Weekly Newsletter – October 30, 2017
A 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.
During the period between the resurrection of Christ and the destruction of Jerusalem, the Jews imprisoned and executed many Christians. But now they were the hunted. Imprisonment, slavery, and death became their lot. At one time, so many of them were sold into slavery that the slave markets were glutted with Jews and there were not enough buyers to purchase them.
Even this unhappy situation had been prophesied by Moses: "And the Lord shall bring thee into Egypt again with ships, by the way whereof I spake unto thee, Thou shalt see it no more again: and there ye shall be sold unto your enemies for bondmen and bondwomen, and no man shall buy you" (Deut. 28:68).
We who live within memory of the Nazi nightmare, when six million Jews died in Europe, might conclude that Hitler’s hatred of this people was a phenomenon of the twentieth century. Not so, for Jewish blood had been spilled across Europe and in other parts of the world for centuries. In taking the long look at history, one sees that the Jews had been steadily marching toward Hitler’s ovens ever since the fall of their beloved city in AD 70.
Pauses in Persecution
There were, however, periods of respite.
Although they were scattered, afflicted, and unhappy in most parts of the world, the Jews found a temporary haven in Spain. Here Jews worked, studied, and engaged in commerce alongside their neighbors. During this time, a considerable amount of Jewish literature was produced in both Hebrew and Arabic. Moses Maimonides (1135-1204), considered by many to be the greatest of all medieval Jewish writers, did his work then. This era of relative calm is known as ‘The Golden Age Of Spanish Jewry."
But it did not last.
Waves of fanatical Muslim Berbers from North Africa began to disturb the Jewish life style. Following that, invaders from the north conquered all of Spain and oppression once again became a way of life for the Jews. Although we remember 1492 as the year of the discovery of America by Columbus, it was also the time in history at which the Jews in Spain experienced untold suffering in a reign of Spanish terror. At the decree of Ferdinand and Isabella, 800,000 Jews were packed into boats and set adrift to die. Most did. Before the year was over, the remaining Jews were expelled from Spain. The Golden Age of Spanish Jewry had ended.
Jews fleeing from persecution in a number of European nations found the Rhine Valley a friendly place for a time, and they settled there by the thousands. It seemed that the Jews had found another homeland, a European land of promise.
But even there misery overtook them. Crusaders passing through the Rhineland on their way to the Middle East thought it their obligation to God to destroy as many Jews as possible. Attacking without mercy, their battle cry was "Deus Vult," meaning "God wills it." The Crusaders slaughtered Jews throughout Europe and upon arriving in the Middle East they continued their carnage, even burning Jews alive in their synagogues.
It seems impossible that such acts could have been committed in the name of Christianity. But that dark hour is an unforgettable example of the tragedies that can occur when professing Christians fanatically follow leaders who do not know the teachings of the Bible.
The Universal Scapegoat
Everywhere the Jews were blamed for the ills of their day. Some still foolishly follow that practice. In the twentieth century, Jews are accused of controlling all money, causing all depressions, influencing spiraling inflation, and plotting the conquest of the world. Some generally assume that Jews own everything.
There is nothing new under the sun; Jew accusers today are simply following the lead of anti-Semitics before them. People who do not wish to accept responsibility for the wrongs in society must have a scapegoat, and the Jews have been a universal scapegoat. They take the blame of ignorant people for problems ranging from plagues to politics.
Incredibly, even the awful plague of the Black Death that swept Europe was blamed on the Jews. They were accused of having poisoned wells with a powder made of spiders, frog legs, Christian entrails, and consecrated hosts (Communion bread). The public wrath that resulted from that fantastic tale brought about the slaughter of thousands of Jews and the complete extermination of two hundred Jewish communities. This fierce hatred of Jews and the willingness to believe such outlandish accusations against them can only be explained as a fulfillment of Moses’ prophecy: "And thou shalt become an astonishment, a proverb, and a byword, among all nations whither the lord shall lead thee" (Deut. 28:37).
Poland became the next inviting oasis in the desert of Jewish persecution and dispersion. After being attacked and slaughtered in their beloved Rhine Valley by the Crusaders, many Jews fled to Poland. Encouraged there by kings Boleslav the Pious and Casimer the Great, they established a community that continued into the twentieth century, ending in the "holocaust" of World War II.
The Jews who settled in Poland seemed to have found a stable sanctuary. There they were able to practice their Hebrew customs and even were allowed to use their own languages — Hebrew for religious practices and Yiddish for secular life. They were granted partial political autonomy under the Polish crown and were governed by their own supreme council, known as the Council of the Four Lands. Legal problems between Jews were settled by their own rabbinical courts instead of by Polish law.
Bible prophecies of suffering and persecution appeared to have overlooked the nearly ideal conditions the Jews were experiencing in Poland. They began to relax and feel safe. The persecutions of the past were far removed from them. Their lives were no longer in jeopardy. They were prospering financially.
But the prophet’s words were not to be denied. In the eighteenth century, much of eastern Poland became part of the Russian Empire and the quality of life for Jews there began to decline. Their autonomy was eroded. Once again came unwanted domination. They were hounded and persecuted by czarist authorities and were confined to areas consisting mainly of small towns along the Russian and Polish borders.
In the latter part of the nineteenth century, under Czar Alexander III, the persecution became almost unbearable. It was then that a new word entered the vocabulary of Jews and Russians: "pogrom." This word was adopted by the czars as a name for organized massacres of Jews carried out by soldiers who burned and murdered their way through Jewish settlements in western Russia. Moses’ warning that they would never find a place of ease must have come to mind as this battered people prepared for another exodus, this time from Russia.
Fleeing westward, many Jews arrived in the United Kingdom and the United States of America. Seventy-five percent of the Jews in the United Kingdom and the United States are of Russian descent.
Social and economic sanctions were brought against the Jews in nearly every nation. Many countries barred Jews from owning land. They were not allowed to join craft guilds. At one time they were expelled from both England and France and all of their property was confiscated. The church forbade Jews to employ Christians and Christians to live among Jews.
The Fourth Lateran Council of 1215 demanded that all Jews wear a distinguishing badge. In England, Jews wore a replica of the tablets on which the Ten Commandments were given. France and Germany demanded a yellow "0" not unlike the yellow stars used by the Nazis in marking the Jews for gas chambers.
In Germany Jews were forbidden to ride in carriages and were forced to pay a toll whenever they entered a city. In Venice, Jews were required to live in a particular area; the word used to designate their forced boundaries is the one from which we get the word "ghetto."
In Russia, Jews were drafted for military service at the age of twelve and had to serve for twenty-five years. They were also forced to pay special taxes on kosher meat and Sabbath candles. Jewish women living in large city university centers were required to wear the mark of a prostitute. And even these miseries had been foretold long ago:
Thou shalt beget sons and daughters, but thou shalt not enjoy them; for they shall go into captivity. . . . The stranger that is within thee shall get up above thee very high; and thou shalt come down very low. He shall lend to thee, and thou shalt not lend to him: he shall be the head, and thou shalt be the tail (Deut. 28:41,43,44).
The Human Side of History
The magnitude of Jewish sufferings is difficult to take in completely. One may read of sanctions, slaughters, persecutions, and prejudices, but these are likely to simply move through the mind as historic facts without telling the whole story. The real account of the miseries of the Jews is one of feelings, frustrations, and fears. That is the human side of history.
Who can measure the hurt in being stigmatized, ridiculed, set apart, and hated? Imagine the horror of being separated from loved ones and sold as a slave. Think of living under the constant threat of death, as did the Jews during the Cossack rebellion when 100,000 of them died through torture and violence in less than a decade. Feel the grief of Jewish families when 1,500 of their relatives were executed in York, England, in one day under the decree of King John. (How ironic that New York has become the city with the world’s largest Jewish population.)
Since the rejection and crucifixion of their Messiah, the story of the Jews has been one of misery. For many, life itself has been a burden, a thing to wish away. As Moses put it, "In the morning thou shalt say, Would God it were even! and at even thou shalt say, Would God it were morning! .. ." (Deut. 28:67).
Those who have wronged the Jews have fared no better than those they have persecuted. History’s graveyards are filled with kings and generals who thought they could mistreat the Jews and get away with it. Actually, Jew-hating is a depraved luxury no nation can afford.
Long ago Abraham, the father of the Jewish race, was given an unusual promise by his Lord. This guarantee of blessing provided judgment upon all who would bring evil upon his descendents: And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed (Gen. 12:2,3).
Frederick the Great said, "No nation ever persecuted the Jew and prospered." His correct observation is proof of God’s faithfulness in keeping His promise to Abraham. Nebuchadnezzar, Herod, Titus, the Czars, Hitler, and scores of others are witnesses to this truth. The Jews are here to stay.
But there is another dimension of this story. The dispersion of the Jews will not last forever. Through the long and difficult years of their sufferings, the words of their prophets have continued to remind this scattered people that they would ultimately return to their land and there prosper under the leadership of their Messiah. To some, the idea seemed farfetched. But to others, this hope brought light in the darkest hours.
"Next year at Jerusalem" was heard year after year at Passover. Sometimes it had a hollow sound. Often those who spoke the words did not really believe them. Nevertheless, the promise of the prophets was passed on from one generation to another.
Finally a few dared do more than dream. An infant movement began that in less than a century would transport hundreds of thousands of Jews back to the land of then-fathers. After decades of struggle and war, a nation would be born, and it would be the most significant event of this century.
Who finally had the courage and vision to attempt the resurrection of the Jews, long buried in the nations to which they had wandered?
What events made the undertaking possible?
Which prophet gives the most moving description of the fulfillment of this stage-setting, end-time event? Answering these questions will enrich our understanding of the sacred scene that is unfolding in these final hours of world history.
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.
Taking time to share
The value of sharing in marriage cannot be over-emphasized. The inability of one or both partners to truly care about and become involved in the life of the other is one of the major reasons that interest and affection often begin to wane in the early years of wedlock. Instead of becoming a part of each other, husbands and wives all too frequently find themselves drifting apart.
As I have already indicated, sharing does not have to be contrived or implemented as a duty or chore. Indeed, it should be a natural outflow of the bond of oneness into which the bride and groom entered on their wedding day. Just taking the time to talk about goals, desires, decisions, and accomplishments-perhaps even fears and frustrations-is all that is required. The mutual commitment of each to the other will do the rest.
One of the most beautiful aspects of my walk with Jack has been our continual ability to communicate. One of the most endearing compliments he has given me was on an occasion when he arrived home from the office, walked into the kitchen, put his arm around me and said, “The sweetest part of my day is being able to come home to you and talk about everything that has happened.” We started talking on our honeymoon and we have never stopped. I have to smile, even as I share this with you, at the number of times we have entered an elevator in a hotel talking about something, and minutes later suddenly realized we had forgotten to push the button for the floor to which we were going. Oh, there have been those times of silent communication, also.
The eloquence of silence
The best gift I could give to Jack while he was memorizing God’s Word in a motel room or traveling back and forth from an auditorium in a van was the gift of my silence. This silence was good for me as well for it taught me the importance of using quiet times to my advantage-reading the Bible, praying, practicing, writing letters, composing an article for our magazine, or simply meditating. It is important to meditate and communicate with God in our thoughts. How long has it been since you enjoyed a silent time of direct communication with your heavenly Father? However, even during the quiet times, Jack and I were never far apart in communicating. Does this sound strange? You can know each other so well that even a smile, a gaze, or a nod of the head can be beautiful communication.
I also want to mention that the need for sharing increases tremendously as children are born. Then, more than ever, quality time spent together in activities that involve every family member will enrich one’s life immensely. One of the most important and valuable things is a family devotional time when dad, as the head of the home, shares his faith with those whom God has entrusted to his care. A caring, concerned, loving father will never neglect the responsibility and opportunity to train up a child in the way he should go (Proverbs 22:6).
From a social standpoint, family companionship does not have to cost a lot of money. There are many types of wholesome and enjoyable activities that do not cost anything. You can go to a museum, spend a day at the lake or park, attend an outdoor concert, or just go for a drive in the country. Each of these is more valuable than spending time mindlessly absorbed in a television program. And with children, just the fact that you care means more than any material possession you might give them.
Let me stress that no one can have the proper kind of marriage or family relationship without a willingness to give as well as to receive. Perhaps this concept seems foreign to everything you have come to believe. Ours is a society preoccupied with rights-women’s rights, children’s rights, civil rights, personal rights, and every other kind of rights. Although many of these rights are important elements of a free society, they can also bring death to individual relationships and especially to marriage. Real love never demands its rights.
One of the purest forms of human love is that of a mother for her baby. Such love is totally selfless and sacrificial. The mother feeds the child, changes him, rocks him, responds when he cries, holds him when he needs her, sings to him, and does virtually everything for him. What does she get from the child in return? Only the satisfaction of having loved. He or she is too immature and dependent to return her love in a meaningful way. He or she can do nothing but demand more of her time and attention. Still, any good mother will tell you that nothing is more satisfying than caring for the needs of an infant.
My heart is deeply grieved by the unnatural affection displayed by some mothers and fathers today. They are unhappy with themselves, but instead of facing the issue openly and honestly, they project their deep-seated dissatisfaction toward their children-even to the point of blaming them for their problems and the irritations of daily life. The result is often child abuse.
What is happening to home life?
On one of our trips to Brussels, Belgium, near where Jack’s relatives live, we were walking in the downtown area and passed in front of an arcade. It seemed that there were hundreds of kids hanging out there, playing the machines, totally absorbed in that activity. I remember turning to Jack and saying, “I wonder what their home life is like?”
Today, in almost any town in our country, you will find the same situation, proving that family relationships are at a disturbingly low ebb in our nation.
I once interviewed Georg Andersen, an interior designer with many years’ experience in various settings, both commercial and residential. I was immediately attracted to his book, Interior Decorating: A Reflection of the Creator’s Design, because of the cover. It shows a beautifully decorated room, but what caught my attention was the glass-topped coffee table with two children’s chairs alongside. When I read the book I learned that this was the Andersen living room. Provision had been made for the youngest members of the family to be totally included. I was impressed.
This is a subject on which I could spend a great deal of time because, even though I don’t have children, it is a topic very dear to my heart. My mind is troubled every time I see children who look lonely and unhappy; I cry when I read stories of child abuse or hear of child abandonment.
I heard about a young couple going through a divorce-the mother had walked out of the marriage leaving behind three small children. Even though she left them with her husband, she was still walking away from her God-given role as a mother. I must confess I do not understand how any woman can do this. She was obviously dissatisfied with the marriage. To walk out on her husband is one thing, but to leave those precious children is something else! I wept when I heard this story.
I do not know the circumstances surrounding that couple’s failed marriage. I do know there are some cases of wife abuse which would necessitate a separation. (Such was not the case in this instance, I have been assured.) We gaze in disbelief at newspaper headlines that speak about wife-beating (and now even husband abuse), but the fact remains that such incidents are increasing steadily in our society.
We need to realize that the Bible predicts that such an attitude will be prevalent in the “last days” just prior to Christ’s return (see 2 Timothy 3:3). If you know someone suffering under such conditions or are yourself its victim, seek help immediately. A pastor or qualified Christian counselor will be both able and happy to assist you.
Love gives…and gives again!
True love, then, gives and keeps on giving. This is the kind of love it takes to make a marriage work-love that demands nothing and expects nothing; love that delights to serve and meet needs; love that finds its deepest satisfaction in giving, not receiving.
Such love does not come easily. The mother who waits on her baby was once a baby herself, crying for her own needs to be fulfilled. All of us began that way, and the selfishness of our infancy is something that is not quickly conquered. It takes a great deal of wisdom and maturity to see that satisfaction comes in serving others. Then it takes a great deal of character to have the strength of will to commit oneself to a life of self sacrifice.
Still, this emptying of self is exactly what is required to make a marriage (or any kind of human relationship) workable, fruitful, and rewarding.
Dispelling bewilderment in marriage is always out of reach for those who refuse to submit, sacrifice, and serve. They can never quite obtain what they believe it would take to make them content. The message of God’s Word is this-satisfaction in marriage, in the family, in business, in school, and in life is only for those who deny themselves and delight in serving others.
Marriage, possibly more than any other area of life, is a good gauge of our satisfaction. I do not know of anyone who has a successful marriage who is not basically satisfied. And I know of few whose marriages are failing who will say they are satisfied.
Perhaps you are dissatisfied with your marriage. Have you been looking to the wrong sources for satisfaction? Have you been demanding more than giving? Maybe you are shirking rather than accepting responsibility. Will you ask God to teach you what it is to surrender completely-to Him first, and then to your spouse? I know that if you are able to learn this basic truth and apply it to your life and marriage, your bewilderment will vanish and you can begin anew!
CHANGED LIVES-one at a time
Thank you so very much for your precious ministry to everyone who will listen and take heed. You answer so many questions that are concerning the thoughts and prayers of viewers.
Daniel’s prophecies have always been difficult to understand, timewise. Thank you for bringing them to light for me. All is certain except the time of the Rapture.
You are indeed a present day Daniel to the world.
Rexella’s article about the birds was inspiring as well.
Keep up the good work and do not hold back from telling the truth even if it hurts. Nice to hear Jack is doing better and hope jack gains his strength as every day goes by. Each day that goes by I see Bible prophecy unfolding and know the time is short for Jesus to return. I just hope I can get my family to get on board before it is too late. I ask for Jesus’s help to give me the wisdom and understanding to do this. I will not give up and it actually brings tears to my eye. Have a good day.
HIGHLIGHTED PRODUCT OFFERS
With bonus The Complete Guide to Every Prophecy Verse in the Bible A listing of all the prophetic verses in the Bible from Genesis to Revelation
- Now includes Daniel Final End Times Mysteries Unsealed A full commentary on the book of Daniel by Dr. Jack Van Impe
- All the prophecy verses in the Bible shaded and identified.
- The majestic King James Version translation text in large print, with words of Christ in red.
- A ribbon bookmarker.
- A special presentation page – perfect for gift-giving
- An inspiring introductory message from Dr. Jack Van Impe.
- A Scripture memorization plan – designed by Dr. Van Impe to enable you to learn the Word of God more effectively than ever before.
- Dr. Van Impe’s own A to Z Prophecy Index – giving you easy, instant access to the Bible’s answers on the questions that concern you most.
- Dr. Van Impe’s fascinating verse-by-verse commentary on the book of Revelation.
You and your family must not be deceived by those who preach that all roads lead to heaven — and that the Christian deity and Islamic Allah are the Same God!
Drs. Jack and Rexella Van Impe show you how this evil teaching aims to bolster Islam and eradicate Christianity — and how Islam’s rise was predicted in Bible prophecy. Get the answers to critical questions such as:
- What lies does the Koran teach about Jesus?
- How many times does the Koran say Christians will burn in hell?
- Who wants to deceive Christians into believing God and Allah are the same?
- Does the Koran encourage Muslims to lie? Why?
- Where does the Bible predict the rise of radical Islam?
- Is militant Islam’s persecution of Christian’s a sign of Christ’s coming?
- And many more!
You will also receive the book Great Salvation Themes which contains 21 chapters covering 1,200 verses promoting Jesus as the only way of Salvation