Strive for Integrity

“May integrity and uprightness protect me.”   Psalm 25:21

Bobby Jones is considered one of history’s greatest golfers. But more than all his victories on the golf course, he’s famous for what happened in the 1925 U.S. Open. He inadvertently touched his ball and assessed himself a one-stroke penalty, even though no one else saw him touch the ball. But he couldn’t violate his conscience. And by assessing himself that penalty, he lost the Open by that one stroke. When tournament officials tried to compliment him for his integrity, Jones simply said, “You might as well praise me for not breaking into banks. There is only one way to play this game.”

Bobby Jones played by the rules. Period. And in doing so, he honored the integrity of the game. One sportswriter wrote, “In the opinion of many people, of all the great athletes, Bobby Jones came the closest to being what we call a great man.”

Jones could have won the tournament, but he would have lost his integrity. And winning the U.S. Open wasn’t worth a one-stroke penalty on his integrity. That’s epic integrity! And that’s something to be celebrated. We live in a culture that celebrates talent more than integrity, but we’ve got it backwards. Talent depreciates over time. So do intellect and appearance. You will eventually lose your strength and your looks. You may even lose your mind. But you don’t have to lose your integrity. Integrity is the only thing that doesn’t depreciate over time. Nothing takes longer to build than a godly reputation—and nothing is destroyed more quickly by one stroke of sin. That’s why your integrity must be celebrated and protected above all else.

The Word For You Today, Bob Gass Ministries

Reaching Your Maximum Potential

The following list is a compilation of biblical principles God used to transform Bill Rudge’s life. May this inspire and encourage you in your walk with the LORD.

Examine The Evidence for Faith in Jesus

Make a Total Commitment to Christ as Lord

Walk in Obedience to the Lord’s Will

Be Surrendered and Available So God Can Mold Your Life

Evaluate Your Motives – Pride Ends in Destruction; Humility in Honor

Live a Life of Integrity

Establish Balance by Being Physically, Mentally and Spiritually Fit 

Exercise Self-Control – the Essence of Strength

Dare to Be Different – Don’t Compromise or Conform 

Have the Courage to Stand Alone

Develop Determination to Never Give Up – Remain Faithful to the End

Root Out Hidden and Pet Sins

Desire the Lord More than Anyone or Anything Else

© 2018 by Bill Rudge http://www.billrudge.org

Commitment to Reach My Full Potential in Christ

I have examined the evidence and counted the cost. I choose to commit the rest of my life to Jesus Christ.

I accept You as my Savior and acknowledge You as Lord over every area and aspect of my life. 

Strengthen me to walk in obedience to Your Word and anoint me to fulfill Your purpose.

Cause me to be available, yielded, submissive, surrendered and sensitive so Your Spirit can speak to my heart. Lead, guide and empower me to accomplish Your goals, dreams and vision for my life.

Remind me to daily examine my motives and inspire me to maintain a pure heart and a genuine spirit of humility and meekness.

Enable me to live a life of integrity before You and the world.

Motivate me to develop a balanced life and glorify You with all of my being – physical, mental and spiritual.

Encourage me to live a life of discipline and self-control – which is the true essence of strength.

Keep me from compromising and conforming – inspire me to dare to be different and make my life count.

Grant me the courage to stand alone when necessary.

Instill within me the determination to never give up and to remain faithful until I go home to be with You.

Do not let me tolerate hidden or pet sins. Help me by the power of Your Spirit to overcome anything that would ensnare or enslave me.

I desire You, Lord Jesus, more than anyone or anything else on earth.

© 2018 by Bill Rudge http://www.billrudge.org

Comments on 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.

~ Colonel Douglas Mastriano

U.S. Generals’ Comments on Character

I would place character as the absolutely number one requirement in leadership.

~ General J. Lawton Collins

Character is what you are. Reputation is what others think you are. Character is the foundation of successful leadership.

~ General Lucian K. Truscott

Dependability, integrity, the characteristic of never knowingly doing anything wrong, that you would never cheat anyone, that you would give everybody a fair deal. Character is sort of an all-inclusive thing. If a man has character everyone has confidence in him.

~ General Omar N. Bradley

It is the man of good character that I am going to seek out.

~ General Mark W. Clark

General Pershing’s fame rests largely upon his personal character … in his indomitable will for victory….

~ General Douglas MacArthur

You are placed by Providence in the post of honor, because it is the post of danger. And while struggling for the noblest objects  – the liberties of your country, the happiness of posterity, and the rights of human nature  – the eyes not only of North America and the whole British Empire, but of all Europe, are upon you. Let us be, therefore, altogether solicitous that no disorderly behavior, nothing unbecoming our characters as Americans; as citizens and Christians, be justly chargeable to us.

~ General George Washington’s first order to his troops, July 9, 1776

Counterfeit Christianity

by Bill Rudge

We hear much about signs, wonders and miracles but very little about the need for discernment.

As a new Christian, I did not expect to uncover deception in churches and ministries such as I found in researching the realm of the occult. While I have witnessed genuine miracles and prophecies, there is often too much “flesh” and “fraud” being propagated in Jesus’ name. Consequently, as a new convert, I quickly learned the importance of discernment and integrity.

For instance, a popular evangelist who amazed young and old alike with his knowledge of Bible prophecy had a part in my coming to faith in Christ. A short time later he left his wife, ran off with his secretary, became an alcoholic and embezzled ministry funds, which resulted in prison time. Early experiences like this – that could have easily turned me back to the world – actually proved to be of profound benefit to my life and ministry. I had a crucial choice to make: Do I build my life on man or on God? I chose to build my life and ministry on Jesus Christ and His Word – and that has made all the difference.

In stark contrast, a pastor who had significantly contributed to my accepting Christ, has faithfully served Him all the days of his life. His example has been an inspiration to many.

Then there was the popular Christian singing group who performed at a large camp meeting I attended as a young believer. They sang, cried and moved many to tears with their songs and testimonies. Shortly thereafter, this same group went secular and began performing some raunchy songs. It was hard for me at that time to understand how they could sing about Jesus with such passion and so quickly turn, performing songs that led youth and adults down a path away from Him. It was not surprising to discover that even while on their Christian circuit, they had many illicit relations with girls and women who idolized them.

As a young Christian I had to make yet another important decision: Will I be influenced by surface appearance and emotionalism and use my position of leadership for personal favors or will I follow the path of wisdom and discernment? I chose to seek wisdom and discernment – and that has made all the difference.

Prior to a three-week mission to Mexico, God had impressed on Karen and me to go to Bible college. Upon our return from the mission trip, preparations were underway for our move when a so-called prophetess prophesied that we were to go back to Mexico. I said to her, “I’m still a relatively new Christian and do not know the Word very well yet, but I do know that if God told me to go to Bible college, if God told me to buy a mobile home, if God enabled us to find the very last mobile home lot on which we could put our mobile home in the city, then God wants me there. And that’s where I’m going!”

I had to decide: Do I follow the voice of someone telling me God’s will for my life, or do I follow God’s Word and what His Spirit has led me to do? I chose to follow what I knew to be the clear direction of the Lord – and that has made all the difference.

While attending Bible college, I worked at a window factory with several other students who had been Christians much longer than I. However, it didn’t take long to see the shallowness of their commitment. They mocked others, swore, used vulgar expressions and stole small items from work. So as a young Christian I had to make yet another crucial choice: Do I follow the crowd and live a compromised Christianity or do I, by God’s grace and power, live a life of integrity and discipline? I chose a life of integrity and have sought to honor the Lord in every aspect of my life – and that has made all the difference.

Many times I have reflected back on how ineffective my life and ministry could have been had I not chosen to follow the direction of the Lord during those crucial decisions. But because I obeyed God’s voice, He has produced tremendous fruit through our lives, done the impossible through our ministry and blessed us greatly.

What Then Shall We Do?

Over the years I have encountered in various “Christian” groups: false teachings, erroneous prophecies, faked healings, counterfeit miracles, financial misappropriation, lies, gossip, sexual immorality, drug and alcohol usage, and other un-Christlike behaviors. Some of this could be explained as weakness of the flesh; however, many were using the name of Jesus for personal gain while fleecing the people of God who, because of their lack of discernment and biblical knowledge, enabled them to do so. I have encountered countless people who said they rejected Christianity because of fakery and hypocrisy; for some theirs was a lame excuse, for others a true stumbling block. Turning anyone from the Gospel or hindering someone in their walk with Christ because of our example is something we must all, as believers, strive to avoid.

While I believe in the supernatural power of God and the gifts of the Spirit, I have witnessed too much imitation, manipulation, even demonic phenomena in Jesus’ name. Truly, the Church needs the power of God’s Spirit today – not the flesh or the counterfeit, but the authentic moving of God’s Spirit.

Does fakery and hypocrisy practiced in Jesus’ name mean we ought to reject Him and Christianity? To the contrary, His Word warns about such people and practices. You can be certain that those who resort to deception and manipulation will be held accountable for the Lord “will bring to light the things hidden in the darkness and disclose the motives of men’s hearts; and then each man’s praise will come to him from God” (1 Corinthians 4:5).

I have spent more than two thirds of my lifetime on an amazing adventure of discovering the truth, reality and faithfulness of the God of the Bible. Scripture encourages believers to be Bereans (Acts 17:10-12) – exercising discernment and examining all things by God’s Word. Imitation and counterfeit should motivate us all the more to earnestly seek the true and the genuine. Without a doubt, only Jesus Christ and Scripture have the answers to life and eternity.

There are some who use the name of Christ for personal gain or to merchandise the Gospel, and others are as deceived as the people who follow them; but there are many more genuine followers of Christ. Countless pastors, missionaries, chaplains and believers love the Lord with all their hearts, minds and strength. Their beliefs and lifestyles – both in the public eye and behind the scenes, the fruit of their ministries and personal sacrifices validate their commitment to the Lord Jesus Christ.

In the midst of a corrupt and wicked world, an increasing number of believers desire to live committed and disciplined lives of purity and righteousness. Instead of “liberalism” they walk in obedience; rather than “legalism” they are motivated by love and a desire to honor their Lord. Not perfect in themselves, but relying on the grace of the Perfect One, they press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of them (Philippians 3:12). They will be found faithful when Christ returns and receive the crown of life (Revelation 2:10). How about you?

Finally: Each believer should choose to develop a personal and intimate relationship with Jesus Christ, know the voice of His Spirit, honor His Word, and walk before Him and the world in love, truth, discipline and integrity.