- Memory Verse
- These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world (John 16:33).
Christians will not go through the Tribulation but in this life they have tribulation. Being born again does not deliver one from all earthly trouble.
Christians have trouble because they have bodies that have been affected by the fall. Though the child of God is a citizen of heaven and will go there when he dies, his body still suffers the effects of the fall. We are all the children of Adam and Eve.
Christians catch cold, get the flu, break bones when they fall, lose their teeth and hair with age and generally give evidence of being part of a fallen race. Sickness may not be the result of any particular sin or proof of the chastening of God, but simply an affliction that has come because our bodies are not what they were before the sin that brought about the fall.
Christians have trouble because they live in a troubled world. War that affects the general public also affects Christians. They should have greater peace in the midst of war, but inconveniences and injuries have come to Christians as to others during war.
Christians have cars that don’t start, washing machines that break down, pumps that give out, roofs that leak and other common irritations.
Christians have trouble in some cases because they are Christians. Jesus warned his disciples: “If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you. If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you” (John 15:18-19).
But Christians do not face their troubles alone. One overcoming Saviour gives us peace…even in troubled times!
“As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God. My soul thirsteth for God, for the living God…”
Psalm 42:1, 2
“Soul Food” is a daily devotional written by Dr. Jack Van Impe that brings God’s Word to life.
“The Tender Touch” is a weekly devotional from the heart of Dr. Rexella Van Impe.
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- Memory Verse
- And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet (Matthew 24:6).
Present world conditions incubate fears. And things are not likely to improve. Jesus said: “And there shall be signs in the son, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring; Men’s hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken” (Luke 21:25-26). But Christians do not need to be troubled.
The movements of men and nations in our day are but the outworking of our Father’s plan. Perilous times, the explosion of knowledge, Israel as a nation, Russia a militaristic power with designs on the Middle East, China becoming a world power, the coming together of the nations of Western Europe, the slide of morals, the space programs and other developments are simply indications that God’s Word is true and that our Saviour is coming soon.
What a great time to be alive!
Sometimes Christians become afraid when they read about a coming Antichrist, the mark of the beast and terrible persecutions that will come to believers during the Tribulation. But we must realize that we will not be here for that frightening time. Many will be converted after the Rapture of the church and will endure persecutions and martyrdom but Christians living at the time of Christ’s return will escape the Tribulation (Revelation 3:10).
Look about you. See the fulfilling of prophecy. And rejoice!
The Lord is coming. He’s coming for you!
- 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.
- 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!
Some time ago I contracted a dangerous
viral infection which threatened the sight of
my left eye and produced severe discomfort
and pain. Just as I was getting a little better, I
came down with pneumonia in my right lung.
During this time of unusual stress and trauma,
Jack and I spent even more time than normal
praying and seeking God. Thank the
Lord, He heard and answered our prayers!
Experiencing those wearisome days when
I might have been tempted to ask, "Does God
care? Is He listening?" -- I found new assurance
that the Lord, the Creator of the ends of
the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary (Isaiah
40:28). And I can truthfully say with the
psalmist that I waited patiently for the Lord;
and he inclined unto me, and heard my cry
While prayer has always been an important
part of our lives and ministry, now it has
become even more vital -- an integral part of
the very fabric of Jack's life and mine. Prayer
has become as natural as breathing to me, and
has carried me into the Father's presence
where I draw directly from His unlimited
In the times of testing I often felt as if the
Lord comforted me by saying, "Pray." And in
saying "Come to me," He also said, "Wait
patiently." It has been my experience that
life's difficulties may sometimes be meant for
the strengthening of one's heart and soul.
The power of prayer
When we enter into prayer, we enter into
the realm of divine omnipotence and tap into
the unlimited power of God. Prayer leaps
over boundaries, stops at no distances, and
balks at no obstacles. No wonder Jesus said,
With men it is impossible, but not with God:
for with God all things are possible (Mark 10:27).
The late Dr. M. R. DeHaan recognized the
tremendous force God placed in the hands of
His people through prayer. DeHaan said, "I
would far rather have the power of prayer to
move the powers of heaven, than to have the
power of preaching to move the masses on earth."
While some of us may not have the gift of
preaching or the anointed eloquence to
proclaim the gospel to all who will hear -- all of
us do have the power of prayer at our disposal.
We can commune directly with our Creator,
and cry out to the God of the universe with the
steadfast assurance that HE IS LISTENING...
and He will answer.
Why, then, do we go about laden with
burdens too heavy to bear? Why do we endure
overwhelming sorrows and pain? Why do we
attempt to make the best of living with want
and lack? The Lord gently scolds us for failing
to seek His help by saying, Ye have not,
because ye ask not (James 4:2).
I love the grand old gospel song that asks,
"Are you weary, are you heavy-hearted?" then
responds, "Tell it to Jesus, Tell it to Jesus!"
On and on the song goes, listing man's most
common troubles and fears, and always
reminding, urging, commanding -- "Tell it to
God has invited us to come to Him with
our needs and burdens. Jesus said, Ask, and it
shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find;
knock, and it shall be opened unto you: for
every one that asketh receiveth; and he that
seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it
shall be opened (Matthew 7:7).
Are the answers you need being given?
Have you asked?
Are you finding the solutions to life's
problems? Are you seeking?
Are the doors of opportunity being opened
to you? Are you knocking?
God is ready and willing to meet your
every need. He is more than enough for all
your problems. But to receive what He wants
you to have, you have to take the first step.
Have you ever taught your children to come to
you for assistance with their needs? Even
though you sometimes knew what they needed
before they asked, have you ever waited until
they made their petition to you?
Jesus said, If ye then, being evil, know how
to give good gifts unto your children, how
much more shall your Father which is in heaven
give good things to them that ask him?
So we need to learn to ask -- we need to be
sure to make our petitions known to God
Pray in faith
Then, too, we must pray with faith. Some
people feel their faith is too weak, but I
believe, with the Apostle Paul, that God hath
dealt to every man the measure of faith
(Romans 12:3). If our faith comes from
God -- if He has provided it for us, then we
have enough...and it is sufficient!
When in the midst of suffering and in need
of healing, many of us may find it difficult to
receive healing directly from the hand of God.
But the Lord often uses other hands, other
instruments to meet our need. Often healing
comes through the channel of doctors and
medicine. Depending on such healing aids is
not necessarily a lack of faith.
An old motto I've heard suggests that we
should work as though everything depended
on us, but pray as if everything depended on
God. Perhaps this is the perfect blending
of faith and works endorsed by the Apostle
James (see 2:20-26).
I thank God for the fine doctors and
"miracle" drugs employed in my treatment during
my illness. But I am absolutely convinced
that prayer helped speed my healing by
making my body more receptive to the treatment
than it ordinarily would have been.
I recovered with no lasting ill effects, no
scars, no permanent damage. Yet, another
lady with almost the same condition, being
treated by the same doctor, with the same
medication, did experience facial scarring and
Is God really interested in our individual
needs and problems? Aren't our personal
difficulties too small to bring to the attention of
the Almighty? Isn't He preoccupied with
wars and cataclysmic events, interested only
in global and universal affairs?
Not at all! Nothing is too great or too
small to bring to the Lord. He knows! He
sees! He cares! Oh, yes, my friend, He is
listening...and He will answer.
I know this -- when our own strength and
provision fail, prayer helps us tap into an
inexhaustible divine supply. And it is undeniably
true that more miracles are wrought by prayer
than this world could ever imagine.
The Holy Spirit intercedes
Dr. Van Impe and I are finding that when
we pray, the Holy Spirit directs us and helps
us to pray. We do not have to depend on long
prayer lists and "vain repetitions" that become
meaningless rituals (see Matthew 6:7).
There are times when I feel so
overwhelmed by needs or challenges before me
that I don't even know how to pray. But the
Holy Spirit does -- and He ministers through
me to touch the heart of God. Paul wrote,
Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmiities:
for we know not what we should pray for
as we ought: but the Spirit [himself] maketh
intercession for us with groanings which
cannot be uttered (Romans 8:26).
There have been times when I knelt to
pray and could only weep -- I couldn't find the
words to express what was inside. I would cry
out, "Oh God, l don't know how to put this
because I'm so burdened." What a comfort to
know that the Holy Spirit went right on
interceding for me with groanings and expressions
too deep to be uttered.
And sooner or later, as I waited before God
on my knees, that deep peace that passes all
understanding would sweep over me, and my
troubled spirit would be at rest. Once again I
would have the blessed assurance of knowing
that all things work together for good to them
that love God, to them who are the called
according to his purpose (Romans 8:28).
My friend, what God has done for me, He
will do for you. The Lord is ready to minister
to you in every part of your life. He is listening.
TAKE TIME TO PRAY
I got up quite early one morning
And rushed right into the day;
I had so much to accomplish
I took no time out to pray.
The problems just tumbled about me,
And heavier came every task;
"Why doesn't God help me," I wondered,
He said, "Why, you didn't ask!"
I saw naught of joy or of beauty --
The day sped on, gray and bleak;
I asked, "Why won't the Lord show me?"
He said, "But you didn't seek!"
I tried to come into God's presence;
I used all my keys at the lock,
God gently, lovingly chided,
"My child, why didn't you knock?"
I woke up quite early this morning
And paused ere entering the day;
There was so much to accomplish
I HAD TO TAKE TIME TO PRAY!
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!