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Fighting the Fight XV

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Question #1:

GREETINGS TO YOU ROBERT LUGINBILL! I first contacted you several weeks ago. I am still 76 years of age. I am living in a 1-bedroom apartment that will soon be completely remodeled. My rent will increase by 70%. The rental office is still 2 minutes away from my apartment. I now owe a few thousands of dollars for a past weekend spent in a local hospital (hospital visits are very expensive). I am expecting to begin working part-time in a local grocery store next week that is located across the street - 3 minutes - from my apartment. I wanted to share a few of my ups and downs that I am experiencing day by day. BOTTOM LINE - I will become very busy with your website. I will begin to read through the entire bible for the first time using the order of the books as presented on your website. I plan to spend some time each day with your website. I estimate that I will be kept busy with your website for most of next year - day by day. I am looking forward to 'learning', 'growing', and 'ministering' to others as opportunities become available. Your website is a precious 'gift' from FATHER GOD - I AM GRATEFUL TO YOU AND OTHERS WORKING WITH YOU - THANK YOU SO MUCH! Respectfully,

Response #1:

Ouch! Sorry to hear about your rent AND that you're having to work at your age. Your encouraging attitude in spite of these setbacks is a great witness, however, as is your determination to keep growing in the Lord – good for you!

Thanks for all your kind words too, my friend. Keeping you in my prayers daily.

In Jesus our dear Savior,

Bob L.

Question #2:

Hi Dr. Luginbill,

Apologies for not being in touch. Ichthys is still my church so to speak, I've just had bad attendance lately. I've been struggling spiritually, but I am trying to get back on track. I had some negative thoughts that one should never have, questioning Our Creator at times, and asking him to take me home once. Most of that darkness is behind me. It's been I think 2 or 3 years since I was hospitalized with stomach issues, and it continues to be a problem. It is much better now, but because of my health a missed a lot of work and couldn't pay my insurance deductible, so I've been uninsured since that hospital visit. I haven't been able to go to the doctor much because of it, so I still don't know what's wrong, but I am doing better than I was. I used to be non-functional, now I can at least work and exercise again. I just have no energy at times, stomach pains, and I'm also just worn down by life. I went through a major ordeal back when I was drinking and recovering; it took a lot out of me, and I always wanted just a little break (over 6 years sober now, praise Christ!). Just needed some good times so to speak, I needed to rest. But things just haven't gone my way.

Through all of this there have been many blessings. For over a year now I've been living in my dream house. It's nothing big; it's old and has character. Real hardwood floors, tall ceiling. I have 6 acres of woods with lots of big, old hardwood trees; white oaks, black walnut trees, magnolias, dogwoods etc. I love it here. It's secluded but close to town too. I also have a job now that's a perfect fit. It combines my IT knowledge and experience with my installation knowledge and experience, and the pay is good and I have plenty of down time, which helps when I'm not feeling well. I still climb on roofs a lot, so I pray often for safety.

I suppose my spiritual struggle has been that I don't see the good side of this illness. I don't feel like I have grown spiritually during this process, as most of my prayers for years were simply "help me." My mindset has been that I need to prepare for the tribulation, but I need energy to do so. I know objectively that The Lord can turn this into some sort of blessing, but subjectively I can't imagine what good could come from this, so it's often just depressing. If I healed tomorrow I would be grateful of course, but still would have no idea what the purpose of the illness was. I'm lonely as well and have essentially gone through all of this without much human interaction. When I was in the hospital a nurse asked if she could call someone to visit, and I thought about it for a minute and said "no." I've often wondered if I'm "on the spectrum" of autism, because I just don't relate to people and have to learn certain things about social interaction on the internet or by watching others. Some of that could be my divine perspective and hatred of most worldly things, but since I quit drinking I'm not great with small-talk or forming relationships.

I'm not complaining about any of this. Just letting you know where I am with things. I still pray for you often.

I'm concerned about this new religion that's popping up everywhere. The higher power seems to be "science" or "justice,", and it has it's clergy and it's works, sacraments, ritual, heretics, etc. I find it ironic that the people who would be most appalled by anything "puritanical" have become their own version of puritans. They have regressed to a puritanical legalism and call it progressive. They even have their own witch hunts. What is discouraging is to see believers who think they are doing good deeds by following the tenets of this new satanic religion. James said that visiting the orphans and widows is pure and undefiled religion, but this new religion says that visiting people is a germy sin. The new passport systems are possibly creating an infra-structural backbone for a mark. These are dark times; may we look to The Light.

In Christ,

P.S. I noticed that ___'s son is still on the prayer list. If any of my knowledge or experiences in that department could prove useful, let me know

Response #2:

Great to hear from you! Yes, I have been wondering about you, and praying for you daily. I'm thrilled to hear about the job and home situation. God is good! I know and know of plenty of people who don't have either of those "ducks in a row", so I'm grateful to the Lord for blessing you on both fronts.

When it comes to companionship, whether friendship or marriage, that is an issue for almost all human beings – except perhaps for the very few who are happily married (and even there that "happily" has its ups and downs). Good friends are a rarity as well. Your disgust with the world is the right attitude a believer should have, of course. Being a "friend of the world" or "loving the world" are sure paths to spiritual ruin (Jas.4:4; 1Jn.2:15-17). But it can be lonely to have that right perspective. I've known drought and plenty in this area. The latter is great, but challenges one's time and energy; the former is hard, but does open up opportunities for spiritual growth.

So when you say, "I've just had bad attendance lately. I've been struggling spiritually, but I am trying to get back on track", it's my duty to remind you that spiritual growth is the solution to all things. Because the truth is the solution to all things. I know you already know a lot of it. But it's good to be reminded of it. AND be prompted to remember it, believe it, and apply it.

Having a difficult test like the one you've been going through is a big challenge, but the Lord always gives us at least one – and sometimes more than one – of these big tests to help us break through to spiritual maturity and beyond . . . and also to help us prepare for what's next. Part of that "what's next" is ministry; part of it, for we who are living on the cusp of the end, is the Tribulation.

I have been and will be praying for your health. I know you are as well. God hears all of our prayers. The fact that He doesn't always answer them immediately does not mean that He doesn't hear or doesn't care. It DOES mean that He is "working it all out together for good". We don't understand the "Why"? That is common. Our job is not to understand the "Why?" Our job is to trust the Lord that there IS a very good reason for everything that is happening. The plan of God is perfect because He is perfect, so that all He is working out for us in our lives is perfect too (Rom.8:28). That is not a natural thing to think; that can only be accepted and believed and applied with faith and with the Holy Spirit. Job got a ton of trouble which was not the result of any sin or ungodly behavior on his part. He didn't understand "Why?" How could he, not being privy to the first two chapters of the book of Job? And He did trust God . . . for a long while. But He faltered when pressured by his "friends", and was rebuked by the Lord for doing so. But then, of course, the Lord completely restored him, all he had lost and his health as well.

I'm no prophet, and so I can't say when or how the Lord will intervene on your behalf or why He is "taking so long" by our lights. But I can tell you that He is "worth waiting for".

I would strongly suggest that you re-read the Peter series (at the link); it's designed especially to encourage those who are suffering with suffering which is undeserved. Rather than allowing ourselves to feel bad when this happens, however, our job is to understand that we are "sharing the sufferings of Christ" and glorifying Him . . . if we are bearing up and trusting Him in the process.

I would also be happy to send a message to the moderator of the "Ichthys Forum". I know that more than one reader of this ministry has made some good friends and contacts thereon. It's not "face to face", but some have found it helpful.

I promise to continue to do battle with you in prayer on this issue until your victory.

In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.
p.s., yes, ___'s son is an alcoholic and has been bouncing off the bottom for years now; IMHO it's a miracle he's still alive. I pray for her and him daily too.

Question #3:

Thanks, Dr. Luginbill. It's good to hear from you too.

My parents sold their house back in July, just two days after they put it on the market; and we had to be out of the house by the end of the month. They had nowhere to go, and my aunt offered them a place to live. They didn't want to sign a lease and be stuck for a year, so it seemed like a good idea (I guess) to them at the time. They didn't think they would be there very long.

I told them that they were crazy to live there, even it's for a short time. I spent a small fortune staying at a hotel for two weeks while I was waiting for my apartment to be ready just so that I didn't have to stay with her. She kept asking me why I didn't stay at her place, and my excuse was that it's too far from my work, which is the truth but not my main reason for not wanting to stay there.

If all goes well, my parents won't have to live there much longer. They put in an offer for a house in ___. The closing date is in December. My dad is worried because it's the higher end of their price range. I hope they just buy it so that they get away from my aunt. I told them that I'll rent from them next year to give them some income when he's retired.

I'm not flying anymore, but I do miss it. I did get a job offer, but I ended up not taking it. It's a fun job, but not very reliable. The schedule can be kinda crazy (waking up in a different city every day, gone for days at a time, 12+ hour shifts on occasion). Plus the pay is not good when you're first starting out as a flight attendant. I wouldn't be able to afford to live on my own.

I've been working at a bank as a call center representative. It's not a bad job. I make more here than I did at the airline. Soon they're going to let me work from home, so I'll be able to live wherever I want once my lease expires. I plan on moving in with my parents and renting from them.

Sometimes I think about getting married, but haven't met anyone who would be a good spouse. And then I'm worried about how much longer we have until the Tribulation. I wouldn't want to have young children during that time. But I will follow whatever the Lord wills for my life.

As far as the liver transplant, we wouldn't start planning that until sometime next year. So hopefully they'll be settled somewhere by then. I have sick time and vacation hours that I can use to schedule time away from work. I'm going to talk to my manager about this once everything is more concrete.

Thank you for listening to me. Your words are such a comfort to me. Once I calm down, I'm able to focus on what matters. Life really isn't so bad now. It's just hard with how my aunt is being right now, and it's hard to remember that I'm trying to forgive her for everything.

But I have a good job, a safe place to live, and soon I hope my parents will be settled in their new home. And after that, we'll be able to schedule a surgery for a transplant and then she'll be back to normal so that they can live happily ever after. That would be nice.

In Him,

Response #3:

Thanks for the clarifications. I was pretty sure there were "mitigating circumstances", but if it were me, I'd have found something else. Camping for a couple of weeks would seem to be better than what you described in your previous email! People can be incredibly abusive in the most hurtful possible ways. It takes a strong Christian to overlook the sort of horrific behavior you report – but even strong Christians are wise to stay away from such toxic situations if there is any possible alternative.

I'll say a prayer for your parents to get into their new place quickly and without too much trouble. That'll be good for you too, at least financially. Good to hear that you'll be able to work from home. Personally, I'm very happy to have an office to go to. I think the stay-at-home thing was very detrimental to the mental health of many; I KNOW it was for most of my students. Even the ones who came to campus for my classes suffered from things being only partially normal. Not that we're all the way back yet, either. They still have to wear masks (I'm allowed to take mine off while I'm lecturing).

I hear what you're saying about the airlines. Don't know much about banking (that's where they keep the money, right? Explains my ignorance). But it seems like a potentially good career. If you're planning to move up, I really think you might want to find a face to face gig someplace close to your home-to-be up north.

I think your attitude towards marriage and a family is a good one, namely, let the Lord bring you whatever He brings you. The truth in scripture about the future is not meant to keep us from living each day in a good and godly way, doing what we ought to do regardless, right down to the end.

I keep you and your family in my daily prayers, my friend.

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #4:

Hi Dr. Luginbill,

I'm glad that they're letting you teach in person again. I would prefer that myself, but hardly anybody at my work is in the office anymore. There's maybe 10-20 people that I see at the most working on my floor. But there must have been at least 200-300 people at one point. It's even worse on weekends. Sometimes the only other person I see is the security guard at the front desk.

I figured since I hardly ever see anyone anyway, I might as well work from home, save some gas money. But someday I'd like to go back to working in an office, but I don't know if my department will ever go back to "normal." It transitions so well to at-home work since all we do is answer the phones all day.

I'm keeping you in my prayers as well.

In Him,

Response #4:

It really is a "weird" world at present. I have a significant number of students who have shared with me that they are having mental problems and even being hospitalized for them. This was never the case before. Less than 10% back in the office is hardly "back to normal" in the case of your work. Hard to see how that "works" long term. I'm very skeptical about the supposed increased productivity that allegedly comes from "working at home". If it were my business, I would be very reluctant to go that route. And I know it's not that good for the mental health of those who are doing it. It's like being on a flight to Mars or something like that, even if you are careful to take steps to get out of the house in other ways. I'm sure your parents are great, but there's nothing better than being on one's own – if you can swing it.

I'm keeping you and your family in my prayers daily.

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #5:

 Dr. Luginbill,

I recently noticed that you spoke of an online forum for like-minded Ichthys participants. I would love to throw my hat into the ring, if that's possible.


Response #5:

Great to hear from you!

I just sent an email to the forum moderator. Give him a little time, but if you haven't heard from him by next week, let me know and I'll remind him.

Hope you're doing well!

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #6:

Thank you so much for letting me know.

I know, with all of the people you correspond with, that you can't possibly remember me; however, we have communicated twice, in the past.

Although your ministry has always been especially helpful, I usually tend to wander astray for a while, and then return. The last communication I had with you, I queried the possibility of some sort of threaded bulletin board or forum. I won't drag you through the details but imagine my surprise to return to the fold and learn that there is some sort of thing available.

I am thrilled at the prospect of what could possibly lie ahead, perchance some sort of aid to my physical and spiritual isolation (I am now disabled and have very little human contact in real life).

As always, I wish you well, and try to remember to pray for you as often as I can.

Response #6:

I do remember you, though not that particular conversation. That was a long time ago, I think!

I don't participate in the forum myself (has to do with allowing Ichthys readers the space to talk freely among themselves), but I know it's been a blessing to many, so I hope you'll enjoy it too.

I thank you for your prayers. I'm sorry to hear that you're disabled and that this has (understandably) created isolation. I will say that it's not uncommon for all readers of Ichthys to feel and be isolated: when the Lord and His truth are your life, well, let's just say that in the era of Laodicea it's pretty difficult to find other Christians who feel the same way.

I would be happy to put a prayer request up for you at Ichthys.

In Jesus our dear Savior,

Bob L.

Question #7:

Good Morning, Dr. Luginbill,

I have vacillated continuously about how to reply to your email. It may seem silly but I think that you will understand.

Obviously, I was thrilled to get a personal response from you. Just like many of your acolytes, I want to interact with you and your ministry; however, I do not wish to fill up your inbox with a lot of "stuff" that just adds more to your workload.

You see, I have been extremely curious my entire life and enjoy research and academia so I do not receive any type of news, opinions, or theology without completely vetting my sources (based on prior experiences in my life).

Around 2008-2010, I was having a spiritual crisis of sorts. I wanted to know if I believed what I believed because it was my belief, because my parents told me to believe, or if the church told me to believe. I grew up in an extremely strict pentecostal/charismatic denomination and have seen and heard many things. Not only was I regularly taught that basically everything was a sin but also that I could backslide at any given moment if I sinned and died before I remembered to repent. I have personally witnessed the casting out of demons (which was completely terrifying), speaking in tongues and the subsequent message, or prophecy, that was spoken to the church. I have also witnessed speaking and tongues and prophecy on a personal level. When I was a late teen to early twenties, I was going through something that was so painful and difficult that I could not seem to get past it, no matter how hard I tried. So for the one and only time in my life, I called the most respected prophet in our church and asked if we could pray together to see if God had anything to share. It was agreed and I went to the prophet's home. I did not share anything about my situation and we knelt together to pray. Within a few minutes, the prophet began to speak in tongues. A few minutes later, the prophet spoke the message (in the King James verbiage, by the way). The message was so specific and extremely germane to my situation that I was literally taken aback for a few minutes. The Creator of the universe took time out of His busy day to speak to me, individually! This message was so profound that it has followed me all of my life and has been a comfort to me in times of distress.

Back to 2008-2010, I found myself in such a spiritual conundrum that I was questioning everything about God and especially His existence, at all. I was purchasing theological textbooks and researching on the internet when I found Ichthys and you. I felt a connection with what I read and your academic credentials buoyed my faith and trust in what you had to say - until I read your eschatological views and the component, or lack thereof, regarding the rapture of the church. My mind was completely blown! How had I never been confronted with this topic before? Why was this coming at me in the midst of my queries regarding Christianity and the existence of God? I spent a great deal of time reading, reflecting, praying and then I finally mustered up the courage to approach you with my comments and questions. To my delight, I found you to be extremely responsive, patient, kind, and my not feeling as though you were pushing your theology on me; just giving me facts, as you saw them, and your continual refrain to go back to the Bible and see for myself. It was a huge moment in my life.

I fell into another crisis around 2014-2016. One of epic proportions and I could not see up from down. I was diagnosed with mental illness and taken off of work. For twelve months, I was in deep psychiatric/psychological treatment and the diagnoses kept coming fast and furious. I demanded that this was not true and that I was going back to work. I was told that I would never work again and that I was a severe psychiatric patient with several diagnoses (up to thirteen at last count). I cried, I screamed, I prayed and insisted that I was not sick and that I was going back to work. Out of sheer desperation, it was during this maelstrom that I connected with you again. Because of my charismatic background, I communicated with you about spiritual attack/oppression and spiritual warfare. Once again, you were very kind, responsive, and assistive. You did not discount my belief system in the spiritual realm and you gave me advice based on scripture. You did not use absolute terminology but you did not discount that I "might" be facing spiritual oppression. If my memory serves me correctly, you said that before you sent the email, you had prayed about me, you had prayed about my email, and that you had reflected on my situation. I took your advice, going back to the Bible and reading specific relevant passages provided. I found great comfort in my correspondence with you. It was during this timeframe that I brought up the topic of your site and the possibility of an online forum. A long time ago and in a land far, far away; I was actually a professional web developer. I was so grateful for your ministry that I wanted to help. I offered to provide server space for you and any other needs that you might have or desire. As usual, you were very kind and very nice when you spoke about how everyone has a gift/ministry and that this one was your ministry. You actually posited that maybe an online forum for Christians might be in my wheelhouse. I obviously discounted that I could have any kind of ministry in my present state and moved on with my awful situation.

I continued to denounce my illness but my doctors refused to write me a letter to go back to work unless I made some professional concessions. Before I became ill, I was a nurse executive with responsibility for the entire nursing division of an entire hospital. The only way that I was allowed to return to work was under the constraints of moving to an entry level job, first. Between my healthcare team and the hospital, I was given the job of ER admissions clerk. I was completely deflated and embarrassed. This was a job that only required a high school diploma and I completely felt like this was the cruelest joke on the planet. The primary responsibility of this job was to greet the patient, ask for identification, type them into the computer and then hand them off to the RN. In between patients, I had to look up their insurance, bill the correct one, and completely add all their information into the database. That's it. Unfortunately, my healthcare team was right. I couldn't do it and was quickly removed from the easiest job in the hospital. Now, completely humiliated, I had to exit the hospital knowing that I could never return, and others knew, too. After I got in my car, I had a complete breakdown and couldn't even remember where I lived. It took me hours to get home.

From that day forward, physical conditions started piling on and now my body is just as broken as my brain. Social Security gave me permanent disability benefits in 2018, and they backdated my disability as being 2015 - the last day I walked out of the hospital from that ridiculously menial position. Just so you know, 87% of all disability applicants are denied their first SSDI application. My first one was approved, so now, it is official. I am disabled, forever. My days are filled with no purpose, no reason to get out of bed, no reason why I should not return to bed and few human connections.

Sorry for dragging you through all of this but I selfishly wanted to remind you of how you helped me. After all these years, I still find your ministry beneficial which is why I pray for you whenever I can remember. I would happily accept an addition to your prayer request section.

Thank you - Sincerely,

Response #7:

I've put up a prayer request for you. Let me know if you want this changed in any way, and I'm happy to do so.

I'm very sorry to hear of all your troubles! You have really been through the ringer. I don't have any special knowledge about psychological maladies, but I will say that they seem to be expanding nowadays in types and occurrences almost exponentially. When I started at U of L over three decades ago, and during my extended time in graduate school and service before that, there were occasional cases of individuals who developed severe problems, but now, it's a very rare class where I don't have a student who drops out or is hospitalized or needs time off for this reason – and sometimes multiple students in a single class. No doubt satanic attack is involved in a good many cases. No doubt too this is a sign of the impending end times.

One thing I do know is that nothing is impossible for the Lord. He does answer prayer. And I will be praying for you, my friend.

Here's hoping too that you make some good connections on the forum!

In Jesus our dear Savior,

Bob L.

Question #8:

Good Morning, Dr. Luginbill,

Thank you very much for your reply and for your addition to the prayer page. Your wording is most appropriate. And thank you so much for your personal prayers; they are greatly appreciated. I do hope to make some connections on the forum and am excited about the prospect.

Just two last questions:

1) I've only been back on the site for a couple of months and I believe that I caught the tail of a very lively discussion about the vaccine for covid and I saw a mention or two regarding the possible timing of "the end", so to speak. I can't seem to find where this topic began or if it is in your teaching materials. Are you able to point me in the right direction?

2) I have briefly seen a whiff of discussion regarding the works/gifts of the Holy Spirit not being available in our historical time and also the possibility of this being demonic. Because I've only seen a couple of comments, I could be completely mischaracterizing this topic. Again, can you point me to your teaching materials or where this topic began in the weekly email discussions?

Response #8:

Apologies for the late response: yesterday was "posting day" and I rarely have time to get to emails.

1) There has been a great deal about this subject. It's all to be found in the "Eschatology Issues"; back issues listed on the email page under "previous postings" (at the link). This started to be discussed as early as # 31 (at the link) and I just posted #81, so a lot of reading to do!

2) Best place for this is BB 5: Pneumatology; see especially "spiritual gifts" (at the link). It is true that this topic comes up a lot in the emails too. Searching through "Ministry and Preparation for Ministry" series will probably yield the best results (link is to the latest one).

Thanks for your prayers, my friend! You're on my personal list now as well.

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #9:

Thank you so much, Dr. Luginbill,

Like most others, I wait in anticipation for Sunday's when I am afforded the luxury of reading your emails/responses. Honestly, it's hard for me to fathom that you were able to reply to me as quickly as you did. So I thank you for that.

Yes! A lot of reading to do, but I'm more than happy to proceed. I thank you for pointing me in the right direction. I look at it this way - Hey, now I have homework ;-)

[May] The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, be with you. (2 Corinthians 13:14 NASB)

Thank you so very much and I continue to lift you up in prayer. Your ministry is so profound that I want to make certain that you are able to continue but balance is always necessary. Obviously, you have a time-intensive job and a personal life.

As Paul prayed for the Corinthians:

[May] The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, be with you. (2 Corinthians 13:14 NASB)


Response #9:

My pleasure,

Thanks for the kind words too.

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #10:

Hi Professor Luginbill,

It seems like we don't have normal things that were common throughout history, and so substitute superversions fakes/fantasies of those things to make up for it. No family or friends so watch a lot of TV and do social media. No marriage so porn and literary smut. No stable families so you get it from fake characters on TV. TV shows have long time life long friends characters that rarely happen in real life. Video games instead of real world goals. Superheroes beloved by many people who do the bare minimum in life (sometimes not even that). I mean not everyone of course is like this. But for a very large portion, if not the majority, it seems to be this. Wouldn't it be better to have the real version (even if it seems less good at first, it seems more good in the end because at least it is real, in my opinion), of these than the fake superversion fantasies?

Do you think I am overegging the pudding on this? I mean is it just in my head? I am not leaving myself out. There is a thing or two on that list I struggled with before.

It is demoralizing and depressing. What a life we moderns lead. But it is hard to go it alone and get neither the real nor the fake. Just wondering if it seemed like that to you too.

I guess I am thinking about it: and throughout history I am sure there were plenty of people without some of those common things. I don't think they had the super-fantasy fakes to turn to. I guess I am asking myself if it is pathetic to do that now. Maybe also because I think the existence of those is in the way of the real thing.

Response #10:

The world has always been a horrible place – from a spiritual point of view. One only has to look at most of Israel's history pre-exile to see how even the "people of God" gave themselves over to idolatry for the most part (and to legalism after the exile). So it shouldn't come as any great surprise that people today who are not part of God's unique nation would be embracing and immersing themselves in vanities. If it was somewhat different in the past, that is mostly because of lacking similar opportunities. Today many people in this country have more spare time than ever before, and through technology more opportunities to indulge in the sort of nonsense you list here.

But we who belong to Jesus Christ don't need to be upset by that or by the world generally. We know that it's all just dust and that it's all going to be incinerated very shortly – in God's way of thinking about time. Besides, our Lord will be back VERY soon. Even then, however, the good we'd expect out of people will only exist because of divinely imposed law and order. Just as soon as the population of the Millennium gets a chance, they too will rebel against all that is right and good (link).

Our job is to keep ourselves pointed in the right direction and make spiritual progress day by day, regardless of what the world thinks – and regardless of what is going on in it.

In Jesus our dear Savior,

Bob L.

Question #11:

Just one more thing! I would like to get your opinion on something, please correct my thinking if I am wrong in this...

I saw a post by a manager who was saying that an employee nearly messed up a presentation with one of their customers. The employee said they got overwhelmed with the work. And the manager was upset that the employee did not ask for help. That is micro-managing for the manager to watch out for the employee taking on too much. And I get what that manager is saying, but here is what I think: the manager should know what tasks the employee has. So they should know if that employee has taken on more work than is reasonable. To my experience, most managers only want employees to say what they want and not say what they don't, and will twist your arm if you imply that the work is too much (even if this is true and you can prove it!) or something like that. So employees are stuck with limited responses to bad situations the managers might put them in. Hence my conclusion earlier.

Some managers say they are just blunt and to the chase, but many times these managers are only so when it benefits them. They can insult you and curse at you, being blunt, but you cannot do the same even in your own defense or you can get in trouble for insubordination/disrespect, etc. This manager seemed like the type to think that since they use that as it suits them they are more effective. And I don't think so, but that is something else. But on what I wrote on my thinking earlier, am I wrong? I ask because I apply this to myself and am wondering if I am okay doing so.

Response #11:

This is the world. We have to remember that people are people – with sin natures – and most often motivated by the evil one and various aspects of his system. It takes a person of integrity who is devoted to the truth that God has made obvious in the world, His system of law and nationalism, to rise above the petty concerns and personal lusts that motivate most people. That sort of person is becoming increasingly rare, so it's not surprising that anyone in authority is likely to act in various dishonorable ways. It takes a pretty strong culture of accountability and focus on principles of reasonable behavior in any organization to keep these sorts of people in check. If the organization is loose in its culture, then it is inevitable that people will rise to positions of authority who are checked neither by the organization nor by any sense of personal integrity. I have seen this a lot.

If you see oppression of the poor and perversion of justice and righteousness in the province, don’t be astonished at the situation, because one official protects another official, and higher officials protect them.
Ecclesiastes 5:8 CSB

What is a believer to do? Keep doing his/her job as unto the Lord – letting the Lord sort it all out. He never ever lets us down.

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #12:

I went shopping today at a lot of stores and bought some pretty Christmas decorations. Do you know I observe myself taking a lot of pleasure in them and I am afraid.

Did I ever tell you I used to throw away good things I owned, because I was afraid of the pain of losing them, so I beat the loss to the punch so to speak? I am not sure where it originated. It is true I bounced from house to house as a child. And at my adopted parents house they would punish me by taking everything out of my room, even the bedframe, and making me earn it back one my one (do please keep in mind that they were very strict and harsh, punishing me for nonexistent or minor things in that way as far as I can tell). So I never really had my own secure possessions. I mean I didn't even have a home. Then in college I had to throw things away because I couldn't carry it when I moved. Anyway I have slowly unlearned that. It is like unlearning cutting yourself.

Back to what I was saying, I am afraid when I do have these relatively secure possessions and enjoy them. I am just now getting to the point of being able to relax and enjoy in that way, and am afraid of my reaction if it is taken from me, if you see what I am driving at. I mean I do trust God to get me through. I just feel shaky. And wonder if I am not better off living more Spartan like? I don't know what I meant to ask you, I just wondered if you had any encouragement.

Response #12:

Sorry for the delay – posting day yesterday and just now getting dug out.

You had a rough time of it, my friend! I'm very pleased to hear that the Lord has blessed you now. I don't think you should feel bad about that. As long as we remember that the Lord is the source of our blessings, and as long as we understand that He is our only true security down here, I don't think we should feel the least bit guilty about this sort of thing.

It's also good to remember that we have a LOT of good to look forward to, even if we were to lose everything in this life. This world does not last forever in any case; but the kingdom which is coming will be everlasting, with permanent blessings which can never be taken away from us no matter what.

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #13:

The Lord is in control of everything that happens, yes? then why doesn't He stop the Tribulation and Antichrist from happening? how is such a horrific thing perfect, part of a perfect creation

Response #13:

Couldn't you make this objection about anything? "Why did God let my __ die?" "Why did God let __ tragedy happen?" "Why did God let me stub my toe?" "Why oh why, God, why?"

People are always asking this question instead of seeking God. But time is a test and it must take place as it is taking place. You don't think so? Then WHY did the Father have to subject the Son to pain we cannot imagine, since dying for the least sin of one single person was more intense than all of the pain ever suffered in this world, past, present or future . . . unless it had to be this way as part of the perfect plan to SAVE us.

Question #14:

Dear Teacher

How have you been, Sir?

I am very sorry that I have taken this long to say my thanks for the answer that you gave me in your last email. It was a big help.

Two bits of news:

One, I was supposed to get a final medical evaluation of the pericarditis that you know about yesterday. I did get it kind of. The doctor who saw me at the teaching hospital may be the head of the cardiology department. At any rate, he is a professor and everyone else in the cardiology unit appeared to answer to him. He had asked me to run some tests the last time I kept my appointment with the unit three months ago, so I did. His evaluation is that I had no signs of inflammation (suggesting to me that I had never really needed to treat pericarditis); rather I have a condition called pectus excavatum. My chest has a small depression that I have never thought much of but which has been there for as long as I can remember. He said that it has resulted in something called a pancake heart. My sternum grew inwards apparently and is affecting the positioning of my heart. So, he says that I should listen closely to my body especially when doing anything physical so that I don't push myself to dangerous limits.

Apparently, this is why I get tired quite easily. I grew up thinking I was lazy, as I told you, because I got tired so easily (my older sister confirmed this last night when I gave her the news too) and I was told a lot that I was lazy too. If it hadn't been for you, I would be struggling with a very heavy burden of guilt every time I get tired like that. Interestingly, when I reminded my mom about a story that my dad told about not being able to get a job that he interviewed for when he was younger because the medical evaluation said that he had "murmur of the heart" at that time -- something that he thought was an invention for a move to deprive him of a job that he was qualified for in the interest of tribal politics -- she added that he said that he had to stop several times on his way there to catch his breath or something. So, it might be a genetic thing that I inherited from him.

The doctor told me to come in every three months going forward to be evaluated so that they can catch anything that can go wrong in time. He did tell me not to panic though, but it appears that I'm now officially a perpetual out-patient. I did look the condition up online and it seems that with age, it can make functioning harder because you get tired and breathless more easily. Apparently, the only solution is surgical.

Two, as I said, for the first time, the programming thing is going really well. It's not stressing me out like it used to. I don't find myself trying to hold it up with a lot of rules and really painful discipline. I am enjoying the learning process. I did have to figure out my own curriculum and the system I should use to learn. That took a little bit, but I think that what I decided upon is working really well. I haven't written a line of code since I started but that doesn't bother me for once. I have been focusing on understanding what's happening first and that is helping me get into the mindset of a programmer. I have tried the "copy what I code" method before and ended up completely confused and frustrated about what was happening. This time, my approach is to study the fundamental concepts, then watch someone code and try to make sense of what they are doing (by asking questions wherever I have the opportunity to do so or just thinking through it and researching anything that might help me understand what they are doing), then try to write code using all that knowledge so that I can identify where I am lacking in knowledge or understanding of the whole thing. I'm currently doing the second bit of watching someone code. The videos I am finding online are not everything I want, but I am starting with one that is at least giving me some clues.

I do remember that I wanted to say that I do agree with you that I am ready for ministry as far as training goes. I was rearing to go in the past, but I have learned since then that I can be patient until the Lord gives me work to do. I have considered that there is considerable chaos in my life (the past couple of months has been amazing in my development though) and there is much that I could still be trained in at the moment. I am not thinking that I shouldn't start a website of my own or be zealous to start training other believers, rather I am thinking that maybe there is a reason that I feel held back a bit. On the Zoom meetings and our WhatsApp group, I am enjoying ministering to my brothers and sisters who share Ichthys with me, and I am trying to continue doing that on the Ichthys forum although there is very little activity there at all. I also remain open to help anyone that happens my way. But it seems to me that this period that I am using to straighten out a lot of the issues in my life (work, relationship with my fiancée, family, and even integrating the right way into society) is working out as training for me too. The feeling that I did not know how to think about life or about my responsibilities to the Lord, to my fiancée, to my family, and to the larger society is gone. In short, I don't feel chaotic anymore. I don't feel like I'm trying to force myself into a mold whether of my own making or of the world's making. I feel like I'm being poured into a natural mold, somewhere I fit and belong to and it isn't stressing me out anymore although, of course, it's not happening without pain.

Finally, for the past few months (since September), I have been going to something that the Methodist Church here in Nigeria calls a preaching station, a new church that a few members of an old one start for various reasons. In this case, the church was started for those living in the area where I live since the main church is all the way in the heart of town where the last crisis occurred and where the crisis often gets really bad when it happens within the metropolis. We don't have a formal preacher assigned to the new church yet, so we take turns to "preach." First, I somehow managed to get them to accommodate discussions of whatever is "preached" for the day during the service. Then, every time that it is my turn, I turn it into proper teaching. In fact, I am using the opportunities I get to work through Ecclesiastes. They haven't tried to throw me out yet, so it is not so bad. On the Zoom meeting, I have also been working through the discussion on politics, I should mention. So, there are two fronts for ministry that the Lord has been gracious to give to me.

As I thought, this ended up being a long email. I had meant to just say my thanks and apologize for going so long without offering a response to your last email, Sir. I will try to use the rest of my evening productively after this.

Keeping you in our prayers here, Sir

Your student in Jesus Christ

Response #14:

Great to hear from you, my friend!

I'm happy to hear that things are progressing for you on all fronts, even if there is "shot and shell" to navigate. I don't pretend to know much about the programming aspect of things, but you are "working the problem" and that is of course necessary to get good at anything. The way you are approaching it is no doubt better than formal education where so much is only theoretical. Better to get out there and actually do it yourself. Have you got a program idea? I know you had some in the past. Seems to me that actually writing one from top to bottom would be the best way to master the ins and outs – but again, this is not my field.

You have come a long way, my friend. I'm thrilled to hear that you're getting an opportunity to teach the Word in person. That's all to the good for many reasons. We won't speculate about the reaction. When you teach the truth, the reaction is usually negative – except from a small group of people who are happy to hear the truth (most are not, of course, even in "churches").

I am distressed to hear of your medical condition. I don't know anything about that either, but what you say makes sense. I'm at least glad that you now know 1) it's not your fault; and 2) your physical limits – so you don't make the bad mistake of trying to "push through" when your body is telling you to stop. This is on my prayer list now as well.

As to you and your fiancée, I know that the Lord is working this out for the good. This is all just one more uncertainty test for you. You'll have to trust Him on your health, your marriage, your emigration, your work/job, in short, with your whole life. But that is a good thing. We are all totally dependent on the Lord. Even when our material circumstances seem secure, that is really just an illusion; we need to always keep in mind that without Him, our lives would be over in the blink of an eye (not to mention that they would be pointless). Tests of the sort you are going through are never fun, but they at least have the advantage of helping those who are willing to walk closer with the Lord than otherwise – because we are constantly aware of how much we need Him.

Keeping you both in my daily prayers. Thanks so much for yours!

In Jesus our dear Savior,

Bob L.

Question #15:

 Thank you Bob! Yes indeed it really is wonderful!

It was doubly shocking though yesterday. When I say doubly, on the one hand I was overjoyed and amazed at the dramatic deliverance our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ gave to us yesterday but at the same time I was really tripped up by other people's reactions to it. What I mean is that I was overjoyed and celebrating and giving thanks and the people around me (most notably ___ and the neighbour on the other side) were horrified!

__ could see that I was praising the Lord and very amazed by what was happening but he was quiet and dumbstruck and didn't know how to react. When we got outside of the house the next door neighbour who knew what was going on but didn't want to involve the police but wanted to do a deal with the drug gang was horrified. She actually said that she was crying as the police lead the man away in handcuffs. She kept saying over and over again "I didn't want this to happen!" So she didn't want to be delivered from this situation, she wanted to deal with it her own way which was to cut a deal with criminals. This is a person whose two children under the age of ten were sleeping next door to where the drugs were grown and went to school smelling of cannabis.

She was horrified that the police arrested the man and was deeply distressed about what would happen to him in police custody. She said she didn't care about the drugs. When I tired to explain that houses have burnt down when these operations have siphoned off power supplies illegally, she didn't want to believe it was true.

I went out with ___ in the afternoon and I was saying how I couldn't understand her reaction at all but ___ started to defend her and then later he seemed angry about what had happened. He then said that he didn't care about the drugs either and that I was the only person who cared about it and made out that I had made a mountain out of a molehill and he has argued me and defended my neighbour and now won't speak to me!

I am now crying about it as I am really confused what is happening to me! Justice was served and yet now I am being attacked for saying that!

Today I should be rejoicing but instead I am crying because it seems as though the enemy has launched an attack on me immediately on the tails of being delivered! It seems as though he doesn't want this deliverance to help my faith and instead wants to mar it so that I associate it with something bad rather than something good.

It's as though people are saying evil is good and calling evil good.

I feel a bit all over the place now emotionally. Is it usual to have a fierce spiritual attack on the heels of a spectacular deliverance?

In Him,

Response #15:

That really is bizarre. But we live in a bizarre world, after all, infected by sin and run by the devil through his sinful system. Being appalled at justice is just one symptom of the fact that this satanic system has been making real progress. That is to be expected in the run up to the Tribulation, after all, but of course it is disheartening to see and hear for those of us who love the truth.

The thing about this bizarre reaction is that it involves not that area of biblical truth designed for believers only (and for those willing to respond to the gospel so as to be saved), but the basic truth of life God has instilled in every human being and writ large on His creation. My old mentor Col. Thieme called this "the laws of divine establishment". Whatever one calls this, law and order, justice, and basic nationalism (not jingoistic hyper-patriotism but a recognition of the evils of internationalism) is the glue that keeps human beings from destroying themselves, individually and collectively. When this starts to evaporate, there is no end to the evil and distress which will result.

That is a main reason why the Tribulation, under the unjust and international rule of the beast, will be so terrible. The fact that people around the globe (not just in your country) are trending in that direction merely tells us that "all this" cannot last much longer. From one point of view, that is a good thing: Mara na tha! On the other hand, while sweet in the mouth, it's also going to be very bitter in the stomach for those of us who have to go through it. We have to make sure that we keep looking over the turbulent sea to the blessed shore beyond.

And they will say on that day, "Behold! This is our God! We waited in hope for Him to deliver us. This is our Lord. We waited in hope for Him. Let us rejoice and be glad in His deliverance!"
Isaiah 25:9

Strengthen the hands that are weak. Bolster the knees that are giving way. Say to those with anxious hearts, "Be strong! Don't be afraid! Behold! Your God will come, as an Avenger. [Your] God will come, as a Rewarder. He will come, and He will deliver you".
Isaiah 35:3-4

I'm happy that at least you have law enforcement that's still functioning over there, even if there are many people who would prefer anarchy (until it breaks down their own front door).

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #16:

Good afternoon Robert,

Life here has changed for us. We have been given notice of eviction and have to be out by July 31st. Not much time. __'s boss laid him off and now has talked his parents into kicking us out. We haven't had any confrontation with them at all so this has come to be very surprising. Just last month they approached us about raising rent, we agreed. When they came up to visit they showed up with big smiles on their faces and we set out on the lawn in our chairs and visited for 30 minutes. It was good and great conversation like it has been for 3 years since we have been there tenants. We have always paid our rent on time and had such a great relationship the last year of renting was completely all verbal..no contract. We never even put down a rental deposit. They trusted us we trusted them.

After 30 minutes of chatting their tones changed and they said they had a problem and that they are selling and we need to be out on July 31st. No asking if that would work for us or nothing. She immediately had me sign a paper of notice, which I did. I asked if they had a buyer for the home and they smiled and said yes. ___ was upset because long story short ___ wouldn't lie for him regarding ___'s unemployment. So ___ laid him off and everything has gone down hill since. Now ___ is buying our house to give to his 19 year old son and kicking us out.

We went down and got the mail last night to find an eviction notice from an attorney in our mail box. It had been sent certificate receipt signature required. Looks like the mailman made a mistake and it got stuck in the mailbox instead of giving to us. What a shock to see the extreme they have gone too for no reason. Kinda funny actually.

We have learned the extreme side of how evil knows how to cover-up in such a nice way....and yet so deceiving.

On an another note we had a situation with my brokerage last week as well. Long story short I have found that they aren't good people as well.

All I can say is thank goodness we got kicked out so we can head them off for sometime. I'm so tired if being deceived. I seriously can't trust anyone anymore. I did have a vision go through my head when I met my broker back in January. Its hard to explain but I saw her sitting in a big chair (she is a big person) with all this purple clothing she was wearing and make up galore with gold jewelry just cackling away. I'm sure you have to be laughing because I did. Now I can kinda see something after our incident we had a week ago. I'll have to tell you about it someday.

Unfortunately we are in "round 2" now of having no home, but this time I'm working and have a few things under contract and ___ is getting unemployment for just a bit longer.

The world is changing and I can see things moving in the Lord's direction. It's very obvious he is moving us, it's hard and not easy but I trust him.

I'm just praying this doesn't last long and we know what direction we need to go.

We are so relieved to finally be released from ___. The sacrifice of no home is so worth it.

Thank you my friend for being there for us and helping us grow spiritually. This hurdle would have been impossible without it.

Someone asked me the other day why I was so nice, she said you are too nice. I told her I loved Jesus and she said but we all do... laughing. I said then you must be nice too!! She didn't say anything else.

Hope you are doing well with all this craziness in the world. We know this is nothing compared to what's to come real soon.

I do need to go, packing away... mostly giving away. Lol

Response #16:

I'm sorry to hear this! I have been praying that when you did move on it'd be for a good purpose; I'm hoping that such is the case. Sounds as if you are "well out" of this relationship, even if its an unexpected dislocation. As a realtor, I'm sure you have a better idea than most about what will work going forward.

I'll continue to pray for you guys and your family. We know that God has a plan here, and that He is working it out for good. That doesn't mean, of course, that the "good" always "feels good" in the here and now. But looking back we can always see that it was. The fact that you are already seeing some of that now is an indication of your spiritual growth.

If you've been reading the recent email postings you have an idea of what's going on here. I'm relieved to know that I'll be able to teach most of my classes mostly face to face in the fall (of '20). Things will be different, but – apparently – the worst of what might have happened has been avoided. Of course this still all depends on how the powers that be react to Covid numbers should they go up. Otherwise, Louisville is beginning to open up. Eating places and some retail shops are lagging but the trend is in the right direction. I still can't get books out of the library until July, so that is a headache in trying to do my research without all the tools I need. What the future will bring, we'll have to see. I guess we're all in that boat – you and your family much more than some others – but in fact of course that is always the case. The Lord gives us one day at a time and no more. It's an illusion to think otherwise. We just have to keep carrying our cross today "as long as it is called 'Today'" (Heb.3:13).

I know that the Lord has good things in store for you. I'm certainly going to be praying that this is part of the bridge to all that – and that it is a short journey to the other side of troubled waters.

Thank you for your strong and courageous attitude in spite of all! That is a great encouragement and a real witness to me.

Keeping you in my prayers daily,

In Jesus our dear Savior,

Bob L.

Question #17:

Thanks Bob,

I'm at a loss right now, I have no idea where we are going or what we are doing. The only thing that is heavy on my heart is I truly do not want to live like we did for two years homeless. It's just makes my stomach sink. I think what's the hardest part is seeing the people/ friends/ family hearts so hardened. No care to help, be kind, giving or have any empathy. I guess it's the times we live in. Good thing we have GOD and don't have to count on each other. I'm not feeling that energy right now with excitement to keep moving. It's pretty heavy.

Between trying to keep up with work and all its problems, having to move and nowhere to go is weighing heavily on me. The market here is not easy to find a rental and especially finding something we can afford. It's a double edged sword. We are not opposed to leaving but where do we go from here? We have no one or don't know anyone. I'm just getting going on real estate and __ should have his license in a few weeks. After all this work that we have put into this area to learn the field, it would be a bummer to have to leave it, but if it's what we need to do then so be it.

Glad everything is looking better on your end. Thanks for the update.

Response #17:

I'm certainly praying for you all NOT to have to go backwards like that. I have to believe that this is the Lord moving you on to something better. I'm sorry that you don't have the time to plan this out since things are moving fast, but in my experience, sometimes that is when the Lord opens things up all the more clearly.

When I made the decision to postpone my Classics education to go to seminary, I moved out to California on a wing and a prayer with most everything I owned jammed into my little yellow Datsun B210. I hadn't even been officially accepted, and the scholarship I was hoping for never materialized. Where was I going to live? Southern CA was expensive even then. But the Lord provided a cheap room on the top floor of an old house with two other seminary students in the other two rooms sharing a bathroom, a refrigerator and a hotplate. I was thrilled to get it, and it was just the perfect place for me to get through those two years. I have bounced around a great deal in my life, and the Lord has always seen to it that I had a safe place to land, NEVER on account of my "planning". He is absolutely faithful. To the "merciful, blameless and pure" He always shows Himself the same (Ps.18:25-26).

For You will save the humble people,
But will bring down haughty looks.
Psalm 18:27 NKJV

We can only speculate about what evil things the Lord is delivering you from by occasioning this move, but we do know that for those who love Him as you two do, He is working it all out for good.

In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #18:

Hello Prof,

How are you sir? Been watching pics of the storm that passed through near(?) your neck of the woods in KY. This one seems to have been particularly severe; just checking if you are ok? Your family? My prayers are with you on this.

In Him,

Response #18:

Good to hear from you! Thanks for asking.

All good here! The storms stopped short of Louisville (the destructive parts, that is). So we feel VERY blessed, especially given the terrible disasters southwest of here. This sort of thing happens in these parts. Before I moved here, a twister set down just two blocks or so away from where I live, hopped over our neighborhood, and wiped out all the hundred year plus trees in the park about a mile and a half away.

Things like this make you realize all the more vividly just how little we are in control – and just how much we need the Lord.

How are new business efforts going?

Keeping you in my prayers daily, my friend.

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #19:

Hello Prof,

Indeed we do need the Lord. Over here we are currently faced with a drought ... but hope persists that He will see us through.

My new business is progressing well. In that regard things have pretty much calmed down. I now live on my own, far from the RCC-influenced former neighbourhood. The Lord is great and infinitely loving. My studies of the Bible are going well too. But testing of a different kind continues, only I have learned to handle testing much better now, thanks to your teaching. I am doing Kiswahili for Peter #35. My prayers are with you.

In Him,

Response #19:

Sorry to hear about the drought, but I'm happy to learn that your own business efforts are going well.

"Testing of a different kind continues" – it always does, of course. But this life will come to an end; we will finish our course and "break the tape". And as long as we keep running strong in spite of all efforts from the evil one to cut in on us and break our stride, we will reap a good harvest, and all "this" will have been worth it in the end.

Keep on running, my friend. You are in my prayers daily.

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #20:

Thank you letting me know..I really appreciate it.

I hope you have a wonderful New Year too. Robert, I would like to ask you about church membership or attendance. I don't have a car (long story for another time) and have called various churches asking for rides..called 4 that I considered evangelical where I felt that at least the message would be more as to teaching the Bible without the doctrine that I believe has killed the church (tho in the past I attended a catholic charismatic church and felt more love and kindness from them than many others that I attended), but anyway the churches I contacted were close to me. One answered my appeal by telling me "We don't do that." Another I left a message several times because they advertised that they were a new church offering truth, love and said that they took anyone in who felt they didn't belong in other churches..so great..right?? They never replied to 4 message I left and suddenly one day I got a call..I was so excited..when I answered and said hello, they hung up, I called right back and got a busy signal and left another message and never got a call back..I did attend one Bible study, I mentioned this before..I guess my excitement about the things I learned got the better of me..even the warning that I've seen in the word before you and others confirmed it, that salvation is not guaranteed once we accept Christ, but we have to live in it, something I myself have had trouble doing, well twice they stopped the study (there were at the max 8 people, but usually 4) and I was told that when they started back up I'd receive a text; two months went by with texts asking when they were starting up and I finally decided just to go one Sunday night and found out they had been meeting for two months minus a week. I was hurt but decided I needed to keep my beliefs to myself and just enjoy the study..I went for a year and basically the same thing happened and when I found out that I was not included again I just decided not to go back..it had turned from an open Bible study where people could talk about it to one that verses were read and no room to discuss. ( I have to admit something.. the Bible study leader got into a car accident..this was the second time no one told me they had started again..a month went by until I found out they were already having it again, but when I found out that he was hurt I made a pan of lasagna for them so his wife wouldn't have to worry about cooking as she went to visit him in hospital or take him to pt. She was shocked that I did this..but to me..it should be expected. Shortly after finding out they had started up...three weeks later I tore the major ligaments in both my knees and was in terrible pain for three weeks and no one even sent a text to see if I was okay..I know that if I was living like my Savior it shouldn't have mattered, but it did and I just didn't feel welcome there anymore.) I have to admit that there must be a terrible personality trait I just don't see in myself that really turns people off, this kind of thing has happened to me all my life. In Bible school I, being a new Christian believed that everything I owned was yours and invited all the girls to take whatever they needed (these are a couple of the worst examples), one night I had come back from prayer to get ready for chapel that night and found that all of my shoes were gone and there was one girl left who was wearing my last pair of shoes so I asked her if I could borrow one of hers. She said that just because I was so stupid to loan out my belongings to everyone didn't mean that she should be that stupid to do the same, then she still walked out with my last pair of shoes. I was scared to death to walk into chapel with bare feet and prayed that the staff wouldn't know it and they didn't. In that Bible school, every month for one solid year we would have a dorm meeting and every girl would confess that they hated me. I never spoke a word in defense and the dorm mother a staff member at the school never rebuked them. At chapel service the girls would come over to me and ask if they could pray for me..I always said yes and they ALWAYS prayed asking God to help them not hate me as much as they did..yet I never said no to them asking me if they could pray for me again. However one night this girl started crying in chapel and I went to her to hug her, comfort her and pray for her, she tried to speak but couldn't..so she wrote on a pad of paper that she said out loud that I was a __ and immediately lost her voice, (it was 3 days before she could talk again)..and she said it bothered her that I was the only one who came to pray for her when she was crying so hurtfully. We actually became friends after that..she was one of only two friends that I had.

I know that there is something wrong with me that causes this to happen and its happened to me with almost everyone since early childhood so these instances are not a fluke. I admit that as I have grown older I have stayed away from people to avoid the tremendous hurt this has caused me through life..but I do know that God commands us to come together..I mean how good is a light kept under a bushel? Of course the other side of that is maybe that I don't have much of a light to begin with. My children don't see me because they believe I was a terrible mother and the one that does see me, sees me at Christmas time expecting me to spend a lot of money..most on credit, getting her kids Christmas presents which of course I do hoping it will be enough to make a difference and it never does. I'm terribly broken right now..and really..I shouldn't even lay this at your feet..please just keep me in your prayers.

Please have a wonderful holiday and I'm sorry if I've put a damper on it. You have very enlightened studies and I'm very grateful for them..I guess my question is how do I continue in fellowship? Thanks!

Response #20:

I'm awfully sorry to hear of all your undeserved troubles, my friend. No one deserves treatment like this. Sadly, this is "the world", and Laodicea on top of that. So while I am appalled, I have to say I am not shocked, having heard many such things before.

First, I don't remember if I ever asked you if you wanted an invite to the forum of Ichthys readers one of my prospective pastor contacts put together a couple of years ago. It's not the same thing as meeting face to face, but a number of readers have reported positive things about it. Just let me know if you are interested and I would be happy to have him send you an invitation.

Second, your experience is very topical. I would appreciate being able to post it (anonymously of course) because I know that it would be an encouragement to others who have suffered like things, to know that they are not alone, but also to see how a strong Christian handles this sort of pressure. Because of the personal nature, I thought I should ask you about this first, however.

Here's wishing you a wonderful 2022, my friend.

Keeping you in my prayers.

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #21:

Yes Robert..you are more than welcome to share this email and YES I would love an invite to this online gathering! Thank you!

Response #21:

OK! I just sent an email to the moderator. Let me know if you haven't heard back in about a week.

And thanks so much for your willingness to share. As I say, there are a whole lot of good Christians out there who have been abused and mistreated by other "Christians" and by their families. Knowing they are not alone is often a big help.

Keeping you in my prayers.

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #22:

Hello Professor,

Thanks for the email. I have indeed already read and worked through Peter #37(and continue to do so). Great teaching as usual. I also continued to read and reference your material daily! (Praise to the Lord for your ministry, and what an incredible resource for the truth of the Bible) Thank you!

My Bible study group finished up Eschatology in October. it has expanded from five people to nine, and I am currently leading them through your BB3B Hamartiology study. Half the group including my wife and I had Covid so that set us back for a bit, but were still here, so thank God for the healing and the chance to store up some for more treasures for heaven! I appreciate your checking on me, love any prayers you can offer, and will keep trying to tell others the truth that you have led me to understand from the Bible. (Btw, my wife talked me into being a counselor for a ninth-grade wilderness camp back in July. I managed on day three to tear my right quad muscle: apparently, I am not a teen anymore). I couldn't walk for a week, dodged surgery, was in physical therapy for three months and on light duty for five months. Just returned to full duty two weeks ago. But....God was faithful, brought healing, and my light duty assignment allowed me to be left alone at a desk where I spent half the day preparing the lessons for the Bible study!!! (Rms 8:28?) LOL, love it!!

Please pray for my fellow firefighter/medics as many are struggling with what we have faced over the past two years. We are all just exhausted. Pray that I may be a good witness for the Lord in a very difficult environment, were nobody seems to want to ask God for help!

I try to pray for you, your ministry and your work (and protection) at the University almost daily, along with my brothers and sisters in Christ on your prayer request list. Looking forward to one day meeting you, and them, when we all rejoice together with our Lord in the New Jerusalem!! Come quickly, Lord Jesus! Amen!!

Have a great week!

PS: Thanks for the weekly email posting. I read them every week, and they are often very encouraging!!

Response #22:

Thanks for the update, my friend. I'm happy to hear that you took such good advantage from your injury, my friend! I'll be praying for you and your work situation. Thanks so much for yours too!

And thanks for your enthusiasm for the truth. You are a real encouragement to me.

In Jesus our dear Savior,

Bob L.

Question #23:

Hello Dr. Luginbill,

How are you?

I continue to keep you and your ministry in my prayers. I’ve been reading your email responses this past year so I have a general idea of how you have been getting through the pandemic. I hope you and your family are staying safe. My family and I are praying for our country during this crazy time - I am sure you are, too.

Please forgive me for not writing back to you sooner - it has been over a year since we corresponded. I have a list of questions I have been meaning to ask you, but am still working through other topics in my Bible study. I know you are really busy and didn’t want to bother you with more questions unless I was ready to integrate your responses into my notes, but I could have at least sent you an email to say “Hi.” I saw this email update about your Bibliology study and meant to write back when I had some time off between Christmas and New Year’s Day, but fell into a spiritual upheaval around that time and it's been raging on for the past few weeks. This spiritual crisis is the main reason why I am writing to you.

A lot has happened since we last corresponded. I didn’t pass the oral firefighter exam, but they are opening the application process again in 2022. I’ve switched jobs because it was getting too mentally difficult working from home, but now I am back working from home because of COVID-19 and doing everything I can not to expose my mom and dad. They are 1 year from being in their 70’s and both smoked for a long time, so I do not want to expose them to COVID-19. I had some doubts about how serious it was at first, but now a few coworkers and friends have gotten it and it almost killed them. I know everyone in the country is going through this right now - I can toughen it out until things change.

I’ve been staying active in the Ichthys Fellowship group and have been consistently joining him, and others for 2 hour long Bible study sessions via Zoom. This fellowship and their friendship has been a lifeline to me and I cannot put into words how thankful I am for them. They are both going to go on to become great Bible teachers, I am sure. I also started taking a 9 month long Koine Greek class at Beth Messiah in the fall.

I decided to finally write back to you tonight at the urging of ___. After our Bible study yesterday I asked them for some prayers for this issue that I was struggling with. Dr. Luginbill, can you please help me to sort this out? I am afraid that I’ve sinned so horribly against God with my mouth that He is going to take my entire ministry and chance at love away from me. Some of the things I am going to say are so difficult for me to share with you, but I don’t know how to explain the situation without sharing them.


Dr. Luginbill, I don’t even know what I am asking you - I am just so tired of being afraid. I don’t want to be afraid of God anymore. I am so sorry to be burdening you with this after not writing to you for an entire year.

In Christ's Love,

Response #23:

I'm happy to hear from you -- I have been wondering how you were doing for a long time (and was relieved to hear from ___ that you were plugged into the Zoom sessions).

Of course, however, I am distressed to hear how distressed you are!

First, Jesus loves you. That is not trite. That is not a truism. That is a fact. That is a WONDERFUL and blessed fact. He loves you more than you could ever imagine. How much? He died for ALL of your sins. Jesus went to the cross for YOU. To save YOU. With YOU personally in mind. And when the darkness fell, He endured unspeakable and unknowable pain to die for all of yours sins – and the sins of the entire world. Because otherwise, in the justice of God, YOU could not be saved unless everyone else had the same opportunity. I have concluded and teach that dying for the least one of all human sins was greater than all creation and all history past and present – and that the pain our Lord endured in His humanity to atone for that one, least sin was greater than the pain all human beings have experienced from Adam and Eve until the end of the Millennium. Does Jesus love you? God knows He does!

Second, since Jesus has already died for your sins, you do NOT need to worry about them. All you need to do is confess them. Especially when we are talking about things which are not immediately recent, no doubt you have already confessed these old sins and been forgiven when you did, long in the past. The fact that you (or I or anyone) can remember our past failures and make ourselves feel very bad about them does not mean those sins have not been forgiven. They HAVE been forgiven. Jesus paid for them at the cross, and God forgave us when we confessed them. Fretting about them now is of no avail and to no avail. It's only purpose is to make us sick at heart – just the opposite of the joy and the peace we are supposed to have in Jesus Christ at all times. That is why guilt is one of the devil's favorite tactics. He loves to take away our joy and our peace by reminding us that we are far from perfect. No. We are NOT perfect. But we have been washed clean by the blood of Christ – and are made clean again when we confess our sins.

Third, it is true that we do receive divine discipline for our sins. But read Hebrews chapter twelve and see that its purpose is NOT to make us feel apprehensive about discipline but rather to reassure us that such discipline is actually a reassurance that we DO belong to God. He only spanks us because He loves us, just like the perfect parent, the perfect Father He is. We are to reverence Him, but we are NEVER to be terrified of Him. The more we know the Son, the more we know the Father, and the more we know our blessed God the more we know that He loves us and cares for us and is only ever trying to help us. He is long-suffering. He is very patient with us. He never punishes us "as our sins deserve" but only to show us His great love for us. Also, His discipline is generally immediate and also unmistakable. That is so we can be helped by it to correct course wherever that is needful. We are not supposed to walk around in terror. He loves us and we are to love Him back with all our heart. That is why love, when perfected, casts out all such fear (1Jn.4:18).

Blessed is the one whose sin the LORD does not count against them and in whose spirit is no deceit. When I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long. For day and night your hand was heavy on me; my strength was sapped as in the heat of summer. Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity. I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the LORD.” And you forgave the guilt of my sin. Therefore let all the faithful pray to you while you may be found; surely the rising of the mighty waters will not reach them. You are my hiding place; you will protect me from trouble and surround me with songs of deliverance.
Psalm 32:2-7 NIV

I am very sorry to hear about the abuse you've suffered in the past, my friend – it was clearly a terrible time for you. I can only tell you that all godly Christians I know personally have scars of various kinds, some self-inflicted, some undeserved, usually some of both. But we all have to learn to let go of the past regardless and push forward in the Christian walk. We are saved. We have been forgiven. Now is our opportunity to respond to the Lord for the great love He has shown to us in what it cost to save us . . . and do what He wants us to do.

Then Jesus said to His disciples, "If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me."
Matthew 16:24 NKJV

Part of self-denial, an important part, is learning to stop thinking that we personally are important. We are not. Our entire importance in truth is bound up in the fact that we belong to Jesus Christ. Once we get over that hurdle, it's amazing how simple things can become. Once we start to see that it is not "about me" but about Him, we start to focus on what pleases Him and leave everything else behind. We are here to carry our cross – and that means being willing to give up everything and allow ourselves to be put to death immediately if that is what we are called upon to do. During the Tribulation, that moment will come for many of us.

I'm notoriously not good about interpreting "signs" (the things the Lord has given me in my life have been beyond obvious) and even worse about predicting the future. As I've probably shared a number of times, my 8th grade year book used the following to sum me up: "It didn't turn out the way I expected". That has been the story of my life in many ways. So I certainly can't tell you what the Lord will or will not do for you or lead you to, nor how to interpret whatever He has shared with you. I can testify to things not working the way we anticipate very often, however. That isn't bad either. In my experience, it's always been very good (even when, and maybe especially when, it seemed otherwise at the moment).

I have to tell you the God you talk about in this email doesn't sound anything like the patient, loving, kind, generous and long-suffering Father I have come to know in my own Christian walk through this world. I'm sorry that things are tough for you at the moment – and believe me when I tell you that you have been in my prayers every day. But please do consider how much He has done for you. The tokens of His love to you are many and they are amazing. They are also nothing compared to what is coming:

But as it is written: "Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him."
1st Corinthians 2:9 NKJV

Christians have to trust the Lord, confident that whatever we are going through, it WILL all work out "for the good" (Rom.8:28). And we can appreciate Him and love Him even when the world seems to be falling apart around us. In fact, not only is that more necessary at such times, but such times can be the most spiritually blessed ones in our lives.

God forgives you ___. I'm no priest confessor, but I do know the Word of God. He says He forgives you, and He never lies.

This is a difficult test you are going through, but you do know in your heart of hearts that the Lord is faithfully bringing you through it. Is it taking a good deal longer than you had ever imagined? That is not unusual. Abraham had to wait until he was a hundred for his heir to be born. But God faithfully fulfilled every promise made.

"Behold, this day I am going the way of all the earth. And you know in all your hearts and in all your souls that not one thing has failed of all the good things which the LORD your God spoke concerning you. All have come to pass for you; not one word of them has failed."
Joshua 23:14 NKJV

When we stand before Jesus on that great day, these words will be shown to have been true for all of us. The only question is, do we trust Him enough to see that truth with the eyes of faith now?

I am confident that you will rally spiritually, my friend. You are a fine Christian warrior and you have fought a wonderful fight thus far. Be pleased to rebuke all fear and anger and entrust yourself instead the infinite mercies and love of our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

This I recall to my mind,
Therefore I have hope.
Through the LORD’s mercies we are not consumed,
Because His compassions fail not.
They are new every morning;
“The LORD is my portion,” says my soul,
“Therefore I hope in Him!”
The LORD is good to those who wait for Him,
To the soul who seeks Him.
It is good that one should hope and wait quietly
For the salvation of the LORD.
It is good for a man to bear
The yoke in his youth.
Let him sit alone and keep silent,
Because God has laid it on him;
Let him put his mouth in the dust—
There may yet be hope.
Let him give his cheek to the one who strikes him,
And be full of reproach.
For the Lord will not cast off forever.
Though He causes grief,
Yet He will show compassion
According to the multitude of His mercies.
Lamentations 3:21-32 NKJV

In Jesus our dear Savior,

Bob L.

Question #24:

Hello, Dr. Luginbill,

Thank you for keeping me in your prayers. I have been re-reading your email all week - thank you for your comforting and encouraging words. I'm still struggling with anxiety over this and need some more time this weekend to sort out my thoughts. I will email you again this weekend.

I am keeping you in my prayers, too - I hope you had a good week.

In Christ's Love,

Response #24:

I'm happy to hear this was some help to you, my friend!

You are a wonderful Christian, and I know the Lord has plans for you, plans for good, for building you up and not tearing you down (Jer.29:11).

You have a right – a birthright – to be joyful in our dear Lord Jesus Christ.

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!
Philippians 4:4 NIV

In our Savior,

Bob L.

Question #25:

Hello Dr. Luginbill,

Thank you for responding to my distressing email I sent last week. I apologize for giving you so many details about past relationships. I could have just said “they were abusive” and left it at that, but being so emotional when I wrote the email I went into too much detail.

I am still really struggling. I am having a really difficult time even reading God’s Word right now. I know that I am forgiven because that is what God’s Word says, but I cannot bear up under the discipline I think God is giving to me because of ___. I am afraid of Him. All I can feel right now is grief and fear.


In Christ’s Love,

Response #25:

No worry about "details" – I won't be sharing any of them, and I have heard much worse (often).

I think it is a mistake to be anticipating discipline and specifically fearing a particular type of discipline like the one you mention – which in my estimation is very unlikely and completely disproportionate.

For one thing, we are told to confess and that we ARE forgiven when we do (1Jn.1:9). As David said, "Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered" (Ps.32:1 NKJV) – and he should know. And we are told that the Father comports Himself towards us in discipline as a loving father does towards his beloved children (Heb.12:1ff.). Now what loving father would cripple his child for all time because of some misconduct? Parents "make it hurt" but the hurt is temporary and given in love in order to avoid future misbehavior. It seems to me that you are confusing potential loving punishment (which has probably already come and gone – my best guess is that your spiritual discomfort IS the discipline) with the sin unto death. Let me remind you that the latter only comes to those who are involved in gross misconduct which they refuse to confess and give up. The Christian life is all about trust – trust in the Lord. He has promised you forgiveness in His Word, and has also promised that discipline is measured, reasonable and bearable. I beg you to accept those truths.

What you "did" is something Christ died for. If you had "done" something similar to me, I would forgive you. How much more won't the Lord who loves you do so! How much more will He not do so, He who already died for these and all your sins on the cross . . . so that you might be saved, so that you might grow, so that He might bless you in this life and the next?

David did FAR worse by any measurement. He committed adultery with the wife of a trusted and trusting subordinate and then had him murdered to cover it up. Did God take away his kingship? No. Not permanently. And of course in fact the line of the Messiah comes down through Bathsheba. David did experience some of the most intense and long lasting divine discipline recorded in scripture, things we shudder to contemplate – but he didn't lose what was most important to him.

As I read scripture, God doesn't "take away forever" important things in discipline. Rather, He adds discipline to what we already have. To get our attention. To help us straighten out. Just like a perfect parent would do for the good of a beloved child.

I can't speak to signs. What I know from scripture is all posted to the site (see "Guidance of the Spirit"), but I don't dismiss what others have experienced. I only ever emphasize that if what we have been given is in accord with what we could figure out from scripture anyway, then it is valid, but if not, then we need to reconsider. My own experiences have all been in the nature of encouragement.

We all have to remember that this world is a battlefield, and that our resolve will be tested. When things are going sideways, it's very easy for the devil to use our guilt over this or that mistake to get us completely off track. Look how he eventually even got to Job (though not without human help – he uses that too). We have to accept that if we are suffering or experiencing trouble, that this is the world and sometimes the Lord allows this testing. Abraham became impatient waiting for his heir and that resulted in trouble and possibly delay. And when he had enjoyed Isaac for some years, the Lord told him to give him up – not to actually take him away, but so that Abraham could demonstrate that he loved the Lord even more than the gift.

Love the Giver with all your heart, my friend, and everything else will fall into place.

Keeping you in my prayers daily, my friend.

In Jesus Christ our loving and merciful Savior,

Bob L.

Question #26:

Hello Dr. Luginbill,

I hope you and your family have been well. I apologize, again, for taking a long time to write back - I just needed a little more time to think about your response and pray. I am still really struggling with anxiety over this. I have been re-reading your email for reassurance, but I am not able to shake this fear of discipline.

I think the problem is coming from me not being able to comprehend what kind of discipline would be “measured, reasonable and bearable.” I understand “measured” but I don’t know how to judge what God thinks is “reasonable” and “bearable” - He knows my breaking limit, but I don’t.

Other than natural consequences of sin, these are the other times I am sure I have experienced God’s discipline since I found Ichthys seven years ago:


I completely understand God disciplining David by taking his son away from him (I’m surprised He didn’t take Bathsheba from him too) and I understand how his sin could have set an example for his other sons and influenced their future behavior which tore his family apart and led to Absalom rebelling. Like I said in my first email, I am pretty sure the HS is guiding me to look at all three scenarios: Saul losing his kingship, Moses not being allowed to enter the promised land and Nathan confronting David about his sin.

Can you help me understand how and why God disciplined Saul by taking away his kingship and why He wouldn’t let Moses into the Promised Land for striking the rock? I know I am not a David or Moses by any measurement, but it seems like God can be very very harsh with certain individuals and in some situations.

Please keep praying for God to have mercy on me and not take these future blessings from me. I will continue to keep your and your family in my prayers, too

In Christ’s Love,

Response #26:

First, when we talk about "bearable", in terms of discipline I don't think we should be worrying that things will be "worse than we could have ever imagined but technically bearable even though we don't think so". In fact, we shouldn't be worrying at all. I don't know how good or bad your parents are/were. But we certainly all have the image of what a perfect parent would be like. And a perfect parent would deal with us in love, not coddling us so that we don't learn necessary life lessons, but always having our best in mind, wanting the best for us, doing the best for us. THAT is our heavenly Father, and so much better in fact that we cannot even imagine it. If you were a parent and if you were trying your best to bring your kids up right, wanting them to turn out right so not spoiling them but delighting in them, you would be appalled to hear that one of them had told his/her teacher, "I'm terrified that my mom is going to do something terrible to me for breaking that vase! I can't even sleep at night, I'm so afraid about what she may do to me!"

The LORD is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love. He will not always accuse, nor will he harbor his anger forever; he does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us. As a father has compassion on his children, so the LORD has compassion on those who fear him
Psalm 103:8-13 NKJV

In terms of specific discipline, I am not in the place of God, of course, but as I have said before, and as the incidents you have shared confirm to me, in my observation and experience, if we are talking about a specific reaction to a specific sin, that almost always comes quickly and is unmistakably related. If little Johnny deliberately busts a vase, good-mom is probably going to paddle him right then and there. She's NOT going to pretend like nothing is wrong . . . and then chop off his little finger three months later when he's not expecting it. And if little Johnny swears at his mother and screams, "I hate you!" (get prepared for that one, by the way, if you intend to be a parent), she's NOT going to take him out back, pour gas on him and set him on fire . . . even if some people might think that's "reasonable". Don't forget, mom LOVES little Johnny, more than her own life, and would do absolutely anything for him. That is why she spanks him, so that he'll turn out right and be spared the trouble that comes to undisciplined children; if she DIDN'T really love him, she'd spare the rod (Prov.13:24). If good-mom acts this way, how much more will our perfect Father not act towards you and me and us all in great patience and mercy? After all, He put to death His own beloved Son in order to save us. Now that we belong to Him, His mercy and love is greater, not less – for we were bought with the greatest possible price.

As to these three famous men of the Bible:

1) As to David, it is true in scripture that "to whom much is given, much is expected" (Lk.12:48). David was exceptional in many ways. He was given to write more Psalms than anyone else, some of the most beloved parts of the entire scripture. He was taken from the sheepfold to be king over all of Israel. He was given some of the most fantastic military victories and glory in all of history. He had everything a man could ever imagine or dream of, including many wives and children, great power and authority, great riches . . . AND one of the best and closest personal relationships with the Lord of any believer who's ever lived. In other words, any way one chooses to look at it, he was clearly in a different category than we are. Not that any of us is limited by the grace of God. We can all aspire to being as great as David and as blessed as David . . . but that takes working on our relationship with the Lord in very intense and consistent ways, obviously. When David sinned, it was "a doozie". To go back to the analogy, breaking mom's vase out of anger and telling her you hate her is on a far different level than stabbing your sibling to death with a pair of scissors in the middle of the night. The latter is akin to what David did, and would obviously occasion drastic measure we don't even want to consider. David committed murder and stole the murdered man's wife. And yet, while the first child born of him to Bathsheba died, and while one of his sons killed another for raping his sister and then died subsequently after attempted to kill his father – pretty bad stuff – David did not lose his kingship in the end, or his wealth, or his other wives and children – and didn't even have to give up Bathsheba . . . and the line of the Messiah comes through her as we know. So while David received very harsh discipline, he never lost his relationship with the Lord. He confessed and returned to the Lord in all humility, and the Lord restored him. So we can be confident that no matter "how bad" we have sinned, that doesn't mean that the Lord is withholding His love from us, and it doesn't mean that we won't be restored entirely, even if we are hurt and suffer some loss for what we have done. God certainly could have struck David with a thunderbolt after Nathan confronted him. But He didn't. To do that to someone for very much less, would be completely out of keeping with the ways of the most loving Parent of all.

2) Moses: Again, to whom much is given . . . Moses was given to write the first five books of the Bible. And he was given to be the ruler of all of Israel for more than forty years. In terms of reward, while I don't know it for certain, I think it very likely that he and Elijah are the two who will be privileged to be at Christ's right and left hand for all eternity. Rewards don't come better than that. True, he was not allowed to enter the land at that time because of what he did in not following the strict instructions of the Lord, hitting the Rock when in the second iteration the representation was of Christ in resurrection rather than at the cross. But consider that while he longed for it, entering the land at that time was still a struggle. And consider also that the plan of God was well served by Joshua, another type of Christ, managing the entrance. And consider as well that Moses still did not lose anything. As a result of this, he will be one of the two witnesses during the Tribulation, and will indeed enter the land, preside over the rebuilding of the temple along with Elijah, as well as the ministry of the 144,000 bringing many in Israel to repentance. And that is better by far than switching places with Joshua. So in both of these two cases, while there are "lumps and bumps", the end is better than the beginning in spite of the failure, the production of the line of the Messiah in the first case, the restoration of Israel in preparation for the Messiah in the second.

3) Saul: This is clearly very different. David loved the Lord with all his heart. So did Moses. But not Saul, as we see from all of his actions and all of his words. And THAT is the difference. It really isn't about the discipline at all but the person being disciplined. If little Johnny is a "bad seed", then there is very little that good-mom can do in the end, no matter how she frets over him, no matter how carefully tailored the discipline is. We all have free will. But for those of us who DO love the Lord, and who ARE willing to return to Him after we stray, throwing ourselves on His ineffable mercy like the prodigal son, there is complete restoration. The prodigal son lost nothing in the end. And neither will we if we are determined to love the Lord our God with all of our hearts and minds and strength. He definitely loves us. The only question really is, are we willing to love Him back, even just a little?

So love Him back! And rejoice in Him! And boast in the cross through which you have been crucified to the world and the world to you!

I can't judge anyone else' experiences. But I am guessing that in the first place the Lord did not appear to you and make any audible promise to you . . . and that in the second place He didn't appear to you and tell you He was "taking it back". He's not a God who takes things back.

If He means for you to have a family and children, that will happen, and nothing in this world, seen or unseen, can stop that from happening. Not even big mistakes you may make. Those only cause pain and trouble and delay.

So be pleased to take my advice, my friend. Stop beating yourself up. You've confessed, so you've been forgiven. If there were any major discipline coming your way, it most likely would already have begun. And it seems to me that the horrors you've already put yourself through may well have proven to be "discipline enough" (that is often the case where truly good Christians are concerned). It's high time to move on and begin again to delight yourself in the Lord. Whatever is good and needful, He will bring it to pass in due time.

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!
Philippians 4:4 NIV

In the love of Jesus Christ our dear Savior who died for all we have done.

Bob L.
p.s., I am indeed continuing to keep you in my prayers about this (Num.6:26; 2Thes.3:16).

Question #27:

Hello Dr. Luginbill,

Thank you for emailing me back again. Your responses have really helped me to turn the corner this week and let go of the fear that God would discipline me in this way.


I think once everything thaws out here in Ohio and I can get back to running and walking outside I will sleep better. My job is very “mind-numbing” and repetitive, staring at a computer screen all day, so it's been difficult to focus long enough to write back to you during the week. I’ve been driving around the city after work and listening to Curt’s studies and apologetic videos on YouTube [link] just to get some of this nervous energy out. Also, my parents both got their first round of COVID-19 vaccinations yesterday. Once they get the 2nd jab and develop full immunity I will be able to start getting up early and doing Bible study at Starbucks again and going back to the gym.

God did bless my sister and I with really good parents. But, my mom and dad would threaten to take away privileges if my sister and I didn’t get good grades or if we got into trouble - We both got straight A’s (maybe a “B” here and there) all through school. When I got into arguments with my parents as a teenager, they would threaten to take away my art lessons. So, after ___, it is easy for me to think that He would take away this future blessing.

Your analogy comparing God to the “good mother” was very helpful. I don’t want to underplay my sin, but maybe I had a distorted view of how bad it was (of course, all sin is damaging and dangerous). ___ feels like I stabbed someone with a pair of scissors, even though I know, objectively, it's not the same. I don’t know if it is the guilt or the Holy Spirit, but every time I sin badly (enough to incur discipline) I really think God reflects my sin back at me for a few weeks so I know exactly what He is punishing me for. Also, your explanations for why God disciplined David, Moses and Saul helps put my situation and sin into perspective.


I have not been the best at waiting for these past 6 years. Patience is definitely not a personality trait I have a lot of, either. There have been so many days and weeks of doubt, then rallying, then more doubt, with the Holy Spirit encouraging me to keep focused on my workouts, Bible and language studies through all of it. This last bout of horrible doubt that led to me sinning in my anger and frustration was the worst.

I started to get really positive signs last week and this week regarding ___ - the Holy Spirit is even “echoing” your words that it would be “very unlikely and completely disproportionate” for Him to do so. He’s encouraging me to get back up and “get back in the race” but my “faith legs” are still a little shaky.


Thank you, again, Dr. Luginbill, for your patience in responding to me and waiting for me to respond. Please let me know if there is anything specific I can pray for you and your family.

In Christ’s Love,

Response #27:

I'm very relieved to hear all of this, my friend. I knew for certain that you would rally in your faith – just as I knew for certain that the Lord would do as He has done and encourage you to persevere.

As the KJV says, "now we see through a glass, darkly" (1Cor.13:12). We have to navigate through this dense fog called life using the Word as our compass. We have to trust the Lord that we're being guided through His Spirit to the right haven – and not being led onto the rocks. Blessedly, He is absolutely faithful, and worthy of our complete trust. And if we ever get confused about that, all we need to do is look to the cross: having done that for us, we have no worries about Him doing whatever else we need in this life (easier for Him by far than dying for our sins!).

He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?
Romans 8:32 NIV

In Jesus our dear Savior,

Bob L.



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