Is it common in your experience for a Christian to end up alone and isolated from people? I feel this is happening to me now.
I am realising that so many of the people around me are becoming of the same mind...it's terrifying. There's a kind of willful belligerence in people around me that is impossible to reason with.
I'm finding that I am letting people now slip through my fingers. I haven't spoke to my two friends on the coast since they started to practice witchcraft. They haven't contacted me and I haven't felt I have wanted to speak to them as the last time they were trying to get me to say it was alright. I have another friend deep in the new age who said she meditated until lights started dripping off the ceiling like liquid. This pretty much terrified me so I have stayed away.
It's not that I don't care about them but some of them are deeply involved with things which I feel are really dangerous and I don't want to be near that stuff myself. I don't know if you remember that a family member tried to drag me back into conspiracies again and I had to struggle to get free of that.
Things are very bad around me now. People are either embracing really wicked practices or becoming constantly angry and aggressive that I could weep. I feel as though I don't want to open my mouth to people because interaction is so wearing. I now realise that this is relentless warfare from the enemy. It is a total onslaught from his campaign to derail God's plan through human action (or inaction).
I know that if this is what it is like for me then it will be the same for my brothers and sisters around the world. I fear that anger and weariness is wearing down my saltiness so I have to detach myself so as to spend time alone with the Lord again so I can regain my savour.
I imagine it to be the same for most. People getting this from the family, from colleagues and from former friends. Never has reclusiveness looked more attractive. It's hard to hold on to a true biblical perspective when being covered with bullets and mortar fire. I know though that is exactly what is essentially needed. I can regain my biblical perspective when alone but struggle sometimes when under fire. I know that the Tribulation though will be relentless attack so I need to learn to hold onto the truth even when being bombarded. ESPECIALLY when being bombarded.
I realise that I needed this test with my family. It has been a very hard test and a prolonged one but I know it is to show up all my weak spots and to armour myself with the full armour of God whilst under fire.
It has been painful but I am determined to pull through it with stronger faith after and also dedicating more and more time to growing and ministry. Satan fights dirty doesn't he? He is relentless.
You can publish this one my friend if you think it will encourage and be fellowship for other.
First, thank you for your willingness to share. I know that there are a
lot of things here that will strike a cord with many others.
Second, we don't want to be recluses. On the other hand, we are told not to associate with Christians who are doing serious wrong (1Cor.5:9-11), so how much more so should we not be reluctant to engage in close fellowship with unbelievers who are involved in direct satanic activities? That is pretty much of a "no brainer", but of course not necessarily easy if we are talking about long-standing prior relationships.
Third, I think this dilemma, namely, of on the one hand being awash in a sea of unbelievers who are not just passively disinterested in the Lord but actively pursuing horrific agendas which should scare the socks off of any true Christian, and on the other hand having only lukewarm Christians and Christian "fellowships" and churches available as a substitute, has indeed contributed mightily to some of our brethren persisting in or resorting to "bad churches" simply for "the fellowship" – even against their better spiritual judgment. It is sad to think that there are so few godly alternatives available. All this is not to say there aren't some good places just not yet found or that something might not develop, but this is the era of Laodicea, after all, and the "late innings" of it too. So we have to be realistic about that. If we have a few friends or acquaintances, in person or virtual, who share our passion for the truth, we need to learn to make do with that, even as we cherish the hope that those near and dear will one day finally wake up.
So while complete withdrawal from the world never works (the spiritual disaster that was and still is monasticism makes that clear enough), husbanding our time and energy for what is most important rather than pouring it all out on the ungrateful and completely unresponsive certainly makes sense to me.
Keeping you in my prayers, my friend.
*p.s., Our friend Steven has set up an Ichthys forum to help with this and is currently in the process of trying to establish an in-person Bible study – but it's a little bit too much of a commute for most people who are readers of this ministry (especially those not in this country!). He also has just launched a new Bible study website which I highly recommend. Here is the info on his set of ministries:
The ministry has a website with written studies at BibleDocs.org, and a YouTube channel with video versions of the same content. Perhaps of interest to Ichthys readers is that the largest content studies at present derive from Ichthys materials: there is the recorded group Bible study going over BB6A, and also a series going through SR4.
Anyone more interested in a general overview of the ministry can have a look at the main introductory video on the YouTube channel. It's about 18 minutes long, and goes over all the basics.
There are several ways to be kept up to date. You can subscribe to the YouTube channel, sign up for the mailing list, like the Facebook page, and follow the Twitter page. You can also contact Steven directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
*I have questions on two verses, please.
Could you please explain to me what 'promise' they did not receive?
*Also, regarding 1 Cor 14:33. It seems to me this is a commonly used verse, however, reading it in context makes me question the meaning most people interpret. I think people recite this verse to comfort people like myself, who are in the midst of horrible trials, but in context, it seems to be referring to the order of the church. Which is correct?
Thank you for your help,
The "promise" (or "promises" plural in the first of these two passages,
Heb.11:13) refers to the
resurrection and all it entails: a blissful eternal life with our Lord on the new earth to come (spec. in the New Jerusalem), with no more pain, toil or tears, only the rewards and blessings He has promised those who faithfully follow Him (cf. 1Jn.2:25: "for this is the promise which He Himself promised to us: eternal life; cf. Heb.9:15; 10:36-39). It is true that the word "promise" occurs many times in Hebrews, but all of God's promises are based upon and built upon the promise of eternal life in Jesus Christ (the promised One in whom we are "heirs according to the promise"), without which no promise gained in time would mean anything, but with which all the promises we receive from Him in this life merely reinforce our faith in His fulfillment of the ultimate promise on that blessed day of resurrection and subsequent reward to come.
On 1Cor.14:33, it is true that this verse is directed primarily to church order, as you rightly surmise. However, the principle (namely that God is a God of peace, i.e., completeness, wholeness, and blessed stability) is entirely true, just as this passage states. The wondrous nature of God's peace is indeed something that many Christians are not "tapping into" as they should, for when we do get to the point of seeing Him more clearly than the world that troubles us (by continuing to grow in Him through His Word), then we can have peace even in the midst of the most dire personal tribulations. This is not an easy thing, not a "Christianity 101" type of thing, but it is an available thing for all those who truly do make Jesus Christ – seeking Him and following Him – the number one priority in their lives. True peace in God comes from knowing Him better and better day by day, from reading, studying and applying the scriptures, praying and focusing on Jesus and His Word rather than on this world. True peace is something all Christians should strive to enter (Heb.4:1-13), and when we do this is the closest taste of the promise of eternity to be had this side of eternity.
Important passages to consider:
Col.3:15: "let the peace of Christ rule in your heart"
Is.26:3: "Thou will keep him in perfect peace whose heart is stayed on Thee" ;
Ps.116:7: "Be at rest once more, O my soul, for the Lord has been good to you"
2Thes.3:16: "Now the Lord of peace Himself give you peace at all times and in every way"
Jn.14:27: "Peace I leave for you; peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give it to you"
Phil.4:7: "The peace of God which passes all understanding will guard hearts and thoughts in Christ Jesus"
This is just a "smidgen" of what the Bible has to say on this subject (consulting a concordance on the word "peace" will yield much fruit). The main thing I would have you to take away from this is that when we try to take control of our own lives apart from God, we surely do get "disorder" of the type described in 1Cor.14:33. It is only by giving Him control that we move out of the world's natural disorder, and into the orderly peace that Jesus has promised us. To do so requires dedication, faithfulness, persistence, consistency, doing all the things we know to do for spiritual growth because the Spirit leads us to them. But when we are indeed following Jesus as we should, not occasionally, but persistently, not lukewarmly, but wholeheartedly, then the only thing we really have to do is to follow where He leads, and peace will come.
Here are some links:
Sabbath Rest of Faith in Hebrews I
Sabbath Rest of Faith in Hebrews II
Peace and Joy (in BB 6A)
In Him who is our peace, now and forevermore, Jesus Christ our Lord.
I'm glad you got through your first day back OK and I like the sound of the new classroom. Just a shame you're in there for the fourth class. Maybe you could pace yourself in the other three and sit down a bit more - save some energy! Roll on the first of May - it will be here before you know it.
I meant to say to you that when I was helping out with 6B it was interesting to see how you gradually put it all together - the different stages. Something you don't see when it suddenly just magically appears from nowhere on the website! It was a real pleasure to be able to help so thank you.
I think I've just about got some emotional reserves left in my tank after all that has been happening here. Whenever I see a little glimmer of something in my family of them perhaps coming to belief in the Lord or coming back to Him, I always have hope in my heart. But I've realised later on that it was only shallow words they were speaking and not anything really deep and true. When my __ was critically ill there was a lot of talk about prayer and God and belief but now that the crisis has all died down a bit, it's all back to life as normal for everyone and it seems God has gone out of the window. I know that people do this a lot.
Knowing, believing, loving and wanting to live the truth as best I can is above all the most precious thing to me. I realise though that this is because it's what I want, what I have chosen out of my free will. It's not always easy when there's so few of us true believers and so many unbelievers or lukewarm believers. When you can see the truth so clearly but they can't or won't it can be frustrating and this is where I have to take a step back and watch that I don't get too drained emotionally. I have to remember that they have free will and it's their choice at the end of the day too. Here's another helpful one of our friend's insights from the Ichthys forum:
"I try to leave everyone to their own devices. Otherwise the frustration would probably kill me."
But I'll always persevere in prayer for them.
Something you wrote in 6B stood out to me and it relates to friendship.
"Truth, therefore, is the true unifier, and lack of respect for the truth is what genuinely divides - and should divide - those who are intent on following Jesus Christ from those who are not."
For there is no sharper sword than the truth.
Although my friend might not realise this (because I've been gentle in my approach) this is what is happening to our friendship. There's a very weak spiritual connection between us now, and it seems to feel weaker each time we see each other. I completely respect the wish that we just "agree to disagree" and that means I say no more about the false teaching unless prompted. [omitted]
So that's kind of where I'm at right now. It's all experience and part of learning and growing and sometimes it's a bit tricky.
I'm always so grateful for your prayers, your teaching and your friendship.
Your friend in our dear Lord Jesus
So we both need to take care of ourselves, you and I.
I know what you mean about being too close to anyone who not only doesn't accept the truth but who wants to shill for what's not true. That's not a healthy relationship to have "up in your face". It's better to have unspoken ground rules about "not going there". One learns to live with it. Like you, I wouldn't be OK with pretending someone's enthusiasm about a cult or false teaching or the RC church, etc., was fine and dandy.
Our friend is great! As I've often told him, if I didn't have a pastor, I'd probably be reading his stuff as my "meat and potatoes". He's having a hard time. He'd make a great pastor-teacher even though he's still preparing, but his country seems to be a mirror image of the US in that while there are plenty of churches there aren't very many positive believers. He's also having quite a time trying to figure out how to support himself so he can minister. Many sorts of small business like the ones he's considering (e.g., real estate, private legal practice, financial consultant, etc.) requires a special sort of personality – I have no doubt that I personally would starve to death if that were the only way for me to make a living. So prayers for our friend are appreciated.
What you say about friends and family talking God when the pressure is on, then it's out the window when things return to normal is all too human. They say there are no atheists in foxholes. But from what I've read about it, while everyone "gets religion" when there's incoming fire, they tend to lose it as soon as the shelling stops. God has designed things so perfectly. We have ample opportunity to show what we are really like inside, so that there won't be any doubt when we stand before the Lord on that great day.
Looking forward to cheering for you when you get your crowns, my friend!
In Jesus our dear Savior,
How do I know if my faith is genuine?
If you believe in Jesus Christ, you have faith. If you do not believe
that He is God who became man as well and who died for your sins on the
cross, and if you have not put your trust in Him for eternal life, then
you have no faith.
I'm not sure what "genuine faith" is. There is faith in Jesus Christ; and there is not having faith in Jesus Christ.
"Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved!"
In Jesus who is our one and only Savior,
What if someone believes he is real and he is truly God but they don’t
trust him for salvation.
That’s where I feel I’m at.
My diagnosis of the problem: this all has zero to do with how you
Do you believe in Jesus Christ? Then you are saved. Are you refusing to believe in Him? Then you are not saved. This is about what you decide to believe, not how you "feel" about yourself, or your situation, or your past – or anything else. Everyone has emotions and it takes a good deal of spiritual maturity to even be able to begin to cope with them, let alone control them.
"He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God."
John 3:18 NKJV
In Jesus Christ the only way of salvation,
So it is just an intellectual belief? I believe the necessity of Christ but how do I place my trust into Christ? There’s more than just believing that he is Christ. Or like you said is it emotions that have me all twisted?
Here is what I read in scripture:
But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name.
John 20:31 NKJV
If your question is, "how much does a person have to know to be saved?", the
answer is "not much". A person does have to "place trust in Christ" as you say,
but a tiny seed of belief, trust, obedience to the truth is sufficient.
Staying saved is not automatic, however. New believers always seem to get a "honeymoon", a spell of time when they naturally feel wonderful about being saved, even though they know very little about the truths in the Bible. They are SUPPOSED to use that time to get cracking with spiritual growth so that this initial faith of theirs can grow -- just like a grain of mustard seed – into a massive tree. All of us want to be able to have joy, peace and hope without doubt. But that is not automatic either. That takes spiritual growth. So if this has been neglected for many years (that is where 99% of believers in this world are), it should not be expected that it can be put back immediately and without any bumps or lumps.
As suggested before, if you want to defeat doubt and fear and replace them with joy, peace and hope, you'll need to begin the process of serious spiritual growth. And this can't be tackled on a symptomatic basis where you address only one thing that is bothering you at a time. That process requires committing to a (hopefully) daily regime of reading your Bible, prayer, and most importantly accessing and learning and believing good Bible teaching which covers all of biblical truth. That is why Ichthys exists. I also recommend Bible Academy (at the link); see also Steven Tammen's website, Bibledocs.org (at the link).
In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,
So why are there so many if/then statements regarding the application of
our forgiveness like 1st John 1:9? How do I know this means restoring
fellowship and not salvation? Also what sins are forgiven past present
I’m having a hard time discerning if sin could cause someone to lose their salvation why do you believe that only loss of faith could separate us from Christ and not sin especially when there are verses which seem to indicate a life of sin would cause a falling from grace?
You wrote: ". . . there are verses which seem to indicate a life of sin
would cause a falling from grace". I'm sure I don't know of a single one
that is not directly connected to sin causing loss of faith – and it is
loss of faith that is the problem. All believers are saved – as our Lord
says directly (Jn.3:18). Only unbelievers are not saved. Believers who
abandon their faith – and sin can indeed play a role in that, especially
unrestrained, gross sin – are no longer believers thereafter, and only
believers are saved.
But there are many other reasons (besides getting involved in a life of self-destructive sinning) why believers become apostate. During the soon-to-come Tribulation, the pressures and fears of life being so difficult in that time will cause many to take what looks like the easy way out and embrace the beast, abandoning their faith in the true Savior of the world. Faith is what must be preserved. So, clearly, any believer who understands that WILL strive to "perfect holiness in the fear of God" (2Cor.7:1). But all believers sin; and many believers go far from the Lord in sin without losing their salvation (like the prodigal son). If they repent, they are restored. If they do not, they will die a miserable death through "the sin unto death" – unless they apostatize (see the link for the distinction). So there are no good options other than the strait and narrow road, persevering in our faith in and faithfulness to the Lord Jesus who died for us.
In Jesus our dear Savior,
So these are warning against these sins because of possible loss of
faith? I was thinking of Proverbs 26:11 it seems to indicate going back
to a life of sin Or 1st Corinthians 6:9 and Galatians 5:19
Also why are there so many if then statements regarding the application of our forgiveness like 1st John 1:9 how do I know this means restoring fellowship and not salvation?
And what sins are forgiven past present and future?
Thanks for taking the time!
1st John 1:9 clearly states that if we confess, we are forgiven, and it
is addressed to and talking to believers, not unbelievers. Unbelievers
are forgiven when they turn to Christ.
Jesus died for all sin. All sin has been paid for. When unbelievers believe, they receive a blanket forgiveness, redemption: Jesus has opened to the door to the jail cell, and now we walk free. But we still are in the world thereafter and we still have sin natures so we still sin. Clearly, we are supposed to get better at NOT sinning; clearly, there are sins which are much darker and more dangerous than, say, a word that slips out of our lips. But all sin is sin, and all sin needs to be confessed by believers. Sin puts us at odds with the Lord in terms of fellowship but we do NOT lose our salvation when, say, we have a momentary flash of anger when someone dangerously cuts us off on the freeway. The problem with a pattern of gross sin is that it degrades our consciences and it is very difficult and nigh on impossible to live a life in disrespect and disregard for the will of God and not be torn up inside. The only way for most people to do that is to "tune out" God entirely; that results in hardening the heart and eventual loss of faith (or the sin unto death in cases where the believers won't give up shameful behavior but also won't abandon faith: the Lord only allows such a horrible witness to go on for so long before intervening; see the link). For those of us who are walking with Him but occasionally stumble (as we all do), confession results in forgiveness of all such outstanding debts and the restoration of our fellowship with Him.
So the passages you cite are the very warnings that we should expect given the above. Getting involved in the dangerous behaviors mentioned in these passages, returning to the "vomit" of our unbelieving life, is absolutely contradictory to the way we are supposed to live as believers in Jesus Christ. So it is right for the Spirit to warn us in severe terms about doing so. In the first place, the discipline involved in committing any such gross sin may be severe; in the second place it sullies our witness; in the third place, people who "are" that (i.e., embrace those behaviors in a way true believers cannot) are going to hell; and in the fourth place if we get back into that pattern we risk "becoming that" again – through loss of faith; and in the fifth place, even if we manage to maintain our faith even so, the Lord is not going to allow "that" to go on forever (sin unto death; 1Cor.5:1ff.).
Highly recommend: BB 3B: Hamartiology: the biblical study of sin
In Jesus our dear Savior,
Good Morning Sir:
I have completed my 6 week class on Soteriology (I’m certain I could have studied it for a whole year but alas, we move on...)
I wanted to tell you that reading your material enriched my life to the point where I am closer to my Lord than I have ever been. Once, where there was absence, I feel a Presence. Once where there was doubt (not sure I describe that will but I wasn’t 100% committed) there is new hope and love and joy. As someone who has always struggled with a sense of worthiness, I now take comfort that He has seen me as worthy all along. My journey to healing in that area has moved from a dream state to a more practical one that is ripe with possibility.
Thank you for sharing the gift He has given you. He uses you to enrich people’s lives. Oh, what a God!
I embark on a journey of studying Biblical Sexuality. Are you able to direct me to material of the same quality as yours that might give deeper insight into God’s plan for humanity in this area of our lives?
I appreciate you. Praying blessings over you – so numerous that they continue to spill from you an bless people like me who He has put in your path.
Thanks for all these encouraging words, my friend! Happy to be able to
be of some service to you.
On the new study, there are some Q/As at Ichthys which deal with this subject tangentially; check, for instance, "marriage" and "divorce" in the subject index; you might also do a Google focused search on Ichthys by pasting this code into the search line: site:ichthys.com: (n.b., there must be a space before the search term).
Yours in Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,
Have your days after Monday been at least as good?
Steven (link) is helping me set up both a professional website and a ministry website too. He has just finished what he calls the "bare bones" of the first and is ready to start on the second. I am awed at how I am given these gifts. I honestly had no concept that I would be getting around to starting a website so soon. I did want both, but I didn't see that I could manage to build them myself or even pay the small token for them. He has paid up the one he just finished for three years, so I don't have to worry about spending any money to keep it online for a while, and by the time I have to renew it, I suspect that I will be able to.
I am trying to find a name for the ministry website. I want one unique enough to set it apart and make it easily recognizable to anyone who tests it. I also want it to be descriptive of what the website is about. When I think of English titles, they tend to be generic or a bit off somehow. So I decided to try Greek. [omitted] Do you have any thoughts one way or another about this?
Steven suggested that I use a .org domain since it is a non-profit. I'm a bit partial to .com, but the only reason is that I don't want the ministry to draw unwanted attention, and I am not certain that it will if I use .org as against .com. I just don't know enough to make a decision here. I seem to remember that you mentioned having to make such a decision and then discovering that it really didn't end up mattering either way. Do you still think it doesn't really matter?
I'm a little nervous about starting without mastering the languages. When I think about starting the website, the outline that I sent to you comes right to my mind and I get slightly scared because I want very much to start writing it, but I also want to do the languages before I do. I'm not sure what else I would be doing with the website if I am not working through that outline there. My Greek has continued to come in fits and starts. Our friend said he did not do much writing when he studied it. He just read through. I was thrilled to hear that, because working mechanically through it was taking a lot of time and yielding too little for me to feel like I was getting anywhere with it. And I always felt like I needed to go back and work through what I did before. But I remember that when I became conscious of learning English, I learned it almost entirely by reading and watching TV. I figured out the meanings of strange words mostly from the context and used dictionaries to give myself an authoritative confirmation of what I thought they meant. Incidentally, I learn everything that way: by plowing through it, using it and figuring things out as I go along. It's chaotic and comes with lots of mistakes, generally speaking, but any other way bores me and keeps me stuck. But I want to start trying again to ease into Reading Greek and see if I can pull off learning it that way, that would be really amazing.
Thank you for keeping us in your prayers, Sir. We are keeping you in ours too.
Your student in Jesus Christ
I'm thrilled to hear about the website! As to the name, while that is a
big deal for companies and "branding", I'm not sure it makes much
difference for ministries. "Berachah" was the name of the
church/ministry of my mentor, and it's possibly not the best because it
needs to be explained; "Ichthys" was what I chose because, well, I
needed to name it. It's possibly not the best because it's not in the
Bible. But as I say it hasn't hindered this ministry nor the one of my
mentor. If I think of something fantastic, I'll let you know – but I'm
not that imaginative.
As to .com/.org, when I had to make that decision, the way things would develop in cyberspace was not foreseeable (that was nearly 25 years ago!). I took a .com precisely because I didn't want to be subject to NGO type regulations, and I didn't mind commercial regulation because I had no plans to sell anything. But as things stand now I don't really see any difference whatsoever in terms of how these things are being treated; so it's just the impression that it gives readers – which is also nearly nil as far as I can see. If you find just the right name and the .com is taken but not the .org, then taking the other one would seem fine as far as I can see (or vice versa).
As to Greek, different folks learn different ways. You clearly have a talent for language, so getting a Greek NT and reading through it (at the same time you try to work through a grammar like Reading Greek) sounds to me like a fine way to go. As far as writing for your website before you've mastered the languages, on the one hand you are already doing fine work and the lack of expertise in Greek/Hebrew doesn't seem to be hindering you. You're starting with what I (admittedly out of bias) feel is a good system from Ichthys, and you are expanding on it in biblical ways. On the other hand, you are aware of where the limits are, so I don't think this is an impenetrable wall. After all, you could ask Steven or me if something you are writing turns on this or that interpretation.
Thanks for the prayers, my friend! You and yours are "on the list" here as you know.
In Jesus our dear Savior,
Thank you dr. Much appreciated coming from a man of God such as
yourself. You are an inspiration to me as well, your steadfastness and
we both do it for our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ glory. not ours. amen
I am preparing a study series on the book of Romans. I will send you a copy of the outline and a couple of lessons when I am done. I pray the Lord gets the glory out of the studies and it will not only edify the church but also He helps me to teach His word.
One issue that I have is that there is a good hearted friend and a long time pastor who is of the penetecostal persuasion that is in here with me and he told me that my studies have to be revelatory. Meaning it has to be anointed. Most pentecostals, if I am correct, always try to use the word anointing and revelatory to suggest that if you don't have special revelation that can impact the body, then it is of no use. The question then becomes who determines it to be revelatory. It leads it to the opinion of the person. As long as that person seems it is revelatory or anointed, then it is it. I honestly believe the person is intimated by in-depth study.
The way I am doing the studies is how I have been taught not only by seeing how you do it but what is in me and I how study and learn. I create outline and in that outline I do Greek word study analysis, I look at bible handbook, versions of the bible, etc. and other ancillary tools to help bring thought together. By me doing that, is that consider non-revelatory? I pray and ask the Lord for guidance when I am doing it but I don't get it the constant hampering on revelatory and anointing.
Your insight on this matter is helpful
God bless ya Dr.
I've heard all this sort of thing before. The charismatics are VERY
emotional in their presentations. So anyone who's, say, only ever been
to an Episcopal or Presbyterian church and coming to a charismatic
"sermon" for the first time will no doubt be impressed. They really seem
to "mean it". And, indeed, compared to some of the "frozen chosen" of
the above denominations and similar, they probably do have more of a
"heart for Jesus". But emotion only gets you so far. Being able to
manipulate the congregations to a fever pitch of "Amen, brother!"
over and over isn't
the same thing as feeding the sheep as Jesus told Peter to do. Mind you,
giving a grammatical analysis of the Greek of some verse isn't likely to
help them much either; at the least the charismatics are entertaining.
They attribute their lack of self-control and ebullient demeanor to the
Holy Spirit, but we who know the truth understand that the Spirit works
in quiet ways most often, and that the true Word of God breaks rock
(Jer.23:29). If we teach people the truth, it is powerful like nothing
else – and not just an emotional high that is forgotten on the drive
home from church – but a fountain of living water bubbling up unto life
Stick with the truth, my friend. It's power in the Holy Spirit – the real working of the Spirit in those who are listening, believing and responding in their hearts (a thing that is out of our control) – that counts.
Your friend in Jesus Christ,
Thanks Dr. Well said. We must have balance in all things but the most
important is truth that can be applied in one's life to bring glory to
Once again, much appreciated and thanks for giving me some insights. Most of these things revolve around a subtle issue of pride on both sides of the coin
You're very welcome.
When it comes to the truth, we just have to put our heads down and push through regardless of opposition from whatever source. The evil one has many ways of opposing us and trying to upset and confuse us. But the truth itself is always very clear.
In Jesus our dear Savior,
I am in fact reading BB 6b: ecclesiology even now.
I was searching for the emails I saved about the words "all" and "forever" as used in the Bible and saw your new mail. How are you? I always remember you and pray for you everyday.
Things are ok at my end, no immediate pressures as of today just the usual ones. we have food for today. Lord has been providing for our daily bread without fail. Even my unbelieving father remarked the other day that God has been providing for our daily needs even though its only enough to stay alive.
I have been thinking really hard for quiet some time about "who am I" and my possible ministry. what's sad is that I am not even aware of my talent. I have been thinking about my life since childhood just to find a clue. Lord does answer my prayers if not immediately. I was always in conversation with God in my mind since my childhood even and I like to stay close to Him every moment, is this some kind of a hint. I really don't know.
Thanks for writing Sir.
Thanks for the update, my friend! It's great to hear that you are
hanging in there, even if things are challenging to say the least.
As far as ministry is concerned, I think if you are praying you are ministering. Also, the Lord has given you a "mission field" right there. If you end up being the "ark of deliverance" for your family, or even some of them, that is a wonderful thing to contemplate. The witness of the life is powerful along with the witness of the word. Faith, true faith like you have, is like a light in a lampstand – it can't be hidden. People see it. And if and when they are willing to respond, you have the words.
Keeping you in my prayers every day, my friend.
In Jesus our dear Savior,
It is so great to hear from you! God must have prompted you to contact me because I drafted an email to you the same day but then I didn't send it because I felt foolish. Jesus is so kind and loving! I have been bearing my heart to Him and He knows how much I have struggled lately. I've been praying for strength to get through this rough patch. I will paste parts of my previous drafted email as they still apply.
As I have been very preoccupied with tending to my family after the loss of my uncle, putting my family first has made me neglect my spiritual growth. I still pray to Jesus throughout the day, every day and look to Him for guidance. I am also quick to confess and repent from my sins. I am also trying to live my faith outwardly rather than talking and thinking about it.
Unfortunately my bible reading and study has dropped off for a few months now due to problems in my life and I have suffered significant pain and distress because of it. It is almost as though the enemy has seen this chink in my armour and has spiritually oppressed me with one of my old weaknesses which is depression and lethargy.
I am sure that this depression is directly resulting from my lack of study. I realise that I am still very much a baby in Christ as I have completely underestimated the enemy, I have misunderstood the reality of spiritual warfare and also failed to realise that the Word IS food that is essential for day to day survival. I do realise these truths now but they have been hard won through foolish neglect.
Forgive me if I speak from a childishly naive spiritual standpoint. I have had a very rude awakening to the dangers of a lackadaisical approach to study. I am one of those people whose process of learning seem to be within a threefold structure.
1) I hear or read something and I understand it at first grammatically and then conceptually
2) I see the application of this information in real life and so understand it experientially
3) I combine the conceptual knowledge with the experiential knowledge and this knowledge has gained weight and permanence as truth beyond mere concept.
This could also be described as;
I can see how this could be true.
I have experienced this to be true.
I now know this to be true.
Obviously with faith this also has more profound depth as we are believing through faith, we live by faith rather than sight.
What is very beautiful about our faith is that once we do believe, the Holy Spirit gives us more and more revelation the more we seek it.
I tell my family that my faith is not based on the supposition that I live in hope that God is real but that I KNOW God is real. There are no doubts.
I have realised that the more I seek the truth, the more it is revealed to me. I realise now what it means to build on the rock. I understand why we cannot live by bread alone.
It is only now that I am having full revelation of who Jesus is! I already knew He is the only begotten and risen Son of God and I know He is the Messiah and I know He is the only way to the Father but I am only now comprehending that Jesus is God! I always understood His deity but never really thought about what that actually meant. I am now reading up on your studies on the Trinity and I know that many have struggled to fully grasp what this means but I want to study to show myself approved.
I seemed to previously think that God was senior to Jesus and the Holy Spirit and I probably was two focused on their separateness but now I have been receiving full revelation that Jesus and the Father and His Spirit are one. I knew the idea of the Trinity and believed in it but didn't full grasp what it revealed.
I hope I am making sense here. Sometimes words feel like mere blunt tools to explain such huge and wondrous truths.
I think I will continue in another email as this is enough for one..
Again, it has been a real joy to hear from you!
God bless you my friend!
In Jesus, our Saviour and God amen!
It's great to hear from you too!
Yes, it is dangerous not to have a daily routine of spiritual growth. We do this for one reason so that when the pressure times come – and sometimes it is impossible to keep on our routine – we have plenty "in the tank" to see us through.
Thanks for your very thoughtful disquisition on faith. I'm sure others will find it helpful as well.
You are fighting a good fight, my friend. Keep it up. The Lord is with you as He is with all who are dedicated to living their lives for Him in a good and godly way according to the truth.
Keeping you in my prayers daily,
In Jesus our dear Savior,
When I thought about why the Trinity existed, this passage came to mind (Hebrews 2:10-18) as well as how the Cross managed to unify Mercy and Justice.
Since God is sufficient in himself. A Unitarian God has no reason to even create, let alone a universe that is decidedly inferior to his own being unless he despite his perfection he desires further relationships in addition to the perfect family he already is.
Likewise Justice and Mercy cannot exist without relationships. Both of which ensure relational perfection.
And since God is Perfect Being. He cannot but possess Perfect Justice, Mercy, Beauty and everything that makes him the holiest of holies. For the pinnacle of perfection is all of those excellencies.
Perhaps even making Unitarianism logically impossible. For how can a God be perfect and not be all these without being a Trinity at minimum?
If Unitarianism is perfection then the Trinity cannot exist. But the Trinity does exist especially made clear in Jesus Christ and the clarity of divine revelation that we have received.
Unitarianism cannot be true because creation exists.
Very nice, my friend.
If I'm not mistaken, Unitarians don't believe in hell or judgment or salvation through faith in Christ or the inspiration of the Bible etc. So since they believe whatever they choose to believe, I'm not sure they're actually giving serious consideration to the truths that the whole universe shouts at them daily (i.e., natural revelation; see the link). That being the case, Unitarianism is not a "search for the truth"; rather, like all religions, it is instead a system of hardening the heart, donning emotional armor to resist and reject the actual truth – so as to be able to live life without needing to respond to the Lord or to His truth. That may work . . . but only until the point of death.
In Jesus our dear Savior,
I think Unitarian God is a fundamentally inert and inactive God. In this
regard they are correct.
No change outside God is therefore possible.
You know its kind of sad that unitarians especially Jehovah's witnesses have been largely reduced to algorithmic robots.
Personalities subsumed under a bland programmed personality.
From what I've seen, unitarians are uniformly disinterested in God and
have thus redefined Him as someone who doesn't rate much of their
attention. In this they are essentially the same as the vast majority of
the human race. God allows that down here for now. We can't see Him. So
"here and now" is the perfect circumstance to find out what we really
think of Him not being "coerced" by the overwhelming truth of Him. Life
in the plan of God is thus the perfect winnowing machine, separating the
chaff from the wheat – and demonstrating the true value of every kernel
of the latter.
In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,
Thanks, I was touched knowing am included in your prayer, I appreciate that you include me in your posting.
Well, it's been a busy year as we have started our Bible training centre here Liverpool UK, two days class per week, a kind of open learning bible school, obviously our students are mostly full time workers and some of them are already in the ministry.
What I've learned from your teachings has help me a lot especially the bible training centre.
Would you if I use some of your materials?
I'd be delighted for you to use the Ichthys materials, my friend!
Yours in Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,
Hello dear Bob,
Thank you for more brilliant writings and teaching that you supply us...us meaning the ones who need more information on the scriptures which we cannot find normally. I read them in blocks then re read them to make sure I fully understand.
Here in Tasmania we are safe from the fires, I am surrounded by pasture land in all directions and on my own land I have several rescued old horses to keep the weeds and grass at bay away from fires. We do not get the same heat here as on the mainland and we get the ocean breezes from the beach which is ten minutes away.
We get a lot of overseas visitors coming through our village these days mostly from China and I keep Psalm 91 in my mind when I think about the virus.
Thank you for your prayers
God bless you and your amazing work.
Thanks for the update!
Glad to hear that you aren't in danger of being burned out. Tasmania sounds like a pretty nice place!
Keeping you in my prayers, my friend.
In Jesus our dear Lord and Savior,
Thank you for your email.
Sometimes I feel I might take up too much of your time so I have refrained from writing to you, knowing that you are flat tack with your employment and your writings for your Ministry. I am happy to hear from you, and that your employment is rewarding, though now more time consuming. I also remember to pray for you daily. The reason being, I am so grateful that you share your knowledge so generously with us all. I try to emulate your kind and faithful example in any small way I can. I have been enjoying your latest book, Ecclesiology. I had a quick read through once and am rereading (sometimes losing where I am up to and restarting).
It is taking a bit to get used to my new driving job hours - I am considerably tireder than I was on the Town service. I start earlier, finish later, drive longer, some of the road is narrow and winding with one particular bridge, just after a curve from both sides, too narrow for a big bus and a road train (and there are quite a number of road trains) coming the other way. I am amazed that there has not been a serious accident on this bridge. Somehow, I have avoided being on the bridge at the same time, having passed just before or after on several occasions.
I listen to the National radio station on my return trip at the end of the day to keep up with things. Friday, some more about Trump and America in the world, Julian Assange and his solitary confinement as a means of torture, the politics and related issues with other players in the USA, raids on the ABC offices in Australia as a result of someone telling the truth, while inaction on a prominent government politician for spreading lies.
What’s that saying? Everything will be tolerated except for the truth.
I keep that in mind as the days accelerate to the time when that will be universally and strictly enforced. On a different, more light hearted ABC station, they were talking about useful skills, come the Apocalypse (seems they may not understand the term as we do). Skills like changing a tyre, sewing a button etc. “Things said in jest.” Amongst the more serious journalists there is a deep concern that democracy is teetering on the precipice and what will replace it won’t be pretty. So not all are saying, “peace, peace” at the present.
More in line with your Ministry calling; as I have been reading, I did have several questions to things in scripture I am unclear about. Must write them down in future as I forget. At the time I think, is it a frivolous question or one that you have answered somewhere or one that the answer maybe in the hereafter or maybe not answered ever as the “need” to know may longer be there.
I seem to remember you saying something like “all truth is important”. I am more of that persuasion.
Yesterday I dropped my son off so that he could celebrate dinner with his girlfriend’s family and going over to pick him up in a couple of hours. About an hour’s drive each way. He just got his “L” plates so he drove over and will back, while I am the instructor. Went on to Perth to exchange a school text book wrongly mailed. Dropped in for a couple of hours to visit my Pharisee friend - my!, I notice him getting older and less robust and he was having a few alcoholic drinks. I did get him to read your definition of the Church in BB 6B. All good there it seems. Though on another topic, he sees the antichrist not emanating from USA or that the USA as being Babylon.
Our eldest son just returned from a watching race meeting in Albany, and has gone off to bed in the middle of the day to recuperate.
Last night we had our regular Filipino Bible teacher fellowship. His wife asked what version I was reading from (ESV on my phone), saying there are problems with that version and would talk to me later about it. They use NJKV. It came up as the internet had been knocked out by lightning at the hosts place so we were reading from our own sources rather than all reading from the TV screen. (Biblegateway site)
Previous Tuesday night had a Bible study at __’s place. The new female high school chaplain was there. Our book of study is Philippians, by the same author as our previous Daniel study. Sometimes I wonder how long they will have me in the group, __ knowing that I disagree with their church’s tithing doctrine. The shearer was there and thanked the church for recently laying hands on him and praying over him to counter his drug issues. I walked home with him after our study.
A couple of weeks ago we delivered some boxes for shipment to an agent in Perth, a Filipino and JW. He had dragged himself away from one of their JW meetings to accept the boxes. Of course I had to bring up about his faith and mine and after our chat and me giving him your business card and promoting your book, Ecclesiology, he said that we should bring our sushi next time and sit down and have a long talk about our faith. He asked me if I had visited JW.org and I could truthfully answer yes. I expect him to be armed to the teeth for our next encounter. Any helpful advice from yourself is welcome. I find reading actual scripture is the only way to proclaim the truth. Though JW seem to have a way of saying things are just symbolic and not physical manifestations- like as in 2 Peter 3:10-12. They also say that Jesus is god, like we are ALL gods (John 10:34). But not THE God. The Father is THE God. (Jehovah).
On the last couple of weeks of last years school term I gave your card to a Catholic school teacher as he is studying Theology. I said yours was the best ministry I had ever read. Gave one to one of __’s churches members at the same school telling her the same. I may have mentioned previously that a few weeks before I gave your card to a primary school teacher at another school. He originally was from South Africa. I don’t come across them now in my new job, so I am hoping and praying they will actually read and with open minds.
On the home front I am not doing as well as I should be with my own family. We do not now often read together and we all come and go and eat at various times due to different times when we arrive home and go out again. Our middle son still refuses to have anything to do with Bible reading or anything else related. I do make sure he overhears some of my Bible readings and remarks about the Bible and the position we find ourselves in today. He has never refuted anything - just doesn’t engage in this, or much else. Likes his gym (physical exercise does benefit somewhat, spiritual growth benefits eternally). He has “overheard” me say this quite a few times in “general conversation”.
It has been really dry here for months. Friday the edge of a thunderstorm passed by and we got about 12.5 mls or 1/2 inch in the old language. Some places much further north flooded from the cyclone, but mostly dry and hot around these parts. I did remember to thank our Lord for the rain. This week the temperatures are going to be more moderate.
Thank you for your thoughts and prayers. I am praying for you daily.
I daily thank our God for your Ministry.
I'm pleased to hear from you – and happy to learn that nothing is amiss
(more than usual, that is).
I'll try to remember to keep your drive in my prayers. This sounds like a crazy situation.
It's odd to hear that you've had cyclonic flooding but that it's been patchy enough to keep things so dry in places. This reminds me a bit of California where they are always either flooding or burning. Reminds me of an old joke told in those parts: "Be grateful for the torrential rains because they start the mudslides that put out the fires that were started by the earthquakes". Planning to stay put in Louisville.
Not sure what to advise vs. JWs. I suppose the main observation I would make is that there is zero point in having anything to do with them when they come in pairs. Like a couple of ace pilots doing the Thatch weave, you'll never shoot either down as long as the wing man stays close.
Good news here (don't remember if you've gotten all of it). The dean who was universally unpopular essentially "ran for it" over Christmas. We now have a new interim dean and a new chair in CML too, both generally supportive of Classics. I'm on the cusp of getting a combination minor restored, and I have had my research funding restored already. God is good!
Thanks for all your good offices, good words, and prayers, my friend!
In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,
I am glad to hear your work situation has improved - takes up a huge hunk of our waking time - so it is much better when it’s better. Yes, God is good. Louisville sounds a lot closer to the garden than most places.
Regarding the JWs, I know what you are saying and do not worry about what I should say on our next encounter (that will be whenever my wife has another consignment through that company). As I read your works, (currently Ecclesiology) I am taking some notes; unsurprisingly I relate how the scriptures expose the Mormon cult, being much more familiar with their errant doctrines than I am with the errant doctrines of JWs.
After reading your explanations in your materials and the scriptures you quote, it becomes all the more obvious where cults can misuse some of the scriptures to feather their nests. Organising a coherent response to their false doctrine in a manner to convince their followers is somewhat of a challenge - Hard to get past that “we have something that no one else has” attitude. And the sin nature’s need to be “right”.
I like your definition of the church in BB 6B. Puts the kybosh on cults false claims to exclusivity of their brand! By the way, did Abraham, Daniel, Isaiah or any of the great names of the Old Testament, or any of the Apostles in the New Testament belong to the Jws? Are any these Old Testament faithful saved, seeing they were not water baptised? And in particular, according to the cults doctrine, baptised by the right brand of religion?
Known or unbeknown by you, your writings refute cults by simply teaching the truth from scripture. This became obvious to me while reading BB 1. If a person believed the scriptures and understood them- there was no way they could believe Mormonism, OR any other exclusive brands. However, Satan and his cohorts can appear as angels of “light”. Their deeds do follow them. And the false doctrines and the false application of correct doctrine.
Sometimes my wondering thoughts have questioned how I will recognise you in the resurrection if we all have new names. Just a thought, as I am sure God has all things perfectly sorted.
Just a bit of mundane stuff from the cafe - __ says China has had it now, they are finished, this is a vial being poured out. I said I think that will happen more in earnest once the Tribulation starts, and he thinks the Second Advent is not more than 20 years away, though he is open to 14 years also being possible. Some have suggested that the Tribulation has already started, but I put forward your explanation that we will know from the unmistakable manifestations at that time. So your Ministry is having an influence even amongst those who do not read from your website (as yet).
I pray for the truth to be made plain and those who peddle lies will be exposed.
Thank you, my teacher and friend, for your generous sharing of your talents.
In the same Jesus Christ, our dear Lord and Savior.
Louisville is SO not the garden of Eden, but the Lord has kept me safe and sound here despite numerous attacks over the years.
Good ripostes for the JWs! They seem to me to be trained to not even hear what the other person is saying (like political commentators all over the airways these days). Not much profit in that (Eccl.10:11).
Keeping you and your good work for the Lord in my prayers daily, my friend.
In Jesus our dear Savior,
I’ve been reading that the word for faith 'pistis' is interchangeable with allegiance. Some are starting to say we are saved by allegiance alone. What are your insights on this?
Faith is trust. We trust in Jesus for salvation – we don't just
intellectually understand that He exists.
In Jesus our dear Savior,
Yes I understand that part I came across a book which is arguing that it is more than trust too. Matthew Bates and NT Wright are writing that the Greek word 'pistis' means allegiance more than a trust.
Here's something I read in scripture:
Then one of the criminals who were hanged blasphemed Him, saying, “If You are the Christ, save Yourself and us.” But the other, answering, rebuked him, saying, “Do you not even fear God, seeing you are under the same condemnation? And we indeed justly, for we receive the due reward of our deeds; but this Man has done nothing wrong.” Then he said to Jesus, “Lord, remember me when You come into Your kingdom.” And Jesus said to him, “Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise.”
Luke 23:39-43 NKJV
It's beyond clear that this man was saved by his turning to the Lord in faith.
Was this trust or allegiance? Did it enter into this man's mind / heart as to
some "difference" between the two? We who are saved know what it is to be saved,
to turn to the Lord in our hearts. God is not looking to make this hard. Indeed,
He couldn't have made it easier. Getting too wrapped up in dissecting saving
faith is a trap which usually leads to legalistic exercises of emotion or ritual
"to make sure". Believers believe in Jesus Christ. Scripture could have given us
chapters on what that means. But what it means is obvious. And those who want to
say it's not so obvious are obviously not doing true believers any good.
Here's a link to where I discuss the issue generally: "Faith Dynamics"
In Jesus our dear Savior,
I pray all is well. The Romans study is going well, thanks to the Lord. Preparation is key and you are 100% correct that people are hungry for real bible study. I had a significant number come to me and tell me that they really were edified and their pastors never taught them these things. So book study to include history, Greek and Hebrew word studies, etc really help. Like I stated, I took some of your format, in outline form and used it in the study. I plan to send you the study as I develop them. I have 3 lessons already so watch for them in the mail fairly soon.
God bless and thank you for everything.
In Christ Jesus our Lord
That's terrific news, my friend!
I'm thrilled to hear about your wonderful ministry efforts.
Keeping you in my prayers daily.
Keep up the great work for Jesus Christ!
In our Lord,
I just wanted to thank you for your prayers for me. I felt really rough before I went to work today with a bad cold (nearly lost my voice!) and a headache and I was planning on dragging myself through today. I got to work and as soon as I started work I felt clear headed and had lots of energy - I was buzzing! It was a busy day again and when I got home I still felt the same even though my cold is still there. So thank you, because the Lord answered your prayers for me - He made today a breeze for me!
It's always a busy time of year because by the end of this month we need to have reached our targets for the year. So it's one big push to get them done.
What stood out to me in your email was when you said that the plan of God is perfect. I can see this so clearly. He knows what's best for me right now, I trust Him and I know that He's working all things together for good.
We have so much to thank the Lord for.
I'm keeping you in my prayers too, and I hope you have a lovely week off next week.
In our dear Lord Jesus
I was a bit concerned for you today and I did say some prayers for you. All this and you had a cold too! God is so good for getting you through it with colors flying!
It takes some forcible remembering sometimes, but whatever happens, it's absolutely true that we should "in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you" (1Thes5:18 NKJV) – because the plan is all-comprehensive created by a perfect, gracious, merciful and loving Lord who is all comprehending, even from eternity past. We're just finding out about the twists and turns now, but we have to remember that they couldn't even happen unless they were in the perfect plan – and that perfect plan is working "all things work together for good for those who love God" (Rom.8:28). And we sure do!
In Jesus who is our very life.