Stepping Out in Faith

By BJ Rudge, Ph. D.

The greatest battles we often face will occur the moment we step out in faith. Consider Nehemiah who stepped out in faith when he asked the Persian King for permission to go and rebuild the walls of Jerusalem. While being commissioned by the king to complete this task, we find that Nehemiah’s act of faith and trust in God came with its challenges. For example, opposition quickly arose to discourage and prevent him from doing what God had called him to do:

But when Sanballat the Horonite and Tobiah the Ammonite servant and Geshem the Arab heard of it, they jeered at us and despised us and said, “What is this thing that you are doing? Are you rebelling against the king?” (Nehemiah 2:19; see chapters 4-6 for further examples of challenges and opposition that Nehemiah had to endure).

In the case of Nehemiah, God moved forward through the challenges he faced and brought a great victory. Not only was the wall built, but also those Jewish exiles who returned to their land made an agreement to obey the commands of God as they once again occupied His holy city Jerusalem.

We can have the same confidence Nehemiah had that when we place our faith and trust in God, He will fulfill His plans through our lives. Just like Nehemiah, if we remain faithful to what God has called us to do we will see a great victory in the end.

So the wall was finished on the twenty-fifth day of the month Elul, in fifty-two days. And when all our enemies heard of it, all the nations around us were afraid and fell greatly in their own esteem, for they perceived that this work had been accomplished with the help of our God (Nehemiah 6:15, 16).

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).

Keeping Childlike Faith in Uncertain Times

By BJ Rudge, Ph.D.

The other day my daughter asked me about what it means to have childlike faith. I responded by telling her that just as children trust their parents we, too, need to trust God. In other words, we must learn to walk by faith and not by sight. 

The very next day I was cleaning up after dinner thinking about all the decisions that my wife and I were facing and the challenges we had as a family. 

After four ankle surgeries, my oldest daughter was still having significant pain. What should we do? Should we consult another doctor and face the possibility of a fifth surgery?

My second oldest daughter was still dealing with post-concussion issues, even though a year had passed. Would she ever experience relief from her headaches? Would we have to go through another round of vision therapy? 

Then, the reality of all the medical bills with my daughters’ issues began to make me concerned. How would we pay for them?  

The difficulties in my personal life seemed to only intensify with the proliferating coronavirus and how it might impact our lives and nation. What if our community was put under mandatory quarantine? Did we have enough food and supplies? What would we do if one of us gets sick?   

While feeling completely overwhelmed with all these questions running through my mind, I looked out our kitchen window and saw my two youngest daughters on our trampoline playing with their Barbie dolls. In the midst of all that was going on in my life and the world, they were content and at peace. It was at that moment where God impressed on my heart what it means to have childlike faith. It did not mean I would go through life with no problems or challenges, but in the midst of them, like my children, I could still have peace and joy.  

Just as my children’s peace and joy rested in the fact that they knew my wife and I would take care of their needs, so too, we can have peace and joy knowing that our heavenly Father will also take care of our needs.

As our world continues to face the fear of the uncertainty of the coronavirus, and as we all face difficulties and challenges, may we live with a childlike faith in a God who is truly our refuge in times of trouble (Psalm 46:1). 

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.

Stepping Out In Faith

By BJ Rudge, Ph. D.

The greatest battles we often face will occur the moment we step out in faith. Consider Nehemiah who stepped out in faith when he asked the Persian King for permission to go and rebuild the walls of Jerusalem. While being commissioned by the king to complete this task, we find that Nehemiah’s act of faith and trust in God came with challenges. For example, opposition quickly arose to discourage and prevent him from doing what God had called him to do,

“But when Sanballat the Horonite and Tobiah the Ammonite servant and Geshem the Arab heard of it, they jeered at us and despised us and said, ‘What is this thing that you are doing? Are you rebelling against the king?’” (Nehemiah 2:19; see chapters 4-6 for further examples of challenges and opposition that Nehemiah had to endure).

Just as it was in the life of Nehemiah, I recently saw how the act of stepping out in faith by one of my soccer players was preceded by a personal challenge. Prior to our season I had been praying for God to provide ministry opportunities. I was specifically praying for God to prepare the hearts of my athletes for whatever He wanted to accomplish. I wanted this season to be more than just about wins. I wanted to see the Holy Spirit change lives for eternity.

As we began the season, I continued to bring this request before the Lord, still wondering in my own mind how He would respond. While conducting my player evaluations, where I give my players feedback on their progress and talk about areas of improvement, one of my players asked me if she could start a team Bible study. While I knew this girl was a Christian, I was startled at first. She was quiet and kept to herself. I told her that she could present this to the players and whoever wanted to participate could do so before practice. While I still was unsure whether she would actually move forward on this, a few days later she fulfilled her word by going before the team and asking if they wanted to take part in a team Bible study.

About a week prior to this, she was injured in a game. After our trainers and a doctor assessed her, they all felt it was nothing major and anticipated she would be back on the field soon. The day after she spoke to the team about starting a team Bible study she had to follow up with an orthopedic surgeon. It was at this appointment where she found out she had torn her ACL and would miss the remainder of the season. At one moment this young girl chose to step out in faith and start a Bible study with her team, while at the very next moment she was facing season-ending knee surgery.

In the case of Nehemiah, God moved forward through the challenges he faced and brought a great victory. Not only was the wall built, but also those Jewish exiles that returned to their land made an agreement to obey the commands of God as they once again occupied His holy city Jerusalem.

While the story with my player still awaits a final chapter, I know that, just like Nehemiah, if she remains faithful to what God has called her to do she will see a great victory in the end.

We all need to remember that we serve a faithful God and when we place our faith and trust in Him, we can have the same confidence Nehemiah did that He will fulfill His plans through our lives,

“So the wall was finished on the twenty-fifth day of the month Elul, in fifty-two days. And when all our enemies heard of it, all the nations around us were afraid and fell greatly in their own esteem, for they perceived that this work had been accomplished with the help of our God” (Nehemiah 6:15, 16).