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Fighting the Fight VII

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Question #1:

Dear Bob,

Another question: Is spiritual warfare a necessary area of knowledge or practice for the regular Christian? Or does God protect and guide regardless. I understand that there are instances when this might be warranted, but it seems to me that some churches/pastors are overly concentrating on this aspect, creating a sense of paranoia among the brethren…

Does God provide protection for His children regardless?

Thank you again for your guideposts!!!

Response #1:

Good to hear from you, my friend. Hope things go well with your list of "struggles" – I keep you in my prayers daily.

As to spiritual warfare, it depends what you mean by this. We believers are all the devil's targets so that our "warfare is not against flesh and blood" (Eph.6:12). The question is what we do about this, or "how do we wage this warfare"? The answer is: spiritual growth, spiritual progress and spiritual production. The answer is not exorcism or speaking in tongues or "prayers of binding" or any other nonsense of this sort (of which the church visible today is sadly replete, whether motivated by "paranoia" or morbid interest). You can find out more at some of these links (and please do feel free to write me back about any aspect of all this):

BB 6A: Peripateology

Spiritual Warfare V

Spiritual Warfare IV: Demons, Demonic Influences and Satanic Methodology

Spiritual Warfare III: Peter's 'Angel', Saul's Death, and Strange Events

Spiritual Warfare II

Faith, Hope and Love: Virtue in Spiritual Warfare

Spiritual Warfare

Fighting the Fight VI

Yours in Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #2:

Dear professor I greet you in Jesus name,

I've been trying to answer someone's statement that claims that God only protects us in the hereafter. Is that true? Are we not promised protection here too? Can we be protected from certain things and not others? I'm struggling understanding some scriptures. Is this protection conditional?

Response #2:

Good to make your acquaintance. Here is what I read in the Bible:

God is our refuge and strength,
A very present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear,
Even though the earth be removed,
And though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea;
Though its waters roar and be troubled,
Though the mountains shake with its swelling. Selah
Psalm 46:1b-3 NKJV

The Lord knows everything – and He has already decreed every single thing that will happen no matter how seemingly insignificant to us. So nothing ever happens – or happens "to us" – without His perfect design, and that perfect plan has our absolute best in mind at all times. Of course that does not mean that we do not have free will. Indeed we do. Believers are disciplined for wrong doing – God treating us as the perfect Father to get us to avoid self-destructive behavior – and tested as we grow to demonstrate our faith and faithfulness.

As believers, we have absolutely nothing to fear, because we know that the Lord is in us and that He is all-sufficient for all of our needs. If we are nervous or anxious, it only means we are not seeing things as completely from His point of view as we could and ought to do. Mind you, none of us is perfect in this regard, and even the greatest believers of the Bible failed from time to time. But as we grow we come more and more to see that it is our right to have peace and joy at all times – because our heart, our focus, our purpose and our "treasure" are all in heaven in the presence of God and not here on this earth. That is the hope that anchors us (Heb.6:19).

"Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid."
John 14:27 NKJV

Here are a few links which may be helpful to you on this score:

BB 6A: Peripateology

Mutual Encouragement in Christ IV

Mutual Encouragement in Christ III

Encouragement, Spiritual Testing and Spiritual Growth II

Fighting the Fight IV: Dispatches from the Laodicean 'Front'

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #3:

Wishing you an early Christmas and hope everything is well with you and your family. Thank you for all you have been doing these tests.

In Christ Jesus our Lord

Response #3:

Thank you for your Christmas greeting!

I am doing some better in terms of my hip/back. Trying to get back into shape a little bit without damaging the healing process.

Things at work continue to be strained, but I'm still standing, praise be to the Lord! The semester just ended here but I have a lot to do over the break (personnel, research, prep for next semester's teaching). Also I hope to get a little more progress on the ministry. At least I won't be traveling this Christmas now that my mother has passed on. I'll miss seeing her but it will be good not to have to "hit the road" (or the airport) for once.

What is your situation? I have been praying for good news. Unfortunately, I know from first hand experience that the legal process is very slow and plodding, even when it (eventually) turns out. I promise to continue to make this a priority prayer concern.

Hoping that despite the circumstances you will be able to keep the Lord and His plan firmly in your heart. No Christian gets through this life with everything turning out as we expected and/or wanted. Some, like yourself, definitely have it harder than others. But God is good. He never lets us down. We have to keep His absolute faithfulness and love firmly fixed in our hearts when the chips are down, knowing with the clear vision of faith that He will deliver us in due time, if only we patiently wait for Him.

(38) For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, neither angelic nor human authorities, neither things present nor things to come, neither heavenly powers, (39) be they the highest [of the elect] or the lowest [of the fallen], nor any other created thing [on this earth] will be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Romans 8:38-39

Your friend in Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior – whatever the season.

Bob L.

Question #4:

Hi Dr,

Thank you for the encouraging message. I am still waiting patiently for the final outcome. I do know the Lord works everything to our good. I have a praise song I sing which goes" Thank you Father for who you are. Thank you Christ for what you have done. Thank you Holy Spirit for helping me." As long as I keep that in perspective with faith, we will endure. Still leading Wednesday bible studies and head of choir.

I am glad everything is going well on your end and I can't wait until you finished your peripateology piece. Should be edifying to the body. I will be sending you something to critique shortly.

Thanks for all you do

In Christ Jesus our Lord

Response #4:

Your spiritual courage is a great encouragement to me, my friend! I will be praying for a good and rapid outcome.

p.s., I like your song very much, even without the music (the words are always what count in any case).

Your friend in Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #5:

Hello Professor,

Our friend wrote to me - things are very hard now. He is still waiting for deliverance professionally. His landlord has given him the notice to vacate the house. And now, after he has found a job, his wife left him, together with the kids.

His faithfulness in this trial is inspiring, but he really needs prayer now. It is a time of anguish for him, but it is a sign of his growth that he is finding peace in the Lord and his trust is stronger than ever. He wrote to me about his family issues before and I knew he didn't have the support of his wife. But we know the Lord can get him out of this valley of death shadow.

I remember exactly how it was with me and it was very similar. I was in a growing debt, unable to pay for basic living, my problems with health started and that's when she left. But although she has left me, the Lord hasn't. I survived the next few months and the following year deliverance came. I pray it comes for him too, but his testimony is inspirational.

In the grace of our Lord,

Response #5:

I just wrote our friend a short note of encouragement (and updated his Ichthys prayer request). I promise to be keeping him and his situation in my prayers:

Hello my friend,

I just heard from our friend about the bad news. I wanted to write to try to encourage you a little. It's not easy to weather heartbreaking situations like this – but please remember that God is in control. He knows everything, and everything happens for a reason. The hardest time to trust Him is when things go awry for no particular discernible reason and when we are really doing our best for Him. But that is also the most important time to have faith in Him, in His goodness, in His love, and in His eventual deliverance of us. He is absolutely faithful – He could not be otherwise for He is perfect. He gave us His Son to die in His place. Our Lord Jesus Christ's dying for the least of our many sins is actually more valuable than the entire world and everything in it from one end of history to the other. It's hard to keep that in mind when we hurt, but it is such an important truth.

I am convinced that nothing can take His love away from you (Rom.8:38-39). And I am convinced that in the end, we will rejoice together over the great eternal reward you are winning with your steadfast faith in Him in the face of such disappointment. This world is a place of tears, but we believers know that while the tears last only for a moment, the joy we have in spite of the tears will break forth into an indescribable joy eternal when we see our dear Lord face to face (Rev.7:17; 21:4; cf. 1Pet.1:3-9).

Weeping may last for the night,
But a shout of joy comes in the morning.
Psalm 30:5b NASB

Those who sow in tears
Shall reap in joy.
He who continually goes forth weeping,
Bearing seed for sowing,
Shall doubtless come again with rejoicing,
Bringing his sheaves with him.
Psalm 126:5-6 NKJV

Praying for your comfort, and I promise to keep you in my prayers daily, my friend (and have updated your Ichthys prayer request).

Your friend in Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

It's good of you to be keeping up with him – that is what ministers of Christ do, after all.

It is also interesting to reflect how that "bad things" which have happened to us always seem to circle back around to allow us to comfort others with a perspective and a confidence that we are not just mouthing platitudes but have "lived it" ourselves.

(3) Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the God of compassion and all encouragement, (4) the One who encourages us in all our tribulation so that we in turn may be able to encourage those in all types of tribulation by means of the very encouragement which we ourselves received from God. (5) Because as our sufferings for Christ multiplied in service to you, so through Christ did the encouragement we received multiply to the same degree. (6) So if we are experiencing tribulation, it is to provide you with encouragement and salvation. And if we are being encouraged, it is for the sake of the encouragement you have received, which is now at work in your successful endurance of the same sufferings which we also experienced. (7) And so our hope for you is a solid one, since we know that as you have become partakers of suffering, in the same way will you also become partakers of encouragement.
2nd Corinthians 1:3-7

When I turned back to the Lord many years ago, the relationship I was proposing to be one of marriage exploded in my face (just as yours did) – and I can certainly see now that this was a great blessing from the Lord (no way I'd have been able even to prepare for this ministry otherwise). I rather suspect that is what is going on with our friend, and I hope that now things will begin to turn around for him. I'm certainly committed to praying for that!

Your friend in Jesus Christ our Lord,

Bob L.

Question #6:

My brothers in Christ, I hope and pray the Lord is keeping you both in His good grace.

I thank you from the bottom of my heart for your words of encouragement and hope. Most of all I thank you for the scriptural quotations that give me strength, hope, encouragement and the deep truths of the Word of God. My friends I am still numb, my heart has developed a sort of heaviness that is very slowly ebbing away because of the conviction that I have come to acquire, that the Lord is good always. That he will deliver me. I do not think that without this conviction I would have been able to endure what has befallen me. This world is a cruel place; people make fun and are insensitive to others' sufferings. People will abandon you in your hour of need; even your own family! Truly the Lord is our only refuge. The Psalms and the book of Job offer deep comfort to me at this time. Job's wife abandoned him too. You won't believe this but my wife thinks that I am cursed! And that the kids need to be shielded from my misfortune. She is superstitious and does not understand how the Lord works. She is one to be pitied, and I truly pray that the Lord shows her the true way before she is completely lost.

My brothers, I will not abandon my Lord and my God; if anything I am developing the strength and resolve to keep on this path that I have taken. I know this to be the true path and the true way that the Lord has decreed for me. I find comfort in the knowledge that even though I do not see Him with my earthly eyes, He is right here beside me always. In my prayers I repeat this often, that please Lord take hold of my hand and guide me and lead the way. I will follow. Wherever He takes/leads me I will follow. I have seen/felt some indications (many times!) that there is a Presence in the events that befall me. There is a comfort, a love, a guidance in my life that other people (unbelieving ones) do not see and do not want to see. Sadly even the people close to me are in this category. But it is there because I feel it. The Lord is there in the loneliness of my pain and anguish, willing me to go on; willing me to trust Him. And I do trust Him.

Again, thank you both for your prayers and words of encouragement.

In Jesus who is our Lord and Saviour.

Response #6:

It's a pleasure to have a brother in Christ who has such courage under fire.

Your close relationship with the Lord is very evident. And there is nothing more important than that.

Do feel free to write any time, my friend.

You are on my mind and in my heart in Jesus Christ our dear Savior,

Bob L.

Question #7:

Hello Professor,

My progress is pure grace. I don't know how much more of it is in store for me, but I know that the Lord has taken me out of this pit. It was a tough spiritual struggle. Tests still await me, but I feel that the Lord's hand has freed me from the snare and it has been starting to show in how I feel, even if now on the last round of therapy I am not at my best.

I will continue to pray for your hip. I hope you are able to do more and more on it and that it does not remain a hindrance for you. It has been a while it has bothered you. How about all else health wise, Professor?

I'm flying back, first I will do some testing and then I will go home for Christmas. It will be a peculiar time. I have my father there who keeps growing in the truth and testifying to it, but the rest of my family remain hardened against to such a degree that I am actually not really looking forward to being there too long. Family came in for a couple of weeks it was a testing time for my father also, as he can now see through the falsehood and rejection of all truth.

I will also see and intend to spend as much time as possible with a close friend of mine of whom I told you, who is also a believer.

I am actually quite used to flying. It seems to be a part of the way I live - I am a self-employed consultant who does a lot of travel and it also so happens that I am far away from my home and family. But I know this is what God has for me and I know this is my path, which I have found thanks to you.

Will you get some rest with your close ones, Professor?

In the grace of our Lord,

Response #7:

The hip/back is some better – but every time I get some exercise it seems to get cranky. I'm trying to balance things.

Yes I have been getting some rest, working on things and home and just decompressing from the end of the semester – thanks! I hope you are giving yourself enough down time too, given your health in particular.

Grace is boundless because the cross is boundless. Just as God is great above the world, so is the cross above all that is; and just as dying for one sin transcends all that can be, so God's grace abounds in Christ.

But the free gift is not like the offense. For if by the one man’s offense many died, much more the grace of God and the gift by the grace of the one Man, Jesus Christ, abounded to many.
Romans 5:15 NKJV

It's easy to think of ourselves as "not good enough" – because none of us is good enough (and it would be depressing unto death to realize just how much that is so). But in Christ we are beloved of the Father, heirs of Jesus Christ, and recipients of grace – His favor – which knows no bounds.

The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.
Romans 16:24 NKJV

Have a safe and happy trip, my friend! I'll be praying for you and your family.

Write me when you get back.

In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #8:

Hello Dr. Luginbill,

We are doing well also. Had several colds this month and last, but I am getting better. Still studying your material, and I have to say that it is so much detail, it takes a long time to get through one. I also read your email of the month and find some very interesting questions and responses which I thoroughly enjoy as I read and study them.

I preach a sermon here at the retirement community every Sunday and have Bible Study twice a week. I use your material quite a bit, and find that most of the congregation and those who attend the weekly Bible Study are not familiar with the material. I know that God is using your material that He inspired you to write and I believe that He is glorified by the subject matter. Since I have begun to study from your Website, I realize how much I did not know, and am discovering that every day for myself, as well as the people who attend Sunday services and weekly Bible Studies.

I don't believe that it was by mere chance that I happened on to your Website, but God has His ways of helping His children. I cannot even begin to relate to you how you material has strengthened and blessed me and those with whom I share. I was surprised that, of the people who attend the weekly Bible studies, very few, if any know very little of what is coming in the Last Days. I am still dumbfounded to discover for myself how much Bible ignorance there is and also the amount of False Doctrine exists within the Church. I will readily admit that I have by no means arrived and know it all; that is the very reason why I study every day. Again, your material has done wonders in my life to awaken me to the real truth of God's Word, with the anointing of the Holy Spirit.

May God's grace and peace be with you always. My thanks is to God for using you in such a great and mighty way; all Glory and honor and praise to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. May He continue to use you and bless you and you have blessed other so much.

Your friend,

Response #8:

Thanks for the report, my friend.

And thanks much for your good words of encouragement. I'm also delighted to learn that you are helping others to know the truth. There is great eternal reward in that!

Again, I greatly appreciate your generous comments (Ps.115:1).

Your friend in Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #9:

Hi Bob.

Thanks so much for keeping in touch - friends forever in Christ our Lord and Savior. Things are going unbelievably well. [details omitted]

Response #9:

Thanks for the update!  I'm thrilled to hear that you are continuing to do well in spite of all. Thanks also for the health advice.  I'd heard of turmeric being good for you – but I heard that your body can't metabolize the "good stuff" in it without also having some black pepper to work with.  Also have heard about cruciferous veggies like spinach that they always need to be slightly cooked or else they have an overabundance of a harmful acid(?) that slight cooking releases. Anyway, I eat pretty much what I want (which probably explains a lot of my problems!). I do hope you have a very merry Christmas, my friend, and that 2018 is a really joyous year for you and yours.

Your friend forever in Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #10:

If you take any medicines, interactions can occur. And, the black pepper comes in certain brands of turmeric - especially one sold at Vitamin Shoppe. If you have any kind of arthritis (inflammation), it is wonderful and can be taken with bromelain (pineapple extract) for added benefits.

You have a wonderful Christmas.

Bob please tell me about the war on classics.

Your friend in Christ,

Response #10:

I'll have to check on the stuff I use (I see you are ALL up to date on this info).

As to the "war on Classics", it's a bit of a long story. [details omitted] In all this, God has been SO gracious to me.  He has been my wall of fire and has kept me from losing my job – and I even retained my X-pay this year (which was a blessing, given personal circumstances).  I also got to keep Greek (can't imagine this job without being able to keep Greek in the mix).  The Lord has stood by me in this trial – as He always has and, I'm confident, always will, come what may.  So while I do feel the heat and wonder about the outcome of all this, I know that He is working all things out together for good . . . for us who love Him.

Everyone has challenges in this life, everyone following Christ, that is. I'm well-equipped to handle this "war" through Him, and happy that my struggles are my struggles, grateful that many things I see others like yourself dealing with are not on my plate at present, and take heart in viewing the courageous way in which brothers and sisters like yourself handle very difficult situations – hoping that I won't prove too whiny myself, giving instead a good witness to the faithfulness of the One who has always seen me through and always will, my dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Have a merry Christmas! I'm keeping you in my prayers.

In Jesus our dear Lord.

Bob L.

Question #11:

Dear Professor,

Thanks so much for taking the time out for your detailed response. My brother sends across his warm regards - we often (regularly!) bring you up in our discussions. I am glad to hear you had a nice day and are enjoying a bit of rest from which is undoubtedly a very exhaustive schedule what with your secular academic commitments and your beloved ministry to the body of Christ. You once wrote about how do we know if we truly love Jesus, I believe in response to an email. Your response was along the lines of that it is not a mere temporary protestation of the words “I love you”, nor is it an emotional response, but in actual fact the measure of our love is demonstrated in the genuine care and concern that is displayed consistently over time to the object of our love. It is the dedication and discipline manifested in the practice of acting in love over time. I think this shows clearly in your commitment to ministry and tending the flock, with Christ as our chief Shepherd.

I shall keep your continued healing in progress. Please do not hesitate to ask for any additional advice or alterations to the current exercises. I am pleased to hear that it is on the mend. Any bone/nerve/tendon structures always take much longer to heal due to limited blood supply (vs. muscle tissue) and patience is definitely required, of which you no doubts possess in abundance!

I am very saddened to hear that this is the case with Ichthys. I find the ’timing’ very strange of this that Google has suddenly decided to deny access to the website. I have also encountered it from here in Malta and Ichthys currently seems to be working intermittently. I hope the email arrive to your intended recipients. Rest assured, however, that I am confident that those with whom you have regular correspondence will recognise that the lack of response is due to system failure vs. you not paying attention to emails; especially given your usual exceptional diligence in replying. I hope that this issue is resolved sooner rather than later, and also to prevent any backlog for you building up.

I shall most certainly keep this situation in prayer. I am sure you have many sources of back-up - but as a precaution, I have re-downloaded all materials of Ichthys onto my laptop whilst I had access to the site. I shall also continue to monitor access to the site and will of course notify you immediately with the specifics if this continues to occur in the new year.

Keep me informed of any progress when you can and needless to say if there is any way I can help materially please do not hesitate to ask me.

In Jesus Christ, our Lord and Saviour,

Response #11:

Thanks for this MOST encouraging email!

I really appreciate all your good words here. I will certainly also keep your offer in mind. The "thing" is some better today (seems to come and go). I'm working my way through it.

I'm very impressed with your spiritual perspective. This ministers to me – and so I know you have a lot to offer others as well.

Looking forward to seeing what develops in terms of ministry for you too, my friend!

In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #12:

Just wanted to drop a fast note.

I'm really enjoying your writings. I saw yours and my email comments the other day on your site.
I have been subbing at the Elementary and High School this year. Trying to make a little $ to help with rent. Its been a struggle. My husband got laid off this week and my car that is 10 years old is giving us a few issues but he's handy with cars so I'm hoping he can get it going again. I'm not going to stress as everything always turns out.

Thanks for all you do, I'm constantly in all your readings. Even at basketball games and every second I can find 5 minutes.

Response #12:

Good to hear from you, my friend. Thanks for the update!

But I am sorry to hear of the continuing difficulties.

It's getting cold here and I'll bet it's REALLY cold out there. I remember last year you all were in a camper and coping with freezing plumbing every morning. The Lord got you through that – I know that He is faithful and will see you through this as well.

We've had some unexpected financial reverses as well of late, and more troubles rumbling down the road. But the Lord has never let me down. We just have to take these things as they come, knowing that He knows how it all turns out – and it all always turns out, if we just commit to seeing things with the eyes of faith.

I promise to keep these problems in my prayers.

Thanks for your encouraging words! Best to your husband and the rest of your family.

In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #13:


It has been cold here and we just got 10 inches of snow.

I do remember last year in the camper. After experiencing those 2 years it seems all the struggles now are a piece of cake. I have come to the conclusion that I can make a choice to either let it affect me or not. I have learned to just let it go ( the worries) and turn it into positive.

I'm so sorry to hear of your unexpected financial reverses. Its so not fun. You are so right and that the Lord never let's you down and that it always turns out. We will be praying for you.

I have tried getting onto Ichthys but haven't had any success. Is it temporarily down?

Hope you and your family have a Merry Christmas!!

Your friend,

Response #13:

Thanks for your encouraging message. It really ministered to me. Here's wishing you and your family a wonderful Christmas as well! It's been a nice one here, but only a sprinkling of snow, not your 10 inches. But God is good and you are NOT in the camper for this one! You had two years in the wilderness, but He brought you safely through and gave you many memorials to His faithfulness.

Life is filled with troubles, but also blessing for those who love the Lord, blessings which are spiritual as well as material and which greatly transcend the temporary disagreeableness of this world – that is my story and my testimony. The Lord will see me through. He always has; He always will – until I see Him face to face. I love your application: "I have come to the conclusion that I can make a choice to either let it affect me or not. I have learned to just let it go ( the worries) and turn it into positive." Amen! Those really are words to live by.

The website: I'm glad to get your email and hope you get mine. At the moment, I'm trying to transition from http to https. That is, to make it a "secure" site, because Google et al. were beginning to deny service / access because Ichthys was "not secure" (not that it mattered otherwise). This upgrade, besides the trouble and expense, required (apparently) a change of servers and my hosting company is having trouble making the proper changes. I have had emails bounce – and I'm distraught about that (folks trying to reach me and thinking no doubt I'm not paying attention to their emails which I never received), and the site is up and down (I cannot get to it at all tonight). I'm hopeful that the Lord will work this out quickly and it'll be back in business soon this coming week. If you still notice problems after the first of the year, could I ask you to shoot me a message with the specifics? Sometimes these things show up differently in different places.

Your friend in Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #14:

Hello Bob,

I'm so happy we are back in touch. I had sent out my email 3 times and it would notify me that it didn't go through. I was not going to give up though. I had thoughts of trying to get a hold of you through the University hoping you were still working there.

I also was having withdrawals not being able to get on to your website. It reminded me that I should print out all your stuff so if by chance I couldn't get on due to not having a device or your site was down or the electricity was out or anything else that would stop me from getting on...then a least I wouldn't be going through these feelings like I was some addict and couldn't get my feed...lol.

We got more snow today. Its unbelievable. Absolutely gorgeous!!! I'll try to send pics later.
The Holidays can be a challenge for me although Its been a nice Christmas with my sweet children and adoring husband. We are so thankful for all the Lord has done for us and we love him so much. Our son came home for the holidays. Its just been a blessing having him for a longer period of time. I sure miss him. Its been a year since we saw him last. The kids get along so well, sometimes I feel like we aren't really apart of this earth because they are not the normal kids that complain, bicker and fight with each other. They are all so kind and loving to each other...and are always laughing and making fun jokes. We are blessed to have such wonderful children. I wouldn't trade it for any material thing of this world.

As to the family, Christmas we all get together except for the last 3 years. When we were in the camper they shunned us and never invited us over...but we were OK with that. This year now that we have a home we get a call for an invite over to one of my relative's (a polygamist) like we are all family again and everything is as good and normal as it was in the past years. I of course was not comfortable and told them thanks for the invite but we wouldn't be coming. I really have a hard time being around people...family or not that are just nice around the Holidays or a birthday. The rest of the year you mean nothing to them. I also don't want my kids to think that I'm OK with all the sinful behavior they all choose to do and is something of acceptance because they are family. The rest of my family think that you need to accept family regardless of bad behavior. They are always justifying sin.

Well I better go for now. We hope you are doing good. I'm so glad your back up and running.

Your friend,


Response #14:

It's been quite a time getting this all to work – and it's not completely fixed yet. I still can't get to my email the way I should, but at least it's being forwarded to my work account.

I'm very happy to hear that you are having / have had a good holiday time with your immediate family – and also that you are sticking to your principles in spite of every temptation. Good for you! It's wonderful to have Christian friends like yourself and yours who "walk the walk" even when that is not so easy to do.

Wishing you and your family a happy and blessed 2018!

Your friend in Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #15:

I just got finished with Faith Dynamics Peter epistles #24

I just loved it!! I'm subbing at the high school today and have had some easy classes with extra time so I took advantage to read.

I look back at the 2 years in the camper and realized what it really takes to have faith. When you are in the midst of a hardship it can be very very difficult. We pulled through. I'm so proud we didn't loose faith.

I still ask questions to God sometime as what is wrong with his children. During those 2 years we were shunned by so many and yet there wasn't anyone that I felt truly had any compassion or care and what is sad is so many are all living high on the hog so you would think it would be easier for them. I can only imagine how the people would act when things really are a struggle...short on food, money, homes or just the simplicity of things they have now. I know this may seem crazy but it feels like most of Gods children are walking around like Zombies. It makes me sad. I really dislike evil. I feel like his children ought to be stronger then they are. I'm sure he has a plan.

I want to thank you for your Ministry. I appreciate your loyalty in responding to my emails. What a blessing. I thank God everyday!!

Your friend in Jesus Christ,

Response #15:

You have been "through it" – that's for sure. Lord has a way of stripping off all the non-essentials and causing us to see what is really important in this life – that is, for those who are willing to respond; for those not, it's a different story entirely even if they seem to have the blessings of life.

"I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned."
John 15:1-6 NIV

So it's very good to be "in" the true Vine – even if it means a little pruning from time to time. Your faithfulness in hard times shows that you are the "salt of the earth".

Hope it's a wonderful 2018 for you and yours!

In Jesus Christ our Lord,

Bob L.

Question #16:

Dear Professor,

Thank you for all your words of encouragement - these mean a lot.

I thought I would gladly inform you that I have not encountered any issues on the Ichthys website since the start of the new year. I hope this issue has been resolved without taking too much of your valuable time.

Professor, I have been wanting to share with you an experience that I had just a few days ago, which turned out to be one of the most frightening I have ever had. I am sure there are no coincidences. On Wednesday, I returned back from Malta and started back at work this week.

I just boarded the flight home from Malta to London after it had been delayed due to weather conditions. I am a seasoned flyer and these things don't tend to bother me but because of the weather conditions, around mid-flight we experienced violent shaking, loss in altitude, and a near complete loss of control for around 45s. Passengers were screaming and flight attendants were crouching on the floor. I did think for a few moments that my time was up, and this was a catalyst for resorting to prayer to our Lord. In moments like this, what else can one do but cling to faith? Whilst others had their partners and companions to cling on to, faith was the only thing I could cling on to and wanted to cling onto. The experience left everyone rattled - to the extent that the passengers clapped upon landing out of relief and I overhead many saying that is the worst they ever experienced.

If this was not enough, two days later I was driving to work and hadn’t considered how icy the roads were. As I was driving down this country road I approach a broken down vehicle that was being given roadside assistance. As I went to apply even pressure to the brakes, I experienced a shuddering of my brake pedal and my car wouldn’t stop. I tried all means in the few seconds that I had until the only option I had was to lift the handbrake. Upon doing so, my car skidded and turned sideways (around 90 degrees) and stopped within metres of the car in front of me. I had only been travelling at around 10mph, but the black ice was treacherous. As I went to get my car back into the correct lane, my wheels were spinning and I wasn’t going anywhere. I was ready to get out of my car and push it though this would have been difficult due to icy road and also dangerous due to it being a very busy road. After a while I eventually got the car moving, and the brakes started functioning normally. I was quite rattled to say the least, but no doubts the Lord has delivered me on these occasions and I am sure this is no coincidence.

With all this said, it may not seem as extreme as a near death experience but it definitely has brought me close to what such an experience may feel like. In the case of the flight, my main fear was not of death, for I know I was going to be with our Lord, but all I can describe is sheer disappointment/fear for seemingly going to face our Lord with no fruit to bear. Of course, leaving loved ones behind and brothers in Christ and the impact such an episode would have on them also crossed my mind. But the main thing that dominated was that I was departing as one without reward. I do not think I have ever experienced anything as vivid or powerful as this. And it has certainly caused an even greater evaluation of my priorities, and ultimately, myself.

This experience naturally caused quite a bit of emotion (internally - do not like to show people externally!). But above all, I don't think there could have been a more powerful message for me to push to ministry.

Time to take my spiritual preparation to the next level. Time is truly short. And for some, it may be shorter than others. I praise the Lord for this deliverance - absent His grace I am sure it could have been far worse, and deservedly so. He is my refuge and strength (Psalm 46:1).

In our Lord,

P.s., I meant to add - whilst experiencing all this I thought of the experience you encountered that I read somewhere with regards to a freak accident you had where a tank crushed your foot/ankle? Did you consider this to be somewhat of a catalyst in reevaluating your priorities, and did you take it to be as a warning from our Lord?

It goes without saying that you do not have to reply to this as the last thing I would want to do is make someone recall unpleasant experiences.

I hope all is well with you Professor.

In Him who sustains us,

Response #16:

Thanks for sharing this! I do believe with all my heart that the Lord is behind such experiences – and it is up to us to interpret them correctly and react accordingly. I'm deeply heartened by the commitment that this has awakened in you – or rather reinforced (since I know that these things have been in your heart all along). When the Lord does such things for us, it's best to respond. In the story about myself which you remember, I was aware at the time of a special deliverance. Honestly, if the breech had depressed another inch I would have been crippled for life, and at the moment I thought that was what had happened. Sadly (or better put, stupidly) I did not respond as I should have . . . with the result that several years later I received another "wake up call". The next one was worse (that's all I'll say), but blessedly it did cause me to take stock and realize that the kingdom of heaven was more important to me than anything on this earth. That is when all this began (and very slowly at first).

Looking forward to your continuing spiritual advance – and eventual service to the Lord in your own ministry, my friend!

In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #17:

Dear Professor,

Thank you very much for your reply as always and your insights.

You have reaffirmed my interpretation of these experiences and as you said, even almost a week after these events, coupled with the reaction it has instigated in me, I can see all the more clearly how the Lord has shaken me bodily and spiritually. If I was crawling and sometimes even having to hold on with a firm grip entirely through fault of my own, at least now I am walking. Running is the goal - a sustainable one at that. But I am in the race - almost as if the guns went off for the final lap and me realising that I better break off into a stride/run out of a sense of both urgency and imminency.

I didn't realise that the breech was that severe. That must have been some pain. Well, it is clear that your second wake up call set the change of "direction" and "pace". Praise the Lord for this deliverance. Although not quite so dramatic, I have actually fractured my jaw on two separate occasions (four years apart almost to the exact day!) - once after being elbowed in a soccer match in 2008 and subsequent impact with the ground, and another colliding head on with another cyclist whilst at University in 2012 and fracturing upon impact with the tarmac. This was a year or so after I first met our friend - he was a truly blessing in visiting me at hospital and also assisting in my recovery after (food shopping, blended food, driving me for follow-up treatments), since my close family are in Malta. I now have 6 titanium plates - so as you can tell by now, this is indeed my 3rd/4th wake-up call at the very least. So you are entirely right when you said that it is best we respond when our Lord does things FOR us, and not to us. For it is truly for our spiritual benefit, even though it may hurt for but a brief moment.

Apologies for ranting on! I just wanted to ask a quick question - I am in the process of ordering Unger's Old Testament commentary which I believe you recommend on your website. I came across Unger's Commentary on the Gospels - would you recommend this also?

Thanking you in advance as always for all your prayers, encouragement and enlightenment.

Response #17:

Always great to hear from you, my friend. The breech is the three ton metal apparatus that locks the tank's main gun shell into the chamber before firing. The whole gun is hydraulically controlled. My leg, at the knee, got caught under the breech when the commander decided to elevate the gun – even though he knew I was working on it (I don't blame him – it was in the heat of an exercise). The leg smashed into the ankle and crushed it into multiple parts – so I have a couple of steel pins in there. The army docs put this Marine back together pretty well, though. The back/hip problem I have is on the other side of my body. I worry about setting of metal detectors, but actually that's never been a problem.

Our friend is a good man! I'm pleased to call him my friend, and it's a great blessing that you and he are friends as well. As I have mentioned many times, the best thing about seminary for me was the fellowship I enjoyed with four other like-minded men (we are still in touch today to a greater or lesser degree), and I hope that you two and some others who are trying to prepare will get to know one another more and more as the years go by for the kind of mutual support and encouragement I have enjoyed – even though you didn't get it from a seminary experience.

On your question, I'm not familiar with that title. Unger (or his estate) lent his name to some things that are mostly not his work (I'm thinking of the Unger Bible Dictionary in particular). He was an Old Testament scholar mostly as well, so I would want to peruse it before I could recommend it.

Your friend and fellow working in the vineyard in Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #18:

Hello Mr. Luginbill.

I hope you are doing fine and I just want you to know how much of a blessing your ministry has been in my life. I apologize if this may be too long an email, but I have so wanted to get this out for quite some time. Now I asked a question a few months ago on a site called "Preparing for Eternity" regarding once saved always saved and the person who replied was named Bob. My email was a bit awkward I guess one could say, but I was just wondering if perhaps it was you if you remember. Just curious. At that time I was in a lot of spiritual pain and was desperate. I have a few smaller things to ask out of curiosity later and this is more of a testimony/thank you so I don't know how you would classify this email. But anyway. Most of my life I will say I was carnally minded not living for the Lord. I struggled with sin. I was just in confess and repeat mode and had no intention of changing at that time. I also had a bad temper. I was saved I believe when I was five years old, but I made a few more professions throughout the years because I questioned myself because of the way I was living. One of my siblings who is very close with her walk with the Lord prayed for me with her tears that I would start walking with the Lord. She also said that the time when it would be easiest to do so was growing short. I heard someone in my Sunday school class one day say that if your not spending time with God you will not grow. That did it for me. In may 2016 I started praying, and soon after reading my Bible. Throughout the summer I began to grow with an even greater desire to live for God. I told Him that my life was now his to control and that I was ready to bear my cross.

Now when I first started spending time with God one of the first requests I made was- "God, if there is anything I'm believing that isn't true, show me!" I repeated this prayer dozens of times. And God delivered as always after about a year. It was an extremely painful process, one which brought tears, heavy heart beats, and loss of sleep. It was hard in general to focus on life at that time. I believed once saved always saved at that time as well as pre-trib, and I sought the truth regarding those doctrines. I read commentaries and websites supporting both, but I saw too many contradictions. Scripture was being twisted, added to, and ignored. On the other side I searched into other beliefs, but they were just as bad/dangerous. I knew salvation was not by works or through membership. I began to panic. I groaned inside myself and even cried thinking I would never find the answer. And then I found your site. I read your pages regarding such doctrines and could not find any contradictions and problems. I also read through the coming tribulation, the satanic rebellion, and the peter series. They were amazing! I can't find anything on your site that I disagree with! This all started back on August 5th. I prayed to God confessing that this was the truth and that I believed it and would teach/spread it if the chance came. I even jumped around my room for joy! I have a few more things to say as well as those detailed questions, but I think I will just wait for your reply. This email is long enough anyway. I just wanted to thank you SO much for this ministry.

In Christ

Response #18:

Yes, we had an extended conversation on this topic a few months back. You seem to have made some serious spiritual progress in the meantime – good for you!

Thanks so much for your encouraging testimony and also for your good words about this site (Ps.115:1). It's always a great pleasure to hear when someone like yourself has been benefitted in spiritual growth by these writing.

Do feel free to "launch" your questions – write me any time.

In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #19:

Just letting you know that I have not stopped reading you’re studies and may God keep you safe. Your friend in Christ are Lord

Response #19:

Saying a prayer for your continuing spiritual growth and progress in Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #20:

I normally don't reach out to someone asking for prayers for myself but I could certainly use prayers right now. Went to my doctor about a week ago [details omitted] Worried about illness and disfigurement as those types of surgeries can be very invasive. Trying to put a brave face on it, the biopsy is Monday and have a 2+ week wait ahead of me. Being an anxiety sufferer, it won't be an easy ride. I'm praying right now that the Lord will help me get through this and of course, for my health.

Sorry to unload all that on you, how are things going for you? I decided to move back to Louisville but of course it's pending the outcome of this. I certainly hope you're doing well and that your health is good my friend.

In Jesus...

Response #20:

I'll keep this in prayer for you, my friend. Do write me back and let me know.

I'm having some back/hip troubles that have kept me from my normal exercise routine (weight gain as a result), and things at the university continue to be quite a challenge now that all my Classics colleagues have been let go – so prayer is appreciated on both fronts, since you ask!

Hope the job is going well – keeping you in prayer daily.

In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #21:

Sorry to hear about your back and hip troubles, I've certainly had my share of spinal issues and that can definitely sideline you, even with pain medication. Glad to hear you're exercising though, that's excellent.

One thing I realized and I don't mean to sound negative or grim but I'm not nearly as afraid of death as I used to be. I've accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior and that ensures my salvation, despite continuing to struggle with sin. I am glad that I've been able to avoid alcohol and drugs for the most part over these past 10 years. Not many things in this world separate you from God like substance abuse although sexual sin might be worse.

I'm very sorry to hear about the continued dismantling of your department at U of L, I pray that your job is secure. It was a very rough 2017 for me, praying that things improve for both of us! Will likely not find anything out until later next week but I would have hoped to receive a letter clearing me by now, apparently they send you a letter if the biopsy is benign and wait to see you in office if it's not. Trying not to let fear get the best of me.

In Jesus Christ!

Response #21:

No worries, my friend. We get through what we have to get through – God helping us – be it health or work or whatever may betide. He is faithful, and we can count on that, absolutely.

I'm very encouraged by your strong testimony! That is precisely the "right stuff" spiritually speaking necessary to endure whatever the future may hold for us. Keep up the good fight.

And thanks for your good wishes and for your prayers, my friend.

Let me know the news when you hear.

Yours in Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #22:

Thanks for checking on me; I'm still alive, and I pray for you and your ministry. I just read your email responses posted today, and it amazes me how much time and dedication you put in in the name of Our Lord. No doubt you encounter much opposition but continue to persevere. Many of us are thankful and grow spiritually by your example.

The last time I emailed you I was depressed about my health and being unemployed. The Lord graciously led me to a good job that I enjoy, and there is significant financial reward if I stick with it. I am a technician for one of the two major satellite television providers. I don't know yet if I will stick with it long term or not since the hours are outrageous at times. It causes a lack of time and energy to do what I need to do spiritually and worldly. But for now I truly enjoy it, even the crawling under houses and climbing in attics. I pray every day for The Lord's fortress of protection around myself and my co-workers as we inevitably get into dangerous situations, if there is such a thing.

I went to a mobile home while working the other day where some disabled men wanted nothing more than to talk about Jesus. They were surprised that I was one of the faithful, and we agreed that the sooner The Lord returns the better, for we are just passing through. Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. One man reminded me numerous times to keep the faith, which surprised me in this day and age that he was not a osas or works based person. I pray for their blessing.

My health is not as bad as it was; after all I am able to work a sometimes physically strenuous job for 65 hours a week during the southern summer. Fortunately the winter is much slower. But my energy and motivation, that fire, the dopamine, the thing that makes us tick, still has not returned. I just get by, and I have trouble enjoying anything. I have sleep apnea, and the cpap machine makes it worse so I cannot use it. I never feel rested, and my oxygen levels drop way too low during the night. I don't do all I can to help it for sure. But because I'm so busy I hardly have time to get depressed about it except at night.

Thank you for your prayers for me; they are being answered. I am also thankful to those who pray for others that are on the prayer list and that pray for all of your students.

How have you been?

In Christ Jesus,

Response #22:

This is excellent news, and a real answer to prayer. Yes, things are much better than when I last heard, and I certainly praise God for that! God is the greatest!

I will be continuing to keep you in my prayers, your health in particular.

I'm having some small health issues (back/hip making jogging impossible for a while now), and the job front has been a major hassle this calendar year. My colleague of 19 years was fired peremptorily as a cost saving measure (she didn't have tenure), and I have lost about half of my program. Everything is about money and numbers now. You would think that in a wanna-be top tier university they could just let the one person left who teaches Greek and Latin "do his thing" without noxious interference. Here's hoping (and praying) for 2018 to be happier. Thanks for asking!

Thanks also for getting back to me, my friend, and thanks for your prayers for myself and for others.

In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #23:

Hi Dr. Bob,

I certainly prayed for you to be able to get back to jogging. I know that not being able to do so can have quite the effect on your mood and overall feeling of wellness. And the way that large companies/universities are structured these days, it's a wonder they don't all go belly-up. I've always had to succeed in spite of organizational structure and politics, not because of it. That's not how it should be. My Mom encountered a similar thing to what you describe many years ago. Her university "fired" her due to some accreditation loophole along with her best friend. Now she and her friend both teach at a community college and are both happier, although making less money. But around the same time my Dad got promoted [to education superintendent of the parish] and overall they are financially much better off, so The Lord provided, as He does.

My health has been much better for a week or so. I just woke up one morning feeling better than I have in years. I hope I'm healed. I hope this is permanent. I felt well enough to work out and run a couple miles, which I haven't done in forever. My emotions came back. I felt like my old self. I am trying not to get too excited in case this is not permanent. I am thankful to God for working this miracle.

I intend on writing you about my experience with AA. I read an email you posted Saturday and it reminded me I had planned to do that. The memories of the whole ordeal I went through were so painful and frightening that it's hard for me to go back there in my mind. But some time has passed and it doesn't bother me like it did.

In Christ,

Response #23:

I'm thrilled to hear your good report! I will keep praying for you. There are ups and downs to these sorts of things, but a big "up" like this is surely a sign that eventually things are going to be OK, even if there are a few "downs" between here and there.

I certainly very grateful for your prayers. The back/hip is still cranky. We had ice here and very low temps for over a week; they cancelled U of L twice. So I had a little enforced rest. It didn't seem to do much good. I'm trying to do a little, minimal exercise. It may be getting better, but, if so, it's a slow process and not a straight-line process. I have been doing some very slow, very short jogs. It doesn't seem to matter if I do, and maybe it's a tad bit better if I do. So I'm hoping I'm in that same "light at the end of the tunnel" boat. Of course we all wish the tunnel were shorter, but that is where the test of faith comes in.

Things on the job are interesting. I would appreciate prayer for my next AY contract negotiation. In the contract I turned in, I gave up my sabbatical voluntarily (saved them three classes that way), gave up my pay for two classes which results in loss of research points, and asked only that the minor programs be restored; but even though it would cost not a nickel to do that, I was refused. So now I'm waiting to see if they hassle me about my contract too. I'm slotted to teach about twice as much as is required by other faculty, and they want profs to teach more in our dire budgetary crunch. We'll see. I know the Lord has this all in hand – prayer appreciated! The example of your parents is familiar . . . and encouraging; it all works out in the end.

I'll look forward to reading your AA report. I have a very good friend – the Christian colleague who terminated from U of L to save money; her eldest is a recovering alcoholic and she is in AA for support. It's hard for me to tell if it's doing her any good, but I know she is wearing his near death hard (and has many other family pressures as well to add to her grief over losing her job – you might also pray for her if you get he chance).

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #24:

Hey Dr. Luginbill,

I hope you're doing well. It's been a very long time since I've written to you.

I was in a car accident this morning. I was cited for "failing to yield" to oncoming traffic. There were no cars in the intersection, the light had turned yellow, so I proceeded to turn left when suddenly there's a car in front of me and I had no time to stop. The front of my car was smashed, but no one was hurt. It's been bothering me all day. I'm angry. I wish I could go back in time and just not have turned. There was no one there, but then suddenly there was. I feel like it was avoidable, and I feel guilty and incredibly stupid. But I always beat myself up for making mistakes when I know that I shouldn't be because if I confess, then I am forgiven (granted, this is a pretty dangerous mistake). I should just be grateful that no one was hurt. But why was I so stupid! And isn't the other driver to blame as well (how human, I want to push some of the blame off myself)? He was not there, but then suddenly he was, and he should not have been. And he should've seen me! But, according to the law, he had the right of way. But I really want my car back! But no one was hurt, and that's what I need to focus on. If someone had gotten hurt, I would be even more tormented by guilt. Thank God everyone's okay.

In hindsight, I just feel stupid. Is stupidity a sin? Also, why is it almost an instinctual reaction to hate someone who we think is less intelligent? I think it's because we are noble creatures created in God's image, and to see one of us behaving in a less than perfect manner is perceived as an abomination. But if someone can't help but be the way they are, like people with Downs syndrome, then shouldn't they be given patience, sympathy, and love? Not hate. I don't have that syndrome, but sometimes I feel like things don't come as naturally to me as they do to others; and I see people get frustrated with me when I don't understand something straight away.

I have something else on my mind as well. If you set your mind to do something, then you should do it with all your might as if you were working for your Father in heaven, right? Or am I casting my pearls before swine? I've been working for the company I'm currently at since April, and I've been giving it my all; those around me have noticed. I work as a shift manager at a restaurant. Recently, I was offered a promotion to become assistant manager. The only catch was that it was at a store 30 miles away from where I lived and the general manager (my new boss) was going to be on vacation for three weeks. So I would be running the store all by myself until she returned. Now, I don't even have a year's worth of management experience, and I haven't even worked for this company for a full year yet. I jumped at the chance. Where else would I be given such an opportunity, so early on as well? I told my boss (the district manager) thank you, and he said, "No, thank you. You earned this." I was happy.

But I soon realized that I had bitten off more than I could chew. The store I was put in charge of was disorganized, filthy, not fully staffed, and the staff that was there had terrible attitudes and would call off work all the time. In just my first week there, the oven went down (we sell baked goods – basically we had nothing to sell). I was struggling learning how to order enough product for the store; so we kept running out of things. People kept calling off work (which meant that I'd have to take on their shifts and work, 12, 14, 16 hours at times). I was working 6, 7 days a week. We got shut down by the health department because someone flushed baby wipes into the toilets which backed up our plumbing. Someone slashed the wires on the heater so we had to shut down early again because it was too cold to work. My boss kept screaming at me because obviously getting shut down all the time was not good for business. I had to try to figure out how to hire people because my boss kept screaming at me to start scheduling interviews; the thing was, our company was rolling out a new system to hire/pay people, which basically meant that, company-wide, no one was able to hire anyone new. I did not anticipate how busy we would be over the Christmas weekend. I sold out of almost everything I had in the store. So of course, customers would complain. And, because of the Holiday season, the truck was late in delivering the product that I ordered to replenish our stock. It was horrible. I didn't see how anyone could fail as spectacularly as I had. But in between screaming sessions, my boss kept telling me how great I was doing and that things would get better once the general manager came back from her vacation to help me (She never did. He moved her to a different store and left me alone).

On top of everything else, my district manager had not pushed my new salary through. In the system, my title was still shift leader and my pay was at the same rate as a shift lead. Now shift leaders are one step above cashiers/crew members. It's not that I care about the money, but if I can, say, go work at Starbucks for the same amount of money that I'm getting paid to run an entire store (not to mention the 10 minute drive to Starbucks vs. the 30 mile drive I was doing), that's what I was leaning towards doing. And I told him this. And he got so angry. He was calling me immature, calling me ungrateful, impatient...and I almost believed him. I thought that maybe I was being out of line.

It was the Tuesday after New Years' day when I had to take inventory. Typically inventory takes about an hour extra after close to finish (so around 5:30pm is when I'd be done). About a week prior, my baker asked for that Tuesday off. The baker comes in at 2:30am every morning. I gave him the day off, but the only person I had to cover his shift was myself. So I scheduled myself to work 2:30am-5:30pm.

I sent out the schedule that I had made to my crew and copied both the general manager and the district manager on it. The general manager said, "I don't think you should be baking and taking inventory. You're going to be too tired." And I responded, "the baker needs the day off, and I have no one to cover his shift." The district manager said that he'd find someone to bake for me that day. But he never did. So that Tuesday, I baked in the morning, took about a 2 hour break, then started taking inventory. It took longer than I anticipated. I completed inventory at about 7:50pm, ten minutes before the deadline. Naturally, my boss was furious. My numbers were also inaccurate, probably because I was rushing and dead tired from working almost 20 hours. It was also maybe the 3rd time I'd taken inventory. I apologized to my boss and asked him where I went wrong with my numbers so that I wouldn't make the same mistake again in the future. He called me and kept yelling at me, "Now is not the time for this. It's the end of the year. Inventory should not have taken you this long. Look, look at your numbers. Are you looking? Are you even on the right page?!" Then I hung up on him (the district manager), and I clocked out, and I drove home. I got home around 10:00pm. I texted one of my co-workers, "It was nice knowing you. I don't think I have a job anymore."

The district manager texted me when I got home, "Please call me." So I did. He said, "Look, I'm sorry. I'd forgotten that you'd been working since 2am. But you need to communicate better. You need to tell me when you need help." And I said, "I told you over a week ago that I had no baker, and you told me that you'd find someone to help me." And he said, "You're right. That was on me. I'm sorry." And I added, "Look, I don't even have a year's worth of management experience. I'm going to be making mistakes, and I don't operate well when I'm being screamed at all the time. You need to have more patience with me. I'm doing the best I can, but if my best isn't good enough, then maybe you should find someone else to run this store." And he apologized again and said that he would show me himself how to accurately take inventory the next week.

But that wasn't enough. It was that next Saturday when my old boss, the general manager at the store I used to work at, said that she could not make it in to bake (she was covering for my baker). So I had to come in. Then one of closers called off at the last minute. So I told the closing manager that I'd stay at least until 1 or 2pm to help her since she had no one to close with. There's 3 of us working and a line out the door when I get a call from the district manager. He starts screaming at me, "SEND PEOPLE HOME! YOUR LABOR IS TOO HIGH." And I said, "There are three of us here, and a line out the door. Who exactly do you want me to send home?!" I was scared, so I clocked out but kept working. It slowed down, so I went downstairs to sit in my office so that I could rest a bit and then get back to work. I was working more slowly because I was tired and because I was off the clock. But by 6:00pm, I still didn't have everything done, and then my opening manager for the next day called off. I cried. I cried and cried. I called my old boss and told her that I'd been working for 14 hours, mostly off the clock, and I had to turn around and come back the next day by 4am because my opening manager called off. I said, "I can't take it anymore. I never even have 8 hours between my shifts to sleep. I never get to see my family. This isn't worth it. I don't want to come back tomorrow." And she said, "Look, you're still young. You still live with your parents. You don't need this job. Quit, and I'll give you a good reference." So I texted the district manager, "Thank you for your confidence in me and thank you for my time here, but I will not be returning." He texted me back, "Call me. At least give me that respect." I called him, and he talked to me for a good hour, trying to convince me to stay. He said, "You can't let all this bottle up anymore. You need to take the emotions out of it. Look, if you need time off, I can get you time off. People will do more for me than they will for you because of my position. At the promise of a promotion, people will do anything." And that's when I decided to go through with it; not right then, but after he asked me, "Are we good?" and I said, "yes" but I really wasn't. It was on the ride home that his words sunk in: "At the promise of a promotion, people will do anything." And I remembered him saying to me one time, "Use him. We can use people," (the 'him' we're referring too is a whole different story that I won't get into right now). I didn't want to work with someone like him anymore. So when I got home, I texted him, "No, I'm sorry. And I don't want to be talked out of it." And he said "Honestly? why couldn't you tell me this over the phone?" And I said, "Because you keep talking me out of it." And he said, "Are you giving me two weeks notice or are you just resigning which wouldn't be nice." And I said, "I'm burned out I can't handle another day." And he said, "I accept your resignation. Good luck on your journey."

The next day, one of my bosses, the woman in charge of regional catering sales called me and asked me what happened. I told her that I quit. And she said, "What?? Why? But you were doing so well." And I said, "I don't want to work here anymore. I don't want to work with him anymore." And she said, "I can smooth things over with him. Use me as a reference if you need to. Keep in touch."

Then I got a call from my old boss, the general manager at the first store I worked at. "I have a proposition for you," she said. "Why don't you come work for me as my baker? You've talked about doing that before. You won't have to deal with any of the stress, and you can stay here until you find a new job." I told her I wasn't sure about that, and I thought the district manager would be too furious with me. She said, "I could sweeten the deal by offering you a bit of a pay raise." I told her I'd think about it. I called her back and asked, "Why would he allow me to come back?" And she said, "I wasn't supposed to tell you this, but he told me to beg you to come back." And she said, "look, just take the job. You'll have the same pay as you had as an assistant, and you don't have to drive as far. And you can just work here until you find a new job." And I asked, "But what about (the district manager)?" And she told me to call him. But after I hang up with her, I get a call from him. I said, "I kind of screwed you over." And he laughed and said, "You sure did." And I said, "but why would you want me to come back? I wouldn't trust someone who did to me what I did to you." And he said, "well, we've wronged you before with (insert name here.* [a whole other story that I'll talk about later]), so we should give you another chance since you gave us another chance." And he also mentioned that my old boss and the regional catering sales coordinator had spoken to him about me. And I said, "Well, the reason why I started working here was the opportunity to move up. Would I still have that opportunity?" And he said, "Look, I have to tell my boss why you're no longer an assistant manager. I can't tell her that you had an emotional breakdown --because that's what happened. You let everything bottle up and just broke down. You resigned your position -- you know that, right? You gave it up. You threw it away. You threw everything you worked towards away." He told me that he would move me up again but I'd probably have to stay a shift lead for a few months.

After he'd hung up on me, and those words sank in. I started weeping. I'd been working so hard. I wanted to become assistant manager so bad. But I thought I really had thrown everything away. I thought there was no way he'd ever trust me again. But what he did to me was wrong. I wasn't an assistant manager -- he was making me run the store as a shift lead. I was running one of his stores for a little bit over minimum wage.

But here I am, still at this company. I didn't get the pay raise I was promised. I'm still just a shift lead. The regional catering manager keeps telling me not to quit because she wants to train me to take her job. I would like that, but I'm worried about the district manager. And I don't know if I can trust any of them. I think I should find somewhere else to go, but I'm having trouble finding somewhere else.

Please keep me in your prayers. You and all your readers are in mine when I think of you.

In His name,

Response #24:

I'm sorry to hear about the car and the accident. I don't think there is anyone in the US who doesn't turn left on a yellow – that's the only way to turn left at most intersections that have no turn arrow. Sounds like either someone jumped the gun on the green or ran the red – neither of which is your fault. If there was a red-light cam at the intersection, you may have some support. It seems as if traffic lights have become merely advisory in this country – a chilling development that should have everyone double careful when out and about. The fact that you are even able to stay awake to drive after all you've been going through is impressive in and of itself. Perhaps the Lord removed the car temporarily precisely because you need a break – it sure sounds as if you need a break.

Thanks for sharing your experiences. To add my two cents, I have seen people being exploited before. It seems to be becoming more and more common in this country now that every fig-leaf of honorable conduct and ethical behavior is swiftly leeching away from our society – except in the case of honorable believers such as yourself.

For promotion cometh neither from the east, nor from the west, nor from the south. But God is the judge: he putteth down one, and setteth up another.
Psalm 75:6-7 KJV

God is the One who promotes believers – as He did Joseph. But until He is ready to do so, none of our efforts will result in true promotion – as was the case with Joseph. Of course that does not mean that we should not seek a good job, or follow God-given opportunities when they occur. Far from it. But a little spiritual common sense goes a long way. You were being terribly exploited (I hope that is at an end).

Another observation. People generally do not change. It is true that when a person turns to the Lord there is a spiritual rebirth, but that is pretty much the only time people change – and even then it will take genuine spiritual growth thereafter so as not to revert in many ways to their behavioral mean. So whether it is an employer or a so-called friend or a potential spouse, if the person has "problems" which makes a relationship difficult, it's the case 99+% of the time that these are never going away, so long as we are in the relationship (of whatever sort) with them – and nothing we can do will change things. Short of setting yourself on fire, I'm not sure what more sacrifice you could have made for this company and for these people – and they never ever appreciated it but only considered you a tool to be exploited further . . . until you dropped dead, I guess. My advice: find another job. You've gotten some good experience (in many ways). That is all you would ever get out of that place even after you've given them months of free labor and with next to zero compensation for all you've done.

God has a purpose in all things. You've learned some valuable lessons, and you are still in one piece – in spite of an accident at that. Best thing now, it seems to me, would be to take a bit of a vacation, and, once you're rested and thinking straight, figure out the next step. If Christ and His Church are the guiding principles, the next step will be more sure and more blessed in the end.

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

In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #25:

Hi Dr Luginbill,

I hope everything is well. I have been praying that you will have all the classes and wisdom you need to teach. But maybe I should also say that I am pretty low in the world and spiritually so I don't know how much it means (Jeremiah 15:1/Ezekiel 14:14).

I've been making progress in Greek. (There may or may not have been a shameful googling of certain parts of speech in English). The thing is that I think I have been spending too much time one the Bible. When I was growing up, I did not go out much (though part of that was the Home), and I would just read and read and read the Bible at random places. I do appreciate that that situation may have been in place of me doing worse things. But I am getting to the point that I think that maybe it has been wrong. Most people throughout history don't spend endless time studying the Bible. Many of them were just trying to survive, and the little Bible they knew was apparently fine. And I have really ruined a huge part of my life (well, not just me, other factors too), when I should have been doing normal things. Yes, some of it would have been sinful, but you have to be part of the group or you are screwed in terms of a normal life (dating, family, friends, etc). And if you don't get in on the processes and way those things work, it is difficult to get into later. And if you want a family, there is a time to get married and have it, and it is not at __ years old. So I stopped reading the Bible for a long time (because I know what it says). I don't know if I should start doing what everyone else is doing to be more normal. My life is an empty wilderness and I just wait to die to go to heaven. If you want an idea, "I'll Fly Away" has always been my favorite hymn. Could you tell me what you thought of Solomon's idea that too much study will make you tired (specifically in regards to Bible study)?

And people who go the worldly route usually end up with SOMETHING, and tend to have a certain stability. I mean at least the people who did so have a childhood of actually doing things they wanted, and likely ended up married and lots of kids into old age. Meanwhile idiots like me who didn't are desolate and alone for life. And we have a childhood of not getting things we would like (hope deferred makes the heart sick Prov 13:12).

Response #25:

I'm sorry to hear that life continues to be a "rough ride" for you, but I know that the Lord has something good in store for you. One thing important to point out here is that while the things we may not have and may wish we have may be decent things to have and normal things to have and (sometimes even) good things to have, the Lord and the truth of the Word of God are better by far than anything else we could dream of. That is the truth, even if sometimes our emotions fight vigorously against that truth. On top of that, if the Lord gives us something, He adds no trouble to it (Prov.10:22). Whereas Christians who go out in their own self-willed "pursuit of happiness" never achieve happiness in the end. Half of the marriages in this country end in divorce, and children are as often sources of grief to their parents as they are joy. Abraham was blessed with his son – and he had to wait an awfully long time for him; but Isaac was worth waiting for. Neither you or I know the blessings the Lord has for you in this life, but we both know that waiting on the Lord for them, trusting Him to do right by you, is the only way to go. And we also know that whatever He gives you in this life, even if He gave you the world, will be eclipsed in glory and blessing to an infinite degree by the least thing He gives you in eternity. So we should be striving to store up treasures in heaven – these can never be taken away (Matt.6:20; 1Pet.1:4). True happiness comes to the believer when he/she delights him/herself in the Lord and when he/she is aware of the Lord's good pleasure in what he/she is thinking, saying and doing . . . and it only goes from good, to better to best when we see the One we love most of all face to face.

So please don't throw away your confidence in Him. He knows your heart, better than you do. Continue to strive to be pleasing to Him. That means continuing to read your Bible, continuing to pray, and most of all continuing to take in the truth from a trusted source of the truth. I prefer Ichthys (for obvious reasons), but I also highly recommend Pastor Omo's Bible Academy (at the link).

You are NOT alone. Jesus Christ is with you and in you – and you have vast army of heavenly witnesses cheering you on and many believers here below praying for your spiritual success.

I look forward to applauding you at the Judgment Seat of Christ when you are awarded your eternal crowns for the good fight you waged and the good race you ran here in this temporary, corrupt and miserable world, by preferring the Lord and His truth to the dust and rust and lust of the devil's kingdom.

I am praying for you daily, and I have put a prayer request up for you at Ichthys.

In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior, He who is our portion in this life and the next.

Bob L.

Question #26:

Hi Dr. Luginbill,

I don’t mean to disappoint you about myself at the Judgement Seat. You bring it up as if I have done some great deed. But I haven’t, and most likely won’t in this life. And I sincerely mean no offense by what I am about to say: I don’t know how your hearing is, but when you miss even small parts of what people say you can’t really be part of much of anything. I mean you can be there in the group, but you have to deal with missing the butt of the joke, or the whatever else is going on, and just having to go along with what everyone else wants. It annoys some people/makes them uncomfortable to ask them to repeat themselves. And you also single yourself out doing that. I am sorry if I am frustrating or disappointing you by saying this. However many times I would go to the Lord when it hurt so much and was difficult. Especially before I had a grasp of the social rules and conventions to pass in social situations (I do now mostly). I wouldn't do anything; just curl up and talk to Him. There is nothing like the moments when I felt like He is/was talking to me. The peace and joy and fulfillment in that moment is so much deeper than anything on earth. Yes, it is so much better. When you really see His goodness, you wonder how can anyone reject Him, but some people don't want goodness. (Of course it is only a taste of it). And I have thought at certain times that if I married I would have less of those moments (there is only so much time in the day). And so I thought that maybe I don't want to marry then. More than anything I want to actually physically be with Him (and me not have a sinful nature so I won't do something wrong when He is right there). Anyway, thanks for your encouragement and prayers. I often read over things you sent and they really are encouraging and helpful. I do have to figure out how to ignore the emotions when they come on strongly. I will try to get back into reading the Bible regularly, and of course you don’t even have to ask me to read ICHTHYS! I wish so much for all of us to be with Him now.

Happy Friday!

Response #26:

Sorry for the delay. Friday was a very long day for me: four straight hours of teaching, then a Marathon personnel committee meeting which I was chairing; Saturday is posting day, so I'm just now catching my breath.

You are anything but a disappointment! Believers who love the Lord and demonstrate that by loving and living His Word mean everything to me. I'm very encouraged by your dedication to Him and to the truth.

None of us is perfect, and it is not uncommon for those who really are willing to follow Him to have a bumpy start on the road to Zion (cf. Matt.21:28-31). What matters to the Lord is that we get to doing what He wants us to do – as you are doing.

I want things to go well for you and for you to be happy – and I know that true happiness is built on a close relationship with the Lord. True happiness in this life flows from a close relationship with Jesus Christ, not from the things of this world, whether He gives us an abundance or not. Most people who have abundance in this life do not have a close relationship with Jesus Christ and as a result are not truly happy, even if superficially apparently so. And the advantage of our happiness in Jesus Christ is that nothing can take it away.

For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Romans 8:38-39 NASB

Keep fighting the good fight for Jesus Christ – it's well worth it now: how much more on the other side?

Your friend in Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.


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