Persistence In Prayer

by Dr. BJ Rudge, Ph.D.

One of the keys to being persistent in prayer is to be patient. Abraham had to wait about 25 years before God fulfilled His covenant-promise that he would have a son. For me, it took about 15 years of prayer before I saw one of my wife’s family members put his faith and trust in Jesus Christ. Perhaps many of you who are reading this have also been in prayer about a situation for an extended period of time. Regardless of how long it has been, remember not to put a time limit on God; continue to be patient and persistent! You never know when God will respond, and you do not know what God may be doing right now in that situation. Regarding the family member I was praying for; I never knew until later, all that God had been doing in his life during the time I was praying for him.

A quick word of caution! Persistence in prayer does not mean we always get the response we want. Paul understood this as he prayed three times for God to remove his thorn in the flesh (2 Corinthians 12:7-8). Despite his pleading, God’s response to Paul is a great reminder to all of us: His grace is sufficient for anything we may face.

“My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness” (2 Corinthians 12:9).

Persistence in prayer is not about trying to get God to do what we want. Instead, it is patiently waiting upon God to respond according to His will.

Wisdom for an 18 Year Old… and All of Us, part one

Recently Bill and BJ Rudge were requested by a father to each send a letter to his son who was about to turn 18. Their advice is relevant to all – both young and old, male and female. The following is Bill’s response; BJ’s response will be posted later.

I Became a Man When …

by Bill Rudge

The age of 18 for me covered all the bases: from rebellious teenager, youngest fitness instructor in this area, hitchhiking cross country (in search for what was missing in my life, and hoping it wasn’t Jesus Christ), to being miraculously saved from death in Santa Fe, then returning to Pennsylvania and giving my life to Jesus Christ after all; running away and getting married, and finally, receiving a call to Bible college and ministry – all at the age of 18!

So when did I learn to become a man and what did that mean to me? I thought I was a man through all the physical strength and skills I had or from the wild life I had lived; but anyone can achieve those things. I became a man when I got on my knees and surrendered my life to Jesus Christ. Getting married and heading to Bible college with no money made for a rapid maturing process!

Applying the biblical principles I learned in God’s Word really taught me how to be a man; they transformed my life.

Here is a brief summary.

Examine The Evidence for Faith in Jesus – Know what you believe and why you believe it.

Total Commitment to Christ as Lord – His Lordship must supersede everything else in your life.

Obedience to Christ’s Will – Instead of seeking your own will, discover, desire and implement His will.

Be Surrendered and Available So God Can Mold Your Life – Do not stiffen your neck or harden your heart but allow Him to accomplish His purpose for your life.

Evaluate Your Motives – Pride ends in destruction; humility in honor.

Live a Life of Integrity – Your testimony and name are more valuable than precious gold and expensive jewels.

Establish a Balanced Life – Be physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually fit.

Exercise Self-Control – Realize that the essence of strength is self-control. Have discipline in every area of life.

Dare to Be Different – Don’t compromise your convictions or conform because of peer pressure. Be a God-fearer rather than a man-pleaser.

Have the Courage to Stand Alone – Courage is not lack of fear but standing your ground in spite of it.

Develop Determination to Never Give Up – You will face many obstacles and challenges but do not quit. If you do fall, get back up and keep going. Remain faithful to the end and I promise that you will one day be richly rewarded.

Root Out Hidden Sins – Your secret sins will find you out and destroy you, but forgiveness and restoration is only a prayer of repentance away.

Desire the Lord More than Anyone or Anything Else – Avoid an endless search by realizing that nothing or no one will satisfy you more than a close relationship with your Creator, Savior and Lord.

Ponder these biblical truths deeply, embrace them thoroughly and review them frequently. You will never regret doing so. The above principles, in harmony with God’s Holy Spirit, will mold you into the man God created you to be!

Contending for the Faith ~ A Study on the Book of Jude

by BJ Rudge, Ph.D.

As did Jesus’ disciples (Matthew 24:3), we wonder ourselves when Jesus will return. Bombarded daily with headlines of wars and rumors of wars, natural disasters and the spread of diseases, the reality of His return seems closer today than ever before. As I am writing this article, the news headlines of a potential war between America and Iran, the continual global spread of the coronavirus, worldwide crop failures, locust plagues in Africa and China and an earthquake in the Caribbean (of all places) echo Jesus’ words in Matthew 24.

While every generation since Jesus ascended into heaven has anticipated His return, there is a uniqueness about our generation – especially with Israel a nation once again. However, to avoid falling into the trap of so many date setters, I recognize that no one knows that day or hour, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only (Matthew 24:36). Yet, while we do not know the specific day, we as believers are not ignorant of the signs that will precede Jesus’ return. As we continue to hear of wars and rumors of wars, earthquakes in various places, let us not forget the first sign Jesus told the disciples to be aware of – deception. In fact, Jesus even warns that false christs and false prophets will arise showing great signs and wonders to deceive the world. This deception will be so great that Jesus says, if possible, even true believers (elect) will be deceived (Matthew 24:23-26). This theme of deception continues on throughout the pages of the New Testament, as the Apostles Paul and Peter confront the dangers of false teaching that had crept into the church (2 Corinthians 11:1-14; Galatians 1:6-10; 1 Timothy 4:1-5; 2 Peter 2).

To avoid the deception that comes through false teaching, Christians are given numerous commands: We are called to test all things (1 Thessalonians 5:21), stand firm and hold to the traditions you were taught by us (2 Thessalonians 2:15), be on our guard (2 Peter 3:17), fight the good fight (1 Timothy 6:12), encourage and rebuke (Titus 2:15) and contend for the faith (Jude 3). These commands (specifically the call to contend) captures the heart of this study which will take us into an in-depth look at the book of Jude – a book that was specifically written to equip believers to avoid the deception of false teaching and persevere in the truth of God’s Word.

In our study (future blogs), we will examine the call to contend for the faith as we address the dangers of false teaching, the fruit of false teaching, the identification of false teachers and how to persevere and stand firm in the midst of deception. The intention of this study is to go beyond giving just factual information about the book of Jude. It is designed to enable you to warn others, while at the same time provide safeguards for your own life against false teaching.

My passion for this study comes out of personal experience in how false teaching has affected people I greatly care about. One dear friend became a spiritual casualty of the false teaching that permeated the church he attended. That teaching led to the destruction of his faith and the spiritual devastation of his entire family. Another has been caught up in the pattern of spiritual addiction. Devoid of discernment, her life is in a constant cycle of trying to find her next spiritual high. These two reflect the need for all of us to contend for the faith so that our loved ones and ourselves may avoid the traps of spiritual deception.

Walk As Royalty

by Bill Rudge

photo by Bill Rudge

Believers in Jesus Christ have an exciting destiny – to rule and reign with Him throughout eternity! Considering this high calling of serving as royalty under the King of Kings, it is imperative that our words, attitudes and actions resemble His. Princes and princesses in God’s Kingdom should be a reflection of their LORD.

A few years ago, while speaking at a military memorial service, I sat between two dignitaries. They were both gracious and very complimentary of the words I spoke. However, what I want to emphasize here is that they handled themselves with dignity.

There is just something different about most dignitaries and royalty in the way they carry themselves. How much more should we, who are “joint heirs” (Romans 8:17) with the very Son of God, carry ourselves with dignity in our public and private lives. We should not be a reproach to His name, but conduct ourselves in a respectable manner.

Just as descendants of a reigning king are prepared for their royal positions, so believers begin on this side of eternity to prepare for our royal positions which will assuredly become reality during the Millennium and forever thereafter. The following qualities and attributes should begin to be manifest in our words, attitudes and behavior: dignity, integrity, righteousness, self-control, courage, compassion, humility, gentleness, generosity, kindness and faithfulness.

When I was twelve years old I was very skinny so I started lifting weights. Even though I remained thin for a long time thereafter, I began to walk and handle myself as if I was this strong person – believing I would eventually become like that and a few years later I was. Likewise, I know that one day I will rule and reign with Jesus Christ so I can begin now to think and behave accordingly.

Just as my thin physique was transformed into muscles as a teenager – one day my mortal body and humble existence will be transformed into a glorified body that will rule and reign with Christ. This will become a reality for those who believe in and commit their lives to Jesus Christ – so let’s begin acting like it in faith and confidence now!

John, a friend I made while in San Diego, is part Mexican and part American Indian. He has a phenomenal attitude, strong faith in Christ and is very talented. He told me that he used to see himself as skinny, dingy and ugly but now sees himself as lean, tan and distinct. He said that change of perspective has made a tremendous difference in how he carries himself.

Our High Calling

Always remember that as Christians, we have the highest calling. No matter what our position in this life, we can hold our heads high because one day we will be dignitaries serving as representatives for all eternity of the KING and LORD of the universe.

You are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light (1 Peter 2:9).

The Power of Words

by Bill Rudge

Louise Wieneke art specifically designed for BRM.

When Karen was 17 and I was 18, we committed our lives to Jesus Christ. Less than two weeks later, at that young age, we ran away and got married. We could have easily failed both in our Christian walk and marriage had it not been for the encouraging words of Rev. Guy Bongiovanni and Rev. Roger Shaffer. Both of them and others at Farrell Christian Assembly and First United Methodist Church of Sharon, as well as those from various denominations, encouraged our growth in our faith and knowledge of Scripture. As a result, we have served nearly 50 years in various churches and ministries – 43 of those years here at Bill Rudge Ministries.

Have we faced times of discouragement and difficulties? A plethora of times! There were those whose goal, it seemed, was to discourage us from obediently serving Christ and to dissuade us from following Jesus’ call into ministry. But the encouragers (through God’s Holy Spirit) superseded them and God accomplished His work in and through this ministry, built from day one on God’s Word and the leading of His Spirit.

Peter and Paul Versus Nero and Herod

During the first year of my new life in Christ, I worked with two other young men, considering them Peter and Paul because of their strong commitment to Christ. By word and example they encouraged and strengthened me in my faith. However, after a few months, they moved on and were replaced by two men I regarded as Nero and Herod – constantly seeking through lying words and dishonest behavior to oppose and undermine my faith in Jesus Christ – needless to say, a challenging time in my early Christian life! However, that year revealed to me the difference between the spirit of truth and the spirit of error; between those who love Christ and those who despise Him; and deadly effects of discouraging words versus lifelong benefits of encouraging words.

From the Beginning …

Recently, Karen and I reviewed all the names on the plaques of donors for the three ministry centers we built on faith. We were joyfully reminded of all the people who helped us on these and many other ministry projects. We reminisced about the many individuals, families, businesses and churches who have stood with us and supported us throughout the years. Many of those who helped us are now with the Lord receiving their eternal reward.

None of us knows how much time we have, so we want to thank all the supporters of this ministry (from its very beginning until the Lord comes) for all you have enabled us to accomplish. We say it often, yet never enough, that we appreciate each and every one of you. Truly, you are a vital part in making the dream and vision God gave us 43 years ago become reality. May God bless you in this life and throughout eternity for your faithfulness to Him and your generosity to this ministry.

… To the End

The pages of Scripture are laced with those who spoke words of faith and courage, thereby inspiring others to phenomenal achievements. There were also those who spoke words of doubt and unbelief, influencing others toward devastating defeats.

As a chaplain, I have heard words of faith spoken by many dying Christians which uplifted entire families. I have also been at the bedside of those not knowing Christ’s love and forgiveness, speaking words of doubt and despair – giving no comfort or hope to their loved ones.

Day by day, how you live your life and what words you speak, will result in the words you speak at the time of your death to those you love the most.

My Passion

The following is such a passion of mine that I keep it on my weekly prayer and fasting list:

May the thoughts and attitudes of my mind, the emotions, desires, goals, dreams, vision and motives of my heart, the words of my mouth, and my behavior and lifestyle be pleasing in Your sight.

My heart’s longing is to glorify the Lord by being a faithful witness physically (Romans 12:1), mentally and emotionally (Romans 12:2), and spiritually (Romans 8:29). I desire to live by His biblical precepts and reach my maximum potential in all aspects of my life. It is my aspiration to walk in discipline and self control – including the words I speak.

I do hope you will make a commitment before the Lord today that with His help, strength and empowering, you will seek to speak in such a manner as to bring hope, healing and happiness to others. Use your tongue to positively and powerfully pronounce your faith in Jesus Christ and the assurance of His coming again. Use your words to motivate and inspire believers to remain faithful until the very end. Use your lips to praise the LORD and encourage the downtrodden!

As the Psalmist proclaimed:

My tongue shall declare Your righteousness and Your praise all day long (Psalm 35:28).

Excerpted from Bill’s new E-Book The Power of Words.

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).

Showing Christ to the World

By Jim Weikal

A rich, young ruler (Matthew 19:20; Mark 10:17; Luke 18:18) runs up to Jesus who was setting out on a journey, and he asks Jesus what he can do to inherit eternal life. Jesus then lists six of the ten commandments. The young man states that he has kept these commandments since his youth (probably age 13).

Jesus lovingly says to the man, “One thing you lack: go and sell all you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me” (Mark 10:21).

The young man became sad and gloomy at our Lord’s words, and he left grieving “for he was one who owned much property” (Mark 10:22).

You see, our Christian walk is more than words. It is easy to believe the best about ourselves. But it’s our actions that prove our faith is genuine. Abraham proved his faith by his willingness to sacrifice Isaac (Genesis 22:12).

While we are not saved by works, our works should demonstrate that our faith is real. After all, true believers are created in Christ “for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them” (Ephesians 2:10).

So seek God’s face and ask Him what you can do to honor Him. This way an unbelieving world will see Him through you.

Living God's Vision for Your Life

Through Scripture and prayer, God’s goals and vision you will conceive

With all of your heart trust the Lord and believe

Persevere in faith till fulfillment of His promise you receive

Through the witness of your life those fallen away you will retrieve

Then keep serving the Lord till this world you leave.

– Bill Rudge

Words of Wisdom to Encourage You

“Never let what you can’t do stop you from
achieving what you can do.”
~ Author Unknown

“Winners never quit and quitters never win.”

“Tough times don’t last. Tough people do. How tough are you?”

“You can’t enjoy the roads to success until you’ve traveled the streets of failure.”

“Winners will fail, and losers will win, but the true champions never quit.”

~ Mike Senerchia

For more information about Bill Rudge Ministries, click here: https://www.billrudge.org.