by Tabitha Rudge Smith
It is so easy to lose the real meaning of Christmas with all the lights, shopping, gifts and the hustle-n-bustle. Each year God reminds me in some way of the true joy of Christmas. But through the birth of my first child on December 15, 1999, God reminded me in a special way.
Being a first-time mom at that time (I now have five beautiful children), I was a sucker for everything and anything. When I walked into a baby store, I felt like I needed to buy it all: the latest stroller, bouncy chair, high chair, mobiles, canopy crib, changing table, and the cutest toys and stuffed animals. This list didn’t even include all the adorable clothes I and most everyone else seemed to think my child would need.
After an exhausting day of shopping and preparing for the coming of my child, I was overwhelmed. I began to pray and ask God what was really needed and how we were going to afford all of it. That night during my devotion time the Holy Spirit gently reminded me of the verse in Luke 2:7:
She wrapped her babe in swaddling clothes and laid Him in the manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.
The King of kings was laid in a feeding box the day He was born while my child was laid in a warm crib. My materialistic list did not seem as important anymore when I recalled the Christmas story and how my Savior came into this world. I was once again reminded of how amazing God’s love is for us. I was also reminded to live a humble and selfless lifestyle.
Have a Merry Christmas celebrating God’s
most precious gift – His Son and His love!
by Bill Rudge
Our hearts and prayers go out to the victims of the mass shooting in Vegas. Our ministry prayer team is praying for the families of those whose lives were unexpectedly cut short as well as for the recovery of the many injured and traumatized. The impact this senseless tragedy has, and will have, on so many lives and families is incomprehensible. We are grateful for those who survived and especially for those who proved themselves heroes – some wounded or killed while protecting others.
WHY this cowardly act of insanity and carnage? While my former research into bizarre behavior gives me some insight into twisted psyches, I cannot deny that in many cases the only reasonable explanation can be found in the demonic dimension. The Bible records several accounts of Jesus, the apostle Paul and others, encountering demons. While some distort and sensationalize the demonic realm, it is hard to believe in Jesus and the Bible without acknowledging demonic entities. Mental health workers, who previously thought belief in angels or demons was delusional, have called me about cases they were dealing with which defied psychological explanation or latent human physical or mental potential. They felt they were dealing with something sinister and supernatural.
I have discovered there is always a “connection” and “trigger” that makes a person vulnerable to demonic forces who desire to kill and destroy those created in God’s image. As well as demonic oppression and possession, the Bible identifies two people who were possessed by Satan himself – Judas and the future Antichrist. From hindsight we see concerning Judas that he had some “issues” which made him vulnerable to be a tool of Satan to betray Christ to those who wanted to put Him to death, but nothing, even his greed, was enough to alert the disciples of the dastardly deed he had conceived in his heart. The disciples thought Judas was a “nice guy” (as said about the Vegas shooter) until he actually betrayed Jesus.
Satan took advantage of this “connection” and entered Judas who then carried out the religious leaders’ scheme to betray Jesus. Once Satan was done using Judas he left him and Judas ended up so distraught that he hung himself.
I am convinced that many mass shooters, and others who commit heinous acts of violence, are possessed by demonic entities. After the deed is done that spirit motivates them to take their own life or departs from them and leaves them a scared, confused person wondering how they could have performed such an atrocity. Some have confessed that they felt controlled by an evil force or voice telling them what to do.
Prophetic Scripture foretells a dramatic increase of demonic activity and phenomena in the end times. The only way to prevent senseless tragedies such as happened in Vegas is by either preventing them before they happen (which is often a near impossibility) or for the potential perpetrator of the crime to be truly transformed by the love and forgiveness that comes through a restored relationship with our Creator, through Jesus Christ. Having a life with meaning, purpose and hope (in spite of one’s circumstances) is the best deterrent to wasting one’s life in senseless violence and ruining the lives of one’s own family and so many others.
By Bill Rudge
Dick Hetrick cuts tree trunks for the new Obstacle Course stations.
Dick Hetrick volunteered more than a week of his time and talents to take down several trees, then cut up the trunks and branches to build several new stations for the Obstacle Course at Bill Rudge Ministries.
The Obstacle Course has provided many opportunities to train sports teams, youth groups, church groups, military personnel, soldiers, sailors, new recruits preparing for boot camp, groups preparing for mission trips, Boy Scouts, Big Brothers and Big Sisters, as well as to challenge individual children, teens and adults. Bill Rudge also incorporates innovative sports, relay races, and games (several of which have been published in various magazines), as well as team building and individual challenges to develop strength, balance, courage, determination and self-control.
Click on the link below to read comments from others who have traveled with Bill Rudge Ministries to the Holy Land and find out how you can join them on their 10th Holy Land Adventure next February 18-27, 2018.