Searching For God

  • Getting Our Attention

    by Bill Rudge

    With the non-stop stimulation of electronic devices and society’s increasing fixation with the pursuit of pleasures, how can God get our attention? For many, the eternal significance of having a relationship with the Creator is grossly underestimated.

    While driving, it is common for people to listen to music or news on the radio. When walking or jogging many listen to their favorite playlists or podcasts. At home they watch movies, play video games, browse the internet, text and catch up on the latest “gossip” or newest trends on social media platforms. And consider how many people have fogged minds from sleep deprivation, poor diets, drug use (legal and illegal), abuse of alcohol, or overwhelmed by the stresses of life, family, and work.

    Due to prejudice or hostility, some people alienate themselves from God because they feel He is indifferent to their pain and suffering, or because they condone lifestyles contrary to His Word. Others, with preconceived ideas and beliefs, seek to determine who or what they think God should be. And some pursue New Age spirituality, leading them down any number of paths away from the true and living God of the Bible.

    Pain, Suffering, and Judgment

    Often, trouble or tragedy is the wake-up call that motivates people to seek God for help. I have ministered to many who previously had little interest in, or time for, God until a life threatening disease, debilitating injury, loss of a loved one, the breakup of a relationship, or some other crisis opened their eyes.

    Experience and history teach us that along life’s journey, God uses a variety of ways to get our attention and motivate us to seek Him. Nevertheless, today’s generation is hardening their hearts and moving in a direction that is diametrically opposed to what the Creator intended for us. No wonder it will take the worst judgments ever­—the cataclysmic events described in the Book of Revelation—to get the attention of this world. While many will be brought to repentance, most will continue to resist and rebel. Then, one day they will discover the shocking reality of a God who so loved them that He died for their sins, but having rejected Jesus’ free offer of salvation, He is no longer their Savior but their Judge!
    Throughout their lifetime God attempted to get their attention and desired a relationship with them but was repulsed repeatedly. If we die still choosing to ignore or defy God, rejecting His provision of salvation in Jesus Christ, then at the Final Judgment, God will give us what we have chosen—eternal separation from His presence. In contrast, those who receive Christ will inherit all that God has prepared for those who love Him and obey His Word.

    One day soon, Jesus Christ will return as the victorious King of kings and Lord of lords. Prophecies foretold in Scripture thousands of years ago are clearly lining up. Those who do not discern the end time “signs of the times” will be easy prey for the deceptive and seductive spirit of this age. They will be lured away from their only true hope—Jesus Christ.

    Dreams, Desires, and Aspirations

    Take time while you still have the opportunity to put down your phones and contemplate the reality of a Creator, ponder the meaning of life, and consider the eternal consequences of your choices. Questions such as: Where did I come from? Am I here for a reason? What happens after I die? If you truly examine the evidence for the claims of Jesus Christ and the Bible, you will discover undeniable proof just as Peter realized when he declared to Jesus, “You have the words of eternal life” (John 6:68).

    God’s glory is displayed through the wonders of creation, and the knowledge of Him is revealed through His inspired Word. Although we are without excuse, He continues to pursue us through life’s circumstances, dreams and visions, and through pain and suffering—all in an endeavor to bring us back into relationship with Him—both here and now, and for all eternity!

    Don’t waste your life thinking that if you only had this or accomplished that you would be happy; temporary happiness will always elude you. The only enduring solution is to come to know Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord. I made that choice and have never looked elsewhere for fulfillment, peace, and hope. True, there is still a longing in my heart—not for something or someone else, but to know Christ more deeply, to see Him face to face, and to witness all of creation return to God’s original intended glory. When that day finally comes and we are with our Lord and Savior for all eternity, we will witness the ultimate fulfillment of all our dreams, desires, and aspirations.

    He Is Seeking You Now

    You may feel that God has distanced Himself from His creation, but consider this situation: What would you do if your spouse disregarded you and instead pursued someone else? You would most likely distance yourself from them; the same is true with Christ. God walked in the Garden of Eden with Adam and Eve until disobedience and rebellion severed their relationship. Likewise, all of humanity has followed that pattern. We continue to disbelieve, disobey and follow our own path. Today’s generation has distanced itself and mocked the God who created us and our universe. For a time God will give us our space, yet He is always ready to restore our relationship with Him.

    Let us no longer remain disinterested in knowing God! Let us stop getting caught up in the frantic pace of life and the cares of this world. Let us not be trapped in the pursuit of pleasure and self-indulgence. Let us not be blinded by false spiritual and philosophical beliefs. Do not let constant distractions, diversions, the endless disturbances of technological advances, chemical dependencies, nutritional deficiencies or fixations, or anything else hinder God from getting your attention!

    God graciously responds to our sincere cries of desperation:

    In my trouble I cried to the LORD and He answered me (Psalm 120:1).

    The LORD is faithful to His promise:

    You will seek Me and find Me when you seek Me with all your heart (Jeremiah 29:13).

    Let your heart be as King David’s:

    As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God (Psalm 42:1-2).

    Call out to God for forgiveness, and be assured by the Apostle Peter’s promise:

    Whoever calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved (Romans 10:13).

    The Bible, God’s holy Word, affirms:

    Draw near to God and He will draw near to you (James 4:8).

    Test the promise of Isaiah 40:31:

    But those who wait on [hope in] the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.

    As Jesus Himself did, so God desires us to occasionally separate ourselves from the busyness of life to wait on Him in prayer, praise, and to reflect on His Word. Our times of fellowship with God will result in spiritual and physical rejuvenation, mental and emotional renewal, and blessings the psalmist discovered:

    Blessed is the person who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked, nor stand in the path of sinners, nor sit in the seat of scoffers! But his delight is in the Law of the LORD, and on His Law he meditates day and night. He will be like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither; and in whatever he does, he prospers” (Psalm 1:1-3).

    Do not wait until it is too late to offer God your time and attention. Get to know Jesus Christ while you still have the chance and the choice. Life is short and unpredictable; death is often unexpected. Your eternal destiny is in God’s hands! Right now you have the opportunity to accept His offer of forgiveness and the promise of a restored relationship with your Creator.

    For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life (John 3:16).

    Receiving Him as Savior and Lord is the wisest and most courageous decision you will ever make. Living for Him will be the most exciting, challenging, and fulfilling life you can live.

  • Salvation: Easy as A-B-C and D

    by Bill Rudge

    I have experienced hundreds of exciting witness encounters using insight through creative ideas and illustrations. Every encounter has its own approach and conversational style, but the final message is as simple as A-B-C and D:

    A – 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, sinless Son could pay that penalty. So, the only solution to your dilemma is to come to Jesus Christ in repentance, receive His free gift of salvation, and accept 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, molding you into the person you were created to be.

    No Greater Love

    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.

  • Searching

    Photo by Karen Rudge

    by Bill Rudge

    I know a young man who engaged in a tremendous search for meaning and purpose in life, and attempted almost every conceivable way to find it. He tried alcohol, sex, gambling, being in a rock band, weightlifting, martial arts, Eastern religions, the occult, New Ageism, and belief in the theory of evolution, pretending there was no God. He pursued practically every pleasure and thrill imaginable. He even tried going to church. But all of the good feelings generated by these experiences were short-lived because the fulfillment he so desperately searched for never lasted. Nothing would silence the gnawing questions about life he longed to have answered — Who am I? Where did I come from? Where am I going? What is my purpose in life?

    Millions of people search here and there, hoping to find true and long-lasting happiness, peace, and joy! Some may find it temporarily, but it soon eludes them, like the evasive pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. Their search continues – always thinking if only they had this, or did that, then they would be happy and satisfied. But the more they get, and the more they do, the more they seem to want!

    Perhaps you have been searching, too. Some people may not verbally admit that they are inwardly searching, but their actions show that they are. Maybe you have turned to drugs and alcohol, or given your life over to seeking nothing but pleasure, or joined some mystical group, or involved yourself in a host of other things in an attempt to attain fulfillment. Or perhaps you have even become so disillusioned with life altogether that you have either contemplated, or actually tried to commit suicide. Maybe you are like some who think that if they only had a better job, or that new home, or a different marriage partner, or more money or friends, they would then be happy, but soon realize they are still unhappy, still unfulfilled … still searching!

    Have you asked yourself, “Just what is the purpose of life and where is mine headed?” Have you invested the time and energy necessary to discover the answer to these vital questions, or have you concluded as so many others, “Why waste time trying to figure it out – I’ll just enjoy it as much as I can, and as long as I can!”

    Many movies and television commercials express this philosophy of getting all the pleasure and excitement from life, regardless of the consequences. In living color mass media proclaims the hedonistic philosophy that says: “If it feels good, do it! If I like it, it’s right! Eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we die!” These clichés are characteristic of today’s society. Everywhere we see a religion of self: self-centeredness, self-fulfillment, and self-indulgence.

    But searching for selfish pleasure and self-gratification soon catches up to you. Today you may have your youth and good looks, but consider all those who have gone before you. Many who thought their youth and pleasure would never end are coming face-to-face with cold reality. A glance in the mirror and the aches and pains in their bodies reveal how quickly the aging process occurs and how temporary the pleasures of this world really are.

    The Bible accurately reveals that the pleasures of sin are just for a season! They are short-lived and eventually lead to a dead end of emptiness, frustration, and despair. Then you have to “live with” or “die from” the consequences of your actions and lifestyle.

    I Timothy 5:6 says that she “who lives for pleasure is dead even while she lives.” Physically you may be alive, but something deep inside is dead — and you know it. It is your spirit that is dead toward God!

    I remember the temporary fun and excitement of “partying” and “having a good time.” I only cared about the “now” and did not consider tomorrow. But after the party and “fun times” were over, I knew there had to be something more to life.

    It has been stated that “once our stomachs become filled with pleasure, we notice the emptiness of our souls.” How true! Often people try religion when they finally realize the futility and hopelessness of a hedonistic and pleasure-oriented lifestyle, and that fulfillment in life cannot be found in material things.

    But instead of looking beyond one’s self to the God who created us, many people have been persuaded to foolishly refuse God’s grace, and instead search inwardly for the answers. Hoping to discover the “divine within” and achieve “God consciousness,” they are sold the same lie Satan used on Eve when he promised her, “you will be like God” (Genesis 3:5). They end up being deceived into worshipping and serving the creation rather than the Creator. Perhaps you have tried this road, too, but still find an emptiness in your soul.

    The real reason for your emptiness is because you are separated from the God who created you. You have a broken relationship, not on His part, but on yours. From the beginning, humans have chosen to rebel and disobey and do things their own way even to this day. As a result, you search, hoping to discover the missing ingredient in your life — which is in reality — God!

    Jesus said to the woman at the well, “…everyone who drinks of this water shall thirst again” (John 4:13). He was revealing to her the futility of seeking fulfillment in anything or anyone other than Himself. Although you may be temporarily satisfied by drinking the water of this world, you will thirst again and never be completely fulfilled. But Jesus went on to say, “… whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst …” (John 4:14). Jesus knew that deep down within, everyone has a need and a thirst that only He can truly satisfy.

    The Psalmist knew of this inner thirst for God, for he stated, “As the deer pants for the water brooks, so my soul pants for Thee, O God” (Psalms 42:1). The Psalmist also said, “In Thy presence is fullness of joy; in Thy right hand there are pleasures forever” (Psalms 16:11). Not the pleasure of the moment, or of an evening that is soon over, but forever!

    King Solomon, who was known as the richest and wisest man in the world, told how he had searched – in opulence, pleasure, wine, women, and by trying everything which his mind could conceive – but it was all emptiness and futility. His wise advice, after all of his vain searching, is recorded at the end of the book of Ecclesiastes. He states, “The conclusion, when all has been heard, is: fear God and keep His commandments…” (Ecclesiastes 12:13).

    I have traveled throughout the U.S. and the world many times, and one thing I know for certain is that people everywhere are searching for something real to believe in that will give them lasting fulfillment.

    The young man I mentioned earlier, who went through the tremendous searching endeavor, was me. In 1971, at the age of eighteen, after trying just about everything imaginable, I discovered the ultimate answer to my searching adventure as I accepted Jesus Christ as my Savior and Lord. It has not always been easy, but God has given me a meaning and a purpose, an inner joy and peace, and an exciting and challenging life that I would not exchange for anything. He has truly given me abundant life here and now and a blessed hope for the future!

    Have you tasted of the water that only Jesus can give…the water of eternal life? If you do not yet know the Lord, you can end your search and begin a new and exciting life today by giving your life to the resurrected Christ. Jesus said, “Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.” (Matthew 10:39) Christ is the answer to all of your questions. Find real purpose and meaning to life in Him today.

  • What Is A Christian? – How You Can Know Christ

    Photo by Bruce Adams

    by Bill Rudge

    Believers in Jesus were first called Christians at Antioch (Acts 11:26). The testimony of Jesus as the Christ (Messiah) was so strong in Antioch (the largest city of the Roman province of Syria and a center for missionary activity) that His followers and disciples were identified as Christians (a term of derision in the earliest days of the church meaning “of the family of Christ” but eventually, followers of Christ came to love and adopt this name).

    Today, Christian has a much broader and often entirely different meaning than its initial use. Many believe a Christian is someone who merely goes to church, believes in God, lives a good life, or tries to keep the commandments. While it is true that such things as attending church, water baptism, living a godly lifestyle, and a loving attitude should definitely be marks of a believer, these should never be misconstrued as the criteria for someone becoming a Christian. We must examine Scripture and, based upon its authority, determine what it really means to come to faith in Jesus Christ.

    Not by Works

    According to Scripture, doing good works or keeping God’s Law does not make someone a Christian. The apostle Paul explains that one of the purposes of the Law in the Tanakh (Old Testament), which is based upon the Ten Commandments, was to show us that we all are sinners and can never achieve the standards required by God. Because of our sinful nature, we continually fall short of the mark. This dilemma reveals our need for a Savior:

    By the works of the Law no flesh will be justified in His sight; for through the Law comes the knowledge of sin (Romans 3:20).

    Therefore the Law has become our tutor to lead us to Christ, so that we may be justified by faith (Galatians 3:24).

    Therefore they said to Him, “What shall we do, so that we may work the works of God?” Jesus answered and said to them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He has sent” (John 6:28-29).

    Paul makes it clear that God’s righteousness can only be obtained through faith, and that Israel did not attain it because they sought it not by faith, but by works:

    What then shall we say? That the Gentiles, who did not pursue righteousness, have obtained it, a righteousness that is by faith; but Israel, who pursued a law of righteousness, has not attained it.

    Why not? Because they pursued it not by faith but as if it were by works. They stumbled over the “stumbling stone.”

    As it is written: “See, I lay in Zion a stone that causes men to stumble and a rock that makes them fall, and the one who trusts in him will never be put to shame” (Romans 9:33 NIV).

    Click here to read more.

  • Getting Our Attention

    by Bill Rudge

    With the non-stop stimulation of electronic devices and society’s increasing fixation with the pursuit of pleasures, how can God get our attention? For many, the eternal significance of having a relationship with the Creator is grossly underestimated.

    While driving, it is common for people to listen to music or news on the radio. When walking or jogging many listen to their favorite playlists or podcasts. At home they watch movies, play video games, browse the internet, text and catch up on the latest “gossip” or newest trends on social media platforms. And consider how many people have fogged minds from sleep deprivation, poor diets, drug use (legal and illegal), abuse of alcohol, or overwhelmed by the stresses of life, family, and work.

    Due to prejudice or hostility, some people alienate themselves from God because they feel He is indifferent to their pain and suffering, or because they condone lifestyles contrary to His Word. Others, with preconceived ideas and beliefs, seek to determine who or what they think God should be. And some pursue New Age spirituality, leading them down any number of paths away from the true and living God of the Bible.

    Pain, Suffering, and Judgment

    Often, trouble or tragedy is the wake-up call that motivates people to seek God for help. I have ministered to many who previously had little interest in, or time for, God until a life threatening disease, debilitating injury, loss of a loved one, the breakup of a relationship, or some other crisis opened their eyes.

    Experience and history teach us that along life’s journey, God uses a variety of ways to get our attention and motivate us to seek Him. Nevertheless, today’s generation is hardening their hearts and moving in a direction that is diametrically opposed to what the Creator intended for us. No wonder it will take the worst judgments ever­—the cataclysmic events described in the Book of Revelation—to get the attention of this world. While many will be brought to repentance, most will continue to resist and rebel. Then, one day they will discover the shocking reality of a God who so loved them that He died for their sins, but having rejected Jesus’ free offer of salvation, He is no longer their Savior but their Judge!
    Throughout their lifetime God attempted to get their attention and desired a relationship with them but was repulsed repeatedly. If we die still choosing to ignore or defy God, rejecting His provision of salvation in Jesus Christ, then at the Final Judgment, God will give us what we have chosen—eternal separation from His presence. In contrast, those who receive Christ will inherit all that God has prepared for those who love Him and obey His Word.

    One day soon, Jesus Christ will return as the victorious King of kings and Lord of lords. Prophecies foretold in Scripture thousands of years ago are clearly lining up. Those who do not discern the end time “signs of the times” will be easy prey for the deceptive and seductive spirit of this age. They will be lured away from their only true hope—Jesus Christ.

    Dreams, Desires, and Aspirations

    Take time while you still have the opportunity to put down your phones and contemplate the reality of a Creator, ponder the meaning of life, and consider the eternal consequences of your choices. Questions such as: Where did I come from? Am I here for a reason? What happens after I die? If you truly examine the evidence for the claims of Jesus Christ and the Bible, you will discover undeniable proof just as Peter realized when he declared to Jesus, “You have the words of eternal life” (John 6:68).

    God’s glory is displayed through the wonders of creation, and the knowledge of Him is revealed through His inspired Word. Although we are without excuse, He continues to pursue us through life’s circumstances, dreams and visions, and through pain and suffering—all in an endeavor to bring us back into relationship with Him—both here and now, and for all eternity!

    Don’t waste your life thinking that if you only had this or accomplished that you would be happy; temporary happiness will always elude you. The only enduring solution is to come to know Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord. I made that choice and have never looked elsewhere for fulfillment, peace, and hope. True, there is still a longing in my heart—not for something or someone else, but to know Christ more deeply, to see Him face to face, and to witness all of creation return to God’s original intended glory. When that day finally comes and we are with our Lord and Savior for all eternity, we will witness the ultimate fulfillment of all our dreams, desires, and aspirations.

    He Is Seeking You Now

    You may feel that God has distanced Himself from His creation, but consider this situation: What would you do if your spouse disregarded you and instead pursued someone else? You would most likely distance yourself from them; the same is true with Christ. God walked in the Garden of Eden with Adam and Eve until disobedience and rebellion severed their relationship. Likewise, all of humanity has followed that pattern. We continue to disbelieve, disobey and follow our own path. Today’s generation has distanced itself and mocked the God who created us and our universe. For a time God will give us our space, yet He is always ready to restore our relationship with Him.

    Let us no longer remain disinterested in knowing God! Let us stop getting caught up in the frantic pace of life and the cares of this world. Let us not be trapped in the pursuit of pleasure and self-indulgence. Let us not be blinded by false spiritual and philosophical beliefs. Do not let constant distractions, diversions, the endless disturbances of technological advances, chemical dependencies, nutritional deficiencies or fixations, or anything else hinder God from getting your attention!

    God graciously responds to our sincere cries of desperation:

    In my trouble I cried to the LORD and He answered me (Psalm 120:1).

    The LORD is faithful to His promise:

    You will seek Me and find Me when you seek Me with all your heart (Jeremiah 29:13).

    Let your heart be as King David’s:

    As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God (Psalm 42:1-2).

    Call out to God for forgiveness, and be assured by the Apostle Peter’s promise:

    Whoever calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved (Romans 10:13).

    The Bible, God’s holy Word, affirms:

    Draw near to God and He will draw near to you (James 4:8).

    Test the promise of Isaiah 40:31:

    But those who wait on [hope in] the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.

    As Jesus Himself did, so God desires us to occasionally separate ourselves from the busyness of life to wait on Him in prayer, praise, and to reflect on His Word. Our times of fellowship with God will result in spiritual and physical rejuvenation, mental and emotional renewal, and blessings the psalmist discovered:

    Blessed is the person who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked, nor stand in the path of sinners, nor sit in the seat of scoffers! But his delight is in the Law of the LORD, and on His Law he meditates day and night. He will be like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither; and in whatever he does, he prospers” (Psalm 1:1-3).

    Do not wait until it is too late to offer God your time and attention. Get to know Jesus Christ while you still have the chance and the choice. Life is short and unpredictable; death is often unexpected. Your eternal destiny is in God’s hands! Right now you have the opportunity to accept His offer of forgiveness and the promise of a restored relationship with your Creator.

    For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life (John 3:16).

    Receiving Him as Savior and Lord is the wisest and most courageous decision you will ever make. Living for Him will be the most exciting, challenging, and fulfilling life you can live.

  • Salvation: Easy as A-B-C and D

    by Bill Rudge

    I have experienced hundreds of exciting witness encounters using insight through creative ideas and illustrations. Every encounter has its own approach and conversational style, but the final message is as simple as A-B-C and D:

    A – 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, sinless Son could pay that penalty. So, the only solution to your dilemma is to come to Jesus Christ in repentance, receive His free gift of salvation, and accept 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, molding you into the person you were created to be.

    No Greater Love

    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.

  • Searching

    Photo by Karen Rudge

    by Bill Rudge

    I know a young man who engaged in a tremendous search for meaning and purpose in life, and attempted almost every conceivable way to find it. He tried alcohol, sex, gambling, being in a rock band, weightlifting, martial arts, Eastern religions, the occult, New Ageism, and belief in the theory of evolution, pretending there was no God. He pursued practically every pleasure and thrill imaginable. He even tried going to church. But all of the good feelings generated by these experiences were short-lived because the fulfillment he so desperately searched for never lasted. Nothing would silence the gnawing questions about life he longed to have answered — Who am I? Where did I come from? Where am I going? What is my purpose in life?

    Millions of people search here and there, hoping to find true and long-lasting happiness, peace, and joy! Some may find it temporarily, but it soon eludes them, like the evasive pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. Their search continues – always thinking if only they had this, or did that, then they would be happy and satisfied. But the more they get, and the more they do, the more they seem to want!

    Perhaps you have been searching, too. Some people may not verbally admit that they are inwardly searching, but their actions show that they are. Maybe you have turned to drugs and alcohol, or given your life over to seeking nothing but pleasure, or joined some mystical group, or involved yourself in a host of other things in an attempt to attain fulfillment. Or perhaps you have even become so disillusioned with life altogether that you have either contemplated, or actually tried to commit suicide. Maybe you are like some who think that if they only had a better job, or that new home, or a different marriage partner, or more money or friends, they would then be happy, but soon realize they are still unhappy, still unfulfilled … still searching!

    Have you asked yourself, “Just what is the purpose of life and where is mine headed?” Have you invested the time and energy necessary to discover the answer to these vital questions, or have you concluded as so many others, “Why waste time trying to figure it out – I’ll just enjoy it as much as I can, and as long as I can!”

    Many movies and television commercials express this philosophy of getting all the pleasure and excitement from life, regardless of the consequences. In living color mass media proclaims the hedonistic philosophy that says: “If it feels good, do it! If I like it, it’s right! Eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we die!” These clichés are characteristic of today’s society. Everywhere we see a religion of self: self-centeredness, self-fulfillment, and self-indulgence.

    But searching for selfish pleasure and self-gratification soon catches up to you. Today you may have your youth and good looks, but consider all those who have gone before you. Many who thought their youth and pleasure would never end are coming face-to-face with cold reality. A glance in the mirror and the aches and pains in their bodies reveal how quickly the aging process occurs and how temporary the pleasures of this world really are.

    The Bible accurately reveals that the pleasures of sin are just for a season! They are short-lived and eventually lead to a dead end of emptiness, frustration, and despair. Then you have to “live with” or “die from” the consequences of your actions and lifestyle.

    I Timothy 5:6 says that she “who lives for pleasure is dead even while she lives.” Physically you may be alive, but something deep inside is dead — and you know it. It is your spirit that is dead toward God!

    I remember the temporary fun and excitement of “partying” and “having a good time.” I only cared about the “now” and did not consider tomorrow. But after the party and “fun times” were over, I knew there had to be something more to life.

    It has been stated that “once our stomachs become filled with pleasure, we notice the emptiness of our souls.” How true! Often people try religion when they finally realize the futility and hopelessness of a hedonistic and pleasure-oriented lifestyle, and that fulfillment in life cannot be found in material things.

    But instead of looking beyond one’s self to the God who created us, many people have been persuaded to foolishly refuse God’s grace, and instead search inwardly for the answers. Hoping to discover the “divine within” and achieve “God consciousness,” they are sold the same lie Satan used on Eve when he promised her, “you will be like God” (Genesis 3:5). They end up being deceived into worshipping and serving the creation rather than the Creator. Perhaps you have tried this road, too, but still find an emptiness in your soul.

    The real reason for your emptiness is because you are separated from the God who created you. You have a broken relationship, not on His part, but on yours. From the beginning, humans have chosen to rebel and disobey and do things their own way even to this day. As a result, you search, hoping to discover the missing ingredient in your life — which is in reality — God!

    Jesus said to the woman at the well, “…everyone who drinks of this water shall thirst again” (John 4:13). He was revealing to her the futility of seeking fulfillment in anything or anyone other than Himself. Although you may be temporarily satisfied by drinking the water of this world, you will thirst again and never be completely fulfilled. But Jesus went on to say, “… whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst …” (John 4:14). Jesus knew that deep down within, everyone has a need and a thirst that only He can truly satisfy.

    The Psalmist knew of this inner thirst for God, for he stated, “As the deer pants for the water brooks, so my soul pants for Thee, O God” (Psalms 42:1). The Psalmist also said, “In Thy presence is fullness of joy; in Thy right hand there are pleasures forever” (Psalms 16:11). Not the pleasure of the moment, or of an evening that is soon over, but forever!

    King Solomon, who was known as the richest and wisest man in the world, told how he had searched – in opulence, pleasure, wine, women, and by trying everything which his mind could conceive – but it was all emptiness and futility. His wise advice, after all of his vain searching, is recorded at the end of the book of Ecclesiastes. He states, “The conclusion, when all has been heard, is: fear God and keep His commandments…” (Ecclesiastes 12:13).

    I have traveled throughout the U.S. and the world many times, and one thing I know for certain is that people everywhere are searching for something real to believe in that will give them lasting fulfillment.

    The young man I mentioned earlier, who went through the tremendous searching endeavor, was me. In 1971, at the age of eighteen, after trying just about everything imaginable, I discovered the ultimate answer to my searching adventure as I accepted Jesus Christ as my Savior and Lord. It has not always been easy, but God has given me a meaning and a purpose, an inner joy and peace, and an exciting and challenging life that I would not exchange for anything. He has truly given me abundant life here and now and a blessed hope for the future!

    Have you tasted of the water that only Jesus can give…the water of eternal life? If you do not yet know the Lord, you can end your search and begin a new and exciting life today by giving your life to the resurrected Christ. Jesus said, “Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.” (Matthew 10:39) Christ is the answer to all of your questions. Find real purpose and meaning to life in Him today.

  • What Is A Christian? – How You Can Know Christ

    Photo by Bruce Adams

    by Bill Rudge

    Believers in Jesus were first called Christians at Antioch (Acts 11:26). The testimony of Jesus as the Christ (Messiah) was so strong in Antioch (the largest city of the Roman province of Syria and a center for missionary activity) that His followers and disciples were identified as Christians (a term of derision in the earliest days of the church meaning “of the family of Christ” but eventually, followers of Christ came to love and adopt this name).

    Today, Christian has a much broader and often entirely different meaning than its initial use. Many believe a Christian is someone who merely goes to church, believes in God, lives a good life, or tries to keep the commandments. While it is true that such things as attending church, water baptism, living a godly lifestyle, and a loving attitude should definitely be marks of a believer, these should never be misconstrued as the criteria for someone becoming a Christian. We must examine Scripture and, based upon its authority, determine what it really means to come to faith in Jesus Christ.

    Not by Works

    According to Scripture, doing good works or keeping God’s Law does not make someone a Christian. The apostle Paul explains that one of the purposes of the Law in the Tanakh (Old Testament), which is based upon the Ten Commandments, was to show us that we all are sinners and can never achieve the standards required by God. Because of our sinful nature, we continually fall short of the mark. This dilemma reveals our need for a Savior:

    By the works of the Law no flesh will be justified in His sight; for through the Law comes the knowledge of sin (Romans 3:20).

    Therefore the Law has become our tutor to lead us to Christ, so that we may be justified by faith (Galatians 3:24).

    Therefore they said to Him, “What shall we do, so that we may work the works of God?” Jesus answered and said to them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He has sent” (John 6:28-29).

    Paul makes it clear that God’s righteousness can only be obtained through faith, and that Israel did not attain it because they sought it not by faith, but by works:

    What then shall we say? That the Gentiles, who did not pursue righteousness, have obtained it, a righteousness that is by faith; but Israel, who pursued a law of righteousness, has not attained it.

    Why not? Because they pursued it not by faith but as if it were by works. They stumbled over the “stumbling stone.”

    As it is written: “See, I lay in Zion a stone that causes men to stumble and a rock that makes them fall, and the one who trusts in him will never be put to shame” (Romans 9:33 NIV).

    Click here to read more.