Weekly Newsletter – March 15, 2021
FROM THE HEART OF DR. REXELLA VAN IMPE
“Just a Cup of Coffee, Please!”
The news media often calls attention to the large number of homeless and hungry people in our nation’s big cities. The scenes of people sleeping on benches, huddling in cardboard boxes, or looking through garbage cans for food are pitiful and troubling. While many of these individuals have ended up on the street through misfortunes beyond their control, even sadder are the cases that are there largely by choice.
As I prayed and thought about this problem, it occurred to me that while not homeless and destitute, most of us, in a spiritual sense, have gotten by with just a cup of coffee and a morsel of bread when we could have been feasting on God’s plentiful banquet of spiritual manna. As the Apostle James observes, Ye have not, because ye ask not (James 4:2).
My husband, Jack, and I have a favorite little “home cookin'” cafe we often visit when it’s just the two of us. It’s not fancy at all, but it’s a cozy, comfortable place where we can relax-and the food is good. We go there often enough that we know most of the waitresses and many of the regular customers.
For weeks we noticed that a certain man was almost always in the cafe, sitting at the counter. He looked as if he might be homeless, usually dressed in worn, slightly shabby clothes which probably hadn’t been laundered in weeks. He was always alone-never did we see him with a friend or ever having a conversation with others at the counter. His countenance was drawn and sad, and one could sense that he had known much sorrow in his lifetime. The waitresses told us he ate only once a day-the rest of the time he just drank coffee…”buy one cup and the refills are free.”
Jack and I felt terribly sorry for this man. One night as we were having a light dinner, we looked over at him sitting alone at the counter, nursing his coffee cup, and it made us sad. My hubby called a waitress over and said, “Give that man the best dinner in the house and bring me the bill. Let him pick out anything on the menu and tell him a friend has picked up the tab.”
“No, Dr. Van Impe, you don’t need to do that,” said the waitress.
“But I want to,” he answered. “He looks like he needs a good meal and I’d just like to help him a little.”
“You don’t understand,” she said. “That is Mr. _____” (and she named a very well-known and wealthy local family). “His father owned much of the land that is now the City of Troy-he’s the heir to millions!”
“But he looks so underprivileged!” I exclaimed.
“Yes, I know,” said the waitress, “but he’s really a multimillionaire. He lives like a pauper by choice.”
I haven’t seen that poor, sad man lately, but recently I’ve been thinking about his situation. Could it be that many Christians are living like spiritual paupers when they could be enjoying God’s manifest blessings every day of their lives? Are they settling for just a cup of coffee when they could be feasting at the Lord’s banquet table?
As we face the future, are we anxious about what lies ahead? Will it be a time of happiness and blessing-or endless loneliness and deprivation?
Change your wardrobe
The old man in the cafe was dressed in worn, shabby clothes. Yet he could have been wearing the finest suit from the best tailor in town.
What are you wearing? The Prophet Isaiah said, I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for he hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, he hath covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decketh himself with ornaments, and as a bride adorneth herself with her jewels (Isaiah 61:10).
Clothe yourself in the wardrobe God has provided for you. Get dressed in His righteousness and see what a change His garments will make in your whole outlook on life. You’ll discover a new awareness of God as your Sustainer and Protector. You’ll stand taller and walk in trust and confidence.
So resolve to stop dressing like the world and get clothed in His righteousness.
Put sadness aside
The old man in the cafe looked so sad, as if the weight of the world was on his shoulders. Yes, from a worldly perspective, he had everything. He was from a prominent family, with every possible financial advantage at his disposal. If money could buy happiness, he could have had it all.
Christianity is the most joyful of all the world’s religions. Yet we often manage to make it appear the most sad and mournful by our actions and our countenance. Mark Twain once had his famous character, Huck Finn, wondering if the mule in the barn had “got religion” because of its long face!
The psalmist exults, Thou hast put gladness in my heart. For he satisfieth the longing soul, and filleth the hungry soul with goodness (Psalm 4:7; 107:9).
I think we sometimes develop a bad habit of letting our faces reflect the care and confusion of the world around us instead of the joy and peace of the Lord welling up within us.
If we have full access to God’s goodness, gladness, and blessedness, shouldn’t our faces show it?
As Christians, our future is as bright as the promises of God. And the Word of God is filled with wonderful promises. Some of my favorites include Christ’s promise: Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world (Matthew 28:20) and also God’s assurance that as thy days, so shall thy strength be (Deuteronomy 33:25).
If we believe God, we have something to smile about.
Be a friend
In all the times we observed the old man in the café, Jack and I never saw him with a friend…or ever being friendly with those around him. While others had pleasant conversations and shared personal things with each other, the old man sat alone, without a friend. How sad.
But while true friendship is measured by more than “hellos” and conversations, some people have no friends because they will let no one get close to them.
As the writer of Proverbs observes, A man that hath friends must show himself friendly: and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother (Proverbs 18:24).
One must be a friend to others to have friends who will share fellowship and companionship in return. And this is an important part of life. But even if earthly friends do fail in times of trouble, we can be secure in knowing that we can have a friend who will stick closer than a brother, in good times and bad.
We know we can count on Him because He has said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee (Hebrews 13:5).
When we have such a Friend, why don’t we rely on Him more? In the words of the grand old gospel song, “What a Friend We Have in Jesus,”
Oh, what peace we often forfeit.
Oh, what needless pain we bear,
All because we do not carry
Everything to God in prayer.
I don’t think I’ll ever forget the old man in the cafe, scrimping by on one meal a day, when he could have had anything on the menu, anytime he wanted it. Yet he’d order “Just a cup of coffee, please” and ask for free refills. How tragic to see a multimillionaire going hungry.
But how much more tragic to have the riches of heaven at our disposal and go through life starving ourselves spiritually! Do you have a Bible? Of course, you do. Are you feasting daily on the abundant nourishment found there-or do you hurriedly pull out a single scripture card and glance at it before you dash out into the day?
Compare your biblical diet with Jeremiah’s. He said, Thy words were found, and I did eat them; and thy word was unto me the joy and rejoicing of mine heart: for I am called by thy name, O Lord God of hosts (Jeremiah 15:16).
Don’t settle for just a cup of coffee-eat heartily-even as the Apostle Peter admonished us to do in 1 Peter 2:2, stating: As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby. The psalmist concurs, saying, O taste and see that the Lord is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in him (Psalm 34:8).
I heard the story of a man whose dream was to go to America. For years he saved his money to buy passage on a ship. Finally he had just enough, with only a small amount left over.
He took part of the little money he had left and bought some bread and cheese he could take on board. By careful rationing, he thought there would be just enough to last through the voyage.
So he set sail, glad to finally be going to the “promised land.” Other passengers were festive and happy, going into the ship’s dining room to eat wonderful meals, and strolling about the decks, laughing and having refreshments together.
The man would go to his little cabin at mealtime and eat stale bread and hard cheese.
But he had miscalculated the length of the voyage, and a few days before the ship was to arrive in New York harbor, he ran out of food. He drank water and did without for a day or so. Then he got so hungry he didn’t think he could last. So he scraped together all the money he had left-several coins-and went to a steward in the dining room.
“Excuse me, please,” he said. “Is this enough money to buy just a little bit to eat? I’ve run out of food and I’m very hungry.”
The steward said, “Sir, you do not need to pay extra to eat in the dining room. Your meals were paid for in the price of your ticket.”
I urge you to begin living up to your privileges in God. Jesus Christ paid for them in the price of your passage to heaven!
Blessing, gladness, satisfaction, goodness, and all other spiritual pleasures are yours. Happy is he that hath the God of Jacob for his help, whose hope is in the Lord his God (Psalm 146:5).
A CLASSIC MESSAGE OF HOPE FROM DR. JACK VAN IMPE
Daniel 3:21 – 23
Then these men were bound in their coats; their hosen, and their hats, and their other garments, and were cast into the midst of the burning fiery furnace
Therefore because the king’s commandment was urgent, and the furnace exceeding hot, the flame of the fire slew those men that took up Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego.
And these three men, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, fell down bound into the midst of the fiery furnace.
Think of the hottest steel plant furnace you have ever seen. Now imagine the temperature as seven times hotter-an increase of 700 percent. Anger often displays itself in overstatements, and Nebuchadnezzar was furious. A small fire would have sufficed. Heating the furnace twice as hot would have roasted these rebellious spirits, killing them ever so slowly. But true to his volatile nature, Nebuchadnezzar was determined to incinerate them, attempting to show the world that he was in charge. . . and that no God of Israel would be a match for his prowess. This would be one more graphic display of a king’s power-and a prediction of the earthly power of the Antichrist to come.
Can you feel the heat? But think also of this: Fire not only purifies gold, but it also gets rid of the dross-the flaws and the alien material that cling to the precious metal. That’s why gold is so valuable. It’s pure. Unadulterated. Free of foreign matter. It was the same that day when the three Hebrew children were shoved into the furnace. The dross-the “mighty” men of the kingdom commissioned by the king to do the terrible deed- were destroyed the moment they opened the fiery furnace door, while Daniel’s friends-wearing highly flammable clothing and bound head to foot-found themselves in for further purification of their lives.
Daniel 3: 24 – 27
Then Nebuchadnezzar the king was astonied, and rose up in haste, and spake, and said unto his counselors, Did not we cast three men bound into the midst of the fire? They answered and said unto the king, True O king.
He answered and said, Lo, I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire, and they have no hurt; and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God.
Then Nebuchadnezzar came near to the mouth of the burning fiery furnace, and spake, and said, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, ye servants of the most high God, come forth, and come hither. Then Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, came forth of the midst of the fire.
And the princes, governors, and captains, and the king’s counselors, being gathered together, saw these men, upon whose bodies the fire had no power, nor was an hair of their head singed, neither were their coats changed, nor the smell of fire had passed on them.
The Fourth Man in the Fire
Nebuchadnezzar didn’t retreat to his private quarters to wait for an official report on the demise of the three Hebrew children later in the day. He sat there in rapt attention, eagerly watching what his decree would do to anyone who refused to bow to his image. The king was not prepared for what he was about to encounter. Scripture says that he jumped up, astonished at what he saw.
As he did, he asked his high officials what was certainly a logical question: “Didn’t we just put three men into the furnace? Why then do I see four men-all unhurt? Are my eyes playing tricks on me? And look. . . no one is bound. Didn’t I see you tying them up? Then, why aren’t they on fire? This makes no sense. They’re still walking around as if nothing happened. But what’s really got me confused is that fourth man. Who is he? How did he get in there?”
Perhaps the most telling comment of all comes from the mouth of the king when he says, “the form of the fourth is like the Son of God” (3:25). A more accurate translation of what the king said would be “like a son of the gods.” The Babylonians believed that their gods had progeny, so Nebuchadnezzar was commenting on what he thought was a supernatural being in the fire-the fourth man-a son of one of the Babylonian deities. Still unwilling to admit that the one true God might be involved in this miracle, the king continues to credit pagan deities for this bewildering turn of events.
The King on a Losing Streak
Braving the intense heat, and now bewildered, Nebuchadnezzar approaches the furnace door and personally calls for Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego to come out, addressing them as “servants of the most high God.” Has the king come a step closer to believing in this God of the Hebrews? How many miracles-or dream interpretations- will it take for this stubborn king to see the light? It does appear that Nebuchadnezzar is becoming somewhat impressed with the power of the God of Israel-the God, he realizes, who has now overruled his decree, leaving these Jewish boys unscathed.
At this moment he must also be rethinking Daniel’s prophecy-the dream of the statue that would be pulverized by a rock and encompass the whole earth. The scoreboard in the furnace room now reads:
Three Hebrew Children-1
The king is on a losing streak. He does not know that the fourth person in the fire is the pre-incarnate Son of God, Jesus Christ. He does not know that Jesus has existed from all eternity-“from everlasting” (Micah 5:2)-and that He is “the mighty God” (Isaiah 9:6).
Jesus Will Never Leave Us
Jesus Christ is the “Son” from all eternity. So, therefore, it really is no surprise that He should appear as a protector of the three Hebrew children during their ordeal. Christ existed before He came to earth. He truly is from everlasting. He is God, the second member of the Trinity. But how did He appear in the fiery furnace, one asks? By a Christophany, an appearance of Jesus Christ occurring in the Old Testament.
And now we see Him, this time in the fiery furnace with three men who’d been faithful to their God. What is the message for you and me in this passage? Simply this: Whatever our trials may be, Jesus is always in our midst, administering comfort to us in our greatest hour of need. Hebrews 13:5 states: “I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.” That’s the message for you and me. We don’t have to go through our fiery furnaces alone. Jesus says, “I’ll go through them with you.”
Daniel 3:28 – 30
Then Nebuchadnezzar spake, and said, Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, who hath sent his angel, and delivered his servants that trusted in him, and have changed the king’s word, and yielded their bodies, that they might not serve nor worship and god, except their own God.
Therefore I make a decree, That every people, nations, and language, which speak any thing amiss against the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, shall be cut in pieces, and their houses shall be made a dunghill, because there is not other God that can deliver after this sort.
Then the king promoted Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, in the province of Babylon.
Here, again, God blesses those who are faithful to Him. The king has little choice but to praise God for delivering Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. He now admits that an angel- which can also be translated “deity”-was sent to deliver them from the furnace. Now King Nebuchadnezzar switches gears again, this time decreeing that anyone who speaks against the great God of Israel shall be cut to pieces, and their houses made into dunghills-a threat, you’ll remember, reserved earlier for the wise men and magicians who could not interpret his dream.
The Flaming Flame Will Not Be Quenched
Again, this is more than just a story. The deeper meaning of this passage-and of this entire chapter-is this: During the Tribulation period the false prophet will set up an image of the Antichrist and make people bow to it. If they do not worship the image, they will be put to death. During that same Tribulation period the entire world will become a fiery furnace. Psalm 97:3 says, “A fire goeth before him.” Ezekiel 20:47 reads, “The flaming flame shall not be quenched.” Zephaniah 1:18 tells us, “The whole land shall be devoured by the fire of his jealousy.” Malachi 4:1 reads, “The day cometh that shall burn as an oven.”
The Great Tribulation is going to be a horrendous time for earth’s inhabitants. But remember . . the three Hebrew children went through their fiery trial unscathed. Their clothes were left intact, and not even a hair on their heads was singed. There was no smell of fire or smoke on their bodies-all a dramatic picture of the remnant of Jews who are going to be spared during the Tribulation hour as well as millions of newly converted Christians. God always has, and always will, have a way of protecting His own. There is a terrible time coming. Jeremiah 30:7 says,
“Alas! for that day is great, so that none is like it: it is even the time of Jacob’s trouble; but he shall be saved out of it.”
That’s the good news. In Daniel 12:1 we also read:
“There shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time: and at that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book.”
Yes, this will be a time of great difficulty for the Jews. But there are also two great statements of encouragement: “they shall be saved out of it” and “thy people shall be delivered.” Jesus said in Matthew 24:22,
“And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened.”
This is a key verse because of the word elect. Some Christians believe the Church will be compelled to endure the Tribulation hour because the elect are present. But it’s important to determine which group of “elect” God has in mind. The elect group mentioned here is that group meeting on the Sabbath day, in synagogues, and fleeing from Judea to the mountains of Petra. This cannot be a reference to Christians, but rather to the Jewish elect, referred to in Isaiah 42:1, 45:4, 65:9, and 65:22. Yahweh is speaking here about His wife Israel. They are going to be spared the wrath of the Tribulation period, and this is what the Hebrew children represent and, essentially, what the entire chapter portrays.
Now, as we move on to chapter four of the Book of Daniel, will we continue to encounter a hostile, volatile King Nebuchadnezzar? Or will we begin to see some permanent changes in his attitude toward Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego and to the one whom he now admits to be the true God? I think you’ll be amazed-not only at how the drama unfolds, but how chapter four takes us another step closer to the further unsealing of final end-time mysteries.
CHANGED LIVES-one at a time
Thank you, Rexella-I’ve never had the Holy Spirit described as clearly as in your newsletter this week. Thank you so much, my husband passed away in Sept and now I know he will be safe with God’s Holy Spirit living in him, until we are rejoined in the future, when Jesus comes and gathers us believers to be with Him forever. You are such a blessing, I hope to meet you then and Jack also. He was always an inspiration to both of us.
HIGHLIGHTED MINISTRY OFFERS
Where is GOD when we suffer?
Faced with mass suffering, we may wonder whether God actually cares about us or whether He just says that He does.
Pandemics, Plagues, and Natural Disasters What Is God Saying to Us? helps explain the role of God in suffering. Pastor Erwin Lutzer examines how God uses tragedies throughout the Bible to speak directly to His people. Learn how God always has our well-being in mind — even when He doesn’t relieve the immediate pains of this world. And perhaps most importantly, pastor Lutzer will help you find lasting joy and relief by showing how times of such widespread trouble ultimately reveal God’s everlasting plans for our salvation from all temporary and eternal suffering.
Prophecy experts Drs. Jack and Rexella Van Impe lay out the evidence that YOU are part of the Rapture generation — the people who will see the coming of Christ and be caught up to meet Him in the air!
In this power-packed teaching, you’ll get answers to critical questions such as:
- What does Armageddon really mean?
- What do recent natural disasters have to do with Jesus’ prophecies of the latter days?
- What are some examples of recent Islamic terrorist attacks?
- What does this have to do with their obeying the Koran?
- Could this be the year that the Lord will return? What are the signs?
- What does the Bible say about terrorism being one of the major signs before the Lord comes back?
- And Many More!