Weekly Newsletter – October 16, 2023
FROM THE HEART OF DR. REXELLA VAN IMPE
IS YOUR MARRIAGE BEWILDERING?
Someone once told me that he thought it must have been an effort to be friendly toward and act genuinely interested in the 250 guests I interviewed. I replied that it was not an act with me-I thoroughly enjoyed meeting these amazing people and listening to their fascinating accounts. I had the privilege of interviewing well-known personalities-people who touched lives through politics, the sciences, the arts, and literature.
One of the most memorable authors I interviewed was Florence Littauer, who gave a fascinating account of her wedding. Like most young ladies, Florence had long dreamed of the day she would be married. She was employed as a high school drama teacher when she became engaged to a wonderful young man, so she decided to let her pupils participate in planning and arranging some of the details of her wedding. “Everybody worked,” she told me. “We had the auto shop boys find a white Cadillac; the wood shop boys made scepters for the bridesmaids; and, of course, I was the queen. My students wrote to Life Magazine suggesting that they come and cover their teacher’s wedding.
Both Florence and her students were surprised when reporters and photographers from Life actually appeared. For weeks they followed Florence around taking notes and pictures. The wedding was a dream come true, and being chosen by the magazine as “Bride of the Year” only made it better.
But, Florence told me, her marriage that began with so much fanfare soon ran into serious trouble. Only with the Lord’s help, much prayer, and a great deal of growth in the lives of her husband and herself was the couple able to overcome the weaknesses in their crumbling marriage and rebuild it stronger than ever. Out of the experience, Florence wrote a book, appropriately titled, After Every Wedding Comes a Marriage.
Based on her experiences, as well as my own, I am focusing this newsletter on the special ingredients that are vital to a successful and happy marriage.
In counseling couples with marital problems, I’ve found that dissatisfaction often seems to center in family life. For example, a husband who undergoes unusual stress at work frequently transmits that stress to his relationship with his wife. Likewise, a wife who is dissatisfied may shower her feelings of depression and resentment on her husband. Consequently, one of the first casualties of dissatisfaction is often the marriage.
I believe the quality of one’s love is a barometer of the state of the marriage. When the marital “love level” (I especially like this term) declines, coldness in the relationship sets in. Wives, your husbands are the last ones who should bear the brunt of your baffled feelings. Husbands, the same is true of your wives. Why is it, then, that the ones we love most are often the first to feel the heat of our negative feelings? The last person with whom we should be short of temper is our spouse, and yet so often the opposite is true. In fact, a popular song from the past was titled, “You Always Hurt the One You Love,” as if that made everything all right.
Genuine love demands an unconditional commitment and requires a daily, conscious effort in order to grow stronger. Because this is especially true in the marriage relationship, those looking for an easy way out will not experience success in matrimony. I have advised many women that they must be willing to do whatever is necessary to make their marriage rewarding. “Work at it,” I tell them.
Some of the best advice I ever received came early in my own marriage-“Love your husband. It will put iron in his spine.”
I’ve made that my philosophy, and it has worked. Thus, I tell those who seek my help, “Love your mate when it’s easy, and love him when it’s not. Love him unconditionally.”
Unfeigned love, you see, begets more love because we are all responders. So as the partners commit themselves to showing love toward each other, the relationship blossoms and grows in strength and beauty.
Too many people view love as something that must be earned or deserved. Yet, love that is not unconditional is not really love at all. The essence of God’s divine nature is love-unconditional love. He loved us in spite of our shortcomings. In fact, He loved us so much that He sent His Son to die for us.
Don’t try to change your spouse
Too many people marry their spouses thinking that they can change the other person into someone more to their likes or dislikes. Florence Littauer told me that if this were possible, she and her husband, Fred, would have done it. “I set out to make Fred fun like me,” she said, “and Fred was determined to get me organized like him.” Her advice to those trying to change their partners-“it won’t work!” Disillusionment and discouragement are bound to be the result, and ultimately the marriage will flounder and may fail. A successful marriage cannot be built on unrealistic expectations.
Since real love is an unconditional commitment to the good of another, the attitude that seeks to change the other partner is often based on selfish motives. Selfishness and true love are incompatible. Being committed to the good of another involves making sacrifices, giving, and yielding-all without demanding repayment or reward.
Submitting youselves one to another
Ephesians 5:21, the doorway to the apostle Paul’s discussion about marriage and the family, speaks of submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God. Here, I believe, is the key to success in marriage. I know it works, for it has worked for Jack and me, and I’ve seen it work in many marriages. It can be summed up in a single word-submission. I am not speaking of some kind of self-abdication that makes a woman subservient to her husband, but a mutual biblical submission that makes a husband and wife partners together in life.
What this means is that the husband and wife should be more concerned about the desires, the preferences, and the needs of their spouse than they are with their own. The result of such an attitude is a relationship where nothing is demanded and nothing is expected. Rather, everything is given freely and received with gratitude and humility. Instead of yearning to be served, each yearns to serve-that is real love.
You can see how this kind of love cannot be damaged by unfulfilled expectations. It asks for nothing, it insists on nothing-it just gives. It is not manipulative, it is not suspicious, and it takes nothing for granted. I believe if we will strive to infuse that kind of love into our marriages, we can guarantee their success.
There is a deep satisfaction that comes with submitting ourselves one to another. In earlier days when Jack and I had very little materially, we were content just to be together. We never felt we needed money or houses or things to make our marriage better. Just enjoying each other was more than enough.
This remains true today. The Lord has blessed us in many ways, and yet our greatest enjoyment still comes from being together and enjoying each other’s presence. Although we both like to “get away from it all” each year, we do not limit our vacation plans to where I want to go or what Jack would like to do. Instead, we try to determine how we can spend our time together.
A few years ago, for example, we vacationed in Toronto. Rather than spending a lot of money on activities to keep us entertained, we took long walks together. In fact, we walked about ten miles a day, just talking, sharing, and spending time with each other. Jack indulges my appetite for art by browsing through a museum with me – he wants us to enjoy each day to the fullest. Our marriage is a partnership in which friendship, respect, affection, and the wonder of love all play key roles. We do not need external, artificial, or material things to make it work. Oh, I appreciate his thoughtful gifts (he never forgets a special day) but this is not the glue that holds us together.
We will continue this in our next newsletter.
A CLASSIC MESSAGE OF HOPE FROM DR. JACK VAN IMPE
For thou wilt not leave my soul in hell; neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption (Ps. 16:10). The apostles Peter and Paul both identify the above verse as a prophecy of the resurrection of Christ (Acts 2:27;13:35).
Jesus prophesied His resurrection and called it the sign of His deity. When questioned about His power to perform miracles and to minister with authority, He replied: “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up” (John 2:19).
The Savior openly announced His coming resurrection to His disciples (Matt. 16:21), but after His death the disciples seemed to forget that promise.
His enemies had better memories. They petitioned Pilate for a guard at the tomb. Attempts to prevent the resurrection were futile, however, and the security measures taken by unbelievers only added to the evidence that proved He arose. The tomb was empty in spite of the Roman guard placed there. And the resurrection of Jesus has become one of the best-attested facts of history.
The Destruction of Jerusalem
The rejection of the Messiah by the Jews brought Him untold suffering. But those who rejected and crucified Him also suffered. Foreseeing the sorrows that would come to those who chose unbelief, He wept and warned. Desperate days were ahead for His persecutors and He mourned over their coming calamities.
On the day of His triumphal entry into Jerusalem, on the day prophesied by Daniel in his vision of the seventy weeks, Jesus said through tears:
If thou hadst known, even thou, at least in this thy day, the things which belong unto thy peace! but now they are hid from thine eyes. For the days shall come upon thee, that thine enemies shall cast a trench before thee, and compass thee round, and keep thee in on every side, And shall lay thee even with the ground, and thy children within thee; and they shall not leave in thee one stone upon another; because thou knewest not the time of thy visitation (Luke 19:42-44).
As the time of His betrayal and crucifixion drew near, His warnings of coming destruction grew more intense:
And when ye shall see Jerusalem compassed with armies, then know that the desolation thereof is nigh. Then let them which are in Judea flee to the mountains; and let them which are in the midst of it depart out; and let not them that are in the countries enter thereinto. For these be the days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled. But woe to them that are with child, and to them that give suck, in those days! for there shall be great distress in the land, and wrath upon this people. And they shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations: and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled (Luke 21:20 — 24).
Israel had experienced chastisement for unbelief in the past. Because of their lack of faith and unwillingness to enter the land to which Moses had led them, they had wandered in the wilderness for forty years, permitting an entire generation to die. As a result of their disobedience and neglect of the commandments, they were taken captive by the Assyrians and the Babylonians. Now in the rejection of their Messiah they would secure their longest and most severe judgment. Jerusalem would be destroyed, the temple leveled, and the people scattered, killed, and made slaves. And the beginning of these sorrows would take place in the lifetime of those who shared in Jesus’ crucifixion.
Did it happen?
History is witness to the total fulfillment of this frightening prophecy.
In A.D. 66 the Jews revolted against Roman rule because of heavy taxation. They massacred the Roman garrison at Jerusalem, bringing the wrath of Rome upon them. The governor of Syria marched with his army against Jerusalem to bring the Jews into line but did not have enough men to put down the uprising and so did not attack. Instead, the city was put under siege.
The burning of Rome and the death of Nero prevented settling the problem for some time. The awful siege brought famine and chaos, but the Jews held out.
Finally, in A.D. 70, a Roman general named Vespasian was sent to take command of the army and put down the rebellion. However, at the death of Nero he was called back to Rome to be made the emperor and his son Titus was given charge of the army and assigned the task of taking Jerusalem.
When Titus and his army entered the city they were ruthless. Roman soldiers cut down all the trees in the area that were suitable for crucifixions and carried out hundreds of executions. Josephus the historian says that 1,100,000 Jews were slain and thousands of others taken into captivity. Many were sold as slaves and some were sent to be used as gladiators to fight wild beasts for the entertainment of those in Rome.
Titus had hoped to save the temple, but the Jews chose that location as their last point of resistance, perhaps hoping for the Messiah to come and deliver them in the final hour of struggle. During the battle, a Roman soldier set fire to the magnificent structure, bringing about its total destruction. Even the stones of the temple were pried apart in an effort to salvage precious metals that had melted between them.
Many years before this tragic hour, the Messiah of Israel had turned to speak to a group of weeping women who were following Him down the road to Calvary where He would be crucified. “Daughters of Jerusalem,” He said, “weep not for me, but weep for yourselves, and for your children.”
Now it was A.D. 70 and the weeping had begun.
A trail of tears would follow the Jewish people through the centuries. We will walk with them through their incredible sufferings, as they struggle on toward a return to their homeland, the acceptance of their rejected Messiah, and ultimate peace.
Would God it were morning!
And thy life shall hang in doubt before thee; and thou shalt fear day and night, and shalt have none assurance of thy life: In the morning thou shalt say, Would God it were even! And at even thou shalt say, Would God it were morning!…(Deut.28:66,67).
Dispersion was not new to the Jews. Captivity had been God’s method of correcting them in the past.
The Assyrians had taken the Northern Kingdom captive in about 722 BC. Some years later, in 586 BC Nebuchadnezzar and the Babylonians conquered Jerusalem and took the remainder of the people to Babylon. The Babylonian Empire covered essentially the same area as had the Assyrian Empire. After seventy years of captivity, a remnant of the Jews returned to their land to rebuild the temple and the city of Jerusalem.
Before his death, Moses had warned his people that dispersion, captivity, and persecution would come to them if they did not obey the laws of God. His prophecy was a disturbing one, dealing with intense sorrow and suffering for the Jews. If disobedient, they were to expect extreme poverty, the loss of property, and conquest by a nation of awesome military might. They would be looked down upon and despised by other nations. Finally, experiencing a worldwide dispersion, they would be uneasy, unhappy, and afraid:
And among these nations shall thou find no ease, neither shall the sole of thy foot have rest: but the lord shall give thee there a trembling heart, and failing of eyes, and sorrow of mind: And thy life shall hang in doubt before thee; and thou shalt fear day and night, and shalt have none assurance of thy life (Deut. 28:65,66).
Following the rejection of their Messiah and the dispersion after the destruction of Jerusalem, the Jews entered upon their longest period of suffering and persecution. Sixty years after the leveling of Jerusalem there was an attempt by a sizable number of Jews to return to their land, but this abortive move was doomed to failure and more than one-half million were massacred.
Dispersion was definite—irreversible at that time.
CHANGED LIVES-one at a time
Hi Rexella just want to say how much I enjoyed the Jack van Impe Bible prophecy. it is such a blessing to me. I’m learning a lot from it. Praying for you and the ministry.
Greetings from Eugene and Georgia.
We have been following your ministry for many years way before jack went to be with the lord. We miss seeing your program every Sunday. We want to thank you for your continued efforts to keep jack’s memories alive. You all will be remembered forever in our hearts.
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