Today’s Devotional | April 4 | MATTHEW 20:20-28 | To Minister

Today's Devotional

Memory Verse
Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many (Matthew 20:28).

Millions are ministered to.

Few minister.

And in our lack of ministering, we are unlike Jesus.

Today’s pattern of taking in weekly without giving out is unknown in the Bible. Even when persecution of the early church scattered its members, they were faithful ministers while fleeing: “Therefore they that were scattered abroad went every where preaching the word” (Acts 8:4).

Truth is given to pass on to others. Blessings are given to share. Financial prosperity is given so that one can give to those in need… and not just at the end of life to beneficiaries of a will. Health is given so that vigor and strength can be used to lift the burdens of others. Years are given so that we can have time to influence people through our lives and words and point them to God.

Receivers who do not give are losers. They lose the thrill of giving. Of seeing the sparkle in the eyes of one who has been helped. Of watching one go on to success who had been counted out. Of witnessing faith grow as a result of sharing the love of Christ.

So, we must minister. But where shall we start?

Let us begin where we are. What have we received this week that can be given to others? What was there about the pastor’s sermon that made it special to you? Tell a friend. His need is likely to be the same as yours. And in passing on the blessing you will be ministering.

It’s the only way to be like Jesus!

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 3 | PSALM 107:1-15 | Speak Up
Memory Verse
Memory Verse: Let the redeemed of the LORD say so, whom he hath redeemed from the hand of the enemy (Psalm 107:2).

Do we honor the Lord more by righteous living or by speaking of His love and salvation?

It’s a bad question.

No such choice should be considered.

The raising of this issue infers that one cannot be consistent in both life and conversation. And that just isn’t so.

Certainly our lives are to be above reproach. Hypocrisy is condemned in the Bible and was often exposed by Jesus. The Pharisees despised Him for revealing their lack of faith and love while going through the motions of being religious. They were examples of those who speak well but live poorly. But their hypocrisy or that of others is no excuse for opting to be a so-called “silent witness.”

The Psalmist was determined to praise God with his lips as well as his life. He declared: “I will sing of the mercies of the LORD for ever: with my mouth will I make known thy faithfulness to all generations” (Psalm 89:1).

A song says, “I’d rather see a sermon than hear one any day.” And it contains an element of truth. Still, most of us have been influenced toward God by someone who cared enough to talk to us about our deepest needs, making application of the Gospel.

Some have difficulty speaking to others or are confined and have few contacts with those in need. I have known a few who wrote letters to share the love of Christ, especially to people passing through severe problems. They let their fingers do the talking.

Christians have something to say.

Speak up. Today!

April 2 | MATTHEW 26:14-16 | What’s Your Price?
Memory Verse
And said unto them, What will ye give me, and I will deliver him unto you? And they covenanted with him for thirty pieces of silver (Matthew 26:15).

The betrayal of Jesus was foretold in the Old Testament: “Yea, mine own familiar friend, in whom I trusted, which did eat of my bread, hath lifted up his heel against me” (Psalm 41:9).

Even the price of betrayal was prophesied: “And I said unto them, If ye think good, give me my price; and if not, forbear. So they weighed for my price thirty pieces of silver” (Zechariah 11:12). It is revolting to think of Judas selling the Lord. Dr. Harry Rimmer wrote of him: “Judas. A name that has become a byword in all civilized nations. A man who has become an object of abhorrence. The outstanding example of greed, the climax of treachery; and the apogee of all that is despicable.” It is hard to imagine putting a price on loyalty to Jesus.

But some still have their price!

Some are loyal to Jesus unless it costs too much. The price may be reckoned to money, popularity, prestige, or pleasure. At what point does your dedication die? How much temptation is required to topple you? What’s your price?

Christ deserves our loyalty and dedication at all costs. He paid the supreme price to redeem us. Loyalty to Him should be priceless.

Let it be known! YOU’RE NOT FOR SALE!

April 1 | MATTHEW 26:6-13 | Well Done
Memory Verse
When Jesus understood it, he said unto them, Why trouble ye the woman? for she hath wrought a good work upon me (Matthew 26:10).

Oliver Wendell Holmes said, “The human race is divided into two classes — those who go ahead and do something and those who sit still and inquire, ‘Why wasn’t it done the other way?’”

Mary of Bethany had undoubtedly wanted to do something for Jesus ever since the raising of her brother Lazarus. He had intervened in her hour of grief and despair. She had sat at His feet and learned valuable spiritual lessons. Finally, she settled on a way to show her dedication and appreciation for all He had done for her. She would use her alabaster box of precious ointment to refresh Him after one of His journeys.

Reaction to Mary’s sacrifice was probably predictable. Regardless of what you do for Christ, some will complain! And how righteous they may sound! “This ointment might have been sold for much and given to the poor,” said those who watched and criticized. They sounded pious. But Jesus knew their hearts and rebuked them.

Have others been critical of you after some act of sacrificial service? Don’t let it get you down. It is easier to grumble than to give. It is easier to be part of the faction than to get into the action.

Never mind. Jesus understands. His “well done” is all that matters. He will care for the critics and will reward those who serve Him with their best (see Luke 14:14).

March 31 | ACTS 8:1-4 | Everywhere
Memory Verse
Therefore they that were scattered abroad went everywhere preaching the word (Acts 8:4).

Following the death of Stephen, the first Christian martyr, persecution fell upon all the Christians at Jerusalem. Those were difficult days for the church, bringing imprisonment and even death for the crime of trusting in Christ and telling others about Him. As a result of this persecution, the believers were scattered... but everywhere they went they carried the message of Christ. Even the enemies of the Gospel cooperated in its propagation for as they scattered God’s people they also scattered their message throughout that whole area.

In America today we know little about persecution. Though we live in the century that has probably produced more Christian martyrs than any other in history, we are virtually untouched. Still we are lax in telling the old old story of Jesus and His love. And that raises a frightening question; Will it be necessary for God to allow persecution to come to us to awaken us to the blessings we have had and taken for granted?

We hope not.

Those early Christians have set an example for us that will be well to follow. They were so determined to obey the great commission that inconveniences and even severe problems could not deter them from carrying out that responsibility.

How does that compare to our concern? Where are our weak excuses for not witnessing? How will they stand up at the

Judgment Seat of Christ?

We’ve a message to share.

Tell it wherever you go!

March 30 | ISAIAH 35 | The Coming Kingdom
Memory Verse
The wilderness and the solitary place shall be glad for them; and the desert shall rejoice, and blossom as the rose (Isaiah 35:1).

The coming Kingdom of Christ is known as the Millennium because it will last for one thousand years. And what years they will be!

Man’s struggle to conquer the environment will be over. Though a stubborn earth has resisted cultivation and produced only at the continual effort of its inhabitants, people have survived. Think how wonderful it will be when man and nature are again in harmony. Bumper crops will be the rule rather than the exception. All the earth will become productive. Even the deserts will become watered gardens.

The enmity between men and animals will be put away. Hear the prophet describe this millennial scene: “The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them. And the cow and the bear shall feed; their young ones shall lie down together: and the lion shall eat straw like the ox” (Isaiah 11:6-7).

Cults and all false teachers will be non-existent. True worship of the Lord will cover the earth: “They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain: for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea” (Isaiah 11:9).

When you are discouraged by world conditions or personal problems, remember the coming Kingdom of Christ. This earth has a great future. And so do you, if you belong to Him!

March 29 | I CORINTHIANS 15:27-58 | Be Steadfast
Memory Verse
Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye steadfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord (1 Corinthians 15:58).

It has been said that when the word “therefore” appears in the Bible one should always consider what it is there for. Here, this word looks back to all the truths just presented and in view of them calls for faithful service for Christ.

Because Christ is risen, be “steadfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord.”

Because Christ is coming to raise the Christian dead and catch away His bride, be “steadfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord.”

To be steadfast is “to be firm in your own convictions.” To be unmovable is “to be firm against the influences of others.” The Pulpit Commentary says: “There are some works of the Lord in which we cannot engage. We cannot help to control the ocean, guide the stars, or even create a blade of grass, but here we are ‘labourers together with Him.’”

What a privilege!

Let us stand firm against evil and abound in service for Christ.

He lives.

And He is coming again.

Our work for Jesus will not be in vain. When He comes He will reward all who have been “steadfast, unmovable, and always abounding in the work of the Lord. And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be” (Revelation 22:12).

March 28 | REVELATION 20:4-6 | Reigning With Christ
Memory Verse
Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years (Revelation 20:6).

Though you may never hold public office in this life, you have a future in government. When Jesus comes to establish His Kingdom on this earth, those who have received Him as Saviour will rule and reign with Him.

That government will be without earthly flaws. There will be no corrupt officials, no crooked politicians and no unjust practices. Political justice and international peace will prevail. Isaiah wrote: “And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the LORD’s house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow unto it. And many people shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. And he shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people: and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more” (Isaiah 2:2-4).

Just what will be our responsibilities in that Kingdom? We cannot say precisely but we know that we will have part in carrying out God’s will on earth.

Meanwhile, we now have an opportunity to share in doing His will by taking the Gospel message to others. Doing His bidding now is good training for the future!

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!

Week 12 | The Easy Burden

Talk about busy! For many months Dr. Van
Impe and I have been going from early to late,
working harder than we ever have in our lives.

In addition to our normal activities and
responsibilities, every hour is filled with reading,
praying, studying, writing, planning... and
traveling! As you know, we're often on the road in
speaking engagements, ministering day and
night. And from time to time we also meet with
many of our dear partners in various cities.
Back at home, we're in the office, working on
our weekly telecasts, recording music, meeting
with technicians!

Don't think I'm complaining -- I've never been
so excited and thrilled. There are so many
tremendous opportunities before us that I can hardly
wait for morning to come... and sometimes I'm
reluctant to turn off the lights at bedtime.

The other day someone said to me, "Rexella,
don't overdo it. You've got so many responsibilities
-- it's really a tremendous burden!"

I appreciated the concern of this friend, who had
only my best interests at heart. But although I'm
working harder than I have in all my life before, I
am not overloaded and burdened down!

I have discovered the secret of the easy burden.

The lesson of the ant

A biologist once was doing a study of ants. One
day he watched a worker ant carrying a piece of
straw. Compared to the ant's size and weight, that
straw must have been a heavy and unwieldy load.
But the ant kept working -- kept carrying his load.

After a while the ant came to a large crack in the
earth. He explored to the left and the right, but
there was no way to go around -- and the crack
was too wide and too deep to get across.

The ant stood there on the brink of the precipice
as though pondering the situation. Then, he took
the burdensome straw off his back. Stumbling,
tumbling, and straining, somehow he managed to
put one end of the straw on one side of the crack
and let it fall across the span! Then the ant walked
across the straw safely to the other side.

With a few tugs and strains, he pulled the straw
across the crack, put it back on his back... and
went on his way again! He triumphed by using his
burden as a bridge to the other side.

What a lesson for us!

In this life we will have burdens. The Apostle
Paul noted, For we that are in this tabernacle do
groan, being burdened
(2 Corinthians 5:4). But
we need not be unduly crushed to the ground by
our load if we allow the Lord and His strength to
sustain us. The psalmist cried, Cast thy burden
upon the Lord, and he shall sustain thee
(Psalm 55:22).

Jesus said, Come unto me, all ye that labour
and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am
meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest
unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my
burden is light
(Matthew 1 1:28-30).

Did you notice that Jesus did not say, "Come
throw down your load and walk away with no
burden at all." He only promised to give us rest.
Then we are to take on His yoke and pick up His
burden. And what kind of load is it?

It is a light yoke, an easy burden!

The Lord has not promised that we will not have
to work in this life. There is no guarantee that we
will not face difficulties and trials. Nowhere does
He tell us that the road will not be long or the night
not so dark.



   Rather, He promises that where we go, He will
go... and never will we be left alone. For he hath
said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee
(Hebrews 13:5). And He also promised, Lo, I am
with you alway, even unto the end of the world

(Matthew 28:20).

If Jesus is with us, and His burden is always
light, why do we get so loaded down at times? I
think it is because we pick up the burdens of the
past along with tomorrow's burden and add it to
the load allotted for today.

John Newton once wrote, "I compare the
troubles which we have to undergo in the course of a
year to a great bundle of fagots, far too large for us
to lift. But God does not require us to carry the
whole at once. He mercifully unties the bundle
and gives us first one stick, which we are to carry
today, and then another, which we are to carry
tomorrow, and so on. This we might easily
manage if we would only take the burden
appointed for us each day. But we choose to
increase our troubles by carrying yesterday's
stick over again today and adding tomorrow's
burden to our load before we are required to
carry it."

Jesus says, "Come rest. Lay down yesterday's
burden, and don't lift tomorrow's load yet. Just
pick up today's burden... and it will be easy!"

And like the resourceful ant, we may discover
that at times we can use our burden to bridge the
chasms in the path before us. It can literally
become a stepping-stone to higher ground.

A burden of joy

What an exhilarating realization! And here is
another load-lifting thought. When we realize
what our burden is -- or to be more exact, who our
burden is -- our attitude changes.

I heard about an American soldier during the
Vietnam war who saw a little 7-year-old girl
carrying a 2-year-old baby on her back. As he passed
her trudging along a dusty road, the G.I. said to
her, "Honey, it looks like you're carrying an
awfully heavy load."

But that little child had learned part of the
secret of the easy burden. She replied, "Oh, no,
this is no load -- this is my brother!"

And it is true -- the load of egotism and self-pity
is tremendously heavy. No one can stand up under
it for long! But if our burden is for others... for the
lost and unreached, it can become a burden of joy.

We are reminded of Jesus, who for the joy that
was set before him endured the cross, despising
the shame, and is set down at the right hand of
the throne of God
(Hebrews 12:2).

For the joy set before Him, Jesus endured the
cross! What joy? The joy of seeing you and me in
heaven! He carried the cross for us. He died that
we might live. And now, His work completed, He is
at the right hand of God.

Oh, I want to see Him! I am so homesick for
heaven. And I believe it will not be long until our
Saviour comes for us -- perhaps today!

Until then, I know I can carry the easy burden
He has for me. And so I can truthfully say that
every suitcase I pack, every song I sing, every
television program I help to host, every article I write,
and every letter I answer -- the workload is not a
depressing or oppressing burden. I can do it -- I'm
glad to -- because of the joy that is set before me
...the joy of knowing that I am doing it for the
Lord to reach souls for eternity.

Stepping-stones to higher ground

I have no way of knowing what kind of burden
you have been asked to bear. But I urge you to
catch sight of the joy set before you. If it is to be a
good mother to your children -- do it with joy and
blessing. If you are a father who gets up at 5:30
a.m. to go to work and earn a living for your family
and to help support the work of God -- do it with
joy and a blessing.

My father got up at this hour almost every day of
his adult life and yet always found delight in
driving to every meeting that my husband and I or
my brother Bob (who also is an evangelist) might
have within a 100 mile radius of my parents'
home. Dad found strength in the Lord and got
hold of the easy burden and made it a stepping-stone
to higher ground. May you also, as mothers
and fathers, find stepping-stones to higher ground.

The day will come -- and soon, so soon -- when
you will stand before God and lay down your
burden for the last time. What a thrill, what
unspeakable joy, to hear the voice of your Father
say, "Well done, thou good and faithful servant!"

Week 11 | The Silent Force of Faith, Hope, and Love

And now abideth faith, hope, charity [love],
these three; but the greatest of these is charity
[love] (1 Corinthians 13:13).

There are unseen forces in the world that are
vitally important in the course of human events.
These forces shape individual lives and even influence
world affairs.

Recognizing that these forces exist can be
intimidating. For some people, the idea that they
might not be in control of what happens in their
lives can actually be emotionally crippling.

As Christians, we need never feel intimidated by
anything. As the old gospel song suggests, we may
not know what tomorrow holds, but we know who
holds our tomorrows. Ultimately, God is in control
of all things to come.

We do have the power to make many
life-controlling decisions. Every individual has the
opportunity to perpetuate good or evil... to uplift
Christ or approve the works of Satan... to show
love or hate, joy or sorrow.

When faced with the fateful forces of life, we
have an arsenal of divine forces at our disposal
that can help us withstand any storm and overcome
any adversity. Faith. Hope. Love.

Too often these forces are just words to us and
we fail to fully understand the explosive power
that is ours. God, in His unchanging Word, gives
unprecedented value to these truths. They are the
key to unlimited power and spiritual wealth in
your life and mine.

The baby who fell in the well

Some time ago our attention was focused on a
tiny little child in Midland, Texas, who had fallen
into an abandoned oil well. Only 18 months old,
plucky little Jessica McClure captured the heart of
the whole nation. Students, business people,
workers, housewives, even the first lady -- we all
showed our interest and concern for her plight.
People across the country prayed, sent cards and
letters, offered assistance, telephoned -- whatever
they could do. And the people in the Texas
communities nearby dropped what they were doing
and went to help. They labored without being
asked... not asking for pay... around the clock
until the ordeal was over.

I was so impressed with the actions of Jessica's
family and close friends. I'll never forget seeing
the TV news pictures of them standing in a circle,
holding hands, praying for God's help. The
strength of their faith was transmitted nationwide
It never wavered!

We all can have this kind of faith, which
Hebrews 11 defines as the substance of things
hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
I
believe faith is an inner stability produced by the
Holy Spirit that enables us to trust. And it is trust
that dispels doubt, fear, and uncertainty.

How wonderful to know we have a counter-force
that can work in our behalf when we're faced with
those unseen, uncontrollable forces and circumstances
of life. The force of faith will help us trust
God for peace and victory -- even in the face of
seemingly insurmountable obstacles like Jessica
McClure and her family faced.

The force of faith

The silent force of faith is indescribably
powerful. With faith, a shepherd boy takes five stones
and a slingshot and defeats Goliath, the military
champion. With faith, Moses stretches out a
wooden stick over the Red Sea and the waters roll
back to provide a path of safety for God's people.

You may well be facing conflicts, disasters,
heartaches, and darkness as deep as a well. But as
you rely on the unseen force of faith, trust will rise
up inside you and sustain you until deliverance
comes -- for the Lord will bring you through.

Most important of all, the force of faith even overcomes
the fatal curse of sin and helps us receive
Christ's salvation and everlasting life. For by
grace are ye saved through faith
(Ephesians 2:8).

The force of hope

The second silent force you can use is hope.
What a devastating thing to feel utterly hopeless
-- to believe there is no remedy for your desperate situation!

Without hope, life cannot long endure. With
hope -- even the tiniest spark -- we can keep
holding on, keep waiting and watching until
victory comes.

Just as faith produces trust, hope produces joy
and peace. Surely it was the hope and peace of
that precious little girl in the Texas well that
helped save her life.

Can you imagine her cries of fear and distress?
"Mommy, I'm hurt, I can't move. It's so dark and
I'm afraid. I'm cold. I'm hungry. Please help me!"
And she listened for a voice at the top of the well --
her mother's. That voice so filled her with hope
and encouragement, I'm told little Jessica cried
very little. She had peace -- even joy. Down in her
dark, cold trap, she could even sing!

Oh, my friend, here's a truth that is absolutely
overwhelming. You and I can have hope in the
wells of life. Down in our prisons of darkness and
pain, we can hear a Voice from above -- the voice of
our Father saying, "Fear not! Lo, I am with you
alway, even unto the end of the world

(Matthew 28:20).

There is hope! And there is joy and peace for you
today. Are you trapped by emotional needs? Hear
the voice of the Lord saying, Come unto me, all ye
that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give
you rest
(Matthew 11:28).

Are you so buried by financial and material
needs that it seems you'll never again see the light
of day? Listen! God's promise is sufficient for you.
My God shall supply all your need according to
his riches in glory by Christ Jesus
(Philippians 4:19).

Are you worried, troubled, depressed? Oh, hear
the voice of hope -- Casting all your care upon
him; for he careth for you
(1 Peter 5:7).

I tell you, there is no hole so deep that hope
cannot reach. And no place so low that God
cannot lift you out. Use the silent force of hope
God has given you... and let joy and peace change
your world.

Remember, Jesus has experienced every
emotional temptation or physical pain that we could
ever experience. He was in all points tempted like
as we are, yet without sin
(Hebrews 4:15). Jesus
was not tempted to see if He would sin, but to
show that He could not sin, for He is God.

He understands your need. He is greater than
your need... and He cares about your need. So
you can have hope.

The force of love

The third and greatest unseen force you have at
your disposal is love. Love is so powerful -- and so
misunderstood.

Faith produces trust. Hope produces joy and
peace. But love produces manifold blessings.

The newspaper headlines reporting the drama
in Midland, Texas, said: "USA Opens Its Heart to
Jessica." Why? I believe one reason people loved
this child so much was that they saw faith in her
family and hope in her -- qualities America needs
so desperately today.

And remember how their love was expressed --
in action. That's because love, being the essence of
God's divine nature, is not just a noun -- it's a
verb, it is action. So in loving Jessica, people
helped, worked, gave... they poured themselves
out. And they didn't stop loving until she was
rescued and brought out of that well, alive and safe.
In a thrilling, exciting way, they started living the
Bible and producing the manifold fruits of love
described in 1 Corinthians 13:4-8.

I know you've read these familiar scriptures
many times, but let's think about them in terms
we can understand without question. The silent
force of love that God pours through us is
absolutely beautiful.

This love produces an uncomplaining spirit that
cares for others. It is not jealous, pushy, conceited,
or ill-mannered. This love does not try to advance
itself, does not pout or become hurt easily. It does
not think the worst of others, and is not happy
when someone falls into sin but is happy to hear
good things about him. Love bears all things and
helps others with their burdens. Love endures...
and refuses discouragement.

Do you have that kind of love? Oh, it's important
to have faith. It's important to have hope. But
God's Word declares that the greatest force of all is love.

I urge you to examine yourself to be sure you
have the silent force of faith, hope, and love --
especially love -- within. The only way to have it is
to go to the One who gives this perfect gift -- Jesus Christ.

I challenge you to join Dr. Van Impe and me in
trusting, rejoicing, hoping, and loving in Christ.
Using this silent force together, we can change
ourselves... and make such an impact on our
world for Christ that it will never again be the
same.