America’s Foundation

By BJ Rudge, Ph.D.

When I was in high school I had the opportunity to play soccer in Europe with the East West Ambassadors. We were the only American team in the tournaments. I recall one tournament – the night before the games were to begin – a ceremony took place where each team walked around the field as the fans in the stadium cheered. It was a thrilling experience to be waving our American flags and representing our country.

In all my travels, I am constantly made aware of the greatness of America and how God has blessed this nation. Yet I see the greatness of America fading. While she is still the most influential nation in the world, her superpower status appears to be declining. I wonder what America will be like when my six children are older. Will the American dream be a faded memory of the past?

“What will be the future of America?” is a common question my father and I are asked when we speak on end-times prophecy. While there is no specific prophetic passage that mentions America, there is much biblical truth which sheds light on America’s future. In order to understand what is to come we must consider America’s past and present.

God is sovereign over nations and kings: “Oh, let the nations be glad and sing for joy! For You shall judge the people righteously, and govern the nations on earth” (Psalm 67:4). The truth that God governs the nations of the world is spoken of by Daniel after God revealed to him the details of Nebuchadnezzar’s dream:

Blessed be the name of God forever and ever, for wisdom and might are His. And He changes the times and the seasons; He removes kings and raises up kings (Daniel 2:20, 21).

Anyone who comes to power does so by the sovereign will of God. Regardless of whether the individual chooses to use his or her power for good or for evil, their authority derives from Almighty God. 

Nebuchadnezzar, the ruler over the Babylonian empire, came to recognize this divine truth the hard way. As he surveyed his empire, he made the following boast:

Is this not Babylon the great, which I myself have built as a royal residence by the might of my power and for the glory of my majesty? (Daniel 4:30).

Babylon certainly was a place of beauty and majesty under Nebuchadnezzar’s reign. He constructed the hanging gardens, which were recognized as one of the Seven Wonders of the World. In addition, his capital city was surrounded with a double wall that was 10 miles in length highlighted by the elaborate Ishtar Gate. And further, he brought Babylon to world dominance as he expanded the empire, becoming the first Babylonian king to rule over Egypt. In the midst of boasting of these great accomplishments, the following occurs:

The words were still on his lips when a voice came from heaven, “This is what is decreed for you, King Nebuchadnezzar: Your royal authority has been taken from you.” (Daniel 4:31).

The Bible says that pride goes before a fall, and Nebuchadnezzar was a living example of this! The passage in Daniel goes on to tell us that Nebuchadnezzar was driven away from his people, and lived like a wild animal until he acknowledged that the Most High is ruler over the kingdoms of men (Daniel 4:32, 33).

A contemporary example of how pride and arrogance  lead down a destructive path, is Saddam Hussein, former ruler over the nation of Iraq, who desired to be the next Nebuchadnezzar. He planned to rebuild Babylon and gain prominence over the surrounding nations, and like Nebuchadnezzar, he was humbled. The man who lived in opulence while his subjects lived in poverty was found hiding like an animal in a hole in the ground.

However, contrary to Saddam, Nebuchadnezzar was restored to power. In his humility, he came to realize that honor and glory belongs to God alone (Daniel 4:34, 35).

The truth that God is sovereign over nations and kings was commonly acknowledged early in American history. In reading letters and documents by the Founding Fathers, one quickly sees that this was an assumed truth. While not all of them were Christian, the following examples (a small sample), show that those who influenced America in its infancy were impacted by a biblical worldview. Numerous quotes by America’s Founding Fathers not only acknowledge God’s sovereignty over the establishment of America, but over every nation in the world.

Patrick Henry in his speech to the Virginia Convention on March 23, 1775, not only uttered the famous words, “give me liberty or give me death,” but also said, “Sir, we are not weak, if we make a proper use of the means which the God of nature hath placed in our power. Three millions of people, armed in the holy cause of liberty, and in such a country as that which we possess, are invincible by any force which our enemy can send against us. Besides, sir, we shall not fight our battles alone. There is a just God who presides over the destinies of nations, and who will raise up friends to fight our battles for us.”

George Washington, first president of the United States of America, uttered these words in the opening statement of his thanksgiving speech on April 3, 1789, “Whereas it is the duty of all Nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey his will, to be grateful for his benefits, and humbly to implore his protection and favor.”

In his address to the Constitutional Convention held at Independence Hall in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on July 28, 1787, Benjamin Franklin made this profound statement, “I have lived, Sir, a long time, and the longer I live, the more convincing proofs I see of this truth: that God governs in the affairs of man. And if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without His notice, is it probable that an empire can rise without His aid? We have been assured, sir, in the Sacred Writings that ‘except the Lord build the house, they labour in vain that build it (Ps. 127:1).’ I firmly believe this….”

America’s past is saturated with men and women who realized that their nation’s existence and continual preservation was a direct result of the providential hand of Almighty God.

The first constitution of Pennsylvania (the state in which I was born and raised) was established in 1776. The following is an excerpt from this document, which each member of the legislature had to declare before he took his seat in office:

“I do believe in one God, the creator and governor of the universe, the rewarder of the good and the punisher of the wicked. And I do acknowledge the Scriptures of the Old and New Testament to be given by Divine inspiration.”

As this 1776 document reveals, the earliest form of government in Pennsylvania required its officials to acknowledge the sovereignty of God. It is amazing how far America has wandered from its foundational principles!

God Uses Nations to Fulfill His Prophetic Plans

Just as God used the Persian king Cyrus (c. 580-529 BC) to bring the children of Israel back to their land after their long exile, He has used America to fulfill His prophetic plan. One aspect of America’s role in prophecy has been her support of the nation of Israel. Following the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple in AD 70 by the Roman general Titus, Israel as a nation ceased to exist. The Jewish people were scattered across the earth, while the land, which was given a new name called Palestine, became a barren land occupied by people of both Jewish and Arab descent.

Following World War II Britain was given authority over Palestine. However, because of the ongoing problem between the Arabs and the Jews, Britain gave up its authority of Palestine to the United Nations. Driven by a desire to avoid a repeat of history, where the Jewish people were nearly exterminated by Adolph Hitler and the Nazis, and to help resolve the ongoing Arab/Jewish conflict, the UN proposed to partition the land into two states. Right away this proposal faced opposition.

World leaders were forced to choose whether or not to support the proposal for an independent nation of Israel, and President Truman found himself in the middle of this battle. Many in the State Department and leaders in the military voiced their opposition to this proposal. They felt America’s support of an Israeli nation would create unnecessary tension with the oil rich Arab countries.

Despite facing opposition within his own cabinet, President Truman held to the belief that Israel had a prophetic destiny. This belief came about through his reading of the Bible (which it is reported he had read through it twice by age 12), and conversations with a Jewish friend by the name of Edward Jacobson. These two factors proved to influence the decision that Truman had to make on May 14, 1948. For it was on this day that Israel made a declaration of statehood. Shortly thereafter President Truman declared America’s recognition of the nation of Israel.

A story is told of Truman being introduced by his Jewish friend Jacobson to a group of professors in the following way, “This is the man who helped create the state of Israel.” The story goes that Truman responded by saying, “What do you mean create? I am Cyrus. I am Cyrus.”

Through the prophet Ezekiel, God promised that Israel would come back to its land after being scattered among the nations:

Thus says the Lord God: “Surely I will take the children of Israel from among the nations, wherever they have gone, and will gather them from every side and bring them into their own land….”

Just as God had used Cyrus to fulfill His prophetic word, so too, God used the American President, Harry Truman, to bring about His prophetic plan to restore His people to their land.

America has also been used to fulfill prophecy through her role in fulfilling the Great Commission. No other nation in history has done more to promote worldwide missions than America, helping to fulfill Jesus’ prophetic words in His Olivet Discourse:

And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come. 

God Blesses and Judges Nations

In Genesis chapter 12, God calls Abram (whose name is changed to Abraham in chapter 17) to leave his country and relatives for a land that God will show him. God then gives the following promise:

And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed (Genesis 12:2, 3).

Here we see that God not only makes a prophetic promise to Abram, but to all other people depending on how they deal with him. Of course, we know that the great nation God promises to Abram is the Jewish people.

We can see the second part of this prophecy fulfilled in America. No modern nation has supported Israel and been a better friend to the Jewish people than America. This fulfillment of the prophetic statement God made to Abram is a major reason why America has been such a blessed nation. Consider the status of America since 1948 when President Truman set the precedent of supporting Israel as a nation. America has been blessed economically, militarily and become the envy of the other nations.

Moving to the present situation in America, I am sure it is not hard to see how far we have strayed from our past. Just as the nation of Israel walked away from God, the same pattern is being repeated in America.

Israel was commanded by God to pass on a spiritual legacy to the next generation. They were called to show the next generation how faith is related to every area of life (Deuteronomy 6:6, 7).

For a time, the nation of Israel took seriously this mandate from God (as recorded in Judges 2:7). However, just three verses later, we find a drastic change:

All that generation were gathered to their fathers; and there arose another generation after them who did not know the LORD, nor the work which He had done for Israel (Judges 2:10). 

The result of just one generation not fulfilling God’s mandate to teach the next generation about the Lord, lead Israel on a destructive path:

Then the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the LORD, and served the Baals; and they forsook the LORD, the God of their fathers, who had brought them out of the land of Egypt, and followed other gods from among the gods of the peoples who were around them, and bowed themselves down to them; thus they provoked the LORD to anger (Judges 2:11, 12).

No longer did the next generation follow the commands of the Lord, instead, “… everyone did what was right in his own eyes” (Judges 21:25).

Tragically this same path is being taken by America. Our spiritual past and the way in which God has blessed our nation is forgotten. We no longer seek the wisdom of God and His Word. Instead, like the children of Israel, everyone does what is right in his or her own eyes.

We are forfeiting the blessings and freedoms for which America’s founders gave their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor.

As we contemplate the present reality in America the obvious questions arise, “Is there any hope for our future? Can we once again experience the blessings of God?”

While many answers are proposed – changing laws, legislating conservative values, changing the political makeup in Washington, D.C. – none of these solutions will ultimately succeed. There is one thing America must do to ensure its future. As Solomon reminded the children of Israel of what they should do if they walked away from the Lord, so, too, America needs to heed these words if she expects to see God bless this nation once again:

If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land (2 Chronicles 7:14).

A Call to America!

by Bill Rudge

How long will our flag fly?

America has been the greatest nation in the history of the world. Built upon the principles in God’s Word, she has seemed invincible. Once honoring the LORD, she forsakes and rejects the ways of the One Who has blessed and protected her.

America is hardening her heart to the God of the Bible and enthusiastically embraces beliefs and practices contrary to His nature and will. Accordingly, the testimony of Scripture, the lessons of history, and the witness of God’s Spirit announce America’s inevitable fate – unless she repents.

We must turn from the morally bankrupt path we are pursuing. Instead of following the trends of secular society, the Church must be guided by God’s Word and His Spirit.

Are We Deaf?

Why have we trampled under foot the very Word of God? Are we deaf to God’s calls to repent? Are we too stiff-necked to turn back to the LORD and walk His path before it is too late? Does this generation not realize that the apocalyptic events described in Revelation are on the verge of occurring? As cataclysmic judgments loom at our door, how can we continue this foolhardy course?

Any discerning person can recognize what is happening: America is being methodically attacked and the glory of our beloved country is rapidly diminishing. Under the pretense of protection, U.S. and global citizens are being methodically monitored, strategically controlled, and systematically enslaved. Increasing surveillance and loss of privacy are speeding us toward the reality of Revelation 13 – not being able to buy or sell without a mark on the right hand or forehead.

Are We Blind?

Scripture has proven to be amazingly accurate throughout history and is being fulfilled today. Are we too blind to see that many of these prophesied curses are already being experienced in America for violating God’s laws?
We are facing impending judgment, yet so many have stopped-up ears, blinded eyes, calloused hearts with values too twisted to recognize what is coming.

Although initially written millennia ago for the nation of Israel, Moses’ words are relevant for America today. God promised great blessings for obedience (Deuteronomy 28:1-14; Leviticus 26:3-13) and restoration for repentance in violating His Word (Leviticus 26:40-45; Isaiah 1:18, 19). The LORD also strongly warned of harsh consequences for rebellion, disobedience, and the persistent violation of His decrees (Deuteronomy 28:15-68; Leviticus 26:14-39; and Isaiah 1:2-31).

One day America, like Judah, may be invaded, our people humbled and taken captive. One day those who are selling out America and betraying her by actively or passively undermining her historic values will sit in mourning over the loss of our great cities – as the Jews grieved for Jerusalem when they were taken into Babylonian captivity.

I have grave concerns for this nation I love so much. Every Fourth of July for the past several years I have pondered the gradual – sometimes dramatic – changes in America. I see the flag at our ministry center swaying in the breeze and wonder how long it will fly.

Racial Reconciliation in Tumultuous Times

by BJ Rudge, Ph.D.

It is apparent as we watch today’s national news coverage of current events that we still have a far way to go as a nation with racial reconciliation. Even though we have made great strides in this area, the language and actions displayed by many Americans clearly shows that we have room to improve. Of course, it’s easy to identify a problem; the challenge is trying to determine how to solve it. While there are many proposed answers (changing laws, addressing poverty, better education, etc.), it is my opinion that none of these solutions will ultimately succeed unless Jesus Christ is at the center. These situations only deal with the symptoms of racial discrimination, attempting to modify people’s behavior. In contrast, Jesus deals with the core issue that lies at the heart of sinful individuals. Thus, only He can truly bring reconciliation and peace in this world. In fact, through His death and resurrection, the entire world will experience reconciliation (Romans 8:20, 21).

While total reconciliation awaits His future return, this does not mean that we cannot experience Christ-centered reconciliation now. In fact, this is the charge that is given to the body of Christ, “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3:28; see also Colossians 3:11). The application of this verse is seen in the book of Acts as the early church had to address the issue of racial reconciliation. Here we find the church growing from those who were predominately of Jewish descent to people from a variety of ethnic backgrounds. The climax of this occurred as Peter received a vision and then is called to share the Gospel to Cornelius and his Gentile household (Acts 10). The outpouring of the Spirit upon Cornelius’ household confirmed for Peter that God shows no partiality but accepts people from EVERY nation who fear Him and does what is right (Acts 10:34, 35).

Just as the early church did, the body of Christ today needs to continually strive toward Christ-centered reconciliation. In fact, we can never expect a change in the culture around us unless it first starts with us. I have witnessed positive and negative examples of how the body of Christ has exemplified Christ-centered reconciliation. On the negative, I heard about a church that had dwindled to fewer than 10 people and faced the reality they would have to close its doors. Upon hearing of their situation, another church reached out to help them. While initially the tiny congregation was excited to work with the other church, they broke off all fellowship after they found out this church was comprised of various ethnic groups. They said they would rather see their church close its doors than have to worship with people from contrasting ethnic backgrounds.

In contrast to this situation, I spoke at a church in Los Angeles. This church truly exemplified Paul’s admonition in Galatians 3:28. Not only did the congregation include members of numerous ethnic backgrounds, but so did the leadership. In this church, these believers were truly united, regardless of their external differences, as brothers and sisters in Christ. They were evidence of Jesus’ prayer being fulfilled, “I do not pray for these [disciples] alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me” (John 17:20, 21).

So how do we function as a body of Christ where we live out Christ-centered reconciliation? I think there are three things to consider:

First, we need to remember that truth in who Jesus Christ is as revealed in the Word of God is what unites us. In other words, our unity as believers is directly connected to our faith in Jesus Christ. This is the case because it is Christ through the Spirit who baptizes us into one body (1 Corinthians 12: 12, 13).

Second, we need to make sure that our unity is maintained by walking in accordance to what Jesus taught. In other words, if we allow sin to permeate our lives, it will begin to erode our fellowship as a body of Christ. As the apostle John taught, “If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not practice the truth: But if we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin” (1 John 1:6, 7).

Lastly, our relationship as believers needs to be motivated out of love. As Jesus said, “This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you” (John 15:12). How do we love each other? Jesus goes on to answer this in the next verse as He says that we are to lay down our lives for our friends. Jesus Himself gave us the clearest demonstration of this type of love, as He went to the cross to take on the punishment that we deserved. What a revolution would happen in our world if the body of Christ exemplified this same type of love, a love that seeks to put others before ourselves and strives to seek God’s glory in all things.

If we want Christ-centered reconciliation, then let us never forget the words of the apostle Paul, for they remind us what is foundational to all of our relationships, “… SUBMIT to one another in the fear of God” (Ephesians 5:21).

“Poems of Conviction” Will Challenge and Encourage

Who Will Go?

by Bruce Miller

It’s called the “Great Commission,”
Just who’s supposed to go?
You’ll find the answer on your knees
If you really want to know.

The harvest has been ready,
And the fields are very ripe;
Pray to the Lord for laborers,
Willing to share the light.

It seems today, and always has,
The ones that go are few;
It’s written in the book of Luke
In chapter ten, verse two.

Some say, “I’m just too busy,”
Or, “The timing isn’t right.”
Lift your eyes; look around;
The harvest is already white.

When you see Jesus face to face,
And He asks, “What did you do?”
I hope and pray your answer is,
“I labored, Lord, for you.”

A Near Miss in the Himalayas

by Bill Rudge

After speaking at a convention in the Himalayas of northern India, my team and I were making our way down the winding mountain roads as we headed to Calcutta. We stopped in the village of Darjeeling. Standing in the middle of a narrow road for a more panoramic view, my son and I surveyed this Himalayan village deciding which direction to go. Suddenly a bus came speeding around a sharp curve, heading straight toward us. Horn blaring, the bus maintained its speed as it rushed nearer and nearer with no sign of slowing down.

Sizing up the situation, I glanced to my right and left. Instinctively grabbing BJ, my then thirteen-year-old son, I quickly tried pulling him to the left, but his impulse was to go in the opposite direction. Adjusting my momentum to accommodate his motion, I pushed him to the right. Simultaneously, he acted on my initial tug by moving toward the left! There we were in the middle of the road going in circles as this huge bus came bearing down on us. I could have jumped out of the way to save my life, but I promised my wife I would bring our son back alive. If he was going to die, then I was going to die with him, so I hung on.

With adrenaline flowing and my heart pounding, thoughts of how we were both going to be killed flooded my mind, because buses in the Himalayas are notorious for not stopping for pedestrians. I personally have seen them barrel down the road, stopping for no one: young and old alike rushing to step aside or leaping to safety seconds before the bus sped by, missing them by inches.

Realizing this, our situation was desperate. Then, by the grace of God, the driver realized we really were in trouble and to our amazement, suddenly slammed on the brakes and slid to a stop no more than two feet in front of us. I remember standing there in the middle of the street after it was all over, looking at the flat front of the bus directly ahead of me thinking, “I could not even have jumped on its hood to get thrown to the side. It would have hit us, dropped us in the street, and then run over us! We would have had no hope for survival.” Thank God for His mercy and protection!

The point of this illustration is that when our heavenly Father is leading us in one direction, and we insist on going in another, then dangerous and sometimes fatal consequences occur. Rather than going around in circles in your life, take your lead from the Lord.

Four Options

When I was involved in the martial arts (before the Lord led me out) the easiest way for me to lead someone’s body was to lead their head. Wherever their head went, their body would follow. I used to demonstrate this with a volunteer from the audience. It was easy to lead a person who was submissive and yielded. But if they would stiffen their neck and resist, I would explain my choices:

  1. I could exert more force and possibly injure his neck.
  2. I could break his stiff neck.
  3. I could knock him unconscious and then drag him wherever I wanted.
  4. I could let him go his own way and bang his head against the wall, or against my knee, or whatever, as a natural consequence of his resistance.

When we resist the Lord’s will and refuse to submit, He also has choices:

  1. He can exert more pressure in our lives to get our attention.
  2. He can break our stiff necks and rebellious wills by humbling us.
  3. He can knock us unconscious by not using us anymore or allow Satan to render us ineffective.
  4. He can let us go our own rebellious ways and reap the consequences, until we learn and are ready to yield to His lead.

One Reassuring Fact

It is reassuring to know that when you remain yielded, available and surrendered to God, it is impossible for you to get too far out of line. If you get involved with a practice or belief that is unacceptable to Him, He will speak to your heart through His Word and Spirit, and the Great Shepherd will guide and direct you back to the path of righteousness.

The problem starts when you become insensitive, stiff-necked, obstinate and hardhearted. This kind of rebellious attitude before the Lord, carries one promise – that of reaping what you have sown. But when you are sensitive and yielded to the Spirit of God and obedient to His Word, you have the promise of eventual victory, blessing and of all things working together for good. You will be aware of God working in your life to achieve the purpose and potential He has for you.

Three Questions – Video

At the age of 18 Bill Rudge searched for the answers to three crucial questions. He didn’t think he needed Jesus Christ, but God had other plans. This challenging message was excerpted from the dedication of the Bible Discoveries Museum. To view video, click https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kG9CYi9coL8.

Here For Us

by Jim Weikal

“When Jesus therefore saw her [Mary] weeping [over the death of Lazarus], and the Jews who came with her also weeping, He was deeply moved in spirit and was troubled” (John 11:33). Verse 35 succinctly describes our Lord’s emotional connection to His people… “Jesus wept” (John 11:35).

During difficult times believers can find themselves feeling deep grief over their circumstances. The Greek word translated “weeping” refers to forceful emotions caused by sorrow. For instance, the widow in the city of Nain who had just lost her son. Jesus approached the funeral procession, and He felt compassion and said to her, “Do not weep.”

Jesus then raised her son alive from the coffin and “gave him back to his mother” (Luke 7:11-15).

Notice the words the inspired writer used to describe Jesus’ emotions: “deeply moved,” “troubled,” “wept,” “felt compassion.” These descriptive words demonstrate to us a Savior who cares, who knows His sheep personally (John 10:14, 27). He doesn’t just pat us on the head and say, “I hope you make it.” He’s here with us and for us (Matthew 28:20; cf. John 14:16).

Coronavirus? Politics? Religion?

How To Disagree Without Becoming Disagreeable

by BJ Rudge, Ph.D.

Disagreements are unavoidable

From teaching a college course on ethics for several years, I have learned that disagreements are part of being human. I tell my students that while it is OK to disagree, they must do this without becoming disagreeable. I lay out guidelines on how to appropriately do this within the controversial world of ethics.

Disagreements will occur among brothers and sisters in Christ

The reality of disagreement is not just left to a classroom discussion on ethics, it is a part of everyday living that even impacts the church. The apostle Paul acknowledged this when he wrote his first epistle to the church at Corinth to address conflicts amongst members of this church:

I appeal to you, brothers, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and the same judgment. For it has been reported to me by Chloe’s people that there is quarreling [disagreements] among you, my brothers (1 Corinthians 1:10, 11).

The apostle Paul goes on to state later in this epistle that God allows disagreements in the church so that over time it will reveal those who truly belong to Him, “… for there must be factions among you in order that those who are genuine among you may be recognized” (1 Corinthians 11:19).

Biblical Principles of Resolving Disagreements

Since we cannot avoid disagreements, how can we as Christians disagree without becoming disagreeable? Just as I do for my students, God’s Word provides us with guidelines.

1. Avoid arguing and judging others over non-essentials.

An issue of contention in the early church was whether or not people could eat meat that was sacrificed to idols. While this makes no sense to most of us today, it was an important issue back then. In response to how Christians should approach this issue, Paul makes the following statement:

As for the one who is weak in faith, welcome him, but not to quarrel over opinions. One person believes he may eat anything, while the weak person eats only vegetables. Let not the one who eats despise the one who abstains and let not the one who abstains pass judgment on the one who eats, for God has welcomed him (Romans 14:1-3).

In this passage, Paul wants us to recognize that we should not allow disunity to occur within the body of Christ over non-essential issues. Matters that are not clearly laid out in Scripture, should never cause us to despise each other (Romans 14:10), as one day each of us will give an account to God who is the ultimate judge (Romans 14:12).

2. We should follow the appropriate steps of resolution/reconciliation.

When someone says or does something that offends or hurts us, we often react rather than respond. This reaction can often come in a direct way where we openly attack their character or motives, or indirectly where we allow anger and bitterness towards them to fester inside our hearts. In contrast, we need to respond biblically when another brother and sister hurts us. Consider these words by Jesus:

If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother (Matthew 18:15).

In other words, the first step to take in dealing with a disagreement is to talk with the other person privately. Face to face is how we biblically deal with disagreements, not talking behind each other’s back or posting comments on social media. Jesus then provides additional steps if the issue cannot be resolved on a personal level, and if it is an essential issue that needs to be addressed to maintain the spiritual health of the body of Christ.

If a brother or sister takes the biblical step to seek true restoration with you, keep in mind Peter’s conversation with Jesus:

Then Peter came up and said to Him, “Lord, how often will my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times?” Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you seven times, but seventy-seven times” (Matthew 18:21, 22).

3. We should demonstrate a genuine love towards each other.

In the book of Ephesians, the apostle Paul gave thanks because he had heard of their faith in the Lord Jesus and their love for each other. The Greek word for love in this passage describes a deep affection that they possessed. Paul rejoiced because this love was an outward sign of their inner faith in Jesus Christ. A confirmation that the Apostle John said should be evident in any true believer:

If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. And this commandment we have from Him: whoever loves God must also love his brother (1 John 4:20, 21).

The essence of a love for each other is not only a personal indicator that confirms our own salvation, it is also an indicator to the world that you are a disciple of Jesus Christ. In the words of Jesus:

A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another (John 13:34, 35).

A love for each other is the most powerful way we can live out our faith, especially as we deal with disagreements.

4. Our ultimate desire should be God’s glory.

Often times when we get in a disagreement, we find ourselves driven by a desire to prove ourselves right and the other person wrong. While there are times when we must stand for what is right and true, we should never be driven by the sole desire to always prove we are right. Rather, our ultimate desire in whatever we do should be for God’s name to be glorified. Jesus demonstrated this attitude as He prepared to go to the cross:

Father, if You are willing, remove this cup from Me. Nevertheless, not My will, but Yours, be done (Luke 22:42).

As Paul sat in prison awaiting his eventual fate, he also yearned for God to be glorified:

As it is my eager expectation and hope that I will not be at all ashamed, but that with full courage now as always Christ will be honored in my body, whether by life or by death (Philippians 1:20).

We must also possess this same desire for God’s’ glory. Even if this means losing an argument or dealing with some form of injustice, may we say like Jesus, “Not My will but Your will be done”, and like Paul may “Christ be honored.”

Challenge for us Today

Just as in the early church, this pandemic has shown that as believers we still disagree over issues. The only difference is instead of disagreeing about eating meat sacrificed to idols, we now disagree about the role of government and how to appropriately exercise our freedoms. As we navigate this, the world is watching our response. So, while they may see us disagree in our response to this pandemic, may they not see us being disagreeable. May we show them that we are people who do not divide over non-essentials (should I wear a mask or not, should we close our church doors or not…), and who do not slander and gossip about each other on social media. Instead, we express genuine love for each other, and desire to see God glorified in our actions.

When I was a high school soccer coach, we took on the redwood tree as our logo. It was a reminder to us of the power of being connected as one. Despite its height, redwood trees have a shallow root system. But what makes them strong is their roots spread out and interconnect with the root system of other redwood trees. Thus, when the wind blows it does not blow against one lonely tree, but against a whole forest. This is what Christian brothers and sisters should represent to the world, a unified body that is interconnected by the person of Jesus Christ. 

If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together (1 Corinthians 12:26).

Where Is Your Treasure?

by Bill Rudge

Everything you have can be swept away in a flood, burned up in a fire, blown away in a tornado, stolen by thieves, wasted on excessive living or consumed by medical expenses – but what you invest in God’s Kingdom will last forever. Through Jesus Christ you can have an eternal inheritance that will never be robbed, lost, tarnished, spoiled or fade away.

The condition of America’s spiritual health is of utmost concern. Unless our nation’s moral hemorrhage is stopped, it will prove fatal. America will be brought to her knees – either in repentance or from intensifying judgment.

God has given us additional time to take the Gospel to the ends of the earth. Have we squandered our opportunities or wisely used them? How many of our friends and loved ones have already passed into eternity? Now is the time to share Jesus with family, friends, neighbors, coworkers…while we still have opportunity – while there is yet time.

The Greater Cause

As believers in Jesus Christ we should care less about being politically correct and more about being biblically accurate. We must defend the faith which was once for all entrusted to the saints (Jude 3). Besides, beneficial and lasting social change will only come when the hearts of the people are turned back to their Creator. While many causes are noble, all will prove inadequate and inferior to the transforming power of the Gospel.

Imagine the eternal impact – as well as the social and political benefits – if Christians put increased effort into evangelism. Imagine the positive influence on our nation if the life-changing, eternal life-giving Gospel of Jesus Christ were embraced, and compassion instead of hostility, reigned in relationships, personal and national. As a result of loving service in Jesus’ name and living exemplary lives, we would be the “salt of the earth” and the “light of the world” (Matthew 5:13, 14).

The heartbeat of Jesus, before He returns, is the fulfillment of His Great Commission to proclaim the Gospel across the entire world. Evangelism is such a priority that Jesus’ parting words before His ascension instructed the disciples to be His witnesses throughout the earth (Acts 1:8). Jesus went so far as to state that the end will not come until the Gospel is preached in all the world as a witness to all nations (Matthew 24:14).

During the Tribulation period – in the midst of intense persecution – God will use the Two Witnesses (Revelation 11), raise up 144,000 Jewish evangelists (Revelation 7 and 14), and even use angels to proclaim His everlasting Gospel (Revelation 14:6, 7). The harvest will be “a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people, and language” (Revelation 7:9).

Financial Security – Not

While it is wise to have reserves for emergencies and future needs, no amount of accumulated wealth and resources will protect you from what is coming. Currently you can still choose to give where you want, but in the future you may not have that option. Your resources and investments could be confiscated or controlled by another. Your money could be taken through identity theft, bank account seizures, medical expenses, and so on.

Eventually, everything you have will be taken. Besides, you can’t take it with you when you die or when Jesus returns. The only security in this turbulent world is the LORD. Those who horde and stockpile earthly riches will be bankrupt. Jesus said:

Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal; for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also (Matthew 6:19 – 21).

Wise financial planning includes far more than accumulating retirement accounts and material possessions. Countless people have lost large amounts of money that might have been used for the Kingdom – providing them an eternal reward that surpasses any monetary gains they had hoped to achieve. Do not let the words of James 5:2, 3 be true of you:

Your riches have rotted and your garments have become moth-eaten. Your gold and your silver have rusted; and their rust will be a witness against you and will consume your flesh like fire. It is in the last days that you have stored up your treasure!

The day rapidly approaches when each of us will give an account to God concerning our stewardship of finances, time and talents (2 Corinthians 5:9, 10). Therefore, it would be wise to focus on God’s priority: Evangelism and Missions. A significant portion of our resources, time and energy should be put into sharing the love and truth of Jesus with a lost and dying world – this is sound financial planning and most certainly the best inheritance.

Ask yourself: Do I care more about my political agenda or my testimony for Jesus Christ? Do I give more to social and political causes or to missions? Am I neglecting evangelism and witnessing because it is offensive to some? Am I using my life and money primarily for personal pursuits and pleasures or to help fulfill the Great Commission of taking the Gospel to the ends of the earth? What am I doing to advance God’s Kingdom and reach people for eternity before the days of opportunity are gone?

Remember, true and lasting riches consist of spiritual blessings and the legacy of faith you leave your loved ones. We cannot take anything into eternity with us except the lives we touch for Jesus Christ!

It’s the Last Days…

… and you get drunk and abuse others (Matthew 24:48 – 51).

… horde vast amounts of finances and resources (James 5:3).

… squander opportunities to be a witness for Jesus Christ (Matthew 24:14).

… mock the coming of our Lord and Savior (2 Peter 3:3, 4).

… live in wanton pleasure (James 5:5; 2 Peter 3:11; 1 John 3:2, 3).

But it’s not yet too late to heed the words of Jesus to the church in Laodicea:

Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline; therefore be zealous and repent (Revelation 3:19).

Also, God’s words to Solomon are relevant for us today:

When I [the LORD] shut up heaven and there is no rain, or command the locusts to devour the land, or send pestilence among My people, if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land (2 Chronicles 7:13, 14).

~ Bill Rudge Ministries