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Mutual Encouragement in Christ XV

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Question #1:  

Hi Bob,

I hope this news finds you relatively well and in good fighting spirit.

I find myself really stuck right now. Sure enough ___ has flipped back now to his old self and worse besides. [omitted]

Is this satanic attack? I've been here before when my whole family have turned on me. In fact I have been here many times before. The last time it got really bad and even ___ had turned on me too, that's when I asked Jesus to help me, it was then I became a Christian.

They hate me talking about the bible Bob and even have suggested that I am in a cult now and lost my mind.


It's like moving between one type of hell to go to another. I've been bouncing between these two spaces now for longer than I can bear. I need a place of my own but I have no income and these are so uncertain times as it is.

I feel completely alone and rejected once more. It made me panicky and I'm ashamed to say that I panicked so much and felt so trapped. [omitted]

I guess this is already good training for the tribulation as I already feel like a none person with no belongings and no freedom, no place of my own and no rights.

I always pray for other people. Is it okay to pray for myself? I need a place, my own space to study the Word and get my life back. I know I need to have an income too.

Just feel overwhelmed right now. I know I must trust in the Lord and that even in the worst times, He is always with us. I am starting to fear the people around me, the people I should instinctively trust. I have to remember that they can only kill the body. What should I do when the fear and claustrophobia overwhelms me? Should I pray harder and ramp up my bible study more? Also should I spend my time looking at other places to live? Whether I can get housing benefit and concentrate on work and an income?


In Him,

Response #1: 

I'm sorry to hear this, my friend, but I have to say that I am not terribly surprised. People don't change as a rule – unless Jesus Christ changes them through new birth from above. Also, it is typical of addicts and abusers and all manner of serial offenders to look as if they are turning over a new leaf from time to time – and then to completely revert once they've gained whatever they were looking to gain.

For a long time now I have been praying for you for a "safe landing", far removed from abuse and compromising situations of the past – to move forward and not backward. I do understand this is scary and not an easy lift, but nothing is impossible for the Lord, after all, for all who have decided to put Him first as you have. You are a very talented person, and I have to believe that the Lord can use these attributes He's given you to find you just the right employment and a way forward with that. I understand that things are very tough right now, believe me. But, after all, you only need one job, and even if things were all rosy you would still need that one job. I'm certainly praying for you for this to work out for good.

In the meantime, I'm also praying for your safety and continued spiritual growth. God is good and He is working everything out together for good for you. Sometimes when situations are made untenable it is precisely because He is wooing us to make the change He wants us to make. He will certainly provide for us when we do decide to get out of the comfort of the sinking boat and follow Him instead. He can hold us up on the water, even though our eyes say no. It is a question of faith, and He is the One who is perfectly faithful, perfectly worthy of our trust.

"Praise be to the LORD, who has given rest to his people Israel just as he promised. Not one word has failed of all the good promises he gave through his servant Moses."
1st Kings 8:56 NIV

In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #2:  

Hi all,

I hope you are doing well and staying safe during this storm. The Lord protects his own so we can rest in that. Below are the promises of God in the bible. Print it, pray over it but above all, believe it.

1. Eye has not seen nor ear heard what God has planned for those that love him. 1 Cor 2:9
2. Future and hope. Jeremiah 29:11
3. Bring my soul out of prison. Psalm 142:7
4. Let the oppressed (captive) go free - Isaiah 58:6
5. Jesus set me free - John 8:33-36
6. What I ask will be done - Matthew 18:19
7. Cleanse me from all unrighteousness - 1 John 1:9
8. Forgives all my debts (transgressions, sins) - Matthew 6:12
9. Cleanse me from secret faults - Psalm 19:12
10. He heals my broken hearted - Psalm 147:3
11. Return my children back to me - Malachi 4:6
12. Jesus and he abide in me - John 14:23
13. Gives the Holy Spirit when I obey him - Acts 5:32
14. Place me under the shadow of his wings - Psalm 36:7
15. Prosper at his pleasure - Isaiah 53:10
16. No weapon will prosper against me - Isaiah 54:17
17. Faith moves mountains - Matthew 17:20
18. Power of life in the tongue - Proverbs 18:21
19. To exceedingly abundantly above all we ask or think - Ephesians 3:20
20. Ask and you will receive it - Luke 11:9
21. Deliver me from my enemy - Psalm 18:48
22. Forgives me of my disobedience - Ephesians 1:7
23. Deliver me from evil - Matthews 6:13

Response #2: 

Thank you, my friend!

Praying for your deliverance in short order.

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #3:  

Do you know that all my experiences with people, including believers, is that they only care about you to the extent they can get something from you? And then they move on until they have a low point and then want to come back for a while until they lose interest or find something better. I have known no truly love (as the Bible defines it) relationships. And I try, in fact I am told I try too hard. And I don't know what to do with that. I am tempted to just not care anymore. Are you suffering? That is life, suck it up. If someone is being nice they want something. It isn't a lack of want or effort on my part. I don't know how to be loving, except keep people at acquaintance level, and pray for them while they talk to you. And when they go, be done with them and ignore if they come back, and instead focus on the next new people in front of you. And to pray for family.

Anyway, I do still intend to pursue understanding the Bible better via what I was before. There are others verses to obey that are simpler like honoring proper authority and verbal worship, and working as if for Him, etc.

I am glad you are ok.

Response #3: 

I do pray for you for some decent Christian fellowship. It's not all that easy to find in our present day – but nothing is impossible for the Lord! Most positive Christians I have known in my life have all gone through "wilderness years" when it seemed as if we were "the only ones" who really loved the Lord enough to focus on His Word and the teaching of it. But also every one of these has been brought forth into a "wide place" where there has been encouragement and support. Like the "no water" test for the children of Israel, we have to trust the Lord that He will provide for all of our needs in His perfect timing – as long as we keep trusting in Him and don't give up.

Your friend in Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #4:  

Obeying the verses on how to treat each other is implied in what you said, right?

Maybe I just don't know what a healthy relationship is due to my own lack of experience with any. I mean maybe I am like people who have something mentally wrong and they just don't get a basic thing like others. It seems you have to get that when you are young and from your family-I think that is what the child psychologists say, but also implied by ancient wisdom. Well, I think if I pray for others it shows that my love hasn't grown cold, even if I don't let them in or know how to do friendship, right?

Anyway, please take care. Thanks for your encouragement.

Response #4: 

Of course we always should follow what scripture says.

Some people are quick to blame others when relationships are problematic. Other people are quick to blame themselves. Relationships are tricky no matter what, even when two truly good people are involved. Best to try and not take any of this too personally. If someone likes you, great. If someone dislikes you, well, after all, it doesn't mean you have to share their opinion – and it's not as if you can change other people.

Blessedly, believers have the perfect relationship with the perfect Person, Jesus Christ our Lord. He loves us with a love beyond understanding. So getting closer to Him day by day is the most important thing. Certainly more important that what anyone else may think.

In Jesus Christ our dear Savior,

Bob L.

Question #5:  

Hi Bob,

Hope you've had a lovely day. Mine went fine at work today. Great that your barbers is open again. Can't believe your Michigan barber story - not good! But the governor's hubby bit was funny!

There's rumours about us beginning to treat patients again from 1st July. I'm SO ready too for things to return to normal and I've thought the same as you - just the "old normal" please. If I was allowed to, I would send you over a few of our masks to keep you going. To be honest though your bandana will do the job just fine (keep them happy!).

[omitted] I'm OK but just feel on my own with it and I'm beginning to wonder what it's going to be like for me when the Tribulation is here.

I'll keep my head down, my mouth shut and be careful not to mention anything even in passing. I'll just try to study and pray as best I can. I feel like this more and more. Like there's just nobody out there who is really interested in the Lord no matter what they say to me even if it's positive. People can humour me if they want but time is running out for them.

Anyway, I'll be fine. I've got to keep pressing on.

Keeping those prayers going for you and thanks for yours.

Your friend in Jesus

Response #5: 

I'm sorry to hear that your family is still problematic. I do keep them and your situation in my daily prayers. Some times God answers us instantly – and how we love THOSE times! But often He brings us 'through' rather than delivering us 'from'. It's hard but it's also good practice. After all, so many of our fellow believers are counting on an instantaneous delivery before the Tribulation even gets started. How disappointing is it going to be for them when they realize that it'll be seven years down a very hard road before that happens!

I'm certainly praying for a much swifter deliverance for you, my friend. We know and have absolute faith that the Lord loves you and is working everything out for you for the good. It's just not given to us to see all the hows and the wherefores ahead of time. That is where our faith comes in - and you have it in spades!

(3) And not only this, but let us glory in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces patience, (4) and patience produces proven character, and proven character produces hope – (5) and this hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured out in our hearts through the Holy Spirit given to us.
Romans 5:3-5

(2) Brothers, when you are being beset with all manner of trials, take pains to be joyful. (3) For you should keep in mind that this testing of your faith develops perseverance. (4) So let your perseverance develop fully, that you may become fully mature and entitled to a full reward, having been found lacking in no respect.
James 1:2-4

(6) In anticipation of this ultimate deliverance, your joy overflows, though at present it may be your lot to suffer for a time through various trials (7) to the end that your faith may be shown to be genuine. This validation of your faith is far more valuable than gold, for gold, though it too is assayed by fire, ultimately perishes. But your faith, when proven genuine in the crucible of life, will result in praise, glory and honor for you at the glorious return of Jesus Christ.
1st Peter 1:6-7

Your friend in Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #6:  

 Hi Bob,

Thanks so much for your prayers and encouragement - I always appreciate it very much. I think we all need it sometimes.

It's very hard at times in the situation I'm in but I'll continue to quietly persevere and grow in the Lord. If it's just me and the Lord then it teaches me to depend upon Him alone. I'm here to love and to please Him above anyone or anything else in my life and that's what I want to do with all my heart. It doesn't matter what anyone else is doing around me. When all this is done I want Him to be pleased with me. I want to have given Him my all. I can still do so much better. I still make mistakes, I've wasted time and energy in the wrong places but I hope I can make it up.

I've been a bit distracted but tomorrow is a new day and I will do better. He'll show me and help me. I know I need to continue to look after my family and home in the way the Lord wants me to and go to work as well but I need to focus even harder on the Word and your teaching and that's what I'm going to do. The Lord has given us this time now leading up to the Tribulation and I don't want to waste any of it. CV-19 has been a helpful nudge from the Lord as well.

I can do this no problem with Him by my side. It's tough going living in this world but we haven't got long now and I can endure it all with His strength. (Phil. 4:13)

Our PM said tonight that __ are to reopen. So a lot sooner than we thought and not much notice for us to get everything ready. But it feels like another step towards slowly getting back to the "old normal" (hopefully!). Any more news from the uni this week?

Keeping you and yours in my prayers.

Your friend in our dear Lord Jesus

Response #6: 

I know that the Lord will bring you through this. Family is almost always difficult (trying to think of an example of advancing believers where that is not the case to one degree or another but I'm coming up empty).

As to past mistakes, if the Lord had not turned me around when He did, I'd probably be dead long ago. We've all got regrets, but they mean nothing. What matters is punching away day by day. That's the best we've got. In fact that's all we've got – and in Jesus Christ and with the power of the Holy Spirit that's more than enough. Make the most of the opportunity today, "redeeming the time" (Eph.5:16; Col.4:5), and in the end you'll have earned a great reward and a "well done!" from the One we love more than life (Phil.1:21) – with that harvest arriving even before you realize it.

And He said, “The kingdom of God is as if a man should scatter seed on the ground, and should sleep by night and rise by day, and the seed should sprout and grow, he himself does not know how. For the earth yields crops by itself: first the blade, then the head, after that the full grain in the head. But when the grain ripens, immediately he puts in the sickle, because the harvest has come.”
Mark 4:26-29 NKJV

Looking forward to celebrating your harvest on that great day of days.

Great news about the practice opening back up! News here is not terribly encouraging. From my chair today: "I can say with almost complete certainly that there will be no 100% face to face classes." I sure hope she turns out to be wrong.

Keeping up those prayers.

In Jesus our dear Savior,

Bob L.

Question #7:  

Dear Teacher

How did the past couple of nights turn out after all?

I'm so glad to be rereading BB 6: Peripateology with friend et al. and with my fiancee! It's so clarifying. I envy those whom the Lord has trusted with personal tribulation now. I have always desired to prove worthy of it, but struggling with a major flaw wasn't helping, as far as I could see. I'm learning to deal with that with the truths that I have learned, especially the one about taking each temptation as it comes.

I'm also very grateful to have found what I was trying to put my finger on when I was wrestling with the decision that I had to make: the law of Love (https://ichthys.com/6A-Peripateo.htm#5._The_Law_of_Love). I just compared what I reread there to the reasons I had for making the choice I did. I didn't remember it prior, but it was a huge help to read again. I'm grateful that the Lord guided my feet even though I didn't remember the exact words in that section. The desire for something that I could do for a living without excessive wrestling inside myself may work out in a career where with less pressure on my resources I can accomplish more for the Lord and my brothers and sisters.

I am very grateful to the Lord and very happy for the peace inside me. I don't feel torn apart and guilty all the time about what I should be doing anymore. It's a little like being where I should be. I just don't feel lost or confused anymore. Of course, it won't surprise me if things work out differently than I have mapped out. I don't mind where the Lord takes me. I just needed to have some general idea where I should be headed. And I've got that now.

Your student in Jesus Christ

Response #7: 

I'm very glad that you've gotten assurance on your path forward. That is very important. Now "all" you have to do is work your tail off for the next . . . pretty much forever. But when we're doing it for the Lord and those we love, that's not bad at all (cf. Gen.29:20).

Keeping you and your families in my daily prayers.

In Jesus our dear Savior,

Bob L.

Question #8:  

Hi Bob,

Thank you so much for your encouragement and tuition.

It's my birthday today. Time seems to fly faster and faster. I was thinking today about how it is to be born and then to be born again, like you said before "changed from above".

It is such a beautiful and incredible thing. I wish everyone could experience it. Sometimes I just gush and gush so much to people about God's love and I'm so overwhelmed by what Jesus has done for us. Sometimes there are no words adequate to convey the gratitude I feel. So humbling and so overwhelming.

Despite all the bad that is happening, today I felt this huge wave of excitement. It is excitement of being part of something incredible, being part of God's plan, no matter how small. Being a witness to all that is happening and prophesy literally unfolding before our very eyes. Please don't be offended when I say this, I realise the gravity of the situation we are all in (in the years leading up to the tribulation) and yet I feel a kind of awe and a sense of being given a rare privilege to see it all be fulfilled and to be involved in it as it happens. It's mind blowing isn't it.

I am so grateful to be in Christ, it is overwhelmingly gracious and generous that again I have no adequate words. Everything else just falls away in insignificance by comparison. I think about my worries and then I think about God's love and endless provision and I laugh with great joy as my cares are brushed away.

I want to thank you for your continued guidance, your wisdom, your fellowship and most of all your friendship. I really do not know what I would have done without it.

In Him,

Response #8: 

Happy Birthday!

I'm very proud to have you as a friend in Christ.

Indeed, being a part of all that is happening – and soon WILL happen when our Lord returns – is wonderful beyond expression.

Hope you had a marvelous day.

In Jesus our dear Savior,

Bob L.

Question #9:  

Thank you Dr. L, prayers are needed. It is a three step process and I am still on step 1. Pray in the next week or so I will get confirmation of the next stage.

Just wanted to keep you in the loop. But how I look at any date prior to 2022 is a blessing. Sooner rather than later.

It is somewhat interesting on how human nature works. The Lord tells us to be anxious for nothing (Phil 4:6) but as soon as good news of things potentially to come, we become anxious...The reason why abiding in Christ and growing spiritually is always critical so one won't be tossed to and fro with every bit of news.

To God we give all the glory through Christ Jesus who delivers us from all our afflictions.

Response #9: 

Thanks for the update, my friend.

It's an excellent point, and one I have noted also in my life. Once things get to the point of being close to completion it is very easy to forget that the Lord is the One who brought us to that point, right to the edge of the Red Sea. He will bring us safely across to the other side as well – He didn't bring us to this point for no reason. So it is a test of faith. I rejoice that not only are you passing it but that you are seeing the test for what it is. This is a memorial of victory you will remember all your life – and beyond.

Keeping up the prayers.

In Jesus our dear Savior,

Bob L.

Question #10:  


I need an urgent prayer request please. I am under intense satanic attack. The enemy is working through my family. They keep trying to manipulate me and abuse me. They have made me out to be crazy for praying and for my beliefs, especially in the bible. They believe that I belong to a cult. They keep saying that someone is telling me how to think and what to say. When I told them the way I think is from Jesus through the Holy Spirit, they don't believe me.

In the past I mentioned your name quite a bit because I was so excited by your website. Now they are convinced that you control what I think and say, which is offensive to both of us really. My witnessing has influenced them but [omitted]

I despair over their blindness and wilful rejection of the truth..

It is difficult at the moment for me, I am suffering with acute ___ . [omitted] Maybe that is just it, spiritual warfare.

In Jesus,

Response #10: 

 I'm very sorry to hear that this is taking such a toll on you, my friend! Rest assured that I am and have been praying for you about all this. You are indeed undergoing quite a test, but I want you to remember that the Lord is sufficient and that He will bring you through it. Therefore you do not need to be anxious about anything. I know that is more difficult to do than to say, but it is the goal of the peace to which we have been called. Remember that the Lord is standing right there by your side. He loves you and has nothing but your best interests in view. It's very easy, especially under pressure of this sort, to get our eyes on the problem and in the process to take them off of the Lord who is the solution. We've all done that. When we realize it, we need to shift focus back to the Lord, back to the reason why we are here, back to spiritual growth, and back to a focus on eternity rather than on the here and now and the immediate trouble. We can't always be joyous in such circumstances, but we most definitely can have – and are commanded to have – "the peace of God which passes all understanding" (Phil.4:7; see the link in BB 6A: "Peace and Joy").

(1) Therefore since you have been resurrected [positionally] with Christ, keep seeking after the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. (2) Keep thinking on the things above, and not the things on the earth.
Colossians 3:1-2

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things.
Philippians 4:8 NIV

Keeping you in my prayers daily.

In Jesus Christ our dear Lord,

Bob L.

Question #11:  

Hi Bob,

I just wanted to update you. I've read through everything you sent me and it gave me such joy and comfort to know.

I've had a breakthrough today. A lot of things make sense to me now, why I went off the rails as a teen, why my family are the way they are, why I have had so much pain. God has shown me where it all fits together. I know that where I am right now is for a reason. I have great peace and reassurance that it is all in God's hands.

I know now that my spiritual growth will run alongside my personal healing from pain, that one will enable the other and encourage one another. I see this now and it gives me great strength. I know that God will carry me through this and my faith will be all the more stronger for it. I know that I will fully heal from all hurts. I know that I need not fear my family anymore. Their words cannot imprison or define me anymore as their negative opinion of me is not based on truth and is not of God.

I am free in Jesus Christ.


Thank you so much for your prayers!

James 5:16
Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.

In Him,

Response #11: 

That's terrific, my friend!

Hold onto this day and this experience in your heart, seeing as how the Lord has given it to you as a memorial to be treasured away to be brought out and remembered when the going gets tough. Because the going always gets tough – in this world.

"These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world."
John 16:33 NKJV

Looking forward to the day when all "this" melts away in the brilliant light of the glory of our dear Savior Jesus Christ.

In our Lord,

Bob L.

Question #12:  

Hello Bob,

In Zechariah 3, Unger attributes God's choice of Israel to His gracious choice. Unger says, "his unmerited favor, and nothing else, was the real basis for the Lord's election [of Israel]". Since God picks no favorites I am inclined to disagree with this and see it as the Jewish people having a heart for God and His word unlike any family in the history of mankind meriting their favor from the Lord. Do you agree?

In Jesus,

Response #12: 

This would back up Unger:

As it is written, “Jacob I have loved, but Esau I have hated.” What shall we say then? Is there unrighteousness with God? Certainly not! For He says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whomever I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whomever I will have compassion.” So then it is not of him who wills, nor of him who runs, but of God who shows mercy.
Romans 9:13-16 NKJV

On the other hand, what you say is true as well.

So I would suggest these two positions reflect the two-sided coin of the plan of God which are His Will and our will, seamlessly integrated into that one perfect plan. We choose for Him because He chose us; He chose us because we choose for Him. While many see these as contradictory in fact you cannot have one without the other, God being who He is and we being who we are as He made us.

There's much more about these issues at the link in BB 4B: "God's Plan to Save You"

In Jesus our dear Lord,

Bob L.

Question #13:  

I have to say Bob your answer brought great joy to my heart. I really do wonder why God even chose me considering the heinous sins I have committed. But I will take it!!! What a wonderful God we have. Praise His Name!

Response #13: 

We are ALL sinners, saved by grace (1Tim.1:15).

And God's forgiveness of us by the blood of Jesus Christ is indeed the most wonderful thing imaginable.

In Him,

Bob L.

Question #14:  

Thank you Dr. Quick question. How does one apply "Be still and know that I am the Lord" with "faith without works is dead"? Meaning, how do I know when to stop trying. For instance, I can [take some action regarding my problem] versus just waiting and letting the Lord open the door. I am struggling with inaction vs. action and my role in this situation. I want to honor him but in faith.

Thanks for your help in this matter.

God bless and will continue to pray for you, your family and ministry day by day

Response #14: 

The Christian walk is all about making decisions – hopefully good ones that honor the Lord. We want to do all He wants us to do, but we don't want to go out of bounds and do things He doesn't want us to do. When it is not sinful or otherwise wrong to "not" do something or to "do" something, we have to use our spiritual common sense. As a general rule of thumb, if we have done all that we can reasonably do to accomplish what He has given us to do, then we can rest in that confidence. What we DON'T want is to NOT do things we reasonably could do and claim we are "waiting on the Lord", or on the other hand go so far overboard with our own actions past the point of what is really necessary that it calls our faith in Him into question. For some things, it is a close call. In these situations, we have to consider the matter in the Spirit and in prayer, and once we've been guided to a point of being confident in the Lord about our further action – or resting on the action we've already taken as sufficient for one trusting Him – we do (or don't do) what we do in absolute confidence that He is working it all out together for good.

There's a lot more detail regarding the above at the link in BB 6A under "Spiritual Discernment"

Thanks so much for your prayers, my friend! I'm keeping you and your situation in mine daily.

In Jesus our Lord,

Bob L.

Question #15:  

Hi Bob,

I have just been thinking a great deal about weakness. Recently I have felt very weak. At the same time I have felt joy because I know at these times, I am so much closer to God because in these moments I realise "I am wholly dependent on Him for everything".

"When I am weak, then I am strong"

I have noticed a familial trait that I unfortunately have inherited. It is a particular part of sin nature. That I viewed feeling and being weak as shameful and humiliating. That before, to overcome weakness, I would look for strength in my flesh and by doing so would sin. This is because the only strength that can be found in the flesh is against God because it is rejecting God by thinking we are strong without God.

Looking for strength without God can only lead to sin because the flesh always seeks sin.

I think of the rotten fruit that my "fleshly strength" produced; pride, fear, condescension, anger, being without compassion, impatient, judgmental, of bullying nature, aggression, cold hearted, keeping records of wrongs, unforgiving, a critical spirit and full of mockery.

I would distance myself so much away from the vulnerable, powerless feelings of weakness and through wounded pride would seek to be an aggressor, an accuser, a tyrant.

I would ignore the wisdom that can be won from weakness; that it causes us to realise we have nothing without God, that our only strength is through the Holy Spirit.

It is the Holy Spirit that empowers us. That strength is from God. The strengths that come from the Holy Spirit are love, joy, peace, long suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness and temperance.

In satan's world system, the fruits of the Holy Spirit are seen as weaknesses whereas God sees them as strengths. This is because everything in this world is inverted. The flesh is of the world and so it also views weaknesses as strengths and strengths as weakness (calling good evil and evil good).

One of the saddest aspects of my gaining strength "in the flesh" is that in my pride, to distance myself from my own weakness, I wished to distance myself from the perceived weakness of others. In that moment I felt strong in the flesh because I made someone else feel weak. Someone else's weakness gave me the feeling of strength in comparison. This is always a bully or an abuser's m.o.

I became the thing I hated. I gave way to the same sins which had injured me from others. "Hurt people hurt people".

So it's about the golden rule: treat others how you wish to be treated.

I was also reading Ephesians 3:16.
We are strengthened with might by His spirit.

So this is the Holy Spirit and we are strengthened and made strong by it. That would mean the fruits of the spirit is the evidence of being strengthened by the spirit. So this would mean meekness IS strength. This is the OPPOSITE from what the world tells us.

Jesus did not distance Himself from weakness but held weak people's hands and healed them and comforted them. He came in the flesh to be a suffering servant. He was rejected because this was seen as weakness. Humility was seen as weakness. Instead they wanted a leader who would lead with military aggression. They will have this desire met with the antichrist.

The lives that were changed by Jesus Christ, the people who heard the Gospel gladly were the poor, the sick, the sinners. They were already weakened in the flesh and so had been humbled. When we are humbled by our lack of fleshly strength, then we are ready for God's strength through the Holy Spirit. It is only when we are weak and then humbled that God can work on us and through us.

When we are weak we are strong because when we are weak in the flesh, this produces meekness. God resists the proud.

Am I on the right lines here?!

In Jesus,

Response #15: 

Good stuff, my friend! And biblical too:

Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ's sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
2nd Corinthians 12:10 NKJV

I have the strength to endure all things in the One who empowers me to do so.
Philippians 4:13

It is good to keep in mind that whatever weaknesses we may have – in terms of proclivity to sin – first, everyone has these (they're only different in different people), and, second, we all retain our free will all the way to the end. That means that we do have the right and the power to say "no!" And believers with the Holy Spirit can definitely say "no!" and stick with it – but it still does require commitment to do so, along with spiritual growth to be able to do so consistently and effectively.

So there is weakness (proclivity to sin) and there is weakness (physical and other impediments that resist our attempts to do what is right). God through His Spirit and His truth gives us the power to stop doing what we shouldn't in spite of the former, and to begin and keep doing what we should in spite of the latter.

Walk in the Spirit and you will not fulfill the lust of your flesh.
Galatians 5:16

Keeping you in my prayers daily, my friend!

In Jesus our dear Savior,

Bob L.

Question #16:  

 Dear Dr Luginbill,

How are you doing? I really am asking, but you don't have to say if you don't want of course.

1) Is it okay for a believer to not like someone? I always thought it wasn't but now I am not sure.

2) I want to tell you my reaction to two different people and to ask you to please tell me if it was okay or if it was wrong, maybe a sin even. [omitted]

Am I wrong to think like this? I just feel there are many relationships I wasted tons of time on already, and if I had not, would be much further with growth and learning. But at some point there must be some interaction with others I would presume to do ministry. I don't know, any advice or thoughts? You don't have to answer of course. I still think of you as a mentor and good friend.


Response #16: 

I'm doing pretty well, thanks. I just wish it were still May rather than July, given where I'm at on my summer research.

1) In my personal experience and observation, it's impossible not to dislike some people. We do have to love them – meaning that we have to treat them according to the "golden rule" and desire their salvation – but we do NOT have to like them (meaning having personal relationships with them or forcing ourselves to try to enjoy their company when we really can't).

2) These are personal judgment calls; you may do as you please without having to justify it when it comes to sharing company with anyone else – or not. a) I think it's a mark in your favor that you are impatient with time-wasting and pointless activities! b) In regard to leisure time pursuits which are not sinful in and of themselves, that is totally up to you; the only spiritual dimension has to do with the use of your time in doing things or not doing them because they may take time away from what is really important to us.

There are all manner of activities which are not sinful in and of themselves. We are given a certain amount of time in this life, and how we use it says a lot about who we are and what is really important to us. It's rare to find anyone, even in the Bible, who is anywhere close to a "100%-er". Most of us who have grown up in this culture are accustomed to having "time off" and enjoying "wholesome entertainment"; spending time with family (depending – you know what I mean here) and friends (who are worthy of our time) is certainly one of the more reasonable ways to recreate – and it can often give us opportunities to minister to them by directing them in good spiritual directions and encouraging them in the Word.

Hope you had a nice 4th!

Keeping you in my prayers.

In Jesus our dear Savior,

Bob L.

Question #17:  

Thank you very much for the responses. I know my problem is I don't know boundaries or self worth. I know the terms are my generation modern, but there must have been some equivalent term my grandparents would have had since many of them were much stronger on both.

I do also think part of the problem is me since I am the common denominator, but I couldn't tell you what I do wrong or where my thinking is wrong. I think theoretically if I didn't have a problem at least one or two of those relationships would have worked, right? Well anyway. I do have issues with basic things too, but I have been getting better! I react in a more healthy manner now to things (not feeling guilty for going to the drive thru or like it is bad to own a nice thing).

It is very rare that I enjoy someone's company. I honestly thought as believers we had to force ourselves to do that. It really only happens naturally when I can have a delicious intellectual conversation with the person (over any number of topics).

Well I have rambled enough. Thank for always helping me

Please take care,

Response #17: 

For what it's worth, I think you're doing fine.

Getting involved with someone or a group of people who are problematic is, in my experience and observation, often FAR worse than keeping to oneself. Most people have a natural tendency to do the former, so I would consider this prudence regarding getting involved a personal strength. Moreover, the Lord knows just what we need – far better than we do – and He has never left us in the lurch, even if sometimes we have to wait on Him for our deliverances. Resting in Him always leads to good things; going off on our own to "fix" our perceived problems almost always turns out to be a huge mistake.

In Jesus our dear Savior,

Bob L.

Question #18:  

I wonder if one could say that most groups are problematic since most people don't want God. But there have been times I was so desperate for any kind of guidance, but I suppose since I made it to this point I didn't need more than I got at the time. I do often feel like I can just be separate from whatever the groups of people are doing. Almost like I am in the wild and am once in a while glancing at them going through their cycles of things. I don't want to be involved, all of it seems like a waste of energy. Of course I am actually physically in the city.

"Resting in Him always leads to good things; going off on our own to "fix" our perceived problems almost always turns out to be a huge mistake."

Well maybe the "perceived" part is key here. I guess I have to be careful of thinking something is a problem when it is not stated as a problem (or rather a sin) in the Bible.

Thank you for what you said,

Response #18: 

On groups, as Paul said,

Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness? And what accord has Christ with Belial? Or what part has a believer with an unbeliever? And what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For you are the temple of the living God. As God has said:

“I will dwell in them
And walk among them.
I will be their God,
And they shall be My people.”
Therefore “Come out from among them
And be separate, says the Lord.
Do not touch what is unclean,
And I will receive you. I will be a Father to you,
And you shall be My sons and daughters,
Says the LORD Almighty.”
2nd Corinthians 6:14-18 NKJV

I surely wish there were some face to face options for Christian fellowship for you that wouldn't constitute a major compromise in what you believe and in your spiritual growth (that is what most "churches" would get you today).

Have you had any contact on our friend's Ichthys forum? I think you had an invite, no? I could ask him to send you another one (apologies if you're already active – I don't participate myself).

In Jesus our dear Savior,

Bob L.

Question #19:  

Thanks for this Bob,

I'm trying to understand these things in the context of blessings and suffering. Is all suffering either for testing or discipline purposes? Someone else suggested Job's suffering was unique in that it was mainly to give the angels a lesson rather than Job. Would you agree with this?

Are there times that we suffer when it is neither testing or discipline? How do we know the difference? Is it only with maturity that we will know when we are disciplined or tested?
How would a young believer know or can they know?

As a believer matures, would you say that they would sin less and less? I know that we will never be sinless here but do mature believers sin less because of their faith? I am starting to see that sin is because of a lack of faith in that it often comes from not trusting in God.

I realise that my sins come specifically from a position that I have not previously trusted in God to uphold judgement, that people will "get away with evil" and even seemingly prosper for it (it's interesting that Job deals with this subject in this book).

Now that my faith is growing, I trust that God will be perfectly just and when His justice through Jesus Christ will be meted out, that it will be perfect. I have also matured from a position of being obsessed with an idea of justice being served to one of wanting mercy for people. Yes, even mercy for my enemies. By focusing on Jesus Christ and how He lived and ministered, I want to imitate Him in my own behaviour and that is a position of forgiveness rather than anger.

Anger has been a problem for me. I was brought up to think that being angry was being strong (might is right) now I see it as a weakness and a failing as it is sin.

No matter what happens to me now. I always seek Him out first. My remedy for every and all situations, is prayer, reading the Word, meditating on the Word and visiting yours or Omo's ministry [link].

I do feel like I am growing but it is slower than I hoped. I try to maintain my dedication to growth no matter what life throws at me. I realise how far I have to go on this upward climb on the narrow path but I am eager at some point to bear fruit. I wouldn't want to go home one day empty handed.

In Jesus,

Response #19: 

As to "it was mainly to give the angels a lesson rather than Job": I think we've all benefited from Job's experience – it's an incredibly important lesson for us all.

"As a believer matures, would you say that they would sin less and less?": We certainly ought to! But sin is a subject "deep and wide", and even believers who are trying to advance spiritually (a small number these days) have ups and downs, three steps forward and two back experiences, and often also specific areas (you mention anger: Jonah also had a temper) where we lag behind the curve. BB 3B: Hamartiology gives details on all these questions you ask (at the link).

"How would a young believer know or can they know?": If we haven't done any serious sinning or sinned outside of the ordinary mental and verbal lapses and/or lack of 100% application type failures, then we can be sure that trouble is a test. Also, we have to realize that God is absolutely fair. So if we get angry at someone and shout at them – then repent and confess – then find out we have some serious disease, we can be sure that this is NOT because we got angry and shouted, e.g. God loves us; He is not a "sin accountant" (Ps.130:3; cf. 1Cor.13:5); Jesus died for all of our sins; we are forgiven when we confess them; but it is typical, especially of new believers or believers not growing, to imagine everything that goes wrong is divine discipline. Sometimes things just happen; but God knows everything that happens and will; so if we are walking with the Lord, even suffering is for blessing, because it draws us closer to Him (2Cor.12:10; cf. Jas.1:2-5). Getting our eyes on ourselves at such times is exactly the wrong thing to do. We need to have some faith, confess whatever needs to be confessed, and trust Him to get us through the trial (1Cor.10:13).

"I do feel like I am growing but it is slower than I hoped": Growth is always slow, but you are growing quicker than you know:

And He said, “The kingdom of God is as if a man should scatter seed on the ground, and should sleep by night and rise by day, and the seed should sprout and grow, he himself does not know how. For the earth yields crops by itself: first the blade, then the head, after that the full grain in the head. But when the grain ripens, immediately he puts in the sickle, because the harvest has come.”
Mark 4:26-29 NKJV

Keeping you in my prayers daily.

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #20:  

[email about ups and downs in growth omit by request]

Response #20: 

It's great to hear from you!

Do not be discouraged – you are doing things exactly the right way. No one reaches spiritual maturity without a lot of time and effort invested, and to do things right in this life, that commitment has to be kept up to the end no matter what. Also, learning the truth is a bit different from learning, e.g., calculus or accounting or anthropology. In terms of the truth, we really DO have to pay attention – and once we have given it what's necessary to understand, then we have to BELIEVE it (or it does us no good) and THEN we have to apply it to our lives. That can take a good deal of repetition. More like learning a musical piece for performance than a vocabulary list for a weekly quiz.

And He said, “The kingdom of God is as if a man should scatter seed on the ground, and should sleep by night and rise by day, and the seed should sprout and grow, he himself does not know how. For the earth yields crops by itself: first the blade, then the head, after that the full grain in the head. But when the grain ripens, immediately he puts in the sickle, because the harvest has come.”
Mark 4:26-29 NKJV

Since you just got back from the farm, spiritual growth really is a lot like farming as our Lord tells us above. It takes effort, time and above all persistence and patience. But if we do it right, after a while we look around and we HAVE grown – just like that corn we planted in the spring. We may not be "knee high by the 4th of July", but our efforts will be rewarded with genuine growth by and by if we do keep at it. And one of the ways we will be able to tell is that we begin to see things in a godly way – that is, God's way and not the world's way. We find ourselves becoming perceptibly more separated from the way the world and worldly people see things – and walking ever closer with our dear Savior. Therein is great reward.

(9) And [so] let us not grow weary of doing the good [work of God], for at [the appointed] time we will reap [our reward], provided that we do not give up.
Galatians 6:9

The hardworking farmer should be the first to receive a share of the crops.
2nd Timothy 2:6 NIV

Be patient, then, brothers and sisters, until the Lord's coming. See how the farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crop, patiently waiting for the autumn and spring rains.
James 5:7 NIV

So keep up the good work! I have to reread these materials I've posted too (and continue so to do)!

I have been keeping you and your health and living situation in my prayers, my friend, and will continue to do so.

In Jesus Christ our Lord,

Bob L.

Question #21:  


Response #21: 

I'm delighted you've made some friends on the forum!

I'll omit all of your text from past messages as per your request in any future postings.

I'm thrilled also to hear that you've gotten some response in your efforts! It's always difficult to know when to share the truth with others and when to stay silent (Prov.17:27-28; 23:9; Matt.7:6). I have in my life sometimes gone overboard both ways. In time one comes to a balance in the Spirit which is right for us personally and which fits the circumstances biblically. That is the spiritual common sense that comes from spiritual growth in a nutshell.

As to your living situation, we trust the Lord absolutely, but we don't dangle off cliff sides for no reason (cf. Matt.4:5-7). Taking prudent means to protect our own safety and especially of those dependent on us is a godly thing to do. Exactly what is prudent and what is overly cautious and where the line is to be drawn is a judgment call that only the believer in question can make. But I do promise to say a prayer for you for guidance on this and for things to work out in just the right way.

I do absolutely agree with the proposition that personal spiritual growth is priority number one. The farther we get spiritually in a personal way, the better ministers for Jesus Christ we can be. It's true that we don't want to cover our light with a bushel – we can always exploit the genuine opportunities the Lord gives us no matter where we are on the spectrum (as you are doing – good for you!). But if it is a question of compromising our personal time and energy needed to grow, well, that is probably a situation we ought to rethink.

Keeping you and your family in my daily prayers.

In Jesus Christ our Lord.

Bob L.

Question #22:  

Hi Bob,

I'm really pleased to hear that you don't have to wear a mask for teaching - it would be hard work for you. I had to put the full protective gear on at work yesterday. It's not nice at all. It's so hot and claustrophobic and we have to shut the window while we're treating the patient which makes it worse. No air-conditioning here. It's been a draining time for a lot of us in different ways. I'm battling on through it with the Lord's help.

Thinking about my friend I've been reminding myself again this week about what it's all about. [omitted] I read up on it again to remind myself and spiritual direction is a primary means of training people in the disciplines of the Spiritual Formation Movement, but it's main focus is in training people to hear and interpret the voice of God independently from the Scriptures. A terrible thing to teach and encourage others to do. At best what they "hear" could all be in their imagination and the worst it could be is listening to demons.

I've been keeping in mind 2 Thess. 3:6 and 3:14-15.


I'm so grateful to you for supporting me (especially when I got impatient and frustrated!) and praying with me for my friend right from the beginning when I first shared it with you. It's definitely not the end of it but just a necessary step to take for now.

Hope the zinnias are looking bright and beautiful! Thanks so much for everything.

In our dear Lord Jesus

Response #22: 

I feel for you and the difficult circumstances you are working under! And at the peak of the summer too! A good time to use up that vacation.

Yes, everyone is going head over heels for masks here too. It's so very weird to see. Since some air gets through any mask, all spaces with people in them surely have plenty of exhaled air, masks or no masks. Color me skeptical about the "positive effects".

I'm keeping your friend in my prayers. It's a good example of the way contemporary Christianity channels off enthusiasm for the Lord. Of course, the church visible has been doing that sort of thing for millennia. Why do people feel that lighting candles has any positive effect, for example (to name only one of thousands of things)? But people like to "do" something – just not what the Lord is calling to do: 1) turn away from the world and from our selves; 2) embrace with gratitude the cross and our salvation as those who are dead to the world; 3) get moving with following Christ the right way, through spiritual growth, progress and production:

Then he said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must 1) deny themselves and 2) take up their cross daily and 3) follow me.
Luke 9:23 NIV (Matt.16:24; Mk.8:34)

As I've said before, this is "simple as 1, 2, 3" just as our Lord explains above – but it's not what most want to hear. They'd rather engage with the world, do selfishly what they want, and stay put where they are comfortable. The devil has all manner of substitutes for them too.

For what it's worth, your analysis of the situation and your plan going forward seem to me to be spot on correct. Not necessarily emotionally easy, but correct.

Zinnias are doing well – starting to get our first butterflies too!

Hot and sticky here – glad I don't have to wear your "get up"!

In Jesus our Lord.

Bob L.

Question #23:  

Hi Dr Luginbill,

How are you? I am still working on The Iliad.

Recently I was thinking that maybe I don't like people very much. Or maybe I just like only a couple. Is that bad? I mean if I pray for a number of people, and most of them don't pray for me in return: but they may be aghast at my statement that I don't know if I like people, but then aren't I more in the right because I am actually doing something good for them that they are not doing.

I mainly just like to read (and I do like to pray too). Is it a sin? I mean I do pray most days (I think) for others and I am certain they don't return. So it is their pretty words they might say (in response to me saying I might not really like people, them saying with words that they LOVE people) vs my actions (though prayer is a very basic easy thing, just that I think most don't do it so in comparison to words...).

I suppose the answer to my question is that I am not measured to the standard others are living by but instead to His standard.

Response #23: 

"I am not measured to the standard others are living by but instead to His standard." - Amen!

"Agape" love is toleration and living by the golden rule; it is not having lunch with someone you cannot stand.

The more you come to know about the truth, the more the flaws of this world and the people in it become obvious.

And the closer you get to the Lord, the more important He and His truth and His Church become to you as compared to everything else, including people generally.

Also, you're certainly not required to tell people, "I don't like people" (I certainly wouldn't advise that). Keeping things to oneself has always been important, and never more so than in today's world (Prov.17:27-28; 23:9; Is.59:15; Amos 5:13; Matt.7:6). We are thrilled to share the gospel – with those who express interest. We don't need to be trampled by swine, however.

In terms of prayer, prayer takes time and effort – to be consistent and to do it right. I don't put everyone and certainly not just anyone on my daily prayer list (otherwise I'd never have time for anything else); if someone is not reciprocating – and more to the point is not worthy of reciprocation – then I don't see a need to continue prayer continually after an initial prayer one feels moved by the Spirit to pray on that one occasion.

Glad you're having fun with Greek! If you wanted a real challenge in Greek but something still having to do with the Bible, you might try reading the Septuagint.

In Jesus our dear Savior.

Bob L.

Question #24:  

Hi Dr. Luginbill,

I don't know if you remember me. We used to correspond several years ago. How are you? I hope you are well!

I wish I were writing on happier grounds, but I am struggling deeply with sin and fear I could be coming close to losing my salvation. I am struggling with addiction and every time God delivers me, I end up falling into it again. [omitted] I know you are not an expert on addiction and that's ok, it's your biblical advice and your prayers I'm interested in. I've been fighting really hard the last few days and am experiencing victory over the sin, but I'm so afraid that God is going to give me over to addiction and I will lose my faith and apostasize. I already came close to losing my faith during an extremely difficult period and wasn't sure I believed anymore for a time. But God in His mercy didn't let me go. I just don't understand why I keep going back to the sin I hate. God brings me some type of deliverance from it every week, but I keep going back. I am determined not to go back this time, but I have been determined before to no avail.

I go to a reformed church now, where they teach preservation of the saints. I'm going to talk to my pastor about what is troubling me today, but how can he understand? He will either say I'm not saved bc of the sin in my life now and in the past, or try to comfort me by telling me salvation cannot be lost. I'm writing to you for any words of wisdom you may have and to ask you earnestly for your prayers. I very much admire you in the Lord.

Thank you so much,

Response #24: 

While it's good to hear from you after such a long hiatus, I'm sorry to hear of your present difficulties. I have added you back onto my personal prayer list and will be keeping you in prayer for victory over this problem – and (more importantly) for your spiritual growth. That is clearly more important because it is only through growth that we gain mastery over such things. We don't change from the outside in (not really) but only from the inside out.

So the first and last thing I would want to stress is the need for putting serious Bible study (from this or another good ministry – I also recommend Bible Academy at the link) into your daily spiritual regimen.

The in-between thing to say is that truth has to be believed for it to be useful for the Holy Spirit and then it also has to be aggressively applied in obedience to the Spirit. We have free will. You can get victory over this problem. But you have to be willing to fight as hard as necessary to accomplish it (Heb.12:4), and that can be very painful, especially at first when we've dug ourselves a big hole.

There aren't many genuinely positive Christians who haven't "been there" in struggling with some chronic sin at some point in our lives (only the particular problem or combination of problems seems to be kaleidoscopically different). And what we can all say with assuredness after the fact is that, no, by the grace of God we did NOT fall away.

The prodigal son felt he had lost his sonship, but remember that his father took him back with open arms. That is how our heavenly Father comports Himself towards us as well. His Son died for all of our sins – so sin is not the issue the way some people see it. God can freely forgive us anything – because Christ died for everything. So when/if we confess, He forgives us completely every time and instantly. That doesn't mean we don't get divine discipline for our sins. God gives us that to help us (Heb.12:1ff.); otherwise we wouldn't have the motivation oft times to turn away from sin. Sin is dangerous because as you are experiencing it drives a wedge between us and the Lord and can make us unwilling to look Him in the face. Too much of that for too long can endanger our faith. Alternatively, there is ever ascending divine discipline.

So I want first to assure you that you are a believer (Jn.3:18), that God forgives you when you confess (1Jn.1:9), that the Lord loves you with a perfect love (Rom.8:35; Eph.3:19), and that you CAN win the victory (e.g., Gen.4:7).

So please take heart, and commit yourself to the Word of God. That is the source of all our strength and encouragement in the Holy Spirit as we wait for our dear Savior Jesus Christ.

In Him.

Bob L.

Question #25:  

Dear Dr. Luginbill,

Thank you so much for your kind words and your prayers. I am endeavoring to study the Bible as much as possible, and began yesterday re-reading John Owens' "The Mortification of Sin." I read it some time ago and really liked it but I'm not sure how well I put it into practice. I think part of my problem is spiritual laziness. Mortification is very hard and I have tended to slack while God's judgment seemed to slumber, somehow convincing myself He would tolerate it, and now I am finding myself in absolute misery. I admit I still fear that maybe I am not a true believer, that perhaps I run to God when I'm in trouble, and run from Him when the trouble seems gone. I know that hasn't been my pattern always, I used to have so much zeal in both good times and bad. Hopefully, that will come back!

Anyway I don't want to take up too much of your time, I just want to say thank you so much for your prayers, and I will keep you, your family, and your ministry in my prayers.

Response #25: 

No problem.

I don't think "mortifying sin" (whatever that might mean in the work cited) is the key or the solution. We can get better at resisting sin, but we'd better never ever think we're invulnerable to it (that is making out God to be a liar: 1Jn.1:10).  For any sort of victory here, we have to be moving forward spiritually in order to be able to be ever more effective on the spiritual defense. No one ever won anything by defense only. Two good links on all that: BB 3B Hamartiology and BB 6A Peripateology.

The latter of the above will let you see, I hope, that we can have peace in Jesus Christ at all times.

Remember – if you believe in Jesus Christ, then you ARE a believer.

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.

Bob L.

Question #26:  

 Hi Dr. Luginbill!

Hope you are doing well and the new school year is going well also, albeit..... different. Here at my department we are all working remotely, therefore we've learned how to go paperless. We actually celebrated a retirement party remotely...

Well, four years ago I had some health news that was the straw that broke the camel's back. I was diagnosed with ___. My emotions were like a roller coaster. I was shocked, then mad, than angry that my insurance wouldn't pay for the cure. There were so many things in my life I was trying to come to terms with and then the ___ … I just shut down. Boy what the mind does to the body is incredible and what the emotions can do the psyche. I was not able to eat. I would try to eat and it would not stay down. No warning signs of nausea - nothing. The food would just not stay down. So, I wouldn't eat. I would take incredibly small bites of snacks and wait to see if that would stay down, then take another bite. I dropped 50 lbs. My emotions I'm not able to describe there was so much going on in my head...but I did what I saw so many other people do. [omitted] I wanted to go away and I wanted my 'issues' to go away. I think the last time I wrote you, I'd found a church and you gave me your gentle opinion about that (which I kept in the back of my mind). The pastor is a wonderful man along with his wife, but I guess it wasn't meant for me to be there. I went for a whole year and never really felt included. Every Sunday folks would pat me on my back 'Hey, great to see you again. Glad you're here' and then go and sit down somewhere across the room. No one ever said hey come on and sit with us. I did go to Wednesday Bible studies and to house church night. I was always feeling on the outside no matter how I tried to be available or to get to know them. Then one day I was in a room waiting for the ladies study to begin and I over heard a dispute about " If you want to join the church you have to sign an agreement " HUH!?! Wait.... What? - so I quit. It was after I quit that I got my health news and my whole world just shut down. I would go to work like a zombie... goodness sakes... my co-workers would bring food to me and I couldn't eat it. Now...I'm on the mend and getting back to my studies! My health is what it is and I'm ok with it...my other 'issues' I have to give to God and let Him guide me. All the psychology of it I will never understand. I know that satan is the confuser. Though I'm lonely I keep trying to stay with the Word and focus on my path.

Thank you Dr. Luginbill for doing what you do. Listening and writing back, edifying, having patience with those that try to ruffle the feathers or worse. I'm not sure why God sees me worthy enough to allow me to understand His Word. I don't know what He has planned for me but I do know that all I've been thru will be of use one day to give to someone else along their path. I only watch the news every once in a while to 'see' what page of we're on. I know that I was a mess on the inside and went berserk, but this world is just going nutzoid.

Anyway, Dr. Luginbill I am expecting to meet up with you on the other side! It's gonna be great on the other side!

In Jesus name

Response #26: 

Good to hear from you again, my friend! I'm sorry to hear that you had some miles of bumpy road, but it is heartening to hear that you have gotten out of the ditch and back up on the narrow road that leads to Zion. Good for you!

As you may know from the weekly postings, blessedly I've been able to teach in person at U of L this semester . . . so far. We've just started mandatory testing and I've had a number of students quarantined, so we'll see what happens, but I believe the administration really is committed to keeping things as is if at all possible.

If you're 100% remote, I would imagine that's a bit easier too. Not that being remote is easy, but at least it has the potential of being semi-mobile. If I had to teach 100% remote, I could do that from anywhere I had a good internet connection.

Please continue to take care of your health. That's a lot of weight to drop! I need to do that myself, but I'm trying to go the slow and steady route (not keen on getting sick to speed that up).

Sorry to hear that it didn't work out with that church, but it sounds to me as if you're better off out from what you've shared. And you are ALWAYS welcome at Ichthys.

Incidentally, I don't think I've mentioned this to you in the past but there is an Ichthys on-line forum for individuals like yourself who want to share stories and questions and the like. I'd be happy to have the moderator send you an invite if interested.

I'll be praying for you.

In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.


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