A Father’s Responsibility

by Jim Weikal

The father of the righteous will greatly rejoice, and he who sires a wise son will be glad in him (Proverbs 23:24).

A righteous or wise offspring does not come from great genes or wealth or societal position or by accident. The righteous and wise child is the result of good biblical parenting. But fathers especially are called to instruct:

Hear, my son, your father’s instruction (Proverbs 1:8).

The Hebrew word for “instruction” implies that a father should set right disobedient behavior. Being a wishy-washy father who would rather look the other way at a son’s willful disobedience is not being a good parent.

God is described as a Father who reproves those He loves; in the same manner a good earthly father “corrects the son in whom he delights” (Proverbs 3:12).

Being a good father to a growing family results from loving the children’s mother and making disciplinary decisions that are based on the wisdom found in a biblical worldview.

Others May, You Cannot

If God has called you to be really like Jesus, He will draw you to a life of crucifixion and humility, and put upon you such demands of obedience, that you will not be able to follow other people, or measure yourself by other Christians, and in many ways He will seem to let others do things which He will not let you do.

Other Christians and ministers may push themselves and work schemes to carry out their plans, but you cannot do it; and if you attempt it, you will meet with such failure and rebuke from the Lord as to make you sorely penitent.

Others may boast of themselves, of their work, of their success, of their writings, but the Holy Spirit will not allow you to do any such thing, and if you begin it, He will lead you into some deep mortification that will make you despise yourself and all your good works.

Others may be allowed to succeed in making money, or may have a legacy left to them, but it is likely God will keep you poor, because He wants you to have something far better than gold, namely, a helpless dependence on Him, that He may have the privilege of supplying your needs day by day out of an unseen treasury.

The Lord may let others be honored and put forward, and keep you hidden in obscurity, because He wants you to produce some choice, fragrant fruit for His coming glory, which can only be produced in the shade. He may let others be great, but keep you small. He may let others do a work for Him and get the credit of it, but He will make you work on without knowing how much you are doing; and then to make your work still more precious, He may let others get the credit for the work which you have done, and thus make your reward ten times greater when Jesus comes.

The Holy Spirit will put a strict watch over you, with a jealous love, and will rebuke you for little words and feelings, or for wasting your time, which other Christians never seem distressed over. So make up your mind that God is an infinite Sovereign, and has a right to do as He pleases with His own.

He may not explain to you a thousand things which puzzle your reason in His dealings with you. But if you absolutely sell yourself to be His … He will wrap you up in a jealous love, and bestow upon you many blessings which come only to those who are in the inner circle.

Settle it forever, then, that you are to deal directly with the Holy Spirit, and that He is to have the privilege of tying your tongue, or chaining your hand, or closing your eyes, in ways that He does not seem to use with others. Now when you are so possessed with the living God that you are, in your secret heart, pleased and delighted over this peculiar, personal, private, jealous guardianship and management of the Holy Spirit over your life, you will have found the vestibule of Heaven.

Excerpts from George Douglas Watson, 1845-1924 (public domain)

Don’t Quit

When the road you’re trudging seems all uphill,

When things go wrong as they sometimes will,

When the funds are low and the debts are high,

And you want to smile but you have to sigh,

When care is pressing you down a bit…

By all means pray, and don’t you quit.

Success is failure turned inside out,

God’s hidden gift in the clouds of doubt,

You never can tell how close you are,

It may be near when it seems afar.

So trust in the Lord when you’re hardest hit…

It’s when things go wrong that

You Must Not Quit!

Author Unknown

A Mother’s Prayer for Her Children

by Delilah, Nighttime Radio Host

(We are grateful to Delilah for allowing BRM to use a portion of her prayer.)

Heavenly Father, Creator of Life – I thank You for the children You have entrusted into my keeping: those You have brought into this world through my womb, and those that You have blessed me with through adoption.

I ask Your protective hand upon each one of them. I know Father, they do not belong to me, but are only on loan from You. My job is to do the best that I can to raise them and nurture them and guide them. We live in a dangerous world God, and I fear for my children. Please keep their bodies safe, and even more, protect their hearts, their minds, and their souls. Do not let those that are bitter, perverse, prejudice, or rage-filled hurt them or harm them in any way.

I know that You have endowed each of my children with special gifts and talents. Help me Father to understand, appreciate, and nurture these gifts that they might find the path that You have chosen for them in life. I pray God that each child would be able to reach their full potential, understanding that every life you create is different and unique and every child has their own dream, their own path to discover.

God, I have a million hopes for my children’s futures. I hope that they find true love and I hope they never have their tender hearts broken. I hope they are able to overcome the obstacles in their lives, and I hope they never know the sting of racism. I hope they live to be very old, with children and grandchildren of their own. But above all else, I hope and I pray that they know You in an intimate way. Even if they should walk away from Your amazing love and grace, I pray You would not allow them to stray, but that You would lead them back again.

And God, for all the children of the world, I pray a prayer of protection, of love and security. I know there are thousands of babies that will never know the joy of their mother’s arms, thousands that will go to bed afraid, or hungry or lonely tonight. Please Father, be there to care for them. Send Your angels to hold them and watch them, and above all else, let them know that they are precious in Your sight. Amen.

Finding Hope in Tragedy

by BJ Rudge, Ph.D.

No one is immune from the tragedies of life.

This year, our community mourned the death of two high school students and came together in support for two more that were in critical condition after a severe traffic accident while on their way to a Young Life meeting. These four girls were well known, much loved and touched many lives. My family knew these girls and, being the high school girls’ soccer coach, I used to coach one of the girls who died.

As I spent time at the school talking with faculty and students, I was encouraged and comforted to see everyone come together. It is in moments like these where we learn the most valuable life lessons and are reminded of the importance of community. Not only do we need the support and love of others, but we also need to return that love and support. We need to bear each other’s burdens.

Along with the idea of community, I am reminded of the importance of being intentional with loved ones: to never walk away angry, or let the sun go down without letting them know how much they are loved; to live each moment with appreciation for the time that we have with our family and friends. Life can truly change in a moment, so we all need to let others know with our words and actions, how much they mean to us.

Through this tragedy I am also reminded of how important it is to live with purpose. Watching the students flow into the room set aside for them to come and grieve, I was overwhelmed to hear stories of how their lives have been enriched in knowing the girls who had died. These remarkable young ladies were taken from us too early, but they are remembered through those impacted with their kind words and their positive actions.

From the love and support displayed by the faculty, students and the surrounding schools and communities, I saw God working in and through each one of us. As in any tragedy, the WHY tends to knock us off our feet, but the WHO enables us to stand back up. Though our understanding may be shaken, our faith in Jesus Christ will not be destroyed. His loving arms embrace us and bring comfort and hope in our times of pain and sorrow.

God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble (Psalm 46:1).

Looking for Light in the Darkness

In the weeks following the accident, many questions arose as the community tried to make sense of, and find purpose in, their pain and sorrow. In fact, life-tragedies often cause us to feel the impossibility of walking through the brokenness of a situation while overwhelmed with hopelessness and despair.

When I was in college my soccer coach took our team into a cold, wet cave. We had an easy time navigating it until Coach told us to turn off our flashlights and find our way out. What had seemed easy before, became difficult as we repeatedly hit our heads on the cave walls while desperately seeking the exit. Finally, our coach told one of us to turn on a flashlight. The darkness vanished instantly. While the light did not show us the exit, it did reveal the direction in which to go as we made our way slowly forward towards the brightness of sunshine just outside the cave.

To those facing tragedy, the challenge is in trying to find our way out of the dark cave of loss. There is a light that can guide us through the darkness of confusion and pain. The girls who died both knew the Source of this light, for each had given her life to Jesus Christ. Because they looked to Him, their lives continue to shine brightly as a reminder of the ONE that we all can look to: the One who can heal our broken hearts and strengthen our weary souls.

This same Jesus is ready to give light for us all. He hears our cries. He is ready to embrace us in His loving arms and help us move forward through brokenness and pain. While this process may never be fully completed in this life, we have the sure hope that He will one day guide us to that exit to be fully embraced by the true Source of light that awaits us at the end. Through the death and resurrection of Jesus, we can know the certainty of a future where He will wipe away all tears; where there will be no more death, sorrow or pain (Revelation 21:4).

Until that day, may the legacy of these girls continue on in how we choose to live. Like them, may we embrace the light that Jesus gives so we, too, may be a light for others.

Jesus spoke to the people once more and said, “I am the light of the world. If you follow me, you won’t have to walk in darkness, because you will have the light that leads to life.” (John 8:12).

No matter where you are in your life, remember: The WHY may knock you to the ground, but the WHO is always there to help you stand back up. God has throughout the past, and will continue to, prove faithful as He turns tragedy into triumph.

Note: The preceding is taken from BJ’s previous blogs and already has reached thousands of people across the U.S. and in 28 countries.

We have received permission from the parents of the girls involved in this tragic accident to share the following:

from Lexi’s dad at her funeral:

“We have been overwhelmed with the outpouring of love and support in our community and even distant communities have offered much encouragement, support and prayers.

“I’ve had time to reflect on what has happened and like everyone else, I asked WHY? It does not seem fair that my baby girl can be here one minute and then taken from us the next. WHY?

“Lexi loved her family, friends, teammates, teachers and neighbors. Lexi spoke to you because she genuinely wanted to share this love with you. Remember the pain you feel now and realize this happened for a reason. God wants us to display the best version of ourselves to one another. Please Wear Your Love on Your Sleeve. Lexi wants us to.”

from Danielle’s Cross Country coach Barry McLaughlin:

“Danielle had an unbridled enthusiasm and love for life and for the Lord which was evident to everyone on the team. She was a spark who ignited a desire for those around her to serve Christ and a spark on the cross country team that encouraged others to give their very best. We all still feel the hurt and loss.”

from Leah’s best friend Kylie:

“Leah is a light who shines with a love for God. She loves telling people about Jesus and showing them His love through her actions. Leah is a great friend with a great passion for God and a smile that is contagious to everyone who is near.”

from Leah’s mother from hospital:

When asked in a text from Bill Rudge, “Are you willing to face this tragedy for God to be glorified?” Betsy texted right back, “Yes we are.”

from Emily’s mom from hospital:

“It’s truly the power of prayer. It’s been extremely difficult, but the good Lord is getting us through. You know I really questioned my faith when this all happened. I don’t anymore. If our story can change just one person then I’ve done my job. I told Emily she is going to do something so good and I can’t wait to see what it is. What God has in store for her… I don’t know when but I hope I’m around to see it.”

Thoughts on the Resurrection

by Dr. BJ Rudge

Art for Bill Rudge Ministries by Louise Wieneke

If the resurrection had not occurred:
➔ The Christian faith is a lie.
➔ Jesus was just another person who claimed to be a messenger from God.
➔ There is no hope beyond the grave.
➔ We have no assurance we will see our loved ones again after death.
➔ The resurrection is a myth that has deluded millions with false hope.

If the resurrection really did happen:
➔ The Christian faith is true.
➔ Jesus is the Messiah, God incarnate and the only One who can give eternal life.
➔ Believers in Jesus Christ have a sure hope beyond the grave.
➔ We and our loved ones will rise from the dead and stand before our Creator to have our eternal destiny determined and receive our everlasting rewards.
➔ The truth of Jesus’ resurrection is the most significant event in history, inspiring millions with certain hope.

Christ’s death and resurrection are the means by which believers may
cling to hope in spite of the trials and tragedies of life. May you be strengthened by the love of Jesus. Never give up. Always have HOPE:

H old on to the promises of God (Revelation 21:3-4)
O pt to trust in God through the challenges you face (Isaiah 40:31)
P lace all your cares and concerns upon Him (Psalm 46:1-3)
E nter into the loving hands of Jesus Christ (Romans 8:35)

Knowing the Depth of God’s Love

by Bill Rudge

There was no other way for God to show the depth of His amazing love throughout eternity other than through the cross of Jesus Christ. Sure, He could just tell us how much He loves us or lavish every imaginable blessing on us. But that would not fully display the depth of His love: only His crucifixion ordeal manifests His abundant grace:

All this is for your benefit, so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God (2 Corinthians 4:15).

Jesus’ suffering and death serves as an everlasting reminder of God’s displeasure and intolerance for sin and rebellion. How can fallen humanity, who brought sin and death into God’s perfect creation, pay the price to satisfy God’s Holiness, Righteousness and Justice? Since “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23) we are without hope. Yet, the sinless Son of God shed His precious blood to appease God’s wrath due us and make the way for restored relationship with our Creator. And Jesus’ resurrection provides us confident assurance:

We know that the One who raised the Lord Jesus from the dead will also raise us with Jesus and present us with you in His presence (2 Corinthians 4:14).

You can only become a “new creation” through Jesus Christ. How could heaven be heaven, filled with “old creations” in a fallen state polluting heaven with the same sins which polluted earth: gossip, vulgarity, jealousy, envy, revenge, pride, arrogance, lies, thefts, sexual immorality and perversion? Those who refuse to accept God’s great mercy, forfeit all He has prepared for those who love Him! They have no other option but to be where God’s light and loving presence is not.

God’s personal invitation to spend eternity with Him was delivered by His own Son. A familiar, yet profound, Scripture gives us a glimpse of His amazing love for His creation:

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).