Today’s Devotional | November 23 | HEBREWS 13:1-6 | What Do You Have?

Today's Devotional

Memory Verse
Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee (Hebrews 13:5).

How easy it is to overlook blessings already ours! The late T. DeWitt Talmage demanded an inventory of present possessions, writing: “It is high time you began to thank God for present blessing. Thank Him for your children, happy, buoyant, and bounding. Praise Him for your home, with its fountain of song and laughter. Adore Him for morning light and evening shadow. Praise Him for fresh, cool water, bubbling from the rock, leaping in the cascade, soaring in the mist, falling in the shower, dashing against the rock, and clapping its hands in the tempest. Love Him for the grass that cushions the earth, and the clouds that curtain the sky, and the foliage that waves in the forest. Thank Him for a Bible to read, and a cross to gaze upon and a Saviour to deliver.”

William R. Newell says of our text, “but mark that great word ‘content,’ that God uses to describe that state of heart pleasing to Him in His people. ‘Content with such things as ye have.’ Would that these words described all Christians!”

What do you have?

Do you have health?

Do you have food enough for today?

Do you have shelter… a home?

Do you have a Bible? A home church?

Do you have friends? Family members who love you? Lift your heart in praise for what you have.

And remember that God is the giver.

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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November 22 | THESSALONIANS 2:1-13 | The Cloak Doesn’t Fit
Memory Verse
For neither at any time used we flattering words, as ye know, nor a cloak of covetousness; God is witness (1 Thessalonians 2:5).

To covet is “to desire eagerly; to long for; especially to desire something belonging to another.”

Covetousness is as old as sin and first affected man in the Garden of Eden. Eve coveted the fruit that God had forbidden, resulting in the fall with all of its attendant sorrows.

The first evidence of covetousness in Israel’s new land is recorded in Joshua 7:21 and has to do with the sin of Achan, whose thievery and disobedience halted the victorious march of his people and their conquest of the land of Canaan.

The early church was shocked by the coveting couple: Ananias and Sapphira, who lied to God and lost their lives as a result of their sin.

Another moving Bible example of covetousness is the account of King Ahab and his confiscation of Naboth’s vineyard. This good man refused to sell his property to the wicked king and became the victim of Queen Jezebel’s wrath. See I Kings 21.

Covetousness opens the door to all sin.

Covetousness has no place in a Christian’s life.

It isn’t fitting.

Not Christlike.

What do you want that you should not have? Are you willing to trample on others to get it? Beware of the sin of covetousness.

Victory over covetousness comes through setting one’s affections on things above rather than on things of earth. When our goals are within the will of God, covetousness is conquered.

November 21 | PHILIPPIANS 4:1-13 | The Perfect State
Memory Verse
Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content (Philippians 4:11).

Millions seek contentment.

Paul had found it.

Matthew Henry says: “The apostle was often in bonds, imprisonments, and necessities; but in all, he learned to be content, to bring his mind to his condition, and make the best of it. Pride, unbelief, vain hankering after something we have not got, and fickle disrelish of present things, make men discontented even under favorable circumstances. Let us pray for patient submission and hope when we are abased; for humility and a heavenly mind when exalted. It is a special grace to have an equal temper of mind always.”

Nor is Paul dependent on a certain amount of money received for contentment. Boldly, he declares his independence; announcing that his sufficiency is of God. He is pleased with gifts sent to him but wants it made clear that he can make it through without handouts from anybody. He is God’s servant and is content to take each day from his Father’s hand.

We have become very dependent people. We are dependent on the utility companies for power to heat our homes and run our appliances. We are dependent on other nations for energy to operate our factories and businesses. We are dependent on a chain of workers and businesses to bring food to our tables.

But for contentment our source can be the same as Paul’s. God is unchanged. Trusting in Him and believing His promises still brings independence. We are complete in Him.

And that is the perfect state... safe in His hands.

November 20 | ECCLESIASTES 5:9-15 | Money Fails
Memory Verse
He that loveth silver shall not be satisfied with silver; nor he that loveth abundance with increase: this is also vanity (Ecclesiastes 5:10).

Money may make three different sorts of speeches.

It may say: “Hold me and I will dry out the foundations of sympathy and benevolence in your soul and leave you barren and destitute. Grasp me tightly and I will change your eyes that they will care to look upon nothing that does not contain my image, and so transform your ears that my soft metallic ring will sound louder than the cries of widows and orphans and the wail of perishing multitudes. Keep me, clutch me and I will destroy your concern for souls and your love and reverence for God.”

Or it may say: “Spend me for self-indulgence and I will make you indifferent to all except your own pleasure. I will become your master and you will think that I only am all powerful.”

Or it may say: “Give me away for the benefit of others and I will return in streams of spiritual revenue to your soul. I will bless the receiver and the giver. I will supply food for the hungry, raiment for the naked, medicine for the sick and homes for the homeless. My most exciting task is in carrying the Gospel of Christ to the ends of the earth. Invest me in this important cause and I will bring eternal dividends; blessings now and rewards at the Judgment Seat of Christ.”

Money fails to satisfy if kept or wasted on the toys of earth. But when it is given to reach the souls of men it performs a vital work.

Thank God for material blessings.

Invest them in His work.

Lay up eternal wealth.

November 19 | JOHN 16:1-11 | Conviction
Memory Verse
And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment (John 16:8).

An evangelist is preaching in a large crusade. Next to the aisle in the fourth row from the front sits a man who appears to be the classic picture of boredom. His wife coaxed him to come to the meeting and he finally yielded to please her. His mind moves from business deals to the golf course. He keeps glancing at his watch, anticipating the final prayer so that he can get on with more important things.

Suddenly a statement from the speaker strikes home. The man who seemed so distant and untouchable fixes his attention on the evangelist and hangs on every word. Though still captured by the message, he becomes uneasy, shifting his weight a number of times and folding and unfolding his arms. Occasionally he wipes his brow.

When the evangelist gives the public invitation, the man who had come to the service so reluctantly steps out into the aisle and makes his way toward the preacher. He wants to be born again.

What happened to change his attitude and melt his heart?

The conviction of the Holy Spirit.

The work of the Holy Spirit is to bring conviction of sin to the world. The human conscience cannot be trusted to recognize the seriousness of sin. Influenced by falling standards, people are able to rationalize immorality and borderline honesty. When under conviction, however, true standards of holiness and sin are brought into focus.

No wonder you have been uncomfortable in your sin!

November 18 | PHILIPPIANS 2:1-16 | All Things?
Memory Verse
Do all things without murmurings and disputings (Philippians 2:14).

A long time ago I received a letter with a tract enclosed. I have forgotten the message of that leaflet, but its title “What Made You Cross?” has stayed with me. It is a good question.

If we are honest, I suspect most of us would admit that we are ashamed that trifles touch off our tempers and disturb our dispositions.

J. Hudson Taylor wrote: “It is not so much the greatness of our troubles, as the littleness of our spirit, which makes us complain.”

It doesn’t take a theologian to discover the characteristic joy of early Christians. Under the toughest of circumstances they were triumphant! Even in prison they sang praises to God.

The disturbing dimension to this comparison is the thought that most present-day Christians might really cave in if persecution came. If we are edgy in affluence, what might we do in oppression: “If thou hast run with the footmen, and they have wearied thee, then how canst thou contend with horses? And if in the land of peace, wherein thou trustedst, they wearied thee, then how wilt thou do in the swelling of Jordan?” (Jeremiah 12;5).

The need of dealing with this problem may be far more urgent than we realize. We do not know what the future holds. At any rate, there is sure to be great profit for hearts and homes if we stop exploding to gain our “rights,” and start yielding to the Holy Spirit in all things. It is only then that we will be able to “do all things without murmurings and disputings.” And others will know that our Lord controls “all things” in our lives.

November 17 | COLOSSIANS 3:16-25 | Don’t Be Bitter
Memory Verse
Husbands, love your wives, and be not bitter against them (Colossians 3:19).

Bitterness keeps bad company. Note some of its associates: “Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamor, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice” (Ephesians 4:31).

Bitterness is destructive anywhere, but especially in the home; clouding love’s looks and turning them into icy stares. Words spoken in bitterness cut deeply.

Husbands who harbor bitter feelings toward their wives are losers. They waste valuable time that could be used for showing love. And time is swiftly passing on its way.

Bitter husbands are disobedient to God’s command. No man can walk closely with God and still remain bitter toward the woman he has promised to love as Christ loves the church.

Bitterness may surface through nagging. C. H. Spurgeon says of nagging mates:

“What she proposes,
Be it good or bad,
He still opposes,
Till he drives her mad.”

While nagging and criticism are common fruits of bitterness, they may also be the cause. Some husbands carry bitter feelings for years over some harsh comment made by a wife early in the marriage.

What a waste!

And how inconsistent with Christian living. We who have been forgiven must always be quick to forgive.

Banish bitterness.

Build love instead.

November 16 | LUKE 15:1-7 | He Receives Sinners
Memory Verse
And the Pharisees and scribes murmured, saying, This man receiveth sinners, and eateth with them (Luke 15:2).

The enemies of Jesus thought they had found a weakness on which to build their case: He welcomed sinners and ate with them.
But what if Jesus had not cared for sinners?

There would be no hope for any, for all have sinned: “As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one... For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:10, 23).

Commenting on this text, Dr. H. A. Ironside says: “Our Lord Jesus Christ was always interested in sinners. He came down from the glory of His Father’s house to save sinners. These legalists could not understand it. We are told here that a great company of publicans and sinners drew near to Jesus, but the self-righteous and haughty scribes and Pharisees looked on with contempt, for they could not comprehend why Jesus did not withdraw Himself from these wretched and wicked people, and why He did not rather seek out such respectable individuals as they thought themselves to be. They murmured among themselves, saying, ‘This man receiveth sinners, and eateth with them.’ They did not know they were declaring a wonderful truth when they said that. Jesus receives sinners, and takes them into fellowship and communion with Himself. Thank God, this has been true all through the centuries since. Is it not wonderful grace that He receives all who will come, and He delivers them from their sins?”

Do you think yourself too guilty to be saved?

Christ will receive you the moment you come to Him in faith.

Don’t delay. Come to Christ... right now!

Week 47 | A Lesson For Life From a Donkey

One of the great ironies in the gospel
accounts of Jesus' last days on earth is the
story of His Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem.
We still remember and commemorate this
event each year on Palm Sunday.

The Bible tells us that Jesus sent two
disciples to find a donkey colt no one had
ever ridden before and to bring it to Him.
They did. And then they put their cloaks
across the little animal's back for a saddle.

Then Jesus rode from the Mount of
Olives, across the valley and through the
narrow streets up to the gate of Jerusalem.
A multitude of people prepared the way for
Him, spreading their garments and strewing
branches from trees in His path.

"Hosannah!" they cried. "Blessed is He
that cometh in the name of the Lord.
Hosannah in the highest!"

So Jesus entered Jerusalem, and into
the Temple, with the adulation of the
multitude who hoped He would become their
new king. Sadly, only a few days later,
many of these same people would join the
throngs demanding that Christ be crucified!

But there's a part of the story about the
Triumphal Entry that has always fascinated
me. It's about the donkey colt Jesus rode
that day. That little animal has some
important lessons for us, I think.

The donkey was available

First, the little donkey was available,
ready to be used. Jesus knew the colt was
there and sent His disciples to the particular
place they could find him. And when
the animal's owners were told that the
Master had need of the donkey, they willingly
let him go.

But the donkey was willing, too. Mark's
Gospel says no man had ever sat on his
back. He was unbroken, untamed,
untrained. But he was available.

Why didn't Jesus choose a larger,
better-qualified animal to carry Him -- a
spirited riding horse, or at least the mother
of the colt? Why did He ask for such an
humble little animal?

I believe the reason might be to show us
that the Lord can use small things -- if they're
available and ready to be used. One doesn't
have to have a great voice to sing God's
praises. Nor is it necessary to have great
talent and training to teach a Sunday school
class. One need not have "a way with words"
to send birthday greetings, get well, or
sympathy cards to people who need to hear
from someone who cares.

Are you available? Are you willing to do
what you can for the Lord, however small
your talent or ability seems to you? There
is something you can do -- God has given
each of us spiritual gifts to use in His service.

But we have to be available. Had the
little colt been hidden away where the
disciples couldn't find him, he would have
missed having the Son of God ride upon his
back!

Remember the story of the five wise and
five foolish virgins who were invited to the
marriage supper. When the bridegroom
came, the five foolish virgins were gone --
not available to go into the wedding.

How many times do you and I miss out
on God's great blessings simply because
we're not available when the Lord desires to
use us?

The donkey was submissive

I don't know a lot about animals, but
I've been told that horses, mules, and
donkeys have to be broken, or trained, to be
ridden. They have to learn to accept the
burden of a rider and to respond to his
direction and guidance.

This wild little donkey had never been
ridden before -- no man had ever sat on his
back. But when the disciples brought him
to Jesus and put a cloak on his back for a
saddle, he was submissive. There is no
record in the scripture that he protested,
bucked, or rebelled.

He couldn't have known what was
happening, or what was ahead. One moment
he was standing peacefully at his mother's
side -- the next he was dragged away and a
heavy burden was put upon him. And as
far as we can tell, the little donkey submitted
to these strange events without a fuss.

How often do we balk and buck when
asked to carry out some assignment or bear
some burden? "Why me?" we cry. "Get
somebody else."

So often we tend to hold back until we
can see the end from the beginning. We
want to see the light at the end of the tunnel
before we go into it. We want to
understand everything happening in our lives
before we submit to it. But that's not the way
life works. Submission is more than
agreeing just with what we understand and
approve.

How proud and presumptuous to say to
God, "Show me Your will for my life, then if
I like it, I'll do it!" The Apostle Peter warns,
God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to
the humble. Humble yourselves therefore
under the mighty hand of God, that he may
exalt you in due time
(1 Peter 5:5,6).

When God leads us to do something for
Him, rather than worrying about being
embarrassed, put on the spot, or even
misunderstood or disliked by other people, we
should submit immediately, trusting in Him.
We need to be willing to be led by the Holy
Spirit in such a way that we will obey --
blindly, if need be -- no matter what God asks.

The little donkey submitted to Jesus... and so should we.

The donkey was unafraid

Can you imagine a more difficult and
frightening time to be ridden for the first
time than this colt experienced? He had no
preparation, no training. He is snatched
away from his mother by strangers, another
stranger gets upon his back, and he bears
his first burden through narrow streets
crowded with excited, shouting people,
waving tree branches and clothing,
crowding around him from every side.

Such an experience would be enough to
excite any animal and make him nervous
and skittish. But the little donkey didn't
kick anybody or try to get away. He just
kept going along, carrying Jesus the way
He wanted to go.

I'm sure the Lord must have leaned over
and whispered to the little animal, "Don't
be afraid. Don't fear -- I'm with you." And
in the most confusing circumstances, with
the press of the multitude all around, the
colt kept calm and cool. He just kept on
doing what he was supposed to do, going
where he was supposed to go. And because
Jesus was with him, he was not afraid.

God's supreme sacrifice

Bible scholars tell us there was great
significance in Jesus' visit to Jerusalem at
this time, just before the Passover
sacrifices. The gate Jesus entered to reach the
city was the one through which people
brought their sacrifices to the Temple. No
doubt the streets were full of sheep and
lambs being led to the sacrificial altar. And
here comes God's Son, riding on a donkey,
about ready to be offered up as the
supreme sacrifice for the sins of the world!

So, because he was available,
submissive, and unafraid, the little donkey played
a key role in one of the most riveting events
in all of history.

If the donkey could speak to us today,
what do you suppose he would say?

It would not be the first time a donkey
spoke. The Old Testament, in Numbers 22,
tells of Balaam's donkey who chided the
prophet who rode him, for opposing the will
of God. The donkey saw what Balaam's
spiritually blinded eyes did not -- the angel
of the Lord with a drawn sword, standing in
the path.

If you listen very carefully with the ears
of your heart, I think you can hear the little
donkey's voice even now. He's saying --

"If God could use me, He can use you,
too. No one is too humble or insignificant to
have a place in God's service.

"Just be available -- stay where the Lord
can reach you. Keep an open heart, an
open, holy life.

"Then, trust God enough to submit to
Him. Don't buck and kick against the
unknown. Decide that the Lord knows what's
best and simply do what He asks. He'll
never steer you wrong!

"And last, you don't have to be afraid
when Jesus is with you. His presence, His
touch, will calm your fears and keep you on
track no matter what goes on around you.

"Maybe you've never done anything great,
or accomplished very much before. But
your life can be different. If you're
available, submissive, and unafraid, who knows
what you'll be chosen to do and how
important it may be to the world.

"After all, you're even more important to
God than a little donkey such as I. And the
very first time I was ridden, I carried the
King!"

Week 46 | World Aflame!

Fire!

What do you think of when you hear
that word? Does it set off an alarm in your
mind, warning of danger, destruction,
possibly even death from roaring, angry flames?

Or perhaps you envision the cheery
warmth of a fireplace, or the gentle glow of
the kitchen cook stove at breakfast time.

Fire can be either negative or positive, a
fearsome force or a blessing with hope.
Harnessed properly and handled carefully,
flames can bring comfort, joy, and peace.
Unrestrained, flames ruin and destroy
everything they touch.

A campfire is built to provide warmth
and light, and to prepare food. But left
unattended, the positive power of the flames
can quickly become a death-dealing menace.

We all remember the dreadful devastation
in Yellowstone Park. Several small fires
spread and burst into an inferno that roared
across thousands of acres of forest, leaving
only smoldering desolation behind.

Certainly the world is aflame today with
destruction and devastation. The eyes of
the world were riveted to the live television
coverage of the explosive situation in China
as students demonstrating for freedom
clashed with government troops in Beijing's
Tiananmen Square.

During the conflict, in which hundreds
were ultimately killed, a train was set on
fire, and students poured flaming gasoline
inside the turret of an army tank, horribly
burning those inside. The crackling flames
and billowing smoke were unmistakable
evidences of hostility, hatred, and death.

Sin burns out of control

The personal worlds of multitudes of
people are aflame today. Sin is burning out
of control. Drug abuse is rampant. The
flames of alcoholism, divorce, pornography,
sexual abuse, and crime of every kind rage
tumultuously. Tragically, these killer fires
often are first started deliberately. "This is
just a little flame, like a match," says an
unwitting individual. "Surely this couldn't
hurt me. I can handle a little drink, a little
dope, a little illicit sex, a little dishonesty."
But after a while, the flame spreads, then
explodes. What was meant to be simply
bright and exciting rages into an uncontrollable,
hellish nightmare.

These victims of sin's explosion can be
rescued only by another fire -- the flaming
power of the Holy Spirit, proclaiming the
redeeming salvation of Jesus Christ. This
flame brings light and hope to their dark
world.

The Lord has so beautifully laid on our
hearts to use the world aflame as the
logotype of our ministry. This attractive symbol
is both a reminder of the world's urgent
need and an eloquent testimony to the light,
hope, and power of the gospel.

As Christ's ambassadors in these last
days, our mission and purpose is clear -- to
light new fires of revival, redemption, and
reconciliation...across America and around
the world. Oh, how our neighbors and
friends need the purifying, cleansing,
healing flame of the Holy Spirit in their
blackened, scarred, and ruined lives today.

On fire for God

There was a time when Christians spoke
of being "on fire for God." By this they
meant that they were eager to share the
transforming power, the light and hope of
Christ's gospel, with everyone around them.
Too few are still "on fire" today.

Sadly, many actually have been afraid
of God's power, backing so far away from
its vital force that they have become
impotent and ineffectual. The flames of faith
have died down, and in too many cases,
even the embers have turned cold and dead!

I heard about a church that had a real
revival among their youth. These young
people were excited and passionately
enthusiastic about their salvation and sharing
the good news.

Someone went to the pastor and said,
"These kids are about to overdo this. Aren't
you afraid this enthusiasm will get out of
hand and we'll have some wildfire?"

"That doesn't concern me a bit," said
the wise old minister. "If any wildfire should
break out, there are always plenty of 'wet
blankets' around to put it out!"

Oh, it's time we stopped going through
the motions of being religious and really
begin shining for Jesus!

A flame of fire

During our Celebration of Faith banquet,
when we officially opened the World
Outreach Center, my husband, Jack, delivered
a tremendous prophetic message the Lord
had laid upon his heart. Now, over the
years, I've heard him preach hundreds and
hundreds of times. But this night was really
special.

As I watched and listened to him speak,
suddenly he appeared as a flame of light,
hope, and power, proclaiming the Truth of
Revelation! God's anointing was upon him
in such a marvelous way; the power and
warmth of the Spirit flowed through him
and filled the hall. It was a glorious
experience...and many who were there
commented about this special message.

Truly, God maketh his angels spirits, and
his ministers a flame of fire
(Hebrews 1:7).

Lamplighters

I love the illustration often used by my
dear friend, Mary Dorr, head of International
Religion in Media. Her organization has
awarded several "Angel" awards to Jack and
me for our television ministry.

She tells of the young Robert Lewis
Stevenson, peering out the window as a
workman came by and lit the gaslights along
the street. When asked what he was
watching, the lad said, "I see a man making
holes in the darkness!"

Thank God, each of us can be gospel
lamplighters. We can harness the force of
fire to do God's work, God's way. Individually,
we can be a flame for the Lord in
whatever sphere or circle He has placed us.
And working with other believers, we can
help send the light to the darkest corners of
the world by supporting those ministers who
are "flames of fire."

If your heart burns within you with a
sense of urgency, as mine does, take my
hand and let us work together. We must
reach the world with the gospel -- quickly --
for the Lord is coming back again...perhaps
today!

Week 45 | She Was a Stray and I Took Her In

I heard her crying the minute I got out
of the car!

Dr. Van Impe and I had just arrived home
from a crusade trip on a beautiful August
night several years ago. It was almost 3
o'clock in the morning and we were eager to
get the car unpacked and get inside.

But we heard a little cry -- almost like
the sound of a baby. I hurried over to some
nearby shrubbery, reached down...and there
was a tiny little kitten!

I picked up that wee ball of fur and
gently stroked her. She was so little, so
lost, so alone. Our house was not near the
city or heavily-traveled areas, so I couldn't
imagine where that cat could have come from.

Later, I decided the Lord just allowed
her to come to our house.

"Can I feed her?" I asked my husband.

"That's really not a very good idea," he
said. "Once you feed her, you'll have a cat.
And you know we're traveling all the time,
often by air. That cat could never travel
with us. So I don't think you'd better feed
her."

Well, I finally went to bed that night, but
I didn't sleep. I kept thinking about that
poor little kitty outside. As soon as it got
light the next morning, I was up. And there
was the kitten out on our patio!

"Can't I feed her just a little now?" I asked.
And Jack gave in. So I got her some milk.

Winning our hearts

As we cared for that tiny animal, she
quickly began to win our hearts. We could
see that she was very hungry, weak, and
sick. But she was so sweet and appreciative
of the attention we gave her.

I took her to a veterinarian who found
that she had mites in her ears, intestinal
worms, and that her eyes were infected. He
gave me some medicine for her, and told me
she was about four weeks old. He said she
apparently had been abandoned by her
mother, and that if we had not cared for
her, she would have certainly died.

When I got home with her, Jack said,
"We'll feed her and nurse her back to health,
but she has to stay out in the garage -- she
can't come inside the house." So we fixed
up a comfortable place for her and she got
stronger and better by the day.

I was so happy to have this little stray
kitten because, with our travel schedule,
we'd never even considered having a pet of
any kind. We decided that the man who
mowed our grass during the summer could
come by the house every day when we were
gone and feed Finica.

That's what we named her -- Finica, a
derivative of the Flemish word for Josephine.
The "CA" on the end of the word indicates
precious or beloved. And so she is!

Finica's bed in the garage lasted for one
trip. I could hardly wait to get back home
to check on her. And she was so glad to see
US.

Jack said, "Now, we can't let her into
the house, you know." And I replied, "Oh,
let's just take her in for a little while so I
can love her a little bit."

The moment she set foot inside the door,
Finica became queen of the house. And
she never went back to the garage again!
In two weeks' time, she went from an
abandoned stray to a member of our family.

For many years now, she has been a
great joy! And we have learned so many
lessons from her -- gentleness, unqualified
love, dependence with dignity, devotion, and
patience.

Little traveler

She immediately adapted herself to our
life-style. Because we spend so much time
working, she learned independence and
self-entertainment. She has always required
a minimum of fuss.

And she took to travel like a real trooper.
She began traveling in the car when she
was just a month old. Unlike many animals,
she never was nervous or upset, and never
had to be tranquilized.

So when it came time to fly, she went
right on the plane with me. She's been on
hundreds of flights -- even all the way to
Alaska. She adapts to different hotel rooms
without complaint. When we come in at
night, tired from a busy evening, there she
is with a gentle purr, ready to cuddle for a
while. It's just like having "family" on the
road with us.

Although she still goes with us all the
time, now that she's getting older, Finica
does enjoy home life a bit more than traveling.
She especially loves to lie in front of
the fireplace on a cold evening, or just sit
and look out the window during the day.
She doesn't require a lot to be content.

And you know, the one who first said,
"Don't feed her" -- I just don't know what he
would do without her now. Jack loves Finica
as much as I do. Some might have a hard
time visualizing this manly, busy scholar
having time for a cat -- but you should just
see them together! They're quite a pair.

When we travel, he never complains
about going to the airport a little early to
make special arrangements for Finica. He
likes to take her with us and would do
anything within reason for her.

So often when I'm enjoying the
companionship of my beloved friend and pet, I think
of what we would have missed had we not
taken her in. We had to get involved -- we
fed her, nursed her, met her needs. And
over the years, she's required some of our
time and attention. But, oh, how much
she's given back to us! How we've been
blessed in return.

Dare to get involved

So often in today's world, we miss out
on the opportunities God gives us to be
enriched and blessed by avoiding those we
could help. "I know that person has a need,"
we say, "but I don't want to get involved. It
would be too much trouble...take too much
time...and it might be risky."

So even when we have the resources to
share and wisdom that is needed, we pass
on by...or sit back doing nothing. We let
the inconvenience of caring rob us of the
rewards of becoming involved. Who knows
when the person you minister to in Christian
love will turn out to be a dear friend -- a
"beloved" one? And what greater incentive
could we have to show love than the example
of our Saviour and the teachings of the
Word of God?

John, the Apostle of Love, wrote, But
whoso hath this world's good, and seeth his
brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels
of compassion from him, how dwelleth
the love of God in him? My little children, let
us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in
deed and in truth
(1 John 3:17,18).

I can think of no greater joy than to get
involved spiritually with people. How
wonderful to lead someone to Christ and see
changes begin to take place in his life. What
a thrill it will be to see that dear one in
heaven!

That's why Dr. Van Impe and I just
cannot give enough these days -- of our time,
our talents, our best efforts, or our personal
funds -- to get involved with people crying
out for spiritual help.

We care! We are involved. And, oh, how
we are blessed!

Week 44 | Are You in Contact With Your Spirit Guide?

We're hearing so much in this day about
the New Age Movement and how we should
be in contact with our "other self" through
our "spirit guide." These concepts are being
taught in our public schools, even at the
lower grade levels. Misguided, deceived
individuals are teaching our innocent children
about transcendental meditation, yoga, and
the spirit world.

Numerous celebrities, such as Shirley
MacLaine, Linda Evans, and John Denver,
have publicized their involvement with such
fearsome ancient spirit guides as Ramtha,
Spectra, and Lazirus, who supposedly
possess supernatural knowledge and can assist
them in making important decisions and
choices.

The truth is that most of the spirits out
there are not holy. It is vitally important to
recognize this fact. Sadly, too many people
do not realize that when they participate in
activities like "channeling," trances, seances,
etc., they are opening themselves up to all
kinds of demonic spirits. Often, people
actually give themselves over to evil spirits,
with tragic results.

Our Guide

As Christians, our Spirit Guide lives
within us. Your body is the temple of the
Holy Ghost which is in you
(1 Corinthians
6:19). Therefore, if our Spirit Guide is within
us, we have no need to go outside ourselves
for guidance as others suggest. He is all we
need.

Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is
come, he will guide you into all truth: for he
shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever
he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he
willshow you things to come
(John 16:13).

Imagine, you have access to the greatest
Spirit of all -- the precious Holy Spirit. You
can possess, and be possessed by, the most
powerful force in all the universe, the
omniscient, omnipresent Spirit of the eternal God.
Shirley MacLaine and others talk about their
spirit guides being so special because they
are ancient. But our Spirit Guide -- the Holy
Spirit -- helped create the world, even man.

Genesis 1:1,2 says, In the beginning God
created the heaven and the earth. And the
earth was without form, and void; and
darkness was upon the face of the deep.
And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of
the waters.
So the Holy Spirit was there at
the dawn of creation -- as a part of the
Trinity. He is from the beginning and predates
all other spirit guides.

We can have contact with this Holy Spirit
and be guided by Him, but first we must
possess Him. The only way that can happen
is by the illumination of His Word. He must
convince us of the truth. John 16:8 says,
And when he is come, he will reprove
[convince] the world of sin, and of righteousness,
and of judgment.
He convinces us that we
need Him and guides us to the born-again
experience.

Thank God, the Spirit does strive with
us and illuminates the truth to us.

Our Intercessor

Not only does the Spirit convince us of
our need of Christ, He also creates
intercessory thoughts in us. There are times
when we don't even know what we need --
what is good for us. So many times we may
not even know how we should pray or what
we should ask for. So we have to join our
spirit with the Holy Spirit to seek out God's
best plan for our lives. Romans 8:26 says,
Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities:
for we know not what we should pray
for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh
intercession for us with groanings which
cannot be uttered.

There are times when we come to God,
praying only for what we want -- asking for
His approval -- instead of seeking His will
for our lives. I'm convinced that on those
occasions when we come to God, asking
selfishly, the Holy Spirit is saying, "No,
Father, no." When we do not ask within the
will of God, then the Holy Spirit, in His
mercy, intercedes for what is best.

As a young bride, I had an experience
like this. I wanted a baby so much that I
begged God to let me have one. I refused to
consider how much a child would have
hampered and burdened my calling and
ministry, which at that time required me to
live "on the road" for months at a time. I
avoided thinking about how cruel and unfair
my work load and life-style would be to a
helpless, wholly-dependent little one.

Even after I knew that motherhood was
not God's will for me, I asked anyway. But
the Holy Spirit, in His goodness, interceded
for me -- for my own good. And now, when I
can see things clearly and in perspective,
that knowledge brings me great comfort.

There may also be times when we
experience a yearning for something that is
undefined and inexpressible. It's a hunger or
yearning we simply can't understand. At
times like these, we can join our spirits
with the Holy Spirit and let Him create
intercessory thoughts within us. Then we
can have peace that what is being sought in
our behalf is for our good...and will be done.
And this is the confidence that we have in
him, that, if we ask any thing according to
his will, he heareth us: and if we know that
he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know
that we have the petitions that we desired of
him
(1 John 5:14,15).

Allowing the Holy Spirit to create
intercessory thoughts and prayers brings such
satisfaction and fulfillment. It goes beyond
our understanding or ability to put it into
words. It is so beautiful and powerful.

Our Comforter

Then, the Holy Spirit comforts us. I will
not leave you comfortless: I will come to you

(John 14:18).

I love the story about a very sad
unbeliever who was seated next to a Christian
man on a train. During the trip, the unsaved
man began to cry and weep. The believer
said to him, "I see you are troubled and
sad. Is there some way I can help you?"

The sorrowful man replied, "I've just lost
my wife. Our home seems so empty. All I
have left to keep me company is her
parakeet."

The believer replied, "Well, as a Christian
I have the Paraclete -- the Holy Spirit. He
never leaves me. And He will meet your
need if you'll allow Him to."

Paraclete, in the Greek, means
"comforter" and is the name given for the Holy
Spirit. As Christians, we have the constant,
unfailing presence of the Holy Spirit to guide
and comfort us.

Our Spiritual Gift-giver

The Holy Spirit also controls the spiritual
gifts bestowed upon the body of Christ,
the Church. The manifestation of the Spirit
is given to every man to profit withal For to
one is given by the Spirit the word of
wisdom; to another the word of knowledge...to
another faith...to another the gifts of healing...
to another the working of miracles; to another
prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to
another divers kinds of tongues; to another
the interpretation of tongues: but all these
worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit,
dividing to every man severally as he will

(1 Corinthians 12:7-11).

God gives these gifts to each believer, as
He wills. Each of us has been given a very
special gift -- and the Holy Spirit will guide
us into a place of service using the particular
gift He has chosen for us. He will also
give us power when using that gift.

Peter had the gift of communication --
the ability to preach. But after he was filled
with the Holy Spirit (see Acts 1:8; 2:4), he
not only had the gift but also the fruit...
boldness (see Acts 4:13). So the Holy Spirit
not only gives us spiritual gifts, He also
gives us the ability (fruit) and strength to
use them.

Spiritual gifts are not given to hoard for
our own benefit or enjoyment. They are
given to enable us to minister to others.
And the Spirit will provide the opportunity --
He will definitely show us our place of service.

I believe there are times, depending on
the circumstances, when more than one
gift of the Spirit may be exercised through
you. A situation may arise where there is
no one else to depend on and the Holy
Spirit manifests (or works) a particular gift
through you to meet a particular need at a
particular time. It may be a gift that has
never operated in your life before, but when
the Spirit puts you in a situation, He will
illuminate your mind to meet the need. You
will discover that where God guides, He
provides.

The Holy Spirit is our Keeper

Not only is our Spirit Guide with us in
life, but He remains with us even after death.

Dr. J. Wilbur Chapman relates a beautiful
story about how he personally discovered
this thrilling truth. He was sitting in his
home, reading an address delivered by Dr.
Moorhead at a Bible Conference. Dr.
Moorhead declared that when one becomes
a child of God, the Spirit of God comes in to
dwell in that person and will continue in
that body until the Resurrection. Even after
the human spirit has departed to be with
the Lord, the third member of the godhead
remains with that body until the Resurrection.

Dr. Chapman said that as he thought
about this, he started to cry. He said, "We
hitched the horse to the carriage, and my
wife and I rode out to a little graveyard
where we had buried our firstborn son. As
we stood there beside that little grave, we
said, ëThank You, Lord, for keeping watch.'
Immediately the peace of God flooded our
souls." He went on, "Later, when I stood by
the grave of my mother, again I said, 'Thank
You, Holy Spirit, for staying with Your temple
and keeping watch.'"

What a comfort! On the day of
Resurrection the Spirit will touch the body with
new life, reunite it with the soul, and sweep
our triuned body, soul, and spirit to be with
God. How amazing and beautiful!

I encourage you today to get in contact
with your Spirit Guide. But don't be fooled
by the false teachers of the so-called New
Age Movement. Satan always has a
counterfeit for the real and profitable things in
life. He would like to deceive you into
listening to his emissaries of evil and guide
you into darkness. But he is no match for
the real "Spirit Guide" -- the Holy Spirit, who
will always guide you into all truth.
Remember, Greater is he that is in you, than
he that is in the world
(1 John 4:4).