heart that sins? We answer glibly, “Jesus.” Yes, of course; but why does He purify some people’s hearts and not everybody’s? What is the anatomy of sin? When we want “a pure heart” but end up again committing the horrible sin that we hate, what’s gone wrong? “If, while we seek to be justified by Christ we ourselves also are found sinners, is Christ therefore a minister of sin?” (Gal. 2:17). Is there some fine print in the “contract” we haven’t noticed?

A thoughtful writer said something way back in 1900 that we can’t say any better: We “are not saved by being delivered utterly from the flesh, but by receiving power to conquer and rule over all the evil tendencies and the desires of the flesh. ... If [we] were to be saved by being delivered from all temptation, and set in a realm of no temptation, then Jesus need not have come into the world. But never, by any such deliverance as that, could [we] have developed character. Therefore ... Jesus came to the world, and put Himself in the flesh just where [we] are; and met that flesh just as it is, with all its tendencies and desires; and by the divine power which He brought by faith, He ‘conquered sin in the flesh,’ and thus brought to all mankind that divine faith which brings the divine power ... to deliver ... from the power of the flesh. ... Instead of Jesus’ trying to save men in a way in which they would be limp and characterless, by setting them in a realm of no temptation, He came to man ... in the midst of all his temptations, ... and by that conquest brought victory to every soul in the world. ...

“Adultery begins in the unclean thought, the lascivious desire. ... [Jesus] was ‘touched with the feeling of our infirmities’ because He ‘was in all points tempted like as we are.’ ... ‘Every man is tempted when he is drawn away of his own lusts [his own desires and inclinations of the flesh] and enticed’ (James 1:14). All this Jesus could experience without sin, because to be tempted is not sin. It is only ‘when lust hath conceived,’ when the desire is cherished, when the inclination is sanctioned,--only then it is that ‘it bringeth forth sin.’ And Jesus never even in a thought cherished a desire, or sanctioned an inclination, of the flesh. ... In so doing, He brought complete victory, and divine power to maintain it, to every soul in the world.” *

If the 1900 language bothers you, here is the point: Now receive what He has given you.

--Robert J. Wieland

* Alonzo T. Jones, Review and Herald, Sept. 18, Oct. 2, 1900.

From the "Dial Daily Bread" Archive: October 15, 2003.
Copyright © 2017 by "Dial Daily Bread."

Monday, March 20, 2017

Dial Daily Bread: The Story of Esau--Two Points for Teens to Ponder

Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"

Just because the gospel is "Good News" doesn't mean it doesn't warn us against sin. Hebrews is the only book in the New Testament that is permeated with special Good News of our Savior as the Lamb of God, as the sacrifice for the sins of the whole world, as our faithful High Priest.

In Hebrews our attention is focused on the love of Christ who "tasted death [the second] for everyone" (2:9). With the "shedding" of His blood is "remission" of sin (9:22). The sacrifice of the Son of God is infinite. However, the word "love" or agape is nowhere in Hebrews, but, by the drama of massive understatement, His blood-sacrifice on His cross permeates Hebrews as the eloquent revelation of the love (agape) of Christ.

Suppose Christ's brilliant light shines on someone's pathway, only to be ridiculed and forsaken: the rejecter brings on himself the abhorrent judgment not only of God--but of the universe of God (hence, the dire warnings in Hebrews 6:4-8; 10:26-29).

There is one more: 12:14-17, the story of Esau. He "fell short of the grace of God." A "root of bitterness" sprang up in his young heart; he became "defiled." Like too many teens, he steeled his heart against the solemn worship of God, resented Isaac's and Rebekah's calls to family worship, hated Sabbath study, chose to be worldly in spirit, "profane," rebellious.

But all this while he still "had" the glorious "birthright"--given him when he was born. God Himself could not wrest it from him. Jacob marveled that his brother could be so nonchalant, so irreverent, so lacking in appreciation for the trust that was given him. And then the time came when he "sold" that precious birthright--all for some momentary gratification.

Teens can ponder two outstanding points:

(1) They have the birthright as surely as Esau had it; Christ's sacrifice has bestowed upon them a "judicial ... verdict of acquittal" (Rom. 5:15-18, New English Bible). For teenage folly they are forgiven just like those who crucified Christ the first time (Luke 23:34).

(2) Indulge our natural born "enmity against God" (we all have it; Rom. 8:7), we are still forgiven. But choose to despise, to "sell" that forgiveness in exchange for sinful indulgence--think about Esau. He cried buckets of tears--and never found a way back.

--Robert J. Wieland

From the "Dial Daily Bread" Archive: September 22, 2003.
Copyright © 2017 by "Dial Daily Bread."

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Dial Daily Bread: Character Perfection--Is It Possible?

Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"

Is it possible that sinners (like all of us) can overcome sin and become truly Christlike in character? Can "the righteousness of the law" (perfect obedience, perfect loyalty) ever be achieved in this life? The Bible quite clearly says: "all have sinned and fall short [present tense] of the glory of God" (Rom. 3:23). Our very nature is sinful; and even "saints" can't help showing that they are sinners. Nobody is perfect. So, is perfection of character just a dream?

The Bible insists on a Good News answer. God sent His beloved Son into the world on the special mission to "save His people from their sins," not in them (Matt. 1:21). Romans 8:3, 4 says that "He condemned sin in the flesh, that the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us ..." The word "righteousness" used there means the righteous character of those who walk "according to the Spirit."

Hebrews 13:21 says that the Savior will "make you complete ["perfect," KJV] in every good work to do His will." And Revelation 14:1-5 describes a people at the close of time who "are without fault before the throne of God," who "follow the Lamb wherever He goes." Not part way, but totally. They will refuse "the mark of the beast" and will receive "the seal of God" (Rev. 13:16, 17; 7:1-4).

Are they fanatics or extremists? No! Jesus got in on the perfection debate Himself on the Good News side. He said: "Be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect" (Matt. 5:48). In saying so, He gives us the key to unlock the mystery. His context is learning to love like the Father loves, who sends His rain and sunshine on the just and on the unjust, who loves bad people, even His enemies. Jesus' idea of "perfection" is simple: learning to love like that!

John learned the idea from Him, for he also says that if you've learned to love like that, you "know God," you're "born of God," He "abides in" you, you have "His Spirit," and you yourself "dwell in God." Furthermore, you overcome fear (which goes along with sin), and you end up "perfect" (see 1 John 4:7-18).

True, you and I were born totally lacking such love (agape); but there's a filling station where the Holy Spirit "[pours it] out in our hearts" (Rom. 5:5). Or to change the metaphor, it's the simple matter of going to school to learn it, "the school of Christ," where the "student" must have been enrolled since kindergarten.

--Robert J. Wieland

From the "Dial Daily Bread" Archive: November 12, 1999.
Copyright © 2017 by "Dial Daily Bread."

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Dial Daily Bread: A Sin God Cannot Forgive

Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"

There is a sin that God cannot forgive--not because He doesn't want to, but because it's impossible to. And the only reason why is because the sinner doesn't want it to be forgiven. He has made the decision to cling to his sin forever. That is why it is called "unpardonable." The Savior cannot force him to let go of it.

Is such a person happy after he has committed it? The common idea may be that no, he is very miserable. But it is more likely that he is remarkably carefree and lighthearted. He could be forever smiling, even have a sparkling personality. The Holy Spirit is no longer convicting him of sin!

Jesus said that His first work with any of us is this: "When He is come, He will convict the world of sin" (John 16:8). The holy nerve of conscience has been severed, and the sinner goes on through life with no voice getting through to reprove him of wrongdoing.

If the result of committing the unpardonable sin were a feeling of destitution, of woe, the sinner might desire reconciliation with God--which is what the Lord wants for him. The True Witness says to "the angel of the church of the Laodiceans," "I wish you were cold or hot" (Rev. 3:15). If the "angel" were "hot," he would be cooperating with the Lord Jesus; if he were "cold," he would be shivering with extreme discomfort and would seek the heat.

The Laodicean "angel" cannot go on forever in a lukewarm state; something somewhere, sometime, will have to change. For the "angel" to remain insensitive and lukewarm, is perilously close to a sin against the Holy Spirit.

--Robert J. Wieland

From the "Dial Daily Bread" Archive: April 16, 2005.
Copyright © 2017 by "Dial Daily Bread."

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Dial Daily Bread: We Don't Need Another Long Detour

Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"

Why did God deliver the Ten Commandments at Sinai with fear-inducing thunder, lightning, an earthquake, fire, an ominous trumpet blast, and a death boundary around the mountain (Ex. 19:16-19)?

Did He frighten Abraham when He delivered to him the New Covenant? We read that He melted Abraham's heart with the revelation of His love and wrote the Ten Commandments upon his believing heart (Gen. 12:2, 3; 15:1-7; Gal. 3:8). Why this awesome display at Sinai?

Before Israel left Egypt He gave them the same Good News He had given Abraham 430 years earlier, but the people didn't listen (Ex. 6:2-9). Then at Sinai He renewed the promise He had made to Abraham (19:4-6). But the people in unbelief invented for themselves the Old Covenant idea of disregarding God's promise to them and substituting their own to Him (vss. 7, 8).

Paul in his Letter to the Galatians appears as the first Israelite to discern the meaning of Israel's history: "the law ... was added [or emphasized or underlined] because of [their] transgressions, till the Seed [Christ] should come to whom the promise was made" (3:19). They thought they were able to do everything the Lord said to do, so now He had to impress on their minds their helplessness to obey and their need of His much more abounding grace.

In Paul's words, "the Scripture has confined all under sin, that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe. But before faith came [in everybody's personal experience], we were kept under guard by the law, kept for the faith which would afterward be revealed. Therefore the [Ten Commandment] law was our tutor ["schoolmaster," KJV) to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith" as Abraham was (vss. 22-24).

Thus "the law" led Israel on that long detour of ups and downs in their history after Sinai. Finally, instead of believing as Abraham did, they crucified their Messiah; but now we have the opportunity to believe!

We don't need another long detour; let's "believe" today as God intends we shall!

--Robert J. Wieland

From the "Dial Daily Bread" Archive: April 29, 2006.
Copyright © 2017 by "Dial Daily Bread."