Weekly Newsletter – May 15, 2023
FROM THE HEART OF DR. REXELLA VAN IMPE
Dealing With Depression
In the late nineteenth century, a man suffering from deep depression went to see a London psychiatrist. For two hours, he poured out his soul, trying desperately to explain the sense of futility that overwhelmed him. He hoped fervently that as he talked, his feeling of emptiness and desperation would somehow depart from him along with his words. He described his drained emotions and state of constant turmoil, begging the psychiatrist to say or do something that would release him from his misery and bondage.
The psychiatrist listened knowingly. He had heard the same story many times before. In fact, he shared many of the same feelings himself but passed them off as hazards of his profession. “I am going to prescribe a rather unorthodox remedy for you,” he told the man. “I want you to visit the circus.”
The man looked up inquisitively.
“You need to laugh,” the psychiatrist continued, “and the circus is the best place to do that.”
“I don’t really think that will help me- ” the man began.
“Nonsense!” the doctor interrupted. “I went there myself recently. The whole experience was like a tonic to me.”
“But you see–“
“There is one particularly humorous fellow playing there-Grimaldi, the clown. Surely you’ve heard of him.”
“Oh yes, but-“
“Why, he can make anyone laugh, and I promise it will do you much good to see him.” The psychiatrist looked at his patient, whose sad eyes were beginning to form large tears.
“You don’t understand,” the man said.
“Of course, I do,” replied the psychiatrist. “I’ve just spent two hours listening to you. You’re suffering from depression. You could use something to make you laugh. Go see this fellow, Grimaldi.”
“I am trying to tell you, sir. I am Grimaldi. Those antics you see are only a performance. That smile is painted on! Inside I am a miserable, empty man.”
When success is not enough
The world is filled with miserable, empty, depressed people. Literally millions of Americans attempt suicide each year, playing out their dissatisfaction to its ultimate conclusion. (We’ve talked about this earlier.) The statistics are shocking. Suicide is prevalent in every age group and social class but occurs more frequently in the upper-income brackets than in any other social stratum. Clearly, satisfaction cannot be guaranteed by money, prestige, fame, or even youth.
The shifting sands of popular opinion will never provide inner stability. Imagine how you would feel if you were depending on the world’s acclaim to ensure your feelings of well-being as an actor and you read in the latest TV Guide that you were “too old, too tall, and too fat” for a certain part. Of one actress in a widely hailed television special it was written that she was “lazy” and “relying on primitive skills.” That could deflate one’s ego incredibly fast.
If your whole idea of satisfaction and happiness in this troubled world was linked to your performance (or whatever your given role in the world), this type of criticism could send you into an emotional tailspin. It happens all the time. It accounts in part, researchers tell us, for the growing rate of suicides among businessmen and women. Suicide among artists and writers is quite common, and executive suicides are on the increase. Dentists lead all professions in killing themselves, followed closely by psychiatrists. And doctors are also becoming suicidal with increasing frequency. What leads successful people such as these to this kind of demise?
Dr. Herbert Klemme, director of the Division of Industrial Mental Health at the Menninger Foundation, has suggested that as a person reaches the crest of life, after age 35 or so, he begins to struggle with the inevitability of his own death. He has to revise his life goals in terms of what is still possible to do. He has to be more realistic and may have to settle for a little less than he had hoped to achieve. For the person who is not reaching the goals he has set himself, the efforts can be unsettling or even devastating.
Intensely driven individuals are often very ambitious and have immense ego ideal aspirations. Oftentimes they find it difficult to relax and may have an almost total lack of a sense of humor. Living under this driving pressure to succeed, they have little optimism and easily despair.
Why is depression such a pervasive force in contemporary society? Why do so many who seem to have all they could want choose to end their own lives? Why is it that with all the technological advances of the past generation, depression and dissatisfaction continue to rule the hearts and minds of the vast majority?
The answer is clear-the source of real satisfaction and overcoming depression is a strong, abiding, personal relationship with a loving and merciful heavenly Father. No technology every developed, no amount of money, no amount of recognition or prestige, no device or drug designed by man can ever take the place of knowing God. I am convinced that much of the depression among people in our society is directly traceable to a deep spiritual void in their lives-a void that only the Lord himself can fill. The philosopher Pascal called it “a God-shaped vacuum in every man.”
How to receive your heart’s desires
Psalm 37 is a rich passage of Scripture, written by David during a time when he was struggling with depression. He wrote:
Delight thyself also in the Lord; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart. Commit thy way unto the Lord; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass (verses 4, 5).
Contained in those short phrases is the answer to depression-Delight thyself…in the Lord. They also reveal a wonderful promise that deals with the challenge of dissatisfaction-He shall give thee the desires of thine heart.
What does it mean to delight yourself in the Lord? Simply to turn your focus away from yourself, or, in the words of the apostle Paul, Set your affection of things above, not on things on the earth (Colossians 3:2). It means to make your relationship with God the central issue in your life-to desire to know Him, fellowship with Him, and live for His glory more than anything else.
I believe there is a dual meaning to the promise that God will give us our hearts’ desires. First, it means that He will fulfill our deepest longings-not the desires we have for things, but our desire for spiritual wholeness. Every human being, whether he is aware of it or not, has deep spiritual needs, and only God can satisfy them. He does that for those who delight themselves in Him.
The promise also means that God will place new desires and aspirations in our hearts. When He makes us spiritually whole, He gives us new priorities, new values-new desires. He gives us holy desires, desires for spiritual blessings, desires that only He can fulfill. And He delights in fulfilling them.
Sometimes, an experience is so dramatic and poignant that I am reminded anew of how amazing God’s love for us really is, and how wonderfully timely His grace is to those who need it most. Such an incident occurred one night several years ago in Grand Rapids, Michigan. We were conducting a citywide meeting there, and I was on the platform prior to the service getting the music ready. Suddenly, I noticed one of our counselors motioning that he would like to speak to me. He seemed to have something urgent to say, so I started a tape of background music and turned my attention to him.
“My wife and I were on our way to the service, when we saw a young woman jump from the bridge near the auditorium,” he told me breathlessly. “We rushed to the edge of the river and saw that she was struggling to get out of the water.”
My heart was pounding as I listened. He continued, “She made her way up to the shore, and my wife held her in her arms while I ran and phoned for an ambulance. By the time I had returned, my wife had told her about God’s love for her and Jesus’ death on the cross for people just like her.” The man told me that there, beside what could have been her watery grave; she found everlasting life by trusting Christ.
God’s timing was perfect. Not only did that couple arrive at the bridge just in time to save the woman’s life, but according to God’s perfect plan, they were able to give her something to live for as well. The salvation she received that night was not only salvation from a watery grave, but also salvation from an eternity apart from God.
Depression and dissatisfaction are not necessarily limited to those who do not know the Lord or who are walking out of His will. Interestingly, the great prophet Elijah also encountered this problem. Even more amazing is the fact that Elijah’s depression hit him just after a great spiritual victory. In 1 Kings 18, we see Elijah winning a great contest against the prophets of Baal. God was vindicated, and the false prophets were destroyed. Yet in chapter 19, just days after this victory, we find Elijah pleading with God to take his life.
Part of Elijah’s problem, I’m sure, was that he was physically and emotionally exhausted. Therefore, the first thing God did was allow him to eat, sleep, and regain his strength (verses 4-9). Then, God spoke to him, listened to his complaints, encouraged him, and sent him right back to work! We can learn much from Elijah’s battle with depression.
Physical causes for depression
First, depression may have a physical cause. Beware-Satan loves to take advantage of us when we become physically exhausted. Therefore, we should take time daily to exercise, rest, and guard our health by eating properly. I interviewed Judy McFarland twice-Judy and her mother Gladys Lindberg co-authored the book, Take Charge of Your Health. She helped me understand the relationship between good physical health and good mental and emotional health. It’s terribly important. God has equipped our bodies with a wonderful healing system capable of handling almost any condition-provided it is given the nutritional support it needs. Judy says one essential fact must be understood if people are to maintain physical and emotional health-the state of their nutrition directly influences their bio-chemistry and their immunological system. There are many misunderstood health problems that go misdiagnosed because a lot of medical people still refuse to recognize the correlation between nutrition and health.
I’m glad that Jack and I recognized this long ago. Both of us enjoy to exercise regularly. And we know that the stress and wear and tear on our bodies caused by the kind of lives most of us lead today necessitates that we eat properly. Also, because there are so many contaminants in the environment and in the foods we all consume that we urge people to pay attention to well-informed people like Judy and her mother Gladys Lindberg (highly respected nutritionists living on the West Coast). When we take care of our bodies we are cooperating with the Creator. There is much said in the Bible on this important subject.
Spiritual causes of depression
Second, you may be attempting to wage the battle of life totally in the flesh, leaving God, His providence, and His power out of the picture. All of us must guard against running counter to or ahead of the Lord. I have long cherished and drawn comfort from the blessed promise contained in Proverbs 3:5, 6-Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.
Yes, we must allow Him to do the leading, and as we follow, refusing to be discouraged by fear or failure, we will find we can handle the stressful situations that come into our lives that might otherwise leave us depressed and overwhelmed.
Those who know the Lord should be the most satisfied in all the world. This isn’t always the case, however, and sadly, is a poor commentary on our relationship to the very One who provides help and hope. I think it has a lot to do with the fact that we don’t want to admit that these “black nights of the soul” do come to us, and when they do we fail to turn to the Lord, committing our way to Him, trusting Him, and acknowledging that we need His help and direction.
Go to the top for help
Third, and finally, once you have recognized that you have a problem, don’t give up and simply drown in your depression. Realize that you need help, consider the causes, and then begin looking for answers.
If the problem is physical, get medical help immediately.
If it is spiritual, take it to the Lord. Remember His compassionate invitation in Matthew 11:28, given to everyone-Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. If personal counseling is required, start with your pastor. Or if the problem seems to be unusually deep seated, see a Christian psychologist or psychiatrist.
Above all, don’t make the mistake of taking comfort in self-pity-of thinking that you are alone. Elijah did. He said, I, even I only, am left (1 Kings 19:10). But he was not really alone. God was on his side. Furthermore, God reminded him that there were seven thousand faithful people in Israel who had not bowed the knee to Baal-and they all were looking to Elijah for leadership! What an encouraging motivation to overcome disillusionment and depression.
Remember, somebody needs your help and leadership, too. You cannot afford to dwell in the pits of self-pity and depression. You must look beyond yourself, past your problems, to God who is greater than them all. His love for you is deep and unending, and if you trust Him-if you delight yourself in Him-He will give you the desires of your heart. That is His unfaltering promise.
A CLASSIC MESSAGE OF HOPE FROM DR. JACK VAN IMPE
The Plot Thickens – and Will Get Thicker
It is only within the last century that God has been unsealing the mysteries of this book and Daniel’s dream. While the significance of the first three beasts is relatively easy to interpret because of its solid basis in historical fact, the ten toes (Daniel 2:41-42, 44) and the ten horns (Daniel 7:7, 20, 24 and Revelation 12:3; 13:1; 17:3, 7, 12, 16) must now be addressed in some detail.
To do this, we need to go back to the year 1947 when Benelux came into power: Belgium, the Netherlands, and Luxembourg-the first three horns on the terrible fourth beast, and the first three nations of what presently comprises the European Union. In 1957, France, Italy, and Germany joined the confederation, making it six, with the Treaty of Rome ratifying this amalgamation. In 1973, Britain, Ireland, and Denmark joined for a total of nine. Then, on January 1, 1981, Greece joined the group to make it ten in number.
At this point many evangelicals were elated, making the assumption that all the members of the group had finally been assembled. However in Daniel 7:8, 20, and 24 we read that the confederation will grow to thirteen. This has already taken place: Numbers eleven and twelve who joined the EU were Spain and Portugal, coming into the confederation in 1986. Then with the arrival of Austria into the movement in 1996, the EU grew to thirteen.
But this is only the beginning. Eventually the fourth beast becomes a world empire-the New World Order, something we are already beginning to witness. Daniel 7:23 states that he shall devour (or engulf) the whole world. Revelation 13:7 adds:
“Power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations.”
No longer is this fulfillment of prophecy something you and I read about in the Book of Daniel alone, but it is also the subject matter for the correspondents and editors of the pages of your daily newspaper: Prophecy is being fulfilled in black and white each day for those who have eyes to see and ears to hear.
The Little Horn
Now let’s look at the “little horn” of Daniel 7:8. Who and what is it? What is its influence? Martin Luther said that this little horn is the New Testament Antichrist of the future, and I agree. This little horn’s appearance was not for an earlier period in history, but for the end time of Daniel 12:4. Why? Because this little horn-the Antichrist-arises at the last day out of this grouping of ten nations. Since the European Union is now in place, there is little question that the Antichrist can-and will-arise soon.
The Beast Speaks
Verse 11 says the little horn, or beast, speaks, and his words are great. This event takes place during the Tribulation hour when the little horn, the infamous Antichrist, finally arises and comes to power. Revelation 13:5 and 6 add,
“And there was given unto him a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies; and power was given unto him to continue forty and two months. And he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme his name, and his tabernacle, and them that dwell in heaven.”
The Antichrist blasphemes God almighty and eventually calls himself God, but at a great cost to this “beast” because Jesus Christ will destroy him with the brightness of His coming (2 Thessalonians 2:8). However, there is even more devastation ahead as the beast and the false prophet are cast into the lake of fire burning with fire and brimstone (Revelation 19:20). Furthermore, when Satan is cast into the lake of fire one thousand years later, the beast and the false prophet are still in existence-proving that the fires of hell do not annihilate anyone, as some cults teach (Revelation 20:10).
And what about the other beasts in Daniel’s dream? When do they have their dominion taken from them? This is a fascinating question, and an important one. The Medes and the Persians destroyed Babylon; Greece destroyed the Medes and the Persians, and Rome destroyed Greece. Their kingdoms and powers were taken away. Yet, the passage tells us that they still exist because all their customs and cultures were passed on to each nation that conquered them, meaning they are all still with us in some way. Remember that the old Persian Empire is today’s Iran and Iraq. Would you not agree these two nations are still with us, continuing to create havoc in the area and around the world with their commitment to regional conflict and international terrorism?
The Son of Man and the Ancient of Days
In his dream, Daniel had a vision of one like the Son of Man coming with the clouds of heaven. This is none other than the Lord Jesus Christ. This prophecy is about to happen because the term Son of Man is definitely the Messiah and the Savior. Let’s investigate further. The term Son of Man is the precise one Jesus used repeatedly to describe Himself. Matthew 8:20 says,
“And Jesus saith unto him, The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head.”
Matthew 24:30 tells us,
“And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.”
Now the Ancient of Days-Yahweh-presents the kingdom to His Son, Jesus Christ. This is the moment when the stone cut out without hands smashes the feet of the image in Daniel 2:45. This announces the return of Christ because He is the stone or rock (1 Corinthians 10:4). Then comes the tremendous battle we read about in Revelation 19 when Christ comes on a white horse (v. 11) and the armies of heaven follow Him (v. 14). Verse 19 says,
“And I saw the beast [the Antichrist, the little horn], and the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against him [Jesus] that sat on the horse, and against his army.”
But they do not prevail. This is the time when the prophecy of the stone smashing the feet of the image is fulfilled. It’s all over for the world powers at this point because Jesus Christ has arrived to set up His Kingdom. However, as the Lord appears, the armies of the revived Roman Empire attempt to stop the King of Kings and Lord of Lords (Revelation 19:19-21). Psalm 2:1-6 pictures this final battle:
Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing? The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD, and against his anointed, saying, Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us. He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh: the LORD shall have them in derision. Then shall he speak unto them in his wrath, and vex them in his sore displeasure. Yet have I set my king upon my holy hill of Zion.
This will be the great climax, that moment in history when Gentile dominion ends, and when Jesus Christ is seated on the throne of David. Luke 1:32-33 says, “He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end.” After the thousand-year reign of Christ, the earth is purged and Christ is recommissioned and rules eternally upon earth (1 Corinthians 15:24-28). That’s why Ephesians 3:21 adds, “Unto Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.”
We will continue our study next week with Daniel’s response to the vision.
CHANGED LIVES-one at a time
I realize that brother Jack Van Impe has gone home to be with the Lord – but I wanted to take a minute to say that he is truly a hero of the faith. I have gained so much from the ministry. In fact, your ministry has been a huge inspiration to my own ministry. About a year and a half ago the spirit of God told me to begin teaching on Bible prophecy – since then He has done great things, my YouTube channel has completely taken off and I have nearly 20K subscribers and am still growing.
I want nothing – I am asking for nothing – I just thought you would like to know that your lives have made a massive impact in mine…
Thank you both for all that you have done for the kingdom of God!!!
Dr. Mikel C.
I’m writing to thank you for the video ‘Terrorism Accelerating.’ You asked me to let you know my thoughts on it, so I’m just going to say it’s another great video from you and the JVIM team. It’s a difficult subject to cover without getting really ugly and graphic, but you showed enough for the viewers to understand the magnitude of the problem. It’s not going away anytime soon, not until our Lord Jesus returns at the end of the tribulation and that’s at least seven years from now.
Hallelujah, Shalom, Maranatha,
Love, Grace and Peace,
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The headlines are ominous and threatening. New extremist groups appear on the world stage daily — more violent and deadly than their predecessors.
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Where does it fit into these latter days?
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