How Much God Loves Us

by Bill Rudge

Daily I get a glimpse of how much God must love each and every one of His children. The following are just a few examples using my 11 grandchildren to reveal my love and enjoyment of them and how much I miss them when I am not with them.

When my 18 year old granddaughter left for college in August or previously sang for a Memorial Day Program or church services before I spoke…

When my 16 year old grandson works out with me on the obstacle course and then hangs out with me after and gives bear hugs before leaving…

When my 15 year old granddaughter asks me to play catch with the football or play basketball with her…

When my 14 year old granddaughter shared her testimony and wrote a story about her papa or sang before I spoke at the Salvation Army…

When my 13 year old granddaughter cut her long beautiful hair and donated it for wigs for cancer patients or received a special award for kindness at school…

When my 11 year old grandson asks me to sit beside him in a hammock so we can “shoot the breeze” or walks the West Hill with me and his cousin, thrilled by the stories from my youth…

When my 8 year old granddaughter smiled angelically as she bowed with perfect form after performing at a piano recital or laughs while I fly her through the air during a blanket ride…

When my 7 year old granddaughter holds my hand and arm tightly while walking through a dark hallway or asks me to tell her a story as we go on another “Papa Adventure” from my childhood or walks on her hands while I hold her feet…

When my 5 year old granddaughter is carried by me upstairs to bandage her left knee after she cut it running to the jumpy house, or after spilling something smiles at me when she realizes she is not in trouble or when we swing together…

When my 4 year old granddaughter cuddles up to me and wraps her arms around my neck and kisses me lightly on the cheek as she says, “I love you papa” then curls up under my arm and falls asleep or talks to me about Jesus and the Bible…

When my 3 year old granddaughter giggles in my arms when I tell her to go down the slide or while putting her head under water in the pool or while going through the tickle tunnel…

These are just a few of the countless times I get a glimpse and am reminded of how much our Heavenly Father loves each of His children and receives joy from a close relationship with each one of us.

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.

 

Through the Tragedy of War Comes a Beautiful Love Story

Brittany and Joshua met, and eventually fell in love, while they were both on a military tour of duty in Iraq. Most young couples have challenges during their dating and engagement; imagine being in a war zone.

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BJ, Brittany and Joshua

Joshua’s Comments on the first time he saw Brittany: “She was sneaking into the back of the chapel on Sunday. I will never forget that image. She was both beautiful and peaceful.”

First Date: Joshua asked Brittany to go to the movies — he got down on his knees in front of her friends to ask her to go. Instead of going to a movie Joshua decided to walk around the post so they could talk. Thinking they were going to a movie, Brittany had her friends set up as spies to watch Joshua at the movie to make sure he was not a “player.”

Brittany’s Moment: On another occasion Joshua came to meet Brittany at work to take her to dinner. He took her to an abandoned cement building and surprised her with a candlelight dinner that consisted of a plastic table and chairs and Coke cans to hold the candles. Ten months later, Joshua proposed marriage.

Joshua’s Moment: On his birthday Brittany wanted to make Joshua a cake but she did not have the materials to make it. So she gave Joshua a Reese’s cup with a candle in it. Joshua loved it.

Brittany came to realize that they shared the same basic beliefs, values and goals, which are important in a marriage. She says, “Joshua is my best friend and I am really glad that I am best friends with the person I want to marry and spend the rest of my life with. He has brought me closer to God.”

Joshua’s Comments about Brittany: “When I met Brittany, it was a very confusing time in my life. Everything about my life that was normal and comfortable, everything that made sense, had been taken away suddenly. I found myself in a very strange environment. After I met Brittany I felt normal and comfortable and everything has made sense.”

The Engagement: On May 27, 2005 — Joshua proposed to Brittany on the first level of the Eiffel Tower. Joshua told Brittany that he wanted to show her something. Upon reaching the destination Joshua told Brittany that he loved her. She responded by saying that he only said that because he wanted a kiss on the Eiffel Tower. Joshua then got down on one knee and asked her to marry him, which after asking him if he was being serious, Brittany said, “YES!”

They had a beautiful June wedding in Fort Worth at which BJ and Bill Rudge had the privilege of officiating.

Challenge of the Obstacle Course

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Joshua and Brittany Lozier take the challenge of the Obstacle Course while visiting BRM this past summer. They did a great job on the One Leg Partner Squats which requires communication and cooperation. 

Joshua and Brittany Lozier were in Pennsylvania last summer visiting his parents before leaving for their new assignment in Germany where Brittany serves as a major in the U.S. Army. They spent part of a hot June afternoon at the Bill Rudge Ministries taking on the challenge of the Obstacle Course with Bill and BJ.

Also, congratulations to Major Brittany Lozier, for receiving her Doctor of Nursing Degree. Doctor (Major) Lozier was also recognized as one of six students who are in the National Registry of Who’s Who, for academic excellence and outstanding achievement. She and her husband, Joshua, also an Army veteran, are longtime supporters of BRM.

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BJ and Joshua

Comment about BRM by Joshua

Ten years ago my wife and I had the pleasure of having our wedding officiated in Fort Worth, Texas by Bill Rudge and the ceremony conducted by my friend, Dr. BJ Rudge, who also counseled us prior to our marriage. We are very happy to report that we are more in love and further in our walk with Christ than we have ever been. The counsel and prayers of this ministry have made a big difference in our lives. Thank you and we look forward to continuing our relationship with Bill Rudge Ministries until Christ returns or takes us home.

Brittany and Joshua – We salute you for serving your country.
Please keep them and all our military personnel in your prayers.