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Question #1:

You are so kind with your words of wisdom. I can understand. Is my departed son able to communicate with us? A friend of his was looking at her time hop this morning and at the end it said “your doing great, keep it up champ”. She said she felt it was her “Friday snap chat” from him. She looked again and it was gone and something else was there that made no sense. Also, does he look the same and iss his personality and how he walks, talks and eats different? Does he sleep? I never read revelations because it scared me and I didn’t understand what different things meant, but you explain it so clearly that now because my son has left I need to know everything and I find it comforting. Thank you!

Response #1:

You're very welcome.

There aren't any communications from departed believers. The Bible is very clear about that. That doesn't mean, however, that the Lord doesn't reassure us in all manner of wonderful ways.

As to the texture of life in heaven at the moment, we aren't told very much in scripture, and that is deliberate no doubt (everything I've been able to glean from the Bible is at the links "interim state", "character of eternal life", and "resurrection"). As I often say, if we knew how wonderful it was, it would probably diminish our zeal for living this life for Jesus Christ as we ought to be doing.

If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me. Yet what shall I choose? I do not know! I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far.
Philippians 1:22-23 NIV

In Jesus our dear Savior, with whom we long to be.

Bob L.

Question #2:

When God takes your son from you how do you learn to trust him again?

Response #2:

I am truly sorry for your painful and difficult loss, and I will say a prayer for your comfort.

This is a hard question to answer, because it has more to do with us than with God.

Believers blaming God for bad things that happen in their lives is probably the number one reason why individuals end up turning away from Him. Please. Don't do that.

I can't imagine anything worse than losing a beloved child. But all believers experience loss in this life, and pain (physical and emotional), and trials and testing and tribulations. In time soon to come, the Great Tribulation and all the difficulties we experience therein, will result in a prophesied one third of believers falling into apostasy. There is nothing worse than that. Whatever suffering and trouble it is our lot to endure in this life, nothing is worth losing Jesus Christ and eternal life.

I don't know why the Lord took your son. I do know that the plan of God is perfect, and that this is the case even when and if things happen that devastate us. But we do have to remember that in His perfection and goodness and perfect love, God has never actually done anything unfair, anything at all that was not for our absolute good. That is sometimes hard to accept. But we all know in our heart of hearts that it is true.

The righteous perish, and no one takes it to heart; the devout are taken away, and no one understands that the righteous are taken away to be spared from evil. Those who walk uprightly enter into peace; they find rest as they lie in death.
Isaiah 57:1-2 NIV

The above is true. In graduate school, I lost my dearest friend absolutely unexpectedly and in the prime of her life, and it affected me deeply. I ended up over-reacting to her death and that over-reaction led me into some things that I now deeply regret (and whose consequences still endure to this day). But I did rally and come to my spiritual senses – and I'm so glad I did. I now realize that I can't know what God delivered my friend FROM – but He must have done so. And I know also that she is in bliss in heaven beholding the face of our dear Lord Jesus – something that is better than anything in this life.

Children who die young are automatically saved, and that is a blessing in truth better than if they had lived a full life and NOT come to Christ – no matter how hard it is on their parents at the time. Anyone who dies before the Tribulation begins and as a result does NOT fall into apostasy (as so many will, succumbing to the pressures of that terrible time) is actually blessed, even if we down here on earth are not able to see it.

How can you trust God? You can't afford NOT to trust Him – with all your heart and mind and might and strength. After all, the Father had a Son too – and He handed Him over to the worst death imaginable for our sake, so that we might not be condemned but have eternal life. THAT is love. And anyone who loves us THAT much certainly deserves all our trust . . . and the benefit of any doubt.

He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things?
Romans 8:32 NASB95

In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #3:

Hi Bob,

I read this article (The Cripplegate Spiritual Drifters) and it really made my blood boil. The blog was recommended by those Calvinist types like Justin Peters and Todd Friel. It reads as though we are surrounded by churches that have anything remotely like the truth being told within them!

I was about to angrily respond but thought better. Do these people even know what time it is? Do you think they are rapture ready and that is why they have the luxury to underplay false teaching and preachers? It took me quite a while to recover from just ONE dose of Charismatic false teaching and even longer from that brush with the NAR.

It angers me because geographically I only have Catholic and Anglican or Megachurches in my area. There is a church that is more biblically sound but is an hour's drive from me and I can't drive anyway and by the way there is a pandemic going on.

I've unsubscribed from this blog as all these articles just make me feel guilty over something that not only do I not have a control over but is a symptom of the end times (and so of course will be a part of the bigger plan).

I shouldn't be rattled by an article that throws bible passages at me to guilt me and shame me into going back towards apostate churches that will no doubt clamour to worship the beast once he is revealed! I guess it is always good to identify the chinks in our armour so as to know in the future where the enemy may attack!

In Jesus,

Response #3:

Unplugging from this sort of thing is definitely good for the blood pressure!

And we shouldn't be surprised. Traditional churches often don't have enough ritual to entertain people (and can't compete with the RC's there), they don't have enough musical fanfare and RAH RAH (can't compete with the mega churches there), and they don't have enough emotional excess (nobody can compete with the charismatics on that score). So of course they have to use a great big dollop of guilt to get people to "come to church" . . . as if their local churches – where nothing of the truth is taught (they do have that in common with the other categories) – were THE Church of Christ. Boy do they have a lot of explaining to do.

Keeping you in my prayers daily, my friend!

In Jesus our dear Savior,

Bob L.

Question #4:

Hi Bob,

Indeed! Quite a few of the things I have been signed up to over the years, I have now unplugged from. Most of them were from my baby Christian days but the odd one or two that have been more recent, I'll admit that I have looked them up in that sneaking desire to be within the church visible. I realise how dangerous that temptation is and most of the time I am well rid of it. I've noticed some really odd things of late. One blogger . . . [omitted] It's as though he read that in to it and then went on to legitimise his own dubious desires! There seems to be an awful lot of that going on. I can't also help to see that this continual clarion call to get back under the roof of the church visible is actually working for the antichrist in the long run. It will be far easier for him after all if we are all in one place rather than scattered around and hidden.

The more I think of it the more I am convinced that the "New Age Spirituality" will be the ecumenical glue that will stick all the religions together under the antichrist. He can't come as a uniquely Judeo-Christian "saviour" as that leaves too many out. He will probably say something like "You've got my teachings all wrong. When I said the kingdom of God is within I meant that all these religions are the same thing blah blah blah". I've noticed that only new age can pull this off because it basically says that all these paths to the "truth" are viable, that there is no objective truth and it is all entirely subjective. This is already happening within the Charismatic and NAR and Emergent Church movements. It is also happening to the other religions too with the Pope busily flying from one country to another promoting peace through his ecumenical Coexist movement.

I've noticed that the new age first says that all these differing faiths are ALL legitimate but then goes on to push people into then "transcending" these fleshly religions into what they call "true spirituality" which is the satanic lie that we are God.

It has completely encircled us now, these lies. So a big part of this guilting people back to the church visible is basically rounding up the sheep into convenient pens for the antichrist to have an easier time of it.

It occurred to me that "on the surface" religion and spirituality will be seen to be experiencing a boom time when the antichrist is here due to the sheer number of adherents (including, shamefully, all those typically hard to reach atheists who only needed to have their sins legitimised and their desire to usurp God themselves for them to "believe") Ironically this religious boom period will take off after the great apostasy! So that what seems like an embracing of all that is spiritual will actual be the ultimate in spiritual darkness which leads to the second death!

I've seen enough now to want to turn away from it all "wholesale". Was it your Col Thieme who believed we should just stick with one ministry and you thought he was too rigid on this? Well I have to say Bob that I now agree with him! I'm just sticking with your ministry and Bible Academy [link] and also those Unger commentaries; it's unfortunate that there is no commentary published for the rest of the New Testament after the Gospels. Do you have another recommendation for this? I will have to go back to Blue letter bible site. I'm trying to understand the Book of Hebrews at the moment.

I used to think the more bible study resources I have the better but now I realise that because I have the Word of God and the Holy Spirit, it is better to be more discerning as I already have the best already!

The church that is an hour away is the church of someone from my bible group. On the surface it looks as if it "measures up" but you can only know whether a ministry truly "checks out" over time. Obviously Bob your ministry does "check out" and that is why most people who study your site stay.

I don't have the time or the stamina to be disappointed again in another church so I'm thinking of telling this person that his church seems promising on the surface but that I am more than happy with your ministry and this is the one I am sticking with.

P.S: I read something somewhere recently that the storm that Jesus calmed was sent by Satan to drown Jesus. Is this true? I remember reading somewhere else that angels are in control of the wind. I guess this is a moot point that if I'm like a magpie, gleaning a bit here that takes my fancy and a piece there, I will only ever have piecemeal knowledge that isn't concrete or sustaining. Also it isn't very useful or helpful when I don't keep track of sources or even know exactly who those sources are and what they are all about!

This week I have finally had the wherewithal to sit down and plan my week. I now spilt my time and am planning for my business. [omitted] I am making the steps forward now towards running my own business so that I can be more self sufficient (but mainly I am God sufficient). Please say a little prayer for me to help me get my timetable off the ground. I'm finding that my prayers these days are a whole lot more specific and this is far more effective than general blanket prayers!

In Jesus,

Response #4:

Always good to hear from you, my friend!

I don't think you should beat yourself up about wanting good Christian fellowship. We ALL want that – or should. It's just that the one thing we cannot do is "force it". If we try to do so, what we may end up with is a huge spiritual disaster. I don't know too many truly positive Christians today who haven't had that experience (some "in spades").

Also, I again have to compliment you on your analysis of possible developments regarding the church visible and the beast – this all sounds reasonably possible to me, and these are the sorts of things we need to be wary of going forward (of course, we also can't afford to become wedded to any one slant or interpretation because there are bound to be many things which we didn't anticipate precisely).

If a person finds a truly good ministry, it is always beneficial to stick with that one as exclusively as possible. That is because, inevitably, a second "almost as good" ministry and a third "not nearly as good" ministry will teach different things. And even if the differences are slight, and even if #2 and/or #3 "have a point" here and there (or seem to), the net effect is not greater spiritual growth, but rather greater difficulty in fully believing #1 and actually less spiritual growth as a result (although I have to say that I really don't find any down side and on the contrary only an upside with readers of Ichthys also listening to Bible Academy). Prospective pastor teachers do need to hone their skills and also develop some spiritual armor, building and testing their belief system from top to bottom in the Spirit and with the Word – but they are (if truly gifted) helped by the Spirit in doing so, and also have the ability (or should) to go directly to the Word for confirmation. Even there, a good system is a better basic foundation than a variety of systems of unequal quality.

As to NT commentaries, I really know of none I'd recommend in this context; I will say that the 1984 NIV "Study Bible" ed. K. Barker is pretty good (not saying I agree with everything therein by a long shot, but it does have generally helpful information and the Bible verse cross-references are pretty good).

On the storm, well, I suppose that stands to reason, but I'm not sure what difference it makes. Yes, angels can stir up and restrain winds (e.g., Rev.7:1-3). Precisely what fallen angels are allowed to do and when, or what the consequences are when and if they try something "out of line" (being confined to the Abyss, we know, in extreme cases), or whether or not that was the case in this instance, we aren't told. Clearly, there is a very great deal going on in the world which is a direct result of the unseen conflict swirling around us. But we are not told much about the specific blow-by-blow details for a very good reason: we are to live our lives as if none of that were happening. That is probably why our Lord had nothing to say about any demon influence on that occasion. Rather, He used the opportunity to point out to the disciples that their faith was deficient: they should have trusted in Him and the Father that nothing untoward could ever happen to Him . . . nor to them (as believers) which was not completely part of the merciful plan of God. That being so, we don't have to worry about demons and we don't have to be concerned about angels generally. We know they are out there and we know something of their roles and we are grateful for all of God's provision and support. But we have OUR jobs to do down here, and we'll never get to them and through them if we are spending our time and energy speculating about things and "exercising ourselves in great matters, or in things too high for us" (Ps.131:1 KJV).

Let me also congratulate you and encourage you in getting organized and making progress in your noble quest to support yourself and to carry out the ministry the Lord has called you too! Setting up a solid and workable routine is always the key – for mere mortals like almost all Christians are – to getting things done in the long run. Fits and starts only works for the hyper-talented and exceptional genius types – not many Christians in that category! So keep up the good work! And don't let disparaging family get you down. That's another thing that few serious Christians generally do not lack.

I will be keeping you in prayer, my friend – and am.

In Jesus our dear Savior,

Bob L.

Question #5:

Hello again Bob,

I looked for the link on vaccine deaths and came up dry. (I don't normally save these links.) I can't use the VAERS site anymore (the canonical site) for some reason. They may have installed new trackers, most of which I block. You can search at: https://vaers.hhs.gov/data.html if you're masochistic. They will ask if you've read the instructions on interpreting the data. When I click yes, I get nothing. Beware: assembling data from government sites (like CDC or FDA) is a convoluted process.

In the process, I saw this page: https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/70/w/mm7002e1.htm?s_cid=mm7002e1_w

"Because the FDA EUA for the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine was received 1 week later than that for the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine (i.e., on December 18, 2020), and the Moderna vaccine was only available beginning December 21, this report focuses on the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine. An assessment of adverse events reported after receipt of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine will be forthcoming.

In this, was: "During December 14–23, 2020, after administration of 1,893,360 first doses of Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine (1,177,527 doses in females, 648,327 doses in males, and 67,506 doses missing sex), reports of 4,393 (0.2%) adverse events after receipt of the vaccine had been submitted to VAERS." It seems that many vaccine deaths are recorded as COVID deaths.

Note: this is for anaphylaxis only and the numbers reflect 37,867 or 4207/day and that's only for the Pfizer version. This is not only deaths but total cases of anaphylaxis after the shot and then, only the ones reported. I once experienced anaphylaxis and it's not an experience I would willingly repeat.

Then, there's this:

https://sharylattkisson.com/2021/01/50-u-s-deaths-reported-after-covid-19-vaccine-no-link-proven/

This woman has proven reliable in the past so I suspect this piece is reasonable. She doesn't reveal her source, which is SOP for a journalist.

Add to this, my uncle, 83 and healthy as a horse, died within three days of getting a conventional flu shot. We were arguing about jazz and the printing business. No signs of any illness or problems. I've suffered allergies (an autoimmune issue) since the battery of shots in the Air Force. Therein lies the reason I won't let a shot of any kind near me. (I never got malaria, though).

So, at the end of the line, I can't find the link and can't substantiate the number. As I remember, it was 963 in a two month period. Keep in mind, properly prescribed approved drugs kill 100,00/year and hosptalize 2,000,000/year. (They took down that page as well. Why, I wonder? You can find it here: http://web.archive.org/web/20150322023604/http://www.fda.gov/Drugs/DevelopmentApprovalProcess/DevelopmentResources/DrugInteractionsLabeling/ucm114848.htm ) That's about 275/day KIA.

Yes, it is pretty down here though it takes learning to see. Coming from up there, it would appear barren. I fondly remember driving through the hills East of you when the rhododendrons were blooming. It was magnificent. I hope they're still there.

I suspect your semester has another couple of months to go before you are at liberty. When I lived in Massachusetts, trout season opened on April 14. Of course, I had to be on the streams but I had to keep chipping ice out of the rod guides. So your average date of last frost must be two or three weeks earlier. That's time to get the corn in if you're growing it.

Stay well, safe and healthy. You also are in my prayers.

In our Lord,

Response #5:

Thanks for the leg work, my friend. Doesn't sound too threatening; most of the individuals in the link who died through possible complications were EVEN OLDER than I am – and all seem to have been taking other drugs and had other "comorbidities" as we've all become accustomed to say now. It's not really the initial reaction I've ever been concerned about but the possibility of a re-engineered cellular structure that doesn't know when to quit making spike proteins and how that might cause serious trouble down the road. The things I've read talking about that all suggested that next cold and flu season would be the time when that little complication starts hitting the radar in a big way – if it really does turn out to be a concern. Still no word about mandatory vaccinations here – people are still clamoring for the stuff and happy to take vacant places in line. We'll see what they're saying in May.

As I may have mentioned, I'm not much for fishing. Besides, once the semester ends, between the gardening and the need to get my research agenda back on track, I'll have my hands full most of the summer (perhaps there'll be a couple of weeks slack in there – I'm feeling I could use a little rest).

Thanks for those prayers, my friend! Keeping you in mine daily as well.

In Jesus our dear Savior,

Bob L.

Question #6:

Good morning Bob,

The link in your RSS feed for this week's posting is broken. Or at least it was when I tried to use it this morning. The link was to a nonexistent page. Probably a typo.

Seems like many of your correspondents in this week's posting mentioned, in one form or another, waiting on the Lord. It is also a common theme in Psalms. That reminded me of our friends in California looking for land. Have you read how their search is progressing?

I've been considering Psalm 119. This Psalm, I'm convinced, was a lyric set to music. Others, at least what I get from the English, could have been recitative or even oratorio. It shares many characteristics with contemporary lyrical structures. Even in English though the KJV English, feels closer to the rhythm. 119 also has a structure like many hymns, e.g., choruses followed by a refrain. Or maybe it's more appropriate to say that modern lyrics are many times structured like Psalm 119. I wish I could hear it as it was originally performed. I'm also beginning to wonder if Psalms weren't divided into books each of which were performed as a whole, like opera, though like opera, parts were probably excerpted and performed individually as the situation warranted. Speculations for which I suspect there are no answers.

On the issue of people who've had Covid having the most problems with the vaccine, it makes sense to me that those exposed to the virus would react that way. Natural antibodies are much more powerful than vaccine induced. The problem with the corona jab, as with all vaccines for that matter. is that they are introduced intramuscularly which is not the way infections enter and not the way bodily defenses are set up. In this case, all cells in the body produce the protein that causes Covid; the enemy is suddenly inside the wire. With unnatural sources of infection, the defenses go into panic mode. Hence, negative reactions.

In the '50s, we had measles parties. Measles isn't pleasant, but we all survived and haven't had measles since. We should try COVID parties.

I pray you're well and hope you don't submit to the sacred experimental jab.

In our Lord,

Response #6:

Thanks for the heads-up on the RSS file (fixed now, I believe).

A psalm (Heb. mizmôr, מִזְמוֹר; from the root zāmar meaning to "pluck" a musical instrument) is a song. And there are a number of apparent musical terms throughout the psalms (e.g, selah which seems to be "rest/pause"). But we have no external knowledge of ancient Hebrew music – so speculation is as rife as it is fruitless. Ancient Greek music is just as problematic, I would say, even though there are ancient theoretical works which have survived and a good deal more description of that area of study than is the case for ancient Israel. Some have done reconstructions, based on ancient Greek hymns that have notations of the "music" per se (completely different from anything we in the modern world are familiar with). I've heard some of these (you can find some of these on YouTube now; link); you have to take them with at least a grain of salt.

Dental emergency this weekend. Given my reaction to the novocaine, I'm not interested in any other sort of exotic intrusion at the moment. Passed my last Covid test (I do intend it to be my last one). Tough week ahead with more dentist visits complicating things and a lot of grading to do. God gets us through!

In Jesus our dear Savior,

Bob L.

Question #7:

Hi Bob,

How are you doing? How is work now and home life in Louisville? Do you have lockdowns there? Hope there is no more interference from that "militia" gang.

I just wanted to share something with you. I was commenting about how patient you are and how reliable and generous with your time. I can see that when people write to you, you always lead them to the Bible and always prioritise your witness of Jesus Christ. I have learned a great deal not only from your site but your personal witness, the witness of the life as you call it.

I realise that it is what I must do too. I'm sad to write this but __ is deeply in love with an emotional abuser. I have seen the red flags from the beginning (as sadly I have a lot of experience of abusers). She is completely blind to it though, she sees what she wants to see.

It's because of this helplessness I feel over this (and from healing from abuse myself) that I have decided to add to the video work I'm doing and also have a ministry that helps people heal from bullying and abuse by directing them back to the Bible and Jesus.

Through my research on Cluster B personality disorders (Psychopathy/ Narcissism/ Anti Social personality disorder) also known as the "Dark Triad" I have begun to form a picture of what happens in the relationships with these dangerous individuals and why. Personally I think all these disorders have a spiritual cause but that is not what I want to go into here.

These toxic relationships (that my sister is in) have all the hallmarks of a cult and in fact they function very much like a cult, "a cult of two" (or more if children are sadly involved.)

I was reading last night about helping a loved one out of a cult because that is exactly what she is in right now, all the dynamics of control and coercion and lovebombing and drinking the Koolaid of indoctrination. The advice the site gave was about giving her unconditional love and showing her what love really is. It's about being patient and always keep the communication open and being quick to forgive. To be reliable, consistent and the voice of reason and sanity. I realise that what they describe is the Christian witness! The life lived in Jesus Christ and imitating Christ!

Isn't it wonderful how it all fits together like that! Whatever the problem or question, that Jesus is the only answer!

So coming back to what I said about your witness of Jesus, your gentle patience and reliable consistency and love for people and love of the truth of Jesus Christ is helping me to help my sister in the long run.

I keep her in my regular prayers on his issue of course and make sure that I witness Jesus' love to her at every opportunity. I hope this witness of what love is will be a glaring contrast to the hot/ cold manipulative dynamic she gets at home. I'm also praying for her partner to be saved also. The "experts" say that Cluster B personality disorders cannot be cured but I know that the transformation of a person, through faith in Jesus and baptism by the Holy Spirit can do wonderful and miraculous things to a person. There is always hope!

In Jesus, where all my hope is found,

Response #7:

I have to tell you, my friend, while I don't begrudge others who are being or have been helped by therapy (and I do know of cases of this), I personally think less than nothing of psychology. I firmly believe it's mostly a lot of B.S. – which is no doubt why that is what they award our students here after completing an undergraduate degree in that "discipline". Sadly, this is the most popular major in the college (been that way most places for a very long time now). People like to think they are "smarter" and have more "insight" into other people via this method, but to me it differs very little from astrology: you see in the object you're analyzing what you want to see, and the paradigms are flexible enough to allow almost any sort of interpretation. So I stay away.

That is not to say that it shouldn't be very obvious to any believer who has any depth in the Bible and its truths when encountering someone who is not just an unbeliever but a dangerous person. No need to categorize the types or the behaviors – just stay away (same advice on actual cults).

I'll be keeping ___ in my prayers about this alliance as well.

Sorry for the terseness. Dental emergency here this weekend and I'm apparently not over the trauma (or the novocaine); tired on top of that since I managed to get most things done anyway. Rough week ahead with exam set #2 to grade plus everything else that's normal and another trip to the dentist (at least). But I survived it all so far and the outcome has been good: didn't lose the tooth but it will be an expensive and troublesome save. I am VERY grateful to the Lord for the deliverance. Managed to find a good place open Saturday (the only one in all of Louisville, apparently), and they did a great job for me.

In Jesus our dear Savior,

Bob L.

Question #8:

Hi Bob,

Thank you for the explanation. I wondered what selah meant. It's amazing to me that elements of the lyricism occasionally comes through the English translations. It certainly doesn't work that way in either French or Italian. English versions of Italian operas are horribly unsatisfying. It's also fitting (and satisfying to me) that much of today's "music" will be lost to history.

I'm truly sorry about your dental issues. Going to the dentist, for me, is pure torture -- even for a simple cleaning. I'll add that to my prayers. Dental problems and grading is a bad combination. Should I pray for your students, too?

For whatever interest it may have, chewing a couple of garden sage leaves once and awhile keeps periodontal disease at bay. It's carried me through this COVID nonsense and I haven't seen the dentist since early last year. I suppose swishing sage tea around would have a similar effect though I've never tried it. Since the great freeze of '21 severely damaged my sage, I haven't picked any leaves. Probably won't until they get stronger so I may try the tea approach.

Good news on the COVID test. I'm not sure I would ever let someone shove a stick up my nose but no one is requiring it either. Most of the people I run into, mostly grumpy old curmudgeons like me, are about done with diapering, distancing and the other rituals.

In our Lord,

Response #8:

I think the majority of us are "done" with all this. I remain amazed at how easily so many went along with all the nonsense in terms of internalizing it. I understand doing it because of having no choice; but embracing it I find really weird. It was a wake-up call for me to see how much things have changed since I was a lad. That's something we know on one level, but I guess I always imagined there was a reserve of common sense. Apparently that mostly evaporated long ago. Shouldn't surprise me. As I often point out, it's the spiritual dimension that matters and that is what always pushes forward to the surface eventually. And we know all too well what the spiritual situation of Laodicea in the late innings is like.

Thanks for the prayers. Back to the dentist tomorrow. Shouldn't be nearly as bad (just an impression for a crown, I think) – except for ponying up the dough.

"Should I pray for your students, too?" Hah! A good idea! At ALL times.

In Jesus our dear Savior,

Bob L.

Question #9:

Dear Bob,

I am really saddened to hear that you are suffering with dental pain and that you are going through the wringer at work too. Dental problems are the worst. I can't imagine what it is like having any surgery in these times.

I'm sorry to hear that you are under fire. Our Lord will see you through. I learnt so much from your ministry on how to get through that awful time last year. The Holy Spirit will strengthen you and get you through it.

I'll say extra prayers for you that the pain and the tooth will heal very soon and you will have the means to pay for it all.

God bless you and keep you.

In Jesus,

Response #9:

It was a great blessing from the Lord that even though the tooth broke late on Friday afternoon (ever notice that ALL emergency medical situations seem to happen right about then?), He led me to an excellent dentist and I got it pretty much fixed (short term) the next day. A long difficult day and a long difficult weekend followed by a long difficult week – but God is good! He got me, is getting me and will get me through it all! As He ALWAYS does for us all. So all in all it's been a good spiritual experience (even if I'm whining a bit about the physical part). I'm also getting over the reaction to the novocaine; about 80% back to normal this evening. Back to the dentist tomorrow in the PM (don't think I'll be able to get everything done for the job before I have to drive over), but I don't think it'll be so bad; just an impression for the crown (painless mostly, except for the outlay of cash).

So thanks for the prayers! All the spitballs have pretty much bounced off this old battleship and she keeps sailing on.

Keeping you and your family in my prayers daily, my friend.

In Jesus our dear Savior,

Bob L.

Question #10:

Hr Dr Luginbill,

How are you doing?

Well I was doing alright, but then I had to go to the DMV and get my license renewed. And it was when they were checking my eyesight that I realized I see a lot blurrier than I used to. And. it. is. not. a. good. feeling. !!! My body is like falling apart, and it only gets worse from here! How am I going to make it another (possible) four decades! Okay. I am okay. (Telling myself) I am okay.

I do feel like my life is over. Can't do basic things. Ears, mouth, eyes. How do people cope like this for decades?

I am sorry my email is all whiney but it is hard to even basics when something hurts.

Response #10:

I'm sorry to hear about this, but it comes with the territory, my friend!

Please don't be down on yourself for not being pleased at the new dents in the fender. We all have to cope with this sort of thing and – you are right – more and more of them the further down the road we go. But God gives us the grace to get through it (2Cor.12:9; Phil.4:13). Also, we can be a good witness to others. When people see you coping with your unique challenges in a godly way, it does make an impression. So when new challenges arise, we have to "get a grip", put them in God's hands, and remember to "keep on punching" as long as the Lord has left us in this world – like my dear mother who "kept punching" to age of 96 when she would have greatly preferred to be with the Lord long before because of all the difficulties she had to push through.

(24) Don't you know that all the runners in the stadium run the race, but that only one receives the prize? Run in such a way so as to achieve what you are after. (25) And again, everyone involved in competition exercises self-control in all respects. Those athletes go through such things so that they may receive a perishable crown of victory, but we do it to receive an imperishable one. (26) So as I run this race of ours, I'm heading straight for the finish line; and as I box this bout of ours, I'm making every punch count. (27) I'm "pummeling my body", one might say, bringing myself under strict control so that, after having preached [the gospel] to others, I might not myself be disqualified [from receiving the prize we all seek].
1st Corinthians 9:24-27

So hang in there, my friend – and make every punch count.

In Jesus our dear Savior,

Bob L.

Question #11:

Hi Bob,

I'm truly sorry to hear about your crown ordeal. I take it the last visit was for the temporary crown while the permanent one is made. The permanent won't be so bad. At least, it wasn't for me though I think dentists go to a special school to learn how to make the ordeal as uncomfortable as they can get by with.

That you got through your grading is impressive. It would be difficult for me to concentrate after the dentist.

I've been thinking a lot about your previous email. I've come to believe that the start of Tribulation is the Lord saying, "OK -- that's enough" instead of the start of troubles. I think the troubles have already begun. As Job records, the restraint on Satan and his minions is being released in stages and I expect it to continue for the next five years until enough is enough and the Tribulation starts in earnest. Like Job, I believe we're being tested in stages. I believe the worldwide COVID nonsense, lockdowns, destruction of economies and peoples lives is all part and parcel of the releasing of restraints.

In the latest news, vitamin B6 also helps our bodies repel viruses. Add to that Vitamins D, C, A and B1, along with nutrients like Lysine, resveritol. zinc and L-arginine among others which help us repel viruses convinces me that we don't have a viral pandemic, we have a pandemic of grossly under nourished. I believe that also fits in with the plan and release of restraint. Even grocers are getting in the act with ultra-pasteurization, irradiating produce and gassing meats. With most manufacturers, there seems to be no moral restraints on the denaturing of food all in the name of shelf life and profit.

I could go on and on but won't. I'm almost to the point where I quit reading the news entirely. Even the little I do read is disturbing. I'm convinced now that I know what's coming and don't need to be reading a blow by blow account. I'm happier here holed up on my little patch of prairie tending my garden and walking with my dog. I don't see much spiritual anything out there let alone common sense. But to be fair, I'm "social distancing" and don't come in contact with a lot of people anymore.

In any event, I pray all is well with you and yours and your crown works out to your satisfaction.

In our Lord Jesus,

Response #11:

Trip #2 of three to the dentist went fine. I started feeling better last night and I'm feeling super today. The negative effects of the shots the first time not only weren't repeated this time but have actually almost completely dissipated. I think it might have been the "medicine" they said they were putting under the filling that actually caused the reaction – I think that got mostly drilled out again yesterday. And the tooth has never been better! It was still sensitive with the filling but that is gone now, even though it's a temp crown. God is good!

Made it through today with all critical things taken care of. Long list of "to dos" tomorrow, but I feel up to it now. Will be back to normal entirely by the weekend with the Lord's help.

Good observations about "that's enough" – it certainly squares with the "wrath" motif of the Tribulation: the Lord repaying His enemies in stages: 1) warning; 2) retribution; 3) destruction (trumpets, bowls and thunders respectively). I really would prefer that we get a respite soon instead of a continuing ramp up – but no one is asking for my "druthers" (blessedly).

I'd love to be able to buy milk that wasn't pasteurized at all, but I don't think that's possible around here (not easily). Don't think city ordinances allow one to keep a cow either (not that I'd be any good at that).

Keeping you in my prayers, my friend.

In Jesus our dear Savior,

Bob L.

Question #12:

Hi Bob,

Actually, raw milk is more available in Kentucky than Texas. https://www.realmilk.com/real-milk-finder/kentucky/#ky There are three listed for Jefferson County though one, at 40+ miles away is somewhat out of the question. At least it would for me. In my estimation, raw milk is the only way to go. The Lord didn't promise a land flowing with pasteurized, homogenized cooked milk and pasteurized and filtered honey. With good reason. Whole raw milk and raw honey provide real food with vitamins, minerals and probiotics that we need to function.

Note that there advantages to having cows. I can tell instantly which way the wind is blowing by the fragrance wafting in on the breeze. Plus, cows make the best compost for the garden. But, I doubt Louisville government would listen to me.

In our Lord who got the design right in the beginning,

Response #12:

Thanks,

I guess you really don't have to be a weatherman to know which way the wind is blowing – being a dairy farmer will suffice!

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #13:

Hi Bob,

No problem at all! I'm glad you dodged the root canal bullet too. That would have involved at least two long, uncomfortable, tedious appointments for you (with novocaine). Then once the root filling was complete you would have to go back for a crown prep on top of all that. Your only other option would be to have your tooth pulled out. So lots to thank the Lord for!

It's great that your tooth has settled down now even with the temporary crown on. It sounds like your filling was a deep one. Even if the sensitivity had calmed down you still would have a weakened tooth which would probably have broken again at some point. So having a crown is good - it will protect the tooth and will be strong for chewing all that lovely meat!

The plasterer finished yesterday and he's done a really nice job. We do both ways over here. Just drywall with taping and jointing or this time we put the drywall (or plasterboard) up ourselves and the plasterer put a thin skim of plaster over the top. It doesn't take him long at all. We've done it both ways in the houses we've renovated.

I had no idea what a linotype machine was so I googled it and watched a linotype demonstration on YouTube. Very interesting! One of the comments below the video made me laugh, "What if you make a mistake? How do you go back and fix typos?" Looks like those machines are only in the museums over here too.

Back to work tomorrow - hope there's no root canals on the daylist!

Your friend in Jesus

Response #13:

Thanks!

When I had a big problem on the other side many years ago, I forewent a root canal for an extraction. Ever since I've felt I made a mistake. After last week and what you write here, I'm thinking maybe I made the right decision after all!

Glad to hear the plastering went well. Over here when we say we've "been plastered" we mean something else entirely.

Thanks for the goodies! Going to work on them right now.

In Jesus our dear Savior,

Bob L.

Question #14:

Guess what I did at work today? A crown prep for a patient on the same tooth!

Root canals are okay - it's just the amount of time they take and having your mouth open for a long time may be uncomfortable for some. But I'm thankful that the Lord helped you through a very busy week even with a crown prep on top!

We've got the other kind of "being plastered" too over here. I steer clear of that kind now though!

I read the email in this week's posting about the dangers of visualisation. It reminded me of the Vineyard churches. They're very much into spiritual formation (contemplative prayer etc.). They have "spiritual directors" and on their UK website they have videos where the spiritual director leads you through different spiritual exercises. I watched one recently that is an imaginative or visualisation prayer exercise based on one Ignatius of Loyola wrote. It's called "Holding baby Jesus" and they say this exercise will engage our imaginations in meeting the baby Jesus after his birth.

Things like this don't surprise me anymore but I think I just wanted to agree with you and your correspondent that this sort of thing is not good and should be avoided. It's not how our Lord Jesus taught us to pray. It reminds me very much of the techniques they use in the new age and the occult.

I'm loving putting my all into studying and believing and living the truth each day. It's the best way of staying alert and not being deceived by any of this other nonsense.

Keeping you and your family in my prayers, Bob. Have a lovely weekend!

In Jesus our dear Lord and Saviour

Response #14:

Thanks for that info – the Jesuits do a whole "boot camp" of "spiritual exercises" of this sort. It makes them dedicated, apparently (my church history professor called them "the pope's Marine Corp") – but it's doubtful if any of them are saved, so what is the point? Anything that substitutes for the truth is dangerous and to be avoided. But of course in Laodicea that's the entire trend, and a big part of the reason why one third of those who now believe will fall away during the pressures of the Tribulation.

I've stopped being surprised too – but not being disturbed (guess I need to work on that).

Got through the week! Thanks for your prayers! Wishing you an enjoyable one as well, my friend.

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #15:

Hi Bob,

Hope you are doing well! Hope you are springing along smoothly in these times. I think of you often hoping more and more people come your way so they can grow spiritually as I think time is of the essence.

I have sent many your way but apparently they don't seem to want to learn yet, maybe some more personal tribulation will have to occur before they are interested. I have sent another person your way, I'm not giving up. I talked to her for some time today. I speak to her about once a year. She has seen us struggle for years since we have been here. Today she said that I came to her mind many times this year during her struggles. She said how she has watched us go through so much but every time she sees a smile on our faces (through Facebook) and how we seem to make it through.

I didn't realize until today that people are really watching us. That gave me a boost to keep moving forward through these hard times. We made it through the winter and have no idea what's in store for us in the near future. We are still camping and working. It's had its ups and downs. It would be much easier to just camp and not have to work. It seems like I spend double the time just surviving the day camping then living in a regular home situation. It basically really stinks but I keep reminding myself the Lord is in control and if he wants it different it will be different. I just have to complain once in a while just because I think it will matter but it really doesn't. I have been praying hard that at least we can have a piece of ground to put our camper on so we don't have to be in a campground. I would love to have a regular oven also so I can bake and most of all I miss my good quite nights. I lose a lot if sleep because of all the traffic on the highway and the campers going in and out. Oh and one more thing...I don't like doing laundry with the local drug peeps. The washers are filthy and there isn't anyway to clean them. Things aren't easy but even though this is rough I keep chugging along for Jesus.

Have a wonderful evening Bob.

The Happy Camper,

Response #15:

Good to hear from you, my friend!

Thanks for your continuing to "evangelize" for Ichthys! The number of believers out there who are at all really interested in the truth is appallingly small and always makes me shake my head in wonder. But this is Laodicea, after all.

Sorry to hear you're still camping. I've been praying for you guys to find just the right place and be in the right situation to buy it – I'll keep this on my list. Eight years! Time flies when you're "having fun", as they say. Goodness. That's longer than the Tribulation! Guess you'll be more than ready for that when it rolls up, with all you've been through.

Little bit of a rough spot here with things so busy at work and last weekend a major dental emergency which rolled into the week and make it difficult to get everything done – but God saw me through it (as He ALWAYS does).

I appreciate your positivity in the face of continuing challenges, my friend. This is a wonderful witness and not missed by those around you (as your recent "send" makes very clear).

Keeping you guys and your kids in my prayers every day.

In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #16:

[omitted]

Response #16:

I think it's a mark of spiritual maturity to be able to separate positive characteristics of individual people who are problematic from their overall character. This of course was/is the point of Classical education (the ancient biographer Plutarch, for example, analyzes his subjects in just this way to help his readers adopt what is positive and avoid what is detrimental).

Also, I think it's a great point that people who get on soap boxes and proclaim their virtue . . . and demand that the rest of us accede to their way of thinking, are usually the most hypocritical of all. People who are demanding that the whole economy be wrecked for the sake of "the environment" are usually the first ones to throw their trash on the street in front of my house and not bother to take it a trash can.

In Jesus our dear Savior,

Bob L.

Question #17:

Dear Bob:

What I find intriguing and puzzling is why God according appears to Muslims in dreams like how he appeared to this Man in Mecca: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2Y7cFlTPoW8

But for this seeker. He was dead silent. Or appeared to be so:

"I grew up with agnostic parents. My sister and I married into religious families, and I have tried finding God and Jesus for years, beyond a decade. I joke that my antennas are broken because despite prayer, study, a Christian teacher giving me verses and lessons to study, I don't "hear" the message. It's sad, contradictory, and when I am seeking so badly for a sign, something in my soul to move... I can't hear it or see it. And "praying harder", "tell God everything" just feels so empty and I can't realize the response."

She goes on to share that her experience is the same as the woman in the video in question and how her faith got deconstructed. And how she is content with finding meaning somewhere else that doesn't involve religion so far.

Recently youtube recommended videos of Christian de-converting for some reason like this one:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ru1DaDZbezk

And this is how she lost the faith: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZW_UTsU0iPw

She recounts how she was healed after leaving Christianity of her previous pathologies mentally speaking. And the fulfillment of an Atheist life after abandoning Christianity and going to Secular therapy. Many others in the comments also said similar things about being more fulfilled, content and happy after leaving religion.

What do you think?

Response #17:

Unbelievers make all manner of excuses for not submitting to the Lord God Almighty through faith in His Gift, Jesus Christ.

What they and what all such excuses have in common is that they cut no ice with God.

Satan had everything going for him – being the top creature of the universe in the top position of honor and the most beautiful on top of that. But he was unwilling to be subordinate.

It's all about free will – and this world is the perfect threshing floor, allowing all creatures endowed with the image of God to choose for themselves whether to live in eternal paradise with the Lord they freely acknowledge as Lord or perish in the lake of fire from pride and arrogance.

Pride, arrogance, knows no gender or culture or socio-economic limitations.

You find it everywhere.

In Jesus Christ the one and only WAY to salvation.

Bob L.

Question #18:

"God is unwilling to reveal himself to them because in their heart he knows that they will disbelieve in him regardless of what he does?"

What in the comment I shared with you specifically gave you that impression?

Response #18:

As to "God is unwilling to reveal himself to them . . . ?", I didn't write that (don't know whose words those are). But on this topic, here is what I read in the Bible:

(26) From one man he created all the nations of mankind – that they should come to inhabit the whole face of the earth. He fixed and determined the specific times and extent of their habitations, (27) to the end that they should seek out this God, that they might go in search of Him and so might find Him – for He is not far off from any one of us.
Acts 17:26-27

The fact that a person says "God is not willing to reveal Himself to me!" doesn't mean that God has not gone out of His way to do just that. Jesus Christ is the light of the world, illuminating every heart when said heart chooses to reject the darkness. The problem is not with God. The problem is with man.

"For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened."
Matthew 7:8 NKJV

The Father provides salvation for everyone. Everyone – who is willing to receive it. That is Christ's testimony. Shall we receive the testimony of Christ or the testimony of man?

In Jesus Christ who died for all that all might be saved through faith in Him by grace alone.

Bob L.

Question #19:

So in spite of her testimony in trying to reach out to God. Hoping he would give her a sign or miraculous proof. That is in reality a lie? Perhaps she had the wrong expectation as if God will manipulate her feelings somehow which is the impression I got when she tried to get through the Bible with another person yet the Word of God seemed inert to her.

She seemed to be trying to pray for a Paul of Damascus sudden appearance of our Lord in Supernatural Glory. Or a vision in the manner of which the Muslims got. Or that God will audibly speak to her.

Personally I believed not because of mostly overt supernatural events in my life. But mostly because of Internet Apologetics and dealing with Atheists and their opponents. I haven't had anything overtly supernatural happen to me like Paul of Damascus.

Rather its through the Word of God managing to connect with world history accurately in archaeology and wrestling with the Word of God and its supposed contradictions and proofs from Nature that convinced me or solidified my faith immensely.

Maybe it's a sign that she isn't really interested since despite me communicating with her account as to the logical proofs and evidence she hasn't responded.

Response #19:

Our Lord's generation did this same sort of thing, after all.

Then the Pharisees came out and began to dispute with Him, seeking from Him a sign from heaven, testing Him. But He sighed deeply in His spirit, and said, “Why does this generation seek a sign? Assuredly, I say to you, no sign shall be given to this generation.”
Mark 8:11-12 NKJV

We can say assuredly from this passage that all such putting God to the test is indicative of an arrogant lack of faith. Putting conditions on God is never a wise thing to do. He gave us the Bible. He gave us His Son. He sent Jesus to the cross to die for us. That's not enough for some people? He raised Jesus from the dead. That is more than enough "sign" for anyone.

Then he said, ‘I beg you therefore, father, that you would send him to my father’s house, ‘for I have five brothers, that he may testify to them, lest they also come to this place of torment.’ “Abraham said to him, ‘They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them.’ “And he said, ‘No, father Abraham; but if one goes to them from the dead, they will repent.’ “But he said to him, ‘If they do not hear Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded though one rise from the dead.’ ”
Luke 16:27-31 NKJV

You're a good man to persevere in trying to help this person, but when individuals become the arbiters of truth in their own hearts, it's very clear what they are doing, namely, re-writing reality as they would have it. That always involves desiring God to be subordinate to themselves, to dictate to Him how things must be. That is the fundamental creature rebellion. That is just what Satan did (and is still trying to do).

In Jesus our dear Savior,

Bob L.

Question #20:

True. There is also the wrongful impression that the Holy Spirit somehow always manipulates Human Emotion and by necessity is always visibly Supernatural.

Hence in the West its not in Visions or visible signs that the Muslims are privy to since their Quran validates visions as valid revelation its already opening such a pathway and hence its inherent in their culture.

But I think due to the Philosophical Materialism that underlies the West, God knows that more frequent clear supernaturalism would be a waste of effort for the most part. And that in the West God would rather work through Reason and Logic because that is what people would be more persuaded by.

But the rise of Apologetics that played a big role in drawing Men to God which I often see in those channels. That is in dismantling the inherent Materialism implicit in Western Philosophy. And the greater availability of Scientific, Archaeological and other forms of Evidence that seem to come to our attention that point to him.

I see more evidence that our God is working in that way than in the classic Paul of Damascus treatment.

And as you said. Even the Pharisees got the sign of Jonah in the death and resurrection of our LORD as our LORD himself proclaims. Yet even then they were not willing to change their minds. So why would God do any more works in that fashion?

Response #20:

Agreed. God can do anything and is not bound by any restrictions. But He is also not obligated to do things in the way WE might prefer . . . or demand.

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #21:

Dear Professor,

I am glad to hear you are doing a lot better. It is never any fun in the dentist’s chair, though thankfully we have them (and the dentists). Will be good once the permanent crown is in place and then one tends to forget about it pretty much. Dental treatment also helps keep the bank balance at bay.

A few months back I heard on the radio an Australian dentist who has patented a product that prevents tooth decay. He had friends that were attending separate golf clubs and noticed one group had no cavities while the other did. After extensive research he could not find any reason from their diets and both groups had wine after their golfing, however one group had cheese with their wine while the other did not. The wine and cheese golf club members had no cavities while the wine only drinkers had cavities.

Of course he kept the type of cheese (from where he gets the extract) a secret so that he can sell his product for a squillion. Nice to know money doesn’t motivate the already well off! As a latch key kid the sweets took their toll on my teeth and after watching a film at primary school, I took myself to the dentist for some exquisitely painful procedures. The anaesthetic didn’t do much and so I felt just about everything. Later in life I learned that perhaps I wasn’t getting the correct dose, as a friend of mine exited that dentist after one visit and attended a different one where they felt no pain from proceedings. I am now “fond” of soft cheese, though I had been eating it for a few years and it seems to do the trick.

Yesterday we attended the primary school assembly where to my shock (though thankfully we had read the letter the night before), our son was announced as head boy from the result of the votes of the other 11 student school counsellors. It was a bit embarrassing for us as we do not get involved in the P&C so naturally thought a student from one of the notable families would be selected - it was a bit surprising that he was elected a counsellor in the first place. However, his teacher says that he is the most responsible student in his class. He is just about the smallest kid in the class.

A female JW witness class mate knowing he believes in Jesus has written to him a similar letter that I received, to attend (zoom online) their annual sacrament meeting. Most Christian congregations hold theirs weekly and all the congregation are invited to partake. JWs do not partake which makes it seem absurd to just pass on the plate knowing no one is going to eat.

I was beat after work on Tuesday (lingering affects of this flu) so sent my apologies for not attending the bible study. The power blacked out on our side of the tracks so I will find out later whether they had a candlelight meeting.

Just a little update and to say I am thinking of you and praying for your health, your job and your Ministry. The blessings of your Ministry are so bountiful as long as we are prepared to study learn and grow and help others do the same.
Hoping your weekend is a recharger for you.

In Jesus our dear Lord and Savior.

Your student and friend

Response #21:

Congrats to your boy – and to you! Parents inevitably receive a share of the blame for anything their kids do wrong so you ought to get at least a pat on the back for bringing your son up so well!

"Bank balance at bay" indeed. A true added benefit – although that had not been a problem before this (so I'll keep that one "in the bank", so to speak).

Our Texas friend recommends B6 which I found out is heavily concentrated in pork ribs. Now adding more semi-soft cheese to the diet too, I'm a true health-foodie, it seems.

On the teeth, the horse is out of the barn there for the most part, I'm afraid. Dentist working on my recent problem tooth: "This filling looks like it's been in there quite a while!" Me: "It's a good deal older than you, I'm sure!".

I did manage to get it all done this week and catch up on 90%+ of what needed to be done. I'll "top it off" on Sunday afternoon and be good to go for the week. I'm gradually getting all of the end of semester tasks out of the way as well, though I did get tagged to be on a search committee for a new French hire – which will be doing most of its heavy lifting in May (the sacred month of rest in academia); still, I managed to guarantee that I won't be on personnel next AY (that was deal).

We don't have that "sacrament meal" thing over here (at least not as far as I've ever seen or heard), so I'll take your word for that. Having a special Easter meal is traditional (though rather more ham than lamb here). I do know that a number of churches on our side of the pond have in recent years been doing "Passover", or so they say. Can sacrifices at an altar be far off? Just goes to show how things devolve when interest in the truth gets totally lost.

For I through the law died to the law that I might live to God.
Galatians 2:19 NKJV

Hope you're feeling better, my friend!

Your friend in Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #22:

Dear Professor

Good to hear you are almost back to normal and a hearty well done and doing for your excellent accomplishments in your Ichthys Ministry.

“French hire”. I managed 67% in junior high but only 50% for English so that definitely puts me out of the race. Haven’t “parlez vous francais?” much since then.

I have attended churches over here where they routinely share “the Lord’s supper” (bread and water - or grape juice). Catholics, Mormons, Baptists, others included. Seems to be the done thing in the churches over here that I have attended. Any Greek Orthodox couple should have a good chance of staying married after enduring a lengthy marriage ritual. I attended one and was really tested to stay until the end. I will be using a fair bit from the Ichthys material tonight (continuing with Daniel) and into the future. Thank you for me being able to use what I learn at your Ministry.

I pray God continues to bless you in your Ministry, academia and home life.

In Jesus our dear Lord and Savior

Your student and friend

Response #22:

Oh – you mean "communion". Sorry I didn't pick up on that. This is a much abused ritual as well here in the states. Most places don't really understand it's primary purpose, namely, remembering Jesus Christ and what He has done for us in dying for our sins on the cross (link). And most places lean RC or Greek Orthodox in investing some sort of magical properties into partaking – which makes it worse than not having communion at all.

Sounds like YOU would be better on this committee than me. I don't speak French at all (outside of the odd phrase), and could only manage a rough reading knowledge of it for my grad exams (that has largely lapsed through non use since). But I suppose I can go over applications (except what they put in French).

Hope your teaching went well!

In Jesus our dear Savior,

Bob L.

Question #23:

Dear Professor

It was good to look up some of the emails on the link you sent to me. The lesson went well and the things that one discovers about what those you teach understand is an added benefit. What? Are we not supposed to pray to the “saint” of the harvest or saint so and so (I didn’t catch the “saint’s” name though our former FBT heard the name and backed me on this one). The things one presumes your students know from their previous teaching from our FBT, but sometimes one has to point out very directly that the angel said words to the effect; “see that you do NOT do that!” (I.e. do not pray to or worship saints or angels).

In addition, the little bit I mentioned about the “Marion doctrines” seemed to hit home hard, even with one close to me. Goes to show that even with teaching, old ingrained doctrines of the RC do not necessarily budge at first bump - - much more muscle and prayer is required to dislodge the stubborn lies lying within. Despite their acceptance of the FBT and also just recently of myself, I see I will need to do a bit of plain checking of their understanding (test papers?). So nodding, as well as meaning agreement and understanding, might have meant they found the lessons boring and were nodding off!

Back to the ol drawing board. When I mentioned the Easter weekend coming up, our FBT told me that Easter is the name of some pagan deity so we should refer to it as Holy Week instead.

Today at the “cafe college” __ told us that he wasn’t attending the Baptist church because they have to get permission from “the police” (government authorities) in order for to be able to worship, and that he will not put government first before God’s authority. [the mandatory sign in of all worshippers by using the “safe Western Australian app” or a sign in register which the pastor must insist on now to satisfy government directives (remember the baker’s telling me they would be liable for a $50,000 fine if a customer does not sign in - the customer gets off rather lightly at $5,000 a pop).

Well I am mostly tired now and off to bed. Just thought I would give you a report from Silly Island down under (not to be confused with Sicily) where they STRONGLY recommend one gets with it and blend in with the name and be the same (not to be confused with sane).

I pray you are doing better in the north.

Remembering you in my prayers.

In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior.

Your student and friend

Response #23:

"I am mostly tired now" – same here; just tired and blessedly not RE-tired . . . or as my dear departed mother would have said "retarded" (guess she would be cancelled for that today).

"The things one presumes your students know from their previous teaching" Amen times two! I have this rule in teaching which I call "the rule of 12". It means that when I am explaining some concept . . . for the twelfth time . . . I start to get light bulbs going on finally as in, "I think he might have said something about that before . . . "; and also on nodding. Yes indeed. The fact that they are smiling and nodding in agreement does NOT mean that they are "getting it" (they're probably thinking about something else). One has to persevere.

I know you are not among the number of "those who draw back" but of those who "who have faith unto life eternal" (Heb.10:39), dragging as many along in your wake who are willing to be dragged. That's the way to win crowns.

Thanks for those prayers, my friend! Keeping them coming from this side of the ocean as well.

In Jesus our dear Savior,

Bob L.

Question #24:

Hi Bob,

It can't get anymore obvious than this. The pandemic/plandemic is clearly a dry run for the mark of the beast. U.K. are now "strongly considering" bringing in domestic Covid passports that basically lock you out of society unless you have the vaccine. Exactly like the mark of the beast then. Anyone clamouring to get vaccinated purely to become a member of society again will need to be sobered up quickly by this thought. If they give in this easily without much pressure, how can they say no to the mark? https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=jfT_t3fhFss

As you have outlined in your series, anyone who refuses the mark of the beast will become an "unperson" who will be closed out of every type of societal enterprise whether it be work, study or pleasure. It will also no doubt mean no access to transport, goods or services, food, medical treatment etc etc. Looks like we've got that now! Of course this is not the mark but a prototype for it! Personally I wouldn't want to set foot in a place that will bring in this draconian law. I can't imagine enjoying a holiday or restaurant or anything knowing that there are "unpeople" locked outside on the streets! How awful is that! Like some fully fledged caste system for all humanity. The haves and the have nots.

I would rather be a nobody in Christ than a somebody in the beast system. It's funny because my real passport expired a few years ago and something stopped me from renewing it. Maybe I knew then that I wouldn't be travelling ever again!

Oh well! To be honest. All the stuff that the world loves : concerts, movies, restaurants, bars, clubs, sports, shops etc.. As I've grown closer to Jesus, all that "stuff" has meant less and less to me. Even when I was still allowed and able to do those things, I no longer wanted to do them. I love being outdoors, being with loved ones and doing quietly domestic and creative things at home. I'm hoping they won't bring in a passport against all those stuff too! I imagining my future right now to look very much like the inside of a cell!

Takes your breath away how fast it is all moving and how eager everyone is to force everyone else to "take the shot". It's awful how I can envisage the exact same people in my life pressuring me to take the mark!

In Jesus,
p.s.
Wow! Already happening in New York Bob! Brace yourself. It's going to get very bumpy from here on in. https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=jWfu2gYTjZI

Response #24:

What's happening over there on your side of the pond really is awful!  As you rightly point out, of course, while this is "mark of the beast" type pressure, yet it is for something that is not prohibited by God to do. Whether or not it is a good thing to do is another question. Time will tell on that. The powers that be are exercising this pressure because "it's a good thing to do" in their opinion, I suppose.

That's where we are as a world and even in so-called democracies. It used to be "what is legal?" and "what is in accordance with legal rights?" But now, what "I" think is "good" trumps all of "your" rights, I suppose – as long as "I" have power and influence. Bumpy indeed. But Christians walking close to the Lord have never put their faith in democracy or any other human device or human "savior". We trust in the Lord – and we are still here in this world for Him and Him alone. We'd rather be there in heaven with Him. As long as we're down here, the only question we need to ask is "what does He want from me" – then do it, day by day, regardless of the "shot and shell" of the devil's world.

It's always been bad "down here". It's just that it's getting demonstrably worse and more difficult day by day. OK. Whatever the Lord wants – that has to be our first priority.

Then Jesus said to His disciples, "If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me."
Matthew 16:24 NKJV

As to New York . . . well . . . it is New York, after all.

In Jesus our dear Savior,

Bob L.

Question #25:

Thank you Bob.

Just feel more and more alienated from those around me. Everyone is super pro vaccine and no doubt they will be thrilled about the mark of the beast too. I could never understand how anyone would want such a vile thing but now I can easily see how people will be fighting to be the first in line for it.

It's heartbreaking to see that my own family members will be desperate for the mark just as they have been desperate for the vaccine. They've even joked that they would gladly take everyone else's vaccine too as though they were free glasses of champagne. The whole thing has made me sick to my stomach.

It's broken my heart to see people I love the most leap at my throat every time I show any criticism of the current regime or of the current batch of vaccines.

I have to keep seeing this as "tribulation training". I think that God is giving us this time to check how much oil we have in our lamps and to see how easily swayed we are by public pressure whether it be from the government or our own families. Of course, there are no eternal ramifications in taking a vaccine (though there may be long term health ones). It is good practice though for being an "outcast" for the tribulation period. Hated by all nations! That's quite sobering to think of.

It's like you said. Vaccines are not forbidden by God but they are not mandated by Him either. So this is a free will decision. What makes it hard is that it is a free will decision in our countries (at the moment) however they are bringing in penalties for not taking it.

The penalties for not taking the vaccine are almost identical to the ones for the mark of the beast but the latter will be much more oppressive as it will mean we can't buy or sell at all. That will obviously mean we won't be able to "do" anything or even eat (though I have confidence that God will provide for us through this time).

I guess I am trying to see this as a "trial run" for the real thing. When my time comes to get the Oxford vaccine I'm going to pass on it and wait out to see if any traditional ones will become available later. Hopefully by then the virus will have fizzled out of its own accord. In the meantime I will no doubt have to suffer ridicule, abuse and pressure from others for refusing the vaccine but it will be good training to keep on flying whilst getting flak and not losing my course.

As always, the answer to any problems or tribulations is doubling down on spiritual growth.

Many in the past have speculated that the mark will be forced on us probably because they couldn't understand why anyone would be willing to choose something so obviously wrong and evil (even atheists know about the "mark of the beast!" such is the mark's renown within culture.)

Seeing the polarising effect of this pandemic and its subsequent lockdowns and vaccine rollouts, I no longer struggle to see the majority of people throwing their lot in with the antichrist. I feel that most are already primed to take the mark now even without undue pressure.

I've been told by people who lived through the Second World War that this is a walk in the park comparatively speaking. If that's the case then it's worrying to see how quickly people have folded without the end of a gun pointing in their faces.

So no force will be necessary for the mark. Just a year or so of confusion and instability and then telling people they have to take the mark to get "their old life back". That's all it takes! No army, no barbed wire, no barbarism necessary. It's like they say about the battle being won without a single shot fired. It has felt more like a whimper than a bang.

Maybe this is just the easy stuff now and each year it will get progressively more and more tougher. They are already "promising" us other virus outbreaks and saying that we haven't had the "big one" yet.

I'm sorry if I seem glum in this letter. I'm not defeated and I am very willing to die for my faith if that is what is asked of me. I guess I am finding out now where all the chinks lie in my armour and where all my weak points are. I have felt a lot of fear lately at the way things are turning out and yet things are still comparatively "not that bad."

I realise that any news or media is bad for me. They delight in portraying Satan as victorious which of course is a pathetic lie but sometimes an all pervasive one whilst being in his territory.

I know that brothers and sister in other countries have had it (and always have had it) much, much harder than me. I feel very weak when I see what they go through on a daily basis.

I'll get through this Bob, not because of faith in my own strength but because Jesus will never fail me. I know deep down that He has already won but sometimes my "eyes and ears" get the better of me.

I will pray to gain strength in these weak areas and not to rely on my fleshly senses and instead to rely on the Holy Spirit to guide me. Amen!

Marana-tha!

In Jesus,

Response #25:

Well, things ARE pretty glum. That's the devil's world. That's the reality. I suppose we're just having the veil ripped away in our day in a way that 50-75 years ago wasn't so obviously the case. Things were rougher in WWII I'm sure, depending upon where one lived. On the other hand, there are pressures today which didn't exist back then. Positive believers have very few "comrades in arms" to encourage them, whereas fighting a secular enemy back then was being part of a "big team" and gave people purpose. We believers do actually have REAL purpose, but it takes a daily fight for the mental and spiritual high ground of our hearts to experience the joy and power of that – and it's awfully easy to get kicked off the hill so as to have to fight one's way back up. So, yes, it's marvelous training – but it sure doesn't feel that way. But that is a hallmark of all really good training . . . at the time.

The vaccine situation is a great test too. Whether one has gotten it, or is planning to get it, or is opposed to it, no doubt everyone has felt the triple pressures of the potential disease, the social ostracism for even questioning, and the mounting government coercion to take it. So we can all relate to a situation – in the not too distant future – where refusing to acquiesce may mean martyrdom. We can all put ourselves in the situation where, mutatis mutandis, are we willing to die rather than . . . Now, today, we don't have make that choice. We may lose some self-respect if we take the shot without feeling it's necessary or wise, but we won't lose our salvation (and it might even turn out to have been good for us). The important thing, for those who do and for those who don't and those who do but didn't really want to, is to remember this situation and use the memory of it to be prepared for the time when it's no longer a drill but the real thing – because then the consequences will be absolute.

Stay strong and courageous, my friend – and keep running your good race for Jesus Christ.

In Him,

Bob L.

Question #26:

Hello Dr.,

In your DropBox you should find the following audio files:

The Interpretation of the Bible

The Word of Truth

The Water of the Word


This finishes up BB-7 for the audio, good stuff! Looking back at the completed series including SR, CT, Pet, Specials, Emails, etc., in writing and audio, there’s really no excuse for any of us not to grow spiritually; we just have to make the right choices. With just a few years before the beginning of the tribulation I certainly don’t want to get caught in a bad place when it gets here, so I plan to continue my studies and place my trust in the Lord’s guidance. I just finished my semi-annual listening of the Coming Tribulation series as well as a read/listen of the new BB-7, the knowledge of the Word of God and these teachings are going to be the only things of value in the fast approaching highly dysfunctional future.

Things are fine here, chipping away at projects and work as usual. How are you Sir? Hope that new crown has brought you some dental relief. Got you in prayer here.

All the best,

Rev.22:20

Response #26:

Thanks! Files uploaded and tested out fine.

You did it! I'm very impressed . . . and very grateful, my friend.

I also appreciate your personal dedication to the truth. That is something we all need now more than ever.

Crown goes on Tuesday morning – a good thing because the temp has already come off twice. Hope they don't have too much trouble mounting the new one, since my jaw is still achy and mouth not able to open all the way without pain since the last encounter (it is getting better, but very gradually).

Rocking through the last weeks of face to face here at U of L. Then it is all virtual (for my classes), and I've already gotten almost everything done (aside from making the last set of five exams and doing final grades). So I'm gearing up for some serious yard work here. Not supposed to plant until "after Derby" as we often get a hard frost in late April, but I may fudge it week or so if I've gotten everything locked down. Then it'll be moving into the research phase for the summer. Looking forward to it this year (I did get snagged into a French hire search that will complicate May, but made a deal to stay off personnel in the next AY so that's worth it to me).

Also looking forward to a new AY with no masks, no "social distancing", and no streaming / remote learning. I've already got many young students who are getting the vaccine so I would image that by next August, that's not an issue (for them that want it).

Keeping you guys in my prayers, my friend.

In Jesus our dear Savior,

Bob L.

Question #27:

Good morning, Dr. Bob!

Apologies for not e-mailing you for a very long while. Although I don't e-mail often, I am very much with the ichthys community in "spirit" - through daily prayers, study of God's Word and the weekly email postings.

The present bind that I am in makes me question my decision to work as a school teacher. Our principal (a Mormon) took an immediate dislike for me when he knew me to be a Baptist. (When their group started work in our place, Baptists opposed them, unsuccessfully) There was also an incident of him being softly corrected by me and overheard by teachers in the room. In this incident, in the beginning of the conversation He appeared to honor the Bible by quoting from it. Later on, he attacked it by mentioning some inconsistencies like the four different Gospels. (He was obviously showing off his so-called expertise in religious texts) I was annoyed by this lack of respect for God's word. I said that that was an old objection that was repeatedly and soundly beat in the past and told him I wondered why he presented a very weak argument against the reliability of scriptures. I said he has to evaluate the teachings he is being fed before believing them for the sake of his own spiritual safety. Being a ranking Mormon official, having earned sacred girdles, and whose authority cannot be questioned, my statement did not sit well with him. Now, I have his full attention and I receive the biggest slice of work assignments - speaking of being highly favored.

The next day, a teacher who is also the resident pastor (he pastors a four square group close to the school for several years now) took me aside and advised me not to repeat what I did to our superior because he is a fellow Christian. He mentioned Mark 9:38-40. I said that Mormons are not genuine Christians. They may be good and moral people, but not really saved because to them Jesus is Satan's brother and not God. It is understandable that they do not have a high regard for our Lord's Word.

I no longer volunteer to give my thoughts on spiritual matters even when I am tempted. I reserve them to those who ask me.

I am swamped with lots of school work to do. Our education department adopted modular print instruction. Most of our students can't afford to go digital for many reasons. Paper work is unlimited. I am also required to get certified to get tenure. I have to enrol in college again. Just turned 50, so college work would be a struggle for my brain and body this time.

With all the deadlines to meet and other things on my plate, I thank our Lord for granting me time and energy for the study of His Word - He is truly immensely faithful.

Brother, please know that you and the ichthys community of believers are always in our prayers here.

In Jesus Christ our ever faithful and loving Savior,

Response #27:

I've been wondering about you, my friend.

I'm sorry to hear that you are having to endure such harassment and persecution for your faith, but I am very proud of your "stand up" attitude for our Lord and for His truth! I know that this will redound to your eternal reward – and I'm praying for your temporal deliverance (have also update your prayer request on Ichthys).

The closer we get to the end, the more all believers everywhere are likely to face similar tests. Kudos to you, my friend, for passing yours with flying colors and setting a wonderful example for the rest of us!

Hope your health is doing well (I pray for you daily).

Thanks so much for your encouraging email, my friend!

In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

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