Perseverance in the Face of Challenge

by BJ Rudge, Ph.D.

When I ran track in high school, I was willing to try any event – short or long-distance running, jumping, throwing events; everything except pole-vaulting (which I thought was insane).

I read an article about Charlotte Brown, who in the spring of 2015, won the bronze medal for pole-vault in the state of Texas. While winning any medal in states is a great accomplishment, this is not what caught my attention. This high school senior ran down the 130 foot plus runway, carrying a pole about 10 feet in length, and vaulted over 11 feet in the air – all as a blind person.

Charlotte’s story is inspiring; an excellent reminder of having perseverance and determination in the face of challenges and obstacles. She had to count her steps and use a beeper to tell her when to plant the pole. Having these safeguards in place, she knew where she was on the runway, thereby allowing her to successfully make her vault.

Charlotte Brown’s amazing feat carries another important lesson: We need spiritual safeguards to provide guidance and direction. Our greatest safeguard is the Word of God. In fact, the Bible has everything we need to know to live out the Christian faith in this world (2 Timothy 3:16, 17). Just as Charlotte counted her steps and used a beeper to keep her on track, let us look to God’s Word to keep us on the right path.

“Your Word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” Psalm 119:105

Examining the Evidence

by Bill Rudge

“Be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks the reason for the hope you have.” 1 Peter 3:15

With so many religious and philosophical options to choose from, why are you a Christian? Is it because you’re convinced that Jesus Christ is who He claims to be and that the Bible is the unique revelation of God?

1 Peter 3:15 encourages us:

Always be prepared to give an answer [make a defense] to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect.

The Quest

I shared Christ with a young man to whom I was giving a ride. He said, “Bill, don’t waste your time. I don’t believe in Jesus Christ, and I don’t believe in the Bible.” I responded, “That’s fine Dan. You have a right to believe whatever you want, but don’t be so foolish as to reject the Bible and Jesus Christ without first examining the overwhelming evidence.”

I then shared with him some of the archaeological discoveries that have established the historical accuracy of innumerable biblical details, as well as the scientific evidence, and the accuracy and superiority of biblical health and nutrition principles. I shared some of the messianic prophecies in the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament) that had been made at least 400 years before Christ walked on earth, explaining the mathematical impossibility for anyone to fulfill just a few of these prophecies, yet Jesus fulfilled them all. I explained to him how the evidence of the resurrection is undeniable and asked him what other religious leader has an empty tomb.

I asked Dan to consider the numerous biblical prophecies written almost 2,000 years ago concerning the end times in which we are now living – prophecies foretelling a one-world government, a one-world monetary system, and a one-world religion. The specific details and exactness of these and many other prophecies that are being fulfilled right before our eyes would have been impossible to foretell without divine inspiration.

Finally, I shared the reality of Jesus Christ through the tremendous way in which He has transformed my life and millions of others throughout history, as well as the miraculous interventions the Lord has done in my life and ministry. These evidences and many more are the reasons why I gave my life to Christ.

The Three Questions

I didn’t believe in Jesus Christ and become a Christian out of random chance or haphazard choice. Initially, there was an intentional bias on my part and a deliberate rejection of Him due to lifestyle choices, ulterior motives, or being unable to resolve the conflict of a loving God with the suffering and death I was witnessing.

Lasting fulfillment always eluded me despite all my searching which either proved insufficient or led to a dead end. My restless heart and relentless quest for truth and purpose forced me to honestly consider three crucial questions:

1) Is there a God? If there isn’t, then I can live any way I want. However, my search and research convinced me there is a Creator.

2) If there is a God, are there many ways or only one way to this Supernatural Being? After examining the evidence I was convinced there is only one way to God – through Jesus Christ.

3) How do I come to know God and what does He require of me? My spiritual journey proved fruitful. I could not deny the truth. At age 18 I became an ardent believer in and follower of Jesus Christ as my Savior and Lord. God’s Spirit began to transform my life as I spent time in Scripture, prayer, and fasting and started living by the biblical principles I will be sharing in upcoming newsletters.

I have grown in my faith over the years and my continuing investigation and research confirms the wisdom of committing my life to Jesus Christ. There is only One before Whom I willingly bend my knee and bow. To Him alone do I entrust my life, my future, and my eternal destiny!

Excerpted from Reaching Your Maximum Potential in Christ (which is being updated and expanded for its third printed edition and E-book).

Two Rising Stars

by Bill Rudge

The Coming Antichrist and False Prophet

“None of the wicked will understand, but those who are wise will understand.” Psalm 101.3

The pages of history are laced with accounts of new movements generating such enthusiasm and momentum that a nation – even the world – was swayed.

As a teen in the late 1960s many of my generation got caught up in the sexual revolution, race riots, and rebellion against authority. Very few of us really thought about why we were involved or where these movements were headed. We were seized by the emotion of the moment and went with the flow of the crowd.

Hitler’s media propaganda and hypnotizing speeches influenced a nation and changed the world. Today, terrorists use slick social media to motivate youth and adults to join a regime that commits unbelievable atrocities.

The time is nearing when a prominent person will arise on the world scene. Carnage from terrorism, devastation from natural disasters, threat of nuclear annihilation, and the need to solve other potential global crises is motivating an increasing number of voices to cry for a global leader.

The majority of people on our planet will blindly submit to this compelling leader (revealed in prophetic Scripture as the Antichrist) who promises peace and prosperity. The Antichrist will appear to be the savior of the world and will acquire “authority over every tribe, people, language and nation” (Revelation 13:7). The masses will also readily embrace his cohort – an influential religious leader promoting love and unity, but Biblically identified as the False Prophet.

There is no denying that our world is ripe for such visionary leaders who will astound with apparent solutions to global problems. Their hypnotizing charisma, persuasive words, powerful speeches, pleasing promises, inspiring media visuals, moving testimonies, euphoric music, cheering supporters, incredible popularity, and displays of supernatural power will mesmerize the multitudes. According to Scripture these two “rising stars” will be demonically energized. They will take the reins of this world through deception and intrigue to ultimately lead humankind in a unified rebellion against the God of the Bible.

It is clear that a scenario is unfolding to create a global system of political power, economic control, military might, and religious unification. As Revelation foretells, we are moving toward a global society with a one-world government, a universal economy, and an ecumenical religious system offering tolerance and acceptance for all religions – except one, biblical Christianity. There is a growing movement of globalism, religious unity, and the celebration of diversity – along with a growing intolerance for biblical Christians who believe Jesus is the only way of salvation. Those who use the Bible to speak out against the immorality in today’s society and culture are often accused of bigotry and hate crimes with the aim to be silenced or eliminated.

Underlying the Antichrist’s facade is his ulterior motive to attain control over and receive worship from every human being on this planet. The False Prophet will attempt to help him achieve this – Satan’s ultimate goal.

All inhabitants of the earth will worship the beast [the Antichrist] — all whose names have not been written in the Book of Life belonging to the Lamb that was slain from the creation of the world (Revelation 13:8).

It is interesting to note that only two people in Scripture were possessed by Satan himself: Judas, when he betrayed Jesus, and the Antichrist, as he seeks to gain control over and obtain worship from everyone on this planet.

The Bible reveals that the Antichrist’s and False Prophets’s true intent will be concealed under a cloak of intrigue, diplomatic deceit and cunning manipulation. When the layers of glitz and glamour are peeled away, the shocking remains will be far removed from what was promised or anticipated. They will lead a world of undiscerning and biblically illiterate people down a deceitful path to global chaos and unprecedented devastation and destruction.

Words of Hope and Admonition

Although the days in which we live are becoming increasingly dangerous, treacherous, corrupt, and confusing, those who know the Lord in these end times will demonstrate wisdom and strength:

…the people who know their God will display strength and take action. Many will be purified, made spotless and refined, but the wicked will continue to be wicked. None of the wicked will understand, but those who are wise will understand (Daniel 11:32; 12:10).

Do not be seduced by the spirit of this age – whether it is in the political arena, social media, pop star realm, religious circles or any other venue. Do not be impressed, influenced or deceived by a well-turned phrase or the surface appearance of those who have ulterior motives and agendas. Do not reflect the values of an amoral society. Do not be a cultural Christian, motivated by feelings, desires and impulses, or influenced by every new and exciting trend or phenomenon that comes along.

Make certain you are, and remain, aligned with Jesus Christ and God’s Word. Follow the genuine leading of His Spirit. Be discerning. Examine all things carefully. Hold fast to that which is good and true. Live by the standards of Scripture. Stand rock solid as a biblical Christian in this day and age when Biblical prophecies of the end times and Jesus Christ’s return are rapidly lining up.

I close, as did Paul to the Corinthians:

Watch, stand fast in the faith, be brave, be strong. Let all you do be done with love (1 Corinthians 16:13, 14).

The Unknown Book

By Dr. William Blythe Robinson

If someone were to ask you what you thought was the most unknown book in the world, what would be your answer? What if someone told you that the most unknown book in the world was publicly recognized by one of the world’s greatest literary scholars (Mortimer J. Adler) as one of the greatest books in all of human history and is still the number one best seller in the world? It’s possible that people may know its name but have no actual first-hand knowledge of its contents. That book is the Bible, yet few know that it is God’s Divine Library of 66 books: 39 in the Old Testament and 27 in the New Testament.

Here are some facts: the Bible is miraculous in its origin from divine inspiration; it is the voice of God Incarnate. Its harmonious parts were written over a period of 1600 years, with about 40 different authors from different parts of the world with different languages. Yet, the Bible remains one book: one history, one story – His story. Its durability transcends the centuries of attacks upon it. Its transforming power for good over the lives of all who accept it, continues. Few realize that it is the most expensive book in the world. It has cost the lives of untold thousands who gave their lives through the ages to preserve it and pass it on unchanged to you.

I had never read the Bible when I was in school. That changed, however, when I was drawn to a very attractive Catholic girl. I thought I knew enough about the Bible to start a conversation with her because I had attended a few Bible-believing churches. However, I soon found myself disagreeing with her when she said that her church was the “only true church.” With great confidence I set out to prove that the Bible said, “Go to the church of your choice.”

I started reading Matthew and completed the New Testament never finding the verse I had so confidently proclaimed to be true. This was a life altering experience for me.

First, I made the profound discovery that all the issues that I had been arguing about and that seemed so important did not even exist in the pages of the New Testament.

The second unbelievable discovery was that New Testament Christianity was so totally different from today’s organized religion. Out of my experience came one unshaken conviction: the best-known book in the world was in reality an unknown book. This was a fact that I had never even considered until I had read it for myself. An attractive girl had attracted me to this unknown book. Now I love both the book and its author. Since then I have continued to learn its transforming story.

The third thing that I learned was that you can prove most anything by the Bible if you don’t truly know its contents for yourself.

The fourth thing I learned was that the Bible is all around us, often hidden away and unused, such as the Gideon Bibles that are tucked away, out of sight, in motel rooms. Today, the Bible is unknown in our society at large and in our schools and some of our churches in particular. Hosea 4:6 warns, “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.”

The fifth thing that I learned was that the contents of those 66 books will judge all mankind someday as it says in Revelation 20:12: “I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened…and the dead were judged out of…the books according to their works.” Jesus said, “Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away” (Matthew 24:35). The standard of judgment is found in John 12:48: “He that rejects me, and receives not my words, has one that will judge him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day.” Revelation 20:15 is simply horrifying.

Today the Bible’s voice is but a faint echo in the halls of America’s history. Having been labeled “politically incorrect,” its message and prayers are banned in public schools. Yet our Presidents are sworn in on it in public in His name. In connection with this, it’s rarely known that in 1892 the Supreme Court declared America to be a “Christian nation” and this has never been rescinded. Why is the Bible, today, treated like an enemy that we must defy? What harm can its loving message inflict upon our children? What damage has it done to generations who were, in generations past, raised upon its teachings, both in our homes and in our schools, on television and in the older movies? What manner of life or course of conduct does it inspire that would not be desirable? Why have we turned our backs upon this book and left it alone to die? What qualities does it have to make it deserve ignoring? Why have churches turned from the Bible to creeds and theology? Why do so few carry it to church? Why have the ones who say it is God’s book denied its basic truth by their lives? Why are there so many ministers preaching sermons that leave us empty in our heads and hearts regarding the greatest book in the world? Regardless of how we got to where we are today, the Bible in America remains an unknown book to the multitudes.

About a week before his death, Sir Walter Scott said to his son-in-law, Lockhart, “Read to me from the Book.” And when Lockhart asked him from what book, Scott said, “Need you ask? There is but one.”

Long before his death Scott acknowledged the following:

  1. The Bible contains the mind of God, the state of man, the way of salvation, doom of sinners, and happiness of believers.
  2. Its doctrines are holy, its precepts are binding, its histories are true, and its decisions are immutable.
  3. Read it to be wise, believe it to be safe, and practice it to be holy.
  4. It is the traveler’s map, the pilgrim’s staff, the pilot’s compass, the soldier’s sword and the Christian’s charter.
  5. It contains light to direct you, food to support you and comfort to cheer you.
  6. Here Paradise is restored, Heaven opened, and the gates of hell disposed.
  7. Christ is its Grand Subject, our good its design, and the glory of God its end.
  8. It should fill the memory, rule the heart, and guide the feet.
  9. Read it slowly, frequently, prayerfully.
  10. It is a mine of wealth, a paradise of glory, and a river of pleasure.
  11. It is given you in life, will be opened in Judgment and be remembered forever.
  12. It involves the highest responsibility, rewards the greatest labor, and condemns all who trifle with its holy contents.

Are You Really A Christian?

Dr. BJ Rudge

Can you answer the question: How do you know you are really saved? Many people base their assurance of salvation on reciting the sinner’s prayer or on an emotional response to an altar call. Others believe they are saved by attempting to be a “good” person and live a “good” life. Still others think salvation is simply an intellectual acknowledgement of beliefs in God, Jesus, and the Bible.

These views of salvation leave many people believing they are on their way to heaven. However, Jesus clearly warns that many will stand before Him claiming to be saved and He will say the following, “I never knew you; depart from Me …” (Matthew 7:23). So in light of this sobering verse, it is crucial that you can answer the question, “Do you know you are really saved?”

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 signs that John sets forth to know you have eternal life.

1.  Admit you are a sinner (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).

The apostle Paul told the Corinthians to examine themselves to see whether or not they were in the faith (2 Corinthians 13:5). Have you examined your life? Study these and other related scriptures to be certain you have eternal life and will inherit all God has planned for those who love and obey Him.