Getting Our Attention

by Bill Rudge

Photo by Karen 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.

Kill All The Amalekites

When Saul was anointed king over Israel, God told him to kill all the Amalekites, including their women and children, and to destroy everything they had including their animals. But Saul only did part of what God commanded. He disobeyed God, let some of the Amalekites live, and took some of their animals for booty. About 500 years later Haman the Agagite (the royal family of the Amalekites) attempted to have all the Jews killed. By not carrying out God’s seemingly extreme command, King Saul opened a door that almost wiped out the entire Jewish nation [see Book of Esther]. Those who do not know the future should be careful about questioning the Word of God. – Daymond R. Duck and Larry Richards

Quotes By Famous People Who Believed the Bible

George Washington – “It is impossible to rightly govern the world without God or the Bible.”

Thomas Jefferson – “I have always said, and always will say, that the studious perusal of the Sacred Volume will make us better citizens, better fathers and better husbands.”

Noah Webster – “The moral principles and precepts contained in the Scriptures ought to form the basis of all our civil constitutions and laws. All the miseries and evils which men suffer from—vice, crime, ambition, injustice, oppression slavery, and war—proceed from their despising or neglecting the precepts contained in the Bible.”

Daniel Webster – “I have read the Bible through many times, and now make it a practice to read it through once every year. It fits a man for life—it prepares him for death. If we abide by the principles taught in the Bible our country will go on prospering.”

Abraham Lincoln – “I believe the Bible is the best gift God has given to man.”

Charles Dickens – “The New Testament is the very best book that ever was or ever will be known in the world.”

Samuel Morse (inventor of the telegraph) – “The nearer I approach the end of my pilgrimage, the clearer is the evidence of the divine origin of the Bible. The grandeur and sublimity of God’s remedy for fallen man are more appreciated and the future is illuminated with hope and joy.”

Charles H. Spurgeon – “A Bible that’s falling apart usually belongs to someone who isn’t.”

William McKinley – “The more profoundly we study this wonderful Book, and the more closely we observe its divine precepts, the better citizens we will become and the higher will be our destiny as a nation.”

Theodore Roosevelt – “A thorough knowledge of the Bible is worth more than a college education.”

Woodrow Wilson – “There are a good many problems before the American people today, and before me as President, but I expect to find the solution of those problems just in the proportion that I am faithful in the study of the Word of God.”

Calvin Coolidge – “The foundations of our society and our government rest so much on the teachings of the Bible that it would be difficult to support them if faith in these teachings would cease to be practically universal in our country.”

Franklin D. Roosevelt – “We cannot read the history of our rise and development as a nation, without reckoning the place the Bible has occupied in shaping the advances of the Republic.”

N. T. Wright – “The Bible is the book of my life. It’s the book I live with, the book I live by, the book I want to die by.”

Herbert Hoover – “The whole inspiration of our civilization springs from the teachings of Christ and the lessons of the prophets. To read the Bible for these fundamentals is a necessity of American life.”

Dwight Eisenhower – “The Bible is endorsed by the ages. Our civilization is built upon its words. In no other Book is there such a collection of inspired wisdom, reality, and hope.”

Ronald Reagan – “Within the covers of the Bible are all the answers for all the problems men face. The Bible can touch hearts, order minds and refresh souls.”

Historian Bill Cooper – “I spent more than 25 years digging into the Table of Nations [in Genesis 10 and 11], looking for a fault, an error, a false statement, or an historical inaccuracy. I found not one.”

Motherhood

by Jim Weikal

The Bible has a high regard for mothers. From Eve, who is “the mother of all the living” (Genesis 3:20), through Sarah, Rebekah, Rachel and Leah, Ruth, Hannah, Elizabeth and, of course, Mary, who after listening to the shepherds, “treasured all these things, pondering them in her heart” (Luke 2:19). Little did she know that one day she would watch the horrible crucifixion of her Son (John 19:25). After this devastating event, Mary set a Godly example devoting herself to prayer in the upper room with the 11 disciples, other women and Jesus’ brothers (Acts 1:12-14).

Motherhood is very rewarding but with it comes the unknown and that unknown is the future. Mary did not know her Son’s future, but she had a firm foundation even as a teenager to deal with it. She knew the sacred texts, exalted the Lord, rejoiced in God her Savior, recognized His holiness, His mercy and His mighty deeds (Luke 1:46-54).

I encourage all you mothers to face your children’s future with a firm belief that Jesus is Lord and that God raised Him from the dead (Romans 10:9, 10). A righteous, saved mother is a powerful and beautiful woman in her family’s life!

Evolution is True

Bill Rudge

The human massacre in Ukraine (having also prophetic implications) makes one realize that evolution must be true — “reverse evolution” that is!

While humans definitely did not evolve from animals, it sure seems that some humans have “devolved” into animals. Putin and others will one day stand before the God they do not believe in or honor. However, there is hope even for murderers through repentance and faith in Jesus Christ.

Quotes To Reflect On

Building Character

“Character is like a muscle; the more it is exercised and used, the stronger it becomes. Every time we choose to do what is right, we build character and moral courage.” Senator Douglas V. Mastriano, PhD (Colonel, U.S. Army, Retired)

Face the Worst

“If you want to be the best you have to face the worst.” Quote from Ken Rudge for a nephew going through rigorous Special Forces training.

What God Does

“It’s not the years in your life, it’s the life in your years.”

“It is not what you do for God, rather, it is what God does through you.” Authors Unknown

Great Things

“Expect great things from God and attempt great things for God.” William Carey

The Focus

“You will find your purpose when you make Jesus the center of what you want to do and the focus of what you hope to accomplish.” BJ Rudge

Memories of Aunt Lucy

Mary Green, a longtime supporter of BRM and the mother of Ann Ore who is on staff at the ministry, went home to be with the Lord recently. A few months ago, Mary had sent us the following note and the poem, Faith (following note):

Dear Bill and Karen,

Just a note to let you know how much I enjoy your newsletters, and how much I learn from them. This has been a very difficult time for many people, but it is during the stressful times that we grow in our understanding of God’s Word and in growing closer to Him, so I can be thankful for them.

Enclosed is a poem entitled Faith, written by my dearly loved Aunt Lucy. She had a difficult life. She lived in a log cabin with no electricity or running water. I have so many happy memories of times spent on that farm. Aunt Lucy always sang hymns as she worked in her garden or worked around the house. Her book of poetry is called “Dream Petals” and many were written during World War II. May God be with you both. I continue to pray for you, your family, and your ministry.

Mary Green, New Jersey

Faith

by Lucy Morgan Johnson

If oft affliction I must bear,
I do not mind, for God is there
To strengthen me with faith anew,
To bear my cross, and weakness too.

Should darkness hide me from His sight,
My faith will be a guiding light;
To feel, and know that He is near,
To lead me when life’s way seems drear.

When pain and shadow ’round me loom
That faith will help me pierce the gloom
And it will be a beacon light,
To guide me safely through the night.

And should my path be rough and steep,
I pray that faith will help me keep
Life’s weary way without a sigh
To feel that God is ever nigh.

My future though I cannot see,
Faith makes it seem so real to me;
With hope, my bright and shining star,
Enriched by love, that gleams afar.

May my affliction be for me
Stepping-stones, to eternity;
And may I ever understand,
That faith is but my Savior’s hand.

And when life’s sun is sinking low,
That faith will light my way to go;
And when the veil of death is drawn,
My soul will rise to greet the dawn.

If dark the way, I will go on,
With faith to meet the coming morn,
And know that when night’s shades have flown,
I’ll see the sun rise o’er God’s throne.

Weather or Not

by Jim Weikal

One of my first memories of helping at the Bill Rudge Ministries goes back to August of 1987. The occasion was a “Kids’ Summer Fun Event” on a Friday night from 7 – 11:00 p.m. Bill was reminded at the staff training session the night before that the weather report was calling for thunderstorms on Friday and Saturday. Bill calmly replied, “I’ve heard that before” and assured them that since the Lord had led us to have this outreach, somehow He would also provide good weather.

By 5:00 p.m. on Friday the rain stopped so we could set up the equipment. By 6:00 p.m. the sun was shining brightly and continued to do so during the outside recreation. I recall that the number of kids was close to a couple hundred. All enjoyed the youthful games and supervised activities.

Later that evening, Bill asked me to start a campfire for the kids. I remember looking upward with some skepticism because I anticipated raindrops flowing down at any moment. The ominous, menacing and rolling gray clouds hung low over the Ministry Center. It seemed they would burst at any moment. Bill said a quick prayer asking God to hold back the rain so he could finish the outside activities and feed the kids around the campfire before going inside the Ministry Center as previously planned.

I finished preparing the fire for the kids’ enjoyment. As we answered the call to go inside, the rain started to fall slowly, then progressively increasing in intensity. Amazingly, no one got wet. Bill had on his schedule that at 10:30 p.m. we would go inside the building, and at almost exactly 10:30 it started to rain.

The experience impressed me so much that I recall it even now, over 30 years later.

Flee Fornication!

The following is excerpted from Rick Renner’s Sparkling Gems from the Greek, Volume II, February 4. Used by permission.

Paul urged the Corinthian believers to “flee fornication…” (1 Corinthians 6:18).

“Fleeing fornication” would have been very hard to do in a city like Corinth! Corinth was known for its perversion and twisted sinful activities, as well as for its drunkenness. In short, it had a worldwide reputation for being a “party city” and a center for “sexual freedom,” where one could avail himself to the vilest of human instincts without any fear of others’ disapproval. The entire city was devoted to the sex industry; therefore, any kind of sex was considered acceptable and fair. Some have speculated that after Sodom and Gomorrah, Corinth may have been one of the most perverted cities in human history.

This was the environment the Corinthian believers faced every day, and because they were so new in their faith, the lure of the world and the flesh still had a strong hold on them. Because there were so many sinful places in Corinth, it took concentration and serious planning for them to obey Paul’s exhortation to “flee fornication.”

The word “flee” that Paul used in First Corinthians 6:18 is the Greek word pheugo, which means to run, to flee, or even to take flight. Paul is telling believers that they need to make a habit of running from sin! In short, the word pheugo means to run like crazy!

In order for the Corinthians to obey Paul’s command, these believers had to make drastic changes in their routines. They had to change the places they frequented, the activities they participated in, and the people who surrounded them. If they were going to walk away from sin and stay free from it, they would have to deliberately avoid the situations that previously made it so easy for them to fall into sin.

How does Paul’s message apply to you?

For you to stay free, it may be necessary for you to choose new friends. You may need to make a break from the places where you used to spend your free time. You may need to quit watching the TV programs or movies that once were a big part of your life. It is possible that you may need to stop reading the material you once read. It may even mean that you need to discontinue Internet service (or add filters to block those sites) so you won’t gravitate to pornographic sites that keep luring you into their seductive, entangling web.

Permanently fix your situation by removing yourself from the things and the places that have a negative influence on you. Taking this commonsense approach may be the answer to the prayers you’ve been praying to be free!

If you are serious about your walk with God, you need to make every change necessary. I admonish you to take Paul’s words deep into your heart and “flee” from those things that have an adverse effect on your soul and on your spiritual life.

The Greatest Gift

by Jim Weikal

My dad worked hard in the steel mill and made good money during the 1950s. I had a loving home and Christmas season was a joyful time for me and my older brother. The one gift that stands out after 60 years is the red 16 inch Schwinn bicycle that leaned slightly to the left on its chrome kickstand. What a beauty! I didn’t even ask for one.

My attitude towards gifts has shifted over the decades, and I can truly say I enjoy giving more than receiving. Like many of you giving is more about your spouse, the children, the grandchildren, seeing the joy, the smiles, and getting the hugs (my personal favorite).

God likes giving gifts too. As believers, we know His greatest gift is Jesus Christ, who for the joy set before Him took on the form of a slave and dwelled among us (Hebrews 12, Philippians 2, John 1).

The world doesn’t get it. They may have a gift, but not The Gift. You have the Gift and more! You possess an inheritance which is imperishable, undefiled, unfading, and reserved for you in heaven (1 Peter 1:4)!

Wishing you and your family a Merry Christ-centered Christmas season. And always remember to stay prayed up, read up, and focused up because your Redeemer, God’s eternal Gift, is drawing nearer and nearer (Luke 21:28)!

Jim Weikal is a Biblical instructor at Bill Rudge Ministries.

The Schemes of Satan

by BJ Rudge, Ph.D.

A survey revealed that over half of those who watched the Super Bowl did so for the commercials. Advertisers are aware of this and are willing to pay millions of dollars for a 30-second spot. The persuasive power behind these commercials is in the images they portray for the manipulation of your mind into thinking you need their products.

Does this scheme sound familiar? It should, because Satan used this technique in the Garden to seduce Eve. Once he got her to question what God said (“Has God indeed said…” – Genesis 3:1) she was vulnerable to Satan’s lies. She saw the tree was pleasant to the eyes and desirable to make one wise so she gave in to her fleshly desires and ate of its fruit and gave some to her husband (Genesis 3:6).

Just like Adam and Eve, many people today fall prey to Satan’s deceptive ways. They allow their minds to be flooded with images that question whether God really knows what is best for them. If you want to avoid being another victim of Satan’s schemes, heed the advice of the apostle Paul:

Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God (Romans 12:2).

How do you renew your mind? By studying, reflecting, and applying God’s Word. When you do this you can stand victorious before the schemes of Satan because you know exactly what God has indeed said.

Dealing With Fear

BJ Rudge, Ph.D.

Halloween is a holiday focused on the emotion of fear. While some people enjoy the adrenaline rush from walking through a haunted house, for others the ongoing daily battle with fear has kept them paralyzed in bondage.

While occasional fear is something all of us will experience, the question is, how do we prevent this emotion from controlling our lives? Certainly, our mindset is important because what we perceive in our lives through the lens of fear, dramatically impacts how we will deal with reality. Also, realizing the strength and support we can gain from others is vital in helping us overcome our fear.

The real key in dealing with fear is knowing the LORD our God Who is greater than anything or anyone we will ever face. Joshua was reminded of this as he prepared to take the children of Israel into the Promised Land, “Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go” (Joshua 1:9).

The next time you feel the emotion of fear holding you back, remember the words the Apostle Paul gave to Timothy, “God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind” (2 Timothy 1:7).

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.

Praise From Man or God?

A Greater Acclaim

As a teenager I wanted to be accepted by a group of older guys so I was motivated to lift weights and train in the martial arts until I achieved that goal. However, when I became a Christian at age 18 the desire to be accepted by these guys (which I accomplished) was replaced with a passion to be inducted into God’s Hall of Fame.

The aim of my life since then has been hopefully to be included one day in what Hebrews chapter 11 refers to as “heroes of the faith.” What an eternal honor that would be – well worth any sacrifice I may make to attain it!
Athletes and soldiers train hard and give their all just to hear the commendations of their coaches and commanders. Their sacrifices and tremendous efforts result in amazing feats reflecting years of discipline and commitment. But there is greater acclaim than that given by coaches, fans or superior officers – God’s commendation.

The ultimate goal of my life – that for which I sacrifice, discipline myself and persevere – is to hear my Lord someday say these six words: “Well done, good and faithful servant.” ~ Bill Rudge

Halls of Fame

Jim Tressel (former head football coach of Ohio State) cited a passage comparing his berth in college football’s shrine to God’s Hall of Fame:

The Hall of Fame is only good as long as time shall be, but keep in mind God’s Hall of Fame, is for eternity. To have your name inscribed up there is greater more by far, than all the praise and all the fame of any man-made star.

The Example of the United States

by Dr. David R. Reagan

We were founded as a Christian nation, committed to Christian values, and God greatly blessed us. But in the 1960s, we began to thumb our nose at God as a cultural revolution was launched. Our society quickly descended into a cesspool of sexual promiscuity, drug abuse, abortion on demand, legalized gambling, rampant blasphemy and a flood of pornography. Our national slogan became, “If it feels good, do it!” We adopted a hedonistic lifestyle, calling evil good and good evil.

God responded by raising up prophetic voices to call the nation to repentance. One of those was Dave Wilkerson, pastor of Times Square Church in New York City. I call him “God’s Jeremiah to America.” In the 1970s he began writing a series of books in which he clearly outlined the sins of America and warned of judgments from God if we did not repent. Like Jeremiah, his popularity plummeted because people – even church people – did not want to hear his “doomsday message.”

When the prophetic voices were ignored, God began to place remedial judgments on our nation – things like our defeat in the Vietnam War, the plague of sexually transmitted diseases and natural disasters in the form of monster earthquakes, killer tornados and hurricanes.

So, true global warming is on its way! But, more importantly, the Signs of the Times are screaming that we are on the threshold of the Tribulation. Meanwhile, the Church needs to wake up to the Signs of Nature and all the other signs that are converging for the first time ever. But for that to happen, our nation’s pastors need to get serious about the fact that we are living in the season of the Lord’s return, and they need to start proclaiming that fact from their pulpits.

The Church needs to stop yawning and start yearning for the return of Jesus. Maranatha!

Lamplighter, May-June 2020 – Used with permission.

If Truth Be Not Diffused

“If religious books are not widely circulated among the masses in this country, I do not know what is going to become of us as a nation. If truth be not diffused, error will be; if God and His Word are not known and received, the devil and his works will gain the ascendancy; if the evangelical volume does not reach every hamlet, the pages of a corrupt and licentious literature will; if the power of the Gospel is not felt throughout the length and breadth of the land, anarchy and misrule, degradation and misery, corruption and darkness, will reign without mitigation or end.”

Daniel Webster (1823)

Wisdom for an 18 Year Old … and All of Us, part two – Wisdom from My Father

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 BJ’s response.

by BJ Rudge, Ph.D.

I feel very honored to share with you the realization that I had become a man. I was blessed to have a godly father who taught me to build my life upon the Word of God. This gave me a great foundation and outlook on what it meant to be a man from God’s (and not the world’s) perspective.

Bill and BJ in the Himalayas.

When I was 18, I took a class on philosophy. My professor did not have a positive view of religion, and more specifically, had a hostile attitude toward Christianity. From the very first class, he spent much of his energy showing why it was “foolish” to believe in God and the Bible. As my faith was attacked, I spoke with my father expecting that he would tell me to drop the course. Instead, he told me to take on my professor’s challenge by investigating the truth of the faith that he had taught me growing up. This led me on an incredible spiritual journey that moved me from having only a belief to a conviction that Jesus Christ was who He claimed to be and that He had risen from the dead. This process created a powerful transition from being just a boy into a man who could take ownership over what I believed and why I believed it.

During this process, at age 19, I was hired as boys’ soccer coach at Hickory High School. To set context, this was the school where I graduated and where I played high school soccer, which meant the players on the team were not only my former teammates but my friends. So, literally overnight, I had to shift from being one of their peers to being their coach, placing me in many situations where I had to deal with “grown-up” issues and decisions.

For example, the very first week of the season one of my players, and very close friend, was caught drinking. As a violation of our program’s policy, this infraction required me, as coach, to not only meet with the player and his parents, but to levy consequences. Just two weeks prior, I was at this player’s house hanging out, talking to his parents as their son’s friend; now I had to meet with all of them as the coach who had to act as judge and jury over what happened.

Being a high school coach at a young age was a life-changing experience that made me realize that, as a man, I had a responsibility toward others that required me to hold them accountable for their actions.

Our world truly needs more godly men: men who will stand for what is right – even if it means standing alone – who will spiritually lead their families, who will protect and love their wives, and who will humbly seek to glorify God in all areas. May the Lord’s hand be upon you as He continues to guide you through the steps of becoming the man He wants you to be.

Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night (Psalm 1:1-2).

Leaving A Legacy

by BJ Rudge, Ph.D.

One afternoon while walking through the woods, and spending time with the Lord in prayer, I reflected upon my life. Not only contemplating my past, I began to examine where I was in the present; specifically how I was spending my time and how this might impact my future. I thought of my children and what type of legacy I was leaving for them, and asked myself, “If I were to pass away, how would my children describe me? Would they talk about a father who not only loved them, but also desired to continually be in the presence of the Lord? Would they see me as a man who invested his life in prayer and in fulfilling God’s calling on his life? Would they want to follow in my footsteps as a man of integrity and emulate my spiritual walk with the Lord?”

The reality is that all of us will leave a legacy. Regardless of whether we are married and have children or not, God places people in our lives who are part of our circle of influence. A friend of mine has never been married and has no children, but he recognizes that he has been called by God to be a spiritual role model for his nieces and nephews. Another friend told me that he and his wife were not able to have children. However, he realizes that God has still called him to be a godly example to others. So he invests his time working with the children at his church, and serving as a chaplain at a local hospital to patients who are dying.

Considering this, ask yourself the following question: “What spiritual legacy am I leaving with the people God has put in my life?” The answer will depend upon how much time you spend in prayer, for it is in the time we spend in prayer that God prepares and equips us for His calling on our lives. As Dr. Martyn Lloyd Jones asserts in his studies on the Sermon on the Mount:

Prayer is beyond any question the highest activity of the human soul. Man is at his greatest and highest when, upon his knees, he comes face to face with God.