FROM THE HEART OF DR. REXELLA VAN IMPE
A few summers ago, after sensing the need for a change of pace, my husband and I drove to Montreal, Canada, the largest French-speaking city in the world, after Paris. It was delightful and so relaxing. Just what we needed. The people were friendly, the old city intriguing, and the food wonderful. Montreal is considered to be one of North America's most interesting cities. And we found it to be true. In fact, we agreed Montreal is one of the most beautiful cities we've ever seen. In two weeks' time we walked 150 miles savoring all the sights and delights, and learning about the history and the greater metropolitan area itself.
One afternoon we found an old-fashioned ice cream parlor. "It has to be a great place," Jack said, "look at all the people!" He patted his "midsection" and I raised my eyebrows and we walked in. We found an empty table and placed our order.
Just as we were being served, two bedraggled-looking young people came in each carrying a backpack. They were obviously exhausted. They spied an empty table where the waitress hadn't removed the plates from the previous customers, and they plopped down. But just that quickly, they snatched up the leftovers and wolfed them down. Eyes darting around, never making eye contact with anyone, they focused on other empty tables with plates containing food and quickly ran from one to the other, stuffing the food into their mouths. The young woman, whom I guessed to be about twenty, was more aggressive than the young man. They were just starved!
It happened so fast that everyone was in a state of shock. About the time we and others had recovered from seeing this, they grabbed their backpacks and were out of the door and gone. "Jack, if only they'd stayed long enough, we could have offered to buy them food!" I was dazed by the brief encounter. "Oh Jack," I continued, "I wonder whose child she is ..." my voice trailed off.
Jack leaned across the table and patted my hand. The food which had been served so attractively had somehow lost its appeal. I looked around and noticed others were feeling the same way. The charming place which just moments before had been the scene of animated conversation now seemed strangely silent.
Jack's eyes were sad; mine were tearful.
As we left the ice cream parlor and continued our leisurely walk, my eyes glanced around. I was hoping to catch a glimpse of the young couple. "There are so many like them in city after city all over Canada and the United States," my husband said.
"Where are the parents?" I asked. Jack shook his head. Later, as I reflected on the incident, (in fact, I don't think I will ever forget those two young people), I was reminded that one of the most wonderful things about being a Christian is that we are Gods children. Our needs are important to Him and He is always ready to supply (Phil. 4:19). He knows the way that we take (Job 23:9). I took comfort in the knowledge that God even knew their names (Isa. 45:4). I could leave them in the Fathers hands.
As we walk through life, we can do so with confidence, knowing that the steps, as well as the stops, of God's children are ordered by Him (Ps. 37:23). Because we are His children, we can count on His promises, and they are so many! Our potential as His children is limitless.
But we need to be living up to our potential. How do people know we belong to God? Three things, it seems to me, characterize the life of a child of God: (1) Our conversation; (2) Our conduct; and (3) Our convictions.
Our conversation: She (or he) openeth her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of kindness (Prov. 31:26).
My mother had a little saying which I have called to mind many times: "He that thinketh by the by the inch, and speaketh by the yard, shall be kicked by the foot."
The Bible is full of counsel about the need to guard our conversation. Consider just these few: A soft answer turneth away wrath; but grievous word stir up anger (Prov. 15:1). How many relationships would fare better if these words were called to mind when people were tempted to temperamental outbursts! The tongue of the just is as choice silver: the heart of the wicked is (of) little worth (Prov. 10:20). Silver reflects. What a beautiful word picture this presents! Our tongues should reflect the Lord.
Our conduct: We must back up our conversation with right conduct. Those beautiful graces depicted in Galatians 5 should exemplify the conduct of our lives: But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law (w. 22, 23). An entire article could be written around each word, but let me simplify it in this way: LOVE is a new constraint, JOY is a new cheer, PEACE is a new compassion, LONG-SUFFERING is a new continuance, GENTLENESS is a new characteristic, GOODNESS is a new character, PATIENCE is a new confidence, MEEKNESS is a new courtesy and TEMPERANCE is a new contentment.
Our Convictions: The story is told of David Hume, the agnostic, who was reproached by his friends because of his inconsistency. He used to like to go hear the famous preacher John Brown preach, and when questioned about this he explained, "I don't believe all that he says, but at least once a week I like to hear a man who declares his convictions."
How important for us to have strong convictions and to abide by them. The letter of James emphasizes that our "yes" should be a simple "yes," and our "no" a simple "no" (Ja. 5:12). In other words, be convinced in your heart and stand by your convictions. Be a man or woman whose word is unquestionable. If you say you are going to do something, or you promise something, it ought to be as if you were in a courtroom and had taken an oath to speak the truth.
These are just some of the identifying characteristics that mark us as children of God. The Psalmist said, Mark the perfect man, and behold the upright: for the end of that man is peace (Ps. 37:37). None of us have arrived, we aren't wholly perfect, progress is perhaps a more accurate word to describe our condition. But we should be progressing.
Perhaps a good prayer would be: "Lord, help me to reflect the fact that I am your child."
Jack Van Impe - (Part 1 of 3)
Jack Van Impe - (Part 1 of 3)
Could War In The Middle East Break Out This Summer?
Part 2 of 3
Part 3 of 3