- Memory Verse
- The horse is prepared against the day of battle: but safety is of the LORD (Proverbs 21:31).
These are perilous times. Dwelling on all the possibilities for death and destruction could make one unable to function.
Fear could keep us from traveling because of the danger of auto accidents. The likelihood of robbery could forbid leaving our homes. The possibility of nuclear war might send us fleeing to some out of the way place to live. The tornado season could drive us to our basements at the first sign of clouds.
But here is a truth worth remembering: SAFETY IS OF THE LORD.
This does not mean that we should never take precautions. God has given us good sense to use. Having carried out sensible safety acts, however, let us relax in the fact that SAFETY IS OF THE LORD.
David faced Goliath in confidence because SAFETY IS OF THE LORD.
Daniel survived the lion’s den because SAFETY IS OF THE LORD.
Three Hebrew young men were not burned in Nebuchadnezzar’s furnace because SAFETY IS OF THE LORD.
Gideon’s three hundred were victorious because SAFETY IS OF THE LORD.
The disciples saw the stormy Galilee become peaceful and calm because SAFETY IS OF THE LORD.
When we get to heaven and learn about the protection God gave during our sojourn on earth, we’ll be amazed at how many times He delivered us from injury or death without our knowing it and then we’ll also know beyond all doubt that SAFETY WAS OF THE LORD.
Doesn’t that make you feel secure?
“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
- It is an honour for a man to cease from strife: but every fool will be meddling (Proverbs 20:3).
Many churches are filled with strife. How strange a report about groups of people who claim to be saved as a result of the love of God. No wonder the world remains unreached and millions mock the church.
Strife is serious. See what the Bible has to say about it: “Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying” (Romans 13:13): “Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies” (Galatians 5:19-20): “Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves” (Philippians 2:3); “But if ye have bitter envying and strife in your hearts, glory not, and lie not against the truth. This wisdom descendeth not from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish. For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work” (James 3:14-16).
Strife keeps some bad company.
What is it doing in the fellowship of the saints?
Never mind. It is there. What can one do about it?
He can cease from strife. And in so doing, he does an honorable thing in the sight of God.
If you’re trying to separate the fools from the honorable men, you can tell them without a scorecard — just notice who refuses to take part in strife!
- Memory Verse
- And when ye stand praying, forgive, if ye have ought against any: that your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses (Mark 11:25).
Those who have been forgiven have a right to pray with confidence — providing they forgive others.
Bitterness, malice and hatred are all hindrances to prayer. Answers long denied may be forthcoming when prayer finally comes from a forgiving heart. We deprive ourselves of God’s bounty when we refuse to forgive.
Jesus stressed the importance of forgiving others by linking it to prayer. For a Christian, prayer is as normal as breathing. It is his opportunity to communicate with his Heavenly Father. In the experience of prayer, he unburdens his heart and taps the power of God for daily living. But — every time he prays he must forgive all who have wronged him: “And when ye stand praying, forgive.”
One is uncomfortable in prayer when he harbors ill feeling toward another. Though he may be eloquent in expressing his needs to God, there is something empty about his praying. When the unforgiving person finishes his prayer he is uneasy. It is as if the one who is still unforgiven has been listening in on his conversation with God. He has prayed, but not well. In his praying, he has been disobedient. When he began to pray he should have forgiven his adversary. He has gone through a religious exercise to no avail. The un- forgiven one stands as a roadblock — obstructing the answer to his prayer.
Do you want to get things from God through prayer? Do you long to pray effectively. If so, you must first learn to forgive!
- Memory Verse
- Moreover as for me, God forbid that I should sin against the LORD in ceasing to pray for you; but I will teach you the good and the right way. (I Samuel 12:23)
God has given us the privilege of praying for others. The protection and prosperity of others may rest in the hands of real prayer warriors. Paul requested prayer from others so that his ministry would be effective: "Finally, brethren, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may have free course, and be glorified, even as it is with you: And that we may be delivered from unreasonable and wicked men: for all men have not faith" (II Thessalonians 3:1-2).
Churches would come alive if Christians prayed more earnestly for one another and for pastors, church leaders and evangelists. In his book "Prayer -- Asking and Receiving," Dr. John R. Rice wrote: "In many, many cases when I have been used of God in a blessed revival campaign in some locality, one or two saintly Christians have told me, 'I have been praying for two years that God would bring you here for these meetings,' or 'This campaign is the answer to my daily prayer for years.' Oh, if people would but pray, pray earnestly, pray effectively, pray with a holy abandon, God's work would not lanquish. The decay in the churches, the cooling of revival fires, the lukewarmness in the churches are the fruit of our prayerlessness."
But there is another serious side of praying for others that must be considered -- the lack of prayer for others is sinful. Prayer is an opportunity, but also a responsibility. It is sinful to neglect prayer for others. And we are accountable to God for this inconsistency in Christian living.
It's time to dust off the prayer list that has been neglected. Let's be faithful in prayer -- for others!
- Memory Verse
- A merry heart doeth good like a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones (Proverbs 17:22).
In his book “None of These Diseases,” Dr. S. I. McMillen says that mental stress has taken the center of attention away from bacteria as the believed cause of disease. He explains that emotions cause visible changes in the body, such as strokes, blindness, toxic goiters, fatal clots in the heart, bleeding ulcers, kidney disease and other serious conditions.
Isn’t it interesting that the Bible is always far ahead of the discoveries of the scientific world? Job wrote of the world being suspended in space (26:7). Isaiah spoke of the roundness of the earth (40:22). Moses revealed that the life principle is in the blood (Leviticus 17: 11). We should not be surprised then to find that God’s Word has again upstaged medical science in announcing that the state of the heart affects the general health — “a merry heart doeth good like a medicine.”
Christians have good reason to be merry — happy — rejoicing. The most important issues of life have been settled for the child of God. He knows why he is here — the purpose of existence — and where he is going. His sins are forgiven, he is never alone and his destination is certain — heaven. Nevertheless, some who have become citizens of heaven become defeated and depressed. That is when they are not living as God intended.
How sad to have our bodies suffer from bad mental and heart attitudes when we are children of the King. Let’s remember who we are and what we have. It’s just good sense — and good medicine!
- Memory Verse
- The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork (Psalm 19:1).
A man sat in the heat of the day under a walnut tree looking at a pumpkin vine. He began to muse, “How foolish God is! Here He puts a great heavy pumpkin on a tiny vine without strength to do anything but lie on the ground. He puts tiny walnuts on a tree whose branches could hold the weight of a man. If I were God, I could do better than that!” Suddenly a breeze knocked a walnut from the tree. It fell on the man’s head. He rubbed the bump, a sadder and wiser man. He remarked: “Suppose there had been a pumpkin up there instead of a walnut! Never again will I try to plan the world for God. I shall thank Him that He has done it so well!”
Everything in nature carries in it the mark of the Creator. The psalmist says that the entire earth is given witness to the glory of God through the beauty and action in the sky. Still men turn their eyes from the heights and scan the earth trying to find support for a theory that disregards the Creator and traces the history of man to a beginning other than that stated in the Bible.
With the testimony of nature so strong, one wonders why men reject the reality of God’s existence. Desire must be father to their action. Some would rather not accept the truth of God for fear of being accountable to Him for their sins.
Their escape route is a deception. They are still accountable. As are we all.
- Memory Verse
- For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts (Isaiah 55:9).
God has no boundaries. No limits. He has always existed and He will always exist. He cannot be bound by time or space for they are His creations. His knowledge is beyond us.
We have many limits. There are things we do not comprehend. So many things we cannot do. We are limited in knowledge, in strength, and in ability. Even the strongest have areas of weakness. It is the way of mankind. We are a fallen race, still suffering from the effects of that traumatic tumble. We are finite beings.
How wonderful that the infinite God loves us as we are! How interesting that He should desire to have fellowship with us! The thought seems too great to take in.
Yet it is true.
At first glance, the gap seems too wide to bridge — from God to man — from the Holy One to sinners. And that first evaluation would stand were it not for the cross. There on that rugged hill, reconciliation was made, the barrier to blessing broken down: “For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father” (Ephesians 2:18).
Amazing grace? And then some! Reaching from the heights to the depths. Linking us to the Lord of heaven and earth, when we respond by faith. Making us partakers of the divine nature (see 2 Peter 1:4), children of God (see John 1:12), joint-heirs with Christ (see Romans 8:17).
And that is infinitely more than we deserve.
- Memory Verse
- There is that maketh himself rich, yet hath nothing: there is that maketh himself poor, yet hath great riches (Proverbs 13:7).
The love of money can be as great a pitfall to the poor as to the rich. Some who have little put on airs and pretend to be rich. Impressions are important to them. They want others to think they are successful.
Some who are very rich travel incognito. They keep their wealth secret. Finally, after death, the truth is known. Newspapers frequently carry stories of people leaving large estates to the surprise of friends and relatives. Their lifestyles had not given a true story of their resources. Living like paupers, they had stored immense fortunes.
What is the lesson here?
It is the folly of making money life’s goal.
The poor person pretending to be rich reveals his belief that wealth determines personal worth. If only he could be rich, he thinks, life would have yielded him its best. Therefore, he spends beyond his means trying to get his message across. Finally, debt ridden, he comes to the end of his days never having been satisfied.
The wealthy person living as a pauper never feels secure enough to give of his abundance. He is ever looking for a rainy day and therefore lives under a cloud of fear. His security lies in that bank account or in his hidden treasure. He never learns the joy of leaning only upon God in a time of need. He misses the miracle of God’s provision when there is no place else to turn. Pity him.
Resting in Jesus we can be ourselves. Secure in Him, we need not feign riches or poverty. Rich or poor we belong to Him. Hallelujah!
There is no easy road to satisfaction. One reason for
this is that no one has ever lived a life free from
difficulties. Everyone faces trials, and all of us know
suffering in one way or another. I've noticed that
wherever I am, in every culture and every
geographical region, when I mention the subject of
suffering, there is an instant rapport, a bond of mutual
Suffering: A Door to Finding Satisfaction
We can take comfort in the knowledge that Scripture
teaches that God's perfect plan for each of us
includes suffering, trials, and pain. The wonderful
truth is that our most frustrating trials can be a source
of great joy. James wrote:
My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into
divers temptations; Knowing this, that the trying of
your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her
perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire,
wanting nothing (James 1:2-4). Trials will make us
either bitter or better.
I know what it is like to be broken -- literally. In
my book The Tender Touch, I told of the terrible
automobile accident my husband and I experienced
in Brussels in 1979. We were in Europe for our
twenty-seventh wedding anniversary and planned to
celebrate the joyous occasion with members of Jack's
That particular afternoon, we had traveled to Brussels
to shop for anniversary gifts. We leisurely
walked and talked, truly enjoying our visit to this
fascinating city. We even stopped for afternoon tea
and shared a sandwich. (A cousin was preparing a
feast for our anniversary dinner that night and we
didn't want to ruin our appetites!)
The afternoon ended all too quickly, and we soon
found ourselves driving back to the home of the
cousin with whom we were staying. Suddenly, seemingly
out of nowhere, a bus traveling 50 miles an hour
struck our vehicle with such impact that my side of the
car was ripped away and the rest of the automobile
completely demolished. I remember saying,
"Jack, there's a bus!" He attempted to swerve, but it
was too late. My last thoughts as I fell out onto the
busy street was, This is what it's like to die.
Everything went black. I felt no pain until my
husband's warm tears falling on my face revived me.
His voice was choked with emotion as he wept and
prayed over me. "Lord, must it end this way? Don't
let it happen. Please work a miracle!"
I felt that I was slipping away from him, and I
wanted him to know how much I loved him. "Honey,
I think I am dying," I whispered. "I don't want to
"Oh no," Jack cried. "Oh, God, please help us,
Somehow spare her life."
I wish that in some way I could convey the peace
that I experienced from God during this time. Even
Christians sometimes wonder about and perhaps are
somewhat afraid of the unknown -- that valley of the
shadow of death through which we must one day
pass. I would love to stand on a mountaintop and call
to every believer everywhere, "Don't be afraid!" At
the moment of departure, He is there to give us peace
and sustain our hearts. What a comfort to know that
we are the Lord's most prized possessions and that
He will never allow us to go through the transition
from this world to the next in fear. I rejoice over this
experience today because I can say with David, I will
fear no evil; for thou art with me (Psalm 23:4).
Suspended in God's sweet peace, I was almost in
the presence of the Lord. Then suddenly, I was pulled
back from going over. A hand grasped my wrist and a
man stood beside me. He tenderly placed a blanket
over my body and in perfect English said, "Don't
move her. She will be all right." Immediately, my
mind began to clear and I knew that I would live.
As quickly as he had appeared, he was gone. The
Lord had sent a man or an angel (only He knows) to
provide perfect comfort and to minister to us in a
special way Hebrews 1:14 says: Are they [angels]
not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for
them who shall be heirs of salvation?
An ambulance rushed us to the hospital. I looked at
Jack and was reassured to know that he was all right. I
knew that somehow God was doing something special
in our lives -- something that would ultimately
glorify Him if we would not faint (see II Corinthians
I had sustained a severe head injury. X rays revealed
that I had a broken collarbone and two broken
ribs. I had also sustained numerous cuts and bruises,
and fragments of glass were embedded in parts of my
body. In fact, the doctor spent four hours removing
glass from my legs, head, and ears. God had divinely
and miraculously spared my face and eyes, for which
I shall forever be grateful.
Because of my head injury, I was unable to receive
any pain medication for 18 hours. In addition, I was
told that if the bleeding from my head wound did not
stop during the night, doctors would be forced to
shave my head in order to suture the extreme abrasion.
Jack remained by my side every minute of that
entire night, praying with me, comforting me, and
talking with me. We asked God for a miracle, and He
gave us one. By morning, the bleeding had stopped.
Neither of us slept during that long, unforgettable
night. As we talked about why it happened, I felt a
kinship with Job. God had allowed Satan to test us
but not destroy us or our ministry together. He
allowed the test to go so far, and no further. I knew
that my Father was in control and that my Saviour was
not leaving me alone. Indeed, I knew that He was
feeling my infirmity with even greater intensity than I.
Jack spent the next 48 hours trying to get the
doctors to release me for our return to America.
British Airways agreed to fly us and graciously
provided wheelchair and ambulance service all the
way to Detroit. Still, the hours in flight were painfully
long, Notwithstanding the Lord stood with me,
and strengthened me (II Timothy 4:17).
During the next three months, I received extensive
medical treatment and stringent therapy. Adhesions
formed as the damaged muscles and tendons in my
crushed shoulder healed. Doctors said that without
corrective surgery I would never use my arm again.
Instead, I underwent months of excruciating
rehabilitative exercises to correct the situation. Still, I
would not want to look back upon this experience
with anything but rejoicing and praise -- rejoicing in
the Lord's protection and love in bringing me through
this trial and praise that He counted me worthy to be
put to the test.
Resistance to Suffering is Counterproductive
It would have been easy, I suppose, to resist in my
heart and be bitter against the Lord for allowing such
a thing to happen. Yet it never occurred to me to
question what God was doing. Years earlier Jack and
I had committed ourselves to pursuing the Lord's will
whatever the cost -- and when we made that commitment,
we knew it could involve suffering. It has,
but the rewards have been rich. God has filled our
lives with blessings that exceed anything we could
ask or think.
Unfortunately, instead of counting problems and
trials as joy and allowing them to work patience and
maturity, many people tend to follow their natural
inclination, and the difficulties produce bitterness
and resentmeat. That, in turn,only amplifies
dissatisfaction, until finally they are caught in a
never-ending cycle of devastatingly negative feelings.
The only effect resistance has on our trials is to
make them more dificult to bear. When we rebel
against God and turn from Him, we shut out the One
who can enable us to carry whatever burden He gives
us. How tragic it is to see someone who has gone
through grief and pain who then turns sorrow into
bitterness against God! That is not what God wants.
He wants to make the burden light and the yoke easy
to bear (see Matthew 11:30).
I know that it is normal to want to resist problems,
and, of course, it is right and even necessary to resist
some things. For example, we should not give in to
immoral acts, so we must resist temptation. Scripture
tells us to resist Satan (see James 4:7; I Peter 5:9).
Nevertheless, when we are confronted with trials that
are beyond our control, we need to see ourselves as
Paul did -- like clay in the hands of the Potter,
submissive to His will for our lives. We must realize
that through these trials He is molding us. shaping us.
and perfecting us -- until we become vessels that He
Have you ever watched a potter work on a pottery
wheel? He squeezes and pinches and applies
pressure, and from what was an ugly lump of clay comes
forth a beautiful, useful piece of pottery. The potter
knows just where to poke and just where to rub -- it is
a fascinating process to watch. Occasionally, the
potter will decide a radical change is in order, and he
will smash a nearly molded pot and begin again from
Jeremiah described the process:
I went down to the potter's house, and, behold, he
wrought a work on the wheels. And the vessel that he
made of clay was marred in the hand of the potter: so
he made it again another vessel, as seemed good to
the potter to make it (Jeremiah 18:3-4).
Perhaps you feel like the Potter has smashed you
that way. I have good news for you. God is one Potter
who always rebuilds the vessels He allows to be
broken so that they are better than before. It may not
always be in the way we desire or think is best, but in
the process, it is nonproductive for us to resist and
become bitter. Instead we should try to see what is
happening from God's perspective, even though we
may not understand what He is doing, and yield to
His will for us. Paul wrote, Shall the thing formed say
to him that formed it, Why hast thou made me thus?
Hath not the potter power over the clay? (Romans
Acceptance: A New Name for Satisfaction
How much better it is to accept our trials as from
the Lord who permits them! Job accepted his trials, as
hard as they were for him. This incredible man lost all
his earthly possessions and all his children in a series
of disasters that happened in just one day. Soon after
that, he lost his health as well. He was reduced to a
mass of sores, sitting in a pile of ashes, scraping
himself with a piece of broken pottery (how appropriate!).
He did not understand what God was doing.
but his response was, The Lord gave, and the Lord
hath taken away; blessed be the name of the
Lord... Shall we receive good at the hand of God,
and shall we not receive evil? (Job 1:21; 2:10).
Yes, Job bore all the pain -- in his case both
physical pain and mental anguish -- and did not sin
with his lips. He never accused God or spoke bitterly
against Him. Quite the contrary, Job accepted the
negative things as graciously as he had accepted the
good things. Though the task was not easy, out of
Job's afflictions came some wonderful fruit. The first
is the book of Job -- a good source of comfort in times
of despair and doubt. In addition, Job grew wiser and
closer to the Lord through his ordeal. Even his
so-called comforters learned from his sufferings.
What became of Job. The answer is recorded for
us in verses 12 and 13 and chapter 42: So the Lord
blessed the latter end of Job more than his beginning.
After this lived Job an hundred and forty years...
The "secret" of Job's success and blessing is
rooted in the fact that he endured his suffering. He
never turned from God. Instead, he repented! Why
would a man who was perfect and upright, and one
that feared God, and eschewed evil (1:1) do such a
thing? Because Job, through his suffering, was
privileged to get a glimpse of God in His holiness. As a
result, he saw himself as completely unworthy so that
he said, I abhor myself(2:6). And in doing that, he
discovered yet a third way of responding to trials.
Rejoicing: A Perspective You May Have Overlooked
This third type of response is what James referred
to in the opening passage of this chapter -- rejoicing,
or glorying, in our trials. Admittedly, rejoicing in the
midst of tribulation is not an easy thing to do. A
woman wrote to us a short time ago:
| I am having a very hard time adjusting my
life. My husband died not too long ago at age
53, and I just can't seem to get my life together.
I never worked in all the years we were
married. I was a family person and never made
many friends outside our home, I am lonely and
frightened. Please pray for me.
My heart goes out to this dear woman and many
others like her. In fact, one might well ask how she
could possibly rejoice in the midst of such a difficult
trial. She cannot rejoice that her husband has died.
How then can she find joy in the midst of her deep
loneliness, fear, and doubts?
The answer is found in the perspective we choose
to take. No one rejoices in the death of a loved one.
Job didn't, and even Jesus wept at the grave of His
friend Lazarus. Scripture acknowledges that sorrow
and grief are appropriate and normal responses to
Bitterness comes when we focus on our sorrows or
trials themselves rather than on the Lord and what He
is attempting to accomplish through them. From this
perspective, we can easily become discouraged.
Unfortunately, this is exactly the place in which many
dissatisfied people find themselves. However, if we
look beyond the trials and understand that God is
working in the midst of them, if we focus our hearts
on Him, a miracle begins to occur. He brings peace in
the midst of pain, and joy in the midst of sorrow.
Truly, His grace is sufficient.
My Grandmother Shelton taught me firsthand the
meaning of glorying in tribulation. She knew trials all
her life. She was the mother of eight children and, as
a diabetic, had to take insulin shots every day of her
life. She was a tall, vibrant, robust lady who would
pick me up (literally) and shake me like a rag doll and
say, "I love you, Rexella." What a shock when she
lost first one leg, then the other, to amputation
because of complications from her disease. She would
never walk again; yet, I never heard her mention her
trials or complain. Her focus went far beyond them.
And as she looked to the Lord and leaned on Him, she
was actually able to glory in her infirmities! She was
always rejoicing. I remember her often taking out a
little harmonica and playing it. Just being around her
brought me great joy, and I seldom thought of her as
being in pain, although I'm certain she suffered
There is something to be said for pain. Trials are
not pleasant, but they are valuable. A flower must be
crushed before it yields perfume. A grain of wheat
must fall to the ground and die before it can bear fruit
(see John 12:24). And we must suffer for the Lord if
we are to be glorified witb Him (see Romans 8:17).
If you are going through a trial, don't resist it. And
don't just accept it or endure it. Learn to glory in it!
God is doing something through your trials. You may
not understand it fully, and He does not always give
us explanations. But He does give us promises -- and
He always keeps them.
| Trials are medicines which our gracious
and wise physician prescribes, because we
need them; and he proportions the frequency
and weight of them to what the case requires.
Let us trust his skill and thank him for his
--- Isaac Newton
I came across something that helped me to further
understand these precious truths. In Job 41:25 are to
be found these few obscure words: By reason of
breakings they purify themselves. What can that
Elsewhere the Bible teaches that the sacrifices God
accepts are broken and contrite hearts (see Psalm
51:17). This is illustrated throughout the Bible as one
observes God using for His glory those people and
things which are most perfectly broken. Here are
- Jacob at Peniel, where his natural strength
- Moses and the rock at Horeb; when he
struck it, out gushed cool water for the thirsty
- Gideon and his band of 300 elect soldiers.
When they broke their pitchers -- a type of
breaking of themselves -- their hidden lights
shone forth to the consternation of their
- The poor widow who broke the seal on the
little pot of oil, and it poured forth, whereby
God multiplied it to pay her debts and her
sons didn't have to be taken as bondmen.
- Queen Esther risking her life, breaking
through the rigid etiquette of a heathen court,
thus obtaining favor to rescue her people from
- Jesus taking the five loaves of bread,
breaking them, and in the act of breaking,
there was sufficient to feed 5,000.
- Mary breaking her alabaster box, rendering
it uselees, but this allowed the perfume to
fill the house.
- Jesus allowing His body to be broken by
thorns, nails, and the spear, so that His life
was poured out for us to live.
God must have broken things -- throughout all
plant life, all history, all the great biographical
accounts, and in all spiritual life, this fact is
Why should we then shrink from those things,
which may break us at some point? If we will but
allow Him, the brokenness we experience can be
used for our purer good and for God's glory. Such
brokenness may come in the form of being broken in
wealth, half-will, ambitions, ideals, reputation.
affections, and even brokenness in health. Remember
the final tally of life is not seen in the here and now.
Can you, like James wrote, "Count it all joy?"
| One night a man had a dream. He dreamed
he was walking along the beach with the
LORD. Across the sky flashed scenes from
his life. For each scene, he noticed two sets of
footprints in the sand; one belonging to him
and the other to the LORD. When the last scene of his life flashed
before him, he looked back at the footprints in
the sand. He noticed that many times along
the path of his life there was only one set of
footprints. He also noticed that it happened at
the very lowest and saddest times in his life.
This really bothered him, and he questioned
The LORD replied, "My precious, precious
That day is coming, dear one... The day
we shall see Christ as He is. At that final
moment of earthís history for us, will He find us
blazing bright with His message of love and
I think of the maple trees across the street
from our house. One autumn season, what a
glorious display of red, yellow, brown and
purple we were treated to when those leaves
began to turn! When the evening sun came
shining through the leaf-covered boughs, each
tree seemed to be on fire.
When I was home, I enjoyed looking over
at those glorious maples. I was a little sad
when the last leaves fell and only skeleton-like
arms were left silhouetted against the winter
I waited for spring and new leaves on those
trees, but the new buds never sprouted. I was
shocked to see my neighbor cutting down the
lifeless limbs and dead trunks.
How could trees that had been so beautiful
just last fall be dead in spring? Someone
explained to me what had happened: the trees
sense when they are in their last season, and
they pour all their remaining strength into one
last spectacular display --
They go out in a blaze of glory!
Like nature, the Bible is full of examples of
this final "blaze of glory." Think of Samson,
whose entire existence was reduced to turning
a grind stone for the Philistines, in his
eternally dark, blind state.
Yet when he was brought into the Philistine
coliseum to entertain them, the Bible says:
"And Samson took hold of the two middle
pillars upon which the house stood, and on which
it was borne up, of the one with his right hand,
and of the other with his left. And Samson said,
ëLet me die with the Philistines.í And he bowed
himself with all his might; and the house fell
upon the lords, and upon all the people that were
therein. So the dead which he slew at his death
were more than they which he slew in his life"
At the wedding in Cana of Galilee, Jesus
turned water into wine when the bridegroom
ran out of wine. And his guests declared: "Every
man at the beginning doth set forth good wine;
and when men have well drunk, then that which
is worse: but thou hast kept the good wine until
now" (John 2:10).
Job had a full, rich life until tragedy struck
him. Then he went through some of the most
trying times ever endured by a human being,
but he stayed true to God, and it was said of
him, "So the Lord blessed the latter end of Job
more than his beginning" (Job 42:12).
There is a tremendous lesson for all of us in
this. Without a doubt, we are living in the last
season of this old world. All the prophetic
signs tell us time will soon wind down. In the
short time left to us, we as Christians should
be like the maple tree and prepare to end this
final season in a blaze of glory!
Think of it! We're in the last harvest of souls
this world will ever see before Jesus comes. 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).
Knowing the season, we must expend every
resource and every bit of strength at our
disposal to light up the world with the
reflected glory of our Savior. Let us shine our
brightest today... Show our truest colors
now. There will not be another season.
Wife and mother, this may be the last
month or week... or day you will spend with
your family. Pour out your love on your
husband and children. Husband and father,
this may be your last opportunity to make
your home a glorious place to live, full of joy
and love and excitement. Do it now!
Dear friend, how can you go out with a
blaze of glory? There are simple acts of
kindness you can do: a heart-felt compliment,
a word of encouragement, a friendly phone
call to a lonely acquaintance. They may be
little things, but like each individual maple
leaf, they can fill your life-tree full!
Dr. Van Impe and I need your continued
prayer support as we try to make this season of
our ministry the most glorious of all and
proclaim to the world: Jesus is coming soon --
perhaps today! The Scripture says...
For the Lord himself shall descend from
heaven with a shout, with the voice of the
archangel, and with the trump of God: and the
dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are
alive and remain shall be caught up together
with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the
air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord ... For
yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord
so cometh as a thief in the night (1 Thessalonians. 4:16-5:2).
Remember to pray for us, even as we pray
for you. Ask God to give us so much strength,
energy, vision and anointing that, like Job, the
end of our lives will be greater than the
beginning. As the Scriptures tell and as the
signs of the times clearly show, the coming of
our Lord is at hand. Let's rise to meet Him in
joy and triumph, going up in a blaze of glory!
Did you ever realize that you are God's gift
to your world? He has planted you on this
earth like a precious flower to share the
beautiful scent of salvation with people in the
parched desert around you. He gave you as a
gift to these souls in need, and He expects you
not only to brighten their world, but to bear
fruit of new souls won to His kingdom. It's not
difficult to do when you allow the Holy Spirit
to work through you.
People all around you need hope. You can
tell, just reading the newspaper. I read several
periodicals every week, just to keep current on
world events... And I can't help but notice
that so many articles in the papers point to
Violent crime is on the rise. Unemployment
and poverty are rampant. Even suicide --
which used to be so rare -- is becoming
commonplace. It breaks my heart to read that
suicide is one of the leading causes of death
among teenagers. Now even children are
following this deadly trend, like the little girl
we read about in Florida. She threw herself in
front of a train because her mother was dying
with the AIDS virus.
Yet every time I read a newspaper item like
this, it just rings an alarm bell in my heart that
says: People need HOPE. They need the truth
of God's love. "We have this hope as an anchor
for the soul, firm and secure." We read about
the love of God in Hebrews 6:19. That hope is
our anchor, and God is calling each one of us
to share that hope with souls in danger around
us. Jesus has chosen you and me as His gift to
a lost and dying world, to share his eternal
I know that you prize soul-winning above
every other calling in your life; you have
demonstrated that by your strong support of
this ministry, which is sharing God's love
continually with those in need. Yet I also
believe that God has called each one of His
children to share His precious salvation
message in our personal lives. How can we do
it? How can we find the words?
The Lord knows you inside and out; He
knows you better than you know yourself.
Through His intimate knowledge of your
special talents and your limitations, I believe
He will call you to win souls in the best, most
effective way possible for you ... What I mean
is, God does not expect you to become an
evangelist or a Gospel singer or a street-corner
preacher. He simply calls you to do what you
are able to do in presenting a Gospel witness.
For instance, there's a little shopping mall
near my home where I like to browse when I
can spare a few minutes. I don't go there with
my Bible under my arm, looking for someone
I could talk to ... I simply go shopping like any
other lady. But the Lord has given me
opportunities to witness to several of the
workers at that mall -- waitresses and sales
Sometimes one of them will say, "Why are
you always so happy? There's something
different about you." They don't care whether
or not I've been to Bible school or what church
I attend. They just notice God's love at work
in me. Or sometimes if I ask one of them how
they're doing, they will say, "I'm having a
problem..." and they pour out their hearts to
They sense my love and interest in their
lives, and they want to know what makes me
happy. Through these simple things, the Lord
has allowed me to lead several of these ladies to
the cross and pray with them to accept Jesus.
It's not difficult, and it doesn't require that you
know a lot of Scripture or have a powerful
I would encourage you to use our video
teachings in your personal witnessing. Invite
your neighbors to a Bible study in your home,
and use Jack's video teaching as a guide -- or
give our videos as a gift. It's a loving and
effective way to warn your friends about the
coming end times and lead them to Jesus.
I know 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 Christ, in a specific way
which God has enabled you to share and
which no one else on earth could do like you.
You are God's gift to a lost world -- let Him
use you to reach your world with His good
During the course of a year, Jack and I
receive various invitations to speak at a variety
of functions. One such invitation that he
never refuses is the privilege of being the
keynote speaker for an international prophecy
conference in Florida. The invitation came
again this year; he accepted, and we were on
our way! Flying to Tampa would surely be the
quickest means of getting there, but since we
desperately needed a break from our workload,
we decided to incorporate a few days of
relaxation by driving to our destination. I was
elated to see the bright and beautiful February
morning as we left our home in Michigan. We
thoroughly enjoyed the quiet, pleasant, and
fun-filled days on the road. It was a perfect
time to talk with each other without
interruptions and absorb some of God's
magnificent, majestic creation.
As we approached Atlanta, Georgia, I was
especially taken with a sign on the back of a
Yellow Checker taxi. It was an interesting
slogan that said, "Go home a winner; play the
Lottery!" The first four words began to echo in
my mind and heart, "Go home a winner!" I
prayed silently, "Lord, this is what you expect
from all of your followers. You want us to be
winners in the race of life."
Remembering that heaven is a prepared
place for a prepared people, we must truly be
ready to go home by knowing the Lord Jesus
as Savior (Philippians 3:10). When this is a
reality, we will have the blessing of God's Spirit
within our hearts (Romans 8:9). Surely it is
impossible to be successful in attaining the
approval of our Lord unless we have the power
of His Spirit in our lives. He alone enables us
to win the battle against Satan.
I do not need to convince any thinking
person that we are fighting against some fierce
odds. All we need to do is watch the television
news or read daily newspapers and current
magazines to see how Satan is winning in some
arenas of the world. Thank the Lord that it is
possible for us to say, as did the Apostle Paul:
"I have fought a good fight, I have finished my
course, I have kept the faith" (I Timothy 4:7).
Here are some of the thoughts that I had
pertaining to being a winner as we continued
our journey South.
1. Follow the Lord in His example of holiness.
There are several ways that we can go home
a winner. One would certainly be by following
the Lord Jesus in His example of holy living.
Positionally, we have been declared holy
because of what Jesus did for us when He died
at Calvary, but experientially, God wants us to
follow peace and holiness in our daily lives.
How good that our loving God gave us the
Ten Commandments (not suggestions) so that
we could have guidelines to help us know right
and wrong, black and white, and not the
modern concept of living in some gray area of
life with no absolutes. Often we hear a theory
called "situation ethics" expounded. This
contemporary humanistic reasoning manifests
itself when one accepts this theory which
declares: "I have the right to ignore God's
commandments because of the situation in
which I find myself." This philosophy offers
no restraints for moral actions or personal
There are times, however, when we are
unable to live completely like the Lord would
desire, and we fall short of His holy example.
How good to know that we do serve a loving,
forgiving God. The Apostle John tells us the
story of a woman who was caught in the act of
adultery and thrown at Jesus' feet. She was
guilty of a great, and immoral sin -- according
to Jewish law she deserved death, but Jesus'
response to her was one of overwhelming love.
The power of His love is greater than any sin.
He not only forgave her, but he would not
allow her accusers to condemn her. He knew
they too were guilty and hypocritical about
their condemnation. Thus he looked at her
with compassion and said, "Neither do I
condemn thee: go, and sin no more" (John 8:11).
Quickly notice however, that even though
Jesus loved and forgave her of her immorality,
He also exhorted her not to allow the sin to
In the same way, you and I stand forgiven
...but He expects us to live a holy lifestyle.
2. Follow the Lord in His example of humility.
This is a staggering and astounding
admonition when we consider a very
important aspect about our Lord as He walked
He was not an ordinary man or prophet.
He was the Son of God! A member of the
Holy Trinity! Scripture reveals to us that He
helped to create the heavens and the earth --
and that "nothing was made without Him"
(Colossians 1:16). He, as God, is omnipotent,
omnipresent, and omniscient. With this in
mind, I am in awe to think that when He
walked upon earth He gave us an amazing
example of humility.
I find it hard to comprehend that He was so
humble He knelt down and washed the feet of
His disciples (John 13:14). What a beautiful
and awesome thought: We serve a humble
Surely this example should cause us to
conclude that the more responsibility you and
I are given in this life... the more humility is
required. Perhaps the reason some hesitate to
exemplify humility is found in the fact that
they confuse meekness with weakness.
Meekness never manifests itself in weakness.
I am so grateful that I have had the privilege
of working alongside so many great men. In
my opinion, the greatest of these personalities
were those who chose to humble themselves in
the sight of God, following the Lord Jesus in
His meek and lowly life (Matthew 11:28 and
29). In so doing, God exalted and blessed
these leaders abundantly (James 4:10).
An astounding illustration of this can be
found in Westminster Abbey in London,
England. There, among the tombs of many,
are the tributes to David Livingstone and his
David Livingstone's brother was a man of
great fame since he was a very successful
business man. When David Livingstone
wanted to go to the mission field to share the
Gospel, it was his brother who tried to reason
with him by saying, "Don't go David, you are
burying yourself in Africa and wasting your
life. You have so much to look forward to in
England. In a short time you are destined to
become wealthy." David Livingstone listened
to the voice of God instead of his brother. He
left for the mission field to pioneer a
tremendous work for His Lord in Central
Today, on the monument of David
Livingstone, there is a beautiful, royal tribute
etched in stone as a commemoration of his
tremendous and enduring accomplishments.
Right next to this tribute, lies the monument
of his brother that merely reads: "The brother
of David Livingstone."
We may never receive the promised
exaltation of James 4:10 here on earth, but
someday we will go home winners if we
exemplify humility in our lives.
3. Follow the Lord in His example of Evangelization.
A dramatic and dynamic event occurred
when Jesus ascended into heaven. The last
words that He spoke to his disciples were: "But
ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost
is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto
me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and in
Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the
earth" (Acts 1:8). Let's consider two thoughts
concerning His last request.
Why do we receive power? So we can
witness. Where did Jesus want us to witness?
Right where we are. Perhaps another way we
could paraphrase this is: "But ye shall receive
power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon
you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in
Detroit, and in all of Michigan, and in the
United States, and unto the uttermost part of
the earth." Place your city, state and nation in
I appreciate how Jesus prepared lives around
Him for His message of love and salvation.
First of all, He cared for the specific needs of
each and every one. Remember how he healed
their bodies (John 5:1-9), how He brought
comfort to their minds during times of sorrow
(John 11:20-45), and how He gave them food
to satisfy their hunger (Matthew 15:32-38). It
may prove a blessing for us to follow His
example by caring for those around us before
we attempt to reach out to them spiritually.
There are so many with multiplied problems.
Let's always be aware of their needs first and
then love them enough to reach out in a
Secondly, He met the needs of those near
Him as well as far away. He blessed and
redeemed His disciples and ultimately the
souls of the world via Calvary. Our mission
field is all around us. Let's be vigilant and
ready to help those at home as well as those
abroad. Sometimes those closest to us are
neglected. Perhaps we could say we are often
Once there was a young lady in San
Francisco who wanted to go to China as a
missionary. But when she went before the
Missions Board, they asked her two very
important questions... The first was: "How
far do you live from Chinatown?" "Just a few
miles..." she replied. Then they asked her
the second question: "Have you been there to
share the Gospel with them?" Her answer was
"no." How sad! The board in good conscience
could not approve her application to become a
Take note! The last thing Jesus asked us to
do before He ascended into heaven was, "Go
and be witnesses." The first thing we will be
asked by the Lord when we arrive home is:
"Did you keep my commandment?" Scripture
tells us there will be a special reward for such
an effort (I Thessalonians 2:19).
John the Baptist spoke these inspiring
words that may help us in our efforts to be
winners. He said of Jesus, "He must increase, but
I must decrease" (John 3:30). May this powerful
exhortation reside and reign in our hearts as
we resolve to "GO HOME A WINNER!"