Weekly Newsletter – May 11, 2015
FROM THE HEART OF DR. REXELLA VAN IMPE
How could I ever find words to adequately express the great blessing of having a godly mother? Not only did this remarkable woman endue me with life, but also through her living introduced me to my heavenly Father. She was my first connection with God.
Perhaps the Bible best describes her in Proverbs 31:28, 29—Her children arise up, and call her blessed…Many daughters have done virtuously, but thou excellest them all. I can truthfully say that out of all the many fine women in the world whom I have known, my mother, Esther Shelton, was by far the best of them all.
My earliest recollection of anything is of being in my mother’s arms and hearing her singing. Mom used to sing continually—it was a joy for her. She sang as she ministered to my brothers and me. She sang as she did her housework. In the kitchen, especially, she was singing…joyful music, always about the Lord. Whether she was happy or had a heavy heart, she always had joy that came out in her singing.
So since the passing of my dear mom to her eternal home a couple of years ago, I’ve been trying to adjust to a world that seems a bit empty now because of the absence of her physical presence. Her earthly song has ended…but the melody lingers on.
Accepting Mother’s home going has required letting go of a little of the spiritual part of myself. There is a vacancy inside me that the Lord is filling up with blessed memories…and the comfort of His presence.
Mother’s influence continues
Not only did Mom’s life bless my brothers and me and the rest of the family, but she also had a profound and far-reaching influence on so many others. Since my husband, Jack, mentioned at the end of one of our weekly telecasts that she had gone home to be with the Lord, I’ve received a multitude of beautiful cards, notes, and letters from my mother’s friends all over the country.
People wrote such loving tributes—”She was a great woman of God.” “She was my best friend—the one I could always confide in.” “Esther met my need when I had no one else to turn to.” “My memories of her are nothing but precious!” “I shall never know anyone like her again.”
Mom had a stroke and was only in the hospital for a little more than two weeks before she died. She had been living in an assisted living center that she had chosen as a place to minister. She not only knew the name of every person in the place, but she also knew each individual’s burden and prayer requests.
Two days after Mom had the stroke, a worker from the assisted living center came to the hospital and asked, “Could I please see Esther?”
I said, “Yes, she can still communicate, and I’m sure she’d love to see you.”
She came into the room and said, “Esther, I had to come to see you,” and she started weeping. Through her tears, she told how five months earlier God had led her to go to work at the center where my mother lived. “Just a few weeks later,” she said, “you led me back to the Lord!” (Interestingly enough, this lady was the daughter of the pastor who led Jack Van Impe to the Lord many years ago!)
Others from the living center also came to visit my mother in the hospital. The lady in charge of all the activities sat beside the bed and held Mom’s hand. “Esther, you were a blessing to all of us,” she said. And Mother just smiled.
One of the ladies who used to sit at Mom’s table at mealtime came and said, “Esther, everyone loves you! Everyone will miss you!” The couple who conducted the morning service at the living center on Sunday came to visit, and told me, “We’re going to miss your mother so much. She’s the one who got everyone together for the service, and she would always close in prayer.”
Mother had chosen the assisted living facility close to our International Ministry Headquarters. Some of our ladies would often join Mother for lunch. Oh, how she loved having them – not just for the lunchtime, but for the fellowship in the Lord. I remember thanking our ladies for taking the time to be with Mother, but in unison they said, “Oh, we have received the blessing by being with her.”
Almost exactly a year before Mother’s promotion to heaven, her friends at the living center voted her their queen for Valentine’s Day. They presented her with a crown that she wore for the day, and took her picture and put it in a frame that was engraved “Queen Esther.”
I couldn’t help but smile at that—Queen Esther! But in many ways her friends’ tribute is so apropos. There are many apt comparisons between the lives of my mom and Queen Esther in the Bible.
The beauty of a queen!
First of all, both of them had great physical beauty. The Jewish maiden, Esther, undoubtedly was strikingly beautiful to have been selected as queen to the ungodly king of Persia. My mother was also extremely attractive, with a regal bearing. She had gorgeous platinum-gray hair, a lovely complexion, clear blue eyes that could look deep within a person, and a magnetic smile that drew people to her.
Often when I’d take Mother out to lunch or Jack and I would take her to dinner, total strangers would walk up to the table and say to her, “You are so beautiful!” She would graciously acknowledge the compliment, and then quickly change the subject.
As I was growing up, my mom always taught me that inward beauty was much more important than outward appearance. When I was about 14 years old, I went through an awkward stage. I was tall and thin—five foot five, as tall as I am now!
I went into my mother’s bedroom one day and said, “Oh, Mom, look at me. My skin isn’t clear, my teeth aren’t quite right, I’m taller than other girls—I’m just a mess!”
She smiled and patted my hand. “Beauty is as beauty does, Rexella. You’re going to turn out just fine—you’ll see! So for now, just concentrate on letting people see the real you…who you really are right now.” And she impressed on me the importance of inward beauty.
I am so thankful for my mother’s godly wisdom. One day, when I was a teenager, I went into her room and found her reading her Bible. I thought, This is a good time for me to confess something to her. So I knelt down beside her and said, “Mom, you told me not to do this thing, but I did.”
“Oh, Rexella,” she said gently, “when did you do that?”
With tears streaming down my face, I replied, “About three months ago!”
“Oh, honey,” she said, “I’m so sorry you had to bear that all alone for three months.”
That’s the kind of wisdom she had. I have so many rich memories of our long talks, the godly advice she shared, the unique phrases I never heard anyone else say but her. She had tender and loving ways. She could comfort, correct, encourage, and offer support. No wonder everybody loved her.
Strength to endure
Queen Esther must have had great inner beauty and inner strength to help deliver her people, the captive Israelites, from the evil plans of those who wanted to destroy them. Truly, God had brought her to the kingdom for just such a time!
My mother, Esther, also had great courage and strength. My parents had some serious financial setbacks during their marriage. My father had to move north in order to find work. They went through very difficult times, and knew firsthand about poverty. But my mother was always there by his side, encouraging him, helping him. She never complained about money, and became an expert in making something from nothing. She managed to stay calm and collected, inwardly serene, through very trying circumstances.
During that time, Mom lost two children who died as infants—I have a brother and sister in heaven—but she never wavered. Her faith in God was steadfast and sure.
Mother had been converted at age 14. She was baptized and dedicated her life to the Lord’s service. She knew where she was going all of her life, and I never knew her to waver. I never saw her anxious or angry.
Oh, she could be firm, with strong convictions. But she got her point across without resorting to shouting or violence. She never yelled, and I never felt a slap. But by example, she taught me how to live and always to do the right thing.
Overcoming through resourcefulness
Esther the queen was a very resourceful woman. Although she lived in the palace of a cruel and powerful oriental despot, surrounded by evil men who were plotting to destroy all the Jews in the kingdom, she found a way to gain favor with her husband, the king. And she devised a way to counter the evil plot of her enemies and save her people.
My mother, Esther, was very resourceful too. Even with limited resources, she always seemed to find an answer to every problem and need. She could take little or nothing and make it into a wonderful dinner. She baked bread that was absolutely irresistible. And I never had to ask if I could bring a friend home to dinner. My brothers and I just brought our friends home, and they were always made to feel welcome. There was always room at our table.
In fact, one of the cards I received not long ago was from a high school friend who often experienced my mom’s hospitality. She wrote, “I remember your mother—what a blessing she was to me!”
My mother’s resourcefulness was an inspiration to me. When Jack and I got married, I joined him traveling in evangelism. It wasn’t easy. Although my husband had a strong call of God on his life and even then was especially anointed by the Holy Spirit, in the beginning years it was a struggle to get established and earn the respect of pastors and people. But because Mom had helped to prepare and train me for ministry by her words and example, I found courage and stamina deep within my heart that was a reflection of my mother.
Solving life’s problems…serving others
Like the beautiful queen of Bible times, my mother, Esther, was skilled at finding solutions and a place to be of service. As a lay person in a church of 1,500 people, she became the choir mother. She made sure the robes were clean and pressed, and she was there every Sunday morning to help everybody get ready.
When I would go out to sing—especially to do a solo—she was there to give me a hug and a pat and say, “God bless you.”
When the church had a visiting evangelist, Mother was the one who invited him over for dinner. And when missionaries came to town, there was always room for them at our house.
She was a great prayer warrior. One reason her pastor preached powerfully was that he had mother praying for him faithfully. One reason God blessed Jack and me in our ministry is because my mother prayed. Everyone counted on her to pray. She prayed a lot of people into the kingdom of God because she recognized that praying was a powerful ministry that she could have.
She was extraordinary in that she always had a word of comfort or encouragement for people in need. She would send out cards to the sick, make phone calls, and make pies. She extended herself to everyone—no one was left out.
That’s why I say that Mother was like Queen Esther who found a solution to overcome the sentence of death that evil men had decreed on her people, the Israelites. My mother could have been there. She would have devised a strategy. She would have created the banquet that Esther prepared. She would have invited just the right people, and she would have found the right opportunity to make her case and persist until she prevailed. I can say that with absolutely no reservation!
Esther Shelton always put everyone else’s needs and feelings ahead of her own. Very few times did I ever see my mother lying down in the daytime. She must have gotten tired and weary from her labor, but I never saw her stop for a nap. If I looked for her and found her in her bedroom, she’d always be praying or reading the Bible, but never sleeping! Mom was a truly wonderful person who demonstrated her faith by her good works (see James 2:18).
My legacy of love
Mother bestowed upon me the richest and most beautiful legacy that any daughter could have received. My memories of her have become a precious treasure. The faith she left with me links me with eternity and clothes me with peace.
Not long ago I picked up the New Testament she kept by her chair. Inside I came across a note she had written to Jack, her son-in-law. It said, “I wanted you to know that Daddy and I had our prayers answered. We wanted the best for our precious daughter, Rexella, and you are the one-in-a-million son-in-law we prayed for. Thank you, dear son, for being so sweet to our daughter. God bless you both as you look to the years ahead. We love you.”
I also found a page torn from one of her several devotional books—I just know she left it for me. The highlighted line said, “Death to the Christian means heaven, happiness, and Him!”
I never saw these notes before I found them in her New Testament. Mom left messages to my husband and me when she became aware that the Lord was going to take her, knowing that we would find them after she was gone. How resourceful is that? And how thoughtful!
The day before she went into a coma, I spent some time beside her bed at the hospital. When it was time to go, I said, “Mother, I won’t be here tomorrow because Jack and I will be in the TV studio all day.” She shook her head that she understood.
“You pray for me while I’m taping the TV program,” I said. Then, putting my face close to hers, I whispered, “Will you be praying tomorrow?” And she said, “Yes.”
Then I said, “I love you.”
And she softly replied, “I love you more!”
The next morning while I was at the studio, someone at the hospital called my brothers, Bob and Don, and said, “Mrs. Shelton is asking to see her sons.” Mom didn’t ask for me because she wanted me to be at my post, serving the Lord.
When Don got to Mom’s hospital room, he said, “Mama, you called for me, so it must be really important.”
She smiled tenderly and said, “Yes, son, I want to go home.”
Then my brother, Bob, walked in and sensed what was happening. “Oh, Mama,” he cried, “you’re going to go home. You’re going to see the Lord, you’re going to see Daddy, and you’re going to see your mother and all the saints!”
And with all her remaining strength her face brightened at the thought and she replied, “UH-HUH!” She was expressing, “Oh, yes, that’s my choice!”
So her last words to her children were—”I love you more.” “I want to go home.” “UH-HUH!”
And in a little while, with no pain or struggle, she quietly slipped away to be with Jesus and her loved ones in heaven.
Mother’s doctor, Kathleen Norton, who cared for her the last twelve years, came to the viewing at the funeral home. I said to her, “Doctor, Mother is going to have a big crowd of welcomers in heaven!”
“Oh, Rexella,” she said, “Esther has been such a blessing to so many that when I get there, if I stand behind her, God won’t even see me!”
Mom’s funeral was a day of remembrance, a time of celebration and rejoicing, filled with flowers, friends, and beauty. I kept envisioning her arrival on the other side, with the Lord reaching out His hand and saying, “Welcome home.”
I certainly can identify with the songwriter who penned the poignant words—”Heaven seems nearer since Mother is there!” Now, more than ever, I know I want to go to heaven when this life is through.
A CLASSIC MESSAGE OF HOPE FROM DR. JACK VAN IMPE
We want to continue our study this week dealing with the coming peace in Israel and the world.
Peace in the Animal World
Even the animal world will be at peace with man. Both Jews and Christians knew the terrifying experience of fighting lions to entertain the Romans. During the reign of the Prince of Peace, the enmity between men and animals will be removed, creating conditions similar to those that prevailed before the Fall:
The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them. And the cow and the bear shall feed; their young ones shall lie down together: and the lion shall eat straw like the ox. And the sucking child shall play on the hole of the asp, and the weaned child shall put his hand on the cockatrice’ den (Isaiah 11:6 — 8).
The Millennium will bring economic peace. Because of their business ability, the Jews have been the scapegoat for the economic ills of many nations. Their success has given birth to envy and their skill in handling money has often brought them grief. Hitler’s excuse for the holocaust was in large part the claim that the Jews had monopolized the wealth of Germany. Few have recognized Jewish prosperity as the fulfillment of God’s promise to Abraham as recorded in Genesis 12:1 — 3.
The kingdom of Christ will sweep away all economic conflict and will provide fair and enjoyable working conditions. Strikes by workers and oppression by employers will be unknown. Food will be plentiful and there will be sufficient housing for all:
And they shall build houses, and inhabit them; and they shall plant vineyards, and eat the fruit of them. They shall not build, and another inhabit; they shall not plant, and another eat: for as the days of a tree are the days of my people, and mine elect shall long enjoy the work of their hands. They shall not labour in vain, nor bring forth for trouble; for they are the seed of the blessed of the LORD, and their offspring with them (Isaiah 65:21 — 23).
There will be religious peace during the Millennium. The depravity of man is demonstrated in his countless cults and fighting factions among those who claim to be the people of God. Jewish blood flowed in the Rhine Valley from the swords of zealous Crusaders who t hought their killing was in the will of God. The Spanish Inquisition preyed on both Jews and Christians in the name of the church. Religious persecution has come from religious rulers as often as from atheists in power.
The kingdom of Christ will find Jews and Gentiles worshipping the Lord together. There will be no mistake about the identity of the Messiah and Savior. He will be known as the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, and all people will praise and honor Him:
They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain: for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea. And in that day there shall be a root of Jesse, which shall stand for an ensign of the people; to it shall the Gentiles seek: and his rest shall be glorious (Isaiah 11:9,10).
And in that day shall ye say, Praise the Lord, call upon his name, declare his doings among the people, make mention that his name is exalted (Isaiah 12:4).
The Jews will experience peace with God in the coming kingdom. Scattered and chastised for generations, these troubled people have wandered and wept, not knowing that peace with God lay but a step of faith away. Their brother Paul had written: “Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” (Romans 5:1). He longed for them to know the peace he had found in Christ. Most missed it then, but there is a Jewish revival in the future:
For I will take you from among the heathen, and gather you out of all countries, and will bring you into your own land. Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you. A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them (Ezekiel 36:24 — 27).
Peace in Their Own Land
Finally, in Christ’s coming kingdom, the Jews will be at peace in their own land. It will have been a long journey. The promise of this Jewish homeland was first given to Abraham (Genesis 12:1 — 3), and it has echoed through the centuries. Sometimes the Jews have embraced it and possessed their land. Heroes like Moses, Joshua, and David each had their day in approaching, conquering, or ruling that promised property. Too often their descendents have been disobedient and have suffered defeat and captivity as a result.
The return of the Jews to their land was painful and full of dangers. Their survival in the face of almost certain annihilation must be called miraculous.
Hungry for peace and security, they will make an agreement with the treacherous final world dictator, the Antichrist that will promise protection and tranquility. The treaty will be broken after three and one-half years. And the forty-two months that follow will decimate their land, destroying the fruit of their long labors.
Still, peace will come to Israel. The promise of the prophets will be fulfilled. The Jews will yet dwell in peace in the land of their fathers:
And ye shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers; and ye shall be my people, and I will be your God (Ezekiel 36:28).
And I will plant them upon their land, and they shall no more be pulled up out of their land which I have given them, saith the Lord thy God (Amos 9:15).
Apart from prophetic revelation, one might doubt that lasting peace in the Middle East will ever be more than a Jewish dream. But the Bible is clear: Although born in war and beset by continued threats of destruction, Israel is bound for peace.
When Christ rules there as King. He is the source of peace in any life or land, and He is the One to know and trust in these perplexing hours of closing time.
How to find Peace with God
The Jews have waited long for peace in their land, and it will come to Israel. But a greater peace is promised by the prophets-individual peace with God.
Isaiah wrote of that peace in his prophecy of the death of Christ: “But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed” (Isa. 53:5).
People lack peace with God because sin separates them from Him. In recognition of this, for centuries Jews offered animal sacrifices to atone for their sins. Each sacrifice looked forward to the day when all sins would be paid for by the coming Savior: “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all” (Isa. 53:6).
John the Baptist said of Jesus: “. . . Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world” (John 1:29).
Now full payment for sin has been made. The death of Christ on the cross fulfilled all the righteous demands of the law. Forgiveness for sin is available: “. . . the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin” (1 John 1:7).
Do you want to have peace with God? It can be yours through faith in Jesus Christ: “Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” (Rom. 5:1).
To take Jesus Christ by faith is to turn from your sin (repent) and place all trust (confidence, belief) in Him as your personal Savior and Lord.
Now it is time to act on this truth. Here is a prayer to guide you:
“Dear Lord Jesus, I come to you just as I am, a sinner. I turn from my sin to you. I now take you by faith as my own Savior and Lord. I trust you to save me and guide me in the Christian life. In your name, amen!”
Repeating a prayer does not bring peace with God. But heartfelt faith in Christ does: “With the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation” (Rom. 10:10).
Think carefully about the words of the prayer above. Are they an expression of genuine faith in your heart?
If so, you now have peace with God.
Thank Him for His peace and salvation.
CHANGED LIVES-one at a time
Just wanted to say thank you for your uncompromising word about our savior and telling it the way it is. You have been the cause of thousands coming to Christ and the lord has a Great reward for you @ Rexella.
I have listened to you on and off since the 70s and to be honest at times I thought what you said would never happen but as time went on I HAVE SEEN NEARLY EVERY THING YOU SAID COME TO PAST.I do not think the lord is finished with you yet we need you to tell the truth as most want. Thank you for all you do and have done.
Dear Dr. Van Impe,
I thank God for you and your teachings. I first saw you many many years ago when you came to Montgomery, Al. I was a very young man then, and I am now 63. The years, which at times seemed to pass so slowly, have vanished like dust in the wind. Your program has truly been a blessing. With all this world is going through, I know that My God is in control. As a follower of Christ, why would I expect things to be any different? We can’t pray come lord quickly and then question the very things his word tells us will happen. Because of your teachings, I have learned to search God’s word and trust solely in him. I pray that the Lord will allow you to be a part of the rapture because this will allow you to be hard at work for him till his bride is called home. Never get discouraged, as just like me, there are multitudes still seeking someone to show them the way. You and Rexella are providing that light in this time of darkness. May God bless you and keep you.
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For anyone who has ever lost a beloved pet, Dr. Jack and Rexella Van Impe have good news! You will see your furry or feathered friends again – in heaven! Explore this exciting truth taught by twelve of the greatest Christian theologians.
You will see and hear the exact spine-tingling statements from the pens of men like Dr. John Walvoord, Dr. Billy Graham, Dr. J. Vernon McGee, Dr. John Calvin and many others. This video study deals with animal intelligence, animal communication, and how animals literally teach humans some valuable lessons.
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