Weekly Newsletter – August 3, 2015
A MESSAGE OF HOPE FROM DR JACK VAN IMPE
World War I – The Threat to Survival
While traveling on a train the West, Leon Tucker spoke to a Jew about Israel. The Jew said he was perfectly satisfied in the United States. His home was here, his business was here, and his family had become established here. He was not interested in Jerusalem of the building of the nation of Israel.
“Stretch out your right hand,” Tucker said. The Jew held out his right hand and Tucker looked at it. Then he said, “Stick out your tongue, please.”
“Are you trying to make a fool of me?” the Jew asked.
“No,” Tucker replied, “but I would like to see your tongue.” The Jew stuck out his tongue.
Tucker looked at it and quoted from Psalm 137:5,6: “If I forget thee, O Jerusalem, let my right hand forget her cunning. If I do not remember thee, let my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth; if I prefer not Jerusalem above my chief joy.“
The Jew bowed his head and with tears said, “I have never been so rebuked in my life.”
The Young Idealists
The years following the founding of Zionism demonstrated that many Jews had indeed forgotten Jerusalem. Having become comfortable, especially in the West, most Jews preferred to stay in the nations to which they had wandered.
Just before the turn of the century, however, there was a wave of Jewish immigrants to Palestine. Moved by Herzl’s book and his eloquence, a number of young idealists came as pioneers to the land of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
Many of these new arrivals were students. The education they were to receive in their chosen land was to be a difficult one. Palestine was under the control of Turkey, a nation hostile to Jews. The land was denuded of forests and most of it had returned to desert. Ancient terraces that had once protected the soil of Israel had long been destroyed, and erosion had conquered much of the are a. The vital partnership of soil and farmer, so needed for agricultural success, had been broken for centuries and conditions were deplorable.
Mark Twain, who visited Palestine in 1867, described it as:
…a desolate country whose soil is rich enough, but is given over wholly to weeds — a silent mournful expanse. …A desolation is here that not even imagination can grace with the pomp of life and action…. We never saw a human being on the whole route…. There was hardly a tree or a shrub anywhere. Even the olive and the cactus, those fast friends of a worthless soil, had almost deserted the country.
Even as late as 1913, the report of the Palestine Royal Commission quotes an eyewitness account of the Maritime Plain as follows:
The road leading from Gaza to the north was only a summer track suitable for transport by camels and carts. …No orange groves, orchards or vineyards were to be seen until one reached Yabna village…. Not in a single village in all this area was water used for irrigation…. Houses were all of mud. No windows were anywhere to be seen…. The ploughs used were of wood…. The yields were very poor…. The sanitary conditions in the village were horrible. Schools did not exist…. The rate of infant mortality was very high…. The western part, towards the sea, was almost a desert…. The villages in this area were few and thinly populated. Many ruins of villages were scattered over the area, as owing to the prevalence of malaria; many villages were deserted by their inhabitants.
But this hostile land would be tamed. The desert would yet blossom as the rose.
As the years passed, trained people would arrive — scientific farmers, irrigation experts, builders of factories and cities, educators, and thinkers. These immigrants of diverse abilities and interests would in the next three- quarters of a century bring the dead land to life a gain. But what a task lay before them!
By 1914 there were about 100,000 Jews in Palestine, mostly in the area of Jerusalem. Though Herzl was no longer living, his dream was beginning to materialize. Foundations were being laid. Preparations were being made for the birth of a nation. Then World War I broke out.
Caught in the Middle
World conflict was especially unwanted by the Jews. Being small in number and finding themselves caught in the middle of strategic territory held by Turkey and desired by Great Britain, many Jews feared the worst — death of their nation before its birth, the abortion of Israel, the destruction of Zionism.
Turkey’s alliance with Germany threatened disaster to Jews in Palestine. Work had to be halted on the homeland. Jews with citizenship in any of the Allied nations were deported. Some Jews were forced to accept Turkish citizenship. Dozens were executed, accused of spying for the Allies.
Another problem for Jews in World War I was a division of loyalties. Jews fought on both sides of the conflict, and with equal patriotism. Unlike World War II, when Germany was an enemy of all Jewish people and thus unified them, World War I offered no such clear-cut decision. Jews in Germany were generally loyal to that land and served with devotion.
War Does Not Take God by Surprise
Although World War I brought great difficulties to the Jews and made the development of their homeland precarious, there were some important positive results from that tragic conflict. Students of the Bible understand that all events work out God’s great plan. Even war does not take God by surprise. The working out of His program is not affected by the violence of man: “Surely the wrath of man shall praise thee: the remainder of wrath shalt thou restrain” (Ps. 76:10).
The first positive spin-off from World War I was the issuing of what is known as t he Balfour Declaration. Eager to involve the Jews on the side of the Allies and being especially concerned about their strategic location near the Suez Canal, British foreign secretary Arthur James Balfour, on November 2, 1917, sent the following declaration to Lord Rothschild expressing British sympathy with the cause of Zionism:
His Majesty’s Government views with favor the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, and will use their best endeavors to facilitate the achievement of this object, it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country.
British support for the establishment of the State of Israel was now on paper and declared to the world. If the aim of that move was to gain Jewish participation in the war, it was successful. The publication of the Balfour Declaration produced Jewish volunteers for service from Great Britain and other nations, especially the United States. It appeared now that instead of destroying Zionism, as had been feared, World War I would actually play an important role in establishing the Jews in their land.
Freedom for Jerusalem!
The second important development in the wartime drama was the arrival there of British General Allenby. The conquest of Jerusalem became one of his first objectives, and the success of his effort is well known.
The Balfour Declaration had been issued on November 2, 1917. One month later, General Allenby freed Jerusalem from the Turks. On December 9, 1917, Allenby’s forces liber ated Jerusalem without firing a shot. When the Turks had discovered that a general was on the way whose name was Allenby (to them “Allah Bey” — the Prophet of God), they had taken this to mean God was against them and they evacuated the city. It is also said that seeing airplanes in battle for the first time panicked the Turks because they were aware of Isaiah’s promise of Jerusalem’s deliverance: “As birds flying, so will the LORD of hosts defend Jerusalem; defending also he will deliver it; and passing over he will preserve it” (Isaiah 31:5).
Whatever the reasons, Jerusalem was free and the Jews rejoiced. And what a great occasion that victory must have been for General Allenby! He later told how as a boy as he knelt to say his evening prayers he had been taught by his mother to pray: “And O, Lord, we would not forget thine ancient people, Israel. Hasten the day when Israel shall again be Thy people and shall be restored to Thy favor and to their land.” At a reception given for him in London, Allenby said, “I never knew that God would give me the privilege of helping to answer my own childhood prayers.”
FROM THE HEART OF DR. REXELLA VAN IMPE
Listen – He Speaks Ever So Softly
Many years ago it was long past time for my annual physical, in fact, I was enjoying such good health and vitality that it had been three years since I had visited my doctor. However, at the conclusion of a thorough exam, the report was quite disconcerting. (Before I proceed, let me encourage all of my readers, if at all possible to go for that annual “check-up.”)
“We will have to do some tests,” the doctor explained, “then, in a couple of weeks, we will know where we stand.”
Immediately, my mind was filled with different thoughts. “Can this be me who is experiencing this questionable report? No! My doctor is wrong! What if she is not?” By the time I got home and shared the news with Jack I found myself asking God, “What’s this all about?”
In compliance with the doctor, I took the medical tests and began the long wait for the results. All the while, we were praying and seeking the Lord for His divine purpose and will to be accomplished in my life.
By the end of the two weeks, we found ourselves rejoicing in the faithfulness of God. I knew He had everything under control. Deep in my heart, I knew it would be all right. “But Lord,” I asked, “what is the purpose behind this trial?”
Then – the night before we received the results of my tests – Jack looked over at me and said, “I have peace in this matter, so tonight let’s go out and celebrate this victory in our lives!”
We went to a lovely restaurant that is meant for celebrating and fine dining. A nice, handsome pianist softly played the piano in the corner of the dining room, and candles softly lit each of the tables. Jack and I laughed, enjoyed our luscious dinner and shared in a wonderful conversation about the Lord. It was an evening I’ll never forget.
As we prepared to leave, I expressed to my husband how much I wanted to go and thank the pianist for sharing his special talent with us. Being musicians ourselves we were impressed with his tremendous ability to “tickle the ivories.”
“You have a beautiful touch on the keyboard,” I told him.
“Thank you,” he answered. “I am sorry if you saw me staring at you and your husband.” He explained: “For a year, my fiancée and I watched your television program faithfully. She used your ministry to help lead me to the Lord, and then . . . she died. She was only 38 years old and I have been bitter toward the Lord and unable to pray ever since.”
I reached out and took his hand from the keyboard and stated: “God doesn’t want you to be bitter and neither does she. Your fiancée is in a better place right now and you will be with her again – perhaps soon. The best thing you could do right now is to get your heart right with the Lord, so that when He comes again, you can go and be at her side.”
Jack, who has always been sensitive to the moving of the Holy Spirit, began to explain to this young man the Scriptures and how it is appointed unto men once to die (Hebrews 9:27). Then he added, “Your sweetheart is in heaven and awaits your homecoming. Be ready, Brian!”
Jack and I were so blessed as we watched the Lord begin to move in his heart. Right at the piano, with tears streaming down his face he recommitted his life to the Lord Jesus Christ. He looked up at both of us and said, “I can hardly wait to call my fiancée’s twin sister to tell her what has happened tonight.” We had a word of prayer and promised to send him our video about heaven.
The next morning, I heard from my doctor. My tests showed that I was just fine. The doctor said, “You and Jack go out and celebrate, Rexella.” She did not know that we had already claimed the good report and the special blessing we had found in doing so. Of course, we continue to rejoice and thank the Lord for the results of the test, but we realize that if for no other reason we had gone through this trial, Jack and I could be at the restaurant that night to speak to the young pianist.
God’s ways are so much greater than ours. This was probably the Lord’s plan all along! How important it is for you and me as Christians today to listen to the Holy Spirit and obey His leading in our lives! The things and events that surround us are real and at times they can be overwhelming, and we are unable to recognize Jesus and the guidance of His Spirit. Let the circumstances be what they may. Always maintain complete reliance upon Him and listen to the often quiet voice of His Spirit as He leads you into victory and blessings yet to come. Be totally unrestraining, be willing to risk everything. We do not know when His voice will come again, so be ever-aware and obey.
I realized, there are three very important lessons in regard to listening to the Holy Spirit that we can learn from this personal experience with the young man.
1. We must listen when the Holy Spirit is leading us.
I Thessalonians 5:19, says: Quench not the Spirit. That means, when the Holy Spirit is leading you, you must listen to His voice. The little promptings and opportunities that God passes along your way mean you must be faithful. Follow the Lord’s leading in these situations so that you do not quench His ministry in your life.
In Acts the 8th chapter, we read the wonderful testimony of Philip the evangelist as he was led to a desert road that descends from Jerusalem to Gaza. Once there, the Spirit said unto Philip, Go near, and join thyself to this Chariot (Acts 8:29). Arriving at the chariot, there was an Ethiopian eunuch, a court official, who was reading the book of Isaiah. However, he did not grasp what the prophet was saying, so beginning with the passage of Scripture in Isaiah, Philip led the Ethiopian eunuch to a relationship with Jesus Christ.
If Philip had not obeyed the prompting of the Holy Spirit in his life – and, if Philip had not preached Jesus to the Ethiopian eunuch -this court official may never have been won to the Lord.
The same was true for Jack and me as we talked with this young pianist that night. If we had just walked out, not wanting to get involved, or if we had talked with the musician about his fine musical skills and not talked about the Lord or the Scriptures, this young man may never have received the ministry he so desperately needed.
2. When the Holy Spirit guides us, He will empower us to do His will.
A beautiful example of this dynamic thought can be found in the life of the Apostle Peter.
Previous to Peter being filled with the Holy Spirit, he was a spiritually weak man. Who can forget the night when Jesus was brought before Caiaphas the high priest, and the scribes and the elders? Peter lingered outside in the courtyard where he was confronted by a servant girl who asked if he was one of Jesus’ disciples. Peter vehemently denied the Lord three times that night.
Remember, this was before the Holy Spirit filled Peter’s life.
Oh, the grace of God! Only 50 days after the denial, we read the wonderful account in Acts, chapter 2, of Peter’s boldness on the Day of Pentecost. This was the event Jesus prophesied before he ascended: But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost parts of the earth (Acts 1:8).
After Peter was filled with the Holy Spirit, he stood up before the crowd that day – unashamed and unafraid – proclaiming the Good News of Jesus Christ. Three thousand souls were won to the Lord!
Soon after this, Peter and John were brought before the Sadducees who commanded that Peter and John no longer teach in the name of Jesus (see Acts 4:13). But Peter would not be intimidated. He said (along with the Apostle John), Whether it be right in the sight of God to hearken unto you more than unto God, judge ye. For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard (Acts 4:19,20).
Scripture also records: With great power gave the apostles witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus: and great grace was upon them all (Acts 4:33).
What made this difference in the life of the Apostle Peter? It was the Person of the Holy Spirit.
Previous to being filled with the Holy Spirit, Peter was so weak, in and of himself, he denied Christ in front of a damsel. After the infilling of the Holy Spirit, Peter became bold in faith and proclaimed the Gospel in the face of beatings and eventually, martyrdom (he was crucified upside down).
3. When the Holy Spirit leads and empowers us for the sake of the Gospel, and we faithfully obey His promptings – not quenching the Holy Spirit . . . then blessing comes!
That evening, after Jack and I shared in this precious conversation with our young pianist, we walked away rejoicing. We were happy about the wonderful things God did in that man’s life – and in ours – by bringing us all together for this special moment of ministry. We felt truly blessed! Winning souls and witnessing for Christ always produces joy.
For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Are not even ye in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at his coming? For ye are our glory and joy (I Thessalonians 2:19, 20).
Jack and I have often found that in attempting to bless others, we are also blessed. As we attempt to reach out and water the lives of others with Scripture, we are watered ourselves. As we comfort others, our own comfort is increased. We find consolation and gladness in our own lives as we give to others.
Jesus said, Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again (Luke 6:38).
Proverbs says it this way: The liberal souls shall be made fat: and he that watereth shall be watered also himself (Proverbs 11:25).
We must remember: Whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel’s, the same shall save it (Mark 8:35). True life is found as you give yours away in service to others.
In closing, I am reminded of the Dead Sea, located between Israel and the Jordan, whose water content is so salty that very little is able to exist within its waters.
The intrinsic problem of the Dead Sea results from the fact that it has several inlets that flow into it – the Jordan river is one of them – but has no outlets to share its waters with other bodies. In other words: All receiving and no giving results in a body of water that has no life.
As followers of the Lord, we must never become like the Dead Sea – where all we do is sit, soak and sour! We must get rid of the desire to be a part of the “bless-me-club,” and become a member of the “blessing club.” The way to receive a blessing … is to be a blessing.
We must become an effervescent witness for Christ having a wellspring of living water flowing out of our hearts and into the lives of others. That well-spring of life that Jesus has given to each of us as believers is His precious Holy Spirit (see John 4:14 and John 7:37-39).
Let us determine that we shall always listen to the voice of the Holy Spirit inside us …even if it means encouraging and witnessing to a pianist in the middle of a restaurant!
CHANGED LIVES-one at a time
I just wanted to take time to say, thank you. Thank you for speaking with truth in revealing God’s truth and expressing it in ways of understanding for all peoples. I love how Rexella spoke of the masks we wear, very inspiring to share with others.
May God continue to flow through you both and ALL your family members, in Jesus name.
Blessings from heaven,
I really enjoy watching you all on TV and I really am learning from this and I want to know more about the plan time prophecy and I just want to know more and more about my lord so please keep the good word coming I thank God for both of you all that you had an honest that you do have I thank God for Jack Van Impe that he is a man of God and that he speaks to to please keep the good work coming for all of us all around the world and may God bless you
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