Today’s Devotional | April 23 | I CORINTHIANS 15:51-58 | The Conquered Grave

Today's Devotional

Memory Verse
But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 15:57).

One hundred years ago, a very wealthy woman who had been opposed to the doctrine of the Resurrection died. Before her death she gave orders that her grave should be covered with a slab of granite; that around it should be placed square blocks of stone, and that the corners should be fastened to each other and to the granite slab by heavy iron clamps. Upon the covering, this inscription was to be placed: “THIS BURIAL PLACE PURCHASED TO ALL ETERNITY MUST NEVER BE OPENED.”

The doubting lady had gone to great trouble to secure herself against an event in which she professed not to believe. However, time mocked her.

Not long after her death, a tiny birch tree seed sprouted and the root found its way between the side stone and the upper slab and grew there. Slowly, but steadily, it forced its way until the iron clamps were torn apart. Finally the granite lid was raised and made to rest upon the trunk of the large and flourishing birch tree.

Nearly two thousand years ago, another grave was sealed. The authority of the Roman Empire was enlisted to see that it should never be opened. It was the grave of Jesus.

Three days later, the stone that had been placed at the entrance of the tomb was rolled away. Christ arose! Death could not hold Him: “Whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death: because it was not possible that he should be holden of it” (Acts 2:24).

What good news to tell to doubting people!

Daily Devotionals

 

As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God. My soul thirsteth for God, for the living God…”

Psalm 42:1, 2

 “Soul Food” is a daily devotional written by Dr. Jack Van Impe that brings God’s Word to life.

“The Tender Touch” is a weekly devotional from the heart of Dr. Rexella Van Impe.

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April 22 | I CORINTHIANS 15:12-26 | Great Guarantees
Memory Verse
But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept (1 Corinthians 15:20).

In the Resurrection, God has given us three great guarantees.

The Resurrection guarantees the Saviour. When the critics of Christ called for some proof of His deity, He told them there would be but one sign given: THE RESURRECTION. “Destroy this temple, He said, and in three days I will raise it up” ( John 2:19). After the Resurrection, the disciples remembered that statement and its fulfillment fired their faith and sent them out to carry His message to the world.

The Resurrection guarantees salvation. Many years ago, two English lawyers, skeptics, set out to destroy Christianity. Their names were Gilbert West and Lord Littleton. They agreed that two Christian teachings must be disproved if they were to succeed: the resurrection of Christ and the conversion of Paul. West assumed the task of getting rid of the Resurrection and Littleton tackled the conversion of Paul. Their plan was for each to research his subject for one year. At the end of that time, they would come together and prepare to present their findings to the world. “When they met, one year later, both were Christians, each confessing to his conversion as a result of his own research!”

The resurrection of Christ guarantees our similar resurrection. On that first Easter, Mary wept because the tomb was empty, but that very fact signaled the emptying of the graves of all believers at the return of Christ. And that’s what Easter is all about!

April 21 | LUKE 23:39-43 | Today, in Paradise
Memory Verse
And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, To day shalt thou be with me in paradise (Luke 23:43).

There were three crosses on Calvary’s hill. Jesus died on the center cross with a thief on either side. Two who died that day were completely guilty. One was completely innocent. Two died there paying their debts to society. One died paying our debt of sin.

The second statement of Christ from the cross was to a dying thief who trusted in Him as his Lord and Saviour. And what great faith the dying criminal demonstrated. He believed while surrounded by a crowd of doubters. He saw Jesus in His most difficult hour and owned Him as his King. He accepted the promise of the Resurrection. He looked at a cross and saw a kingdom.

The dying thief’s faith was rewarded. Jesus said, “Today, thou shalt be with me in paradise.” What great heart questions are answered in this single statement of Jesus! Can one be saved in his dying hour? Can one be saved after a lifetime of wickedness? Can one be saved without baptism or communion? Can one be sure of heaven after death? To the one who believes Christ’s word to the thief, these are questions no more.

Copernicus was a great mathematician. His studies and calculations revolutionized the thinking of mankind about the universe. At death’s door, he saw himself not as a great scholar but only as a sinner in need of the Saviour. He chose the following words for his tombstone: “I do not seek a kindness equal to that given to Paul. Nor do I ask the grace granted to Peter. But that forgiveness which Thou didst grant to the robber — that, I earnestly crave!”

Jesus saves thieves, scholars, and other sinners. Trust Him today.

April 20 | MATTHEW 27:27-32 | The Crown of Thorns
Memory Verse
And when they had platted a crown of thorns, they put it upon his head, and a reed in his right hand: and they bowed the knee before him, and mocked him, saying, Hail, King of the Jews! (Matthew 27:29).

Angels must have marveled at the cruelty of man when the Son of God was prepared for crucifixion. The One whom heaven praised was rejected, humiliated, and mocked by Pilate’s soldiers. As a part of their mockery, they placed a crown of thorns upon His head.

Though the wicked soldiers did not realize it, their handmade ugly crown was symbolic. Christ was made a curse for us in order to redeem us. Notice the place of thorns in the curse brought by sin: “And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life; Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field” (Genesis 3: 17, 18).

Nature has suffered because of the sins of man. Christ died to pay for our sins. When He returns to reign, the earth will know release. All creation awaits that day: “For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now. And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body” (Romans 8:22,23).

The work of Christ on the cross was a complete work.

And we are complete in Him!

April 19 | MATTHEW 27:11-26 | Pilate’s Question
Memory Verse
Pilate saith unto them, What shall I do then with Jesus which is called Christ? They all say unto him, Let him be crucified (Matthew 27:22).

Proud Pilate asked a question that has echoed through the centuries. It reveals the agony of indecision on life’s greatest question.

It is a personal question. “What shall I do with Jesus, who is called Christ?” Though he would have liked to avoid answering or delegating the decision to another, he was the only one who could make that life or death decision. There were many pressures upon Pilate that day. The crowd had rejected his offer to free Jesus and had chosen Barabbas. His wife had sent word about a strange dream that had her upset. The noisy crowd continued their chant and he wanted to please them. He would have to decide.

It is a question that demands action. “What shall I do with Jesus, who is called Christ? Pilate tried to escape making a decision by publicly washing his hands of the entire situation. But he could not get away with neutrality. He must decide.

It is a question about Jesus. “What shall I do with Jesus, who is called Christ?” Pilate had made some important decisions in his life but they were all dwarfed by this one. This question was about the Saviour. It was not about religious ceremonies or laws, but about a person. That Person was Jesus.

We are faced with a decision such as Pilate had to make, a decision about Jesus.

What will you do then with Jesus, who is called Christ?

April 18 | MATTHEW 26:17-25 | The Last Passover
Memory Verse
And the disciples did as Jesus had appointed them; and they made ready the passover (Matthew 26:19).

The Children of Israel had been observing the passover since the day of their deliverance from slavery in Egypt. The record of the first passover is given in Exodus 12. Through the centuries, the choicest lambs had been brought for sacrifice at passover, symbolizing God’s salvation for His people at that time and looking forward to the coming of the Saviour.

Jesus met with His disciples to eat the passover meal. It was to be the last passover. In his book, “The King of the Jews,” Dr. John R. Rice wrote: “There would have been no reason for a passover lamb and the feast of unleavened bread except to picture the coming crucifixion of Jesus Christ. Therefore His disciples should have expected His Crucifixion, which had been so clearly foretold before, to occur at the time of the passover — in fact, at the very hour when the passover lamb was being slain, on the day of the preparation (John 19:14,31).

John the Baptist had announced, “Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world” (John 1:29). Now the Lamb of whom all the Old Testament sacrifices had spoken, had come to the last passover. Not one more animal sacrifice would be required. His sacrifice would be sufficient for the sins of all: “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath Laid on him the iniquity of us all” (Isaiah 53:6).

Christ is enough!

April 17 | MATTHEW 26:26-29 | Communion
Memory Verse
For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins (Matthew 26:28).

Following the last passover, Jesus instituted the first Communion service. It is important to remember that salvation is not gained through taking Communion. This Christian experience is the celebration of sins forgiven through the death of Christ on the cross.

The Communion service looks both backward and forward. In sharing Communion, we look back to the cross and forward to His return: “For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord’s death till he come” (1 Corinthians l 1:26).

At the Lord’s table, we rejoice in the great love of God that caused Him to send His Son to die for us. We anticipate meeting our Saviour. We feel the warmth of Christian fellowship, and thank God for the tie that binds our hearts in Christian love.

Still there is a solemn note here. We are to judge ourselves (see 1 Corinthians l 1:31). A stern warning accompanies the instructions for Communion: “Wherefore whosoever shalt eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord” (1 Corinthians 11:27).

Frightening? Yes, if we must become worthy through our own good works. Thankfully, that is not the case. We become worthy through Christ: “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).

Communion speaks of our daily walk with Jesus made possible through His shed blood.

April 16 | MATTHEW 26:57-68 | The Silent Saviour
Memory Verse
But Jesus held his peace. And the high priest answered and said unto him, I adjure thee by the living God, that thou tell us whether thou be the Christ, the Son of God (Matthew 26:63)

Isaiah had prophesied the silence of Jesus before His accusers: He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: “he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth” (Isaiah 53:7).

It is never easy to be silent when we are right or feel that our rights are being ignored. But that day the innocent Saviour stood accused before the high priest and did not defend himself.

What an example!

Here was living proof of His ability to live the Sermon on the Mount: “Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you” (Matthew 5:43,44).

Jesus had not come to defend himself. He had come to die. False accusations would be heaped against Him. Perjurers would provoke a verdict of guilty against the only man on earth ever to be completely righteous. He who held His Father’s name in highest reverence would be declared guilty of blasphemy by the high priest. And who can understand divine restraint in view of Matthew 26:67? “Then did they spit in his face, and buffeted him; and others smote him with the palms of their hands.”

Still, He held His peace.

And at trifles, we are offended.

Week 16 | God’s Love Letter

One of the nicest things about holiday
seasons is being with our family and friends --
having the privilege of sharing worship, food,
and fellowship with those we love. Oh, how
Jack and I cherish those blessed times with
special people and, in particular, with one
another.

Even when circumstances make it
impossible to be together, we can get in touch by
telephone or through the mail. We talk by
phone with friends and loved ones all across
the country...sometimes overseas.

We especially enjoy reading the many
beautiful cards we receive from those special,
thoughtful people who take time to express
their love.

The other day I was going through some
personal items I've saved over the last few
years -- news items and inspirational thoughts
clipped from newspapers and magazines,
cards and notes from family and friends...and
a very special collection of love letters from
my husband.

Jack and I have worked together in the
ministry over the years and haven't had to be
apartvery often. But on those occasions when
I couldn't travel with him to a crusade or
speaking engagement, he wrote me the most
beautiful letters.

A wonderful reminder!

I'd read those letters over and over,
hanging on every word. How wonderful to be
reminded that he loved me, missed me, and was
looking forward to having me with him again
soon!

I cherished every one of those wonderful
love letters. I still do. Over the years I've
gone back and read them again many times,
especially when I was feeling lonely, insecure,
or discouraged. And each time my husband's
loving words would lift my spirits and give
me new strength.

Needless to say, although I cleaned out
some of the accumulated "clutter" the other
day, I kept those letters!

As much as I treasure my husband's letters
to me, there's another love letter that is even
more precious to me. It's the greatest love
letter of all -- God's Holy Word.

God sent this letter special delivery to
me...to you...and to every single person in the
world. It's all about love -- what love is, how
God loves us, and the great love gift He has
given us.

For God so loved the world, that he gave
his only begotten Son, that whosoever
believeth in him should not perish, but have
everlasting life. For God sent not his Son
into the world to condemn the world; but that
the world through him might be saved
(John 3:16,17).

Sadly, too often this greatest love letter of
all has been laid aside, unopened. The people
who most need to know that God loves them
haven't even read His letter.

Read God's letter

Some of those who have read it or heard
about it at one time or another have forgotten
its wonderful message. They need to go back
and read God's love letter again. I can testify
from personal experience that it is just as
meaningful the second, third -- twentieth --
time you read it as it was the first time.

You see, we need to be reminded daily that
we are loved. We need to see anew how
valuable we are to God -- that His love and mercy
to us are new every morning.

What an unspeakable thrill to know that
God loves us. We must hear it, relish it, think
about it, enjoy it. We need to claim the blessing
of salvation and His divine provision for
our every need. We need to claim the blessing
of knowing that He is preparing a place for us
so that we can be with Him one day, face to face.

We should read and reread God's love
letter to us because we need to be reminded of
the wonderful gift of His love which we have received.

Give thanks...and share

In these last days we must make a special
effort to express our appreciation for this great
gift of love. Then we must enter anew into the
spirit of love by doubling our efforts to share
the old, old story of God's great love with others.

Don't wait -- start immediately! Right now
-- today -- get out your "Love Letter" from
God, your Bible, and discover -- and share --
how much you are loved.

Week 15 | Is God Magic?

A little boy asked his mother one day,
"How can God love everybody? Is He magic?"

He couldn't understand how anyone -- not
even God -- could love everyone. After all,
there are so many of us, and some of us are
so unlovable. To a child's way of thinking it
would take nothing short of magic to be that
loving.

You and I know that God is much more
than magic. He's our all-powerful heavenly
Father! In John 13:34,35, Jesus said to His
disciples, A new commandment I give unto
you, That ye love one another; as I have loved
you, that ye also love one another. By this
shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if
ye have love one to another.

Jesus knew how unlovable people can be.
He knew how unappreciative, unkind, thoughtless,
selfish, quick to judge and criticize, and
very mean we humans can act. Even within
that intimate circle of the twelve disciples,
there was envy, jealousy, and even murder.
And these were the men upon whom Jesus
was counting. The spread of the gospel
depended upon the disciples showing love to
each other and to others. So to these men,
only a few short hours before His crucifixion,
Jesus gave the supreme command, "Love one
another." And it should be our number one
priority today.

But that's just it. We don't love one another
as we should. In fact, a good many of us
Christians are downright unloving much of the
time. So how do we get the love of God in
our lives?

Where do we begin?

The place to begin is with the people
around us -- those in our homes, in our places of
work, in our friendships, and in our churches.
Someone has said we need "an observable
love and openness." I like that. Love isn't
love until it begins at home.

I heard of a woman whose husband was
very outgoing, charming, and loving to everyone
outside his home. But, often, to his family
he was moody and irritable. He wasn't
always outgoing, charming, and loving to
them. In fact, his moodiness and his venting
his anger and frustrations on his wife and children
were destroying the love within his
home.

One day in an effort to help him see what
he was doing, his wife asked, "Honey, why
don't you save some of your charm for us?"
That took courage, but it helped.

Of course, we all need a place where we
can let some steam off, let our hair down, and
kick our shoes off and relax with those who
will understand and not misjudge us. But
there must be a balance whereby we also
remember to show our love. Continual unloving
mistreatment of those dearest to us will drive
them away. I've heard such sad stories
through the years of how people's hearts have
become hard and cold because the love they
once had for each other had not been nurtured.

Our example is Jesus. I'm sure He didn't
always find it easy to show love. The Bible
tells us that Jesus was tempted in all points as
we are (see Hebrews 2:18). When the
selfrighteous Pharisees tried to trip Jesus up, it
would have been easy for Him to withhold His
love from those who were cruel, arrogant, and
unjust. But Jesus never yielded to that
temptation. He showed love in the most impossible
of human situations. Jesus was love in action.
He demonstrated His compassion over and
over again in His dealings with those who
desperately needed help, healing, and forgiveness.

Let love be your aim

The Apostle Paul gave the Corinthian
Christians a goal that should be foremost in
our minds as well. He said, "Let love be your
aim" (see 1 Corinthians 14:1). Those words
were preceded by the great love chapter in the
Bible, 1 Corinthians 13. Those verses are so
familiar to everyone, but perhaps their familiarity
has dimmed their meaning. Let's look at
them.

Though I speak with the tongues of men
and of angels, and have not charity
[love], I
am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling
cymbal.

And though I have the gift of prophecy,
and understand all mysteries, and all
knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I
could remove mountains, and have not

[love],
I am nothing.

And though I bestow all my goods to feed
the poor, and though I give my body to be
burned, and have not

[love], it profiteth me
nothing.

[Love] suffereth long, and is kind; [love]
envieth not; [love] vaunteth not itself, is not
puffed up,

Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh
not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh
no evil;

Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in
the truth;

Beareth all things, believeth all things,
hopeth all things, endureth all things.

[Love] never faileth: but whether there be
prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be
tongues, they shall cease; whether there be
knowledge, it shall vanish away.

And now abideth faith, hope,

[love], these
three; but the greatest of these is
[love]
(1 Corinthians 13:1-8,13).

What a beautiful description of love! This
chapter describes love in three ways -- what it
is, what it isn't, and what it does.

Love is:

  • very patient and kind
  • enduring, without weakening
  • able to bear up under anything
  • ready to believe the best of others
  • loyal no matter the cost
  • a growing thing -- growing out of God's love for and in us.

Love is not:

  • jealous or envious
  • boastful or proud (inflated or puffed up with pride)
  • conceited and arrogant
  • touchy, fretful, or resentful
  • rude and haughty
  • possessive
  • irritable or easily provoked
  • selfish and self-seeking
  • glad about injustice.

Love does:

  • rejoice in the truth
  • not hold grudges
  • hardly notice when others do it wrong
  • not demand its own way
  • hope all things
  • stand its ground in defending someone it loves
  • not fail -- does not fade out, become obsolete, or come to an end.

How loving are you?

Do you want to measure your "love
level"? Here's an exercise that really works. Try
substituting "I" in place of the word love in 1
Corinthians 13. Does it read right? Is that an
accurate description of you? Can you honestly
say, "I am very patient and kind. I am not
easily provoked. I do not hold grudges?

The Bible has so much to say about love.
Here are some other verses to help us
understand the nature of real love. First John 4:8
says, He that loveth not knoweth not God; for
God is love.
That verse says God is love.
That is His nature. He is a heavenly Father
who has divine compassion. And if we are
His children, we must love, too -- and not just
those who love us, but even the unlovable.
Jesus said, Love your enemies, bless them that
curse you, do good to them that hate you, and
pray for them which despitefully use you, and
persecute you; that ye may be the children of
your Father which is in heaven...For if ye love
them which love you, what reward have ye? do
not even the publicans the same?...Be ye
therefore perfect, even as your Father which is
in heaven is perfect
(Matthew 5:44-46,48).

One day a so-called expert on Moses' law
came to Jesus to test Him. He asked, "Master,
what shall I do to inherit eternal life?"

Notice Jesus' reply: "You shall love the
Lord your God with all your heart, and with
all your soul, and with all your strength, and
with all your mind; and your neighbor as
yourself."

The man, wanting to justify his lack of
love for some people, asked, "And who is my
neighbor?"
(Luke 10:25-29).

You see, he was so much like us. He
wanted to love the lovable, those who were
easy to love. But Jesus said we are to love
without discrimination, the way He loves us.

It's never too late

Perhaps you feel you've been so unloving
in the past, that there is no way you can
salvage your relationships. It's never too late
with the help of the Lord. It may take time,
but God can do a work of healing in your
heart so that you genuinely love others. His
Word to you is simply this: Commit thy way
unto the Lord; trust also in him; and he shall
bring it to pass
(Psalm 37:5).

I want you to know that Jack and I love
you. Our prayer is that you will learn to speak
the truth in love and fully grow up in Christ
(see Ephesians 4:15) so that the world will
know that you, too, are one of Christ's disciples.

Week 14 | When the Light Goes Out!

I really enjoy flowers and plants. My husband,
Jack, and I have numerous trees, shrubs, and
flowering plants around our house. Jack does
most of our yard work, and he often takes a short
break from his studying to pull the weeds from a
flower bed or trim a few branches to keep a bush in
shape.

Last summer I was especially proud of some
beautiful ferns we had hanging outside around
our patio. Given just the right amount of light and
water, they really flourished, with dark green,
luxuriant leaves and tendrils that cascaded over the
sides of the pot like a vibrant, intricately woven
tapestry.

I enjoyed those ferns all spring and summer
long, and when fall approached, I couldn't stand
to see them die. So Dr. and I carried them to the
office and gave them to various staff members to
take home.

All except one -- the largest and most beautiful
plant of all. We put that one in the office chapel up
by the pulpit. It was so beautiful, so fresh -- it was
a reminder of God's blessings to us through
nature. And many commented on how much that
fern added to the room.

Then one day a week or so later, I went into the
chapel and immediately noticed that something
was wrong with the plant. It was still alive, but its
rich green color seemed duller and its leaves were
drooping. "Oh my, I thought, "What's wrong?
Are we going to lose this beautiful fern
?"

Then I saw the problem -- inside the walls of the
chapel, the plant wasn't getting enough light. So I
moved it so it would get full exposure to the overhead
light, and I opened the window blind so
natural light came in. And do you know, by the
very next day that fern had perked up and looked
healthy and full of life again.

The Lord really used that incident to speak to
my heart about the importance -- and the power
-- of light in our spiritual lives. When we begin to
flounder, to feel wilted, weak, and listless, it's a
sure indication that we need to draw nearer to the
light. The vitality and strength we enjoy in our
lives come from the Light of the world -- from
Jesus Christ, our Saviour.

I love the beautiful description of the Apostle
John, who wrote, In him was life; and the life was
the light of men.... That was the true Light, which
lighteth every man that cometh into the world

(John 1:4,9).

Drawing near the light

We know that light attracts! And when Christ
was on the earth, multitudes were drawn to Him.
When He walked through a village, throngs of
people would press around Him, wanting to see
and be near Him.

A man named Zaccheus climbed a tree to catch
a glimpse of that Light. When he saw Jesus, his
life was transformed. The darkness in his soul was
illuminated by God's Light and he became a new
and different person.

A woman who had suffered for many years
pressed through the crowd, reaching out to touch
just the hem of His garment. She knew something
miraculous would happen -- she would be healed
-- if she could get close enough to the Light. The
Bible record tells us that's exactly what happened
-- she was wonderfully restored and made whole.

We're told that even little children were drawn to
the presence of Jesus. Tugging at His robe,
climbing up on His lap, they felt secure in the light
of His love. There's just something about light that
drives out fear and brings confidence and
assurance.

What a privilege you and I have to have Christ's
light in our lives, to bask in the warmth of His
presence every day. We have the opportunity to be
touched by Him. We can see Him and hear His
words as we read His Word. We can have personal
fellowship with Him as we kneel in prayer. All
these are practical ways to stay close to the Light
and keep His life welling up in us.

Just as the fern plant I put in the chapel began
to wilt and its leaves turn yellow from lack of light,
so our lives can lose their zest and energy if we
move too far away from God's light. We must never
forget that everything good in our lives comes
from Him.

The Apostle James said, Every good gift and
every perfect gift is from above, and cometh
down from the Father of lights, with whom is no
variableness, neither shadow of turning
(James 1:17).

Don't miss the message in the last part of this
verse. James says there is no variableness in God
-- He never changes. So if the light in your life
dims, it is not God who has gone away from you!
Have you gradually moved away from God -- out of
the direct beams of His love and power?

Step out of the shadows

Next, James says there is no shadow of turning
with God. Do you know what causes a shadow?
Something comes between you and the source of light!

Is there a shadow in your life today? Then find
what has come between you and the Lord. Could
it be materialism, caring more about this world's
goods and "things" than eternal values? Could it
be a person -- perhaps you're in love with a person
who is not God's choice for you. Maybe the object
between you and the Lord's Light is your own
desire to be successful.

Could it be that you've allowed indifference,
resentment, or a critical, judgmental spirit to
come between you and God and cast a shadow
over your life?

Take a look at your life today. Don't wait too
long! Without a daily infusion of the power of
God's Light, the vibrant colors of your life will
begin to fade. Your zeal and energy to witness for
Him will wither. Your desire to be all that He wants
you to be will shrivel away.

Remember, just going to church is not enough if
you keep an "umbrella" over you to block out the
light. My beautiful fern would have died just as
dead inside the chapel as it would have inside a
cellar -- without the power of the light! When I let
in the light, my plant was fully restored. And the
Light of God will do the same for our lives.

But that's not all. We are so much more important
to God than a fern plant. His plan for us is so
exciting and fulfilling.

You can be God's light

As we continue to draw near to His light, something
wonderful happens. We begin to glow and
radiate His light until it shines on others still
living in darkness. Our lives can be beacons,
drawing precious souls to Christ. This gives
purpose and meaning to our living.

Jesus himself said to us, Ye are the light of the
world.... Let your light so shine before men,
that they may see your good works, and glorify
your Father, which is in heaven
(Matthew 5:14,16).

You may feel that, even at your best, your light is.
too small to be of much use. But it isn't. In the
gathering darkness of the world around us, even a
candle can be seen. And as we work together for
the Lord, combining our efforts and our resource,
to fulfill Christ's Great Commission in these last
days of time, the power of God's light will shine
through us and reach into the darkest corners of
the earth.

Oh, I want to help light up the world for Jesus,
don't you? My heart goes out to people who still
walk in darkness, even in the United States and
Canada, as well as in other nations. There is such
sadness and despair, such confusion and deception.
Men and women live under heavy burdens.
Young people face peer pressure and temptation.
It seems that Satan has launched an all-out
assault on mankind.

I understand full well what the Apostle Paul
meant when he wrote that we live in the midst of a
crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye
shine as lights in the world
(Philippians 2:15).

If ever there was a time for us to draw near God's
light, it's today. If ever the people of the world
needed someone to lead them out of darkness into
the marvelous light of our Lord and Saviour, it is
now. If ever any Christians had the opportunity --
and obligation -- to win the world for Christ, you
and I do.

In the words of a beloved old gospel song --

"There's a call comes ringing o'er

the restless wave,

Send the Light, send the Light,

There are souls to rescue, there

are souls to save,

Send the Light, send the Light!"

God help us to hear that call today and to do all
we can, give all we can, be all we can to send the
light of the gospel.

God help us to SHINE!

Week 13 | But What Have I to Offer?

The little boy was only about 8 years old,
bright-eyed, blonde, and so very cute.

He came up to me that Wednesday evening
before the crusade service started and said, "I
have something for you, Rexella!"

I smiled down at this vibrant little guy, knelt
beside him, and asked, "What is it?"

He excitedly held out a brown paper bag for me
to open. Inside was a freshly-baked, crusty-brown
loaf of bread. "Oh, how nice!" I exclaimed. "Did
your mother make this for me?"

"No, I did!" he said proudly. "I made it for you."

I couldn't keep from giving him a hug of appreciation
for his gift that meant so much to me. To
some it may not have seemed like much -- a
slightly misshapen, slightly overdone loaf of
homemade bread. But behind it was an
overflowing supply of generosity and love for my
husband and me.

And even little is much when it is given with love.

Jesus confirmed this with His comments about
the giving of a poor widow who dropped two tiny
coins into the offering at the Temple. Contrasted
with the large sums being given by the wealthy,
her gift must have seemed insignificant to those
who looked on. But the Lord said, "This woman
has given more than all the others. They gave a
portion of their abundant wealth -- she gave all
she had, even her very living" (see Mark 12:41-44).

I think it is very significant indeed that Jesus
Christ, the Son of God, took note of that small,
sacrificial gift and said that, in His eyes, it was worth
more than all the other gifts put together. The New
Testament account doesn't actually say so, but I
wonder if God didn't bless those two little coins
and multiply their value many times over!

How God will use your gift

He did that one day with a little lad's lunch of
five loaves and two fishes. Jesus multiplied that
simple sack-lunch into enough to feed a multitude
of 5,000... with lots of leftovers.

I believe the Lord performed this miracle for
more than one reason. Yes, He felt compassion for
the multitude that had followed Him and listened
to His teaching all day long. He wanted to meet
their physical need and satisfy their hunger for
food as He had satisfied their thirst for spiritual truth.

But I believe this miracle may also have been to
encourage the faith of His disciples. Perhaps they
may have been tempted to send the multitude
away hungry ("what good is so little among so
many?") and use the few loaves and fishes as a
meager snack for the staff.

But the Lord demonstrated in a graphic way
that, in His kingdom, there is always enough to
meet the need. He blessed and broke the bread
and fish, then had them serve the hungry people.
When everybody had eaten his fill, the disciples
gathered up what was left. And there were 12
baskets full -- one basket for each disciple!

What a great lesson! What a great miracle! Yet, it
could not have happened without the unselfish
giving of the little boy who handed over his lunch.
What if he had said, "There are too many hungry
people here, and I have barely enough food for
myself. I can't afford to give... and what little I
have wouldn't make much difference anyhow."

But he did what he could do -- shared what he
had. And his gift fed a multitude... and taught
Jesus' disciples a great lesson. Plus, I've always
felt the little boy must have ended up taking more
food home that night than he'd started out with.
So he had a chance to witness to his parents about
what the Lord had said and done.

Who could have blamed the poor widow if she
had said, "Look at all the rich offerings the
wealthy people are giving at the Temple. I have
only these two mites -- worth less than a penny.
There's no way I can give. No one would even know
if I did give, or miss my tiny offering if I didn't."

But out of love for God she gave -- and Jesus
himself noticed and called attention to her generosity!

Your giving is important

So often people look at the worldwide soulwinning
outreaches of Jack Van Impe Ministries and
feel that our program is so big that we don't need
their help. "What I have to give is so little in comparison
to your need that I'm embarrassed to even
offer it," they say. In essence they're saying, "But
what have I to offer?"

You know what this ministry is doing. We're on
weekly television, with regional audiences that
are growing with each telecast. The rating
services say that already we are number one with
some segments of the viewing audience. Our goal
is to blanket all of the U.S. and Canada with
our program ministering to multiplied millions
each week.

In addition, our overseas radio broadcasts are
touching thousands upon thousands of homes
across Europe and in many other countries. Each
month we receive letters from people in many
nations who have been blessed and helped
through this outreach.

And we are able to do this on a fraction of the
budget of many larger organizations. It has
always been our policy to hold overhead expenses
to an absolute minimum and use virtually all of
our funds for pure ministry. And we make sure the
ministry gets full value for every dollar invested.
That's the secret of how we have been able to
accomplish so much on a fairly small income.

And this is why every support gift we receive is
important. Even a small offering sent to Jack Van
Impe Ministries very probably will accomplish as
much as a larger amount given to a "big name"
organization. Some friends also have the
misconception that most of this ministry's support
comes from those who give very large amounts --
thousands and tens of thousands!

We have no corporate sponsors, no denominational
underwriting, no group of wealthy
benefactors. Actually, what keeps us going are the
regular, faithful, sacrificial gifts of friends who
send $10, $20, or $50 each month, or as often as
they can. Every gift we receive -- large or small --
is important.

What is in your hand?

What do you have to offer? Give that. For
remember, to whom much is given, much is
required. But even if you had absolutely no material
possessions, you still could give your love,
your encouragement, your prayers. It means so
much to know our friends are standing with us.

What do you have to offer? What God has placed
in your hands. What you are willing to give to His
work. If all you have to give to God in Jesus' name
is a cup of cold water, then that is all God expects.

For if there be first a willing mind, it is
accepted according to that a man hath, and not
according to that he hath not
(2 Corinthians 8:12).

Over the years the Lord has blessed my
husband and me with many precious friends who
have shared the burdens and the opportunities of
this ministry. Occasionally, in addition to the
support given for our work, we have received a card or
a word of encouragement, or a small personal gift.
I have appreciated all of them.

But I don't think I'll ever forget the night when
that charming 8-year-old brought me the best he
had to offer, a loaf of bread he baked himself!