Kids’ Corner

Kids don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care. Author Unknown

The following lighthearted humor was contributed by one of our supporters in California, Diana Trepesowsky.  Thank you, Diana.

• A mother was preparing pancakes for her sons, Kevin 5, and Ryan 3. The boys began to argue over who would get the first pancake. Their mother saw the opportunity for a moral lesson. “If Jesus were sitting here, He would say, ‘Let my brother have the first pancake, I can wait.’” Kevin turned to his younger brother and said, “Ryan, you be Jesus!” Author Unknown

• A father was at the beach with his children when the four-year-old son ran up to him, grabbed his hand, and led him to the shore where a seagull lay dead in the sand. “Daddy, what happened to him?” the son asked. “He died and went to Heaven,” the Dad replied. The boy thought a moment and then said, “Did God throw him back down?” Author Unknown

• A wife invited some people to dinner. At the table, she turned to their six-year-old daughter and said, “Would you like to say the blessing?” “I wouldn’t know what to say,” the girl replied. “Just say what you hear Mommy say, the wife answered. The daughter bowed her head and said, “Lord, why on earth did I invite all these people to dinner?” Author Unknown

Praise the Lord

by Karen Rudge

Two weeks before leaving for our Israel trip I was in a lot of pain and had the flu which went into bronchitis. I had a lot of ministry work to do before leaving and was praying I would be able to go. Many people were also praying for me. The Lord spoke to my heart to listen to praise music and praise Him.

It is good to sing praises to our God; for it is pleasant, and praise is beautiful. (Psalm 147:1)

When I felt the most pain or sickness I would leave my office and go listen to praise music, pray and praise the Lord. The pain would lessen and I had enough energy to finish the work needed for that day. Praise the Lord! I was able to go to Israel with virtually no pain or sickness.

J. C. Penney was a business man who lost everything in the 1930’s to the Great Depression. He became ill and sank to such a low depression that he was admitted to the hospital. He felt he was going to die. Then one morning he heard singing coming from the hospital chapel. As he listened the words began to sink into his soul:

Be not dismayed whatever betide, God will take care of you; Beneath His wings of love abide, God will take care of you.

Instantly the darkness left him and he said there was a warm and brilliant sunlight. It was then he became a born again Christian. From that day on he never worried. He said the 20 minutes of the chapel songs were so glorious it changed his life. When he died at age 99 he left 1660 department stores in his name.

Praising the Lord can lift anyone out of a deep sorrow, sickness or anxiety:

Let them praise His name with the dance; Let them sing praises to Him with the timbrel and harp. For the LORD takes pleasure in His people; He will beautify the humble with salvation. Let the saints be joyful in glory; Let them sing aloud on their beds. (Psalm 149:3-5)

Examining the Evidence

by Bill Rudge

“Be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks the reason for the hope you have.” 1 Peter 3:15

With so many religious and philosophical options to choose from, why are you a Christian? Is it because you’re convinced that Jesus Christ is who He claims to be and that the Bible is the unique revelation of God?

1 Peter 3:15 encourages us:

Always be prepared to give an answer [make a defense] to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect.

The Quest

I shared Christ with a young man to whom I was giving a ride. He said, “Bill, don’t waste your time. I don’t believe in Jesus Christ, and I don’t believe in the Bible.” I responded, “That’s fine Dan. You have a right to believe whatever you want, but don’t be so foolish as to reject the Bible and Jesus Christ without first examining the overwhelming evidence.”

I then shared with him some of the archaeological discoveries that have established the historical accuracy of innumerable biblical details, as well as the scientific evidence, and the accuracy and superiority of biblical health and nutrition principles. I shared some of the messianic prophecies in the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament) that had been made at least 400 years before Christ walked on earth, explaining the mathematical impossibility for anyone to fulfill just a few of these prophecies, yet Jesus fulfilled them all. I explained to him how the evidence of the resurrection is undeniable and asked him what other religious leader has an empty tomb.

I asked Dan to consider the numerous biblical prophecies written almost 2,000 years ago concerning the end times in which we are now living – prophecies foretelling a one-world government, a one-world monetary system, and a one-world religion. The specific details and exactness of these and many other prophecies that are being fulfilled right before our eyes would have been impossible to foretell without divine inspiration.

Finally, I shared the reality of Jesus Christ through the tremendous way in which He has transformed my life and millions of others throughout history, as well as the miraculous interventions the Lord has done in my life and ministry. These evidences and many more are the reasons why I gave my life to Christ.

The Three Questions

I didn’t believe in Jesus Christ and become a Christian out of random chance or haphazard choice. Initially, there was an intentional bias on my part and a deliberate rejection of Him due to lifestyle choices, ulterior motives, or being unable to resolve the conflict of a loving God with the suffering and death I was witnessing.

Lasting fulfillment always eluded me despite all my searching which either proved insufficient or led to a dead end. My restless heart and relentless quest for truth and purpose forced me to honestly consider three crucial questions:

1) Is there a God? If there isn’t, then I can live any way I want. However, my search and research convinced me there is a Creator.

2) If there is a God, are there many ways or only one way to this Supernatural Being? After examining the evidence I was convinced there is only one way to God – through Jesus Christ.

3) How do I come to know God and what does He require of me? My spiritual journey proved fruitful. I could not deny the truth. At age 18 I became an ardent believer in and follower of Jesus Christ as my Savior and Lord. God’s Spirit began to transform my life as I spent time in Scripture, prayer, and fasting and started living by the biblical principles I will be sharing in upcoming newsletters.

I have grown in my faith over the years and my continuing investigation and research confirms the wisdom of committing my life to Jesus Christ. There is only One before Whom I willingly bend my knee and bow. To Him alone do I entrust my life, my future, and my eternal destiny!

Excerpted from Reaching Your Maximum Potential in Christ (which is being updated and expanded for its third printed edition and E-book).

Reverence for His Name

by BJ Rudge, Ph.D.

The Lord’s Prayer opens with this concept of reverence: “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be Your name” (Matthew 6:9). Addressing God as our Father identifies us as His children. How do we become one of His children?

But as many as received Him [Jesus], to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name (John 1:12).

Besides having the privilege to address God as our Father, we are to hallow God’s name when we pray. This means we should approach God with reverence and respect. In ancient times a name expressed the individual’s essential being. Thus, by approaching God with reverence for His name, we are in reality expressing a respect for His very being. As David proclaims, “O LORD, our Lord, how majestic is Your name in all the earth!” (Psalm 8:9).

Seeking His Will

The essence of Jesus’ life reflects His willingness to humble Himself and submit to the will of His Father (see Philippians 2:5-11). Jesus taught this in the Lord’s Prayer, “Your kingdom come. Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven” (Matthew 6:10). The apostle John reiterates that we should pray according to God’s will.

This is the confidence which we have before Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us (1 John 5:14).

He could not have stated it more clearly, if we want God to hear our prayers, then we must seek God’s will and not our own.

In my youth, I wanted to be a professional soccer player. Certainly, there was nothing wrong in aspiring to such a lofty goal. The problem was, I allowed my desire to play soccer to be more important than my desire to serve and honor God. Soccer had become my identity and I based my self-value upon it. Essentially, I was living a self-centered life, rather than a Christ-centered life and my prayers reflected it. The pursuit of my own dreams nearly destroyed me; it took three injuries, which required surgery on my left ankle and both knees, to bring me to the point in my life where I began to seek God’s will and not my own. After my third operation, I wrote the following in my prayer journal,

“God, I give my life and desires to you. Take this and build within me a desire to serve You; stronger than my desire to play soccer.”

As it says in Proverbs, “Many are the plans in a man’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails” (19:21).

Our prayer lives will be ineffective if we approach God on our own terms and in accordance to our own will. It will not be until we are willing to humble ourselves, and submit to His will for our lives, that we will see our prayer lives becoming powerful and effective.

Jesus Is Our Example

Jesus’ life was defined by prayer. At the start of His ministry, as He was baptized, He prayed (Luke 3:21). Before He chose His disciples He spent time in prayer (Luke 6:12-16). Before He was betrayed, arrested, and condemned to death, He was on His knees in prayer (Matthew 26:36; Mark 14:32; Luke 22:41; John 17). This consistent pattern of prayer obviously left an impression on Jesus’ disciples. As one of my former students, Mike J. Sarkissian, asserts in his excellent book: Before God: The Biblical Doctrine of Prayer:

The disciples had been used to going to the synagogues and the temple and hearing the cold, impersonal, repetitious prayers of the Pharisees. But once they began following Jesus, they must have immediately noticed that His prayer life was different. It was passionate and powerful. It was much different than what they were used to. When Jesus prayed things happened. Jesus’ prayer life commanded the disciples’ attention enough for them to ask Him for instruction on how to pray.

Spending Time in Prayer

Jesus separated Himself from others to spend time in prayer with His Father (Matthew 14:23; Mark 1:35; Luke 5:16). Challenges we all face include distractions and busy schedules. I understand this! I have six children, work full time in the ministry, travel for speaking engagements, author books, coach high school soccer, and teach as part-time professor at an area university.

None of us is busier than Jesus was, and if He could make time to separate Himself to pray, we can do the same. While we may not have a mountain or wilderness available for solitude, we can still find places and make ways to spend time alone with God.

The Sovereignty of God

Powerful and Effective Prayer

“The Lord is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust!” Psalm 91:2

A good place to begin a powerful and effective prayer life is in realizing that we are, in every way, completely dependent upon God. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego understood that their lives were under the control of a sovereign God. Consider their response to the King of Babylon, Nebuchadnezzar, before he had them thrown into the fiery furnace:

O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to give you an answer concerning this matter. If it be so our God Whom we serve is able to deliver us from the furnace of blazing fire; and He will deliver us out of your hand, O king. But even if He does not, let it be known to you, O king, that we are not going to serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up (Daniel 3:16-18).

Think on these verses which highlight the sovereignty of God:

The earth is the Lord’s, and all it contains, the world and those who dwell in it (Psalm 24:1).

Whatever the Lord pleases, He does, in heaven and in earth, in the seas and in all deeps (Psalm 135:6).

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” (Isaiah 46:9, 10).

He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together (Colossians 1:17).

Once we acknowledge that God is sovereign we must place our trust in Him as it says in Proverbs:

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight (Proverbs 3:5, 6).

The Importance of Communication

As in any relationship, trust is established through communication – the exact essence of what prayer is all about.

A friend of my family went through a very difficult divorce. From all appearances, it seemed everything was fine in his marriage. He and his wife were active in their church and home schooled their children. He was very vocal about his faith and was very intentional in sharing the Gospel at work. When I received news that he and his wife had divorced, I gave him a call. As we talked he said, “BJ, at some point in my marriage I became a stranger to my wife. I felt like a single parent raising my kids.” This man’s marriage was destroyed when he and his wife stopped communicating.

Our human relationship with God will never grow unless we spend time communicating with Him. It is during those moments on our knees when faith develops. I foster trust in God by utilizing a prayer journal to record prayer requests and write down spiritual lessons God has taught me. This journal has proven a great resource to remind me of God’s faithfulness. It is encouraging to reflect on past requests and see how God has responded to them. Sometimes God did not answer the request in the way I thought He would, nor in the time I wanted, but in each case I am reminded that I serve a God who listens and responds to the needs of His children (Psalm 34:17; Matthew 7:7; John 14:13-14; Hebrews 4:16; 1 John 5:14-15).

Some of the spiritual lessons God has taught me have come through times of trials and tribulation, others during times of prayer and fasting. Regardless of the situation, in each case it has been valuable to reflect upon what God has taught me through the years. I also jot down key verses that have given me strength, encouragement and direction through various times in my life. What a faithful God we serve!

Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God (Psalm 20:7).

So then, the first principle in having a powerful and effective prayer life is trusting in the sovereignty of God. We are merely the vehicles which God uses to accomplish His sovereign will. Even in the uncertainties of life, we must realize, like Job, that we are dependent upon Him (Job 42:2-6).

The preceding was excerpted from BJ’s new E-book Powerful and Effective Prayer.

Wake Up and Watch!

Bill Rudge Ministries received a letter with prophetic perception from Mrs. Valerie Graves, a pastor’s wife from upstate New York, who has read much of what Bill has written over the years, finding the teaching insightful and encouraging. Valerie described her and her husband’s adventurous trip to California, visiting their daughter who is pursuing a PhD at Berkeley. They enjoyed sunny skies and cool breezes as they toured the San Francisco Bay area and surrounding sleepy beach towns. One moment they were relaxing in the lap of luxury and the next they were fleeing for their lives as wildfires ravaged the area.

Some of Valerie’s thoughts:

We were to end our time in California at a lovely house on a vineyard in Sonoma Valley with a spectacular view of the surrounding area. We drove up a long driveway through a vineyard. The front lawn was meticulously landscaped with pathways leading to the front porch where welcoming rocking chairs awaited. There were pomegranate, lemon and apple trees. The inside was gorgeous with large windows to enjoy the beautiful view. It was difficult to take it all in.

That night as I was falling asleep I remember hearing the wind outside picking up, leaves blowing against the window. My husband Charlie and I woke up at five in the morning and went downstairs to make coffee. It was still dark outside. Just as Charlie was reaching for the pot of coffee there was a loud banging on the door. Clearly something must be wrong. Then I heard shouting, “Wake up! Quick, you need to leave now. There is no time to waste.” Within five minutes we were in the car heading away from the beautiful house on the vineyard. As we headed slowly in the opposite direction of the fire in a line of traffic, we could see the sky aglow with the fire which was close.

It was a scary night, and the moment when I realized how serious this fire was, the Lord pressed on my heart to “go back and warn My people.” It became clear the fire I was seeing was a picture of the impending judgment and that it would come suddenly and unexpectedly to all those on the earth who are living lives in the lap of luxury.

Though we don’t see ourselves as rich, we are! We have our own homes, heated in winter and cooled in summer; we sleep on our comfortable beds and wake to warm water to bathe in and food in our cupboards to eat…Food we buy from a local store that we drive to, by the way, in our heated or cooled vehicles. We get to select the foods we enjoy (if we don’t feel like preparing it, we simply call and order our dinner) or go to a restaurant where someone brings us our food, chosen from the many options on the menu. We take breaks from our relatively easy jobs, for which we are well compensated, to go on “vacation” from our easy lives. We entertain ourselves with movies, games, shows and shopping. We paint and redecorate our homes when we become bored with them. We have so much that we have garage sales to pare down our “stuff” that has gotten out of control. We run to the doctor when we don’t feel well and our health insurance pays the tab for testing and medicine. We have gym memberships to get the exercise we need because our lives are so “cushy” we get out of shape.

Living in all this ease, it is difficult for us to imagine that judgment will come and we will hear that sudden alarm:

At midnight a cry was heard: “Behold, the bridegroom is coming; go out to meet Him!” (Matthew 25:6) and “Remember Lot’s wife.” (Luke 17:32)

The Lord loves each one of us and wants us to be ready when He returns, suddenly and unexpectedly for His Bride, before He judges this world. Heed the warnings He provides through His Word. Do not prefer this world with all of its allure; the things that are coming to an end. Wake up and watch! Be ready and waiting for Him! Pray for each other and pray for the Lord to open the eyes of our unsaved loved ones. Flee from the wrath to come. Don’t look back. I sincerely believe the Lord is about to return for His church and it is His desire we all be ready! The finish line is in sight.

Are You Honoring His Name?

by Bill Rudge

beach 1

Photo by Roy DeMattio

What parent wants their name disgraced by his or her children? A bad name is a curse while a good name is a blessing. People live and die to protect the testimony of their name and the reputation of their family. How much more the Lord defends the honor of His name.

“I am the LORD, that is My name; I will not give My glory to another, nor My praise to graven images” (Isaiah 42:8).

While many in today’s society are attempting in every way possible to silence and profane the name of the LORD, we as believers must acknowledge and reverence His name by both our words and the example of our lives. The third Commandment is:

“You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain, for the LORD will not leave him unpunished who takes His name in vain” (Exodus 20:7).

First Chronicles 17:24 tells us His name should be “magnified forever.”

The prophet Ezekiel states:

“Thus says the Lord GOD, It is not for your sake, O house of Israel, that I am about to act, but for My holy name, which you have profaned among the nations where you went. I will vindicate the holiness of My great name…” (Ezekiel 36:21-23).

David said to Goliath:

“You come to me with a sword, a spear, and a javelin, but I come to you in the name of the LORD of hosts” (1 Samuel 17:45).

Solomon built the house (Temple) for the name of the LORD (1 Kings 8:20). Elijah defeated the prophets of Baal in the name of the LORD (1 Kings 18:32). The Psalms frequently mention the name of the LORD. A few examples follow:

I will sing praise to the name of the LORD Most High” (7:17).

“Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the LORD our God” (20:7).

“From the rising of the sun to its setting the name of the LORD is to be praised” (113:3).

“Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the LORD” (118:26).

“Our help is in the name of the LORD” (124:8).

Proverbs 18:10 tells us that

“The name of the LORD is a strong tower.”

Micah 4:5 states:

“We will walk in the name of the LORD our God forever and ever.”

Psalm 23, which you have probably read or recited many times, says:

“He leads me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake” (verse 3).

The Lord’s Prayer starts out:

“Our Father who is in heaven, hallowed be Your name” (Matthew 6:9).

Jesus told His disciples to ask of the Father in His name (John 15:16, 17; 16:23-27). The Apostle John tells us that his Gospel and the miracles of Jesus he recorded were

“written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name” (John 20:31).

Acts 2:21 promises:

“And it shall come to pass that whoever calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved.”

Acts 4:12 tells us there is salvation only in the name of Jesus for

“there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved.”

The Apostle Peter said to the crippled man:

“In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk” (Acts 3:6).

At Damascus and Jerusalem the Apostle Paul was speaking out boldly in the name of the Lord (Acts 9:27, 28). Paul said to the slave girl possessed by a spirit of divination:

“In the name of Jesus Christ I command you to come out of her!” (Acts 16:18).

Colossians 3:17 exhorts:

“Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus.”

James 5:14 instructs:

“Is anyone among you sick? Then he must call for the elders of the church and they are to pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord.”

His Name the Only One

The primary motivation for me to live a pure life is to honor my Lord and not be a reproach to His name. The secondary reason is to avoid the consequences warned and exemplified throughout Scripture, and experienced throughout history by those who ignore or violate His Word.  In every way possible we as believers must respect and reverence the name of the Lord – just as we hope our children will honor our name! We must also believe in, trust in, pray in, and be witnesses in (through both word and deed) the name of the Lord.

The day is rapidly approaching when according to Zechariah 14:9:

“The LORD will be king over all the earth; in that day the LORD will be the only one, and His name the only one.” 

The crucial question you should ask yourself daily is: “Do my words and behavior honor or dishonor the name of the Lord?”