Leaving A Legacy

by BJ Rudge, Ph.D.

One afternoon while walking through the woods, and spending time with the Lord in prayer, I reflected upon my life. Not only contemplating my past, I began to examine where I was in the present; specifically how I was spending my time and how this might impact my future. I thought of my children and what type of legacy I was leaving for them, and asked myself, “If I were to pass away, how would my children describe me? Would they talk about a father who not only loved them, but also desired to continually be in the presence of the Lord? Would they see me as a man who invested his life in prayer and in fulfilling God’s calling on his life? Would they want to follow in my footsteps as a man of integrity and emulate my spiritual walk with the Lord?”

The reality is that all of us will leave a legacy. Regardless of whether we are married and have children or not, God places people in our lives who are part of our circle of influence. A friend of mine has never been married and has no children, but he recognizes that he has been called by God to be a spiritual role model for his nieces and nephews. Another friend told me that he and his wife were not able to have children. However, he realizes that God has still called him to be a godly example to others. So he invests his time working with the children at his church, and serving as a chaplain at a local hospital to patients who are dying.

Considering this, ask yourself the following question: “What spiritual legacy am I leaving with the people God has put in my life?” The answer will depend upon how much time you spend in prayer, for it is in the time we spend in prayer that God prepares and equips us for His calling on our lives. As Dr. Martyn Lloyd Jones asserts in his studies on the Sermon on the Mount:

Prayer is beyond any question the highest activity of the human soul. Man is at his greatest and highest when, upon his knees, he comes face to face with God.

Sorrow and Joy

By Joyce Haslebacher

He’s gone now, this son we love,
Called to his home up above.

The pain, the grief, the woe
Through which he had to go,

It’s over now and he’s at peace,
But we who love him have great grief.

He was kind and gentle, sweet and dear,
Oh, how we’ll miss him being here.

But You know best and do things wise
And though we hurt, praise does arise,

That all his suffering now is past;
He’s in heaven at long last.

The mantle cell that took such toll,
Young he was but grew so old;

At 65 and young at heart,
Yet You called and he must depart.

Thank You, Lord, his pain is gone,
And with You he’s living on.

Due to Christ and His Calvary,
One day soon his face we’ll see,

And all rejoice on heaven’s shore
With love and peace forevermore.

No more cancer called mantle cell
No more misery from devil’s hell.

Just together in Your heavenly place
Due to Your mercy, love, and grace.

Christ shed His blood to end all pain,
Hell to shun and heaven to gain.

Amen and Amen

Joyce Haslebacher wrote the above touching poem in honor of the memory of her son, Charles Haslebacher, who died February 4, 2021 of mantle cell lymphoma. Joyce and her husband Herbert met Bill and Karen Rudge many years ago when Bill spoke at the church they attended in Clarksburg, West Virginia. They have been dear friends and faithful supporters of BRM ever since.

In Pursuit of a Dream

By Darlinda McDonald

Carson (left) was commended by the Navy Chief and the Commander for training Navy recruits and providing them transportation for several weeks before he himself left for Boot Camp.
Carson standing on top of a climbing obstacle at BRM. He has hurled many obstacles and excelled in making great accomplishments.
Michael, Carson and Lucas with some of the Cub Scouts they led through the BRM obstacle course last summer.
Carson (on left) leading the Sharpsville Varsity Soccer Team through “Black Tire Pain” – one of the hardest challenges at the BRM obstacle course.

Carson (Bill and Karen Rudge’s grandson) was born in San Diego one month after 9/11. His family moved to Pennsylvania several years later. Carson graduated from high school during the coronavirus. A dedicated athlete, he played soccer for the Riverhounds in Pittsburgh and played in soccer tournaments across the country as well as in Italy. At age 18, Carson turned down a scholarship to play soccer in college to pursue his dream of special military service in the Navy.

Carson has been a great blessing to Bill Rudge Ministries for many years. He helped Bill with school assemblies, defense clinics, and the obstacle course for sports teams and military recruits, as well as assisting with grounds maintenance, mail pick-up, delivering clothes, school supplies and household items to local missions and ministries, and loading trucks with boxes of books, sports jerseys, soccer balls, school supplies, etc. for delivery to Third World countries. Carson has been willing to help in any way needed at BRM. He also mentored several peers, assisted an injured Vietnam Vet by moving furniture, doing yard work and various other projects. He delivered and moved furniture for Building of Hope to those in need and for several elderly people.

Carson is greatly missed by family, friends and BRM staff and volunteers. He continues to support the ministry by having a portion of his pay from the Navy automatically given to BRM. We pray God’s protection for this young man of excellence, a consistent and valued volunteer – never charging anyone for anything he did to help.

Bill’s Advice To Carson Before Boot Camp

“Always remember the tetherball battles, hockey games, boxing, obstacle course, sleeping on our couch and borrowing my clothes.

“Always remember, Carson Brock, that you were created in God’s image (Genesis 1:26). Never forget that He loves you so much He died for you (John 3:16). Realize that Jesus will forgive anything if you ask (1 John 1:9).

“Rejoice that your name is written in the Book of Life and one day you will rule and reign with Christ (Revelation 20:6). You may have some lonely times but He will never leave you or forsake you (Matthew 28:20).

“Have faith, courage, determination, discipline and integrity because you can do all things through Christ who strengthens you (Philippians 4:13).

“There will be challenges and difficulties but God will use them to make you strong and work everything out for good (Romans 8:28).

“Through it all you will be molded into the man He intended you to be (Romans 8:29). In the end you will look back and know the truth of God’s Word and that He honors those who honor Him (1 Samuel 2:30).

“One day we will never have to say goodbye again. Stay safe, healthy and close to Jesus. And never, ever forget how much I love you. I am so proud to have you as a grandson!”

Papa Bill

Tragedy to Triumph

The tragic death of a child leads to an unexpected journey that results in a multi-generational blessing.

To view more of Bill’s videos on YouTube, visit https://www.youtube.com/billrudgeministries/videos.

To check out more videos, please click on the following links:

For BJ Rudge YouTube, https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCd9cewtBcErKSw6M6Fc_T0Q.

For Bill Rudge Vimeo videos, https://vimeo.com/user11953761.

For more videos on the Bill Rudge Ministries website, https://billrudgeministries.wordpress.com/multimedia/videos-and-slide-shows/.

Rediscover Your Journey with GOD

by Bill Rudge

We are rapidly nearing the end of this age and the return of Jesus Christ. Yet, many in the Church are indifferent, lukewarm, or outright apostate. Instead of watching for the coming of the Lord and loving His appearing, many are absorbed in entertainment, social media, and the “cares of this world” or are involved in behavior and practices that dishonor the Lord and are contrary to His Word.

Many parents dedicated their children to God, and vowed to raise them in the instruction of Scripture: “These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up” (Deuteronomy 6:6, 7). However, now they allow (or actually encourage) their children to watch movies that reflect a lifestyle contrary to what Scripture teaches: laced with sorcery and occultism, glamorizing violence, promoting lies and theft, glorifying sexually promiscuous behavior, and taking God’s name in vain.

What does the Lord have to do to wake up this generation and rekindle the fire of commitment and obedience to Him and His Word? How far have we fallen and drifted from pure devotion to Christ (1 John 3:2, 3; 2 Corinthians 11:2)? Will the Son of Man find faith or unfaithfulness when He returns (Luke 18:8)? Will His Church be committed or compromised? Will His Bride be longing for, and awaiting His return, or be with those who actually attempt to fight against Him at Armageddon (Rev. 19:19)?

Get started today on your journey of rediscovering what God desires for your life and family. Recommit yourself and your children to the Lord by making the most important commandment a priority in your life:

Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength (Mark 12:30).

Now I Understand

by Bill Rudge

The day of Moriah Rudge’s third ankle surgery (a three hour operation) Karen and I were praying and fasting. I said to Karen, “BJ now understands what we went through with all his soccer injuries and surgeries.” Later that night BJ was on his way home from the hospital to be with his other five children before heading back to Children’s Hospital in Pittsburgh the next day. He called on his cell phone to say, “Now I understand what it was like for you and mom with all my surgeries.”

Second Corinthians 1:4 promises,

“God comforts us in all our affliction so that we will be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.”

Let us encourage and pray for one another as we face life’s burdens.

Moriah had her fifth surgery in August. Pray God heals and uses her for His glory!

Keeping Childlike Faith in Uncertain Times

By BJ Rudge, Ph.D.

The other day my daughter asked me about what it means to have childlike faith. I responded by telling her that just as children trust their parents we, too, need to trust God. In other words, we must learn to walk by faith and not by sight. 

The very next day I was cleaning up after dinner thinking about all the decisions that my wife and I were facing and the challenges we had as a family. 

After four ankle surgeries, my oldest daughter was still having significant pain. What should we do? Should we consult another doctor and face the possibility of a fifth surgery?

My second oldest daughter was still dealing with post-concussion issues, even though a year had passed. Would she ever experience relief from her headaches? Would we have to go through another round of vision therapy? 

Then, the reality of all the medical bills with my daughters’ issues began to make me concerned. How would we pay for them?  

The difficulties in my personal life seemed to only intensify with the proliferating coronavirus and how it might impact our lives and nation. What if our community was put under mandatory quarantine? Did we have enough food and supplies? What would we do if one of us gets sick?   

While feeling completely overwhelmed with all these questions running through my mind, I looked out our kitchen window and saw my two youngest daughters on our trampoline playing with their Barbie dolls. In the midst of all that was going on in my life and the world, they were content and at peace. It was at that moment where God impressed on my heart what it means to have childlike faith. It did not mean I would go through life with no problems or challenges, but in the midst of them, like my children, I could still have peace and joy.  

Just as my children’s peace and joy rested in the fact that they knew my wife and I would take care of their needs, so too, we can have peace and joy knowing that our heavenly Father will also take care of our needs.

As our world continues to face the fear of the uncertainty of the coronavirus, and as we all face difficulties and challenges, may we live with a childlike faith in a God who is truly our refuge in times of trouble (Psalm 46:1). 

Property Laws of a Toddler

If I like it, it’s mine.

If it’s in my hand, it’s mine.

If I can take it from you, it’s mine.

If I had it a little while ago, it’s mine.

If it’s mine, it must never appear to be yours in any way.

If I’m doing or building something, all of the pieces are mine.

If it looks like mine, it’s mine.

If I saw it first, it’s mine.

If you are playing with something and you put it down, it automatically becomes mine.

If it’s broken, it’s yours.

Author Unknown

Teach Them About Eternity

by Bill Rudge

Photo by Bill Rudge

Parents, I have an important message for you so pay close attention. You teach your children sports, help them with school work and many other things that can have a lifetime benefit. But do you teach them about the most important journey they will take or the most amazing adventure they will experience – eternity? Eternity lasts forever!

As a youth and on through my life, I have lost many family members, friends and acquaintances to eternity – many of whom were taken unexpectedly and were not prepared.

I had a vivid dream one night several months ago of two friends from my past standing with me on a small boat a little offshore. It was twilight and before us lay a vast, dark ocean. I said to my friends as we sailed into the darkness and infinite unknowns of eternity, “Accept Jesus Christ as your Savior so you are prepared for what lies ahead.” But they seemed indifferent as we headed toward certain demise. Then I woke up.

Parents, don’t be indifferent. Teach your children valuable lessons for this life, but do not neglect to teach them about what is most important and lasts forever – eternity!

Mary and Joseph Were Good Parents

by Jim Weikal

Jesus’ mother Mary not only had the privilege of giving birth to the holy infant, but she and Joseph had the responsibility of instructing Him as He grew. They needed to know the Torah and Judaism to teach the maturing Jesus its divine commandments.

These words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up (Deuteronomy 6:6-7).

This teaching process was more than transmitting information. It was more than sending Him to a religious school for someone else to instruct. It was a process of living a righteous life as an example. The circumstances of daily living were an opportunity to show the child how to live a God-honoring life.

Luke tells us that Jesus “continued to grow and become strong, increasing in wisdom” (2:40). A large part of His growth came from His parents (who were obedient to the law), as well as the teachers of Israel. We know He had a lot of questions for them at Jerusalem (Luke 2:46-47).

If you have children at home this Christmas season, make a commitment to teach them in the ways of the Lord “when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up.” In today’s culture, can you afford to do anything less?

How Much God Loves Us

by Bill Rudge

Daily I get a glimpse of how much God must love each and every one of His children. The following are just a few examples using my 11 grandchildren to reveal my love and enjoyment of them and how much I miss them when I am not with them.

When my 18 year old granddaughter left for college in August or previously sang for a Memorial Day Program or church services before I spoke…

When my 16 year old grandson works out with me on the obstacle course and then hangs out with me after and gives bear hugs before leaving…

When my 15 year old granddaughter asks me to play catch with the football or play basketball with her…

When my 14 year old granddaughter shared her testimony and wrote a story about her papa or sang before I spoke at the Salvation Army…

When my 13 year old granddaughter cut her long beautiful hair and donated it for wigs for cancer patients or received a special award for kindness at school…

When my 11 year old grandson asks me to sit beside him in a hammock so we can “shoot the breeze” or walks the West Hill with me and his cousin, thrilled by the stories from my youth…

When my 8 year old granddaughter smiled angelically as she bowed with perfect form after performing at a piano recital or laughs while I fly her through the air during a blanket ride…

When my 7 year old granddaughter holds my hand and arm tightly while walking through a dark hallway or asks me to tell her a story as we go on another “Papa Adventure” from my childhood or walks on her hands while I hold her feet…

When my 5 year old granddaughter is carried by me upstairs to bandage her left knee after she cut it running to the jumpy house, or after spilling something smiles at me when she realizes she is not in trouble or when we swing together…

When my 4 year old granddaughter cuddles up to me and wraps her arms around my neck and kisses me lightly on the cheek as she says, “I love you papa” then curls up under my arm and falls asleep or talks to me about Jesus and the Bible…

When my 3 year old granddaughter giggles in my arms when I tell her to go down the slide or while putting her head under water in the pool or while going through the tickle tunnel…

These are just a few of the countless times I get a glimpse and am reminded of how much our Heavenly Father loves each of His children and receives joy from a close relationship with each one of us.

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.

The Sovereignty of God

Powerful and Effective Prayer

“The Lord is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust!” Psalm 91:2

A good place to begin a powerful and effective prayer life is in realizing that we are, in every way, completely dependent upon God. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego understood that their lives were under the control of a sovereign God. Consider their response to the King of Babylon, Nebuchadnezzar, before he had them thrown into the fiery furnace:

O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to give you an answer concerning this matter. If it be so our God Whom we serve is able to deliver us from the furnace of blazing fire; and He will deliver us out of your hand, O king. But even if He does not, let it be known to you, O king, that we are not going to serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up (Daniel 3:16-18).

Think on these verses which highlight the sovereignty of God:

The earth is the Lord’s, and all it contains, the world and those who dwell in it (Psalm 24:1).

Whatever the Lord pleases, He does, in heaven and in earth, in the seas and in all deeps (Psalm 135:6).

Remember the former things long past, for I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is no one like Me, declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times things which have not been done, saying, “My purpose will be established, and I will accomplish all My good pleasure” (Isaiah 46:9, 10).

He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together (Colossians 1:17).

Once we acknowledge that God is sovereign we must place our trust in Him as it says in Proverbs:

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight (Proverbs 3:5, 6).

The Importance of Communication

As in any relationship, trust is established through communication – the exact essence of what prayer is all about.

A friend of my family went through a very difficult divorce. From all appearances, it seemed everything was fine in his marriage. He and his wife were active in their church and home schooled their children. He was very vocal about his faith and was very intentional in sharing the Gospel at work. When I received news that he and his wife had divorced, I gave him a call. As we talked he said, “BJ, at some point in my marriage I became a stranger to my wife. I felt like a single parent raising my kids.” This man’s marriage was destroyed when he and his wife stopped communicating.

Our human relationship with God will never grow unless we spend time communicating with Him. It is during those moments on our knees when faith develops. I foster trust in God by utilizing a prayer journal to record prayer requests and write down spiritual lessons God has taught me. This journal has proven a great resource to remind me of God’s faithfulness. It is encouraging to reflect on past requests and see how God has responded to them. Sometimes God did not answer the request in the way I thought He would, nor in the time I wanted, but in each case I am reminded that I serve a God who listens and responds to the needs of His children (Psalm 34:17; Matthew 7:7; John 14:13-14; Hebrews 4:16; 1 John 5:14-15).

Some of the spiritual lessons God has taught me have come through times of trials and tribulation, others during times of prayer and fasting. Regardless of the situation, in each case it has been valuable to reflect upon what God has taught me through the years. I also jot down key verses that have given me strength, encouragement and direction through various times in my life. What a faithful God we serve!

Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God (Psalm 20:7).

So then, the first principle in having a powerful and effective prayer life is trusting in the sovereignty of God. We are merely the vehicles which God uses to accomplish His sovereign will. Even in the uncertainties of life, we must realize, like Job, that we are dependent upon Him (Job 42:2-6).

The preceding was excerpted from BJ’s new E-book Powerful and Effective Prayer.