- Memory Verse
- And to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, even Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come (I Thessalonians 1:10).
In 1860 the French scientist, Pierre Berchelt, said, “Within a hundred years of physical and chemical science, man will know what the atom is. It is my belief that when science reaches this stage, God will come down to earth with His big ring of keys and will say to humanity: ‘Gentlemen, it is closing time.’”
The first part of Berchelt’s prediction has come true. We live in the age of the atom. Signs on every side indicate the last part of his prediction may be near. That is, God may soon intervene, closing this present age. The prophetic event to signal that miracle will be the Rapture of the church — the personal return of Jesus Christ. Christians have been waiting for that event through the centuries. Now it seems imminent.
How should we then live? We must live waiting for the Lord’s return. But we must not wait idly. D.L. Moody said, “I have felt like working three times as hard since I came to understand that my Lord is coming again.”
The Thessalonian Christians gave themselves to labor, love and service while awaiting Christ’s return. They were known far and wide for dedicated Christian living. They turned from idols and served God with all their heart. Had the Lord returned at that time He would have found them faithful. Ready.
Are you waiting for His return?
“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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- Memory Verse
- And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you onto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also (John 14:3).
Jesus is coming again.
Two ministers, long friends, met one day after being apart for a time. They discussed their churches; then began to talk on present-day events. One said, “I don’t preach on the Lord’s return at all. My congregation doesn’t like it. I hear you have many against you for preaching it. There’s no use in setting people against you.”
“My friend,” said the other pastor, “by God’s grace, I preach His whole Word, and if the Lord Jesus comes in my lifetime no one who is left behind will be able to say that I did not give out the truth. How about you?”
Nothing could be more sure than the return of Christ because He gave His promise that He would come again. That promise was given to encourage the disciples because of His coming crucifixion. They would soon be separated from Him and reunited only for the brief time following the resurrection. These men had left all to follow Him. He had their dedication and devotion. They needed to know about His plans for the future.
But what does the return of Christ mean to you and me?
It means there is a coming resurrection of all Christians. It means that all Christians will be caught up to meet Him when He returns, never experiencing death. It means that all should prepare for His coming.
Are you ready?
- Memory Verse
- And now I exhort you to be of good cheer; for there shall be no loss of any man’s life among you, but of the ship (Acts 27:22).
Life is all that counts.
Never mourn over the loss of money. Who can tell what good things God will do in your life because you have less. When D. L. Moody’s father died, a creditor came and took the wood that had been cut for the winter. Think of entering a cold New England winter without fuel and heavy of heart because of grief. The situation sounds almost unbearable. Yet God must have done a deep work in young Moody. See what he became in later years.
Never mourn the loss of a house. It is but brick, mortar, and wood. Jesus had no permanent dwelling and said that He was more homeless than the foxes and the birds. Do you have less than He?
Never mourn the loss of an automobile. It is but metal, plastic, and rubber. Did your loved one survive the accident? That is all that matters. The car can be replaced. Don’t be guilty of being upset over bent fenders and broken glass. Waste no tears over stained upholstery. Thank the Lord for survivors.
Paul encouraged his captors who were caught in a storm at sea by telling them that all of them would live through the ordeal. “Be of good cheer,” he exhorted them. And why not? They would only lose the ship.
Have you been distraught over the loss of some earthly possession? Or even the fear of such loss?
Rearrange your priorities. Look around you and see those living loved ones. Lift your heart in praise to God that you have only lost the ship.
- Memory Verse
- And I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Write, Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours; and their works do follow them (Revelation 14:13).
Dr. George Truett asked a widow who was left with the care of several small children, “As you think of heaven, what about it appeals most to you?”
The toil worn woman put aside her sewing and said, “O, sir, that I will rest when I get over there. I am so tired. These children must have my care at all hours of the night. Their father is gone, and I have to be the breadwinner. When I am out of work, I have to go from place to place seeking work. I get so tired in body, mind and spirit. The most appealing thing to me is that I will rest in heaven!”
You may sigh a quiet “Amen.”
The load you carry often seems unbearable. The bills keep coming and you must keep going. You may be working more than one job, or at least beyond your strength. The days seem long and the nights fly by. Your life seems a grind. Vacations are scarce or do not exist. Sometimes you are so tense and tired that you do not sleep well.
For now, rest in Christ. Give Him your burdens: “There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God” (Hebrews 4:9).
When you reach heaven there will be another resting time.
This is not to say that heaven is full of sleepers. The invigorating atmosphere of heaven will furnish both rest and refreshment. We will be both busy and blessed.
Walk closely with Jesus. He will see that you get your rest!
- Memory Verse
- For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him (I Thessalonians 4:14).
“If people go to heaven when they die, what is the use of the resurrection?” I was asked today.
The answer is simple.
Christians are coming back with Jesus to get their bodies.
Notice the text calls for God to bring with Him those who have died and are in heaven. Then follows an explanation of the resurrection. This great picture of the Rapture is a scene of reunion. Christians are being reunited with their bodies that have been in the graves.
And calling forth bodies from dust will be no problem for the One who formed the first man from the dust of the ground.
But what about those who have not been buried. Their bodies have been burned or lost at sea — perhaps destroyed in explosions. No matter. Our Lord knows where every atom resides. At that day, He will call them together and form again the bodies of those who have died.
And these new bodies will be superior.
No more sickness. No falling hair. No infirmities of any kind. Those who died with bodies afflicted with any of earth’s diseases or deformities will be perfect in the resurrection. There are things we do not know about the resurrection body but we can be confident that it will surpass our expectations. John ended all speculation with these words: “Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he, shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is” (I John 3:2).
- Memory Verse
- For the hope which is laid up for you in heaven, whereof ye heard before in the word of the truth of the gospel (Colossians 1:5).
There was good evidence that the faith of the Colossian Christians was genuine. It was demonstrated in their love for all the saints. Watching the lives of these Christians one concluded they were real. Their earthly walk gave testimony that they were headed for heaven.
People who are going to heaven ought to love one another while on earth. Some expect to love others in heaven but they don’t seem to be practicing here below.
To live above with saints in love
Will be eternal glory;
To live below with saints we know
Is quite another story.
But love for one another is the identifying mark of those who are citizens of heaven:
“We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren. He that loveth not his brother abideth in death...And this is his commandment, That we should believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, as he gave us commandment” (I John 3:14, 23).
If love for others identifies those who are born again and are going to heaven, will others know your destination by your present attitude?
If not, it’s time for a change!
- Memory Verse
- And upon the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul preached unto them, ready to depart on the morrow; and continued his speech until midnight (Acts 20:7).
Most Christians worship on Sunday. Some look upon this practice as sin. Charges are often hurled at earnest believers, labeling them as “sun worshippers” or even the recipients of the “mark of the beast.” Some who worship on Sunday are insecure as to the proper day and are easy prey for Sabbath-keeping groups whose Saturday worship may be but a tiny part of a whole system of legalism.
The honest Bible student must face the fact that Saturday is the Sabbath. But sabbath- keeping was part of the Law that was nailed to the cross: “Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross; And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it. Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of any holy day, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days: which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ” (Colossians 2:14-17).
The first day of the week then became the day or worship for the New Testament Church. NO WONDER! This was the day of our Lord’s resurrection (see John 20:1) signaling complete victory.
Perhaps the spiritual meaning of the first day of the week is the most important reason for observing it as the day of worship. The Sabbath pictures the Law perfectly. Under law, one worked and then rested. The first day of the week pictures grace. Under grace, we enter into our rest in Christ and then we work to serve Him.
- Memory Verse
- And l answered, Who art thou, Lord? And he said unto me, I am Jesus of Nazareth, whom thou persecutest (Acts 22:8).
Paul must have told his conversion story many times. Five of these occasions are recorded for us in the Bible. He never tired of calling to mind what had happened to him on the road to Damascus. Here he is giving his testimony to a great company of people gathered in the court of the Temple in Jerusalem as he defends himself against accusations being made about him.
Most are familiar with the ingredients in Paul’s conversion: there was the light from heaven and the voice of Jesus questioning him about his persecutions and then, of course, his response. Imagine how surprised the persecutor of Christians must have been when he discovered he had been persecuting Jesus...that is what the voice said, “I am Jesus of Nazareth, whom thou persecutest.”
But how could that be?
Paul had never personally hurt Jesus...only those who professed to know Him as Saviour.
Now an important truth surfaces: Jesus feels all the hurts of His people. To persecute a Christian is to persecute Jesus.
Have you wondered just how close Jesus is? Consider this revelation given to Saul (Paul) on the road to Damascus. He not onlyknows every wound you experience but He feels it as well...even the one you are grieving over today.
Is your heart heavy? He feels the ache...the lump in your throat. You do not carry your burdens alone. And you do not need to seek revenge. Those who have injured you have inflicted pain on Jesus and they must face Him one day in judgment.
Be kind to other Christians. Don’t be guilty of hurting Jesus.
Soulwinning is everybody's business. When our
Lord Jesus issued the Great Commission, He did
not direct it just to preachers, or the highly
educated, or the good talkers.
He sent us all... and made us all equally
responsible. Yet, sadly, I'm told that the vast majority of
church members today have not won another
person to Christ in the last 12 months. In fact,
most Christians surveyed said they have never
personally led anybody to the Lord.
Why? I'm convinced it is not because they don't
care. Most Christians I meet are very concerned
about the lost. They are praying for unsaved loved
ones and many are giving to support missionary
and evangelistic ministries. They rejoice to hear
good reports of precious souls won to Christ.
Why, then, have they not become soulwinners personally?
I believe it is because they feel unworthy and
unprepared to talk with another person about
something as important as his or her personal salvation.
"I don't know what to say... or where to find the
right scriptures," people often tell me. "And if
someone asked me a question, I'm not sure I'd
have the right answer. What if I said or did the
wrong thing and kept someone from being saved?"
Have you ever felt this way? Well, let me tell you
from my own personal experience that there is
something YOU can do for the Lord. You can
personally witness to others and help lead them to
make a decision for Christ.
Do what you can do!
soulwinning efforts of my church and this evangelistic
ministry. I have sung before thousands in crusade
and convention services... and to millions on
national television. I have been part of all the
outreaches of the Jack Van Impe Ministries over the
years, when more than 600,000 decisions for
Christ were recorded.
This is one of the great joys of my life. But even
more fulfilling personally -- and for my husband
-- is the opportunity to reach people on a one-to-one
basis. Let me give you an example of how
committed Jack is to this calling.
Just before one of our national TV specials was
aired, my husband felt impressed to personally
invite all the people in our neighborhood to watch
the program. He printed up a little flyer that said,
"Hi, neighbor," and included an informal
invitation to tune in, listing the day, time, and channel.
We didn't get home that night until about 9
o'clock, and Dr. Van Impe had a flight to catch at
6 o'clock the next morning. Besides, it was
storming, with rain and lightning. But he insisted
on getting the invitation flyers delivered. He got
on his bicycle and rode through the rain to each
house in the neighborhood. Who knows how
many did watch the special and hear the gospel proclaimed!
Be God's representative in your everyday living
I'd also like to share with you about the little
mission field the Lord has given me just a few
blocks from home.
I tell you this, not to call attention to myself, but
to show you that God has a ministry for each of us
-- a job we can do that no one else can accomplish.
When I'm not on the road with my husband, I
often stop by a small shopping mall near our
home. It has many convenient stores and shops,
and when I can spare a few minutes, I enjoy just browsing.
During my visits there, the Lord has given me
opportunities to witness to several of the workers
there -- waitresses and sales ladies -- and to lead
some of them to Christ.
Now, I didn't go there with my Bible under my
arm, looking for someone I could talk with. In
almost every case, the individual would approach
me and start the conversation.
Sometimes they'd say, "Why are you always so
happy? There's something different about you!"
Or when I asked how they were doing, they might
say, "I'm having a problem..." and begin to pour
out their heart to me.
They didn't care whether or not I was a Bible
school graduate or even what church I went to.
But they sensed my love and interest in them...
and they wanted to hear my personal testimony.
Helping them pray and accept Jesus was just so
natural and easy, then.
These girls might never have watched our TV
program, or attended a crusade or church service.
But right there, in their world, they were
searching and hungry... and so receptive.
You can be a soulwinner
There are people in your world that only you
can reach. They don't need you to preach to them,
or persuade them. They just need you to share
with them the same joy and power that helps you
Every person you work with or go to school with
...every waitress, or sales person, every visitor to
your front door may be looking for someone like
you -- a real, everyday, down-to-earth, flesh and
blood person -- to tell them about Jesus and how
to be saved.
When the opportunity comes, be ready. Show
love... tell what the Lord has done for you. The
Holy Spirit will do the rest.
If you're willing to do these simple things, you
can be a soulwinner. And what a thrill and joy to
help someone else accept the Lord.
Set a goal to win at least one person to Christ
this year. You can do it! And you'll discover why
the writer of Proverbs declared, He that winneth
souls is wise (11:30).
The instant I saw her I knew she was special.
She was only about 5 years old, and her smile
simply captivated my heart. Something about her
moved me and compelled my attention.
It was the closing night of our crusade in
Roanoke, Virginia, and after the service Dr. Van
Impe and I were sitting on the edge of the
platform, shaking hands and visiting with people.
A young couple came over to me and smiled up
at me so sweetly. There was such a wonderful
expression of the Lord on their faces. I leaned over
and shook their hands and greeted them, but they
didn't say a word.
That's when I saw her -- their beautiful little
daughter with a cherub face and an angelic smile
that wrapped itself around my heart. I motioned
to her with my finger and she came up on the
platform and stood in front of me.
As I looked into her eyes, suddenly I realized
that she couldn't talk -- both she and her parents
were without speech. So with the little bit of sign
language I know, I asked, "Do you love Jesus?"
And she signed back -- not only with her hands,
but with her eyes and her heart -- "YES... OH, YES!"
I was so moved... so overcome with emotion
that I also was mute for a long moment. There was
something in her look that spoke volumes.
Somehow I realized that this child knew the Lord
in a way that few people ever will. She had an inner
relationship with Christ so real and powerful that
His radiance glowed in her face and His joy flowed
out of her tender young life to touch everyone
I looked down into the faces of the child's
mother and father and saw their love and pride.
And I also saw that they had that special look. One
glance... and people could tell they had been with Jesus.
Because I couldn't understand the meaning of
all their signs, I was unable to converse very much
with them. But I had no doubt that they were able
to speak to Christ, perhaps in a much deeper and
more meaningful way than most of us do.
And they had taught their daughter well, and
had led her to know Jesus. Somehow I was
absolutely convinced that she had been on Christ's lap
often, even as little ones were centuries ago.
Do you have "the look"?
What do people see when they look at us? Can
they tell at a glance that we've been in the
presence of the Lord?
I love the beautiful Old Testament account of
how Moses went up to the mountain to meet with
God and to receive the Ten Commandments.
When he came back down into the camp of the
Israelites, his countenance shone -- the light that
emanated from his being told all the people at a
glance that he had been with Jehovah God.
Some time ago, a local television program
featured a man who was talking about how to have
the look that was right for you. He was stressing
the importance of choosing just the right
makeup, hairstyle, clothing colors, etc.
I believe that this is important. But as I watched
that program, I was struck with the thought that
even if we make the outer person look his or her
best, without the abiding presence of the Lord
within, we can never achieve the look that sets us
apart from the world.
What does it matter if people can look at me and
say, "My, doesn't she have an up-to-date look --
her make-up, her hair, her clothes, her grooming
are just impeccable!" If they do not see beyond the
outer shell, how real is my Christian testimony?
For all believers, one of our greatest joys should
be having people see Jesus in us -- sensing that
there is something different about us without our
saying a word.
The look of love
Not long ago, I had a beautiful, blessed
experience. I was trying on a dress in a shop when the
girl who was assisting me began to talk, and in
minutes she was pouring out her heart to me. She
told me her problems and asked for advice and
help. After I counseled with her concerning her
personal need, I proceeded to explain God's plan
of salvation and her greatest need of all -- to
accept Christ. So we were praying, and she
opened her heart to the Lord. Later, when I asked
why she came to me for help, she said, "There was
just something about you -- a certain look that
What's in a look?
God help us to be so filled with His presence and
so overflowing with His love that we have our
Lord's look -- the look of love.
I've always felt that ashes were so worthless. If
you've ever looked into a fireplace after the fire has
gone out and the last embers are cold, what you
see is so empty and useless.
A few years ago when a disastrous fire struck
the company where the videotape masters of all
the past Jack Van Impe television programs were
stored, I felt so helpless. It was devastating to
think that so many months and years of hard
work had gone up in smoke -- at least 2.8 million
dollars' worth of production value was lost forever.
All that was left was... ashes!
But no -- suddenly the Lord let me see that the
value of those TV programs was not encased in a
few reels of videotape. Their real worth is
measured in the number of souls won to Christ -- the
decisions and rededications... those comforted and edified.
The work God wanted those tapes to
accomplish was done, and no fire could destroy their
eternal value. Satan might reduce their physical
form to ashes, but he can never erase the impact of
their gospel message on the hearts and minds of
millions of people around the world.
Mark Video Enterprises was one of the most
modern facilities in the world. Its vaults were
supposed to be among the safest, most fireproof
storage centers available. But they failed.
And the only thing that will last out of the ash
pile that was left is what was done for the Lord.
Tried by fire
I am reminded of what the Bible teaches about
that day when we all stand before the Lord. The
Apostle Paul wrote, and the fire shall try every
man's work of what sort it is (1 Corinthians 3:13).
If our lives have been invested for God, our
works will withstand the fire as if made of gold,
silver, or precious stones. But if our treasures have
been material things, they will burn up like wood,
hay, or stubble, leaving only ashes!
Oh, I want my works to have eternal value on
that day when I stand before the Master, don't you?
That's why we must put God's work first in our
lives and devote our time and energy to winning
souls to Christ. That's why Dr. Van Impe and I
implore you to help us carry out the Great
Commission and produce fruit that remains.
Perhaps you feel that the fires of adversity have
already swept across your life and everything
you've worked for has gone up in smoke. It may be
that all you can see are the ashes of what might
Well, I have good news for you.
Jesus came to restore you, to bind up your
broken heart, to free you from bondage, to give
you beauty for ashes! (see Isaiah 61:1-3).
Let His love heal you. Let His Spirit strengthen
and empower you.
Let His forgiveness make you over and give you
a new life. Rise up from the ashes of every failure
and disappointment that has marred your life and
Stand firm upon the foundation of the Lord
Jesus Christ and begin building a work that will endure.
Resting in the Reality of the Resurrection
Not too far from where I live is a beautiful
memorial garden where my father is buried. I pass by
there often, and many times I find myself
remembering the comforting words of Jesus in the New
Testament, spoken to a woman who had lost a
loved one in death.
I am the resurrection, and the life: he that
believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall
he live: And whosoever liveth and believeth in
me shall never die. Believest thou this? (John
Because I do believe Christ's promise, I have the
absolute, unshakable assurance that I will see my
father again some day. He is going to be
resurrected! Jesus said so, and He triumphed over
death nearly 2,000 years ago. Because He lives,
we shall live also.
Now, if Jesus had said, "I'm your resurrection
and life," and hadn't come out of the grave, I
wouldn't have very much hope that my father is
going to be resurrected... or that I will be. But our
Saviour did rise again. HE'S ALIVE!
My father's homegoing
My father, Rex Shelton, was so very dear to me.
He was a man of faith -- he had the assurance of
his personal salvation. He trusted completely in
Jesus. So when the time came for him to leave this
life, mother and all of us children were ready to see
his suffering end, knowing that he would be
ushered into the presence of Jesus for all eternity.
"Go on, Dad. We know you want to go. Go on,
Dad." These words of love, understanding, and
comfort were spoken by my brother Bob as our
father was drawing his last breath of mortal life.
My two brothers, their darling wives, and my
precious husband and I had gathered at my mother's
side from all parts of the country. She had not
called one of us. Through the drawing power of
God's Spirit, we had sensed that Dad was ready to
leave us, and we all wanted to be there.
How we praise the Lord for those closing days
and hours with him. We talked together, laughed
together, cried together, prayed together, and
loved together. The very presence of God was in
that hospital room each day and night, and we
experienced the serenity that He alone can give.
Oh, how great is our dear Lord to condescend to
care for our feelings, frustrations, and passions.
I had felt so helpless as I watched my father
suffer. We had prayed for a miracle -- for the
healing of his body. But, as the Lord said "no" to
Paul when he three times prayed to be healed of
his infirmity, so God had said "no" to us. Instead,
He promised a special reward and crown for Dad's
patience and suffering during those 11 months of
intense pain. Through it all, Dad never doubted
God's love, infinite wisdom, and plan for his life.
He knew Jesus was walking with him every
moment and that he was not bearing the pain
"My Lord is waiting!"
to my father's side as he pointed to the wall from
"What is it, Daddy?"
"I'm walking through the valley of the shadow
With all the compassion and love I had within
me, I placed my hand on his and asked, "Who is
waiting for you on the other side?"
Great peace shone on his face and tears welled
up into his eyes as he replied, "My Lord... my
Lord is waiting."
The valley of the shadow of death is not hurtful
or painful for a believer. Just as it causes no pain to
drive through the shadow of a truck on the
highway, so passing through the shadow of death
brings but a temporary lack of full light and
brightness as we approach heaven -- where Jesus
himself is our light.
Just hours before Dad left us, he was still in
perfect control. In fact, his departing thoughts and
statements have implanted themselves into our
hearts forever. He prayed over us and shared one
final time his joy in knowing that we were all there
to strengthen one another in family communion
Finally, the doctor with whom my father had
shared his faith and the love of God for seven years
informed us that Dad would be gone before the
day ended. The nurses who had tenderly cared for
him placed a soft, white lambskin under his body
to ease the excruciating pain and through tears
expressed their sorrow at losing him. They knew
Dad well on that floor of the hospital and had come
to love him.
Resting on the Lamb
As we sat around Dad, praying, remembering
him, loving him, and clinging to the Lord and each
other for strength, I looked up and beheld my
father resting on that lambskin. "Oh, look at
Daddy," I exclaimed. "How symbolic of what is
occurring. He is resting on the Lamb!"
At 4:00 p.m., Tuesday, November 24, 1981, Dad
left us for the home he had reserved as just a
young boy. He had opened his heart to Jesus
Christ in an evangelistic meeting and never
doubted his eternal destiny thereafter.
Dad's departure into eternity, infinity, and the
presence of the Lord was profound and sacred to
each of us as my mother, my brothers, and I held
his hands and touched his face one last time. How
privileged I was to personally witness the faith,
strength, and tranquillity God supplies to His
children when they pass through the valley of the
shadow of death. How satisfying it is for me to
know that one day very soon -- perhaps today -- I
will see Dad again. He was the one who had taught
me how to live, and he so beautifully taught me
how to die.
Every time I think of Easter and the resurrection
of Jesus Christ, I think not only of His
resurrection, but the promise He gave that all those who
have trusted in Him will be resurrected one day,
too. If the Word of God will not stand up in our
times of deepest need, what good is it?
But it does stand! I know personally, from my
The truth of Christ's resurrection was sufficient
for my father. It is sufficient for me. And if you
have been redeemed by the blood of Christ, it is
sufficient for you.
I'm so happy that I have this assurance, and I'd
like to leave you with this challenging question --
BELIEVEST THOU THIS?