Today’s Devotional |
- 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.
“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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- Soul Food
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- 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.
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!
- Memory Verse
- For in the time of trouble he shall hide me in his pavilion: in the secret of his tabernacle shall he hide me; he shall set me up upon a rock (Psalm 27:5).
Today you’d like to hang a “DO NOT DISTURB” sign on your door. You’re embarrassed by a turn of events over which you had little or no control and you don’t want to face people. You’d like to go into hiding. Interestingly, the Bible says that the Lord hides His own in His pavilion. What does that mean?
The pavilion of the king was a tent that was placed right in the middle of the army. An honor guard protected the pavilion and was charged with the king’s protection as well. Guests of the king were privileged to stay in the pavilion and so they were assured of all the protection afforded by the king’s army. The pavilion was a safe place to be.
The Psalmist also speaks of the safety of the tabernacle. Being inside the tabernacle speaks of the safety of the presence of the Lord. In the New Testament, Paul wrote: “Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory” (Colossians 3:2-4).
Finally, David declares that the Lord has set his feet up upon a rock. The Lord says that He is the Rock: “He is the Rock, his work is perfect: for all his ways are judgment: a God of truth and without iniquity, just and right is he” (Deuteronomy 32:4).
What protection in trouble! We are safe within the Lord’s pavilion, safe within His tabernacle and standing on the Rock.
Don’t you feel secure?
- Memory Verse
- The LORD also will be a refuge for the oppressed, a refuge in times of trouble (Psalm 9:9).
Troubled people often long for a place to hide. That is exactly what the Lord offers. Refuge here means “hill-fort.” David must have been thinking of one of the hill-forts where he had sought refuge during one of his many times of trouble. See how many times he uses this precious likeness to our Lord:
“Ye have shamed the counsel of the poor, because the LORD is his refuge” (Psalm 14:6). “...be merciful unto me: for my soul trusteth in thee: yea in the shadow of thy wings will I make my refuge, until these calamities be overpast” (Psalm 57:1). “But I will sing of thy power; yea, I will sing aloud of thy mercy in the morning: for thou hast been my defense and refuge in the day of my trouble” (Psalm 59:16). “In God is my salvation and my glory: the rock of my strength, and my refuge, is in God. Trust in him at all times; ye people, pour out your heart before him; God is a refuge for us” (Psalm 62:7-8). “I am as a wonder unto many; but thou art my strong refuge” (Psalm 71:7). “I will say of the LORD, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust” (Psalm 91:2). “I cried unto thee, O LORD: I said, Thou art my refuge and my portion in the land of the living” (Psalm 142:5).
Trouble can be going on all around one who is in a safe refuge and yet he will be secure. Perhaps your sea is storm-swept today. Unexpected problems have come upon you and you feel near the breaking point. You’d like to fly away somewhere and refuse to see anyone.
Here’s good news. You do not need to flee to a different location to find peace and safety. Your refuge is available. Run to the hill-fort provided by Jesus.
He will keep you safe until the troubles are past!
- Memory Verse
- Man that is born of a woman is of few days, and full of trouble (Job 14:1).
Job was a good and prosperous man. He was both rich and righteous — a rare combination. His family consisted of seven sons and three daughters. Everything seemed to be going his way.
Then everything went wrong. Thieves stole his work animals. Lightning struck his sheep. A tornado hit his house where his children were gathered for a party and they were killed. His health failed. His wife became so depressed that she suggested that he end it all.
It is well known that Job came through this tough time triumphantly. Being human, however, he did ask some honest questions. Let’s answer them.
QUESTION NUMBER ONE: “Who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean...” (Job 14:4).
ANSWER: God can. He specializes in it. We are all unclean. Yet Christ died for us and invites us to come for cleansing. “Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow... “ (Isaiah 1:18).
QUESTION NUMBER TWO: “...yea, man giveth up the ghost, and where is he?” (Job 14:10).
ANSWER: If he is a Christian, he is in heaven. “We are confident, I say and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord” (II Corinthians 5:8).
QUESTION NUMBER THREE: “If a man die, shall he live again?” (Job 14:14).
ANSWER: Yes. He will be resurrected. For Christians, it will happen when Christ returns, and will bring blessing. “...the dead in Christ shall rise first” (I Thessalonians 4:16). The lost will be raised for judgment one thousand years later (Revelation 20:5).
- Memory Verse
- I was not in safety, neither had I rest, neither was I quiet; yet trouble came (Job 3:26).
Sometimes we know why trouble has come. A lady in a hospital bed once said to me, “I know why I’m here.”
Trouble may come as a result of God’s love and concern for us. Many will be in heaven because trouble enabled them to see the real issues of life more clearly. When their eyes had been washed with tears, they saw the folly of living without Christ and the emptiness of worldly gain or pleasure. A time of trouble became a signpost for heaven.
Trouble may come to a Christian because he is not living in the will of God: “For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not?” (Hebrews 12:6, 7). A professing Christian who seems to continue to get away with sin should examine himself to see if he is in the faith,
Trouble may come because God has a special purpose for it. Jesus met a man who had been born blind and His disciples thought the man’s trouble was the result of some sin that he or his parents had committed. But Jesus told them that the blind man’s trouble was not the result of his sins or the sins of his parents (John 9:3). His blindness was for the glory of God. Jesus restored his sight.
Trouble may come as an attack from Satan. That was the source of Job’s trouble. He had not been presumptuous or backslidden. His trouble was an attack from the enemy.
We must be careful not to judge others in their times of trouble. If trouble comes to us because of sin, God will let us know so that we can confess it and be forgiven. Trouble that is not easily explained should be entrusted to the Lord.
His grace is sufficient for all!
- Memory Verse
- Of the gold, the silver, and the brass, and the iron, there is no number. Arise therefore, and be doing, and the LORD be with thee (I Chronicles 22:16).
Some expect to be liberal givers to the Lord’s work when they get through their present tight squeeze. They have the cart before the horse. People of faith have learned to give during difficult times and God has honored their faith.
Samuel Chadwick wrote: “Unless a man cultivates a habit of systematic giving when he has not much to give, he will give little when he is rich.”
David instructed Solomon concerning his duty in building the temple and informed him that he had stockpiled the materials for the temple during troubled times: “Now, behold, in my trouble I have prepared for the house of the LORD an hundred thousand talents of gold, and a thousand thousand talents of silver; and of brass and iron without weight; for it is an abundance: timber also and stone have I prepared; and thou mayest add thereto” (I Chronicles 22:14).
Had David deferred his giving, he might never have prepared for the building of the temple. The reason? Trouble followed him all his life. And it is likely that we will never be completely free from difficulties. If we are ever to invest in the Lord’s work, we must do so immediately.
Most of us do not have great fortunes to leave to Christian ministries after we finish this life and few have huge amounts to give now. The work of God is supported in large degree by widow’s mites that He multiplies to reach the multitudes. But we do have something in our hands. And a share of that belongs to the Lord.
Even in troubled times!
- Memory Verse
- Out of the same mouth proceedeth blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not so to be (James 3:10).
Dr. Bob Jones Sr. wrote: “If any man offend not in word, the same is a perfect man, and able also to bridle the whole body.” That is what the Holy Spirit said through James in the third chapter of the book he wrote.
“This statement we should know to be true even if it were not in the Bible. All of us know, if we stop to think, that our most difficult task is to control our tongues. There is nothing today that is doing more to deaden the spiritual testimony of orthodox Christianity than the long, backbiting, mean tongues of some supposedly orthodox Christians.
“There are Christians that talk much about a separated life, and boast about what they do and do not do, and speak with great pride about their loyalty to orthodoxy, who spend their time dipping their tongues in the slime and slander and speaking the death warrant to the reputation of other orthodox Christians.
“The Bible is filled with condemnation of people that slander other people. It condemns with great severity people who even take up a reproach about other people. It is just as bad to carry a rumor around after it starts as it is to start it.”
You may be rebuked by this strong statement. You feel uncomfortable. Convicted. You’ve been unkind with your tongue.
What can you do?
Confess your unkind words to the Lord. Claim His forgiveness.
Stop grieving over past failures. But don’t travel that same road again. Give Christ control of your life...including that dangerous tongue!
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
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
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
"I'm so sorry," said my friend. "You have
to make a purchase of at least $15 to get the
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
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!
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
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
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
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,
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
And we've met Jesus at the place of
punishment and found it has become a place of
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!
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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!
My husband and I were recently in
Israel. Almost everywhere we went, we saw
children, running, playing, shouting. I thought
that Jesus must have seen children, too, as He
visited the places we did, and I was tenderly
reminded of how much He loves children.
On one occasion the disciples tried to keep
the children from Jesus, and the Bible says He
rebuked them. Jesus said, Suffer little
children, and forbid them not, to come unto me:
for of such is the kingdom of heaven (Matthew 19:14).
Jesus not only had a special love for
children while He was here on earth, but when He
returns He is going to give special attention to
them. Zechariah 8:5 says, And the streets of
the city shall be full of boys and girls playing
in the streets thereof.
Unfortunately, there are people today who
do not share God's love for children. Instead,
they abuse children, mistreat them, and even
kill them. Child abuse is now being called
"the most under-reported crime in the United
States." America's children -- our nation's
most precious resource -- are in peril.
Scarcely a day goes by without the
headlines screaming out the tragic loss of a child's
life somewhere in the country, or the media
reports another case of sexual abuse of an
innocent child or the beating of a youngster. It
is a tragedy, a crime of monstrous proportions,
with children -- the most vulnerable members
of our society -- the targets of abuse.
Psychologists are now telling us that
parents who physically or emotionally abuse their
small children were reared in a similar
manner. In view of this, child abuse is a matter we
must make our concern. My reading has
revealed that parents who batter their children,
whether emotionally, physically, or a
combination of both, say that is how they were
raised. They say they don't know any other
way to keep their kids in line. Thus the cycle
of abuse continues from one generation to another.
Abuse often goes unrecognized
One tragedy of child abuse is that parental
or adult child abusers often go unrecognized
for a number of reasons. Often the outside
world really doesn't want to become involved
in what could turn out to be a long, drawn-out
situation. There may not be enough evidence
for outsiders to justify their early involvement,
or they may want to spare the child any
additional, needless hurt.
Another reason child abusers go unrecognized
and unpunished is because of adult
denial. When a child reports that he has been
or is being abused by an adult, too often his
parents or the authorities will deny it. Some
parents who do not wish to cause problems
within the family or with friends or neighbors
will shame their children into silence.
We have Sigmund Freud to blame, in part,
for parental denial. He fashioned what came
to be called the "seduction theory" based upon
early encounters with young girls who were
brought to him by their parents. In 1905 he
published the theory that children were ruled
by their infantile sexual desires and that the
sexual "abuses" children reported could not be
believed as real events because the abuses
were merely the children's own deepest wishes.
Because of this, our culture, pervaded with
Freudian psychology, for 60 years has ignored
or de-emphasized children's reports of seduction,
cruelty, and sexual coercion by family
members and/or by friends or neighbors.
Some adults are now speaking out after
years of silence and telling of their experiences
as abused children. They say that a
common message they received was, "You're
bad even to think such thoughts," when they
tried telling their mothers what was actually happening.
Fortunately, today people are beginning to
be aware of child abuse, to talk about it, and to
do something about it. Recent reports in the
news media about child abuse at preschools
have done much to heighten public awareness
of the problem. This has led to the formation
of community services and self-help groups
to deal with the increasing problems both for
abusers and the abused.
Awareness within the Christian community
has grown along with public awareness.
Adult "care-givers" in both arenas are working
diligently to provide treatment and counsel.
They are even teaching youngsters how to
protect themselves from abuse and where to
go for help if it is needed. We should recognize
and admit that the abuse of children is a
problem that affects not only society but the
church as well. The church should be ready at
all times to minister to an abused child or to
an abusive family.
What is child abuse?
How is child abuse actually defined? The
public is, by and large, uncertain as to what
constitutes abuse, and that accounts, in part,
for an under-reporting of suspected child abuse.
"Doesn't every parent have the responsibility
and the right to discipline his child?"
someone may ask. As Christians, we believe
we have a biblical mandate to train up our
children in the way they should go, and where
necessary, to use corrective measures. My
own parents, as well as Jack's parents,
exercised controlled discipline with us, and I see
others doing the same. The key word is
Professionals who speak of child abuse are
not referring to the spankings parents give
their children now and then when the children
deserve a firm hand on the bottom of their
anatomy. Abuse, they say, isn't something
that happens "now and then." It is consistent
and severe and is motivated by the parents'
hostility and unresolved inner conflict rather
than by a desire to change the child's behavior.
It is usually irrational and uncontrolled.
Often the abusing parent has unrealistic
expectations of what the child is capable of
doing and giving. I've seen parents fly into a
rage in a restaurant when their two- or
three-year-old spills his milk. Parents who respond
in an uncontrolled manner will view the
child's accident as a commentary on their
behavior rather than as a normal three-year-old's
The National Committee for Prevention of
Child Abuse describes child abuse in this way:
- Child abuse is an injury or a pattern of
injuries to a child that is non-accidental.
- Child abuse is damage to a child for
which there is no reasonable explanation.
- Child abuse includes nonaccidental
physical injury, sexual molestation,
neglect, and emotional abuse.
Nonaccidental physical injury may include
severe beatings, burns, human bites, or
immersion in scalding water.
Sexual molestation is exploitation of a
child for the sexual gratification of an adult,
such as rape, incest, fondling of the genitals,
Neglect is a failure to provide a child with
the basic necessities of life which include
food, clothing, shelter, or medical care.
Emotional abuse is excessive, aggressive,
or unreasonable parental behavior that places
unreasonable demands upon the child to
perform above his capabilities. Examples may
include constant teasing, belittling, or verbal
attacks; no love, no support, and no guidance.
- Child abuse is NOT usually a single
physical attack or a single act of deprivation
or molestation. Child abuse is a
pattern of behavior. Its effects are
cumulative: the longer it continues, the
more serious it becomes and the more
serious the child's injuries.
Signs of abuse: what to look for
What should you look for if you suspect
abuse? Are there signs?
Victims will often retreat into a silent
world. The reason for this is that they are
frightened or they may innately sense that
what has happened to them is wrong and they
are too embarrassed to tell. They believe they
will be thought of as bad and that they will be
blamed or punished.
Watch for physical signs, warnings that
something is amiss. There may be bruises,
welts, genital pain, or bleeding. If a parent
observes drastic changes in a child's behavior,
he or she should be sensitive to the fact that
something may be wrong. A toilet-trained
child may suddenly, for no apparent reason,
become a bed wetter. A child might resist a
babysitter whom he or she hadn't objected to
Children may be sending unspoken
messages -- an unusual quietness...not wanting to
discuss things that are happening at school.
Or the children may be unusually fearful.
There may be a cringing, drawing back from
being touched, a reluctance to meet strangers
or even people they know.
A child's inability to concentrate in school
and subsequent poor grades may indicate that
some form of abuse is occurring in the home.
A child's withdrawal from friends and fun
activities or difficulty in sleeping or eating are
other signs that something is amiss.
What can you do?
If you are a parent or care-giver and you
suspect child abuse, take the child to a
physician. Reassure the child that you love him,
but take steps to protect the child by calling
the police or child welfare bureau. Above all,
provide that assurance the child needs from
you. Impress upon him that he didn't do
anything wrong in telling you. If you suspect
your spouse is molesting your child, win the
child's confidence and ask appropriate
Teach your children how to recognize
danger. Let them know that most adults are
loving people but that there are some who may
cause them harm. They need to be taught that
they are not to go anywhere with a stranger or
even with a casual acquaintance and that they
are never to accept candy or money from such
a person. Teach your children to say no to an
adult who tries to bribe them in some way.
Teach your children that there are some
parts of the body that are not to be touched by
other people. You can teach your children that
not even people they love and trust should
ever touch them in these places...and they
should be wary when adult friends are acting
secretive or when they say, "Don't tell."
If you are an abusive parent who needs
help, I am happy to tell you that there are
support systems available. Parents Anonymous
has chapters throughout the country which
offer non-judgmental help. Their toll-free
number is 1-800-421-0353. Another self-help
organization is called SCAN, Stop Child
Abuse Now. For these and other helpful
groups, look in your telephone book under
There are also community mental health
clinics which provide help; family counseling
services; city, county, or state social agencies;
family mediation and crisis centers; and
parents' aid societies. All such agencies and
organizations are listed in the telephone directory
white or yellow pages and most provide
services free of charge.
If you suspect that a child is being abused
in some way -- whether physically, verbally,
emotionally, sexually, or through neglect -- act
at once by calling the police department.
Even if you have no proof, don't hold back.
Don't be afraid of "causing trouble." I've
been told that the police will act on
anonymous complaints of suspected child abusers,
so don't fear involvement with the authorities.
Remember, it is the lives of innocent children
who are in peril.