Weekly Newsletter – December 13, 2021
FROM THE HEART OF DR. REXELLA VAN IMPE
The Box Inside
What makes the holiday season so exciting and enjoyable?
There seems to be a special feeling in the air … a festive atmosphere that lightens our footsteps and promotes smiles.
The sights and sounds and smells of the holiday stir our memories and encourage us to pause and reflect, perhaps wistfully, hopefully … gratefully.
It’s easy to get so caught up in the duties, problems, and pressures of the day that we fail to focus on the blessings that are ours. “The world is too much with us,” said the poet William Wordsworth, “getting and spending, we lay waste our powers … we have given our hearts away….”
That’s why I am so thankful for Thanksgiving! Although my husband, Jack, and I try to keep a grateful heart all year long, at Thanksgiving time we make it a point to recall — and give thanks for — the many friends who help make our outreach ministry possible, the good things we enjoy in our personal life together, and the rich blessings God continues to send our way.
I hope you will take time to be thankful during the holiday season this year. I promise that you will be richly blessed as you do. God’s Word says, In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you (1 Thessalonians 5:18).
But as Christmas approaches, I really wanted to talk to you about … boxes! Have you ever noticed how very important boxes are to the whole atmosphere and joy of Christmas? When you walk into a home at Christmas time, usually there’s a beautifully decorated tree, laden with colorful garlands, wonderful ornaments, and spectacular lights. And beneath the tree, in joyous profusion, the boxes! The gifts are wrapped, decorated, and trimmed with ribbons, bells, holly, and who knows what other wonderful things.
When I was a little girl, those gift boxes were always so enticing. I could hardly keep my hands off them — touching them, maybe even holding them, trying my best to figure out what might be inside! My mother had a wonderful talent for wrapping gifts, and she never put a box under the tree until it was decorated just right!
During the Christmas season, seeing the glorious decorations and the opportunities to share gifts with others, we can’t help but think of the greatest gift of all that God gave to the world. The Bible says, For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son (John 3:16). As one writer put it, “On the first Christmas, God came down the stairway to heaven with a baby in His arms!”
Because Jesus came, we can have His great gift in our lives — eternal life, forgiveness of sin now, and the promise that one day we will be with Him.
After Jesus came, why did He leave?
Did you ever wonder why Jesus left the earth? He could have stayed here for time and eternity. He didn’t die when He left — He had already conquered death, hell, and the grave! So why did He return to heaven?
We know that our Lord went to serve as our mediator — the one who stands between and intervenes. The Apostle Paul wrote, For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus (1 Timothy 2:5).
But that’s not all! Jesus said, Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you (John 16:7). The Holy Spirit only came to remain in the world after Jesus ascended into heaven. And He came — not just to this world — but also to a very special, intimate place inside our hearts. He is a very personal gift from Jesus to you and me (1 Corinthians 3:16)!
So why did Jesus leave? Because if He hadn’t gone away, the Scripture says, the Comforter would not have come. And the Lord knew how desperately we would need the Comforter in our lives, especially now, in these days before Christ’s return.
What a gift! He is our inner Guardian of who we are and what we are and what we are to become in Christ. In that sense, He is the box inside!
The precious Holy Spirit, the third person of the Trinity, is not installed by human efforts. He comes to dwell within us the moment we open our hearts to the Lord. And because He is a spirit, He knows no limitation — not time, nor place, nor space (Romans 8:9).
When Jesus was on the earth, He lived in human form and was subject to human limitations. In His whole life here, He probably didn’t travel more than a few hundred miles. When He preached, His largest recorded crowd was about 5,000 men. He knew what it was like to suffer weariness, pain, and temptation. And He recognized that every human being at some time or another would need to be comforted and helped by a supernatural presence.
So He left the earth and went back into the Father’s presence in heaven so He could send back the Holy Spirit to dwell in the hearts of men and women today. Because of that, He can now be everywhere at once, ministering moment by moment to all who call Him Lord.
In Old Testament times, the Holy Spirit revealed himself in periods of visitation. He came for a season; then departed. The Psalmist David cried out, Take not Your spirit from me! I love it when You’re here with me (Psalm 51:11). Jesus promised that we would never be left alone — that if He went back to the Father, the Comforter would come and abide with us and within us forever. The Holy Spirit is not just in one location … not just in a hundred mile radius — He’s everywhere! And you do not have to try to find Him — He is always within you. You have the greatest gift of all where no one can take it from you — in the box inside (Psalms 139:7-10)!
Three truths you must know about God
Here are some glorious truths you must understand and never forget:
1. God never changes. In our world, everything seems to be constantly changing. Standards change from one moment to the next. If you buy a new computer, by the time it is installed it is obsolete! It’s really amazing … and bewildering. But God’s Word says, For I am the Lord, I change not (Malachi 3:6). I CHANGE NOT!
That means His standards don’t change — Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and today, and forever (Hebrews 13:8). Modern society proposes a new morality it calls “situational ethics” — if the situation calls for it, do it. Situational ethics say there are no absolutes — what is right depends on circumstances. This is why so many young people today, having no anchors in their world, flounder frantically from one situation to another, beset by uncertainty and doubt.
However, God promises that He will guide us into all truth (John 16:13). Because He doesn’t change, He guides us to know His will. Not only did the Word become flesh in the form of Jesus Christ, but God also gave us the written Word so that today we have the absolutes of His mind and never have to doubt or wonder. There is no wavering because God doesn’t change!
2. The Holy Spirit comforts us. And how we need His comfort. With all the peril, uncertainty, and threats in the world today, we don’t have to be afraid. We are comforted.
A few years ago, there was somebody who had been so important to me from the time I was a little girl — my mother! Oh, how she comforted me. She always had a way of reaching out to me and to others to give comfort — that was her nature. All she had to do was put her hand on my head, and I felt reassured. Never once did she say when I came to her, “I’m too busy. I can’t listen to you right now.”
How wonderful that our heavenly Comforter, the Holy Spirit, is never too busy to comfort and love us. And He is always there.
I heard a story about a man who was traveling on a train and began talking with a fellow passenger. He told him that his wife had just died and that he felt so alone. He said, “Do you know, the only thing I have left is my pet bird. At least I find some comfort with my parakeet.” His friend on the train, who was a pastor, said, “Oh, no, you’ve got something far better — you’ve got the Paraclete — the Comforter! He will never leave you or forsake you.” In these troublesome days in which we live — the time just prior to the coming of the Lord — the Comforter is found in the third person of the Trinity … in the box inside!
3. He gives us the power to do right. I may not always have the strength on my own to resist temptation and do what is right. But the Spirit of God will empower me and guide me into all truth. God doesn’t say, “Thou shalt not” because He wants to limit me or make me unhappy. He says no because He knows the things of the world bring pain and unhappiness.
Adulterers are not happy people. Thieves are never satisfied with their ill-gotten gains. And murderers are never happy — never! Even in this day and age when fanatics are murdering people in the name of religion, they never find happiness or peace.
Only God can give us the ability to be happy and content. But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you (Acts 1:8). Power to overcome the world is only found in the box inside! Galatians 5:16 says, This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. You might say, “There’s no way I can live for God — I just can’t do it.” And looking to your own strength and will, that’s true. But if you walk in the Spirit and allow the Spirit to live through you, the power is there … in the box inside.
Not only does the Spirit of God give us power to overcome the things of the world, but He also empowers us to display the fruit of the Spirit. Galatians 5 goes on to say that if we live in the Spirit, we have the power to walk in the Spirit (v. 25). And as we walk in that power, we can show the fruit of the Spirit … love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance (vv. 22-23).
Can you imagine having the power to be all that we need to be in the day and age we’re living in right now? Not only can we overcome the world and find comfort, but we can also demonstrate — activate — the fruit of the Spirit. Where we go, He goes. We so desperately need this today — there’s so little joy out there, so little love, peace, gentleness, goodness, etc. But all of those attributes come alive within us when we receive the power of the Holy Spirit in our lives.
Receive the Gift!
At Christmas time when beautifully wrapped presents are being opened, it’s not uncommon to see little children playing with the boxes instead of the gifts. They’re more fascinated with the package than by what was inside. And sometimes I think we as Christians can be more attracted to the trappings than to the Gift. How sad to hold on to the ribbons and shiny paper and fail to look inside the box where the value is … where the gift is!
At other times, I’ve seen people open a marvelously wrapped package, look inside, and then say in a somewhat subdued voice, “Oh, that’s nice. Thanks a lot.” You could tell that the gift inside did not measure up to the outside wrapping.
But when God gave His Gift, the inside was better than the outside! Jesus didn’t come all wrapped up in a palace — He came wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a humble manger. Yet He was the greatest gift ever given. And His story is greater than all telling!
Have you received “the box inside”? Don’t resist this precious gift because it seems too spiritual, too “mysterious.” Not only is the Holy Spirit a gift for you, but it is the only way you can relate to God now. Hear the words of Jesus — But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth (John 4:23-24).
I am so happy to have received the box inside! The Spirit of God continues to live inside — He lives within my heart!
What about you?
A CLASSIC MESSAGE OF HOPE FROM DR. JACK VAN IMPE
Ezekiel prophesied the formation of the State of Israel in the last days: “For I will take you from among the heathen and gather you out of all countries, and will bring you into your own land” (Ezek. 36:24).
But the long centuries rolled on and the promise was not fulfilled.
Students of prophecy insisted a time would come when the Jews would return to their homeland, and when the Zionist movement began to promote the settlement of Jews in Palestine some had the courage to identify this as the fulfillment of Ezekiel’s prophecy.
Others were skeptical. The movement seemed so small and the obstacles to its success appeared to be insurmountable. Propaganda against the Zionists by anti-Semites began to be circulated, associating the movement with a conspiracy to rule the world. It was not popular to be on the side of Jewish pioneers in Palestine.
Nevertheless, the settlement of the Jewish homeland continued. Although hampered by restrictive immigration quotas set by the British during their mandate, the Jews kept pressing forward, counting each new village as another step in the establishment of their long-awaited home. In the difficult years from 1939 to 1947 there were 94 new villages founded, making 349 Jewish settlements in that hostile land.
Hitler’s holocaust annihilated two out of every three European Jews, one-third of the entire Jewish race, and uprooted Jews who had become comfortable in their European homes. In their book, Israel, David M. Jacobs and Kees Scherer describe the impact of the holocaust as follows:
The shock of this terrible disaster finally gave the Jews the power of desperation so that against the logic of history and politics, a mere three years after the greatest catastrophe in their history, came one of their greatest triumphs: on May 15, 1948, the State of Israel was established.
But those three years were difficult ones.
Having given of themselves to the Allied war effort, the Jews had hoped for cooperation from the Allies in establishing their nation.
They were disappointed.
Balancing on the brink of bankruptcy, Great Britain was determined to cling to friendship with the Arabs for economic reasons, not wanting to lose their single most important resource: oil. Some of their pipelines ran through Arab lands and they were not willing to risk the loss of oil for the sake of the Jews. Consequently, the British continued to restrict Jewish immigration following the war.
Burdened by the plight of their countrymen in Europe and frustrated by the restrictive British mandate, the Jews went underground and began to prepare for a fight for freedom. Infiltrating several British military bases, they stole light arms. They also dealt in captured Axis weapons and engaged in pressure tactics designed to ultimately force the British out of their homeland.
In Europe, conditions for Jews remained difficult. Although delivered from Hitler’s death camps, they were still in serious trouble. By the end of 1946, more than a quarter of a million displaced Jews were packed into camps in western Germany. As a result, the British loosened immigration restrictions somewhat, but the trickle of immigrants allowed into Palestine was still tiny compared to the tens of thousands waiting in the crowded displaced-persons camps of Europe.
A Modern Exodus
Since they were unable to get realistic concessions from the British, the Jews tackled the problem themselves. Sending Jews from Palestine to infiltrate the displaced-persons camps, they began to organize the refugees and prepare them to enter Palestine under cover. They also took advantage of the poor conditions in the camps to draw world attention to the hardships still faced by European Jews.
Soon a modern exodus was under way from Germany to Palestine. Jews were taken from Germany to the French and Austrian borders, then through mountain passes on foot to the Italian or French coasts. It was a difficult route from Germany to Palestine, but these struggling people had been enroute to that land for nearly two thousand years. They had taken the most crushing blows tyrants could give and had survived. Terrain would not deter them now.
The chaos of postwar Europe cooperated in allowing the Jews to move across Europe to the Mediterranean. In Italy they found the hatred of British occupation working in their favor. This former Axis power now helped the Jews on their homeward trek.
Nearly all the ships that carried Jews from Europe to Palestine were Italian coastal vessels of prewar vintage. Few of these obsolete tubs were fit for the crossing. Nevertheless, they were repaired hastily at Italian shipyards and sent on their precarious voyages.
In Palestine the Jewish underground awaited the arrival of the immigrants and employed covert methods to smuggle the new arrivals into the country. They were often able to monitor official radio messages and then decoy the British while the refugees landed.
The success of the smuggling operation was short-lived. The British intensified their blockade, making it almost impenetrable; and by 1946, 80,000 troops patrolled the country.
Looking back, the scene seems unreal. These survivors of Hitler’s holocaust and the crowded camps of Europe were now crossing the Mediterranean in rickety ships only to be met by a mighty British blockade commissioned to keep them from entering the land of their dreams.
Once stopped by the blockade, the Jews were transferred to British transports on which they were taken to Cyprus, where more refugee camps waited. Long before this heartbreaking ordeal Solomon had written, “Hope deferred maketh the heart sick...” (Proverbs 13:12). The wise king’s observation must have described the experience of thousands of his people who were turned from their homeland after making the long journey to its very borders.
In spite of the blockade, however, the Jewish spirit was not broken. Palestine was still the goal of this persistent people, and they intended to reach it. Their determination was expressed by the immigrants on board the Beauharnais when their ship was towed into Haifa Harbor, having been captured by the British. Its passengers unfurled a long banner over the deck that said: “We survived Hitler. Death is no stranger to us. Nothing can keep us from our Jewish homeland. The blood be on your head if you fire on this unarmed ship.”
Records show that all but five of the sixty-three refugee ships were intercepted in efforts to reach Palestine between 1945 and 1948. Estimates of the number of displaced persons confined in the Cyprus camps ranged from 26,000 to 65,000.
In an effort to discourage immigration and attempts to run the blockade, the camps at Cyprus were anything but comfortable. They were extremely hot in the summer, water was generally short, and the food was poor and scarce. In spite of the risk, however, they continued their efforts to enter their land with the force of a battering ram, never relaxing their pressure on the British to allow them to come home.
CHANGED LIVES-one at a time
Dear Dr. Rexella,
God bless you and only ETERNITY will be able to unveil the magnitude of your work and warning bells you have been ringing to those sleeping in the battle ground, keep on ringing the warning Bells because many are rising from deep slumber daily and only in Eternity you will see what God did through you, I have been watching your program for 10 years now and I was amongst the sleeping who God raised from deep slumber and am running this RACE with my Eyes on the Bright Blue SKY waiting and looking for the Return of My King JESUS. I reside in Dublin Ireland with my husband and three children.
I can’t recall how long I’ve been watching your program, but you and Dr. Jack have been instrumental in my personal salvation and awakened in me a thirst to know Him more. I want to thank you for the work you do. Praise God
HIGHLIGHTED MINISTRY OFFERS
Dr. Jack Van Impe’s wonderful year-long devotional, Soul Food: Give Us This Day Our Daily Bread is the perfect daily reading to keep you growing in God, looking forward to His return, and finding peace, comfort and hope for each new day, every day of the year. There’s a daily memory verse to help you keep learning new Scriptures throughout the year, plus powerful insight from the man called “The Walking Bible.” This is great devotional material for you, and it makes a wonderful gift for a loved one.
What season of life are you in?
What season of faith are you in?
This deeply personal book of reflections and insights from Dr Rexella Van Impe offers words of wisdom plumbed from the depths of God’s Word, practical concepts you can apply to any moment in your spiritual journey
Rexella’s perspective is always one of compassion She has “walked the walk” Now, in a single, remarkable volume, she shares with you the key truths that guide her journey with the Lord
Let the Holy Spirit guide you as you enter into this extraordinary excursion with Rexella, through the seasons of faith