Examine Yourself

by BJ Rudge, Ph.D.

The apostle Paul told the Corinthians to examine themselves to see whether or not they were in the faith (2 Corinthians 13:5). Many people base their confidence in trying to be a “good” person and live a “good” life. Others believe they are saved by merely reciting the sinner’s prayer or responding emotionally to an altar call – and then living any way they choose. Still others think salvation is simply an intellectual acknowledgement of beliefs in God, Jesus, and the Bible.

These views of salvation allow many people to believe they are on their way to heaven, when in fact, they may not be. Jesus clearly warns that many will stand before Him claiming to be saved and He will say: “I never knew you; depart from Me …” (Matthew 7:23). So in light of this sobering verse, it is crucial that each of us can answer the question, “Am I really a Christian according to what the Bible says about a believer in Christ?”

The apostle John provides the answer to this question in his first epistle, “These things I have written to
you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life” (1 John 5:13). Consider the following points that John makes; indicators of the certainty of eternal life:

  1. Admit and confess your sins (1 John 1:8-9).
  2. Acknowledge Jesus as the Son of God (1 John 2:22-23; 4:15).
  3. Live a life of obedience and keep God’s commandments (1 John 1:6-7; 2:3-6, 29; 3:7-10; 5:2).
  4. Display love to others (1 John 2:9-11; 3:10, 15, 17-19; 4:7-9).
  5. Possess the hope and longing for Jesus’ return (1 John 3:2-3).
  6. Love other believers and enjoy having fellowship with them (1 John 5:1).
  7. Persevere in the faith (1 John 2:24).

Quotes To Reflect On

Building Character

“Character is like a muscle; the more it is exercised and used, the stronger it becomes. Every time we choose to do what is right, we build character and moral courage.” Senator Douglas V. Mastriano, PhD (Colonel, U.S. Army, Retired)

Face the Worst

“If you want to be the best you have to face the worst.” Quote from Ken Rudge for a nephew going through rigorous Special Forces training.

What God Does

“It’s not the years in your life, it’s the life in your years.”

“It is not what you do for God, rather, it is what God does through you.” Authors Unknown

Great Things

“Expect great things from God and attempt great things for God.” William Carey

The Focus

“You will find your purpose when you make Jesus the center of what you want to do and the focus of what you hope to accomplish.” BJ Rudge

Memories of Aunt Lucy

Mary Green, a longtime supporter of BRM and the mother of Ann Ore who is on staff at the ministry, went home to be with the Lord recently. A few months ago, Mary had sent us the following note and the poem, Faith (following note):

Dear Bill and Karen,

Just a note to let you know how much I enjoy your newsletters, and how much I learn from them. This has been a very difficult time for many people, but it is during the stressful times that we grow in our understanding of God’s Word and in growing closer to Him, so I can be thankful for them.

Enclosed is a poem entitled Faith, written by my dearly loved Aunt Lucy. She had a difficult life. She lived in a log cabin with no electricity or running water. I have so many happy memories of times spent on that farm. Aunt Lucy always sang hymns as she worked in her garden or worked around the house. Her book of poetry is called “Dream Petals” and many were written during World War II. May God be with you both. I continue to pray for you, your family, and your ministry.

Mary Green, New Jersey

Faith

by Lucy Morgan Johnson

If oft affliction I must bear,
I do not mind, for God is there
To strengthen me with faith anew,
To bear my cross, and weakness too.

Should darkness hide me from His sight,
My faith will be a guiding light;
To feel, and know that He is near,
To lead me when life’s way seems drear.

When pain and shadow ’round me loom
That faith will help me pierce the gloom
And it will be a beacon light,
To guide me safely through the night.

And should my path be rough and steep,
I pray that faith will help me keep
Life’s weary way without a sigh
To feel that God is ever nigh.

My future though I cannot see,
Faith makes it seem so real to me;
With hope, my bright and shining star,
Enriched by love, that gleams afar.

May my affliction be for me
Stepping-stones, to eternity;
And may I ever understand,
That faith is but my Savior’s hand.

And when life’s sun is sinking low,
That faith will light my way to go;
And when the veil of death is drawn,
My soul will rise to greet the dawn.

If dark the way, I will go on,
With faith to meet the coming morn,
And know that when night’s shades have flown,
I’ll see the sun rise o’er God’s throne.

A Psalm of Life


by Lucy Morgan Johnson

The Lord, my shepherd, is ever near
To watch o’er me, and I’ve no fear –
He’ll quench my thirst with nectar sweet
And give me daily food to eat.

He’ll make for me a grassy bed
On which to lay my weary head;
Beside still waters, cool and bright
He’ll watch o’er me till morning light.

In paths of righteousness from sin
He’ll cleanse my soul, without, within;
For His Name’s sake, I will obey
My Lord, my Shepherd, day by day.

When thru’ the vale of death I go
And shadows hang quite dark and low;
I’ll fear no evil, for He is there
To lead me with His tender care.

His rod and staff will comfort me
As I tread life’s path to eternity;
T’will be my stay in time of need
My Shepherd’s Hand, to guide and lead.

And He’ll a table spread for me
In presence of mine enemy;
My cup of joy will overflow
With oils of peace that He’ll bestow.

And when I rise from earthly strife
To start a new and fuller life,
His goodness and His mercy, pure,
Will evermore with me endure.

Then with my Shepherd as my guide
I’ll enter thru’ the gates thrown wide
And step within my mansion door
To dwell with Him, forevermore.

The preceding poem, A Psalm of Life, is from the book, “Dream Petals” (copyright 1943) by Lucy Morgan Johnson and used here with permission from her niece, Mary Green. Mary is a longtime supporter of BRM and her daughter, Ann Ore, is on staff at the ministry. We hope you enjoy this insightful and inspirational poem.

End the Fright!

Filling your mind with bad things,

dark intruders to your life it brings.

Terrors in the darkness, fears in your dreams,

cold sweats at night, rooms filled with screams.

But come to know Jesus, walking in the light,

will give you His peace and end all the fright.

Serve the Lord daily, with all of your might;

the enemy soon will know he’s lost the fight.

Bill Rudge

Don’t Be Afraid

by Bill Rudge

Photo by Bill Rudge

When my wife and I are in potentially dangerous situations, such as walking down a dimly lit street or walking in a remote area during a mission trip, I tell her, “Don’t be afraid. Just stay close to me. I will protect you.”

So too, the Lord tells us, “Don’t be afraid. Stay close to Me and I will protect you and be your Helper.”

Hebrews 13:6 – “The LORD is my helper; I will not fear.”

Isaiah 41:10 – “Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, Yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.”

Dealing With Fear

BJ Rudge, Ph.D.

Halloween is a holiday focused on the emotion of fear. While some people enjoy the adrenaline rush from walking through a haunted house, for others the ongoing daily battle with fear has kept them paralyzed in bondage.

While occasional fear is something all of us will experience, the question is, how do we prevent this emotion from controlling our lives? Certainly, our mindset is important because what we perceive in our lives through the lens of fear, dramatically impacts how we will deal with reality. Also, realizing the strength and support we can gain from others is vital in helping us overcome our fear.

The real key in dealing with fear is knowing the LORD our God Who is greater than anything or anyone we will ever face. Joshua was reminded of this as he prepared to take the children of Israel into the Promised Land, “Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go” (Joshua 1:9).

The next time you feel the emotion of fear holding you back, remember the words the Apostle Paul gave to Timothy, “God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind” (2 Timothy 1:7).

Are You Hiding From God?

BJ Rudge, Ph.D.

Most of you are probably aware of the manhunt for Brian Laundrie, who was a person of interest in the murder of his fiance Gabby. Brian had eluded law enforcement until his remains were recently discovered. Many of us try to do likewise with God. Just as Adam and Eve hid in the Garden after they sinned, we try to keep certain sins hidden from God. Brian did not remain concealed forever; so too the hidden sins of our lives will one day be exposed. The Bible teaches that all of us will be held accountable for our words and actions in this life:

God will judge us for everything we do, including every secret thing, whether good or bad (Ecclesiastes 12:14); …everything that is now hidden or secret will eventually be brought to light (Mark 4:22)…when the Lord comes, He will bring our deepest secrets to light and will reveal our private motives (1 Corinthians 4:5).

The key question in those days of accounting (the Judgment Seat of Christ for believers; the Great White Throne Judgment for nonbelievers) is, will you be pardoned? God has provided forgiveness through the life, death and resurrection of His Son Jesus Christ (John 3:16).

What Really Matters

by Bill Rudge

I have spent time with many people who lay dying on a hospital bed or in their home. They didn’t care about material possessions or past accomplishments. Foremost in their minds and hearts was being prepared for eternity. And that was my main purpose in being there. Likewise, I want to both help prepare you for eternity and to live victoriously in this life.

When we die – or when Christ returns – all our accomplishments, degrees, credentials, awards, accolades and possessions will not matter. Paul wrote in Philippians 3:8:

I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ.

All that will really matter at the end of your life is:

• Do you know Jesus Christ in a real and personal way?

• Did you honor Him with your life and ministry?

• Were you a wise steward of the resources He entrusted to you?

• Did you use the talents and skills He bestowed upon you for His glory?

• Did you help (by witness or financial support) to take the Gospel to the ends of the earth (family, friends and beyond)?

• Was the passion of your life to know Christ more and grow in His likeness?

• Were you a person of faithfulness and integrity and love?

If Truth Be Not Diffused

“If religious books are not widely circulated among the masses in this country, I do not know what is going to become of us as a nation. If truth be not diffused, error will be; if God and His Word are not known and received, the devil and his works will gain the ascendancy; if the evangelical volume does not reach every hamlet, the pages of a corrupt and licentious literature will; if the power of the Gospel is not felt throughout the length and breadth of the land, anarchy and misrule, degradation and misery, corruption and darkness, will reign without mitigation or end.”

Daniel Webster (1823)

Dad

What I’d give, if I could say

“Hello Dad” in the same old way.

To hear his voice and see his smile,

to sit with him and chat for a while.

So, if your Father is still here,

cherish him with care,

for you’ll never know the heartache

until you see his empty chair.

Author Unknown

Consider Carefully

by Bill Rudge

The following confessions of faith have heartfelt meaning in my relationship with Christ. They are frequently part of my prayer and fasting time:

You are the CREATOR and Sovereign Lord of the Universe; ELOHIM, the strong and faithful One; ADONAI, Master and Lord; YAHWEH, the Great I Am; KING of Kings and LORD of Lords …

You are Holy, Righteous, Just, Faithful, True, Loving, Kind, Merciful, Long-Suffering …

You are my Source and Strength, my God and King, my Savior and Messiah, my Lord and Master, my Creator and Sustainer, my Rock and Fortress, my Shield and Sword, my Protector and Provider, my Helper and Healer …

My desire and prayer is to:

• Walk with You like Enoch (Genesis 5:22-24).

• Be considered Your friend like Abraham (2 Chronicles 20:7; Isaiah 41:8; James 2:23).

• Be considered Your servant like Moses (Joshua 1:2).

• Have a heart after You like David (1 Samuel 13:14; Acts 13:22).

• Be obedient like Jesus (Philippians 2:8; Romans 5:19; Hebrews 5:8).

• Be a faithful witness like Antipas (Revelation 2:13).

Now read all the above once again slowly as you ponder and pray about each description of God and what He means in your heart and life. Then give the LORD your praise, thanks and worship because He is truly worthy!

Seniors

by Bill Rudge

Don’t look at yourself as growing older,
consider yourself growing wiser.

Don’t look at yourself as becoming weaker,
look at yourself as becoming stronger in faith.

Don’t look at yourself as having less money,
focus on your riches in Heaven.

Don’t look at yourself as getting more forgetful, rejoice that your mind is overflowing with a lifetime of memories.

Don’t look at yourself as being home bound,
be glad that you can enter the heavenlies through prayer.

Don’t limit aging to diminishing youthfulness, health, talents, memory, and independence,
be thankful it increases knowledge, wisdom, love, peace, and hope.

Don’t be discouraged because more and more of your loved ones and friends are passing away,
be encouraged by the “great cloud of witnesses” awaiting you in Heaven.

Don’t look at life being too short and death looming on the horizon,
reflect on the fact that through Christ you will inherit an endless Eternity in a perfect body.

Just As I Am

by Karen Rudge

There may be times you feel the Lord has failed you or is not listening to your cries. Maybe you feel like Charlotte Elliott. She had just turned 30 and her health began to deteriorate. She was in severe pain and became an invalid. She’d always had a sweet disposition but now was getting irritable with people.

One day a minister visited her. She asked him, “Why has God treated me like this? Doesn’t He love me?” He replied, “… You are holding on to hate and anger towards God because you have nothing else to hold on to. You need to come to Christ just as you are and find salvation in Him.”

That night Charlotte pondered his words about coming to Christ just as she was, and gave her life to Him. Years later on the anniversary of accepting Christ she pondered again the words the minister spoke to her the day he visited and she penned the words to the hymn, Just As I Am.

Are you holding on to anger, hate or hurt because of difficult circumstances and wondering why God is allowing this to happen? Consider if you have sincerely given your life to Christ and made Him your Lord. Then come, just as you are. Jesus is waiting.

My Source and Strength

by Bill Rudge

The following words have profound meaning in my relationship and experience with the Lord. They are part of my weekly prayer and fasting list:

Lord, You are….

  • my Source and Strength,
  • my God and King,
  • my Savior and Messiah,
  • my Lord and Master,
  • my Creator and Sustainer,
  • my Rock and Fortress,
  • my Shield and Sword,
  • my Protector and Provider,
  • my Helper and Healer …

Now read the above again as you ponder what each descriptive word about God means in your heart and life.

Through the Eyes of a Child

by Darlinda McDonald

Two days before kindergarten started, Bill’s granddaughter broke her collarbone. As painful as that was, it also meant she could not take the horse riding lessons she longed for, having even given up dance lessons to fulfill this dream of hers.

The fourth day of kindergarten Bill had the opportunity to take his granddaughter to school. As he held her backpack, she struggled to pull out her lunch and papers to put into her cubbyhole. Being right-handed, this was quite a task. With her right arm in a sling, she had to use her left hand. Bill gave her a kiss on the forehead and told her to try to have a wonderful day. Despite her physical injury and the disappointment of not being able to take horse riding lessons, she responded, “Papa, I always have a wonderful day!”

Oh, what a lesson we can learn from her words! The Bible clearly instructs us to have this attitude: “This is the day which the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.” (Psalm 118:24). In Philippians (4:4), we are told to “Rejoice in the Lord always.” As we make the choice to rejoice, we will learn that “the joy of the LORD is our strength” (Nehemiah 8:10).

Considering Eternity

by Bill Rudge

While working out at the YMCA in San Diego, I overheard two businessmen discussing death. One said, “I am not sure what’s beyond the grave, but no one will immortalize me anyway, or remember me years from now.” The other man said, “I figure that whatever is out there will have to accept me as I am.” I said, “I don’t mean to jump in, but don’t you think eternity is a long time? Therefore, it might be wise to spend a little more time considering its implications. Pause to reflect on the complexity of the human body and your DNA, the diversity and splendor of nature, and the vastness and awesomeness of the universe which contains billions of galaxies with billions of stars. If there is a God who created us and this universe – are you going to say to Him, “You must accept me on my terms?” Their look affirmed I was relating, so I continued. “No, if there is a Creator, then I must come to Him on His terms, not mine.”

They listened intently and their body language indicated they agreed with what I said so far, so I shared how I had rejected Christianity and spent many years searching in atheism, occultism, Eastern disciplines, and New Ageism until my search for truth brought me back to the God of the Bible. The one guy asked, “Then Jesus Christ is the only way?” I said, “Without a doubt, because He alone has the overwhelming evidence to validate His claims.” After sharing some of the evidence for the inspiration of the Bible and the claims of Christ, I thanked them for listening and they thanked me for sharing.

Bill Rudge has hundreds of witness opportunities every year. The preceding is from a new book he is writing entitled, Impact Evangelism – Sharing Your Faith Anywhere and Everywhere.

On the Upward Way

by Bill Rudge

A few years ago some of my family members and friends decided to “rough it” on a two week journey through the western United States. All the inconveniences were worth it because of the breathtaking landscapes, incredible experiences, bountiful blessings and unique witnessing opportunities.

This is a reminder to me that, although we face many challenges and difficult times, our lives are also interspersed with beauty and blessings. It is a picture of the hope that we will someday inherit all that God has prepared for us, making all suffering and difficulties in this life pale in comparison.

As the Apostle Paul stated:

I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us (Romans 8:18). For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory (2 Corinthians 4:17).

“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.”