2 02 2021
God Leads His Dear Children Along Wilderness painting | Etsy


I am sitting here writing this as the calendar is about to turn to February and yes my Christmas Tree is still up and the colored lights are also shining brightly upon our house outside. Please don’t judge me. There is a reason I begged my wife to keep Christmas up all year. My major challenge before me this year is not Covid-19. Thankfully, I tested negative for that virus three times already. But this past Monday, I did learn I have prostate cancer. Deep down inside, I knew something was not right in my body. And I’m ready to fight this and join my Daughter Abbie in becoming a cancer survivor. But I do better being surrounded by the reminder of Emmanuel. The Name of Jesus means, “God with us,” and this year I need that truth not just in December. I need the songs of the Savior to be my soundtrack as I battle this latest challenge. I need the ornaments to stay out because every one tells a story of my life to this point. This is not a time to relegate Christmas to the attic when I need it ever before me.

Hey Family, let’s face the facts! God is good but life is hard! Life can be extremely unfair and downright painful! This is true even for those who call themselves Christians and try to make a positive difference with every 24 hours they are given. I’ve been serving Jesus in full time ministry since 1982. In those years, My wife Terri and I have sojourned through the valleys where we experienced two of our children being miscarried before our son Rudy was ever born in 1986. We saw our daughter Abbie battle and beat kidney cancer in 1994, only to see the birth and death of our son Nicholas Paul in 1995. Our son Benjamin Phillip came and left just as quickly in 1999 and then the next year we saw my Dad get hammered by his cancer. His also started as prostate and then spread to his bladder and he graduated to Glory in September of 2000.  

Since then, we have had the ups and downs that most everyone who lives on this planet must muddle through. Joel’s miracle birth in 2003 and the last Sheptock baby born to die on the very day our son Rudy graduated high school. Terri’s parents are now both in Heaven. I have tasted of what real anxiety and depression are all about in my own heart and mind. I have had a heart attack, a mini stroke and shingles twice. I have learned via personal experience that I can’t expect to get from this world what will only be true by my staying close to Jesus. There are things that this world will never be able to offer. There are holes the size of canyons that possessions and places will fail miserably to fill. Love from God and for Him must come first so that we can operate from a full cup and not hope that bringing our parched hearts to empty wells will deliver! We need to keep looking up and not around for our peace and our purpose.

I have been called crazy more than once by the observing crowd! And if I am out of my mind, my prayer is that the real reason is because of Jesus in my heart! I don’t want to be a casual Christian and live a lukewarm life! I have been longing to live in the wide open space of God’s grace with no more worldly weights upon my ankles trying to keep me from God’s dance floor! I know too well the obstacles that attempt to steal, to kill and to destroy what the Lord has in store! I have experienced the sabotage of the serpent when I thought the fruit salad was going to be yummy, yummy! The enemy has robbed me of so much of my past, I would rather not give him dibs on my days to come! So if the cancer is my latest test and trial, then until I cross the finish line, let’s keep singing! This even means Christmas carols in March!

But I need to share some truth with you that I already have learned in just a short week. Many write and say to me, “You Got This!” I’m sorry to disagree but I immediately know that I don’t! I know that I’m kind of a big Baby and this coming series of treatments does make me want to run and hide. There are moments I wish I could rewind and escape back to 1969 when my biggest dilemma was what field we would be playing baseball on on a particular day. I do know that God’s got it! And even better, God’s got me! And my prayer is God’s got you and you are leaning on Him rather than trying to be all strong and sassy on your own. The Lord will never leave me or forsake me and because of that truth my inner Barney Fife becomes the outer John Wayne and we can do all things through Him that not only strengthens us, but escorts us side by side!

The other sentence that we just need to delete from the English language is, “At least you got a good cancer.” I know what people mean and I am beyond grateful that I have one that has an encouraging survival rate and I want to live! But, can we all agree that there is no such thing as a good cancer. My Nana died of breast cancer when I was only 5 and Dad was only 67 when he passed. Cancer is part of the curse and the only good that will ever be realized is how Jesus will redeem what was meant to harm us for His glory. I know that I will be drawn ever closer to Him in the days to come. Tribulation has a way of mining the treasure in our soul. So bad is bad but God is the One who can make all things work out for good so I’d rather say, “I have a bad cancer, but an awesome God!”

Let me close with encouraging words from a great old hymn, “God Leads His Dear Children Along.” Some through the waters, some through the flood Some through the fire, but all through the blood. Some through great sorrow, but God gives a song, in the night season and all the day long.” 



2 responses

4 02 2021
Bonnie Koller

With a song in my heart, I send my love and Mike’s to a man of Christ who lives by the words of one of many blessed praise songs..”My Tribute” is the sum and total of who you are in our eyes…You bring His light and love to all of His children by your true and humble existence. You truly walk in the shoes of the fisherman. Only one other man of Christ had that powerful, true gift, Father Anthony Silvestri. He lived a life of abandonment all for the glory and praise of Our God Almighty. He is gone now and we never imagined another man of such renown wonder would ever come into our lives and then by returning to Wildwood NJ where Mike and I met 60 years ago..lo and behold was the wonder of Rudy Sheptock….all praise and glory lived in the very soul and spirit of one of His finest. Words fail to ever express our thanks to you and Our Maker….Times of wonder and times of trial never passes us by and the weight and glory of it all is His promise to us to be of strong mind and hearts and never to be abandoned. After 32 years as spoke persons for the Philadelphia Archdiocese, we had many wonderful exposures to religious leading us in dogma and trials and errors in a true personal relationship with Our Lord and Savior …Then came Rudy, brave, courageous, truth in sharing and humanity for all to see, hear and embrace as He would have you be..His servant feeding his fold and always with arms and heart opened to bring home the faithful…You are the words and breath of that song…and we hold that as a banner over our lives..

Needless, to say, Mike had his prostate issue that started over 37 years ago with the beginning stages requiring TURP procedures, medication and after 17 years of conservative treatment came the time when his PSA and Gleason score made it necessary to walk over the pathway where you are….be the next step to either remove the prostate or radiation/ chemo..All have their duality//Mike and I agreed to have the removal of his prostate. The procedure went well and the changes that followed were all well and good.. Praise the Lord, more than 18 years after the surgery, which removed all the cancerous cells from his body, a suspicious spot and higher PSA score showed cause for concern..It has been over two years and bi-yearly Lupron injections to lower the testosterone level in Mike’s body and no further progressing of the matter.

At this juncture in life, All is well, and as a woman of music and praise always in my heart and soul, I say to you ” It is Well with My Soul!”! Mike and I only pray for these troubled times, you see His footprints in the sand as He carries you, as He has done for us for all the 77 years of my life and 82 years of my devoted, God-fearing husband, Mike’s life. , We close with another favorite hymn “As for me and my house,,,” Thanks be to God for all your love and devotion shared with His flock…Praise and love you, Rudy. JMJ

5 02 2021

Thanks for sharing your heart for the gospel Rudy! As you know a year ago I learned my cancer returned and God in His mercy and grace healed me. Two of my favorite verses Hebrews 6:19 Christ is the anchor of our souls-good thing He has me in His hand because I cant do it on my own! And James 1:2-4 count it all joy the fiery trials… only God. Ok one more Philippians 4:6-8 may Jesus guard your heart and give you peace even when the waves are over your head. Keep your focus on His face, my brother! Love and prayers for you and Terry

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