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Today’s Devotional | October 24 | PROVERBS 21 | Safety

Today's Devotional

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?

Daily Devotionals

 

As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God. My soul thirsteth for God, for the living God…”

Psalm 42:1, 2

 “Soul Food” is a daily devotional written by Dr. Jack Van Impe that brings God’s Word to life.

“The Tender Touch” is a weekly devotional from the heart of Dr. Rexella Van Impe.


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    October 23 | PROVERBS 20 | Strife
    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!

    October 22 | MARK 11:25-33 | Forgive
    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!

    October 21 | 1 SAMUEL 12:16-25 | Praying for Others
    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!

    October 20 | PROVERBS 17 | A Merry Heart
    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!

    October 19 | PSALM 19 | The God of Nature
    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.

    October 18 | ISAIAH 55 | God Is Infinite
    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.

    October 17 | PROVERBS 13 | Poverty and Riches
    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!

    Week 43 | Count It All Joy

    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
    understanding.

    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
    family.

    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
    leave you."

    "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
    4:16).

    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
    can use.

    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
    the beginning.

    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
    9:20, 21).

    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
    death.

    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
    greatly.

    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
    prescription.

    --- 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
    possibly mean?

    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
    some examples:

    • Jacob at Peniel, where his natural strength
      was broken.
    • Moses and the rock at Horeb; when he
      struck it, out gushed cool water for the thirsty
      people.
    • 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
      adversaries.
    • 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
      death.
    • 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
    preeminent.

    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?"


    Footprints

       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 about it. "LORD, You said
    that once I decided to follow You, You'd walk
    with me all the way. But I have noticed that
    during the most troublesome times in my life,
    there is only one set of footprints. I don't
    understand why when I needed You most You
    would leave me."

    The LORD replied, "My precious, precious
    child, I love you and I would never
    leave you. During your times of trial and
    suffering, when you see only one set of footprints,
    it was then that I carried you."

    Author unknown
    Week 42 | A Blaze of Glory

    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
    hope?

    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
    sky.

    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"

    (Judges 16:29-30).

    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!

    Week 41 | You Are God’s Gift to a Lost World

    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
    despair.

    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
    love.

    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
    ladies.

    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
    me.

    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
    testimony.

    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
    news!

    Week 40 | Go Home a Winner

    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
    pleasures.

    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
    continue.

    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
    among us.

    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
    God!

    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
    brother.

    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
    Africa.

    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
    the above.

    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
    tangible way.

    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
    too far-sighted.

    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
    missionary.

    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!"