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Today’s Devotional | June 13 | PSALM 107:1-15 | Distress

Today's Devotional

Memory Verse
Then they cried unto the LORD in their trouble, and he delivered them out of their distresses (Psalm 107:6).

Jesus meets the Christian who is in distress. And He understands. He has been there.

Expose your distress to this message from Charles Spurgeon: “God is with us in sorrows. There is no pang that rends the heart, I might almost say, not one which disturbs the body, but what Jesus Christ has been with you in it all.

“Feel the sorrows of poverty? He ‘had not where to lay His head.’ Do you endure the griefs of bereavement? Jesus wept at the tomb of Lazarus. Have you been slandered for righteousness’ sake and has it vexed your spirit? He said, ‘Reproach hath broken Mine heart.’ Have you been betrayed? Do not forget that He, too, had His familiar friend who sold Him for the price of a slave.

“On what stormy seas have you been tossed which have not roared about His boat? Never glen of adversity so dark, so deep, apparently so pathless, but what, in stooping down, you may discover the footprints of the crucified One! In the fires and in the rivers, in the cold of night and under the burning sun, He cries, ‘I am with you; be not dismayed; for I am both thy Companion and thy God!”

The dictionary defines distress as “Acute or extreme suffering or its cause; pain; trouble… an afflicted wretched or exhausted condition; a state of extreme need.”

“Ah,” you say, “that describes me and my troubles exactly.”

Then take heart. You are not the first to endure such heartaches. God delivered others when in distress. That is the promise of our text.

And He will deliver you!

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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    June 12 | II KINGS 6:13-17 | Unseen Allies
    Memory Verse
    And he answered, Fear not: for they that be with us are more than they that be with them (2 Kings 6:16).

    Christians have immense resources in times of trouble. Sadly, we often forget this truth and react as if we had to face our problems alone. Angels must wonder at our frail faith. We have been promised protection and care, yet we fret and worry as if God did not exist. And worry is but another form of atheism.

    Elisha and his servant found themselves surrounded by an army with horses and chariots bent on their destruction. The shaking servant seemed justified in his fears. But Elisha put away his fright by increasing his sight: “And Elisha prayed, and said, LORD, I pray thee, open his eyes, that he may see. And the LORD opened the eyes of the young man; and he saw: and, behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire round about Elisha” (2 Kings 6:17).

    One of the surprises of heaven will be the revelation of God’s goodness to us while we were on earth. When we get the answers to life’s questions, it will amaze us to know how many times our Father has sent His angels to protect and help us in times of need.

    Throwing in the towel when faced with difficulties disregards the effectiveness of our unseen allies. Christians ought not surrender, in view of their heavenly resources. We do not face obstacles alone.

    The next time you’re overwhelmed in a forest of fears, remember your unseen allies.

    The woods are full of them. And their mission is for your good: “Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation?” (Hebrews 1:14).

    June 11 | PSALM 27 | Not Afraid
    Memory Verse
    The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? the LORD is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid? (Psalm 27:1).

    Chrysostom of Constantinople, threatened with exile or death, stated in a sermon at the time of his banishment: “What can I fear? Will it be death? But you know that Christ is my life. Will it be exile? But the earth and all its fullness is the Lord’s. Will it be loss of wealth? But we brought nothing into the world and can carry nothing out. Thus all the terrors of the world are contemptible in my eyes, and I smile at all its good things.”

    He continued: “Poverty I do not fear. Riches I do not sigh for. Death I do not shrink from, and life I do not desire to save only for the process of souls. And so be if they banish me, I shall be like Elijah! If they throw me in the mire, more like Jeremiah. If they plunge me in the sea, like the prophet Jonah! If into the pit, like Daniel! If they stone me, it is Stephen I shall resemble! John the forerunner, if they cut off my head! Paul, if they beat me with stripes! Isaiah, if they saw me asunder.”

    The man of God had captured the meaning of David’s question: Whom shall I fear?

    Of whom are you afraid? Your boss? Your hot-tempered associate at work? Your husband? Your wife? Your creditors? Criminals? Communists?

    They are but people. In Christ, you have the strength of the Lord. You do not need to be afraid!

    June 10 | PSALM 60 | Help
    Memory Verse
    Give us help from trouble: for vain is the help of man (Psalm 60:11).

    Help from friends in times of trouble is always appreciated. Acts of love by others when we are in distress make us aware of the value of friends and fellow Christians, members of the family of God. There is a tie that binds our hearts in Christian love and in John Fawcett’s great hymn, “Blest Be The Tie That Binds,” he speaks of the blessing of helping one another.

    “We share our mutual woes, Our mutual burdens bear;
    And often for each other flows the sympathizing tear.”

    But there are times when the help of man is not enough. Times of trouble come that are beyond the reach of any earthly helping hand. The Psalmist saw those times and said of them, “...vain is the help of man”.

    Jesus specialized in helping those who had been given up by others. He healed ten lepers who were outcasts from their people. He raised the daughter of Jairus who had died. He restored health to a woman who had spent all her living on physicians seeking help. He called dead Lazarus from the grave after he had been dead four days.

    You may be facing a problem that is beyond the help of man. Friends have been sympathetic, but your burden remains. Doctors have done their best to no avail. Financial experts have figured and refigured and have found no way out but bankruptcy.

    Counselors have exhausted their training and wisdom and your problems still is not solved.

    It’s time to call on the Lord in faith. Many have stood where you stand now and have been rescued by the Saviour. Long prayers are not required. Just call for help.

    As the Lord answers, honor Him before others. Witness to His faithfulness. Your troubles will turn to triumph through the help of the Lord!

    June 9 | PSALM 42 | Hope Thou In God
    Memory Verse
    Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted within me? hope thou in God (Psalm 42:11).

    What was it that upset you last week? A harsh word? Fear of embarrassment of shame? Disappointment? Whatever it was that broke into your peaceful haven and made waves, you now know the result.

    You lost hours of time that could have been filled with useful service. Your family was affected because you were upset. You said things that you cannot call back. You were less efficient in your daily work.

    You should have learned a lesson from that experience, but, more than likely, you will be human enough to fall into that old trap again. When it happens, you may be disgusted with yourself. You may wonder why it has happened. You may find David’s questions coming from your lips: “Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted within me?”

    The answers to the psalmist’s questions are not given. Only the antidote: “...hope thou in God...”

    While we cannot prevent problems from coming our way, we can be prepared to meet them. Paul wrote: “We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair” (II Corinthians 4:8). He had trouble, but was triumphant.

    God is interested in the daily irritations that bug you. Tell Him about them. You’ll find that sharing them with Him will ease the burden.

    Hope thou in God!

    June 8 | DEUTERONOMY 31:1-8 | The Unfailing One
    Memory Verse
    And the LORD, he it is that doth go before thee; he will be with thee, he will not fail thee, neither forsake thee: fear not, neither be dismayed (Deuteronomy 31:8).

    George Frederick Handel, the great musician, lost his health; his right side was paralyzed; his money was gone; and his creditors seized and threatened to imprison him. Handel was so disheartened by his tragic experiences that he almost despaired. But his faith prevailed. In his affliction, he composed his greatest work, The Hallelujah Chorus, which is part of his great, Messiah.

    The list is long of those who have overcome handicaps and gone on to achievement and success through trust in the Lord. Annie Johnson Flint, afflicted with pain and suffering, wrote the much used “He Giveth More Grace,” and many other wonderful poems. Fanny Crosby was blind but composed more than 8,000 published hymns. Helen Keller, shortly before her sixteenth birthday, expressed pity for the real unseeing, for those who have eyes still often do not see. She said, “If the blind put their hand in God’s, they find their way more surely than those who see but have not faith or purpose.”

    What has been the secret of these conquerors?

    They have understood that God is still in charge of the future. Refusing to be defeated by their fears, they have dared trust Him to accomplish great things in spite of their problems. And He has rewarded their faith.

    Some choose to major on their problems, drawing back from contacts with other people and choosing the imprisonment of fear. Perhaps you are one of them. What a good day to place your future in the hands of the Unfailing One. He will not forsake you.

    And you will not fail!

    June 7 | PSALM 32 | Preserved
    Memory Verse
    Thou art my hiding place; thou shalt preserve me from trouble; thou shalt compass me about with songs of deliverance (Psalm 32:7).

    When Mary Selleck of Chula Vista, California, neared her 100th birthday, she expressed poetically her trust in the provident care of God:

    “I do not know what the future holds
    Of joy or pain,

    Of loss or gain,
    Along life’s untrod way;
    But I believe
    I can receive
    God’s promised guidance day by day,
    So I securely travel on.

    And if, at times, the journey leads
    Through waters deep,

    Or mountains steep,
    I know this unseen Friend,
    His love revealing,
    His presence healing,
    Walks with me to the journey’s end,
    So I securely travel on.”

    Heaven will hold many surprises. Looking back on earth’s journey, we will be amazed and thankful at the knowledge that God has miraculously preserved us when trouble would have overtaken us. Our present burdens may seem heavy, but even these have been screened by the permissive will of our loving Lord.

    June 6 | PSALM 31 | He Knows
    Memory Verse
    I will glad and rejoice in thy mercy: for thou hast considered my trouble; thou hast known my soul in adversities (Psalm 31:7).

    You thought you were suffering alone.

    The bills have been mounting. Your health has been shaky. Family problems eat away at your peace of mind. World conditions have made you worried. Your job isn’t all that secure. And your savings are being depleted.

    Take heart

    God knows.

    He also knows the state of your spiritual life. And intends that these burdens build you up in the faith. Matthew Henry has written: “God looks upon our souls, when we are in trouble, to see whether they are humbled for sin, and made better by the affliction. Every believer will meet with such dangers and deliverances, until he is delivered from death, his last enemy.”

    C. H. Spurgeon said, “Trials are the ballast of life. The burdened vessel may sail slowly, but she sails safely. Without the ballast of trial men are apt to blow over. Ballast yourself with sympathy, if you have no trials of your own.

    Since God has considered your troubles... knows them, it is certain that they have not taken Him by surprise. Nothing slips up on God. And we belong to Him. He will not allow us to face more than we can bear. Henry Ward Beecher concluded: “No physician ever weighed out medicine to his patients with half so much care and exactness as God weighs out to us every trial, Not one grain too much does He ever permit to be put in the scale.”

    Rejoice. He knows and cares!

    Week 24 | “Just a Cup of Coffee, Please!”

    The news media often calls attention to the
    large number of homeless and hungry people
    in our nation's big cities. The scenes of
    people sleeping on benches, huddling in
    cardboard boxes, or looking through garbage cans
    for food are pitiful and troubling. While many
    of these individuals have ended up on the
    street through misfortunes beyond their
    control, even sadder are the cases who are there
    largely by choice.

    As I prayed and thought about this
    problem, it occurred to me that while not homeless
    and destitute, most of us, in a spiritual sense,
    have gotten by with just a cup of coffee and a
    morsel of bread when we could have been
    feasting on God's plentiful banquet of spiritual
    manna. As the Apostle James observes, Ye
    have not, because ye ask not
    (James 4:2).

    My husband, Jack, and I have a favorite
    little "home cookin'" cafe we often visit when
    it's just the two of us. It's not fancy at all, but
    it's a cozy, comfortable place where we can
    relax -- and the food is good. We go there
    often enough that we know most of the
    waitresses and many of the regular customers.

    For weeks we noticed that a certain man
    was almost always in the cafe, sitting at the
    counter. He looked as if he might be
    homeless, usually dressed in worn, slightly shabby
    clothes which probably hadn't been laundered
    in weeks. He was always alone -- never did
    we see him with a friend or ever having a
    conversation with others at the counter. His
    countenance was drawn and sad, and one could
    sense that he had known much sorrow in his
    lifetime. The waitresses told us he ate only
    once a day -- the rest of the time he just drank
    coffee..."buy one cup and the refills are free."

    Jack and I felt terribly sorry for this man.
    One night as we were having a light dinner,
    we looked over at him sitting alone at the
    counter, nursing his coffee cup, and it made us
    sad. My hubby called a waitress over and
    said, "Give that man the best dinner in the
    house and bring me the bill. Let him pick out
    anything on the menu and tell him a friend has
    picked up the tab."

    "No, Dr. Van Impe, you don't need to do
    that," said the waitress.

    "But I want to," he answered. "He looks
    like he needs a good meal, and I'd just like to
    help him a little."

    "You don't understand," she said. "That is
    Mr. _____________" (and she named a very well-known
    and wealthy local family). "His father
    owned much of the land that is now the City
    of Troy -- he's the heir to millions!"

    "But he looks so underprivileged!" I exclaimed.

    "Yes, I know," said the waitress, "but he's
    really a multimillionaire. He lives like a
    pauper by choice."

    I haven't seen that poor, sad man lately,
    but recently I've been thinking about his situation.
    Could it be that many Christians are
    living like spiritual paupers when they could be
    enjoying God's manifest blessings every day
    of their lives? Are they settling for just a cup
    of coffee when they could be feasting at the
    Lord's banquet table?

    As we face the future, are we anxious
    about what lies ahead? Will it be a time of
    happiness and blessing...or endless loneliness
    and deprivation?

    Change your wardrobe

    The old man in the cafe was dressed in
    worn, shabby clothes. Yet he could have been
    wearing the finest suit from the best tailor in town.

    What are you wearing? The Prophet Isaiah
    said, I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, my soul
    shall be joyful in my God; for he hath clothed
    me with the garments of salvation, he hath
    covered me with the robe of righteousness, as
    a bridegroom decketh himself with ornaments,
    and as a bride adorneth herself with her jewels

    (Isaiah 61:10).

    Clothe yourself in the wardrobe God has
    provided for you. Get dressed in His
    rightousness and see what a change His garments
    will make in your whole outlook on life.
    You'll discover a new awareness of God as
    your Sustainer and Protector. You'll stand
    taller and walk in trust and confidence.

    So resolve to stop dressing like the world
    and get clothed in.His righteousness.

    Put sadness aside

    The old man in the cafe looked so sad, as
    if the weight of the world was on his
    shoulders. Yes, from a worldly perspective, he had
    everything. He was from a prominent family,
    with every possible financial advantage at his
    disposal. If money could buy happiness, he
    could have had it all.

    Christianity is the most joyful of all the
    world's religions. Yet we often manage to
    make it appear the most sad and mournful by
    our actions and our countenance. Mark Twain
    once had his famous character, Huck Finn,
    wondering if the mule in the barn had "got
    religion" because of its long face!

    The psalmist exults, Thou hast put
    gladness in my heart. For he satisfieth the longing
    soul, and filleth the hungry soul with goodness

    (Psalm 4:7; 107:9).

    I think we sometimes develop a bad habit
    of letting our faces reflect the care and
    confusion of the world around us instead of the joy
    and peace of the Lord welling up within us.

    If we have full access to God's goodness,
    gladness, and blessedness, shouldn't our faces
    show it?

    As Christians, our future is as bright as the
    promises of God. And the Word of God is
    filled with wonderful promises. Some of my
    favorites include Christ's promise: Lo, I am
    with you alway, even unto the end of the world

    (Matthew 28:20) and also God's assurance
    that as thy days, so shall thy strength be
    (Deuteronomy 33:25).

    If we believe God, we have something to
    smile about.

    Be a friend

    In all the times we observed the old man
    in the cafe, Jack and I never saw him with
    a friend...or ever being friendly with those
    around him. While others had pleasant
    conversations and shared personal things with
    each other, the old man sat alone, without a
    friend. How sad.

    But while true friendship is measured by
    more than "hellos" and conversations, some
    people have no friends because they will let
    no one get close to them.

    As the writer of Proverbs observes, A man
    that hath friends must show himself friendly:
    and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a
    brother
    (Proverbs 18:24).

    One must be a friend to others to have
    friends who will share fellowship and
    companionship in return. And this is an important
    part of life. But even if earthly friends do fail
    in times of trouble, we can be secure in knowing
    that we can have a friend who will stick
    closer than a brother, in good times and bad.

    We know we can count on Him because
    He has said, I will never leave thee, nor
    forsake thee
    (Hebrews 13:5).

    When we have such a Friend, why don't
    we rely on Him more? In the words of the
    grand old gospel song, "What a Friend We
    Have in Jesus,"


    Oh, what peace we often forfeit,

    Oh, what needless pain we bear,

    All because we do not carry

    Everything to God in prayer.

    Eat heartily

    I don't think I'll ever forget the old man in
    the cafe, scrimping by on one meal a day,
    when he could have had anything on the
    menu, anytime he wanted it. Yet he'd order
    "Just a cup of coffee, please" and ask for free
    refills. How tragic to see a multimillionaire
    going hungry.

    But how much more tragic to have the
    riches of heaven at our disposal and go
    through life starving ourselves spiritually! Do
    you have a Bible? Of course, you do. Are
    you feasting daily on the abundant nourish-
    ment found there...or do you hurriedly pull out
    a single scripture card and glance at it before
    you dash out into the day?

    Compare your biblical diet with
    Jeremiah's. He said, Thy words were found, and I
    did eat them; and thy word was unto me the
    joy and rejoicing of mine heart: for I am
    called by thy name, O Lord God of hosts

    (Jeremiah 15:16).

    Don't settle for just a cup of coffee -- eat
    heartily -- even as the Apostle Peter
    admonished us to do in 1 Peter 2:2, stating: As
    newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the
    word, that ye may grow thereby.
    The psalmist
    concurs, saying, O taste and see that the Lord
    is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in
    him
    (Psalm 34:8).

    I heard the story of a man whose dream
    was to go to America. For years he saved his
    money to buy passage on a ship. Finally he
    had just enough, with only a small amount left
    over.

    He took part of the little money he had left
    and bought some bread and cheese he could
    take on board. By careful rationing, he
    thought there would be just enough to last
    through the voyage.

    So he set sail, glad to finally be going to
    the "promised land." Other passengers were
    festive and happy, going into the ship's dining
    room to eat wonderful meals, and strolling
    about the decks, laughing and having
    refreshments together.

    The man would go to his little cabin at
    mealtime and eat stale bread and hard cheese.

    But he had miscalculated the length of the
    voyage, and a few days before the ship was to
    arrive in New York harbor, he ran out of food.
    He drank water and did without for a day or
    so. Then he got so hungry he didn't think he
    could last. So he scraped together all the
    money he had left -- several coins -- and went to a
    steward in the dining room.

    "Excuse me, please," he said. "Is this
    enough money to buy just a little bit to eat?
    I've run out of food and I'm very hungry."
    The steward said, "Sir, you do not need to
    pay extra to eat in the dining room. Your
    meals were paid for in the price of your
    ticket."

    I urge you to begin living up to your
    privileges in God. Jesus Christ paid for them in the
    price of your passage to heaven!

    Blessing, gladness, satisfaction, goodness,
    and all other spiritual pleasures are yours.
    Happy is he that hath the God of Jacob for
    his help, whose hope is in the Lord his God

    (Psalm 146:5).

    Week 23 | Right Where I Am!

    You and I are missionaries.

    We really are -- we have been called to
    share the gospel and help win lost and
    unsaved people to Christ on the mission fields of
    the earth.

    I can almost hear someone saying, "Oh,
    Rexella, I could never be a missionary and do
    great things for the Lord in some far country.
    I don't have eloquent words or deep spiritual
    wisdom, and I'll probably never have the
    opportunity to go very far away from my own
    neighborhood. So there's really not very
    much I can do."

    Do the little things

    My response is simple -- we can pay attention
    to little things. I have been so challenged
    by the admonition of Horatio Bonar, who
    said -- "It is well to remember that a holy life
    is made up of a number of small things. Little
    words -- not eloquent speeches or sermons.
    Little deeds -- not miracles in battles. Deeds --
    not one great heroic act of martyrdom -- make
    up most Christian lives."

    Isn't that tremendous? God is looking for
    someone to do the little deeds and say the
    simple things about Jesus -- to live the everyday
    life of faith in their neighborhood. Don't
    belittle the opportunity He has given you. As
    the prophet said, For who hath despised the
    day of small things?
    (Zechariah 4:10).

    Some years ago when Jack and I were
    conducting citywide crusades, I began to feel a
    strange yearning inside my being -- a sense of
    unrest, of being unfulfilled. I couldn't
    understand it. We were on the road up to nine
    months out of the year, ministering to
    thousands of people every night. I was part of the
    team -- I stood and sang to great crowds and
    sensed the presence of the Holy Spirit using
    my songs to speak to many precious souls.
    Along with this, I had the extreme pleasure
    each crusade of speaking to ladies' luncheons
    and various organizations. I found extreme
    joy in seeing many coming to the Lord during
    those afternoons.

    Yet my inner spirit was not at peace. I felt
    a hunger to have a one-to-one experience of
    witnessing, to personally lead people to the
    Lord. As I prayed and sought God's guidance,
    the Lord seemed to say to me, "Yes, Rexella,
    there is a mission field for you outside the
    crusades. That mission field is right where you
    are -- in the grocery store, at the shopping
    center, the coffee shop, or wherever you find
    yourself. The people you meet in these places
    need to know Me."

    The Holy Spirit impressed on me that I
    needed to be aware of His leading and be
    ready to witness in the way He led me. For
    me, witnessing is not having a handful of
    gospel tracts to pass out on the sidewalk or
    asking a stranger passing by if I can explain
    the five spiritual laws and lead him to the
    Lord. Don't misunderstand me -- I believe in
    using tracts and in being bold in sharing my
    testimony at times. But I've found that just
    showing love and being interested in people --
    getting to know them -- prepares the way and
    makes more effective witnessing opportunities.
    How can I hope to lead a person to the
    Lord until I show enough genuine interest in
    her (or him) to get to know her?

    A sales girl in a store I sometimes visit
    said to me one day, "Mrs. Van Impe, you're
    the only one who ever really looks at me."

    Sow good seeds

    It's important to use the tools of kindness
    and simple friendship to break the ground and
    till the soil. Then you plant a seed or two, and
    water them faithfully with the Word of God.
    The day will come when those seeds will
    grow and be ready to harvest. You may have
    the opportunity of reaping -- or someone else
    may be there at just the right moment to lead
    that person to Christ. As the great Apostle
    Paul wrote, I have planted, Apollos watered;
    but God gave the increase
    (1 Corinthians 3:6).

    One of the sweetest compliments I've ever
    received came from a dear lady who is not of
    our faith. I have tried to let my life witness to
    her for several years as she has waited on me
    at one of my favorite stores.

    As I stood talking with her one day, another
    customer came up, purchased something,
    and asked, "May I have one of those special
    shopping bags?"

    "I'm so sorry," said my friend. "You have
    to make a purchase of at least $15 to get the
    decorative bag."

    I said to the lady, "Oh, please take my
    shopping bag. You seem to like it and I have
    others at home."

    The lady behind the counter smiled at the
    customer and said, "Let me introduce you to
    Mrs. Van Impe, she's a real Christian." I
    found that her words warmed my heart and
    blessed my soul.

    I've found that when I show love and quietly
    minister in little ways to the people who
    cross my path, the Lord satisfies the yearning
    of my heart to be used to win someone to Him.

    Although I've tried to be a good witness to
    everyone I possibly could, it had been a long
    while since I'd personally prayed with an
    individual to accept the Lord. There is no greater
    thrill than this!

    I am humbly grateful for the opportunity
    Jack and I have to be on international TV and
    to share the gospel to a great viewing audience
    each week. We receive thousands of letters
    each week, many from people who say they
    accepted the Lord as they watched our program.

    Lead souls to Jesus

    But there's nothing like leading someone
    to Jesus on a one-to-one basis. And that
    happened during an Open House event at our
    headquarters. A dear lady came up to me and
    introduced me to her grandson, who was about
    21 years of age.

    "I'd like for my grandson to be baptized," she said.

    I looked at the young man and asked,
    "Why do you want to be baptized?"

    "Oh," he said, obviously wishing to please
    his grandmother, "I think it would be a nice
    thing to do."

    I said, "Well, according to the Bible,
    before you're baptized there are some things
    that have to happen. Have you been born again?"

    "No," he replied.

    "Do you know what that means?"

    "No, I don't."

    "Would you like to know?"

    "Yes," he said, "I really would."

    So the young man and I, along with a couple
    of other believers, went into my office and
    knelt down beside a chair. I explained the
    simple plan of salvation to him -- how Jesus
    died to provide forgiveness of all sin. Then I
    asked if he needed the Lord.

    "Oh, yes," he said, "I have done so many
    things wrong. I really want to accept Jesus as
    my Saviour."

    So we prayed the sinner's prayer together,
    and that young man became a Christian. I
    don't know who was the happiest -- he or I
    or his grandmother! It was wonderful.

    Be a witness in your "world"

    This can happen to you, too. You have a
    mission field to work for the Lord...right
    where you are. The Bible says, The steps of a
    good man
    [or woman] are ordered by the
    Lord: and he delighteth in his way
    (Psalm
    37:23). Think of it -- you don't take a single
    step by accident. God sends you wherever
    you go for a reason. Someone in your "world"
    needs to see the witness of your life and to
    hear your testimony in your everyday
    conversation. Don't ever forget this. The Bible says,
    Moreover it is required in stewards, that a
    man
    [or woman] be found faithful (1 Corinthians 4:2).

    I read recently about a famous preacher
    who concluded a powerful sermon in a revival
    meeting and gave an invitation. A woman of
    great wealth and social distinction came down
    the aisle and asked if she could say a few words.

    "I want you to know why I came forward
    tonight. It is not because of any word spoken
    by this good preacher. I stand here because of
    the influence of a little woman who sits before
    me. Her fingers are rough with toil, the hard
    work of many years has stooped her low.
    She's just a poor, obscure washer woman who
    has served in my home for many years. I have
    never known her to be impatient, speak an
    unkind word, or do a dishonorable deed. But I
    know countless little acts of unselfish love that
    adorn her life.

    "Shamefully, let me say that I have openly
    sneered in her face and laughed at her fidelity
    to God. Yet, when my little girl was taken
    away recently, it was this woman who caused
    me to look beyond the grave and shed my first
    tear of hope. The sweet magnetism of her life
    has led me to Christ. I covet the things that
    have made her life so beautiful."

    When the woman finished speaking, the
    great preacher got up and said, "My friends,
    let me introduce you to the real preacher of the
    evening," and he had the little washer woman stand.

    How effective a missionary this humble
    laundress was! Her life was a powerful
    witness right where she worked. She found her
    mission field without ever leaving home.
    You and I can do the same thing if we will
    pay attention to little things...and live for
    Christ where we are. Remember, before the
    Lord told His disciples to go unto the
    uttermost part of the earth,
    He asked them to be
    witnesses unto Him in Jerusalem, and in all
    Judaea, and in Samaria
    (Acts 1:8).

    He has not changed His plan or His
    commission! He has called you to be His witness,
    starting in your own neighborhood, to the
    people of your own town, to your own "world."

    Say not ye, There are yet four months, and
    then cometh harvest? behold, I say unto you,
    Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for
    they are white already to harvest
    (John 4:35).

    Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest,
    that he will send forth labourers into his
    harvest
    (Matthew 9:38).

    When you pray this prayer, be ready to
    have it answered by God tapping YOU on the
    shoulder! Isaiah told of hearing the voice of
    God, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will
    go for us? Then said I, Here am I; send me.
    And he said, Go, and tell this people)
    Isaiah 6:8,9).

    Can you hear the voice of God today?
    Listen with the ears of your heart. Then take
    my hand, and let's get going to our mission
    field...right where we are!

    Week 22 | Were You There?

    One of my favorite songs often heard at
    Easter time is the beautiful old black spiritual,
    "Were You There?" The simple but haunting
    words of this great classic remind us of the
    suffering and sacrifice of our Lord at Calvary,
    as well as the triumphant victory of His
    Resurrection.

    Because Christ suffered and died -- notfor
    His own sins but for yours and mine -- in a
    very real sense we were there at Golgotha on
    that awesome day of destiny nearly 2,000
    years ago. And it is important that we remind
    ourselves of what happened there -- of the
    death that gave us life...of the penalty paid that
    set us free.

    Were you there at the place of

    the skull which became the place of life everlasting?
    Dr. Van Impe and I have gone to the outer
    edge of the old city of Jerusalem to Golgotha,
    the place of the skull, to view the place where
    Jesus died for us. Perhaps it is only fitting
    that today there is an ancient cemetery on top
    of this rugged, rocky hill. And sure enough,
    when viewed from below at enough distance
    for good perception, the shape of Mt. Calvary
    is much like a human skull!

    When I was there, the ugly reality of what
    really happened to Jesus on that spot struck
    me. He was tortured, maimed, and killed
    there. He was mocked and humiliated, then
    nailed to a rough-hewn cross. His blood
    poured out and stained the wood, the rocks,
    and the ground.

    Not long ago a friend of mine asked, "But
    why did Jesus have to die?" The answer is
    clear -- mankind sinned, and the Bible says the
    wages of sin is death
    (Romans 6:23).

    For centuries God allowed men to sacrifice
    the blood of animals as a temporary covering
    for their sins. This was an imperfect sacrifice,
    with limited efficacy. The blood of goats and
    calves could not take away sin (see Hebrews 10:4).

    Only the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, the
    perfect, sinless, Son of God, was pure and holy
    enough to wash away the stain of sin for all
    mankind. No wonder John the Baptist, upon
    seeing Jesus, cried out, Behold the Lamb of
    God, which taketh away the sin of the world

    (John 1:29).

    Because of Christ's willing sacrifice, the
    place of death became the place of life -- yes,
    everlasting life -- for all who receive the Lord.

    Were you there for the noonday darkness

    where we received the Light of the world?   The gospels tell us that Christ was
    crucified at 9:00 a.m. and that from noon until 3:00
    p.m., darkness covered the earth! Imagine the
    daylight hours as dark as midnight, when there
    was no light in the heavens and the sun
    refused to shine. When the "light of the world"
    was dying, darkness was everywhere!

    Darkness symbolizes trouble and
    despair, fear and hopelessness. We've all gone
    through dark days when it seemed there was
    no way out of our desperate situation, and
    everything around us looked black. Jesus
    tasted of that awful darkness for us, when there
    was no joy or no hope. But in the midst of
    the darkest hour in all of human history, He
    brought new light!

    How fitting that the Prophet Isaiah was
    anointed by the Spirit of God to look down the
    corridors of time to the coming of Jesus and
    proclaim, The people that walked in darkness
    have seen a great light: they that dwell in the
    land of the shadow of death, upon them hath
    the light shined
    (Isaiah 9:2).

    Today the world seems dark again. I know
    people who don't even want to watch the news
    on TV or read the newspaper because
    everything looks so black and bleak. If ever we
    needed the light of the world, it's today.
    There's no other way out of the darkness. But
    if we follow Him, we can live in the joy of His
    sunshine in our lives.

    Were you there at the place where Jesus

    said, "I thirst," and from which now comes
    living water?   One of the worst forms of human suffering
    is to be thirsty. I remember being in Israel
    while we were taping a TV special. On a
    blindingly bright, blistering hot day (120
    degrees Fahrenheit), I was recording a song on a
    hill overlooking Masada. The sun beat down
    mercilessly, and the desert wind swirled the
    sand around us.

    After a while I got so thirsty I could hardly
    speak, much less sing. My mouth was almost
    too dry to swallow -- it felt like waves of
    desperation mounting until I was finally given
    something to drink.

    I thought of Jesus hanging on a cross, after
    having been beaten with whips, crowned with
    cruel thorns, and nailed to the beams that
    suspended Him between heaven and earth. In the
    midst of the agony of crucifixion, He also was
    stricken with thirst.

    When they offered Jesus a drink, He
    realized that it contained something to help dull
    the pain of His suffering -- and He refused it.
    He allowed nothing to keep Him from experiencing
    the utter depths of the thirsty soul.

    All of us have a thirst within that cannot be
    satisfied except by the Living Water of God.
    We may drink from the waters of pleasure and
    ambition, even taste the wine of riches and
    self-indulgence. But nothing earth has to offer
    can quench the thirsting of our souls.

    Jesus said, Whosoever drinketh of the
    water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but
    the water that I shall give him shall be in him
    a well of water springing up into everlasting
    life
    (John 4:14).

    Were you there for the weeping and

    sorrow which led to joy and blessings?   The cross of Calvary was a place of
    weeping and sorrow. The Bible says that women
    stood weeping at the foot of the cross. The
    disciples of Jesus were also overcome with
    sorrow. No doubt there were those who had
    been healed, taught, and blessed by the Lord
    who looked on that day. Their hearts must
    have been broken to see this Miracle Worker
    dying. And other followers who thought Jesus
    was to be Israel's new leader and deliverer
    must have been bitterly disappointed, too.
    "What's happening?" they cried. "We thought
    this was our Messiah!"

    But if Jesus had not experienced such great
    sorrow, He would never have understood the
    sorrows of mankind. Isaiah prophesied, He is
    despised and rejected of men; a man of
    sorrows, and acquainted with grief...surely he
    hath borne our griefs, and carried our
    sorrows
    (Isaiah 53:3,4).

    Because of His sacrifice, we know that all
    our tears will be wiped away and our sorrow
    replaced by divine joy. Thank God, the
    psalmist wrote, Weeping may endure for a
    night, but joy cometh in the morning
    (Psalm 30:5).

    Were you there for the time of anguish

    which provides our comfort?   On Calvary, Jesus gave His body and soul
    as a sacrifice for us. He suffered unendurable
    sorrow and pain. Here He bore our sins. We
    cannot even imagine what it was like for the
    Perfect One, God in the flesh, to feel the
    defilement of every sin in the universe. Here
    was Jesus, who never did cheat, steal, lie,
    commit adultery, or do any other sin, suddenly
    burdened with the vileness and degradation
    of the whole world -- for every person who
    would ever live!

    It was absolutely overwhelming. No
    wonder the Saviour cried out, My God, my God,
    why hast thou forsaken me?
    (Matthew 27:46).
    God the Father had to turn His head because
    He could not look on sin (see Isaiah 59:2). So
    Jesus endured that anguish...alone. And
    because He took our sins, we can now come to God.

    Jesus knows the awful sadness and bitterness
    sin produces. And because He took our
    sins upon himself, He can comfort us in any
    situation. The Word of God says, For we have
    not an high priest which cannot be touched
    with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in
    all points tempted like as we are, yet without
    sin. Let us therefore come boldly unto the
    throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy,
    and find grace to help in time of need

    (Hebrews 4:15,16).

    Were you there at the place of punishment

    from whence comes redemption?   The penalty for sin is death! That punishment
    must be endured -- that penalty must be
    paid. And that was the reason for Christ's
    death on the cross -- the purpose of Calvary.
    On that day, the place of punishment became
    the place of redemption for all mankind...for
    the whole world.

    Without the gallows of Golgotha there
    could be no salvation, no forgiveness for sin,
    no redemption.

    The old spiritual concludes by asking,
    "Were you there when He rose up from the
    grave?" Thank God, through Christ our Lord,
    we were there!

    Through His sacrifice, we've faced death
    and overcome it with life everlasting.

    We've gone through the darkness of this
    world and moved into His marvelous light.

    We've overcome the desperation of
    unquenchable thirst by receiving a well of living
    water springing up within our souls.

    We've found the only source of joy and
    blessings that overcomes life's sorrows, and
    the only comfort in the time of anguish and
    tears.

    And we've met Jesus at the place of
    punishment and found it has become a place of
    redemption.

    Only by going to Calvary to see what
    Christ has done for us can we really experience
    the full joy of Easter! Were YOU there?

    Oh, truly, "sometimes it causes me to
    tremble" to realize how much we owe...how
    rich we are. My mind can scarcely comprehend
    the wonder of it all. How marvelous!

    No wonder Jesus commissioned us to go
    tell this great good news to every person in all
    the world! Let's go tell it to all who will hear!

    Week 21 | Seeing America Without Rose-Colored Glasses

    Not long ago Dr. Van Impe and I were
    having dinner in a little restaurant near our
    home. As we were eating, a friend of ours
    came in with her little granddaughter for their
    evening meal.

    The little girl ran up to me and exclaimed,
    "Oh, Mrs. Van Impe, see my new sunglasses!
    They make everything look so pretty."

    I had to smile at her childish exuberance.
    And after our darling little friend went with
    her grandmother to their own table, I exclaimed
    to my husband, "No wonder everything
    appears so pretty to her -- she's looking
    through rose-colored glasses!"

    Each year we celebrate the birth of the
    United States and our nation's independence.
    As we gratefully consider the blessings and
    benefits of living in our great land, it's easy to
    allow our view of America to be colored just a
    bit too rosy.

    Having traveled in 50 countries around the
    world, I must say that each time I return to my
    beloved homeland I am tempted to look at
    America through rose-colored glasses. At
    times I've actually had to restrain myself from
    running from the plane and kissing the
    ground, as I thanked God for America.

    But I recognize that my country has some
    alarming faults and problems. While the
    United States may seem to be in great shape
    when compared to all the other countries in
    the world, when we measure ourselves against
    God's standard there is much cause for
    concern.

    It seems to me there has been too much
    compromising -- too much relaxation among
    all our citizens.

    We've relaxed our attitude toward hard
    work and doing our best. We've lowered our
    standards of excellence and discarded our
    pride of accomplishment.

    Do you ever feel that American workers
    are more interested in time off and leisure
    activities than in the quantity and quality of
    the work they do? Someone has said the
    prevailing attitude now seems to be, "Don't put
    yourself out -- that's good enough."

    And while most Americans are still generous
    and helpful to people suffering need or
    calamity, there is a growing tendency to look
    the other way and say, "It's none of my
    business" or "I don't want to get involved."

    I'm also concerned that our society -- in
    the name of tolerance and individual liberty --
    has stood by and let our community standards
    of decency, morality, and ethics be trampled
    underfoot by vulgar, unscrupulous, and
    dishonest men. When will we learn there is no
    virtue in failing to stand up for what we
    believe? There is no right way to do the wrong
    thing!

    It's time for us to wake up, rise up, speak
    up! It's time to take off our rose-colored
    glasses and look at our nation, our neighborhood,
    and our home in the cold, clear light of
    day. It's time to start seeing ourselves through
    God's eyes -- the way he sees us!

    How can we make America better? I
    believe with all my heart we must stop waiting
    for someone else to take action and do what
    we can, where we are! After all, a nation is
    people, and we can influence people. We can
    win them, lead them, guide them. And the
    best way to accomplish that is by our own
    personal example.

    Be a Christian example of a good citizen

    The Apostle Paul urged: Be thou an
    example of the believers, in word, in conversation,
    in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity

    (1 Timothy 4:12).

    That verse doesn't need much explaining,
    does it? Our very word, deed, and attitude
    must be Christ-like and set a leadership
    pattern that will inspire those around us. Paul
    went on to say in verse 16, For in doing this
    thou shalt both save thyself, and them that
    hear thee.

    The thirteenth chapter of Romans deals
    with our Christian duty to the state and the
    duties of citizenship. We are instructed to
    obey the government and the laws of the land,
    and to pay our taxes.

    As Christians, we should pray about
    everything that touches our lives and others. Our
    desire should always be for God's will to be
    done. I believe we should pray for those in
    authority over us, including our President, and
    state and local officials.

    By being good Christians in our daily
    walk, we really can make America a better
    and stronger nation.

    Get involved in the issues
    that shape America

    Throughout the Bible, God expected His
    people to be involved in their country. When
    a nation was threatened by an enemy force,
    the king himself led the army. The citizens
    made up the ranks, or supplied needed
    provisions...then honored the heroes and celebrated
    the victory!

    It's time we as Christians get more
    involved in every aspect of our country. It is
    right that we let our voices be heard on
    matters concerning religious freedom. But we
    must also be interested and actively involved
    in the social, moral, and political issues affecting
    America.

    Recently I heard about a group of citizens
    in Oklahoma who were concerned about the
    blatant pornography being openly displayed in
    convenience stores before the curious eyes of
    children. They spoke out against it! So
    effective were their efforts that one chain of stores
    removed the offensive magazines from its
    shelves altogether, others moved them behind
    the counter, out of sight -- and the city government
    began drafting an ordinance to control
    the display and sale of sexually-oriented publications.

    In thousands of schools, businesses,
    churches, and homes across our nation,
    multitudes of people have gotten involved in a
    grass roots effort to help the starving millions
    in Ethiopia and other famine-stricken African
    countries. One school in New York received
    national attention when its students (all from
    poor or low income homes) raised several
    hundred thousand dollars to buy and transport
    food to Africa. Their example inspired similar
    efforts in communities from coast to coast.

    Involvement is tremendously fulfilling
    personally -- and it gets things done. Look
    around you for what needs to be done...and set
    out to do it!

    Let's have revival!

    I love to read about the impact some of the
    great men of God had upon our country in
    their day. The record shows that when spiritual
    giants like Whitefield, Wesley, Finney, and
    a host of others conducted their great revivals
    in America, they closed down the saloons, and
    crime decreased.

    Now we often have so-called evangelistic
    meetings that have almost no impact -- some
    church members aren't even aware there is a
    meeting going on!

    Our nation needs a revival of old-fashioned,
    Bible-based, life-changing salvation,
    and faith in God. The people of the United
    States need a renewed appreciation for God's
    goodness and an increased awareness of their
    dependence upon Him.

    You and I must be part of a new emphasis
    on evangelism and the Church, on winning
    people to Christ. The more people we get to
    accept the Lord Jesus, the better our country is
    going to be.

    We must start where we are -- in our house,
    our neighborhood, our community. Perhaps it
    is true that we personally cannot reach the
    entire world -- but we can reach our world.

    I love that beautiful song that expresses the
    prayer, "Let there be peace on earth, and let it
    begin with me." Each of us can adapt that
    prayer and cry out, "Let there be revival in
    America, and let it start in my house...in my heart."

    Oh, may we love our country and its
    people in a real, practical way, like we've never
    loved before. Let's take off our rose-colored
    glasses and see America as God sees it. Let's
    allow Him to wash our eyes with tears of
    repentance and intercession.

    Let's join hands across this nation and
    work together for Christ until we make our
    country God's country!