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Today’s Devotional | July 3 | PSALM 13 | Salvation

Today's Devotional

Memory Verse
But I have trusted in thy mercy; my heart shall rejoice in thy salvation (Psalm 13:5).

The joy of the Lord begins with salvation. The moment of new birth gives cause for rejoicing. Heaven rejoices: “Likewise, I say unto you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth” (Luke 15:10). The newborn Christian can also be glad for many reasons.

We can rejoice in salvation because we have a home in heaven. Earthly homes are temporary. Fire or foreclosure may take away your home on this earth. Not so your heavenly home. The things that are seen are temporal but the things that are not seen are eternal. Each Christian has a title deed to a home in heaven that is indestructible.

We can rejoice in salvation because we have become heirs of God and joint-heirs with Christ (see Romans 8:17). During your earthly journey, you may never inherit anything valuable, but if you have been saved, you will share the inheritance of the saints. Praise the Lord!

We can rejoice in salvation because our names are written in heaven. Jesus said:
“Notwithstanding in this rejoice not, that the spirits are subject unto you; but rather rejoice, because your names are written in heaven” (Luke 10:20). Many people do not know your name. You are probably not on a first-name basis with world leaders. But, if you have been born again, your name is known in heaven.

Rejoice in God’s salvation!

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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    July 2 | PSALM 9 | Don’t Forget
    Memory Verse
    The wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the nations that forget God (Psalm 9:17).

    The mighty Roman Empire was powerful and proud. People thought it would last forever. But it fell... and fell hard.

    In 1787, Gibbon completed his masterful book, “The Decline And Fall Of The Roman Empire.” He gave the following reasons for its fall: the rapid increase of divorce with resultant undermining of the home; higher and higher taxes and the spending of public money for free bread and circuses for the people; the mad craze for pleasure and sports which became more and more brutal; the building of gigantic armaments, when the real enemy was within, and the decay of religious faith which faded into formalism and became impotent.

    Paul’s letter to the Romans begins with the record of a fall for similar reasons, the most important of which was that of forgetting God... on purpose: “And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient” (Romans 1:28).

    Forgetting God is dangerous to the survival of nations.

    Do you think America is guilty of forgetting God?

    What evidences of forgetting God do you see about you?

    Do you believe the religious life of our nation to be heartfelt or formalistic?

    Have America’s moral standards declined during your lifetime? In the last decade? During the past year?

    How about your personal relationship to Christ? Is it vital or formalistic? Can you remember a better day?

    What are you going to do about it? When?

    July 1 | I KINGS 18:17-24 | Troublemakers
    Memory Verse
    And Elijah came unto all the people, and said, How long halt ye between two opinions? if the LORD be God, follow him: but if Baal, then follow him. And the people answered him not a word (I Kings 18:21).

    Elijah’s country was in trouble.

    King Ahab thought the prophet was the cause of it all.

    Actually, the wicked king was the guilty one. He had led the people in idolatry and had forsaken God’s commandments. The drought announced by Elijah was but the natural consequence of the nation’s sin. The famine in the land was directly traceable to the waywardness of the people. Israel was experiencing the law of sowing and reaping: “Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap” (Galatians 6:7).

    Godly people are often thought of as troublemakers. They speak out against evils and seem not to fit in with many modern trends. They may seem out of step with the times ... unwilling to compromise proven standards. Dogmatic. Old fashioned.

    Never mind. Convictions based on the Bible should be held even though they disturb others. God rewards righteousness and judges sin. His standards are unchanging because He is always the same.

    Sin brings chastening... produces heartache... invites trouble. And no amount of rationalizing can change sin’s wages. It is impossible to sin and win: “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 6:23).

    America needs some troublemakers... the righteous kind. We need people who will stand for truth and decency in spite of what others say.

    May God raise up some troublemakers to keep the nation out of trouble!

    June 30 | REVELATION 21:1-6 | Troubles Over Tears Gone
    Memory Verse
    And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away (Revelation 21:4).

    We live in a world of grief and God has graciously provided tears as a safety valve for our emotional and physical survival. Were it not for the ability to weep, many would break down... come apart.

    Nor is it a sign of weakness to shed tears, Jesus wept (John 11:35).

    Still we look forward to that day when tears are unnecessary because all trouble is
    over. And that good day is coming!

    Death will be gone.

    Sorrow will be gone.

    Pain will be gone.

    Because sin will be gone.

    What is it that has you upset today? Are you troubled about world conditions? Do family problems loom large before your mind? Are financial woes weighing you down? Has health taken wings? Are you in pain? Do you fear the outcome of some present conflict? Has a friend betrayed or deserted you? Have you lost a loved one in death? Do tears come unwanted?

    Look upward and onward.

    Christ is coming. Time is moving swiftly to its end. Signs of our Lord’s return are all about. If you know Him as your Saviour, thank Him for that coming day when He will wipe all tears from your eyes.

    If you have not received Him as your Saviour, do not delay one more day. Come to Him as you are, turning from your sins to Him and taking Him by faith as your personal Saviour and Lord. Prepare for that great day!

    June 29 | REVELATION 1:9-18 | The Living One
    Memory Verse
    And when I saw him, I fell at his feet as dead. And he laid his right hand upon me, saying unto me Fear not; I am the first and the last (Revelation 1:17).

    There is really only one question about life and death: Did Jesus Christ rise from the grave? And careful investigation allows only one answer: He arose. He lives!

    Since Christ lives, those who trust in Him do not need to fear life’s end. No one is more miserable than the person who lives in fear of some illness or accident that will bring death. An old epitaph says:

    Here lies a man who lived to age,
    Yet still from death was flying;
    Who, though not sick, was never well.
    And died for fear of dying.

    Neither does a Christian need to fear life. Some are brave in death and cowards in life. Bible Christianity embraces all of life and faces the issues of death, preparing the believer for both. Paul said it well: “For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain” (Philippians 1:21).

    How can you prepare to live and die?

    By receiving Jesus Christ as your Saviour by faith. Accept this invitation: “If thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved” (Romans 10:9).

    When you take this step of faith, expect changes: “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new” (2 Corinthians 5:17).

    Wouldn’t you like to be free from fear?

    June 28 | II CORINTHIANS 7:1-7 | Joyful in Tribulation
    Memory Verse
    Great is my boldness of speech toward you, great is my glorying of you: I am filled with comfort, I am exceeding joyful in all our tribulation (II Corinthians 7:4).

    The Christian lifestyle is different. The world rejoices when all is going well. Christians are taught to praise God — give thanks — and rejoice even in trouble. This message runs through both the Old and New Testaments. Note these examples:

    “Although the fig tree shall not blossom, neither shall fruit be in the vines; the labour of the olive shall fail, and the fields shall yield no meat; the flock shall be cut off from the fold, and there shall be no herd in the stalls: Yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will joy in the God of my salvation” (Habakkuk 3:17-18).

    “Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you” (Matthew 5:11-12).

    “And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience” (Romans 5:3).

    “Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy. If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye; for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you: on their part he is evil spoken of, but on your part he is glorified” (I Peter 4:12-14).

    Having a bad day?

    The Lord understands.

    Praise the Lord!

    June 27 | I PETER 1:8-9 | Temporary Trials
    Memory Verse
    Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now186 for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations (I Peter 1:6).

    All trials are temporary.

    And fretting over them doesn’t help.

    Had John Bunyan spent his twelve long years in the Bedford jail stewing over his predicament, we would have been deprived of “Pilgrim’s Progress”. It was there in his greatest time of trouble that he produced his greatest work. Bunyan said, “I was at home in prison, and I sat me down and wrote and wrote, for the joy did make me write.”

    Sounds great for Bunyan. But rejoice in trials?

    Let’s face it. Trials themselves do not generally make us feel like rejoicing. But Peter’s word here is that the Christian always has some things in which to rejoice, even during difficulties.

    We can rejoice that we have living hope because of our living Saviour.

    We can rejoice that we have an inheritance reserved in heaven that cannot be affected by trials here below.

    We can rejoice that we are kept by the power of God and that eternal life is therefore certain.

    We can rejoice that our trials are temporary...passing things.

    We can rejoice that faith grows during times of trouble and that true faith comes forth as gold. Job understood that in the time of his severe trials: “But he knoweth the way that I take: when he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold” (Job 23:10).

    We can rejoice that our Lord is coming again ... perhaps today, and that it will be worth it all when we see Him.

    A Christian can rejoice in times of trial because he has so many possessions that earthly trials cannot touch. Rejoice!

    June 26 | II CORINTHIANS 1:1-12 | Comforting Others
    Memory Verse
    Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God (II Corinthians 1:4).

    An old man once prayed, “Lord, bless the pastor for no man can be a blessing until he himself is first blessed of God.” Here Paul gives somewhat the same requirement for those who long to comfort others in their times of trouble. Having experienced the comfort of God in tribulation, we are able to comfort those in need.

    Jesus has set the example. Hear Peter’s application of this good news: “For what glory is it, if, when ye be buffeted for your faults, ye shall take it patiently? but if, when ye do well, and suffer for it, ye take it patiently, this is acceptable with God. For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps: Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth: Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously” (I Peter 2:20-23). Because He suffered, He can help us in our suffering: “For in that he himself hath suffered being tempted, he is able to succour them that are tempted” (Hebrews 2:18).

    Your suffering, then, may be given to open up a ministry to those who are passing through similar trials. Observe God’s faithfulness to you during this experience so that you can share the message with those to whom you are sent.

    Lean hard on His promises... and look for your opportunity to serve!

    Week 26 | Let Me Cry!

    I've been doing some crying, lately.

    Many times in the past several months,
    I've wept over the suffering and physical
    deterrioration of my beloved father-in-law, Oscar
    Van Impe. Seeing this dedicated, once-strong
    man of God (who prayed five hours a day for
    the needs of others) lying weak and helpless
    really tears my heart out. Repeated strokes
    and heart attacks confine him to bed...and
    he can barely speak. When I see him -- often
    when I simply think of his condition -- I cry.

    My own precious mother, who is perhaps
    one of the few saints I know on earth, also has
    been stricken with a very serious problem,
    accompanied with excruciating pain. Mother
    has been graced with many gifts from God --
    among them the gifts of help and encouragement.
    The morning I took her to the hospital
    for diagnostic x-rays, she asked two favors of
    me. "Please turn in my donation check for the
    ministry, and would you mind taking me by
    the post office so I can mail some get-well cards?"

    She has been the most unselfish, thoughtful,
    and Christlike person one could ever meet
    in this world. Our family of employees tells
    me that when she is in the office, she exudes
    the fruits of the Spirit to such a degree that the
    very atmosphere is charged by her joy and love.

    Doctors discovered that Mother has a
    noncancerous brain tumor and an inflamed major
    artery in the brain. They feel that at her age,
    surgery or other aggressive treatment is not
    the best treatment for her, so they are trying to
    control the pain and make her comfortable.

    Seeing her pain makes me cry. What a
    comfort it has been to have a precious husband and
    dear friends who have wept with me during
    this trial.

    A while back I noticed that a young
    waitress who often serves Jack and me when we
    go out to eat seemed unusually quiet and
    withdrawn and there was a strain on her countenance.
    When I went to wash my hands in the
    ladiesí room, I had a chance to pull her aside
    and ask if something was wrong. Tears spilled
    down her cheeks as she told me her husband
    had just asked her for a divorce.

    Imagine the pain of having your husband
    or wife look you in the eye and say, "I don't
    love you anymore -- I want out of this marriage."
    I can't even begin to comprehend the
    shock, sorrow, and grief one would feel in
    such a situation.

    I didn't know what to say to this poor girl
    -- but I put my arms around her and comforted
    her the only way I knew how...with my tears.

    Also in recent months, I have felt an
    increased burden for my unsaved friends and
    loved ones. Bible prophecy makes it so clear
    that time on this old earth is running out fast
    and that surely Jesus is coming soon...perhaps
    today! So I have been praying...and weeping
    ...for my unsaved loved ones. It is the only
    way I know to minister to them!

    What is a tear?

    The great preacher, T. DeWitt Talmage,
    once wrote, "Help me explain a tear. A chemist
    will tell you that it is made up of salt and
    lime and other component parts; but he misses
    the chief ingredients -- the acid of a soured
    life, the viperine sting of a bitter memory, the
    fragments of a broken heart. I will tell you
    what a tear is: it is agony in solution."

    These are powerful, moving words. And
    perhaps all of us have either witnessed or
    personally experienced the truth Talmage sought
    to convey.

    But I suggest to you that there is more to
    tears than sadness, sorrow, regret, and pain.
    Tears can be a release from stress and anxiety,
    a vent for frustration, a safety valve for
    overpowering emotions. Tears can be the most
    sincere expression of compassion and love.
    And just as raindrops wash the smoke, smog,
    and impurities from the atmosphere, so tears
    can wash away the stains of bitterness and
    disappointment from our souls.

    A time to weep

    As Solomon, perhaps the wisest man who
    ever lived, once declared, To every thing there
    is a season, and a time to every purpose under
    the heaven...A time to weep, and a time to
    laugh
    (Ecclesiastes 3:1,4).

    We live in a time when everyone wants to
    laugh all the time, but no one is willing to
    weep. And if someone does cry, it makes
    people really uncomfortable. Children are hushed
    and told not to cry. Men are taught that tears
    don't go with a macho image...that only sissies
    cry. And women who weep at some sadness
    or loss are interrupted and advised to wipe
    their eyes and get control of themselves.

    No! No! No! Let me cry. It's all right to
    cry. I need to cry. In fact, one of my goals is
    to minister to those who are weeping. I want
    to do all I can, to say what I can...and when
    there are no deeds or words that can help, to
    weep with them.

    Perhaps my resolution is best expressed
    in the words of the late Bob Pierce in his
    moving book, Let My Heart Be Broken With the
    Things That Break the Heart of God.

    When Jesus wept, His tears were for
    others. Both Matthew and Luke describe how He
    wept over the city of Jerusalem for those who
    would not hear and accept the Truth! We, too,
    should weep for others.

    Weep over souls

    Should we be less concerned over lost
    souls than our Saviour? Why are we not
    crying and praying for the lost to be saved before
    it is eternally too late?

    I've seen people moved to tears by the
    plight of fictional characters in a paperback
    book. A melodramatic film may jokingly be
    described as a "two-hanky" movie, and it's
    perfectly all right. But the same people who
    get involved and empathize with artificial
    stories can see real live people around them
    dying and slipping into eternity without God
    and never feel a twinge or shed a tear.

    I wonder -- if the unsaved friends and
    loved ones I'm praying for don't seem to be
    any closer to the Lord than when I first started,
    could it be because I haven't shed any tears
    for them? The Bible says, They that sow in
    tears shall reap in joy. He that goeth forth
    and weepeth, bearing precious seed, shall
    doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing
    his sheaves with him
    (Psalm 126:5,6).

    Weep over sin

    Sometimes I can hardly watch the news on
    television or read the daily paper without
    crying. My heart breaks at what is going on in
    our nation and the world today. There is such
    evil and perversion, such wickedness and
    violence. How long will God allow men's hearts
    to be filled with such deliberate, willful sin
    before calling them to judgment?

    I believe we are to weep over sin, whether
    our own, our family's, or our nation's. The
    Apostle Paul wrote, For godly sorrow worketh
    repentance to salvation
    (2 Corinthians 7:10).

    I am reminded of how Peter, after denying
    the Lord during the awful hours before the
    Crucifixion, went out, and wept bitterly
    (Matthew 26:75). Those tears of repentance
    led to his being forgiven and restored.

    Weep over sorrow

    Just as there is a time to weep over souls
    and a time to weep over sin, there is also a
    time to weep over sorrow. Do you remember
    when Mary and Martha showed the Lord the
    tomb where their brother Lazarus was buried?
    The Bible says, Jesus wept (John 11:35).

    There is a time for sorrow...and when it
    comes, tears are appropriate. Paul instructed,
    Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep
    with them that weep
    (Romans 12:15).

    Notice that the verse did not say to laugh
    with those who are laughing and to tell those
    who are crying to stop and cheer up. No, it
    says to cry with those who are crying! That
    means to share their sorrow -- to get down
    under the burden with them. And when you
    share their tears -- when all you can do is cry
    with them -- you'll find it is a tremendously
    effective way to minister your compassion and love.

    I once interviewed a pastor who had
    suffered the traumatic loss of his little son. This
    man told me that in the midst of his grieving,
    the people of his church did not understand or
    know how to weep with him. They would
    come to him and say, "Pastor, why are you
    crying? Don't you have any faith?"

    After a while this minister wrote a book
    about what he had learned during his sorrowful
    experience. He called it, Jonathan, You
    Left Too Soon.
    But the main lesson I learned
    from his experience was that in the day of
    sorrow, it's okay to weep. In fact, for most
    people, it's a really good way to cope with loss
    and grief and begin to heal the broken heart
    and crushed emotions. Tears can be
    tremendously therapeutic.

    I know I have been made acutely aware
    of the value of tears. And I pray that God
    will make me willing to weep with those who
    weep, whether they cry tears of pain,
    heartache, sorrow...or joy! I encourage you to
    consider whether God can also use you in a
    ministry of tears.

    Remember, though, that our tears will not
    -- cannot -- last long. The psalmist sang,
    Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh
    in the morning
    (Psalm 30:5).

    I'm here to tell you that a great morning is
    coming soon, when we will all be in the
    presence of the Lord. Oh, what a glorious promise
    and steadfast hope! For on that glad day, God
    shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and
    there shall be no more death, neither sorrow,
    nor crying, neither shall there be any more
    pain: for the former things are passed away

    (Revelation 21:4).

    No wonder Jesus said, Blessed are ye that
    weep now: for ye shall laugh
    (Luke 6:21).

    Week 25 | Is God Listening?

    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

    (Psalm 40:1).

    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
    strength.

    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
    Jesus alone!"

    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?

    (Matthew 7:11).

    So we need to learn to ask -- we need to be
    sure to make our petitions known to God
    through prayer.

    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
    ongoing trauma.

    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!

    Week 24 | “Just a Cup of Coffee, Please!”

    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
    and deprivation?

    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

    (Isaiah 61:10).

    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
    show it?

    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
    (Deuteronomy 33:25).

    If we believe God, we have something to
    smile about.

    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.

    Eat heartily

    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
    going hungry.

    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

    (Jeremiah 15:16).

    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
    over.

    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
    refreshments together.

    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
    ticket."

    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

    (Psalm 146:5).

    Week 23 | Right Where I Am!

    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
    the earth.

    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
    those afternoons.

    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
    shopping bags?"

    "I'm so sorry," said my friend. "You have
    to make a purchase of at least $15 to get the
    decorative bag."

    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
    my Saviour."

    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!