Strive for Integrity

“May integrity and uprightness protect me.”   Psalm 25:21

Bobby Jones is considered one of history’s greatest golfers. But more than all his victories on the golf course, he’s famous for what happened in the 1925 U.S. Open. He inadvertently touched his ball and assessed himself a one-stroke penalty, even though no one else saw him touch the ball. But he couldn’t violate his conscience. And by assessing himself that penalty, he lost the Open by that one stroke. When tournament officials tried to compliment him for his integrity, Jones simply said, “You might as well praise me for not breaking into banks. There is only one way to play this game.”

Bobby Jones played by the rules. Period. And in doing so, he honored the integrity of the game. One sportswriter wrote, “In the opinion of many people, of all the great athletes, Bobby Jones came the closest to being what we call a great man.”

Jones could have won the tournament, but he would have lost his integrity. And winning the U.S. Open wasn’t worth a one-stroke penalty on his integrity. That’s epic integrity! And that’s something to be celebrated. We live in a culture that celebrates talent more than integrity, but we’ve got it backwards. Talent depreciates over time. So do intellect and appearance. You will eventually lose your strength and your looks. You may even lose your mind. But you don’t have to lose your integrity. Integrity is the only thing that doesn’t depreciate over time. Nothing takes longer to build than a godly reputation—and nothing is destroyed more quickly by one stroke of sin. That’s why your integrity must be celebrated and protected above all else.

The Word For You Today, Bob Gass Ministries

Grace in the Wilderness

by Darlinda McDonald

Pastor Joe Marzano was a youth pastor for eleven years when he and his wife made the decision to step away from their church because it had drifted from the Word of God. During some time in the wilderness, and after much prayer and the leading of the Holy Spirit they decided to start a church. They knew, however, that they needed some Biblically sound direction. That is when Pastor Joe decided to call BRM (Bill Rudge Ministries).

“Bill was a great encouragement to me,” said Pastor Joe. “He supplied me with some materials that helped show me the error I had been taught as well as the new truth and freedoms in Christ. It was a definite breath of fresh Scripture.”

Pastor Joe now leads a church called Grace in the Wilderness Fellowship. He states,

“The church I pastor now, Grace in the Wilderness Fellowship, is based on the Word, Sola Scriptura. The Bible is more than sufficient, it is our lifeline. I have been blessed with people who have a hunger and thirst for God’s Word. Last November, we celebrated our 20th anniversary as a church. I want to thank Bill, Karen, and Dr. BJ, as well as the entire BRM ministry, as they were lovingly praying for us at a crucial time in our life. When others said we would fail, Bill and others encouraged us like Barnabas did with Paul. I am grateful for this ministry, and twenty years later we are constantly reminded that the Lord is faithful. Blessings to the Rudge family and ministry.”

Pastor Joe Marzano is on Bill Rudge Ministries Board of Reference, and Grace in the Wilderness Fellowship is a faithful supporter of BRM.

41 Years of Helping People Reach Their Maximum Potential

By Darlinda McDonald

This month, Bill Rudge Ministries is celebrating 41 years in ministry locally and around the world.

Bill Rudge Ministries (BRM) has been helping children, teens and adults to reach their maximum potential – physically, mentally and spiritually – for the past 41 years. Stepping out in faith, Bill and Karen Rudge began the ministry locally in 1977 with no money or facilities, and have grown to become an international outreach covering over 135 countries.

Many in the Shenango Valley will remember the popular programs BRM offered (Teen Life, Kids Life, Total Health & Fitness and the Research Division) that reached out to area youth and adults in the early years. Within five years of the ministry’s inception, Bill was speaking nationwide and ten years later he was not only speaking internationally but distributing, free of charge, their books (written by Bill and his son Dr. BJ Rudge), pamphlets, tracts, audio and video messages to anyone who asked. Over 1.5 million of their biblical resources have been requested by missionaries, pastors, chaplains, military personnel, prisoners, students and searching people everywhere. Some of their books have been translated and reprinted in several languages.

Many have been inspired by Bill’s personal testimony which was dramatized on Unshackled and aired on over 1,200 radio stations worldwide as well as his weekly radio broadcast, Living Truth for Today, and A Minute of Living Truth, which have aired on AM, FM, shortwave, and Internet radio stations across the U.S. and around the world.

Bill has led dozens of mission trips into remote and often dangerous areas to minister at conventions, churches, schools, leper colonies, hospitals and villages. He has also hosted 10 Holy Land Adventures. Bill and BJ have spoken more than 3,000 times at churches, schools, colleges, seminaries, military bases, prisons, detention centers, hospitals, rallies, retreats, banquets, conventions and pastors’ and leadership conferences throughout the United States and in over 25 countries.

In addition to presenting school assemblies and self-defense clinics, BRM offers specialized training programs for students, military personnel, youth groups, sports teams, mission teams, and others at its obstacle course. Recognizing the importance of staying fit physically as well as spiritually, Bill Rudge Ministries designed the Ultimate Challenge Obstacle & Fitness Course for those who desire a challenging workout.

More than 30 staff and volunteers serve in various capacities either in the Hermitage headquarters or from their own offices and homes throughout the country. From running the daily responsibilities of the ministry, creating newsletters, blogs and podcasts, processing requests for materials, responding to letters and e-mail, and managing the web site to producing radio broadcasts, organizing school assemblies, assisting with the obstacle course, participating in the prayer ministry and many other ministry activities, these people are the heartbeat of the ministry.

None of these things (and so much more) could have happened without the Lord’s provision which has come through the generosity of the Ministry’s many supporters which include individuals, churches, businesses and organizations. This has also allowed BRM to complete several building projects and run a multi-faceted outreach for 41 years without ever paying one penny of interest.

Our ability to offer free resources and services has been accomplished through your generous and faithful support. Thank you from the bottoms of our hearts. To everyone who has helped by giving of their finances, time, services, equipment or assistance in any other way, we extend a heartfelt thank you! We pray the Lord blesses you beyond measure.

Miracle Child (Lillian Grace)

by Tabitha Rudge Smith (and Florence Biros)

My husband and I were living in California and always wanted a big family. When we learned a third child was going to join us, we were so thrilled. I called the doctor and was told, “We would like to see you around 10 to 12 weeks in the pregnancy unless you have complications.”

I made my appointment to see the doctor for the first time, when I knew I would be able to hear my baby’s heartbeat. Besides, my morning sickness was so bad with this pregnancy that I couldn’t wait to see the doctor to get something to help alleviate it.
At the appointment, I saw a female doctor who tried to hear the heartbeat, but couldn’t find it. “Sometimes this early – around 10 weeks – the heartbeat is hard to hear. Instead, we’re going to do an ultrasound.”

How exciting, I thought, I can see my baby as well as hear it! That didn’t happen. When they did the ultrasound, the woman looked very solemn and said, “I’m very sorry. There is a pregnancy sac but it is empty.” Then she added, “There are no signs of life.”

I answered, “Well it is early and I could be off a few days.”

She looked at me and declared, “Well you’d have to be off at least 3 weeks.”

In my heart I knew I was not 3 weeks off of my cycle. Her next words cut me to the core, “Why don’t you go home and think about what you want to do – miscarry on your own or have a D&C?”

That weekend I had planned on going on a woman’s retreat. I didn’t feel like going. My husband suggested, “Why don’t you go to help keep your mind off all this?”

I went. By the second night of the retreat, I was so miserable from throwing up and crying that I had to leave during the evening message and run to the restroom.
A sweet, elderly lady asked sympathetically, “Do you have the flu?”

Do I tell her? I contemplated for a minute, then decided I didn’t feel like discussing it. Instead I told her, “I’m pregnant and having a terrible time with morning sickness.”

Taking my hand, she asked “May I pray for you?”

I just need to tell her that there is no baby. Why pray? I agreed, though. She continued to hold my hand and pray, asking God to take away my nausea, bless my pregnancy and then she placed her hand on my womb and said, “Lord, if there is something that needs to be in the womb that is not there, we ask you to place it there.”

At that moment I burst into tears and told her the whole story. She simply smiled, gave me a hug, then walked away.

A few days later I went to see the doctor who said, “I’ll schedule one more ultrasound before scheduling your D&C.” When she placed the ultrasound wand on my stomach, she seemed amazed. She not only heard the heartbeat, but saw a picture of our 11 week old baby in my belly.

We knew that God had performed a miracle and gave us our precious baby. She is now a beautiful, healthy 14-year-old who loves to tell her friends about Jesus.

Two Men – Two Destinies

by Bill Rudge

Stephen Hawking was a brilliant physicist – but the intricate prophecies in Scripture and the glorious revelation of Jesus Christ far surpass any human knowledge or ability. The psalmist stated, “The fool says in his heart, ‘There is no God’” (Psalm 14:1; 53:1). The human conscience and the Creation point with definitive clarity to a magnificent Creator. “The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament shows His handiwork” (Psalm 19:1).

The prophet Isaiah declared, “Before Me there was no God formed, and there will be none after Me” (Isaiah 43:10). Moses wrote, “There is no god besides Me; it is I who put to death and give life and there is no one who can deliver from My hand” (Deuteronomy 32:39).

If Stephen Hawking was right about God, then he and Billy Graham lost nothing. However, if Billy was right, then he won everything and Stephen lost everything. In other words, Stephen Hawking had nothing to gain and everything to lose. Billy Graham had nothing to lose and everything to gain.

The apostle Paul makes it clear that when we stand before God we will have no defense for rejecting Him.  He states in Romans 1:20, “For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse.”

Jeremiah the prophet precisely stated, “You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart” (Jeremiah 29:13). God will move heaven and earth to make known His way of salvation to anyone who seeks Him with a sincere and humble heart. Each of us has both the freedom and opportunity in this life to determine our eternal destiny.

“This is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent” (John 17:3).

“And the testimony is this, that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He who has the Son has the life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have the life” (1 John 5:11, 12).

Instead of discounting a creator and replacing Him with a faulty system of evolution that ultimately leads to a dead end, you can come to know the Creator in a real and personal way. Once you do, your endless hours of studying theories that continually change and dissipate can end and you can look at this amazing Creator’s creation through eyes of gratitude, hope and assurance.

Worthy are You, our Lord and our God, to receive glory and honor and power; for You created all things, and because of Your will they existed, and were created” (Revelation 4:11).

The Spread of Evil

by Bill Rudge

The senseless violence and unrestrained wickedness in our society reflects the glaring truth that evil exists. Satan, the powerful being described in the Bible, reveals himself as seeking to destroy God’s highest creation – human beings. He is the motivating influence for many of the atrocities humans commit against each other and for self-destructive behavior.

Chaos, confusion, decadence, depravity reveal that something is definitely wrong with our human experience. The Bible attributes this to the Fall (Genesis 3) – initiated by the rebellion and deception of Satan.

In his strategy to annihilate humanity’s allegiance to its Creator, Satan inspires both false religions and the delusion there is no Creator.

How better to explain the uninhibited immorality, unabashed greed and horrific violence than the malicious being in Scripture referred to as Satan (adversary), aka the devil (slanderer). He is the evil one, the murderer and father of lies – wreaking havoc on this planet.

Since Satan exists it is reasonable to conclude that the Creator-God, who threw him out of heaven, also exists. This Creator-God is seeking in every way possible to draw His creation into a restored relationship with Him through Jesus Christ.

The days prior to Jesus second coming are treacherous because of demonic deception and proliferation of evil. Scripture indicates we will see uninhibited, unrestrained and unrepentant immorality, sorcery and violence as we draw closer to Christ’s return. Wickedness will reach its crescendo right before Jesus Christ returns to subdue those who would destroy and pervert His creation. But evil and death will give way to everlasting peace and joy as all of creation is restored to Paradise when Jesus ushers in His Eternal Kingdom. Be certain you are a part of it!

Resume of Jesus Christ

by BJ Rudge, Ph.D.

I was witnessing to a man devoted to a religion that claimed all paths lead to God. He believed the founder of his religion was the true manifestation of God. So I asked what credentials the founder of his religion had to persuade me to become a follower. He said that if I read his writings I would get a feeling in my heart that he was truly a messenger from God.

While I can appreciate the importance of an emotional response to one’s faith, feelings change like the wind and the weather. I explained to him that I was not willing to invest my life and trust my eternal destiny on a mere feeling.

Devoid of any further reasons to persuade me to accept his belief system, I began to share with him the credentials of the One and True manifestation of God. I shared with him that Jesus Christ fulfilled Messianic prophecy, lived a sinless life, performed miracles, provided the remedy for man’s condition (sin), and demonstrated His authority over death by rising from the dead. After setting forth these reasons, this man sat in utter silence. The founder of his religion had no such evidence.

When you compare Jesus’ resume to any other religious figure, you quickly discover that He alone is worthy of placing our lives and eternal destiny in His hands. As the apostle Peter stated, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life” (John 6:68).