Weekly Newsletter – February 20, 2023
FROM THE HEART OF DR. REXELLA VAN IMPE
Someone With Skin On
I suppose this story has been told in a variety of ways, but it illustrates so well the heart-cry of all mankind.
As I heard it, a little boy woke up in the midst of a violent storm, frightened by the thunder and lightning, and cried out for his mother. She reassured him, and told him never to be afraid of the dark or the storm because God was right there with him.
In a few minutes the child cried out again, and the mother went back to his side and reminded the youngster of her earlier assurance that God was with him in the storm. “I know,” said the lad, “but I want someone with skin on!”
Don’t we all? Religions based on noble thoughts or impersonal cosmic forces, or centered around idols made of stone or wood, do not satisfy the deep longing inside the human breast for a God with whom we can have a personal, living experience. We seek a God we can touch — Someone with skin on — to be our Example, our Saviour, and our Intercessor.
Centuries after the time when God himself came down to the Garden of Eden in the cool of the evening to walk, talk, and have fellowship with Adam and Eve, sinful man had lost sight of who God was and what He was like. Mankind stumbled about in the dark, disobedient and lost.
So God sent His Son to earth once again to reveal to man what God is like and to restore the lines of communication and fellowship. And to help man relate to God, the Father wrapped His Christmas present to the world — the divine spirit and person of His Son — in human skin!
The Apostle Paul wrote, For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ (2 Corinthians 4:6).
Jesus, our Example
The old gospel song, “Where He Leads I’ll Follow,” has a tremendous message in its lyrics. One line in particular describes Jesus by saying, “He the Great Example is, and Pattern for me.”
The truth is, Jesus gave us an example for living as well as His life. When we see how Jesus lived, how He acted, how He responded to other people and the circumstances of daily life, we catch a glimpse of how we should live. Oh, if only we would ask ourselves, “What would Jesus do?” when faced with life’s tough decisions and choices.
We know that His life was an outpouring of love and joy. His very first recorded miracle was performed at a wedding! He had dear, cherished friends in Mary, Martha, and Lazarus, in whose home He enjoyed rest and fellowship. When Lazarus died and Jesus was called, we’re told He wept for His friend. Onlookers even noted, Behold how he loved him! (John 11:36). And Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead.
The Gospels are filled with examples of the compassion of our Lord. And Jesus, when he came out, saw much people, and was moved with compassion toward them (Mark 6:34). We’re told He taught them…and later fed them.
Acts 10:38 tells how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him.
This is the example Jesus set for us — He went about doing good. In love and compassion, He met people’s needs, touching, healing, and lifting them. And that is what we are to do.
In today’s dark world, you and I may well be the only light some people will ever see. We are the only hands of God that will ever touch them. Ours are the only feet that will bring the good news of the gospel to them.
I tell you, if Christ’s hands are not extended through ours, He will never reach out to some people. That individual in your world crying out for someone with skin on to come to him…is waiting for you.
“Oh, Rexella,” you say, “how could we ever expect to be like Jesus and minister as He did?”
Because He said so. Jesus said, Verily, verily, [truly, truly] I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father. And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son (John 14:12,13).
Jesus, our Saviour
A short time after the birth of Jesus, Mary and Joseph brought Him to Jerusalem to the Temple to be presented to the Lord, according to the law of Moses. Two remarkable and beautiful things happened there that day.
First, there was a priest named Simeon, an old man who had been promised that he would not die until he had seen the Lord’s Christ. When He saw Jesus, he took Him in his arms, and blessed God, and said, Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word: for mine eyes have seen thy salvation (Luke 2:29,30).
There was also an 84-year-old prophetess named Anna in the Temple. The Bible says that she coming in that instant gave thanks likewise unto the Lord, and spake of him [Jesus] to all them that looked for redemption in Jerusalem (Luke 2:38).
Why is it so significant that Simeon and Anna recognized Jesus as the Saviour? Perhaps God knew that we today needed to see this confirmation of the faith of others in the holy Scriptures. The majority then and now could not see who He was and is because of spiritual blindness. The Lord Jesus entered the world He had created to rescue fallen man, yet those with whom He desired to be intimately associated rejected Him.
The Bible says, He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not. He came unto his own, and his own received him not (John 1:10,11).
Jesus knew the price He would have to pay as the Saviour of the world. The Christmas card picture of Him being revered as a beautiful baby in a manger was for a brief moment. The adulation of those touched by the compassionate prophet, teacher, and healer lasted only a few days.
Jesus grew up in a humble home, in a despised village. His brothers and sisters misunderstood Him. The religious leaders of the day hated Him. And finally, when He was falsely convicted and crucified, His own disciples forsook Him.
But He died for everyone to redeem all mankind, willingly, by choice. He came to be a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord (Luke 2:11).
Someone has said that Jesus would have come to earth, suffered and died, to save just one person. And I believe that is true. But it is also true that, had the Lord been born ten thousand times in Bethlehem, it would have been ineffective… unless He had a birth in our hearts. Only then is He our Saviour.
Jesus, our Intercessor
I’ve often heard the old folk proverb which suggests that before one criticizes a person, he should walk a mile in his shoes. The point is, of course, that one cannot really understand someone else’s behavior unless one has gone through their tests and trials.
The writer of the Book of Hebrews reminds us that because Jesus, the Son of God, came down and wrapped himself in human skin and walked in our shoes, He knows what we’re going through… He understands. For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin (Hebrews 4:15).
Under the law of Moses, the role of the high priest was to intercede before God for mankind. And Jesus, who provided the ultimate sin offering in His death on the cross, now serves as our Intercessor in heaven before the Father.
Having walked the rocky road of human existence before us, He fully understands what it means to be hungry, tired, and penniless …to be misunderstood, slandered, falsely accused… to endure heartache, physical pain and suffering…even death!
Oh, He knows what you’re going through, He understands what you need…and He cares! He sees your struggles, He hears your cry. And He is reaching out to you.
I heard about a little girl whose mother was in the hospital, and who was spending the night alone with her father. Soon after her dad turned out the lights, the little girl said, “Daddy, are you there?”
“Yes, child,” he said, “I’m here.”
It was quiet for a moment, and then a little voice asked, “Daddy, are you looking at me?”
What a joy to know that, in our darkest hours, we can go ahead and go to sleep knowing that Jesus stays awake all night looking after us!
I love the beautiful words of the old song that says,
Can we find a friend so faithful,
Who will all our sorrows share;
Jesus knows our every weakness;
Take it to the Lord in prayer.
Just now, reach out and touch the “skin” of Jesus the Lord, God’s “unspeakable gift” of love. Receive Him as your Example, accept Him as your Saviour, trust Him as your Intercessor.
A CLASSIC MESSAGE OF HOPE FROM DR. JACK VAN IMPE
Three Young Men Who Refused to Compromise
No exceptions to the king’s rule would be tolerated. Now, once again, Daniel’s three friends had to make a decision. They knew the Scriptures, and I’m sure their minds were racing to the first two commandments of Moses they’d memorized years before from the Book of Exodus:
“Thou shalt have no other gods before me. Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth” (Exodus 20:3-4).
For these three Hebrew children that was all they needed to remember. It was no longer a dilemma. They had always obeyed the law of God. Daniel served under six kings and always honored them-even when their point of view differed with some of his own opinions. But on the question of allegiance to the God of Israel, Daniel never compromised.
Early on, his three Hebrew friends had also refused to compromise. Rather than worry about incurring the wrath of an earthly king, their greater concern was that they not subject themselves to the wrath of their living God. Now, once again, even as they had earlier refused to eat the rich food from the king’s table, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego refused to sacrifice their respect for God’s law on a pagan altar.
Wherefore at that time certain Chaldeans came near, and accused the Jews.
They spake and said to the king Nebuchadnezzar, O king, live forever.
Thou O king, hast made a decree, that every man that shall hear the sound of the cornet, flute, harp, sackbut, psaltery, and dulcimer, and all kinds of music, shall fall down and worship the golden image.
And whoso falleth not down and worshippeth, that he should be cast into the midst of a burning fiery furnace.
There are certain Jews whom thou hast set over the affairs of the province of Babylon, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego; these men, O king, have not regarded thee, they serve not thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up.
The people who bowed to the ruling powers had a problem with our three Hebrew friends Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. Jealousy and a large dose of anti-Semitism were factors in their dislike of these foreigners who had been given lofty positions by the king. Undoubtedly, some of these threatened Chaldeans snitched on Daniel’s companions, and before long, word of the Hebrews’ insubordination was passed on to the king. Their charge: rebellion against the king and the law of the land. And what better proof of the allegation than the fact that the young men had remained standing before the image while Nebuchadnezzar’s minions lay flat on their faces in worship. Get the furnace ready for three young Hebrews.
Then Nebuchadnezzar in his rage and fury commanded them to bring Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. Then they brought these men before the king.
Nebuchadnezzar spake and said unto them, Is it true, O Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, do not ye serve my gods, nor worship the golden image which I have set up?
Now if ye be ready that at what time ye hear the sound of the cornet, flute, harp, sack but, psaltery, and dulcimer, and all kinds of music, ye fall down and worship the image which I have made; well: but if ye worship not, ye shall be cast the same hour into the midst of a burning fiery furnace; and who is that God that shall deliver you out of my hands?
Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, answered and said to the king, O Nebuchadnezzar, we are not careful to answer thee in this matter.
If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of thine hand, O king.
But if not, be it know unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up.
Mission accomplished. When Nebuchadnezzar heard of the acts of the rebellious young Jews, he flew into one of his typical rages, demanding that these alleged traitors be brought before him. But to his credit-and perhaps the first crack in Nebuchadnezzar’s becoming more compliant-he asked Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego if they’d really done this dastardly deed, perhaps secretly hoping the report was not true.
King Nebuchadnezzar didn’t take the Chaldean’s word at face value. He left the door open for Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego to take the trip out to the plain of Dura again and make amends for their unpatriotic actions-or lack of action. All they would have to do would be drop to their knees when the desert orchestra struck up its opening number once again.
I can almost hear Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego saying, “O king, we really don’t want to go out there to Dura again. Because even if we did, we would not bow to the great gold statue. It’s not that we don’t respect you, it’s just that you are not God, and we bow only to God.” Spiritual guts! That’s the best phrase I can think of. Intestinal fortitude and courage born of spiritual integrity, all of which translated into a resounding, “No, king, we just can’t do that.” And with their final refusal, they told the king they were prepared to be led into the fiery furnace.
We Christians today need to appreciate the resolute spirit of these young men: They were not arrogant before the king. The Hebrews did not equivocate or evade the issue. They spoke their minds as children of God. How many times have we kept our allegiance to Jesus under wraps, saying, along with Peter, “I never knew the man!”? Not so for these young men. They spoke the truth without fear, knowing what would happen if the king refused to change his mind.
These three young Hebrews were prepared to abide by the rules, even if it meant suffering as a consequence. Only God knows how many millions of other faithful followers throughout history have gone to their own “fiery furnaces” or “lions’ dens” for their faith-including the torture and persecution that continues to exist throughout our world today for all modern-day Shadrachs, Meshachs, and Abed-negos.
The die was now cast. The young Hebrews admitted that they were guilty as charged. They felt no need to justify their position because they knew God would protect and defend them. But note one of the most amazing verses in this entire passage: “But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up” (3:18). Imagine the maturity and faith of three young men who could say, “King, even if our God does not deliver us from your fiery furnace, we still will not serve your gods or worship your desert statue. We just will not do it!”
Just One More Miracle, God
They knew their God was a God of miracles, and I’m confident that their minds quickly raced back to how Moses had led the children of Israel through the Red Sea, and how tens of thousands of the children of Israel walked through on dry ground, without one of them dying. If God could do that kind of miracle then, why not another miracle now!
Later, the apostle Paul would write in Philippians 1:21, “For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” That was the courageous spirit of the three Hebrew teenagers. Each time I read this passage, I’m overwhelmed at the bold faith of Daniel’s friends. It’s my earnest prayer that you and I would trust our God enough to be just as faithful were we to find ourselves in a similar situation.
Then was Nebuchadnezzar full of fury, and the form of his visage was changed against Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego: therefore he spake, and commanded that they should heat the furnace one seven times more than it was wont to be heated.
And he commanded the most mighty men that were in his army to bind Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, and to cast them into the burning fiery furnace.
Just like a chameleon, Nebuchadnezzar changed his tune from the earlier conciliatory “let’s give them one more chance” to his usual uncontrollable rage as he sent the three Hebrew men to their death in the furnace, now heated seven times hotter than usual.
The king had perhaps expected that the determined, Hebrews would strike a deal. After all, what’s a little thing like bowing down to an image if the only alternative is burning to a crisp in a furnace? But the king was wrong. Again: Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego were in no mood for deal-making. I’m sure those who were eavesdropping on this tense palace discussion also may have expected some form of compromise to emerge, but there would be no compromise when it came to things of the living God.
Here was a king before whom the nations trembled, and to whom rulers of the known world willingly gave homage.. . and now three young Jewish upstarts had the audacity to just say no! The king probably wanted to save their lives from destruction, but he’d painted himself into a political corner with his incontrovertible decree, a manifesto that was as immutable as any law of the Medes or the Persians. The king found himself with no choice but to heat up the furnace.
More Than Just a Bible Story
Again, this is more than biblical history. This is a dramatic picture of Jewish people and Gentile converts. The Bible reminds us that millions will be saved during the Tribulation hour. Revelation 7:14 says,
“These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.”
They will be going through the seven years of Tribulation, which the body of Christ, the Church, escapes via the Rapture (Revelation 4:1). On the other hand, 144,000 Jewish evangelists will proclaim the message of the coming Kingdom, and millions of Jewish and Gentile converts will somehow survive, though rejecting the mark of the beast.
So just as Nebuchadnezzar ordered the furnace be made seven times hotter for the three Hebrew children, so the seven-year period of Tribulation will be a hot, volatile period in which millions of God’s newly born-again children will be placed in the fire of an anti-God atmosphere. But I repeat-multitudes of Jews and Christians will somehow miraculously survive, though rejecting the mark of the beast (Daniel 12:1; Matthew 25:31-34).
CHANGED LIVES-one at a time
I’ve been watching you for approx. 30 years and I want to thank you and your ministries for all you’ve done for me in helping me to grow in my faith and love of the Lord. The bible I purchased from you has helped me so much especially the book of Daniel and Revelation. The way you broke it down is wonderful. I have comprehension disorder and it helped me so much to understand both. I wish you the very best and can’t thank you enough for what you’ve done for me and how you helped me to bring my children to the Lord. May The Peace of the Lord always be with you.
My dear sister in Christ your message is great comfort in a time when we can almost see him in the clouds and closer than yesterday I just love your pure truth with punch lines God bless you my dear brother in Christ God bless Terry I live in Australia but originally from Zimbabwe god bless.
HIGHLIGHTED MINISTRY OFFERS
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