- Memory Verse
- Continue in prayer, and watch in the same with thanksgiving (Colossians 4:2).
Sergeant Vernon W. Entrekin relates how he recited the 145th Psalm while dangling by his left foot from a parachute after bailing out of a C-47 transport plane during a swirling snowstorm. Entrekin was one of six aboard the plane when the pilot lost control above Dwight, Nebraska. It was his first parachute leap. He had been reading the 145th Psalm just before starting out on the flight. He found himself saying: “The Lord upholdeth all that fall, and raiseth up all those that be bowed down… The Lord is nigh unto all that call upon him, to all that call upon him in truth.”
Entrekin asked for strength to climb back into the parachute harness which he had failed to fasten securely. Gasping for breath in the icy air, and summoning the last ounce of his energy, he doubled his body, and caught hold of the harness above his foot. Slowly he was able to climb back to a sitting position while dropping swiftly through the air. Finally he landed with a jolt and unbuckled his parachute harness.
“Thank you, Lord,” he said.
And who wouldn’t be thankful under those circumstances?
Still God has called us to be thankful all the time: “In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you” (I Thessalonians 5:18).
Our circumstances would make millions thankful. Food enough to survive should call forth as much thanksgiving in this good land as in one where many die of starvation.
Be thankful… continually.
“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.
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- Memory Verse
- But godliness with contentment is great gain (1 Timothy 6:6).
The Pulpit Commentary says of this text: “the godly man is content with what he possesses; submits meekly to God’s will, and bears patiently the adverse dispensations of his providence. The godly heart is freed from the thirst for perishing treasures, because it possesses treasures of a higher and more enduring character.”
It adds: “Men are rich in what they can do without... Let us study, not so much what we may secure, as what we are able to enjoy existence without. Men multiply their cares often as they multiply their means; and some men, with competency in a cottage, have not been sorry that they lost a palace. ‘Contentment is great gain;’ it sets the mind free from anxious care; it prevents straining after false effect; it has more time to enjoy the flowers at its feet, instead of straining to secure the meadows of the far-away estate.”
The less you need, the more freedom you enjoy.
And here is the heart of Paul’s argument: “for we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out.” Materially speaking, we live in a segment of time between two nothings. What few things we accumulate during threescore and ten (possibly) must all be left behind at the end of life. Not one knows when that end will come, or if Christ may come before death ends man’s earthly journey. Therefore, the sensible thing is to live for Christ daily, laying up riches above while enjoying this pilgrimage through consecrated Christian living.
While others strive for added earthly treasures, let us appreciate God’s daily blessings and be content with them.
Now you know the ultimate in success.
Godliness with contentment is great gain.
- 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.
- 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.
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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!
- 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.
First, winter slips away...then spring comes
and goes...and then summer is upon us.
I think sometimes we fail to appreciate
this beautiful change of seasons. The
wonder of God's creation becomes commonplace
and we take it for granted. How long has it
been since you really stopped and took time
to look and listen to everything around you?
Several weeks ago, my husband, Jack,
and I were on an airliner flying home from
California. For weeks we'd been extremely
busy working on our television programs
and completing the TV studio and
production center in our new World Outreach
Center. I'd planned to use the time on the
plane to catch up on some of my reading.
My Father's world
After a while, I glanced out the
window -- and the beautiful panorama I saw
nearly took my breath away. It happened
to be an unusually clear day, and as I looked
down, I could see the Grand Canyon. It
was spectacular! I stopped what I was
doing and just drank in the grandeur unfolding
In a little while, the plane was soaring
over the majestic Rocky Mountains of Colorado.
Oh, what a magnificent sight! I
started smiling -- I even laughed out loud! I
thought, My Father created all of this -- and
more! I'm only seeing one small part of one
little planet in God's great cosmos. And my
heart was thrilled.
It occurred to me that this was the first
time in a long while -- perhaps months -- that
I'd stopped and really looked at my Father's
world. I was only sorry that I couldn't hear
the glorious sounds of nature below me
instead of the steady roar of the jet engines.
But that experience on the plane was a
good reminder for me. Since then I've been
making an effort to go outside and Stop!
Look! and Listen! every day. And what a
refreshing, rejuvenating, healing experience
it is for me!
Wonders all around us
When Jack and I go for a walk or take a
break out in our backyard, we make it a
point to look and listen to the wonders
around us. There are some rabbits that
visit us, and some chipmunks that live in a
hole under one of our large trees. They are
so active -- so happy and full of life. It's a
joy to watch them.
Sometimes it even seems to me that all
of God's creation around me is rejoicing.
Not long ago, Isaw a mother robin building
her nest. She was gathering tiny pieces of
grass, twigs, and string and weaving them
all together. She worked so diligently,
chirping happily all the while. I found myself
caught up in that beautiful creature's joy.
But recently I've detected something else,
too. At times I can almost hear the voices
of nature saying, "Release us from the
pollution that is surrounding us right now.
Restore us, Creator, come back to us!" The
Apostle Paul declared, For we know that the
whole creation groaneth and travaileth in
pain together until now (Romans 8:22).
It's heartbreaking to see what man is
doing to the environment -- our cities are
filled with smog, litter, and trash. And even
in the wilderness remaining, man's callous
carelessness causes disasters like the
terrible oil spill in Alaska.
God created nature perfect. It wants to
be perfect again. He created a world where
the animals, birds, and sea otters were safe.
They want to be safe again.
Despite the best efforts of scientists and
environmentalists to clean up pollution like
the oil spill, the bulk of the restoration will
have to be left to nature. And in time,
nature will cleanse itself -- perhaps nearly
as pure and perfect as before.
In addition to what we're doing to our
natural world, it seems to me there's a lot
of pollution in our lives -- the sights and
sounds around us...the visual pollution of
pornographic publications and TV programs,
the commotion and clamor that fill our daily
Surely we need to get away from all that
and let our minds be washed and rejuvenated
from Satan's assault on our senses.
We need to focus our attention on the good
things of God. It's time to tune in to "íwhatsoever
thingsí" are true, honest, just, pure, lovely,
and of good report (see Philippians 4:8).
Get closer to God's creation and it will
direct you back to God.
There's something about getting out
among the sights and sounds of nature that
helps clear away our concerns and confusion
and puts things back into perspective. No
wonder God spoke through the psalmist and
said, Be still, and know that I am God (Psalm
"Slow me down, Lord"
I can identify with the plaintive prayer of
the poet who cried, "Slow me down, Lord,
I'm goin' too fast!" How often we jam our
lives so full of projects and duties that we
grow weary and disheartened. We lose our
enthusiasm and zest for living. Each day
becomes an endurance contest, which we
survive only to collapse in bed for a few
hours, then get up to start the rat race all
We may even be convinced that what
we're doing is important -- we can even be in
the midst of serving God, doing His work.
But if our good works cause us to lose
personal contact with Him -- if we don't take
time, individually, to communicate with
Him -- we're missing it.
Has this ever happened to you?
Then it's time to STOP! Make time in
your day to look and listen to God's handiwork
around you. Take time to let God
speak to you through the wonders of His
creation. Don't forget that Jesus himself
often took time to go away from the
multitudes. He would walk out along the
seashore or go up onto a mountain to pray and
commune with God. And I'm just sure He
took time to look and listen to what was
If Jesus needed to spend time alone in
God's presence, how much more you and I
need to do so. Yet, how easy it is to put off
our Bible study and cut back on our prayer
time until it becomes an empty ritual -- or
we lose daily contact with the Lord
altogether. God has provided everything we
need to fulfill and enrich our lives...and if
we're not careful, we can rush right past it
all every day.
Summer is vacation season for many
people -- perhaps you're planning some time
away. Don't make the mistake of scheduling
your vacation so full of travel and activities
that you come back home needing to rest
from your rest! Take time to relax -- be still
for a while. Stop! Look! Listen!...and let
God recharge your batteries and rejuvenate
your mind and spirit.
Hear and obey the words of our Lord in
Mark 6:31: And he said unto them, Come
ye yourselves apart into a desert place, and
rest a while.
But don't wait until your vacation to get
started. Right now is a good time to re-open
the lines of communication with God. Take
time every day to enjoy the beautiful things
the Lord has placed all around you. Read
the Word. Talk to God. Listen for His
I promise you -- when you Stop! Look!
and Listen! you will see God as you've never
seen Him before. You will hear the voice of
the precious Holy Spirit within you who
speaks so tenderly and gives such strength!
It will change your whole world and make
your life a rich and glorious experience
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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,
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
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
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).
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
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
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
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
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
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!