- Memory Verse
- Hearken unto me, ye that know righteousness, the people in whose heart is my law; fear ye not the reproach of men, neither be ye afraid of their revilings (Isaiah 51:7).
The promises of God are given to a particular people, those who have received His Son as Saviour and Lord. Some mistakenly try to claim the promises without receiving the Saviour.
One may quote the beautiful Twenty-third Psalm and enjoy its description of green pastures and still waters, but it is vital to remember that the overflowing cup of the psalmist was based upon the first sentence of his expression of praise for provision: “The Lord is my shepherd.”
Perhaps you have been reading the Bible to find peace and still your fears remain. Could it be that you have never been saved? My wife, Rexella, had a similar experience in her youth. Let her tell it:
“Following my solo in a church service — when I was sixteen — the moment of truth came. I left the service weeping and went to my parents’ car to be alone. Concerned, my father followed me and asked what was wrong. ‘Oh, Dad,’ I sobbed, ‘I’ve deceived my own heart. I’ve deceived our pastor and you and the whole church. I have known about the Lord all my life, but I don’t really know Him.’ Resisting the temptation to soothe my feelings, my father said: ‘Be sure, Rexella.’
“A few days later, my older brother learned of my soul’s distress when he heard me crying in my room. With genuine compassion and understanding, he led me through God’s plan of salvation.”
Tell the Lord of your doubts and uncertainty. Take Christ as your Saviour without delay. Trust Him to take away all your sins.
“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
- But now thus saith the LORD that created thee, 0 Jacob, and he that formed thee, 0 Israel, Fear not: for I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by thy name; thou art mine (Isaiah 43:1).
The old hymn says, “Redeemed, how I love to proclaim it!” And our redemption is worth proclaiming. The definition of redeem is “to regain possession of by paying a price.” The price of our redemption was the blood of Christ: “Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot” (1 Peter 1:18,19).
To be redeemed is to belong to the Redeemer.
Since our Redeemer is Christ, we belong to Him.
This privileged position brings security. The Good Shepherd is our Redeemer and we are His sheep. Expose your fears to these promises: “I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep. I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine. As the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down my life for the sheep. My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand. I and my Father are one” (John 10:11,14,15,27-30).
If you have been born again, you are one of the redeemed — one of His sheep. You belong to the Good Shepherd.
And here you are, afraid!
- Memory Verse
- Alas! for that day is great, so that none is like it: it is even the time of Jacob’s trouble, but he shall be saved out of it (Jeremiah 30:7).
Christ is coming soon. His return will usher in the world’s most terrible time, known as the Tribulation or the Time of Jacob’s Trouble. Of this time, Jesus said: “For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be” (Matthew 24:21).
Some believe the church will remain on earth for the Time of Jacob’s Trouble. Here are some reasons for rejecting that conclusion:
- The return of Christ for His church is a sign less event. Even the New Testament writers expected the Lord’s return at any moment. The moment the Tribulation begins, a timetable is evident. Date setting would be conclusive. Scripture would be violated.
- The Tribulation is related especially to Israel. In Daniel 9:24-27, the prophet shares a vision of 70 weeks of years concerning Israel. Sixty-nine of those weeks have been fulfilled. When Christ returns for His church, the prophetic clock will tick again, fulfilling the final week.
- The church is not the recipient of God’s wrath: The Tribulation is a time when God’s wrath is poured out on the earth. Paul assures us we will not go through that awful time: “For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ” (I Thessalonians 5:9).
- The world is ready for the Antichrist: The church is not all it ought to be but the world is better because it is here. When the influence of the Holy Spirit is removed at the Rapture of the church, the world will be ready for the final world dictator (II Thessalonians 2:7-8).
Your present trouble does not compare with the coming Tribulation.
Aren’t you thankful?
- Memory Verse
- Better is little with the fear of the LORD than great treasure and trouble therewith (Proverbs 15:16).
A few years ago, a man stepped out into his back yard, and looking up saw a speck in the sky. It grew larger and larger. Then he discovered it was something alive, a struggling, living mass of something slowly descending to earth.
What he had first seen as a speck, had now revealed itself to be two large bald eagles in deadly combat. The huge birds were fighting in the sky over a fish. The fish finally dropped to the ground, but the birds continued their struggle until they were bloody and exhausted. With a last fatal scream and a plunge at each other, both birds came tumbling down to earth — dead, falling side by side, within a few feet of the man who had been witnessing the fierce battle of the sky. Greed had destroyed them.
Christians and churches are often destroyed like those birds. Testimonies are ruined. Congregations are divided. Reputations are destroyed. And all for the love of money, position or recognition. Someone demanded his rights... insisted on them, regardless of the destruction.
Here is a verse from the Bible that needs reviving: “Now therefore there is utterly a fault among you, because ye go to law with one another. Why do ye not rather take wrong? why do ye not rather suffer yourselves to be defrauded?” (I Corinthians 6:7).
That bit of advice would halt many a court battle between Christians and on a daily personal level would quiet many troubled seas. Strange that this practical verse seldom appears in Sunday School lessons or memorization programs. Perhaps too many would rather ignore its message.
In your present conflict, choose less, Take wrong!
- Memory Verse
- And he arose, and came to his father. But when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him (Luke 15:20).
The prodigal’s father must have spent many troubled nights, burdened about his son who had gone into the far country. He may have reviewed his life again and again wondering what he might have done differently, reliving a thousand situations and speculating at the possible results had he chosen a different course in regard to his son.
But this troubled father lived to see his son’s return. His tears were changed to laughter; his regret to rejoicing. What was there about this father that brought the prodigal back from the pig pen?
HE WAS APPROACHABLE. The account given by Jesus seems to indicate that the mother had died, adding to the father’s load. It is clear that the family was wealthy. There were servants and a sizeable inheritance. With all these responsibilities, the father evidently remained approachable. When the son decided to leave to seek his fortune, he was able to go to his father and tell him about his dreams. Some might have slipped away in the night, but he knew that his father would listen, that he could communicate with him.
HE WAS AFFECTIONATE. When the son returned home, he ran and fell on his neck and kissed him. Away with the nonsense that says manhood calls for hardness or that maturity calls for coldness. Spurgeon describes this scene as “prodigal love for the prodigal son.” The son was welcomed by an affectionate father’s open arms, not glaring stares of condemnation.
IN HIS SON’S MIND, HE WAS ASSOCIATED WITH HEAVEN. Even when wayward, the prodigal couldn’t think about his father without being reminded of heaven: “I have sinned against heaven, and before thee,” he confessed.
No wonder the prodigal came home!
- Memory Verse
- Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea (Psalm 46:2).
In his book, Two Thousand Hours in the Psalms, Dr. Marion Hull says of Psalm 46, “No wonder the psalmist says ‘therefore will not we fear.’ What could man do to anyone who has such a source of strength and help as this?”
He explains that refuge means “a place to go quietly for protection.” And that the Hebrew word translated trouble means “in tight places. “When we get in tight places we can go to the Lord and find a place of quiet protection.
This place of safety belongs to the children of God and is available even in convulsions of nature. One lady who slept through an earthquake was asked how she had such peace in the crisis. She replied that she rejoiced to have a God strong enough to shake the world.
Some are terrified at storms. The disciples expected to die in a watery grave during the storm that swept the Sea of Galilee. Jesus rebuked them for their lack of faith and also rebuked the wind and the waves. When they had entered the boat Jesus had said: “Let us pass over unto the other side” (Mark 4:35). His statement of sure crossing made the boat unsinkable in the face of any storm. Their fears were a waste of energy and a useless drain on their emotions. The Master of nature was on board. And in spite of their anxiety, all was well.
In all the storms of life, Christians have a refuge.
Flee to Him and leave your fears behind!
- Memory Verse
- What time I am afraid, I will trust in thee (Psalm 56:3).
David was no stranger to fear. He had been pursued by Saul who intended to kill him. Often, enemies had sought his life. Finally, rebellion racked his kingdom. He knew the twinge and tightening of fear. But he also knew what to do when fears came - “What time I am afraid, I will trust thee.”
Trust. What a good word!
Hudson Taylor was so feeble in the closing months of his life, that he wrote a friend, “I am so weak that I cannot work; I cannot read my Bible; I cannot even pray. I can only lie still in God’s arms like a little child and trust.” This great man of God came to a place of physical suffering and weakness where he could only lie still and trust. And that is all God asks in that hour. James McConkey gave this advice to those in the fierce fires of affliction: “Do not try to be strong. Just be still.”
How wonderfully the Bible meets us where we are! Scores of times the Scriptures advise us not to fear. Isaiah wrote: “I will trust, and not be afraid” (Isaiah 12:2). Yet, knowing that some would experience fear in spite of all assurances, direction is given to those already afraid. The call is for a move from trembling to trust.
But how does one trust when immobilized by fear?
There is but one answer. Fill your mind and heart with the promises of the Bible. Read the old familiar chapters that you love. Sing the old hymns that are full of Bible truth. Let God assure you with His Word.
Trust will grow — even in a trembling heart!
- Memory Verse
- Then they cried unto the LORD in their trouble, and he delivered them out of their distresses (Psalm 107:6).
Jesus meets the Christian who is in distress. And He understands. He has been there.
Expose your distress to this message from Charles Spurgeon: “God is with us in sorrows. There is no pang that rends the heart, I might almost say, not one which disturbs the body, but what Jesus Christ has been with you in it all.
“Feel the sorrows of poverty? He ‘had not where to lay His head.’ Do you endure the griefs of bereavement? Jesus wept at the tomb of Lazarus. Have you been slandered for righteousness’ sake and has it vexed your spirit? He said, ‘Reproach hath broken Mine heart.’ Have you been betrayed? Do not forget that He, too, had His familiar friend who sold Him for the price of a slave.
“On what stormy seas have you been tossed which have not roared about His boat? Never glen of adversity so dark, so deep, apparently so pathless, but what, in stooping down, you may discover the footprints of the crucified One! In the fires and in the rivers, in the cold of night and under the burning sun, He cries, ‘I am with you; be not dismayed; for I am both thy Companion and thy God!”
The dictionary defines distress as “Acute or extreme suffering or its cause; pain; trouble... an afflicted wretched or exhausted condition; a state of extreme need.”
“Ah,” you say, “that describes me and my troubles exactly.”
Then take heart. You are not the first to endure such heartaches. God delivered others when in distress. That is the promise of our text.
And He will deliver you!
The news media often calls attention to the
large number of homeless and hungry people
in our nation's big cities. The scenes of
people sleeping on benches, huddling in
cardboard boxes, or looking through garbage cans
for food are pitiful and troubling. While many
of these individuals have ended up on the
street through misfortunes beyond their
control, even sadder are the cases who are there
largely by choice.
As I prayed and thought about this
problem, it occurred to me that while not homeless
and destitute, most of us, in a spiritual sense,
have gotten by with just a cup of coffee and a
morsel of bread when we could have been
feasting on God's plentiful banquet of spiritual
manna. As the Apostle James observes, Ye
have not, because ye ask not (James 4:2).
My husband, Jack, and I have a favorite
little "home cookin'" cafe we often visit when
it's just the two of us. It's not fancy at all, but
it's a cozy, comfortable place where we can
relax -- and the food is good. We go there
often enough that we know most of the
waitresses and many of the regular customers.
For weeks we noticed that a certain man
was almost always in the cafe, sitting at the
counter. He looked as if he might be
homeless, usually dressed in worn, slightly shabby
clothes which probably hadn't been laundered
in weeks. He was always alone -- never did
we see him with a friend or ever having a
conversation with others at the counter. His
countenance was drawn and sad, and one could
sense that he had known much sorrow in his
lifetime. The waitresses told us he ate only
once a day -- the rest of the time he just drank
coffee..."buy one cup and the refills are free."
Jack and I felt terribly sorry for this man.
One night as we were having a light dinner,
we looked over at him sitting alone at the
counter, nursing his coffee cup, and it made us
sad. My hubby called a waitress over and
said, "Give that man the best dinner in the
house and bring me the bill. Let him pick out
anything on the menu and tell him a friend has
picked up the tab."
"No, Dr. Van Impe, you don't need to do
that," said the waitress.
"But I want to," he answered. "He looks
like he needs a good meal, and I'd just like to
help him a little."
"You don't understand," she said. "That is
Mr. _____________" (and she named a very well-known
and wealthy local family). "His father
owned much of the land that is now the City
of Troy -- he's the heir to millions!"
"But he looks so underprivileged!" I exclaimed.
"Yes, I know," said the waitress, "but he's
really a multimillionaire. He lives like a
pauper by choice."
I haven't seen that poor, sad man lately,
but recently I've been thinking about his situation.
Could it be that many Christians are
living like spiritual paupers when they could be
enjoying God's manifest blessings every day
of their lives? Are they settling for just a cup
of coffee when they could be feasting at the
Lord's banquet table?
As we face the future, are we anxious
about what lies ahead? Will it be a time of
happiness and blessing...or endless loneliness
Change your wardrobe
The old man in the cafe was dressed in
worn, shabby clothes. Yet he could have been
wearing the finest suit from the best tailor in town.
What are you wearing? The Prophet Isaiah
said, I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, my soul
shall be joyful in my God; for he hath clothed
me with the garments of salvation, he hath
covered me with the robe of righteousness, as
a bridegroom decketh himself with ornaments,
and as a bride adorneth herself with her jewels
Clothe yourself in the wardrobe God has
provided for you. Get dressed in His
rightousness and see what a change His garments
will make in your whole outlook on life.
You'll discover a new awareness of God as
your Sustainer and Protector. You'll stand
taller and walk in trust and confidence.
So resolve to stop dressing like the world
and get clothed in.His righteousness.
Put sadness aside
The old man in the cafe looked so sad, as
if the weight of the world was on his
shoulders. Yes, from a worldly perspective, he had
everything. He was from a prominent family,
with every possible financial advantage at his
disposal. If money could buy happiness, he
could have had it all.
Christianity is the most joyful of all the
world's religions. Yet we often manage to
make it appear the most sad and mournful by
our actions and our countenance. Mark Twain
once had his famous character, Huck Finn,
wondering if the mule in the barn had "got
religion" because of its long face!
The psalmist exults, Thou hast put
gladness in my heart. For he satisfieth the longing
soul, and filleth the hungry soul with goodness
(Psalm 4:7; 107:9).
I think we sometimes develop a bad habit
of letting our faces reflect the care and
confusion of the world around us instead of the joy
and peace of the Lord welling up within us.
If we have full access to God's goodness,
gladness, and blessedness, shouldn't our faces
As Christians, our future is as bright as the
promises of God. And the Word of God is
filled with wonderful promises. Some of my
favorites include Christ's promise: Lo, I am
with you alway, even unto the end of the world
(Matthew 28:20) and also God's assurance
that as thy days, so shall thy strength be
If we believe God, we have something to
Be a friend
In all the times we observed the old man
in the cafe, Jack and I never saw him with
a friend...or ever being friendly with those
around him. While others had pleasant
conversations and shared personal things with
each other, the old man sat alone, without a
friend. How sad.
But while true friendship is measured by
more than "hellos" and conversations, some
people have no friends because they will let
no one get close to them.
As the writer of Proverbs observes, A man
that hath friends must show himself friendly:
and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a
brother (Proverbs 18:24).
One must be a friend to others to have
friends who will share fellowship and
companionship in return. And this is an important
part of life. But even if earthly friends do fail
in times of trouble, we can be secure in knowing
that we can have a friend who will stick
closer than a brother, in good times and bad.
We know we can count on Him because
He has said, I will never leave thee, nor
forsake thee (Hebrews 13:5).
When we have such a Friend, why don't
we rely on Him more? In the words of the
grand old gospel song, "What a Friend We
Have in Jesus,"
Oh, what peace we often forfeit,
Oh, what needless pain we bear,
All because we do not carry
Everything to God in prayer.
I don't think I'll ever forget the old man in
the cafe, scrimping by on one meal a day,
when he could have had anything on the
menu, anytime he wanted it. Yet he'd order
"Just a cup of coffee, please" and ask for free
refills. How tragic to see a multimillionaire
But how much more tragic to have the
riches of heaven at our disposal and go
through life starving ourselves spiritually! Do
you have a Bible? Of course, you do. Are
you feasting daily on the abundant nourish-
ment found there...or do you hurriedly pull out
a single scripture card and glance at it before
you dash out into the day?
Compare your biblical diet with
Jeremiah's. He said, Thy words were found, and I
did eat them; and thy word was unto me the
joy and rejoicing of mine heart: for I am
called by thy name, O Lord God of hosts
Don't settle for just a cup of coffee -- eat
heartily -- even as the Apostle Peter
admonished us to do in 1 Peter 2:2, stating: As
newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the
word, that ye may grow thereby. The psalmist
concurs, saying, O taste and see that the Lord
is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in
him (Psalm 34:8).
I heard the story of a man whose dream
was to go to America. For years he saved his
money to buy passage on a ship. Finally he
had just enough, with only a small amount left
He took part of the little money he had left
and bought some bread and cheese he could
take on board. By careful rationing, he
thought there would be just enough to last
through the voyage.
So he set sail, glad to finally be going to
the "promised land." Other passengers were
festive and happy, going into the ship's dining
room to eat wonderful meals, and strolling
about the decks, laughing and having
The man would go to his little cabin at
mealtime and eat stale bread and hard cheese.
But he had miscalculated the length of the
voyage, and a few days before the ship was to
arrive in New York harbor, he ran out of food.
He drank water and did without for a day or
so. Then he got so hungry he didn't think he
could last. So he scraped together all the
money he had left -- several coins -- and went to a
steward in the dining room.
"Excuse me, please," he said. "Is this
enough money to buy just a little bit to eat?
I've run out of food and I'm very hungry."
The steward said, "Sir, you do not need to
pay extra to eat in the dining room. Your
meals were paid for in the price of your
I urge you to begin living up to your
privileges in God. Jesus Christ paid for them in the
price of your passage to heaven!
Blessing, gladness, satisfaction, goodness,
and all other spiritual pleasures are yours.
Happy is he that hath the God of Jacob for
his help, whose hope is in the Lord his God
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!