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.

Are You Honoring His Name?

by Bill Rudge

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Photo by Roy DeMattio

What parent wants their name disgraced by his or her children? A bad name is a curse while a good name is a blessing. People live and die to protect the testimony of their name and the reputation of their family. How much more the Lord defends the honor of His name.

“I am the LORD, that is My name; I will not give My glory to another, nor My praise to graven images” (Isaiah 42:8).

While many in today’s society are attempting in every way possible to silence and profane the name of the LORD, we as believers must acknowledge and reverence His name by both our words and the example of our lives. The third Commandment is:

“You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain, for the LORD will not leave him unpunished who takes His name in vain” (Exodus 20:7).

First Chronicles 17:24 tells us His name should be “magnified forever.”

The prophet Ezekiel states:

“Thus says the Lord GOD, It is not for your sake, O house of Israel, that I am about to act, but for My holy name, which you have profaned among the nations where you went. I will vindicate the holiness of My great name…” (Ezekiel 36:21-23).

David said to Goliath:

“You come to me with a sword, a spear, and a javelin, but I come to you in the name of the LORD of hosts” (1 Samuel 17:45).

Solomon built the house (Temple) for the name of the LORD (1 Kings 8:20). Elijah defeated the prophets of Baal in the name of the LORD (1 Kings 18:32). The Psalms frequently mention the name of the LORD. A few examples follow:

I will sing praise to the name of the LORD Most High” (7:17).

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

“From the rising of the sun to its setting the name of the LORD is to be praised” (113:3).

“Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the LORD” (118:26).

“Our help is in the name of the LORD” (124:8).

Proverbs 18:10 tells us that

“The name of the LORD is a strong tower.”

Micah 4:5 states:

“We will walk in the name of the LORD our God forever and ever.”

Psalm 23, which you have probably read or recited many times, says:

“He leads me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake” (verse 3).

The Lord’s Prayer starts out:

“Our Father who is in heaven, hallowed be Your name” (Matthew 6:9).

Jesus told His disciples to ask of the Father in His name (John 15:16, 17; 16:23-27). The Apostle John tells us that his Gospel and the miracles of Jesus he recorded were

“written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name” (John 20:31).

Acts 2:21 promises:

“And it shall come to pass that whoever calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved.”

Acts 4:12 tells us there is salvation only in the name of Jesus for

“there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved.”

The Apostle Peter said to the crippled man:

“In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk” (Acts 3:6).

At Damascus and Jerusalem the Apostle Paul was speaking out boldly in the name of the Lord (Acts 9:27, 28). Paul said to the slave girl possessed by a spirit of divination:

“In the name of Jesus Christ I command you to come out of her!” (Acts 16:18).

Colossians 3:17 exhorts:

“Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus.”

James 5:14 instructs:

“Is anyone among you sick? Then he must call for the elders of the church and they are to pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord.”

His Name the Only One

The primary motivation for me to live a pure life is to honor my Lord and not be a reproach to His name. The secondary reason is to avoid the consequences warned and exemplified throughout Scripture, and experienced throughout history by those who ignore or violate His Word.  In every way possible we as believers must respect and reverence the name of the Lord – just as we hope our children will honor our name! We must also believe in, trust in, pray in, and be witnesses in (through both word and deed) the name of the Lord.

The day is rapidly approaching when according to Zechariah 14:9:

“The LORD will be king over all the earth; in that day the LORD will be the only one, and His name the only one.” 

The crucial question you should ask yourself daily is: “Do my words and behavior honor or dishonor the name of the Lord?”

Temporary Pleasures

by Bill Rudge

“I will set before my eyes no vile thing.” Psalm 101:3

The world recently praised the legacy of a renown man for his liberation from sexual limitations, however, the Bible has a different perspective. This man may have had a “funtastic” life but I would not want his eternity. He may have been proud about breaking down moral barriers and mocking God’s commands, but I am certain he is now humbled before the One who allowed him the temporary freedom to make his own choices and even live his sensual lifestyle – which influenced multitudes. Jesus said:

“Things that cause people to sin are bound to come, but woe to that person through whom they come. It would be better for him to be thrown into the sea with a millstone tied round his neck than for him to cause one of these little ones to sin” (Luke 17:1, 2).

This well-known man may have boasted about “decontaminating the notion of premarital sex” (what the Bible forbids as fornication), but I wonder now that he has a “perspective from eternity” how he feels about all the STDs, adultery, ruined marriages, broken homes, shattered lives, exploited women, rape, abuse, abortions … he helped unleash on the U.S. and the world.

Instead of encouraging lustful indulgences and promoting pornography, he would have been better off to be like Job who said: “I made a covenant with my eyes not to look lustfully at a girl” (Job 31:1). David asserted,

“I will set before my eyes no vile thing” (Psalm 101:3).

He may have temporarily enjoyed sex with over a thousand women and the opulence of being a multi-millionaire but how will he fare in the hereafter?

“It is a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God” (Hebrews 10:31).

My Story

As a person who had all the pleasures this world had to offer as a youth, I can honestly say that nothing or no one has fulfilled my life more than Jesus Christ. Living for Him has been an amazing adventure (filled with both blessings and challenges) as well as providing assurance of an eternal inheritance. Only Christ satisfied my constant search for meaning and purpose. The God who created and designed me has given me greater peace, joy and hope than all the pleasures and riches this world has to offer.

As Moses rejected the riches of Egypt, I walked away from the fleeting pleasures of this world. Since coming to know Christ, I have never desired to return to my former lifestyle, but have forsaken all, for what I gained in Him. I now understand what the psalmist meant when he said, “Besides You, I desire nothing on earth” (Psalm 73:25), and “As the deer pants for streams of water, so I long for you, O God.” (Psalm 42:1).

In the January-February 2018 issue of the magazine, Answers, an article by Dr. Owen Strachan states:

Through the fall of Adam and Eve, we not only became sinful, we sought to displace God as our rightful ruler. Now, we naturally seek different leaders than the divine…. Hollywood celebrities, who sell us whitewashed images and perfectly sculpted bodies, are our modern prophets – when they speak, people listen. For a populace that idolizes self and taps into mishmash spirituality, enlightened entertainers offer an alternate path to wholeness (until the smoking wreckage of their personal lives reveals the emptiness of their words).

My advice after you finish reading this article is to turn off your television, walk away from the Internet, silence your cell phone, discard your pornography and seriously ponder your choices and lifestyle … and the eventual (sometimes immediate) and eternal consequences.

It is far wiser to trust the words of the Creator as recorded in Scripture than those of an amoral society as reported through the media. It is far better to entrust your eternal destiny to the One who sacrificed His life for you than to those who are consumed by self-gratification and lust. Instead of following in the footsteps of someone who will lead you down an eventual path of disease, divorce, devastation and death, follow the One who promises abundant life here and now and true and lasting righteousness, peace and joy! NewOSIFront

David, the greatest king in Israel’s history, forgiven of a sordid past, confidently stated:

You will make known to me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; In Your right hand there are pleasures forever (Psalm 16:11).

Write or e-mail to request a free copy of Bill Rudge’s insightful book, “Overcoming Sexual Immorality”.

Prayer Accomplishes Great Things

by Bill Rudge

Doors of opportunity open and victories are realized when you pray for us. Effective ministry happens through lives saturated with prayer. In fact, virtually every miracle we have seen through this ministry has occurred during or right after a time of prayer and often including fasting.

Obstacles have been overcome, the impossible made possible, victories won, strongholds broken, and lives changed as the Lord does amazing things through earnest and persistent prayer.

PRAYER is the privilege we have to enter boldly into the presence of the Master of the Universe. PRAYER is acknowledging our dependence on and surrendering our will to the King of kings and Lord of lords. PRAYER is crying out to our Creator for His help, protection and empowerment. PRAYER is entreating the only One who can meet all our needs and fulfill the pure desires of our hearts. PRAYER is sometimes saying, “Lord, I don’t know what You are doing, but I trust You.” PRAYER releases our faith in God, who has ultimate power and authority. PRAYER is a catalyst in deploying heaven’s resources to assist God’s saints. The PRAYERS of believers in Jesus Christ have tremendous power.

Principles for Dynamic Prayer

Bill Rudge compiled the following nine biblical principles which have been extremely beneficial in his prayer and fasting, as well as for countless others who have read his book, Fasting for Sensitivity and Power. The following verses will help you develop an effective prayer life.

Right Motives  James 4:3

According to His Will  1 John 5:14

Persistence  Luke 11:5-10

Do Not Doubt  James 1:6, 7; Hebrews 11:1, 6

Mountain-Moving Faith Mark 9:23; Mark 11:23

Thankfulness  Philippians 4:6, 7; Colossians 4:2

Obedience  John 14:14, 15; John 15:7; 1 John 3:21-24

Clean Heart  Psalm 66:18; Isaiah 1:15-17; James 5:16-18

Delighting in the Lord Psalm 37:4; Psalm 84:11; Matthew 6:33

Time to Pray

I got up early one morning
And rushed right into the day;
I had so much to accomplish
That I didn’t take time to pray.
Problems just tumbled about me,
And heavier came each task,
“Why doesn’t God help me,” I wondered.
He answered, “You didn’t ask.”
I wanted to see joy and beauty
But the day toiled on, gray and bleak,
I wondered why God didn’t show me,
He said, “But you didn’t seek.”
I tried to come into God’s presence;
I used all my keys at the lock.
God gently and lovingly chided,
“My child, you didn’t knock.”
I woke up early this morning
And paused before entering the day.
I had so much to accomplish
That I had to take time to pray.
Author Unknown

Prayer Cover

An insightful perspective on prayer is provided by Colonel Douglas Mastriano who saw God do miraculous things in Operation Desert Storm.

Prayer is critically important to the Christian. Prayer is a cover of spiritual protection that offers a clear advantage. This “prayer cover” can be equated to the role that air cover plays in modern warfare. I saw firsthand in Operation Desert Storm how important it was to have air cover going ahead of us into battle. It occurred this way: before we fought the Iraqi divisions, our air cover went ahead of us to soften the enemy defenses, dwindle their combat power and reduce their fighting spirit. In effect, our air cover prepared the battlefield to give us an advantage before we even got into the fight. Once we were engaged in a ground battle with the enemy, this air cover did not vanish. We always had at least two F-16 jet aircraft circling above, ready to help us overcome any fierce resistance that the Iraqi Republican Guards offered. This air cover was just a call away. When the Iraqis attempted to maneuver into an advantageous position, all we had to do was to call for the air cover to blunt the adversary’s plans.

Prayer cover operates in the same manner. When we pray, we call upon God to go ahead of us to prepare the battlefield to our advantage even before we are in the fight. As our prayers go forth, God orchestrates “strikes” against the enemy’s plans to weaken his combat power. Then, when the battle rages around us, this prayer cover serves to strike against the adversary’s schemes, while giving us the strength to take the war deeper into enemy territory to ultimate victory. Like air cover in modern combat, prayer cover makes the difference in spiritual warfare.

When we are facing the fiercest of battles, we must put on the full armor of God and pray earnestly. When the smoke is cleared away, may it reveal that we stood firm in the Lord and surrendered no ground to the enemy, but gained territory for the Lord.

Excerpted from Spiritual Warfare and Victory in Christ by Bill Rudge