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Miscellaneous Bible Passages Explained

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Question #1:  I'm having a hard time understanding the context of Ephesians chapter four. Is this speaking of Unity as being maturity in Christ? and to learn from each other and to tolerate each other regardless of our background?

Response #1:  Short answer, I think you have it. Long answer, well, it would take me fifty pages to exegete this chapter I'm sure (as you have no doubt noticed by now, I have trouble "writing short"). Here we see Paul counseling unity based upon 1) a common basic understanding of basic truths of the gospel (verses 2-6); 2) the spiritual gifts necessary for the Church as whole to understand and grow in these basic things (verses 7-11), and, 3) the process and method of spiritual growth based upon teaching the Word with that teaching being supported by all the other spiritual gifts in the proper functioning of the Body (verses 12-16).

May we all be motivated to respond and reach the goal of spiritual maturity outlines here!

Bob L.

Question #2:   

I am having trouble reconciling certain passages that states that God loves sinners and hates them too.

Rom 5:8 But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

Mat 5:44 But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;

THEN there are these:

Psalm 5:5 The foolish shall not stand in thy sight: thou hatest all workers of iniquity.

Psalm 7:11 God judgeth the righteous, and God is angry with the wicked every day.

How do I reconcile those?

Response #2:  

It is often the case in scripture that two things which appear to be contradictory to human logic are in reality both equally true. I believe the essential reason for this is that human logic is bounded by what the eye sees and ear hears, but God and all the wondrous truths about Him are invisible and inaudible to human eyes and ears – apart from faith. So for example we believers are elected in the plan of God before time began, and yet we make genuine and truly free choices here in time, the most important of which are believing in and following our Lord. God wants all to be saved (Ezek.18:23; Matt.18:14; Jn.12:47; 1Tim.2:4; 2Tim.2:24-26; 2Pet.3:9). He will also condemn the vast majority of human kind to the lake of fire for all eternity (Matt.25:41-46; Rev.20:11-15). This may seem like a contradiction to the uninitiated, but most believers will understand right away, seeing with the eyes of faith, that the distinction lies in the lap of those condemned: God wanted them to be saved, but they had to make the decision to choose for Him, for Christ, and rejected Him and Christ instead. Therefore it should be no great surprise that God's attitude toward sin and sinners is, on the one hand, negative, since sin represents at its base rejection of Him and His will, but also merciful on the other hand. Since He has made a way for sinners to enter the holy of holies in heaven through the blood of His dear Son sacrificed on behalf of the whole world, He welcomes all sinners to be sanctified by the blood of Jesus Christ. The apparent contradiction here once again lies in the lap of human beings and their conscious choices, either to seek refuge in the Rock and the forgiveness that comes through faith in Christ, or stumble over it as a stumbling block instead. God is consistent. We are the ones who contradict all true logic by failing to appreciate what He has done for us and by failing to respond with complete joy and obedience to His unfathomable mercy.

In the Name of the One who bore all our sins in His body on the tree, our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Bob L.

Question #3:    

A friend of mine sent me this article that supposedly reconciles how God loves and hates sinners. I wanted to know if you thought this was scriptural. It reads:

"How, then, can one reconcile the verses that seem to suggest that God hates sinners, but loves them at the same time? One of the most plausible solutions is that the Bible writers are using a figure of speech called metonymy when they write that God hates sinners.. Metonymy is defined as: "A figure by which one name or noun is used instead of another, to which it stands in a certain relation" (Bullinger, 1898, p. 538). Bullinger further explains that metonymy can be "of cause," when the person acting can be put in place of the thing that is done (p. 539). For instance, in Luke 16:29, the text says: "They have Moses and the prophets, let them hear them." In reality, they did not have "Moses" or the "prophets," but they did have their writings. The name Moses is a metonymy that stood for his writings, since he was the cause of the writings. In modern times, that would be like saying, "I hate Shakespeare." Would the person who said that mean that he hated Shakespeare's personality? No. We understand he would be saying he does not like the writings of Shakespeare, with no comment on the playwright's personality. If we apply that same figure of speech to the passages about God "hating sinners," we can see that the sinner is put in place of the sin. Thus, when God says He hates "a false witness who speaks lies" (Proverbs 6:19), if metonymy is being used, then God hates the lies, and the one who is doing the lying (the cause) is put in place of the lies (the effect). It is interesting to see how clear this feature can be in other contexts. For instance, Proverbs 6:17 says that God hates "a lying tongue." Does that mean that God hates a physical tongue, made of muscle and body tissue? No. It means God hates the sin that a tongue can perform. In the same context, we learn that God hates "feet that are swift in running to evil" (6:18). Again, does that mean that God hates physical feet? No. It simply means that God hates the sin that those feet can perform. It is interesting that while few, if any, would suggest that God hates physical tongues or actual feet, they would insist that God hates actual sinners and not the sin done by them. When studying the Bible, it is very important to keep in mind that the Bible writers often used figures of speech. When we look at the idea that God hates sin, but loves sinners, the figure of speech known as metonymy clears up the confusion. Just as God does not hate physical feet or tongues, He does not hate sinners. These nouns are put in the place of the things they cause—sin."

Do you agree?

Response #3:

I don't think there is much true distinction between the act and the person who commits the act, either in the Bible, or in what it means for us as we read it. In any case, what the writer is referring to here is not really a figure of speech at all (and certainly not a metonymy), but rather it is an "anthropopathism", that is, the  attributing to God of human characteristics which, as God He does not truly have, but which help us as mere human beings to understand His motivations on our level. So for example when we read that "it repented the Lord that He had made Saul king", we can understand even as new believers that God was not pleased with Saul's lack of faith and continuing disobedience, but on a deeper spiritual level we should come to understand over time that God does not change and that as God, One who is not subject to time and space, the very One who created time and space, nothing comes as a surprise to Him (so that in reality the very idea of Him ever regretting any action is impossible). That is why in my previous e-mail I avoided the use of the word "hate". However, we may be sure that God's "feelings" are completely negatively disposed to all sin and sinfulness – rebellion against Him and His will – and completely positively disposed to all faithfulness and obedience – response to Him and His will. And I see no problem with expressing these dispositions with the words "hate" and "love" respectively, especially as this is the way the Bible puts it. God is love, after all. It's just that our limited human appreciation of what true love may be is very limited, even though we can grasp a small glimpse of its magnitude when we start to comprehend what Jesus did for us on the cross and what the Father did in giving Him up and sacrificing Him in our place. Truly, the word "love" seems to fall short even of our dim perception of what He did for us. The word "hate" is a bit problematic too, since when you break things down to their essentials in the plan of God, our use of the word "hate" vis-à-vis human beings is really not what is meant at all. God loves all of us and wants all of us to be saved. He wants absolutely the best for all His creatures, men and angels both. When He wants us / tells us to do / not do something, it is for our benefit, not His. For we cannot help or aid Him in any way. He doesn't need us; we need Him. Thus the entire idea of what God "hates" is to help reinforce for us the "fear of God", and even here God always deals with us in perfect justice – a fact in and of itself which should motivate us to seek His mercy. When you get right down to it, we should fear God because that means avoiding things that will harm us and at the same time devoting ourselves to things that will help us. The more real God becomes to us as a person, the more likely we are live our lives in response to Him, and since we are human beings, it is very helpful for us that scripture puts things in these particular emotional terms – terms we can understand at the gut level, even if on the theological level they require further explanation as provided above. Nevertheless, they are very real and important facets of the character of God, and so I would not want to explain them away as mere "figures of speech".

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #4:

I hope this isn't too long, but I would like to know how to know for sure if you are hearing from God. I recently felt a strong urgency to move back to my home state, a northern state given to long winters and very cold temperatures. My entire family is back in my home state, including children and grandchildren. The children did not wish to stay here d/t the high humidity and heat in the summer. I have a very good job and have been at my present place of employment since coming here. The only time I have left my job position is to go back to my home state and care for family members needing nursing care for recovery. This desire to return to my home state came during a conversation with my dad on the phone. We keep in contact weekly via phone conversations. My brother lives not too far from my dad and is in daily contact with him. My dad is aged but still drives and keeps his own house. Something during our last conversation sparked a concern and that is when the thought crossed my mind to return home. I took it to the Lord and asked what He wanted me to do. This is not an easy decision because there are many factors involved from employment to living arrangements. My dad always took excellent care of us while we were growing up. Now it is my turn to return the care to him. However, I do not have a peace about moving back to my home state. Is that a red flag or what? I guess that is my question. Is the Lord telling me to wait or not to go at all? I really value your website. The information here is not only scriptural but of sound doctrine. Blessings.

Response #4:   

Always good to hear from you. This is certainly an important as well as a difficult question. Let me start by saying that in all such matters you, the individual believer, are the only person who has a chance of getting this sort of thing "right". Absent some clearly incorrect course of action, application of truth to the complexities of one's life requires not only biblical knowledge, but also self-knowledge and knowledge about the true inner-dynamics of situations that no third party can possibly know, even when (or maybe even especially when) that third party is very close. Without a spouse to consider, the decision and the responsibility for such decisions rests with you.

In such situations, I would certainly take into consideration all factors, and if you feel that "something is telling you" it is a bad idea, that is not to be lightly dismissed on the one hand nor left uncritically unexplored on the other. God gives us everything we have and He knows everything He has given us. He gives us, for example, "common sense", rational faculties, the ability to reason things out – He also gives us His Spirit. Our part is often to supply the correct priorities (putting Him, His Word, and His will for our lives in first place) and the willingness to do what it is He really wants us to do. In many cases it is very clear what He doesn't want us to do (e.g., anything sinful) and very clear what He does want us to do (e.g., grow spiritually and minister to others so that they can do the same). But it is also often the case that we find ourselves considering actions or inaction in cases where things are not nearly as clear cut as that.

A couple of observations. At such times, my feeling is that the best course is to put the decision into the context of personal spiritual growth, spiritual progression, and ministry. That is to say, if we are truly trying to serve our Lord Jesus as best we can, how is it that we can best do this? Secondly, examining motivations is also a good thing to do (but it is always important to try and stay as objective as possible at such times). For example, are we doing something out of guilt, or are we avoiding doing something out of fear? If our motivations for our decision are pure, chances are that our decision will be pure as well (provided that we have correctly analyzed the situation). Thirdly, it is good to keep in mind that our Lord often gives us quite a lot of leeway. He gives us "a talent", and it is our responsibility to go out and make that talent grow. Other than very clear things we shouldn't do and very clear things we should do, we frequently find ourselves with a good bit of latitude about how to serve Him in order that the sacrifices we make might truly be coming from us and not made out of compulsion. Therefore rather than being a coach who calls every play for us, He throws us a ball and says "go find a team". In other words, my view of all this is that we are to take more rather than less responsibility for our lives over all, even as we understand that He is in control of every single aspect of them. That is because life as a Christian is all about the decisions we make, and for that reason we are given the opportunity to make them for ourselves.

That said, of course God doesn't leave us in the lurch. It is indeed true that the more we know about the Bible, the more that is helpful in every aspect of our practical as well as our spiritual lives. The more frequently and more effectively we pray, the more help and guidance we receive. The more we grow spiritually, the more clearly we see with the eyes of faith and the more accurately we can guide our steps up the high road to Zion. And the closer we get to Him, the closer He gets to us. It is undeniably true that He does guide us by means of the Spirit within us. If we feel unrest about something, it is always good policy to consider through prayer, scripture and meditation thereon whether this really is the Spirit restraining / urging us, or whether instead it is mere (negative) emotion. The more spiritually mature a person becomes, the easier it gets to discern between the two – a fact which in and of itself shows why we should never let go of an opportunity of growing closer to Him since we never know when we are going to need just such spiritual clarity. But that doesn't mean that there will ever come a day when we do not have to sit down, sit back, and consider just what it is we ought to do in any given situation. In my experience, if what we are considering doing (or not doing) is an any way wrong, the Spirit, acting upon our conscience, will cause us to mull over the issue until it is clear to us why we are uneasy and just how and why we were mistaken. Resisting such guidance also has its telltale internal signs. If however we set ourselves to a course of action (or inaction) based upon what we genuinely believe to be scriptural principles and the application thereof, the Spirit has a way of confirming the rightness of our choice and giving us peace about that choice (or alternatively of not letting the matter rest until we have resolved it aright).

Ultimately, by placing the matter in God's hands you are headed in the only correct way, for He is the only One who can really help you in this (and the only One whose help you really need). From the details you provide, I honestly believe that anyone who tells you that option "a" is better than option "b" or vice versa doesn't really understand divine guidance. Clearly, you have a legitimate desire to do something good. Clearly you also have a legitimate concern about whether or not this is really something you ought to do in the whole context of what the Lord has for your life, no matter how good the intentions you have. I would love to be able to give you the definitive answer, but to reiterate the gist of the above discussion, this is something only the Lord can do. I will say this in closing however: I firmly believe that if you ask Him in faith to help you decide correctly, that He will do so. The decision making process may be long or it may be short, but if it is faith-based and consistent in trusting God and putting Him first, it will always leads to the right path.

I will definitely say a prayer for you on this.

Thanks again for all your kind words regarding this ministry.

In the One has planned the end the from the beginning, our Alpha and Omega, dear Jesus Christ.

Bob L.

Question #5: 

Thank-you brother for your valuable insight into this matter. I have given it to the Lord and will do whatever He directs me to do. Several years ago I went up there to care for my terminally ill brother. The Lord provided for everything needed while up there. He also brought me safely back here when the time came. There is no reason to think that He will not make His direction clear in this matter also. It just fascinates me to see how He works out every detail. He already has started the process even though the move is months away. I mentioned to my brother that I was thinking of coming home and he said "just let me know when and I will come down and drive you back". Sometimes The Lord will direct us to do something that will take us out of our comfort zone. Actually it is not about me, but my dad. He is not saved. Neither is my brother. So, everything is in the Lord's hands and timing. Once again, thank-you. Keep up the very important work He has given you. Your work has educated me in the things of the Lord and His ways. That draws me closer to Him.

Response #5:  

I am so glad to hear that – no real surprise – God is in the process of working everything out for you. You make a very good point about "comfort zones". In my observation and experience, we all often do have a tendency for resisting seeing things that are in any way "uncomfortable" as being God's will. On the other hand, I have also seen this very phrase used by a number of Christian organizations in order to induce people to do things that their Christian common sense was telling them were wrong. But your e-mail breaths spiritual maturity and a close and careful walk with the Lord. I am confident that He will lead you to the exact right decision and that you will follow faithfully wherever He leads. I will certainly not fail to say a prayer for your dad and your brother's salvation.

And thank you again so much for your encouragement.

In Him who is our only Way, our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Bob L.

Question #6:  

 Thank-you for prayer for my dad and brother. I enjoyed your most recent e-mail post entitled true orthodoxy and false creeds. It brought back memories of being a new believer and being involved with a Word of Faith teacher--Rodney Howard-Browne. I attended his church for 5 1/2 years. In that time, everything was covered from tithing to the rapture of the saints. We were encouraged to give and give some more for a hundred fold return. Being slain in the spirit was another teaching and we were taught how to "receive" and "yield" to the spirit. God delivered me from the Word of Faith movement and brought me back to the Word of God. Now I can see the error of their teaching, but back then it seemed right. I also left the Independent Baptist church after 2 1/2 years. They also were not teaching truth but rather an elitism that put a chasm between true believers. Now I am just following the Lord and not attending any church. He is teaching me through His word. Fellowship is sorely missed however but I would rather be alone than stay in a church that does not teach truth. The rapture fallacy is taught in almost every denomination. People look at you like you are a pagan when you tell them you don't go to any church. The place I am planning on moving to is a hotbed of churches walking in error. Women pastors and programs that take the place of the Word of God. Well, have to get off here for now. May God bless and keep you brother. In Him,

Response #6:    

You are very welcome. I appreciate your testimony as it demonstrates to me very clearly the power of perseverance in faith and persistence in paying attention to the Bible. Those who follow this true path are always delivered from error in the end. It may take time and some twists and turns, but truth is the Spirit's weapon, His "sword" as scripture says, and He has a way of pounding our consciences with it whenever we are in a place we ought not to be. I know exactly how you feel on the church front (from personal experience). I do pray that you will be able to find a fellowship where the teaching of the Word of God truly does have primacy.

In Him who is the very Word of truth, our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Bob L.

Question #7:

Good Sunday morning, Bob! Again, I've really enjoyed my e-mail correspondence with you. I have a break in the action here at work for a short season...so thought I'd drop a line. Which brings me to a new subject: My place in the Body of Christ. Having been involved with a number of different churches over the years, and being a shift worker who works 2 out of 3 Sundays, it has been a real challenge finding a church I can consistently enthusiastically support. My wife and I have some different ideas here. I cannot cheerfully give my whole tithe to any one local church, but prefer to let the Spirit tug on my heartstrings and show me where the greatest need is. She prefers the Church of Christ, the denomination in which she grew up. When I was off Sundays, we attended the Baptist church a year till this past summer where my children go to school. I miss that Baptist church and have had a hard time warming up to the local Church of Christ. I've also begun to mentor another co-worker. But I'll attend the Church of Christ with my wife on Sundays I'm off and keep warming up to it if that's what God wants me to do. I get more spiritual food out of writing to brothers like you and meeting with my mentor, a pastor at a different church, than going to a church where a message is preached and people turn around, shake hands and go home without being vulnerable to each other and really letting their hair down spiritually. I can't stand pretending everything in OK with me spiritually if it isn't nor being around other pretenders. You said it yourself Bob...faith is hard work! I dont know my wife's Church of Christ well enough yet to say whether I can develop real relationships there. I sure do miss music...they do not allow instruments. One ministry I do support is that of Bill Keller, a FL based evangelist who reaches masses of unchurched people via secular TV. You can read his superb daily messages at Liveprayer.com. I worry about so much time and money being spent by local churches "preaching to the choir" dealing with their own internal needs when there is so much need out there in the surrounding communities! Of course a pastor deserves a decent salary, but it is hard for me to support a church building program when so many Hurricane Katrina evacuees and US combat veterans are in tremendous need. Looking forward to your next reply.

Response #7: 

This is the sort of issue and problem which I have thought about myself and struggled with myself for most of my adult life, and one too which has, as you put it, "tugged at the heartstrings" of many of my fellow soldiers in Christ who have tried to start up their own churches over the years. I have written quite a bit about this topic at various places in my corpus, major studies and e-mails, but it always comes out the same way, much like the refrain I hear you singing here. I think if most or more or even some churches were really interested in digging deeply into the Word of God as their number one priority, these issues would dissipate. Superficial differences between Christian groups are magnified in my opinion when the form becomes paramount over the function, namely the true purpose of the local church: edifying the Body of Christ by feeding it the solid food of the Word. In such an environment, the ancillary functions of mutual encouragement, praise and worship, outreach and evangelism, are not only natural because they proceed from genuine motivation, they are also scriptural because they are founded upon a deep and true desire to understand the whole truth of the Word of God and mold one's entire life, behavior, and applications around it. That is, fellowship and service flow from a common fount of love for the truth, sharing enthusiasm for the truth, and desiring to spread and support the ministry of the truth. But when not only fellowship and service but also "worship" itself has little to do with seeking out God through His truth, then the power and dynamism of the entire process is drained, and the result is play-acting. This is unfortunately the norm in our Laodicean era of the Church (see the link: Laodicea: the era of degeneration), where lukewarmness is the order of the day, not an absence of outward emotion, effort or obvious energy, but an absence of true inner spirituality based upon the truth of the Word of the God and the willingness to find it, believe it, and live it.

But if you have found some men and some ministries and some churches that you deem to be fulfilling these essential needs, then that is truly blessed. A single such source is a relative rarity. Multiple good sources of this sort are to be prized above rubies.

In our Lord in whom all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge reside.

Bob L.

Question #8:   

Is there such thing as luck according to the bible? Does anything happen without GOD intervening in some way, or is God in absolute control of everything? I hear way too often that people say "good luck" and even Christians say this too. Is luck biblical and what does the bible say about this?

Response #8:  

I'm very leery of using the phrase "good luck!" too, just because people might misinterpret you and think you believe that there is some "magic force" out there called "luck" – which of course there is not. God knew all that would transpire in all of history before He even created the world. While the universe along with human and angelic creation and all that has and will happen in this brief span of time we call history was yet to be begun by God, He knew it all and decreed it all, from the smallest swerve of the smallest sub-atomic particle at one end of the universe in the first second of time to the smallest swerve of the smallest sub-atomic particle at the other end of the universe at the end of time – and everything at every time in between. Nothing could happen without His decree – even the continued existence and continuity of the universe is because of His continued "holding on" to it (Col.1:17). "Luck" is an entirely human idea. At best, it is merely a way to describe the outcome of events whose immediate causes are shrouded from our eyes – but at worst it does become a sort of alternative religion (the Greeks actually worshiped the goddess Tyche, "Luck", and they are not alone in such idiocies). It is very possible to make an idol or a false god out of pretty much anything, and some unseen force like "luck" or "fate" or "destiny" that might potentially have a significant impact on our lives is a likely candidate for such a thing. But as Christians, we definitely need to understand that all our times are in the Lord's hands, that He is working every single thing in our lives out for the good, and that every single thing that happens for us and to us is a part of His very specific and unimaginably detailed supervision of every aspect of our lives.

God doesn't leave anything to chance, especially where those He loves are concerned – we shouldn't assume that He does.

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #9:    

A friend of mine lost her baby to miscarriage and she is so grieved. Will she ever see this baby, perhaps in heaven? Or is the baby that was lost due to miscarriage not considered life and thus won't be in heaven.

Response #9:

First let me say that I am very sad for your friend. Such loss is indeed very difficult to bear, and I also know from personal experience that when we lose someone we really care about, we find ourselves under pressure to say and/or believe things that are comforting, in spite of what we may really think. For example, if a friend loses an only child who has not yet grown up and had the opportunity to have their own family, it might be very comforting to believe that in resurrection there will opportunities for marriage and procreation. This may not be something anyone would worry about under normal circumstances, but under the pressure and grief of such extreme loss it certainly can be. It might be tempting in such circumstances to say, "well, it is possible – only God knows" (when in fact of course Jesus Himself is very clear on this point: Matt.22:30). No one is immune to such pressures. I certainly want to comfort those who are grieving, and, generally speaking, the Bible properly understood and explained gives the greatest comfort possible in this world – for it is the Gospel, the good news about Jesus Christ who is Himself the Word of God. But there are some times when this will not be the case in the short term. When someone loses a person they really care about and there is no indication that said person was a believer and in fact strong indications that the person was not in fact a believer in Jesus Christ, it is very tempting to say "well, maybe everyone will be saved somehow in the great grace and mercy of God" – that, of course, is a terrible lie, and, even though it may be told with the best of intentions, it will, in the end, do far more harm than the good it intends.

So it is my duty to be straight with you, but you may not want to share this with your friend, especially right now. God gives life, as I have had occasion to discuss with you before. He gives the human spirit at birth, and without the human spirit given at birth there is no human life. This is a biblical principle misunderstood by many who claim to put the Bible first. There are many who want to say that a fertilized embryo is human life, but this reduces human life to something entirely material, whereas even the most uninformed Christian ought to know that the spiritual part of our nature is far more important than the material part – and that spiritual part is given as the "breath of life" by God at birth (see the link: "The Human Spirit"). As to your friend's specific situation, however, it is impossible to be dogmatic. Miscarriages occur throughout pregnancy, early and late. I am no medical doctor and do not know the specific circumstances. All I can say is that if God did breath in the breath of life, then indeed that is a human being and will be in heaven; if not, then not.

What I can also say, though this is something that it is most likely not the time to consider sharing with her, is that God does work everything out together for good for those who love Him – and that is the truth (Rom.8:28). I wish I could say that I am perfect in this respect, and that every time something catastrophic happened to me that I immediately took it in stride, completely at peace with what God had decided to do. But this is the ideal to which I aspire – whatever happens to us we should rejoice, even in our tears, because that is God's will for us in Jesus Christ (1Thes.5:18). Few of us are at that spiritual point, however, at least when it comes to the initial shock of terribly bad news. Not many of us are capable of reacting as Job did. But if we are spiritually mature, then we should swiftly recover from our negative (though understandably human) reaction to adversity, and come to accept that what God has done must be somehow for our good (even if at present we can't imagine how), rather than blaming God and losing faith. This world, unfortunately, is not the garden of Eden, and very few of us will get through it without experiencing multiple tests of this sort. Should the estimates provided by this ministry of our proximity to the end times be correct, then this is an understatement.

We are told to rejoice with those who rejoice and grieve with those who grieve (Rom.12:15). You are doing the absolute right thing, grieving with your friend, comforting your friend, attempting to find whatever solace there is in scripture for the benefit of your friend. Clearly, this is not the time to give someone a lecture on the Bible, so this e-mail is for you rather than for her. Perhaps in this trial God is preparing you and others for setbacks and adversity which must come for spiritual growth to be maximized. It is always good to learn from observation first if one is prudent enough to do so. By watching others undergo tragedy, we can at least do an inventory of our hearts and see if we could handle the pressure of such adversity without blaming God. If not, we should start now to work out those "kinks" before we face our own testing. Perhaps God is preparing you, or others, or your friend herself, or all of the above for something that will glorify Him and His Son, and will lead to great production on earth and eternal reward in the life to come. Finally, knowing what I know about what is likely to transpire in the very near future, I have my doubts about the advisability of getting married and of having children at the present time. I would never dream of telling even the most dedicated Christian not to do it (it's not my business – we all have to make our own decisions about how best to serve the Lord in this life). But I could certainly see, the closer we come to the end, how that God might be sparing certain individuals in the long run, even if it seems to them that He is being terribly unfair to them in the short run.

Written in the love of Jesus Christ.

Bob L.


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