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November 26, 2012

In this newsletter we will deal with the subject: “The Power of the Holy Spirit.”


Believers are powerless and ineffective in their daily lives because they do not partake of the vast storehouse of power that is available to them in the person of the Holy Spirit. As a result, they depend upon personality traits and psychological manipulations rather than the power of God. They forget that God says in Zechariah 4:6: . . . Not by [human] might, nor by [human] power, but by my spirit . . . . Man, with all of his reliance on tricks, gimmicks, and manifold activities, could accomplish so much more if God, the Holy Spirit, originated, motivated, and activated the program. He alone supplies the power needed by powerless human beings. He alone is the match to ignite the fire, the fuel to propel the motor. A person cannot move without His assistance. Acts 1:8 states: . . . ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you . . . . Do you have this power? Or are you still serving God in the energy of the flesh? Just as there is a difference in cultivating a field with a shovel or with a tractor, so there is a mighty difference in one’s service when empowered by the all-powerful Holy Spirit. May I also say that there is no power shortage in God’s Spirit because:


The Holy Spirit is Omnipotent


The Holy Spirit manifested this power on numerous occasions:


A. At creation, this blessed Spirit was active because the spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters (Genesis 1:2). Job 26:13 states: By his spirit [God] hath garnished the heavens . . . . Again, Psalm 104:30 declares that mankind, animals, birds of the air, fish of the sea and all other created objects came because thou sendest forth thy spirit, they are created….


B. At the conception and birth of Christ, the Holy Spirit again displayed His power. The Bible teaches that Christ was an unembodied spirit in eternity past, for He was in the form of God (Philippians 2:6), and God is a Spirit (John 4:24). However, one of the members of the Trinity had to become embodied because God had decreed in the councils of eternity that the blood . . . maketh an atonement for the soul (Leviticus 17:11). Animal blood was only an inadequate temporary covering looking toward the planned, prepared, permanent sacrifice (I Peter 1:20). This eternal offering also had to be a sacrifice of blood. Man’s blood was already poisoned through Adam’s transgression (Romans 5:12). Therefore, since animal blood was inadequate and man’s blood was tainted, the only solution was that a member of the Godhead should take a body containing blood. However, if this One were to come into the world through natural generation, the seed of a man deposited into the womb of a woman, the tainted blood would then be passed on to the newborn Christ. Thus God planned and prepared a body for His Son (Hebrews 10:5), which the Holy Spirit miraculously placed in the womb of the virgin, and the result was the incarnation -God in the flesh, with sinless blood. That is why I Peter 1:19 declares that we are redeemed with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.


Perhaps this information may help some seeking soul see why the entire program of redemption and salvation stands or falls upon the foundation of the virgin birth. The blessed, all-powerful Holy Spirit was the agent in carrying out this miracle of the ages. The story is unfolded in Luke chapter one. The angel appears to Mary and says: . . . thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS. Mary, in her astonished frame of mind, replies: “How shall this be, seeing I know not a man?” The word know in Scripture often refers to the sex act. For instance, Genesis 4:1 says: And Adam knew Eve his wife; and she conceived . . . . So Mary is actually saying, “How shall I have a child when I have never known a man intimately?” The angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God (verse 35). Oh, blessed be the wonder-working, omnipotent Holy Spirit who took the body and blood prepared by the Father and placed the Christ – the sent One – into the womb of the pure virgin.


C. Again, notice the power of the Holy Spirit in the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. First Peter 3:18 declares: For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened [made alive] by the Spirit. Romans 8:11 also states: But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.


We have thus far witnessed the power of the Holy Spirit in the work of creation, incarnation, and resurrection. We have discussed the unlimited power of the Holy Spirit for one primary reason: to show every child of God that this power is available in each believer’s life.


Holy Spirit Power for Believers


. . . ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you . . . (Acts 1:8). This power is released in a Christian as the indwelling Holy Spirit is allowed to take full control. Do not misunderstand – every saved person has this Holy Spirit indwelling him . . . [we] have been all made to drink into one Spirit (I Corinthians 12:13). All means ALL. In fact, it is correct to say that it is impossible to be a child of God if one does not have the Holy Spirit, for if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his (Romans 8:9). Romans 5:5 says: . . . the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us. Who? A select few? No! . . . the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal (I Corinthians 12:7). One cannot have the manifestation of the Spirit without having Him, and this manifestation is given to every man who says: Jesus is the Lord (verse 3).


While it is true that every believer has the Holy Spirit (and has all of Him, for He does not enter in percentage portions), this does not guarantee that He has all of us. Therefore, subsequent to salvation, every believer needs the filling of the Spirit (also see Chapter 4). Ephesians 5:18,19 says:. . . be filled with the Spirit; speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord. One evidence of the filling, then, is a heart overflowing with spiritual songs.


Another evidence is Holy Spirit power for witnessing . . . ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: [the result:] and ye shall be witnesses unto me. . . (Acts 1:8). Seek the power the apostles had to witness as they bore ridicule, hatred, persecution, and death for the Lord Jesus Christ. May I go one step further? I care not what you call your experience with the Holy Spirit. However, do not pray for “the fulness of the Holy Ghost” unless you are willing to become hated and even slaughtered for the name of Jesus. This is where the power of the Holy Spirit usually leads the sold out, dedicated, Spirit-filled Christian. Let’s look at the Book of Acts for a moment and see.


Peter, after being filled with the Holy Spirit in Acts 2:4 (not baptized, which takes place at salvation, but filled, which is subsequent to salvation), becomes a power-laden giant for God. Earlier in his life – in fact, only 7 weeks earlier – he sat by a fire denying the Lord (Matthew 26). At that point in his life, he was a powerless witness. After he allowed the Holy Spirit to take full control and possession of his body, he became a one-man army for the Saviour. Please notice that the texts to be quoted mention “boldness” and “power” as the results of the filling of the Spirit. These two attributes, which the indwelling Spirit generates in the believer when He is allowed to have control, cannot be easily duplicated “in the flesh.” “Boldness” and “power” in the face of persecution and death can only be produced by the blessed Spirit of God.


The Boldness of Peter


First, let’s consider the boldness of the Apostle Peter. Acts 4 states: Then Peter, filled [filled – not baptized, but filled] with the Holy Ghost, said unto them, Ye rulers of the people, and elders of Israel . . . Be it known unto you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead, even by him doth this man stand here before you whole. This [Christ] is the stone which was set at nought of you builders, which is become the head of the corner. Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved (verses 8, 10-12). Verse 13 states that these people saw the BOLDNESS of Peter and John. Imagine the high priest and his relatives and a great multitude of those who had put Christ to death gathered together as Peter denounces their sin publicly and declares that this Christ they killed is the only way of salvation! It takes Holy Spirit boldness to be uncompromising.


Are you seeking the fulness of the Holy Ghost for the same reason or because it is the popular thing to do?


This same crowd hated Peter’s message and threatened Peter and John in verses 18-20: And they called them, and commanded them not to speak at all nor teach in the name of Jesus. But Peter and John answered and said unto them, Whether it be right in the sight of God to hearken unto you more than unto God, judge ye. For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard. That is boldness, my brother! Did they quit? No! Acts 4:33 states: . . . with great power gave the apostles witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus: and great grace was upon them all. In Acts 5:40-42 they are beaten for the sweet name of Jesus and guess what?. . . they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for his name. Did it stop them? And daily in the temple, and in every house, they ceased not to teach and preach Jesus Christ. The only thing that stopped these Spirit-filled warriors was death. Beloved, to be filled with the Spirit is to die daily (Luke 9:23).


The Power of Paul


In Acts 9:17, Paul, too, was filled with the Spirit -not baptized, but filled. He was baptized by the Spirit at salvation, as all believers are (I Corinthians 12:13), and then filled as all believers should be (Ephesians 5:18). This filling prepared him for the Lord’s plan: . . . I will shew him how great things he must suffer for my name’s sake (Acts 9:16). Has anyone ever suffered as much as Jesus or Paul? This battle-scarred apostle enumerates his sufferings in II Corinthians 11:23-27: . . . in labours more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequent, in deaths oft. Of the Jews five times received I forty stripes save one. Thrice was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I have been in the deep; in journeyings often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by mine own countrymen, in perils by the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; in weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness.


Why was he so hated? Because. . . he went into the synagogue, and spake boldly for the space of three months, disputing and persuading the things concerning the kingdom of God (Acts 19:8); because his preaching caused an uproar in the city (Acts 20:1); and because he called sin and sinners by name. In Acts 13:9,10 we see Paul filled – get the exact word -filled with the Spirit, setting his eyes on Elymas the sorcerer and saying: . . . thou child of the devil, thou enemy of all righteousness, wilt thou not cease to pervert the right ways of the Lord? A Holy Spirit-filled life denounces sin in an uncompromising way. It also often brings death because they beheaded Saint Paul. Stephen also experienced the same in Acts 7:55 when he, being full of the Holy Ghost, BOLDLY exposed sin PUBLICLY and was murdered.


Friend, do you want to be filled with the Spirit? Think twice before asking Him to take full control of your life. It may cost you everything you have. However, it will be worth it all when we see Jesus. He said in Matthew 5:10-12: Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.



FROM THE HEART OF DR. REXELLA VAN IMPE

Where’s My Eraser?


I’ll never forget my first day of kindergarten. I was barely five years old, but I remember it as vividly as if it had happened yesterday.


Making new friends with all my classmates was exciting, the bright and cheery decorations in our homeroom were beautiful, and my teacher seemed very nice.


But the thing that caught my attention and completely fascinated me was…the blackboard.


Watching the teacher take chalk and draw simple pictures and write letters on the board was interesting. But then she took something in her hand, wiped it back and forth across the surface of the blackboard, and instantly every mark she had made disappeared! I watched in wide-eyed astonishment, absolutely intrigued.


Before my kindergarten year was over, I had the opportunity to try it for myself. I made some chalk marks on the board, then used the eraser to make them go away. I never tired of it. The eraser was my favorite discovery.


Although I’m normally not a person who dwells on the past a great deal, I do often reflect on the blessings and good things God has sent into my life. My husband, Jack, and I make it a point to recall and give thanks for the ministry opportunities, friends, and victories the Lord has given us-and continues to bestow upon us. Somehow it seems my mind is like a recorder.


Your life, the movie


An article from Smithsonian Magazine written by Dr. Wilbur Penfield, director of the Montreal Neurological Institute, explains why I felt that way. He wrote: “Your brain contains a permanent record of your past that is like a single, continuous strip of movie film, complete with sound track. This film library records your whole waking life from childhood on.”


Do you ever have “home movies” from your past running in your mind? Sometimes that’s a good thing, but it can also be painful to be reminded of events and people that have hurt us, or things we have done to injure others.


Perhaps there are incidents in our past that we hope nobody else knows about, and sometimes the devil will replay these hidden shames to torment us.


“Oh, you’re such a bad person,” he says. “Just look at what you did. How can you pretend to be so good when you’re really so rotten?” Revelation 12:10 exposes the devil as the “accuser of our brethren” who accuses us before God day and night. But the good news is that we don’t have to worry about his accusations.


Jack refers to Dr. Penfield’s article in one of the devotionals in his Soul Food book. His comments there certainly helped me better understand the concept of the “book of remembrance” mentioned in the Bible. Truly God is the great Bookkeeper. He has a record of my life in a heavenly book that has my name on it-Rexella Shelton Van Impe. God has kept a record book on all of humanity-every single person who has ever lived.


But just as He has written everything down, good and bad-every failure, fault, and sin-He also has the ability and divine desire to erase everything bad on my record. Oh, praise God for a heavenly eraser that deletes every wrong word or thought or deed!


That eraser, of course, is the blood of Christ. And it washes us clean! It wipes everything off the blackboard!


God’s heavenly eraser leaves no trace behind. Isaiah 1:18 declares, Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow. And Psalm 103:12 says, As far as the east is from the west-and they never meet-so far hath he removed our transgressions from us.


Forgiven and forgotten


When our sins are forgiven, they are forgotten. God promises in Hebrews 10:17-And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more. In fact, the prophet Micah rejoiced that God will cast all our sins into the depths of the sea (Micah 7:19). Then, according to D. L. Moody and Billy Sunday (I don’t know who said it first), He puts up a great-big sign that says, NO FISHING ALLOWED!


God doesn’t want us to go fishing there, looking for and finding the past. He wants us to forget it just as He has. Yet I think that sometimes after God has erased the blackboard of our lives, we keep bringing up events and things that


God doesn’t remember any more. Our human nature has a tendency to go back and keep rerunning the old mental home movies of what we were like before God saved us and made us new creatures through Christ Jesus.


We must learn how to forget the past and look to our future in Christ. The apostle Paul, acknowledging that he was not perfect, cried out, But this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus (Philippians 3:13-14).


Of course, the devil will try to remind us of our past. One of his tools of deception is to keep us looking back. He knows if he can make us feel that our past sins make us unworthy to do anything for God, we cannot be effective in the present.


But we can overcome the devil with our testimony of erased sins through the blood of Christ.


Then God can use our life story-our testimony-to reach other people who need to be set free from the shackles of sin. When others see us walking in victory, it gives them hope.


I heard a story about a little girl who said to her pastor, “I want you to know that I am saved.”


“That’s wonderful, honey,” he said. “Can you tell me which one of my sermons brought you to Christ?”


The little girl replied, “It wasn’t anybody’s preaching-it was my Aunt Mary’s practicing!”


Living the life of Christ day by day is not always easy, but there is such power in our testimony. In Romans 7:19, Paul talks about the struggle he faced every day in doing what was right. For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do. Yet, just a few verses later, he declares, There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit (8:1).


What’s the secret? Being willing to say, “Where’s my eraser?” Jesus came into the world for a purpose-not only to set the example of a perfect life and to show us God on earth and what we can be though Him, but also to erase the blackboard of our lives again and again! I often find myself saying in my prayer, “Lord, thank You for that eraser.”


Let me make it clear that I certainly am not suggesting that we nonchalantly fail more and sin more, expecting God to erase whatever we do. That’s not what I mean at all. The truth is that even when we do our best to live righteously, there are times when we will not make the right choices. And in those times we can and should say, “Where’s my eraser?”


God is much better at forgiving than we are at sinning!


Eugene Peterson, the pastor who produced The Message a contemporary language version of the Bible, observed that “God is much better at forgiving than we are at sinning.”


Even when we think that we have absolutely gone too far, that we’ve really done it this time, or that what we have done is totally unforgivable, God stands waiting for us with open arms. No matter how “good” we have been at sinning, He is much better at forgiving. No matter what we’ve done (or failed to do), it’s never too bad to be forgiven…and to be erased!


Sin brings shame, but confession brings confidence. The Bible says, 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). We can be victorious in the Lord. We can live a life like Aunt Mary that draws others to Jesus. We may have failed yesterday. We may fail today. But we can ask Him to erase our failures and sins.


Then we can begin anew each day.


There’s a beautiful old hymn called, “An Evening Prayer,” that captures the idea of asking God to erase the blackboard of our lives at the end of each day. It says:


If I have wounded any soul today,

If I have caused one foot to go astray,

If I have walked in my own willful way,

Dear Lord, forgive.

Forgive the sins I have confessed to Thee,

Forgive the secret sins I do not see,

O guide me, love me, and my keeper be,

Dear Lord, Amen


Recently I was witnessing to an acquaintance about accepting God’s forgiveness and beginning a new life in Christ. Oh, how this person wanted to do it, but he kept struggling with some really bad sins-truly evil practices-that he feared had ruined his chance for redemption and taken him beyond forgiveness.


God hates sin…but loves sinners


I shared the amazing truth of Romans 5:6-that Christ died for the ungodly. “It’s true that God hates sin,” I told this friend, “but that does not diminish His love for sinners. He died for the very sins that He hates.


“There is nothing in your life that cannot be forgiven-no stains that He cannot erase,” I said. “When God erases your sins and you begin a new life, not only is your future clean, but your past is clean also. That means every mention of your past failure is erased in God’s book. It will never again be found in those heavenly pages where the greatest Bookkeeper of all records your deeds. “


So far the person I’ve been witnessing to has not given his heart to God and accepted Christ as his Savior. I am praying that the Lord will continue to deal with his troubled heart and love him into His kingdom.


The world we live in today is so troubled and filled with strife, so confused and far from God that many people are filled with fear and anxiety. From a natural standpoint, it would be easy to get our blackboard filled up with worry and dread.


If we as believers study and understand the Word, we see that prophecy is coming true. Every day the news points to the coming of the Lord. But those without the Lord-those who do not know that today’s news points to Christ’s coming-must get dreadfully discouraged. There is no hope outside of Christ.


But we do not have to be sad or fearful because Jesus said, Let not your heart be troubled…I will come again (John 14:1, 3). He also declared, These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world (John 16:33).


If we take our eyes off the Lord and start looking at the world around us, then we’re going to falter. The Gospels tell how Peter started walking on the water to Jesus, and then was distracted by the stormy seas and began to sink. The same thing can happen to us. When we get that sinking feeling, like Peter, we need to cry out to the Lord for help. We need to ask him to erase the turmoil and lack of faith in our hearts. The only cure is to say, “Lord, I missed the mark again. Please erase it, forgive it, and help me start again.”


No regrets! No fear!


You know, because of God’s heavenly eraser, we don’t have to regret the past or fear the future. God has forgiven our past, and He is already in our future. But the only way to get to the future is to live today.


We have absolutely no control over what happened yesterday-and to a large extent, we can’t determine what will come tomorrow. The only time we can really use is now, today, where we are living this minute. We wake up every morning to a clean, fresh page God has given us that is labeled TODAY. And, as I’m sure you’ve heard, it is a gift-that’s why it is called the present!


I challenge you to start living your life to the fullest. Because we know the Lord, this is the most exciting time to be alive since the dawn of creation. Give your best to the Lord. Do your best to make a difference in your family, your neighborhood…in your world. Who knows if God has brought you to the world for just such a time as this?


Yes, there will be challenges. There will be times when you don’t know which way to turn or exactly what you should do. But keep on going with your hand in His. Don’t look at the challenges-just keep your eyes and heart on the Lord. The Bible says, Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee (Isaiah 26:3).


That’s where I want to live from now on-how about you?


Remember; don’t be afraid to ask for the eraser when you need it!



CHANGED LIVES-one at a time

Dear Jack & Rexella,


I have been watching your show for about 3 Months now. I wanted to thank you both for not giving the “sugar coated” sermons that so many preachers do these days. I believe also that these are, quite literally, the end of times. I wish you would get to read this E-mail. I know that you and your wife are so busy spreading the Word of God, so I will keep this as brief as possible and due also to my being a born Again Christian (Praise be to the Lord!!!) already. I just want to Thank – you again for telling it like it is! May all of the seeds you spread be planted in good soil and not be destroyed by the “cares of this world”. God bless you always and may he always cover you from all of the attacks of the evil one.


Sincerely,

T. L.

 


Dear Mr. & Mrs. Van Impe,


I anxiously wait for your weekly newsletter. The messages given by Jack are very informative and inspirational and the "From the Heart of" messages from Rexella are heartwarming and uplifting.


Your ministry is essential during these last days. Thank you for your television program as well. The way Jack compares and proves news headlines to biblical passages is amazing!


May God bless you both and all your viewers.

Love in Christ,

E. R.



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