Hope When Life is Falling Apart

by Bill Rudge

No matter what we face, God will take care of us.

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Photo by Frank Rudge

Many Christians feel like their lives are falling apart. Loss of loved ones, marriages on the brink of dissolution, wayward children, economic distress, inflammation and pain throughout theirs bodies, struggles with addiction, emotional stress, panic attacks and loneliness are just some of the issues facing believers today.

Shortly before His crucifixion Jesus told His disciples, “In this world you will have tribulation [trouble, pressure, affliction, difficulty], but take courage; I have overcome the world” (John 16:33). The apostle Peter admonishes: “Casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you” (1 Peter 5:7). The apostle Paul encourages us that no matter what our circumstances:

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:6, 7).

Isaiah 26:3 promises, “You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You.” Let’s take a closer look at that verse. When you truly trust in the LORD, you will keep your mind stayed on Him instead of your problems. And if you keep your mind and thoughts stayed (focused) on Him, He will keep you in perfect peace – a peace that surpasses all comprehension (Philippians 4:7).

A young mother of two toddlers lost her husband to cancer. She told me that in the midst of her grief and sadness she has realized how BIG her God is. She praised Him for His blessings in the midst of her intense pain.

I recently talked to a man whose wife died in his arms from cancer 10 years ago, his 39 year old daughter died of lupus 4 years ago and his son overdosed on drugs and died one year ago. Yet he had an amazing attitude of faith and trust in the Lord that transcended his heartache.

This young mother and man, in the midst of trials and tragedies, learned to triumph. Through their tears they fixed their eyes on Jesus. They looked beyond their current circumstances to what eternity holds for them. They realized this world is not their home, but they are merely passing through – hopefully taking as many people as possible with them into the Kingdom. They are awaiting with confident faith, the blessed hope, of which Marvin Rosenthal gives us an elegant glimpse:

The blessed hope embodies the fact that at Christ’s coming, the believer will be made perfect (faultless) and as a result, be able to stand before God whose power and wisdom created the universe and who is awesome in His holiness, and yet not be consumed….The believer will see the full manifestation of the glory of God – not the “back parts” of God’s glory as did such a luminary personality as Moses (Exodus 33:20-23) – but the full glow of the intrinsic, eternal perfections of God.

Just think, we will see our Creator face to face as every tear is wiped away; all pain, suffering and death forever banished. We will inherit the “fullness of joy” promised by God and the pleasures of living with Him forever. He will be our God and we will be His people.

First Peter 1:3-9 sums up our trials in this life as well as the joy and hope we can have in the midst of them because of the eternal inheritance awaiting those who believe in Jesus Christ:

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In His great mercy He has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade – kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time.

In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith – of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire – may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.

Though you have not seen Him, you love Him; and even though you do not see Him now, you believe in Him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls.

Face with faith the many difficulties experienced in this world because:

God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change and though the mountains slip into the heart of the sea; though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains quake at its swelling pride. The LORD of hosts is with us (Psalm 46:1-3, 7).

The apostle Paul assured the church at Rome:

Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?…In all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord (Romans 8:35-39).

Hebrews chapter 11 provides many encouraging examples of the heroes of faith. Also, if you have not read my book Overcoming the Giants in Your Life, request a free copy. It will strengthen your faith and encourage you in the midst of challenging times.

A great study to help you have a biblical perspective on suffering and affliction is to look up and reflect upon the following verses:  Job 13:15Psalm 34:19Psalm 119:67, 71Psalm 120:1John 16:33Romans 5:3-5Romans 8:16-18 and 28-39Romans 12:12-15; 2 Corinthians 4:8, 9 and 16-182 Corinthians 12:10Philippians 3:7-11Philippians 4:112 Timothy 3:121 Peter 1:3-91 Peter 4:1, 2 and 12-191 Peter 5:7-10  and  Hebrews 4:14-16.

The trials and troubles in this life, however severe, are nothing in comparison to the glory that will be revealed to those who are God’s children. Romans 8:16-18 conveys this concept clearly:

The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him so that we may also be glorified with Him. For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us.

The God who created us and died for us can be trusted with our lives, our futures and our eternity!

The Miracle Continues

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Karen and Bill in the early days of the ministry.

Forty years ago God led Bill and Karen Rudge to begin an incredible journey of faith. In August of 1977, with no money or facilities – only a God-given vision and determination – they began a ministry that was destined to become an international outreach.

While most people thought the goals of this young couple could never be achieved, Bill and Karen believed God would fulfill what He led them to do. God used the very determination Bill had for lifting weights and karate before becoming a Christian and miraculously increased and redirected it for His purpose.

Many of you are witnesses to the miraculous ways the Lord has worked in and through Bill and Karen’s lives and ministry. You are aware of the numerous “giants” and impossible circumstances they have faced and how God intervened to overcome them.

The testimony of Bill and Karen is that the God who called them is faithful. He has protected, provided and fulfilled everything He has led them to do. Bill has documented these throughout the years in various newsletters and for an upcoming book entitled The Impossible.

First Samuel 2:30 says “…those who honor Me I will honor….” From the beginning of this ministry Bill and Karen’s heart desire has been to honor the Lord, obey His Word and be led by His Spirit – and His blessings have surpassed anything they could have ever imagined. Our God is truly amazing and awesome!

The Vision

At the inception of Bill Rudge Ministries (1977), the Lord clearly put on Bill’s heart the vision of a local, national and international ministry. It seemed preposterous in light of their circumstances, but they still shared this dream way back in the January 1979 letter. One excerpt follows:

Our goal for the first five years is to establish a strong foundation and a strong local program that is effectively reaching out to area youth and adults so that within the next five years this ministry will be reaching out on a national level – and within 10 years to reach out on a worldwide level. God will bring this vision and dream to fruition. Many will dream, but few are willing to go through what Bill has and will go through to make this dream a reality. This is our goal and our dream. With your prayers and financial support we will continue to attempt it.

Bill’s Reflections

Many of the people who began supporting us in the early days of the ministry continue to this day. Some have gone on to be with the Lord. Virtually all of our family (parents and siblings, as well as many aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews and cousins), along with numerous ministry friends, have stood with us throughout the years and made our dream their own.

Karen has worked side by side with me and supported me each step of the way. Our daughter and son have been actively involved from their youth through the present (BJ, as my executive assistant and Tabitha, as a volunteer). Some of the grandchildren assist with the obstacle course and help out in various other capacities.

As we celebrate the ministry’s 40th anniversary in August, we rejoice at how God has done the impossible in fulfilling this miracle. There is no explanation except the Lord’s provision through the generosity of our supporters and their earnest prayers on our behalf. They have had a part in this incredible venture of faith. Karen and I will continue to work for the Lord until He returns or calls us home. We are very grateful for all of our ministry friends and partners.

Salvation: Easy as A-B-C and D

bibleA – Admit you are a sinner in need of God’s forgiveness. There is nothing you can do to pay the penalty of sin or earn your salvation (Romans 3:23). The penalty for sin is death, and only God’s righteous and sinless Son could pay that penalty. So, there is no other solution to your dilemma other than coming to Jesus Christ in repentance, receiving His free gift of salvation, and accepting Him as your Savior and Lord. “But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name” (John 1:12).

B – Believe in your heart that Jesus died for your sins and rose from the dead. Just believing in something doesn’t make it true, no matter how sincere you are. Nor is it the intensity of belief that makes something true. It is who and what you believe in that really matters. Jesus said, “…unless you believe that I am He, you will die in your sins” (John 8:24). To “believe in” is more than merely acknowledging the reality of Jesus Christ; it means “to trust in and rely on” –– a belief that results in committing your life to Him.

C – Confess with your mouth that Jesus died and rose again. Tell others that you have accepted Him as your Savior and Lord. “If you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation” (Romans 10:9, 10).

When you sincerely act on A, B, and C, something amazing happens. God’s Spirit indwells you and begins to mold you into a new creation. Your name is written in the Book of Life! And when you depart this life, you will be welcomed into God’s eternal kingdom and receive all He has prepared for those who love Him.

D – Demonstrate your faith by growing in your personal relationship with Jesus Christ through regular Bible study and prayer, fellowshipping with other believers, and being a witness to those who do not yet know Him. Demonstrate a changed life as His Spirit and Word transform you and mold you into the person you were created to be.

Knowing and living for Jesus Christ is a wonderful spiritual journey with life-changing experiences and eternal blessings. Your acceptance of Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord will prove to be the wisest, most courageous, and most eternally significant decision you will ever make.

Incarcerated Minister Learning to Overcome Sexual Immorality

The following was written by A.L.P., Jr., Arkansas:

I am 31 years of age and currently incarcerated at Ouachita River Correctional Unit in Malvern, Arkansas. I was sentenced to nine years in prison for second degree Sexual Assault. I am taking advantage of this time to correct my problematic thinking and behavior patterns. For years, I have struggled with sexual immorality, and as a young minister of the gospel, I had every opportunity to rely on the Word of God as a guide for deliverance, strength, and healing. My failure to believe that as a “Warrior” I could conquer the war that raged in the battlefield of my mind, weakened my spirit and ultimately led to a crime and a nine year prison sentence. I make no excuses for my actions and take full responsibility for the hurt and harm that I have caused my victim and her family – as well as my family and those who were/are connected to me.

I have been blessed to write a book entitled Chronicles of a Warrior: A Journey to Complete Freedom that, not only tells of my struggle with sexual immortality and the spirit of heaviness, but also the internal freedom I am experiencing in Christ.

Bill Rudge’s book, Overcoming Sexual Immorality, has been a blessing to me. Thank you for hearing and obeying the voice of God. I was halfway in the completion of my book when my wife mailed Bill’s book to me. There are good nuggets in Overcoming Sexual Immorality that I would love to use in my book Chronicles of a Warrior. I have found the things Bill said to be true and effective. I would love the privilege and opportunity to share quotes from Bill’s book.

Thanks again, Bill, for your book. Because of your obedience and willingness to write this book, I have been able to use more effective tools in my journey to complete freedom. May God continue to use you and bless you for your obedience.