Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Dial Daily Bread: A "Blessed Hope" to Be Cherished

Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"

The Bible tells of "last things" that common people around the world can understand (Abraham Lincoln said that God must love common people, He made so many of them):

The Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God" (1 Thess. 4:16; that's the second coming of Christ that He promised in John 14:1-3--personal, visible, literal).

There will be a mortal people living on earth who will welcome Him: "Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them [the dead in Christ who will rise first] in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air" (vs. 17).

Then and only then will this "mortality" be exchanged for "immortality," because "we shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed--in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet ... This mortal must put on immortality" (1 Cor. 15: 51-53). Clear, simple!

Those who at that day are "alive and remain" will be "the harvest of the earth." Jesus Christ, as an eager Bridegroom longing to come to claim His Bride, will be waiting impatiently for the command that lets Him come, but He must wait until "another angel [who comes] out of the temple ... [cries] with a loud voice to Him who sat on the cloud, 'Thrust in Your sickle and reap: for the time has come for You to reap, for the harvest of the earth is ripe'" (Rev. 14:14, 15). Jesus must follow directions! The timing of the permission depends on His people on earth.

The context tells what "ripe" means: a group in the mystic number "144,000" have "overcome ... as [He] also overcame and sat down with [His] Father on His throne" (3:21); and "in their mouth was found no guile, for they are without fault ..." (14:5). Impossible? No! It's true.

Being "ripe" means they have outgrown their former status of flower girl at the "marriage of the Lamb." They are now grown up to share with Him executive authority in bringing to a belated end the great controversy between Christ and Satan. Due to His people overcoming, He now can be acclaimed "King of kings and Lord of lords."

Nobody dares be arrogant and say who will be in that mystic "144,000." The Bible says there will be such a people who like Christ have "condemned sin" while living in the same "sinful flesh" He "took" in which He "condemned sin" and rendered it forever defeated (Rom. 8:3, 4; Heb. 2:14-17, KJV). The idea is a "blessed hope" to be cherished by all who have begun to appreciate the grace of God (Titus 2:11-13).

--Robert J. Wieland

From the "Dial Daily Bread" Archive: May 23, 2007.
Copyright © 2017 by "Dial Daily Bread."

Monday, January 30, 2017

Dial Daily Bread: The Latter Rain and Unknown Sin

Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"

Everybody on earth is called to learn about the work of the Holy Spirit, especially in these last days. He is doing a mighty work; the vast universe of intelligent beings is concerned about what He is doing here on planet earth.

The "early rain" of the Holy Spirit enables people to overcome all known sin (John 16:8). But the "latter rain" prepares believers to overcome all sin, even that sin now unknown to them. Don't say that's impossible: David prays our daily prayer, "Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me, and know my anxieties; and see if there is any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting" (Psalm 139:23, 24).

Many great saints died before our Day of Atonement in which we now live, not knowing they were in transgression of God's holy law; for example, Wesley who never kept the Bible Sabbath and Luther died drinking his beer. Their level of faith was sufficient for their time; but now we face the final Time of Trouble and the call to be ready to be translated (1 Thess. 4:15-17). Frightening? No! Not if we understand the "everlasting gospel" (Rev. 14:6, 7).

The greatest sins ever committed were unknown sin. "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do," prayed Jesus at His cross.

The "latter rain" prepares a people to sit with Christ on His throne, and exercise executive authority with Him in bringing to a close the great controversy with Satan (Rev. 3:21). The "early rain" merely extenuates it. Christ wants and deserves closure. The Lord cannot translate sin buried deep in a human heart, unknown. His presence is death to sin.

The "latter rain" is not emotional excitement, but solid truth not previously perceived. That truth will enable believers to overcome, even as Christ overcame. If ever the gospel has been "the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes" (Rom. 1:16), it is now when it's to be understood in the light of the cleansing of the heavenly sanctuary.

--Robert J. Wieland

From the "Dial Daily Bread" Archive: March 22, 2007.
Copyright © 2017 by "Dial Daily Bread."

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Dial Daily Bread: Can We Understand the Gospel Without Daniel and Revelation?

Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"

Is it possible to understand the gospel for today and at the same time ignore the books of Daniel and Revelation? Some say these books have created confusion in the world. There are many similar symbols in both books, so why not forget them and just concentrate on "the gospel"? Why not by-pass the confusion and everybody sing, "Jesus loves me, this I know, for the Bible tells me so"? What more do we need?

Well, that same Jesus who "loves you so" urges you to study Daniel (Matt. 24:15). It's the only book He singled out thus. And Revelation strongly urges us to "read" what it says, and even if we can't read, to "hear" its superlatively important message which came directly from God (1:1-3).

In the very heart of the chapters about the "great controversy between Christ and Antichrist" we find a special proclamation of "the everlasting gospel" for these last days (14:6). This is an understanding of the gospel that relates specifically to "those who dwell on the earth" in our last-days context. Chapters 12-15 make clear that no one can prepare for the final events of world history ("the mark of the beast," for example) unless he receives and believes that "everlasting gospel."

God never sends us unnecessary messages! He gave us the Book of Revelation because He loves us. It's an eye-opener. And its great themes of prophecy are easy to understand if we simply let the Bible explain the symbols. Its prophecies were not fulfilled back in the days of the pagan Roman Empire (preterism), nor are its fulfillments all in the future (futurism); they meet their fulfillment throughout history (historicism).

History itself is the "revelation" of Christ; He alone makes sense of it. If you ask Him for a piece of bread, He will not give you a stone. Do what the first three verses tell you: "read," "hear," and "keep" every bit of truth you find therein. Jesus promised that if you simply be fair with Him, He will go on teaching you daily all through your lifetime (see His promise in John 7:17).

--Robert J. Wieland

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

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Dial Daily Bread: What Does It Mean to Be Led by the Holy Spirit?

Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"

After making a fantastic promise that the Holy Spirit is stronger than our sinful flesh with its lusts, Paul tells us in Galatians 5:18, "But if you are led by the [Holy] Spirit, you are not under the law." He has told us in verse 1 to "stand fast ... in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage."

He has told us in chapter 3:10-13 that disobedience to the holy law of God is bondage, but obedience is freedom. So, if we are led by the Holy Spirit, we walk at liberty, we are free from the accusations of a broken law of God, we are not in prison, the glorious liberty of the children of God is ours. Wouldn't you rather be free today, free to go where you wish and do what you wish, instead of being locked up in the penitentiary?

But what does it mean to be "led by the Holy Spirit"? The Good News is that He is a Leader! He knows the way through the maze and pitfalls of your life, He will never lead you on a false path. If you are climbing Mt. Everest, you need a leader! Day by day, the Holy Spirit will direct your path. David says, "Who is the man that fears the Lord? Him shall He teach in the way He chooses" (Psalm 25:12). "All the paths of the Lord are mercy and truth, to such as keep His covenant [His promise] and His testimonies" (vs. 10).

The Holy Spirit is sent to lead you individually in those paths of mercy and truth just as if you were the only person on earth. The Heavenly Father, who notices when even a little bird flies against a window and falls to the ground (Matt. 10:29), notices you a million times more. Your life, your happiness, is precious to Him; He will lead you.

Now your job is to follow. His word, the Bible, points out the path when it's dark and you can't see clearly: "Your word is a lamp to my feet, and a light to my path" (Psalm 119:105). So, following the Bible and the constant convictions of the Holy Sprit, "the Spirit of truth" (John 16:13), you reach the top of Mt. Everest.

--Robert J. Wieland

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

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Dial Daily Bread: Is It Wrong to Be Fearful?

Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"

Perfect love, which is agape in the New Testament, works a miracle in every human heart where it finds residence--it casts out anxiety and fear. This is stated in 1 John 4:17, 18: "Love has been perfected among us in this: that we may have boldness in the day of judgment; because as He is, so are we in this world. There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love."

That statement is like a stick of dynamite, yes, like a nuclear bomb. It blows all kinds of dust and cobwebs and confusion out of our minds. If you and I will let that special kind of love get into our hearts, the fear and anxiety that have shadowed us all our lives will be driven out.

Jesus is an example of no fear. Remember when His disciples were trying to keep their boat afloat in the Sea of Galilee the night the terrible storm swept waves over them and threatened to drown them all? They were actually terrified, for they cried out, "Teacher, do You not care that we are perishing? (Mark 4:38).

Jesus was calm, unafraid. We read that "He arose and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, 'Peace, be still!' And the wind ceased and there was a great calm. But He said to them, 'Why are you so fearful? How is it that you have no faith?'" (vss. 39, 40). When you are facing death as you are about to be drowned, is it wrong to be "fearful"? Jesus told them, Yes. Why? Because He was on board with them; and it is a sin to be afraid when you have Jesus on board.

Do you have Jesus on board in your little ship--your life? He won't force Himself on board, but if you invite Him, He will join you. Even if you are sinful, and unworthy, He tells us He came to save sinners, not the righteous. Have confidence in Him. Learn the lesson. Let the fear go!

--Robert J. Wieland

From the "Dial Daily Bread" Archive: 1994 Phone Message.
Copyright © 2017 by "Dial Daily Bread."

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Dial Daily Bread: "This Man Welcomes Sinners!"

Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"

Have you ever been tempted to doubt you belong in God's house? Does He consider you a homeless outsider? When you feel sinful and unworthy and have fallen short, you wonder.

One day a Bible writer (who, we don't know!), came to the temple of the Lord in Jerusalem feeling guilty and unworthy to enter in. Then he saw a sight that encouraged him: a little sparrow had made its home in some little nook or cranny in the most holy section of the temple, right near the sacred altar. There it was, twittering in joy, laying its eggs, and rearing its young in that part of Solomon's glorious temple where even the ordinary priests had no permission to enter! In fact, only the great high priest of Israel was permitted to enter that twice-sacred spot, and that on only one day in the entire year. And there was the little sparrow, totally unconcerned about the stay-away rules of Leviticus, confident of a welcome in the house of the Lord!

Then the poet wrote Psalm 84: "How lovely is Your dwelling place, O Lord Almighty! My soul yearns, even faints, for the courts of the Lord; ... Even the sparrow has found a home, and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may have her young--a place near Your altar, O Lord Almighty, my King and my God" (vss. 1-3, NIV).

It is possible that Jesus had that poem in mind when He told the disciples, "Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from the will of your Father. And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So don't be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows" (Matt. 10:29-31).

If you own a home and if your soul is generous, you will enjoy making visitors feel welcome. It will be enjoyable for you. Jesus says, "Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom" (Luke 12:32). That word translated "pleased" means that He enjoys welcoming sinners to His house. It's constantly "open house" night and day.

"The Spirit and the Bride say, 'Come!'" (Rev. 22:17). Jesus says, "Come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened" (Matt. 11:28). "Burdened" with what? More than carrying sacks of cement or office work? "Burdened" with sin, convictions of selfishness, vain regrets.

"Blessed [happy] are those who dwell in Your house" (Psalm 84:4). You are invited; come as you are, don't try to dress up first. For once the Pharisees were right, "This Man welcomes sinners!" (Luke 15:2).

--Robert J. Wieland

From the "Dial Daily Bread" Archive: June 7, 1999.
Copyright © 2017 by "Dial Daily Bread."

Monday, January 23, 2017

Dial Daily Bread: A Special Gift of Repentance

Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"

There is a strange prophecy in Zechariah: "They will look on Me whom they have pierced; they will mourn for Him ..." He was "wounded in the house of [His] friends" (12:10; 13:6). Jesus says in the promise He made just before His cross, "'And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all peoples to Myself.' This He said, signifying by what death He would die" (John 12:32, 33). That is how we "look upon Him."

Zechariah says that the Lord will give a special gift of repentance to His people so that they will see something they've never grasped before: it wasn't the Jews or the Romans who crucified ("pierced") our Savior; we did it! The Holy Spirit will give the precious gift of discernment--how deep is our sin (and that's always Good News to say Thank You for!).

The Holy Spirit will give this gift of repentance to two groups within the church: "the house of David" (that is, its leadership), and to "the inhabitants of Jerusalem" (that is, the lay members). Hard worldly hearts will be melted by this "Spirit of grace." The result: prayers like we've never heard before, a spirit of "supplications" (Zech. 12:10). The Hebrew word has a strange root--the idea of bestowing rather than begging a favor in prayer. It's "supplications" to the Lord that convey to Him a blessing, that make Him happy, not just vice versa. (That's a new kind of prayer! And indeed Zechariah is telling us things that will be new.)

Put with that Isaiah 53:11, speaking of Jesus: "He shall see of the travail of His soul, and be satisfied." Think of a chef who cooks for you a delicious meal. If you gobble it down without a word, is he "satisfied"? It's time the Lord's people be given those "enlarged hearts" (Psalm 119:32) that can appreciate the "width and length and depth and height--[of] the love [agape] of Christ which passes knowledge" (Eph. 3:18, 19). An appreciation of Christ crucified leads to self being crucified--with Him. All pride and arrogance are gone. Now, finally, the Lamb is "satisfied." His "wife" understands Him at last (Rev. 19:7, 8). Now He enjoys communion with "someone" who cares, His church.

Now let's finish what Zechariah says: "In that day" when that "most precious" gift is received, "a fountain shall be opened for the house of David [the leadership of His church] and for the inhabitants of Jerusalem [the lay members], for sin and for uncleanness" (13:1).

In simple terms: "righteousness" will be by faith, not works; faith equals a humbled heart that begins now to "comprehend" what it cost Christ to save us. Then His love (agape) can constrain us.

--Robert J. Wieland

From the "Dial Daily Bread" Archive: February 22, 2004.
Copyright © 2017 by "Dial Daily Bread."

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Dial Daily Bread: Questions for Jesus--The Problem is Not Getting His Attention

Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"

Is it possible to e-mail Jesus, to send Him a question and get an answer back? Some will probably say "No," implying that He's too busy running the universe to bother with messages from everyone here and there. But it seems that what Jesus said in the Bible indicates that the answer has to be "Yes."

Not that you will use Yahoo or Gmail, but if you wish to ask Jesus a question, and you are willing to think it out reasonably, and you are serious as you ask it, He has promised to respond. "Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you"; all this He says (see Matt. 7:7). Sounds encouraging! But again, be serious.

The problem is not getting His attention; the problem is getting your attention when it comes to His response. If you are playing around foolishly, "let not that person suppose that he will receive anything of the Lord" (James 1:7). But if you mean business, He has promised that the Holy Spirit will be sent to you as a "Comforter," the word meaning literally, "One who is called to sit down beside you and never leave you" (John 14:16). And His assignment from Jesus includes answering your questions: "When He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; ... He will take of what is Mine and declare it to you" (John 16:13, 14).

But let us remember that God has promised specifically that He will answer our questions by directing our attention to what He says in His Word, the Bible. He will not bypass the prophets and apostles whom He sent. The Holy Spirit will direct you to the Bible; He will enlighten your mind to comprehend what it says.

For example, suppose you want to send Jesus this question: "Jesus, please tell me--will I be saved eternally or will I be lost?" He will answer: "Our Savior, ... desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth" (1 Tim. 2:3, 4). "He chose [you] in Him before the foundation of the world, that [you] should be holy and without blame before Him in love [agape], having predestined [you] to adoption as [a child] by Jesus Christ to Himself" (Eph. 1:4, 5).

There's your answer; but now what will you do with it? Are you willing to "come to the knowledge of the truth," willing to study and learn? Are you also willing to be "holy and without blame"? Takes dedication!

--Robert J. Wieland

From the "Dial Daily Bread" Archive: January 8, 2000.
Copyright © 2017 by "Dial Daily Bread."

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Dial Daily Bread: That "Other Angel" Who's the Key to Jesus' Second Coming

Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"

When Jesus promised His disciples (and therefore, us), saying, "Let not your heart be troubled, ... I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, you may be also" (John 14:1-3), He gave the world our "blessed hope" that Paul tells us about. "The grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. It teaches us to say 'No!' to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live [soberly], upright and godly in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope--the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ" (Titus 2:11-14, NIV).

Not only is this our "blessed hope," it is His as well, for Jesus is a Bridegroom who eagerly awaits His second coming. He longs to take to Himself His Bride, just as any loving bridegroom wants the wedding to take place.

But first, a strong angel must give his all-important permission before Jesus can come; we read about it in Revelation 14:

"And I looked, and behold, a white cloud, and on the cloud sat One like the Son of Man, ... and in His hand a sharp sickle. And another angel came out of the temple, crying with a loud voice to Him who sat on the cloud, 'Thrust in Your sickle and reap, for the time has come for You to reap, for the harvest of the earth is ripe.' So He who sat on the cloud thrust in His sickle on the earth; and the earth was reaped" (vss. 14-16).

That "other angel" is the key: no matter how eager Jesus is for His "marriage of the Lamb" (and He is eager!), He cannot come until this special angel gives Him permission; and the permission cannot be given until the "harvest of the earth is ripe." The problem here is not the size or the extent of the "harvest," but whether it is "ripe."

The word "ripe" refers to character development, not the chronological age of the "saints" who are involved, for often a very young "saint" may be fully dedicated to the Lord--in other words, "constrained" by the love of Christ to live "henceforth ... unto Him which died for [us] and rose again" (2 Cor. 5:14, 15, KJV). It's growing up into the likeness of Christ.

It's not a works program; it's the heart appreciation of the love of Jesus; it's "comprehend[ing] with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height--to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge" (Eph. 3:17-19).

That "comprehend" is a wonderful word: it enlightens every cell of our being, and at last we come "alive"! It's looking at Jesus--"Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!" (John 1:29).

--Robert J. Wieland

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

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Dial Daily Bread: "Early Rain," "Latter Rain"--Vastly Different Missions

Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"

How are we to receive the Holy Spirit? He of course is the same Person all through the ages, but His ministry in these last days has a different focus. We need to understand the difference.

The Holy Spirit manifested Himself at Pentecost 2000 years ago in the "early rain." But in the end of time He will manifest Himself in the "latter rain." "Rain" of course is rain, the same water whether it comes to sprout the planted seed, or whether it comes to ripen the grain for harvest--but the mission is vastly different.

Another way to recognize the difference is to consider the second coming of Christ in contrast with His first. They are not the same; in one He comes to die on a cross for the sins of the world, in the other He comes as King of kings and Lord of lords.

The "early rain" was a gift that marked Christ's ministry in the first apartment of the heavenly sanctuary; His ministry in the "latter rain" is a gift that comes from Christ's work in the second apartment. When the High Priest enters the second, He closes the door to the first. Either His people "follow the Lamb wherever He goes" (Rev. 14:4) or they open themselves to deception by a counterfeit high priest in a counterfeit first apartment sanctuary (cf. Matt. 24:24).

The "early rain" prepared people to die and come up in the first resurrection. This blessed ministry continued until the end of the 2300 year prophecy of Daniel 8:14. Then came a profound change--the blowing of the seventh trumpet (Rev. 11:15-19). The great High Priest is determined to see the great controversy brought to its climactic end.

This disturbs lukewarm people who would be content for time (and sin) to go on indefinitely, content for Jesus to postpone His second coming for a generation or two more. To face the close of probation and live through the seven last plagues--isn't there an easier way to get to heaven?

But the "latter rain" prepares people to go through that Time of Trouble and to stand before Jesus and meet Him personally when He returns (1 Thess. 4:16, 17). They must eventually elect to receive the latter rain, or renounce their faith they have long professed. The time to choose may be near.

--Robert J. Wieland

From the "Dial Daily Bread" Archive: March 21, 2007.
Copyright © 2017 by "Dial Daily Bread."

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Dial Daily Bread: The Holy Spirit Will Bless to the Healing of the Soul

Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"

We read that Jesus had "compassion" on the multitudes and that He healed all who were sick, and sometimes left whole villages with no sick person in them (cf. Matt. 9:36; 14:14, for example).

That was 2000 years ago. Now fast-forward to our time: we still have people sick and with all kinds of needs. We, too, have compassion on them; but what can we do to help them? Doctors and nurses can do a wonderful work relieving suffering; but what about us ordinary folk?

We can tell them New Covenant truth. In some cases simply doing that may bring physical healing to the sufferer; see the story of the paralytic who was let down through the roof into the presence of Jesus. All the poor sufferer needed was to hear Jesus tell him, "Son, be of good cheer; your sins are forgiven you" (Matt. 9:2), and he was happy, willing to endure his sickness in peace.

To say those words to someone flippantly or thoughtlessly of course does no good; but if by the grace of the Lord we are able to tell the message thoughtfully, meaningfully, the Holy Spirit will bless to the healing of the soul.

There are seven grand promises that make up the healing New Covenant truth. They are in Genesis 12:2, 3: the Lord will make your life important, He will give you happiness, He will make your name great, you will be a blessing wherever you go throughout the world, the Lord will bless the people who help you, He "will curse him who curses you" (!), you will be part of the blessing that will come upon "all the families of the earth" in Christ because you proclaim His message. Therein is healing truth! Give it.

--Robert J. Wieland

From the "Dial Daily Bread" Archive: May 31, 2008.
Copyright © 2017 by "Dial Daily Bread."

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Dial Daily Bread: Healing Disunity Within the Church

Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"

When there is discussion about disunity in the church, many say that only "Christian love" can heal those divisions. But what is "Christian love"? Just being nice? Many Buddhists, Hindus, and Muslims are "nice." What is uniquely "Christian" about "love"?

The Holy Spirit has injected into the New Testament word for "love" a meaning that non-Christian ideas of love do not, cannot, realize. The reason is that the ordinary idea of "love" presupposes a doctrine held in common by Catholics, Lutherans, Buddhists, Muslims, and Hindus--that is, the natural immortality of the human soul. The ultimate source of that doctrine is paganism. Well, it actually came from the Garden of Eden when "the serpent" told our first parent Eve the lie, "You will not surely die" (Gen. 3:4).

This doctrine makes it impossible to "comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height--to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge" (Eph. 3:17-19). It's different than any other idea of love in this world; it is "agape," a love that Jesus was willing to sacrifice eternal life so that we might have eternal life.

His cross was more than physical pain followed by a weekend "vacation." He died the death in which there is no hope, no future, a surrender to eternal darkness of being "forsaken" by God, of enduring what Paul calls "the curse" of God, a "goodbye" forever. It was the death of the cumulative, total guilt of all the world's sins. It was on His part the conscious choice to experience hell itself. "For everyone," He "tasted death," the real thing, the anguish the lost will feel at last when they stand before the judgment bar of God.

As our "last Adam," the second Adam, Christ, died the second death of "everyone" (see Heb. 2:9; Rev. 2:11; 20:14). Isaiah says He "poured out His soul unto death" (53:12). A love "which passes knowledge"? Yes! But the pagan doctrine of natural immortality makes it impossible for us even to begin to appreciate its dimensions. The idea of agape is being recovered; the Good News is that it will bring true unity within the church.

--Robert J. Wieland

From the "Dial Daily Bread" Archive: October 30, 1999.
Copyright © 2017 by "Dial Daily Bread."

Monday, January 16, 2017

Dial Daily Bread: A Love That Has Gone "Sour"

Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"

We read of Jesus that “He is despised and rejected of men” (Isa. 53:3).

We might say, “Oh, He was the Son of God and He knew that all heaven was His, so it didn’t bother Him!” But can we forget that when He came to earth to be incarnate, He became one of us truly, fully, and He laid aside all the prerogatives of His divinity? He never laid aside His divinity, no; but He laid aside all the benefits that His divinity could give Him.

So, when He experienced being “despised and rejected” it hurt Him just as much as the experience hurts us. What makes rejection especially painful to endure is when you know that this bitter hatred you now must endure was once love; it’s love that has gone sour, curdled as it were.

Think of the people of Nazareth; once upon a time they loved Jesus as Mary’s Baby and as a Child, not knowing of course who He was or is. The women would coo over Him as a Baby, and admired Him as a Teenager, but when He went back one time to visit them and to preach in their Sabbath worship hour, all that human neighborly love they had once felt for Him turned sour and bitter, and they tried to throw Him over a cliff and kill Him (see Luke 4:16-29).

What was once love had turned to become bitter hatred! But if you have tasted it even a tiny bit, you can sympathize with Jesus in the pain He has had to feel.

Instead of spending your time praying that you might become happy, spend some time praying that the Lord Jesus may be rewarded soon for the pain He has had to endure.

--Robert J. Wieland

From the "Dial Daily Bread" Archive: December 29, 2008.
Copyright © 2017 by "Dial Daily Bread."

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Dial Daily Bread: New Covenant, Old Covenant--Can We Tell the Difference?

Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"

Christians of all faiths, around the world, study about the New Covenant versus the Old Covenant. But can we tell the difference between the two? If we confuse the Old with the New, or vice versa, we'll be worse off than when we started. There are only two covenants and every individual in the world is "under" one or the other. They are as different as night and day, yet are often confused.

Those under the Old Covenant, no matter what their profession of religion might be, are in "bondage," says the Book of Galatians. Spiritually speaking, they are slaves (4:21-25). Their spiritual condition is identical to that of ancient Israel after Mount Sinai. They profess to be God's people, they try to keep His commandments, they think they worship Him, but their "Christian experience" is up and down, often down.

Ancient Israel was constantly backsliding, repenting, asking for forgiveness, trying again, enjoying only brief interludes of revival. Jesus describes the Old Covenant experience of His last days' church as being "lukewarm." He says the situation is so acute that it makes Him feel like throwing up (Rev. 3:14-16).

The only possible way that we in these last days can become fully reconciled and "hot" in our devotion to Him, is to trade in our Old Covenant way of thinking for New Covenant truth. It is embarrassing to Jesus to have to confess before the vast unfallen universe that He seems unable to bring His church out of its lukewarm condition. Surely the great sacrifice He made on His cross should elicit from His people on earth a greater devotion! The problem that Jesus has is like that of a bridegroom who loves a bride-to-be but can't motivate her to go to the altar with him and say, "I do."

In fact, the Book of Revelation specifies that to be precisely what is holding up the finishing of God's great plan of salvation (19:1-8). Only a clear understanding of the glorious New Covenant can set us free from our lukewarm, half-hearted devotion. May the Holy Spirit make the truth clear!

--Robert J. Wieland

From the "Dial Daily Bread" Archive: January 1b, 2003.
Copyright © 2017 by "Dial Daily Bread."

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Dial Daily Bread: How Someone Weak Became Strong

Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"

If you read the story of the arrest of Jesus as told in Mark 14, verses 51 and 52, we hear the story of a "certain young man" whose name is not given. He was following Jesus, but was not one of the Twelve. Since he seemed to be with the disciples, or at least on their side, the temple police tried to arrest him the same time they arrested Jesus. They grabbed him by his clothes, which consisted of a simple linen cloak.

Who this young man was Mark does not tell us, but through the centuries people have understood that he is describing himself. He was afraid, he didn't want to be arrested with Jesus, he didn't want to suffer with Him. (Well, who did? All the Eleven fled also.)

We may say, Yes, we want to be with Jesus; Yes, we want to get as close as possible to Him. But that's just what Peter said, and look how he denied Him.

Well, young Mark was what we might call a coward. Instead of saying, "Gentlemen of the police, if you wish to arrest Jesus Christ, the Messiah, the Son of God, it is an honor for me to be arrested with Him," Mark resisted arrest. He freed himself from the grasp of the temple police and ran as fast as his young legs would carry him. But he left the police holding his clothes. Off he ran, stark naked!

Later, Mark was invited by Barnabas to go on a missionary trip with Paul, the apostle. But when the going got tough, again Mark deserted. Barnabas wanted to forgive him and take him back on the "team," but Paul refused. Enough is enough, Paul said. So they split. Barnabas going one way and Paul another (see Acts 15:36-41).

But the good news is that years later, Mark was able to overcome his weakness; he grew strong in the Lord; and in 2 Timothy 4:11 we read that Paul asks Timothy to "get Mark and bring him with you, for he is useful to me for ministry."

And thus we are introduced to one of the celebrated authors of the New Testament. He got his start by being a coward, but he ended up being brave and faithful. A beautiful story of how someone weak became strong. That's good news for all of us.

--Robert J. Wieland

From the "Dial Daily Bread" Archive: 1994 Phone Message.
Copyright © 2017 by "Dial Daily Bread."

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Dial Daily Bread: One Kind of Fun That Hurts Other People

Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"

We all like to do "fun" things, but there is one kind of fun that hurts other people, and that is making fun of them because of their physical handicaps, or because of their color, or their race, or their culture. People usually make fun of other people behind their backs; and often children do it just as much as adults.

For example, there's a child in school who is disabled, or has muscular dystrophy, or walks in a strange way (we say a "funny" way). So other children mimic him or her. Or a child has a weight problem, and just doesn't have the slim athletic body that everybody admires. Or there are some things that a child just doesn't know about, and we make fun of him. This can be very cruel.

Please read Mark 15:16-20, about Jesus. He has been arrested, been tied up with chains, and taken to the governor Pilate, who has agreed to abandon Him to be crucified. Now read what Mark says in the Good News Bible:

"The soldiers took Jesus inside to the courtyard of the governor's palace and called together the rest of the company. They put a purple robe on Jesus, made a crown out of thorny branches, and put it on His head. Then they began to salute Him: 'Long live the King of the Jews!' They beat Him over the head with a stick, spat on Him, fell on their knees, and bowed down to Him. When they had finished making fun of Him, they took off the purple robe and put His own clothes back on Him. Then they led Him out to crucify Him."

You may say, "Those men didn't know He was the Son of God, so they are innocent." It's true that Jesus prayed for them, "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do."

But the point is, it's wrong to do that to any human being in the whole world, no matter if you don't know who he is. And Jesus said, "Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me" (Matt. 25:40). We have all been guilty of making fun of helpless people. Let us repent and choose never to do it to anyone again. The Good News is that if we make that choice today, the Holy Spirit will save us from doing it again.

--Robert J. Wieland

From the "Dial Daily Bread" Archive: 1994 Phone Message.
Copyright © 2017 by "Dial Daily Bread."

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Dial Daily Bread: Impossible to "Backslide" Unless ...

Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"

When Jesus was about to leave His disciples alone in this unfriendly world, He encouraged them with a promise: He would send the Holy Spirit as His Stand-in, His Replacement, a "Comforter" (says the KJV), yes, His very Presence. In John 16:7-11 He describes how it's best "for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send Him unto you."

The Holy Spirit is Jesus Himself "abiding" with us, living with us as our Companion, unseen but no less real than when Jesus walked personally with the disciples by the Sea of Galilee. He walks with us "unseen" as verily as the resurrected Jesus walked with those two disciples Sunday evening on their way to Emmaus, when their eyes were "holden" and they did not see Him (Luke 24:13ff.). He talked with them along the way. So He does with us.

Jesus, through the Holy Spirit, is determined that we shall not "backslide"--ever! Jesus, as the Holy Spirit, takes the initiative day by day, prodding us, reminding us, yes, "convicting" us of sin (John 16:8, NKJV). More than that, He personally reminds us of "righteousness" which means He won't let us forget the way we should live; at every cross-road we come to He "convicts" us of the right way to go. He never abandons us to wander in a fog! And if we listen to that prodding, that reminding, that "conviction of sin and of righteousness," and we don't beat Him off and insult Him, then He graciously "convicts [us] of judgment," meaning, "the prince of this world" [Satan] is "judged" [cast out] of our lives (John 16:11). He "convicts" us of triumph over sin; we see His power in our lives.

In other words, in plain language, it's impossible for us to "backslide" unless we do what Stephen said the scribes and Pharisees did: "you always resist the Holy Spirit" (Acts 7:51). The Holy Spirit says He will take you by the hand as a father leads a little child, or maybe the Hebrew means, take you in His "arms," but He says we squirm away from Him (see Hosea 11:3, 4, Good News Bible). There's no need for backsliding--it's time to see it as sin!

--Robert J. Wieland

From the "Dial Daily Bread" Archive: November 15, 2004.
Copyright © 2017 by "Dial Daily Bread."

Sunday, January 08, 2017

Dial Daily Bread: Don't Forget Noah's Flood

Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"

For those of us who live in California, it is good news that we are at last getting rain and snow. For the past few years, due to drought, our State governor has been pleading with us to conserve water.

We are reminded of a precious promise the Lord God made to all of us on Planet Earth after the great flood of Noah: "I will never again curse the ground for man's sake; ... nor will I again destroy every thing living as I have done. 'While the earth remains, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and winter and summer, and day and night shall not cease'" (Gen. 8:21, 22). We take this for granted and think nothing of these common blessings.

But don't forget the flood of Noah. Jesus told us that in the end of time, humanity would again become as sinful as was that race of antediluvians in Noah's day. Our world today has just about reached that divine limit that the Lord has set.

We thank the dear Lord for giving us this promise! No, Planet Earth is not to become waste and deserted. The Lord created it for a purpose: "Thus says the Lord, ... who is God, who formed the earth and made it, ... who did not create it in vain, who formed it to be inhabited" (Isa. 45:18).

Jesus will come again as He promised (John 14:1-3); then the 1000 years of Revelation 20 will begin, at the end of which the Lord will re-create the earth and make it new again, only this time without the possibility of sin ever coming in to pollute it (see Rev. 21:1-5).

Our "beloved brother Paul" says this is our "blessed hope" (Titus 2:13); but he can't bring himself even to say this much without reminding us that Jesus "gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed" (vs. 14). That means that He died our second death--so infinitely great was His love for us!

There is the heart of the "third angel's message" of Revelation 14 that prepares a people to be translated when Jesus returns. Cling to that "blessed hope."

--Robert J. Wieland

From the "Dial Daily Bread" Archive: February 14, 2009.
Copyright © 2017 by "Dial Daily Bread."

Saturday, January 07, 2017

Dial Daily Bread: Don't Overlook Ezekiel's Lesson

Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"

Talk about vivid, intensely interesting language! The Bible tops all books.

Ezekiel tells how God showed him Israel as a valley filled with dry bones, "bleached by the sun,"--a vast panorama of spiritual death. Then He asked the prophet a simple question: "'Can these bones live?' I said, 'Master God, only you know that.'" It was a representation of the spiritual state of God's true church then. The primary focus of the vision is not the physical "first resurrection" and the "new earth," although that can be one application. But no one who is spiritually dead now will have a chance of coming up in the "first resurrection." It's now that we must experience a living conversion.

According to what Christ says in Revelation 3:14-21 of His true church in these last days, "the valley of dry bones," is disturbing. It's not ancient history.

Ezekiel could have prayed for those "dry bones" 24 hours a day for a century (endless prayer meetings!), and nothing would have happened. (Some churches fast and pray and still nothing happens to change their spiritual death.) Now note: several times in Ezekiel 37:4-12 (Peterson, The Message), the Lord told the prophet what to do: "prophesy over these bones"--and he did. God wasn't about to resurrect them unilaterally; He demanded the prophet's help. Even the final "breath" that entered them was the fruit of Ezekiel's "prophesying" (vs. 10). They must have "the everlasting gospel." The "dry bones" must be fed with the Word.

Is your church "dead"? The children being starved? The youth? Yes--pray; but don't overlook Ezekiel's lesson--nothing will work except the proclamation of "the everlasting gospel," "the third angel's message in verity," the Word of the cross (Rev. 14:6-15). That will make the bones "live." Yes!

--Robert J. Wieland

From the "Dial Daily Bread" Archive: June 21, 2002.
Copyright © 2017 by "Dial Daily Bread."

Thursday, January 05, 2017

Dial Daily Bread: A Lesson on Genuine Faith

Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"

In Luke 7:2-10 there is a delightful story of a Roman centurion who sent some Jewish elders on a mission to Jesus to request Him to come and heal his servant who was sick unto death. The elders displayed their arrogance, proudly recommending the Roman army officer because he loves the Jewish nation and has paid for a synagogue (church building) for them.

But their testimonials meant nothing to Jesus; here was a request for help, and His compassion responded. (Luke tells it because he loves to emphasize Jesus' love for Gentiles.) Halfway there, Jesus is interrupted by the man's friends sent on another mission to tell Him, "Do not trouble Yourself, for I am not worthy that You should enter under my roof" (he probably had a sumptuous house if he could afford to pay for a new synagogue!). Then he added, "Say the word, and my servant will be healed." He believed there is power in God's word! And Jesus marveled that a Gentile should have such "faith," that is, confidence that God is all-powerful.

Is such belief in God's omnipotence a balanced definition of the word "faith"?

In the same chapter we have a deeper definition of faith when Jesus said of Mary Magdalene who washed His feet with tears (vss. 36-50), "Your faith has saved you. Go in peace" (vs. 50). Now Jesus enlarges on His attempts to define faith. Mary was not asking for a miracle for her own or someone else's benefit, like the centurion she was expressing appreciation for having saved her soul from hell. She wasn't asking for anything! In fact, her heart had been melted by the love of Christ so that her offering of the precious ointment or perfume was a mirror-like reflection of the sacrificial love of Christ for us sinners.

Luke 7 teaches us a lesson: genuine faith is more than self-centered trust that my prayer, "Give me this, or give me that!" will be answered. Faith is a heart-appreciation for what God has already given us in Christ! And that requires intelligent understanding! The centurion had the beginnings of it; and you can have it, too.

--Robert J. Wieland

From the "Dial Daily Bread" Archive: September 23, 1997.
Copyright © 2017 by "Dial Daily Bread."

Wednesday, January 04, 2017

Dial Daily Bread: What Grabbed Paul's Attention and Obsessed Him Forever

Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"

Did the apostle Paul have something wrong with his emotional makeup that he was so obsessed with his weakness and unworthiness? He said he was "the chief of sinners" (1 Tim. 1:15), "less than the least of all sinners" (Eph. 3:8), "one born out of due time" (1 Cor. 15:8), "not worthy to be called an apostle" (vs. 9), etc.

Then he added that the weaker and more unworthy he saw himself in his own eyes the more the Lord was able to use him in helping others (vs. 10). Even though he was less than the least of all saints, yet the Lord had granted to him a most unusual measure of the grace of God, that his preaching to the Gentiles should be so blessed by the Holy Spirit with power (2:12, 13).

What should we think about ourselves? Psychologists tell us to think big: if we think lowly thoughts about ourselves then automatically people will think lowly thoughts about us. The popular idea is that we should assert ourselves. That's the world's way of thinking.

But when the Son of God became a man, the Savior of the world, He gave up His equality with God, made Himself of "no reputation," that is, humbled Himself, took on Himself the role of a servant (slave, Greek), was made in the likeness of lowly man, not Superman, and even further humbled Himself, and did something no other human in all the thousands of years of human history has ever done--He became "obedient unto death" (Phil. 2:5-8). But He didn't stop there. He found that there is a notch down lower than "death." Terrible as that is: "even the death of the cross," that involved "the curse of God" and of the universe (Deut. 21:22, 23).

That grabbed Paul's attention, obsessed him, charmed him forever; he could do nothing else than "glory in the cross" (Gal. 6:14). He felt he had no choice but to "live henceforth not unto" self, but unto the One who went to hell and died his second death for him (cf. 2 Cor. 5:14, 15). Paul was mentally healthy!

--Robert J. Wieland

From the "Dial Daily Bread" Archive: May 1, 2007.
Copyright © 2017 by "Dial Daily Bread."

Tuesday, January 03, 2017

Dial Daily Bread: The Promise of the Father to Not Leave Us Orphans

Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"

If we love the Good News of the gospel of Christ, we will not want to argue about the nature of Christ. We will want to flee from any place where such contention arises. The nearness of the divine Savior is too holy, too solemn, too most precious, to be submitted to the verbal violence of theological crossfire.

If one hungers to know Jesus more intimately, there is no book in the Bible where you see Him more closely bound with yourself in your human nature than in the book of Psalms. The divine Son of God has become one of us! The fact that Jesus ascended to heaven in the sight of His apostles (Luke 24:51) doesn't mean that He is far away. "Behold," He said just before He ascended, "I send the Promise of My Father upon you" (vs. 49). That "Promise" is the Holy Spirit, the presence of Jesus in the Spirit. "I will not leave you orphans," Jesus assured them, "I will come to you" (John 14:18).

How does He "come" to us? Not in the flesh; there is a closer nearness than that. It's "dwelling in the secret place of the Most High, abiding under the shadow of the Almighty" through the Word (Psalm 91:1). It's sharper in clarity than any video can be; you "see" Him, "behold" Him as "the Lamb of God," in those Messianic psalms.

In this way you "abide in [Him], and [His] words abide in you" (John 15:7). The four Gospels are wonderful revelations of Jesus; but when He walked with Cleopas and his friend that Sunday afternoon to Emmaus, Jesus didn't have Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John to quote--just the Old Testament, largely the Psalms. But it was there that "He expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning Himself" (Luke 24:13-27, KJV).

Now, you join those three as they walk together, the two disciples as they listen, Jesus as He "expounds." "Constrain" Him to "abide with you" when it's "toward evening, and the day is far spent," instead of seeking entertainment. Your eyes will be "opened" and like those two you will come to "know Him," too. And then, as surely as day follows night, the time will come when you will say, "Did not [my] heart burn within [me], ... while He [opened] to [me] the scriptures?" (vss. 29-32). Yes! Thank God!

--Robert J. Wieland

From the "Dial Daily Bread" Archive: January 31, 2005.
Copyright © 2017 by "Dial Daily Bread."

Monday, January 02, 2017

Dial Daily Bread: The Holy Spirit Will Always Lead Us to the Word

Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"

The Lord loves people who have crazy ideas; not that He wants them to have such--but He wants His love (agape) to heal them and straighten out their thinking. If they are honest at heart, they will permit Him to do this for them.

It is His Holy Spirit who does this, but ... He will always lead them to the Word, the Bible: "Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path" (Psalm 119:105).

Treasure that Book! At this moment, your knowledge of it may possibly be "skimpy," but if you humbly ask the Lord to make you become "a giant" in the Word, He will bless you and you will grow in your knowledge to a happiness you never dreamed could be yours. It will take some time, but it may be less than you anticipate now.

Why? Because your Bible will be a peculiar treasure just for you; you will have marked certain items, a word here or there (don't block out whole pages with ink markers--that's pointless, useless!), or you mark a footnote or center reference with a fine point pen. It's the little meaningful points that you want to mark lightly so you can easily turn to them again when the Holy Spirit reminds you. Your understanding will grow.

The time will come when you and your Bible will have grown to become one; you will understand in one sense how "the Word [is] made flesh, and [dwells] among us"(cf. John 1:14). You will have a little taste that is precious.

You may need a new Bible, with center references and a good cover. If it costs as much as a pair of shoes, won't it be worth it? It's a life-long treasure that is in a special sense yours.

No crazy ideas can survive a first-hand knowledge of the Bible.

--Robert J. Wieland

From the "Dial Daily Bread" Archive: May 22, 2008.
Copyright © 2017 by "Dial Daily Bread."

Sunday, January 01, 2017

Dial Daily Bread: God's New Covenant Promise to Us

Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"

I apologize for not being able to be in touch with you the past few days. The Influenza-A virus, plus pneumonia, hit me at the same time. I spent a few days in the hospital, but didn't have access to a device to e-mail you. I appreciate all of you who have written inquiring about what happened to DDB. It's encouraging that you continue to read and receive a blessing from Elder Wieland's messages.

Following is a message many of you have read before, but for new readers it's a "classic" New Year's DDB.


Carol Kawamoto
For "Dial Daily Bread"


Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"

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

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

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

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

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

--Robert J. Wieland

From the "Dial Daily Bread" Archive: January 2, 1998.
Copyright © 2017 by "Dial Daily Bread."