Christ’s Return – Preparing for the Coming of the Bridegroom

Photo by Tabitha Smith

I’ve known about the Second Coming of Jesus ever since I was a boy. But for the most part it was a Biblical truth that had minimal impact on my everyday life. Until more recently.

Given all that is happening in our world, I find myself thinking Lord, haste [speed] the day! The promise of Him coming again to judge all that is wrong, to deal the final blow to Satan and his hordes, and to launch His emerging new world order — where there is no sorrow or death and where all things will be made new — is a compelling, wonderful thought. And not only is it a wonderful thought, but when fully embraced, it has life-changing ramifications for us today.

Writing to a church living in a dark and hostile culture, John the apostle focuses his readers’ attention on the impact of Jesus’ return when he writes, “Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when He appears we shall be like Him, because we shall see Him as He is. And everyone who thus hopes in Him purifies himself as He is pure” (1 John 3:2-3). Simply, when we fully embrace the coming of Christ, we become hopeful people motivated to pursue pure lives!

The Biblical sense of hope is different than how we normally think of the concept. Typically, we might say, “I hope it doesn’t rain on our vacation.” But that hope is not for sure. It’s merely wishful thinking. Biblical hope, on the other hand, is not a “hope so.” It is grounded in the belief that what we are looking forward to is something that will really happen. Believing the Word of God is true and that Jesus’ teachings are credible, His return is not a matter of “hope so” but a certain reality we look forward to.

And, the certainty of the Biblical hope of His future return has relevant impact on life in the present. We live in an increasingly dark culture where our dearest values and virtues are at best dismissed and at worst despised. Increasingly marginalized and often canceled as Christians, we fear that we have lost and that evil will advance.

But, being certain of His return cancels our sense of hopelessness. It makes us hopeful people who are confident that in the end we are not losers at all. His return initiates His victory over Satan and proves the point that He, King Jesus, ultimately wins. And because He wins, we win too. His return gives us the certain hope that we are not part of an old-fashioned, out-of-date world order like many in today’s culture assume. Rather, we belong to an emerging victorious world order that is free of evil, sorrow, shame and guilt, and is blessed with a robust sense of righteousness, peace and joy where all things are new (Romans 14:17; Revelation 21:1-5).

This hope reminds us that life is like a feature-length film with God as its director. Freeze-framing the film in a dark moment always leads to hopelessness. But as followers of Jesus, we let the film roll, knowing that in the end He returns as the victor, as King of kings and Lord of lords (Revelation 19:16) and that we will, as John says, be forever locked into an eternal likeness of Him.

Given this great hope, it’s no wonder that John wants us to be busy getting ready for the grand event! And getting ready is all about purifying our lives in anticipation of meeting the perfectly pure Jesus when He appears. Granted, we are all victims of the fall, and a perfect purity in every area of our lives is not yet possible.

Someday, at His return, we will be perfectly pure … but not now. However, followers of Jesus who believe that at any moment He will return, seek to ready themselves with a growing purity that is increasingly more like Him and less like our fallen selves. The pursuit of purity, as He is pure, is the pursuit of hopeful people who can’t wait to see Him face to face!

I can’t help but think of John 14:1-3, where Jesus speaks to a group of traumatized disciples who are about to be left in a hostile world without Him. He comforts them by saying that though He is going away to prepare a place for them, He will come again and receive them unto Himself. The imagery is reflective of Jewish marriage customs of the day. In that culture the groom-to-be would strike a marriage agreement with the father of the bride and then go back to his father’s house to prepare an apartment for him and the bride to live in after they were married.

Meanwhile, the bride-to-be would wait in her father’s house, preparing for the day that her lover would come to take her to the wedding — having no clue as to what day or what time that would be. When the groom finished preparing their home, he would start through the village with his friends, and as they walked, other villagers would join the entourage crying out, “The bridegroom comes! The bridegroom comes!” Hearing the shouts, no doubt the bride’s heart would be racing, knowing that the moment she hoped for had finally come. And you can be sure that she had used the time in waiting getting herself ready for that very special day.

We, too, are waiting for a very special day!

Excerpted from Decision magazine, September 2022; © 2022 Joseph M. Stowell; Used by permission, all rights reserved.

Your First Second in Eternity

By Bill Rudge

One second is all it takes to transform disbelief into belief, indifference into astonishment, and mockery into reverence. In just one second, life-long thoughts, attitudes and emotions will be forever altered. In one second, all false hypotheses will vanish. In one second, the ingenuity and magnificence of the Creator will be unveiled. In that one second, you will know the reality of the One you embraced, ignored or abhorred.

Now is the time to come to know your Creator. If you meet Him as Savior, that first second will bring great joy. However, if you stand before the Lord of Heaven and Earth as Judge, you will surely tremble in terror.

That initial second will alter everything forever! It will either begin an eternity in His presence, with “fullness of joy and pleasures evermore,” or be a terrifying experience of “falling into the hands of the living God” and the realization that you are eternally separated from Him and all He has prepared for those who love Him.

Be assured, that one second will come. It will definitely happen. How you prepare for your first second in eternity will make all the difference. Do not wait another second. Accept His free gift of salvation now! I promise that when you stand before Him you will be overjoyed and forever grateful that you did. Revelation 22:17 is God’s final offer of salvation in Scripture: “…And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who wishes take the water of life without cost.”

The Most Important Things

Children are NOT a distraction from more important work. They are THE MOST important work. C. S. Lewis

The most precious jewels you’ll ever have around your neck are the arms of your children. Author Unknown

I wouldn’t change my grandchildren for the world, but I wish I could change the world for my grandchildren.

I don’t want my children to be what I want them to be. I want them to become everything God created them to be. Jon Gordon

Only GOD Knows the Future

by BJ Rudge, Ph.D.

Newspaper and magazine headlines, television, radio, and internet news confront us daily with accounts of conflicts and war, carnage from terrorism, mass murders, threats of a nuclear holocaust, global economic upheaval, worldwide spread of disease and pestilence, devastating natural disasters and extreme weather, and so on. The constant barrage prompts questions such as are we living at the time of the end of the world and what is the meaning of all that is happening?

People search for answers in a variety of sources from science to astrology, psychics and Nostradamus. However, there is only one Source that truly provides the answers. God alone knows the future and He reveals it in the Book He inspired. Only God knows the end from the beginning and only the Bible reveals an accurate end time scenario. Isaiah 46:9-10 states: “Remember the former things long past, for I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is no one like Me, declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times things which have not been done, saying, ‘My purpose will be established, and I will accomplish all My good pleasure.’”

Scripture is the only reliable source of end time prophecy; Revelation is the capstone of prophecy. Insight from Revelation and the many other prophecies throughout the Hebrew Bible and New Testament can be compiled to provide precise insight. Not only has Scripture proven amazingly accurate but the Lord provides tremendous peace because not only do we know that what His Word says is going to happen, we can know the One Who is in control and Who determines our eternal destiny.

Since only God knows the future, we must go to His Word to acquire an accurate end time scenario. Let us not only saturate our lives with study of the Bible – our only reliable source of end time prophecy – but also trust the Author of Scripture with our lives, our future, and our eternal destinies as we look for the glorious appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ.

We find ourselves asking the very same question the disciples did in Matthew, chapter 24, “When is Jesus going to come back?” It is no surprise then that many of us are anticipating that the Lord will return very soon, as current events reflect the very signs Jesus said would precede His return (Matthew 24:4-8). Therefore, as Jesus emphasizes in the parable of the ten virgins (Matthew 25), we should “be on the alert” [stay awake, watch], for we do not know the hour of His return (Matthew 25:13). However, as we stay awake and prepare ourselves “for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus” (Titus 2:13), let us take care that we wait within the guidelines of what God has chosen to reveal to us in His Word.

I say this because many Christians are being persuaded to build their eschatology (issues related to the end times) upon extra-biblical sources. God’s Word must always be our foundation in shaping our understanding of end time events. As we are warned in the most detailed prophetic book on the events surrounding the Second Coming of Jesus Christ, we should not add or take away from what God has revealed (Revelation 22:18-19).

I have encountered Christian material on the Second Coming that has appealed to Nostradamus, the Hopi Indians, Jewish mystic rabbis and New Age mediums as being authoritative sources on end time events. However, God’s Word must define our understanding and be our primary source in shaping our understanding of future events.

As we anticipate the return of Jesus Christ, we can rest upon the promise that what God has chosen to reveal about the Second Coming will come to pass. Even though there are some details we cannot fully comprehend until they happen, we can (and are responsible to) have a proper understanding of future prophetic events from studying Scripture.

Not Enough Evidence… Really!

by Jim Weikal

Many years ago I was listening to an interview with an elderly atheist. The interviewer asked towards the end of the talk, “If you are wrong and you see God after you die, what will you say to Him?” He said, “You didn’t give me enough evidence.”

As I considered that comment, some thoughts ran through my mind:

  1. God provided a written account of His creative work, but the atheist believes the Bible to be a human invention.
  2. God created this material universe from nothing in six days, but the atheist believes evolutionary processes over billions of years to be the cause.
  3. The Bible describes many miraculous accounts in its 66 books, but the atheist believes that miracles can’t happen.
  4. God raised Jesus from the dead, but the atheist believes the resurrection never occurred.
  5. God brought the Jewish people back to Israel after thousands of years, but the atheist believes this return to be nothing more than political coincidence.

I feel for the elderly atheist who committed his eternal life to the belief system of this world. But remember, it’s not by lack of evidence. Romans 1:18-20 tells us that people “suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, that is, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, being understood by what has been made, so that they are without excuse.”

The Desire Level of Christian Life

Bill Rudge

The Desire level is where we have a passion, hunger and thirst for the Lord more than anything else on earth. My relationship with Jesus Christ is more important to me and fulfills and satisfies me more than anyone or anything else—more than wealth, power, sex or any other temporary pleasure this world has to offer. All else is inferior to knowing Christ. I understand what the psalmist meant when he said, “Earth has nothing I desire besides You” (Psalm 73:25) and “As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for You, my God” (Psalm 42:1).

The Lord is saying to you, “I have a deeper dimension for you. I have something that will satisfy you more than anything else you are seeking.” David said, “You have put more joy in my heart than they have when their grain and wine abound” (Psalm 4:7).

Think about this! The greatest feeling in the world does not come from alcohol or drugs, from pornography or sex, from pleasure-oriented indulgences or from anything else the world offers. I have tried just about everything imaginable, and I can assure you, the greatest joy in the world comes from knowing everything is right between you and the Lord, desiring Him more than anyone else and wanting His will more than anything else. He is the ultimate fulfillment of all you need and wish! This is the Desire level God wants to bring you to.

Besides not wanting to be laughed at, a retired Marine confessed he had one other problem that kept him from accepting Christ. There were certain things he did not want to give up. He asked me, “How could you at such a young age of 18 give up your immorality, gambling, fighting and alcohol? Wasn’t that fun?” “Yes, it was fun,” I responded, “but I found something far more fulfilling. Besides, I am willing to sacrifice anything in this life to obtain that for which Christ has called me and to inherit what God has for me in the next life.” I continued, “If you really believe that God exists, then you should pursue Him with the same passion you pursue your fleeting pleasures. The Lord will put more joy and hope in your heart than any imaginable experience or than any other person.”

Jesus encourages us to replace temporal pursuits with goals of far greater importance: “Seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well” (Matthew 6:33). The psalmist said it this way: “Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart” (Psalm 37:4).

The Lord has taught me that I cannot coerce or manipulate Him into giving me what I want. However, if I delight myself in Him, seek to Honor His name and walk in obedience, He will grant the desires of my heart (because they will be His desires as well) and will abundantly bless beyond what I could ever ask or think.

During my times of fasting, I often pray: “Lord, do not let me attempt to manipulate You into what I want or think You should be, but reveal Yourself to me as You are. I want to know You. Make known to me who You are by Your Word and by Your Spirit. Cause me to submit and be conformed to who You are and what You require of me.”

When you “love the Lord your God with all your heart [innermost being and desires] and with all your soul [volition and will] and with all your mind [brain and intellect] and with all your strength [physical body]” (Mark 12:30), you remove anything that takes you away from Him. The Expositor’s Bible Commentary states concerning this verse: “God is to be loved completely and totally because He alone is God and because He has made a covenant of love with His people. In the covenant God gives Himself totally in love to His people; therefore He expects His people to give themselves totally in love to Him.”

Instead of pursuing a self-indulgent lifestyle that eludes fulfillment as does chasing the wind, pursue Jesus Christ through prayer and the study of Scripture. As you do, the temporary pleasures of this world fade in comparison to knowing Christ. You will gain a deeper revelation of Him and His glory by coming to know Him in a more real and intimate way. You will desire His will for your life and long for His Second Coming when He will rule and reign in righteousness, peace and joy for all eternity!

Excerpts from “Reaching Your Maximum Potential in Christ” by Bill Rudge. To receive a free copy of this book, write Bill Rudge Ministries, P. O. Box 108, Sharon, PA 16146-0108.

Hidden Sins, Pet Sins

Bill Rudge

Sea of Galilee photo by Bill Rudge

Many Christians hold on to hidden and pet sins—seemingly concealed from others and supposedly overlooked by God. Actually, there is no such thing as secret sin. God sees and knows everything. The psalmist said: “You have set our iniquities before You, our secret sins in the light of Your presence” (Psalm 90:8).

Are we Christians who use words or participate in activities that dishonor the Lord, but have done them for so long that the initial conviction of God’s Spirit has been dulled? Have we become desensitized and no longer feel remorse or guilt? Or do we rationalize why it is “not that bad” and condone our actions with the excuse that probably everybody—including Christian leaders—are doing them.

Perhaps the Holy Spirit and your own conscience once convicted you about certain sins, but you made excuses and persisted in wrong attitudes or behaviors. The Spirit is grieved from willful, unrepentant sin and will eventually cease from convicting you. Therefore, do not falsely conclude that your hidden or pet sins are no big deal. They are a big deal and need to be overcome.

Dr. Adrian Rogers insightfully said, “Sin will take you farther than you want to go, keep you longer than you want to stay, and cost you more than you want to pay.”

If you mistakenly turn your shower water to cold, it shocks your system and you will immediately jump back. But if you gradually turn the water cooler and cooler, your body begins to adapt and you hardly notice the transition. So too, people can fall away from the Lord, gradually becoming lukewarm and complacent, then cold and calloused without realizing it. Eventually they condone a lifestyle that contradicts their profession of faith: they have forsaken their First Love.

We must never become complacent or tolerant of willful sin in our lives! Instead, we can diligently seek to be set free by walking God’s pathway to triumph—transformed by His Spirit and through His Word, to live victoriously as champions in a great contest!

We must repent of repetitive, willful and hidden sins, and make Him Lord over every area of our lives. We must not tolerate and justify secret sins, saying, “Well, you know, I can’t be perfect; everyone has problems. So, I am going to hold on to my jealousy, my gossiping, my gluttony, my greed, my arrogance, my lust. I will continue in this relationship or practice even though it is contrary to Your Word. I am going to keep looking at pornography and continue in immoral relationships. I will keep watching immoral and occult movies. I will keep on doing this or that but I still love You Lord, and I still want to serve You.”

John Blanchard states: “No man can prove that he is a child of God without showing the family likeness.” Ephesians 5:1 tells us to be imitators of God, and Romans 8:29 indicates that we are to be conformed to the likeness of Jesus Christ. Clean out the hidden and pet sins in your life that hinder your walk with Christ. Purity of heart and life are essential to experiencing the Five P’s of the Lord: peace, provision, protection, presence and power!

Three Levels of Christian Life

Most Christians go through three levels of commitment. First is Feelings. That’s okay if you are a new Christian, but if you have been walking with the Lord for several years, it is unnatural and unhealthy to run around in the spiritual diapers of feelings and experiences. It’s time to grow up.

Second is Commitment. This is where we live by obedience and commitment, regardless of how we feel. It is where we do what God’s Word says, what His Spirit directs—whether we want to or not.

Thinking of commitment as the ultimate level, I lived that way for many years. However, there is what I call the Desire level. But before I tell you what it is, let me explain how I came to discover it.

While in Phoenix in the summer of 1988, I was reflecting on my relationship with the Lord and everything that had been happening: the Middle East where my family and I were caught in a potential hijacking and hostage situation and all the trauma associated with it; the death of my father from a heart attack; my wife diagnosed with a life-threatening tumor; the Oregon wreck in which our car was totaled in a four-vehicle collision; the tire blowout and frightening near-accident with the next rental car I was driving through Arizona. I reflected on these and other related incidences (I later wrote about in Strength through Weakness booklet) and asked the Lord why they were happening. He impressed on my heart these three levels of commitment, especially the third and ultimate dimension of our Christian life—the Desire level.

You should know that as you enter the Desire level, the things and attractions of this world will dim in comparison to knowing the Lord. You find yourself despising things you once loved and loving that which you once disdained!

Excerpts from “Reaching Your Maximum Potential in Christ” by Bill Rudge. To request a copy of this book, free of charge, write to Bill Rudge Ministries, P. O. Box 108, Sharon, PA 16146-0108.

How Can God Forgive a Murderer?

by BJ Rudge, Ph.D.

There are a few things to consider concerning God’s forgiveness.

First, His forgiveness does not remove moral responsibility and consequences for one’s actions.

Second, an outward profession does not always indicate an inner commitment to Jesus Christ. In other words, only God knows the heart of each of us to accurately determine whether or not one’s repentance and request for forgiveness is genuine.

Third, we are all sinners who fall short of God’s standards. So, while the actions of a murderer are of greater consequence than the actions of a liar, both violate God’s moral laws and are guilty. However, through the sacrificial death of Jesus, forgiveness is provided for all who believe and receive God’s unmerited grace.

From my perspective, the real question is not why would God save a murderer, but why does God save anyone – since we have all sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23)? The only answer is the depth of His love for all of us (John 3:16). Consider a parent who loves both the child who behaves and turns out good, and the child who struggles with poor decisions in life (drugs and other reckless behavior). The good child may experience more of the parent’s blessings than the reckless child. But the parent still loves them both and carries with them a hope that one day their reckless child will come home and experience the same blessings that they have provided for their other child.

The holiness and justice of God demands that all sin is punished. However, the mercy and grace of God provides forgiveness for our sins through the death and resurrection of Jesus. “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23).

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.

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.”


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


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.

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).

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)