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Question #1:

Dear Teacher

Please take your time. I'll wait.

I've started going out to see about finding a job. Not a very hopeful endeavor so far. Two possibilities facing me now are a reference to a security outfit where I may get work as a security guard and a local government program in a nearby local government area which will provide me with training in a craft for three months at the end of which I should get some capital to start off on my own. The latter will require me to apply to have my voting status reassigned to that local government and possibly use a residential address there as well. Besides, being a political thing, it is far from likely that I will get in and even if I do, there are always stories about people either taking forever to get the capital or not getting it at all. Still, I think I should try for it. The former is, well, embarrassing but what does that matter if it is honest work? I can only see that it has a potential to be a dangerous job and normally it is a very poorly paying one. I may go out again tomorrow if I can afford to by then - I'm out of money right now - to apply for it.

It occurred to me that the visible evidence of a split between believing patriarchs and their unbelieving counterparts may have been that like Esau, the logic of the latter was that the promises and the calling of God matter nothing if we starve, so they would sell God's Truth for survival in this world (which is incidentally an illusion itself since we all die eventually) and the former believed instead that surviving in this world was meaningless and undesirable unless it was done with, in and for God.

So, while Cain reacts to a slight by murdering his brother - which may indicate that he thought that he was depriving Abel of something great in doing so - and building a city - which may also indicate a thought for security and permanence in this world and Nimrod builds a kingdom - along the same principles as Cain - and Esau sells his birthright - because what good is it to him if he starved, as his thinking went -, Abel spent the fruit of his labor on following God's Truth, Noah endured ridicule to follow God's Truth and Jacob sold his pottage for a shot at inheriting God's Promises (weird as that sounds, I think it was exactly what he did). Moses counted the reproach of Christ of greater value than the wealth and power of Egyptian royalty.

It seems that that was the dividing line all the time. In my life, I know that I cannot see everything about other people's lives but if I judge by just what they say, it would seem that the difference between me and many of those who have been contemporaries to me at one point or another has been their dedication to survival in this world and mine to learning God's Truth. Not that I am better than them. It's just that I have always hesitated to throw myself into "life" with abandon. I always felt a little stupid because of it. I didn't know what I was looking or waiting for. I just didn't feel sure that what I was seeing was the way to live. So I hesitated and threw opportunities away.

My business concept was my way to make up for all I had lost but even with it I kept hesitating. I wasn't sure that I should do business this way or that way. Something was just off about everything. Of course I know now that I was looking at life all wrong. It wasn't that certain activities were wrong or right but that things were in the wrong place. Once the Truth is put in its right place, it seems to me like everything straightens out somehow. Life is not easier now. Far from it. It is just easier to understand now and easier to bear too. And it is so because I finally found the Truth.

The Truth is comforting. Far more so than I thought it was. It demands much but it gives far more than it demands. In fact, it seems to me like what it demands is a kindness on its part. For me, I can't be with the woman I love yet and it hurts to see how that affects her sometimes. I can't provide for myself or my parents or her. And all the possibilities I see for doing so are beyond me somehow. To give my attention to the Truth appears to require that I deprioritize all these things. But what if I didn't? There is a sense in which all the hustling and running around makes life seem meaningful for many. To be busy doing something whatever it may be keeps people happy to some degree especially if that something makes all the above possible.

But I don't think there is any point in my life from the past to the present when I could have lived that way without great concern and possible depression. I have always felt that there was something more. So even though I can't do all that now, to know why I can't and hold that reason everyday in my hands is very comforting.

I told my fiancee a few days ago that although we love each other so much that we wish we could have a long life together, what we will have in eternity will far surpass the best we could possibly have here. I know that for both of us, the "no marriage in resurrection" bit made us wonder just what could be better in eternity than having each other in this special, exclusive relationship where we revel in each other's attention. We really can't imagine what could be but we couldn't imagine each other before we met each other and we surpass for each other our best hopes and daydreams. She has told me that about myself and I know that I had no concept that anything like her was possible when I met her. I didn't even know to imagine anything like her, it was entirely outside my experience. If that is so of something earthly, how much more something eternal. That was what helped our Faith.

This is hard. I didn't imagine my life like this. But every time I think back down the road that brought me here I can't imagine what I would change if I could. Life is tough without a degree, especially a good one like I thought I was capable of, but I would rather have it that way and be here with Ichthys and better eyes everyday to read the Bible with. What if I had not dropped out and continued in school out of fear of ruining my chances for a more comfortable life? Perhaps I would have still come to the point of embracing the Truth with less pain? I don't know. But I went the way I did then because I thought that obeying God was more important than earthly security even when I was not sure about what God was saying. I have believed loads of errors and I am sure there is still plenty to root out. It was probably a lie then too that persuaded me to drop out of school. I'll only know at the Resurrection. But that desire to learn the Truth whatever it turned out to be and at whatever the cost may be is not something I regret at all. That is why I don't see what I would change in my past. I'm here. Here is where I wanted all those years to be. Here is where I was looking for down every alley and around every corner I turned. I could never prefer a life where I didn't search for this place. And certainly not one where I don't find it.

Now that I'm here, I'm trying to be here in a way that shows my gratitude for being brought here. I'm still not very good at it. Paul puts me to shame. You, sir, put me to shame. I like to think that in time I could be like you and Paul and Moses and David and Abraham but that may still be a long way ahead. I would be very happy to shorten the distance though if doing so brings me that much nearer.

To be able to spend every moment learning God's Truth and adjusting to it and spreading it must be amazing. I can't handle more than a few hours at a time. I get tired. And then for all my talk of following no matter the cost, I do get caught in worry from time to time. I know that we all stumble but I wish for the Day when I won't anymore. I wish I had finished my course already and can gaze on His Face forever. It's very tough going here. But finally knowing Him for sure and having such good companions as you, sir, is what makes it bearable. It's like Jacob working seven years and they were as days to him because of his love for Rachel (he did marry her a week after he married Leah though, didn't he, or did he have to wait another seven years to be with her?).

I will be grateful eternally for the gift of you and Ichthys, sir, and for a fiancee like mine who soldiers on in spite of the way things look all because of that which eyes cannot see, and for dear brothers and sisters like Bartek. The cost may be high but the reward makes it seem not like much to pay. And I have not even seen the rewards of eternity yet.

Please forgive me for taking up so much time with all that. I don't think I could have swallowed it back.

Yours in our priceless Lord Jesus Christ

Response #1:

I know you are having a hard time at the moment, but your witness is inspiring. You are a good man, and more important than that a truly good Christian man. You really do put the Lord first – and that is something not easy to do at all.

I do worry that you are putting me up on a pedestal, as we say. Let me assure you: we all have "feet of clay". I am inspired to try to focus more and more on putting Christ first the way you are doing by reading your stirring testimony.

When I was in seminary, I tried to be a security guard but it REALLY wasn't for me. The Lord got me through without it, and I am most grateful to Him for doing so.

I certainly don't know what to advise you, beyond affirming what you have already decided is true, namely, that second guessing is always a big mistake. This is a fight, and like all combat, eggs will be broken. We do our best to dodge and duck and parry and punch the best we can, but we aren't going to be perfect. If we can say when the fight is over for that day that we have sincerely tried to put Christ first in our choices, maybe not perfectly (none of us is perfect, after all) but as best we could given our imperfections and the pressures we face, looking at things with a cold dose of reality rather through rose-colored glasses, that is maybe the best we can do. If we keep it up, good things will happen in terms of the kingdom of God (even if sometimes they don't seem so good in terms of the kingdom of this world).

I would like to be able to snap my fingers and find you a good job, or even better open the floodgates of heaven for you and have the Lord dump a huge financial boon on you. Of course I don't have that power. And no doubt it is a very good thing too. If we can only influence things materially in very small ways, the result is that we do show out true hearts without at the same time turning other people's lives upside down. If we had power or money or great possessions, we would be tempted to benefit others in ways that might mess up what God has planned for them. Obviously no one can "mess up" the plan of God, not even in the slightest or smallest way. But if we think about it that is probably why – at least one reason why – those who are truly walking close to Him don't have the means to do anything mighty in the world's terms. But blessedly we are given the means to be "mighty men" in spiritual things to the glory of Jesus Christ. And there is nothing better than that, not in this world where what we do for others spiritually is SO much more important than what we might do for them materially, and not in the next where spiritual effort now I am convinced will count for SO much more in terms of reward than, e.g., giving money. And after all, even in terms of the latter it is indeed the motive not the amount that counts (e.g., Lk.21:1-4). I also read this in scripture:

Peter answered him, “We have left everything to follow you! What then will there be for us?” Jesus said to them, “Truly I tell you, at the renewal of all things, when the Son of Man sits on his glorious throne, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or fields for my sake will receive a hundred times as much and will inherit eternal life. But many who are first will be last, and many who are last will be first.”
Matthew 19:27-30 NKJV

Keep fighting the good fight, my friend. The Lord knows your heart and He knows what you need. Your part is to be patient. That is always hard indeed, but as James says . . .

My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.
James 1:2-4 NKJV

And thank you so much for your patience on your questions!

It is greatly appreciated.

Your friend in Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #2:

Dear Teacher

Thank you so much for your encouraging email. I think I understand about putting you on a pedestal. I always feel like you (and others) overestimate me when you commend me the way you do as well. I do understand that we all are weak and that where there is any good in us, it is all God accomplishing it. Still, I can admire your own effort to serve God to the best of your ability, to submit your will to Him. I know that our model ultimately is the Lord Jesus Christ Himself but I feel like He gives us teachers like you to show us that what He calls us to is not impossible for us. So, I suppose I am saying that I am always challenged and encouraged by you, sir. And it is a fact that I know no teacher like yourself. I am grateful everyday for you.

Thank you, sir, for the admonition. I will continue to push forward as our Lord gives me strength.

Yours in our precious Lord Jesus Christ

Response #2:

You're most welcome, my friend.

Keeping you in my prayers daily!

In Jesus our dear Savior,

Bob L.

Question #3:

Hi Bob,

It’s been a tough month and a half. My mom and I are having a hard time adjusting to the “new normal”. Sometimes the sadness is overwhelming. Even when you know it’s coming for such a long time you still can’t really prepare yourself for the reality of not having that person around anymore. If I think about it too deeply, or for too long a time, I can’t help crying. Your certainty of my dad’s salvation based on my report has been greatly reassuring, but the pain of separation is greater than I ever expected.

We had the funeral that Friday. The conjunction of Passover and Easter that weekend made everything more complicated. My mom and I only wanted to do two nights of sitting shiva (Friday evening after the funeral and the night after). However, apparently because it was Passover we couldn’t officially call it “sitting shiva” so we had to call it a “celebration of life”. That wasn’t a problem. Family was – getting ridiculously legalistic, saying things like, “You’re supposed to sit shiva for a week, not two nights. The two nights you’re choosing are the first two nights of Passover and I’m supposed to attend a Seder. You can’t sit shiva until after sundown. It’s Passover so you can’t have any bread or anything else with leaven in the house.” There’s more I could say about her, but I’ll save it.

It ended up being a good thing that a lot of people couldn’t come because they were at a Seder. There were too many people at our house for my mom and me to handle as it was. We had to escape to the basement for a while to get away from everyone. The good thing was that people sent us lots of food. We had enough food for 30 people each of those two nights, plus three meals a day for my mom and me for the next week, plus we had to throw out some fruit and things that went bad before we could eat it all. And yes, we had bread. In fact we had a 4ft. sandwich show up the first night, and two 3ft. ones the second. We also had lots of cookies.

There were a couple of humorous moments that weekend. The rabbi the funeral home provided was really good. He was meeting before the service with me, my mom, grandma, and uncle in a back room to go over some things and finalize what he was going to say. He then helped us with the Keriah (tearing of the garment). What Reformed Jews do is pin a ribbon on the chest and then tear the ribbon. So he was going around and pinning these black ribbons on our chests (either on our suit jackets or shirts), and as he was doing so he was talking to me about music (since that was one of the things my dad and I bonded over the most). He got to talking about The Beatles, and he brought up their original drummer, Pete Best. As he was talking to me, he was pinning the ribbon on my mom’s chest and he said, “Pete Breast--” We all cracked up laughing, he got really embarrassed, and my mom, always quick-witted, said, “Can you at least wait a week after my husband dies before you start hitting on me?”

Then the next night, Saturday, my grandma’s eighty-year-old boyfriend, who had a stroke last year but recovered remarkably well, stuffed up the toilet in our bathroom. Not only did he stuff it up, he flooded the bathroom and broke the toilet seat. My uncle and I cleaned up all the water, and the next day it took my mom and uncle 45 minutes to unclog it. Anyway, at the end of the night, when everyone was leaving and saying goodbye, I thought he was going to say, “Sorry for your loss,” or “sorry about your father,” like everyone else. Instead, he said slowly and mournfully, “I’m sorry about your toilet.”

So my memory of that weekend will always involve “Pete Breast” and “Sorry about your toilet.” The eulogies were good. My mom and I were crying too much to read ours, so I had my cousin read mine and my mom had her sister read hers.

We found a charity to take the wheelchairs and hospital bed. My uncle took the minivan, which my dad used to drive and which then had the wheelchair lift so he could go places, to his house and is going to sell it for us (or if he can’t find someone to take it, give it to Kars4Kids or something). Mom and I haven’t gone through all his stuff yet. Even thinking about it is too difficult. It’s all just in closets and drawers. We got a new couch for the living room where the hospital bed was. Mom also got a home security system. It’s a really safe neighborhood, but she’s never lived alone before. The dog had also never been alone all day while my mom’s out at work. The dog still walks around sometimes and looks for my dad over by where the bed was, in the bathroom, by the sliding glass door where he’d sit and get sunlight after lunch. She (the dog) looks in the spare room where the home health aid would sleep. We’re all trying to get used to the changes.

On a different note, I’ve been reading some of the psalms in Hebrew to practice “sight reading” (I used to be much better when I was in preparation for my Bar Mitzvah). I’m also up to Lesson 34 in the Lambdin grammar. I read Psalm 121 and found that I was actually understanding it without having to look up many words, so I decided to do my own translation. I sat down with just the BHS and BDB and came up with what I have below (full disclosure: although I didn’t consult an existing English version while translating, I had read this psalm in the NIV, NASB, ESV, and KJV a couple of days before I did the translation). Can you let me know how I did? I noticed I rendered verses 3 and 4 the most differently from the various versions when I compared them afterward, specifically preferring a fuller rendering of נוּם, admittedly for lyrical poetic reasons, and what I read as the active participle שוֹמֵר, also finding lyrical poetry in a more formally equivalent approach to verse 4 than the other versions seem to have done.

Psalm 121 A song of Ascents:
1 I lift up my eyes unto the mountains.
From where does my help come?
2 My help comes from the LORD,
the maker of heavens and earth.
3 He will not allow your foot to falter.
Your keeper will not be drowsy nor slumber.
4 Behold, He will not be drowsy nor slumber,
nor will He sleep keeping Israel.
5 The LORD is your keeper.
The LORD is your shade at your right hand.
6 By day the sun will not smite you,
nor the moon by night.
7 The LORD will keep you from all evil.
He will keep your soul.
8 The LORD will keep your going forth and your coming
now and forevermore.

Taking things one day at a time, yours in our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ,

Response #3:

Great job on Psalm 121! Nothing to correct here. Were this a test in one of my classes I'd give it an "A+". Of course I don't teach BH at U of L. The woman who does occasionally do so had it cancelled out from under her last time around for low enrollments. And I've only got four signed up for first year Greek next fall so far – could use some prayers there!

I understand about the power of grief, believe me. And it is indeed much more potent when the person in question passes before what we consider the "right time". I lost someone very near and dear my own age in graduate school, and it really set me back in a number of ways. We do have to remember, however, that God knows the real "right time". The plan is perfect. How could it be otherwise since He is perfect? The best we can hope for under such circumstances is that we may have no regrets, not because of a lapse on our part, and not because the person is not saved. Your dad accepted Christ – so no regrets there. And he did so in no small part through your efforts – there is great comfort in that.

I can only glean from what little I know, but it occurs to me that your dad, given who he was and his particular background, was only going to come to Christ through the combination of a loving family guiding him and circumstances such as he suffered towards the end which likewise showed him the necessity of doing so. In other words, if the two options were a healthy dad living many years into the future with you who would never come to Christ, or what actually happened, while this is very hard, the result of what actually happened is that you and your mom will have your dad forever. Perfect plan. Doesn't mean we don't have to play our part in it fighting through tears very often indeed. But that is part of the plan too. It demonstrates our Lord's love, mercy and grace to us in our hour of trouble, something impossible on the other side where there will never be tears ever again (Rev.7:17; 21:4).

(5) Those who sow in tears will reap with songs of joy. (6) He who goes out weeping, carrying seed to sow, will return with songs of joy, carrying sheaves with him.
Psalm 126:5-6 NIV

Thank you for the update. I really appreciate it. I'm keeping you and your mom in my prayers every day.

Your friend in Jesus Christ who is the resurrection and the life.

Bob L.

Question #4:

Hello Professor,

How are you sir? And your family? I do hope and pray that the Good Lord continues to bless you and your wonderful efforts to enlighten us, His flock, in His word.

It has been a long since time we last corresponded and I wanted to let you know that I am still around and I continue to study (get taught) the Word through your Ichthys.com. I do sometimes have questions to ask you but normally I find (on searching through ichthys.com) someone else had already asked that same question and been adequately enlightened!! I do thank God for YOU, Sir! Example: This morning while studying I got to 1Timothy 2:15NIV and I was stuck there, uncomprehending Paul's words about women being saved through childbearing .......! so I checked the TNIV, NASB, KJV and could not find any enlightenment. So I went to my Olive Tree software and checked through the ASV where I got some light because the CONTEXT of 1Timothy 2:15 is much better there, since from line 13 to 15 it is just one sentence (punctuated of course), but you could see Paul means that "for the believing woman childbirth -though painful- would be accompanied by the Lord's watchful, merciful eye & blessing".

1Timothy 2:15NIV:
But women will be save through childbearing - if they continue in faith, love and holiness with propriety.

ASV:
For Adam was first formed, then Eve; and Adam was not beguiled, but the woman being beguiled hath fallen into transgression: but she shall be saved through her child-bearing, if they continue in faith and love and sanctification with sobriety.

Well guess what, I THEN decided to search through Ichthys only to see that the whole topic had been adequately explained there, by you. I cannot appreciate your teaching enough.

Well I did want to keep in touch with you and let you know that I try my best to grow through reading and getting taught the Word of God. I continue to correspond with Bartek and now Pastor Omo, all thanks to your introducing them to me (or me to them?!) .

I pray for you often; I thank God for all of you.

In our Lord Jesus Christ, in whom THERE IS Salvation,

Response #4:

It's good to hear from you, my friend. Our friend Bartek has been keeping me abreast of your situation, and I have been praying for your success (is there anything you'd like me to add to the prayer request for you at Ichthys?).

It's very encouraging to hear your positive tone here, and also to see that you are continuing to grow and progress in your Christian walk. Good for you!

Thanks also for your very encouraging words here. They mean a lot.

Keep fighting the good fight, my friend.

Yours in Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #5:

Hello Professor,

It was good to get your prompt reply. The teaching that we are to carry on despite the difficulties was a difficult one to understand in the beginning but I have understood its import and meaning because of surviving through some pretty tough and scary situations. Faith in my Lord got me through and is getting me through. So I carry on, knowing that the Lord will hold my hand no matter what.

About prayer; I lead a cooperative union and we do have problems (lots of them), so please pray for the success of our projects; we breed rabbits for meat and we want to start a farm to grow sunflower and maize. We have some difficult negotiations with a bank loan, some snags.

Well I wish you a good, relaxed weekend even though I realise how busy you are!

In Jesus our Lord,

Response #5:

It's my pleasure, my friend.

I have updated the prayer request for you on Ichthys and will be keeping you and your situation in my own daily prayers as well.

Your courageous attitude is a joy to my own heart!

Keep fighting the fight for Jesus Christ, my friend – therein lies great eternal reward even if things are sometimes "tight" here and now.

In our dear Savior.

Bob L.

Question #6:

Hello Bob,

I just wanted to drop you a line. It's my birthday tomorrow and I was feeling a little sad about it as I don't really have many friends anymore due to relocating, changing as a person, losing a lot of confidence and having to cut some toxic people out of my life.

I do consider you a friend though. I know you've never met me but I get a great deal of joy from reading your writing and your messages and you have been very compassionate and understanding like any great friend would be. It has meant a lot to me.

God bless,

Response #6:

Happy Birthday!!!

I certainly am also pleased to consider you a friend.

I'm very much enjoying your readings and your very well thought out video accompaniments. Please keep up the good work! As your body of work gets bigger and time goes by, more and more people will find your channel.

I do also pray for you for your joy in the Lord (Jn.17:13; Rom.14:17; Gal.5:22; Phil.1:25; 1Pet.1:8). Sometimes when things are tough, it's hard to be joyful, but in such times at least we can always have great peace in the Lord as we rest in Him in faith (Is.26:3; Jn.14:27; Rom.5:1; Eph.2:14; Phil.4:7; Col.3:15; 2Thes.3:16; 1Pet.1:2; cf. Heb.4:9-11). And on that great day when the Morning Star dawns for us, we will only ever know joy that surpasses anything we have ever known on this earth and forevermore.

So please take pains to have a peaceful and joyous day – remembering that Jesus is our peace and our joy . . . and our hope of all the wonders to come.

Your friend in Him,

Bob L.

Question #7:

Hello Bob,

I have just finished listening to the "angelic prehistory" of your "satanic rebellion" series. I am often moved to tears by the beauty of God's plan and the promise of the New Jerusalem. I can see why so many people call it your magnum opus. You have really given great glory to God in your work. It really helps to listen to it, to help me understand the wonders of the Lord and Our Father.

Hearing of Our Father's patience for us makes the Holy Spirit in my heart leap for joy. I am quite new to real Bible study and I am left breathless of the beauty of it.

Thanks again Bob,

Your friend,

In our Lord's loving forgiveness,

Response #7:

It's always good to hear from you, my friend. I hope you had a wonderful birthday! That was certainly my prayer.

Thanks awfully for your kind and encouraging words. I suppose I'm responsible for these materials but I always feel nervous taking credit for them (Ps.115:1), because I know that anything actually good therein is the result of the Spirit's work (the blemishes are all mine). Sure, we put ourselves in the Spirit's hands and that requires blood, sweat and tears – but the power of anything done spiritually is from Him, not us.

When you say "listening", I take it that you are taking advantage of the "Ryan the Robot" MP3 files. Good for you! I'm very grateful to my friend Chris B. for doing all this work. All I do is post the files after he's labored over them. It really has added a great dimension to this ministry.

By the way, I'm VERY impressed with your scripture videos on YouTube (linked at Ichthys).  The film choices are very nice; they make me think about these things in interesting and encouraging ways.

Do feel free to write me any time.

In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #8:

Hello Bob,

Thank you very much for your prayers. I had a wonderful birthday spread over three days!
I went to the cinema then took a cruise boat across lake Windermere and then drove around to a lovely chapel in Hawkshead, next to the school where William Wordsworth studied. I enclose a photo of his name carving into his school bench! Apparently this was common practise for the students to do! Not exactly encouraged by the master but tolerated.


I also went for a day cycling through Delamere Forest with my sister and still have the bruises to prove it! I am very blessed! I had a wonderful week of lovely gifts, kind thoughts and surprises. I want to thank you for the scriptures you sent me. Each one was a true gift and gave me great joy!

Due to my busy week, I had to put a few things on hold including the bible readings but I shall endeavour to get back into it again now that the days have returned to normal. I am really glad you are enjoying them. The Good Book is so perfect in every way that it needs no form of adornment but I hope to frame it in a modern setting so that people might think on the teachings whilst doing everyday things such a driving to work, cooking dinner or shopping. I hoped that depicting these things that we all do whilst reading the sacred texts would give our actions in this modern world a vital context as it relates back to the Word. The Bible is always there with us everyday, becoming more and more relevant to our times not less so.

I was listening to your MP3s again last night whilst trying to relearn knitting. I have to say that I almost dropped my knitting when I reached the Genesis Gap! I am completely new to all this as well as large portions of the Bible. Even though I have often read and understood post modern novelists who jettison backwards and forwards in time without missing a beat, I really struggled to take it all in through the audio (mainly because it is such a hugely new topic for me that I was both dazzled and dazed by this new information!). I think I need to refer to your written notes for this part. I was also reading a letter on your site about dinosaurs and the fossil record and I realised there is a huge amount to unpack so I will need to slow down to gain a more comfortable comprehension. There are so many things that are a huge revelation to me such as there being more than one Eden and the three heavens that I really need time to digest it all. It is so wonderfully beautiful to discover for the first time! So fascinating and enriching.

How much of the Bible do you believe is written in parables or as metaphor? For me, more and more, I believe the writings to be factual accounts of the history of Creation. Some people believe that evolution and the Bible can peaceably coexist. I am tending to lean towards a legalistic Creationist reading. I know that others have speculated on evolution being on a micro not macro level and not interspecies but only within species. They often cite differing breeds of dog as the main example of this.

Anyway, there is much to think on and as always I would appreciate your take on this when you have the time.

Keep up the great work my friend.

In our loving saviour, Jesus Christ,
P.s I just wanted to add, I know that the nephilim were drowned in the flood but there are many people who talk about there being a nephilim bloodline who are now in positions of great power. I believe that human beings are sinful enough without the influence of hybridity or genetic tampering. Could it be possible that the nephilim have been bred into humanity again post flood? With regards to Noah and the rainbow, I feel very uneasy about the symbol being used for the LGBT movement. I don't like to think it but it seems to be a mockery of God's covenant. Listening last night about Satan misjudging God and assuming that his loving grace would not be able to enact punishment, I feel that this is visible in human behaviour now. It is almost as though people are taunting God by saying "You cannot flood us, you cannot destroy us, you promised". Sometimes I see Christians warning others of sin nature and they are rebuked with the spirit of forgiveness being turned on them. This seems in line with Satan's folly that a loving and forgiving God cannot punish. I am trying to understand where Satan and his followers are now? How do they have influence on earth? Does it mean that they are invisible entities working on earth at the moment? I read somewhere that Freemasons worship lucifer and that they are actively working on the world to bring about the End Times. I know that this is all preordained by God as part of his plan but is it possible that the elite powers who are part of freemasonry are puppets on the earth working for Satan? It's remarkable to think that Satan still thinks he has a chance to win this battle. I guess that shows the power of sin once you are fully in the grasp of it. I am sorry Bob, I have seemed to go on far longer than intended and I don't want to take up too much of your time over this. There is so much to think on!

Thanks again so much for your time and friendship!

God Bless you,

Response #8:

Thanks so much for the update.

It is always very clear when the Bible is using imagery and metaphor (to anyone with a bit of experience in literature in general and the scriptures in particular). And you are correct that this is certainly not what is going on with the seven days of re-creation. The universe had been around for an as yet unknown to us considerable time when it was blacked out in judgment and later refurbished by the Lord. He could have done the latter instantly, just as He created everything instantly, but the seven days are symbolic of many things, not least of which is the pattern for human history that they made possible (with each day representing one of the millennial days that make up the time mankind is given before the end). Here are some links on this:

Biblical metaphors

Biblical typology

Parables and their interpretation

On the nephilim, the flood absolutely destroyed any trace of these hybrid creatures. On top of that, the "mechanism" by which they were created was also crushed when the Lord apparently confined those who had been involved in the Abyss (Jude 1:6), a horrible fate for these creatures of light even after having turned to darkness (Lk.8:31). However it is true that antichrist will be one of these, being the son of the devil (Gen.3:15); and because the beast is able with such alacrity to bring the seven of the ten kings of revived Rome into his alliance after the Tribulation begins, with the other three acting surreptitiously on his behalf even as they are ostensibly supporting the ruler of the southern alliance with which he does battle during the first half of the seven years, it seems likely that these are also "produced" in the same way.

The audio files are terrific, but Chris B. had to make some accommodations at my request such as not including all of the verse references (hard to look up when one is listening in any case); and sometimes a good deal of clarifying information is to be found in the footnotes which are also not present in the audio (for good reason at my suggestion). So, yes, some things are better studying from a written text, or at least most certainly do benefit from being reinforced that way.

I think your approach to these videos is inspired and greatly successful. I've put in a "plug" on the email posting page, so perhaps you'll be getting a bit more traffic soon (it's certainly well deserved).

I'm thrilled to hear you had such a nice birthday!

Your friend in Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #9:

Hi Bob, My wife and I found out today that she has invasive ductile breast cancer. Please put her name on the request for prayer list. We are trusting in God for deliverance from/through this situation. Also I am very thankful for all the prayers from you and the saints for my situation in the healing of a painful skin disorder....some good news here...the rash is currently gone even though I am still having itching. God is good! I'm really going to be glad when I get my new , perfect body (the list of my ailments literally goes from head to toe). I have been praying for you as well as those mentioned on the request list. I can't thank you enough, Bob, for all the work you are doing for the Lord in ministering to all of us, so as to understand and grow spiritually in our walk with our Savior. Please let me know of any special prayer requests that I can pray for. Your friend,

Response #9:

While I'm happy to hear that your condition has gotten some better (I have been praying for you), I'm sad to learn about your wife. I will most certainly be keeping her in my own prayers as well, and have also just now placed her on the prayer list as well.

Nothing is impossible for Him who "heals our diseases" (Ex.15:26; Ps.103:3).

Thanks for your good words and especially also for your prayers, my friend.

In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #10:

Hi Bob. We got the great news yesterday that my wife's cancer treatments (chemo & radiation) following surgery were successful! Thanks, Bob, and all the friends at Ichthys who have kept her in prayer during this battle. And mostly thanks to God for His love and kindness to all of us. Please keep her in prayer as she will need to be on a blocker drug for the next 5yr. along with periodic monitoring. God is so good to us! Keeping you as well as those on the list in prayer that every need will be met. Your friend,

Response #10:

Wonderful news!

This is precisely what we've been praying for. Praise the Lord! He is good! His mercy endures forever!

I've updated your prayer request and my personal prayer list as well.

Keep fighting the good fight for Jesus Christ, my friend!

Thank you so much for sharing this great news. We rejoice in Jesus' Name.

Bob L.

Question #11:

Hello Dr.,

Hope that you are well, no complaints on this end. I have the MP3’s for BB-3A ready for you. In your DropBox.

It’s ben a busy time here, in the past month I demolished and rebuilt the rear deck, finished replacing the windows on the house, took care of the Spring planting, mulching, and watering, and spent some time out of town at an Amusement Device Inspection class for my day job. While I’m far from done with everything on my “to do” list I’m happy with the progress.

How are things with you? I’ve prayed that you would get a break from jury duty as well as for your general well being and the Lord’s will to be done. Time is short and it goes by quickly, certainly don’t want to spend it sitting around a government office building when you have more important things to do.

The good Lord willing I should have the next batch of audio files for you in about a month.

Thanks for Ichthys, I’ve been enjoying “Church” over the past weekends.

Rev.22:20

All the best,

Response #11:

Thanks for the new files! All loaded up and tested. Seems to me that you are getting better at training Ryan too! Thanks!

Glad to hear that you are getting things done this summer.

Thanks for your prayers on jury duty. It was over in two weeks and I did get a lot of time off during the stretch which I used to get some of my summer projects done. Managed to get a nasty does of poison ivy clearing out runners under the butterfly bushes though. I've been making my peace with walking and am starting to get back into some kind of reasonable shape. The "thing" seems to be getting gradually better, though the pace seems glacial. I don't heal up as quick as I used to, that's for sure! But God is good in healing me up and I appreciate the progress. I have hopes of getting back into jogging someday but time will tell whether or not this summer will a prudent time to try [update: currently jogging again daily and about 60% recovered].

Things at work continue to be problematic. KY cut the budget again and the college is going to have bear up under another five percent cut for the coming AY. Haven't heard what the ramifications are going to be yet. I've only got four people signed up for 1st year Greek, the lowest number at this point ever and WAY below the cancellation line. I did more and more aggressive advertising for the class this year than ever before, so I'm not sure what's going on, but I trust that the Lord has a plan. Could use some prayer on this one though! [update: Greek "made" last year; low enrollments this year so far too, though better than last year so far – prayers appreciated!]

I appreciate your upbeat and positive attitude as always, my friend. We serve under THE perfect Commanding Officer, the Lord of Hosts Himself, so whatever happens we do know for sure that He is in control and working it all out for the right ends.

I pray for you and your wife daily.

Your friend in Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.
And p.s., I just received a nice email from a lady in England who loves "listening".

Also, my usage numbers in terms of gigabytes has gone way up since you started producing these MP3s – so others are listening too!

Thanks!

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #12:

Thanks for letting me know about our sister in England who enjoys the audio files. The way I see it if they help only one person in their spiritual growth then it’s all worth it. And so far there’s at least two that I know of, myself and this sister in England! We have no idea how the Lord May use a well prepared Christian, and I’m grateful for the opportunity to play a small part in helping any brother or sister who has the desire to learn and grow.

The digital accent of the reader may take a little getting used to for some, however, personally I have no problem with it and I’m on my third “digital” reading of The Coming Tribulation. Ryan’s voice has become a familiar friend for me and after initially reading the series I find the audio version offers an easy way for me to keep it fresh. There are more polished digital voice programs available but they come with high price tags, contracts and monthly fees, which I can’t afford. I was able to purchase the software I use for a one time fee, but now that’s not even possible, the company has transitioned to the contract model with monthly fees as well. Glad I got it when I did, but of course the Lord had a hand in that.

Sorry to hear about the continuing problems at the college, I’ve had and will keep you in prayer on this. The Lord is definitely with you and your ministry, stay close to Him and His peace.

I can relate to your poison ivy incident. Got a nasty case myself planting thirty six bare root burning bushes. While I was poking those little sticks in the ground i didn’t notice the poison ivy that was starting to sprout behind them and broke out on me legs and arms something fierce. Just shortly before that I got ate up by chiggers and ticks, so I’ve been one itchy and scratchy dude for awhile, thankfully that’s all starting to clear up.

Hope you are able to get back to running someday soon, but in the meantime there’s no shame in walking. We do the best we can with what the Lord gives us.

Thanks for the opportunity to help out with the audio files at Ichthys. I’m looking forward to getting into the Hamartiology section, it’s been about a year and a half since I read it so it’s definitely time for a refresher. I should have something for you in about a month.

Rev. 22:20

All the best,

Response #12:

The pleasure is all mine, my friend. I'm very glad you were able to get the software before it all got overtaken by this offensive model. I have always resisted subscriptions for software. Software is a tool. I don't want to take on a subscription for a pair of pliers. I'd rather build a forge and make my own if it ever came to that.

I've had a good number of positive reports about this option and as I say I can tell from the much greater bandwidth I'm consuming that plenty of people are downloading them.

Hope your bites and poison ivy clear up soon! Both things seem to take an inordinate amount of time to get better on my end – so I'm glad I'm only dealing with one set at the moment (no more short sleeves working in the yard).

My best to your better half – keeping you guys in my prayers every day (thanks so much for yours!).

In Jesus our dear Savior,

Bob L.

Question #13:

Hi Bob,

I hope you are doing well. I haven't heard anything from my friend since the last time I wrote to you and I'm trying not to worry. I'm praying for her every day and I know I can trust that the Lord has it all in hand.

As I was reading this weeks email postings on Fighting the Fight I was thinking about how the Lord has disciplined me through the injury I suffered. Although His discipline hasn't been pleasant and it has been extremely hard it was very much needed for my deliverance and I praise Him for it, (for this prodigal son of mine was dead, but he has come back to life. He was lost, but he has now been found).

I really believe that not only was the discipline needed to get me out of harms way and back on the right track (or I should say back to the narrow way), but I also feel that it's good training for me. There's been lots of physical training for me to do to try and get healthy again, but it has been great spiritual training as well. His particular discipline for me has been tailored very well to me. I had always loved my sport and exercise and overnight that was taken away from me. I could hardly walk let alone exercise or play any sport and not only that it left me unable to work. It's been 3 years now and I still have quite a way to go but I'm still loving the Lord and working hard at getting better.

I was reading Hebrews 12:1-13 and I can honestly say I haven't treated the Lord's discipline lightly and I definitely haven't lost heart. The fact that this is a sign of His great patience with me and His deep love for me is very very precious to me. At least I know I truly am His daughter. Sometimes I find it really hard to comprehend His love for me.

Verses 12 and 13 say Therefore, pick up those hands hanging slack at your side, put some strength back into your weak knees, and make straight tracks for your feet, so that even though you fell down, what you sprained might not be twisted completely out of joint, but might instead work its way back to health.

This made me smile when I read it because I badly injured the cartilage in both my knees! After the injury I've had to fight very hard to get stronger again. The doctors and physios told me that the injury I have is very hard to heal and can take months and in some cases years to get better. At the beginning I had to eventually come to some acceptance of what had happened and where I was. It has taken a great deal of patience, determination, self-discipline, focus, a positive attitude, perseverance, endurance and flexibility in reducing, increasing or changing my exercise. It has taken a fighting spirit and I don't say any of this in any way to boast (the Lord is the only one I will boast in, He is glorified in my weakness) and there are many many people who have gone through far far worse than I have. I say it because it's what you have to do if you want to get better. I've had many set backs along the way especially in the beginning. The only exercise I could do to start with was to build up my walking again very slowly. I couldn't even do the exercises the physio gave me because they would make my knees worse so I had to find out how many steps I could walk each day and build it up very slowly over months. I went out walking every day with my Husband (he's been very supportive), and we walked in all kinds of weather - sun, wind, rain and it even started snowing one day! He would walk at snails pace in front of me and then wait for me to catch him up. If I pushed it too far one day say by walking an extra 500 steps it would ruin the progress that had taken me weeks and weeks to make. If I went out on my own people would stop and ask if I was ok because they could see I was struggling but I knew I had to get out there every day if I was going to get better. If I wanted to go upstairs I had to sit on the stair and push myself up with my arms one stair at a time - great for building up the muscles in your arms! If I just rested and didn't move my knees would stay the same and then eventually feel worse from lack of movement (much like our walk with the Lord if we don't keep moving forward and growing in Him we'll begin to fall backwards).

I've come a long way now and we decided to walk 3 miles to see how fast I could walk it. This time my husband had to run to keep up with me - so funny but we celebrated the progress I'd made. I have a lot of muscle atrophy in my legs and so I'm at the stage now where I'm trying to build the muscle back up in my legs but again it's got to be slow and careful but I'm getting there. I've had to be patient for a long time but it's all in the Lord's time and I have to hang in there and continue to be patient. The next challenge will be trying to find employment again.

The best thing in all of this though has been the hours and hours I have been able to spend in studying the Lord's word and growing closer and closer to Him each day. Time I would never have had if I'd still been at work. I've absolutely loved it. The Holy Spirit has given me such a hunger for His word and I can't get enough of it. If I'm not studying your teaching Bob or reading the bible myself, I'm listening to Curtis's lessons while I'm cooking or doing the housework (I need to dig in to the old testament more though and I plan to write to Curtis to thank him as well; link: Bible Academy).

So I've had a terrible time of it physically and a real blow financially but spiritually it has been amazing - transformational. I have to say though that the Lord has really looked after us. We were in the process of moving house and the company my husband works for were looking for voluntary redundancies. Three of the men decided to take the redundancy and my husband decided to carry on with the house move. It has worked out very well for the three that left, our house move went smoothly and the Lord has blessed us with a very quiet home, lovely neighbours and the company my husband works for is really busy now with lots of work coming in.

I remember one physiotherapist once saying that basically the exercise equipment is there to use, the professionals are there with their expert advice and guidance and it's our job to show up every day and do the work and if we're committed to doing that then we'll reach our goal in the end. That's great advice for the physical but I really think we can apply it to our walk with the Lord as well. I recently read something you wrote Bob and you said,

"We are here to grow strong in the Word, to run the race for Jesus once we have grown and to help others do the same. The truth along with our acceptance and application of it in the power of the Spirit is the key. But learning the truth, believing the truth, applying the truth and ministering the truth is not easy. It takes effort, it takes humility, it takes a willingness to change one's thinking and behaviour, it takes faith and courage to believe, it takes great self-discipline to keep at it and it takes great self-sacrifice all along the way, especially once the ministry phase is reached to do so (and we are all called to minister to Christ's body)".

I really believe that what started off as I thought to be only divine discipline has also been spiritual training for me. Doing it physically is one thing but I really want to continue to do what you have said above. I believe there is a reason the Lord has disciplined and tested me in this way and I want to use it for His glory and to one day somehow help my brothers and sisters in Christ. I'm not sure yet what my spiritual gifts are or what ministry the Lord has in store for me but I'll keep "showing up" every day and I'll keep putting the work in for the Lord and I'll keep seeking Him. I know the importance of taking it one day at a time, one step at a time and not trying to run before I can walk. Whatever ministry the Lord has for me is one that I need to be fully prepared for and ready to do. I'm so looking forward to it - whatever it may be!

If I can I'd like to encourage others not to surrender to discouragement no matter how tough things are. Be strong in the Lord and trust Him because He will never let us down. Have that readiness to work and keep moving forward for the Lord.

Our God is so good. He is so so good.

You're in my prayers every day Bob.

With love in our precious Lord and Saviour Jesus

Response #13:

Thanks you so much for your inspiring email! I am continuing to keep your friend in prayer. These things often take time. We will not give up.

As to "I'd like to encourage others not to surrender to discouragement", with your permission I'd like to post this email of yours (anonymously). I am sure it would be as encouraging to others who read it as it was to me. It's the perfect example of how to respond to trouble in a godly way.

Thanks for your prayers and good words, my friend. I'm eager to see what the Lord has for you down the road as well!

In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #14:

You're very welcome Bob and thank you for your prayers. It's very kind of you especially because you're so busy. I really do appreciate it.

It would be great if you could post my email whenever you think it's best. It's a tough old life sometimes and we all need to help each other out as best we can.

Take care.

In our precious Jesus

Response #14:

Thank you so much! I usually run about at least six months behind in putting things up, but occasionally topicality concerns speeds things up.

Your willingness to help is greatly appreciated. I'm particularly encouraged by your success through tenacity – and God's grace – in getting yourself back into shape. I've had this joint/hip/back problem for going on a year now, and it's kept me from running altogether (took me WAY too long to get that little "message" and I probably made the thing much worse by keeping at it way too long). But now I'm walking a good deal and it seems to be getting ever so slowly some better. Don't know when I'll be able to run/jog again, but I've gotten to the point of getting good exercise walking so that is a true blessing. Your experience gives me added hope. God is good!

I'll be praying for you on this and also on the job front.

In Jesus our dear Savior,

Bob L.

Question #15:

Hi Bob,

It's great that you like running as well! Just very frustrating when these joint problems stop you from being able to run. I can really relate to you there. It's really good that you can get some exercise in by walking now. Mine is an overuse injury. I used to work in a building which had 3 flights of stairs so I was climbing up and down them throughout the day at work and then doing my running etc on top of that. I kind of forgot that I wasn't quite so young anymore and maybe needed to be more careful.

I know what you mean about not listening to that little "message". I did the same but this was even after the injury. I knew I had to move but I did too much to start with and probably did more harm than good. I had to find out how far I could walk without causing too much pain, stick with that for 2 or 3 weeks and then very slowly increase it. I walked on the flat for a long time and then started tackling some hills which made it more challenging. It was very tricky to get it right in the early stages but once I'd made a certain amount of progress it got easier. The most important thing I learnt was to listen to what my body was telling me and make the adjustments. It's really hard especially when you're used to being active. Your mind wants to do one thing but your body says no I'm not ready yet. Walking has been great and has got me so far but I need to build up my quad muscles now to help support my knee joints. I can do squats but not pain free yet so I'm going to try cycling (just on a stationary bike). I'm not really in to cycling but it's good for building up the leg muscles and good movement for the knees. Joints like and need movement. Stretching has helped me as well.

It's been trial and error for me really and being very gentle and careful when I've tried anything new. I'm really happy to have given you some added hope. With time and care but most of all with the Lord's help you'll continue to make more progress. Stick with it Bob!

I was happy and relieved because my friend sent me a text this morning. She sounded fine and asked if we could meet up at the weekend. I'm just glad I didn't drive her away by standing up for the truth the last time I saw her. As long as I can stay in contact with her that's good. As you said Bob these things can take time. I'm willing to be patient, to wait for as long as it takes but most importantly to be guided by the Holy Spirit. I'll watch and wait for any opportunities He sends my way and until then I'll just keep loving her and praying for her.

I'm definitely going to write to Curtis as well and tell him how much I appreciate his ministry and teaching and how much I have been helped by it. I love his American accent. If I listen to him for too long I'll start picking it up!!

I'll keep you both and your families in my prayers.

In Jesus our precious Lord and Saviour

Response #15:

That's great news about your friend. I'm happy to hear that the relationship continues. I'll keep this in prayer.

Yes, I had a similar issue on the other side a few years back and rested it until it got better, then resumed. Worked fine. But then several years after that, I had a real problem with my shoulder. So I rested it. And I got a "frozen shoulder" because I wasn't exercising it. Don't ever do that. It took months of physical therapy of the most excruciating pain until the thing was freed up again (even worse than when that M60 tank crushed my ankle and I didn't get anything for the pain until the surgery twelve hours latter). So "learning that lesson" I kept running, but for this other joint, whatever it is, apparently that was the opposite mistake. Oh well. We endeavor to persevere.

I'm walking about as fast as I'm interested in walking and about 4-5 miles a day, but the "thing" will have to heal up entirely before I can run again.

Thanks again for your encouragement and the inspirational example, my friend.

And thanks so much for your prayers!

In Jesus Christ our Lord, the One who "heals all of our diseases" (Ps.103:3; cf. Ex.15:26),

Bob L.

Question #16:

Hi Bob,

I hope all is good with you and your family.

I've had some more family issues to deal with and I have asked the Lord for wisdom to help me work my way through it. I think I'm handling things better each time something like this crops up but if you don't mind I could do with a bit of reassurance.

Since I've been totally committed and serious about my relationship with the Lord I have noticed that my relationship with my family and my friend have been really shaken up. Being totally loyal to Jesus who IS the truth has proved to be divisive. I always knew the truth was divisive but I can actually see it happening in my own life now.

As you know I've had to distance myself from my mom for the sake of my own health after years of her emotional abuse and indifference towards me. I have re-read some of your previous emails and they have helped me when I have felt guilty about doing this. My decision has been met with some resistance from my dad and my sister and they're not very happy with me. My dad divorced mom when we were kids and he later told us that "she was like a chain around his neck" and he couldn't live the rest of his life like that. He said he felt enormous guilt at leaving his four children but he just couldn't live with mom anymore. Despite this he has always told us that we should just accept mom the way she is because she's always been like it and she'll never change. He always said we should just ignore her bad behaviour and continue to help her out (she never remarried). So basically we were to keep taking the abuse. As much as I will love and honor my dad, I am my heavenly Father's daughter and I will love, honor, worship and OBEY Him. I told my dad last week that I had endured the abuse since I was a child and that I couldn't do it anymore.

This was never going to be easy and it's been on my mind a lot. I'm not prepared to gloss over mom's sin anymore or to make it easier for her to sin by keep opening myself up to being mistreated. If I enable that kind of behaviour then surely I'm saying it's ok. I don't want to be indirectly taking part in that sin. We're told not to participate in the sins of others but to keep ourselves pure. We all have to take responsibility for our own actions and choices and there are consequences that come with them. I made some terrible choices and suffered the consequences but it brought me back to the Lord. As hard as it is I'm not going to try to rescue mom from any natural consequences because the Lord might use them for good - nothing is impossible for Him.

My sister has always been closer to mom and they've helped each other out over the years. She has problems as well. She has two children with different fathers - she separated from both. She's taking antidepressants and is just about to start counselling for an alcohol problem. I could go on and on but I'm sure you get the gist.

Dad phoned me last week asking me to invite her round to my house for a chat and I think to give her some support. We've all tried to help her in the past but nothing really seems to make any difference. It's not that I don't want to help but I also have the foresight to know that close contact with my sister could lead to contact with mom and I can't do that right now. I also thought about 1 Corinthians 5:11. Sometimes I feel like I'm being unloving but I'm dealing with a pretty dysfunctional family here. Rather than phone her I sent her a text message to say if she needed any help just to give me a ring. She text back and said thank you and I haven't heard anything since which doesn't surprise me.

The thing is Bob, both my mom and my sister know the truth. They've heard the Gospel, were saved at the same time as me (well I think they were!), attended the same church and pretty much fell away at the same time. I'm the only one in my family who has come back to the Lord.

My friend mentioned meeting up a few weekends ago after I contacted her and nothing happened in the end. I think she might be a bit wary (I'm really not that scary!) after I warned her about the dangerous and unbiblical contemplative prayer her church was encouraging.

I have to laugh Bob - it's all coming at once. As hard as it's been though I know who is Lord of my life and it isn't my mom or my dad or my sister or my friend - it's my precious Jesus. I think the Lord is working on some really deep stuff in my life but through all these recent days of uncertainty and pain He's been right there with me. Is this all part of the cost of discipleship? This is what I have very happily and willingly signed up for and I really hope by making a stand for righteousness and the truth that I am glorifying my Lord through it. Is this also what Jesus meant in Matthew 10:34-39?

The abuse that I had glossed over for years and tried to downplay (probably denial) has been brought right out into the open by the Lord. I can see it for what it really is now. For once in my life I have someone on my side - I have God on my side and if God is for us who can be against us.

Thank you so much for listening again Bob. I'm really trying to do the right thing and please our Lord.

Your friend in Jesus

Response #16:

It's not a surprise to me that you are getting "hit" with opposition. That is something I very commonly see when believers decide to commit to getting serious about spiritual growth and living their lives for the Lord. And it is not just because those around them see the change and often resent it or fail to understand it (cf. 1Pet.4:4); the evil one and his forces are never happy to see anyone in the army of the Lord begin to get involved in spiritual combat as we are supposed to do – so they oppose it. As one wag remarked, "when you start getting a lot of flak, you know you're close to the target". That is true, and important to remember in spiritual terms. If everything is going swimmingly it may be because we are not doing our job and therefore not coming in for Satanic resistance. Not that growing believers aren't given periods of rest and refreshment – praise the Lord we are! But we are also allowed to be tested in order for the truth we are learning to be tempered like steel in our hearts as we hang tough with it even when our good moves come in for such flak.

You said, "I'm trying to do the right thing and please the Lord". Amen! That is the standard and that is the approach. Don't ever second guess or look back about that. When it is clear what the right course is, stick to it. The evil one in tandem with our sin nature will always try to make us feel guilty about doing the right thing. And it is not so hard for that to happen since life is messy and in areas of complicated application of truth there is always room for second guessing. But there is also no point in second guessing. We do what we do as unto the Lord, making the best decision we can based on the right priorities and we let the chips fall where they may. The fact that we may not be 100% perfect in our application only means that we are human beings living in the world. But believers who are trying, as you are, to do the right thing (grow, progress and help others – walking in the world as He would have us to do), are going to be WAY closer to the top of the percentile scale than those who are floundering and foundering making no real progress and allowing themselves to swept to and fro by guilt and false teaching (Eph.4:11-14).

So stick to your guns, my friend. The Lord has a plan for you and He is in process of carrying it out. These tests will pass and your will pass them as you hold fast to your trust in Him to bring you through.

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

In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #17:

Hi Bob,

Thank you for your reassurance. Your experience and knowledge has really helped me again. It's just what I needed to hear.

So if I'm getting flak then I'm close to the target - I love that. It's not that I enjoy the flak but it's a sign that I'm making an impact for the Lord which is what is most important to me. If everything is falling down around me but I know for sure I'm doing what He's asking me to do then I'm at peace. If He's happy then I'm happy.

I hear you loud and clear - to hang tough with it and stick to my guns. Whenever I know the direction I am to take (which I do) I mustn't allow guilt or doubts in and a biggy for me is not to allow anything to distract me. Stay alert and keep my eyes focused on the Lord and continue to trust Him through this test. It really is a faith building exercise and I REALLY get it now. It sounds a bit weird but I'm glad I'm being tested because it's all part of growing in Him and that's what I want. It's what I need to strengthen up. I might not be saying that so easily when the next test comes along!

I tell you something else though Bob, there's a lot of healing going on as well. I'm feeling the Lord's unconditional love for me rather than conditional love, His acceptance rather than rejection. I feel worthy instead of worthless, I feel like He believes in me, like He's really rooting for me. I'm not a non-person anymore but I'm valued and cared about. I'll always carry the scars but that's no problem, I can do that with His love and His grace to help me through.

And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.

There's a lot of good that's going to come out of this in time and it's not just for me but for my brothers and sisters in Christ too.

I'd better shut up now and let you get on. I can't half waffle on - I wrote quite a few words to Curtis a couple of weeks ago to say thank you to him for his ministry and shared my testimony - I bet he still hasn't finished reading it - poor Curtis!!!

Always grateful to you and for you.

In Jesus our precious Lord and Savior

Response #17:

I want to write back in more detail, but I've been occupied with the editorial for BB 6A: Peripateology.

And it's FINALLY posted (at the link)!

This exposition of the Christian walk is something I think you will find very helpful for your current battles.

Your friend in Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #18:

No problem at all Bob. I've had a quick skim over peripateology and I can see already that it's going to answer a lot of my questions. It's perfect timing for me. Thank you so much for all the obvious hard work you have put in - I really appreciate it.

If you don't mind I just want to quickly say this to you. It's been quite a week for me. As I was reading my bible last night the Holy Spirit couldn't have been any more clear, powerful or direct in His encouragement, reassurance and guidance. He couldn't have made it any clearer to me to rejoice in the Lord and to praise Him for the victory and the deliverance He has given me. It was such a wake up call. I realise that I've been spending way too much time dwelling on the situation and as you know desperately wanting to do the right thing. I suddenly felt such a deep joy inside. It's hard to explain how it felt but I ended up in tears (happy tears) and I have peace inside today. It's been a really draining time but I just want to keep His words in my heart and rest in Him. All I want to do now is to get my head down and start studying your exposition of the Christian walk because if I can learn as much as I can it's really going to help me going forward.

I know you've been praying for me Bob and the Lord has heard those prayers - thank you so much.

I don't want to take up any more of your time so please, please don't worry about replying. I just wanted to share this with you.

Your friend in Jesus

Response #18:

I will certainly keep praying for you. Your obvious joy in the Lord is a great encouragement for me. That is something many Christians struggle with, but all you have to do is to read David's psalms and see that even in the midst of the darkest trouble he was ever joyous about his relationship with the Lord. We can have that too. We NEED to have that too (there is a good deal about that in BB 6A); seeing you already deploying the truth to that end is a real tonic.

Keep up the fight, my friend!

In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #19:

Hi Bob,

Be kind and gentle with those "cranky" knees! Hope the rain gave them a rest day yesterday.

I've still got six weeks to go at work. Four day weeks - Monday to Thursday. My last day is Thursday 1st August. I've been keeping an eye on other vacancies that come up but I think I need to be careful about what I apply for. I need to get the balance and priorities right - working and looking after the family and home but also the health (cranky knees!) side of things. Doing things the way the Lord wants me to do them. I'm praying about it and trusting Him and thanks for your prayers too, Bob.

I'll definitely be praying for those enrollment numbers to pick up for you. And I remember you saying that when you start back every fall after a summer of research but no teaching you REALLY feel it (I think I've got that right?). So I'll be remembering that in my prayers for you too.

Bob, you said to me recently when I mentioned about me being in a "bubble" that the truth cannot help but change everything about the way we look at the world. Everything you said is exactly what is happening to me and I'm relieved that I am able to talk to you about it because I know you understand. It's impossible for an unbeliever to understand these things. You said that I'm not closing myself off, but I am opening myself up to what is really glorious and eternal. I just wanted to say thank you for this because it was a real help to me. My eyes are very much fixed on the unseen and these things are becoming more and more clearer to me - more magnified. It has surprised me just how much and I wasn't expecting it.

I've got more to share with you about this but I'll leave it there for today. Thanks again for everything, Bob.

Your friend in Jesus

Response #19:

Thanks for the update on the job situation. I think you're right and prudent to be careful. Family is pretty much a full time job in and of itself.

I'm always encouraged to hear about your good spiritual perspective, my friend. As you say, it gets a little lonely being around a world of people who "don't get it" so it's nice to hear from those few who do.

Appreciate the prayers! Keeping you in mine day by day as well.

That is why we labor and strive, because we have put our hope in the living God, who is the Savior of all people, and especially of those who believe.
1st Timothy 4:10 NIV

In Jesus our dear Savior,

Bob L.

Question #20:

Hi Bob,

You're doing a grand job of keeping me stocked up with "gleanings" - it's really kind of you!

I've been re-reading the BB's and still learning so much. New things jump out at me each time (and not just typos!). I'm concentrating hard and stopping at times to grasp it properly and let it all sink in deeply. I love Him, Bob and I think as you said in one of your emails He's getting BIGGER and BIGGER to me.

I have four more weeks to go on this current "gig". I had a good day at work today. Thanks to the Lord, I seemed to be the only one who was feeling fine today. A lot of the dentists and nurses were stressed out or not feeling well. Throughout the day they were coming to me and telling me how they were feeling or what was bugging them. My boss has been very stressed for a few weeks now and has been telling me about some of his problems too - home and work. So I've been giving them all a listening ear and lots of support. Strange really but I've been doing my best for the Lord and for them. Nice that they feel comfortable enough to talk to me about these things.

I hope you're coping ok in the very hot weather. If I was in Louisville now I'm pretty sure I'd be keeling over! Hope the nasturtiums that you planted were ok.

I'm very grateful for your friendship too, Bob. It's very much just me and the Lord but I'm continuing to press forward and draw closer and closer to Him. There's nowhere more loving or more safe to be.

Praying for you every day.

Your friend in Jesus

Response #20:

It's wonderful to hear from you always, because you are always fighting the fight with joy -- rather than complaining and whining (of which I hear plenty, believe you me!). Your example demonstrates how much a true "joy in the Lord" can carry us over the rough parts. We have to go over them anyway. Why not do it with joy because we are trusting Him and looking to our eternal future? I'm also thrilled to hear that you are being given opportunities to let your light shine in this way. Believers who are whiny don't get opportunities like that – or if they do, they're likely to blow them. You are a good witness for Him in every way, and I pray daily that you will begin to see more and more fruit for your labors.

Nasturtiums doing OK – having to run the sprinkler. It's a banner year for blooms, but stuff not attended to wilts and dries up pretty quickly.

Keeping you in prayers for the "right" next thing.

In Jesus our dear Lord,

Bob L.

Question #21:

Thank you so much, Bob for your lovely words. I keep telling myself that I need to give you a break and write less often because I'll be starting to get on your nerves. But I love writing to you.

The closer I get to the Lord, the more I love Him. When I think about what He has done for me and what He wants me to do while we're still here and what we have to look forward to when we're finally with Him and each other, it kind of doesn't leave much time or room for complaining and whining. I'm too distracted with HIM and full up of joy and anticipation! And this has definitely helped to carry me through all the rough times. And trusting Him too. That no matter what we're going through He loves us, He wants the very best for us and that all things work together for good to those who love Him.

And the verses that I always remembered from my unnecessary "dunking!"

Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice! (Phil 4:4)

I have the strength to endure all things in the One who empowers me to do so (Phil 4:13)

Always grateful for your prayers, Bob and you're in mine too.

Your friend in Jesus

Response #21:

Thank you !

I'm happy to hear from you any time, my friend. Your obvious love for the Lord and clear spiritual progress are very encouraging to me. Amen! If we are really thinking about Him and all He's done for us, there's no room for negative attitudes or actions. Keeping that perspective when the going is tough is not the easiest thing to do, so I rejoice in a good Christian friend who is doing it so well!

Best wishes for the rest of the week ahead (taking some time out here for a few more projects).

Thanks so much for those prayers – keeping you and your family in mine as well, day by day.

In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #22:

Bob,

I do not write you very often. I would ask you more questions, but every time I think that I have something to ask I end up finding the answer on your site already. It is really a great site. Today I started reading the new Peripateology: the Christian Walk and I really like what you have created. It is really well done. Hopefully I can at some point in time help someone like myself looking for answers and show them your site. I have tried with some people but it seems they really don't want to go that deep. They seem to be just happy going to church once a week and that is it. I can't get enough of all that you written. Thank you Bob. And I thank the Lord for guiding me too you.

Your brother in Christ our Lord,

Response #22:

It's good to hear from you, my friend!

Thanks for these good and encouraging words. Your analysis and description of the typical Laodicean believer is, of course, right on the money. My old mentor used to call these types the "nod to God crowd", happy to get it all over with in an hour or so on Sunday. Sadly too, there is almost nothing served up on Sunday – as if a person getting a meal once a week got served up cardboard . . . and kept coming back for more! The most aggravating thing to me is that these types tend to be very smug about their application to the point of giving honorable Christians who are not satisfied with this substandard approach a very hard time because they don't do things the same way.

The judgment seat of Christ is going to be interesting (prepare for many bonfires).

Your friend in Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #23:

Hello Mr. Luginbill. I hope you are doing well and are in good health.

Getting right to the point, I have been struggling with temptation a lot lately. One would come, I would go to God about it, then a few minutes or even seconds later it would come right back. Other times I would go to Him and the temptation/ temptations wouldn't come back until a few hours later. So I am being totally bombarded with so many temptations every day. I am very much aware that I will have to suffer to overcome habitual sin, and that doing so can, as you have said in some of your responses throughout your site, take "time and pain" . So far I can attest to that. It is so stinking hard! I literally begin to grit my teeth. I know you said before that a Christian who is actually engaging and not sitting out this race is more of a target on satan's radar, and therefore heavier enemy fire is to be expected, but is, if I may call it, "excessive temptation" a sign that perhaps I'm not letting it go, aka not desiring God as much as I should, or perhaps as is often the case a sign I am doing the right thing?

Many a times I find myself hesitating during temptation, even though I don't want to. Its sort of like a tug of war between my flesh and my spirit. No surprise there. As of late I've been trying to figure out what "crossing the line" is in this case. Like, when it says in the Bible "do not even give a thought to sin", does that mean that if I thought about the temptation I have sinned? What about if I dwell on them for some time, but then resist? Both I know are terrible ideas and can be catastrophic, but are they sins in themselves? Again, I know that should be avoided at all costs, but I ask because in times past I have done this, but then I would go on to give them up to God. But then I would think about this later in confusion. I would become afraid, asking myself, "but what if I did sin just because I let the temptations stick around in my head too long before I decided to give them up to God? And so I would be left with fear because I don't want to go around thinking I didn't sin or if I really didn't then vice versa.

I hope all this wasn't too confused. Thank you for your time and patience.

In Christ,

Response #23:

I'm sorry to hear that this struggle is particularly difficult at present, but please don't lose heart. All things pass. It's very tempting to let ourselves imagine, when we are under any sort of stress or pressure or pain or temptation, that "this will NEVER end". But it always does end, one way or another – or at least it changes. And in any case, the Lord always makes a "way of escape" for us to endure, get through, and eventually come out from under all tests, trials and temptations (1Cor.10:13). So we have to have faith, trust in the Lord, that if we keep doing the right thing it will indeed all work out for the absolute good (Rom.8:28).

In terms of temptation itself, it is not a sin to be tempted. Temptation my be thrown at us quite apart from any culpability on our part whatsoever. Our Lord was tempted by Satan and we know that Jesus was completely without sin, before, during and after. James explains the process very precisely:

(13) Let no one say when he is being tempted, "I'm being tempted by God!" For God has nothing to do with evil temptations, nor does He tempt anyone. (14) Rather, everyone is tempted by his own lust, being dragged away [by it] and enticed [by it]. (15) Then, should lust conceive (i.e., should the person give in to it), it gives birth to sin. And sin, should it be fully carried out to the end (i.e., should the person give in to a life of sin), produces death (i.e., spiritual death, the death of faith).
James 1:13-15

The upshot of the above is that lust is something we need to tamp down entirely. Our sin nature feeds off temptation and tempts us in return. The more we fail to say "no", or rather "NO!!!", the longer we wait until we do so, and the more we allow ourselves to be exposed to things we know can potentially cause us trouble, then the more difficult saying "no" becomes and the less effective too. We have no problem saying "no" to things we think are disgusting or things which are really not terribly tempting to us personally. But when it comes to our personal areas of weakness (and we all have them, even though we are all different), the tendency is to be less prejudiced against these things that stimulate lust and lead to intensification of temptation.

Put it this way. It's better to blast the enemy with artillery 5K away from the perimeter; if we don't, it's better to blast them with mortars 500 yards away; if we don't, it's better to machine gun them down 100 yards out; if we don't, it's better to shoot them down in the wire . . . but if we don't do any of that, we're going to find ourselves fighting with bayonets and in hand-to-hand combat. The problem with that is that it gives the enemy too much of an advantage. No one can win at bayonet fighting and hand-to-hand combat over and over again without being injured at least. In the analogy, oftentimes the individual soldier or Marine doesn't have a say in this. But we are the commander of our own free will, and in fact we don't even have to set up shop in the temptation zone, most of the time. When such temptations are in fact not entirely avoidable or not entirely our fault (or if we have let down somewhat – no one is perfect), the farther off we blast them, the better it will be for us.

If the enemy takes the hill, we have failed. If, as James says, we allow ourselves to be "tempted by our own lust" (which is bad), and then to be "dragged away [by it] and enticed [by it]" (which is worse), it won't be long until "lust conceives" – that is the worst because that constitutes failure.

If we fail, we are in the wrong and we need to reexamine our process in all this. In fact, if we are finding ourselves in too many hand-to-hand and bayonet situations, even though we haven't technically failed, we are certainly ripe for it and need to reexamine our process.

In all such things, we are the commander of our own free will – so we are absolutely responsible for all we do and fail to do. Since that it the case, if we are having "problems", it usually means we are not being tough enough on ourselves, and that we need to intervene in response to the temptations that plague us earlier on and with more authority.

If we are having trouble with drinking too much when we meet our friends after work at the pub, then maybe instead of agonizing over how many beers is too many we just simply need to stop meeting our friends after work at the pub. In fact, if we are having problems in this regard, maybe we just need to stop drinking period.

If movies tempt us, maybe we should give up movies, etc., etc. It's not a question, moreover, of "giving up things for Christ", as if this were some sort of independent virtue. There is no point in giving up movies, e.g., if they do not in fact tempt us (although there are much better uses of our time and resources to be sure). But we do have to be smart about this. If music of some sort is a stumbling block to us for whatever reason, better not to listen to that type of music. We are responsible for everything we do, think and say. This is a fight, a fight to the finish. And if we are going to make our lives count for our true Commanding Officer, Jesus Christ, then we really can't afford to allow non-essential things to trip us up, plague us and take away our peace, ruin our Christian witness, and stunt our spiritual growth.

It all comes down to choices – and if we are choosing overall what is pleasing to the Lord, to grow, progress and produce for Him, then all of the other choices we make, like giving up things that compromise us and work at cross purposes to what we have set ourselves to do, will be easier to make as well.

There is a GREAT deal of information and guidance on these matters in posting I wrote you about, BB 6A (see especially the link "Testing and Temptation").

I'll definitely say a prayer for your victory in this, my friend!

In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #24:

Hi Mr. Luginbill.

I know I already asked you about this but this question popped up in my mind again. Would the below statement be correct? I ask not because I agree or disagree with it, but because I don't quite understand it. I don't mean to sound dense, but I do know that if a man wants to become wise he must humble himself and become a fool. The link essentially says dwelling on bad thoughts is the problem.

I'm happy to tell you I have become more serious with my walk. The more time one spends focusing on it the better. Its only been a few days/weeks, but I can tell you that I really can see the difference in my thought process when I spend more of my day in the word and in prayer. All temptation is to be answered with NO, and there must be a no tolerance policy.

P.S. I have begun reading your work on peripateology. I look forward to continuing through it.

In Christ

Response #24:

Good for you, my friend! I agree with your conclusion . . . and so does the scripture:

For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age.
Titus 2:11-12 NIV

"Just say 'no!' " is the biblical position. And remember, we have the Holy Spirit in us. If we accede to His will, following through on saying "no" is easy – because He is omnipotent. Do we ever feel it's not easy? Then we are not really saying "no" but "maybe no" (big difference), and/or not really relying in fighting the fight on His power which is absolute.

As to the quote, I don't agree, but it really doesn't matter. I refer you back to my defense of the hill analogy. It's really a moot point as to how the hill was lost if the hill was lost. That is to say, it really doesn't matter how culpable we were before we sinned if we ended up sinning anyway. What we can say is that the slightest lack of resistance or cooperation with the Spirit makes it harder to win the fight.

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #25:

I've thought about it doc Robert because I was able to spend much time with the Bible when I was still teaching compared now when my life is almost spent at work because of pressures and on-going non-stop activities in the office. So at some point I was able to think that my current job seems like a devil's trap, hence I've thought about resigning. I'm afraid things may get worse.

Thank you so much for your efforts in reaching out my dear friend. Thanks again for the prayers. Please continually pray for me & my family.

God bless you doc!

Response #25:

I can appreciate your situation, my friend. A few years ago I narrowly escaped becoming chair of our dept. That would have been a disaster for the ministry. Resigning has never been an issue: I have to provide for myself and my family.

I will continue to keep you in prayer on this. The Lord already has a solution. It's just up to us to wait patiently for Him to reveal it. That is the test of faith.

Hang in there, my friend!

In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #26:

Hello Dr. Robert. Thanks for your heartfelt response.

I am no longer teaching. I resigned from it and transferred to an office, thinking it would be easier & thus I will have more time for the more important things. But unfortunately it is not the case. It has been tougher and more time demanding. I have to work my fingers to the bone every single day. My time with the Lord is also very limited now compared before because of the pressures of my present job.

With all the things happening, I wish to resign again and seek another venture. After all, this current job still couldn't pay my very large loans which have been bothering me for quite a while now.

It is really tough my friend. But thanks doc for your prayers. It is very much appreciated.

Hopefully I can stop all this stuff which wouldn't contribute a single thing come judgment time and my spiritual life in general. I am so tired of it all, of all this nonsense. but I have no choice but to work in order to provide food in the table.

I wish I can stop all of this and just concentrate on serving the Lord which is all that matters!

Thanks again my friend. God bless you & your family!

From the heart,

Response #26:

It can be helpful to remember that we are evaluated on the basis of what we have and are able to do and how we deal with / use what is at hand, not hypotheticals. So if we have only twenty minutes of potential free time a day and only through sacrifice at that, and use much of that time in the service of Jesus Christ, that represents a true labor of love for the Lord. On the other hand if we are all of a sudden made rich to the point of having all of our time liberated and spend twice as much time as was previously possible (forty minutes), that clearly does not represent the same level of sacrifice, and the Lord surely knows the difference:

Jesus sat down opposite the place where the offerings were put and watched the crowd putting their money into the temple treasury. Many rich people threw in large amounts. But a poor widow came and put in two very small copper coins, worth only a few cents. Calling his disciples to him, Jesus said, "Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything—all she had to live on."
Mark 12:41-44 NIV

So be pleased to hang in there with the Lord, my friend, and do what you can, when you can. Even a cup of cold water offered in the Lord's Name will receive its due reward (Matt.10:42); and every bit of Bible study you do, even if all you can do is a few minutes a day, will contribute to the good. It's a common thing for believers under pressures and restraint to say to themselves "because I can't do it this way I'm not going to do it at all". That is a trap. Doing "everything" under "better circumstances" is almost always a null set in actual Christian experience. But something is always better than nothing, especially if it has to be scratched out under pressure – because it demonstrates the resilience of our faith.

I'll be keeping you in my prayers for all this, my friend.

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #27:

Hello Professor,

I have reached out to Dorota after a long period of quiet which followed my question about her faith back at the beginning of June.

As I wrote to you then, I went on an evangelical offensive with her and was disheartened by her lack or response even in the face of her severe illness which means that probably only a short time is left. Her cancer is not curable and it has spread all over her body.

BUT PROFESSOR - IT LOOKS THAT SHE JUST GOT SAVED!

What she wrote bears all the marks of a genuine faith in Christ. She told me about the peace that came to her when she finally understood - and it seems accepted also - that salvation only comes through faith in our Lord and not in our own works. She already started to explain it to her daughters. This is quite incredible.

I am ashamed at the fact that I got disheartened by what I saw. I did pray, but it seemed to me that the case really could have been lost.

Professor, I hope this is true and it does look that it is. And if it is, then what a day.

In the grace of our Lord,

Response #27:

That's terrific news!!!

I have been praying for Dorota . . . and I will keep it up!

[update: our sister Dorota has gone to be with the Lord – please continue to pray for her daughters]

Good job, my friend. You persevered when others would have thrown up their hands. I'm very proud of you . . . and thrilled for her.

A happy day indeed! God is good.

In Jesus our dear Savior,

Bob L.

Question #28:

Fortunately, I have not had to bother you with questions because I have been able to find answers on your excellent website.

I cannot tell you how much I use and enjoy your website. In this day of ever more socially correct teaching coming from present day Churches, at the expense of what our Bible truly teaches us, it is a true blessing to have this site. As time consuming as this is, please know that everything you do is most appreciated and helpful.

Blessings,

Response #28:

Thank you!

Your good words are most encouraging, my friend.

I appreciate it.

In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #29:

Hi Dr. Luginbill,

In Genesis 3:6, why do you think 'with her' doesn't mean that Adam was literally present with Eve as she was tempted?

On vulgarity, I asked before, but you said it depends. So I was thinking to give you two example my grandmother said to me:

One was when my grandfather asked: What happened to the pretty young girl I married?

Her: Same thing that happened to the nice slim sailor I married.

Second was a guy at the plant insulting her appearance and she responded by insulting his manhood below.

I know Christians would hate that, but in the work place – especially blue collar – men will chew a girl up if she is all beta and submissive, and will keep doing it unless she snaps back. Is it wrong to do so?

Hope everything is good,

Response #29:

On Genesis 3:6, no, Adam was not present when the serpent tempted Eve (see the link: scroll down to Q/A #8).

On your grandma, I don't see anything wrong with example #1. As far as standing up for oneself, women in such situations definitely need to do that. How they do it is between them and the Lord. We can all think of things that are wrong to do (taking the Lord's Name in vain, for example); but in such circumstances I would want to leave the specifics to the individual and her conscience.

In Jesus our dear Savior,

Bob L.

Question #30:

Hello Bob,

I'm sorry for such heavy subject matter at an early hour last night. [details omitted] After I emailed you I had one terrible "dream" after another of demons attacking me. I have never experienced such an evil attack in all my life. Non- believers would say it was bad luck to have so many nightmares but it was definitely entities as I felt it in the room After I kept waking up. Am I damned now? I have been praying throughout today about it and I can't stop crying about it. When I went to my last therapy session, the therapist went over the allotted time by half an hour to do a "visualisation" exercise with me to help me with my separation anxiety. He seemed really keen to do this and it felt like he had this strong intense power over me like a Mesmer type power. I felt a very heavy and physical energy in the room and an intensity. I don't know why I went along with it as I have heard before that visualisation has occult ties but I guess I suddenly felt pressured in the moment and of course I wanted to get better. The visualisation was about taking out the part of your brain that had negative thoughts and talking to it. I was to also give it a colour. I saw it as blue and then I suddenly felt scared and called on the Lord in my mind. I saw Jesus as part of it and he was holding me and protecting me. Was this a deception or was it really Jesus? Has the therapy opened me up to evil spirits? If this is the case then I am happy to cancel it all here and now. I know it will mean MASSIVE pressure and resistance from my boyfriend and my family as they say they have seen a difference in me and have attributed it to the therapy but the truth is that I've been pursuing God at the same time. When I told them that, they ignored it and told me "No it's the therapy!!" My family and my boyfriend don't believe in the healing power of Jesus but I do now. I don't want any type of attachments or reliance on anything new age. My dad and my sister nag me all the time that I should be doing meditation and yoga but I keep resisting and telling them that neither are of God and will open you up to the spirit world. The problem is that they don't believe there is a spirit world. In the past, I didn't either. They don't really believe in Jesus the same way that I do. My dad told me to "Not bother reading the Old Testament but to just stick to the Gospels". I was really shocked that he said this! He said there are too many contradictions in the Old Testament and also lies(!). Why would he say that? Wasn't Jesus the living fulfilment of the Old Testament? It scares me that my family say these things about my faith. I believe in every single word of the bible, is this wrong? They say that this is too legalistic. Yesterday my mum said that it is fine to get a divorce and remarry in the Catholic church as long as you got divorced in "a different church". She said that same sex marriage is fine now because the church allows it! I told her that man changes but God doesn't. I get tied up in so many knots talking about Christianity to my parents that I worry that instead of witnessing to them, they are making stumbling blocks to my own faith. Meanwhile my sister is pursuing new agey things and reading Harry Potter and watching Star Wars and those are where she gets her morality from, not the bible. She thinks that all the religions coming together to form one religion is a great thing! She thinks it's all warm and fuzzy and about peace! I despair Bob, I really do. All I want to do is serve our Lord God heavenly father, through my walk towards Jesus, to pursue spiritual growth so that I can more confidently witness to others without shaking my own faith foundations. Will Jesus forgive me what I blurted out in that moment of panic and confusion? I don't want to do anything that would offend my Lord Jesus who I love with all my heart. How can I protect myself against spiritual attack? Do you think my therapy has left me open to attack? If so, would I be forgiven for seeking therapy. All I want to do is please God, that is all I want to do. Whatever I have to change in my live or give up to do that, I will do and I will do it gladly. I would even turn away from my most cherished earthly attachment for him. Finding the father through Jesus is the only truth I have ever experienced in my life and it has meant more than silver and gold to me.

In our Saviour and Lord Jesus Christ,

Response #30:

Apologies in advance for the brief response, but Saturday is "posting day" and I've been at this a long time (it's getting late in this time zone).

First, please remember that Jesus died for every one of your sins and mine. There is no sin that cannot be forgiven a believer and no sin that is not forgiven a believer just as soon as we come to the Lord with it in prayer of confession.

Second, I am sorry to hear that you are experiencing opposition. That, however, is standard for all believers who are turning back to the Lord. The evil one is quick to oppose any lost lamb trying to come back to the Shepherd's call, especially in the early going. And the Lord in His perfect way allows a certain amount of such opposition in order to test the genuineness of heart on the part of the Christian in question.

I have no doubt personally that your desire to walk closely with the Lord and to please Him is genuine. It is also true, however, that pleasing Him is doing what He really wants from us and not what others say He wants from us or we wrongly imagine in the absence of truth He wants from us. What He wants from you is what He wants from us all: to begin to grow consistently in the truth by taking it in day by day; to follow that truth, believing it and applying it to your life more and more consistently, passing the tests that come; and to help others do the same once spiritual maturity is reached.

Many of the things that you describe here are not new to me. But I want you to know that the devil is powerless to do anything to you whatsoever unless the Lord allows it, and the Lord will only allow things that test your mettle, not things that might actually harm you in some supernatural way. We cannot resist the devil by shouting at him; we can only effectively resist him by ignoring him and whatever he sends our way and concentrating on the truth instead.

Fact: you are a child of God protected by Him.

Fact: as long as you believe in Jesus Christ, nothing can snatch you out of His hand.

Fact: the evil one and his followers are powerless to touch you in any significant way if you are truly following the Lord and putting Him first in your life. They can only buzz around and annoy like gnats: the Lord has made complete provision for whatever befalls.

So you have every right to ignore all bad dreams and spit out all doubt and all fear. For the Lord is your mighty fortress, and all the powers of hell together cannot move Him an inch.

I do realize that there are other things here you may wish to discuss, but the above seemed to me to be the most important to get to you ASAP. I'm going to give you some links on some of these issues. Please do read them. Don't hesitate to write me back about any of the above (or about some of what you've shared), but also please keep in mind that the "R/x" for all such concerns in continued, consistent spiritual growth through hearing and believing and applying the truth of the Word of God.

Demon Attack

Spiritual Warfare IV: Demons, Demonic Influences and Satanic Methodology

What does the Bible say about Dreams and Visions?

Dreams, Visions, Miracles, Exorcism, Tongues, and False Prophets

Psychology and Christianity

In Jesus Christ who is all sufficient for us for whatever He has called upon us to do in this world.

Bob L.

Question #31:

I am only telling you this because I don't have anyone else to tell. My grandmother is trying to encourage me to go to HR to make my team write down things I don't hear (and end up getting into embarrassing situations because they don't tell me things). But I know she wont be paying for food if I lose the job. And neither will the male members of my family. Unlike other millennials or baby boomers, I can't go back to my parents if I fail. It is easy to be a feminist when you have all these men to rely on. Am I wrong to put my head down and submit? I think it would be the same thing if I had to get into another job. And all the time spent at HR, stressing out, getting another job if I have to, I wont be spending on God.

I think everyone has their lines. And up until now, mine have been much further back than most. My line is with God. I don't stand up for myself in regards to certain abuse. But when my parents-who I am terrified of-tried to pressure me to take communion when I wasn't ready, I dug my heels in and did not budge. God is my line. I don't know that I should move it forward to this like she wants.

Response #31:

I think it's pretty inconsiderate of your "team" not to make sure you are getting what you need. If a member of my team were confined to a wheelchair, I wouldn't bound up three flights of stairs to the conference room with the able-bodied huffing and puffing afterwards and start the meeting before the person who had to take the elevator got there. That is just common courtesy. Not waiting probably also constitutes creating an unethical workplace and a hostile work environment for that disabled person. In other words, it's wrong morally, but probably also wrong legally.

That doesn't mean, however, that HR is going to take the person in the wheelchair's side. In fact, in most organizations I have observed, been conversant with, or been in, there is an awful tendency to support the abuser over the abused. I'm not sure why that it is, but it has something to do with defaulting to the person in authority (and in cowardice taking the path of least resistance).

I have also helped out those who've "taken a stand", and I can tell you that in each and every case there is a high price to pay, even if victory is forthcoming in the end (which can be up to three or four years later). And you are absolutely right when you conclude that such fights take away from the time we have to spend in the Word and with the Lord. They also cost us in many other ways.

So everybody has to make their own decisions on this sort of thing. The fact that you are right and in the right will not prevent others from doing you wrong.

But of course the most important thing is that the Lord is capable of redressing all of our wrongs if we trust in Him (Ps.146:7; Prov.21:1). That doesn't mean that we should do nothing (David fled to the desert and was given to put together a band of like-minded warriors until the time came when the Lord removed Saul . . . many years later). It does mean that we positive Christians have to have the mindset of trusting the Lord first and doing what we feel is right or necessary only second. Sometimes He means us just to wait. Sometimes He means us to fight – with His strength and support. The how and the where and the when are decisions we are given to make in the Spirit. These situations test us, and if we choose to go through the fire (sometimes we have little choice as in David's case), they try us and they temper us. What we choose to do is a demonstration of where we are at spiritually both in terms of spiritual common sense (in avoiding unnecessary trouble by trusting the Lord to help us make it through in situations where that is right thing to do) and our spiritual courage (when action is clearly called for and when we are led by the Spirit to act).

I am sure I don't know what is right for you to do. And as you clearly see as is obvious from your email neither do your loved ones. You are the one who has to make the decisions AND live with the consequences. There are always consequences.

Keeping you in prayer on this.

In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #32:

Thank you.

I think it would be like this most anywhere I would end up anyway. And I know it doesn't last forever, as you said. I am sorry if it didn't work out for your friend/s.

I am going to go read ICHTHYS. Have a good night.

Response #32:

You're welcome!

It always works out with God. But that doesn't mean the road is an easy one, merely an ultimately blessed one.

In Jesus,

Bob L.

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