Good morning Dr Luginbill,
I hope your are well, and that everything is well in your life.
What do you think about this: Sometimes when I read the Bible, I notice that the Lord will ask a question and consider things in front of us, but some of the things He offers for
consideration and choice are evil. (I mean, not that He wants us to choose the evil, of course-but think of the choose life or death with Moses). But in order to consider as He seems to ask us, we have to consider the evil way and idea. For the longest time I thought it was wrong to really ponder/explore evil ideas, but it seems you have to if you are to follow what He says in certain areas. Though I suppose you could choose not to ponder the bad and slide of the consideration, but it seems it must not be a sin to explore it a bit.
I mean when our Lord talks about the man building the tower or starting a war, with the idea being about choosing to follow Him or not, He seems to encourage us to really ponder/explore the wrong choice (in addition to the correct one) before deciding. But I suppose that is not the same thing as considering sins after deciding, just the choice for or against Him.
I don't see it quite this way. This life is all about choice. And there are
plenty of temptations to choose the wrong things. The first choice, of course,
was between the tree of life and the tree of knowing good and evil. Notice that
the Lord was VERY clear. He didn't say, "well, consider which one you want". He
said, "Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; but of the tree of the
knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it
you shall surely die" (Gen.2:16-17 NKJV). I find this to ever be the Lord's way.
Some times wrong options are discussed – as with this tree – but never with any
doubt about the consequences of doing wrong ("you shall surely die").
In the parables you mention, it's very clear that we do not want to be the man who started to build and didn't finish, and we do not want to be defeated in battle because we chose wrong. The right choices lead to success and victory, the wrong choices lead always to humiliation and defeat. We are the ones who deceive ourselves – or allow the world, the flesh and the devil to deceive us – into thinking there are "options"; when, really, the only "options" are life and death. It is hard for us believers to understand why so many choose death, but I suppose we make enough wrong choices ourselves (where the stakes may not seem immediately as high) that we can appreciate the pressures and temptations to choose wrongly. But it's never a good idea, and we always regret it.
In Jesus who chose to die for us that we might choose for Him and have eternal life.
Thank you for your explanation.
I certainly could not have explained it that way, so your understanding of languages shines a bright light into the shadowy places where very few venture.
I just received a reply from my friend on Regathering of Israel. I had been typing out longhand excerpts from ichthys and emailing him to read and for him to respond to. I have decided I need to be a lot more direct, without being confrontational (with him and a lot more people).I am hoping from this he will search your site for himself. (By promoting your site in a logical and positive way).
His latest response is positive to the subject at hand. “I meant when we are sorted out after Christ returns some will still not repent. Just like when they left Egypt. Not disputing what ichthys has written”.
(He is very brief. That is his complete email)
I know that is not the complete story as there is the Resurrection of believers beforehand, but it leaves room to ask (I will wait for an in person opportunity for this) about his understanding of the sequence which may be as I understand it from your writings. My purpose is to get more believers to read your site, as against “guru” sites, books, CDs and TV evangelists.
[details about deliverance from being scammed omitted]
Before that I had gone with ___ to the mountain province. When they decided to stay I went alone, getting lost in the mountains near nightfall, cold, wet and COMPLETELY defeated after trying EVERYTHING to get out from amongst thorns and a gully I was trapped in. I thought I will die here overnight being cold and soaked. In desperation I thought the ONLY thing left is prayer! I got up from my soggy knees and began to walk, and walk ,and walk. The thorns OPENED a way for me. He lead me to a small goat track, then down the mountain.
No one knew I was lost so no one would have looked for me for many weeks. I realised only God knew my plight and only God could help me. He has actually saved me many times before and after, that I know of, and many more times I am unaware of. It is a humbling feeling to realise I am all alone in the universe, except for God. Without God there is NO hope. With God ALL things are possible (even the impossible).
__ has asked for some signs from God, and I am grateful (while not knowing about the signs).
He was and is SAVING me. You are so right. Without God , life would be meaningless.
Thank you for your generous service in our Lord.
In Jesus Christ our dear Lord AND Savior.
What a set of deliverances the Lord has give you! He does this sort of thing for us all, I believe, in one way or another, giving us experiences that can only be from Him so that we may understand He is watching over us and thus gain confidence in following Him. Sometimes we only appreciate these things fully after the fact. It's much better in my view to accept such things when they come – rather than ask for them. After all, deliverance means needing first to be delivered, and most of us have enough trouble in our lives not to be asking for any more.
Yes it is true that even after our Lord's return, some of the regathered
Jews will still not accept Him. That is the reason for the apostles
judging them in the wilderness before they are allowed to enter the
land, as the kingdom in Israel will begin with believers only among the
Jews. But of course you are right – the Church is resurrected before all
this (CT 5 and 6 are the
places where all this is treated in the most detail).
Keeping you and your family in my prayers daily, my friend.
In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,
Thanks once again.
What is your view on predestination (as expressed in this article)? It's in the word and biblical.
Predestination is biblical – but most hyper-Calvinists don't understand
what it means.
The Bible speaks of predestination and concepts related thereto here and there . . . but it STILL tells us to "do X" and "not do Y" on nearly every single page. In other words, we not only have free will; free will is the whole reason for the creation of humanity and the whole purpose behind the image of God we are given wherein our free will parallels the Will of God and is meant to respond to Him. So whatever predestination is, it doesn't conflict with these basic truths that govern every person's life, believer and unbeliever both.
In a nutshell (the details are found in BB 4B: Soteriology at the link), God knew before His initiation of creation what every single person would decide about every single thing. And of course He had to: Christ died for every single sin of every single human being. How could these even be known if God's foreknowledge of all things was not complete in perfect detail? Knowing what would happen, God decreed it; but He only decreed what we would choose, knowing what we would choose. And in fact, without Him decreeing time and space and history, we would have no venue in which to exist and in which to choose. These things may be mind-boggling to human beings, but they are simple for the Lord. What was hard, truly hard, was for Jesus to die for our sins and for the Father to sacrifice Him on our behalf.
The other problem with traditional mulling about this issue is that this is the opposite of why it's included in the Bible. Writing under inspiration of the Spirit, Paul in Romans, for example, explains the issue not to plunge us into theological controversy and confusion but to give us confidence: the Plan of God is absolutely perfect and complete; nothing has been left to chance; nothing can be changed; assuming our willingness to stay saved, nothing can pluck us out of God's hands.
As to the article, I found it wordy and confusing (as to what author really believes). If it helped you, that is fine. It's not the way I do things.
Yours in Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,
I hope you and your knees are doing well! Another week at work complete and mine are still holding up well after making sure I stretch every day. It's busy and tiring but I'm hanging in there.
I've been reading about Elijah in 1 Kings and I kind of see how I've had some Elijah moments myself. Although he had his spectacular victories like in the showdown with the 450 prophets of Baal on Mount Carmel, he was still a man "with a nature like ours." (James 5:17)
Running for his life in fear to the wilderness after Jezebel's death threat and feeling discouraged and exhausted after remaining faithful in standing for the true God. The only result he seemed to see was a threat on his life and that he was the only faithful person left - "I alone am left". Even after the Lord's victory on Mount Carmel this would not necessarily bring a quick end to the paganism so rampant in the land.
It reminded me of when I tried to help others to either come closer to the Lord and His truth or come back to Him. And how I naively thought that after sharing the truth and giving them details for Ichthys that they would quickly see and love the truth as I did and turn away from everything else. In the same way you used to think that if only they could hear the great teaching you were getting that's all it would take.
I had a "cave moment" too like Elijah.
So he said, I have been very zealous for the Lord God of hosts; for the children of Israel have forsaken your covenant, torn down your altars, and killed Your prophets with the sword. I alone am left; and they seek to take my life. (1 Kings 19:10)
I remember crying to the Lord in prayer after doing what He had asked me to do and trying so hard for others and feeling tired and discouraged. Wanting them to love the truth as I did, but the results from my sharing the truth with them were looks that could kill and a return to their lukewarmness, false teaching and rejection of the Lord.
I definitely had a "I alone am left" feeling too! I remember thinking where are they all? Where are all the believers who love the truth? Who are red hot for the Lord and His truth. And being the only believer left after others who years ago used to sit next to me in church have now departed from the Lord.
Then the Lord said, "What are you doing here, Elijah?"
Running away and feeling scared and dejected and discouraged and sorry for himself was giving his enemy Jezebel exactly what she wanted. This wasn't where the Lord wanted him to be. Elijah's work for the Lord was far from over and He told Elijah what He wanted him to do next. This was the Lord saying, "Don't give up!" And Elijah obeyed the Lord's words to him and he was used mightily of God.
In my discouragement I heard His still small voice encouraging me to pick myself up and look to Him and not to what was going on around me. And you reminded me that we mustn't take things personally, that this isn't about us but all about the Lord. Having the Lord's encouragement to live by faith and not by sight - to have a quiet trust and a firm dependence on Him. There was still work to be done for Him and despite what everyone else was doing I was to continue doing what He wanted me to do in growing spiritually and also continuing to have faith in my Lord and keep praying for others. To pray earnestly like Elijah prayed (James 5:17-18). Through this He is working in ways that I can't always see. It might not be obvious - like lightning or fire or sudden revival in their hearts, but He's hearing my prayers and He's working quietly in the lives of those I love. If I am yielded to Him, He can use me powerfully for His purposes and His glory.
And as for "I alone am left" -
Yet I have reserved seven thousand in Israel, all whose knees have not bowed to Baal, and every mouth that has not kissed him". (1 Kings 19:18)
Elijah was not on his own. There were still many people who were faithful to the living God.
And I am not alone either - I've only got to read all the emails at Ichthys to know I'm not alone. There might not be many of us but we're there. Brothers and sisters who love the Lord and His truth more than anything else. More importantly we're NEVER alone because we have the Lord. He knows what we really need more than we know ourselves and for those who love Him and remain faithful to Him He will always look after us and meet those needs - whatever they might be.
I did what he asked me to do for others and I continue to do what He asks me to do and you know how much He has blessed me. His love for us is amazing and He is so faithful.
So those are a few of my Elijah moments from 1 Kings chapter 19!
Your friend in our Lord Jesus Christ
Great application of the scriptures regarding Elijah! Thanks for the
Glad to hear that you made it through another week. How much longer in this present situation?
Knees on this end a little cranky when I try to push things too much as I did today (but we've got rain coming in so I might be rained out tomorrow, so I went for a longer jog today).
Summer quiescence here in Louisville. Hoping the enrollment numbers will pick up before next fall (prayers appreciated!).
Yes, our Lord is amazing. His mercy is particularly astounding and appreciated. All we have – and have been forgiven – deserving none of it.
Keeping you in my prayers every day, my friend.
In Jesus our dear Lord and Savior,
Thank you for your encouraging response.
I agree with your assessment, and even though it was a long painful process for me to FIND you, I am PRESENTING to them, the already found, you and your Ministry in an “easy to understand way” and in a few different ways with the assurance that they can test your whole site, which is COMPLETELY available for them to examine, unlike any other coming anywhere near a bulls roar of your detailed Biblical study. It seems that some other sites are learning what to include on their sites FROM your site.
I thought it was going to be much easier with Christian groups who tolerate each other’s views, than it is for obvious cults such as the mormons, 7th Day Adventists and JWs. Not in this regard, though we still tolerate each other’s beliefs.
I am so thankful for your Ministry online. I desire many more around me to be as well.
My wife was listening to Curtis Omo this morning and that IS a blessing [link]. Makes a good change of tone from my voice.
In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior
Hello Dr. Luginbill,
I just finished reading your response about whether and how much teachers should reveal to their students, etc. I will say that your reply was excellent as always and I will remember what you have written.
Secondly, In the subject study I read one of the references inCol. 1:24 concerning the fact of suffering for Christ which I do not understand.
"24Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I do my share on behalf of His body, which is the church, in filling up what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions.
Look's to me like Paul is referring to what is lacking in the church, not what is lacking in Christ's afflictions? I think this translation (NAS) could have been worded differently, that is, on the first read of this verse, it appears to say that "Christ's afflictions are lacking".
It is just the words that are misplaced I think. ESV says:
"24Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I am filling up what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions for the sake of his body, that is, the church". This version makes it clearer.
I looked at my wife's German Bible to see what the subject verse reads:
Here is the verse in German as well as the English translation.
Paul verkuendet die Botshaft im Auftrag Gottes.
"Was ich auch immer fuer euch erleiden muss, nehme ich gern auf mich; ich freue mich sogar darueber. Das Mass der leiden, die ich fuer Christus auf mich nehmen muss, ist noch nicht voll. Und ich leide fuer seinen Leib, fuer seine Gemeinde."
Paul proclaims the message on behalf of God.
Whatever I have to suffer for you, I like to take on myself; I am even pleased about this. The measure of suffering that I must take upon me for Christ is not yet full. And I suffer for his body, for his church.
My question: Is this a more accurate translation in German and English in your opinion. Curious as to what the Greek actually says/
This English translation flows better and seems to have a better flow than the NAS.
What are your thoughts?
Hope I'm not to nip-picky, I guess it comes from my profession I used to have.
Thanks for all your help.
It's a good question inasmuch as this is the sort of passage which is
both difficult to understand in most English versions and also one which
admits to abuse based on misunderstanding.
What it does NOT mean is anything to do with what He suffered for us in dying for our sins. Christ was the only One who could die for the least sin of all mankind – and He died for them all.
I'm not crazy about the German version, but that is the gist of it; one could also translate "what is yet destined for me to suffer in behalf of Christ and in behalf of His Church".
What I can tell you is that "sharing the sufferings of Christ" is a theme that is common in the NT (see the link). What it means, essentially, is that Christ suffered in His earthly life so we as His followers are going to have to go through similar things. Paul's level of suffering was unique (see the link), but even with all he endured, it's nothing put together into one big mass compared to dying for a single sin.
Hope you are doing well, my friend! Keeping you and yours in my prayers daily.
In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,
I know it’s been a while since I have contacted you. I’m just at a point in my life where I find myself questioning whether God cares about those who believe and love him. I have been praying and praying and he has consistently ignored me. My heart is beginning to hardened and I don’t know what to do. V/r
Sorry to hear that you are having some hard times, my friend. Job said the same thing – about God not listening (e.g., Job 30:20). But we know that wasn't in fact the case. It's not the case with you either, my friend. God always listens, especially to those who belong to Jesus Christ His Son. And He always answers too. Sometimes He doesn't answer HOW we'd like or WHEN we'd like – but He always hears and He always answers. If there is a problem, it always lies with us. Learning patience and joy in trouble is not the stuff of spiritual immaturity. Sometimes the best we can do when things are really hard is to have peace and hold onto that peace until the storm abates (Jn.14:27; Phil.4:7; Col.3:15). There's a lot about that in BB 6A recently posted (link).
Delight yourself also in the LORD,
And He shall give you the desires of your heart.
Commit your way to the LORD,
Trust also in Him,
And He shall bring it to pass.
He shall bring forth your righteousness as the light,
And your justice as the noonday.
Psalm 37:4-6 NKJV
He loves you, my friend. And He will vindicate your cause in the end.
Our part is to hang on and hang in until the spiritual victory comes –
continuing to do what He wants us to do in the meantime, namely, growing
spiritually, walking closely with Jesus, and helping others do the same.
Your friend in Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,
Thank you for your response. I needed to hear these things! Sometime no matter how much we read the Bible or how much word we have knowledge of, we still need to hear or read in our case a good word from our brothers and sisters in Christ! V/r
Amen! That is SO true, my friend. That's why we have the Body of Christ,
after all. I know you have ministered to others many times.
I pray for you daily, my friend. Keep fighting the good fight for Jesus Christ!
Bob, everything is back to normal in Whaley Bridge now!
God heard our prayers and despite forecasts, there were no storms or rains the whole time we were praying and the diversions were being made! God is great! He is so kind and merciful and He will never forsake us! What a beautiful reminder of His awesome power and tender compassion and grace!
Lots of love and thanks!
In our incredible Saviour, Jesus Christ
I'll be praying for your sister to draw the right conclusions from His deliverance from this crisis – which no doubt was brought about for just such a reason.
God is good!
In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,
Hope today was a good one for you.
[details about work omitted]
But what the Word tells us and the way I see it is that it's never anything we should worry about anyway. It's the Lord who is in control not man. We belong to Him and it's He who decides what's best for us and meets our every need.
Thanks so much for your prayers, Bob and I'm praying for you and your family too.
Your friend in Jesus
A real answer to prayer! I was hoping that perhaps you might get back into the rotation at this place where you are both comfortable and have already been providing an excellent witness.
Yes, it is so great to have a job where you don't have butterflies in the stomach on the way in. Not that many jobs offer such a great benefit!
I got tagged to be on a search committee which means a good deal of work and unpleasant (for me) socializing when I should be working on this ministry; and have just found out that there will be an active role for the more or less dormant planning committee I volunteered for; also a lot of department and college meetings this semester WAY beyond the norm. So while the teaching is a known load, that's not the case with the admin part of the job which has gotten heavier. Believe it or not, though, I'm NOT complaining! I have a GREAT job. And, no, I don't have to retire – and with tenure it's almost impossible for them to get rid of me. As long as the legs will carry me to the classroom and the voice still works, I can keep doing this. God is good!
Amen! The plan is perfect. We are walking on a rainbow road over all the turbulent waters and we have a right to ignore them, in complete faith that this road takes us directly into the presence of the One we love more than life itself.
Praying for a great day for you tomorrow, my friend.
In Jesus our dear Savior,
You give great info & a lot of interesting verses for me to study. Thanks! I actually need some advice. Every time I build consistency with praying, reading scripture, worshipping, etc. I always end up becoming less & less energetic, motivated, and determined to keep doing it. I usually fall off for a bit. I always get back to the rhythm sooner or later, but is there a way to strengthen my perseverance or will power when it comes to this? Have you ever experienced anything similar? I know I have to be great at this given the time left before the Tribulation. How do I achieve THAT close of a relationship with God? Is there something I’m doing wrong? Thank you!
What you relate is not at all uncommon. Being consistent at anything is not
easy. A person has to be really dedicated to the "whatever it is" in order to
sacrifice consistently. But that is how all races are won, after all (2Tim.2:5;
cf. 1Cor.9:25-27). And if athletes can be consistent in striving for a
perishable crown, how much more should we believers not be motivated to
sacrifice for one that is eternal?
Along with free will, God gives us time, and how we use that time after salvation is the basis for our eternal rewards (link). Reward motivation is very helpful in remembering why we are here, who we are here for, and how important it is to run a good race (Heb.11:6). We ought to want to get a hearty "well done!" from the Lord when we appear before Him, and also to win all three of the crowns given for responding to Him as He as told us to do (see prior link).
"His lord said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant; you have been faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.' "
Matthew 25:23 NKJV
The more we grow spiritually, learning and believing and applying ALL the Bible
teaches, the better we usually become at being consistent in our race – and the
closer we find we are walking with our dear Lord Jesus Christ. There is a great
deal about all of this at Ichthys, the most concentrated study on this being
BB 6A: Peripateology (link).
Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,
Ok, I forgot to add this to my last email to you. A question regarding the mind,
body and spirit. Is there a separation of mind, body, and spirit? A Christian
friend of mine in the medical field believes there is no separation of mind,
body, and spirit. She said that keeping your mind and body in optimal condition
nutritionally will allow for sturdier defense against spiritual attack. Would
you agree with this? I did, but then I gave it some consideration just to be
safe before I made a conclusion.
[good news about health omitted]
I must say that I was really fooled this year by satanic attack. It was and has been so difficult that I "became surprised at the fiery ordeal I was facing as if something out of the usual was happening" and was on the verge of spiritually fainting. But I can finally lay this all to rest thank goodness.
In His Grace
Good to hear all this, my friend!
On your question, people are composed of a spirit – which is invisible to science – and a body. Our spirit is the true "us", but it has to express itself through the body. That leads to conflicts and problems at present because our bodies are infested with a sin nature and currently very imperfect. The resurrection body will allow for all manner of wonderful things we cannot as yet even imagine (with all the negatives absent). But now we have great limitations – and temptations.
The words "mind" and "heart" and "soul" (in the Bible; contemporary English usage of these words is often inaccurate) all refer to the inner "us" where the spirit and body come together, the inner place where we feel, and think and wrestle with our consciences. But that is not a "third thing" (tertium quid), and the conflict and struggle exist in this world only because of the sin nature. Best place to read about all this is at the link: BB 3A: Biblical Anthropology.
In Jesus our dear Lord and Savior,
I have a new question for you.
1. What is your definition of what the Bible describes as The Hidden Man of the Heart?
2. Why are both genders quoted as having a Hidden Man of the Heart when there are two genders?
3. Does The Hidden Man of the Heart have a form?
4. How do we strengthen The Hidden Man of the Heart?
Some of these questions might seem simplistic but they would likely be helpful for me and others.
I await your response.
You are referring to this passage:
Do not let your adornment be merely outward—arranging the hair, wearing gold, or putting on fine apparel—rather let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God.
1st Peter 3:3-4 NKJV
Note that NKJV has "person" not "man", and this version is NOT known for
making gender-accommodations of the sort so common in our day. The Greek
word is 'anthropos, and it means "human being". Now a human being
is also a "man" – at least that was the case in English a hundred years
ago. In Greek "man" can be a male or female human, and in this passage
Peter is talking about women, not men – but the point surely applies to
us all (just as most often when the Bible speaks to "men" it does not
As to what he means by "the hidden person of the heart", he means "who you really are inside". In other words, if you are growing spiritually, and thus becoming INSIDE what God wants you to be, that will have all manner of positive results on the OUTSIDE as well. But if all you are doing is "whitewashing the tomb", trying to make the outside presentable without working on your inside, that is pointless and not what God is interested in. So this passage, addressed to women, has direct application to men as well: the Lord doesn't care if we are immaculately presented every day in finery; He DOES care if we are day by day doing what He wants us to do, namely, growing up spiritually, progressing in our walk with Jesus Christ, and helping others do likewise through ministry – that is all "inside stuff" which is not always obvious to others (although the difference in us when we do these good things is impossible for others to miss in the aggregate: cf. Matt.5:16).
This doesn't mean that believers should be sloppy or dirty or smelly – not at all. It does mean that what's going on in our inside is exponentially more important than that admittedly somewhat important outside.
Hope this answers your questions – do feel free to write back.
In Jesus our dear Lord and Savior,
Hope your week is going ok so far. I also really, really, really hope that you manage to get some rest at some point in your busy weeks. Got to look after yourself too.
Have a few gems for you from Peter again.
I was thinking about the commandment to love the Lord with all our hearts and love our neighbours (preeminently our fellow believers) as ourselves. I know we can still minister to our brothers and sisters before we are spiritually mature in certain ways, but also by putting our all into growing spiritually that in itself IS loving them because once we are spiritually mature it's then that we really can help them by ministering to them in a much more helpful and effective way. We're not just doing it for ourselves but we're firstly doing it in obedience to the Lord which is loving Him with all our heart, soul, strength and mind and we're also doing it for our brothers and sisters in Christ. So pursuing spiritual growth and progress IS an act of love towards the Lord and others.
I've been reading 2 Kings and I haven't started reading the CT yet, but I accidentally came across the analogy of the Assyrian invasion of Judah. How the King of Assyria is a prophetic type of antichrist etc. It's REALLY interesting and I'm looking forward to learning more.
Your friend in Jesus
So far so good! Demon possessed mosquitoes done in. Rat not yet caught,
but working on it. Classes going well. Social events and committee
meetings plus teaching through mid-day Saturday, then posting. Sunday
should get a little break.
Thanks for the buried treasure! You sure are good at this!
Yes, there are many parallels in the OT, and in the prophets these are deliberate.
I also certainly agree with you on your point. We're not much good to anyone if we are not "fighting fit" in a spiritual sense. To expand the military analogy, a "soldier" who is sent into combat without proper conditioning and weapons training – and all of the other training that prepares him to cope with the stress and work as part of a team under pressure – is more of a liability to himself and others than any sort of "help". During the last six months or so of WWII in Europe, the Army had run out of properly trained reinforcements and sent a lot of green troops into combat units in the Hürtgen Forest and in the Battle of the Bulge. These guys usually lasted less than a week because they either couldn't handle it or were killed / wounded because they had no idea what they were doing. On the one hand we are not getting "mortered"; on the other hand this is even more serious as all dedicated believers know. So by all means we have to take care of first things first. That's the only way to be of real help to others when they need it. A great many men jump into the "pastorate" when they are nowhere near prepared to feed a congregation, not being spiritually mature themselves, let alone having enough seasoning to be of use to others in teaching the Word. Help other believers in various ways is something we can all do from the day of salvation forward, but our dedicated ministry often takes specific preparation – and it certainly requires prior spiritual growth. That's the best way to help the most in the long run – and the best way to please the Lord.
Thanks again for YOUR help!
Your friend in Jesus Christ,
Well it's been busy here. I've been busy getting my house together after
it not being attended to for over a month.
I got a flat tire the other day so I had to go get it fixed.
[details of past abuse at the hands of family and friends omitted]
On another note I've been reading The Purpose and Creation of man. I have had a really hard time lately with all the past favoritism. It's been real heavy on me to the point I just start crying and can hardly bear it. I want it to go away and I can't seem to get rid of it. I keep thinking of forgiveness and I feel like I have forgiven as I don't hate them or I'm not mad. I guess it's mostly hurt. When someone does wrong to you and its hurtful to the extreme, how do you get rid of that. I'm a caring person and so it's hard for me to understand the opposite and if you care you have love. Somehow the devil has found a crack in me and I don't understand.
You have so much on your site to read, I keep bouncing from one thing to the next trying to find something that I can grasp onto but I can't seem to find it. (Any ideas?)
I'm at my point with his family I'm no longer going to engage with them, just like I don't with my side of family. Its just to hard on me. I need to be free of all the nonsense and hurt. I have found myself completely walking out of the room when their name comes up. I want them out of my mind as it's just so hurtful and when I get like this it's not a good thing.
I'm sorry to hear that this maltreatment by family has gotten under your
skin again. It's very difficult to ward that sort of thing off, I
certainly understand. People have a hard time letting go of any sort of
maltreatment; how much more is that not the case when it has come at the
hands of those who are supposed to be loving and supportive – and with
whom we often have to continue to have some contact! I have seen this a
great deal; it is far from uncommon (sad to say).
How to cope? There isn't any magic bullet or special scripture or detailed teaching. The best way to be able to cope is to keep growing spiritually. The closer we get to Jesus Christ, the less hard (I don't say 'easy') these things can become. But in addition to spiritual maturity (of which you obviously have plenty), it's also a case of day by day application of the truth we know and believe. All we have to do is let down our guard – or be ambushed – and we can find ourselves right back where we were in anxiety and pain over past abuse. Temporarily. But then we rally our hearts in the Lord. Then we remember that this world is so temporary that it will be gone in the blink of an eye. We remember that all who are evil will regret every evil choice. And we remember that we will be eternally comforted, blessed and rewarded for all of our good decisions in believing, following and ministering the truth. We have a perfect Shepherd. So we remember that this path is the right one, even when the darkness seems to overwhelm us. He will lead us safely out the other side. Just as He always has done. Just as He always will do. So we strive to more like Moses who knew God would part the sea and less like the unbelieving Israelites who were convinced that disaster was at hand.
When it comes to people who've abused and misused us, we remember to get back to "considering the source", to being glad that we don't behave that way, and to remembering that our happiness and our prosperity is not dependent on anyone else except the Lord. We can only be made unhappy by other people and circumstances when we let it happen. But Jesus is standing right beside us and showing us the right way.
I am praying for you, my friend. Praying for the job(s) situation to work out and all other things as well. You have a budding new career opportunity and you have wonderful children and good health. And you are in the process of racking up a wonderful eternal reward through your commitment to the truth day by day. This is light years ahead of where all the people that have the potential to upset us are – or probably ever will be (sad to say).
Flat tires can be fixed. Rats can be trapped (I'm hoping on this end). But we only are given so many days to demonstrate that we love Jesus Christ more than anything in this world.
Your friend in Him for all time.
Thank you for your kind words. Sometimes it's just good to hear that
some one understands. I think some of my problem is I fight this feeling
of something telling me to just adjust to bad treatment as it's not that
big of deal, just get used to it, it doesn't seem to bother anyone else.
I don't know why but when family treats me wrong it really takes my self confidence down. I really struggle with that. When I took my real estate test I actually thought I wasn't going to pass it and I was going to have to take it 2 or 3 times or even more but I passed it the first time and I'm still in shock. I for the first time was so proud of myself. I'm sure past experiences from when I was a child had to do with the low self-esteem and confidence. I remember being laughed at and told I was stupid in school many times. Of course I'm able to see past that now and it doesn't bother me. I have even been made fun of from __ which should be no big surprise. [details omitted]
I've read your email at least 10 times. I get something good out of it every time. I need to keep remembering our happiness and prosperity isn't dependent on anyone else but the Lord.
You are also right- I need to remind myself of the blessings, I have thought of that lately. Healthy family and awesome kids and a wonderful spouse. That's more than half the battle here on this Earth.
Thank you again for your kindness and good words.
Hope you have a wonderful weekend,
I'm happy to be able to be of some help to you, my friend! And congrats
again on passing your test. That is sort of like a lawyer passing the
bar the first time – it's not easy to do and not unusual and no shame to
have to take it several times! Quite an accomplishment to get it on the
first go round!
Yes, there are a whole lot of people in this world who make themselves feel bigger and better by making the rest of us feel smaller. Of course they can only do that if we let them. That is not to say that when someone says something unkind or unpleasant or dismissive about us and what we are doing it doesn't sting. Of course it stings. But as mature Christians we understand that this means absolutely nothing. If the Lord is pleased with who we are and what we are doing, it wouldn't matter if the whole world despised us. And even if the whole world loved and respected us, that wouldn't mean anything to the Lord – and would be no substitute whatsoever for His good pleasure. We just have to remember who we are working for. Or as one friend said about this, "I used to let people like that rent space in my head; but I finally got around to evicting them all". Amen!
Your friend in Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior – the One we are here to serve.
Thank you again Bob. I really appreciate it. I need to learn to get away
from the negative thoughts of myself and keep reminding myself that
other people's opinions don't matter, especially if they are negative. I
like your friend's saying. I think I'll keep that in my mind when I have
that someone in my head that is giving me a headache or trying to stir
things up to evict them immediately. It's the blessing God has given
us-Our own free will to choose. Ill just replace the thoughts like I did
while sitting in church when I was young; that's a happy place in that
On another note ___ is having a blast in college. She texted me saying she is meeting lots of friends and loving it. She has added to her major already and is going to go back into Art (Minor in Art) she said every time she passed the art building her heart sunk. She will start next semester. She is getting all A's right now and said college is crazy fun. We miss her like crazy but so happy for her.
Thank you for all your wonderful advice again and hope you have a wonderful week.
You're most welcome, my friend. I think everyone has some of this to
deal with. Those who have such heavy doses of it and from those who
least ought to be dishing it out – family who are supposed to love and
support it – have a harder row to hoe. But I know you're up to it
through the Spirit.
Great news about ___! I was a business major . . . for one quarter. I'm sure glad I didn't waste my time going further down that road. We all have certain talents and natural interests. It's always better – if it is possible – to match our education to these (rather than to go after things for which we have no particular aptitude and in which we have no particular interest).
In my prayers daily, my friend.
In Jesus our dear Savior,
I'm having a rough go of it at the moment. One of my classes this semester is focused on group work, and while I like the people in my group well enough, they would be happy to settle for lower grades than me so care less (and therefore work less, leaving more for me). The class is also harder than most I've taken, and since the instructions given to us are more ambiguous than I'd like, forward progress has been frustrating.
This pressure (combined with a serious amount of burnout-induced fatigue) has me in a situation that's not my best, shall we say. The nearest deadline is Thursday, but I'll have midterms coming up soon after that. I feel a bit choked by the constant looming due dates for big group projects, and have been on edge most of the semester, accordingly. This feeling is what I'm hoping to escape after college -- the feeling caused by life-sucking commitments than follow you around day-in and day-out -- the feeling of impending doom à la Sword of Damocles.
Your prayers would be appreciated. I'm not doing particularly well taking hold of peace and joy amidst the storm.
Your brother in Christ,
Good to hear from you as always, my friend.
Sorry to hear that the "extra semester" is such a load. You've been at this a long time. No doubt you could use a break (being on the go all summer didn't give you much of an opportunity to recharge).
School has its issues. The semester system grinds away and forces you to stay on your toes. I should know after a life-time of it. Only thing worse is the quarter system. But school has in common with life-after-school that there are always pressures and always constraints on time. Will things be better with the USAF (or any other employer)? They will be different. But you will still have to have at it, one day at a time. I encourage you to hold onto that one-day-at-a-time perspective on this last leg. When you're in the last mile or so of a long race, you really do have to just keep putting one foot ahead of the other and try not to think about how much more is left.
I sympathize on the group work. As a professor, I personally would never place any serious evaluation on anything "group" related. It makes absolutely no sense to me – unless we are expecting this "group" to go get hired "as a group", etc.
The Lord will be with you, one deadline at a time, my friend. You are honoring Him in what you have chosen to do, and He will most certainly not let you down . . . and He most definitely deals with us "one on one".
I will be praying for you.
Your friend in Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,
I have been reading your questions and answers to: Spiritual Warfare III (link).
Love it. Your answers are spot on.
I sure do like how you respond to others. What love and kindness you give regardless of how arrogant, prideful and self-centered others can be. You are always referring straight back to the truth of the Bible.
How blessed we are to have met you!
Hope things are going well with you and your family.
Keeping you in my prayers – thanks so much for the encouraging words!
It's a pleasure and a privilege to know you guys as well.
Hello again Bob,
With regards to the verses we've discussed (Matt 11:30 and 16:20) when Jesus says the words in Matt 11:28 does this also relate to Jesus being Lord of the Sabbath and in Hebrews 4, is this referring to Jesus being our sabbath rest?
What does Hebrews 4 mean and what weariness are we resting from? Our we resting in the weariness of carrying our own crosses and denying ourselves?
Sorry to bother you again but what are "Dispensationalism" and "Calvinism" and where do you stand on both of these?
I'm sorry if I've asked about these things before but certain doctrines or historical movements or
theories take a while to settle in!
Many thanks for your continued support and exegesis!
In our loving Saviour, Jesus Christ,
Good to hear from you.
1) It's a nice observation! We're only truly at rest in Him.
A Prayer of Moses the man of God.
Lord, You have been our dwelling place in all generations.
Before the mountains were brought forth,
Or ever You had formed the earth and the world,
Even from everlasting to everlasting, You are God.
Psalm 90:1-2 NKJV
"Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest."
Matthew 11:28 NKJV
2) On Hebrews four and the replacement of the seventh day Sabbath with the moment by moment Sabbath for us with the Spirit today, please see the following links:
Sabbath Rest in Hebrews 4
Step by step through Hebrews 4
The Law and the new Sabbath rest
3) "Dispensationalism" refers to a school of interpretation to which most evangelicals today belong; the school correctly sees differences between the different ages of the plan of God, but incorrectly interprets them often (for one thing, seeing Israel and the Church as different though we are all part of the Body of Christ), and over-interprets many things so as to, for example, wrongly ignore much that is in the gospels as being "a different dispensation". Links:
Dispensations, Covenants, Israel and the Church I
Dispensations, Covenants, Israel and the Church II
4) Calvinism is the school of theology whose founder was John Calvin of
Reformation fame. His seminal work was "Institutes of the Christian Religion".
His followers, however, have taken his teachings to extremes and largely out of
context from the time in which he lived and wrote. T-U-L-I-P is the acronym
associated with this modern school: Total Depravity (aka "original sin");
Unconditional Election (essentially no free will); Limited Atonement (i.e., the
wrong idea that Christ only died for believers); Irresistible Grace (variation
of point two); Perseverance of the Saints (also known as Once Saved Always
Saved). Except for the first one, all of these points are dead wrong.
Your friend in Jesus Christ our dear Lord,
Just wanted to let you know that you say on one of the questions that
someone had the gift of discernment, but on your studies you say that
gift was temporary. I suppose that question was before you came to the
conclusion it was temporary. Maybe it is nothing.
Or maybe discernment isn't a sign gift, just healing, miracles, prophecy and tongues. The latter ones are listed as a sign. But not discernment specifically.
Or maybe there is a more miraculous version of the Spirit's Gift of Discernment during the apostle's time and and not-miraculous but still Spirit given gift of discernment like the Church of Ephesus must have used to keep out the wolves. Is that it?
It's a very fair question and observation. Sharp eyes, my friend!
What I wrote isn't wrong, but it might have been better to have phrased it differently. The gift which has ceased is "discerning of spirits"; all Christians ought to be discerning, and some are clearly better at that than others, partly through superior spiritual growth, partly through the Spirit's gifting. There are all manner of empowerments and gifts of the Spirit which no doubt pass beyond what we are told in scripture. But if I gave the impression that this person had "the gift of discernment of spirits" as a unique category of gift described as such in scripture, that would not be correct. From BB 5:
That is not to say that the functions of "knowledge, wisdom, faith, and (further down) discernment" have ceased; what it does mean is that however a believer may be specially gifted in these respects today, the truth that empowers those gifts will come in each case from the Bible through the same process of spiritual growth in the power of the Spirit that all believers experience (or should).
Wishing you a wonderful week ahead.
In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,
I know that man wa made in the image of God because mankind has the ability to reason, has intellect, and emotions and will; but are angels also in the image of God since they share similar traits as humans do? The angels are also referred to as "sons of God" -- and I understand that being the [son] of a Father means to have the same nature (e.g., "Jesus as the Son of God"). Are there any clear passages in Scripture which says that angels are/are not created in God's Image?
Also, please pray that my family members will be saved, and that God would invite them to accept the message of Salvation through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Thank you in advance!
Good to hear from you, my friend – it's been a while.
I do pray for you and your family daily and will continue to do so.
As to your question, your reasoning is exactly correct. Scripture does not say this outright – because the Bible never tells us about the creation of the angels in the detailed way it describes the creation of mankind (see the link: in SR 1: "Angelic Pre-History"). The image of God is all about free will. Having "will" is a godly and God-like thing. To be able to decide one's eternal future (based, may we never forget, on the cross of Jesus Christ) is an amazing thing – and it is indeed the reason for all of angelic and human history. That is what the image of God is. Clearly the angels have this too – since we know that a third of them choose for Satan against God, but the other two thirds chose not to rebel.
Keeping you in my prayers every day, my friend!
In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,
Good morning Dr. Luginbill -
Thank you so much for the prompt regarding the community site. I did a search using __'s name in my inbox and found the invitation link. I just signed up and have spent the past hour exploring and navigating the site. Thank you!
As far as our move/travels - we have been in a very interesting season. We boxed up our home and pulled away from the curb on July 31. Within 7 days of departure three of our clients informed us independently that they could not pay us our retainer fees. These clients are not connected and reside in varying locations across the United States. [details omitted]
The irony is that we decided to take this travel path to lessen our monthly expenses and allow us to have some financial freedoms to assist some of our struggling children - plus help with some large looming expenses. With all of the above, this has reduced us to living on 33% income. Our home was sold with no equity to rely on. The nature of our work does not easily on-board client projects. It is often some time before the project receives the green-light which then makes funds available and where we are then also paid. We have had a strong history of client referrals plus long-standing clients to date (at least within our industry and space). There are other odd and unusual financial hits that we have recently taken too. Very interesting (another spiritual level of boot camp).
But we have also been seeking and praying over the past year or so if the Lord is leading us to a new season. We are also very mindful regarding the times - and knowing what's to come and quickly advancing.
The financial hits have been an onslaught and stacking up. Plus we have some large expense items looming over the next 8 weeks that have caused me to grieve greatly. My firstborn son is getting married on New Year's Eve. We wish to help with some of the financial burden and to bless my son. There is so much more here based on great pain/history my sons and I have experienced with their biological father. His father has great wealth but will not help or contribute - his lifelong pattern. As you know, I came out of a very abusive former marriage - walking away with nothing and starting over like I was 18 years old yet with 4 sons to carry. It has been years of me struggling to find my feet and carry-on plus help my sons.
We have been petitioning God for deliverance - and I have been persistent before the Father. I trust God! I believe Him for his Word. I know His character. We need the mustard seed of our faith to move this mountain. He has done it before. He will do it again. We are asking it be now.
Please, Dr. Luginbill, will you join us in our prayers?
Quick note: We are so thankful that when all of this began (financial hardship) about three months ago that we both agreed to pre-pay __ both support and advancement on his work for three months. We think of him and pray for him daily. He is very dear to us.
As mentioned above, we truly covet your prayers, Dr. Luginbill.
Thank you for your faithfulness to me, mine, and the rest of the Ichthys community. You are greatly appreciated - and we truly keep you in our prayers as well.
In the precious name of Jesus - our Savior and King,
I've added your concerns to
Ichthys list, and I will definitely be praying for you on this.
I do think you are correct that all this sudden adversity is no accident. One thing I always stress is that if we have done nothing wrong – as was the case with Job – then such sudden pressures are definitely tests, and we have every right to feel good about them rather than becoming despondent. Because we know that our heavenly Father loves us and that our dear Lord Jesus is walking with us through the "fire and water" of whatever it is we have to face. We know that He will part the sea in due time. It's always wonderful to be able to look back after the fact and know that we have not been found wanting in trusting the Lord when these unpleasantnesses come our way. And even better to be confident of in the Lord that this will happen before we even see it with these fleshly eyes.
I draw great encouragement from your courageous attitude expressed here, my friend!
Good news about the list too.
We'll keep those prayers coming.
In Jesus Christ our faithful Lord and Savior,
I must say, you have smitten me with your very clear and easy to
understand interpretations of Revelation. I thank God that your on our
side. I am a fellow believer and fairly young in the Lord. But I have
been as non-stop as possible (job and wife) reading your articles and I
have been trying to keep a skeptical filter as I believe anyone should
when your reading someone’s interpretation of Revelation. I do have so
many questions but one in particular has led me to actually write an
email. I am conservative, and I have a reformed view. I wouldn’t call
myself anything to the extent of a Calvinist but I do hold him in high
regard. My point is I believe in the perseverance of the Saints. Real
believers cannot fall away from the faith. You said,
The apostates in question here are, on the contrary, genuine believers in our Lord who will exchange their precious faith for worthless and temporary worldly concerns under the pressures of that terrible time to come (cf. Dan.11:30-35).
I’m probably ill prepared to use scripture but doesn’t the Lord say he won’t lose one of His own? Isn’t there ALOT of scripture to back this doctrine?
I do understand your point of view. One of my weaknesses is impatience and I should’ve read and prayed more before emailing you. And not your point of view but what the Bible clearly says.
I do have to say, as a young Christian that your words have inspired me. It’s giving me a healthy fear to not take me place in Christ lightly. To warn others of the coming end & to be prepared! Especially when you spoke about having any hate in your heart will lead you further away from the truth in the end. How right now we have to prepare spiritually and be ready for the future.
Question: Why haven’t you published any of this stuff? This is beyond the most detailed and honestly accurate exegesis of the Bible I’ve ever read. If anything, it’s changed me. I’m thankful for your service and I have prayed a pray of thanksgiving for you and that this brings even more glory to God.
Good to make your acquaintance, and thanks so much for all your kind
On the reasons for why there are no traditional Ichthys books, see FAQ #1 and "A question about Ichthys books".
As to "once saved always saved" or the over-interpretation of what Calvin meant by perseverance, please see the links: "Being Saved" and "Apostasy and the Sin unto Death".
There are plenty more links on these and the other questions you probably have. Do feel free to write me back. When it comes to a thirst for the truth, impatience is no vice.
In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,
I really wish for us to be There already. There is no lasting pleasure or joy here. We just keep chugging along to the finish line. It will be so nice being able to talk to God and the family face to face, and so nice for there to be no more pain or trouble or sin. Ever.
As my dear departed father used to say, "Everything is always over".
Meanwhile, every day is nothing but an opportunity to put more in our
treasure chest" by thinking and saying and doing what the Lord wants
us to do in spiritual growth, progress and production.
The only other iron is a long shot but, the Lord has a great aim, so we
will see where that one leads. I am still sure that the Lord sees people
through rather than miraculously delivers to build up faith, patience
and endurance. Thanks for the prayers.
In Christ Jesus our Lord
It's a good point, my friend. But we will continue to pray for your
deliverance "from" this trial, even as we pray for endurance for you
"through" it until it is over.
I'm very much encouraged by your steadfast faith, my friend! And I love "the Lord has a great aim"!
Keeping you and your wife and family in my daily prayers.
In Jesus our dear Savior,