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Today’s Devotional | April 19 | MATTHEW 27:11-26 | Pilate’s Question

Today's Devotional

Memory Verse
Pilate saith unto them, What shall I do then with Jesus which is called Christ? They all say unto him, Let him be crucified (Matthew 27:22).

Proud Pilate asked a question that has echoed through the centuries. It reveals the agony of indecision on life’s greatest question.

It is a personal question. “What shall I do with Jesus, who is called Christ?” Though he would have liked to avoid answering or delegating the decision to another, he was the only one who could make that life or death decision. There were many pressures upon Pilate that day. The crowd had rejected his offer to free Jesus and had chosen Barabbas. His wife had sent word about a strange dream that had her upset. The noisy crowd continued their chant and he wanted to please them. He would have to decide.

It is a question that demands action. “What shall I do with Jesus, who is called Christ? Pilate tried to escape making a decision by publicly washing his hands of the entire situation. But he could not get away with neutrality. He must decide.

It is a question about Jesus. “What shall I do with Jesus, who is called Christ?” Pilate had made some important decisions in his life but they were all dwarfed by this one. This question was about the Saviour. It was not about religious ceremonies or laws, but about a person. That Person was Jesus.

We are faced with a decision such as Pilate had to make, a decision about Jesus.

What will you do then with Jesus, who is called Christ?

Daily Devotionals

 

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

Psalm 42:1, 2

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

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


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    April 18 | MATTHEW 26:17-25 | The Last Passover
    Memory Verse
    And the disciples did as Jesus had appointed them; and they made ready the passover (Matthew 26:19).

    The Children of Israel had been observing the passover since the day of their deliverance from slavery in Egypt. The record of the first passover is given in Exodus 12. Through the centuries, the choicest lambs had been brought for sacrifice at passover, symbolizing God’s salvation for His people at that time and looking forward to the coming of the Saviour.

    Jesus met with His disciples to eat the passover meal. It was to be the last passover. In his book, “The King of the Jews,” Dr. John R. Rice wrote: “There would have been no reason for a passover lamb and the feast of unleavened bread except to picture the coming crucifixion of Jesus Christ. Therefore His disciples should have expected His Crucifixion, which had been so clearly foretold before, to occur at the time of the passover — in fact, at the very hour when the passover lamb was being slain, on the day of the preparation (John 19:14,31).

    John the Baptist had announced, “Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world” (John 1:29). Now the Lamb of whom all the Old Testament sacrifices had spoken, had come to the last passover. Not one more animal sacrifice would be required. His sacrifice would be sufficient for the sins of all: “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath Laid on him the iniquity of us all” (Isaiah 53:6).

    Christ is enough!

    April 17 | MATTHEW 26:26-29 | Communion
    Memory Verse
    For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins (Matthew 26:28).

    Following the last passover, Jesus instituted the first Communion service. It is important to remember that salvation is not gained through taking Communion. This Christian experience is the celebration of sins forgiven through the death of Christ on the cross.

    The Communion service looks both backward and forward. In sharing Communion, we look back to the cross and forward to His return: “For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord’s death till he come” (1 Corinthians l 1:26).

    At the Lord’s table, we rejoice in the great love of God that caused Him to send His Son to die for us. We anticipate meeting our Saviour. We feel the warmth of Christian fellowship, and thank God for the tie that binds our hearts in Christian love.

    Still there is a solemn note here. We are to judge ourselves (see 1 Corinthians l 1:31). A stern warning accompanies the instructions for Communion: “Wherefore whosoever shalt eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord” (1 Corinthians 11:27).

    Frightening? Yes, if we must become worthy through our own good works. Thankfully, that is not the case. We become worthy through Christ: “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).

    Communion speaks of our daily walk with Jesus made possible through His shed blood.

    April 16 | MATTHEW 26:57-68 | The Silent Saviour
    Memory Verse
    But Jesus held his peace. And the high priest answered and said unto him, I adjure thee by the living God, that thou tell us whether thou be the Christ, the Son of God (Matthew 26:63)

    Isaiah had prophesied the silence of Jesus before His accusers: He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: “he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth” (Isaiah 53:7).

    It is never easy to be silent when we are right or feel that our rights are being ignored. But that day the innocent Saviour stood accused before the high priest and did not defend himself.

    What an example!

    Here was living proof of His ability to live the Sermon on the Mount: “Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you” (Matthew 5:43,44).

    Jesus had not come to defend himself. He had come to die. False accusations would be heaped against Him. Perjurers would provoke a verdict of guilty against the only man on earth ever to be completely righteous. He who held His Father’s name in highest reverence would be declared guilty of blasphemy by the high priest. And who can understand divine restraint in view of Matthew 26:67? “Then did they spit in his face, and buffeted him; and others smote him with the palms of their hands.”

    Still, He held His peace.

    And at trifles, we are offended.

    April 15 | MATTHEW 27:39-44 | The Crowds at The Cross
    Memory Verse
    And they that passed by reviled him, wagging their heads (Matthew 27:39).

    When George Nixon Briggs was governor of Massachusetts, three of his friends visited the Holy Land. While there, they climbed Golgotha’s slope and cut from the summit a small stick to be used as a cane. On their return home, they presented it to the governor, saying, “We wanted you to know that when we stood on Calvary we thought of you.” Accepting the gift with all due courtesy and gratitude, the governor tenderly added: “But I am still more thankful, gentlemen, that there was Another who thought of me there.”

    All types of people were represented in the crowds at the cross. There were the reckless ones who gambled for the garments of Jesus. They mocked and spat upon Him, rejecting His love and sacrifice. The doubters were there, starting their taunts with their characteristic “if.” Those who were familiar with Jesus but faithless were there. They remembered His promise of resurrection but thought its fulfillment impossible. The religious ones were there, talking about salvation but rejecting the Saviour: “He saved others; himself he cannot save” (Matthew 27:42). The “seeing is believing” crowd was there. They promised to believe if He would come down from the cross.

    Jesus died for all. His salvation is offered to all, regardless of previous failure or background. He changes doubters and down-and-outers: And such were some of you: “but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God” (1 Corinthians 6:1 1).

    April 14 | MATTHEW 27:1-10 | Pilate Before Christ
    Memory Verse
    And when they had bound him, they led him away, and delivered him to Pontius Pilate the governor (Matthew 27:2).

    The world speaks of Christ standing before Pilate for judgment. There is a sense in which that was true. But in a greater dimension, Pilate stood before Christ. Rank must be considered. On that day, the earthly judge stood before the Judge of all the earth.

    Pilate was uncomfortable. There was something different about this prisoner. He marveled at the calm Christ. Somehow, he must have sensed that his prisoner was in charge of the situation. Pilate was on trial.

    On a future day, we shall all stand before Christ. Christians will appear before Him at the Judgment Seat of Christ: “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad” (2 Corinthians 5:10). Lost people will stand before Him at the Judgment of the Great White Throne: “And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them” (Revelation 20:11).

    But we must face the fact that we are standing before Him now! Decisions determine destiny. Christians who long to receive rewards on that great day, must serve now. Lost people who intend to be saved before it is too late should be saved now (see 2 Corinthians 6:2).

    What is your answer to the call of Christ TODAY?

    Your verdict today will determine His verdict in judgment.

    April 13 | I CORINTHIANS 16 | The Open Door
    Memory Verse
    For a great door and effectual is opened unto me, and there are many adversaries (1 Corinthians 16:9).

    One Sunday morning in 1856, a congregation of well-dressed people had been ushered to their rented pews in Chicago’s Plymouth Congregational Church. Suddenly there was a commotion near the door. Many turned and looked. Something occurred which had never before been seen by that elite congregation. In walked a young man—a 19-year-old salesman. Following him was a poorly dressed group of people that he had gathered off the streets. The young man let them into four pews he had personally rented for the visitors. He continued to do this important work each Sunday until God called him into a world-wide ministry. His name was Dwight L. Moody.

    God opens doors of service to those who are willing to serve. But there are always obstacles to overcome in the service of Christ.

    Phillips Brooks said: “Oh, do not pray for easy lives. Pray to be strong men and women. Do not pray for tasks equal to your powers. Pray for powers equal to your tasks. Then the doing of your work will be no miracle; but you shall be a miracle. Every day you will wonder at yourself, at the richness of life which has come to you by the grace of God.”

    Has God opened a door of service for you?

    What is holding you back?

    Are there adversaries...problems...obstacles?

    They are to be expected, but God is able.

    The opportunity is brief — do not delay.

    The prize is glorious — do not faint.

    Walk through that open door.

    April 12 | JOHN 15:1-14 | Fruit Bearing
    Memory Verse
    Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples (John 15:8).

    An apple tree bears apples. But the process is not complete until that apple falls and allows its seeds to penetrate the earth, finally producing another apple tree. So the final fruit of any apple tree is a new apple tree. And the fruit of any Christian is another Christian. We are born to reproduce.

    The seed that produces new Christians is the Word of God. The field is the world. As we are faithful in witnessing for Christ both in daily life and with our lips, we are sure to influence others to come to the Saviour.

    Jesus told His disciples that fruit bearing glorifies the Heavenly Father. We sometimes forget that and in our zeal to please the Father we do a number of things that are less important than telling others of the Saviour. These good and beneficial things can often masquerade as the most important things to be done... but nothing is more important than giving out the Gospel.

    Success in the Christian life is dependent on choosing priorities correctly. And witnessing must be high on our list if we are to glorify our Heavenly Father.

    Witnessing for Christ may not make one popular. In this context Jesus said: “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).

    We must bear fruit... whatever the cost!

    Week 16 | God’s Love Letter

    One of the nicest things about holiday
    seasons is being with our family and friends --
    having the privilege of sharing worship, food,
    and fellowship with those we love. Oh, how
    Jack and I cherish those blessed times with
    special people and, in particular, with one
    another.

    Even when circumstances make it
    impossible to be together, we can get in touch by
    telephone or through the mail. We talk by
    phone with friends and loved ones all across
    the country...sometimes overseas.

    We especially enjoy reading the many
    beautiful cards we receive from those special,
    thoughtful people who take time to express
    their love.

    The other day I was going through some
    personal items I've saved over the last few
    years -- news items and inspirational thoughts
    clipped from newspapers and magazines,
    cards and notes from family and friends...and
    a very special collection of love letters from
    my husband.

    Jack and I have worked together in the
    ministry over the years and haven't had to be
    apartvery often. But on those occasions when
    I couldn't travel with him to a crusade or
    speaking engagement, he wrote me the most
    beautiful letters.

    A wonderful reminder!

    I'd read those letters over and over,
    hanging on every word. How wonderful to be
    reminded that he loved me, missed me, and was
    looking forward to having me with him again
    soon!

    I cherished every one of those wonderful
    love letters. I still do. Over the years I've
    gone back and read them again many times,
    especially when I was feeling lonely, insecure,
    or discouraged. And each time my husband's
    loving words would lift my spirits and give
    me new strength.

    Needless to say, although I cleaned out
    some of the accumulated "clutter" the other
    day, I kept those letters!

    As much as I treasure my husband's letters
    to me, there's another love letter that is even
    more precious to me. It's the greatest love
    letter of all -- God's Holy Word.

    God sent this letter special delivery to
    me...to you...and to every single person in the
    world. It's all about love -- what love is, how
    God loves us, and the great love gift He has
    given us.

    For God so loved the world, that he gave
    his only begotten Son, that whosoever
    believeth in him should not perish, but have
    everlasting life. For God sent not his Son
    into the world to condemn the world; but that
    the world through him might be saved
    (John 3:16,17).

    Sadly, too often this greatest love letter of
    all has been laid aside, unopened. The people
    who most need to know that God loves them
    haven't even read His letter.

    Read God's letter

    Some of those who have read it or heard
    about it at one time or another have forgotten
    its wonderful message. They need to go back
    and read God's love letter again. I can testify
    from personal experience that it is just as
    meaningful the second, third -- twentieth --
    time you read it as it was the first time.

    You see, we need to be reminded daily that
    we are loved. We need to see anew how
    valuable we are to God -- that His love and mercy
    to us are new every morning.

    What an unspeakable thrill to know that
    God loves us. We must hear it, relish it, think
    about it, enjoy it. We need to claim the blessing
    of salvation and His divine provision for
    our every need. We need to claim the blessing
    of knowing that He is preparing a place for us
    so that we can be with Him one day, face to face.

    We should read and reread God's love
    letter to us because we need to be reminded of
    the wonderful gift of His love which we have received.

    Give thanks...and share

    In these last days we must make a special
    effort to express our appreciation for this great
    gift of love. Then we must enter anew into the
    spirit of love by doubling our efforts to share
    the old, old story of God's great love with others.

    Don't wait -- start immediately! Right now
    -- today -- get out your "Love Letter" from
    God, your Bible, and discover -- and share --
    how much you are loved.

    Week 15 | Is God Magic?

    A little boy asked his mother one day,
    "How can God love everybody? Is He magic?"

    He couldn't understand how anyone -- not
    even God -- could love everyone. After all,
    there are so many of us, and some of us are
    so unlovable. To a child's way of thinking it
    would take nothing short of magic to be that
    loving.

    You and I know that God is much more
    than magic. He's our all-powerful heavenly
    Father! In John 13:34,35, Jesus said to His
    disciples, A new commandment I give unto
    you, That ye love one another; as I have loved
    you, that ye also love one another. By this
    shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if
    ye have love one to another.

    Jesus knew how unlovable people can be.
    He knew how unappreciative, unkind, thoughtless,
    selfish, quick to judge and criticize, and
    very mean we humans can act. Even within
    that intimate circle of the twelve disciples,
    there was envy, jealousy, and even murder.
    And these were the men upon whom Jesus
    was counting. The spread of the gospel
    depended upon the disciples showing love to
    each other and to others. So to these men,
    only a few short hours before His crucifixion,
    Jesus gave the supreme command, "Love one
    another." And it should be our number one
    priority today.

    But that's just it. We don't love one another
    as we should. In fact, a good many of us
    Christians are downright unloving much of the
    time. So how do we get the love of God in
    our lives?

    Where do we begin?

    The place to begin is with the people
    around us -- those in our homes, in our places of
    work, in our friendships, and in our churches.
    Someone has said we need "an observable
    love and openness." I like that. Love isn't
    love until it begins at home.

    I heard of a woman whose husband was
    very outgoing, charming, and loving to everyone
    outside his home. But, often, to his family
    he was moody and irritable. He wasn't
    always outgoing, charming, and loving to
    them. In fact, his moodiness and his venting
    his anger and frustrations on his wife and children
    were destroying the love within his
    home.

    One day in an effort to help him see what
    he was doing, his wife asked, "Honey, why
    don't you save some of your charm for us?"
    That took courage, but it helped.

    Of course, we all need a place where we
    can let some steam off, let our hair down, and
    kick our shoes off and relax with those who
    will understand and not misjudge us. But
    there must be a balance whereby we also
    remember to show our love. Continual unloving
    mistreatment of those dearest to us will drive
    them away. I've heard such sad stories
    through the years of how people's hearts have
    become hard and cold because the love they
    once had for each other had not been nurtured.

    Our example is Jesus. I'm sure He didn't
    always find it easy to show love. The Bible
    tells us that Jesus was tempted in all points as
    we are (see Hebrews 2:18). When the
    selfrighteous Pharisees tried to trip Jesus up, it
    would have been easy for Him to withhold His
    love from those who were cruel, arrogant, and
    unjust. But Jesus never yielded to that
    temptation. He showed love in the most impossible
    of human situations. Jesus was love in action.
    He demonstrated His compassion over and
    over again in His dealings with those who
    desperately needed help, healing, and forgiveness.

    Let love be your aim

    The Apostle Paul gave the Corinthian
    Christians a goal that should be foremost in
    our minds as well. He said, "Let love be your
    aim" (see 1 Corinthians 14:1). Those words
    were preceded by the great love chapter in the
    Bible, 1 Corinthians 13. Those verses are so
    familiar to everyone, but perhaps their familiarity
    has dimmed their meaning. Let's look at
    them.

    Though I speak with the tongues of men
    and of angels, and have not charity
    [love], I
    am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling
    cymbal.

    And though I have the gift of prophecy,
    and understand all mysteries, and all
    knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I
    could remove mountains, and have not

    [love],
    I am nothing.

    And though I bestow all my goods to feed
    the poor, and though I give my body to be
    burned, and have not

    [love], it profiteth me
    nothing.

    [Love] suffereth long, and is kind; [love]
    envieth not; [love] vaunteth not itself, is not
    puffed up,

    Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh
    not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh
    no evil;

    Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in
    the truth;

    Beareth all things, believeth all things,
    hopeth all things, endureth all things.

    [Love] never faileth: but whether there be
    prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be
    tongues, they shall cease; whether there be
    knowledge, it shall vanish away.

    And now abideth faith, hope,

    [love], these
    three; but the greatest of these is
    [love]
    (1 Corinthians 13:1-8,13).

    What a beautiful description of love! This
    chapter describes love in three ways -- what it
    is, what it isn't, and what it does.

    Love is:

    • very patient and kind
    • enduring, without weakening
    • able to bear up under anything
    • ready to believe the best of others
    • loyal no matter the cost
    • a growing thing -- growing out of God's love for and in us.

    Love is not:

    • jealous or envious
    • boastful or proud (inflated or puffed up with pride)
    • conceited and arrogant
    • touchy, fretful, or resentful
    • rude and haughty
    • possessive
    • irritable or easily provoked
    • selfish and self-seeking
    • glad about injustice.

    Love does:

    • rejoice in the truth
    • not hold grudges
    • hardly notice when others do it wrong
    • not demand its own way
    • hope all things
    • stand its ground in defending someone it loves
    • not fail -- does not fade out, become obsolete, or come to an end.

    How loving are you?

    Do you want to measure your "love
    level"? Here's an exercise that really works. Try
    substituting "I" in place of the word love in 1
    Corinthians 13. Does it read right? Is that an
    accurate description of you? Can you honestly
    say, "I am very patient and kind. I am not
    easily provoked. I do not hold grudges?

    The Bible has so much to say about love.
    Here are some other verses to help us
    understand the nature of real love. First John 4:8
    says, He that loveth not knoweth not God; for
    God is love.
    That verse says God is love.
    That is His nature. He is a heavenly Father
    who has divine compassion. And if we are
    His children, we must love, too -- and not just
    those who love us, but even the unlovable.
    Jesus said, Love your enemies, bless them that
    curse you, do good to them that hate you, and
    pray for them which despitefully use you, and
    persecute you; that ye may be the children of
    your Father which is in heaven...For if ye love
    them which love you, what reward have ye? do
    not even the publicans the same?...Be ye
    therefore perfect, even as your Father which is
    in heaven is perfect
    (Matthew 5:44-46,48).

    One day a so-called expert on Moses' law
    came to Jesus to test Him. He asked, "Master,
    what shall I do to inherit eternal life?"

    Notice Jesus' reply: "You shall love the
    Lord your God with all your heart, and with
    all your soul, and with all your strength, and
    with all your mind; and your neighbor as
    yourself."

    The man, wanting to justify his lack of
    love for some people, asked, "And who is my
    neighbor?"
    (Luke 10:25-29).

    You see, he was so much like us. He
    wanted to love the lovable, those who were
    easy to love. But Jesus said we are to love
    without discrimination, the way He loves us.

    It's never too late

    Perhaps you feel you've been so unloving
    in the past, that there is no way you can
    salvage your relationships. It's never too late
    with the help of the Lord. It may take time,
    but God can do a work of healing in your
    heart so that you genuinely love others. His
    Word to you is simply this: Commit thy way
    unto the Lord; trust also in him; and he shall
    bring it to pass
    (Psalm 37:5).

    I want you to know that Jack and I love
    you. Our prayer is that you will learn to speak
    the truth in love and fully grow up in Christ
    (see Ephesians 4:15) so that the world will
    know that you, too, are one of Christ's disciples.

    Week 14 | When the Light Goes Out!

    I really enjoy flowers and plants. My husband,
    Jack, and I have numerous trees, shrubs, and
    flowering plants around our house. Jack does
    most of our yard work, and he often takes a short
    break from his studying to pull the weeds from a
    flower bed or trim a few branches to keep a bush in
    shape.

    Last summer I was especially proud of some
    beautiful ferns we had hanging outside around
    our patio. Given just the right amount of light and
    water, they really flourished, with dark green,
    luxuriant leaves and tendrils that cascaded over the
    sides of the pot like a vibrant, intricately woven
    tapestry.

    I enjoyed those ferns all spring and summer
    long, and when fall approached, I couldn't stand
    to see them die. So Dr. and I carried them to the
    office and gave them to various staff members to
    take home.

    All except one -- the largest and most beautiful
    plant of all. We put that one in the office chapel up
    by the pulpit. It was so beautiful, so fresh -- it was
    a reminder of God's blessings to us through
    nature. And many commented on how much that
    fern added to the room.

    Then one day a week or so later, I went into the
    chapel and immediately noticed that something
    was wrong with the plant. It was still alive, but its
    rich green color seemed duller and its leaves were
    drooping. "Oh my, I thought, "What's wrong?
    Are we going to lose this beautiful fern
    ?"

    Then I saw the problem -- inside the walls of the
    chapel, the plant wasn't getting enough light. So I
    moved it so it would get full exposure to the overhead
    light, and I opened the window blind so
    natural light came in. And do you know, by the
    very next day that fern had perked up and looked
    healthy and full of life again.

    The Lord really used that incident to speak to
    my heart about the importance -- and the power
    -- of light in our spiritual lives. When we begin to
    flounder, to feel wilted, weak, and listless, it's a
    sure indication that we need to draw nearer to the
    light. The vitality and strength we enjoy in our
    lives come from the Light of the world -- from
    Jesus Christ, our Saviour.

    I love the beautiful description of the Apostle
    John, who wrote, In him was life; and the life was
    the light of men.... That was the true Light, which
    lighteth every man that cometh into the world

    (John 1:4,9).

    Drawing near the light

    We know that light attracts! And when Christ
    was on the earth, multitudes were drawn to Him.
    When He walked through a village, throngs of
    people would press around Him, wanting to see
    and be near Him.

    A man named Zaccheus climbed a tree to catch
    a glimpse of that Light. When he saw Jesus, his
    life was transformed. The darkness in his soul was
    illuminated by God's Light and he became a new
    and different person.

    A woman who had suffered for many years
    pressed through the crowd, reaching out to touch
    just the hem of His garment. She knew something
    miraculous would happen -- she would be healed
    -- if she could get close enough to the Light. The
    Bible record tells us that's exactly what happened
    -- she was wonderfully restored and made whole.

    We're told that even little children were drawn to
    the presence of Jesus. Tugging at His robe,
    climbing up on His lap, they felt secure in the light
    of His love. There's just something about light that
    drives out fear and brings confidence and
    assurance.

    What a privilege you and I have to have Christ's
    light in our lives, to bask in the warmth of His
    presence every day. We have the opportunity to be
    touched by Him. We can see Him and hear His
    words as we read His Word. We can have personal
    fellowship with Him as we kneel in prayer. All
    these are practical ways to stay close to the Light
    and keep His life welling up in us.

    Just as the fern plant I put in the chapel began
    to wilt and its leaves turn yellow from lack of light,
    so our lives can lose their zest and energy if we
    move too far away from God's light. We must never
    forget that everything good in our lives comes
    from Him.

    The Apostle James said, Every good gift and
    every perfect gift is from above, and cometh
    down from the Father of lights, with whom is no
    variableness, neither shadow of turning
    (James 1:17).

    Don't miss the message in the last part of this
    verse. James says there is no variableness in God
    -- He never changes. So if the light in your life
    dims, it is not God who has gone away from you!
    Have you gradually moved away from God -- out of
    the direct beams of His love and power?

    Step out of the shadows

    Next, James says there is no shadow of turning
    with God. Do you know what causes a shadow?
    Something comes between you and the source of light!

    Is there a shadow in your life today? Then find
    what has come between you and the Lord. Could
    it be materialism, caring more about this world's
    goods and "things" than eternal values? Could it
    be a person -- perhaps you're in love with a person
    who is not God's choice for you. Maybe the object
    between you and the Lord's Light is your own
    desire to be successful.

    Could it be that you've allowed indifference,
    resentment, or a critical, judgmental spirit to
    come between you and God and cast a shadow
    over your life?

    Take a look at your life today. Don't wait too
    long! Without a daily infusion of the power of
    God's Light, the vibrant colors of your life will
    begin to fade. Your zeal and energy to witness for
    Him will wither. Your desire to be all that He wants
    you to be will shrivel away.

    Remember, just going to church is not enough if
    you keep an "umbrella" over you to block out the
    light. My beautiful fern would have died just as
    dead inside the chapel as it would have inside a
    cellar -- without the power of the light! When I let
    in the light, my plant was fully restored. And the
    Light of God will do the same for our lives.

    But that's not all. We are so much more important
    to God than a fern plant. His plan for us is so
    exciting and fulfilling.

    You can be God's light

    As we continue to draw near to His light, something
    wonderful happens. We begin to glow and
    radiate His light until it shines on others still
    living in darkness. Our lives can be beacons,
    drawing precious souls to Christ. This gives
    purpose and meaning to our living.

    Jesus himself said to us, Ye are the light of the
    world.... Let your light so shine before men,
    that they may see your good works, and glorify
    your Father, which is in heaven
    (Matthew 5:14,16).

    You may feel that, even at your best, your light is.
    too small to be of much use. But it isn't. In the
    gathering darkness of the world around us, even a
    candle can be seen. And as we work together for
    the Lord, combining our efforts and our resource,
    to fulfill Christ's Great Commission in these last
    days of time, the power of God's light will shine
    through us and reach into the darkest corners of
    the earth.

    Oh, I want to help light up the world for Jesus,
    don't you? My heart goes out to people who still
    walk in darkness, even in the United States and
    Canada, as well as in other nations. There is such
    sadness and despair, such confusion and deception.
    Men and women live under heavy burdens.
    Young people face peer pressure and temptation.
    It seems that Satan has launched an all-out
    assault on mankind.

    I understand full well what the Apostle Paul
    meant when he wrote that we live in the midst of a
    crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye
    shine as lights in the world
    (Philippians 2:15).

    If ever there was a time for us to draw near God's
    light, it's today. If ever the people of the world
    needed someone to lead them out of darkness into
    the marvelous light of our Lord and Saviour, it is
    now. If ever any Christians had the opportunity --
    and obligation -- to win the world for Christ, you
    and I do.

    In the words of a beloved old gospel song --

    "There's a call comes ringing o'er

    the restless wave,

    Send the Light, send the Light,

    There are souls to rescue, there

    are souls to save,

    Send the Light, send the Light!"

    God help us to hear that call today and to do all
    we can, give all we can, be all we can to send the
    light of the gospel.

    God help us to SHINE!

    Week 13 | But What Have I to Offer?

    The little boy was only about 8 years old,
    bright-eyed, blonde, and so very cute.

    He came up to me that Wednesday evening
    before the crusade service started and said, "I
    have something for you, Rexella!"

    I smiled down at this vibrant little guy, knelt
    beside him, and asked, "What is it?"

    He excitedly held out a brown paper bag for me
    to open. Inside was a freshly-baked, crusty-brown
    loaf of bread. "Oh, how nice!" I exclaimed. "Did
    your mother make this for me?"

    "No, I did!" he said proudly. "I made it for you."

    I couldn't keep from giving him a hug of appreciation
    for his gift that meant so much to me. To
    some it may not have seemed like much -- a
    slightly misshapen, slightly overdone loaf of
    homemade bread. But behind it was an
    overflowing supply of generosity and love for my
    husband and me.

    And even little is much when it is given with love.

    Jesus confirmed this with His comments about
    the giving of a poor widow who dropped two tiny
    coins into the offering at the Temple. Contrasted
    with the large sums being given by the wealthy,
    her gift must have seemed insignificant to those
    who looked on. But the Lord said, "This woman
    has given more than all the others. They gave a
    portion of their abundant wealth -- she gave all
    she had, even her very living" (see Mark 12:41-44).

    I think it is very significant indeed that Jesus
    Christ, the Son of God, took note of that small,
    sacrificial gift and said that, in His eyes, it was worth
    more than all the other gifts put together. The New
    Testament account doesn't actually say so, but I
    wonder if God didn't bless those two little coins
    and multiply their value many times over!

    How God will use your gift

    He did that one day with a little lad's lunch of
    five loaves and two fishes. Jesus multiplied that
    simple sack-lunch into enough to feed a multitude
    of 5,000... with lots of leftovers.

    I believe the Lord performed this miracle for
    more than one reason. Yes, He felt compassion for
    the multitude that had followed Him and listened
    to His teaching all day long. He wanted to meet
    their physical need and satisfy their hunger for
    food as He had satisfied their thirst for spiritual truth.

    But I believe this miracle may also have been to
    encourage the faith of His disciples. Perhaps they
    may have been tempted to send the multitude
    away hungry ("what good is so little among so
    many?") and use the few loaves and fishes as a
    meager snack for the staff.

    But the Lord demonstrated in a graphic way
    that, in His kingdom, there is always enough to
    meet the need. He blessed and broke the bread
    and fish, then had them serve the hungry people.
    When everybody had eaten his fill, the disciples
    gathered up what was left. And there were 12
    baskets full -- one basket for each disciple!

    What a great lesson! What a great miracle! Yet, it
    could not have happened without the unselfish
    giving of the little boy who handed over his lunch.
    What if he had said, "There are too many hungry
    people here, and I have barely enough food for
    myself. I can't afford to give... and what little I
    have wouldn't make much difference anyhow."

    But he did what he could do -- shared what he
    had. And his gift fed a multitude... and taught
    Jesus' disciples a great lesson. Plus, I've always
    felt the little boy must have ended up taking more
    food home that night than he'd started out with.
    So he had a chance to witness to his parents about
    what the Lord had said and done.

    Who could have blamed the poor widow if she
    had said, "Look at all the rich offerings the
    wealthy people are giving at the Temple. I have
    only these two mites -- worth less than a penny.
    There's no way I can give. No one would even know
    if I did give, or miss my tiny offering if I didn't."

    But out of love for God she gave -- and Jesus
    himself noticed and called attention to her generosity!

    Your giving is important

    So often people look at the worldwide soulwinning
    outreaches of Jack Van Impe Ministries and
    feel that our program is so big that we don't need
    their help. "What I have to give is so little in comparison
    to your need that I'm embarrassed to even
    offer it," they say. In essence they're saying, "But
    what have I to offer?"

    You know what this ministry is doing. We're on
    weekly television, with regional audiences that
    are growing with each telecast. The rating
    services say that already we are number one with
    some segments of the viewing audience. Our goal
    is to blanket all of the U.S. and Canada with
    our program ministering to multiplied millions
    each week.

    In addition, our overseas radio broadcasts are
    touching thousands upon thousands of homes
    across Europe and in many other countries. Each
    month we receive letters from people in many
    nations who have been blessed and helped
    through this outreach.

    And we are able to do this on a fraction of the
    budget of many larger organizations. It has
    always been our policy to hold overhead expenses
    to an absolute minimum and use virtually all of
    our funds for pure ministry. And we make sure the
    ministry gets full value for every dollar invested.
    That's the secret of how we have been able to
    accomplish so much on a fairly small income.

    And this is why every support gift we receive is
    important. Even a small offering sent to Jack Van
    Impe Ministries very probably will accomplish as
    much as a larger amount given to a "big name"
    organization. Some friends also have the
    misconception that most of this ministry's support
    comes from those who give very large amounts --
    thousands and tens of thousands!

    We have no corporate sponsors, no denominational
    underwriting, no group of wealthy
    benefactors. Actually, what keeps us going are the
    regular, faithful, sacrificial gifts of friends who
    send $10, $20, or $50 each month, or as often as
    they can. Every gift we receive -- large or small --
    is important.

    What is in your hand?

    What do you have to offer? Give that. For
    remember, to whom much is given, much is
    required. But even if you had absolutely no material
    possessions, you still could give your love,
    your encouragement, your prayers. It means so
    much to know our friends are standing with us.

    What do you have to offer? What God has placed
    in your hands. What you are willing to give to His
    work. If all you have to give to God in Jesus' name
    is a cup of cold water, then that is all God expects.

    For if there be first a willing mind, it is
    accepted according to that a man hath, and not
    according to that he hath not
    (2 Corinthians 8:12).

    Over the years the Lord has blessed my
    husband and me with many precious friends who
    have shared the burdens and the opportunities of
    this ministry. Occasionally, in addition to the
    support given for our work, we have received a card or
    a word of encouragement, or a small personal gift.
    I have appreciated all of them.

    But I don't think I'll ever forget the night when
    that charming 8-year-old brought me the best he
    had to offer, a loaf of bread he baked himself!