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Inspirational writer dies one day after sharing final devotional

By Erica Thomas, managing editor

TAMPA, Fla. — A man who encouraged others through the written word died one day after his final work. Richard Rudolph, of Tampa, Florida, died during surgery to repair an aortic aneurysm, according to his friends.

Rudolph’s monthly encouragement devotionals inspired readers for over two years. He released his September devotional early because he knew he would be unable to share his work after surgery.

Richard Rudolph and his wife, Betty. Photo: Ken Conaway.

On Aug. 23, 2019, Rudolph entered the hospital for surgery and didn’t make it through the procedure.

As Rudolph’s family and close friends deal with the loss of their loved one, they are thankful to have his messages of encouragement, which they call a “gift to bless others.”

Below, is Rudolph’s final passage:

I know that it is still over a week until September, but it is necessary to be early.  I will enter the hospital on August 23 for major surgery and will be there 10-14 days with 1-2 weeks of rehab possible after that.  So, to avoid a mid-September timing, I elected to be early.  I ask for your prayers for my surgery as there are some significant risks involved.  I go into this encouraged by Philippians 4:6 and 11 and by your prayers. God has the plan and is in charge.

Psalm 100:5  For the LORD is good; His mercy is everlasting, And His truth endures to all generations.

Only 16 words, but a huge source of encouragement.  We find encouragement because:

1.      For the LORD is good

2.      His mercy is everlasting

3.      And His truth endures to all generations

How do we find encouragement in these three parts to Psalms 100:5?  Consider the following:

1.  “For the LORD is good”

When we say the Lord is good, it is logical to ask why He is good.  As we answer that question by recalling all His blessings we have received we will be encouraged.   God is the source of all the good things we enjoy, so God is good.  Knowing that God is good should encourage us.  We enjoy the good things He provides and that brings encouragement.  In contrast, the bad things of the world are usually painful and most likely to be discouraging.  Be encouraged knowing God is good!  It is God’s nature to be good, to be loving, kind, generous and gracious.  He blesses and encourages us daily.

2.  “His mercy is everlasting”   

This means His mercy is forever.  We experience today the exact mercy described in the Bible that people received from the time of creation.  The way God deals with His people is always the same.  Be encouraged that the same mercy we read about in Genesis is given to us today.  We should be encouraged because God deals with us with mercy instead of justice.  His mercy brings blessings instead of the sometimes undesirable results of justice.  God does not change.  He is the same God today that we read about in the Bible.  Be encouraged as you daily experience our unchanging and reliable God.

3.  “And His truth endures to all generations”

The Bible is full of examples of God’s truthfulness in keeping His promises to His people.  This verse affirms that this truth is for all generations.  That means us!  We should be encouraged knowing His truthfulness will exist forever.  He has promised to protect, provide, and forgive His people forever.    Can there be anything more encouraging than this promise and the absolute truth that these words apply to us?  God has made a covenant with us and He will never depart from it.  That covenant gives us salvation, life and blessings.  We know what to expect from God because He has explained it in His Word that is completely true.  That should encourage each of us.

These three truths give us reason to praise God for His goodness, mercy, and truthfulness that we receive from His love for us.  These benefits endure from generation to generation. So every generation experiences God’s goodness, mercy, love, and faithful truth.  We are to thank God consistently for His goodness, His eternal love, and His faithfulness.  As we do, we will be encouraged as we recall all He has done and will do forever.

I am counting on these three attributes of God tomorrow during my surgery!

Richard Rudolph

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