Consider Carefully

by Bill Rudge

The following confessions of faith have heartfelt meaning in my relationship with Christ. They are frequently part of my prayer and fasting time:

You are the CREATOR and Sovereign Lord of the Universe; ELOHIM, the strong and faithful One; ADONAI, Master and Lord; YAHWEH, the Great I Am; KING of Kings and LORD of Lords …

You are Holy, Righteous, Just, Faithful, True, Loving, Kind, Merciful, Long-Suffering …

You are my Source and Strength, my God and King, my Savior and Messiah, my Lord and Master, my Creator and Sustainer, my Rock and Fortress, my Shield and Sword, my Protector and Provider, my Helper and Healer …

My desire and prayer is to:

• Walk with You like Enoch (Genesis 5:22-24).

• Be considered Your friend like Abraham (2 Chronicles 20:7; Isaiah 41:8; James 2:23).

• Be considered Your servant like Moses (Joshua 1:2).

• Have a heart after You like David (1 Samuel 13:14; Acts 13:22).

• Be obedient like Jesus (Philippians 2:8; Romans 5:19; Hebrews 5:8).

• Be a faithful witness like Antipas (Revelation 2:13).

Now read all the above once again slowly as you ponder and pray about each description of God and what He means in your heart and life. Then give the LORD your praise, thanks and worship because He is truly worthy!

On the Right Side

by Bill Rudge

Do not think God is sleeping, silent or soft on the sin that is infecting our world. Increasing rebellion and immorality (often expressed as freedom and enlightenment) has not gone unnoticed by the Creator. Throughout history, God has periodically sent judgments to bring individuals and nations to repentance. When they refuse to repent, His judgments intensify.

God, who is long-suffering and not wanting anyone to perish (1 Peter 4), is now storing up His wrath for a day of vengeance and judgment (Revelation 16:19). This day of reckoning will bring even the bravest and most defiant and arrogant of men and women to their knees – either in repentance or judgment.

Don’t be impressed or influenced by today’s society – the day is quickly approaching when the cup of His wrath will reach its fill. Don’t be afraid of the violent and ruthless, for they will be the ones cowering in fear before their just and righteous Creator. The LORD is once again about to enter this world with undeniable power and might. Be certain that you are on the right side – the LORD’s – and living the way you should – honoring Him and abiding by His Word.

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.

The White Stone

by BJ Rudge, Ph.D.

The apostle Paul sets an example for believers in Jesus Christ to stand firm with conviction in regard to what the Bible has to say on sexuality. Yet, countless Christians are clueless concerning what it means to live a holy and righteous life. Many youth and young adults make their decisions about what is right and wrong based upon the relativity of circumstance rather than the absolute authority of God’s Word.

The message of the Gospel is compromised and weakened because of the sexual immorality among professing Christians. For example, a Muslim soccer coach confessed to me that he closed his ears to the Gospel message because of the rampant immorality that plagues the lives of many supposed Christians he has met.

If the church is unwilling to repent and continues to tolerate immoral behavior, its ability to be the “light of the world” will fade into extinction. Our Lord Jesus warned the church at Pergamum not to tolerate teachings that endorse sexually immoral behavior (Revelation 2:14-16).

Like the church at Pergamum in the first century, the church today needs to repent of its immorality. If we do, then just as Pergamum was promised a white stone for overcoming, we too will be given a white stone (Revelation 2:17). What is this white stone? An athlete at that time, after winning a competition, was awarded a white stone – an admission pass to the winner’s celebration. So too, believers who overcome will receive a white stone; their admission pass to Christ’s eternal Kingdom.

Powerful and Effective Prayer

“The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and wonderful results.” James 5:16

by BJ Rudge, Ph.D.

PrayerBookCoverDraftRev_1Do you desire to be a man or woman of great faith? Do you want God to use your life so as to leave a lasting legacy? I recently read a book entitled 50 People Every Christian Should Know. This book presents the biographies of 50 men and women who have left a lasting impression upon the Christian faith. As I read about their lives, I discovered several common traits which defined how they lived. One of these traits was that they were people of prayer. They all understood that their effectiveness in serving God was directly connected to the time they spent on their knees. Just like these individuals of the past, God wants to take ordinary people today and raise up another generation of spiritual giants whose lives are marked by powerful and effective prayer.

After calling his readers to pray in times of trouble and sickness, and to confess their sins one to another, James asserts that, “The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much” (James 5:16). To illustrate, James refers to the prophet Elijah as an example of a person who had an effective prayer life. James tells us that Elijah’s prayers both began and ended a three-and-a-half year drought on the nation of Israel (see 1 Kings 17 and 18). James also reminds us that Elijah was a man with a nature just like us (James 5:17). In other words, according to Donald W. Burdick, “He [Elijah] had no superhuman powers; he was by nature a human being and nothing more. However, when he prayed ‘that it would not rain … it did not rain’…so James assures his readers that such answers to prayer are within the reach of any believer.”

If it is true that we can have a powerful prayer life like the prophet Elijah, then the obvious question is, “How?” Many writers propose answers to this question by suggesting we do things such as recite a verse or a word repeatedly, sit in silence (an altered state of consciousness), or walk a prayer circle. Prayer, however, is not some magical incantation or manipulative tool we can use to control God. As Jesus Himself taught,

And when you are praying, do not use meaningless repetitions as the Gentiles do, for they suppose that they will be heard for their many words (Matthew 6:7).

Instead, prayer is communicating with God through means by which He has revealed in His word. Recognizing that we are dependent upon the Bible to understand prayer, in upcoming newsletters I will be sharing biblical principles that can enable any believer to have a powerful and effective prayer life just like Elijah.