August 25, 2014
A MESSAGE OF HOPE FROM DR JACK VAN IMPE
A Young Man of Influence
Whether the heathen king Nebuchadnezzar knew it or not, young Daniel, probably no more than seventeen years old at the time of his capture, was a teenager beyond reproach. No evil motives are ever attributed to Daniel in Scripture. Daniel had great influence on his three friends Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah. His moral rectitude rubbed off on them, and they, too, began to demonstrate the purity that God desires for everyone, young or old. With wisdom well beyond his years, Daniel had become a mentor to his three friends.
The Scripture tells us in Daniel 1:4 that Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah were already intelligent fellows, but mere knowledge is a far cry from a mature understanding of how to apply that learning where it truly counts. But because of Daniel’s daily influence, the Hebrew boys demonstrated much more than the accumulation of facts; they knew how to rely on God and to use those facts because the Spirit of almighty God was upon them. They were also fulfilling a prophecy written in Isaiah 39:7, which revealed that the offspring of the royal family of Judah would be taken as prisoners to Babylon, where they would hold high offices in the palace of the king. And this is exactly what was happening.
Can’t Have Those Jewish Names, Boys
But Nebuchadnezzar had a problem. He had Jewish boys, with Jewish names, in a Babylonian palace, and he figured he’d better do something about it-especially since their very names shouted out their allegiance to their God. The name Daniel means “God is judge.” When someone would call for Hananiah, that person would be shouting “Jehovah is gracious.” Mishael’s name asked the provocative question, “Who is what God is?” And Azariah’s name was a constant reminder of God’s mercy, meaning “Jehovah has helped.”
Nebuchadnezzar couldn’t allow these names to be echoed in his great hall, so he changed their names to Belteshazzar, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. Nebuchadnezzar was the master of the quick fix. His kingly logic was, if he changed the name, he would change the person. What the king did not realize, however, was that you can change a person’s name as many times as you want, but you will not necessarily change that person’s heart. So the name changes were purely cosmetic, and I’ve got a feeling that when the boys were in their quarters, in the privacy of their conversation, they still called each other Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah.
These brilliant young Jews loved their God and, as we’ll look at in more detail later, boldly proclaimed His presence in their lives three times a day in prayer-with the windows wide open. They didn’t care who heard them pray. They didn’t care who saw them with their heads lifted to heaven. They loved their God, and they would honor Him at all costs. They remained respectful to the king, but they had a greater God to serve. In one of the great “passive resistance” protests in history, they agreed to remain unwavering in their beliefs, even if it meant taking certain life-threatening risks.
But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king’s meat, nor with the wine which he drank: therefore he requested of the prince of the eunuchs that he might not defile himself
Now God had brought Daniel into favour and tender love with the prince of the eunuchs.
And the prince of the eunuchs said unto Daniel, I fear my lord the king, who hath appointed your meat and your drink: for why should he see your faces worse liking than the children which are of your sort? then shall ye make me endanger my head to the king.
Then said Daniel to Melzar, whom the prince of the eunuchs had set over Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah,
Prove thy servants, I beseech thee, ten days; and let them give us pulse to eat, and water to drink.
Then let our countenances be looked upon before thee, and the countenance of the children that eat of the portion of the king’s meat: and as thou seest, deal with thy servants.
So he consented to them in this matter, and proved them ten days.
And at the end of ten days their countenances appeared fairer and fatter in flesh than all the children which did eat the portion of the king’s meat.
Thus Melzar took away the portion of their meat, and the wine that they should drink; and gave them pulse.
An Unlikely Training Food
The first challenge was what to eat for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Imagine the incredible feasts available to Daniel and his friends. Delicacies galore. Meat, fowl, wine, and fruit served in gold and silver vessels. The king’s best. Who would have refused that kind of lifestyle? Well, for starters, four young men with the names Belteshazzar, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. They determined in their hearts they would not eat the rich, fatty, high-cholesterol foods from the king’s table.
But there was another reason they refused to defile their bodies: The king’s food had already been offered to the Babylonian god Marduk, and to eat the king’s food would be to break the second commandment. They knew what Exodus 20:4-5 said:
Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me.
But this conviction created a problem. These four boys were in training-and Nebuchadnezzar and his trainers were in charge. They were under strict orders to follow Babylonian rules, not Jewish rules. Nothing kosher here. But-and this is why I hope young people are reading this book, because this in so many ways is a young person’s book-Daniel still found favor with the prince of the eunuchs. Character is what counts. Sticking to your guns when everyone else says to do something that dishonors God is what wins the day.
Now it was Melzar, the eunuch-in-charge, who had the problem. His job and his life were on the line. He had a specific assignment-to make his charges obey the rules, follow the instructions, color between the lines, do what they were told, and eat the king’s food like the other Jewish boys. What could be so bad about that! “Come on, guys, please,” I can almost hear him say. “I like this job, and I really don’t need to get into any trouble with the head eunuch.” I’m sure that Daniel and his buddies listened to their eunuch friend with hearts of compassion for the predicament he was in, but they still remained faithful to God’s agenda for their lives.
Acting Like Gentlemen
Now here’s a part I love. Rather than giving Melzar a tongue-lashing, Old Testament lecture on the evils of giving good food to bad gods like Marduk, Daniel did something much more effective: He provided an alternative. He presented the eunuch an option by suggesting, “Let’s just check this other idea out, and see what happens.” Daniel came up with a “ten-day plan.” And what was the essence of this plan?
To eat only pulse-another word for beans. Beans. Not meat, fish, exotic game from the forest, rich desserts, wine flowing by the flagons-but beans . . . and water. I can just see Melzar’s face turn ghostly white as he gently touches the side of his neck, wondering how long it will remain attached to the rest of his head. “Beans! Surely you jest. We have beef, and you want beans?”
Daniel and his friends confirmed their resolve, and the diet plan was approved. While the rest of Jewish captives were being wined and dined in the palace dining hall, Daniel and his three friends ate beans-and amazingly were growing stronger and healthier in mind and body day by day. They trusted their God to make them healthy and strong. They remained obedient to God when all the odds were stacked against them. And when the ten-day experiment came to an end, we read that
“their countenances appeared fairer and fatter in flesh than all the children which did eat the portion of the king’s meat. Thus Melzar took away the portion of their meat, and the wine that they should drink; and gave them pulse” (vv. 15-16).
And the palace scoreboard read:
FROM THE HEART OF DR. REXELLA VAN IMPE
LET THE DOVES SPEAK
I had the great privilege while I was growing up to sit under the ministry of a great teacher, Dr. H. H. Savage. He was the only pastor I ever had, a brilliant man with a great passion for souls and a far-reaching vision for missions. He was an articulate speaker who could reach out and touch one’s heart each time he entered the pulpit.
He was one of the first ministers to start a Christian radio program in the state of Michigan, along with the “Radio Bible Class” in Grand Rapids. On the air or in person, he was able to make Christianity a dramatic and exciting adventure. For example, out of the 103 young people in my teenage class, more than twenty of us felt a call to enter the ministry and ultimately went into full-time Christian work.
Because my brothers and I were musically talented and began singing at a very young age, I had the privilege of singing in the church and on Dr. Savage’s radio program from the time I was five years old. He was such an encouragement and blessing to me. Yes, he gave me the vision of being part of God’s work.
I have been so privileged and blessed from the beginning of my walk with Christ to be associated with people of excellence and having pure and godly motives. I was married very young, and when I left Dr. Savage’s church, I entered into the ministry with Jack Van Impe, who was already a marvelous preacher and well established in his evangelistic work. So I have been under some of the greatest preachers in the world with both my pastor and with Jack, my husband and ministry partner.
For as long as I have known him, Jack has been a great student of the Word, and it has blessed my heart to see him develop into one of the greatest prophetical teachers and preachers in the world today. Truly I believe that God chose Jack to be born for this day and age, and I certainly know that I was born to serve with him. How wonderful that is!
Recently in my personal devotional time, I read and reflected upon Matthew 5:3-11, the part of Jesus’ monumental Sermon on the Mount known as the Beatitudes. It had been some time since I’d read this passage, and it struck me that no one else could have given such a compelling sermon as this-not even Dr. H. H. Savage or Dr. Jack Van Impe.
This powerful message is not legalistic or impractical idealism. Instead, it is a call for a new way of life. Our Lord would not have given it to us if it were not attainable and workable. If He has called us to do it-and unquestionably He has-then He also has provided the grace and the help of the Holy Spirit to enable us to achieve it in our daily practical living.
Let’s take a look at these eight simple but profound statements-the Beatitudes. We will look at the first three this week and then conclude next week:
Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs
is the kingdom of heaven (Matthew 5:3).
Each of the beatitudes begins with the word blessed, which means “to be highly favored, honored, or set aside.” It speaks of the deep soul contentment that comes not from what we experience as much as who we are. I want to be blessed, don’t you?
In this first Beatitude, I believe “poor in spirit” refers to humility, the authentic attitude of the heart that recognizes it is absolutely nothing-poor-without the Lord. It is the kind of spiritual poverty that is overcome only by total dependence upon Christ. At the same time, the person who is truly poor in spirit also recognizes that everything is his because of God’s great gifts.
Jesus demonstrated true humility when He knelt down and washed the feet of His disciples (see John 13:3-9). I can hardly imagine the God of this universe kneeling to wash the feet of these men, including Judas; the man Jesus knew would betray Him. This kind of humility comes only from the Lord.
The gospel account says that Peter’s initial reaction to the humility of Jesus was to refuse to allow his feet to be washed. But Jesus said, “If I don’t wash you then you have no part with me.” So impulsive, reactionary Peter then pleaded, “Lord, not my feet only, but also my hands and my head.”
Maybe the essential point of this whole exchange was the Lord’s declaration that experiencing His humility is essential to relationship with Him. If we don’t have that kind of humility, we have nothing. But if we experience it, we are blessed…and the kingdom of heaven is ours! What an amazing promise.
Blessed are they that mourn: for they
shall be comforted (Matthew 5:4).
How can mourning be blessed? When it is for the needs and hurts of others! Our mourning is blessed when we are moved with a tender heart and compassionate spirit for the lost and those who suffer. Bob Pierce, the wonderful missionary who founded both World Vision and Samaritan’s Purse, once prayed, “Let my heart be broken with the things that break the heart of God!” That’s the kind of mourning about which this verse is speaking. And without it, it is almost impossible for us to give comfort-or to receive it.
Do you remember Jesus’ story of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10: 30-35)? A traveler was attacked by thieves who robbed him, beat him, and left him for dead by the side of the road. A priest came by and then a Levite, but they passed by without helping him. Then a Samaritan saw him and had great compassion on him. He gave the man first aid, put him on his donkey, and carried him to an inn. There he paid for the man’s care.
Perhaps the priest and the Levite felt pity for the unfortunate man, but they passed by. Pity says, “Oh, that’s terrible. I’m so sorry.” But the Bible says the Samaritan had compassion, which mourns with one’s suffering and says, “Here, let me help!”
During His earthly ministry, Jesus certainly demonstrated compassion to people everywhere He went. He once ministered to a crowd of 5,000, and when they became hungry, He fed them all. When He saw sick people, He healed them. When He saw lost sinners, He loved them. Do you see the pattern? Pity costs nothing. But compassion feeds, heals, and loves!
Have you ever needed to be comforted? Is there a chance you will ever need it again? That blessing comes only to those who weep and mourn for the suffering of others…and give until it helps.
Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth
Blessing comes to those with a gentle spirit and a calm attitude. Meekness is not weakness-it is the kind of strength that remains calm in the face of calamity. It is the person who can confront someone who has done wrong and keep his emotions under control, reaching out as a gentle servant of the Lord to lift up and restore the fallen.
Jesus sent His disciples out to minister, telling them to be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves (Matthew 10:16). Have you ever heard the voice of a dove? Their singing may be soft and soothing, but it is persistent. The voices of doves will not be hushed. The wisdom of the Lord enables us to deal with problems, with opposition, with the pressures of the world in meekness-not with anger and violence, but with gentle strength.
During one of the huge crusade rallies Jack and I conducted several years ago, a crisis situation arose. Jack was still speaking to people in the auditorium after some had already gone to the prayer room for counseling. Someone came to me and said, “Several motorcycle gang members are causing trouble in the counseling room-can you come do something?”
As I entered the room I saw seven or eight big tough-looking guys, mocking and laughing at what had happened as another counselor spoke with them. I said, “I’m Mrs. Van Impe, and in this room we ask everybody to stay in an attitude of prayer.” One of them replied, “Aww, your husband spoke on hell tonight, and there’s no such place-it’s just a joke!”
With that, the Holy Spirit came on me, and I leaned close to the young man, looked him straight in the face, and said, “You may not believe it, but one day you will feel it. Every word Jack spoke tonight is backed up by the Bible, God’s Word, whether you believe it or not.”
The biker and the rest of his friends looked startled – almost shocked. They didn’t know what to do with gentle strength. However, the Holy Spirit did His work and before they left the prayer room I led them all to the Lord. Praise the Lord! God blesses when we stand upon the Word and show gentle strength.
I believe we need to be different from the world. In the midst of the rush, let’s not forget to be gentle and have time for people. I believe once more we can experience what Solomon described-The flowers appear on the earth; the time of the singing has come, and the voice of the turtledove is heard in our land (Song of Solomon 2:12 NKJV). Walking in the gentle strength of meekness, we shall inherit the earth.
CHANGED LIVES-one at a time
A few words of thanks.
As I began reading your weekly newsletter I was feeling so discouraged. The state of the world, friends that don’t believe in Bible, Stresses in my own life and even doubt in my own salvation because of feelings of being “not good enough” to be truly saved. I know I am, I accepted the Lord long ago, I just “feel” I should be more than I am for Him.
Your weekly letter reminds me that I can “do” nothing to be saved, Jesus did it all. I needed that. 🙂 Thank-you.
I am now feeling the need to pray for the unsaved, to simply spend more time with the Lord in prayer, seeking his heart for me. I know the time is very near too, so many signs.
I am burdened for this world so full of sin.
Thank to you both for the encouragement. Hearing how wonderful Heaven will be was so uplifting. I very much appreciate your ministry, God Bless and keep speaking the truth in these last days. I will continue to watch your show and read the weekly news letters.
First I want to thank you for your show, I have been addicted to drugs and pornography for years and through your show convicting me every week I have now quit using both. I go to your website every day to get a daily dose of a true Christian doctrine to help me every day in my walk with Jesus. Thank you for your show and your website both of which show me what a true Christian is.
I just wanted to thank you and say god bless you in your work (both of you)
In Christian love
HIGHLIGHTED PRODUCT OFFERS
Discover 15 amazing biblical signs that prove this generation is the one that will see the Lord Jesus returning in the clouds! Drs. Jack and Rexella Van Impe use current events, Bible prophecy, scientific facts, and more to show you the answers to critical questions such as:
- Is Mark of the Beast technology going to be globally deployed by the year 2017?
- Why are Russia and China conducting joint military maneuvers; and why is Iran cozying up to China?
- Who is deceiving President Obama right now, and how does his role as ‘peacemaker’ for Muslim nations signal the rise of the Antichrist?
- What world leaders are calling for global Islamic law, and where is it actually predicted in Bible prophecy?
- Will our enemies attack North America with nuclear bombs?
- And much more!
This is a powerful teaching for believers and will show non-believers the truth of the soon return of Jesus!
Drs. Jack and Rexella Van Impe have prepared this powerful new video teaching to show you the Enemies of the Cross and how to defeat them. You will discover the answers to critical questions such as:
- Who is calling the cross ‘useless’, and why?
- How can we know if Jesus is the only way to heaven?
- How do contemporary church services fit into the great ‘falling away’ predicted in the Bible?
- How are new Bible translations destroying the Christian faith?
- How does Pope Francis signal Christ’s soon return?
- What will the final one world religion look like?
- Where will the False Prophet come from?
- Who has been lured into the New Age Movement?
- And many more!
Do not allow your family and church to be deceived.