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Weekly Newsletter – January 18, 2015

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A MESSAGE OF HOPE FROM DR JACK VAN IMPE

Revelation 2: 1 – 29

Chapters 2 and 3 of the book of Revelation contain seven letters to the seven literal, local churches mentioned in chapter 1, verse 11. These letters have a number of applications. First, they are seven actual letters to seven actual churches situated in seven different cities. Second, they are letters to seven individuals within the seven churches. Third, they are messages applicable to all churches in all ages, for the seven churches picture seven periods, or stages, of church history. In each period, the Lord speaks to the churches in a judgmental way, portraying their failures, and then He calls them to repentance and zealousness. We will look at the first four this week.

Ephesus

Verse 1: Unto the angel of the church of Ephesus write; These things saith he that holdeth the seven stars in his right hand, who walketh in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks [or the seven churches represented throughout history];

The first church addressed is the church of Ephesus, covering the time period from approximately 33 A.D. (the birth of the church at Pentecost) until 100 A.D. when John, who wrote the Book of Revelation, died.

The letter is to the angel or, literally, the “messenger” of the church of Ephesus, and is from the One who holds the seven stars in his right hand and who [walks] in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks. This, of course, is the glorified Christ, as we learned in chapter 1, verse 20. How thrilling to note that the Lord both holds the churches (all believers) in His hand and walks in the midst of them, as well! This is the Christian’s security. The Saviour’s walk among us is to bring us closer to himself. Next, Christ speaks…

Verse 2: I know thy works, and thy labour, and thy patience, and how thou canst not bear them which are evil: and thou hast tried them which say they are apostles, and are not, and hast found them liars:

Notice that, in each of the seven letters, the Lord begins by commending the local assembly for whatever He can find in them that is good before scolding them for their sins. The Ephesus church began in all purity, as can be observed from a study of the Book of Acts. Then false prophets entered in. This is exactly the warning Paul had sounded during his last gathering in Ephesus: For know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them. Therefore watch, and remember (Acts 20:29-31). The leaders of the church judged these false prophets in earlier days, but became lax as they lost their first love.

Today many think it is wrong to judge heresy or wickedness. Not so! The same Christ who said, Judge not, that ye be not judged (Matthew 7:1) also declared, Judge righteous judgment (John 7:24). A believer is never to judge a person as far as motives are concerned. However, he should definitely judge one when that individual’s doctrine is heretical or his life is filled with wickedness. This is why John said, Try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world (1 John 4:1), and why Paul stated in 1 Timothy 5:19 and 20: Against an elder receive not an accusation, but before two or three witnesses. Them that sin rebuke before all, that others also may fear. The church at Ephesus had slipped from its original moorings and was on the way down. Is it any wonder that Mohammedanism swept through the land and destroyed the compromising church that once was mighty under Paul?

Verse 3: And hast borne, and hast patience, and for my name’s sake hast laboured, and hast not fainted.

Part of the reason this church (who had borne, and had patience, and for His name’s sake had laboured, and had not fainted) failed may have been that they were too busy serving and not taking time for sweet fellowship at the feet of Jesus. When one is so active that he has no time for the Bible and prayer, he is too busy. Many have fallen to the indictment of…

Verse 4: Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love.

How true of multitudes today! When they were first saved they loved Jesus, loved to pray, loved to read the Word, loved to attend the services at God’s house and loved to witness. Ah, but they have lost that first love!

Verse 5: Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick (or your local church) out of his place, except thou repent.

It happened! After the conquest of Mohammedanism, the church of Ephesus became nonexistent. Do not let this happen to your church or to you! Before God finishes His pronouncement of commendations and condemnations upon the church of Ephesus, he adds…

Verse 6: But this thou hast, that thou hatest the deeds of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate.

Who were the Nicolaitans and what was it about them that so angered Almighty God? The term comes from two Greek words which mean “victory over the laity” a religious dictatorship that allowed little or no freedom to its members. This is precisely what the Holy Spirit had in mind when He told the church elders not to be lords over God’s heritage, but… ensamples [examples] to the flock (1 Peter 5:3). How this message needs to be emphasized in our day as religious leaders try to impose their man-made rules on each and every member! After presenting this series of commendations and warnings, the Spirit of God adds…

Verse 7: He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God.

How can one be an overcomer? By trusting in the merits of the shed blood of Jesus Christ: Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God? (1 John 5:5).

Verse 8: And unto the angel of the church in Smyrna write; These things saith the first and the last, which was dead, and is alive;

We saw in chapter 1, verse 11, that this first and the last, or Alpha and Omega, is the Lord Jesus Christ. He now begins His message to the next church.

Smyrna

Verse 9: I know thy works, and tribulation, and poverty (but thou art rich) and I know the blasphemy of them which say they are Jews, and are not, but are the synagogue of Satan.

The Smyrna period of church history takes us from 100 A.D. to 312 A.D. These people probably suffered the greatest persecution in all Christianity. Their works, faithfully performed in the name of Jesus, brought great tribulation and accompanying poverty, materially. However, great riches were laid up for them in heaven. In addition, their relentless, dedicated efforts brought the Word of God to the entire Roman Empire. During the second and third centuries, the Smyrna church members were fed to the lions at Rome while multitudes cheered. Church history informs us that five million may have been martyred during this era. Every Christian ought to read Foxe’s Christian Martyrs of the World. He will quickly discover the foolishness of complaining in this day of luxury and ease.

Believe it or not, the church flourished and grew during the Smyrna period! Perhaps a little persecution would do us some good today. We might learn to love other brothers in Christ who have a different religious label than ours. God forgive us for our sectarianism!

Much of Smyrna’s heartache came through false professors of religion-those who said they were Jews as defined in Romans 2:29 (circumcised of the heart and the spirit rather than the letter) but who, in reality, were not! They did not really believe and were actually members of the synagogue of Satan! Beware of those who claim to be Christians but deny the deity of Christ. They, too, are of the synagogue of Satan: [For] every Spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God (1 John 4:3). The same is true of those who mix law and grace. Paul said, I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed (Galatians 1:6-9).

Because of the false brethren propagating false doctrine and despising the true believers, persecution came from within and from without. In the face of such satanic opposition, Christ’s message was…

Verse 10: Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.

When the hour of trial arrived, the believers were not to fear. They were to keep their eyes on eternal rewards as mentioned in James 1:12: Blessed is the man that endureth [testing]: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him. Many Bible scholars believe that the ten days of persecution consisted of ten literal periods of suffering. I agree, since church history emphatically supports this assertion. Still, the church of Smyrna was guaranteed final victory through the Lord’s promises, power, and provision…

Verse 11: He that hath an ear; let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; He that overcometh shall not be hurt of the second death.

Pergamos

Verse 12: And to the angel of the church in Pergamos write; These things saith he which hath the sharp sword with two edges;

Again, chapter 1, verse 16, proves that the speaker is the Lord Jesus Christ.

Verse 13: I know thy works, and where thou dwellest, even where Satan’s seat is: and thou holdest fast my name, and hast not denied my faith, even in those days wherein Antipas was my faithful martyr; who was slain among you, where Satan dwelleth.

The letters to the first three churches begin with a commendation. To each Christ says, I know thy works. God sees what we do for Him. How sad when backsliding destroys the many good deeds performed in His name! We see this strange twist at Pergamos. Here the bad works outweigh the good ones.

This church period, extending from 312 A.D. to 606 A.D., was one of materialism, self-indulgence, and worldliness. Wickedness spread like a brushfire. The name Pergamos has in it the same root from which we get our English words bigamy and polygamy. Pergamos signifies a mixed marriage of the church and the world. This happened because the Babylonian religion established its headquarters at Pergamos and infiltrated Christianity. No wonder this local church is charged with dwelling in the area of Satan’s seat or literally, “throne.” They were perched on the doorstep of the devil’s headquarters!

Of necessity, the believer in Christ is in the world. However, he must constantly guard against becoming involved in its ungodliness. The church of Pergamos became part and parcel of Satan’s worldly establishment. They called themselves by Christ’s name (Christians) and made verbal and written assent to the faith, even though they saw the danger of martyrdom in the example of Antipas. Nevertheless, they backslid.

Verse 14: But I have a few things against thee, because thou hast there them that hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balac to cast a stumbling block before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed unto idols, and to commit fornication.

The first grievance against the church of Pergamos was the fact that they had embraced the pleasures of the world or become a worldly church. Secondly, they had given heed to false doctrine-the theology of Balaam. Remember Balaam? He had a smart donkey! How sad to be famous because of one’s donkey. The animal was so smart it could outtalk Balaam. What was the doctrine of Balaam taught to Balac? First, to eat things sacrificed to idols, and second, to commit fornication. Balac had hired Balaam to curse Israel, and Balaam, the false prophet, was unable to get the anointing of Satan upon his spirit for the task. So he figured out a plan of destruction for the Jews. He said, “Let the choice of the women of Balac’s kingdom display themselves before the eyes of God’s people.” As expected, the Jewish men became enamored with the beauty of the daughters of Balac’s kingdom, committed fornication with them, married them, and were eventually drawn into idolatry. How wrong! Those who name the name of Jesus are not to become involved with the world in any manner, [for] ye cannot drink the cup of the. ..Lord’s table, and of the table of devils (1 Corinthians 10:21).

Verse 15: So hast thou also them that hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitans, which thing I hate.

Not only were the people of the first church of Pergamos worldly, sinful, and idolatrous, but they also shared in the wicked practice of Nicolaitanism as did the church at Ephesus. This, again, is ecclesiastical Hitlerism. It is when the minister or leader says, “I am the head, and you have no choice in the matter,” allowing laymen no voice in the affairs of the church. Concerning the doctrine of the Nicolaitans, the condemnatory statement, which thing I hate, is uttered by the Lord God himself. The solution?

Verse 16: Repent; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will fight against them with the sword of my mouth.

This is serious business. The Christian is not to close his mind, heart, and ears to God’s warning.

Verse 17: He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the hidden manna, and will give him a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth it.

As previously noted, the overcomer is the true believer in Jesus (see 1 John 5:4). He is given the hidden manna (the Word of God) and is presented a white stone. During ancient court trials, the jurors would lay down white stones to signify a decision of acquittal. Praise the Lord, through the blood of Jesus, the white stones of acquittal have been presented and every Christian has a new name written down in glory!

Thyatira

Verse 18: And unto the angel of the church in Thyatira write; These things saith the Son of God, who hath eyes like unto a flame of fire, and his feet are like fine brass;

Once again we see that the speaker is the Son of God. The description of His eyes and feet were discussed in chapter 1, verses 14 and 15.

Verse 19: I know thy works, and charity, and service, and faith, and thy patience, and thy works; and the last to be more than the first.

To this point, all four churches have been complimented for their works. Thyatira, however, was loaded with meritorious service and unusual deeds. She was known for her good works, love, service, faith, patience, and last works. The term “last works” means that this church outdid herself. Her works became greater toward the end of her lifetime than they were at the beginning.

Historically, Thyatira covers the years 606 A.D. to 1520 A.D. However, many scholars believe that this church is found in the world until she is destroyed by the revived Roman Empire in chapters 17 and 18. Although Thyatira had many admirable qualities, she nevertheless had some deep-rooted problems as well.

Verse 20: Notwithstanding I have a few things against thee, because thou sufferest that woman Jezebel, which calleth herself a prophetess, to teach and to seduce my servants to commit fornication, and to eat things sacrificed unto idols.

Who was Jezebel? In the Old Testament she was perhaps the most wicked woman of her day. She became so hated that she was thrown from a window and the dogs ate her flesh. The sin of this self-appointed prophetess was to bring Baalism into Israel as a new religion. She is accused of seducing God’s servants to commit fornication and to eat things sacrificed to idols. This constituted the breaking of two of God’s commandments to His people Israel: (1) 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: Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them and (2) Thou shalt not commit adultery (Exodus 20:4, 5, 14). God called upon Thyatira to turn from her wicked ways.

Verse 21: I gave her space to repent of her fornication; and she repented not.

The long-suffering and loving God gave Thyatira approximately 1,000 years to do what was right, but she resisted. How like many twenty-first century Christians, constantly rejecting the wooings of the blessed Holy Spirit. The result…

Verse 22: Behold, I will cast her into a bed, and them that commit adultery with her into great tribulation, except they repent of their deeds.

Judgment always comes: Be sure your sin will find you out (Numbers 32:23). The Lord promises to cast this church and her bed partners-those who have partaken of her abominable iniquity, including idolatry and unfaithfulness to the Bridegroom, Jesus Christ-into the Great Tribulation. At that point, the church which sits upon seven hills (chapter 17, verse 9) will be destroyed. The details concerning this event are discussed in chapters 17 and 18.

The obvious lesson here is that God hates sin. Sentimentalists say, “Oh, the blessed, loving Jesus would never condemn anyone.” Really? We know that God is love (1 John 4:8) and God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world (John 3:17). Nevertheless, when His love is repeatedly spurned and one deliberately follows a course of sin, God’s holiness demands that the sinner be punished. Remember Christ himself is speaking in the following verse:

Verse 23: And I will kill her children with death; and all the churches shall know that I am he which searcheth the reins and hearts: and I will give unto every one of you according to your works.

How sad that the church of Thyatira, so highly praised for good works in the opening passages, must be horribly judged because of having undone every good thing that had been originally performed in the name of the Saviour. Likewise, today it is possible for the Christian to lose every reward he has earned, so look to yourselves, that [you] lose not those things which [you] have wrought [or earned] (2 John 8). The only good news concerning Thyatira was that a remnant remained faithful in spite of the deterioration of this local church.

Verse 24: But unto you I say, and unto the rest in Thyatira, as many as have not this doctrine, and which have not known the depths of Satan, as they speak; I will put upon you none other burden.

The Lord Jesus informed John that those who did not succumb to Jezebel’s theological follies or fall into the fornication and idolatry propagated by this false Babylonian religion, would not have any other burden. They had experienced enough heartache.

Verse 25: But that which ye have already hold fast till I come.

Here the faithful remnant was admonished to continue in the truth of God’s Word until Jesus returned.

Verse 26: And he that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations:

Verse 27: And he shall rule them with a rod of iron; and as the vessels of a potter shall they be broken to shivers: even as I received of my Father.

Verse 28: And I will give him the morning star.

Christ has promised faithful believers three rewards upon His return to the earth: (1) rulership over the nations during the Millennium: For they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years (chapter 20, verse 4); (2) sharing in this glorious time of perfect righteousness resulting from Christ’s personal enforcement and order (see Psalm 2:8,9); and (3) the abiding presence of the blessed Saviour throughout time and eternity as Christ himself, the bright and morning star, reigns (chapter 22, verses 14 and 16).

If your life is not what it once was for Christ, don’t be a loser when rewards are distributed. Instead, about-face! Live for Him! Heed the warning of the next verse.

Verse 29: He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.


FROM THE HEART OF DR. REXELLA VAN IMPE

The Look

What a dramatic experience it must be for an infant to be born into this world! Leaving the security and warm comfort of its sanctuary just below its mother’s heart, the child is thrust suddenly into the noisy activity and bright lights of a completely different existence…in a whole new world.

How comforting and reassuring it must be for that tiny new being to look up into the face of its mother and gaze into the kindest, most loving eyes it has ever seen. There is grateful acceptance and a joyful welcome in that face, and that first look of love, I believe, is so important that it helps shape the entire life of that youngster. That look should-and usually does-carry special, deep meaning right on through all the child’s years on planet earth.

Sadly, for many children who enter the world these days, that look isn’t there. They never look up and see a gentle expression that says, “I’m glad you’re here.” Such deprivation, it seems to me, must have a negative impact on their early sense of security and well being, and may even affect their ability to relate to others in the critical growing-up years.

I got “the look”

I’m so grateful that I did read that overwhelming welcome in the eyes of my mother and father. As early as I can remember, that look of pride, joy, and approval greeted me every time I looked up at them. And I learned to check for “the look” as a reference point to help me along as I explored the world and ventured out to find my place in it.

When I was trying something new, or attempting to do something on my own, I could read in mother’s eyes-“Yes, go ahead,” or maybe, “Hey, you’d better be careful and hold back just a little bit.” My father was also a great source of guidance and encouragement just through “the look.” My parents never really had to say very much for me to understand where I was headed. I could always read their expressions…especially their eyes.

When I was a child, “the look” helped give me the courage to do my best in performing. I started singing in public when I was just five years old, and there were about 1,500 people in the church we attended. But if I felt a bit apprehensive while standing up before the crowd, all I had to do was look down at my mother. Her eyes would tell me, “You can do this…I’m so proud of you!”

At the end of a musical solo, Mom’s eyes might convey to me, Oh, honey, that’s the best you’ve ever done!

Of course, if I looked at my father, I would always see tears rolling out of his eyes. His eyes were always dripping with love, approval, and caring that said to me, “I can’t even begin to express how I feel, Rexella-I have to do it this way!”

Learning from “the look”

In high school, I was also very active in drama as well as music, and in my academic studies. The experience of introducing my songs before an audience gave me the confidence to try acting in plays. I found that I enjoyed learning to communicate from a different perspective.

But whether a solo performance, a choral concert, or a dramatic production, the first people I looked to after my performance were my parents. I could always determine if I had done a good job or not by “the look” I read in their eyes. Their expression would tell me, “Oh my, we certainly approve.” Or if I hadn’t done as well, I would read that in their expression. Of course, the tears rolled down my dad’s face at school, too-he could never control his emotions when it came to his daughter doing something.

This approval/caution feedback extended on into my adult life. I learned to recognize “the look” on other people’s faces and to be sensitive to their needs and feelings. After I was married and Jack and I were traveling the nation in evangelistic crusades, I found that I could stand before an audience and read body language and facial expressions like a book. In their eyes I saw the true identification of their hearts, and it revealed so much.

There might be thousands of people in an auditorium or stadium, but I could sense the people who needed to be there-those who needed the Lord. There was tremendous communication between them and me just through “the look.” When I stood up to sing, I could tell if they were truly receiving the message of my song or if they were just enjoying-or enduring-the performance.

I especially enjoyed interacting with the children. Youngsters are so openly honest and direct that it is usually easy to tell what they are thinking and how they feel. In more recent years, when we had an open house at our ministry headquarters and invited friends to come, the children would always attract my attention. I felt so free to get down and look into their faces to search out what they wanted to express. Often it was a look that said, “Thank you, Rexella, for having us today. I love being here!”

Communicating through “the look”

Before Jack and I went on television and our demanding production schedule kept us closer to home, I often traveled across the country to various ladies conferences. From the time I was twenty years old until a few years ago, I would speak before women’s groups as often as two or three times a month. So many times the Lord helped me to sense people’s needs, and the Holy Spirit directed my words because of “the look” that communicated so eloquently. Sometimes I’d even change what I had prepared to say and go a different direction. Maybe some little comment I didn’t realize was significant would seem to strike a nerve and reveal a special need. “The look” would instantly say, “Oh, yes! Help me, tell me, teach me!”

I’ll never forget the time in a crusade service when a lady came forward during an invitation-she was one of the pastor’s wives. I was immediately drawn to her because I could read the great need in her soul. Just one glance into her eyes told me the whole story, “Oh, Rexella, I’m not sure that I really know the Lord. I’m just not sure!”

I took her hand and said, “Honey, don’t rely on the past-let’s be sure right now.” I knew I needed to lead her to Christ, and she was so ready. So we prayed the sinner’s prayer together until the light of heaven broke through all her doubt and confusion.

I got a letter from this lady not long ago-she’s now going across Texas sharing her story about how she opened her heart to the Lord during our crusade.

Even more awesome than the marvelous communication between people that is transmitted through “the look” is knowing that the eyes of the Lord have followed you and me from the moment we were born. He knows everything about us, and has seen everything we’ve ever done.

In the Old Testament, God says, For mine eyes are upon all their ways: they are not hidden from my face, neither is their iniquity hid from mine eyes (Jeremiah 16:17). And He goes on-Can any hide himself in secret places that I shall not see him? saith the Lord. Do not I fill heaven and earth? (Jeremiah 23:24).

The New Testament also testifies that neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him (Hebrews 4:13).

Pondering the wonder of Jesus

While I’m almost overcome by the idea that the Creator of the universe notices me, looks at me, and keeps track of my deeds, I literally tremble to think that He is aware of every failure, and careless act of my entire life. How could we stand before a righteous God if it were not for the amazing love of Jesus who loved us and gave himself as a sacrifice to redeem us from the penalty of our sins?

Such love is too great for me to comprehend! I can only ponder the wonder of Jesus whose shed blood has blotted out the record of all my sins-the things God has seen in my life of which He did not approve. God saw it all. He kept track of it. The penalty for my sin was a debt I owed that I could not pay. But Jesus paid it all. Everything bad that God saw in my life is gone-never to be remembered again! When I look into His face, there is no accusation of my guilt. His look is only total love and acceptance.

Talk about amazing grace! Why did my Lord love me so? How could He look at me with such compassion and forgiveness?

Do you remember the dramatic story of how Peter stood outside the high priest’s house where Jesus was being accused? Three times he denied that he was one of the Lord’s disciples, or that he even knew Him. About that time a rooster crowed, and the door of the house opened and they led Jesus out.

What’s in a look?

The gospel account says, And the Lord turned, and looked upon Peter. And Peter remembered the word of the Lord, how he had said unto him, Before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice. And Peter went out, and wept bitterly (Luke 22:61, 62).

Notice that Jesus didn’t say a word to Peter-He just looked at him. But oh, how much Peter must have seen in that look!

Another gospel story tells how the Pharisees brought a woman to Jesus who was accused of adultery and asked if she should be stoned as the Mosaic Law prescribed. Jesus waited a bit, then looked at them and said, “Let him who is without sin cast the first stone” (see John 8:7).

One by one the members of that self-righteous mob slunk away until no one was left except Jesus and the woman. “Where are your accusers?” He asked her, “Who condemns you?”

“No one,” she replied.

And Jesus, looking at her with great kindness and divine love, said, “Neither do I condemn you, go and sin no more!”

Oh, the wonder of His love that takes away every mistake – every sin and gives us a perfect heart! How marvelous to claim the precious promise found in 2 Chronicles 16:9-For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward him.

Do you realize what this means? Our Lord’s eyes always see us and what we do for Him. He has seen my every performance, every word I’ve spoken on the crusade platform or before the television cameras, every article I’ve ever written. He’s seen everything that you have done in your whole life to serve and honor Him. When we run the race, He keeps track of the course and is aware of the obstacles. He gives us power to endure and supplies us with everything we need to finish the course!

Running for the reward

At the end of the race, when we stand before the Lord, rewards will be given out for our efforts in running the course. We will be rewarded-not just for what we did, but also for the motive behind our performance. Did we do it just for attention, to say, “Look at me!” If so, our efforts were to no avail. But if we did it for souls, for the Kingdom of God, we will receive an eternal reward that we can lay at the feet of our Lord.

And I can’t help but believe that even before the awards are given out, all we will have to do is to look up into the face of Jesus and “the look” will indicate our standing! We won’t have to wait to hear Him say, “Well done, good and faithful servant” to know. Oh, we will hear those words if we deserve it, but just seeing the look on His face will tell it all!

The Olympics is always a great event with the attention of the world focused on the competitors who come from all over the world. They compete for a temporal reward-man’s recognition and the gold, silver, and bronze medals of achievement. The grandstands are full of cheering throngs of fans, and the Olympic judges are watching-never closing their eyes. They watch, judge, and reward every performance.

The Olympian competitors always appreciate and acknowledge the spectators in the grandstands, but when they finish their competition, they do not watch the fans. Their eyes are fixed upon the judges, watching to see if they can read their look to learn if they will be presented the prize!

The book of Hebrews says that we are in a very similar situation-that the great heroes of faith and all our loved ones and friends who have gone on to heaven before us are looking down and cheering us on. I believe that my mom and dad are in that crowd of heavenly witnesses. And as I run past, I’d love to see that look of approval from them again. But while I am aware of their encouraging presence, I want to finish my race with my eyes on Jesus!

Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith (Hebrews 12:1,2).

Let us seek for the approval of our Lord today and “His look” of approval tomorrow.


CHANGED LIVES-one at a time

I recently read Count It All Joy from Mrs. Dr. Rexella in the weekly email.

Thank you for the encouragement and the story.

It touched me because I’m home on sick leave now fighting oppression. Yes, and I have taken from your message and want you to know that the message indeed hit home and lifted me up.

God bless you both.

Tim A.

 

I am not rich. Poor. My father faced the Lord and almost died over the holidays. We are not classified as church going people. We watch your program every Saturday together. He one night looked at me and said you do realize these people speak the truth, and the truth is sometimes hard to realize. I told him that night Jesus has been my savior for over twenty years. I am watching your program tonight alone. My father is still in the hospital. My father fought for his life and is going to make it. Just want you to know even a common man and myself….even thou poor wishes you that all should know the truth. My father was worried every time Jack was not on TV. I love and respect you both. Jesus Christ is the only Lord. My father faced death because of you Jack and Rexella. I don’t believe you are televangelist for money. We love you. With respect…

Erik B.


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Do not allow your family and church to be deceived.

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