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Mutual Encouragement in Christ II

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Question #1:  

It is no accident that I found your website this AM. I started an internet ministry last year and have been experiencing great trials and persecution...not only from secular people, but Christians too. Even within the church.

Your article has helped me immensely - I will share your knowledge and refer to your site often.

The Lord has truly blessed you and is guiding me!

Response #1: 

You are very welcome. Good to make your acquaintance, and thanks so much for the vote of confidence. Incidentally, the Peter series (see the link), is devoted to the subject of trials, testing and suffering (and there are many articles at Ichthys which have this as their essential subject matter; here is an example: "Perseverance in the latter days of Laodicea"). And you might also want to have a look at the following links on this subject: 

In Need of Guidance and Encouragement.

All about Ichthys: Mutual encouragement in the Lord

Mutual Encouragement in Christ.

Christian Trials and Testing

On the Firing Line: Encouragement in Christian Trials

Fighting the Good Fight of Faith.

Faith and Encouragement in the midst of Fiery Trials.

Encouragement in Christian Sufferings.

In need of encouragement.

Spiritual Resiliency.

Waiting on God.

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #2:  

Hi Bob,

I hope you are ok. I enjoy your website teachings & hope you an your family are well. I've always been interested in a visit to the USA if The Lord wills. I just read your article 'reactions to trials and tribulations' and really enjoyed it all, though some parts were really tough. I have an illness called __ . By the way Bob, what do you think about proclaiming out loud God's promises? Or decreeing God's word over your life?

Thanks Bob

All the best

Blessings

Response #2: 

Thanks much for your encouraging words. I'm sorry to hear about your medical troubles. These are often hard to bear, especially difficult chronic conditions like the one you report (I have added a prayer request for you on the website and promise to say a prayer for you as well).

As to "out loud proclamations" or "decrees", I don't find any scriptural basis for these sorts of gimmicks which are, it is true, all the rage out there in tel-evangelism land. People are always looking for some sort of "magic" when they already have the Holy Spirit, the most powerful force in the world (He is God, after all). The fact that we cannot personally perform miracles at will (with or without such flim-flam) does not mean that God is not God or that we do not have His grace and support: indeed He is and indeed we do. Our struggle, after all, is not a physical or a material one, but a spiritual one (Eph.6:12). In this spiritual warfare in which we are involved, it is faith which is the issue, not obvious material results. Indeed, it's really all about our continuing faith in spite of no visible material results. God does provide for us and He does deliver us, but He does so on His time-table and in His way – which is almost always different from ours, flesh that we are. That is where faith comes in . . . or should. How long did Abraham wait? Many years. But God faithfully provided an heir for Him beyond all human expectation – and used Abraham's rock-solid faith in spite of all eye could see and ear could hear to demonstrate His goodness. These are truly things the angels wish to look into (1Pet.1:12).

I know you have a heavy load to bear. God trains and tests us with these loads, but oh what a witness we are – to men and angels both – when to everyone's surprise we don't buckle or give up or blame God but rejoice and persevere instead! That is the stuff of the mature believer, the great believer, the believer who receives a "well done" from Jesus Christ on that great day of days (and the eternal rewards commensurate therewith).

In our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #3:  

Hello,

I hope and pray that you are fine. I am waiting for the news of your deliverance.

Sir, for the past one and a half month or so I don't feel like reading at al. I do want to learn and grow spiritually but, I am tired of reading. I haven't finished reading the whole Bible once and its been almost five years. Although I have read almost all the Bible references at Ichthys. And I think I have been praying for same things, same persons and same situations for a "long" time (we should persevere) I lazily end up praying " Lord, help and bless all in prayers" and that's it, I go to sleep. And then before I fall asleep, I usually remember all those who are in immediate help.

Time is running out. Sir I think that the "thorns and thistle" have started to make me worn out.

Any advice?

Thank you,

Response #3: 

Hello my friend,

Apologies in advance for the shortness of this email. I got back into town late and am quite worn out (with a full day of work coming tomorrow). Still, I felt I could not let this email sit unresponded to for another day. I know you are suffering. And I know you are carrying many heavy burdens. For most of my life it has been a bit of a puzzle to me why some believers seem to be tested and tried far beyond that of some others, and to tell you the truth the case of one such dear friend was a particular motivation in starting this ministry in the first place. I will not say that I have found a magic answer that will satisfy everyone, only what the scripture assures, namely, that God will take us all, individually, as far forward spiritually as we are willing to go. If we feel as if we are on our last legs, that is the time to hang in there and be most sure of His deliverance:

"When these things begin to take place, stand up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near."
Luke 21:28 NKJV

So perhaps these are not thorns and thistles at all, but the first buds of the fig tree which promise the coming of spring.

Please also do not be too hard on yourself. Being too easy on oneself is a problem, but so is the other extreme, and we need to avoid both. Sometimes, when we are near the end of our reserves, the mere fact that we get into the ring to fight at all is a victory. Pray what you can, read what you can, recall the truth and apply it as best you can. Jesus knows the fight you are in; it is up to us to remember that "Jesus knows", and do our best to do Him proud.

Every one has a limit. Elijah reached his – or thought he did, and then gave up and ran away. Moses reached his – or thought he did and let his temper get the better of him. David reached his – or thought he did and put himself in a terrible compromising situation by seeking shelter with the Philistines. Job reached his – or thought he did and gave into self-pity in telling his poor comforters off. All four would have been better off hanging in there just one day, one step longer. For in each case it seems that relief was just around the corner. These are four of the greatest believers who have ever lived, so it is not as if we have to feel bad for feeling we can't go another step sometimes. But we have the holy scriptures and we can learn these lessons and take care so as not to make the same mistakes. It is not a cause for shame to be under pressure and tested – instead it's a mark of spiritual growth most often. It is only failing the test we should wish and seek to avoid.

One other thing I have learned is that sometimes this severe sort of testing is designed to take us to the point where we really do get beyond the world and we really do consign the world and all that is in it to unimportance for the sake of Jesus Christ. Contrary to what some falsely teach, we are not required to give up everything; rather, our Lord wants us to have the mind-set of being willing to do so, and being absolutely fine with that happening – if so wills the Will of God. For the real victory is usually not taking place in what we can see and touch and hear and feel – the real victory is taking place in our hearts.

This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith.
1st John 5:4b NIV

We had some potentially good news here this week, but I am no prophet of what will happen. I will keep you apprised of events. In the meantime, thank you so much for your prayers! These are not thorns or thistles; these are the genuine fruits of godly good works in the Spirit that well up unto great eternal reward when we stand before Jesus Christ on that great day of days.

What have I learned? If we are being tested beyond what the world thinks is possible for us to endure, that is the Lord paying us a particularly great compliment. And if we keep faith with Him and continue to trust in His deliverance past the point of all worldly rationality, such a response will certainly not fail to win its appropriate reward – one that lasts forever.

Hang in there, my friend. I am keeping you and your in my prayers day by day.

In our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Bob L.

Question #4:  

Hello Sir,

You were tired, and still you replied. And this not a short email, its full of knowledge. So I thank you very much Sir. This was very encouraging. I am dealing with a lot of things different things. Money is not the only issue. Superstition is one area that Satan chose against me for a long time.

I am not a superstitious person at all. But even stupid superstitious things are coming true so much so that I an forced to think like any other superstitious person. There are so many other things. Psychologically I have become too weak. I never thought that I would be scared of "ghosts"! I want to get this particular fear out of my heart at all costs. I know the Lord doesn't allow the evil one to scare people who belong to Jesus Christ visibly. But still I have this fear constantly in my mind that Satan or his minions will be allowed to do that. You know Sir my thoughts have become this stupid. Anyways Sir, I need to start growing spiritually fast. Please pray that I become a lion in Jesus' army here on earth. And make Him proud like you are doing Him. I have very high regards for you, my Bible teacher.

I know you are tired still I have typed a lengthy email. you take care Sir and take some rest.

In Him,

Response #4: 

Hello my friend,

You are very welcome. I am happy to hear that you have received some relief – I wish it were more. I know that the Lord is working things out the right way. We "feel the heat" and so we often do not see or understand this – or even if we do, we often have a hard time accepting it. But with faith, we know that everything will be alright – Jesus' way for our Lord's glory – if only we stay patient and faithful. Every time something "went wrong" for the generation of the Exodus, they whined, complained, and blamed God. Sitting in our armchairs reading about their failures it is easy enough to see how wrong they were – and that is what we are meant to conclude and understand. Keeping ourselves from the same sort of self-destructive behavior is another matter. Over time, if we are willing to be trained, however, God does train us to do better.

Everyone is tested and tried by the circumstances around us. There are visible, physical threats; there are invisible, supernatural threats. Neither category should concern the mature believer in Christ, because we know and understand that the Lord is right here with us, and that He is the one protecting us no matter what we see or suspect. For those who are "in Christ", and especially for those of us who are truly walking with our Lord, there is nothing to fear except the godly fear of having nothing to show for our time on this earth. Our Lord Jesus loves us as part of His Body and part of His Bride. He is all powerful and will not let anything happen to us that is not part of the Father's plan for working all things out together for our good (Rom.8:28) – and that includes any sort of supernatural attack:

For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Romans 8:38-39 NKJV

So I don't think you need to feel bad about being tested in this way. Only resolve to pass the test.

As to the "how", it all comes back to the truth. We can have knowledge of the truth, but we have to believe it for it to do us any good. We can believe a principle, but if we are not making it our practice to be thinking about the truth we have believed, the world, the flesh and the evil one's influences have a way of infiltrating our thoughts more and more. In order for that which is good to dominate our thoughts, we have to take an active role in how we fight this fight on our inside. Reading scripture and praying are helpful in this. So of course is Bible study. And believing, of course, the truth we hear, whether for the first time or recalled to mind. But a large part of the answer is also to found in an aggressive stance in our thought processes. We need to be stubbornly calling the truths of scripture to mind as often as possible, training and guiding our emotions, rather than letting them lead us. This takes effort, but it is a very important part of the fight we find ourselves in here in "enemy territory". Just as the best rifle in the world can be degraded in its accuracy and eventually stop functioning altogether if it gets too dirty and is not cleaned, so we have to keep our "thought paths" cleaned out. We use a ramrod to clean our rifle barrel; we may have to "jam" the truth through our hearts, emotions and thinking a few times to re-orient ourselves when we find we have fallen into some poor attitudes or incorrect patterns of thought. Nothing is automatic in the Christian life. We do have the wonderful gift of the Holy Spirit within us, so that doing all the spiritual things we need to do is not only possible but empowered – but we still have to "do". If walking with our Lord the right way were easy, all Christians would be doing it (instead of it being a real rarity); if fighting the good fight here on earth were easy, then all Christians would be winning the three crowns (instead of that award being what in my personal estimation will also be far too uncommon on that great day).

You are on the good path, my friend. The fact that you are being opposed to such a great degree is a measure of how good your approach has been. The evil one and his henchmen do not waste such time and effort on those who are ineffective for the Lord. They attack the vanguard. Knowing this, I encourage you to stay strong in the Lord. Encourage yourself also with the truth. The time of trouble is short. The time of celebration and reward is eternal. We who have chosen the better part are pleasing to the Lord in that choice and also importantly in our follow-through in pursuing it. What awaits us cannot be compared to anything this temporary, corrupt world has to offer. And what awaits us is only ours because of the sacrifice of the One who died for us to provide it.

For what credit is it if, when you are beaten for your faults, you take it patiently? But when you do good and suffer, if you take it patiently, this is commendable before God. For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps.
1st Peter 2:20-21 NKJV

Keep fighting the fight, my friend, inside and out, step by step, day by day. In this there is great satisfaction and great reward, regardless of the world thinks. The world strives for perishable crowns, but we for eternal ones. If we are patient in so striving, we will reap the victory on that great day to come.

He who goes out weeping, bearing the seed for sowing, shall come home with shouts of joy, bringing his sheaves with him.
Psalm 126:6 ESV

And remember that you are not alone. We believers are all in this together, comrades side by side in the Lord, protecting each others flanks with prayer and encouragement and whatever other support may be needed. We may only be able to see what is going on right outside our own foxhole, but the truth of the matter is that we are all one in Jesus Christ. Let us therefore all keep fighting for one another, even as we fight for Him – because He fought and won the victory for us.

In the dear Lord Jesus who gave up everything for us that we might live forever with Him.

Bob L.

Question #5:  

Hey Dr. Luginbill,

I have a question.. Do you think I've backslid? How do I get back to where I was before? I mean is it a matter of getting back up on the horse, or do I have to take the long way around so to speak? I think I've just been dilly-dallying because I know how far I had gotten, and how much effort it took to get there. I prayed, and I know God hears me. That's not the point. It's just that I've climbed this mountain before, and I'm like do I really have to climb this thing again. My mindset lately has been that I'll just hang out at the bottom since it's not so bad at the moment. I know I can't stay here forever. I just figured I'd stay until the divine discipline gets so intense, that it hurts to sit more than it does to move forward. I know it's not a good plan. It's usually the only way I get anywhere though.

Thanks,

Response #5: 

On the spiritual front, there is no standing still in the Christian life. The only direction that works or makes sense is "forward". Everything else is fraught with spiritual peril, wasting of time, danger, damage and all manner of negatives.

How to avoid backsliding? Be ever pushing forward. How to push forward? Prayer, Bible reading, and applying the truth you have believed and made your own through faith are important. So is Bible study (by which I mean accessing good Bible teaching). Christians need the truth to advance.

As I sometimes tell my undergraduate students, college is a very challenging and difficult time. There are all manner of pressures: money, work, social pressures, challenges from the evil one (against believers) in the form of all manner of worldly ideas presented in exciting new packages – and of course the need to study, learn, write, and survive academically. For a Christian, keeping this new set of stresses in balance so as still to be able to give time, effort and attention to what is really the "important part" is a real fight at times. That is always true in life, but in college it is more so the case than at most times, especially for young people for whom this is the first real "stress test" on their faith. But good things happen spiritually for all who put their spirituality in first place.

So love the truth, before all else. And keep fighting the good fight of faith to the glory of our dear Lord Jesus Christ. And if you feel you are "down", get back "up" and get back into the fight. The way to recover is the same way to advance. Seek the truth, believe the truth, apply the truth, live the truth, love the truth – Jesus is the truth.

In Him.

Bob L.

Question #6:  

Dear Professor,

Hopefully my last message found you well.

Your words made the difference, as I somehow failed to look at what was happening through faith. Leaving these things behind was a step that I needed to take and it required an "effort of faith". Time itself doesn't change anything, sometimes we have to apply the truth decisively and stand by it, trusting the Lord. The words you quoted - Luke 14:33 - was what I needed to finally apply. Thanks to you, this was a break through week in this respect.

I have also gone through your responses and wanted to thank you for the time, effort and patience. You have your personal and professional life and your inspiring ministry must be very consuming and yet you always give in-depth answers, they are just such a joy to read. A few more passages "clicked" for me this time too and there are a few things as rewarding as coming to an understanding of a passage that's bothered for months.

I pray for you daily and await good news from your side.

In our Lord,

Response #6: 

Hello my friend.

You are of course most welcome. It is always a great pleasure to correspond with you as well. I do have some level of appreciation for what you are going through from my own life experience. What you say is correct: "time heals all wounds" is only really true for those who can apply the healing salve of truth to those wounds. But it still does often take time as well. So please don't be too hard on yourself. We are only human. Would that we never made mistakes; would that we were invulnerable to pain, to grief, to loss, to disappointment, to mental, spiritual and physical fatigue and stress. But we all have our weaknesses, and we all have our limits.

My advice is the same always: stay in the fight, on good days and bad; keep plodding forward, even when progress is slow; try to walk with Jesus, even when the pressures of this life make Him harder to see. Try not to let up. In any case, don't give up. Don't let past failures or future trials stop you from doing "today" what it is the Lord would have you to do "today". Judge yourself on how you handle today; that is the standard by which you are being judged. Don't worry about tomorrow – today has enough evil of its own. Forget about yesterday, dismissing from your concerns what is behind. Redeem the time, today. Don't be entirely satisfied with what you are doing; but don't let lack of perfection demoralize you from doing what you are actually able to do. Fight the fight.

(7) I have fought the good fight. I have completed my course. I have kept the faith. (8) In the future there is reserved for me the crown of righteousness which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that [great] day [of judgment] – and not only to me, but to all who have loved His appearance (i.e., who have exercised consistent love for Jesus Christ in anticipation of His return).
2nd Timothy 4:7-8

Your friend forever in the dear Lord Jesus, the One we serve and the One whom we are here to please.

In Him,

Bob L.

Question #7:  

Dear Professor,

Your answers come at a good time. Please keep praying for me, Professor. My own weakness disappoints me - I know what I've got to do and yet I struggle. Spirit is willing, but flesh is weak (Matthew 26:41). Every minute is a trial from which there is no escape. There was a better period not long ago, but I've still not let it go, even though I really want to.

I don't want this to keep affecting my productivity for our Lord and I believe that God will give deliverance.

In our Lord,

Response #7: 

These are not easy sorts of things to bear up under, and the evil one knows this quite well. He seldom hits us in our strong spots. But God uses all things for good, even if it often doesn't seem so at the time. Our part is to learn the truth of His goodness and perfect superintendence of us through all these rough periods, learning to wait on Him, learning that really only the "things above" are of lasting significance. We know this intellectually, and we believe it too, in principle, and we probably have even made headway in being able to keep this perspective when things are going wrong. But then they really go wrong. And then we are faced with the choice of trusting God or doubting. The thing to do is not to feel bad about ourselves for being tested, as if the test were a mark of our failure; it's exactly the opposite. The Lord only refines and anneals the faith of those who are willing to stand firm in the furnace of testing. And if we do stand firm, our faith strengthens.

(6) In anticipation of this ultimate deliverance, your joy overflows, though at present it may be your lot to suffer for a time through various trials to the end that your faith may be shown to be genuine. (7) But your faith, when proven genuine in the crucible of life, will result in praise, glory and honor for you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.
1st Peter 1:6-7

I wish I could promise you an end to tears, trouble and heartache in this world, but that is not what the Christian life is all about (even if the false "prosperity gospel" says different); what I can promise you from scripture and from personal experience is that there can be immense joy through the tears, satisfaction in the midst of the trouble, and great encouragement in the Spirit in spite of the heartache. And in the end, victory, when we finally experience all the wonderful "things which God has prepared for those who love Him" (1Cor.2:9).

It's not easy to do. But we Christians have to learn how to let go of this world, our lives and everything we have in it – not physically but spiritually – purposing in our hearts not to love this world or the things in it but to love our Lord more, and to follow Him by doing what He wants us to do with the time He has given us here.

"If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple. And whoever does not bear his cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple. For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not sit down first and count the cost, whether he has enough to finish it—lest, after he has laid the foundation, and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, saying, 'This man began to build and was not able to finish.' Or what king, going to make war against another king, does not sit down first and consider whether he is able with ten thousand to meet him who comes against him with twenty thousand? Or else, while the other is still a great way off, he sends a delegation and asks conditions of peace. So likewise, whoever of you does not forsake all that he has cannot be My disciple."
Luke 14:26-33 NKJV

Keep fighting the fight, my friend. There is great joy to be had in this struggle, even through the tears.

I write to you, knowing that you will do even more than I ask.
Philemon 1:21b NIV

I will most definitely continue in my prayers for you my friend.

Your friend forever in Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #8:  

Dear Professor,

Firstly, let me thank you for your prayers and guidance. I feel physically healthy again and I have no doubt that your prayers and the prayers of Ichthys readers have been decisive. In fact, to the degree that I'm able to judge these things, improvement came before I started to take any medicine. In any case I know that it's God who heals. It's great to be functioning normally again and this experience has certainly taught me to appreciate such state of things.

I have applied, as you wonderfully called it, the salve of truth to my heart. I don't know what will happen in the future and maybe hard days will still come through it, but I finally accepted things as they are. I feel happiness and great relief that I can focus on the present again and use the time well. I have regained the sharpness in the study, which has eluded me in recent months. I have also learned that this is a blessing.

I wanted to ask you for guidance in relation to questions, as I'm unsure how to handle the very long lists that my readings have been generating. I know that your time is very limited and that there must be by now a multitude of people who write to you, a lot of them on a regular basis. I've got questions from each of your studies and emails and questions from my Bible reading. I thought that I might leave the questions from the studies until I've read them the second time, as I completed the last one nearly a year ago and so there could be a number of questions which are no longer valid, since my understanding has developed since. But then perhaps the one very small way in which I could help you is to pick up the typos, or point to references which need correcting and these things are also included in the lists. On the other hand, if I send you questions from each book of the Bible, like I have done with Genesis, then through an improved understanding of the scripture your studies will also become clearer. As always, your guidance will be much appreciated.

Finally, I have recently had a conversation with a friend of mine about systemic changes. Theologian whose writings he has been reading (Richard Rohr, not sure if you came across him) has come up with an idea which, as I understood it, is about implementing systemic changes through non-violent resistance, in the likeness of Ghandi. This idea is based on an interpretation of Matthew 5:39 according to which our Lord doesn't mean "don't resist evil", but rather what is meant is "don't actively resist evil". To be honest, I cannot see how such idea could arise from this verse and so I would like to ask you, and do so also on behalf of my friend, about the meaning of the word Greek word used in this passage. It seems to me that anitstenai is an aorist infinitive meaning literally "stand yourself up against", but I haven't got the knowledge to make this assessment. Could you explain the meaning of this word and whether it says anything about passive or active resistance?

Also, having given thought to the idea of systemic changes, I wrote a more comprehensive reply to my friend. I would appreciate it if you could take a look at it and correct where needed. I hope you don't mind that I used some of your expressions, this has come naturally. Once you've proofread it and explained the Greek behind "do not resist", I will forward it to my friend.

With prayer for you and in our Lord,

Response #8: 

Hello my friend,

It's always very good to hear from you. First, let me say that I enjoyed your attachment very much – I think you present these ideas very clearly, persuasively and with appropriate confidence. And that gives me confidence about your eventual ministry of the Word of God – and this is what this is, after all. I wouldn't dream of changing anything of substance – I'm in agreement with everything you say.

I'm also very happy to hear that you are coming to the point of having peace in your personal life. God works all these things out together for good, we know and believe, but that doesn't mean that we don't experience pain and emotional disruption. It is the fact that we persevere with Jesus Christ through all this opposition that demonstrates our faith.

As to questions and method, I'm very happy to have you do whatever is best for you. I will get to whatever you send me (eventually). You have always been patient with me in this process, so I don't foresee any difficulties, however you feel is best to manage it. Things here may be going into a disruptive mode, so I may possibly be a bit more strapped for time as spring and summer come on, but eventually everything gets done, sooner or (sometimes) later.

I'm very glad to have you as my friend in Jesus Christ.

Keep fighting the good fight.

In Him,

Bob L.

Question #9:  

Dear Professor,

Thank you for your encouragement - it means a lot, because it pertains to things most important. I'm many years of study away from being ready to minister the Word and I really want to be very well prepared. This is the fruit for our Lord (Matthew 13:23), the true treasure in heaven (Matthew 6:19-21), the building which I don't want to be made of wood, hay or straw (1 Corinthians 3:12-15), but which needs to pass the test of fire. Current state of things, where sound teaching based on in-depth knowledge of the scripture is so very rare - and your ministry really stands out in this respect and has been my biggest inspiration - together with the fact that the time is short both spur me on. Slowly things start to take shape - I'm beginning to read both Old and New Testament in original languages (again, I'm years away from mastering both Hebrew and Greek, but with God's help and your guidance and I'm moving forward and to read the Bible as it was written is definitely one of the best things, the joy of it easily compensates for the effort the study takes) and it's becoming clearer to me how I would like to teach one day.

Thank you for reading my reply. Before I send it to my friend I just wanted to confirm - since you didn't mention anything about it I take it that the idea of non-violent resistance is not present in the Greek word antistenai and its meaning is simply "resist, stand up against"?

Regarding the questions - eventually I would like to get through all of it anyway. Perhaps I might place some more emphasis on scripture related ones, as these will help to clarify the content of your studies too. I should also add here that the daily Bible study with NIV Study Bible by Kenneth Barker which you recommended has been much more fruitful.

To finally leave behind the emotional disruption is a huge, huge relief. Focusing on the present seemed almost impossible at times and in any case required constant effort. Now I again feel I can study with my mind not wandering, or at least this not being so difficult to achieve. Similarly, to regain the health is a wonderful blessing from God. It was the first time that an issue of this kind had affected me for a longer time and I have no doubt that your prayers played a big part in God's healing me (and the healing really feels like it came directly from God - things weren't good for a few months and then, quite suddenly and with seemingly no physiological basis, everything changed and I started to feel well again).

I'm looking forward to God delivering me in one more aspect of my life and I know that, like it was the case with the other two, I have to learn to "consider it pure joy" (James 1:2) whenever I face a trial and "delight in weakness" (2 Corinthians 12:10), particularly as it's a time when I really need to rely on God's provisions. It's no accident that just yesterday I read your email response "Christian suffering and spiritual maturity" where you quote both these verses. Professionally things aren't going well, but I don't want to abandon what I'm doing. Not because earthly glory or possessions motivate me, but because, if things work out, I will be able to sustain myself while having the time available to study. Like yourself and Paul, I want to be financially independent. I suppose if I could see the deliverance on the horizon it would no longer be a test of faith, but I have to see it through faith. I have to await it with confidence that God knows what I need without letting any doubt creep in. A few months ago a thought occurred to me - how does God "feel" when we doubt? How would He "feel" about my doubting? God has always given me everything I needed and sustained me all this time, so how could I let my faith be shaken when another difficulty arises, if so many times I've been delivered and always given all the provisions I needed? Israel's 40 years in the wilderness is indeed forever a warning.

I also pray for your deliverance and I know it will be a wonderful moment when it finally comes.

In our Lord,

Response #9: 

And thank you, my friend. I draw much encouragement from you and from your steadfastness as well – and I am deeply grateful for your prayers. It's also exciting to see you "finding your voice" in terms of the method and approach you will use when you embark on a ministry of your own – what I read in your missile is a good start!

I did not add any comments about the use of the verb in question because you have that very nicely covered. I agree with what you have to say entirely: non-violent resistance is resistance, and that is clearly not what this verse says – it says not to resist at all. Getting involved would be the opposite of what our Lord is teaching, regardless of the method used.

Thanks for all these good words here too – I find them immensely encouraging, inasmuch as "the same sufferings are being experienced by your brothers in the world" (1Pet.5:9).

Front-line soldiers often talk about the comradeship between those who face death together through shot and shell. For me, that is the "love" and "fellowship" we believers who are truly battling for Jesus Christ against all enemies, seen and unseen, are called to embrace – except that ours is on an even higher plane, an eternal one that no human or demonic attack can ever erase or deface: our mutual love for Jesus Christ and the cause of His Church.

For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, neither angelic nor human authorities, neither things present nor things to come, neither heavenly powers, be they the highest [of the elect] or the lowest [of the fallen], nor any other created thing [on this earth] will be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Romans 8:38-39

Let's keep fighting this good fight shoulder to shoulder for Jesus Christ our Lord.

Bob L.

Question #10:  

Hi, Doc.

I hope everything is improving mom wise.

I've re read the Book of Job just now and, after having done so many times, I am still lost. The Lord never directly answers any of Job's requests.. Was Job being self righteous in all his assertions of innocence? My stance would be no matter how faithful he was, he COULDN'T be sinless and therefore had no right to ever complain. Why didn't he at least get SOME explanation of "why" in your opinion? Afterward The Lord said Job spoke right of him, was that only after The Lord rebuked him? Because he spent a lot of time throwing a fit in response to his "friends". It's hard not to feel like we just get abused without reason reading this book, like we are GOING to sin regardless of the situation, WILL be judged for that sin, but we can't control the sin nature fully so as to "pass" the test and are just going to be beat because we're irreparably flawed.. Or am I missing something? It seems like there's nothing to look forward to in testing, other than perhaps to just be killed and move on to eternity. I wonder if there was any more "happy" for Job after all that, though I doubt it. I'm having a hard time seeing testing as anything other than a push to make us sin (which we are guaranteed to do) and therefore get a beating and I can't see how that's worth much. I can't see any worth in all my growth, just loneliness, and seemingly worthless pain with zero to look forward to. He won't give me anything but heartaches and temptations; I have zero outlets and don't see any "blessing" that has resulted from any of the last couple years of nonstop tests. There is zero joy anywhere, and I got a job finally, and still, nothing. Are you happy in this life at all or just waiting for it to end like me? That's about all I have, Doc. Please help, and I'm sorry to bother you yet again. I feel like I'm asking my Father for food and He's handing me a snake.

Response #10: 

Did I understand you to say that you did get a job? If so, congratulations! That is no small feat in today's economy, my friend. The Lord is good ! I have been praying for this for you – apologies if I have gotten this wrong (I will keep praying in that case).

My mother is doing much better in spite of multiple health problems. It's not easy being a Christian. If it were, perhaps more people would pick up the cross. But it is not easy. We are the devil's targets and we are not beloved of the world. So things down here can be hard, when it seems as if for many if not most others it is easy. Job had it good, if not easy, and the devil was only too happy to take him down as many notches as the Lord would allow. But consider: Job was not destroyed. Even though Job was not perfect, he fought a very good fight – one of the best ever fought (he was complimented by the Lord Himself in heaven above, after all!). And Job is immortalized in scripture for so doing. He is a "medal of honor" winner with multiple stars for multiple awards. Job is, after the fact, someone who is admired and pronounced blessed by all. Not only that: Job was vindicated by the Lord while he still lived, had his fortunes completely restored while still alive, and the end was better than the beginning (maybe you should reread Job 42:10-17 again). Not only that: Job will without any doubt be one of the most highly rewarded of our brothers when we all stand before the Lord on that great day to come. At that moment, we will all be saying to ourselves that we wish we had been as good as Job, as faithful as Job, as stand-up as Job. After all, this life is short. After all, we know why we are here, that it is for the Lord and not for ourselves.

I know you are having some hard times, my friend. But please hang in there. The Lord has not forgotten about you. He loves you. It's a question of being willing to love Him even when things seem to be going south or sideways. That is the time when what our faith is made of is shown to the world of men and angels both. There is no need to worry about or apologize for not being perfect. This is a war we are in. There are casualties in war and things happen which are completely out of our control. We make good decisions and we make bad ones. As we become veterans in this fight we learn what works and what does not; we begin to make better decisions and fewer mistakes. We will never get to the point of perfection. But if we keep fighting the fight aright, the Lord is honored by our actions and we move forward spiritually.

My advice is to keep fighting and to not give up the fight. Keep reading scripture, keep learning the truths of scripture from a good source, keep applying those truths to every step of your Christian life. And keep faith with the Lord in all things large and small. Nothing of what is happening to you is a surprise to the Lord and there is a reason for all that is happening. In that respect, Job is a good example. He was not a bad person; far from it. He was being hammered precisely because he was an exceptional believer – one of the best who has ever lived. He kept faith in spite of all the trouble, and only even said some rash things under the most extreme pressure. He passed his tests with flying colors, and we see the end result: blessing and honor in time, and blessing and honor beyond imagination in eternity. I am sure that if he had one thing he could change it would be to not have let his friends "get his goat" so as to suffer the Lord's rebuke – but then the lesson for us would not have been so clear. What is the lesson of Job? Trust the Lord; don't blame the Lord; have some confidence that He does know what He is doing and is in fact in love working everything out for good; wait for Him and His deliverance in all confidence that He will deliver – and in the meantime keep fighting the fight.

Don't give up, my friend. In perseverance there is salvation – and unimaginable reward.

Your friend in Jesus Christ forever,

Bob L.

Question #11:  

I did get a job, it's still in the "background check" phase, so I'll likely start Monday. Thank you for your prayers as well.

Satan must not have thought I'd listen to the Spirit show me how pointless all sinful options in my life really are. I'm not leaving, period. It's just basically a time of unreasonable temptation and, almost torture at times. I was hoping I missed the part where The Lord answered Job, I was sadly incorrect; it would be nice to at least see SOME reason for all this hell. The devil wants me to do something rash or curse The Lord for this torture. I never realized how impulsive and downright unreasonable my flesh is, I had some idea, but I didn't know doing the right thing would hurt so bad. I also never thought I'd be here, so there you go.

Recently it's been an emotional hell I've never thought I'd go through, it's made me hate every last sinful thing I do to the point of almost being crippled. I know what you mean about staying in the fight, I'm there, I'm just at a pathetic time and I feel stripped and beaten. Maybe the real thing isn't so bad. Thank you so much for all you do, it's literally saved my life.

Back to the ashes and sackcloth I go.

I'm with our Lord

Response #11: 

Hang in there my friend. If my experience, observation and, most importantly, reading of scripture mean anything on this point, the meaning is that if we only will hang in there in resisting these terrible temptations (whatever they may be for us individually), then we do not have to worry that they will go on forever at an unbearable level. As soon as we have demonstrated that we will not crack, things usually get better (but as long as we are wavering, the waves of temptation generally continue to be stirred up by Satan and his crew):

And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.
Luke 11:4 NKJV

No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.
1st Corinthians 10:13 NKJV

Blessed is the man who endures temptation; for when he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him.
James 1:12 NKJV

Resist the devil and he will flee from you.
James 4:7 NKJV

Praying for your deliverance in Jesus Christ.

Bob L.

Question #12:  

Hi, Doc.

So, the job was another flop. But I feel stronger, at least. The hardest part is the deprivation of my family.

Please keep praying I guess is what I'm saying.

I know He listens to you.

Response #12: 

I'm very sorry to hear this, but I will continue to keep you and your family and your situation in prayer.

The Lord knows you have needs, and He will meet them. Sometimes we are brought right to the edge of the precipice. But He would not be testing you in this way if you were not able to bear it. So, as with Job, that is a compliment from the Lord to you. It's difficult to be joyful about that when one is under the gun – believe me when I say I understand. However, it is very important to stay close to the Lord at such times, and to absolutely positively under no circumstances whatsoever allow oneself to become sullen or even get anywhere close to blaming or finding fault with the Lord. When we let ourselves get angry, even without a discernible object for that anger, this is what is lurking below the surface, and it feeds into our arrogance. We have to give ourselves over to Him and His will in complete humility and be willing to take whatever He brings our way. This is not only the best way to proceed in times of trouble; it is the only safe way.

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; For You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.
Psalm 23:4 NKJV

Yours in the One Faithful One, our dear Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

p.s., He listens to you too! You have to believe and embrace that truth.

Question #13:  

Thank you for (uncanny) understanding.

I just read a Q&A in http://ichthys.com/mail-Angelic-IssuesIII.htm, the one where the man describes a light on a hill at his friends secluded home; he almost described my life! It seems many of us believers have emotional disorders (I HIGHLY identify with David's extreme emotions, points of view and sensitivity to rejection; same as this man). It also seems that The Lord really does save the "the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong." in us, His beloved.

I'm about to start reading the site over again, Doctor. My mind literally swirls with Biblical truth ALL DAY anymore. Ichthys.com (all about Jesus Christ, really) is amazing medicine for emotional disorders! Hopefully, now I can find a job that doesn't fall through.. I stay vigilant.

I hope all is well with you, sir,

Response #13: 

And thank you, my friend for your good words, but also even more for your perseverance under adversity. That is an encouragement to me – seeing someone "up against it" demonstrating true faith and faithfulness to our Lord and to the truth in spite of all attacks – and I know it is also a "jewel in you crown" when you are rewarded on that great day of day.

I'm keeping you in my prayers, my friend, especially on the job front.

Keep fighting that good fight – you are winning the victory in Jesus Christ!

In our dear Lord,

Bob L.

Question #14:  

I thank God for this work in you, Namely: The tribulation and the satanic rebellion series. Thank you so much who ever you are. I have almost completed reading both. I keep going over and over the information. These writings have really blessed my life. Please know the impact. I was glad when I also saw that you are a marine as myself. God has answered my prayer through these blessed writings. Thank you so much for all your sacrifice in Christ and letting Him use you in these last days. Semper Fi. I praise His name for this He has done. Gotta go, back to reading.

Response #14: 

Good to make your acquaintance.

Thank you so much for your very kind comments about this ministry.

I was in the Corps very many years ago. Please accept my best wishes for your military career, and may the Lord keep you safe at all times.

Do feel free to write any time.

In our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob Luginbill

Question #15:  

I am so impressed by your writings online – I can’t get enough of it! Is it in book form that I may purchase? Or can I download them. Thank you so much – I have spent hours reading through your excellent work – I am starved for the truth of God’s word!

I get so frustrated – one of my best friends is teaching on the seven sayings of Christ on the cross,– I am appalled at the misrepresentation of scripture. The scripture – Father forgive them for they know not what they do – he says Christ was referring to Adam and Eve, the original sin. I Thirst being Christ’s thirst for righteousness – Why has thou forsaken me – The Father never did forsake Christ – Woman Behold thy son – was the born again experience – and so on!

I have felt alone in my anguish – so thank you for your website! Also enjoy the fact that you don’t believe in the secret rapture which most of Christendom seem to believe? It seems the people are not being encouraged to prepare for that hour that is coming.

God bless you so much, and I hope to hear from you.

Response #15: 

Very good to make your acquaintance! I am very happy to hear that you are enjoying these Bible studies and finding them spiritually profitable. I would also certainly agree that in our present era of Laodicea (see the link), lukewarmness in Bible teaching and its reception by the church-visible is the order of the day – which explains in part why this ministry is on the internet and not in a "brick and mortar" setting. So I am very pleased that you have "found" Ichthys, and hope that it will continue to provide you with the Word of truth for much time to come. I can also highly recommend "Bible Academy" for your spiritual edification (see the link).

As to your question, it is one I do get quite a bit (please see the link: FAQ #1: Ichthys Books). Sadly, I do not have these materials available in printed format. The short answer why is that I am unwilling to have to charge for them (and printing and shipping are never absolutely free, after all), and I have also been reluctant to cede any rights whatsoever to any third party (and I am not able to be my own "press"). Happily, because of the internet, I am able to make all these materials available free of charge electronically. So, yes, they may be downloaded. At the top of every file, you will see a button giving the option to download in RTF (a file which is readable by MS Word, WordPerfect, and almost all major word-processing programs), and also in PDF (for the major studies). Any computer or PAD (even Kindles, I believe) and even some smart phones can open and or download these files in the alternative forms mentioned. Also, you will find at the following link complete archives (in the form of ZIP files) which contain all of the major studies and all of the email postings: Ichthys Archives.

Of course you are certainly also free to print out any of these materials you wish (granted that this can be a time consuming and potentially expensive process, depending on your printer situation).

Please do let me know if you experience difficulty in accessing or downloading any of these files, and I will do what I can to walk you through it.

Again, very good to hear from you – and thanks so much for your inspiring testimony.

In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob Luginbill

Question #16:  

Dear Professor,

Your prayers are most appreciated. Things will be getting better for me daily, as you said. I start my prayers with you and your ministry and will always continue to do so. I can only vaguely imagine what you must be going through and your perseverance in all this is a true inspiration to me. Your wonderful ministry, all the emails you've been replying to, bringing people to the truth as you have brought me (and it does seem that the ministry has really grown and the number of readers increased), your personal and professional life - and your tribulations. And in all this you persevere. It would be beyond comprehension had I not known that nothing is impossible with God (Luke 1:37).

Also, Professor, I know this is only a small encouragement for you, but I will say that by persevering in all this you gave me all I have got and all that really matters. You brought me to the truth, you gave me the direction when I had been lost in darkness for years, your writings and invaluable guidance always given in patience helped me grow in understanding, day by day, month by month, year by year, you know better than anyone else that some of these things take time. Your teachings inspired me to take up both Hebrew and Greek and I owe to you that the verses I sent you I can now read and understand as they were written. It's only thanks to you that I'm slowly beginning to see how I can serve our Lord. What else have I got? Of my friends one is a believer (and a reader of ichthys), two hopefully are, and the rest are not, neither is probably anyone in my family. So there are literally a couple of relationships which are founded on the truth, all the others only remind that the way of truth is the way of solitude, because few choose the narrow path (Matthew 7:14) and there is no understanding shared about the only thing that matters. Other parts of this earthly life are the same - sojourning in the devil's world, full of pressure, disappointment and constant hardship.

Even from our correspondence I know that what you've been going through has now lasted a long time, but your perseverance in this has given me, and I'm confident that many others also, all that matters.

In our Lord,

Response #16: 

Thanks so much for this, my friend.

You truly are an encouragement to me in every way. We may have some discomfort in this life, but our Lord is always with us, and what is awaiting us on the other side will make whatever we have to suffer here and now seem as nothing – and actually be as nothing – for all eternity.

The hard part is seeing that clearly now and acting on it resolutely despite physical suffering and emotional upheaval. Life is indeed the perfect test designed by God to winnow out those who really do love Him from those who do not, and to demonstrate through proving us just how much those of us who do love Him really do love Him.

In anticipation of rejoicing side by side with you when the crowns are handed out.

In our dear Lord Jesus Christ, our life and our all,

Bob L.

Question #17:  

Dr. Luginbill,

It is the emails like the one I have pasted below (link: http://ichthys.com/mail-Sin-Atonement-ForgivenessII.htm Q/A 3-4) that mean so much to my spiritual growth. It is simply answered and to the point. Until I came across your site I never understood that our Lord was still alive on the cross when he paid the price for our sins. I have seen you explain this before in other emails and in some other places on your site, but tonight's response really got to me. How blessed we are. I just cannot even understand with my mind why God would do this for me, I'm at a loss for words. Thank you for all you do and please keep up the great work.

Response #17: 

Good to hear from you again, my friend, and thanks for the vote of confidence!

The Lord is good! And what He did for us is truly amazing and worthy of praise forever and ever.

Please see also "The Spiritual Death of Christ" in BB 4A

Your friend in Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #18:  

Greetings and salutations Dear Brother,

I hope this email finds you well and comforted in the Holy Spirit of our risen Savior, Jesus Christ.

It has been quite some time since our last communication. Many things have happened since that time. My faith was tested in all manner of ways. I lost my job, my dearly beloved Grandmother was called home to Jesus, I was thrown into the depths of depression that I thought I would never emerge from. I have no money, few friends (but they are quality over many years) and a wonderful supportive extended family. As the Devil is won't to do, he had to attack in some other way. I had to go to the Dr today and the news was shocking. This was a routine visit that turned into a biopsy and a possible diagnosis of cancer. Being secure in My Savior, and knowing He works all things out in His good time, I have the peace of the Holy Spirit & am not worried in the least about the diagnosis.

My question to you is how can I comfort those around me? They are very concerned about my well being and I appreciate & value their concern. I just want them to know I'm at peace no matter the outcome because the Father works all things out for His good. Any thing you can offer; Scriptures that may be helpful would be so appreciated.

Thank you for your ministry & all your endeavors on behalf of Our Hope, Salvation & Peace & Comfort - Our Lord Jesus Christ

Response #18: 

While I'm delighted to hear from you, I'm saddened by the troubles you've had to endure. I am hoping – and praying – that when the tests come back there will be reason to celebrate. But I am confident that however they come back they will not fill you with despair. You are a wonderful Christian warrior, and I take great encouragement from your faith and faithfulness in this series of trials. It speaks volumes about your spiritual maturity that you are more concerned about how others are going to react than you are for yourself. God does indeed work it all out together for good, and if we were allowed to see the end of the movie and play it backwards, we would see that very clearly. As it is, the fact that we cannot see tomorrow – except with the eyes of faith – means that trouble will always test our mental attitude, demonstrate the quality of our faith, and further refine it to purify it . . . if we hang in there with the Lord all the way to the end of the test. That is easier said than done, and explains why so few of our fellow Christians are likely to be awarded the full set of crowns on that great day to come, not so much because of being wimpy under fire, but more because they lacked the truth in their hearts that comes from growing in the Word day by day so as to be able to be courageous in faith. The same strength of character that sets a person to seek the Lord the right way will generally see said person through the dark times in making use of the truth they have learned and in leaning on the Lord whom they have come to know during the good times.

In the plan of God, you have already won the race, and the good showing you are giving in how you are handling things is something that will not only be a comfort to all you love, but also a witness to them of the great power of the truth – there is nothing like it.

In that day they will say, "Surely this is our God; we trusted in him, and he saved us. This is the LORD, we trusted in him; let us rejoice and be glad in his salvation."

Isaiah 25:9 NIV

I have placed you on the Ichthys prayer list, and will be in prayer with you about these matters all the way to victory. [note: test did come back negative!]

Your friend in Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #19:  

Disillusioned with organized religion, my spouse and I do not attend any church at this point in our life. We study and pray as well as live a life we feel inspired by God to live. I am so very pleased to have found your ministry to compliment my Bible studies. Thank you for sharing your knowledge helping Gods people to the truth in his Bible. The world is blinded by mans legalism and adulterated translations in modern Bibles. I know Heavenly Father has led me to your site and I thank you for all the work and love you pour into this ministry.

Yours in Christ,

Response #19: 

Good to make your acquaintance.

I think what you are experiencing is becoming more and more of the norm for believers who have a difficult time abiding the lukewarmness and compromise of the truth which is endemic in our world today.

Thanks so much for your good words.

In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob Luginbill

Question #20:  

Robert,

Good morning. You are so learned and I know it took a lifetime and continues to be an eternity of learning of God's Word on your part. In light of this, you have such a great understanding of God's Word and on this side of eternity, I hope to have a smidgen of your love of His Word. This leads me to a personal question after reading some of your FAQ and continue to study your site. How does a mature follower of Christ like you grow spiritually? Your answers to questions and thorough understanding of God's Word is such a blessing that this email can't even fathom but how do you personally grow?

This hopefully will give me fortitude to continue to grow in his Word no matter if the days feels monotonous.

Thank you very much for being there for All of us. Our Father in heaven and our Lord Christ has given you a special anointing. God bless.

Response #20: 

Thanks so much for your kind and encouraging words. We all fall short, and I am no exception. But I will try to live up to the standard you describe here. We all grow the same exact way: through attention to the Word of God, hearing it, believing it, living it.

I appreciate your friendship in Jesus Christ.

Keep on fighting the good fight of truth and faith.

In our dear Lord and Savior.

Bob L.

Question #21:  

Dr. Bob,

Just to let you know that GOD has used your work to strengthen my faith by increasing my understanding of the Word of GOD - both the Written and the Living, and that I pray for you every time I remember.

Yes my brother, your living is not in vain (as far as I can see anyways).

And, ...I love you man.

Response #21: 

Thank you friend!

I appreciate your encouragement – and your prayers especially.

In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob Luginbill

Question #22:  

Hey Dr. Luginbill,

How are you? I've been kind of stressed out lately. You know I tend to procrastinate sometimes. I don't want to do my homework. Please give me some advice. How do you stay motivated and on top of your work?

Thanks,

Response #22: 

Good to hear from you as always.

Everyone has ups and downs in this area. People who are successful find ways to self-motivate and to self-discipline themselves, and there are plenty of systems out there. We Christians do have the great advantage of the Holy Spirit, and doing what we should do (whatever that is whenever that is) is a natural response when we are willing to follow the Lord's will rather than our own, letting the Spirit guide and empower us. This is not an automatic thing, however, but takes decisiveness on our part in choosing to follow Him as He speaks to our consciences (there is a lot about this at the link in part 5 of Basics: Pneumatology).

I don't know if this is helpful or not, but I personally find that when I am looking at things "one day at a time", there is much less stress than when I am focusing on tomorrow, next week, the rest of the term, or the year and years ahead. We all have to plan, of course, but too much looking forward is at its core antithetical to concentrating on the here and now. We are only responsible to fight the fight this one day. Today is the spiritual battle we are to be concerned with; we really have not a clue what will happen tomorrow. Since we have been given our daily bread today, since we have been forgiven our sin, and since we are confident in God's deliverance in whatever troubles will come today, we can confidently take up our responsibilities today in the cause of Jesus Christ, knowing that we don't have to fix everything, solve everything, or finish everything today. God will make a way for us through the flood; our job is to keep walking with Jesus and not allow ourselves to be frustrated through carrying a larger burden than we need to.

Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil.
Ephesians 5:15-16 ESV

Best wishes with that homework.

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #23:  

Hi Doctor. I originally found your site on page two of google while looking for information on sanctification. I appreciate your gift of teaching and that you have put it on the net. I have no other access to sound teaching or deep teaching or large teaching which you are providing. God has provided this teaching for me just at the right time and because He knew I was looking for it and answered my prayers. You said you are a PK? Im an MK :)) My faith and trust in God and my "seeing" Him as so much more that what most people talk about when it comes to God has astounded me through your writings. God is magnificent! Thanks,

Response #23: 

Very good to make your acquaintance! And thanks so much for your encouraging email. It is true that the more we start seeing the Lord and His hand in everything that happens, the happier and the more confident we become – that is growth, spiritual growth, and it only happens from reading, learning, believing and putting into action in our lives the precious Word of God.

In hopes and prayers for your continued close walk with our dear Lord Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #24:  

Thanks again

Why does God usually make us wait? How important is patience in the plan of God? I know that the consequences for not waiting can be severe, i.e., Abraham and Sarah with Hagar, Moses and the rock, king Saul and burnt offering, and I'm sure there are more examples. Is it ironic that the hardest thing to do is to do nothing/wait? Is it more about trust in God, or self control?

Response #24: 

Hello Friend,

This life is all about faith, and building up faith – and nothing demonstrates the depth of our faith as waiting on the Lord does. In order to be successful in all tests of faith yes, we have to trust the Lord, but yes, we also have to keep ourselves in check. Job is a great example of this. Having endured so much for so long, he let down his guard for one day – under the pressure of the false words of his poor comforters – and "lost it" (so to speak). If such a great and proverbially patient man could do so, we all ought to take that lesson humbly to heart.

There are several perspectives that help in all this. The first is that this entire life is temporary and only really has any value in terms of what we are doing here for the Lord. We find ourselves in the middle of a great conflict in which we as individual Christians are blessed to play a role, but it is certainly not "all about us". The more we develop that broader perspective, the more we look towards our eternal reward and not to the day to day pressures we all face, the more waiting and faith make sense, and the more they are achievable.

Secondly, we need to remember that God is on our side, that He will never desert us or forsake us (e.g., Heb.13:5), that He is working all things out together for good for those who love Him and His Son our dear Lord (Rom.8:28), so that we are being taken care of in every single way no matter how microscopically small – we only have to recognize and accept that truth in faith.

Thirdly, we need to remember to take things one day at a time. We are not supposed to look backward – except to remember the cross (Phil.3:13). And since no one can guarantee that we will even have tomorrow, there is no spiritual point in looking forward – except to the blessed hope of our Lord's return when all these troubles will come instantly to an end (Tit.2:13). The truth is that today is the only day with which we have to be concerned, and we know that God has provided for us our "daily bread", all the provision we need to get through this "one day", the only day, from the correct, spiritual perspective.

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.
Hebrews 13:8 NIV

Today is a day the Lord made, a day to rejoice and be glad (Ps.118:24), a day both of responsibility and opportunity: we are responsible to walk with Jesus, learn about His truth, and help others to the same, day by day, and this is also a great opportunity inasmuch as this is the way of honoring and glorifying the Lord who gave us a gift we can never repay – and it is in so doing that we earn eternal rewards that will make all the sorrow and sufferings of this short life seem as nothing on the other side.

In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.
1st Peter 1:6-7 NIV

Since we belong to Him, since He is taking care of us, since we have a job to do, whatever waiting He has introduced into this life must be for Him, must be being taken care of by Him, and must be beneficially to the plan He is working out – our part is to accept all this in faith, pushing aside all negative emotions to the contrary.

In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
1st Thessalonians 5:18 NKJV

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!
Philippians 4:4 NIV

Yours in Jesus Christ, the One with who we shall soon be forever in resurrection and happiness eternal.

Bob L.

Question #25:  

I am a recovering Bible illiterate, and I appreciate the use of the material and I look forward to reading them. Thank you for your hard work and effort and making materials available to all those who love scriptures. May God richly bless you and your family and those who helped to establish this website.

Grace and Peace,

Response #25: 

Good to make your acquaintance, and thanks much for your kind words.

Welcome to Ichthys – feel free to write me any time.

In our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob Luginbill

 

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